Welcome to Newbury! Jan.17, 2018

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The New Crew
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A nice, decrepit castle on a hill.
The world was thrown upside down on me this week. For the first time in five transfers during moves week I actually have a normal preparation day. This is because as you probably have already guessed—I’ve moved to Newbury. So where and what is Newbury? Newbury is located in the county of Berkshire which is near Oxfordshire. It’s a decently sized town of more than 10 people but smaller than London. Instead of a glorious Meriva Turbo we each get limited edition, 23 gear, forest green, Carrera mountain bike. Complete with classy helmet. My legs are going to be slaughtered the next couple of weeks.
Our flat is now only on the first floor (second floor for North Americans) and is quite a bit smaller than the one in East Grinstead. We live right next to a small canal which we bike and walk often. I was in the area one preparation day six months ago as I went to the Highclere castle which is near by. I never thought I would be transferred here. My companion is Elder Butler. Standing at 6’6″ with classy hair, a dashing smile and six months of the mission under his belt. He’s from Orangeville Utah and is a triplet. He’s going to be a fun companion.
Newbury might now be where I die. With only four transfers left its going to be interesting.
Before this news though I was still in the office, plugging away at some different things. In my last week I was able to do a lot of learning and better honed my skills on the various programs. Sadly I won’t be able to utilise those new skills any time soon. I found out about my move Saturday morning. It was both surprising and expected. I had been in the office for a good while and was starting to feel a bit cooped up. At the same time I also felt very comfortable where I was. I thought I could go without change.
Transitioning from a normal missionary to office elder has a sharp learning curve but is very rewarding. Transitioning back I have found is a bit trickier. Suddenly I have four or more hours of the day to plan for, no car, no deadlines and way less stress. Days feel awkwardly empty now. I was so busy behind a desk that slowly over time I forgot what being a normal missionary was like. I’m almost relearning some things.
My replacement in the office is Elder Pendleton who—for an office elder—is rather young. He has six weeks to learn the office before Elder Neuendorf leaves for Germany and then gets to train up his replacement. He is also the only one who can drive in the companionship and has never driven in England before. I’m praying for him.
Also this past week as an office elder I got to go on a final exchange with Elder Roper. Elder Roper has been one of my favourite missionaries. We had a good exchange. We stopped by people, talked a lot and had a good comp study. I’m going to miss that Utahan. I’m going to miss Crawley as a whole. I loved being able to work with so many other missionaries and spending time with them. There’s not many places in our mission where we work so closely and so often together. I’m going to miss working with president as office elders do and being so creative. I loved my time as an office elder.
Looking to the future I have six months to sprint (or bike) to the finish. I have more time to spend finding and teaching and way less distractions. I have all the hope in the world that all will be well. It’s probably the biggest change I’ve had since I first came into the field. I have gained a greater understanding recently that there is no growth in comfort and no comfort in growth. Although I may be a bit frazzled by everything I know I’m going to come out stronger from it—Or at least my legs are.
My sisters from my MTC group also went home this week and remembering that has really made me feel like the world is upside down. I’m sooner to the end of it all than my year mark!
Love, Elder Palmer ♪~ ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ 
 
 
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A New Week – January 9, 2018

What there to write about? Busy, Some new friends. There are a few things
actually which is nice. It’s not been an empty week, although I think it
would be more newsworthy to have an empty week.

So this week we saw a spectacular miracle. We got a call on the office
phonw from a member of the temple presidency while we were in the office in
the evening. No one else was in so we answered. They were calling because
we had a referral. Referrals between the temple and the mission are quite
the oddities. Both ways really.

The president told us that a man with his family had walked in and said
they wanted to learn about the church. That was pretty awesome so we agreed
to go see them. We called them later that night to see up an appointment
with no answer. We tried again the next day with no answer still. They also
didn’t respond to our texts. We thought It was a false referral.

The next day we were in their town grabbing lunch and decided it was a good
time to stop by. We went to the home and the front door was open but no one
was in. I heard some voices in the back however so we popped around the
corner. There was a group of people and on introducing ourselves we got
swiftly rebuffed by one of the people there. We wern’t about to give up
though so I asked where A was. He responded asking us to come back in 5
minutes.

