DSC07089So let me tell you a little more about Shelly (the girl we baptized this week) because she is amazing. I just love this girl. I don’t remember what I told you about her last week, but she has been roommates and friends with one of the Chinese members, Cherry, for the past while. Cherry and Shelly are actually both from Beijing, and even went to the same high school, but didn’t become friends until they came to England and came into contact here. In the past Shelly has had zero knowledge or belief in God, and Cherry had invited her to activities in the past, but Shelly never showed much interest in church things. But in the past month, Cherry decided to invite her to church and at that meeting Shelly described feeling incredibly “comfortable.” She kept these feelings to herself, but then again attended church the following week and felt the same way and told Cherry that she wanted to be baptized. After this she was still pretty hesitant and maybe even a little scared to meet with missionaries, but once we actually met she was really eager to learn more. The Lord really prepared Shelly throughout the past couple of years, and so our job was pretty easy. In meeting with her the past couple of weeks I have seen her faith and desire to follow Christ really grow, and she just has the sweetest spirit about her. Her baptism on Friday was a sweet experience. Cherry and Shelly will both be leaving towards the end of October to go back to China, so we are sad, but I’m grateful for the brief experience I could share with them here.

The rest of the week was sort of uneventful, everything kind of built towards the baptism, but we are still seeing a lot of new students coming in and we are trying to talk to all of them. We talked to 3 Chinese people on the street this week actually that agreed to come to church. It was the Primary program on Sunday, so the spirit was strong (in between some of the shenanigans, ha ha). Hopefully we can start teaching some of these people because of that. I will have a chance to watch conference this weekend, and it will be a good tool to use with investigators as we tell people about it this week. I can’t wait. We weren’t able to watch the RS broadcast, but are going to try to watch it in a members home sometime this week.

I hope you have a great week and can’t wait to talk to you after conference!

Love always,
Sister Zurcher

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DSC07035Ni hao! I went through a roller coaster of emotions as I read your email. It made me laugh, some of it made me want to cry, I felt happy, I felt wistful. It was all information I needed, and don’t ever feel like you can’t send pictures because I love it, it’s the best. So thank you for once again being my rock this week and talking me off the ledge. When will you ever be free from doing this with your children? We fasted on Sunday for the people we are teaching, and of course in my personal fast I fasted for the strength to be able to endure the homesickness and discouragement. The Lord has helped me this week. I know He is there. I’ve had various impressions this week, over and over, that I am needed here. Wednesday was the day that was hardest for whatever reason, and I kept thinking “I’m not necessary here, I’m not making a difference,” but that morning while I was making breakfast and going about other things, this thought kept coming back to my mind. “Kate, I need you.” That was it, simple and not very explanatory, but it’s what I needed to hear. Of course thoughts kept coming back into my mind trying to refute those four words, but I know that was an answer from the Lord, and I just have to be able to stay persistent and diligent. One day at a time right?

As far as the running thing goes, I can’t change the situation much. I have come to terms with the fact that it is just another thing that I have to sacrifice while I’m here. I’m willing to do that. I already am dreaming of running the St. George marathon the October after I get back. I really didn’t realize how much I’ve grown to love running until I got here. It really became an outlet for me in Tucson, and sometimes I just wish I could transport straight to Sabino Canyon and feel my feet hitting the trails there. This is something that again there will be plenty of time for when I get back.

