I am happy to report that I am still alive and well!! However I am super tired. Last night I didn't really sleep at all. I was consetently tossing and turning and getting up and this and that. We were cramming trying to get ready for a meeting that we had today so when it was tome to got to bed my mind was still going 100MPH and it never slowed down. The meeting today went good. It was spititual and productive. So I'm completly out of time but know that I am well. I hope everything is good one you side. Elder Solomon, espero que todo te vaya bien. Estoy muy orgulloso de ti y el trabajo que haces. Te quiero mucho y te deseo lo mejor en estos 24 meses donde estaras sirviendo Dios. Cuidate mucho. The rest of you. Tons of love.
Hello Solomon Family. I'm Ben. Elder Solomon taught me all that I know about the gospel and help change my life for the better and now I have made the dicision to go on a mission thanks to your son and other Elder missionaries. I cannot wait to meet you when you come over to England, I have heard all good things. I wish you all a safe journy when you fly over.
BTW Ben and NAtalie came and visited me today. They are both really excited to me you all. --
out of the last seven days I have only spent two in London how crazy is that. I was all over the map this week going on exchanges. First was Basildon ( I love that place!) We had a wonderful dinner at Natalie's house and I even randomly ran into Bishop Nicholls, that was really cool. Each time I go back there I am so thankful for the chance I had to serve there. I'm so happy to see how the gospel touched those peoples lives and the positive change that has come to them as they embraced it, made covenants and are now keeping those covenants. It is beautiful. After Basildon I went down to Dover. That was a truly amazing experience, Just being back there brought back so many memories and feelings. I feel it was a great tender mercy of the Lord. I was able to see and compare myself from how I am now to how I was 20 months ago. It is incredible the changes in how I feel about the gospel and my testimony, it has come so incrementally and imperceptibly that I have almost taken no notice of it. When we got there we began street contacting but because of the rain which was coming down in buckets we soon abandoned that endeavor. I was with Elder Helske (from Finland) who had only recently moved to the area. Elder Helske was really excited to go there and work, but once he got there his pessimistic companion tore down his hopes. They hadn't really had anyone to teach for the last 6 months that was any good and they just spent most of their time tracting. Well I began asking Elder Helske about all these different people that I use to teach and he didn't really know any of them. So we decided that rather then stand in the torrents of rain to go contact these people. What a glorious experience that was! First we saw the Anctise family. Chris looked like he had seen a ghost when he answered the door and I was standing there. We had a great chat catching up and then a good lesson before we left. Elder Helske was so elated that now he had a family to teach. Next we went up to Jim. We knocked at the door and with one look Jim looked at me and said 'oh come in.' Now Elder Helske had looked like he had seen a ghost. Turns out Jim had just gotten back from spending ten days in Utah with all his Mormon friends and was ready to start meeting with us again. (no one had seen him since I left a year and a half ago!) Last of all we stopped by Steve and Gemma who live literally right across the road from the Elders flat. They use to knock on our door late at night and give us dinner and all sorts of things like that. Similar story as Jim, they had just gotten back from holiday. While in Spain they talked about how they felt that something was missing in their lives and felt that they should start meeting with us again. The night before Gemma had prayed that we would contact her and low and behold there we were standing at her door step. Elder Helske could have died as the happiest man that night. I was so happy to see these wonderful people again. I put so much of my heart and efforts into that area. I was really sad to see that the Elders behind me hadn't keep in contact with those people but now I'm really grateful that Elder Helske will be able to teach them. All of them were so close to baptism before I left I hope now the Lord will be able to use Elder Helske to get the there. That was Wednesday-Thursday then Friday morning we loaded up in the car and headed off to Norwich. Its about a three hours drive depending on London traffic. That was a fun time. I didn't enjoy just sitting for three hours but i was grateful for the 'think time' that I had. I have now learned for my self which came first, the chicken or the egg and i came to a conclusion as to why the chicken crossed the road. OK time for more trunky talk and then I'll finish my story of the week. During my think time and though out this week I have resigned to the fact that I'm going home soon. I have been living in denial and would get terrified whenever I thought about it. I have learned and gained an assurance that the Lord will be just as willing to give guidance and direction for me when I go home as He is now while I am here. I have realized that I have no reason to be apprehensive about what will happen because if my mission has taught me anything it is that as we rely on the Lord and do things His way then all will be aright. I guess that one of my first things to do when I get home is to gain a vision/ understand about what the Lord wants me to do and then make plans to accomplish it, which will probably require some more think time. OK I'm done now. I had a great time up in Norwich, It was freezing windy and cold ( I was about to say 'as hell' but that is a bit of an oxymoron). Saturday we drove back for a baptism in Lea Valley. Five people were baptised many of which Elder Cena and Elder Paramalingam had taught prior to their coming here. Lea Valley was my first area so it was good to see a baptism there. I ran into our old ward mission leader who gave me a hard time. He reminded me about how 'ripped' i was when i came out. then after poking me asked what had happened. :(
Well I need to start my weekly planning so i don't have time to tell you about our sushi dinner at Trafalgar Square or pontificate about my studies.
