Nottingham: Week 1 (and MTC week 2)
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!
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