Monday, February 22, 2016

Settling into Notts 4!

Monday night was probably the highlight of this week! After p-day was finished, we headed to a Bible class we had been invited to by a Baptist preacher named Joe that we met last week when tracting. We couldn't decide whether we should go to the ward FHE or this, but we prayed about it and felt like it was right to go. They had a short lesson about God and then we all sat around a table to study the Bible. We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The preacher then explained that this was the time where everyone could ask any questions they had about the Bible and we would study them in depth. He opened it up for questions about the Bible and it was silent for a little bit. And then somebody raised their hand and instead of turning to the preacher, they asked us if we believe in the Bible. So we explained that we use the King James Version. Then someone else raised their hand with another question about our church. And another. And it kept going until we explained that we didn't want to take away from Joe's lesson so they could ask us any questions after. After Joe finished, he pulled us aside and started to ask more questions about why we believe in the Book of Mormon, modern day prophets and in our church. We both explained that we had a personal testimony of our church and the Book of Mormon and that we know it is true. This seemed to surprise him that we had a testimony. Then something crazy happened! He invited us to come back the next Monday (tonight) and share those testimonies with the class! Another woman came up and she said she knew nothing about our church and wished we could have just sit around the table and talked about what we believe in and then answered questions all night. We explained that we do home visits and we could come see her and teach her but she wouldn't accept with the preacher there. Joe said that we could have some time to do that as well! So tonight we have the amazing opportunity to teach the restoration and share our testimonies with the Baptists! We asked President Leppard for some advice and they encouraged us bring some members to also share their testimonies. And then we heard this morning from President and Sister Leppard that they are coming tonight to support us and bear their testimonies with us. How cool is that?!? 

Tuesday we got to move into our house! It's a proper English house and we've got lots of space! We spent the day helping Elder and Sister Page from the office and our zone leaders move all the furniture in and set it all up. It is so nice to be living in our area now and to finally get a little settled! We spent the night visiting ward members and somehow ended up with two dinners so we were very full when we got home. 

Wednesday was pretty crazy! We started the morning with ward missionary coordination and then traveled to a lesson that fell through. We visited with some members and then had dinner with a young family that was so sweet! The elders had been teaching a woman named Catherine who has a baptismal date but she is in our area now and we've been trying the whole time we've been here to get ahold of her. So after dinner we felt like it was a good time to drop by and see her. And when we got there, the elders were talking to her on the porch because they'd felt prompted to go visit her as well! She is a young mom and she is so great! We were so happy to finally be able to meet her and set up a time to teach her. 

Thursday we had a zone meeting with President and Sister Leppard and it was so great! We got to have a meeting with just the sister missionaries and Sister Leppard and she taught about our worth as daughters of God.  Then after the meeting, Sister Leppard was open to go teaching so we volunteered to take her with us! We were going to teach a man from Nigeria but then he cancelled at the last minute! We were bummed because we were so excited to have her teach with us, but it was still a treat to spend a little bit of extra time with her. We did a little tracting and headed to our dinner appointment. Then we visited some less active members and traveled back home. 

Friday was a pretty rough day. All of the lessons we had set and were so excited for fell through one by one. Everyone we traveled far to visit was feeling poorly and couldn't meet with us. Our bike tires were flat and we couldn't get the pump we had to work and it was really frustrating. We had dinner with the Hulse's who inspect all the flats for the missionaries. They're in our ward and they are amazing! Brother Hulse has this tradition where every time he shakes a missionaries hand he has a candy bar in his hand to give them. It's really funny and he's pretty sneaky about it. They fed us their famous missionary soup that they have been feeding to the missionaries every Friday for years. Then we did some service helping to put together a book with scriptures and quotes for a girl in the ward leaving on a mission for Indiana. We went to the ward game night for volleyball again and I did not get injured this week! 

Saturday was my first day using the bike I'm borrowing and it was soooo hard! The strong wind really makes it difficult to bike. We biked really far and I was exhausted and really sore by the end of the day. We met up with a uni student that got baptized a year ago to help her with some concerns and doubts she has been having. Then we rushed back home on the bikes and got picked up for the adult session of stake conference. It was all focused on temples and it was so amazing! 

Sunday we had stake conference! The spirit was so strong as each of the speakers talked, it was great! It was also a treat to hear from President and Sister Leppard again. We got dropped off at our house to do weekly plan and then decided to bike to our dinner so we wouldn't have to spend money on buses. We got very very lost and were really late but they took good care of us when we finally made it there. We ended up just leaving the bikes there and getting a ride because we were so done with them and it had gotten dark. After dinner, we visited some other ward members and finished our planning. 