We went back to the car for a moment to eat our lunch the hurried back. A
let us in and we say down. His wife soon joined us and we started to talk.
It went so we’ll as we explained to them the way to find peace in this life
and eternal life in the life to come. The whole way through they
understood. We invited them to be baptised and they said yes. They felt the
spirit and it was honestly picture perfect.

The next day we went back to teach more. And A in the middle of the teach
stopped us and said “I don’t lie but I feel that there is more than just
the four of us in this room” The spirit was so strong!

Also this week I finally finished a bunch of new mission publications and
things are looking prime! We handed them all out at zone conference and
people were well impressed. Zone Conference was also great. It was 7 hours
of loving rebukes. “We’re doing good” they kept saying “but there is room
to improve.”

2018 is a lot of fun with a lot of change and high expectations. Be excited
for it and go forward with faith and all will work out.

*Love, Elder Palmer*

We Did the Impossible! – January 3, 2018

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It’s been an awesome new year. First off I want you to consider the number 282. It’s a decently big number, ends and begins with the same digit, it’s even, you’d see it attached to the wall of a house on a particularly long street, and is also the number of baptisms we reached as a mission in 2018!
We have as a mission been working for 280 the whole year and busting our bottoms for it especially in the past six months. In the end, it came down to the wire. It was truly a glorious and miraculous buzzer beater. We were 11 off our goal in the last week with 13 people solid for their baptisms on the 30th. It was so close that at MLC we we’re talking about one of the thirteen who just then had dropped out because they were required to be somewhere else the day of their baptism. After some phone calls made by the respective zone leaders however, things were fixed and the baptism was moved up to Friday evening. We weren’t about to take 279 as the final count.
280 baby! Let’s go! We needed a way to celebrate and so in the middle of MLC, I decided to make a video honouring the event. It needed to be a cut above what I had done in the past and so—with no experience using Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition, or After Effects—I got to work. It was so much fun to make. It turned out to be a pretty simple process and I was well chuffed with the result. I’d love to share it with you but we’ve been asked not to spread it around.
Anyways, in the end, all it was was a goal. It was a darn awesome goal to reach and I am over the moon that we achieved it. However, it is crucial to understand that the only reason it’s worth anything is because each of those 282 children of our Heavenly Father were able to start on that covenant path back to him. They had faith in Jesus Christ and changed because they knew or at least believed it was better than anything they had ever had before. These people gave up habits, fears, addiction, and shame for peace and eternal life! They found it and they found Christ! This goal would be hollow and pointless without him, an utter waste of time. Luckily it wasn’t, nor would it ever be, even if that number was only one.
There’s also another thing that we need to remember. It would be impossible without Him. It wasn’t 180 or so charming young elders and sisters that got us there. Neither was it the 30 senior missionaries or an incredibly driven mission president. It wasn’t chance, or luck, or the new missionary schedule. Many of these might have been cogs in the machine. But the source of making those cogs turn and in the end the whole reason we got to 282 was that Christ willed it to be so. It was his grace and his love that got us there. For the mission 282 now will be a number we remember with fondness because it will remind us of how despite our own doubts, fears, and shortcomings—and that of our friends—Christ made and can make the seemingly impossible, possible.
that was a highlight of the year for me. 280 has been the missions obsession. This year we get to obsess over 340. There will be no rest for the ELSM and especially not for the new mission president and his wife coming in in July.
We had some cool news on the investigators front this week. We were invited over to a members house for new years and his non-member daughter was there. She is an awesome Christian and we are teaching her now. Throughout my mission when people have had questions or tried to disprove us using the bible I’ve always felt and understood that there are answers. Maybe I just get softball questions but honestly, It’s been easy for me to see why we believe what we believe and I feel settled by the answers. Do other people take them, not always, but from the experiences I’ve had I can say that there are answers to these questions. If something seems scary we can look at what we already know, rather than falling into the traps of speculation and doubt.
This week has also been full of moving. We helped two senior couples move out of there flats on the third and fourth floor (second and third if your English) of the same building. To our legs dismay, the elevator was out of action. Good thing we like to exercise. We then moved into the flat on the third floor which is pretty posh by missionary standards. It has nice views. Also, the windows swing open all the way and their huge so you could easily throw a couch or companion out if need be. English people don’t have screens.
One of the best parts of moving was this massive king sized mattress. It was proud to say it had “no foam”. It was in fact “very heavy”. We thought it needed to go from the third floor flat down to the van. After moving it down we only then learned that it needed to go up to the fourth floor flat to be stored for a while before it could go where it needed to be. Remember that the elevator was out. we were nice and sweaty by the end of it all. Our new flat is worth the effort though.
Today we went charity shopping and got myself a nice suit for the price of a decent meal. I forgot to mention but with things being crazy we’ve had a lot of decent meals. My wallet feels very light now and my stomach very happy. It was good to get some cheeky Nandos with the lads. This week I have to start and finish a dozen projects before the 9th. It is going to be an uncomfortable next couple of days. 2018 is looming like a killer cumulonimbus cloud. It’s going to be hard. But hey, there’s no growth in a comfort zone! Have a great week now.
 
