This train is the delayed, twelve thirty one, England London South Mission train service for Conversion–via–Baptism. Calling at: Finding, Finding Parkway, Knocking Lane, Faith Castle, Repentance, Setback–for–Dropping, Baptism Service, Baptism by Immersion, Confirmation, Holy Ghost, and Conversion. Mind the gap between the head and the heart, mind the gap.
Many of you may not truly understand this but if you have ever taken British Rail you will understand quite clearly. Getting tickets with that oh so familiar ticket printing sound and being told endlessly not to leave any baggage unattended anywhere in the station. Train travel is quite the experience. Expensive even with a railcard but simple and easy.
This week has been a pleasant one. We had our first and second last district meeting this transfer and it was a bundle of fun. We had both the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders attend so there was 12 of us in all. I gave a study council on the Foundations of Faith talk that was given By Elder Cook in April. For me I learned about what I want to try and master and how I can continue to build my foundation on Christ so that I “Shall not fail” (Helaman 5:12) Those things mainly but also I decided that I really want to read the Malcom Gladwell books again.
On Saturday we had a teach with an investigator and we didn’t have anyone to come with us. It had slipped our minds a little bit but hours before we got a text from a member. He asked us who we were going to meet and when and so we thought awesome yeah it’s so and so at this time and place. The teach went well and the more we thought about it the more we realised that we had never told this member about any teach for today. We hadn’t really contacted him in a week actually! So that was honestly a miracle. As well the member was going through a tough time and we were able to provide a blessing for him. God moves in mysterious ways.
Sunday was another blessed Sunday. Our baptismal date stayed for two hours of church which is more than he ever has and enjoyed it greatly. We got to pass the sacrament and no one dropped a tray this time. As well we had a great 5th Sunday 3rd hour all about home teaching. It was a needed discussion and I really felt the spirit. We now have 50 less actives to go hunt down with nothing but a name and an address but that’s awesome! I love searching for those lost sheep. As well we had no dinners for the first time since I got here on the calendar. But then one of the ward missionaries picked it up and within 20 minutes we were booked up for the whole week. Miracles!
On the evening we were searching for one new person to teach. Our mission has a mission vision which means that we all strive to have on person with a baptismal date, one person at church and two new investigators each week. We had it all except for one more new investigator. We were on our way home when Elder Wilson felt the need to talk this one man. So we walked over and said hello and soon we had his interest and an appointment. We’re meeting him in a couple of hours. The lord is kind.
Monday I had an exchange with the Brazilian Elder Dos Santos. He’s a great guy and a two year convert. We had a good time travelling to a small town and the realising that we got off in the wrong small town so we had to walk an hour to get to the actual small town we wanted to visit. Monday was also crazy weather. It was as if someone was flipping a light switch on and off as it would rain, be sunny, rain harder and go back to being blindingly bright. We had a good dinner with the a young couple in our Ward and had a very successful teach with them. If you want the missionaries to love you have people centred goals for missionary work and take action regularly to achieve those goals.
Tuesday we did some good service moving a shed and had a very interesting teach. One of investigators is bent on vengeance to a growing list of people and honestly it’s crazy. He harmless as he couldn’t physically harm anyone but he said a prayer that I couldn’t say amen to. That was a first for me. On a brighter side though, all is well.
Thanks for reading ❤
May 10, 2017
Let’s start off this email with something nice and spiritual. Or at least I’ll make an attempt to edify and expand your knowledge regarding spiritual things. We’ve started as a mission to read through the Book of Mormon looking for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’re looking for Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. Simple enough yet surprisingly powerful.
My understanding of these principals is growing rapidly as I’ve been able to see the story of Nephi and how those very principals worked in their lives. I’ve learned that faith is often times recognising God’s hand. I’ve learned that repentance is more about humility than sorrow. I’ve learned that baptism and covenants are always two way promises. I’ve learned that the Holy Ghost through our faith can work in others. I’ve learned that enduring to the end is less of a step and more of a repetition of the previous steps. This has brought a lot of flavour to my Book of Mormon studies and would really recommend trying it. We all need to make sure we’re applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so learning about it is of paramount importance. Yes, the facsimiles are interesting and yes, an answer to whether or not we have a belly button as resurrected beings is something that would require discussion. However it is of minute value compared to the redeeming power of the gospel. After all we’re all here to gain a body and accept this divinely appointed plan to eternal life, not to debate about the particulars of the nature of exaltation.
