Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cool Message From Ben


Hello Family,
 
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.
 
From Ben
 
BTW Ben and NAtalie came and visited me today. They are both really excited to me you all.
-- 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Old Contacts Renewed, cha-ching!


Holy cow what a week!
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.
 
Catch ya'll next week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crazy Fun P-Day


Hey,


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!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Life In London

hello ya'll

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?

-- 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A+


Hi,
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.
 
A bunch of Chinese people we had a BBQ with

Joe's baptism
Love y'all

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Christlike Character


Hey,
 
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 Christlike character if we hope to receive the spiritual gift of charity--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 increasingly act in a manner congruent with the character 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.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Family Rocks


Hey ya'll,
Thanks dad for the schedual. But I think that we should adjust a bit of it.
If your flight comes in Thursday morning then I can pick you up from the airport (thats a bit backwards?) and we can leave straight from there to the temple. Or you can come pick me up from the mission office and yes we could get a car from there. I think you could even have the rental company deliver the car to the office where i can keep it until you arrive.
 
Sunday 20th Basildon (stay the night or travel late at night)
Monday 21st Dover and Leeds Castle drive to London in the evening and give back the car.
Tuesady 22nd See the sites (visit with my friends :)
Wednesday 23rd Cry then leave 
FYI I have picked up a SATNAV so we don't really have to worry about getting lost. 
Will we be staying at the Temple accomindation Thursday and Friday night? 

Ok so I left realy quick to hit the shops while they were still open. A couple of weeks ago I walked through my shoes, and my white shirts are no longer white. Kinda an off white gray. Anyhow I went to the local TK MAXX (its like Ross) and it turns out that my debit card expired last month so now I'm broke on both accounts..... SO yea I lied mum when I told you that I didn't need anything.
 
 
 


ok back to my story....
 
On Sunday I told mum about Bella, Chinese student with a baptism date for the 19/04. She is super solid and actually helps us fellowship other investigators. She has pushed back her baptism date because she wanted to be baptised in the new building (this is me rolling my eyes). So Tuesday Elder Giboin and Gieunpaolo (our Elders quromm pres. also called JP) taught her at the office couples flat. One that way back JP asked Bella when she was going to be baptised. He didn't like the answer. For the next 2.5 hours they sat in the office resolving concerns. at the end they asked her to pray to know if she should be baptised 2 days later. She did and she got an answer that it was right. Absolutly crazy!!! The baptism service was incredible. Daisy ( baptised 3 weeks ago) gave a talk which filled the whole chapel with the spirit. Most of us just sat there with our jaw wide open and tongues hanging out. She bore an powerful testimony of the Saviour and of God's love for us. The ordinance was surrounded by a feeling of reverence. A very solemen experience. Afterwards i spoke with Bella and she said that all her past sins (which made her feel unworthy to be baptised) past through her mind and left. She was so happy that she could pass them onto the Saviour and leave them in the past. Serveral people bore their testimonies and one stood up and said that after 11 years in the church she never felt like she had a proper testimony, even after a mission, but that night while watching the baptism she felt it all reafirmed to her and she knew that it was true. So many people were touched. I was standing by when my dear friend Richard Sheppard asked Bella 'so now do you feel right that you were baptised today?' With tears in her eyes she smiled and said yes. It was a touching experience.

We spent the weekend traveling up to Norwich. Now it is only a three hours drive but I was going crazy! Prior to that I hadn't been in a car for more then 1.5 hours. I wanted to jump out and just walk. So we traveled back this morning after another chinese student baptism up in Norwich ward. I took the oppurtunity to catch up with my letter writing. It was probably a waste of time my handwriting was so bad that it is probably illegible. At one point Elder Giboin looked over and asked 'are you writing in short hand?' Oh well.

Hey funny story! last Sunday Elder Hales (former AP now taining Elder Gboins friend) was out street contacting. This really angry guy came up to Elder Irving and started yelling at him. Elder Hales came over.  Then out of no where this guy punched Elder Irving right in the face! Then he turned on Elder Hales. Lucky for him Elder Hales has some matrix moves and dodged the punches, by this time Elder Irving remembered which way was up and came back and punch the angry guy right back in the jaw. Just so happened that this happened right infront of a police station and an off duty cop. Well the cop saw the whole thing and promptly removed the angry guy into the jail cell. So that is the story that we have been telling to each other over and over and over again, as we do.

Studies have been going well. I have begun reading the Bible for the first time (sad huh?). Everytime previous I have not been able to understand what it was saying. But now i think it is because i understand the principles of the gospel better.  I understand what Paul is saying behind all of his crazy words. I've learned also just to completely ignore the puncuation. It just throws everything off.

Well I love you all as ever!

Elder Brighton Solomon
 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shalom Shalom


Hello 
You will never guess what I did this morning! In the Hyde Park ward (central Londons family ward) there is a recent convert named Baruch who is a Jew from Jerusalem. So a few years ago he was baptised, disowned, yada yada, now he lives in London and spends all his time helping out missionaries. Any how we meet up with him this morning and he took us to a Jewish Sabbath Day service. It was incredible! I was a bit long for my likeing (3:30 hours) but super intresting. If i could compare it to anything is would be a happy Catholic mass. The only problem was that is was all in Hebrew so I had no idea what was going on. In the Synagoges they view all visitors as angels so we got the seats of honor. (front ro right next to the Holy of Holies) Now supposibly King David was a red head so they esspecially liked Elder Giboin. Because Baruch speaks Hebrew he kept telling us whenever someone would gossip about him. Baruch is a literal decendent of King David so the who time he had to be super secretive about his identity or else he would have had to lead the whole service. I think that the most intresting part of the service was the Torah that they gave us to follow along with their reading. Of course it had the English translation (almost word for word from the Bible), and had commentary and explainations of Hebrew meanings given by various Rabbi. It shed alot of light on different things that I previously didn't understand. I'm sure the temple will make more sense now. I'm going to try to get one for further study. 

