Monday, July 25, 2016

A Sweltering Week in Black Country England

Well everybody, we've now lived through the wettest June in 70 years and now the hottest week of the year here in the UK. And yes, contrary to popular belief it is possible to get a sunburn in England! That's how much my body is not used to the sun now!  It was quite the sweltering week and I'm ready for England to go back to the overcast clouds and rain...maybe. I can't decide! The bad part about the weather is that almost all of our appointments fell through. People were either out enjoying the weather or inside trying to function with no air conditioning and couldn't be bothered to meet with us.

Monday we spent the first half of our Pday helping with a funeral. Then we met our district for lunch and some sports to enjoy the lovely weather. When Pday was over we went to a return appointment with a former investigator, but they weren't in. 

Tuesday our appointments in the morning fell through so we visited with Sister Wooldridge. Then we came home for lunch and our 12 week training study. After lunch we tried to visit some less actives and potentials but everyone was out enjoying the good weather. After dinner we went to help with young women's since we only have one young woman and one leader and they wanted more company for the activity. We went to the park and had a really nice lesson. Then we got a really sad call from a very upset Sister Fielding cancelling our dinner for Wednesday as she had been robbed of her purse on the bus. She felt so horrible for cancelling, but she was just so upset she didn't feel like entertaining company. She also kept saying she just didn't feel like talking... As the phone call reached closer and closer to an hour, bless her! 

Wednesday was a really good day! Our appointment in the morning was cancelled so we did our 12 week study then. We had lunch with The Hallman's who then insisted we come back for dinner since Sister Fielding had to cancel. After lunch we went to read the Book of Mormon with Linda and teach Stacey. Stacey has been coming to church with her for a few months now and she just loves the Book of Mormon. She's been poorly so it was only our second time meeting with her. She was just glowing as we talked about the chapter we read and what she understood. And the chapter went perfectly into the invitation to be baptized! She agreed to a baptismal date without hesitation and was just SO happy! The spirit was so strong and it was an amazing moment! Miracles!!! Then we visited some potentials and set a few return appointments. We went back and had dinner with the Hallman’s and convinced them to let us serve them this week in return for taking such good care of us. 

Thursday we had district meeting in Woodsetton. Elder Nicotra from Italy is our new district leader...until he goes home in 2 weeks. His new companion is from Columbia! Sister Gjevik is training but she won't receive her new companion until this coming Wednesday so she was with Sister Nkomo from South Africa this week. She was so funny! We had a good district meeting and travelled back. On the way back I was listening to two men on the bus debate about some religious topics as we reached our stop. They were getting off at the same stop and as we got off I turned to talk to them and they saw our name badges. They then asked if we were nuns...(honestly people I can't even tell you how many times I get asked if I'm a nun... Do I look like a nun?!?) and we explained who we were and had a really good lesson on the spot and talked to them for a while. Then we had a lesson with our friend Rosalind. She is a sweet old lady who had the missionary lessons in the past and we are reading the Book of Mormon with her. Then we went to teach our new friends Louise and Kevin. We introduced the restoration and they invited us back for dinner this week!

Friday was a long day of traveling for follow-up trainers meeting at the mission office! We had a few hours there with President, Sister Leppard, the other trainers, and greenies (new missionaries). It was amazing and we were lucky enough to sit next to the Leppard's at lunch which was a treat! They told us all about their story/the process of being called as our mission president. It was so nice to see all the other trainers and hear about their experiences! Then we travelled back on a very hot bus. By the time we got back we had an hour to work until we needed to start weekly planning. We went to an appointment with a less active member which was really great! Then we came back and had our weekly planning session. 

Saturday morning we did some district finding in Dudley town centre. We went to a nice little bakery for our district lunch. Then we traveled back to have a lesson with Kevin. We talked a lot more about faith and the restoration. Then we went and painted the Hallmann's shed and had dinner with them. Yay for service projects! 

