Kera's baptism
Kera’s baptism

So many of you know that we had transfers here this week. Are you wondering what’s happening with me? I’ll give you a hint…there is a clue in my subject line, but just to hold you in a bit of suspense, I want to tell you what British people do in the summer:

  • Trim the hedges—I can’t tell you how many people we have seen carefully shaping their hedges after a long winter.
  • Make Elder flower cordial—Elder flowers are in bloom EVERYWHERE. They smell SO good so people gather them and make them into a sweet syrup then mix into some soda water. It’s delicious!
  • They complain about the hot weather and then complain about the rain when it comes. If you ever want to get a British person talking, just bring up the weather! I find myself complaining right along with them! I think I have been here to long.

Okay enough for the suspense…President Pilkington called me on Saturday and said, “Well Sister Zurcher, all good things come to end. I need you to go up to Darlington with Sister Peck.” So up to the north I go to Geordie land. I’ve heard that the accent is a bit different than the Yorkshire accent so that should be fun. And they told me that I would be speaking English here. Forget it. So I am experiencing an intense cocktail of emotions the past couple of days and the goodbyes are getting much too drawn out for my liking. Sister Peck was trained by Sister Wynder, so she is a good egg. She is also a Sister Training Leader and there are two new Sister Training Leaders in the ranks. One is Sister Stahle who is coming here to Leeds with Sister Kuhn. Sister Peck is from Idaho somewhere, but I don’t know much about here other than that. I’ve had brief interactions with her at meetings and leadership council. She’s great!

So just to tell you about the baptism, it was so so good. The morning of the baptism we had a lot of things to do, so we were running about in the city center. Sarah Boycott was kind enough to feed us that night right before the baptism. She lives right near the chapel, so we jumped at the chance. She makes such good food! Anyway we were trying to relax a bit before the baptism after such a hectic morning, but that didn’t last long. I think we got about 50 calls after we had eaten, and we just wanted to turn the phone off. We had spent the few days before that calling everyone on the ward list to invite them personally, and give some people some assignments because we wanted to get everybody we could there for the occasion. It helped that President Pilkington and Elder Dryden were gracious enough to speak at the baptism. Anyway, finally we get a call from our ward mission leader asking us if we had started filling up the font yet. He usually does it, but we told him we could do it. We thought it only took an hour to fill up, but it actually takes two.  By the time he called us we only had an hour to fill it. Keep in mind that we weren’t the only ones having baptisms that night, but somehow we ended up arranging EVERYTHING. So stressful. So we call the Elders and they rush over, and then we rush over. Turns out we have a key to the chapel but not to the closet where the controls to the font are. So when we get there the Elders are filling up any buckets they can find to begin filling the font up. At this point it is now about T-minus 50 minutes to the baptism. I clean out one of the big rubbish bins and start filling that up. Despite the stress and anxiety we were all feeling, it was kind of a bonding experience. We all kept running to the font and dumping the water in. Finally we figure out that in fact the key that we have in our bag actually works for the closet, so we get the actual font pump running. Phew!

So Kera, and her mum Alice arrive on the scene. Kera is really nervous, but Bishop Parr baptized her and he did a good job helping her feel at ease. The zone leaders had a man get baptized as well…an Indian man named Ranjit, who is the sweetest person I have ever met. It was a great program and we got about 60 people there which is pretty good for a baptism. So many missionaries from the surrounding area came and brought investigators and less-actives as well. It was great to feel that support. So basically I am devastated not to be able and see Kera’s parents both progress towards baptism. Lee, her father has cut down from 50-60 cigarettes a day to about 1-2. He has NEVER been able to smoke that few before. Alice has stopped smoking for about a week now. We are hoping they will be able to get baptized together by the end of the month. We walked with Lee and two of the kids to church on Sunday morning. Of course it was pouring rain as soon as we stepped out the door, but they were there at Beckett park to meet us and we all made the trek in the rain.

I am once again heartbroken to part with another companion, another dear friend. I feel like Sister Wynder is my twin sister and that Sister Kuhn is my little sister. Doubtless Leeds will always hold a special place in my heart, as well as these sisters that I am working beside. Love you all!
Love love Sister Zurcher

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Picnic with Lee, ALice and the kids!"
Picnic with Lee, ALice and the kids!”
Reunited with Sister Lammy!
Reunited with Sister Lammy!
We did a mini mission weekend with Laurence Mputu who is 19 and in the ward. She was great. She is filling out her papers soon!
We did a mini mission weekend with Laurence Mputu who is 19 and in the ward. She was great. She is filling out her papers soon!
Picture by the tree that was planted for the 50th anniverary of the Leeds 1 Chapel...we plan to come back and take the same photo years from now.
Picture by the tree that was planted for the 50th anniverary of the Leeds 1 Chapel…we plan to come back and take the same photo years from now.

God will always make a way where there is no way. That has been Sister Kuhn’s and I motto this transfer. Our MEGA baptism is coming up on Thursday. Collectively among the Leeds missionaries (three companionships) we have four people scheduled. Weeks ago we set a goal of two baptisms this weeks and were thinking of two Chinese students that might be able to make it, but now it is Alice and her daughter Kera, who we hadn’t even met yet! Amazing! Elder Dryden and President Pilkington are both speaking so the whole thing should be epic. We set a goal of five baptisms in total, but if no one spontaneously jumps in (ha) then I think at least we will plant a seed for a fifth baptism in the near future. That’s what most of missionary work is anyway…planting seeds and having someone in the future harvest the fruit later. But even when you are lucky enough to see just that sprout come out of the ground it is the most beautiful thing ever!

Quick story of the week. We were teaching Kera, who is a nine-year old girl, about tithing in preparation for her interview. I was asking her how she would feel if someone gave her ten pounds, and she said good. Then I asked her if she would be willing to give one pound back? She said yes. Then I explained that God has given us everything we have in our lives. He has blessed us incredibly, and all He asks is for us to give 10 percent of what we earn to benefit His children on the Earth. Then I asked her if she got ten pounds if she would give one of them to God. She shook her head and said no…I would give all of it to Him. That is the humility of a little child. I love this family. They are so special.

Love, Sister Zurcher

Sister Kuhn reached her year mark so we celebrated!
Sister Kuhn reached her year mark so we celebrated!

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Face masks on exchange night thanks to Sister Wiborny
Face masks on exchange night thanks to Sister Wiborny