Love, Elder Palmer

Sphinx of Magosi – December 27, 2017

Well then, Christmas is over. It was a ton of fun. Some of the things we were able to do was to play some aggressive spoons with one family. We played a hilarious and super stressful game of cheat, in which were some super cheeky moves. The best of which was a triple bluff of four aces, three turns in a row. So they got away putting down four aces three times and no one called it. With a senior couple we got to play 5 crowns and I won. I won at a lot of things. We also played balderdash with one of the best responses being for diglot: someone who digs a lot. We also got the sisters playing Magic: the Gathering so we’ve been having a lot of fun with that. Elder Neuendorf has all the cards.
We played a lot of games these past few days. It be a riot at times. Besides that we also got to eat a lot. Not so much that we felt miserable and more than enough to feel very content. It has been a very good time.
The mission is killin it with only 11 more baptisms to go for our year goal of 280. We’re going to pull a clutch, buzzer beater, dunk shot and show Satan who’s boss in the last week of the year. It’s so exciting. We have worked so hard for it and the Lord has done everything for us. If we don’t hit it I won’t know what to say’ but then again I won’t know what to say when we do hit it. Something along the lines of, LETS GO BABY!
The work with Christmas has been rather dull. Our finding efforts were rebuffed by panicked shoppers. No worries though as it time to keep on keeping on. In my studies I’ve read Elder Holland’s talk all about how perfection is not something we are required in this life. We won’t reach that stage here and so worrying about being perfect right now is pointless. For here and now honestly try and improve with Christ and that is enough. Do your best and forget the rest. It’s good Council no matter your beliefs.
We have MLC tomorrow to end off the year and looking at 2018. It’ll be our best year yet. I hope it’s my best year yet. How awesome would that be of every year was your best. As in you get better each year rather than stay the same. That’s the dream.
I love my life. Although not everything is easy there is so much I have to love. My advice to you is to give thanks. Give as much thanks as you can both to the lord and to those around you. Do it sincerely though. Happy new year. Love you all because your worth all. Remember who you are.
Love, Elder Palmer

December 20, 2017

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Hey there!

