I have so much to tell since last week! First off, I want to thank you all for all of your prayers. I have truly felt their power this week and want to thank you! Prayer is amazing and I’m so grateful for it in my life. Something interesting I noted this week about that actually is that I was sitting at my table rubbing my knee and noticed that it was rougher than normal. Same thing on the other knee and I realized that I’ve developed calluses on my knees from all the times I kneel to say prayer to Heavenly Father throughout the day. My calluses on my fingers from harp are almost completely gone. It just made me stop and think how very different my life is right now from a year ago. Change is good. It makes you grow. I can see how my experiences so far have already impacted me for good and am anxious to see that growth throughout my mission. Again I am really striving to develop more patience this transfer and something that I know will help with that is to be able to see things with more eternal perspective or more through God’s perspective. Our entire lives are so short in comparison to eternity, but it is hard to remember that here in mortality. A scripture I came across this week was Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I love that, it’s so simple, but so comforting.
I’ve had a lot of highlights this week and have definitely seen myself settling into routine here. I’ve had to remind myself not to get too comfortable though because I want to remain adaptable to transfers. It will be hard when the time comes to pick up and move and venture out to a completely different area. So for now I am enjoying it here! The conference on Wednesday was so good! It was in Huddersfield, which is like 4 hours away by bus so it took the entire day. It was so fun. Halfway through the trip we picked up more missionaries and one of them was Sister Cunningham who was in the MTC with me. She is the one from Ireland and she was like the mom there (always having snacks and candy for everyone, and sitting up with me at night when my cough was bad). Sure enough she had a big bag of snacks for everyone and we just chatted for a long time and caught up. She is the one with glasses in the pictures. We talked about how it had felt like we had already been out for months since the MTC and that we had to remind ourselves that it had only been two weeks because a lot of times throughout the week we had felt like we should be doing better and be a lot farther in our progression, but had to remind ourselves it had only been 2 WEEKS! It was good to talk to others that were going through the same thing. When we finally got to the chapel I saw all the familiar faces from the MTC and it just made me so happy to see them all again! There was such strong unity in the MTC among all of us and we all instantly became such good friends and seeing them all again was just a reminder that none of us are alone in this work. There are so many missionaries involved in this work, here in Leeds, and all over the world. It’s incredible if you think about it and think about the work that each individual missionary is doing. Most importantly the Lord will never leave us alone in this work, and that is so comforting. So there was definitely some good perspective gained there. This week has definitely brought new light with it, and darkness can’t exist in light!
President Pilkington made us practice the hymns that we were going to sing for the meeting before Elder Ballard got there. He talked about how when we sing and when we are involved in missionary work, there are always unseen forces involved and helping us. He told us that those angels are anxious for this work to progress and that they are there. The Leeds missionary force is large, but when we sang it was so powerful, and I know it wasn’t just us joining in. The talks that were given were extremely uplifting which I knew they would be. You could tell they gave energy and enthusiasm to every missionary there, and I certainly was determined to go out and work harder after hearing them. Elder Ballard told us that if we want to baptize more people, we simply have to talk to more people. It really is that simple, and yet so hard to implement. I lose my nerve so many times during the day in trying to go up to people and talk to them about the gospel. And who knows, maybe some of those people I have been too shy to talk to would have accepted the message. I need to be more bold!
The next amazing moment of the week centers around our friend, Oscar. This last week Oscar told us that he was going to be really busy with his dissertation, and that he couldn’t meet with us because of that, but also he really wanted to think about being baptized separate from our influence and make sure he was making his own decision about it. We were sad, but overall I felt like it was a good decision and that he really did need his space to determine what he really believed. Those days were so nerve wracking though! We prayed about him a lot and also included him in our fast on fast Sunday. The time came to meet with him on Tuesday and we didn’t know what he had decided, so we were both nervous. He started to tell us about the past 5 days and said that he felt like every day he hadn’t met with us there had been something that had pushed him towards making the decision to be baptized. He knew that that had come from the Lord and told us that he was ready to be baptized! It was such an incredible moment, I just wish I could play back that moment to you. The spirit was so strong, and I was so touched, tears just started rolling down my face. Oscar was the very first lesson I taught when I got here, and I’ve been able to see his transformation even within the past two weeks. He had to overcome his problem with drinking, and initially really wasn’t willing to give it up because of the social pressure among his friends. But he did and he told them he wasn’t going to drink anymore and they respected that of course. He is so sincere and sensitive to the spirit and gave such a nice testimony at his baptism on Sunday. He is amazing, and really I can see how this work here is in preparation for the gospel being able to eventually spread to China. We are planting seeds for that work to be hastened there.
Other than that, I’d love to get some more letters, as well as pictures from everyone in emails. I’m having major withdrawals from instagram, so some of those would be greatly appreciated. Keep me in the loop! Thank you for everyone’s support and love. I really do feel so incredibly lucky for every single family member and friend I have and count you as the most important and valued things in my life. I really don’t deserve it!
Here is another scripture that I’ve treasured this week. You can really hear the tender tone in the Lord’s voice in this scripture when he says that we are little children. It echoes the advice and love that both Mom and Dad have shared with me this week. “Be of good cheer, I will lead you along.” D&C 78:17-19
Love, Sister Zurcher