The local Rabbi gave a short like five mintues talk about a Hebrew word (I dont remember what it was) that meant 'in the midst of'. H read several different references like the children of Isreal going through the 'Reed Sea' (Red Sea is an Arabic translation), when Moses entered the cloud of the glory of the Lord on mt. Sinai and when Abraham went to the people of his city. Then he expounded the meaning of 'in the midst of'. For instance the children of Isreal did not walk through the Sea by walking in the water but the water rose up like walls on either side. So he likened it to us that we are to be in the midst of the world but not in it. Going through it but not getting wet. I thought that that was cool. 

So earlier this week I had a terrible headache that was keeping me up throught the night and rendering me nearly mentally incapable of doing anything. I got a blessing and as expected the head ache was gone, however in the blessing my companion told me that it was time to start planning and thinking about what will happen after May finishes. Something I have been procrastinating and putting off and denying. Well since then it seems like whenever my attention is not demanded by the work (ie late at night/early mornings) my mind has been pre-occupied with the subject, and possible oppurtunites keep presenting themselves. It is intresting how the Lord works and what impressions I have been receiveing. Like for instance, I have built myself into a shadow of who the Lord wants me to be but when I go home this will be the time that this character will be fortified. Therefore the Lord wants me to place myself in a position and environment where it can best be fortified. I have felt that I need to set my education and eventual career goals much higher then I previously thought. ( funny side note, I also felt 'don't worry about it right now,  marriage will happen in its own time). Ok anyways the point of the matter is that it is crazy that I'm recieving promptings to prepare to go home. I talked with President and he told me that it would be a good idea for me to research study courses!
 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hickory, Dickory Dock, The Mouse Ran up the Clock


Mum,
You began you're last e-mail assumeing that I had forgotten how to kiss, yes I have been out of practice but I'm such a natural it won't be a problem. Sheldon, well done with your meet bro! I hope you don't have to many problems with epidermis. That's important, keep it healthy. So I would tell you about my week but I've no idea where it has gone, kinda ran away from me before I was ready to start.
Our Monday meeting with President Patch went quite well. They are always insightful and uplifting. I feel really blessed that we get to go to his flat for these meetings rather then in his office. His flat is just like a temple. Super clean, exquisite yet modest and Spirit filled. I really miss the temple, I can't wait to go back. I have learned so much i can't wait to just go and ponder on what I have learned and see what the Lord thinks about it. I'm happy to report that I'm enjoying my mission more then ever. With how the schedual is we don't have any big meetings to prepare for or special reports to do so we have alot of time to work. As it goes we get to go on plenty of companionship exchanges. These are always a highlight for me. Every single missionary who serves the Lord is an exceptional person. Everytime  you come in contact with them is a oppurtunity to experience their greatness. Early this week I went on a companionship exchange with Elder Hinckley. What a great guy. He is currently training an Itallian missionary Elder Rossetti. They are haveing a wonderful time together and doing good work. The next day I was with Elder Barber (Ireland) and Elder Hristov (Bulgaria). Then I finished off the week with Elder Krebs in Watford. It is so excited to see how the Lord is working in their lives and touching there hearts. I'm so grateful that the Lord sends 19 year old boys to serve missions. There is no better investment of time. Let me repeat. THERE IS NO GREATER INVESTMENT OF TIME, then to serve a mission for the Lord. I have seen boys who grew up as drug dealers, womenizars, and partyers be touched by the spirit, and then come on a mission. Then once they got here an amazing transformation takes place. Living in an environment of the Spirit opens their eyes to a whole new dimension of things. They are stretched beyond their limits. They are force to the very limit of their strengths and almost compelled to cry to the Lord 'Help me Lord because without thee I will fail!' And the crazy part of it all is that they are not stuggleing for themselves, they struggle and toil completely for others. Whenever missionarys get frustrated it is because they cannot see that their efforts are helping someone. It is absolutly amazing. Of course I'm taking this from a missionaries view but it is the same with most callings in the Church. A bishop anguishing for those who disqualify for a temple recommend, an Elders quormm president straining to increase hometeaching, a hometeacher forgoing activites and his own to-do list to visit a member. Serveing the Lord is the greatest way to spend time.
While in the middle of writing that last paragraph President and Sister Patch just walked into the office returning from a conference in Germany. Their very presence emminates the Spirit. I really hope to be like that, that when I walk in the room people feel comfortable but feel a desire to improve themselves. They shared some really good stories. Randomly at the conference the mission President for the Finland Mission asked President Patch if he had any missionaries that spoke Myanmar. Just so happens that we have a Sister missionary from Myanmar. So turns out that a 17 year old was baptised in Finland who has no idea what he is doing but wants to serve a mission. Well this boy has 30 other Myanmar FAMILIES that also want to be taught and the Mission president has no idea what to do. He asked if he could use Sister Lwin to teach them over Skype. President Patch said he would probably just let them borrow her. How cool is that?! Also another cool story. In this months Ensign there is a story of a missionary from Armenia who went through the temple in Preston while at the MTC and couldn't spea English. This missionary served in our mission about six months ago. He was and Assitant around the time I moved to Basildon. It is just amazing to see how the Lord works and organizes things for you.
We have an investigator from the Kingdom of Brunei (little country in Maylasia) who we have been teaching for a couple of weeks. Early last week we taught her about baptism. It was a powerful lesson. We read Mosiah 18 and asked her 'what have you against being baptised?' she answered nothing, then came the baptism invitation. She  felt that a few times in her life she was like a trapez artist who got to the top of the swing and when it was time to let go didn't and went swinging back. So she explained that we was at this point again where she was at a cross roads. She felt that it was right but had to much going againt it. So we reschedualed to see her. That weekend she got bad news from home, and we lost contact. Late Monday evening I was standing in a door way one the phone as she walked past. I hung up the phone and stopped her (scaring her in the process...oops) and set up an appointment. the next day Elder Giboin taught her and at the begining of the lesson she told him,
'I have prayed about baptim and I feel that I have gotten an answer.'
'....And'
'I know it is the right thing to do. I'm going to go ahead with it. Even though I now that it will change my life and my family will be opposed I have this feeling that everything is going to be OK.'
How great is that! I was so excited. I love how as you serve a mission you heart expands and envelops so many complete strangers. These wonderful people that you only share limited time with will never be forgotten and become so dear to your heart. The Spirit has that effect. It unifies and builds confidence. It is how we feel Gods love, and Gods love is the greatest thing we will ever feel in this life. It is the strongest adhesive you can use to bind and hold a relationship together. The Patch's are a wonderful example of this. It seems like every time the spirit is manifest in their presence Sister Patch will reach over and grab Presidents hand. I think that the Lord wants it that way.
Any how enough of my waffleing on.
I love you all,


