Monday, 28 May 2012

Fifth email

Today we received Elder Mitchell's 5th email.

Greetings from the South (a.k.a Downend Bristol)
Well this week has been amazing, both weatherwise and otherwise. It has been SO hot down here!! like 27 degrees or something, as you can imagine I have been dying in the heat!! But at least I am not burnt, which is more then what I can say for Elder Martin, who has a nice tanline along both upper arms haha!
Well the work down here has not been too bad, lots of walking and knocking on doors. I had my first door slammed in my face this week. Obviously I have had people slam their doors in our faces, but not as brutally as this one woman, who just said "whatever you are selling I am not interested!" and slammed the door really hard. It is quite sad to see people slam their doors or turn their heads at the possibility of returning to our loving Heavenly Father, but they all have their agency, and the last person who tried to take that away from them got cast out of heaven, so that thought hasn't even crossed my mind.
As for the baptismal dates, we are down to one. See if you can guess which one we still have... yep, Dhruba is still going strong, whereas Paul seems to have just disappeared off the face of the earth. We have tried so many times to get in contact with him, but he never answers the phone or anything, so we are down to one... But Dhruba makes up for all the disappointments we have had with other investigators and out knocking etc. He really is golden! Early this week, we taught him the plan of salvation, which was an amazing lesson. At the end of it, he turned to us and said "I know this is true because of the spirit world." His concern was for his people back in Nepal, those who would likely never get the chance to hear the gospel. When he found out, those who did not get a chance to hear of the gospel in this life would hear about it and get a chance to except it in the next, he knew it was true. He is so amazing!!
We have a few other investigators as well which we will be seeing and teaching in the coming week so hopefully things with that will go well. We also have quite a few potential investigators who we will be seeing too so fingers crossed.
The ward here in Downend is really good, pretty big as well. It is amazing how small a world it is though!! Some of you may remember Sister Kempe who served in Livingston a few years ago... Well guess who is in Downend? Candy Kempe!! And there are quite a few members here who are from Scotland or who have family in Scotland or who even served missions in Scotland! But it is a really friendly ward, and hopefully we can work with them to build the church here in Downend.
A little message to Cameron Mackay in response to his email: Cameron, being on a mission is amazing! There is nothing I enjoy more then teaching the gospel and sharing with people my experiences. Yes it is hard work, and for me stopping people on the streets is incredibly hard as it is a massive run and jump out of my comfort zone, and you will be rejected so many times, but for every one person that stops to listen to you, it makes the previous thousand rejections so worth it! Cameron, do everything you can to prepare for your mission, study preach my gospel, read the book of mormon, do everything you can to make your testimony the strongest you can before you come out, it will be worth every bit of sacrifice. I know I have been out only a month, but I do not regret coming out here for even a second. I'm not saying it is going to be the best two years of my life, as I am sure God has some amazing things planned for me in the future, but these two years will be the best two years FOR the rest of your life. they will set you up perfectly for the future leader and even husband and father you need to be.
Wow, that was a longer message then I planned... haha!
Just another thing I have got from this week, I started to read the book 'Our search for happiness.' Well, to be perfectly honest I am nearly finished it already, but it is amazing, and I encourage everyone to read it if they can. It is a great book and I have learned so much from it, even though I thought I already knew it all. I have also been reading bits from 'Our Heratige' (My spelling and memory fails me on how to spell it properly) and reading more about the prophet Joseph's life, and the lives and sacrafices of the early saints. It really puts into perspective things that we are going through.
Well I cannot believe I have been out for a month already, it has really flown by! In the life of a missionary I am getting old already! haha! But just last night I was thinking about something you once told me Dad, how a mission is kind of like a mini Plan of Salvation. That is so true!! I cannot remember what living at home is like!! And I cannot begin to imagine how great our joy will be when we are reunited with each other, just like I cannot begin to imagine our joy when we return as family and friends to the Celestrial Kingdom. Sounds amazing though. As much as I cannot wait, I know that there is things the Lord needs me to do here before I can return home to you all, and before I can return to live with him again, but I am determined to do everything I can.
Oh yeah, about the package you sent me... I wont get it until the next District Meeting from the sounds of it, which is Wednesday, so I should hopefully get it then :)
Hope you are all doing well.
lots of love
Elder Mitchell