Have a great week! 
Love you!
Sister Cebollero
1.  Elder and Sister Page helped us move to our own house in our area! We set up furniture and got all settled. 

2. It is a cute English house with a stain glassed swan on the front door.
 We named the swan Charlotte!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Busing all around Nottingham!

Hello ducks!
Here in the Nottingham area, the people call each other ducks and it always catches me off guard because it sounds kinda funny!

It was another great and crazy week for us in Nottingham! If I could explain this week in one word it would be BUS 🚌. I feel like we live on the bus, but it is a great way to meet people! Each day it has taken us around an hour and a half to two hours to travel to our area by bus and tram and lots of walking! So we are very anxious to move into our house tomorrow and to live in the area we teach in! Hopefully when we get settled in, things will be less crazy and we won't feel like we're living on the buses! Also, I'm in love with the chocolate here. It's sooo good!

Tuesday was Pancake Day, so we made pancakes in the morning and they were so good! British pancakes are more like crepes and their syrup is way different than maple syrup but it's delicious! We had to leave really early to get to our area and we had an appointment with a part member family in our ward from Hungary! There is definitely a huge language barrier but they are so sweet! We visited more people in the area and then had the best dinner appointment! The sister who fed us used to be a chef and we basically had a Thanksgiving meal!  It was so good! Then we went to wait for a bus outside their house and we waited in the cold for forever and the bus never came! So we walked back to her house to get a ride. They dropped us off about half way since we live so far away and then we got stranded in Nottingham city because there were bus delays, so the sister training leaders we are living with said they could come pick us up. It was quite the adventure! Even though we had lots of delays and were out in the cold we met so many great people who wanted to hear our message and learn more about the church so it all worked out!

Wednesday I had my first zone meeting! The zone leaders asked me to lead everyone in the Missionary Purpose so I had to go up and recite it all on my own and then lead everyone in saying it. Then they had all the new missionaries that came into the mission since the last two transfers, bear our testimonies. The training was really great and this week we get to meet again for a zone conference with President Leppard so I'm really looking forward to that! Then we went and visited the sweetest old lady in our ward! She has a son in law who is Jewish and he was really interested to hear about what we do as missionaries. He's never been interested in our church before but he's been going through a really rough time so he had a ton of questions.  The Spirit was the strongest I'd felt in a long time as we testified that Christ was with him through his trials and could help him. He has a hard time accepting Christ as a Savior because of his beliefs and feels very alone in all of his trials. He said that Christ had sent us there to torment him, so we know he was feeling something too, even if he was wary to let it in. And he invited us to come back which is a huge step for him! His mother in law was like our third companion when we were teaching! She really helped bring the Spirit in and helped us testify of Christ and how we can feel God's love. Then we had dinner at the Stake President's house and they have a daughter leaving on a mission in a few weeks so it was really fun!

Thursday we took NINE different buses to get around all day. The first member we visited is a convert from Iran who LOVES missionaries! Like literally, I've never met someone who loves missionaries sooo much! She has this huge American flag and a whole wall of pictures of the missionaries that taught her and each missionary that has visited her house since. She has numerous photo albums of missionaries and a book where she had us sign our names and where we were from. She asked if we wanted some hot cocoa and then sent us to the kitchen to make it ourselves and then loaded us up on biscuits and chocolates. Then she literally held us captive and wouldn't let us leave until we took ice cream even though we had just had sooo many sweets. We didn't even get two houses away before she called us and begged us to come back soon. We almost missed some appointments because she was so insistent we couldn't leave until we had ice cream. We visited some other members and then had dinner at the Bishop's house. 

Friday we taught a lesson to a man we met last week! We had missed a bus stop so we got off and we had time to wait for another one so we knocked on some doors and he invited us to come teach him! It was a really interesting lesson because he is working on a masters in Theology so he had a ton of really intelligent questions and really wanted to clarify each and every thing we said. We taught him the Restoration and he agreed to read from the Book of Mormon and pray about it so we're excited to follow up with him another day to answer more questions and continue teaching! Friday night for game night the ward was playing volleyball! The elder from Samoa spiked it and it hit one of my fingers and then bounced up and hit my face and cut me so I was bleeding! I thought one of my fingers might be broken for a few days but it's feeling much better now so that's good! 