Sunday was back to the typical English weather! Back to cloudy skies and rain throughout the day and goodbye to the scorching humidity! We were able to teach primary and only had one primary child here this week so it was a fun one on one lesson with her! We taught about the Armor of God and Alma 43-44 and used a really fun object lesson with her that she really enjoyed. After church we went to follow up with some potentials and did some tracting. Then we had our Sunday dinner with Sister Hallmann and came back for call-ins and 12 week training. 

We are living in the "Black Country" region of England so today we went to the Black Country Living Museum with a member and her grandson. They took prominent buildings from around the villages, took them apart and numbered each brick then rebuilt it like a new village! It was so cool to walk through the little town and see the factories, houses, canals and mines! 

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Thanks for all your love and support these last 6 months! See you in a year!
Sister Aubri Cebollero 

1. An old school missionary cart

 2. Thanks to the wonderful Hallmann family for this  fabulous picture!
3. Brick by brick they rebuilt this little town for an awesome museum experience

4. Sister Ceb Selfie

5. Sister K and Sister C visiting the Hallmann's

6.  District finding on Saturday

7. I LOVE English canals!!

8. About to go down into the mines!

9. Happy 6 months to me! New dress from my mom and sis!

10. Hey Dad...look behind me! A diabetes ad from your company Novo Nordisk!

11. Painting the Hallmann's shed...yay for service!

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Raise your hand if you can't believe I hit 6 months?!"

Monday night everything fell through! We had an appointment we were really excited about and they had forgotten and weren't in. We tried visiting some nearby less active members but none of them were in either. We did some tracting and looked through our area book to find some more former investigators.

Tuesday was a busy day! We contacted and visited two less active members in the morning. Then we rushed back for a quick lunch and the STLs came up for a short workover. I got to spend an hour working with Sister Barrett and we took the car to contact some former investigators. We were able to find two and set up appointments with both of them! Yay miracles! We spent the rest of the day trying to contact more less active members we haven't met yet. We were able to meet a few and it was really great! We did some tracting to finish off a good day.

Wednesday we did our 12 week study in the morning. Then we had lunch with Sister Hallman. We had to go into Dudley to get new bus passes since ours were expiring. Then we visited some less actives and potentials. We went to visit Sister Charters-Bowen and Sister Taylor was there as well, which was a pleasant surprise! Then we had dinner with our sweet Sister Fielding. She didn't cook two meals this time because..."I put a whole chicken in the soup to make it extra filling" and let's not even mention the three different kinds of pudding she tried to force feed us. Why do widows want to make me so fat??  She gets really attached to the sisters; she literally started crying when we had to leave, bless her! She takes such good care of us though and would do anything to help us. So much love!

Thursday we had zone conference with President and Sister Leppard! And WOW it was amazing! We talked a lot about faith and miracles and it was just what I needed! I learned so much! We had pizza provided for zone lunch and then headed back to work! When we got back we had an hour to GQ and we started talking to as many people as we could. I was really praying to talk to someone I could really connect with, when I stopped a lady from PERU! I pretty much died, because one year ago this month I was in Peru on my humanitarian trip! And she'd even had missionaries over in Peru by invitation of her daughter! Her English wasn't very well, but we had a great conversation and it was my miracle of the day to have stopped her! After dinner and 12 week study, we visited less active members and did some tracking. 

Friday we had THREE member present lessons, two of which were unplanned. People, this is not normal for England!! MIRACLES!!! In the morning we had a lesson with Kevin. We had invited a member but she said she couldn't come. We met him at the cafe again and started the lesson and partway through Sister Taylor showed up! He has so many great questions and we were really able to sort through them and it was so amazing to have Sister Taylor there to help testify! And he brought us a whole bag full of chocolates so he is the sweetest old man ever! Then we rushed to visit a member named Linda to read the Book of Mormon with her like we do every week. When we got there, we had one investigator there; Stacey, and she also introduced us to her fiancée so we could start teaching him as well! Then later we had another member present lesson for our dinner appointment with a member and her boyfriend. It was amazing! Friday night, in the middle of the night, a drunk lady was buzzing our flat and the other flats around us and yelling outside and it was so annoying! I almost thought it was just a dream until Sister Knudsen mentioned it as well the next morning. Yay for living on the high street and weekends by the pubs!

