Monday, 28 January 2013

Some weeks are rough, but... miracles always happen!

"Oh my goodness, some weeks are so rough! I don’t think that I have had so many appointments fall through in a week! I always get quite upset when on paper it looks like it will be an amazing week, but then everything goes against your plans. But of course, I’ll focus on the bright side of life and the amazing experiences that we have had here in Shrewsbury this week!
Yesterday at church I had such a blast! I absolutely love the ward! Sometimes I feel tempted to ask the Lord to let me stay here another transfer, but I haven’t done so because I’m trying to live His will instead of mine. But this is definitely a ward that I will visit ASAP after my mission!
Bishop’s wife asked us to come into the Youth Sunday School class as the lesson was about teaching by the Spirit. There is a young man that shared an experience he had during the week as he followed the Spirit. It’s so good to see that even though the Youth here is pretty small, they all have strong testimonies. I loved spending time with the youth and just listening to their thoughts. We also had an opportunity during the lesson to share experiences we have had as missionaries to teach by the Spirit which I loved, because I just LOVE sharing Miracles! The Youth also got some time at the end to ask us questions, which was a lot of fun.
Since I have gone through the Temple, things have started making a lot more sense! Through my Doctrine and Covenants study, one of the key things I have been able to learn was that Missionary Work is the way to receive eternal life.
As we fulfil His Purpose, we fulfil our Potential” – His Purpose is to bring to pass our immortality and Eternal Life. Immortality has already been given to us, but Eternal Life is up to us. So how do we obtain Eternal Life?
Well, we need to become blameless before God. One of the first things I learned was that I can become clean of the blood and sins of this generation and that is, from what I have been able to gather from the scriptures, the only way that we can be truly saved. Now, the only way that we can become clean of the blood of this generation is by preaching the Gospel to everyone. That is why the first few sections in the D&C repeat the same thing over, and over, and over again! Preach the Gospel and it will bring you Joy. Preach the Gospel and you treasure up salvation to your Soul. And so on.
Missionary work IS the Gospel. Without it we cannot be saved. It becomes the duty of those who have been warned to warn others. This knowledge that I have gained will definitely change the course of my whole life as I want to be a missionary forever and not just 2 years.
I am very excited for this week! I will get to see my brother Elder Matute at Sports day! And of course, I will see a lot of Miracles happen here in Shrewsbury."

Monday, 21 January 2013

From snowy Shrewsbury

"What a mad week it has been! I would have never guessed it would have snowed this much even though it had already snowed last Sunday!
Anyway, this week despite it being very cold has been a great week! I finally saw Elder Packer’s talk about all weather being good weather being put into action! On Friday was when it really started snowing heavy here in Shrewsbury. Elder Debenham and I had made plans to go to a little town after lunch however, so we got on the train anyway. While we were on the train we got a phone call from Elder Cox telling us to try and see as many members and Less Active Members as possible, and stay out of the cold. Too late! We were heading into a town which has a total of 4 members! 3 of those are Less Active members who I have never met. When we got to Wem we tried to find the LA’s homes but only 1 of them actually existed! We decided to knock on 10 doors on each side of the house. By the 4th door we knocked, this lady and her husband invited us in for a hot chocolate because of the snow. It was great! They put our coats by the heaters, they had the fire on, and the hot chocolate was pretty fantastic too! This couple, plus their daughter, are believers of the Bible, and even though they go to a Baptist church, they don’t really say they are part of any denomination. Although they had asked us not to preach to them, soon enough they asked us why it was that we became Mormons. Of course, we shared with them about the Restoration! It went so well! I definitely think that Elder Debenham and I were led by the Spirit as it went so smoothly!

I am excited for the Miracles that will happen here in Shrewsbury. Even if I don’t get to reap any fruits myself, we are planting seeds like there is no tomorrow! It has been a fantastic week! Despite the weather, my heart is still warm and I love Shrewsbury. I love missionary work so much!"
After church: one of the counsellors in YMs, Steph and some of the youth in the ward :) Namely: Jared, Elyse, Jack, Josh and Eve

Monday, 14 January 2013

A God of miracles!