Saturday we did our weekly planning and then did lots of tracting. We met some amazing people and made some return appointments so that was exciting! The family we had dinner with has a son who just got back from a mission last week in Utah so it was great! He got made our new ward mission leader yesterday and he'll be really great! 

Sunday morning we heart attacked the Sister Training Leaders and gave them some chocolate and when we got done they had heart attacked us too! So the flat had hearts all over for Valentine's Day! We were almost late to church because the tram was down so we had to take a different tram to a bus replacement and then get on the right tram and still walk twenty minutes to church! Relying on public transport is quite the adventure. After church we went to visit a less active family. The missionaries have been teaching the husband for a while and he has cancer. They were so funny and it was great to get to know them and they really opened up to us! We came home and made some dinner and then finished some planning. The when the Sister Training Leaders got to the flat we did some face masks and it was really fun!

We woke up to a little SNOW! So we ran downstairs and had a small snowball fight with what was there! It's already all melted, it really wasn't much, but it was fun to see some snow! 
Hope you all have a fantastic week!
Sister C 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Out of the MTC and into the field!

Nottingham: Week 1 (and MTC week 2)
Hiya everyone!
It's been awhile since I've been able to email and I've got so much to tell all of you! Sorry it's quite the novel again this week! 

The highlight of the last half of my MTC experience was going to Manchester! The day after I got to email, the missionaries staying in the MTC for two weeks got to travel to Manchester for some real finding! President Preston told us before we left that going into Manchester and teaching as brand new missionaries with a companion who is also a brand new missionary is probably the hardest thing we will do on our mission. And he was right, it is so hard and pretty terrifying at first! We started the minute we got on the train! Sister Sharp and I didn't have any luck on the train but it got better once we got there! The first guy we went up to didn't speak any English so we felt pretty dumb but it was really funny! We grabbed some lunch and went to sit by these old ladies but they left so we sat next to this man! And we realized that some Elders in our group had already given him a Book of Mormon! But we just started talking anyway and we found out that they had only really shared some of the introduction with him and then moved on to find more people and he had sooo many questions! We had the best conversation with him and were able to give him a plan of salvation pamphlet because that it what he had the most questions about! Then on the train back to Preston we were sitting by this guy and this other train whizzed by and I jumped and he laughed at me so I told him it was my first time on a train like that and that I'm a really jumpy person and it led into a great conversation! Who would have known?! He was so nice and he'd even been to the Preston temple open house when it was built so that was really cool to teach him more about our beliefs! We all had such great experiences in Manchester and we all felt so excited about missionary work when we got back! The MTC makes this trip to the same town square almost every week and it's amazing how the Lord places people there week after week that have been waiting and have been prepared to meet the missionaries! It was so amazing to hear everyone's stories! Even though it was terrifying at first, once we got started we were like we can totally do this for 18 months! The hardest part is starting the conversation but after we make that move it is so worth the try, even if they say no! 

The rest of our time in the MTC was so amazing and it went by sooo fast! Once we all got the hang of the schedule it was the best! I came to LOVE each of the missionaries there, the amazing teachers and President & Sister Miller and Preston! Sister Sharp and I had more great lessons and more hard lessons but we learned so much! And we even committed one of our "investigators" to baptism! The food they served us was always soooo good! I miss it already! But I mostly miss the amazing desserts we got each night! My favorite was called Banoffee, it's like a banana caramel cream piece of heaven! Look it up! The last Sunday we were there we had a testimony meeting that night and I was able to bear my testimony! There was so much strength and love in that Room! It was so crazy to think that exactly 3 years ago that weekend I was in the hospital and there I was bearing my testimony as a real missionary! It was so surreal! Leaving the MTC was like leaving home again! It was so sad to leave all of my new friends that I've grown so close to! The first two days we were all wondering why the heck people love the MTC so much but by the end we all loved it so much!

We got to go to the temple again on Tuesday night for one last time! It was so amazing! I'm going to miss going each week so much! Then we got up bright and early Wednesday morning and headed to Birmingham! The 7 missionaries going to our mission had a huge coach to ourselves and it was so fun! When we got to the mission home we were welcomed with lots of hugs from the sister missionaries! And then we got to meet President and Sister Leppard! They are just the most lovely people ever! They were so kind and loving! I can't wait to get to know them better! We did some training and got our iPads and had a nice lunch! We all had interviews with President Leppard and it was amazing! He's the best! Then we found out who are companions would be and where we were going! My trainer is Sister Butler and she is from South Carolina and she only has three months left so I will be "killing her" (meaning I will be her last companion). She is so amazing, I just love her to death! And our area is NOTTINGHAM! Home of Robin Hood! And Elder Ballard served part of his mission in Nottingham! Go read the first two pages of Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard, (it's in the missionary library).  It's a story of how when he was serving in Nottingham he gained his testimony about how Christ loves him and directs missionary work! The story he shares is the moment when his belief in Christ became knowledge and it's so powerful! 

