Monday, September 26, 2016

Little Miracles Matter

Monday we met with some other missionaries to play basketball and volleyball for our P-day. Then when P-day was over we took a quick train to Cardiff and then switched over to a pretty long train ride to Merthyr Tydfil for exchanges with our sister training leaders. It was really late when we got there so they made us dinner and then when we were done planning we had a pamper night. We did facials and had a relaxing evening together that was a lot of fun. 

Tuesday I was with Sister Grant from New Zealand for the day. We started off the day by going into the town centre and talking to everyone that would listen. Unfortunately, the only person that would talk to us was a very staunch Catholic who didn't want to listen or even let us speak at all, but rather wanted to tear us down in a quite horribly rude manner. But oh well, we tried! Then we went back for lunch at their flat and they had flat inspections so we met a nice senior missionary couple in their zone. Then we went and taught one of their investigators about the Holy Ghost and had a great lesson with her. We dropped by some members in their ward to take them birthday cards. And then we did some tracting together and rushed back to the train station to meet the other sisters and catch our train back. It was a long cold train ride and our train from Cardiff was delayed a bit so we were running late. We had planned it so that we could catch the last bus from the train station in Ystrad Mnach and only have to walk 20 minutes home from the bus stop rather than an hour and a half from Ystrad Mnach. We were watching the clock and praying so hard that we wouldn't miss that last bus as it was getting late and it was very dark. The train pulled up 10 minutes past the time the bus should have been and gone, but we ran to the spot and it was still there! We were able to make it in just in time for 9…miracles!

Wednesday morning, we went to the relief society enrichment activity. There was a lesson comparing the three little pigs to the church and commandments and then we decorated cupcakes like little pigs. Then we went and visited Marcia. After that we walked to Julia’s and helped her clean. We had coordination with Brother Pritchard who was really funny this week and played some funny jokes on us. 

Thursday morning, we were preparing for the day and praying to help the Davise family progress towards baptism when they cancelled the appointment. We traveled to Newbridge and did some tracting in the morning before lunch. Then we met up with Sister Manning and taught Eric again. We got him a big print copy of the Book of Mormon and so we introduced that to him. He was really excited to study it this week and props to him for being open. Most old people we meet feel like it's too late for them to change, but he's 90 and loving all we share. We walked home and had dinner and then since we couldn't see Amy, we stopped by to visit Madalaine. We had a really good lesson about the Book of Mormon with her as well. When we were leaving her flat we were stopped on the street by a former and we set up an appointment to go and teach him again. Then we went and taught Jon.

Friday morning, we had our district meeting and our zone leaders joined us. We had some good training and some funny role plays. After district lunch we tried to stop by some less active members that live nearby the church. We had an appointment with one sister but it fell through. We came back and had dinner and did our weekly planning to wrap up the day. 

Saturday morning, we went tracting and met a lot of really nice people. We went to our appointment with the former we met on Thursday but he wasn't there. So then we stopped by our friends Kellie and Garreth and taught Garreth a smashing restoration lesson. Note that they both have degrees in theology from Oxford and Garreth is the local Methodist minister so no pressure. He was very open and respectful and we really felt the Spirit as we shared the message of the restoration with him and especially as we talked about modern day prophets and preparing for general conference. We rushed home for a quick dinner so that we could make it to start with David and Madalaine the stop smoking program, but they cancelled as well. So after dinner we visited some recent converts that live near us named Megan and Emily. They are 16 year old twins and they are so hilarious. We had a really nice visit getting to know them and talking about their conversion as it has almost been one year since their baptism. 

Sunday the Mannings gave us a ride to church. We had a former investigator named Garreth just show up at church today! He has been living in the Philippines for the last few months and has been out of contact but just returned and came to church all on his own! There were some complications with sacrament meeting speakers so Bishop called on Sister Tartaglia and Elder Dodds to give short talks about their mission so far. It was the Elders turn to teach gospel principles and we pulled together a class. It's so hard to keep people on topic but it went pretty well! We were asked to teach young women's and combine two lessons about tithing and fasting. I love helping out in young womens so it was a lot of fun for us. We had lunch with Brother and Sister Manning and then went to visit Megan again. Then we went and taught some friends and gave them the commitment to stop smoking for the next 7 days with a 15 step program. Our  friend really wants to quit and we really know it will help her with her depression and health to do so. We stopped by some part member families and talked to them for a bit. The we stopped by a former named Sarah and caught her just as she was walking out to go to the store so we walked with her and talked with her. We set an appointment with her…On P-day because we'll literally take anything we can get. Then we had call-ins to wrap up the week here in Blackwood. 