"God lives! And He is most definitely a God of Miracles!
So first of all, let me tell you a little bit about P.! He is an Investigator that approached Elder Desir and I. He was incredible! By the second lesson we had with him, he’d already read from 1st Nephi to Jacob! However, when we were supposed to meet him on Friday, after transfers, he didn’t show up so I didn’t speak about him at all in my last letter to you. My whole family asked me about him though and I had to tell them we lost contact with him, as he does not have a phone, and we don’t know his address. I finished my email to my family telling them that I knew a Miracle would happen and we would get to teach him again someday. What I didn’t realise was how quickly this Miracle would happen! As soon as we step out of the Library, we saw P.! We spoke to him and he told us that he had been sick on Friday and asked God to let us know he wouldn’t make it. So this past week we were able to meet with him twice more. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he understood it all pretty well, in fact, he was really excited to go home and pray for repentance so that he could feel all his burdens be taken away. Then when we saw him again we taught him about the Word of Wisdom, and let me tell you something… It was amazing! Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it to Church  but God obviously wants him to keep meeting with us as we got to the Library and who happened to be sitting just behind us? P.!
We see Miracles every day! It is so great! And I have been able to learn a lot of amazing things about the Lord during this week. For example, on Thursday we had a free evening without any appointments so we decided we would go tract. During Weekly Planning Elder Debenham and I prayed for the Lord to give us a street to work on, and we both felt good about a street. Before we went to the street however, we had a tea appointment at some members’ home which was on the other side of town. It was alright though, or so we thought, because those members ALWAYS offer us a lift. Not this time though. We both felt terrible as we would never be able to make it to the road on time by walking, but neither of us was able to muster the courage to ask the members for a lift either. So we decided to street contact back to the flat. We spoke to two amazing women!
One of them just lost her dad 2 weeks ago, doesn’t believe in God, and has lost 2 children to adoption. She must be in her early 20s. We had an amazing conversation with her and the Spirit was so strong! We set up an appointment with her and should be seeing her tonight.
The second woman when we first started speaking to her, she was very atheist, but by the end of the conversation, she came out as an agnostic who is very close to believing in something. The moment that I could see in her eyes the spirit working within her was when we spoke about the Pre-existence and how we accepted God’s plan for us. Such an amazing experience! We confirmed the appointment with her yesterday and she is very excited to see us again.
The thing that I learnt from these experiences was that God inspired us with the name of a street because we asked for it, and we were trying to bring to pass righteousness out of our own free will, but even though he gave us an answer to our prayer, we forgot to ask him that His will be done. Obviously, His will was that we would meet those two ladies.
Another great Miracle I saw this week was during my exchange with Elder Cox. We had an appointment at the library with a young man who seemed amazing. While we were waiting for him, we were contacting people, one on each side of the road. I tried to stop a young man carrying a suitcase, and his response was “I will be back!” which I just dismissed really because no one ever comes back. However, he came back! I don’t know why I have so little Faith at times! There ARE people prepared! I spoke to him for a while and he asked me if it would be ok to ask me a few questions that he always thinks about when he sees us walking about but never had the chance to ask. When we realised that first young man wouldn’t show up, we invited him to come to the library with us. He was about to get a train to go see his girlfriend in Oxford but he said she could wait. At the library he asked us A LOT of questions, and really he answered most of them himself! When we told him what we do as missionaries, he asked if he could have a copy of the Book of Mormon so that he could read on his train journey. It was amazing! My favourite bit however, was when it was obvious that the Holy Ghost was working through the Light of Christ within him."

Monday, 7 January 2013


"These last 3 days with Elder Debenham have been amazing so far! I don’t think I have ever biked so much in my whole life! If you are wondering why I had never biked so much before, it was mainly due to the fact that I had never understood how bike contacting was supposed to work until Elder Debenham got here. Now, bike contacting is definitely my favourite contacting style – even if I still find it hard to speak properly after cycling up all the hills here in Shrewsbury.
The first miracle I’d like to share is about a young man. He must be in his early 20s and is a pretty average person. Well, I was on the phone speaking to a Less-Active Member so Elder Debenham went off to some tracting and street contacting. He stopped young man and had an amazing conversation with him, about how families can be together forever which he was really happy to hear! When I joined the conversation they were setting up an appointment – a super solid one in fact – and then before leaving, we prayed with him. We actually invited him to pray, but he said he was slightly scared but he would do it Monday. So we are seeing him today! Should be amazing!
Then, the very next day, we had my favourite Miracle of all! There was this boy cycling towards us so we say hello and he immediately stops! It caught me off guard!  He was also in his early 20s. We asked him if he had any religious beliefs at all and he said “I’ve read the Bible, but I don’t think I have enough Knowledge and Information to know which church is true”. I thought he might be quoting Joseph Smith or something! That reply helped us to briefly teach him about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. He is very excited to meet with us on Wednesday! The best is still to come though. As we were saying goodbye, I explained we would love to leave with a prayer, and explained how we pray. Before I even had the chance to say “But I can say the prayer today”, he said “So you want me to pray?” and prayed right there and then. Elder Debenham and I could not believe what had just happened when the young man rode off, and we had to thank God for such a great Miracle and call Elders Cox and Coomes to share this amazing Miracle.
Elder Debenham and I are getting along so well! We have a great desire to see Miracles happen, and to find those who will receive us."