Sunday, 27 May 2012


Bristol has an estimated population of 433,100.  It is England's sixth and the United Kingdom's eighth most populous city.  It was granted city status when it received a Royal Charter in 1155.  In the 13th century it ranked in the top 3 English cities after London, alongside York and Norwich.

Some places of interest are Bristol Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe Church, the Floating Harbour, and of course Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge.

It has 2 football (soccer for my American friends) League clubs: Bristol City and Bristol Rovers along with a number of non league teams.  There is also strong interest in rugby and cricket to name a few.

For more information, you can try Google or even Wikipedia.

Memories of Bristol

As previously mentioned, just over 30 years ago, I received a call to the England Bristol Mission.

Just after Christmas 1981, and just before New Years, I boarded a National Express coach at Norwich Bus Station for my journey into the mission field.  I went via Victoria Bus Station in London, where I changed coaches, and stopped at Heathrow Airport.  I wondered if there were any other missionaries who were flying in that day, and although there seemed to be many possibilities, none of the sat together but sat all over the coach.  One lady traveller sat a couple of rows behind me on the opposite side of the coach.  Arriving at Bristol Bus Station, I was meet by the Assistants to the Mission President, and this lady joined us - she was a sister missionary from Denmark!!!  Later we joked about it all - it seems she also was wondering if I was a missionary!!  Later that day I went with one of the Assistants to meet another missionary at Bristol Temple Meads railway station.  I would later become quite familiar with the place as when we moved we normally went via train (especially if we went from Wales to the southern parts of the mission), or if we had to travel from Bath (my first area) to Bristol for zone conferences we often caught the train.  Our Zone Conferences were normally held at the Wells Road Chapel, and I just remember walking there, though I doubt I could remember the way now.

I never got to serve in Bristol itself - the closest I got was Bath, but the Mission Home/Office was there and the first few days of my mission were spent there.  It's all a bit of a haze now, but they were good times, and I'm so happy that Zac, Elder Mitchell, is indeed following in my footsteps.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The work begins!

It seemed like a long time between last Wednesday and today, not knowing where Elder Mitchell had gone! Not that we were worried or anything, we know that he is serving the Lord and all is well with him!  We had a reported sighting of him, but no news as to where his first area, but we figured that it wasn't Brighton (his uncle lives there), nor Winchester, Southampton or Oxford (places with various friends) but that still leaves a big area!!!

Pday was yesterday, but no email.  Perhaps, we thought, he didn't get to a computer.

Today, the postman was early!  He came before 1 o'clock!  There was a letter from Elder Mitchell, but no address on the envelope, not even a note to say where he was!!!!!!  The post mark gave a clue - I saw Bath and thought "Could it be that his first area is the same as mine?" and then saw that Bristol and Taunton followed and realised that it didn't pinpoint where he was, but it narrowed down the possibles!  Hw was in the West Country!!!  A friend and neighbour (also a member of the Church) came calling and showed Shirley a picture of Elder Mitchell that a friend of her's had sent to her with the message "Look who came to dinner", bur she couldn't remember where he lived!!  Big help!!  But then I was able to check my emails and saw an email from our lost missionary!!!

