DSC03528As a missionary, we often hear the question, the very infamous question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In Matthew 5:45 it says, “The Father maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” How many people on this Earth question the existence of God when tragedy befalls them yet fail to do the same when goodness come into their life?

As I pondered the topic for this talk, I inevitably asked myself how I personally have stayed faithful during adversity. I turned to some of the journal entries I’ve recorded here on my mission. Frist the adversity:

Aug 2, 2013 (Just two weeks into my mission)
“Today was the first day I just wanted to sit down and cry my eyes out. No one wants to hear our message, not even our investigators…My clothes all seem to be wrong, my shoes all seem to rub the wrong way, and everything is a disaster!”

Melodramatic yes, but it was the reality of the moment nonetheless.

Sept 6, 2013
“So this morning started out kind of bleak and hopeless. Yesterday was kind of a frustrating day with many hours of finding out in the hot sun, (and yes I just complained about sun in England)and that frustration lingered.  I just wanted to climb back into bed and stay there.”

October 24, 2013
“Most days lately when I hear the alarm go off my heart kind of just sinks.  I just keep thinking I made a mistake in coming.  I feel like maybe I’m just not cut out for it, or maybe my personality isn’t right, or maybe I’m just too selfish.”

I was watching a video on Mormon.org recently, and it was a girl in highschool talking about how enlightening journals are because you can see how problems and challenges crop up, but you also see how they are resolved and that things work out okay just a few pages later. So among this opposition and doubt that I experienced, the faith and miracles tempered the bitterness.

First, the end of the journal entry that I first read from two weeks out in my mission,
“I know I need to persevere and I will. Things will get better. They have to go up from here…I hope.”

That vital word “hope” kindled inside of me.

From August 10, 2013, a month out:
“Something I noticed today is that my knees have become a bit rough and calloused…I realized that it is from kneeling to pray so often. I’ve almost lost my callouses on my fingers from harp completely…It made me stop and think how different my life is right now than it was a year ago. I’ve given up one of my most passionate pursuits for a small moment in time, and look what I am gaining? A chance to become closer than I ever thought was possible to my Savior. It’s an incredible thing and I knowiti will impact my life forever…I love this Gospel and I love my Savior. I’m so glad I can serve the Lord.”

From October 16, 2013 just before I left Hull and came to Leeds:
“So I found out on Monday that I’m getting transferred to Leeds! It all feels very bittersweet as I’ve experienced a lot of incredible things here in Hull in the past three months, both good and bad. I’ve come to feel like the missionaries and members here are like family, so it’s hard to pick up and leave…I know that I’ve had some really hard times here, but as I reflect back, only the good stand out:

  • Oscar getting baptised and becoming a close friend
  • Trying all the restaurants on Newland Avenue with Sister Lam on P-days
  • Having the chance to try to bring a knowledge of God to people that don’t know Him at all
  • Starting up a Chinses group FHE at the Martin’s home
  • Being able to say I’ve proselyted in the pouring rain

All these things add up to a rich experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything…As I look ahead to the next three months it’s hard to visualise.  One thing I know for sure is that there will be challenges, struggles, and hard times, but among all of that there will be beautiful moments, happiness, and fulfilment, just like there was in Hull.”

One of the greatest examples that I know of one who stayed faithful during times of adversity is Job. I was reading the book of Job recently, and felt completely humbled in the way he remained sure of God’s presence despite much adversity. From a talk entitled “Decisions” by Eldred G Smith, who served as Patriarch to the church from 1947-1979, he says, “In each trial Job was subjected to, Lucifer asked for permission to test Job. He was given permission to go just so far, one step at a time. Job lost his wealth on one test, his family on another, his health on another. Then the Lord gave Satan full control over Job, except he could not destroy his soul. One step at a time, Job became strengthened to withstand all.” How often does the Lord prepare us progressively for the trials that stand before us? Do you look back and see His hand in your life? In a recent blessing I received, it said: “Heavenly Father wants you to know He has prepared you specifically and uniquely to handle the things that stand still before you.” I feel as though that preparation is common to us all on this Earth. Preparation often seems to be disguised as adversity.

