Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Serving in the land of SHAKESPEARE!!!

Hello family and friends! It has been another blessed week here in Warwick branch!

Monday we spent our p-day exploring Stratford Upon Avon and it was AMAZING! We saw where Shakespeare was born, where he went to school, where he lived before he died, toured the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and even saw where Shakespeare himself is buried! Stratford is pretty much the cutest town ever and if I had to live anywhere in England that would definitely my pick! We ate lunch next to a beautiful river and got ice cream from the cutest little canal boat and fed the swans with the Stratford elders. It was pretty much the best p-day ever! Monday night we stayed in Warwick and tried stopping by loads of less active members and did lots of finding of course! #whitewash
That's pretty much how our whole week went, lots and lots of less active attempted stop-bys and lots of finding along the way. Since everyone in the area is so spread apart we always made sure to tract around the houses we stopped by. Because most of them weren't home but you never know whose neighbour is ready! 

Pretty much most of the lessons we set up for this week that we were super excited about all got cancelled. One after another! Which is always a little discouraging but we found some new people along the way. 

Our mission is clarifying which areas are biking and which are allowed to use public transport to help save money in areas which are fine to bike in. We were one of the few areas that got cleared for public transport reimbursements since our area is so massive. So that was pretty lucky for us! We heard from the last sisters here that it'd take at least an hour to bike from our home to the chapel so we're glad to just take 2 buses there instead! 

This week has been super windy and rainy... as always! But one day we did have a huge wind storm and it was crazy! We had warnings from the AP's the night before about 80 mph winds. We were on the top of a double decker bus zooming down the motorway to Coventry for interviews with President and that was a bit terrifying! But interviews with President and Sister Leppard was great! He told me I have a lot of responsibility coming my way soon so I need to learn all I can from Sister Nielsen (she was just an STL for 5 transfers) before she goes home. After district meeting our district had a fiesta for lunch and the senior couple in our district, the Spore's, made some delicious enchiladas! 

We have this amazing recent convert here in the area that got baptised last month. Her name is Maybel and she is from the Philippines. We got to know her and her adorable daughter Maya this week and they're pretty much the best! Maybel has such a fire within her for the gospel. The spirits in the branch are quite low with their rapidly decreasing numbers and she has been such a light to everyone! She bore her testimony yesterday and it was so touching! 

So on Monday when we were waiting to bus to Stratford we stopped this guy named Kabber and he was super interested in meeting again. We talked on the bus for awhile and he just said we were the nicest people he'd ever met. He's recently converted to Christianity but hasn't been baptised a Christian yet. He wanted to come to church Sunday but with the language barrier he got a little bit confused about the times. We told him it started at 10 and also about the 3 separate hours and for some reason he showed up at the church at 3 on Sunday thinking church was just starting. But we were there for coordination and had a restoration lesson with him and he's praying about baptism!

Yeah like I said pretty much everyone flogged us this week so that's pretty much all I can think of! Hope you all have a lovely week!

Lots of love,
Sister Cebollero xx 

1. Visiting where Shakespeare lived on P-day!! Love my mission!!

2.  Shakespeare's birthplace

 3. Just tracting on the chapel where Shakespeare is buried!
4.  Cute canal boats on the river Avon! The one right behind us sells ice cream.. does it get any better?
5. Royal Leamington Spa from the top of the double decker bus

Monday, February 20, 2017

I'm a homeless, whitewashing missionary...AGAIN!

Hello hello from Warwick ENGLAND! It's been one of the craziest and best weeks of my mission thus far and I can't wait to share a bit of it with you!

First of all for my last p-day in Wales we hit up the beach! My companion reaaallly wanted to go since she'd never been to the ocean before and I realised I'd never gone since I'd been in Cardiff zone. I was stressed about packing after staying in Blackwood for so long but it was honestly the best decision ever to go anyway!  I LOVE the ocean and it was a beautiful sight to see in Wales! We took the whole district with us and we all had a blast exploring. We walked along this peninsula and experienced theee strongest winds of my life... it was a freezing beach day but so worth it for our last p-day as a district! Monday night I also got a call from the APs that I was still going to Warwick but that I would be whitewashing with Sister Nielsen... I'll be her last companion as this is her last transfer. I'm so excited because we were both in Nottingham zone as greenies and I've always wanted to serve with her! 