This morning we left our flat super excited to teach a lesson, even if it had to be during P-day! And we walked to Sarah's house... And she wasn't home. But that's alright we will keep trying! 

We have combined district meetings with President Leppard this week and general conference so there is a lot to learn and a lot to look forward to! Hope you all enjoy general conference! 
Sister Aubri Cebollero
1. Making Little Piggy cupcakes at RS activity

2.  Facials with the Sister Trainer Leaders. Sister Vousden from England and Sister Grant from New Zealand 
4. Our district, plus the Cardiff zone leaders

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sister C and Sister T walked, and walked, and walked...

I'd love to write you all a super inspiring and positive letter about the work here in Blackwood... But all the lessons in church yesterday were on honesty and I don't think a lot of positive fluff would really accurately describe the week we had. Some weeks the work is just kinda dead no matter how hard we try! But the important thing is that we try! And oh boy did we try, try, try! 

Monday night we were meant to have a lesson with Jon but when we got there he was feeling sick. We talked for a bit with him and then we went to visit some less active members and formers who weren't in. 

The quote of the day Tuesday from my lovely Italian companion was "we walk many mileage for them and still they reject us! Is this not our love?!" I could say this for almost every day this week but I felt like we walked all over the world on Tuesday. We walked an hour in the morning to visit some formers in Oakdale but they weren't in. We did get caught in a big thunderstorm though.  It was the first lightning I've seen and thunder I've heard in the last 8 months so that was...uh yeah…being in rainstorms when we have to walk really far is not really our thing. From Oakdale we walked to Blackwood; which was almost another hour, to have our coordination meeting with Brother Pritchard. I haven't seen many Ford Focus cars on my mission but they were everywhere this week…I think I miss my car. We walked another hour to do service for Julia, a definite highlight of our week! She is so lovely and gives us great advice from her mission and about motherhood. We crawled... JK…walked…another hour to see our friends David and Madeleine. We had a lovely lesson with them and then we said we'd go home for a late dinner and they kindly offered to order us all Chinese food! #miracleoftheweek

Wednesday we had zone meeting in Cardiff so we took a very early bus and train to get there. It was standing room only on a very crammed train and we basically we're all so squished we could barely breathe. The church in Cardiff is right in the city centre in an office building so we got to walk around Cardiff a little bit. I love cities and Cardiff was lovely! Zone meeting was great and I knew most of the missionaries in this zone from previous zones so that made it extra fun to see them again. We played a fun game to get to know everyone in the zone and had some powerful trainings. We trained and bused back and had a visit with Marcia who is also lovely. We stopped by the church for youth and had a nice visit with the primary president about how to help the Davise family (the family of 6 that we are teaching) when they come to church with the children. We are starting to have this problem where it gets super dark super early and our flat is on the other side of some very dark woods and we have to pass through the path to get to any members and really to visit anyone we teach because there is no one near us that we can see. We left the church to come home for dinner and planning and by the time we got to the path we ran through it with the light of our dinky little missionary block phone... It's a little sketchy so we'll probably need to figure out how to go around the woods so we don't have to walk there in the dark.

Thursday we had to walk all the way back to Marcia's because we took our planners out to show her the cute covers and left them there by accident #oops {Quote of the morning: "This is Blackwood sister! Sweat, hills and punks!"} Punk is one of sister Tartaglia's favourite words. But it's true, we have a lot of "punks" here. We stopped at the flat for a quick lunch and to rest our feet then trekked to Newbridge to have a lesson with our friend Eric. He's 90 and he told us about how he's died twice so he's pretty cool!  We took Sister Manning with us and she brought a bunch of pictures of her grandkids in the Middle East to show him. That went like this as she pulled them out of a folder: " ah here is my granddaughter...this is my grandson.... My other grandson.... Ahhh here's a picture of Joseph Smith, what a marvelous lad.... Oh yes and here's my other grandson."  I found it quite entertaining that she had a random photo of the prophet in with all the pictures of her grandkids!  I love welsh people!  Then we took a train to Llanhilleth to see Amy D. and the kids. She fed us dinner and we had a lesson with Amy and her older kids. Amy's husband joined the church a few years ago and when they moved they had no contact from the church so she recently referred herself online to keep learning about the church. She doesn't remember a lot from the lessons so we started with going over the restoration. 

