DSC07219Can anyone guess what language ahoy means hello in? Slovakian! That’s right, we met with a Slovakian family of 7 last night. I don’t know if you remember, but Sheffield, one of the areas in the Leeds mission, was featured in the July Ensign because of the massive amounts of Slovakian people that have joined the church. It’s interesting to have found a family here in Leeds, and the kids are so cute! One of them is about Camille’s age and she reminds me a lot of her, and makes me miss my cute nieces and nephew! So the multicultural saga continues! I wonder if I will ever teach actual British people? Ha ha, just kidding, we have a few we are teaching as well. Sister McReynolds picked up a bit of Slovakian when she served in Sheffield, so we are able to get our message across somewhat. I guess I better start picking it up!

I’m so glad your surgery went well Mom and that Emily could be there to help you through it. It looks like you are having an incredible Fall there. The Fall leaves are kind of a disappointment here, they sort of just die on the tree and then fall off. I don’t know why, but I was so worried about you having surgery this week. I’ve been thinking about it all week, dreaming up worst case scenarios (crap did you pass that on to me??) But of course everything was fine, and it looks like your recovery will be quick!

So now to answer some of your questions. Firstly, and most importantly, the fried Mars bars (equivalent of Milky ways) were AMAZING! If you ever have the chance to try a fried candy bar, don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Ha ha. Second, Sister McReynolds is the best! You seriously couldn’t meet a nicer person and I’m so happy to be with her. She seriously knows the area SO well. We are all focusing on Christlike attributes this transfer, and were supposed to focus in on one in particular. I chose hope, which is kind of a hard one to set goals for and try to develop. But, I was reading something the other day though that was talking about hope, and it said something like “enduring and lasting hope is an orientation of your spirit toward God.” Wow, what a powerful thought. When we get down and let ourselves get to a point where we feel hopeless, we are allowing the adversary to act upon us and perpetuate those feelings, but when we earnestly and actively turn to God, He will give us the light we need in order to keep going. I think there is always light at the end of the tunnel, we just have to have the eyes to see it.

Thanks for all the updates about the family! It almost felt like we had a usual little phone chat catch up like when I used to live in Tucson. Today we had a P-day with the whole zone which was great fun. We had some capture the flag, Nerf wars, food, and of course a Disney movie. It’s so great to be able to associate with so many great people! Please keep up the prayers for me! I love you to pieces!

Love, Sister Zurcher

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DSC07172I hope you got some sleep last night and I’m praying that your surgery goes well and that all the doctors and people involved in it are responsible and capable…oh and also that Emily is a nice nurse (ha ha just kidding Emoo). So now to tell you all about the last week. Where do I even begin?? You know me well because you know I desperately hate change. At the same time I was ready for a change, but deep down my heart wanted to stay in Hull where I had come to dearly love the people: Sister Lam, the members, The Gibbs, the other missionaries, our district, and all the dear Chinese people. The last couple of days there were so hard to say goodbye. The night of transfers we called a few people to tell them I was leaving. We called Oscar and he sort of wouldn’t believe it. We had a little dinner party at the Gibbs my last night, so that was fun to be with everyone, but made me sad. We aren’t supposed to email or correspond with missionaries in our mission, so I can’t really stay in contact with Sister Lam, which is sooo hard! I think it’s just to make sure that we have enough time to email family and the President and everything, but I’m just dying to know what is going on in Hull. I think Sister Lam and I will be friends forever. She already booked me to play at her wedding. Which reminds me, her boyfriend, who is serving in the Disneyland mission (Korean speaking) sent me a letter. When I got it I was so confused because it was a super thick letter, and I don’t even know the kid. Inside of it were 4 letters, one from him, and three from his companion and other missionaries serving with him. He informed me that Sister Lam had told him that I was having some struggles in Hull with the culture and language barrier and missing home, so he and his friends fasted and prayed specifically for me and sent me letters of encouragement and love. Wow. These people don’t even know me and yet they recognized that I needed some uplifting. I was so touched and still can’t believe such an act of kindness that came from complete strangers. Sister Lam is starting over with training yet again with a sister from France. Pretty exotic, but she can’t replace me, ha.  

