Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Wednesday twitterings . . .
We had District Meeting yesterday, which, as Missionaries of the England Manchester Mission, we have every Tuesday morning, with the exception of the Tuesdays we have Zone meetings, or the Tuesdays just before Transfers. This was the last DM we would have been having before Transfers next week. It is largely expected that we will have at least three of our Missionaries serving in this district leaving us next week for new areas and that new ones will be coming in. It is always sad when we have to bid some farewell as they move on and exciting to welcome new ones in. So its kind of a mixed bag of emotions. And not only for us, the Senior Missionaries who only ever very seldom move, but are more stationary. And in Todd's and my case will never move.
These youngsters are fabulous young people and the companionships and friendships they have with each other are so special and yesterday at the District meeting, Todd and I got a real sense of just how wonderful these relationships can be. We all played this game where you have to go around in a circle and then each person says one thing good about the others there, perhaps one of their strengths, and what they have learnt from them. We start with one person, and everyone around the circle says something about that person and so on down the line until we have said something about everyone there. We have played this game before, but yesterday's was very special and the spirit was well evident. Many tears were shed. Many tears.
I thought it would be fun this morning for me to share some of my feelings about each of these special people with you.
This is Elder Hollingsworth. He's from Las Vegas and is one of the Zone leaders here. I would be very surprised if he is not transferred this next transfer as he has been here for a while. Todd and I have had the opportunity to go teaching with him and his companion on numerous occasions and I have to say he is a great example to me. He had whooping cough for several months before Christmas and was quite ill, but never let it keep him down. They didn't know he had whooping cough for several months, only that he had this terrible cough which was debilitating and horrible. It took a while to be diagnosed and so he suffered with it for a long time. We were all starting to really worry that it was something even more sinister in all honesty and were very grateful when it turned out to be whooping cough. Whooping cough can be treated. Other things . . . not so easy. Anyways, I have always been so impressed with the knowledge that Elder Hollingsworth has and his ability to teach in a very meaningful way. I can easily see him going quite far in the leadership of the church one day . . . but not only is his knowledge great, but he has a huge heart and a love for those he is teaching and serving for and with. This young man really cares. About everyone.
This is Elder Lolesi. He is serving us from New Zealand and he is also a Zone Leader here in the Chester District. He's a bit older than the other Elders. This man is a spiritual giant. He has such a tender heart and testimony and you can see that he loves the Saviour and His gospel very much. When he teaches or speaks to people, his love for the Saviour is very obvious, and that is compelling. So is his love for whomever he is teaching or speaking to. He appears to be quite quiet and reserved at times, reflective even. He has a very tender heart and a heart which is aligned with the Saviours. I think we have only just scratched the surface with him . . . he's not been here in Chester as long as some of the others. He, hopefully, will not be moving. I am looking forward to serving with him for longer and getting to know him better.
Elder Judd, from Utah. This is our quiet Elder, but you all know what they say about the quiet ones. He's got a sweet demeanor and a gentle heart. Evenly keeled. If things bother him, you would never know it. He appears to move with the punches. On Monday when we were at the Castle he was the first one up to the top of the highest turret, waving down at the rest of us. When he teaches it is with a soft and tender heart, but it speaks to the soft and tender heart of those he is teaching. He's funny and he is kind. He reminds me of Charlie Brown, the cartoon character. And not just in looks.
Charlie Brown was a lot deeper than what he appeared to be on the surface. He could take a decrepit old Christmas Tree with the needles falling off of it and make everyone else see it as the most beautiful Christmas Tree ever. Elder Judd has this ability. He's great!
This is Elder Singsam. He is also from New Zealand and in fact was great friends with Elder Lolesi's younger sister before leaving on his mission and is from the same town. I know you are not supposed to have favourites and I don't, but if I did have a favourite it would be Elder Singsam. This young man has to be one of the most caring and kindest young men I have ever met. If I had a daughter who was single and unmarried, I would want to give her to Elder Singsam, because I know she would be cherished and well cared for. He is always the first to ask me how I am doing, and it's not just something he is asking because he thinks he has to ask, but he is genuinely interested in how I am doing. That day I had the upper endoscopy, he called me several times to see how I was coping. He's a great teacher also, and it's not because he has any more knowledge than anyone else about things, but because he truly loves the Saviour and the Gospel and he truly loves his fellow man and he has a great desire to share what is meaningful to him with others. His sincerity comes through with every word he speaks. He will probably be leaving us next week and we will miss him. He is the type of person that when they leave, you feel like your life has been made better for having known and associated with them.
