Monday, 17 September 2012

Ice cubes and cars.....

Hey everybody!
This week has been good, but has been tough at times. A few interesting things happened, from getting ice cubes thrown at us to having two evangelical preachers trying to convert me and Elder Martin. It has been pretty interesting.
We have been working a lot with Less-actives, and on saturday we spent nearly all day doing gardening for 2 different less-actives. It was hard work, especially having to push a lawnmower UP a hill. Never again! But it was good fun and the Less actives really appriciated it.
We haven't been able to see Andy this week, I will explain why in a little bit, but we did get to see Jimmy this week. Jimmy is someone we found when we were out knocking, he was actually round his mum's and we knocked on her door and his mum was out but he answered. He is a really cool guy, and we taught him the restoration. He was pretty interested and accepted everything we taught him. We left him with a book of mormon and invited him to read and pray about it, and we also invited him to be baptized, which he accepted but he didn't commit to a date.
Also, at church yesterday, a member randomly brought her friend Vincent. So in gospel principles, we had nothing to really teach so we decided to teach him the Restoration. He understood everything and he already has a strong belief in God which is great! He accepted everything we taught him as weel, and said he felt good about it, and we invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! So we have two people scheduled to be baptized on the 13th October which is cool!
I would say more, but I am not sure how much time I have on the computer so the rest will have to wait for another time maybe.
This week is transfer week, I have a feeling I am moving so don't send any post. But anyway, one of our Zone Leaders Elder Sima is going home, so currently I am in Plymouth with our other Zone Leader Elder Livingston and Elder Martin. The reason I am here is, Plymouth have a car, but Elder Livingston failed his test, and Elder Martin doesn't have his licence so.... guess who is driving! :D oh yeah, me! It is so cool to drive! Yesterday we had to drop Elder Sima off in Bristol so the office Elder could pick up him and my old District Leader Elder Wan up, so I got to drive back from Bristol to Plymouth. It was good fun! Apparently I am a good driver so don't worry (that's mainly to you Becky, don't worry I am driving safe :P)
So yeah, that has been my week pretty much. Hope you are all doing well.
Love you all lots!
Elder Mitchell

Broken washing machines - a day, well a week, in the life of a missionary!

Hello all!
Hope you are all doing well.
This week has been okay, it started out pretty tough. Our washing machine has been broken since last week, with half of my clothes locked inside it until friday, so we have had to wash our clothes in the bath which has been interesting... the office are getting us a new washing machine but chances are we wont get that until friday... more bathtub washes then, fun!... the joys of missionary life ay?
I have just noticed that it is raining outside... that sucks! its the first time it has rained since I have been here, I thought I had finally found somewhere that was immune to rain... I guess not. ah well!
This week has been mainly finding and working with less-actives though. We have only been able to get one lesson with an investigators this week, which does suck, but our other investigators have been out of town or we haven't been able to contact them. It has been good to get to know some of the less-actives here though and working with them. One of them actually made it out to church on sunday (although I didn't see them there, for reasons I will explain in a bit). And finding has been quite hard when let's be honest most people around here are quite... how can I put this nicely without offending anyone... Elderly? Yeah, I know we should preach the gospel to everyone and we do try, but nearly all of them say the same thing... I am *insert age here* I am stuck in my ways and so on. But we are trying our best.
The one investigators we were able to see though was Andy, we saw him yesterday and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was a good teach and I actually amazed myself at how well it went. When Elder Martin first started talking I was kind of panicing inside as I wasn't sure what to say or what scriptures I could use, but when Elder Martin finished his bit, and it came to me, I somehow knew exactly what to say. It felt amazing. Obviously it wasn't the perfect teach, but I am getting better :) But we invited Andy to be baptized on the 13th of october, and he accepted! The reason we set his date so far away is because we can only see him on sundays as he is super busy and works two jobs. It was a good teach though, and he is a great guy.
Well this weekend was interesting. Newton Abbot ward had a baptism, which we were invited to as Elder Martin was asked to speak. The guy being baptized though, Ian, is in the process of moving from Paignton to Newton Abbot, so currently he still lives here, but he spends most of his time in Newton Abbot with his friend, so that is why he was taught there. 
So yeah, this sunday I spent in the Newton Abbot ward. they are a really nice ward, really friendly and welcoming. The funny thing is my good friend Dann is in that ward, and he taught Elder Quorum which was actually a good lesson. It was great to see him though, and to hear he is still preparign to go on his mission.
But yeah, that has been a sum up of my week pretty much. Let's hope that next week we can get more teaches (and a new washing machine).
Hope you are all doing well, Love you all!
Ciao for now! :P
Elder Mitchell