Elder Brighton Solomon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tick Tock Tick Tock


Daisy's baptism


Us and Bella

Wow what a busy week!
Monday morning started off a bit crazy. Of course we had to do our weekly call-ins which took ages and was especially electric because everyone was anticipating moves call and any kind of hints about what would happen. I had a little bit of fun dropping invalid hints and suggestions. As soon as we were done preparing the report we headed off to Presidents flat. He sat us down we went very quickly over the missions week then he invited us to his study office, to look at the moves board. That was really cool to sit down and listen to him explain about how he was inspired to make this and that move. Elder Hales was released as an assistant and is opening a new area and training. It was a bit expected but really exciting. We had to prepare all of the travel information which was a headache and then we had to prepare for the new missionaries coming in. To say the least we spent alot of time in the office. We had nine new missionaries coming in so we had to open three new areas across the mission.

Oh by the way have i mentioned that Elder Brower is coming back? I'm so excited to pick him up this week. anyways we had a great time orientating them. It was really motivating to spend time around these missionaries full of faith and scared to death. They had such a spirit of energy. Elder Irving (one of the new missionaries) played in Elder Giboins band two years ago and Elder Hales is now training him. It was cool to see them all become immediate friends. Elder Sridar Paramalingam from Switzerland has been assigned as the new assistant to President Patch. He has a great reputation of diligence, creativity and hard work. He definatly lives up to that reputation. He is a great man and I really look forward to learning from him. 

We spent this week working really hard and prepareing for the transfers. Our investigators are all doing really great. Bella has decided that she wants to be baptised as soon as the other building opens..... and we have a handful of other people prepareing. Daisy was baptised on Monday which also happened to be her birthday. It was a powerful service. We had two Chinese speak the first in Manderhin and the second in English. After the ordinance Daisy bore a powerul testimony. She made a firm promise to all present that she would live up to and keep the promise that she had just made with God. She is going to be a great strength to the ward. Because our chapel is closed we had to go across the river to the Centre for the YSA for the baptism. It is in a building for a ward in the London South mission. I saw my old MTC companion. That was super weird. He has grown so much be hadn't seem to change much. It was good to see that he had accomplished so much. 

We had zone leader council this morning. That was great. President Patch talked about a compass and how reliable it is. then of course came the comparison that we are like compasses to the people we teach. He also shared with us his definition of 'expedient' which is 'urgently necessary'. He then lead us on a scripture chase which talked about the expediency of the atonement and the expediency of teaching the plan and principles of salvation. The he read Moroni 7:33 'And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.' Powerful. What a great teaching, through faith in Christ we can have power to do His will. Kinda makes me want to not waste effort in something that is not his will. It will just fail. It would be so much better to just learn His will and recieve power to do it according to our faith.
 
I have never been better or happier then I am now. Thank you for all your support and prayers. I hope this letter finds you all happy and well. 

Love,

Elder Brighton Solomon

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zone Conference X3

What a week! Sunday was great, church went well. Monday was crazy busy trying to get everything done and sorted. We had to do all the reports and then prepared everything for zone conference. Because the Hyde Park Chapel is cloesd for renevation we had to have our zone conferences at three different chapel which adds to the preparation. The night before our zone conference in Wembley, the Elders locked themselves out of the flat and we almost didn't have access to the chapel. Luckily the portly English lad and the lanky Sovenian were able to climb a wall and get in on the upper story. This zone conference was a memorable one. It was my last! My heart dropped straight to the floor when people I was in the MTC with began sharing their 'departing' testimony. Well after hearing zone conference x3 I can now basically quote what was shared. I think ya'll would find that boring so i wont bother you.