Despite Job’s adversity, he offers this beautiful testimony in the scriptures, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27

Form the same talk from Eldred Smith he comments that, “As with Job, so with us, the Lord will not permit Satan to try us beyond our ability to resist or withstand his efforts if we will accept His help.” So why do bad things happen to good people? The story of Job, after all, narrates the affliction that fell upon a righteous man, a good man. Why? From the Bible Dictionary: “The book of Job does not entirely answer the question as to why Job (or any human) might suffer pain ad the loss of his goods. It does make it clear that affliction is not necessarily evidence that one has sinned.  The book suggests that affliction, if not for punishment, may be for experience, discipline, and instruction.”  It seems to me that experience, discipline, and instruction can all be grouped under preparation.  One of my favourite scriptures at the beginning of this year became 1 Nephi 20:20 “For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Elder Neil L Anderson, speaks of this refinement and has said, “Like the intense fire that transforms iron into steel, as we remain faithful during the fiery trial of our faith, we are spiritually refined and strengthened.” It is my testimony that the Lord is preparing each of us through the adversity and struggles that are placed before us. There is a great purpose for this preparation, an eternal purpose. He loves us, and He desperately wants to help us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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POWER HOUR in Hyde Park (the fake Hyde Park) with Jess. One of our finding techniques was to ask this couple to take a picture of us, and then we had a 10 minute conversation with them. Sneaky!
POWER HOUR in Hyde Park (the fake Hyde Park) with Jess. One of our finding techniques was to ask this couple to take a picture of us, and then we had a 10 minute conversation with them. Sneaky!

So last transfer our zone leaders were trying to get all of us excited in the zone and they issued a challenge for us all to do a power hour. This meant that during a set apart hour that we all agreed upon, all of us would be out street contacting and trying to find people. It was a fun excercise and one that made us all feel united. So in the last mission leadership council I suggested that we do a mission wide power hour. We did it last night from 6-7. So all the missionaries across the Leeds England mission, including the senior couples and President and Sister Pilkington, were out on the street. It was really fun! We got Jess, one of the YSAs in the ward, to come out with us and we had some great conversations with people. We found a Chinese student who is getting her masters here in Chemistry. Unfortunately the entire time we were finding, it was raining, but not too heavily. There is always opposition right? So we tried to use that to our advantage and talk to people that had umbrellas. Got to be strategic sometimes. So we saw this girl coming towards us, but then she crossed the road, so we crossed the road and just as she got to the intersection she turned down the other road. So I ran after her, determined to talk to her. She was so incredibly nice. She kept trying to accommodate all of us under her umbrella so it got pretty cozy. And guess what? The English name she chose for herself was Kate!! And then get this…her Chinese name is Jun…pretty close to my middle name, June right?! She is also the same age as me, so we bonded over all those coincidences. She has been in Leeds since October and has wanted to go to church but just hasn’t gotten around to it. We invited her and she said she would love to go. The best part of our conversation was that after a while she told us that we looked really familiar to her, and she wondered if she had seen us before. If she means from the preexistence I think yes, yes we have met before Kate.  Miracles all over the place! You just have to recognize them!

Love, Sister Zurcher

We made Banoffee Pie for Sue. We made it an Oreo base. Her favorite! And maybe ours too.
We made Banoffee Pie for Sue. We made it an Oreo base. Her favorite! And maybe ours too.
We had Zone Conference in York and ended up getting there a couple hours early because the train times lied to us. After getting up at 5AM we decided to make it worth it and take a walk to the York Minster before Zone Conference. What a perfect time we had!
We had Zone Conference in York and ended up getting there a couple hours early because the train times lied to us. After getting up at 5AM we decided to make it worth it and take a walk to the York Minster before Zone Conference. What a perfect time we had!

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The phtobombs are for Dad!
The phtobombs are for Dad!
Bought a new pair of shoes last week after Sister Kuhn gave me a recommendation on hers. Don't be scared by the label! I would recommend them to all sister missionaries around the world. So comfortable! Crocs is where it's at!"
Bought a new pair of shoes last week after Sister Kuhn gave me a recommendation on hers. Don’t be scared by the label! I would recommend them to all sister missionaries around the world. So comfortable! Crocs is where it’s at!”

