Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year in Blackwood Wales

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We've had quite the... uhh... interesting week here in Blackwood! I know it's a long one this week but stay tuned to hear about: a miracle on the train, getting kicked out of a house (yeah I still can't believe that actually happened) and TRANSFER news! 

Monday was Boxing Day and a member day in our mission since it's a pretty big deal over here. We went to the Elliot's for breakfast and they made us AMERICAN PANCAKES WITH AMERICAN MAPLE SYRUP. Yes, actual maple syrup for the first time in 11 months and not golden syrup! Then they dropped us off at the church to email. Most of our mission used our p-day to shop some awesome deals but unfortunately we live in the middle of nowhere and there was no public transport available to get to Cardiff to shop…but no worries we quickly thought of something to do... and had full blown nerf gun war at the chapel with the elders! All was going well until I was chasing after my companion (because sight and sound) and all of a sudden I started falling in slow motion and landed right on my face. Let me quote all my old lady bff's and say that I had quite a bad fall this week! Haha and quite the beautiful bruise later on but it was hilarious! Then we went and visited Marcia because our dinner appointment was cancelled. 

Tuesday was a bank holiday (public holiday that's super random and doesn't mean anything) so again there was no transport. It made for a pretty rough day trying to figure out who would actually be home, where we could actually get with no buses or trains and people trying to enjoy their time off. We went and visited Sam and had a good chat. Then we taught David and Madalaine and shared more scriptures with them. Then the STL's came to have a sleepover at our flat!

Wednesday we got up early and went with the STL's in their car to a multi-zone conference with Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Europe area presidency and his adorable wife, Gill. It was a very long, but very amazing meeting! Because we didn't have the whole mission there it was a bit more personal and we had quite a few discussions we were all able to participate in. We had a short break for lunch with made my heart very happy! I was able to see a sister from my MTC group that had gone home for a few months and also my baby, Sister Knudsen! My greenie is no longer a greenie, she's been out for like 7 months now which makes me feel SO old! It was so nice to catch up with everyone in this half of the mission. We talked a lot about yield and maintenance and how we can be high yield, low maintenance missionaries. It was all very spiritual and uplifting! 

Then we had to train back from Cheltenham but we didn't have tickets like the rest of our zone since we'd arrived in a car. By the time we waited in the cue most of our zone had gone and we'd missed the train so we were stuck there for an hour with some missionaries we didn't really know. We got on a very crowded train and sat across from an older couple and quickly struck up a conversation. (We had set a goal Tuesday to teach a lesson on the train so this was perfect) They had quite a religious background and we started teaching about the Book of Mormon. All the while the 4 elders were across the row gaping at our full blown lesson with these random strangers and not helping at all with their difficult questions. 

It fizzed out a bit and I felt prompted to ask them if they were into family history. Their eyes lit up and the husband pulled out a huge folder from his bag with stories and pictures! We had been asked to bring our "my family" booklet to our conference and so I had spent some time Tuesday to fill it out more and add some pictures. But then we never even used it for the conference! This was definitely why I had been prompted to fill it out and I was able to share some pictures and memories with them. We testified of the importance of family history work and their hearts were softened as we spoke about it. It was a cool little miracle for our missed train we had been so upset about! 

Thursday we were supposed to do some service for a member but it got cancelled. Our weekend was pretty booked so it gave us the opportunity to sit down and do our weekly planning and talk about how to better our area. Then we had lunch with the Gabb's and they showed us some super old pictures of the members in Blackwood. After that we had to go to the chapel to fix some issues with our area book app. Also I told my companion we didn't have kettles that plug into the walls in America and she was such in shock that she didn't believe me until she called the district leader, zone leaders and the sisters in Caerphilly. 

Friday morning we had breakfast with some new members in our ward, the Hutchinson's. The wife Amy is also from South Africa like my companion so it was really fun to get to know them. From there we went straight to Jenny and Clive for a really nice ham lunch. We pretty much rolled out of their house we were so full from both meals! Then we went and visited some less active members but they were all busy with the holidays. The fog came thicker than I'd ever seen before and it was quite gloomy. Our dinner appointment cancelled (not that we needed another meal Friday anyway) and so we decided to go follow up with some potentials and do some finding. That's when we both had an experience that was a mission first and hopefully a mission last. Let's just say...


We're still... 

a) in shock.

 b) not sure what even happened and.

c) confused at WHY we keep getting yelled at this transfer... seriously Christmas is supposed to be a nice time of the year but people were so rude this transfer! 

Prettttyyyy muchhhh we go to our most solid potential, he let us right in (things were going TOO good), his girlfriend/partner/witch comes in and asked who we were, we explained we were missionaries, she rolled her eyes and left, we began teaching the plan of salvation and BAM out of nowhere she comes into the room and demands that we leave with a whole string of rude language and an unnecessary volume. THEN he starts yelling at her for yelling at us. And we're just scrambling trying to get out as fast as we can while I'm just wishing them a happy new year in the most angelic voice I can muster. Somehow we made it out alive. Alive... but feeling like we'd just been shot. It was the most random and unnecessary thing ever and it just hurt! 

This was also right after our most solid new investigator (who we dubbed Future Bishop Reese) texted us to tell us he finally found work BUT he has to LEAVE for 6 months.... Life. Is. Hard. aghghghghghghgh

Saturday morning to lift our spirits we went and heart-attacked Marcia and the Elders and it was good fun as always! Then we went and had a lunch with the Gilmore family. After that we went and visited some less active members. Our dinner appointment cancelled so we did some area book work. Then we had to be in by 6 for New Year's Eve. We played some card games, made homemade cinnamon rolls and most definitely were too tired to stay up until midnight... but hey we were up for midnight in our motherlands of South Africa at 10 pm and for Utah the next morning at 7 so we technically did!

Sunday was New Year's Day and a member work day! We had a baby blessing and so the ward was packed full which was a nice change. We had lunch with the Manning's and then visited some other members. Then we came home for call-ins, made some homemade rolls during dinner and waited for transfer calls. They finally came in around 10 and THE WHOLE DISTRICT IS STAYING! That's right, it'll be 6 months for me in Blackwood ward! I'm so excited to have a bit more time here, especially with Sister McAravey! 

And pretty much that was our crazy week here in Blackwood! Wishing you all a most happy New Year! I guess I can say now that I'll see you this year! 
Sister Cebollero xx 

1. Blackwood missionaries LOVE Wales!

2. Us with the Elliot's

3. With my sister!

4. Such a beautiful way to start the new year! 

5.  From the peak of the hills
6. Flag pic on top of the valleys! 

7. My Baby Sister Knudsen!!
8. Our homemade cinnamon rolls were a HIT!

9. We are Pro-Bakers!!

10. Some of my favorites!

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