Monday, November 14, 2016

Faith Precedes the Miracle

Sister Tartaglia and I have learned a lot this week, but if we've learned one thing we've learned that faith precedes the miracle! This week we continued to put our patience and faith to the test in our area and we were blessed with so many miracles! Blame the multitude of miracles for my long email.  Also I just got back from a castle…I LOVE CASTLES. Wow, Wales is beautiful!

Monday we had a pretty relaxing P-day. There really isn't much to do in Blackwood so we just looked in some charity shops and made homemade pizza with the elders. After emailing we had a dinner appointment with the Gilmour family. They usually have the elders over since they live by them, so it was nice to get to know them better. They shared lots of stories from their missions and it was a really fun night! 

Tuesday was the first rainy day we've had in ages! My miracle streak of living in Wales without the rain and cold is slowly coming to an end! We went to Julia's to do service in the morning. We did some cleaning and had jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) for lunch with her. We went to contact two less active/ part member family referrals but neither of them were in, so we did some tracting. We met the nicest mum ever and her adorable chatty son Charley who told us he knew how to have a happy family and proceeded to tell us about the importance of hot cocoa by the fireplace with your family after a cold day. Cutest kid ever! They've just moved to the area and Carys said she'd love to have us come share more with them! Yay for new cute families! We did some more tracting and at this point we were cold and very hungry. It was one of those busy days where we just hadn't been able to fit dinner in to be able to go finding before dark so we planned to have it late. We went to teach David & Madalaine and another miracle, they insisted we eat with them and ordered Chinese food! 

THEN I got a call from the lovely sisters now in Stourbridge that my friend Adam had just passed his baptismal interview and was SO excited and ready for baptism. Like he even asked the sisters when he can start home teaching after the interview was finished...yeah he's just amazing!! It brought me back to those 3 long months in Stourbridge and helped me see that we did do some good there! I was there to invite Adam to learn and to put him on this baptism date and even though it was so far away in the moment, I felt so strongly it was the right date and as we were able to promise he is truly soo ready now! Unfortunately, I'm more than an hour away so I can't go, but I'm thrilled for Adam and his fiancĂ©e Linda as he makes this big step! 

Wednesday we received a zone voicemail from some elders sharing a miracle they'd had Tuesday and starting up a zone miracle hotline. A miracle hotline is where a team of missionaries gets picked to share a miracle at the end of the day in a voicemail to the whole zone and then they pass it onto another team for the next day. Well needless to say, the elders that started it tagged us first and helped us keep the miracles rolling! 

We went to relief society in the morning and had a lesson on the pioneers. We had these 3 part member family referrals we'd been trying over and over again to contact. And we just knew that Wednesday was the day and we were able to contact allllll of them! The last one was our favourite miracle of the day. We have our coordination meetings on Wednesday night and then usually stay to help with youth. But we felt like we needed to skip youth and contact Becky. She's a daughter of a less active member and she's youth aged. The elders passed her to us but we haven't been able to contact her and Wednesday night we had a beautiful restoration lesson with her! We almost went back to the chapel to get a ride from the youth leaders but didn't want to burden anyone and just decided to walk home. It was cold and dark but we were cheerful after such a good day and as we walked down the hills our stake president and his wife pulled over to give us a lift home!

Thursday the miracles continued to roll forth! We had a nice district meeting in the morning and we played some card games during lunch, not to brag but I won!  Then Sister Tartaglia and I traveled far to the corner of our area called Crosskeys! We had some potentials from ages ago to visit and wanted to do some finding. Being a missionary is just full of awkward experiences and tracting can be especially awkward. Like when you are knocking and they pull up into the driveway or walk up. Well anyway, we went to visit a potential named Luvenia but right as we went to go to her path a man walked into her home. Well that was awkward so we just felt like we needed to do some finding first and had some fun in the rain finding. Then we felt like the time was right to visit Luvenia and it definitely was! Her guest wasn't there anymore, but it turned out that he is a less active member of our church! We had an amazing restoration lesson with her. I've never met anyone here that understood so strongly the need for prophets in these latter days, it was such a solid lesson. Then we went to contact another potential named Rita who also let us in. We had a good lesson with her about Jesus Christ. I think this is the first time I've had two new investigators in one day that weren't taught together! We took the train back to Newbridge and ended the night with a dinner appointment at Hannah's new house that was fab, we love Hannah!

Friday morning we had flat inspections which is always a fun time, no worries we passed;) then we went to contact some potentials and did a bit of finding. We did our good old weekly planning, spiced up a bit with the fact we finally have some new people to plan for. Then Jenny picked us up for our dinner and we had a delicious roast dinner with her and Clive. They dropped us off for a return appointment with a part- member and less active family we started working with this week. They're going through a rough time and we had a powerful visit with them. They even gave us a lift home so we didn't have to walk home in the dark!

Saturday we adventured to a cute village we'd never visited called Six Bells. We were right in the thick of the welsh valleys and with the fall colours it was a beautiful sight! We did some tracting and found some super nice people and even got some return appointments with them! We contacted a referral from our bishop and then started to tackle a less active member list in that area he'd given us. Because of how far away we were and the bus schedule we just had time to visit one and a sister really stood out to me on the list so we visited her. That's when we met the sweetest sister, Glenys who is 80! She isn't able to come to church because she lives so far up the valleys and because of her health. She was absolutely thrilled to see us. It had obviously been a long time since anyone from the church had visited her. She shared with us some remarkable stories from her life and the miracles she's seen since she joined the church. It was one of those visits where you just know you're right where you need to be. She was so sad when we had to go and she just really loooooved and appreciated our visit so much. We caught the bus back to Newbridge and walked to teach Chowa from Bangladesh. We taught her the plan of salvation and it was a beautiful lesson! She really understood and accepted it all. 

Sunday was Remembrance Sunday here in the U.K. so all the members wore their poppies to church and we had a touching 2 minute silence after sacrament meeting for those who have fought for our freedom. After church we had lunch with the Manning family. They dropped us off in Oakdale to do some tracting and visit some investigators we've had some trouble contacting recently. Then we came home for dinner and imported more teaching records into our area book app. It still seems like a never ending binder of information but we've made a lot of progress on the project so far! 

All I can say is that MIRACLES HAPPEN, (even and especially in the Blackwoods of the world)- if you believe they can happen! 
With love,
Sister Cebollero xx

1. Sister Cebollero and Sister Tartaglia at the Caerphilly Castle!

2. P-day Castle Visit!
3. The moat around the castle

4/5. "I'm Sister Cebollero and I love castles!"

6. Sometimes you wait all transfer for a district photo and finally get one in the castle Great Hall

7. Caerphilly Castle is the biggest castle in Wales and the 2nd biggest in Britain!

8. Love all the windows here! 

9. We made the elders take lots of pictures of us!

10/11. Like I REALLY love castles!

12. Faded telephone booths
13. I love telephone booths and fall colors!

14. Coordination meeting selfie. The Blackwood Missionary Force!

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