Our investigators are doing amazing. Daisy got back from China this week. She had a great time there. She said that living the commandements in China. she completed the Atonement study in PMG (that ususally takes about 12 weeks to do she did it in 1 week). She does alot of blogging and one of her blog entries she shared with us  about love. She talked about how it is wierd that we use the same word to describe how we feel about a sports team or a movie as we do describeing how we feel about our parents or a spouse. Then she testified powerfully about how God's love surpasses all understanding and how we can not accurately compare it to any thing. It was amazing. After she read it to us we all kinda stood their speechless for about five mintues. Every time some one would try to say something it would just kinda die in their mouth. 

We have a few other investigators who are also getting ready for baptism. One is Bella (also from China). Last Sunday we taught her all about polygamy... She asked. So now she is trying to hold onto that as an excuse not to go forward. She also fears that if she joins the church her social life will be seriously limited. She is right on that in England and esspecially in China. Despite all these concerns she is still full of faith and keeping all of her committments. She is crazy every lesson with her is like pulling teeth. She attacks the doctrine at every possible angle and after an hour of close to battling we invite her to do something, ie. live the law of chasity and she says 'ya no problem- i already believe and live it.'  Its crazy. Well transfers are next week. Elder Hales has been here for six months now so we are all pretty convinced that he would be leaving. I'm excited to see who the 'new guy' is going to be. Mostly because I don't want to be the 'new guy' any more. I thought that being so close to President I would get a bit more insights as to what was going to happen. Turns out all the assistants were not lieing when they said they didn't know what was going to happen. 

Well I hope all is well with you all. Dad hang in there. Sheldon give it all you got. Mom thank you for being a great example. Elder Hales and I were just talking today about how gateful we are for our mothers. Particularly how gratefull we are they you would cook dinner for us. We now somewhat can appriceate how much effort it takes to make a good meal.
 
Elder Solomon. I'm so happy that you ran into Elder Hall! He is one of the coolest missionaries I know. We had such a great time with him. Ask him sometime about Chop Stix and chili oil. Hahah poor lad....
 
Good NEWS! Elder Brower, the missionary that I trained, had to go back to the states for almost 4 months for a surgery. Anyways he is comeing back!!! he was suppose to arrive yesterday but he tore a bunch of ligement is his hand playing basketball one last time this week. So now he will be comeing in a couple of week. I'm Still super excited for him.
 
Love ya'll

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hey,
 
Had a cool experience this morning. I was is Basildon yesterday... story for later, we switched back this morning. We dropped off you stuff at the flat and then were going to head to the office to email. On the way we ran into a group of students from Boston University on their way to Hyde Park to play some football. We invited ourselves, changed and joined them. It was so good to throw around the ole pig skin. Very first play, defense picked it off. Second play offense touchdown. i felt really cool. As we were playing with this group of Americans I remember/realized how nice and friendly Americans are. Everyone seemed to be generally happy, positive and complementary. A stark difference to the sarcastic cold shoulders that I have gotten use to and even grown to love. It only got a bit awkward (for me at least) when one of the girls caught the ball and it was just me between her and the endzone..... I timed it perfect and touched her billowing shirt as she passed. Dodged the bullet and saved the day.
 
Any how business items. I would like to spend the day on Sunday in Basildon ( maybe Saturday also) Lizete wants to feed you and I'm sure Bishop Nicholls would as well. One day in Hayes. Dover would be nice to visit for half a day. I would also LOVE to visit the temple and go to family history sites in Cornwall. I have seen all the sights in London (more or less) Ya'll can decide on what you want to see there. Let me know so that I can serve as a tour guide (might need some preparation). I'm so excited for yous to come!
 
Ok we had a great week. We had our interviews with President Patch. They were speed interviews (5-10mins). This came from the mission dept. supposibly they want missionaries to be more self sufficent. Also they cut the number of interviews and Zone Conferences from 17 in a mission to 7-8. anyhow I have found that with President Patch you can make interviews really long if you become the interviewer and ask him good questions. We had a great chat about haveing a change of heart. I learned so much. He is so wise. He is one of those people that when you are around him you just want to be better, even if he doesn't say anything. I want to be like that. 
 
Events this week..... I spent some time in Whitechapel area with Elder Alarcon (from Mexico City) Had a great time, he would make the perfect little brother. Whitechapel is one of the roughest area in London. Although guns are outlawed over here we heard a couple of gun shots at night. At one point we were walking through a subway (pedestrian underpass) and I notices a dried puddle of blood. a few steps latter I saw another one then splatter marks all over the wall next to it...... I was glad that the sun was up and I could get out of there quick. He made me some nice quesadillas, proper Mexican style. (not really we only had sandwich ham, white cheddar cheese, and chinese sweet chilli sauce.) I had some really cool experiences when I went back to Basildon for an exchange. I was there with my replacement (Elder Bierberg from Swenden) On the train ride there I kinda dosed off and this place I went to once flashed into my mind. I was 100% awake and I knew we had to visit it. I then asked 'which house number'. I looked out the window and saw a sign that said 12 and felt really good about it. I thought about it a bit more and realised I didn't know the street name or how to get there. Then the thought came, 'when you look at the map you will know. So we spent the next couple of hours in town centre (put that story on hold). While there we set up 4 potential appointments. which is usually what you can do in about 20-23 hours of finding. With a half hour left to go we said a prayer and asked the Lord to help us find one more person. After the prayer the very next person that we talked to was intrested! How cool is that. Then we saw a Lizete and Geoff (who are doing great) finally we had some time. I told Elder Beirberg about my train revelation. He agreed that we should go. So not knowing where to go I looked at a map. Then I found it Charter House. It was like it was written in red ink it stood out so much to me. Long story short we went by and contacted him. He was cool and wanted us to come by some other time.
 
