Unfortunately, we learned that Kate has been sick in the MTC. In her first email last week, she mentioned that she was starting to feel sick on the plane to Manchester. She could not sleep Monday night, and went to the MTC president’s apartment because she had been coughing all night and was starting to wheeze. He first gave her a blessing and then Kate mentioned she had a sister who is a doctor so he got the phone and dialed her number. Kate was able to talk to Emily and get her opinion about what her illness was and what she should do. She has an appointment with a doctor today so we will not know what the diagnosis is until next week, but hopefully she will be recovered by then. As you will see from her email, she has a great attitude despite all this. She’s amazing!

If you would like to write to her, use this address:

England Leeds Mission
Lister House, Lister Hill
Horsforth
Leeds
England
LS18 5AZ

It’s really hard to organize this email because I almost feel like I have to start with today and summarize the past week going backwards, so I’ll do my best. Everyday I have been here I have had the urge to come and email you, and I have simply had to keep a running list of things I wanted to tell you in my head and in my journal. Let me just start with day one. When I got here, like I said, I was already feeling sick but adrenaline kicked in with the excitement of the first day. After I emailed you I went upstairs and unpacked some stuff and met my three roommates. We knew at that point that one of the three would be our companion, we just didn’t know who. I already knew who I wanted it to be. Later that evening we finally found out. My companion is Sister Sorge, and I just love her. We kept joking that they put us together because we were both sick (she had had a cough the week before she came and  still had a residual cough). She is from Southern California, her dad is a dentist, and she has been my support through this whole thing. Luckily we have a similar sense of humor and we’ve been able to take everything in stride. Also that night, Sister Sorge and I were made the Sister Training Leaders over all the sisters at the MTC. They don’t really break up the sister leadership positions like the elders with separate zone and district leaders, so we are just over everybody. Basically in this calling, we have to get to know everyone, attend leadership meetings and bring up any concerns among the sisters, and conduct Relief Society. Not too hard, but it’s made a bit more challenging with being sick. Everyone has been so nice and so concerned though. There is a sister from Scotland that got up with me two nights in a row because she heard me leave my room and go to the bathroom to cough. She just sat with me for a while and talked until I got tired and my cough had calmed down a bit. She is lovely. She is going to Leeds as well, which makes me happy.

So after the first day, I tried to go about my business like normal, even though my throat was on fire and I felt sick, and I was mostly able to keep this up until Sunday. Sunday I had to just stay in bed and sleep because I just didn’t have the energy to be up and about, and so they let me rest and my companion went with my other two roommates to the meetings throughout the day. I was able to drag myself out of bed for a group picture, that supposedly they are sending to you at some point, so don’t expect me to look very good in it. Ha ha! So Monday came and I was excited because my energy was up, but the cough was still bad. We went to all of our classes, and then that night was when I had the scare with my breathing. After that they got pretty serious about containing the sickness because Sister Sorge and another sister in my room both have it now. We have had to stay up in our room all of yesterday and all of today, which is wearing on us mentally. Hopefully the doctor will have a magical answer and we can get back to normal because it is disheartening to miss classes because we know how much we are missing. They made us wait to email until mostly everyone else had cleared out, which we understood, but we were all sooo anxious to get to the computers. Also we couldn’t go to the temple because they didn’t want us to spread the sickness to the oldies. That made me really sad. So not the best first P-day.

Here is something that I have gained with all of this though. Nothing will make me give up. I haven’t ever felt with any of this that I just wish I didn’t ever come or that I just wish I was home. I’ve missed home for sure, but it’s almost as though it has strengthened my resolve to see this thing out.  I want so badly to be able to get better so that I can learn everything I need to learn and become the best teacher I can. I know that there are people here that are desperately seeking the truth, and for some of those people, only I will be able to get to them to understand it and accept, and that is a big responsibility, and one that I accept gladly. I just need to get better!  Ha. Also, I have felt the power of your prayers for me. President Edwards mentioned that missionaries are some of the most prayed for people in the world. They are prayed for in every temple in the world, by strangers, by friends, and family. I have definitely felt that sustaining me so thanks for that, and know I am praying for you as well. I love you all so much!!

Also Mom, I don’t know if the missionary plaque is something they still do in our ward, but if it is, I would like Proverbs 3:5-6 on it. Such a fantastic scripture.

Love, Sister Zurcher

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  —Proverbs3:5-6

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Yesterday morning we took Kate to the airport. We helped her check her luggage and then watched her go through the security line and up the escalator until she was no longer in site. There weren’t really any tears at that point since we did plenty of crying the night before when she was set apart. We will miss her, but we are happy for her and proud of her for making this sacrifice to the Lord. We were excited to wake up this morning and have an email that she wrote to my mom:

Once we got to Chicago our group increased to about 40 missionaries total, so it was a huge group! It was really fun to be in such a big group, and we instantly felt unity towards each other. Everyone is so different, but we are united in our cause. It’s really great! We met up with one sister missionary in Manchester, who came from Hong Kong by herself. She is really nice.

I sat by the same elder on both flights, Elder Wright. He is one of the 18-year-olds, but so cute and so nice to me. I feel like I’m surrounded by brothers; it’s nice. At one point I was sleeping and was trying to drape my blazer over myself because I was cold and he threw his coat jacket over me. So cute. I kept dozing off the whole time, but not very restful sleep. Luckily, I had the window seat on the way to Manchester. Also, I’ve gotten a lot of crap about my huge heavy bags. The elders helped me get them to the car and load them, but I might have overdone it. I realized that I don’t really have a way to push them all at once because none of them connect. The guys that met us at the airport were giving me a hard time and telling me that transfers will be fun for me! Ha. Also one of the elders has nicknamed me “60 pounds” giving me a hard time about my overweight bag. See what I mean by being surrounded by brothers?

The sisters are all really nice. I think there were about 10 total on the flight over, and all of them are 19. I feel like an old lady! One of the elders is 21 so we were bonding over the fact that we are old, but he was saying that he is glad he isn’t the oldest one. Ha ha. Maybe once all the missionaries get here someone will top my age (hopefully). I know it will end up being a huge advantage in the field, but it is just a little awkward right now. All the sisters are from the U.S. except 1 from Canada and 1 from Hong Kong. The majority of them are going to Manchester, but there are 3 total sisters going to Leeds.

We got a little packet with our badges once we got here to the MTC and everyone was thrilled to put them on. It’s the little things here. We have a big list of things to do, and this email to you is the last thing on mine. I was interviewed by one the members of the mission presidency and I really liked him. I guess President Pilkington is his uncle and he has nothing but great things to say about him. He mentioned that he thinks he’s a really powerful speaker so meetings should be great with him. Tonight, after everyone has been interviewed, we will meet again and they will put us in companionships and call zone leaders and everything. I’ll keep you posted on that…

They actually have all the bedding taken care of here, and they provide down comforters, but it will be nice to have mine out in the field. One of the wives did a demonstration about how to put the cover on the comforter, and she demonstrated the inside-out method you taught me. Kind of funny. We will have lunch here in about an hour and I hope I can make it through this whole day!  I’m not feeling very tired yet, but I feel like I’ll crash. I might try to fit in a nap.

I love you and I’m already a bit homesick, but I know the best cure for that is work and I’m sure they’ll be a lot of that in the next 13 days. The homsickness was hitting me on the car ride over because I was feeling sick and everything, but I’m okay now. I still miss you all though. I’m supposed to let you know that P-days are on Wednesdays, so you won’t hear from me next until then!

Love, Sister Zurcher (still trying to get used to introducing myself as that)