Thursday, 3 January 2013

In Shrewsbury with.... Elder Debenham!

"My new companion is... Elder Debenham! From Sandy, Utah! He is great! Such a good Missionary! 
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
I think that that quote clearly represents how I have felt this past week!
This past week was the best of times! It was so great to see and speak to my family again! It was really strange though… 7 months is a lot longer than what it sounds like! And the one hour went a lot faster than I thought it would. Anyway, it was good to catch up with them and see how they were all doing. I had a lot of laughs while speaking to them, and even though I think I have changed quite a bit since I have left home, I think I’m still myself in the sense that it wasn’t awkward speaking to my family at all.
Spending Christmas and New Years with the members here in Shrewsbury was a lot different to what Christmas and New Years were like back at home! But I truly enjoyed that opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with members here. I have met people who I had never met before, who are less active members of the ward, and I think the members also got to know Elder Desir and I in a more personal level.
This past week was also the worst of times. Obviously, every time you or your companion moves away it is a sad event. You learn to love them and trust them. They are your best friends, your brothers even! And then you are split up. Very sad indeed! But luckily enough, we always get a new best friend also! Some things that I loved about serving with Elder Desir are that he is very fun, and he built very strong relationships with the members.
But what shook my week the most was the news that I got yesterday. While I was in Barrow, Elders Leimgrub and Matute, and I taught Sister Jenny Singleton and helped her to progress to the waters of baptism. In fact, she was the very first person that I taught when I got to Barrow! I grew very close to her and the rest of her family. It wasn’t always easy for her but she had a pure heart and good desires. However, Jenny had been in a fight against cancer for the last year or so, and even lived 10 months longer than what the doctors expected her to survive. Yesterday I found out that Sister Jenny Singleton passed away last Saturday. It was really hard for me when I heard the news! She was such a good lady, and like I said, during the teaching process I grew very close to her and her family. As I kept thinking about her, I realised that maybe it was for the good. Now she isn’t suffering anymore! In 2 Nephi 2 it talks about how God prolongs the days of Men so that they can repent and that is exactly what happened with Jenny. She lived long enough to be baptized, help reactivate her family, and now she has returned to the God who gave her life, and she can be with her grandson once again. I am so thankful that we have the plan of Salvation! God is definitely a loving God!
Elder Debenham is such a good missionary! Obviously we haven’t had much time together yet, but he KNOWS how to do bike contacting! I have never gone backwards and forwards so much in such a short amount of time and space! I was feeling dizzy almost! But he is great. He is very personable and likable. He teaches simply and clearly. And we are getting along very well indeed! It seems that we have a lot of the same likes and dislikes, and we have been able to be completely honest with each other so far.
Another Miracle that I would like to share is about a man called P. So, last Thursday, during our lunch break during Weekly Planning, Elder Desir and I needed to pick something up from town so we quickly biked there and back. In town, while Elder Desir was putting his helmet on, a man approached me and started asking me questions about myself and the church. I then found out that he’d been taught by missionaries before (about 10 years ago) and that he had read the Book of Mormon! We were in a rush so we set up an appointment with him for Saturday at the Park. He doesn’t own a phone and told us he lives in the hills so we had no way of contacting him… I was a bit suspicious!
On Saturday, we got to the park 15mins early, and guess who was there waiting for us… P.! We taught him the Restoration lesson and he pretty much remembered it all still. He accepted to be baptized, and we invited him to read from 2 Ne 31.
We then met him at the Park again on Monday. When we sat down we asked him if he’d read from the BoM and he said he read a chapter or two. When I asked him which chapters, he said “Nephi 1, Nephi 2 and… Jacob.” Those weren’t even chapters! They were books! But I decided to asked him what he had learned from his reading. This was his response: “Well, in one of the Nephis it talks about ‘A Bible, a Bible, we need no more Bible’ and that really struck me because that is how I used to think. And in Jacob, I think, it talks about a vineyard and how the Lord plucks branches and plants them somewhere else, and grafts them again and just gives them lots of chances. That really struck me because that is what the Lord is doing with me”
I was absolutely dumbfounded! Not only did he actually read the first 3 books of the Book of Mormon, but one the bits he really liked was Jacob 5, the Allegory of the Olive Trees?! He is such a golden investigator!"
Elder Pereira and Elder Debenham