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

News from Devon

Two emails this week, the first the usual weekly email and the second a brief note to me.  He loves his new area!

Hey everybody,
firstly, apologies for sending this on a tuesday (It's not P-day but I have an excuse) yesterday we had to get ourselves library cards to use the computers here, and then found out that the whole system was down so we could not get on to email. We couldn't even send president's letter which is not cool. They were down this morning, so we spent the morning going around Brixham and Paignton trying to find an Internet cafe but non exist, but the system is back up and running now (Hence the email :P)
Anyways, I have now left my Greenie area, but am still half a Greenie as I am still with my trainer Elder Martin. I think it may be the first time in history that someone has left their first area before they left their first companion. Anyways, It was sad to leave Bristol, and quite sudden too, as I said in my last email, we only got a call on monday evening to say we were moving on thursday. So monday to wednesday was full of trying to visit people and say our farewells. It was really sad to leave everyone I had come to love there but I knew it would come sooner or later.
So Paignton, it is a beautiful place! My area covers at least Torquay, Paignton and (wait for it...) Brixham! Dad, finding out you served here in Brixham was amazing! I cannot believe I am serving in the same area you served! I found out you served here on Sunday actually, when I can't remember what her name is, but she remembers you serving here as a missionary when they had their Fish and Chip shop. But the area is a beautiful place, Lovely beaches, beautiful scenery, there are even palm trees here. PALM TREES!!! IN ENGLAND!!! I KNOW!! that's how hot it is. And just so you can get an idea of what kind of an area it is (if the palm trees didn't give you an idea) it is an area where they need sisters here during the summer... yeah when I found out that i was like uh oh! but its okay, I'll stay focused.
We have been working hard here though since thursday. The sisters here before us had left us loads of helpful notes as to who we should go see etc which was helpful, so we have been seeing Less-actives and trying to contact the people they were trying to work with before they left. We have also been trying to contact people on the street which has been tough and we have seen a lot of rejection but that is okay, because we have the odd success as well. We have actually found 3 potentials already since friday (one we found in Primark who's name is Daniel Martin something which is Elder Martins name). One of them their name is Andy, he has a wife and a 13 year old son, and we saw him saturday and gave him a book of mormon. He works 2 jobs though so has a busy schedule, we are seeing him next sunday.
Anyway, that has been my week basically. Anyway, sorry I don't have too much time to email and that this is a pretty short email. Hope you are all doing well. I love you all!!
Elder Mitchell

Elder Mitchell expanded a bit more in a second short email how he feels being in Paigmton:

Hey dad, just to let you know, I have met Sister Hancox briefly, she mentions about you serving in Brixham and you going to her fish n chip shop :)
Brixham is part of my area and is a beautiful place :) really hilly though...
It seems my mission so far has been a family history tour which is great, I have loved beening able to follow in your footsteps (literally as well as metaphorically), Being places on my mission where you also were on yours has helped me feel so close to you, even when I have been so far away. I am thankful for the example you set me by going on your mission and I hope me coming out here on mine can influence my future children to want to follow in both of our footsteps.
I love you so much Dad!
Pass my love onto everyone back home, I would email you all individually, but I only have an hour on the computers here and it is nearly up.
Love you all so much!
Elder Mitchell

Sis Hancox, or Ma Hancox as we called her, and her husband had a fish and chip shop.  It was a second home in many respects.  Her husband, Ali Hancox was the Ward Mission Leader.   I was in the Newton Abbot Ward which has grown and divided in the last 30 years and now Paignton is a ward.  All those years ago I had a real Cowboy and a real American Indian as Zone Leaders - Elders Corbett and Nez.  They were in Newton Abbot.  There were sisters in Torquay, the District Leader in Paignton and I was in Brixham, the southern most town in Torbay.  How times have changed!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Now he's here, now he's there!

