Hello from the ELM! My 4th transfer has officially finished. Next transfer I will continue to be in the YSA Ward Britannia and I’ll be training a new missionary! I’m quite nervous to train again, but it’ll be super great. My new companion will be from either Estonia, Hawaii, or Canada so this will be fun!
Many goodbyes are also about to be said today. Sister Croft will be returning to the good land of Utah and Elder Kashari will head home to Albania. You might hear more about them next week and the significant impact they’ve made on my mission. Change is a weird thing and I’m sad to see them go home, but I have been so blessed to serve with them and I am excited to see what their future awaits.
I always have a difficult time remembering what happened throughout the week as it all begins to merge together. I’m blessed to serve in an area where there is so much work to do! We are non-stop going.
Thanksgiving was clearly on Thursday and we were blessed to have a Thanksgiving “snack” and Thanksgiving dinner. Our entire Chinese crew showed up, and one of our friends we are teaching, Jerry, brought one of his friends! It was pretty fun celebrating Thanksgiving with all of them since this was their first “Thanksgiving.” We also had 5 solid lessons in 5 hours so there was so much to be thankful for!
Side note: For those who don’t know, because we are Visitors’ Centre sisters, we only get 6 hours to work in our area each day. The other 6 hours are spent in the Visitors’ Centre. Therefore, 5 lessons in 5 hours is pretty fantastic so we were very, very blessed! The other hour was spent eating turkey of course.
Many other blessings included finding new friends through awesome referrals! Mia is a really sweet girl who actually knew some members of the Church before she came to University. She is intrigued by our standards and curious to learn more. Jacque from Mongolia is super humble. When we asked her why she was interested in learning more, her response was, “I want to know why I’m here and what my purpose is.” Her faith is lovely and she is truly so sincere. And Laure from Rwanda is such a wonderful spirit! She has the most beautiful heart. She said, “I’ve been seeking for truth. I prayed to God asking Him that if the Book of Mormon isn’t true, please make me stop reading it. But nothing can stop me from reading.”
The Visitors’ Centre’s dear friend Mark was baptized this week! Mark came into the Visitors’ Centre on the very first day of the transfer 6 weeks ago. When he walked in, Sister Kerr and I gave him a tour. Mark felt drawn into the Visitors’ Centre and said he continued to walk by debating on if he should come in, but finally something pulled him inside. We gave him a wonderful tour and then referred him to be taught by Sister Zeng and Sister Croft.
Mark’s baptism was so special. One of Elder Kashari’s Iranian friends also got baptized. Because of Esmael who was baptized in July, 6 other Iranian/Muslim friends have been baptized! So, so cool. Esmael is a bomb missionary himself, but I’ll give Elder Kashari some credit too for turning into a Muslim teaching missionary! It was a wonderful day.
Since I have been serving in the Britannia Ward, over the last 6 weeks I have blessed to witness many other friends be baptized. Jing, Fisher, Kia, Ann, Will, Prop, and Li have entered the waters of baptism this transfer. They are incredible people and by the way, only 1 out of the 7 wasn’t Chinese. We are preparing China for the church here in London!
And another exciting baptism fact: The Hyde Park Zone has started something called #FastAndFurious to help teach our friends. One of the Zone Leaders Elder Spieser, promised us that if we used #FastAndFurious, our baptisms would double. Now that is quite the bold promise. In October as a Zone we baptized 5 friends, which was exciting!
We then set an extreme goal of 10 baptisms in the month of November. Everything we did was based on “The Goal is 10!”
We all worked so hard to achieve this goal and prayed an incredible amount. And in the month of November, 10 beautiful children of God entered the waters of baptism! The promise was fulfilled and the baptisms doubled. I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and as we sincerely work, miracles can and will happen. I am also so happy for each of these people and the covenant they made with the Lord. It is all so wonderful!
Now for another exciting part, Christmas! It is crazy to think it is already December in 2 days and we are onto celebrating Christmas. We were busy decorating this week, with a live nativity outside the chapel. It is incredible and so many people stop to admire Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The sweetest thing happened when a little Indian boy ran into the chapel exclaiming, “I just saw a real life Mary and Joseph! And baby Jesus!”
We also have been spreading the message of #LIGHTtheWORLD!
First off for those who have read this far in my email, I would love to hear some of your Christmas traditions! Ponder on a few, and if you’d like, send an email my way.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is every Christmas Eve. First we had potato soup and scones with jam. We would then get new Christmas pajamas to wear to bed. Most of the time they matched and we would take hundreds of pictures, but it was always a fun time with my family.
Next, think about a Christmas tradition you have to remember the Savior during the Christmas season. After all, He is the reason of the season. Once again, I would love to hear your traditions of how you remember Jesus Christ during Christmas.
Center to my family’s Christmas Eve dinner and pajamas was focusing on Christ’s birth. Our traditions were to talk about the symbols of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, and finally make cupcakes and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Throughout the night, baby Jesus would not be in the nativities around our home. However, after we sang “Happy Birthday” and took the cupcakes outside so Jesus could “blow out the candles,” baby Jesus always miraculously appeared in the manger. It was always such a special evening in our home to focus on the gift of the Savior’s birth.
After pondering on ways you remember Christ during Christmas, now watch this video. As you watch it, focus on what Jesus does to help others and how we can do the same.
Go ahead and watch it a few more times if you’d like. The second time I watched it, I focused specifically on how the Savior acts, and the third time on how we can act. To say the least, I was crying like a baby after watching it 3 times.
Throughout the video, I love how the Savior is always embracing someone. He continues to show love in every action. His ministry was focused on serving others. He focuses specifically on the “one.” There is no better example to us than Him. He is the light of the world.
But He also says how we are the light of the world. This year we are inviting people to act. It is through doing what Jesus Christ did that we can come to know Him.
Starting on Thursday December 1, the church is going to kickoff the Christmas season with a worldwide day of service. I would invite each of you to find a way to serve someone on this day.
Throughout the rest of the month, there will be 25 ways over 25 days to continue to serve. On Mormon.org you can find simple activities to serve others. For example the focus on December 1st is, “Jesus lifted other people’s burdens and so can you.” The simple acts of service then include:
I have also attached an advent calendar with ideas for the entire month of December if you would like to print that off 🙂
This Christmastime, I would invite each of you to embrace this challenge and #LIGHTtheWORLD. I can promise you that as you focus more on others, your joy will increase. You will come to not only know of the Savior but know Him. Those you serve will notice the light of Christ in you. “Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (3 Nephi 16).
May you have a wonderful week of service as we kickoff December. I love you all and am so excited to work with you to #LIGHTtheWORLD!