Monday, February 23, 2015

A Blessed Week in Manchester

Guess what? I'm staying in Manchester! I'm so excited for another glorious 6 weeks with the Manchester South ward. Sister Bevans on the other hand is moving on for a new adventure. Guess what she gets to do? She's whitewash training/opening an area! She's heading north to Workington. She is going to be absolutely perfect for that little branch. It won't be a branch any more once she's finished.

I'm going to miss Sister Bevans a lot. We really have become the best of friends over these past 2 transfers. But Heavenly Father has spoiled me again by giving me a new wonderful companion. Her name is Sister Guymon. I've been on exchange with her before and she is one my wonderful mission friends already. I just can't think of anything better! Transfers are Wednesday so that's when all the new craziness will begin.

This week has been jam packed with joy. We still did a LOT of finding but we saw a lot of miracles and I personally felt a lot of peace. 2 weeks ago, I'll admit it, I was feeling a bit down. My hope and faith were at pretty low levels. But starting Tuesday morning at a district meeting, everything started looking up again. I love being a part of the Hyde distric. Our district leader (Elder Sidu) felt inspired to ask each of us to share a scripture that has helped get over a hard time in our missions. As all 6 of us went around sharing verses that had been especially comforting to us in a time of need (I shared Alma 17:11) the Spirit filled the room. I was comforted, enabled, and encouraged. I felt so much more capable of doing the work that needed to be done. Elder Bennett also gave me a really powerful blessing. It was actually the best blessing I've ever gotten since the one dad gave me right before I went into the MTC. Heavenly Father told Elder Bennett exactly what I needed to hear at that moment in time. 

Here's a couple pictures of the best district ever.

So, amidst all of our finding efforts this week we met the craziest dog I've ever seen. It looked Jamaican because it was black and had dread locks. It also kept jumping on me and trying to get under my skirt! It wouldn't stop for like 2 minutes (long enough for Sister Bevans to snap a picture apparently. She was really amused). 

We passed our cleaning check and the Elder and Sister Hills brought us chocolate. Have I ever expressed how much I love Senior Couples before? Because, I do. A lot!

Basically, this week has been wonderful. I feel so excited to start this final transfer of my mission. I know that it's going to be the best. I'm so grateful that Sister Guymon is going to be my companion. I know she loves to work hard and have fun-and that's what we are going to do! I love being a missionary. I love it more than I ever hoped or dreamed I would. I can really relate to Ammon when he tells his brethren, "Could we have supposed when we started...that God would grant unto us such great blessings?" (Alma 26:1). That's how I feel. I never could have guessed how great this work is. I can't describe it in words. This next 6 weeks my one goal is CHARITY. If I can finish my mission with a sure knowledge that I'm possessed of this gift, I know that I will have become who Heavenly Father wanted me to become. 

I love you all so much! And miss you like crazy. Hope you have a great week!
Sister Bement

More pictures:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Slow finding, but fun times

Dearest family,

This week felt long! I think I deserved it since the last year of my life has been blissfully happy. I was bound to have a hard week sometime. I think it was hard because we are struggling to find new investigators. We are FINDING FINDING FINDING and the results have been disappointing to say the least. And it's been super exhausting for me to be constantly evaluating myself to make sure the problem isn't ME and my faith, diligence, or desire. BUT! This week we also had SO much fun in between the long finding days. 

Monday: Trafford Centre with my favourite sisters!
I didn't get a picture with all 6 of us, but we went with Sister Nelson, Sister McDonnell, Sister Burridge, Sister Bridge, Sister Gjikaj, and Sister Reid to the Trafford Center to eat and see the massive mall. It was crazily big! We ate at Nandos which is a pretty big deal here in England. It was my first time eating there and it was SO YUMMY. I loved it. Then we walked around, bought doughnuts, and did a lot of laughing. It was great.

This is Sister Bevans and I in front of the foot court. They make it look like a cruise ship! I don't know if you can really tell from this picture.

Tuesday: Mission Activity Day!
In the morning we had such a treat! We just got to sit and watch the film "Meet the Mormons". I had seen it on New Years Eve already but it was just as good the second time. It was just nice to relax. Then we broke for lunch. President Ulrich organized a paper plane flying contest during lunch. Sister Bevans made it to the finals! I was so proud of her. :) Then we all divided into teams/countries and did a very organized mission Olympics. We were put into teams and then each team got to choose their own country. My team was the Marshall Islands! Woo hoo! (I suggested that one). I think the real treat of the day was that we got to wear sporty/casual clothes. I've never appreciated jeans so much in my life!

Wednesday-Thursday I was on exchange to Ashton! I've never been to Ashton before and I appreciated it all the more because it's President Preston's home ward! I got to have tea at his daughter's house and it was so much fun! I tried really hard to restrain myself from just telling her over and over again how much I love her parents. They are serving in the Preston MTC now so I got to hear how they are doing from her. It was so nice! But, more importantly, I was serving with the wonderful Sister Conlogue! She is one of those sisters that I just click with. We have similar struggles, thoughts, opinions, and humor. We also worked REALLY hard. So it was rewarding as well as tiring :) We stayed up pillow talking for 2 hours solving the world's problems. It was pretty good. 

Sunday: We went finding with the one and only Alexia!
Alexia is the best Young Women ever. We love her so much and have so much fun finding with her most Sunday afternoons. Every time she comes we see miracles and feel so happy. 
Alexia, me, Sister Bevans

​Also, this is me dancing in an abandoned alley way. I was trying to show Alexia how the black bishop on "Meet the Mormons" can dance or "step". I'd say I gave her a pretty accurate representation. Sister Bevans says I'm weird at least once a day.