so we just had a crazy P-Day. I went back to my first area (Lea Valley) who lives in Sheldons dream house. So of course i have attached a few pictures but just to describe it. The kitchen is all lined up against one wall and it has a a bit of a warehouse look to it. Attached to the roof is a bunch of support beams and pulleys. Dangleing from this are ropes and silk curtain type things. So we spent a couple of hours dangleing from ropes and learning cool rope tricks. I had tons of fun but now I am dog tired!
k so with wendy the hyde park chapel is closed so if she goes there she will just find a couple of lazy construction workers who are two months behind schedule. so we meet at the Baden Powell house which is on cromwell road and queens gate road. now that ,fans nothing to ya'll but its a good reference point. I can basically meet her any time on Sunday at the Gloucester road station which is the closest rude stop to the hall. now the hyde park family ward meets at 9 in the morning ;/ bit early and the britannia singles ward meets at two. if she gets lost she can give either me or the hyde park elders a call and we can help her out (granted that we are not busy with investigators) there number is 07800614316 should be easy to find though. ok so it is hard for me to concentrate cause I'm emailing from an apple store in covent gardens. i have had a great week i think. its a bit foggy. looking aty the pictures that you sent me it took me forever the get my bearings and understand which part of the yard iwas looking at! those trees are so big! I'm afraid that i have given you a false image of how trunky i am. pray is the o ly day that i allow my self to think about home or to make any plans or preparations so naturally that is where my mind set is when i email. I'm am 100% submersed is the work on the other day (even when i get super soppy letters from meagan). i spent a good amount of time this week pondering the words yield and remember. each are powerful in conversion and testimony. we are told in mosiah that the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever unless he YEILDS to the enticings own the holy spirit and putteth off the natural man through the Atonment of Christ the Lord. so yield means to give way. or in other words to allow something to take the place that you would have otherwise occupied Now the natural man needs to yield to the holy spirit or allow the holy spirit to take the place that the natural man normally would. In my minds eye I see this dirty mangy cave man standing up and giving up the throne of decision to the Holy Spirit. We know from Moroni 7 the the devil and the spirit are continually inviting and enticing to follow them. moroni 7:19 teaches us how we put off the natural man and become a saint. i will paraphrase as good as my memory is. 'wherefore i beseech of you my brethren that ye search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil. and if ye will lay hold of every good thing and condemn it not, then ye certainly will be a child of Christ.' ok so two parts to it. 1 learning what is good 2 doing what is good. according too 2 nephi 28:32 the spirit will teach us line upon line precept upon precept. or i other words it will teach us the correct principles and then will 'show you all things what ye should do' more often then not it will teach us the correct principles as we read the scriptures and then it will teach us how to live them as we are walking through life. Can you see why it is so necessary i our progression to study the scriptures? can you see why it is so necessary for us in our lives to follow the guidance of the spirit day by day by day? I love the scriptures1 I can't wait until i have more time and ,ore energy to lose myself in them. and also a real world to apply the principles thatbi have learned over this time.
just a quick note about our trip. i have notice that you have planned on seeing like 20 different castles.... castles are great and everything but they are super expensive and get a bit boring for young active minds (i.e. Sheldon) Have you considered any back op plans incase he goes insane after the second castle?
