Monday, July 10, 2017

El Finale

Hello there!!
That (my subject) is probably seriously such wrong grammar, but what do you expect from English speaking missionaries haha anyways, here goes!! I literally cannot believe that 18 months has flown by so fast! I honestly don't really know how to feel right now, so as if it is any other week, here is my update ;)

So Monday night just seems to really be our night, but after a super fun pday of spending time around the island with the Karrens and the Winders (our senior couple, and their friends who serve in the YSA right now), Sister Karen said we should take the car for the evening. She was so inspired. It gave us enough time to get over to a certain area of Douglas that would have taken far to long to get to and back from especially on the bus. So we get to this area, and call by some of the investigators we have been trying to make contact with. None of them were in, and we were heading back to the car so we could drop it back off in time to get home still. I glanced at the time, and we had about 5extra minutes. As I looked up, this house kinda just caught my eye for a second, and I thought, "hm.. we should maybe knock that row." But then also my natural man came and thought.. nah. But I was like, that's silly, I am a missionary for heavens sake!! Let's do it! So we do. The first house we knock was the one that had caught my attention. A young girl answered, and we said hello and asked if her parents were home. Her mum comes to the door, and behind her is a man. We introduce ourselves, and he tells us, "yes I know who you are, I am a member.." what?! He asked if we knew a few people, but wouldn't say much about himself, and went back into the other room. When he did, the mum says, "you know, its funny that you came today. Her (pointing at her daughter) dad passed away recently, and today was his birthday. I feel like that's a sign you know? We have been taking a lot lately about heaven, and I feel this comfort and interest lately in faith. I really feel like this is a sign!" We were both so excited, and explained to her that yes, God is aware of her, and that we would love to share with her and her daughter more about His plan for us. As we were leaving, the daughter was asking us our names and was so sweet, and the mum went into the other room, and said to her friends, "Isn't that a sign? I really feel like it is." Since Alexandria (the mum) had company over, we scheduled to see them on Wednesday, when Alexis (the daughter) will be off school as well! We gave them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read before we come next!!! What a miracle! The spirit whispers so softly, I almost missed it. But when we need those subtle promptings, miracles are wrought! Evidence, right there :) hoorayyyy!!! 

I can't believe that I have been on my mission for 2 fourth of July's... too crazy! This one was particularly special. We got to welcome our new mission President in via Skype to the multi zone conference happening in Manchester. President and Sister McReynolds are wonderful, and as I sat listening to them speak, I felt the spirit really testify to me that they truly have been called by a prophet of God to serve here right now. They are just what the mission needs. Probably my favourite bit was when President told us that we are all leaders in this mission. Sometimes the culture seems like, oh only the specific leadership callings are the leaders, when actually the characteristics that define leaders, (I.e. humble, obedient, Christ-like, loyal, hard working, pure in heart, trustworthy) should be defined in each and every missionary. That really struck a chord. It made me really think about how my discipleship didn't start when I put on my name tag for the first time, nor does it end when I take it off. My discipleship is tied to the covenants, or promises I have made with God at baptism. The spirit was very strong in this meeting, and even though I got a bit stressed about us being in the picture... (nice one sister Carter...;) it all turned out great!
Then, bless the Holden family, they invited us to tea for our 4th of July feast of pizza and A&W!!! Woo woo!! Haha best American dinner ever!! Love them so much, it was the perfect way to celebrate :) 

It is pretty crazy that the day after America's national holiday, is the Isle of Man's- Tynwald day! We got permission to go down to St Johns, and be amongst the people all off work and school and see this fun event. It was so neat to see all the dignitaries walking up, the women in their hats, men in robes and wigs! What they do is they go onto this layered hill and read out all the laws that have been passed during the past year, first in English, then in Manx. Pretty fun! There were also loads of vikings, or people dressed as vikings, walking around!! The re-enactment was fabulous! They also had a market and sort of festival going on next to the hill. Usually the ward does a booth, but apparently you have to get a slot back in March in order to set one up, and we didn't know about it until it was too late. So instead, we walked with the crowds and talked to those we could. All in all it was a successful and happy day! We met a very nice couple from Australia who have travelled around the world. They asked us about the role of religion in the Isle of Man and in our own lives, and we learned more about their own background. They thanked us for our kindness, and told us we had peaked their interest. They wouldn't accept a BOM, but promised to look at, so we were grateful for that. 