Well well, here I am in the mission field. Moment of truth, where am I serving? I am serving in..... *drumroll* Downend ward in BRISTOL!!!! Dad, if you ever served in or around downend/bristol let me know as some of the members may remember you. I can't believe it though, it is kinda weird thinking that I could be walking the same streets as you Dad.
Well my trainer is Elder Martin, he is originally from manchester, but lives over in Utah. He has been out for 13 months now, and it is great serving with him. He has even passed down the family tie! (for those of you who don't know, us missionaries refer to our trainers as our missionary dads so this tie has been passed down from my great-grandfather) But Elder Martin is amazing, and I think he is doing a good job of training me, and helping me open my mouth to teach the gospel. I am still struggling to talk to people on the street as I have no confidence, and I pray for it everyday. I am getting better, but Elder Martin said not to worry and that it will come over time.
On the thursday before we headed out to the mission field though, I had the chance to go through the temple for an endowment session. I thought the Preston temple was beautiful, and it is, but the London temple just took my breath away! It is so beautiful!! I dunno if that is just me being in my favourite temple or what, but I loved it. Will admit though, I got a bit confused when I walked into the guys toilets and the walls were painted pink... But I loved it there, and cannot wait for the chance to go back, whenever it is.
I have also met President and Sister Shamo. Even though they go home next moves they took the time to get to know me and show their love for me. I love them so much! I am proud to say, I am a Shamonite!!
Also on wednesday night after I was first introduced to Elder Martin, he got a call from none other then an Elder Casey, wanting to speak to me. It was great to talk to him again and so amazing that he called just to welcome me to the field. I hope I get to see him at some point.
I have also got to meet the other missionaries here in the District, as yesterday (P-day) we went up to the Clifton Suspension bridge and played some football there, it was good fun, and we really bonded as a district. Also each morning we have a conference call for district study, which is a little confusing but is great! pretty funny too, and not as confusing as Zone conference calls.
Oh yeah, if you hadn't noticed, I am actually emailing on tuesday. This is because yesterday we were helping one of the members move things out of their house, and it took longer then planned so we ran out of time for emails. (I nearly dropped one of their mirrors, but thankfully Elder Martin was there to help, The mirror was massive though so you can't blame me).
Okay, so biggest miracle of the week, and what a miracle. When we first got back to the flat on thursday, Elder Martin told me that we had no progressing investigators, we had a few "Eternal Investigators" as he called them, they had all the lessons but just weren't committing, and a load of potential investigators, but nothing really to start with, so we basically started from scratch... By the end of saturday, we had 2 investigators with baptismal dates. TWO!! I have no idea how haha! One is from one of those Eternal investigators that our ward mission leader helped us teach and helped him to commit and to take this seriously, and the other is a friend of a member who came to church for the first time two weeks ago. Me and Elder Martin taught him the restoration and Invited him to be baptized, and he said yes! This 2nd investigator has an amazing story though, he is originally from Nepal, and some things that happened to allow him to get to here are amazing, God has truly prepared him for the message. He is like a Golden Investigator.
Unfortunately, this first investigator, named Paul, we were due to teach him yesterday at the chapel, but he did not show up and we couldn't get a hold of him... hopefully we can get in touch with him again, as both he and the other investigator Dhruba (pronoucned "Drew-bar") both came to Stake Conference on Sunday. We are teachign Dhruba later today, so fingers crossed that goes well.
Anyway, hope you are all doing well, and those of you who had birthdays, I hope you all enjoyed them. Hoep the weather is nice too. Down here is so hot just now, I had to ask Elder Martin if we were still in England. We are walking around in just shortsleeve shirts it is that hot, and nice blue sky, I feel like I am in california or something, no cloud in the sky! haha!
anyway, gotta run. Love to you all.
Elder Mitchell

So now we know where he is. The closest I got to Bristol was serving 5 months in the Bath area, along with visits to the Mission home/office, or conferences at the Wells Road Chapel in Bristol. Sorry there are no pictures this time, but hopefully there will be soon.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Moving on...

On Saturday, we got an email from Elder Mitchell's MTC President.  In it they said that this Wednesday, our missionary would be leaving the MTC for the mission field.  This is the letter:

Dear Brother Mitchell,

Your son will be departing from the England Missionary Training Centre next Wednesday, May 16.  We want you to know how much we have enjoyed having him with us. 