Hey how was your week? mine was great, it has just been chalk full of 'you're going home comments' that are driving me up the wall. I think I'm in denial a bit because I want to work more now then I ever have. Super stressful week. So Elder Giboin was released and sent to Ilford to serve with Elder Newt Wilson. Pretty cool huh? Which by default leave me as the senior companion of the companionship. So that means that every desicion falls on my shoulders and if things go wrong I'm the one to answer. Well we had moves this week and I was just a confused ball of stress! President Patch gave me a B- for how smooth it went on the grounds that I told half of the mission to meet at the wrong station... oops. It all worked out in the end. A couple of weeks ago the mission had a REALLY bad week where every one was super unmotivated, depressed, and lazy. We were all scambling our brains trying to figure out how to help change that. Finally we decided to initiate a special Easter study. There was a devotional by Elder Bednar that Elder Giboin and I read and loved called 'The Character of Christ' so we emailed that to every missionary and invited them to read a gospel before Easter and reflect on it all. The last direction that we gave them was to email President Patch about it all and tell him how they enjoyed it. So on moves day he grabbed me and gave me an A+ for the study. He said the emails he was getting back from it were amazing and that it was having the exact effect that we wanted it to on the mission. So that made up for the dissappointing B-. We had the departing dinner that evening at the Patch's flat. President and Sister Patch have this leatherbond Preach My Gospel that they have every departing missionary underline their favorite line and sign just before they get home. So naturally every missionary thinks about it all the time reading through their PMG 'should I underline this line?' Well at the dinner to put another nail in my coffin President handed me the PMG and asked me to underline my line. That was really weird. If you are curious the line i underlined is 'Being cleansed from sin is being healed spiritually'. Principle One Lesson Three. Great so horrible news yesterday. In the middle of studying President called to tell me that Elder Brower is going home. I was heart broken. So I got to spend the day with him yesterday, we went around and visited Susie and June and Barret in Hayes to say goodbye to them one last time. To pour a little more salt in the wound Barret announced that he was going to be baptised but that he only wanted Elder Brower to do it, just before Elder Brower told him that he was about to go home tomorrow. This morning President came to our flat to take him to the airport. Poor guy. Since he came back out he and been dealing with depression and anxiety attacks. The worst part about it is that he will be going back to a judgemental Mormon communtiy that will see him as 'less valiant'. It is a shame that people pass judgement without understanding. On the flip side it was so rewarding to drive the Sister missionaries to the airport who had finished their missions. They had grown so much. (it is wierd to think that I was in one of their districts when they first came in an then i drove them to the airport when they finished). Missionaries have such a power about them when they go home. Well so it is offical I am in the last transfer of my mission. My head is spinning! This is the time that is okay encouraged to think about home and plans and marriage and BLAH I can't do it. Mum can I please just stay? I know that the prophets say that we need to just move on with our lives but can we make an exception? I finally feel like I understand what I'm doing out here and why and things are going so well! However I do like saying when ever someone asks me a really hard question telling them to ask me in a couple of months...
Hey I got an email from Joelyn Dobson? Super cool I'm so happy that Dalton is preparing to go on a mission! It is incredible how a good environement can really help someone. Hey Richie is coming home soon isn't he? That is crazy I feel like I am the last of my friends out, Ha I out lived them all!
Holy cow I just forgot to tell you we had another baptism on Monday! can you guess where he is from? I'll give you a hint they are a communist country. So Joe was found by Elder Hall (my companion who went to the SLCS mission with Brigg) Joe though religion was foolish and only believed in science. However he agreed to sit down and have a chat. At the end of the 'step in/sit down' lesson Joe prayed and he felt a powerful feeling of love. He passionately studied the gospel and hungered to learn about his relationship with God. Before meeting with us he could only study for a block of 1-2 hours before it became ineffective. now if he read the Book of Mormon he can sit down for 3-4 hours and study chemical engineering with out a break! He now comes teacing with us and has helped us set two more baptismal dates with people from China!
By the way when you all come would you like to go to a musical? I could get tickets pretty cheap early Thursday morning for Thurday evening then we could head down to the temple. They have about every musical avalible here. I went to the Lion King last week (another story in its self) and that absolutly incredible. you would love it! let me know!
Also the Tuesday before we head back we will be in London all day. now we could spend 7 pounds per person for a day pass on the public transportation OR we could spend 1 pound per person and rent bikes for the day. We have done that for the past couple of days and that is really really fun.