Well, those were the highlights of my week! I love the Lord and I love being a missionary even during the weeks that feel long. I'm so grateful for the lessons of eternity that my mission has taught me. I'll be forever grateful for everyday of my mission. I simply love it.

Sister Bement

Monday, February 9, 2015

Desire, Happy Reunions and a Handstand

I have so many things I want to tell you about this week!

First of all, we had Specialised Training on Tuesday. This is such a special meeting that I always look forward to (we have it every 3 or 4 months I think). It's basically a zone meeting but President and Sister Ulrich come as well as the Assistants. The Assistants trained us in the morning for basically 2 hours about DESIRE. Now this, I loved. I feel like one of the many themes of my mission has been learning to change my desires. Something that has become very clear to me since October 2013 is that it's so important to be REAL with yourself about your desires. Step one to changing is admitting you have a problem (AA anyone?) and I've seen myself and a lot of other missionaries waste time because they won't admit that their #1 desire is NOT to serve the Lord. We all just say "I love my mission! I love being a missionary!" and are too scared to admit those days when really, our #1 desire is to sleep, to go home, to curl up in a ball and disappear, or to just give up. 

But once you actually admit to yourself and to Heavenly Father that your desires aren't in the right place, THEN and only then can you start the wonderful journey of repentance and change. I LOVE when Alma says, "Do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say-Lord, our [desires] have been righteous [desires] upon the face of the earth-and that he will save you?" (Alma 5:17). I love that question because it really makes us accountable. Heavenly Father already knows my desires, so it's no use lying to myself that I'm fine and don't need to change. Eventually, I'm going to meet him at the judgement bar and "have a perfect knowledge of all [my] guilt" (2 Nephi 9:14) anyways. The first 6 months of my mission it was all a desires test. Do I desire to serve the Lord or go home? It was April 1st 2014 when I really started to change. I sat in President Preston's office at the mission home, the day before I was to start training Sister Shih and balled. I simply balled. I told him that I'd been homesick for 6 months and that I was SICK of it. I told him I was anxious about finding, scared of giving my all, and worried that I would fail. He was able to give me some great spiritual help, but he also gave me Sister Peery (that phone missionary therapist lady) who helped me learn how to change my desires. And you know what? The past year has been an absolute JOY! I've still gone up and down with my desires, but I've learned how to change, repent, and start again. Needless to say, I LOVED specialised training.
Here's a pic of us waiting for it to start.

I also got to go on another exchange to Liverpool this week! And I got to serve with my little sister in the mission. Sister Lau, my trainer (mom) also trained (birthed) Sister Li, therefore making her my sister. It was so funny because Sister Li is basically a mini Sister Lau. Even her handwriting was exactly the same! She cooked me really yummy food.

We also got to see the one and only Alfred! I've missed him so much! I had to miss his baptism in November for a few different reasons and I feel like I've never been able to make up for that. But this week we finally got to just sit down and catch up. It was seriously true joy...I cried. I really did! Because I was so happy! Alfred wants to serve a mission! He'll be the best Elder ever. I'm hoping he gets called to Seattle Chinese speaking :)

I thought I'd also send you this gem. I was bored Thursday night during our district phone call (sometimes they can go SO. LONG.) so I started trying to do a hand stand. Yes, I'm wearing a onesie. They are big in England!

Well, I think I'll end on that note. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Sister Bement

Monday, February 2, 2015

More Joy and Snow

Hello Family!

As I've been saying for the past many months, it's been a really great week! Time continues to fly by faster than I can comprehend and I'm a happy missionary in Manchester. So nothing new there. But a few great and exciting things did happen this week!

#1 Lunch at Archie's on Oxford Road with the YSA Sisters

Archie's is an overpriced delicious burger and shakes place. It was a blast to hang out with these lovely sisters! We were laughing and laughing. PLUS Sister Shubert (the one on the back right) is from Germany and says she knows Mimi. She's only been on her mission a couple weeks so I hadn't met her before. It was so fun to have a mimi connection :)

#2 Snow snow snow!
Thursday it snowed! And it was quite a lot for England. A few people we talked to said they had never seen snow like it. It lasted for about a day and then melted but it was beautiful and fun while it was there. I wouldn't like to tract in it all day everyday so I feel very blessed to be serving in a mission where snow is very rare :)

#3 Exchange!
I got to go on exchange to Oldham with a lovely Sister named Sister Tholen. Sister Dushku trained her so it was so fun to basically just reminisce about Sister Dushku all day. Sister Tholen is an amazing missionary. She has only been out for 4 months but seems like she has been a missionary forever! She was a bus contacting pro and I really learned a lot from her! Sadly, I forgot to take a picture whilst on exchange, but the next time I see her I'll snap a pic to show you who Sister Tholen is. 

#4 Robert!
Robert is still progressing slowly but surely. He is currently our only progressing investigator and we love him so much. I really have seen how learning about the gospel has added light into his life. He told us the other day that recently he has started being kinder to his neighbours. He said he has never really made an effort to know or talk to his neighbours before but for some reason the other day he felt like saying, "Hiya ya alright?" (that's English for "Hello how are you" by the way) and he felt great about it. Then he said the next day his neighbour came up to him and they chatted for a bit. He was so happy at this small interaction! "Dead chuffed" as he put it. Isn't it amazing how learning about the gospel really changes behaviour? I love this quotation from Boyd K. Packer. 

"The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." 

Ain't that the truth? Keep Robert in your prayers. :)
Well, lovely family. That is about it for this week. I love you and miss you so much!
Sister Bement