We have these two beautiful Sister Missionaries serving here in the Chester Ward. Sister Gregson from Utah (on the left) and Sister Holmes from Canada (on the right.)
Sister Gregson hasn't been out on her mission all that long. Maybe 6 months? But Chester has been her first area and she has done so well, that after her first couple of months she was made a Trainer. Capable. That is Sister Gregson. She is capable and confident and sweet. She has this endearing way of making you just want to turn yourself inside out when she asks you to do something. Yes, she is gorgeous, but that is only the surface, she is also gorgeous inside where it really counts the most. She will almost most certainly be leaving us this transfer. We will miss her but we also know she will do well wherever she is sent. It's been a pleasure to serve with her.
Sister Holmes. This is her first area on her mission and she hasn't been out very long, perhaps 8 weeks or so? Not long. She seems to be very shy. In fact she reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger, but with one major difference. She is courageous and she is growing in confidence. When she teaches, she teaches with authority and with love. This is a really nice, nice girl. She is filled with light and love. This girl cares and it shows. I look forward to continuing to serve with her and see how she grows.
Of course we could all be surprised and they could transfer both of these girls, but we really hope that they do not.
It is a joy and a privilege to serve with all of these youngsters. We hate to see any of them go. We learn so much from them. We wish them well with whatever life has in store for them and predict they will do well.
Elder and Sister Johansen. What can I say. They've been blessing our Ward and this district for a whole year now. They only have about 3 1/2 more months to go before they leave us to go back to Utah where they are from. Elder Johansen is like a father . . . to everyone. This is one very caring, loving and serving individual. We love Elder Johansen. We love spending time with him. He's got a great sense of humor. He's got a gentle way of teaching, which is kind and yet very direct. He's not afraid to tell it like it is, but in such a way as you can't refute what he is saying, because you know it is true, and that he is right. He truly cares about those whom he is teaching. He is totally sincere in his desire to bring light into their lives. He's a great man and nobody cares for the young missionaries like he and his wife do. He puts the capital "S" in the word service and he does it with generosity and with love.
I love LOVE Sister Johansen. She is not just a missionary sister I am getting to serve with, but she is a friend. I have waited fifteen years to find friend like her over here in the UK (no offense to anyone meant) and she will be leaving me to go back to America at the end of March. Of all the Missionaries I have ever known or gotten to work with she is the most special to me and I will miss her more than words can say. We "get" each other completely. When I am down I know that just talking to her will lift me up. She makes me smile. She makes me cry. She has the most tender heart and the most willing hands. I know that being over here, away from her family, has been really hard for her . . . because I know how I feel being away from my own family. She has left all of her children and about a bazillion grandchildren who are all very dear to her to come and do this work. She has done it at great sacrifice. She lost her brother to cancer since being here and one of her sons has gotten married whilst she's been over here and she has been away for both of those things and even though it's been tough, she loves the Lord and she loves the Gospel and she knows that for now she is where she is supposed to be . . . but I also know that when she does get home at the end of this she will be the first one to get down and kiss the ground. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She is a true friend, in every sense of the word. I love her to bits.
Elder Rayner. What can I say. He is my most favourite of all the Missionaries and the one I love most of all. If he were to leave, I would miss him the most! I know he loves the Lord and I know he loves the Gospel, and I also know he loves me. That's a pretty winning combination! Getting to do what you love the most with the one you love the most, is just . . . well . . . the BEST!
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
Worrying is like
walking about with an umbrella
and waiting for it to rain.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Potatoes Boulangere. Delish!
Have a great Wednesday. Whatever you get up to, don't forget!
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And I do too!