Transfer day was a wild ride! The group of German speakers had to leave at like 3 AM Wednesday morning, but we didn’t have to leave till about 7. I was so sad/happy/excited/nervous that day. I was already sad to be saying goodbye to Sister Sorge, and a little apprehensive for my next assignment. We basically had an orientation at a chapel in Leeds and met President Pilkington and his wife and the rest of the presidency. I absolutely love the Pilkingtons! He is a really inspired man and his wife is so nice. They are obviously really new too, so it’s actually a cool experience to be able to learn together. We had lunch at the mission home which was so nice, and then went back to the chapel. At this point we still didn’t know who our trainers were yet, so it was so nerve wracking. It was transfer day for the other missionaries in the mission as well, so everyone was there. They had all the new missionaries all sit on the stand and bear our testimonies. It was so awkward because we were just sitting up there staring back at the other missionaries, wondering who they heck our new companion was, and feeling like pets on display. Ha ha. After that they read all the companionships off and the companions ran up and hugged their new companion while everybody cheered. It was like a sporting event! Pretty bizarre, but it got everybody pumped. Sister Sorge and I both got a Chinese speaking companion except she is up north in a different university area and Sister Lam and I are in Hull, which is also a university area. I think the whole area is actually called Kingston upon Hull.
A little more about Sister Lam. She has been out about 3 months. She is from Hong Kong, but speaks English perfectly. She was studying at BYU Hawaii before she came. Her family was living in Utah for a little bit, but are back in Hong Kong now. Her brother served in one of the London missions. Her boyfriend is serving in the Disneyland mission and she says he sends her a package EVERY month…so feel free to do the same to me so I don’t feel left out. Ha ha, just kidding, but just so you know send everything to the mission home (that includes packages and letters), and that is the Lister Hill addresss I gave you. The district leaders pick our mail up, so we pretty much should be able to receive stuff every week. Back to Sister Lam. The reason we need a Chinese speaking missionary in this area is because it is a university area and so many people come from China to study at the University of Hull. There are also a lot of Polish people, so there are like 2 or 3 sets of Polish elders, and they stay here their whole mission!
So we have probably about 5 Chinese investigators right now, and quite a few new members. So this is how lessons work. Sister Lam translates for me what they are saying, and then when I want to say something she translates it back to them in Chinese. Most of them understand English okay, they just can’t speak it very well. It is a little bit frustrating sometimes because sometimes I just feel like a bystander. Like sometimes it feels like my comments and insights get a little lost in translation, and it’s just not the same as directly communicating with someone. I’m trying to have a better attittude about it, but at this point still feel a little bit like an outsider in terms of culture and everything. One of the investigators named Bruce is so great though, and after our first lesson with him I was just so happy to be able to talk to him. He is a really curious guy, and so he loves reading the Book of Mormon, but hasn’t really accepted the doctrine fully. He can speak English really well, and just has such a kind heart. After we taught him, as we were walking home, I suddenly just felt so much love for the Chinese people, and felt so grateful to be able to teach them. He is reluctant to accept baptism because he just thinks he doesn’t need it, that he doesn’t need the grace of a higher power (which is similar to the attitude of the other Chinese investigators). It is hard to teach them in general because a lot of them don’t have any knowledge of anything relating to Christianity. Really though, it is such a cool opportunity to be able to work with Sister Lam, and she is brilliant. She knows like 4 languages! I told her that she has to teach me a little bit of Chinese every day, so I’ll probably know like 2 words before I leave. Ha ha. She was called to be a trainer after 6 weeks, which is unusual because the normal training period is supposed to be 12 weeks. So I could be here for the next 12 weeks, unless I get called to be a trainer as well. I kind of think they might call me as a trainer quickly just because of my age, but I could be completely wrong. My purpose for the next 6 weeks though, is to learn everything and grow as much as I can so that I could be if they need me. I’m willing to work as hard as I can, and I know the Lord knows that. My biggest issue right now is street/bus contacting and knocking. Oh, our transportaion is walking and bus by the way. Anyway, I know contacting and finding is the hardest part for everyone at first because it is SO awkward! I can’t help but feel like a used car salesman, and it makes me feel like I am cheapening my message just trying to talk to every random person I can. But I know that as ineffective as it can be, the Lord has prepared certain people, and it’s our job to be able to bring His message to them.
My first knocking experience was actualyl a really cool one. We were going to eat dinner at the Relief Soceity President’s house, and had just gotten off the bus and had like 5 minutes. So we decided to try knocking on the way there. felt really impressed to knock at this certain door and a really friendly lady answered. Her name is Annabel and she is probably in her 30’s and has a baby. She was so nice, and we are going back to teach her this week. I’m so nervous because it is one of the first lesssons I will do in English, as well as being my first time teaching the first lesson, which is the Restoration. So that was cool, and then we had some like 2-3 hour blocks of finding people this week and those didn’t go super well. They were actually really discouraging. One guy opened the door and saw us and said “I think all religion is evil, and I want nothing to do with it!” and slammed the door. We kind of just try to make a game out of it though. You can’t take it personally.
I think I have probably asked myself everyday at least once since I’ve been here, “What am I doing here?” But then I’ll have some experience, or even just think about how I know that what I’m teaching is truth, and it helps me have resolve. Like I said before, I won’t ever give up. Also the good news is, my cough is almost completely gone! It took two priesthood blessings and a nasal steroid spray, but I’m healed! I think the humidity makes it harder to get rid of colds. Is that a thing? I don’t know but that cold was seriously on steroids! So nasty. Moral of the story is don’t get sick for the rest of the mission. I’ll try to work on that.
Know that as you are praying for me, I’m sending a prayer right back for you. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so much in my entire life since I’ve been out in the field. Like seriously 50 prayers a day. And that doesn’t count the 50 I say when we are out on the streets trying to talk to people. Ha ha. Well I hope you feel like you are a little more clued in then last time. I love you so so much! Now to send pictures!
Love, Sister Zurcher