We are white-washing the area which means neither of us have ever been here and the area has been closed to sisters for a few months! They used to have a really nice flat in Beeston for sisters in our area but the landlord sold it without telling the church so there haven't been sisters in our ward for a long time because they haven't had anywhere to live! Which brings me to the next exciting news! We're HOMELESS! We're living with the sister training leaders in their living room right now! It's a pretty nice flat and the couch is a pretty comfy bed! We will be moving into a small house next week but it hasn't been furnished yet. We got to go see it today and it's really nice! It's a three bedroom house and so one room will be a study room and the other spare room will be our closet so I will have plenty of room for the plethora of clothing I brought 😂. And our door has a lovely stained glass swan on it! I'll have to send a picture in a few weeks when we move in! The sister training leaders don't live very close to our area so we spend a lot of time finding on buses and trams while we are on our way to and from our areas! But it is fun to live with them! Sister Mousley is from Utah and Sister Bankini is from Italy and they were in the MTC with Sister Butler so they're all really good friends! And since we're both brand new to the area we get lost quite a bit! It's quite the adventure! We've met a lot of great people on the different types of transportation each day!

Thursday morning I went to my first district meeting and it was great! My district leader is Elder Wallace from Utah. The other elders in our district are from Utah, Tonga and Samoa and they are really nice! I did my iPad training and then we spent a lot of time going through area books to see who we could go visit! We traveled around the area and got to know our way around a little bit that night too! 

Friday was a really nice day outside and we spent time in the morning to do our weekly planning. Every Friday night our ward here has a game night so we went and met some members and played games with them! It was a lot of fun! Since we are both new we are really focusing on getting to know all the members and build relationships with them! The ward mission leader is awesome and gave us a huge list of part member families to go visit the next few weeks! 

Saturday was our first full day of tracting and it POURED ALL DAY! We were so wet! The first member we visited had seven PARROTS and they were so loud! There was not one moment of silence and I have no idea how she can live with the constant squawking! But she was really kind and her husband isn't a member so we will hopefully be teaching him soon! She told us her conversion story and it was so cool! We had a lunch appointment with another part member family and taught a lesson to her husband that went good!  Everyone else went to visit wasn't home so we just walked in the rain and stopped people in the street all day! Sister Bankini learned what YOLO (You only live once) meant and so she was saying it all night in her cute Italian accent and it was just hilarious! 

My first Sunday was amazing and full of firsts! We met the bishop and he is amazing! He's been a member of the church for 5 years and a Bishop for 3 and he had the coolest miracle conversion story! Since it was fast Sunday and there were 3 new missionaries in the ward the Bishop had us all go up and bear our testimonies at the beginning! The ward is really small but everyone is sooo nice and loving! They are all so great and they love the missionaries! We're being fed every single night this week and I can't wait to get to know more members! Then Sister Butler and I went and knocked my first street of houses! Everyone was so kind even if they didn't want to listen! We taught one man about the restoration and gave another family a Book of Mormon and it was great! Then I had my first English roast dinner! We had some really good lamb and a bunch of vegetables! I had no idea what some of them were until we left and I was able to ask Sister Butler what we just ate but it was all really good! I really liked the English cabbage and the parsnips were so good! Then we had some amazing fruit crumble and chocolate cake both with cream and it was heavenly! Why is liquid cream on dessert not a thing in America?! It's so good😍!  We spent the rest of the night doing more tracting and we visited this amazing family and the dad is the only member! They have three sons and they reminded me so much of my brothers, they were so cheeky! 

We were going to go to Robin Hood's castle today or Batman's house from the movies but it's really, really rainy, so we'll have to try on another P-day! Love you all, have a great week! 

Sister Cebollero

 1. Sister Butler is her first companion in the mission field. She's from South Carolina!
 2. Sister Cebollero and Sister Butler are living with Sister Mousley from Utah and Sister Bankini from Italy for a week.  Then they will move into their own house in their area.
3.  Sister Cebollero with her MTC group at the mission office
 4. Sister Cebollero with President and Sister Leppard
5. Eating lunch with the elders after district meeting
 6. Teaching a discussion with parrots listening in
7. Sister Cebollero says she is trying to love the rain