Last week was so cold, but the past two days the sun has been out and it’s actually been warm. The cold will return I’m sure, but it’s a nice reprieve for now. We have another baptism this coming Friday! Yea! It’s Shelly, who is one of the Chinese member’s friends. She was such a miracle and surprise. She has known about the church for a while through the member, Cherry, but hasn’t really been interested until really recently. She was so prepared for this, it is incredible.  The teaching process with her really has been about 2 weeks total because she already has known and accepted a lot through Cherry. I’m so excited for her and she is just the sweetest! Friday will be a great day, and I think we will grab dinner with her and Cherry after to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrations, there was a lot of that this week. Oscar had a birthday, and he invited us, and some other Chinese friends over for hot pot (which is kind of like fondue, but different.) Basically you have a thing of simmering broth in the middle, and you gradually throw different things in like meat, vegetables, etc., wait for it to cook, and then grab it out and eat it. It was a lot of fun and the food was great. We also celebrated Mid-autumn festival this week, so we wrapped some more dumplings with Bruce and ate moon cakes. Also fun, but moon cakes are not my favorite…but still a necessary life experience.

I’m really short on time, so I’m sorry, but that’s all for the week! I love you Mom! Don’t worry about me too much, but thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I definitely felt them holding me up this week.

Love, Sister Zurcher

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DSC07016Sorry to email so late, but today was zone P-day. We had to all get together at a chapel down in Grimsby, and didn’t have time to email this morning. We watched some movies together and played some cards, so that was fun. The sisters in our zone are still outnumbered 6 to about 20 probably. I love the pictures you sent of Claire, especially the one of you holding her. She is just too cute! I can’t wait to see more pictures of her as she grows the next year and a half. I hope you are enforcing the mandate I gave Jacob, that he shows her a picture of me every night. In fact, why not just paint a giant mural of me on her ceiling? That way she will be sure to recognize me when I get home. Ha ha.

This week has been good, but it’s just gotten so cold so fast! Last week it still felt like summer, and now it feels like full blown winter. It’s given me whiplash, but I’m trying to keep warm somehow. I’ve pretty much bid the sun farewell at this point. We’ve been instructed to take daily Vitamin D to supplement for the lack of sun. So sad. I miss that warm Arizona sunshine. Luckily the heat in our flat functions well, so we always come back to a warm, cozy place to sleep. I did find a variety of warm tights at Primark thank goodness, but more are always welcome. I will for sure get the package soon. I don’t know why it got screened and taxed, but I feel like they are profiling packages from Utah because Sister Lam said that her previous companion was also from Utah and that happened to her as well. It hasn’t ever happened to any of the packages she’s received from the U.S. I’m not sure if it is random or not, but it’s annoying. I’m sure the other envelope will make it to our flat safe and sound, don’t worry too much about it.

Last week Sister Lam had an idea to start up a weekly Family Home Evening night for the Chinese members that are younger students. We thought it might be a more casual way for members to invite friends to a church event and just be able to feel the spirit in a less intimidating environment than church. We held it for the first time on Wednesday in a British member’s home who lives nearby, and it seemed to be pretty successful. We did it in her front room, which has a nice electric fire, and so it was nice and toasty after a rainy day. We just had a short spiritual thought at the beginning, sang some Chinese hymns, played some games, and ate some cookies. It was good, and hopefully can become something bigger as we continue to hold it.

I accompanied the mom of a boy who got baptized in the ward on Sunday. She played the flute, and I accompanied her on the piano. It was fun to be able to perform. She was so grateful that I was able to do it with her, she gave me this huge box of candy to tell me thanks.  She also fed us dinner this week and told me that if I bring my parents to England one day, we will all have to stay at her house. Last night we were having a meeting with all the missionaries in the ward, talking about upcoming baptisms in the ward. One of the investigators of one of the sets of elders, knows that I play the harp, and she told one of them that she wants me to play the harp at her baptism. I told them that if they can find me one, I would love to. Fat chance here in Hull.

Thanks for the love and support this week.  It really keeps me going, and will keep me warm this week.

Cheers!