So I think I told you last week about going to Jasmine and Davids, and inviting him to take the missionary discussions, and being soooo stinking excited when he agreed. So we got to go and teach them this week, and the lesson went so well. I didn't know this until after when jasmine told me, but he loves analogies and learns best when they are used, and during the lesson, we used several. The spirit was so strong as we shared the first vision, and I am so excited to hear about how he progresses. The Lord is blessing this area, it it so prepared. She wishes I could be there to continue teaching him, but I know the Lord will take care of things :)

So we were on a bus back down from ramsey, and there was a man sitting behind us that was talking quite loudly to a woman near him. He was asking about the Laxey wheel, and was obviously new to the area. Well, the next day as we were walking to a lesson, we passed by a bus stop, I saw the same man standing there, looking at the time table. He was clearly lost, and I felt we should stop and talk to him. We all recognised each other from the bus the day before, and we told him how to get to where he needed to go. We also talked to him a bit about our call as missionaries, and even invited him to the Karren's surprise goodbye party later that night. He said he would love to come, and also his name is Ahmad. So we were like great see ya! And then guess what?! He came!! And he had so much fun that he came to church the next day as well!!

So we had a goodbye party for the Karrens, and then all three of us gave our departing talks in church. This weekend has been a literal whirlwind. I will get on a ferry at 8am tomorrow to begin my travels to England and the mission Home, and then on to you... it will be a grand old adventure, and I am excited. It is such a bitter sweet time.

I want each of you to know of my love for you and also for my Saviour. I have truly come to know Him these past 18 months. My mission has taught me so much, but I feel one of the most important things is that we must place our trust in Him. The Atonement of Christ can heal all hearts, all wounds, and can lift us higher than we can imagine. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and have felt so privileged to declare His word, and wear His name on my chest this past year and a half. I love the people of Britain, and will miss them very much. But I am also so excited to give you all hugs and laugh together with you! Life is such a wonderful thing. I am so grateful for it. I know that God lives and loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all so much, and can't wait to see you in 2... DAYS :D
Bye for now
Sister Carter

Pic: I know I know nothing about HP, but I figure I am leaving England, and this is basically how I feel. So just put my bags in the cart!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Birthday America 🇺🇸

As we were walking up murder hill, our favourite hill, actually called broadway, that kills us when we walk up it.. every day.. we passed by an older man who was waiting for a bus. As we do, we say hiya, how are you? He goes, "good!! I'm the best person in the whole world!!" We had a pretty good laugh at that one ;) good perspective, hey.

Linda, our wonderful returning less active, came to church on Sunday, and during Sunday school, she and sister hunter were praising me, saying that I have really impacted their lives and how they will miss me. Bless. I love them both so much, and it was such a tender mercy, as I was struggling a bit to see if I had even made a difference in this area. I just couldn't stop crying! Haha  hate that ;)

It's been a good week! We have been wearing our winter coats and scarves
all week even though it's July 3 but all is well! 

After not seeing Vino for what felt like ages, we finally got to see her again on Tuesday night. I love my sweet Sri Lankan auntie!! Haha she is the best, and really understands and internalises all that we teach her. This time, we picked up where we left off last time at baptism (last time we taught about faith in Jesus Christ and repentance), receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. She loved the gift of the Holy Ghost, and told us she wishes she had met missionaries earlier in her life. In response I felt the need to read Alma 32:27-28 and invite her to act on the faith she had just expressed by coming to church. I wish so badly we had invited her to be baptised in that moment however, because this invite to church distracted her. But I always love the quote from The District, "as missionaries, we are allowed to make mistakes, as long as the spirit is still there." We will still have a chance to invite her, and I loved what Elder Karren reminded us after the lesson: trust the Lord's timing. She may move back to Sri Lanka and be baptised there, she may be baptised here in a month, who knows?! I just know that I must keep the faith. She is wonderful and a beloved daughter of God.