I know that the Lord directs our paths and was we follow them things work out for the best "Man's going are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?' Proverbs 20:24
 
 Love you all
 
Can't believe I'm 21 feakin years old
 

Elder Brighton Solomon
England London Mission 
64-68 Princes Gate
Exhibition Road
London 
SW7 2PA

07800614419

Saturday, February 11, 2012

WOW: speechless

Ok right now I'll have to take a few moments to process  the news I have received. OK first Sister Larson passed away? That's so sad. What a wonderful women. She had an air about her that whenever I was near her I felt like I was standing in a holy place. Paige is engaged?! Going to be married in five weeks? Either that is a super quick engagement or you are just doing really bad at updating me.... Aunt Michelle is pregnant?....   It is a good thing that I have not taken my shoes off yet or else that would have hurt pretty bad when my jaw hit them. I'm just speechless.
 
Brigg! Hey so this is a bit selfish but i hope that you get reassigned to the SLCS Mission and get to serve around Elder Hall. Man he is great guy. I don't know how many times i have heard stories of visa waiters that when the choose to get the most out of it, see some amazing miracles in their temporary mission. I can't wait to see where you will be going.
 
Sheldon with the Mountain View hotties huh? Well let me give you a bit of advice. Listen to whatever dad says about them... He will most likely be right. He was with me at least.
 
So lets get down to the nitty gritty. I had a great week. Its kinda been all over the place. I went on three work overs and was out of London two days in a row. Also I got to spend some time with the oldest elders in the mission. Elder Boysyuk from Cezch Republic and Elder Klobcic from Slovenia. They are 27 and 26 respectively. These Eastern European Saints are studs. I could not imagine growing up in those conditions with such little (if any) outside support.
 
Since I have been on my mission I have become fascinated with psychology and Nero-science. Seems like my interest is captivated whenever it is talked about or explained. On a work over Elder Giboin had a dinner appointment with a hypo-therapist. My days he had some interesting stuff to share. I learned what dream are (at times). OK so as humans often times (most of the time) we suppress emotions and thoughts. These kinda get stored into the subconscious. 'push it to the back of my mind' type things. So dreams are a way for the subconscious to create an imaginative reality where these suppressed emotions will be able to be released. This made so much sense to me as I reflected back on dreams that I have had this week and also experiences that others had shared with me. Like for instance some one I once taught who had bad health because they had a reoccurring dream. This dream would reenact a horrible memory from their childhood. This caused er to only get about 2-3 hours of sleep every night and she was terrified to go to sleep. I was the first person that she felt she could trust to talk about so for nearly 25 years she had suppressed this emotion/memory until it consumed her subconscious. I can see now that the gospel will have a profound influence on her life. It is and will teach her how to find healing through the Saviour. Kind of a testimony to me that we can try to do it all our self but when it really comes down to it we are helpless with out Jesus Christ. OK there was another point that I wanted to make with this..... Oh I got it
 
 
I was thinking that in the end it maybe isn't best to suppress these thoughts or emotions. Rather we should find a way to express or redirect them. Like for instance an impatience person can change from passive frustration to active patience. Diligently working towards the thing they are waiting for. Or a mother who has lost a child, rather then becoming depressed and reclusive cursing God an wishing to die, can get out and express her love for her child by service and helping others. Expressing the pain of the ordeal and being able to emphasize with others. Grant this will not always work. Where ever the is to be true spiritual growth and healing the Saviours is always needed. So this lead me to think about sin. This is where I am now. I have learned good and evil. I have a pretty darn good understanding of what is sin and what it's consequences are. Because of this knowledge (and after many struggles) I have developed self control. Control to the point where when tempted I am able to suppress the desire to sin and choose to walk away. However this is not good enough for me. The time that is spent in that moment to choose, the time where the angel and devil play lawyer and jury is time wasted. The longer we spend in that moment the harder it is to escape. The greater our desire to sin  the harder it is to walk away. So know these points I don't want to suppress the desire to sin and walk away. I just simply don't want to have the desire to sin. I want to be like Nephi and shake at the very appearence of evil. I want to look at sin with Abhorance like the High Priest of Alma. I want to have no desire to do evil like the people of King Benjamin. Like King Lamoni's faithful father, my prayer is that i can have 'this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast'. More then ever this has been one othe strongest goals/desires in my life. But how is it done?! I know that it comes from being born again. Check! Done! I was baptised. I have recieved that Holy Ghost. Time and Time and Time again.  but has this been enough? Have I been 'Spiritually born of God?' Have i received His image in my countenance? Have i experienced this mighty change of heat? I feel that the Lord is happy with what I'm doing and what I have done on my mission, but I seek for deeper conversion. I don't want to be the missionary that was amazing on his mission and then slipped back into the same old mundane carnal person i was two years ago. Boyd K. Packer said that on our mission is when we are to build our strength and faith so that when we go home to the same environment we were in we can face and conquer our Goliths from the past. Struggles that are just waiting impatiently for our return. Am I sufficently strengthened? Am I 'on par' to be the person the Lord wants me to be in four months? What more do I need to be doing?
 
I guess this isn't really a conversation i need to be having with you, but with my Father in Heaven. Hey it was good insight to how I'm feeling.
 