Saturday was another fantastic day! In the morning we went to teach a former investigator that we found in the area book and called earlier this week. She is a sweet old lady and we had a good lesson. She even invited us back for this week, so yay for new friends to teach!! Then we went to another part of our area to meet our district for district finding. Everyone was a bit late so we contacted some new less active members. Then we all gathered in a neighborhood to tract together and we started off with a group prayer. When we finished, two Jehovah witnesses were just getting out of their car and stopped to chat. They had just finished their proselyting for the day and they pretty much gave us a pep talk before we started and didn't even try to argue or put us down so that was a new experience #missionariesunite!!  First, I did some tracting with Sister Marshall (who goes home tomorrow), then we swapped and I went with Sister Gjevik. It was so nice to have the district all working together and we got so many potentials and met some amazing families! #miracles!!  We had a district lunch together and it was great. Sad to see our district getting split up this next week!  Then we came back to the flat for weekly planning. Sister Knudsen also got asked last minute to give a short talk on Sunday so we worked on that as well. Then we got a call from Bishop asking if we were out in town and informing us of a bomb scare in Stourbridge right where the Elders live and that part of town was cordoned off ... He was very relieved to hear we were in for the night to do weekly planning! And no worries, we had no bombs go off in Stourbridge! 

Sunday we went to church early for our coordination meeting. We had a really great sacrament meeting given by missionaries! We had the "youngest" in the field (Sister Knudsen), the "oldest" in the field (Elder Peterson who goes home tomorrow) and one of our senior missionaries in the stake (Elder Alston). It was a really great sacrament meeting. Our YW president wasn't there so she had asked us to take over and teach Young Women's. We had our one YW member, our friend CJ, and 3 nonmembers visiting from Geneva! We had been asked to teach on the priesthood so we taught all about the restoration and how the priesthood was so central to that. It was a great lesson! Then we went to the return appointments we set yesterday during district finding.. But they all fell through! The weather was beautiful and hot so pretty much no one was home. And if they were home, they were dying because air conditioning is rare here! We tried contacting some new less active members but none of them were in either. We had dinner with Sister Hallman and then came home for 12 week study and call-ins. Later we got the transfer calls! I'm staying in Stourbridge with Sister Knudsen to finish training (YAYYYY!!!). Sister Gjevik and Elder Stephenson in our district are both training, so when their greenies come in next week we will be the greenie district!  I'm so excited to have so many training in our district, it'll be so fun! 

This morning we spent part of our Pday helping out with a funeral for a sister in the ward who died right before we came to the ward. It was a really nice service.

Raise your hand if you can't believe I hit 6 months this upcoming week!!!  Time sure is flying here in the Earth's Best Mission! We're expecting a big heat wave these next few days so it's gonna be a hot and humid week! Hope you're all enjoying the beautiful summer time!
Sister Aubri Cebollero 
1. Woodsetton District on the double decker bus

2. Zone Conference with President and Sister Leppard and their dog Amber! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Birmingham Life Continues...

Where is my life going?!? Time is flying out here!

Monday we had a fabulous Fourth of July here in the UK! A member threw a great BBQ for us and it was so fun! We had hamburgers, hotdogs, Reese’s, root beer and even some Snickers ice cream bars! So much America in one English back garden! Some of her neighbors came that aren't members and they used to be taught by missionaries so we were able to visit with them and answer some questions. 

Tuesday we had exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. I was with Sister Lowder from Arizona. She is also one of Sister Butler's companions so it was fun to get to know her better! Sister Knudsen went with Sister Berrett in their car so we walked and bused for the day. We tried stopping every single person that crossed our path and it was so great! After a certain point the buses stop running and we had to get across town for a lesson. So we walked uphill for a few miles to get there and then they weren't even in. Thankfully the sisters gave us a ride back because we were exhausted!