This week's email brought exciting news!

Hey everyone! 
Sorry this is getting sent late, but monday was a Bank Holiday and libaries are closed on bank holidays :( 
This will probably be a short email too, which I do apologise for but it is 4.20pm and the libaries close at 5pm so I do not have much time and tomorrow is going to be super busy for reasons I will explain in a bit. 
This last week as been pretty good though, well in some ways, and tough in other ways. One good thing about this last week is that we had a Zone training with our Zone Leaders, Assisstant's to the President, and President and Sister Millar were there too. It was a good meeting and lots of inspired instruction was given. That and there was the excitement of while that was going on, there was a bomb scare in the centre of Bristol! Don't worry, we were at the Wells Road chapel which is away from the centre, btu it caused havoc with the buses and traffic etc. Was pretty exciting. Turns out it was only a bag full of sandwiches which, I'm sorry but is halarious that the whole of bristol got shut down because of some sandwiches. Thankfully it was just sandwiches though haha. 
This week we have continued to teach Paul and Naomi. Paul we have now taught everything, but I am not sure if he will be ready to be baptized on 1st Sep (plus it will be difficult to arrange considering the news I will tell you at the end of this email) so we may have to push his date back. Naomi we have only been able to teach once this week as she has been unwell, she wasn't able to make it to church again on sunday which is a shame. She still has a lot to be taught before she can get baptized. A surprise on sunday though was that Jess made it to church which was great. In Gospel Principles we were able to have a teach with just her, and as there wasn't a lesson planned we were able to focus on her and her concerns. It was good and it really helped her. 
Another interesting experience I had this week is my first proper encounter with some Jehovah's Witnesses. We found this family knocking one day and they invited us back to get to know more about what we believe. We had a feeling that it was not going to go well and turn into a bashing session so we went with just the intention of teachign them and giving them a Book of Mormon to read and inviting them to read and to pray about it. Well it did turn into a bashing session, but from them. They were polite about it, if that is possible, but they just tried to prove that everything we believed was wrong and pulled out scriptures from the Bible that "disprove" the need for the Book of Mormon (when the scriptures they used they misunderstood or misinterprited). It was tough and there was so much I wanted to say, so much I wanted to share with them to prove that this church is the church of Jesus Christ on the earth and the only true church, but somethign stopped me. I couldn't remember where scriptures were to disprove their points or anything. Looking back now though, I know it was the spirit stopping me, and Elder Martin agrees, because anything we did say would have turned it into a big debate and contention which is not how we teach. Plus the spirit of contention is of the devil so that is why we were stopped from saying anything. Since that teach though I have found scriptures that disprove everything that they said, not so I can go back and prove them wrong, just to give my own mind peace, because a lot of what they said hurt, and both me and Elder Martin left that teach completely disheartened. But thankfully after that teach, we saw Alison and Paul and we watched 'Joseph Smith: The Prophet of The Restoration' DVD and the spirit we felt from that was exactly what we needed. It confirmed to both of us that what we are sharing is true, and people can throw their doctrine at us all they like, but they only know the doctrine because they have been taught it since they were very young, we know the truth because the Spirit of God has testified to us that it is true. 
Okay, time for the big news..... me and Elder Martin got a call from President Millar yesterday evening.... We are getting Whitewashed. We are both moving to Paignton (in Devon I think... near Exeter anyway) and sisters are coming to Downend and we are going to Paignton. So, we leave on Thursday. So please don't send any post from now on, until I can let you know my new address. My first experience of moving and whitewashing in the one go, this should be interesting... 
So yeah, this has basically been my week. I am quite gutted to be leaving Downend but The Lord obviously needs me in Paignton, so I can't really complain. 
Well I hope you are all doing well. I will get my new address out as soon as I can. If you do need to send anything before you get my address send to the mission office (although by the time I get it you may as well wait to get my new address) 
Anyways... Ciao for now! 
Love you all! 
Elder Mitchell