It’s almost Christmas! What an exciting time. What I have loved about this Christmas season so far, has been a deeper perspective of the true meaning of Christmas. It was talked about in my stake conference a few weeks ago that there are three levels to Christmas. There is the lowest which is the idea of getting and giving, Santa and family. The second is about the nativity, the new star, and the wise men. The highest then is the complete mission of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection.
I love the idea of Christmas not only being about the birth but instead it encapsulating the entire mission of Jesus Christ. The birth was nothing without the cross and the nativity would be worthless without Gethsemane. It is when the beginning and the end stand together that the reality and divinity of Christ mission can be fully realized. It is then that we can sing “peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
Sister Gubler, our mission presidents wife, talked to some of the mission about how each year her and her family would write gifts for the saviour. Something they would give to him. They took it as a special time to repent and consider. they made Christmas almost like new years with spiritual, instead of temporal, resolutions. I really enjoyed this idea and am excited to apply it for myself and hopefully others.
The highlight of the week had to be the temple. We got to go to the temple this week! It’s been a whole year since I last went. Being so close to the temple I would love to go every preparation day but I am glad we get to go at all. It was a revelatory experience for me. Something President Gubler, our mission president, told us was to listen for the word “joy.” You would be surprised how much that word is mentioned in the endowment. Especially near the beginning is very apparent that we are here to have joy. Russel M Neilson was right, we are here to have joy, and so is everyone and everything else.
We had a miracle this week. So my mission has what we call the “Mission Vision” which is a weekly numerical goal for each companionship. It is 1 baptismal date, 1 at church and 3 new investigatoes. Easy peasy, or so you would think. It has been a while since we reached it. But this week we did! We had a baptismal date and went to church and no one was there. It wasn’t until after church we got word that there was a lady who wanted to talk with us She had come to church and wanted us to teach her and her two sons! That fixed up the other two spots for the mission vision for us! The lord made up for what we lacked!
You may think this makes me look like a number monkey but I’m telling you I’m not. When we have specific goals and work to achieve them we become much more successful. The Lord can better help us and we have a greater desire to find those who are ready for the gospel. It was that week that I started praying that we could hit the mission vision. It was one of the busiest weeks office wise we’ve had as well. What I’ve learned is that pray in faith and miracles happen. Set goals and prosper!
Also this week I made a very special gift for President and Sister Gubler. in the mission (and I hope this is true in all missions) we love our president. Most missionaries in the mission sent in a small or large letter for them talking about why they loved them and how the Gublers have helped them come unto Christ. I had the opportunity to put it all together and give the final printed project for them.  I am very happy with how it turned out. It looks well nice.
We had some more Christmas dinners I got to see people from the MTC who I haven’t seen in forever from the London Mission which was nice. We have a lot of fun things planned forChristmas Eve to Boxing day and I am very excited to Skype. It’s been feeling a lot like Christmas.
Have a great week ye merry gentlepeople.

Love, Elder Palmer

December 13, 2017

 

 

There have been some interesting experiences this week and rather than jump into a big prologue let just jump into things. So what made this week so mad and small? Well, I’ve had a bunch of projects to finish off so Friday and Saturday I was putting together things and trying to have it ready and done for Saturday. It was manic and rather stressful but it did, in the end, get done. Even if I did misspell Sister Gubler’s name.

Friday we also went and visited a member who had recently had surgery. We went thinking we’d have a nice gospel discussion but ended up disassembling a desk and reorganising a bunch of furniture so we could reassemble the desk somewhere else. This was soon after we were told to not do service on Saturdays unless it was an emergency. Well, I guess in this case it was. Later in the day, there was another “emergency” as a member needed a piano moved asap. He couldn’t find anyone else so we had to step in. Luckily it was only a stand-up piano so it wasn’t too much of a chore.  We enjoyed doing the service but it was really just funny how we thought we would be able to avoid doing service on Saturdays to do finding instead.
Saturday we had the adult session of Stake Conference which was great. Elder Johnson who is the Europe Area President came which was great. He is a very tall man. From that session, a certain phrase sucks out to me. It was that sometimes we can get stuck in the thick of thin things. It’s so true! We can get so tied up in things with little importance and suddenly it takes up everything else. As missionaries, it can be easy to “fill time” rather than to “use time.” Scheduling travel or ineffective options so that our days are easier and less stressful. We allow the easier “thin” things to trump the “thicker” matters.

