Are you alright? How is it going?
We wanted this last month to be the best month yet on our mission. We are working hard and the Lord has blesses us. We have been helping the missionaries from Sheffield one with their investigators. Vicky got baptized yesterday. She has had many hardships throughout her life. The elders found her about two months ago and invited us to come teaching with them. When we first went there the elders told me not to hug her because she doesn't like physical contact. I'm a huger so that was hard for me. After the lesson was over she shook the elders hands and she gave me a hug. We have been good friends ever since. I gave her some skirts that I was not going to take home with me. "I hate dresses," she says. She listened and obeyed showing up in the beautiful outfit for her baptism. She is so happy because now she is totally clean before the Lord. I love the atonement and when people understand it like Vicki it is amazing. I stood at the waters edge as she walked out of the baptismal font so clean and pure. What an honor! Today she was given the gift of the Holy Ghost in Sacrament meeting and felt the spirit. The ward is going to love her.
The wards and branches seem to be a little bit more relaxed on the dress code here in England. Many women wear pants to church. We tried to encourage the women to wear dresses when teaching them. On the other hand all the men wear suits for the most part. I guess I'm used to just seeing White shirts because it's so hot in Arizona. Even down to the deacons, teachers and priests here in England, they all wear suits. It's kind of cool.
Dean came to Vicki's baptism. He is scheduled for 26th of July and suffers from substance-abuse. Many people use electronic cigarettes here to help them quit smoking. I don't know if it really works but I suppose it is worth a try. The best thing we teach is to stop cold turkey. That is what Vicki did but it doesn't seem to be working for Dean. Where he lives is not a very nice part of town. So he moved in with his girlfriend because she lives in the better part of town. Now there's a problem with that. You can't be living with a member of the opposite sex unless you're married and get baptized. He has to sort out these problems before he can get baptized. I have faith he can do it.
Now for my favorite story about Lisa Ball. At the beginning of this transfer, three weeks ago, on exchange Elder McGinnis and Elder Johnson found Lisa in Sheffield 2 ward area. She's probably in her 40's and has two grown sons. They found her by approaching her with family history. YES! She really didn't know her father growing up but wanted to find his side of the family. After the missionaries taught her the first few lessons they invited her to come to the family history center on Fridays because we work there. We had a great session and found some of her ancestors. I told her she was feeling the Holy Ghost speak to her and she got teary-eyed. It was just the beginning. Last Monday we had her over to our home with Jan and Michael who are recent converts. They talk to her about their conversion story which is totally amazing. Lisa was scheduled for baptism on July 26th. She felt that was too soon as she needed to stop drinking alcohol and coffee and quit smoking. We told her that the fear that she was feeling came from Satan not from God but she kept saying I'm just not ready. On Thursday afternoon she left me a message on my phone that she had something to tell me on Friday when we met at the family history center. SCARY! The Elders gave me the heads up that she changed her mind. She's going to Portugal on the 26th with her drinking buddies and felt like she needed to get baptized before she goes. So this Saturday the 19th she will be baptized and Elder Allen will be the one baptizing her. I have to give a talk about baptism and faith. I feel so privileged and humbled to work with these people who are trying to change their lives. They make me a better person. The Love I feel for them it's indescribable.
In the Slovak branch we went over to Pavlo and Markita's house today. The Elders drop teaching them about two months ago because they wouldn't progress. Our message to them is simple and it applies to all of us. To progress in the Gospel all we need to do are these three simple things to keep our testimonies strong. They are as follows:
1. Study the Scriptures daily
2. Pray daily
3. Attend church each week
Simple as that. When people become less active or don't progress towards baptism, I can bet they're not doing these things. When I feel out of sorts myself I can almost pinpoint to when it happened. It happened when I stop reading my scriptures or praying. The Lord says in D&C 82:10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 82) For Pavlo and Markita they miss having the Gospel in their home. They love the Savior and the spirit the missionaries bring. They invited the missionaries back and are now scheduled for baptism on the 26th. The Elders are being a little cautious to make sure that their desire is in the right place. Slovakian people have to have forms translated all the time and Mormon missionaries can do that for them. They just want to make sure that they're not using them just for translation only. They came to church today, pray with us and read their scriptures. There's the key.Well, three weeks from today we will have completed our mission. They sang "God be with you telling me that again" today in Sacrament meeting. I just don't want to think about leaving these people. They all have stolen my heart especially the missionaries. I would do anything for them. They are all like my children. This week Elder McGinnis's grandmother passed away. We tried to comfort him the best we could.
We will spend nine days in Europe before we come home on August 13. Can't wait but sad to leave. See you all soon.
Sister Debbie Allen