Canadian, eh? My new companion is Sister Gregson from Canada! She is really great. Sister Gregson is a 6 foot tall twin, super talented band geek, giraffe lover, maple syrup obsessor, and every other kind of Star Wars/Harry Potter/Dr. Who/Lord of the Rings nerd possible. She is so ready to work and her desire to know everything about the work has been an awesome refresher for me. Her excitement for every little thing London is even a good reminder for me. I’m living in London for goodness sake. I gotta remember how darn awesome that is.
Just to throw this in there- I hit my 200th day on my mission on Saturday. How crazy is that?! Time flies when you’re having fun.
Throughout the past 7 of those 200 days, we witnessed many miracles. I love the beginning of a new transfer because it is a fresh start in a way. There is a new energy and excitement to work.
Our first miracle was Francis. Sister Gregson and I were put together on Wednesday and despite her extreme jet lag, we had 10 minutes to go out on Exhibition Road and street contact. We ran into Francis and invited him to come to the free dinner we have every Thursday night. We exchanged WeChats (yes, he is Chinese), and that was that!
Thursday night Francis came to the dinner and he said, “After meeting you, I went home and looked up stuff about Mormons! I’m very curious and interested and I have a lot of questions.” He then fired away with awesome questions. He already knew our standards and is working towards living them. Francis then told me the greatest story. Our conversation went a bit like this:
Francis: So there is this feature on WeChat called “People Nearby” and you can add people who are near you. A couple days ago I was scrolling through that feature and I saw you! And I was very curious because you were holding a Book of Mormon in your picture.
Me: *currently geeking out*
Francis: Then I met you the next day! Now out of all the people, why did you talk to me?
I proceeded to tell him how God placed us on each other’s paths and God prepared him to meet us by seeing me on WeChat. He also met a senior missionary in the Hyde Park Chapel awhile back. It is incredible to see how God truly prepares His children to receive the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is all in His timing and His ways. He even uses WeChat to do His work! I feel like WeChat is all I talk about now. I’m becoming so Asian.
Laure was another beautiful miracle. She came into the Visitors’ Centre last week with a friend from Manchester. On Sunday she came to church and loved it, but wasn’t able to see us again until Friday. We had a powerful lesson with her on the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and she is set to be baptized on January 8. Later that evening, her friend texted us explaining that Laure called him saying she felt like crying because she was so happy and she’s found what she has been searching for! Her heart is so open. She’s also from Rwanda which makes me love her automatically even more. My heart really belongs in Africa.
We were blessed with many other wonderful lessons with Mia, Sharon, Hellen, Jacque, Hudanur, and others. My heart is so full and happy to be serving in the Britannia Ward here in London. It is an incredible honor to be serving in the best mission in the world and wearing the Savior’s name each day. I love being a missionary!
Throughout this week, I was challenged by Elder Kashari (well now I guess I should call him Xhuljo!) to write down 3 things each day where I noticed the hand of God in my life. It has been difficult to write just 3 a day, because there are so many more! As I have taken the time during my evening prayers to focus on how the Lord was active in my life that day, I have started to become more aware of the little things. This is His work, so why wouldn’t He be a part of it? He is so very aware of even the smallest of things.
Two friends in the Visitors’ Centre helped me focus on the little things more as well. It’s really easy to get caught up in feeling useless and that our efforts are not noticed. However on Sunday night, Mark and Otis who recently got baptized, helped me notice that small things make a difference. They told me that I was the first person they noticed when they came into the Visitors’ Centre. I was part of the companionship who gave them their first tour. In a way, giving tours at the Visitors’ Centre has become a routine. Each tour is unique and special, but I wrongly thought in some ways that people would forget that initial contact.
But for Mark and Otis, that was what helped them decide to get baptized. I can remember standing at the baptismal font with Otis when he decided he wanted to get baptized. Mark mentioned that when we showed him the baptismal font, he knew in that first moment that he would get baptized. It all started with those small and simple moments. There is no denying that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6). We just need to remember that our simple acts are important. Each effort we make matters and the Lord is a part of it all!