Friday morning, we did our weekly planning and then had lunch. Then we went out into the chilly weather (the weather this week was so bipolar) and we went to find some formers and potentials but they either weren't in or definitely weren't interested. So we ended up doing a lot of finding. Then Jon called and cancelled our lesson because he was poorly. So we walked up to Blackwood and visited one of the sisters in the ward, Lilian. Then we came back and another sister, Jenny and her husband picked us up for dinner. They will have us every other Friday and it was delicious. We had a lovely roast dinner and peach tart pie thing for pudding. Jenny has a whole wall of cabbage patch kids and a cool collection of exotic dolls. They dropped us off in Oakdale to try some potentials and formers there but they also weren't interested. It was very cold and getting dark so we rushed through the Forrest and Sister Tartaglia had language study. 

Saturday was another day where everything falls through and no one is interested. We tracted and tried some other means of finding for about 3 hours and only one person showed a little interest. We stopped to chat with the Jehovah Witnesses at their stand for a bit, nice people. We took a bus, since the trains were down, to see an investigator and his mother and then they dropped us. We did more finding there while we waited for the next bus replacement back. Then we walked up a big hill to visit the Mannings and we made calls together to find rides to church for Sister Manning, the Davise family and us… #miracles. Then on our walk back home we ran into Jon who was still poorly so we walked with him to the store. We had a quick dinner and language study and crawled into bed exhausted. 

Sunday morning Amy called and the kids had all been sick all night so they couldn't come to church. We quickly cancelled all the rides we'd arranged for them. We sat in for the YW lesson because we only had one young woman there. Then we had an Italian lunch with Brother and Sister Spragg; lasagna, salad and garlic bread. We had a nice apple pie for pudding. And then they wanted us to practice teaching on them and they chose lesson 5 which is on Laws and Ordinances. We usually don't get that far here before we get dropped so it was good to practice that one and Brother Spragg threw us some really hard questions. We have been studying a big lesson on how to help people stop smoking for our friends we are teaching (and pretty much everyone we have here in Blackwood) and we were going to start that but they called and cancelled because they were poorly as well. So we had the Spraggs drop us off to visit Marcia and some other members up in Blackwood. Then we had call-ins and a late dinner. 

Thankful for my car at home, my comfy bed at night, the little heater in our flat after a cold day and good companion conversations to help with the long journeys in the land of Blackwood. Hope you all have an exciting week and that you never have to walk as much as we do!
Love you all!
Sister Cebollero Xx

1. Waiting for the train from Cardiff

2. With Brother and Sister Spragg on Sunday

3. Zone Meeting in Cardiff (definitely one of my favorite zones! There are a lot of missionaries from my old Nottingham Zone. My district leader from Stamford in our zone leader!)

 4. Sister Tartaglia and Sister Ceb
5. So happy to be near my MTC comp Sister Sharp!!

6. Car selfie

7. With Jenny

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bore Da! Hello from Wales!

Hello from the green and very hilly country of Wales! Happy birthday shout-out to my beautiful sister McKall, watch out Layton...she's on the roads now!

Monday for our last district P-day we went to a nature reserve with a big pond and had a nice picnic and played some sports. Monday night was spent saying goodbye to my loved ones of Stourbridge and lots of packing!