In other news we have had some progress with our friends. Our baptismal date sadly dropped us but no worries as we have a new friend! No baptismal date at the moment but she’s got desire and that’s good as gold on the mission. Thinking about it right now our teaching pool consists of only mothers. They all have teenage children and partners as well. It’s really fun working with them. Moms need the Gospel like everyone else.
Finding people for us has been a challenge this week. It’s hard to be finding and talking to people all the time and so sometimes you miss a lot. It gets easier but it still isn’t all that easy. For others this might be different, I’m not sure but in my case this is what I’ve found. At other times though your fell like your on fire (in a good way) and everyone you see knows that your a missionary with a goal for conversion! On those down days though it’s easy to dig further down as you consider shortcomings etc. My advice is to do your best you can do in the moment, stretch yourself and then hey, things get a little brighter. This apply to everything.
Moving over I want to touch on a different topic. I think we’re all familiar with the mote in the brothers eye and a beam in your own eye parable. Saying that I would like to say that this is sadly, oh so very true. It is very easy to forget your shortcomings when looking at the shortcomings of others. Whether that be with rules, skill, wisdom or whatever. I had a stinging realisation in the week regarding this and man, hello reality! What I’m trying to apply now is to simply not look down on people and instead look up. Judge only righteous and loving judgements. Look for positives. Otherwise I’ll be finding myself in far greater judgement and I don’t want that.
Also this week we’ve had a couple of good laughs. On Saturday we conducted an iPad inventory as a companionship where we look through each others iPads in search for anything less than obedient. I gave Elder Wilson my iPad and he asked me what my password was. This simple question seemed to create a hole in my head large enough to allow the answer to this question to run from my mind. I sat their blankly for a moment, looking at my iPad screen realising that, in the words of Ahimaaz “I knew not what it was.” (2 Samuel 18:29) It took me 24 hours to remember it. The only way I could get in my iPad in the mean time was to unconsciously muscle memory my way in. I did it twice still not remembering what I had just typed. It was a great laugh and only slightly frustrating. It’s not like I had a base to take care of in Clash of Clans or that one level in Candy Crush to beat. The most gamey thing we have on our iPads is the doctrinal mastery app.
Also this week we did jousting with the young men. It was a blast. Everyone had their phones out filming and when something was a close call we had half a dozen angles to consult from for video footage. The jousting was done on longboards pulled with rope by teammates. The jousting sticks were thick foam pieces connected to a cardboard carpet role with plywood shields to boot. Elder Wilson and I got to go a couple of times and his 4th degree back belt ninja balancing skills ended up defeating me 0-3. Not my most glamorous performance but a man can only do so much right…
Other than those highlights I don’t have anything else to terribly interesting to report. We bought a pork shoulder to make some Carnitas with and cutting the fat off of it with a slightly dull knife was a marathon of squishy torture. I don’t know how your suppose to do it but their must be some better way. It smells good now though cooking in the slow cooker with herbs and spices.
Love, Elder Palmer
May 17, 2017
Well. Once again I am unsure what to say. I wanted to share something wonderful with you but any solid ideas on what to write have eluded me. Instead here I sit listening to a organ play a dull and rather slow version of the hymn “I’m a Pilgrim, I’m a Stranger.” Outside the rain comes down as the wind blows softly in the trees. The only thing to break the dreary view is an occasional seagull moving from rooftop to rooftop. The diffused light from outside enters the window gently, bringing faded shadows and a weight upon the room. The soft music and the ticking of clock are the only sounds that permeate the silence. A feeling of content isolation lies in the room bringing with it a deeper calm to the whole scene.
It is all rather pleasant and it brings me joy to know that I’ll be in car driving from place to place tonight rather than travelling by foot in the relentless rain. For as much joy comes from being indoors in the rain a similar yet opposite feeling comes when one is stuck outside in it.
This week has been a cooler one. Not to mention the perpetually dark sky’s and the accompanying wet. We’ve had regardless of the weather though simple joys and blessings from heaven. There has been some truly wonderful moments. To the wonder of one of our investigators this week her small cat affectionately named Fizz became a mother. It was one of more interesting reasons for having to cancel a teach. Lucky however we had a wonderful lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her the day after and got to see the newborn kittens ourselves. The kittens were very small and weak. Our investigators young son had to be looked after carefully when he was around them to prevent them from meeting a fate at the hand of his little hands.
