Friday, August 1, 2014


Are you alright? (English greeting) tomorrow is our final day here in Sheffield. This week has been hard. It is like a toothache that doesn't away. We scheduled with the missionaries this week and visited members in the Slovak branch. We needed interpreters to go with us so we can talk to the Slovak people. Each family we visited we had to explain to them this it was our last visit to their home. Most of them travel back-and-forth from Slovakia to England by bus. Their perspective is that you can get anywhere in this world by bus. They really don't understand where America is so they would ask us how far of a bus ride is it. This is their concept of the world. Everything is just a bus ride away. In some ways they are very childlike and innocent. In other ways they are very mature and spiritual people. Respond very well to the Gospel. Sheffield 4 branch is the largest Slovakian congregation in the church in the world. It is been a great blessing to serve among them.

On Thursday night we went teaching with Elder Williams and Elder Frahm. They took us to a young families homes that have four young sons. They show them the restoration DVD in the Slovak language. I couldn't understand the language but I understood the music and knew the story line. When the movie was over the father said "I feel like I'm not in my body." I've never heard somebody describe the spirit like that before I thought it was very good. They are so good and will definitely be baptized after we leave.

On Wednesday we went to transfer meeting up in Leeds. Three busloads of missionaries are brought into a ward building. They are either get transferred to a new area, becoming new district or zone leaders, or new sister leader trainers training or new missionaries, going home or coming from the MTC or just need to talk to the president. They all assemble here for transfer meeting. We have never been to a transfer meeting and this would be our last chance. We drove up to the transfer meeting in a car but rode home on the coach. I saw so many missionaries that I wouldn't have been able to see before going home. If I had known this was an option I think I would've gone to every transfer meeting since we've been out. They had the new missionaries coming in and those going home all give their testimonies. It was amazing. I thought we were off the hook and then president asked us to get up and give our testimony along with the Wilson's. The Wilson's are from Mesa and are going home at the same time as us on the same plane. It's going to be great. It was so hard to give our last testimonies and as I looked out at the missionaries I could feel the love. But believe it or not I didn't cry that much. I didn't get personal and I just gave a strong testimony. I'm sure going to miss sharing my testimony as a missionary.

After the meeting we road the coach back to Sheffield. Elder Sindylek (our favorite Czech   Republic missionary) brought back his new companion Elder Polecsky. Elder Polecsky is from the Czech Republic also. They knew each other before their missions. Elder Polecsky has been dating Elder Sindylek sister. Watching the two of them was like watching to bear cubs. Elder Sindylek has been our zone leader and was released from that responsibilities so he could be a trainer his last transfer. He has been so tired and never stops. When we got back to Sheffield, they got in our car and took them to their flat in Rotherham. That was at 4 o'clock. They did not stop until 9:30. We went with them and I was exhausted. He does this day in and day out and never stops. Sheffield 4 will truly miss him when he goes home. And I believe he's new companion will carry-on just as he did. They are truly remarkable young men.

In Sheffield 1 we went and said goodbye to the Stanton's, Vicky, Arnie, the Nettleships and the Burrows this week. There are also many others we said goodbye too. This is the toothache I've been talking about. The goodbyes never and it's so painful. I hate dragging this out to the bitter end. The problem is I'm going to miss all of them so much. It's almost harder to go home then it was to come out. I know I would see my family again and I miss them a ton but I don't know when I will come back to England again. When I do come back I won't be a missionary and the missionary will have moved on. It just will never be the same again. Elder Allen and I would just like to get all the missionaries and take them home with us in our suitcases. We have already been on Skype with those missionaries that have returned home. They need counseling and Elder Allen is good at that. Being a young adult is so hard and being an RM Young adult is even harder. I know this because I've been a parent of seven young adults. Forget the terrible twos and the teenage years. No one ever says how hard it is to be a parent of a young adult. It's probably so painful but nobody ever talks about that. Return missionaries have to make so many decisions about their lives. Where am I going to live? What am I going to do for a job, and am I going to school. blah blah blah blah. Decisions decisions decisions. It is so hard for them. Some of these return missionaries go back to countries where the church is not strong and there's no young adult program. How do they find spouses that are strong in the church like they are? It is a big dilemma but hopefully their mission has given them a good base.

Sure going to miss all the missionaries, people we teach and people we love. We are not sure what our future holds but we are excited to come home and prepare for Summer's return the 1st of October. This mission has been a wonderful ride. I wouldn't change a thing.

Mark and Debbie

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