XOXO
Sister Zurcher

Sorry the pictures this week are kind of a let down. Don't ask me what I was thinking about my outfits in half of them...I'm just trying to make it work and stay warm, which kind of equals frump-town USA
Sorry the pictures this week are kind of a let down. Don’t ask me what I was thinking about my outfits in half of them…I’m just trying to make it work and stay warm, which kind of equals frump-town USA
The dog is named Bella, and she is my new friend. By the way, she is supposed to be a jack russel terrier, but is seriously the fattest Jack Russel I've ever seen in my life!
The dog is named Bella, and she is my new friend. By the way, she is supposed to be a jack russel terrier, but is seriously the fattest Jack Russel I’ve ever seen in my life!
We made more food at Bruce's this week. It was homemade noodles this time!
We made more food at Bruce’s this week. It was homemade noodles this time!

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DSC07006I’m so happy to hear that everything went smoothly with the arrival of Claire! I felt so much overwhelming love for her little face as I looked at her pictures and I still can’t believe I won’t get to meet her for a year and a half! How unfair, I’m so jealous you get to hold her! I can’t wait to be able to hold her! Still so weird that Jacob is a Dad. I can’t wrap my brain around it. Her hair doesn’t look that red in the pictures, but maybe it’s just the lighting? Also, how are you going to keep all of your C-named grandchildren apart in your head? Maybe we should just all stick to the pattern and keep the trend going in the years to come.

This week has been good, but tiring. We are starting to see A LOT of Chinese students coming in for the school year ahead, which starts at the end of September. Everyday we see them walking on the streets in groups pushing suitcases around and it’s hard not to just want to run up to them all…or follow them home. So basically being on a mission has turned me into a stalker. Seriously though, Sister Lam and I are on fire with our ambition this transfer and I think we can see some brilliant things happen by the end of it. She is so scared she is going to be transferred out of here in October because she has been here for about 6 months. She has a really close relationship with all the Chinese members, so it will be hard.  I kind of think she will stay for a while longer.  I think I will probably be the one to be transferred out, which I might just cry about. It will be so hard to split up after everything we’ve been through the past months, but lets talk about the good things!

We saw some pretty incredible things happen yesterday, which we know is a result of our fasting and prayer last week. First, Oscar is staying until October now. He has become really important to our work, so we are thrilled, and that’s a total answer to our prayers. Second, we talked with Jim, who was baptized several months ago, at church and had a great discussion with him. He has really been struggling with his belief and faith the past couple of weeks, and it’s been hard because he doesn’t really have a solid member friend to talk to about church, so he brings all of the questions he builds up over the week to us. We’ve been really worried about it lately, but yesterday he told us that he has been praying this week, and that after a few prayers he had an overwhelming feeling of peace and calm about everything. He also told us that he knew we had been praying for him, and that he could feel the strength of that in his life. Last week we met with him and his wife, Jenny at the Gibbs. He is an incredible cook, so he brought us homemade egg tarts. They were so delicious! The Gibbs helped us teach him a little bit with the follow up lessons, and I think that really helped. Third, a good Chinese member, named Cherry, has been bringing her friend to church the past couple of weeks. We have known about her interest in the church for a while, but Cherry has been careful with things because she doesn’t want to scare her away. We talked to Cherry last night and she said that after church, her friend was telling her that she really wants to be baptized! Isn’t that amazing! I think she just is really touched by the spirit when she comes to church, and it’s great because even though we are frustrated with the talks people give sometimes, people ultimately are still able to feel the spirit at church, and that really is the most important thing. So we just felt really blessed yesterday, and I am so convinced of the power of prayer. We are going to try to find a way to start teaching Cherry’s friend, and our vision by the end of this transfer is to have Oscar baptize her. Yea!

Hope everyone is well at home. The house must be lonely without Megan there, but at least you still have the dogs right? But seriously, that must be a hard adjustment for you both, but I have found that change really is a good thing in life. It helps us learn and grow, and maybe it will have that effect for you, even if you feel like you are done learning and growing. I love you. I am so excited for conference coming up, but also sad I can’t be home. Conference always feels like a holiday to me, and I will miss not being home. They are streaming the sessions live here, so that means that we will watch the Saturday morning session at like 6 at night, the afternoon one on Sunday morning, and the Sunday morning session on Sunday night. Apparently they don’t stream the Sunday afternoon because it is too late here. So kind of screwed up, but I’m excited to hear the prophet and apostles speak! I have worn out the Ensign at our flat from last conference, so it will be good to hear some new material. Whenever I go to church and see families together I miss you, and think of that last Sunday that I was with you and you had your arm around me. I miss you!