So now I have a touch of homesickness for Hull, along with missing Utah. By the end of my mission I think there will be little pieces of my heart strewn along the northeast of England. Maybe by that time, I will be in a place where it will be hard for me to leave England and come home. But for now, Leeds is becoming my new home! Leeds is great. Such a great city to be in! I already love it, but I’m worried that I won’t get the area down well enough in the next 6 weeks. You know how bad I am with directions…imagine me on buses with a map. In Tucson, I got lost in my car with a GPS, ha ha. It’s something that I pray about a lot actually because it worries me. This is Sister McReynolds very last transfer, and it’s looking like I might be called to train at the end of these six weeks. I don’t feel ready, but I am trying to get to know the area as fast as possible. Sister McReynolds and the last sister missionary just baptized two guys from Spain last week, so we have been doing some follow up lessons with them. They don’t speak English that well, but luckily there is a couple in the ward from Chile. The husband actually served the same mission as Briton. Such great people. Who would have thought that I would be exposed to teaching in so many different languages here in England. It really is such a diverse area, it’s amazing. Sister McReynolds is from Oregon, she was studying animal sciences at BYU Idaho before she came out. She is a great missionary and I know she can teach me a lot by the end of these next 6 weeks. I miss my Sister Lam though. It’s hard to start all the way over with a new companion and get into a new routine. But this is a life of a missionary! My first week here has been so tiring! There is a lot more running around here since it is a bigger area, and it is a very hilly area. So that’s a big change from Hull, but it’s good because it will help me burn some more calories, ha. I live in an actual house now!  It’s beautiful. So we actually have four girls total living at the flat, which is so fun! The other girls are, Sister Wynder, who is from Washington and she is training Sister Drogoti, from Albania. They are the Chinese Uni team here, so I still have somewhat of a connection to the Chinese! Yea!  

My first Sunday here was interesting. It was the primary program, and apparently the primary pianist sometimes doesn’t show up to church. Long story short, I ended up playing the piano for the entire program on about 5 minutes notice. Ha ha. It was kind of fun, and the primary kids are always so cute. So hopefully that will help the members get to know me quickly! Anyway hope everyone’s week goes well! I love you so much. Not a day passes that I don’t think of you!

Love, Sister Zurcher

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DSC07156So is everybody wondering what news transfers brought??? Can you guess? The big news is…..I’m leaving the good city of Hull for the big bad streets of Leeds! Sister Lam is training again…for the third time in a row. Yikes. We were both pretty stressed out yesterday because we had to wait until around 8 or 9 PM to find out. We knew one of us was leaving, but not sure who it was going to be. I’m truly sad to have to leave this area and the temporary family of missionaries and members that I’ve formed here, but leaving will be a new adventure and I think I’m ready for it. I don’t know much about my new companion yet, other than that she trained the sister missionary that trained Sister Lam, so technically she is my great grandma. Sister Lam and I will both drive up to Leeds on the coach tomorrow for the transfer meeting where she will meet her new trainee and I’ll head off with my new companion. Did I mention how much I hate change? I already feel emotionally drained thinking about the goodbyes I will have to say today. We are having dinner at the Gibbs with some of our good Chinese friends tonight, so that will be sad, but fun. The Gibbs have pretty much become my temporary parents, so that one will be hard. It’s hard to say if it will be harder to say goodbye to them or Oscar. It’s kind of a toss up. I think we will also stop by the Martins house tonight (who are members that live nearby and have let us use their front room for Chinese FHE) and have a chat and hot chocolate together.

This last week has been a good one. We have built up our teaching pool quite a bit with the students, so that will be good for the newbie coming in. I definitely feel like I’ve left some sort of small impact in this area in working with the members and those we have had the privilege to baptize. It’s weird to look at our whiteboard with the list of people we are teaching and think of all of their potential and wonder what will happen with all of them in the coming months. Sadly I will no longer be a part of the story. It will also be strange not to have the challenge of a Chinese area any longer, and to see what teaching the people of England is really like. Sounds tough. Good news is, packages should be really fast in getting to me.

