Greetings Friends and Family,
As always, thank you for the love and support you have given me through prayers and emails and letters. I don't always have a bunch of time to write you back and let you know I appreciate receiving them but I really do so thank you.
Well, this week I can say I kind of understand what it's like to serve a foreign language mission, and kind of not. 96% of the time I hear English and talk to people who also speak English but Manchester is so diverse that a lot people speak another language besides English and/or English is their second language. The language we run into most is Spanish which I'm realizing would have been pretty helpful to have learned at one point because I know like 5 things in Spanish. So one night this week we had dinner at a member's home and they, even the five adorable little kids, spoke Spanish because that is their native tongue. I just sat there like a gringa just so confused. Not that they didn't also speak English, and it's so cool they are raising their kids bilingual, I wish that was something I could have experienced, but it just reminded me what a blessing it was for me personally not to have to learn another language for this mission. The same thing happened when we were at a service project Friday helping a group move down the street in Downtown Manchester and one of the sisters there spoke Spanish with Elder Flores (the District Leader and other missionary serving in the Manchester Ward). But it all kind of evened out when at church Sunday one of the brother's introduced himself in French and I was able to at least say Hello and say how I was doing back. It was funny because normally with the Spanish Sister Banda can catch bits and pieces and communicate minimally, but with the French it all went over her head haha.
Thursday was a big/exciting day. We spent most of it at the New Missionary and Trainers Meeting so I got to catch up with fellow Greenies, people I got to know at the MTC and came out with me to New England. It was really neat to catch up with them, see where they were (spiritually, geographically, and emotionally). It also taught me to be super grateful to be serving in Manchester. A lot of my friends form the MTC shotgunned (both them and their trainer went to the area completely new) and had to start a lot from scratch which would be really scary. Some don't even have investigators which is also super scary because that means they do a lot of tracting. I didn't realize it until this week that we do have a fairly decent amount of people to teach throughout the week, investigators and Less Actives alike. Speaking of less actives, Thursday was also super great because we got to teach a less active sister about Family Search with the Adams, the lovely Senior Missionary Couple. The sister struggles a lot with some Word of Wisdom problems but really wants to get back into church and hopefully go through the temple. What was cool was after we helped her get started on her fan chart and help her find her grandparents and learn a little about them she told us she felt better because she hadn't been feeling good that day up until that point. And then we explained to her that she had the opportunity to not only go through the temple for herself but for her ancestors who didn't know about the Gospel before she expressed to us that that was a lot of pressure. Elder Adams testified to her that this was a good pressure and through a blessing promised to her that she could go through the temple before the end of the year. Wow, right! God definitely knows she needs to help herself and her family out and with a promise like that I bet she can do it.
As I mentioned earlier I love the ward out here. They are pretty good about feeding the sisters, especially since we make sure the calendar gets around the Relief Society room. It's really cool when we teach them because we get to hear a lot of their testimonies and since a lot of them are converts that is really special because it reminds me of the work I am doing out here. I testified at church yesterday that a lot of the time when we knock on doors people will tell us they're comfortable with their faith. At first you think "Wow, that's super great they at least have a faith in something" but then I realize "I am definitely not comfortable in this church". Here I am, giving up 18 months of my life, living across the country with limited communication with my family, going door to door talking to strangers about what I believe AND THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT COMFORTABLE. But as I reflect on my past month being out here in the field I realize that Christ never asks us to do the comfortable thing. The woman caught in adultery, the rich young man, even His own Apostles were asked to go out of their comfort zone in order to become closer to Him. You Can't have spiritual growth without physical pain. I can testify that while I am not comfortable, I am definitely growing closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. I am also growing closer to our loving Heavenly Father who loves us and gives us Christ as a wonderful gift! May we all grow in our discomforts is my hope.
Sister Banda and Sister Wright
Priscilla's trainer, Sister Banda; Priscilla; Sister Dickson, Priscilla's MTC companion; and her trainer Sister Bee
Front row-Trainers- Sisters Craig, Bee, Maxwell, Banda, Crook, Frame, and Duncan; Back Row-new sisters in the mission - Sisters Knect, Dickson, Weeks, Wright, Watson, Rogerson, and Ashford
New Sister Missionaries L-R Sisters Knect, Dickson, Weeks, Wright, Watson, Rogerson, and Ashford
Sister Adams, Sister Stoker (Mission President's Wife), and Sister Holm
Elder and Sister Adams
Beautiful New England