Tuesday was a very long and exhausting day! Birmingham zone is close enough to the mission office that instead of having a meeting place and taking a coach we had to find our own way to the mission office and be there by 1:30. The elders helped us take my luggage from our flat to the tram and then we were on our own with my two ginormous suitcases and my bike. The struggle was so real. We took a tram and then got on a train. Then we walked from that train station across Birmingham city to the main train station and caught another train near the mission office. From the train station to the mission office is about a mile walk and we were really struggling with everything by then and it was really close to 1:30. Of course to add to the stress of everything one of my suitcases was really struggling to move. This sweet girl stopped to help us and we tried and tried and finally it just broke. We ended up having to call for help and some sister training leaders came to our rescue. It was such a hot day and I was so sore all week from practically dragging my luggage so far! We watched the huge new group of missionaries be born into the mission and then loaded up all the coaches! I'm not sure how long the coach to Cardiff took but we got there around 7:30 and to my relief the sister training leaders in Wales came to bring us to Blackwood so I didn't have to worry about my broken suitcase on the trains again. It was quite late when we got back to the flat so Sister Tartaglia just filled me in on the area and we got some groceries. 

No one was exaggerating when they said Wales was full of hills! We started off Wednesday with a long trek to the church. It takes us longer than 30 minutes to walk there and it is all uphill... and I mean big, long, and steep hills! We went to a relief society activity and I met a lot of the sisters here in the ward. Then we went and did service for a new mom in the ward. We got dinner with the elders, I have the same district leader (Elder Wallace) that I had in Nottingham so it was fun to catch up on everything! We had a missionary coordination meeting with some temporary helpers. Our ward mission leader had a stroke so we will have different members helping us for now. Then we went to the chapel to help with the youth night and I met more of the members and the bishop. 

Thursday morning, we had district meeting so we made the long journey to the chapel again. My MTC companion Sister Sharp and her greenie Sister Carson are in my district! It had been about 6 months since the last time we saw each other so it was so great to catch up. We had a good district meeting and played some games during our lunch. Then we went and visited with a recent convert named Sam. She is 16 and quite hilarious. Then we went to teach our friends David and Madeleine about the sacrament. After that we went to teach our friend Jon. He's been meeting with the sisters for a few years so he had a lot of questions about my mission and to get to know me. He has a lot of good questions about the church and I'm excited to meet with him again! 

Friday, we did our weekly planning in the morning and had lunch. Then we went to visit a member named Marcia. We stopped by a lot of different less active members and walked walked walked all over. Then we came home for a late dinner and had language study. 

Saturday morning, we went through the area book to find some formers to visit. Then we did some finding in Blackwood centre. It's a very small town centre but we met some nice people. Then we went to stop by a referral and had a lesson with her and her husband. He's a minister for the local Methodist church so it was very interesting. Sister Tartaglia was teaching some of their family in her last area; the Forrest of Dean, so they were very kind. We got a call of distress from our friend who was very depressed so we went and visited her. We brought her chocolate and sang her some hymns to cheer her up. We kept trying to visit a member to take her a birthday card but kept missing her. She lives at the top of a very steep hill so that was exhausting!

Sunday morning we got a lift to church and made it just in time! The sisters here have been teaching a family of 6 and thanks to the bishop we were able to arrange a ride for them to all come since they do not drive. We taught the lesson in gospel principles, Amy and her husband really enjoyed it and the kids went to primary and enjoyed that. After church we had lunch with the Mannings which was very nice. They usually bring the sisters to and from church and lunch, but their car is broken. So we walked for about 2 hours to David and Madeleine's so that the elders could give them each a blessing. Then we walked home and had call-ins and organized the area book more. 

I'm a sister missionary in beautiful Wales, my Italian companion is hilarious and life is good! What more could I want? ☺️ Hope you all have a fantastic week!
Love you all!
Sister Cebollero 
1. My wonderful new companion Sister Tartaglia from Italy!

2. Dinner with the Mannings

3/4. Birthday kisses for my sister McKall...she's 16!

5. I got to meet Sister McEwan!! She's from Utah and she followed my blog before she got here!! She's so fun and it was awesome to meet her at the mission office as she was starting her mission!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Last week in Stourbridge!

Another week in Stourbridge has absolutely flown by!
Monday we had a missionary miracle here in Stourbridge! We were at the church emailing with the Elders and we were talking about how Bishop has been promising to feed us for months. The Elders decided to text him and see when he would have us over because of transfers coming up. Then he just called up right then and told us to come over now! It put us all into a bit of a shock! So we went over and had dinner with Bishop and Sister Watton! Then we went and saw a less active couple we have been working with, the Checketts. We had challenged them to read the entire Book of Mormon together and that is going really well for them!