 
Neat experience this week. We have an investigator who is struggleing a bit at the moment for several different reasons. Most of which we didn't know about. I was studying for her (Bella) yesterday morning. Throughout my study Alma 34 kept poping into my head and i kept telling my self, Alma 34 has nothing to do with what you are teaching don't waste your time. finally with five mintues to go I turned to it. As soon as the page fell open I felt that I should quickly scan the page for the words 'Holy Ghost'. Luckily they are capitlized so that made it a bit easier. As was scanning for the verse I thought to myself 'you need to share this with Bella'. Then I found verse 28 'That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that you recieve it, and take upon you the name of Christ...'
Powerful. Bold. Perfectly tailored to her needs. The delivery was great. We had a super inspired lesson (Spiritually Draining but good). Bella is doing great now and we have more to work with. I hope that the Lord will continue to use me to work and speak miracles in Christ name.
 
I know that following the promptings of the Spirit leds us in paths of Righteousnes. I know that spiritual healing comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
 
Love,
 
Elder Solomon
 
 
P.S. Mum have you accepted Natalie Harrisons friend request on facebook? She has questions for you and she could potentially be a great source for advice while planning a trip to come to the UK.
 
 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Letter

Hey for my spiritual thought for the week i thought i would send you a letter i typed our to send to a recent convert
 
Lazy?
Efficient?
 
You choose.

Dear Lizete,
Hey I had a few extra minutes in the office today so I thought that I would write you a quick letter.  I am doing very well.  As you know I am serving in central London in a ward that is strictly young single adults. It is so much fun! (Not to say that serving in your ward was not fun for me). I have kind of been out of the social loop for a while. I have spent most of my time with people that are a bit older than me and I have seemingly forgotten how to interact with people my own age. Naturally it has been a bit awkward adjusting to the new area and interacting with the YSA but now I’m getting the hang of it.  We live in South Kensington just a ten minute walk from the Natural History Museum. Imperial College is also really close to us. We spend most of our time walking around the campus and talking to the students. Imperial College is a very famous college, one of the top five in the world, so they have some of the most brilliant students in the world. They seem to come from all over the world. I have meet people from America to Iraq, China to Norway.  We have very interesting conversations; I have learned a lot of great things form these smart people. It is sad that many of them believe that God cannot exist because science does not give supporting evidence.  I am often reminded of the Lords counsel when he says ‘But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.’ It seems like these students who have no religious beliefs but have tons of brains live a bit of a hollow life. However I have seen how on the flip side having a relationship with God makes life all the more fulfilling.  The other day we stopped a young student from China who did not believe in God but ‘believed in science’ (as if there was some kind of contradiction). We took a few moments with him to discuss how religion and science co-exist. He felt the Spirit testify of truth. He accepted our invitation to pray. We are now teaching Joe on a regular basis and each time I see him his faith is growing in leaps and bounds! Just as yours did as I taught you. Now he is preparing to be baptized. Last time I saw him he testified that if we follow what God tells us we will be happy, and safe. I want to echo Joe’s testimony. I know that as we follow the teachings of God as found in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and as given by modern day prophets, we will be safe, safe from debilitating doubt, safe from crippling sin, and safe from the ever enticing lures of temptation.  I know that Christ gives us the grace that we need to succeed. I know that through his Atonement we all can be cleansed of our sins and resurrected. I know that families can be together forever and I know that God loves us.
May our Father in Heaven watch over you.
May you ever be diligent in honoring your baptismal covenants.
Love,
Elder Solomon

Weird?

Hello Family,
 
What an wonderful E-mail. A week later I hope that you all are recovered from London's Run. I am really sad that I was not able to be there for it. I have enjoyed so much being involved with the Run and the organization. It was such a great learning experience for me. You can add my name to the list of people truly touched by the event.
 
Speaking of running I have a funny/weird story to tell ya'll. Last preperation day we went and played football and I took off my shoes and ran around in the mud bare foot. Remember that story? Well it is not over. I completly and thoughroughly enjoyed being so free. For me it was great to feel the mud squeezing through my toes and sticking to my feet. Their is something spritual (for me) about it all. (don't think I'm wierd I promise I'm not going to start danceing in the woods nacked). Anyways the impact of this experience have not been positive. So heath-wise I'm great but psycologically I'm not. This week we had to do a ton of reports in the office. I've spend tons of time infront of this stupid computer that I'm going to get square eyes. It has been really hard for me to get a hold of it all. So I've began haveing mild attacks of frustration and anxiety. I don't know where it comes from but it starts with my feet and kinda goes throughout my body. As soon as I take off my shoes it leaves. As soon as I put them back on it comes back! I swear! Just like my twitching finger! So now whenever I am in the office I just kick off my shoes and whenever I leave the office I grit my teeth, make and ugly face and put them back on.
 
One of my previous companions (Elder Sheppard) is in our ward and we take him out teaching all the time. What a great person. It is so crazy that the friendship you build on your mission are so very strong. We had a Zone Leader Council today with plenty of good experiences. President Patch is amazing, totally inspired. Anyhow we gave a training about how unity and good examples as leaders will help lift the mission. I don't remember what point I was makeing and I shared a comment dad has shared with me a lot. I explained about QCHS never getting past the quarter finals  then said 'If the fish stinks look at the head'. My point was misunderstood and President asked from behind us. 'do you want me to leave for this one?'... so embarrasing.
 
Hey Its snowing right now! first time this year... bit late huh?
 
WEll have a good week!
-- 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I changed my mind.

Hey i had a good think about it. I want you all to come pick me up. Remember making the plans that my visa expires on the 28th i think? 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My mind is blank... really?