The Sunday session of Stake Conference was much too exciting. We got to participate in the Choir which was wonderful. We did some nice prelude pieces and as our main item, we sang “I Know That My Saviour Loves Me” which is a beautiful hymn. You can’t get much simpler with the message as well. After all of our music was done it was time for the stake president to speak and it was at this point that things started to go sideways. Two people over from me in the choir there was an older gentleman who had some health problems. These health problems decided to manifest themselves rather forcefully right in the middle of the conference. So on the top row of the stand, right in the centre, our friend suddenly went pale and threw his head back. For the next couple of minutes, he was unresponsive. People quickly came up to assess the situation and loosened his tie and took off his jacket. An ambulance was also called. He was too unwell to move so he stayed on the stand. The most awkward part of this was that it all happened without the any of the stake presidency knowing. So there was all this kerfuffle going on behind them and the stake president, who was speaking and bless his heart for it, had no clue.
It wasn’t until the first ambulance arrived that one of his councillors stood to interrupt the president, temporarily pausing the meeting. As an aside, in England, there are two types of ambulances. Fast Response cars that come very quickly to assess and stabilise and secondly the run of the mill vans that actually shuttle people to and from the hospital. So the response car had come and the medic came, laid him down, and started running tests. After a few minutes of this (He was still on the stand) some members stood shoulder to shoulder creating a screen so that the situation could be hidden from everyone’s view. Then the conference was resumed and the stake president finished his address. The whole while there was beeping from the medics tools. Later I saw through the windows someone walking outside with a coat rack and I was very confused. A moment later he came in through the side door on the stand to use the rack to hold a saline bag. Things looked pretty serious. Eventually, Elder Johnson who was then speaking closed his remarks, the hymn was forged and the prayer ended right as the second ambulance pulled up to the chapel. I am happy to report that the bother is now doing well and that there are no lasting effects from the incident.
So that was the most dramatic moment of the week. But there were many other oddities. Monday we had quite the treat, snow! It snowed a full two inches! It was a day of a winter wonderland! The only downside was that English people think snow means that any driving over 10 mph is madness and should not even be considered. Driving, as a result, was quite a slog. It was so great though to have it! There was one district in the mission who got more snow than us and made an 8-foot snowman out if it. Miracles! It made me a very happy boy.
We also got to do some carolling this week at old folks home. It was fun to sing with some of the ward and lift the spirits of some aged and wonderful people. It was really fun, maybe even more so for us than it was for them.
This week also marks the start of 6 days of Christmas dinners. The mission is coming to the temple in three groups over three days. The London mission, Our neighbor, is doing the same on different days. We’re going to help with all of them for a total of six Christmas dinners to help cater for. It’s my hope to be able to have some food from each as well. They’re wonderfully decorated and the food is delicious. My official temple trip is the second last to happen. I met an Elder Barfus from the London Mission today and he lives in Airdrie. He’s good friends with some of the Tuscany Ward. I also met a member in the Visitors Center today who served in Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge back in the Calgary Mission, how cool is that! It really is a small world!
As another thing, finally, after all the hard I’ve put into those half a dozen projects has paid off as now they are all printed. They look awesome! I’ll share some pictures so you can see what I’m talking about.
As a last but certainly not least (Think grand finale) topic, probably the biggest miracle of the week came with a new friend of ours. So we met him two Sundays ago and we had a teach with him yesterday. The teaching went well, We found what he wanted with life and showed that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ his needs would be met. Then we taught powerfully about the restoration, helped him recognize the spirit and at the end invited him to be baptized. He said yes! Baptisms are on the horizon! He’s a good guy and I’m excited to see where things go with him.
That’s about the week. God bless you merry gentlemen/women.

Love, Elder Palmer

December 7, 2017

 

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Hey, it’s time for a weekly where I regurgitate the past week onto the page and, hopefully, make it look artistic in the process. Or at least pleasant. In any case, I hope your all doing well! Your awesome and God loves you more than you could ever know! Remember that. So this week— as you could tell by the weird day I’m sending this email—was hectic. I have yet to have a moves week when it wasn’t. It was also a very wonderful week, no doubt about that.