I couldn't believe the news!  30 years ago I moved from Llanelli in South Wales to Brixham in Torbay.  If any of you are unfamiliar with the area, Paignton is just above Brixham and both were in the same ward.  I'm glad to see that the ward I was in has grown and divided in the last 30 years, but these 2 seaside towns on the English Riviera are still in the same ward.  I look forward to hearing if there is any one still there who remembers me, but I was only there for 2 months.

Emails 16 and 17

Finally we have our new ips set up and broadband connection at home, so I can catch up and all being well, keep up.  So the following emails I hope I have got in the right order.

Email 16:

Hey everybody!! 
Every week I keep having to check what number email this is, as I can't believe how quick it is going. This week has been pretty good though. Weather has been going from glorious sunshine, to pouring down with rain, thunder and lightning. Typical England, can never make up its mind, at least Scotland is consistant... consistantly rainy. Anyway, I am not here for the weather. 
Oh yeah, just so you all know, I have moved.... to... Downend! fooled you! I am still in Bristol with Elder Martin still. Our whole District hasn't changed, except Southmead are now in a tri. It is funny though, because our District leader Elder Wan is going home this transfer, he is getting so trunky. He is talking about getting a Homecoming Suit, and it is just really funny. I am happy though because I love Downend, the ward here is amazing and Bristol is just great, I love it! 
This week we have had a few good points, and a few bad points. I'll get the bad points out of the way first then I can tell you the good parts. This week we were not able to see Dhruba for some reason, and we have not been able to get in contact with him. We have tried calling him and tried going round to his when we were supposed to have a teach on tuesday, but he was not in. So we have dicided it is going to be best to put his date back, or to drop him just for now until we can get in contact with him again. Then once we get a hold of him, we can rearrange a date. We have also had to do the same with Lisanne, she is on holiday for the next two weeks and we still have a lot to teach her so she won't be ready for the 1st of September. It is sad, but we will hopefully pick them both up again soon. 
Anyway, back to the good news, We have another baptismal date!! We taught Jess on Wednesday and invited her to be baptized. She said she wanted to read the Book of Mormon first (she says she could read it in 3 days, but she reads a lot of books so I believe it) and to come to church before deciding 100%, but she said as long as she finds out it is true she will get baptized on teh 1st September which is great! Her grandparents the Tookers are amazing though and will help her, I know it. 
Godfrey is doing well as well, we saw him twice last week, and have pretty much taught him everything we need to. It was all good for him to get baptized next saturday but then yesterday, he didn't make it to church. We have no idea why, we couldn't get a hold of him as his phone was off. So because of that our Ward Mission Leader has decided it will be best to push his date back a week so we can get him more intergrated with the ward and so that more people will come to his baptism and actually know who he is. 
Paul is doing good as well. He hasn't given up smoking completely, but when we last saw him he was down to 1 that day, which is a vast improvement from the 3 he would normally have during the hour we were there when we first started teaching him. He is coming along so well though. 
Naomi is doing great. She was our only Investigator to make it to church on sunday. We didn;t even know she was there until after Priesthood we went to the room when Gospel Principles is held and there she was! It was amazing to see her there, but we have a lot we still need to teach her before she can be baptized next month. 
We have also been trying to see some less actives and former investigators. But that has been my week pretty much. 
Hope all of you guys are doing well. 
Well I gotta email president as well so I better wrap this up (can't wrap it up in any of the Mario wrapping paper I have left from my birthday, I'm gonna use it to decorate the flat though i think... hehehe!) 
Love you all 
Elder Mitchell 
p.s Thank you all for the birthday emails/cards etc. even if they haven't got here yet.

