Stourbridge Week 1: Monday, June 20
The whitewash training adventure begins!
My last night in Stamford was lovely! We met again with Florence and Belinda from Africa and they fed us some authentic African food again. I couldn't honestly tell you what we ate because I have no idea...But it was really good! I was so sad to already have to say goodbye to them after such a short time because they were so hilarious and we were getting to be such good friends. Then I spent the rest of the night packing up again! Thank goodness for vacuum bags!
Tuesday morning I finished packing and we headed to pick up Sister Jones and Sister Wadsworth in Leicester. We drove to the mission office and they dropped Sister Jones and me off. We had a lunch with all the trainers. We were all so nervous and excited and just knowing our greenies were in the same building had us all a little on edge! Then we got to meet all the new missionaries and watch the cornerstone tradition where they all announce their name and where they come from. We had some training all together from President and Sister Leppard and the Assistants to the President and then I became a mission momma! My girl is Sister Knudsen and she is from Fruitland, Idaho! She came from the Provo MTC so she was a bit tired from her flight. Thankfully, our sister training leaders picked us up with all our luggage and brought us to our new home in Stourbridge (pronounced Star-bridge) because we had a horrible rainstorm! The flat here is soooo nice! Like honestly, we are so blessed! The location is amazing as well because we are right on the high street (main road in a town with lots of shops and food). The STLs helped us get some groceries since the flat had been cleared out when the area closed. We went out and did some finding and handed out Sister Knudsen's first Book of Mormon! Then the Elders brought us a ward directory and our area book. We did the twelve week study for new missionaries and tried to get unpacked a little bit.
Wednesday morning we took some time to look through the area book, ward directories and maps. We did some street contacting in the afternoon and tried to familiarize ourselves with the area a bit more. Then we visited a sweet widow in the ward. She was very kind and talked our ears off! Later that night we went to the Bishop's house to meet him and his wife. The ward hasn't had sisters for a few weeks now and they were so sad when they got taken out. The ward is almost completely made up of widows and so there is a lot of work for sisters to do here. They were all so excited to hear they had sisters again.
Thursday we had our first district meeting in Stourbridge. We have four sets of missionaries in our district. Our district leader is Elder Qesada from Spain (Fun fact: He was the first missionary to knock on my dear Catherine's door in Nottingham!) and his companion is Elder Nicotra from Italy. Then we have Sister Gevik from Norway and Sister Marshall from England. Those teams are all in the Woodsetten ward. Then we are in Stourbridge with Elder Petersen from Logan, Utah and Elder Stephenson from Colorado. We stayed at the church after the meeting so Sister Knudsen could get her iPad set up. I was studying and sorting through the area book while she did this. And I was feeling so stressed and overwhelmed and lost! Then I picked up my iPad to look at the map and saw that I had just received an email from Catherine! She sent me an email all about receiving the Holy Ghost and how her family has been to all 3 hours of church since the baptism and how well everything was going. It was such a tender mercy to hear such good news from her when I was feeling so low! Thursday we had the craziest rainstorm again! The rain by our flat was knee deep! We tried to visit some members but none of them were in.
Friday we had our weekly planning session in the morning. Then we did some member visits and tracting. We got Sister Knudsen's first Chippy for dinner. We went and contacted a Russian woman named Nadia that the sisters have been teaching. She is in her 60's and she was so funny! She offered to feed us dinner but we were still stuffed. She felt bad and that she needed to do something for us so she made us some ice cream bowls. Then she started pulling out rice and sausages and pasta and before we had finished the ice cream we had a full on meal. We had a good lesson with her about the scriptures. Unfortunately she left today to spend the next 4 months in Russia…So I probably won't ever get to teach her again. But she was great! Sister Jampapan who was the last Sister here before they closed the area called us Friday night to give us some information and help us out a bit. It was definitely an answer to my prayers and it helped so much!
Saturday we tried to visit a whole bunch of members but we were having a hard time finding anyone in. We finally were able to contact a less active sister who was really sweet and let us right in. In the afternoon, we contacted another friend from the Czech Republic and set up a time to teach her next week. Then we met a member named Sister Hallman and we had a great visit with her. We had our first dinner appointment here with the Relief society president.
Our first Sunday in Stourbridge! The ward here is even smaller than the branch in Stamford! There were only about 5 priesthood men. And the rest of the ward is mostly made of widows! We were able to bear our testimonies and introduce ourselves. Everyone was very kind and one sister even brought us a bag of snacks for the week. I felt a little out of place, but it will get much better once we start getting to know the ward members. We had lunch with Sister Hallman which was so lovely. Then we had to return to the flat for 12 weeks study and to have our weekly call-ins with our district leader.
To be honest it was definitely a very hard and stressful week! I did not expect to be a trainer this early on my mission, let alone whitewash training in a new area. Most of the time I just wanted to cry and I felt so lost. But I know it will take time to get to know the area and to find people here to teach. So we'll just keep taking it one day at a time and working as hard as we can and everything will work out fine.
Thank you for all of your prayers this week!
Sister Aubri Cebollero
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
All the trainers with their new missionaries!
Sister Cebollero introducing her new companion Sister Knudsen from Fruitland, Idaho
Sister Knudsen with President Leppard and his lovely wife
Sister K's first time having Chippies!
Sister K's first double decker bus
Lunch with our district
Our Russian friend Nadia