I hope your foot surgery goes well and according to plan. I don’t really like the idea of you having surgery while I’m away, even if it’s not that serious. Tell Emily to sit in on the surgery and make sure they do their job right. I feel like I don’t have much else to say this morning. It was hard to fall asleep last night thinking about my last day in Hull and transition to Leeds. I got most of my packing done before we came to email, which was a miracle. You know how much I hate packing. I’m sending some skirts back home because they don’t work and are just taking up room in my suitcase, so just expect that.

The words that have been reverberating in my head since I found out about transfers are “Be still and know that I am God.” Those words came to me when I was first in this area as well, and it reminds me to just remember that everything is in the Lord’s hands and to rely on Him. It will all work out!

I should have more to tell you on Monday!

Love you lots!

XOXO Sister Zurcher

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DSC07116First of all I’m doing fine. I think I was the most homesick I’ve ever been in my life this weekend, thinking of home and wanting to be with my family during this special conference weekend, but I lived through it, and now it’s not so bad. I think I have this disorder of not being able to stand missing out on things…maybe it comes from being the youngest child, having a need to always be included. Knowing that I was missing out on the comfort of home this weekend was hard! One of the talks that I loved (can’t remember who it was at the moment) was focused on building our spiritual strength or becoming spiritually “in shape” to be able to withstand all the problems and hardships that we face in life. I feel like I am being allowed to focus on that here…even if I’m simultaneously becoming out of shape physically, ha.

So glad to hear about your conference weekend. It sounds like it was divine. It sounds like you really spoiled Toni and Victoria. Being converts, they were excited to travel from England to conference. I was told of Cafe Rio, Nordstrom’s bread pudding, and homemade apple pie! These things come to me in my dreams every night, ha ha. I’m so glad that they were able to stay at our house because I knew that you would treat them like gold. I’m so proud of my dear parents! I too admire both of these girls for the choices they have made in coming to know God and follow Him. Thanks for giving them the best SLC experience since I couldn’t do it!

We were able to watch the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning session at the chapel yesterday. When we were watching the live Sunday morning one, I was thinking of you at home the whole time wondering if you had made pancakes and bacon to accompany the inspired words. Knowing that it was morning there and night here made me feel l like I was living in a parallel universe. Did you notice the story from one of the seventies who has ancestors from Hull? I imagined Dad’s reaction, and it made me laugh. The talks in the Sunday morning session were so powerful, and the comfort of the spirit washed over me as I listened to them. Elder Holland’s talk was amazing as usual, and made me feel so powerfully that the Lord is aware of me personally. So I haven’t been able to watch the Sunday afternoon yet, but hopefully we will be able to in one of the member’s homes this coming week. We watched the Relief Society meeting in Sister Martin’s home, who lives really nearby us. She fed us a nice warm dinner and then we cozied up by the fire in her front room. She is also working on a project of collecting 8 inch knitted squares for a charity project in South Africa. She will send the squares in and then people there put the squares together to make blankets for orphans in Africa. So she put us to work while we watched. It was fun to be in a home, and it ALMOST felt like home 🙂

So I got the envelope that you sent by express. Thank you, thank you for everything in it! The new skirts have saved my life! Thanks especially for the ear bags! I am still trying to get over how weird they look, so I’m trying to create a trend in the mission so I don’t feel like a weirdo.

Thanks for your love this week. I truly have the best family in the world! I would never be where I am in life without each of the people in our family. Know that I love you each individually and uniquely.

Love always,
Sister Zurcher

P.S. As I told you, transfers are next week, on your birthday, and so P-day is on Tuesday, not Monday. Just want you to know so you don’t think the British weather killed me off already. Can you even stand the anticipation? I know I’m already nervous. Who’s it going to be? Me or Sister Lam? Stay tuned for next week!!

Muah!

Oh yeah, I wouldn’t be a missionary if I didn’t issue you all a challenge to take the advice of the apostles and get more involved in missionary work! How many of the talks were focused on missionaries and members working together? A lot. One of them (maybe Elder Scott’s) talked about three things you can do to be involved.

1) Pray specifically for missionary opportunites and do everything you can to make those opportunities happen

2) Pray for the missionaries in your area and their investigators by NAME

3) Invite someone not in the church to an activity at church or in your home

Pray about these things in the coming weeks and let me know of your experiences! Like Elder Scott said, we need to eliminate the fear involved in sharing what we believe!

Cheers!

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