Tuesday I left Blackwood and I left Wales and it was oh so sad... but it was a happy reunion at the mission home with all those I haven't seen the last 6 months I've been wayyy off in Wales! This is when we realised what a crazy adventure we were headed into and my mission life got insane once again! 

Last February I came to England and whitewashed into Nottingham with my trainer and the first few weeks of my mission we were kinda homeless while they sorted out a flat for us. 

This February I returned to England after 6 months in Wales and God has a great sense of humour because somehow I found myself in the same situation! Homeless... not living in our area.. and just trying to figure out the branch. 

This week I was a homeless and extremely lost whitewashing missionary...AGAIN. Haha I honestly never thought I'd be in this boat again, let alone once! The deja-vu has never been more real! Crazily enough this is my 4th time whitewashing into an area and it's also Sister Nielsen's 4th time whitewashing! They either trust us a lot or we're cursed! 

But anyways we were living in Banbury all week while our flat was getting worked on in Warwick. It was a partayyy to sleepover with my African homie Sister Mwoyosvi and the sweet Sister Harrigfeld. We just trained back and forth to our area and bused a lot each day until we couldn't afford that anymore then we just worked in Banbury with them! It was crazy expensive and time consuming but hey when we weren't getting lost we saw many many many miracles along the way! 

Friday night they told us we'd probably not be able to go back for a few more weeks because of all the problems they kept finding in our flat. They said we'd either have to stay in Banbury or the housing authority would put us up in a hotel (hahah being missionaries in a hotel would have been unique!) Saturday the landlord said we were cleared to move back so that's when we finally got to live in our area. We're unpacked but still a little wary of all the problems so we're not sure if we're staying here for real yet. We've got what's supposed to be a brand new bathroom... but we're having issues with the hot water #coldshowers #nottingham4historyreturns 

To spare you the boring details of the crazy life of a whitewashing missionary that can't even live anywhere near their area I thought I'd try something different. 

Fun facts about my new area:

-I'm serving in a branch again! We've got about 20-30 active members which sadly had gone down a lot in the last two years with lots of families moving away. The branch presidency is super super young and the rest of the ward is pretty old. I love old people! 

-We live right outside a posh city called Royal Leamington Spa which has Queen Victoria's royal stamp of approval (look it up for some more fun facts). It's the biggest city I've ever covered on my mission and there are foreign people everywhere. I LOVE IT. It's been so fun to cover a city this big and talk to people from all over the world all the time. Also big cities mean good shopping and you know how I feel about shopping! 

-Warwick branch covers Stratford Upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare which is (according to a member) the second most visited city in the U.K. Besides London

-We also have Warwick castle which is one of the most visited castles in England. Needless to say there's soooo much history in this branch and we're so so excited to explore it on days! 

Funny things that happened to us this week #homeless #whitewashprobs:

-Getting on a bus and riding it to town then looking at the map more closely and realising we'd gotten on the bus on the stop we were meant to get off at and having to go back 

-Sunday morning we were trying to throw our lives together and get out of the flat in time to catch our 2 buses all the way to Warwick for branch council. But then we could not get the door to our flat to open and we were locked inside (which actually happens a lot here in England). So we literally climbed out of the windows of our flat to be able to make it to church....Hahaha what even is our life?!

-The elders in Stratford Upon Avon brought us 2 packages of Mars Bars 4 packs to church that were meant for our cancelled coordination meeting. After church we contacted this former investigator and went to teach her. She was kinda crazy but really wants to be baptised! But when we were leaving we asked if there was anything we could do to help her and she totally jokingly said she'd love a 4 pack of mars bars and that it would make us friends forever if we brought her that.... and Sister Nielsen and I just looked at each other and told her that God provides and Sister Nielsen pulled a 4 pack of mars bars out of her bag. And Rachel was soooo shocked she had to leave the room. Funniest moment ever! 

And best for last... the most amazing miracle of my entire mission and probably the entire reason we needed to be homeless and training back and forth to Banbury this week: 

Thursday night we were training back to Banbury to get there for dinner and companion Study. It was later than we had planned to be traveling back because we had been so busy all day. We got to the train station and saw the train direction we usually took and it was leaving in about 20 minutes. Then we saw an earlier one that would also be going through to Banbury and decided to take that instead... but literally as soon as we said we could take that instead it got delayed and then never came! So we waited the 20 minutes and got on a very full train. This guy got on behind us and he started talking to us in the hallway of the train. We just started talking about missionary work and what we do and chatting away. He said something about his belief in family bonds and so Sister Nielsen started talking about the temple and families being sealed for eternity and we started to show him some pictures on the iPad of different temples. Then he was just like do you guys want to meet up sometime and chat more because we were all just getting along swell! And we were like YES! And then he was like well what would we do? Haha awkward. And we explained that when we meet with people we teach lessons about our church. And then he was all quiet and was like uhhh I'm not really sure about that. And we thought we lost him but thennnn....