Wednesday we had our first zone meeting in the Birmingham zone! Sister Knudsen gave our missionary purpose and I was such a proud little momma! She did so well!  I was also able to do a musical number and sing with one of the other sisters in the zone so that was really fun to participate in that! We travelled back and tried visiting lots of members and less actives. We didn't have much luck and when we showed up for our dinner appointment the member wasn't there so bummer! Yay for more tracting! #tractingforever

Thursday was a fantastic day! An older member took us out to eat with Mildred Sorra and her daughter CJ that we are teaching. We went to a super posh world buffet! It was the nicest place I've been into my entire mission, we were so lucky! I had some absolutely delicious lamb curry and some other really good Asian food! We were all in heaven and it was such a nice time with them! Then we visited with a few other members in the afternoon to get to know them. Our dinner appointment cancelled again because they were poorly so we dropped them off a get well soon card. We contacted some former friends and followed up with some of our potentials. We were able to set up a lesson with one for Monday night so we were really excited! 

Friday was a busy day! We had an appointment with our friend Kevin that the sisters had been teaching. He is a pretty old man and just the sweetest thing ever! I've decided he's my adopted mission grandpa and he's already invited me back to come stay with my family and tour England! He bought us hot chocolate and we had a “how to begin” teaching lesson with him to get to know him. He is an ex-Jehovah witness and had a lot of really great questions. Our next lesson cancelled so we came home for our weekly planning. Then we went and visited with a house bound member to get to know her. We had a great dinner appointment with Sister Taylor and did some service for her. Then we went and met with a former investigator named Seroj who grew up Hindu and she agreed to have the lessons again! 

Saturday we met with Seroj again to have a lesson and do service for her. We had a lesson on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and then went to her allotment and picked all sorts of berries I've never seen in America. Saturday we got to visit and spend time with our favorite widows, Sister Wooldridge and then we visited Sister Fielding. And man, they could talk for all of Britain! They just tell the best stories and take such good care of us. When we told Sister Fielding we had to get going because it had been an hour, she looked heartbroken! I love my adopted grandmas! 

Sunday morning we had our missionary coordination. Our Bishop's wife was stressing out because she had to give a talk in sacrament meeting, give sharing time and none of her primary teachers showed up so we offered to help her. We only had one primary child show up but we had a great lesson on temples and it was really fun to join them! After church we tried to visit some less active members and potentials. We did some tracting then had dinner with Sister Hallman. 

Today we went into Birmingham city centre! Birmingham is the second biggest city after London and it was so fun to see! We did some shopping and had lunch with the sisters in our district! I finally got kebab-tized during lunch! (A kebab is really popular at all the chippie shops. It is a big thing of meat; usually chicken, beef or lamb, turning on a stick and they carve some off for you and serve it with salad or chips.) It was so good! 

Love you all, hope you have a fabulous week!

Sister Aubri Cebollero 

1. The Bull Ring in Birmingham City Centre (Go Aggies!)

2. Birmingham Zone July 2016

 3. Selfies!
4. The walk to church is always so pretty!

5. Yay to my mom and sister for two new dresses and good weather!!

6. Our posh buffet lunch with Avis, CJ, and Mildred

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Miracles on miracles this last week!

Let's just call last Monday "Miracle Monday" because man it was amazing! We set out after preparation day to visit a less active member from Africa who is our age. We were able to meet her twice last week and the timing was never right to have a lesson with her so we had set up a time to go on Monday. When we had ward council the last Sunday and mentioned that we had been in contact with her, the member of the bishopric who acts as our ward mission leader just started crying. He told us she was so special to him and had been baptized all alone at age 11 when he was Bishop and they had been trying for so long to find her and thought she'd moved. The spirit was so strong as he shared that with us and I really felt like we could help her. I was so excited to go by again and meet with her but then she wasn't home. We decided to tract the next street over and it was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time. We started tracting and further down the road we could see a big family all outside working on some cars and enjoying the nice weather. They watched us come down the street and I wasn't sure how to approach them since it was a fairly big group and they were all already outside. So I walked up and just started talking and explaining what we were sharing with people and one of the older sons walked away from the car and started to listen. We talked to him about the restoration, and the more we talked the more interested the mom got. The rest of the family was just visiting and she lives there with her 18 year old daughter and husband. We were able to talk to them for a long time and we were also able to set up a time to go back, miracles! Then we kept tracting and I only had one restoration leaflet left, but I felt like I should have a plan of salvation leaflet ready so I grabbed that out of my bag. A lady answered the door and as we explained who we were she became so shocked. She told us her husband had recently died and she had spent the day visiting a cathedral to pray and now here we were on her doorstep and it couldn't be a coincidence. So we started showing her the pamphlet and talking about the plan of salvation. She told us she'd met Mormon Elders before and they'd offered to help her husband garden and it had touched her so much. We had a great conversation with her and she was so excited for us to come back and share more with her. 