So last week we really tried to find some people to teach. We need to teach and right now, we have no one. So we hit the streets knocking, talking, smiling, walking, praying and a myriad of other things. Our efforts have resulted in some potentials which are great. Nothing compared to other areas in our mission killing it with a dozen new investigators and half a dozen people with a baptismal date, but it’s still something. Small Beginnings. We’re going to continue to work at it.
Thursday last week we had a nice little district meeting talking about faith. It was my hope that all of us as a district could grow our faith in Christ and not in outcomes. The difference between the two—to my understanding—is one is focused on our works and the other is focused on Christs works. I’ll let you figure out which goes to which. We can be focused on what we’ve done, “our” accomplishments or His accomplishments. As we have faith in Christ; our rock, he brings outcomes far grander than what we could accomplish on our own. To use a small analogy; it’s a lot easier to push boulders across hard rock rather than loose sand.
Friday we had a plumber in. Our whole system got cleaned which took a couple of hours, luckily we didn’t have to sit in the flat for it.  We’re actually moving out of our flat at the end of the year and into a senior couples old flat as they’re moving from the soon to close Temple Vistors’ Center to Plymouth. Apparently, it’s very nice. It’s an exciting move.
A miracle from this past week was that we got moves from President earlier than expected. Usually, we get all the changes in the mission on Saturday morning or afternoon but this time we got the Friday at midday. This is a first for me in the office and a big blessing as it reduced our stress a lot. We were able to go at a more relaxed but still purposeful pace getting moves done to send out to the mission. It made me a very happy office elder.
Preparing for moves went rather smoothly. We only had to coordinate about 50 peoples travel which is much lower than our average. There were still some sticking points in the end though. Monday was a nightmare for travel. Usually, people travel on Tuesday but for taking people too and from the islands of Guernsey and Jersey often requires to get them in onMonday. This drama unfolded as we recognised that we needed to get an elder to Gatwick Airport asap and so quickly sent him a ticket to travel straight to the Airport via train. We travelled to the airport to help him when he got there. We got a call soon after we arrived saying that the elder had taken the wrong train, and was travelling to East Grinstead. So we travelled the 20 minutes back to East Grinstead to try and meet him at the train station nearest the temple. He didn’t get off there and so he was totally lost.
Luckily we got a call from his companion who knew where he was. Turns out he was at Gatwick! We had to turn around and head on back. Luckily the elder had wifi and so we were able to communicate over Facebook Messenger. Unluckily he missed his flight. It was also at this time that Elder Dey, my previous companion, was supposed to come off the island. Turns out I bought his ticket for two weeks from now. So no one was where they were supposed to be. We bought new tickets for the both of them and went to pick up our stranded elder at the airport. We then had our first of a few trios for the day. Eventually, we got him out to the island albeit later than anticipated. Elder Dey was due to arrive at 21:40 in the evening so we had a dinner with our favourite Portuguese family while we waited. We had planned that dinner to include him so it was sad that he wasn’t there.
However, as another bump in the road before we went to pick him up, there was two missionaries, an elder and a sister who were to come into the train station at 20:40ish. We needed to take the elder with us as otherwise, he would have no companion. To complicate things further both their trains were delayed due to a death at an en route station. They arrived at 21:20 and we quickly had to drop off the sister to some of the VC sisters. Eventually, we got to the airport and eventually got home at 22:10 with Elder Dey and our other elder. Nothing went to plan that day.
Tuesday was better, much much better. Instead of travel stress, I had half a dozen projects that needed to be finalised super soon. I am very behind in everything as there are a bunch of things that were added on. I’ll show you some of them next week when we get the printed version. We had a monthly magazine that was supposed to go out yesterday and I haven’t even started it. Finding has gone out the window this week.
We got 7 new missionaries this transfer and they’re a good bunch. Some good trainers as well. The first of my sisters is going home as she has to start school and it feels super weird knowing I’ll soon be older missionary wise than every sister in the mission.
As for some good doctrine, Romans 7 is very interesting and It’s definitely not the easiest to understand. I also just realised that the Joseph Smith translation is very different. It’s a good chapter and would recommend trying to learn from it. If we are comfortable and knowledgeable in doctrine we can stand so much firmer in our faith and better understand the way back to our heavenly home.
I also found some great versions of hymns lately. Here they are:
hope your all #LightTheWorld-i