Monday, June 21, 2010

Be strong and of a good courage

OK, holy cow I forgot to tell everyone that we got to go tracing on our last Friday in the MTC. It was awesome and we met a boy named Adam that was prepared by the Lord! We taught him the first three lessons! We also gave him a Book of Mormon and got his info to send to the Manchester Mission... so anyhow, Wednesday was my first real day in the field! When we finally got to the mission home we got our stuff off the bus and sat in a conference room where we got briefed and guess what was sitting there for me! Letters from Taylor, Kassidee and Sister Thompson! I was so excited but everyone laughed at me cause I had to keep turning the page around cause they wrote in circles! I got dizzy and lost my place a couple of times (good laugh but that was cruel). So then after a brief interview with the President we got our dads (trainers)! My trainer is Elder Gallagher from California. He is on his last transfer and is also the district leader!

So Nancy will really appreciate this but my first area is Lea Valley in East London, which is the Hyde Park zone! We stay in a house (61 Mark Manor Ave, London e17 8hj also called the Mark Manor mansion) with the zone leaders! Before we got there, there was only the zone leaders, so basically we are reopening an area cause we have no investigators! We spent the next day street contacting people all day! We did the math and we ended walking about 21 miles! And yet Elder Gallagher still gets me up to go running in the morning! I Love it! This area is amazing! Only about one in ten people are white and one out of three white people speak English! Everyone is either African or Asian (middle eastern, they call them Asians in the UK). Most white people are from Eastern Europe so I have talked with a lot of Polaks. The ward is awesome. 90 percent of the ward is first generation Mormons and the only white people are the Elders, the Bishop, and the Elders quorum and Young Men’s president. Everyone else is foreign. Elder Gallagher was here for six months then got transferred to Dover and Essex for six months, and then back here for his last transfer. So we have been lookin’ up some of his old contacts, which is working out for us.

So today we had our first zone meeting and Elder Gallagher was asked to do some training, so we decided to do it together. He said just prepare something in personal study, and then we will exchange ideas. So I did. Well, this morning he said he had nothing, so I did the full 20 minutes training for our zone, which includes the AP's! [Assistant’s to the President] I was so nervous being the only greenie in the zone! But it went great!

We then went to Camden town and I got my cute little man bag (we don’t have backpacks in this mission). As a new missionary I get an extra half hour in the morning to do an Atonement study. It is great and I cherish this time everyday. I haven't really learned anything new but I took the time to get all my thoughts and understanding down on paper about the atonement and it has really been neat and I have really felt the Spirit tell me that what I know is true and really happened!

I love the work. I’m getting better and more confident with stopping strangers on the street and telling them about the church. Rejection is easy here; if they are African they just walk away, if they are British, they say, “Sorry I’m busy”, and if they are eastern European, they say they don’t speak English (which is probably true... I should learn Polish). But truth be told, I can’t wait to actually teach lessons. They say that for every 18 new investigators a missionary gets, they get one baptism, and that every area should have a baptism a month. I totally believe it and hope that I can just make it through the trail of faith that comes first! I found a ring on the ground that says “be strong and of a good courage”. I always keep it with me even though it doesn’t fit. I also found a musket ball! It was wedged between some cobblestones. I carry that too and always think about Joseph Smith's martyrdom when I see it.

Well, I love you all and love hearing from you. Don’t be offended, but I don’t miss anyone at home... except grandma. By the way, tell her I need a letter so I can get her address and write her back! Oh, thank you Jeremy, Maggie and Nana for the letters. Your reply is in the mail. Can someone get me the addresses for Stacy and Zach? I got emails from them but I can only reply to immediate family members. Brigg, Sheldon, I want letters! If letters are sent to the mission home I will only get them when I go there which will be once a week while I’m in Lea Valley but if I get transferred to Norwich (which is where Elder Brock Fultz is) then I will only get them whenever we have zone conference.

[For now, send letters to the mission home addressas listed on website]

Send my love to everyone I know!
Elder Solomon

Sorry, no pictures. I haven’t had time to take any, and I also don’t have a cord to hook the camera up to the computer! So we'll just have to get the dates off the pictures and then cross-reference them with my journal. Which I have been really faithful with! I’m up to 38 pages already!