Well another week has gone before I was ready to start it. its been a bit of an intresting week. We had a zone leader counsel on Monday and we ended up staying in the office until 12:30 trying to prepare for it and do the key indicator report of the week. That was horrible.I have been reminded why missionaries are suppose to go to bed at 10:30. The meeting went well but the key indicator report meeting with President did not. It seemed like for conference every one thought that they could take a week off and not work.That was a bit scary. So we sat for a couple of hours and talked about it. After counseling for a while we decided to have a special mission study. So there is a great talk given by Elder Bednar about the character fo Chirst. We based the study around this talk and after we studied the talk each missionary was invited to read one of the gospels before Easter. Wow it has been absolutly amazing. Last year President invited me to do a special leadrship study which involved reading the book of mormon and highlighting and studying the leadership qualities of the different characters. I decided to do a similar thing with my Gospels read (so when i read the gospel I highlight and study insights to Christ character). It has been a wonderful and enlightening study. I have always been puzzled about how we develop charity. PMG and the Book of Mormon tell us to just pray for it. I've tried that and I didn't feel much of a difference. Elder Bednar gave me a deeper insight to developing charity. Said he;
'Let me suggest that you and I must be praying and yearning and striving and working to cultivate a Christlikecharacter if we hope to receive the spiritual gift ofcharity--the pure love of Christ. Charity is not a trait or characteristic we acquire exclusively through our own purposive persistence and determination. Indeed we must honor our covenants and live worthily and do all that we can do to qualify for the gift; but ultimately the gift of charity possesses us--we do not posses it (see Moroni 7:47). The Lord determines if and when we receive all spiritual gifts, but we must do all in our power to desire and yearn and invite and qualify for such gifts. As we increasinglyactin a manner congruent with thecharacter of Christ, then perhaps we are indicating to heaven in a most powerful manner our desire for the supernal spiritual gift of charity. And clearly we are being blessed with this marvelous gift as we increasingly reach outward when the natural man or woman in us would typically turn inward.'
I just love this counsel! It is funny to see the effect that this study has begun to have on me and my companions. Like for instance, after Elder Giboin read the talk he took the last orange from the fridge and sat down. He looked a it really funny like and sighed/goaned and turned to me and Elder Paramalingam and offered half of the orange to each of us. Although he really didn't want to he realized that the character of Christ would have thought about someont else before he thought about himself and he offered us his orange. It was a cool experience and we have had serveral others like it. I had a work over with a poor missionary who is fighting depression because he feels that he has recieved revelation that he needs to go home and marry his girlfriend. The poor lad went home for a time for medical reasons and found his girlfriend with someone else. Before he came back out they had patched things back up and were prepareing for their future. Well this and that happened and he came back out and now he feels that he is ignoreing counsel from God. He said that at conference a few talks made him feel that he should go home and others made him think that he should stay. The poor kid is in a proper state of confusion. (I'm glad i dont have to deal with his lot!). The experience taught me a valuable lesson. Proverbs 15 says 'The man may devise his plans, but the Lord directs His steps.' Yes it is absolutly important that we make plans and prepare and seek revelation as we do it, but always remember that the Lords way is higher then our ways and we will find ourselves somewhere we did not expect to be. The important thing to do at this time is be a good boy/girl remember and keep our covenants and lift where we stand. A missionary may find himself in a land he has never expected to be doing what he thought he would never do and all he has to do is what the Lord expects him and all will be well. a Young father may find himself in a new job and a difficult calling that he had not asked for but all he has to do is what the Lord expects him and all will be alright. Parents may find themselves wearing black on a cold rainy day in a graveyard, but all they have to do is look to the Lord and do what he expects and all with be right. I studied dependablilty earlier this week and I am so grateful that God is faithful. I'm so glad that He is perfect and will never let us down or leave us alone. If we can but hold out to the end, all will be well. 'All that is unfair about this life will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ' I think that is in PMG somewhere. I forgot where i was going with this. Well I hope and pray that this missionary will make the right choice what ever it is. Yesterday was a beautiful day and we went out street contacting in Hyde Park. We ran into to beautiful Chinese students (Paul and Clare) and they sat down with us and we taught them all about the Plan of Salvation. I love when some one understands the plan and it just clicks. In an instant when their minded are enlightened and the spirit teaches them what our human imperfections can not it always seems to be the same reaction. Their eyes get bight and wide, their mouth opens in amazement and they smile out of joy. Then the questions come and they trurly begin to hunger. Its glorious.
Me I'm doing fine. I won't lie at times I'm really tired and I'm understanding why all my companions who when home said what they said. I'm not done yet, I promise is will still work hard and do the best I can. I love it when you receive strength for the Lord and He carrys you when you stuggle. I love this work.
Elder B. Solomon II I'm so excited for you! write in a journal every day. Allow yourself to record your spirit and the feelings and excitement that you are experienceing. Remember that the Lord cares more about who you are becomeing then He does about what you are doing. Like wise record the most important things.