Tuesday morning we visited with a widow named Margaret. Then we visited some less active members and did a lot of tracting. We met this really cool YSA aged boy named Daniel who wanted to come to church Sunday and even started referring to himself as Brother Johnson when we were talking, that never happens! It was raining so so hard and he was very impressed we were over here from America, going door to door in the rain. Then we visited one of the ward's more recent converts of the last few years. She used to be a spiritualist and she had a lot of great stories about her conversion and the missionaries that taught her. 

Wednesday was another very rainy day! We had a lesson with a less active couple that we'd never met before and it was really nice. We spent so much time trying to visit other members and do finding but we didn't have much luck. After dinner we visited with another widow, Sister Taylor. She didn't have any spiders for me to capture this week so that was good!

Thursday morning we had district meeting at our chapel. Sister Knudsen and I gave some training and it went really well! Then we visited our friend Sister Hallman. We had a lesson with a part member family, the Sorra's from the Philippines! They are so great and it was so nice to get to know them!

Friday was going to be a super packed day with lessons and member present lessons and I was so excited! A little stressed about how we would make it all work, but excited! Then one by one they all cancelled and had to rearrange and it was so sad! Then we went to teach a recent convert of 2 years and her nonmember daughter in law was supposed to be there for a lesson as well but she didn't come. We had dinner with Sister Hallman and her granddaughter. Then we had another lesson and met the rest of the Sorra family. I just love them so much already! Sister Sorra is going to go with us to Birmingham on a Pday in a few weeks and I'm so excited! 

Saturday morning we did our weekly planning. We had a huge list of members and less actives we wanted to visit but most of them weren't able to meet. We had a nice visit with our relief society president. Then we visited Sister Fielding, a widow that takes such good care of us missionaries! She has been feeling poorly the last few weeks so we took her some flowers to cheer her up. She scolded us for spending money on her and like always tried to send us home with all of her groceries and her entire kitchen, bless her! 

We had a great fast Sunday! We started our morning with missionary coordination. Brother Stanton on our bishopric acts as our ward mission leader and he is so funny! We had a really good testimony meeting and all the missionaries were able to bear our testimonies. This ward is truly suffering and it is so heart breaking. They are so small that they are literally like a family, and there has been some big family drama lately in the ward. We had a good relief society lesson about tolerance and love which was much needed for everyone! After church we had a roast dinner for lunch at Sister Hallman’s. Then we went to teach the family we met Monday…But they sadly had forgotten or something and weren't in. We did some tracting and tried to visit some nearby less active members. Daniel, that we met tracting, wasn't able to come to church, but he did text us and ask when we are free this week to teach him about the restoration pamphlet we gave him, yay miracles! 

Hope you all have a fantastic 4th of July celebrating independence from my beautiful temporary home of England!
Love you all!
Sister Aubri Cebollero 

1. Our district: Back: Me, Sister Knudsen, Sister Marshall (Lancaster, England), Sister Gjevik (Norway), Front: Elder Peterson (Logan, Utah...going home this month), Elder Nicotra (Italy...going home this month), Elder Qesada (Spain), Elder Stephenson (Colorado)

2. Rain, Rain, and more Rain!! We are in for a rainy summer!

3. Stourbridge city center

4. My home in Stourbridge

5. Ice Cream Trucks!! The DQ of England! They are unreal and Sister K had to experience it!