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So Sister Kuhn and I have been on a quest lately. To get ourselves the ultimate souvenir. A Royal Mail Postbag. So there we were strolling down the street last P-day on our way to watch some movies. It was an ordinary day, but then we saw Gary. This was our chance. As we approached him the words tumbled from my mouth, “Excuse me, how hard would it be to get a post bag like the one you have there?” Gary being the easygoing guy he is says “Not hard at all!” We were grinning like idiots after that. I never thought it would be so easy. “Are you coming this way on Wednesday? I can hide you one behind the stone pillars up there!” “Great we said! Thanks so much Gary!” But Gary went from being our greatest friend to our greatest enemy. We anticipated Wednesday like Christmas day and when the day finally came we were empty handed. Did Gary forget? Did someone take the bags? Was Gary joking with us? I guess we’ll never really know. Today we saw a different post man and approached him as well. What did we have to lose? We posed the same question to him as he lit up a cigarette. This time not such an easy response. “That could get me eight years in prison for penalty of post privacy infringement!” “But,” he said, “you can take a picture with Jess the cat.” “What the heck?” We had nothing to lose at that point so we went for it…see picture with Jess. I guess we might never know what happened to Gare Bear. Hopefully he isn’t behind bars for our sake.

Also some more humor for you from my study: Top reasons missionaries get FAT on their mission…

“Hearken dilligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” Isaiah 55:”
“…the soul of the dilligent shall be made fat.” Proverbs 13:4

Next week I’ll try to give you the more spiritual side of my week. Hope you enjoyed! Love to all!

Sister Zurcher

Playing the Dowager of Harewood House...with the actual Dowager in the background...
Playing the Dowager of Harewood House…with the actual Dowager in the background…

This transfer absolutely flew by!! I don’t know where the time went. The last two P-days were so fun. We organised a get together with the sisters we exchange with at Kirkstall Abbey and we all just had a great time.  Some lady’s giant schnauzer decided to join the party. Then today we went to Harewood House, which is a large estate nearby. The grounds were all blooming and it was absolutely incredibly. If you look in the picture of me in front of the house, the Lady Dowager who lives in the upper part of the house decided to rock up in her Land Rover in the middle of my photo shoot. Not cool Lady Dowager.

Sister Kuhn and I have had some fun encounters the past couple of weeks. We were trying to contact this man the other day off a record that we had. We couldn’t find him, but we knocked the street anyway. Everybody was very private and pretty much shut the door in our faces. We asked one guy his name and he said, “Why would you need to know a thing like that?” By this time we are used to this kind of thing. Anyway, it progressed like this the whole street until June. What a classy lady. She was a pretty elderly lady and we just started chatting about her garden in the front. We bonded about having the same name, and then turns out all of us have birthdays in June. She let us in, and basically she is our new English grandma. She is interested in doing family history, and funny enough she has the same last name as our bishop. So who knows.

We met an Italian student recently. The day after we met him, he called us and wanted to meet with us. He had looked up our website and found out our lifestyle is pretty similar…turns out he is vegan, doesn’t smoke, drink, or drink coffee or tea. He is really curious, came to church. He is mint. We were able to get him a Book of Mormon in Italian.

We are still teaching a couple of Chinese students even without Sister Wynder on the scene. It is still doable because they have been here in England a while, but some things are a little trickier. One of them is named Tango, and he is really cool. We asked him if he knew there was an orange soda here named after him, and he just laughed. I love being in a uni area, it’s the absolute best!

Oh by the way, I’m staying in Leeds again for the next six weeks. Score! Best area ever!!

Love you lots!
Sister Zurcher

I got a love package sponsored by Trader Joes from Amy Cheng. Love her to death! Saved my life!!
I got a love package sponsored by Trader Joes from Amy Cheng. Love her to death! Saved my life!!
Harewood House has penguins for some reason...things people do with money
Harewood House has penguins for some reason…things people do with money
Check out the library in this place. This will be my house someday!
Check out the library in this place. This will be my house someday!
P-day at Kirkstall Abbey with the sisters, and Skye the Schnauzer
P-day at Kirkstall Abbey with the sisters, and Skye the Schnauzer
P-day at Kirkstall Abbey with the sisters, and Skye the Schnauzer
P-day at Kirkstall Abbey with the sisters, and Skye the Schnauzer

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