Tuesday was Sister Knudsen's birthday, wahooooo! I sang to her in my beautiful morning voice when the alarms went off and then I made her some birthday crepes for breakfast! We went and taught a lesson to Adam and Linda. Then we went to lunch with Kevin and Sister Ann Taylor. We did some tracting in the hot hot sun! And then Sister Hallmann has us over for a birthday roast dinner! We finished it all off with some good old 12 week study and stayed away from the bags and bags of chocolate we acquired. So much chocolate!!

Wednesday morning we went to have our first lesson with Anu! She is a referral from an investigator named Dee, that the Woodsetton sisters are teaching. She just moved to our area and while they waited for the house to be ready they lived with Dee and met Sister Gjevik! Anu and her husband Akilah are from Sri Lanka and they were raised Buddist. They also have the most adorable one year old baby who has the most hair I've ever seen on a child. They are such a miracle and we were so excited to teach them about Jesus Christ since they don't have that Christian background. They also fed us a really delicious lunch and it was the first time we even met them so pretty much they're our new best friends! We went and saw Margaret Wooldridge and then we did our daily dose of finding! We met some really solid people! We had another birthday dinner with Irene Charters-Bowen and her granddaughter. Then Irene took us to ward council which was a lot longer than the last one we had…But we finally got a ward activity planned, hallelujah! 

Thursday morning we went to visit with a member named Natsha. She's a pretty recent convert and is working to go through the temple with her husband. We contacted a referral the Sorra family gave us, another miracle referral! They were cooking so we couldn't teach them then, but they invited us to come back again. We did some tracting in the afternoon. We tracted into some formers and they let us in for a drink and we had a really nice talk with them about the church. We had a delicious enchilada dinner with Ann Taylor and then came home for our 12 week study. 

Friday was a busy day! We started off with our last district meeting of the transfer and more birthday celebrations! Then we came home and did our weekly planning. Our lesson with the Sorra family fell through so we did some finding and stopped by Sister Hallmann’s. This random number called us asking when our church was open so they could come talk to our priest…So I gave them the information for Sunday! We helped this lady by the bus stop carry in her groceries and she was so nice. 

Saturday was another busy day! We went to an activity in the Kidderminster branch again. Our ward and their branch are so small that when we do activities they are always combined. The senior couple there; Elder and Sister Spore, do an American pancake breakfast there each month! The food was amazing and we had an okay turnout to the event. We got home and did some tracting. Then we went to feed some cats for a member. We had an appointment with a less active/part member family we had never met before. They are Filipino so they are way laid back and they kept moving the appointment back. They fed us the most delicious meal, Filipino food is amazing! We hit it off really well with them and they want to have us over for a meal and a lesson every other Saturday! They have a daughter who just became old enough to be baptized so they want to work on coming back to church and having Elle baptized! 

Sunday morning we had ward coordination with Brother Stanton, always a good laugh! We had an amazing testimony meeting. Some of the oldest members got up and bore their testimonies and the spirit was very strong! Bless cute Sister fielding, she wanted to hold my hand allllll through relief society (and I mean the WHOLE hour), just in case I was leaving. After church we bused across the area to feed some cats. Then we bused back and up to see the Cole family. They were just heading out but we had a good chat and were able to set an appointment for next week. We had dinner with Sister Hallmann and then headed home for call-ins. After that the waiting game began for transfer calls! They finally came in just a little before 10:30! And... I'm going to Blackwood, WALES! My new companion is Sister Tartaglia, she is from Italy!! Sister Knudsen is getting an amazing follow up trainer; Sister Jones, who also just finished training. 
Love you all, hope you have a good week! 
Love Sister Cebollero xx  

1. We had fun celebrating Sister K's 20th birthday!!

2. Sweet Sister Fielding! I will miss her!

3.  Straight outta Compton!
4. Thanks Mom for the new dress!!

 5/6. Hiking with our district for the last time before transfers!!