Monday, August 15, 2016

Miracles in Black Country

Last Monday we had a district P-day and we went to the Dudley zoo and castle! The castle ruins were pretty cool to see! After P-day we went to visit our friend Kay but she wasn't home. We were walking on a path to our next visit and there was a lot of rubbish. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a picture of the Preston temple on the path so I bent to pick it up and it was an old weathered missionary planner cover. There was a man on the path near us and as he heard us talking so he asked where we were from. We were then able to explain where we were from and what we were doing in England. This led into questions and teaching him the plan of salvation and introducing the Book of Mormon to Peter. He had so many questions so he invited us to his house for the next day to share more! Then we went and visited a less active couple we had only seen once before. We've been trying to go back for ages but kept catching them out. They were in and we had a powerful lesson on the Book of Mormon. The lady feels like she never had a testimony when they were baptized so we invited them to read the entire Book of Mormon and they agreed to start together Monday night! 

Tuesday morning we taught Adam again with Linda. Besides their adorable new kittens being a little distracting, it was a great Book of Mormon study. Then we went to see our friend Ann who is the sweetest old lady ever! We visited Lorraine who is house-bound and did some service cleaning up for her. We went to teach Peter more but he ended up not being in so we did some tracting, had dinner and did good ol' 12 week study!

Wednesday we had an amazing zone meeting! It was different than any other zone meeting I've been to and I learned a lot! We came up with a zone vision for our work as missionaries and for members in the Birmingham stake; "As united disciples in the Birmingham stake we are effective and inspired representatives of Jesus Christ." We set some great goals as a zone to accomplish this. Sister Knudsen and I were going to sing a duet but we ran out of time and didn't need to. It was a relief because we had only been asked the day before. When we finally made it back to Stourbridge we visited some of the people we met tracting the last Wednesday. We had a lesson with a new friend named Lee about the Book of Mormon which was great. Then we had a lovely roast dinner with Sister Fielding and when she let us go we had 12 week study. 

Thursday morning we visited Sister Wooldridge who pulled out all sorts of old pictures and told us all about her family history. She told us that Ann Taylor's dog Calvin had passed away so we ended up taking her a card in the afternoon. We stopped by a less active mom and taught her 3 adorable kids a lesson about Jesus Christ. Her son just turned 9 and really wants to be baptized but they are probably moving soon so we will see how it goes. We had a nice dinner of Bangers and Mash with Sister Hallmann. Then we went tracting and found some new people to teach! 

Friday was my miracle day this week. Oh my goodness, so many miracles! The first one sounds a bit silly but I promise it's true! I went to unpack after exchange last week and my retainer case was empty so I've been looking for it everywhere. I couldn't remember if I lost it there or here and I turned the flat upside down looking for it. I kept praying to find it and it wasn't turning up. I even distinctly remember opening the case again multiple times as I searched because I was that desperate to find it. Thursday night I prayed really hard again but I couldn't find it. Then Friday morning I was doing my hair and I went to move the retainer case out of the way and there was a noise in my case so I opened it again and my retainer was there! I nearly fell off my bed, I was so shocked! God answers prayers in mysterious ways everybody! We had a lesson with Kevin and then went to renew our bus passes. When we went out I was determined to talk to the first person I saw and we met this really cool guy named Emmanuel who ended up being a former investigator that even came to church last year! We quickly renewed our bus passes, visited with a part member family to invite them to an activity and did our weekly planning. Because of the crazy day we had we hadn't had much time to do finding, but we were still really determined to meet our new zone goal of 4 potential friends a day. We took the short time we had and our faith and set out! We learned that sometimes tracting begins with a slammed door and swear words and ends with 9 people inviting you back and 2 of them even inviting you in!!! Someone was seriously trying to discourage us about that road. We just have to remember that every door is a new child of God and we need to be excited about that! Then we visited Sister Taylor and she gave us a lift home to end a busy miracle filled day. 

Saturday was another busy day. We had district finding in our area this week. Stourbridge is an area known for a lot of old people and the area we felt prompted to go to was just that. I'm getting used to it though and I love talking to all the older people here! It was mostly door after door of older people very set in their ways.  But at least they are kind and we had a great time as a district. Saturday night, a neighboring branch invited Stourbridge ward for a BBQ with a whole roast pig and everything. It was an amazing activity and a few of our friends came. We had 35 from Stourbridge (including their friends and family they brought) which was a great turnout...considering that is more people than we had at church last Sunday! Then we went to follow up with our friend Kay and had a lovely visit with her. Turns out she came to church years ago because she is friends with a member's daughter! It's a small world and she was so excited to hear we were from the same church as her friend. 

We had a lovely and peaceful Sabbath Day. Our chorister was poorly so I got asked to lead the music and we also taught in primary again because a teacher didn't end up coming. Pretty much they just asked us to always be prepared to take over in primary. We also got assigned a very long visiting teaching list of all the less active members the farthest away that are all very spread out over the ward so wish us luck…Small wards are fun!  Then we had a lovely tea (lunch) with the Cartwright's. We tracted by their house afterwards to try and find a former but it turns out his house number doesn't exist... No worries, we will find him! We have done so much tracting in this area and it is really helping me to love it. I love talking to people and hearing about their life and their beliefs and sharing my testimony with them. I even love the ones who slam the door in our faces and swear at us...which is weird. But after this life they'll look back and see we still tried with a smile on our faces and love in our hearts! 

Time here in the beautiful Black Country region is flying by with the end of another great week! Hope you're all enjoying your summer! 
Love, Sister Cebollero

1.  Priory Park with Sister Hallmann and her granddaughter
2. Just "hanging" this p-day

3. Such beautiful ruins!

4. Dudley Castle Ruins

5. With the district at the zoo!

6. Dudley Zoo and castle

7. The district on top of the castle

8. With Sister Knudsen, her first castle!

9. Dudley castle

10. View from the castle tower

 11. A giant roast dinner at Sister Fielding's house
12. The District takes on the zoo

13/14.  Birmingham Zone with our mission statement 

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