Hello family,
 
My three companions (# 14, 15, 16) Elder Hales, Elder Hall, Elder Giboin (counterclockwise from me)

I've been starring at the monitor for five minutes trying to think about what to write and nothing is coming. Elder Jacob left me with a great quote, he said 'what a missionary chooses to think about when he doesn't have to think is indicative of his dedication.' Today is P-day so i don't really have to think as much as usual and it seems like whenever I don't have to think my mind is just blank. What does that say about my dedication? ...At least I'm not distracted. This morning we drove up to St. Albans to pick up my companions (from a work over) and to play football. This morning it was stupid degrees cold and i forgot to bring a sweater so i was freezing my face off. Well we got to playing and it warmed up right quick (well i did at least). Then my competitive side kicked in. In England there is no such thing as a dry football pitch (soccer field), that was the case this morning. I was playing in a pair of canvas shoes (not football cleats) and i was slipping all over the place. It was basically playing mud football. Then i had a brilliant idea. I've played mud football before and i was really good at it because of my exceeding great skill at running bare foot. Well I took off my shoes, everyone said i was crazy then the game proceeded. It was great i didn't fall (to many times) after that! I'm tired now.
 
This week was a bit strenuous. We went on three work over with six different missionaries. Since we are in a trio we send two Assistants to the area then one stays in this area with two missionaries from the other areas. Now remember I just got here. I hardly know what is going on, mostly I'm just following the footsteps of my giant companions. Well for two of those work overs I stayed in Britannia. (this is me shooting myself in the head). Now on top of that we schedule work overs with all the struggling companionship's. (which normally involve one struggling missionary). Well on both work-overs I got two struggling missionaries. I'm not complaining now we had a great time it was just at bit stressful. 
 
By the time I go home I will be an expert at Heathrow Airport. Last week we took a sister there who had finished her mission. This week it was a different story. We have a missionary who developed a serious problem. The amazing NHS told him that it was cancerous and it was probably a tumor. Bit of scary news. His parents were notified and Travel arrangements made. Well after a few more test it was diagnosed as a blood clot in his thigh. Still pretty crazy. So they put him on blood thinning medication and he stayed at our flat for a week. Meaning that we had 7 missionaries in a 4 person flat. Absolutely manic. Well Thursday morning, while the real assistants were in different areas, I had to take him to Heathrow Airport. It was one of the most depressing things I've had to do on my mission. The only thing I could compare it to was when i had to drive people home after they got let go at work. But its more intense. He is from Idaho, of course a strong Mormon community. I just remembered over and over again hearing that having a missionary come home early, for medical reasons or not, is almost as tragic as having a death in the family.
 
We will be going to Heathrow again tomorrow. Elder Gregory Hall from Yorkshire has been serving in this mission for 4 months while he has been waiting for his visa to go to the Salt Lake City South Mission. He has really become a fantastic missionary. I was teaching with him yesterday and wow i was just really impressed. Its hard to expect any different results since he has served with 3 zone leaders, 3 assistants and one district leader, in his short time here. The cool thing is that he is going to be in the MTC (with Brigg) and will be miles ahead of everyone else. Its going to be crazy for him to see the difference between missions.
 
I think that the worst part about being an Assistant is that I don't really get to focus much on my studies, it is putting a bit of a damper on things. Studying the scriptures is so essential to spiritual health. I guess I'll just have to find time during the day to squeeze in my studies. We had a great meeting with President Patch on Monday for the weekly key indicator. He shared a spiritual insight that he had received while meeting with the Area Presidency. He read Helamen 3:23-25 which talks about how thousands were baptised then a verse later how 10,000's were baptised and he attributed that to member (namely recent convert) referrals. With this inspiration he collected his favorite 40 baptise stories from the last year and has asked us that each time we meet with a ward leader that we share one of the miracle stories. I'm going to attach the file. Have a read through. All of them are true, most are accurate :)
 
 
p.s. I'll come home and take you to England another time :) Hold me to it!
-- 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New in Britannia, South Kennsington

St. Paul's Cathederal


Elder Hales and Elder Giboin in the office

Ok so one Tuesday I forgot to tell you that my Preparation days are now on Saturday so that is when you'll be getting my emails from now on. so serving in a quad is really cool we get tons of work done.... its like having two companionship's cool huh? My companions are all really great guys, I don't think I have laughed this much my whole mission! I really hope that they can rub off on my and I can be funny and relaxed again. anyone that played football with me will understand that when i take something seriously I don't do much laughing. I fear I'm kinda like that again. With transfers it was a bit odd. My body was displaying all the symptoms of a nervous wreck but I felt super calm. I didn't slept for more the three hours for three or so nights because I was just thinking and listening to elder giboins snoring. The church is true. I got a blessing from Elder Hall and Elder Hales and now my body feels great and I'm sleeping at night... as long as i fall asleep before Elder Giboin. Leaving Basildon was super hard. So much of my heart is there. However as usual I have felt a 'release' from that area and a 'calling' here. Its great being in a singles ward because you focus on the YSA that you run into, which means that I don't have to talk to the old grouchy folks, another advantage is that being in central London I don't have to do any tracting!!! yea!!! the only down side is that talking to people in London is completely different then talking to people in Essex. Its almost a completely different language and London people are a bit more intelligent then that. We spend most of our time finding around Imperial College which is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, in some categories top five in the world. So I talk to alot of intelligent people now. So I got an email from Preston who shared a bit of leadership advice. He referred to Ammons example of humility in leadership. thank you so much for your advice Preston. Please if any one else has any more advice it is more then welcome. I was doing this great study the other day where I read Alma 46 and 47 and compared the difference between Amalackiah and Moroni. Man that was great. Maybe some day I will share it all with you. I'm so grateful that I have been keeping a pretty accurate study journal. Today I took two or so minutes to look back on some notes I had taken from the past. On November 17th I wrote down this great quote from Brigham Young where he talked about how not one side moment is unnecessary for those whose aim it is to improve our selves while here. That really seemed to ring true. I've been listening to a talk by Brad Wilcox given at Education Week in 2009 (I think) He talked about grace and how sometimes we miss understand that the only time we receive this divine help is when we have exhausted all of our energies and might working on our own. An idea that comes from reading 2 Nephi 25:23 'for we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do'. In this talk he went through and emphasised each word and talked about how grace really works. My favorite thing that he said was 'I no longer say 'God helps those who help themselves' but rather 'God helps us TO help ourselves'. Its a powerful talk, y'all should read it. Elder B.Solomon (Brigg that is) remember that, Christ is with us helping us every step of the way, He doesn't just step in once we fall down at the end of our limit. While I'm sharing missionary advice. Our MTC President told us something that has always stuck with me and has proved to be a true principle. "Yours success as a missionary will have more to do with your ability to control your thoughts then by anything else". Kay I'm done preaching. Dad thank you for your reflections. I enjoy reading them. You have no idea how much I look up to you and how much you have effected my life. Thank you for being there and being a positive influence. 