He was just like well... you see I had this dream two weeks ago.. and I saw this really bright white light. And it LOOKS LIKE THAT TEMPLE thing you just showed me... and there was this guy dressed in all white who told me that TWO PEOPLE WOULD TALK TO ME SOON.. and I'm just really freaked out right now...

And we were like WHAT?!??? And then he asked if the white clothing was significant and we told him we wore white in the temple and he was just sooo freaked out. And told us he wasn't even supposed to be on that train.. and it's crazy because we weren't supposed to be on that train. Crazy how God places people in our paths at just the right time! #prayersforMorgan #heisalegend

I'm soooo excited to be here serving in Warwick branch! I wish I could share all the amazing miracles we've seen in the last few days here. I've really seen this week how God places us in the right places in the right times and even with the right supplies... like mars bars! He cares so much for all of His children and that is the reason for all of these miracles! 

Today we explored Stratford Upon Avon!!!! We are soooo blessed! Pictures to come next week!

Until then,

Sister Cebollero xx 
1. My new companion Sister Nielsen from Orem, Utah!!

2. Mars Bars Miracle!

3. We love England!

4/5. Just a couple of homeless missionaries!

6. My last P-Day in Wales! We went to the beach!!

7. So fun to see the ocean!

8. Windiest times of my life on top of this peninsula!


10. I love Wales! I love my welsh tag. I'm gonna miss this! 

11. Good-bye Beautiful Wales! 'Til we meet again!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The end of a great Welsh adventure!


Mondayyy Sister Smirnova and I decided to go on an adventure to find a new castle to explore! All these members had told me about the "pink castle" or the "fairytale castle" which is actually called Castell Coch so we decided to check it out! It was magical as castles are and exquisitely decorated! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I just love castles! Then we went back to Blackwood and did our groceries and errands and then emailed! After p-day we went to see Jon. It was bitterly cold and rainy and for the first time in 6 months I went inside their house! His partner Gemma hasn't been very well so usually we just teach on the doorstep so we don't disturb her. It was a great lesson!

Tuesday I had my driving theory test in Cardiff! Thank you all for your prayers because I've never felt so calm in a test before! And I passed with very high marks so that was a huge relief! When we finally made it back from Cardiff we made lots of visits to less active members and formers to introduce my new companion and help her to get to know the area better.

Wednesday morning we had a Book of Mormon Study class for our relief society activity. I really enjoyed studying the scriptures and hearing all of the wisdom of our favourite old ladies haha. Then we went and did service for Iulia and had lunch together. I'm going to miss this service every week and especially her cute little daughter Lizzy! I've been serving in Blackwood for over half of her life now so that's crazy! Then we went and had coordination and started planning some cottage evenings that we can bring investigators and less active members to.

Thursday was an exciting day! In the morning we went and visited some less active members. Then we came home and had our quick lunch and had companion Study. It's kinda weird to have companion study in the middle of the day! Sometimes we forget to plan it or don't really have time for much so it's been an interesting adjustment! One of Sister Smirnova's goals for this week was to learn how to ride a bike! We're supposed to help our companions reach their goals so Thursday we commenced bike riding lessons in our little car park... because it was the only flat place I could think of in our area. I've never taught anyone how to ride a bike so it was pretty hard! And also she's tiny and all the bikes in our flat were too high. But she still gave it a go and we had fun practicing. She'll be a pro in no time! Then we went and taught David and Madalaine more about the plan of salvation. They had us stay for dinner and ordered us some Chinese food. Madalaine has been in hospital so it was good to be able to see them again.

Friday we had zone meeting in Rhiwbina! We talked a lot about the new schedule and key indicators and had some very spiritual departing testimonies from those going home next week. Since lunch is only 30 minutes now we had lunch in the middle of some meeting as a way to help keep it that short and it was a nice break in the middle of all the trainings! We came back and went up to Blackwood to visit some less active members. We stopped by a few and got in a few and had some short lessons. Then we stopped by Marcia and had such a spiritual visit! If I've been in Blackwood for so long to help one person, I can say it's been Marcia! I've seen an amazing growth in her and she has helped me to see and feel the reality and love that encompasses the atonement of Jesus Christ. She's like my grandma BFF and we both cried at the thought that I might be leaving Blackwood.