To our great joy as well regarding this particular investigator was for the first time ever she came to church. Not only that though but she made the extra effort to come out to Stake Conference nearly an hour away. She caught a lift with some wonderful members and they got along very well. She really enjoyed it and took a special liking to the temple president and his wife that spoke at the conference. To our luck we were able to get a copy of the “Temple Edition” of the Ensign to her before she got to Google. While we dropped off the Ensign something she said to us struck me. She related about the drive back and how she had noticed what a beautiful place she had the opportunity to live in. For me I have felt that England although pleasant could not be considered beautiful. I felt that it fell below the standards that I had set based on my upbringing in Canada. However after she said that it opened my eyes to how truly beautiful this land is. It is beautiful.
Especially now in the spring, green covers everything and sunlight as it streams through casts beautiful scenes. Those scenes are smaller then what we’re use to in the True North but looking into those small spaces of natural beauty it’s not hard to see the intricacy and engendering awe that comes from them. Ancient Great Oaks, Blackcurrant Bushes, Ivy and hundreds of other plants team together to create murals of life across he countryside. Intertwined amongst the greenery is the creations of man older than even the grandest of trees. Small stone walls, pleasant cottages with thatched roofs and vibrant fields pepper the rolling hills and flat plains. Small rivers and even smaller streams cross the land creating a latticework of blue through the earth. Although it is not my desire to live here permanently I couldn’t say that I am living in a place void of wonder.
The day before this realisation we had a wonderful time with the Taunton District. Accompanying us as well was our Zone leaders and sister training leaders. We were able to do some Banner Contacting using a whiteboard, banner and a dozen missionaries to entice people to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a rather different experience than we expected. Everyone left it with the distinct feeling that this had been one, if not the toughest times we had done District finding. The rejection was strong for that hour and a half. We had a whiteboard with a question of “what brings people peace” and the answers we received were, to put it gently, less than ideal. Similarly with other methods everyone else came across little success. However some of the sister found a woman who has shown good promise. Weston-super-Mare seems to not be the most optimal place for such an activity but we are not here to have faith in outcomes, we’re here to have faith in Christ.
Afterwards we Traveled to Bristol and were able to enjoy a meal together at my favourite restaurant, Zaza’s Bazaar. A thriving second floor restaurant with most anything ones stomach could possibly desire. Through visually stimulating hallways between occupied tables you come to one of seven bustling buffets with everything from Indian curries, Italian pastas and English favourites. It is a true Bazzar and offers enough for anyone. after such a glutinous experience of pure taste heaven you feel that you can’t not come back. This may seem like a very positive Yelp review but in actuality It is so splendid.
After this salmagundi of a feast we travelled to the Stake centre where we as a Zone of missionaries would preform two hymns for the evening session of Stake conference. Two hours of cacophony turned choir later and we had ourselves two half baked hymns to sing. All and all things went well. The biggest struggle that came from this experience was the powerful heat which cooked us as we sat on the stand. It came to the point that by the end of the meeting we all seemed a bit baked. Our eyes had become rather red. The conference was very insightful and worthwhile. We heard again and again by all the speakers the importance of understanding our eternal worth and godly parentage. Remembering who we are as individuals was definitely a powerful theme of the conference.
After that powerful weekend of the conference we came to some interesting moments. Monday we can to the stark realisation that last Wednesday for preparation day we had not bought enough food. So down the single flight of stairs and around the corner we went to quickly get some bread and milk. After we travelled to the next block over to drop off an umbrella we had borrowed from a member. They didn’t answer the door but luckily it fit through the letterbox so, in it went with a clatter as it hit the stone floor on the other side. In the later day we went in search of more investigators and now even still the eternal hunt continues!
Yesterday I had another awesome experience. We had gone to he chapel to pick up a member for a teach but he had to drop out. So since we couldn’t go to the teach we had planned we decided to stick around for a little bit and mingle with all the members. To our surprise the Washford Elders were at the chapel. They had come to support there two youth as the other dozen members of the branch had come to do family history. Because they where there some of the YM thought that we had left and had been replaced. When they saw us they actually said that they were relieved that we were still there. They were afraid that I had left all of a sudden. That made me feel that we were doing something right here in Weston, to have the youth not only remember our names but be interested in us. Definitely shows me what sort of example I should be setting.
It has been a blessed week. I am sorry if I have gotten out of hand with some things but I hope it was of some good to you. Keep up the truly wonderful work. The lord is mindful of all you do. Don’t think any good you do will be wasted. God bless each of you.
Love, Elder Palmer