Elder Mitchell is a fine young man and we are grateful for the opportunity we have had to work with him on a daily basis. He is well-prepared for his mission and he continues each day to grow spiritually.  He is developing good teaching skills and is excited about the work.  He will soon be ready for full time service in the England London South Mission.

We love this young man and are grateful to you for all you have done to prepare him for this wonderful time in him life.  Your love and continued support are important to him success.   Letters from home are always greatly anticipated and appreciated.  Please address all future mail to:

England London South Mission
The London Temple
West Park Road

May you and your family be blessed as he continues to serve our Heavenly Father.


President and Sister Walker
President and Sister Walker
President and Sister  Williams

I can't believe 3 weeks has passed already!!

In the mean time, we got to be Americans for 30 minutes as Sunday was Mother's Day every where else but the UK!  So Elder Mitchell got to call home for Mother's Day.  We all got to speak to.  He's doing well and eager to get into the field.

It seems that they had an National Anthem Day the same day - all the missionaries got to stand up in front of every one and sing their countries Anthems.  Elder Mitchell was proud to sing for his adoptive country of Scotland.  He even bought a Scottish flag to take with him.  He also found a Mitchell tartan tie.  I would love to see the reaction when companions or wards hear they are getting a Scottish missionary and this Englishman turns up!

Well Pday came and with it another email.  Very brief as he had to pack!  This is his email for the week:

Hi everyone,
sorry, it is just a short email today, we dont really have much of a P-day this week as its MOVES!!! my first transfer from the MTC to the mission field. I am so excited to meet my trainer, find out where I am serving and geting to work!! Dont get me wrong I am going to miss the MTC and the teachers and presidents and sisters Walker and Williams, I have learnt so much here and I am going to miss it, but I just can't wait to get to work.
It is kinda change though, because I can already feel the Lord moulding me into the man I need to be, not only for my mission but for the rest of my life. These next two ears will truly be the best two years FOR my life, not OF, because these two years will set up the rest of my life.
I hope you are all doing well, and I hope to get more time to read and respond to all your emails (and send a longer email back as my five minutes are up already haha!).
Send my love to everyone, as I do love you all :D
Elder Mitchell

last breakfast at the MTC
Wednesday was a very early start!!  It seems they were up at 5am.  Just time for breakfast, last pictures and goodbyes.  There are 15 missionaries going to London South.  Unfortunately, Elder Riki is going to a different mission - the London Mission. 

          Pres Walker says Goodbye
Goodbye London South

Goodbye MTC, Hello Mission Field

Monday, 14 May 2012

First emails

It wasn't long before we had our first email.  Once we got home and settled down I turned on the computer to check emails and Facebook etc, and there was our first email from Zac, sorry, from Elder Mitchell.  This is what he said (spelling mistakes and bad grammar included!!):

Hi dad, could you pass it on to everyone that I got to the MTC safely, I know you dropped me off but I still have to let you all know.
My P-Days are tusday, I dunno if that is just for here at the MTC or what but that is when you will hear from me.
I have to let you know that you and mum will be receiving an invitation toa Picasa Web Album today that will have pictures of my MTC experience. Make sure you dont throw it away as it isnt spam. And please let me know when you have seen them.
Thank you for droping me off, we finally made it!
Love to you all!
Elder Mitchell

I checked for the link Elder Mitchell mentioned and there we found pictures of the MTC and the new missionaries from that day.  It was so nice (and reassuring) to see him and to see how happy he is.  We had fun trying to guess who his companion was.  At the end of each day we would check the link and see what they had done.  In every picture you could see he was having a wonderful time.  From the pictures we guessed it was an elder from New Zealand.

So we learned that P-day was a Tuesday, so we waited and waited and waited.  Then at about 3pm it arrived!!!!!