Cheers!
Sister Zurcher

P.S. New favorite scripture by far this week is Alma 37:36-37.

“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and withersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” —Alma 37:36-37

I’m trying to have more of a grateful heart in the morning when I wake up because usually I just am kind of upset that I have to be awake so early. I definitely miss the sweet summer days of sleeping in to my hearts content!

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DSC06964Did my subject line scare you? So the big news is that I’m staying right here in Hull with Sister Lam. YEA! I was so glad, and I truly feel that our work together here is not finished. We got all excited this morning after we heard last night and have all kinds of goals and ambitions to make this next transfer the best ever! I am so lucky to have her as a trainer, and I just love the girl. She’s the best! I like the pace of missionary life, how it is broken up into 6 week transfers. It keeps it interesting, and keeps me motivated and on my toes. I was so nervous waiting for the call last night, even though it was so unlikely I would be moved. Sister Lam and I stress ate a whole bag of chips and chocolate while we were waiting. I can only imagine that next transfer I will be a complete nervous wreck because most likely I actually will be transferred. But I’ll keep that in the back of my mind for now. For now we are excited and can’t wait to see more students coming in for the school year ahead. We actually got 3 new additional missionaries added to our zone. We got around 30 new elders and 4 new sisters in the whole mission, and only 1 elder and 1 sister are leaving. So the mission is growing! They also called a new set of sister trainer leaders, so now there are 6 total. The biggest surprise was that 2 of our polish speaking elders got transferred out and the ones that are staying here are training! It was expected that all of the polish elders would stay here their whole mission, so that was a big change. Exciting stuff!

Also, I finally broke out my comforter and put my own sheets on my bed and now it smells like home in my room, which I love! It’s possibly the best smell I’ve smelt my whole mission.  And thanks for ironing the comforter cover…it was wrinkled from the folds but still nice and crisp.  The nice bright yellow really brightened up my room too.

Thanks for all the pictures this morning, it was so fun to see what kind of shenanigans all the family has been getting up to in California. I told Emily this in her email too, that even though I wish I could have been there with you all, I wouldn’t give up what I’m doing here right now. It has become so important to me, and I know the Lord needs me here, but still, I love and miss you all! The weather hasn’t turned cold yet, but I know it will hit soon. Maybe send me some earmuffs. WINTER IS COMING!

Love you all to the ends of the earth!

-Sister Z

Our investigator, Bruce, taught us how to make dumplings. It was really fun and then we ate them another night at his place with Oscar too.
Our investigator, Bruce, taught us how to make dumplings. It was really fun and then we ate them another night at his place with Oscar too.

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I finally got my Chinese tag! So proud!
I finally got my Chinese tag! So proud!
We took Oscar to a mission fireside up in Sheffield with the Gibbs. It was really fun and he was able to meet other Chinese people that have recently been baptized too.
We took Oscar to a mission fireside up in Sheffield with the Gibbs. It was really fun and he was able to meet other Chinese people that have recently been baptized too.

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The big group photo is our whole district and with this transfer we will have 3 more additional elders!
The big group photo is our whole district and with this transfer we will have 3 more additional elders!

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Just in case you were wondering what churches here in England look like, that's me in front of one.
Just in case you were wondering what churches here in England look like, that’s me in front of one.
Sister Lam taught me how to write "I love you" in Chinese so expect that to be at the end of every letter I send to anyone from now on.
Sister Lam taught me how to write “I love you” in Chinese so expect that to be at the end of every letter I send to anyone from now on.

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