Saturday morning we woke up to snow on the ground! A huge surprise and huge flakes were floating down until noon! We had to fit in our weekly planning in the morning since Friday was crazy. Then we had a quick lunch. Sister Smirnova is really worried about all the trains we have to take in this area, so I helped map them all out for her and wrote down all the routes we take to places and helped her try to understand it more. Then we went to meet our district for some district finding. We were a bit scared to tract at first because we realised we had the rugby times wrong and theee biggest game of the year (England V. Wales) was just about to start and we didn't want to get yelled at for disrupting that. Rugby is like a religion in Wales! But we had planned to find together and we knew it was a good thing to do so we went ahead anyway. I went with Sister Olsen and we met some nice people for the elders. And surprise, we didn't even get yelled at.. almost...but it's fine! It was our district leader's birthday so we went and got dinner as a district. Then we came back to the flat and I helped Sister Smirnova finalise and translate her talk for church.

Sunday church was amazing! The spirit was so strong and the speakers were all about missionary work and the joy of the gospel. Sister Smirnova was given the topic "faith of the pioneers" and as we studied throughout the week I helped her to see that as a convert she is a pioneer that led the way for part of her family to join the church.  And as missionaries and members we are all pioneers! She was petrified that no one would be able to understand her but as she told her conversion story the fear left her eyes and she really lit up the building. Not all the ward members can fully understand her but I know her talk really helped them to see her sweet spirit and the love of the gospel that she has. After church we went to eat at the Mannings and Sister Manning didn't cook a heap of Brussels sprouts for her first time in 6 months and it was a miracle! And also they accidentally left the trifle frozen and we didn't have to try and manage half of a huge trifle after a mountain of food so that was another miracle! Then we made some visits and came home for dinner and Call-ins and to await the transfer news!

And here it is! After almost 7 months in Blackwood I am leaving!! Seriously all day I was beginning to think I would stay for another transfer since Sister Smirnova just got here last week. I just felt soooo calm and I never feel calm on dodge night so I just started to accept the fact I was probably staying longer. So when the District leader told me I was leaving I was a bit shocked... and then pumped because I already LOVE my new companion and I'm going somewhere I always wanted to go! I'm going to Warwick branch with Sister Duncanson! Aka my British BFF from the MTC! Back to England I go, and Warwick branch is in Coventry zone and I've never been to that zone so that will also be cool! I've heard there's a castle in Warwick and  Stratford Upon Avon is located within my area!!!! ... which for those of you who do not know was the birthplace of Shakespeare! So lots of cool history and sights coming soon to my pdays! I'm still a bit shocked to actually be leaving but I have the peace of confirmation that this is the right move for me. I LOVE BLACKWOOD and it breaks my heart to leave after so long! How does one even start to pack after 6 months?!?

Stay tuned for this next adventure as I head back to England! Love you all lots, thanks for all your prayers this week for my driving test and my kidney stone. I'm feeling loads better!

Love you! Sister Cebollero xx

AND the craziness continues! I just heard from the AP's that I will actually still be going to Warwick but my new companion will be Sister Nielson from Utah! It's her last transfer and we will be WHITEWASHING!!! What an adventure! 
1. Sister Smirnova and Sister Cebollero enjoying the Castell Coch on P-day! 

2/3. Also known as the "Pink Castle" or "Fairytale Castle!

4. Loved the ceiling!

5. What a view!

6. Love those castle windows!

7. The classic Tag picture of course!

8. Posh, posh, posh! I want to live here!

9. Cardiff Zone Sisters

10. Cardiff Zone

11. For Catherine! We all served in Nottingham 4th ward

12. My new friend Rhiann in her traditional Welsh costume...shoutout to Jenny!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rain, Rain, Rain!

Another week in Blackwood Wales has come and gone! The rainy Wales all the missionaries speak about is definitely catching up with me after all these months because it has rained every single day since Sister Smirnova has joined me here!