Hi everyone,
sorry I don't have time to write separate emails to everyone, I had a lot of emails to read over (mainly from Becky haha!)
Well I am ere safely at the MTC and I have having an amazing experience! I love it here, this week has gone so fast, but it feels like I have been here forever! (not complaining). Well My companions name is Elder PairamaKararoaRiki, (yeah! that's what I thought!) but everyone calls him Elder Riki and he is from New Zealand. He is a massive fan of... wait for it.... Basketball! go figure! any way he is an amazing companion. Also in my room is an Elder Wright from Birmingham and an Elder L'Henaff (silent 'H', 'a' sounds like an 'e', french canadians for you...)
It has been amazing here though and I have felt the spirit so much, every day feels like a sunday! its pretty weird but awesome at the same time. We have had some great classes, and firesides and devotionals. We have also had teachers acting as investigators for us to practice teaching. That's pretty weird too, but its good experience. The last lesson I taught to an "investigator" i just walked out feeling just "yes! that was good!" Well that's what I thought anyway haha.
President Walker and Sister Walker, and there councellors President and Sister Williams are so amazing and nice, I love them so much! Sister Walker is the daughter of President Gordon B Hinckley of all people!! That was quite a shock to me when she told us.
On sunday, I got to conduct the music in Sacrament meeting. It was amazing, there is honestly no sweeter song then the one you hear in the MTC.
I am glad to hear that Nan and Grandad's wedding anniversary went well, hope they liked my letter that I left for them.
It is good to hear from everybody, and Dan, i have heard what you did with mum's grabber, you are nuts!! And dad, about meeting Steven Fry, I am SO Jealous!! except i'm not because that would be a bad trait for a missionary.
Well I hope everybody is doing well, don't worry abotu me I am fine, the lord is loking after me! The food is good here, I am able to eat at least most of it.
Oh yeah, I went through the temple today, it was amazing and I love the temple so much!!
Well, we only have a limited time on the computers and my time is nearly up, so I shall say take care and may God bless all of you until I return at the end of my mission.
Love to you all!!
Elder Mitchell

So we had to be content at looking at the pictures each day while we waited for the next email.  We saw that they went on a history tour around Preston  and the out lying villages were Heber C Kimball had so much success.  They have even located the part of the river were they would perform the baptism in the village of Chatburn,  This is not the same site as the River Ribble.  We saw pictures of them street contacting, singing, eating and having a Happy Unbirthday Party!!!!

His next email arrived:

Hello everybody!!
Well this is my second week in the MTC and it has been so amazing. In my journal I have filled about 35 pages already with amazing experiences I have had since I got here, it is meant to be a day to a page journal... opps! anyway it has been so amazing here and I love being in the MTC! it feels like i have been here forever but it hasn't even been a full 2 weeks yet!
Dan - I am so sorry to hear about Tara, but im sure your next car will be great! Orange corsa? sounds good, no chance of losing that in a busy car park! haha!
Linda - I cannot believe how much Caitlan is growing up from what you have been saying. She will be talking away in no time im sure. And it is good to hear that Tam Man is being as crazy as ever! hope his head gets better hehe. But I am glad to hear all for of you are doing so well! And thank you for the letter you sent me this week, and thank thomas too, i especially loved his drawing :) I am glad to hear that Thomas enjoyed church too, and John Mackay is so funny, I love that guy! haha
It is good to hear that all of you are doing weel, and Becky, congrats on your new calling, I hope its going well and I know that you will enjoy it :) (by the way, Becky I will send you a letter as well as this email, dont worry :P)
Well today has been a great week and I have learned so much! I have some amazing teachers here who are looking out for us and there to help us. Also this week we have gone on the Church History Tour around Preston and the nearby villages. It was amazing to be following in the footsteps of Heber C Kimball and all the other early missionarires to come to the UK. It is also great to be following in your footsteps Dad, and I hope one day my future children and grandchildren can follow in mine! I have some great photos too, but I will have to send them another time... i forgot to bring my camera cable...
I also got to go to the temple again this morning. I love the temple so much and we should all do everything we can to go there as often as we can.
Well I am kinda running out of time, I have so much to share with all of you but only half an hour to email, it is so not fair!! but I am making sure most of it is in my journal for when I return.
Thank you all for your love and support, I can feel your prayers and I know that God will watch over all of us, as long as we are doing what we should be, and in the words of David A Bednar being "a good boy, or a good girl."
Love Elder Mitchell.
ps. Next tuesday looks very busy as we are leaving the MTC next wednesday so I am not sure if I will get a chance to email, but I will do my best. Also, because of this, don't send me any parcels until I am in the mission field, I dont want me to miss any that are sent.
Love you all!!!