Email 17:

Hey everybody! 
Well this week has been interesting, and somewhat stressful towards the end of the week, but thats what happens when you have a surprise baptism to prepare for and then it doesn't go through. I will explain later. 
So, unfortunately we still have not had any contact with Dhruba. We have called him, we have gone by his house on his usual days off and he hasn't been in. We haven't heard from him at all. Not too good. Lisanne is still on holiday too, but I think she is back this week so I hope that we can get to see her at some point. We have also had to drop Jess' date as I think she told Elder Martin that she didn't think she was ready. I don't exactly know because I was on exchange in Southmead when they last saw her. 
I will tell you about the surprise baptism that didn't happen. As Godfrey didn't make it to church on last sunday, we were going to push his date back to the 25th of August, but on tuesday (I was on exchange in southmead at the time) He had a baptismal interview with our District Leader Elder Wan, and he found out he goes back to China on the 23rd, which is a bit of a big problem, as although there is a church in China, you cannot get baptized in China and have to go to Hong Kong which apparently needs a special visa which is hard to get and just sounds so complicated. So we spoke to our bishop and ward mission leader and got permission to baptize him on saturday 18th (surprise baptism). So we had another appointment to see him on friday and get everything organized, but the day before he went to London to do some sightseeing before he went home and, well, that's the last thing we have heard from him. We tried to call him all of friday and saturday but his phone was off, so we had to cancel the baptism on saturday at 1pm (the baptism was scheduled for 4pm) so yeah, that was pretty stressful. 
Also, on sunday, we had no investigators make it to church. Naomi called us sunday morning and said she wasn't going to make it, and Paul was helping his dad with some stuff saturday and apparently overdid it so he wasn't there either. Paul is doing great though. As far as I know he has given up smoking which is great and he accepts everything we teach him. He is still reading the Book of Mormon which is great, he says that he opens to random pages and reads and finds something helpful which is great. 
We also saw Jo and Paul this week. It was amazing as Jo had made me a late birthday cake. It was so thoughtful and I could not thank her enough. It was 3 layers of cake which is incredible. We still have some back at the flat that really needs to be eaten soon actually... If I come home fat you can blame Jo for making me such a massive cake (and you guys for sending me so many sweets! :P). But Jo asks a lot of interesting and deep questions, which sometimes even Elder Martin can't answer. She has a solid Christian background though, and has a lot of questions about like the bible being changed and why the apostles didn't pass the priesthood on before they were killed and stuff like that. It is really tough, and makes my brain hurt sometimes, but it is good as it makes us really think, and as we study and prepare to teach her we learn a lot. 
I have actually been studying the New testament to try and help answer some of her questions, it is amazing how much you can get out of it if you really look, and also amazing how much clearer its teachings are with the Joseph Smith Translation. It is great. 
So that has pretty much been my week more or less. Hopefully next week will be better, but we will see. 
Hoep you are all doing well. 
Elder Mitchell

A couple of quick emails, may bring a smile to your face...

Hi dad, hope you are doing okay. 
How are things at work? And how is the Ward doing? 
by the way, I have a correction for one of my past emails, Whichever one it was where I said who was President Millar's mission president, it was actually Bruce r McConkie, I can't remember who I said but I had a feeling I got it wrong, just to let you know. 
Love you 
Elder Mitchell

Hi Dad, just to let you know I got the letter from Dick and Janice with the money in. I dunno if I can use it because its Clydesdale bank money but tell them thanks anyway :) 
Also, tell Uncle David, next time he sends me a letter, to put a stamp on it :P 
Also, I saw the train the Mallard this week in Bristol, it was pretty cool :) 
Take care 
Love Elder Mitchell

Hi all, just a quick email, unfortunately it is a bank holiday down here so all the libraries are closed :( so i am currently in an apple store just to quickly email president. I will email you all properly tomorrow, just a quick email so you know I am okay and so you dont worry that you havent heard from me :) 
Love you all