Yup. Miracles. Everywhere. Everyday. Wow.
I don’t even know where to begin. I just feel so immensely blessed. My heart is so full. I’m going to get to the miracles in a second as I first have a “Sister Fuhriman’s life in London” experience to share.
And it starts with bombs and evacuations. On Tuesday, Exhibition Road went into extreme craziness. The police were running down the streets, blocking the roads, and evacuating the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and the good ole Hyde Park Chapel. People everywhere. I’m not sure about the full story, but there was some sort of bomb scare at the Victoria and Albert Museum! So that was fun (so sorry to scare you, mom).
The entire underground tube staff decided to go on strike as well this weekend. So that was fun. Thankfully we don’t live too far from the chapel so we could just walk! But it did mess up a few lesson plans. Thanks tube strikers.
The rest of my email this week will just be of the miracles I’ve experienced the last 8 days. But first, I am a standing witness that when the Lord asks us to do something and we actually do it, He sends blessings. Last week I wrote about not looking behind and moving forward. I’ve had a lot of goals and really went full force into them this week. Crazy how when you put your mind to accomplish something and you start doing it, it actually works! And then the Lord blesses us in return. And man, did I feel those blessings this week. Here’s a few for you all 🙂
1. Terrible to Terrific Thursday
Thursday was one of those “what else could go wrong” days. I just wanted to be alone (and when you have a companion with you all the time you don’t really ever get to be alone), so I went into the bathroom. I just asked Heavenly Father why everything seemed to be going wrong. I then felt prompted to flip open the scriptures. With my eyes closed, I turned to a random scripture and placed my thumb. Mosiah 24:16. “And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.”
Heavenly Father’s message was clear enough. So I tried to rekindle some faith, exercise patience, and be of good cheer, and then hit the streets. 40 minutes later we found two new really solid friends. We haven’t found anyone in the past two weeks after hours of talking to people, but in 40 minutes we were able to find two. God for sure had a part to play there.
We went back inside for a lesson with the most amazing woman. Long story short (though her story is so amazing that I don’t know how to make it short): she was baptised when 8, didn’t go to church her entire growing up life, then several years later she just decided to pray and basically said, “God you have seven days. Show me something and I’ll do it.” Three days later, the missionaries were knocking at her door. She came back to church and was doing great, but fell into a tough spot again. Last week she had this feeling to visit the chapel. There she met Sister Mullen who told her about Sister Gregson and I. Sister Mullen invited her to church on Sunday and she came, and it just so happened that Sister Gregson and I sat next to her without knowing who she was (and church was way different than normal with five congregations meeting at once!) Her story continues with many more incredible experiences, but this girl’s testimony absolutely showed me God is aware and there is no such thing as coincidences.
After that we met our new friend Qiao. He came into the Visitors’ Centre a few weeks ago and left his email. Now when someone leaves their email, it kind of means “I don’t want to be rude so I’ll just leave my email but I’m not really interested.” I emailed Qiao regardless and got no reply. However, I emailed him again and this time he replied and was anxious to meet. We had a powerful lesson with him that evening. Point number mucho for God (and so that leads into the next point…)
2. Qiao (AKA Chao)
Oh how I love him! After our lesson on Thursday, he went home and began doing his research (as you could expect from a Chinese scientist). He discovered the church headquarters is in Utah and remembered his English teacher in China was from Utah. He messaged his teacher and then learned that his teacher is a member of the church. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Qiao told us all of this on Saturday and his faith has already expanded greatly. Two days prior he said it would be unbelievable that he would ever believe in God. Now he was studying from the Book of Mormon, loving it, saying sincere prayers while recognizing the peace and hope it brought him, noticed his faith growing, and wait for it- he wanted to get baptized. And then he brought up the dilemma that his schooling is being funded by the communist party in China and so he can’t get baptized. So we are turning to prayers on this one.
Sunday came around and Qiao came to church and loved it. He stayed from 1-6 pm, which included the three hours of church, attending a baptism, and staying for a little meet and eat thing afterwards. He even ran off at the end with some people he met at church and wanted to go hang out with. I love how the Chinese just all welcome and love each other!
But side note about Qiao because I found this hilarious: he wanted me to teach him how to follow the hymns as we sang. So I showed him and then opened my mouth and sang one note. He just stopped and looked at me with his mouth dropped. Priceless expression. But then after the song (which singing with him was incredibly powerful), he said, “You are a karaoke queen! You are a superstar!” Life made. Honestly. I was laughing so hard, it was the sweetest thing hahaha. But Sunday was a beautiful day with him! Such a miracle.
3. Our little angel Angel
For New Years I sent out a big quote to every phone number on our phone. Now this phone just gets passed on from missionary to missionary so I had no idea how long ago these people had initially met the missionaries. The quote said: “You can change. You can be a little better. You can stand a little taller. You can love a little deeper. You can pick a different path. You can walk a different walk. You can find happiness. And joy. You can become your best you. Because He gave His life, you can change yours.”