We went and talked to felix about earth life and why we had to come to earth. He is a really smart nine year old! We talked to him a little about baptism and asked if that was something that he would want to do and he said yes! We talked to his mom and she is wanting it for him as well, we just know it is going to be a change for their family since they haven't been to church in a while. 

Okay so the other week there was a man we talked to who went and talked to the famous person, Andrew Lloyd Webber! So we ran into him again this week! We were so excited to find out what had happened. So I guess he and Andrew got talking and he was only on the Isle of Man for 2 hours and went up to the place that Refira(the mans name) and his friend were doing the project and wrote a letter of endorsement! How neat! He thanked us for giving him the courage to go and talk to him! So fun! 

There is a couple in our ward and the wife is from Jamaica and the husband is from Scotland and is not a member. We went to their house this week just to talk and share a message. We ended up showing Because of Him and baring testimony of Jesus Christ. It was really spiritual. I am so grateful for my Saviour and the knowledge that I have that I can rely and turn to Him. Bad things in life happen but through Him you can get through them. At the end we really felt like we needed to ask the husband if he would listen to the missionary discussions and he said yes! We are so excited! Such a huge answer to many many prayers. Keep having faith you all!

Okay so basically on Saturday night we decided to grab one of the new Cadbury peanut butter chocolate bars before we went to visit one of our less active friends. We got to the bus stop, enjoying our chocolate when this man comes in he sits down next to me and started a harmless conversation of asking if we were from Canada or America. Well we quickly realised how drunk he was by the long pauses between each word and the less and less we could understand him, haha. I was trying to be polite and talking to him when all of the sudden this lady next to sister Wamsley chimed in and started talking about how animals have souls and that's why she doesn't eat them and about how God doesn't exist all while the drunk man (Malcolm) was talking as well. We were SOO confused. Thankfully the bus showed up and we thought we would be able to make our escape..nope. He sat right behind us. I probably could have gotten drunk just by the smell, haha. The conversation ended on how rat meat has the most blood and vitamins, in case you wanted to know. Haha It was the longest bus ride ever
but eventually we made it. People are weird sometimes.

They have arrived! As sad as it was to say goodbye to the Ulrich's, it has been so exciting with the anticipation of welcoming the McReynolds' to the EMM. They got here on Friday morning. We got a text from Sister McReynolds telling us that she lived on the Isle when she was growing up, and how excited she is to hear there are sisters here. So sweet! And then I got to chat on the phone with them this morning asking a few questions, and they are so sweet with mixed accents, almost Aussie! Haha change is always a bit of a doozie, but we are thrilled to have them here.

Btw, sorry the font goes so funny. I have to copy and paste it from notes and it all kinda freaks out.
Anyways! I am so baffled that this is my final full week of my mission. Just as the new mission President get here, I leave. My mission has been such a sacred experience for me. I have learned so much, grown, and changed. My faith and trust in the Lord has grown tenfold. I am tremendously grateful for the blessing and trials that I have experienced during my service. I have striven to be obedient, diligent, and hard working each and every day. I am not perfect, and I have so many weaknesses, but I now understand the power of repentance so much more. I am also so blessed to have witnessed that same change in the lives of others. What a joy and peace it brings. I am so sad to close this chapter of my life, it is going to be a bit of an adjustment, but I know and have faith that my future is bright. I will continue to work hard to achieve my goals, and strive to keep the habits I have worked so hard to develop. I love my mission. I love my Saviour, and I am so grateful for all I have been blessed with these past 18 months.

I love each one of you so much. I am sorry I haven't been the best at keeping in good contact individually, but I hope you know that I think of you often. I pray for you individually every day, and am have gained a greater testimony that God has placed me in this family, blessed me with you as friends, not on mistake. Families truly are forever. I am excited to see you all soon. Don't make fun of my awkwardness too much ;)
I love you all!!
Bye for now.
Sister Carter xx