So it looks like we'll have a lot to read in his journal from his time at the MTC.  He has also been blessed to have visits from Elder Donaldson and Elder Herbertson, Area Seventies; and Elder and Sister David Evans, Executive Director of the Missionary Department.  He has also been able to go to the Temple a few times!  They even got to celebrate American Mother's Day.  We had an email to say that Elder Mitchell would be calling home at 2:30pm on Sunday, so I had to make sure that all my Bishop duties were done in time for me to be home for this most important call.

Hi Mum, Dad and Linda, don't sent this email out to everyone.
This is just a quick email to let you know that because it is American Mother's day on Sunday I will get to call home this weekend. I will get to call home at 2.30(pm) for half an hour, so make sure you are all home so i can talk to all of you at once.
Oh yeah, don't tell Becky, I want it to be a surprise for her. Just make sure she is home.
Look forward to talking to you all then.
Love Elder Mitchell

It was wonderful to speak to him for a little while.  He spoke to Linda, Thomas, Caitlan would make lots of noise till the phone was put to her mouth - then she would be quiet and try to eat the phone, Daniel, Nanny Noakes, Granddad Noakes, Mum, Dad, and as Becky is living with us she got to speak to him to.  We got to be Americans for 30 minutes!!  Next call Christmas!

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Elder Zachariah Mitchell has been called to serve a mission for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in the England London South Mission.  The Mission covers all of southern England from Cornwall through to Kent (not all of Kent is in the Mission).  Just over 30 years ago, I, his father, was called to serve in the England Bristol Mission.  A number of years ago, the Church reorganised the missions in the United Kingdom and the Bristol Mission was split between the London South Mission and the Birmingham Mission.  Two of the areas that I served in are now in Zac's mission, so I look forward to learn the areas in which he will serve and live in.

Zac becomes Elder Mitchell

On the eve of Zac's departure, Zac was set apart as a missionary by Pres Richard Campbell ( Pres Freed was unavailable as he was out of the country).  Also present were Richard and Fiona Moon.  I t did bring back memories from when I was set apart as a missionary back in December of 1981.  Before he was actually set apart, there was time for some last hugs.
Zach with Caitlan.....

and Thomas.....

and Linda......

and Daniel......

and Becky.....

and Mum.....

and Dad.

The beginning

Missionary Training Centre, Preston Temple
Elder Zachariah Mitchell entered the Missionary Training Centre at the Preston Temple, England on  April 26th.  To say it was an uneventful trip would be wide of the mark.  The plan was to go down in our car, but it was too small for 4 people (Shirley, Becky, Zac and me) and luggage for a missionary for 2 years!  Daniel said we could take his car and so off we went.  About 30 miles into our trip, Daniel's car died on the motorway!  After a long wait, we were towed off the motorway by a motorway policeman - there was a cafe just off the motorway, where Daniel and Linda found us and we had a change of travel plans.  So Becky had to go back with Daniel and Linda, while Shirley, Zac and I, continued to the MTC.
He's made it!

About 2 hours later than planned, we finally arrived.  The drop off passed in a blur!  We did get to go inside and meet Pres and Sis Walker and had a few pictures taken.  I'm afraid I'm not looking my best as I was a little stressed out from the trip.

Dad putting on Elder Mitchell's name tag
One happy missionary, one frazzled Dad and a relieved Mum

As you can see from the photos, Zac, sorry Elder Mitchell, is over joyed at being in the MTC.  He has finally arrived as a missionary.