Then Saturday a sweet Chinese girl named Angel came into the Visitors’ Centre saying, “Sister Fuhriman and Sister Gregson sent me this text.” We just so happened to be on shift at that time. We sat down with her and she just opened up with us explaining how she had found Christ before and wanted to find Him again. Her heart is so big and I felt this overwhelming love for her as I was able to relate with her on so many levels. She then came to church and loved it. She truly is an angel.
4. Just J
Yeah, just J. Like my dads middle name, J is the name. And wow, he’s beyond a miracle!
Sunday morning J came to the chapel at 12pm because he thought there was a baptism at that time. He decided to attend church and attend the baptism when it really was which was at 4pm. So he got talking with Sister Hulet and in his exact words he said, “I want to know how I can register to be a member of this church.” Sister Hulet ran to find us and said, “You better go talk to this guy.”
When I saw him I thought, “But I know this guy and he’s a member.” Well J has been attending church for the past few weeks and everyone like myself just thought he was a member of the church. Turns out he has been investigating the church for a year now. He knows everything. We had a powerful lesson and he is set to be baptized on January 22. Just amazing. Absolutely incredible!
5. “Sisters, can you come see me?”
So remember how I mentioned that Thursday was one of those “what else could go wrong” days? One of our dear friends who was all set to get baptized had a bit of a freak out on Thursday. So much so that she asked us to no longer contact her. We gave her space for the next three days and then Sunday morning we got the message. She said, “Sisters, can you come see me after church? I just want to cry.”
I honestly was terrified we would never hear from her again and it was such a blessing to receive that message from her. Sadly opposition always happens, and because of the tube strike we weren’t able to go see her. But we were able to talk and I’m just so happy we were able to hear from her. I love her with my entire heart.
6. Laure entered the waters!
Oh and not to mention Laure got baptized this week! We were able to FaceTime her right before her baptism. Background on Laure: from Rwanda, met her in November, taught her and she was so ready! Then went on holiday and was living with a family who are members of the church up in Manchester. Stuff happened, and so she got baptized in Manchester! Honestly Laure is amazing and has overcome so much opposition. I’m extremely thankful I’ve been able to know her and am so ready for her to come home from holiday because wow, do I miss her! Her baptism was beautiful though as she was in the most lovely white dress and had the largest smile planted on her face. So happy for her!
Well, it was a week of miracles. I must say, working on my New Years resolutions really helped me begin to feel things “click.” And I guess Heavenly Father thought I was getting too comfortable.
And so I’m off on a new challenge to the White Chapel ward, follow-up training a Hawaiian sister, Sister Wallace. I’m heartbroken to be leaving Britannia. I feel my heart belongs there and I am so blessed to have served with these amazing people and witnessed countless miracles. But the good news is, White Chapel is basically the African ward of London. I’m so ready to be around some cute black babies.
The past three months serving in Britannia has forever changed my life. I’ve learned countless lessons. Missions tend to do that to you. Maybe I’ll have to write a novel on it someday because wow, so many lessons learned. But I think to wrap this up I’ll share one lesson learned this week- fasting works.
Last week I wrote about not looking behind and letting it begin. One way I was able to accomplish the goals I set to not look behind was by realizing that some things will go out only through prayer and fasting.
I noticed this as I was studying in Mark. When the Savior cast a devil out of a deaf and dumb child, He used the occasion to teach His disciples about the power of fasting and prayer, as recorded in Mark 9:28–29. He told them, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
Christ Himself was also the perfect example to show us that prayer and fasting can increase our spiritual power. Going back to Matthew 4:2, fasting was an important part of the Savior’s preparation for His ministry, as taught by President Howard W. Hunter: “Soon after his baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wild, uncultivated wilderness. There He remained for forty days and nights, preparing Himself for the formal ministry which was then to begin. The greatest task ever to be accomplished in this world lay before Him, and He needed divine strength. Throughout these days in the wilderness He chose to fast, that His mortal body might be completely subjected to the divine influence of His Father’s Spirit.”
We then learn from Luke that after fasting for forty days and forty nights, Jesus “returned in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). By following the Savior’s example of fasting and praying at a time of need, we can experience the blessings that come as described by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: “Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation. Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. They can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast, our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast, we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions.”
Fasting works my friends. It brings miracles. I’ve witnessed several myself and hope you enjoyed reading just a few of them. I know fasting and prayer is sometimes the only way to move forward. No amount of study or counsel can overcome some difficulties. Only through submitting ourselves to the Lord’s will through missing a few meals and sincerely communicating with God can those challenges be overcome.
And I’m so ready for the next! Time for more miracles. I’m so ready for a Hawaiian companion in an African community. Aloha Africa!
Love you all 🙂