On Wednesday, three incredible missionaries who have been with me from day one finished their missions. On Friday, another missionary who has helped me grow in so many ways will complete hers as well.
Here in the ELM, once on our mission we get to see the musical Wicked. A few weeks ago, the missionaries that were going home soon got to see the show. To say the least, some of the musical numbers have been stuck in our heads for awhile now.
The Saturday before they left, we had an awesome breakfast to celebrate all they’ve done. Then Elder Hulet being the awesome Visitors’ Centre director that he is, pulled out his phone and started playing, “For Good.” That probably wasn’t the best idea with 8 overly emotional girls saying goodbye, but it was quite the uniting moment. You should now go listen to that song!
I’ve had the darn line “because I knew you, I’ve been changed for good,” running through my head nonstop since then. I have probably even annoyed Sister Gregson with how many times I sing it. Regardless of my inability to get it unstuck from my memory, I’ve reflected on how I’ve been changed for good thanks to those missionaries I was blessed to serve with. I wanted to share a few of those lessons I’ve learned from them throughout the past 6 months, as I think they are things we can all benefit from. And yes, this may be incredibly cheesy, but please excuse me for being a Wisconsin cheese-head.
Sister Griffith- Focus on the individual.
“One by one” the Savior always taught, and Sister Griffith had that down. She led the Visitors’ Centre like the mother of the place and knew each of us better than I think we sometimes knew ourselves. She knew how to love everyone and would do small things to express her love. I remember getting a small note from her saying, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are.” She was so aware of the needs of each person. We are all going through our own struggles, and I believe if we looked outward more like Sister Griffith, the world would be a much brighter place.
Sister Kerr- Talk about your feelings.
Oh how I loved serving with Sister Kerr. I say this out of love as she is a classic Arizona cheerleader, “let’s talk about our feelings” girl. The exact opposite of me. But she helped me realize that you have to talk it out! I’m stubborn and like to think I can do things on my own. I can remember one moment where I let everything I was feeling bottle up inside and she said, “Sister Fuhriman talk to me.” She then worked with me to pour out my feelings. I owe her big time for helping me know that it’s OK to “talk about our feelings,” especially to the Lord. He’s listening and He answers too.
That and opposition in all things. Everything. Everyday. Opposition. Love it. Embrace it. Face it. All things! It’s there. And sometimes it’s OK to drink a Coke. #LIFE
Sister Croft- Keep calm and carry on.
Though we were never actually companions, Sister Croft was my companion. I was blessed to live with her for four months. On her last Sunday, we sang “Be Still My Soul” in church together. I think that’s a perfect title for Sister Croft. She taught me how to be still. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath, calm down, and carry on. I’m thankful for the times that I would sit in my room alone, and she knew she needed to come in and just hug me. I would have been lost without her and she was an incredible source of strength to me. Sister Croft, though you may look small and delicate, you are one of the strongest people I’ve met!
We also learned together that sometimes we will all have those moments of singing “hello from the kitchen table, we finally were really able to write in our journals, we were sorry it was late, but we hardly could remember the date…anymore!” See us in our latest Adele parody. And you are never, ever too old to play MASHO.
Elder Kashari- Everything takes practice.
How many times was I told that “everything takes practice?” Every single day. He still emails me saying that classic line. There were so many times I would call him saying I was terrible at this and that, and he would respond with, “Sister Fuhriman, everything takes practice!” How true that is. In each aspect of our lives, we just need to be improving each day. Just keep practicing. *Cue Dory*
Goodness sakes how I love these people. Get ready for the cheesiness from the lyrics of this song but it is true! So much of me is made of what I learned from them. I know it’s been said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow. I know I am who I am today because I knew them.
Thanks guys. Y’all are the best. I know you’ll continue to do the same for others in Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Albania! I owe you big time and cannot thank you enough for changing me for good.