Mondayyyy we wanted to go to the ocean because Sister Smirnova has never seen it... but it was quite rainy so we went to Caerphilly castle instead (man I love Wales hehe). Our district joined us and we had quite a fun time exploring the castle grounds, feeding the geese and getting lunch together! After we emailed we headed home, changed and off to a lesson with Jon! We introduced Sister Smirnova and she talked about how she came to know the Book of Mormon is true.

Tuesday our schedule got switched upside down and around so we had to shift all our plans. We tried to teach a lesson in the morning but they flogged us. We stopped by some potentials and then got lunch somewhere. Then we hopped on a bus and a train for district meeting and interviews with the Leppards in Rhiwbina. It's always nice to have time to talk to President and Sister Leppard and I'm glad that we will be having interviews every transfer now. They thanked me for being a steady and loving companion through difficult times lately and talked about what we had learned. We had a nice district meeting as well and played some get to know you games since Sister Smirnova is new to the district. It took us awhile to travel back and then we stopped by some less active members, had dinner and language study.

Wednesday we had morning Relief Society and the activity was all about having a claim to fame. It was fun to listen to everyone's stories. Then we went to Iulia's and had lunch and did service. After that we headed back up to the church for coordination and got absolutely soaked in a downpour! Our ward mission leader forgot about our meeting so he was a bit late since we had to call and see if he was still coming. Then we walked home and as we were changing out of our soaking wet clothes, the extremely loud fire alarms for our flat started going off. Knowing it wasn't the usual time for a test we rushed outside in fear of our apartment burning down but it was just a false alarm. We met some of our new neighbors and we all had to try and figure out how to shut off the loud blaring alarms which took quite awhile. But no worries, we were glad to not have a fire!

Thursdayyyy we went to England!! That's right for the last 6 months I have been only in Wales and twice in the last two weeks I've had day trips back to England hehe. This time we made the 3 hour drive for my "trunky" meeting. No worries, it's actually a self-reliance meeting but it just means I'm going home soonish... ahhh craziness! It was a day full of talking about careers, job interviews, resumes and other stressful things about coming back home to reality that are approaching much too quickly. I was companions with Sister Funk for the day and we were the only sisters from our group at this meeting. The saddest part was that there are so many of us going home in July that they split our group into two and the other half are going next week for their trunky meeting... and that half included everyone I was most excited to see and catch up with.  But it's always nice to meet new people, right? The STL's had to stay the night in Birmingham so we had to train back to Wales on our own. I was a little worried navigating the trains all the way back and when we got into Birmingham new street (the biggest station in our mission) I was praying so hard we could find a train back to Wales. We walked up some stairs from the platform we had just arrived on and as I looked up I immediately saw a train heading to Cardiff central and we rushed down to that platform literally just as it arrived! It has been delayed by 2 minutes otherwise we would have missed one of the last trains back that night! God sure loves us! We missed the last buses of the night and the Manning's came to fetch us and we safely made it home just in time for 9:30! It was an exhausting day!

Friday a lot of things fell through! Also I wasn't feeling very well because I forgot to mention but Wednesday I realised I have a kidney stone... yayyy! So we worked on the area book in the afternoon (because we still have loads of records to upload on our app) so I could drink lots and stay near a bathroom. We went to Jenny's for dinner and then visited some less active members.

Saturday morning we did our weekly planning and then went to the church so I could study for my theory test next week. Then we visited Marcia and some other less active members that live by the church.

Sunday we had a beautiful fast and testimony meeting and the rest of the classes were really lovely as well. The Spraggs were sick so they brought us over our dinner Saturday night and we came home from church and cooked it. Then we tried to visit some people but the rugby was on... the welsh love their rugby so that was pretty pointless! After dinner and call-ins we had language study and Sister Smirnova translated one of her favourite recipes from Russian to English and taught me how to make it!

I'm in a lot of pain with my kidney but just trying to push forward. I'm going to get some stronger pain meds today and Sister Leppard said I can go to the doctor if those aren't doing enough. I have my theory test this Tuesday for my license at 1 pm so prayers would be appreciated Tuesday morning for that! Love you all and thanks for your support! Also we have dodge calls this Sunday so we'll see if I'm staying in Blackwood for another transfer or leaving after 6 months!

LOVE ya!

Sister Cebollero 
1. Our new district at Caerphilly Castle

2. I like Wales and wellies!

3. My favorite castle by far! 

4. On the train from England back to Wales!

5. Our trunky meeting!  We will all go home in July (plus another group this size)!