Ive attached a few pictures from our visit to St. Pauls' cathedral today. they were haveing a service so we couldn't take pictures inside or go up to the dome:(

And one of Elder Hales and Elder Giboin in the office.


Also I'm going to forward an email from an investigator. We taught her on Thursday for the second time and then she sent this amazing Email...Yes she is Chinese.              :) they are the best

Love,

Elder Solomon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The end of an era

Wow what a week. So finally all of our prayers were answered. this
week has been absolutly amazing! I think the Lord really loves the
next missionary who will be replaceing me in Basildon. So I have been
here now for six months and it has gone by so flippin quick! Like a
day. Well this week we finally picked up five new investigators ( more
in one week then the past 2 months!) Two of which are super solid!
Maddie is a 17 year old collge student. Two years ago she began
writing her piano teacher who left to serve a mission in Scotland.
When that missionary returned Maddie went to church with her, (in
Basildon, It was one of my first weeks there) and began reading the
Book of Mormon. We six months later she has read the Book of Mormon.
Feels it is right, and is half way throught the Doctrine and
Covenants. She is Absolutly Amazing! The only problem is that her
family is completly against the church  :(  we'll just have to wait
until July when she turns 18 to baptise her I guess. Had some solid
workovers. Anyways I think I'll cut to the real juicy news. I'm
getting transfered! I've been assigned to serve in the Britannia Ward
in South Kensington! I'm So excited it is the only singles ward in all
of Europe! It was a funny call. President Patch called me and told me
that they were releasing five zone leaders and that I was one of them.
My response was 'Fantastic!' Then he told me that I was going to serve
in a Trio with Elder Hales and Elder Giboin. Those guys are awesome!
they have been to gether already for three months so I might be a bit
of an outsider in the group but I'm cool with that I'll just get to
sit back and learn from them. Well Elder Hales called me later to tell
me that we will actually be in a Four-some? I guess there is an
English missionary who is waiting for his visa to go to Provo so he
will be serving with us for a week or so. I'm not quite sure how that
will work. Mind as well make two companionships eh?

We had dinner at Bishop Nicholls house last night. They are such good
people. Bishop gave me a big hug at the end of the evening. I felt
special because he only hugs people on Christmas. I will really miss
Basildon. The good thing is though that I'll be able to come back here
on workovers!

Well have a great week!

Elder Solomon

Monday, January 9, 2012

I AM NOT TRUNKY!!

Let me just put down a preliminary note... I'M NOT TRUNKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And all the invitations and exhortions not to be are not helping. if anything they are just reminding me that could justify having a reason to be the 'T' word. So for future references please don't ask me if I am missing home, or longing for this and that yet because I am not. My head is 100% in the game and my heart is too. There never was a time in my mission that i was more deticated then now. I feel that I have lost time to make up for.
anyways.....
I've had a good week. Yestderday was fast and testimony meeting it seemed like only all the super solid people in the ward bore there testimonys. It probably helped that there was an area seventy there. Personally I think Bishop assigned people to get up and bear testimony. Anyways it was great. So yestereday was like the sixth week in a row that we didn't have any investigators at church. Quite frustrateing to say the least. We found out this week that our only investigator (who were are only seeing about twice a month) fell pregnate with the guy that is keeping her from being baptised. Hopefully having another child will facilitate a paradigm (thanks for the word mom I love it!) speaking of words. One of our district leaders (Elder Thompson.....) is super intelligent and it seems like he is the only person that I can have proper intelligent converstion with. We trade words all the time and are continueally philosofising and and hypothesising. Oh man it is great! Well lessons learned this week.... Don't rely on someone else to remember something you can remember your self. Being happy is contagious (visa versa). When in a bad mood I can best serve the world by locking my self in my room.
We had our exchange with the assistants this week. went again into London with Elder Giboin (Scotland) I had a great time with him. It was so refreshing for my spirits to teach chinese students again. Its like stealing sweets from a baby. So it may sound like I'm lazy and I like teaching them because it is so easy but the truth is that i love teaching them because they are so innocent and eager to learn that the spirit is so strong whenever we have an appointment with them. I had a great time street contacting with Elder Giboin. The assistants serve in the only singles ward in Europe. So walking around the streets of London we are primaily looking for student YSA age people. Its tons better then talking to all the grouchy old 'ducks'. I'm getting a bit tired for them telling me to get a real job.
Well life is great
Elder Solomon