“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!"