Friday, August 28, 2015

August 17th—August 23rd: An Opportunity for a Baptism

This week was a bit bi-polar.  The highs were high and the lows were low.   

The best part of the week has definitely been meeting Daymon.  He is about 26 years old.  Previous missionaries have tried to meet with him, but he never shows.  Well, he met us and we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ, faith, repentance, baptism, and confirmation.  We kind of missed endure to the end, my fault.  Oh well, I’ll do better next time.  As we were teaching him, you could tell the Lord has been preparing him for a long time.  He had never read Alma 32:21, but he basically gave us the same definition of faith that is given there.  He kept saying that he is normally not this open, but something just felt right.   When we got to baptism, he told us that he is terrified of water and even just the font (we showed him) made him nervous.  He said though, that he knows that Christ won’t let anything happen to him when he gets baptized.  He actually said “when” and not “if.”  He came to a baptism (her name is Bright, and she was taught by the other Elders) on Sunday morning, and then stayed for Church.  So, he spent four hours at Church and then stayed and talked.  He and the members took to each other and he was very active in participating in the various lessons.  After the baptism we asked him how he felt.  He said it was the first time he felt “pure joy.”  We committed him for baptism on September 12th, which gives us about 3 weeks to get him ready.  He knows that this is the right thing for him.  He is a smoker, so that could be a bit of a problem. 

The other good discussion we had this week was with Eleta.  She is a very good woman who deeply loves Christ.  She has a very active 3 year old, who distracts Eleta during the lessons.  We taught her with the Bishop.  He was fantastic and handled it super well and played (entertained) her daughter as we taught.

Our street displays were most unproductive this week.  I struggled in being able to form a reasonable sentence for some reason. I hadn’t been feeling myself so I asked Elder Faupula to give me a blessing when we were at the chapel.  It was a most powerful blessing and instantly brought back the spirit I had been missing.  He told me to study the powers and rights I have as a bearer of the Priesthood, and that I shouldn’t lose the passion I have.  He actually basically quoted a bit from my patriarchal blessing about learning the atonement and sharing it.  It just changed everything around for me—just brightened my day back up and put the “sunshine in my soul.”  Which is good cuz we had a thunderstorm so sunshine needed to be somewhere. 

Last Monday our district went to the beach and played rugby.  It was super fun.  I am absolutely rubbish at rugby.

Elder Tarbet

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 10th—August 16th: First week in Crosby

To recap the last couple of weeks:

On P-day, we got a call from President saying that I was going to be transferred to Crosby with Elder Faupula, for follow-up training.  Elder Fernandez would be staying in Blackpool and Elder Maughn would be coming here.  Basically, Elder Maughn and I are switching places.  There are parts, like the strength of the members that I will miss, and parts, like the general hardness of the hearts of the people, I will not miss.  I will also miss Elder Fernandez.  Although we have had our struggles, you can’t live six weeks with someone and not find the good in someone, and miss that. 

The next day was busy saying goodbye to members and to Karina and Paul.  They continue to be up and down, one minute they want us to come and the next minute they don’t.  They had texted us and said they didn’t want us to come so I texted them and told them goodbye because I was leaving, and then they immediately called and wanted us to come.  We went there and chatted with them.  After we left I got a call from Karina saying how grateful she and Paul were for me and that there are people you meet in this life that have an influence on you that lasts longer then the person, and I am one of those people to her.  It was super nice to hear.  I was also able to go the the McLucas, the Hardmans, and Barry.  I am going to miss them.  They are such good people.  The members of the Blackpool ward are so strong, they keep Sodom from being destroyed!  Goodbye Blackpool.  I’ll be back some day.

I was super nervous on transfer day.  I had seen Elder Faupula at meetings before, but I had never talked to him.  After getting to talk with him, I knew that it was going to be a great transfer and I was super excited to be with him.  There is definitely a lot that I can learn from him.

The first investigators house that I went to in Crosby was interesting.  We went there for tea. The house was the most vile place I had ever set foot in.  It reeked of cigarette smoke and there was dog hair everywhere and not a clean surface anywhere.  I really didn’t want to eat there.  We washed his dishes while we waited, and I was glad, at least, that I was reasonably confident that they were clean.  I have never felt the true NEED to bless the food to be healthy but in this case, we did, and really we needed to bless it that it wouldn’t kill us. 

We have done several street displays, one with the District Leaders, others with some other missionaries.  I have been so tired from real work.  It has been wonderful.  A couple of highlights from the street displays was talking to this little 94 year old lady.  She was about 4 feet tall and super fun to talk to. We talked about the war, her travels, and about her life.  It was fun.  The other highlight was talking to a man we had met back when I did a street display in Preston.  He was doing a lot better and was a lot happier.  I also talked to a guy who was super interested.  It was pouring rain so I brought him under the canopy.  He asked the typical question of how we are different than his religion.  I told him about the Book of Mormon.  He asked if he could have a book.  He was like, "I’ll donate whatever I need to please have one."  He went on to ask if I could come and teach him more and gave me his address about as fast as I could get out my planner.  He really wanted to know more.  He took a BofM and about every pamphlet we had so that he could read them before our visit.  I really hope he works out.  We will follow up. 

Beside that, we have done some service helping a man dig a hole for a pond.  It is going to be neat, and I hope I get to see it when it is all finished. I spoke in Church my first Sunday.   There are only about 20 active members in Croby.  It is a small but great ward.  We have done some family history work.  I have about 100 names now.  I have also been trying to study the Bible more.  The Book of Mormon is the powerhouse of conversion but a lot of time it’s the bible that opens the door.  With my iPad it is easy to cross reference. 

The last few days have been the happiest of my mission so far.  I truly love this area and these people.  Elder Faupula is wonderful.  He is a more experienced missionary, been out for over a year, very laid back but still dedicated.  Basically I am super happy.  I am grateful for the blessing I have and for the family I have waiting for me back home who love me.  I love having the knowledge that I have a Heavenly Father as well who loves and cares for me individually.

Elder Tarbet

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 3rd—August 9th: First Week in Crosby

Logan was pretty sparse in the letter writing this week, so pulling together what we each learned:

He was transferred from Blackpool to Crosby on Wednesday, August 5, 2015.  He and another missionary that came into the mission at the same time switched places and are in what they refer to as “follow-up training.” 

His new companion is Elder Kumi Faupula.  His heritage is Tongan but he is from Ontario, California.  He has been out over a year, and has been in Crosby for a couple of transfers. Logan’s comments on the transfer and new companion was “It has been the best 5 days of my mission so far, by far.  It’s really good.  I’m enjoying it, and I’m learning a lot.  It’s great.” 

Regarding Crosby, he said it is “Tiny, Very tiny, but the bus system is also way better.”  There are two other missionaries in Crosby; the District Leaders, one is Italian and one is a Swed.  Their District includes Crosby and St. Helens, and they are part of the Liverpool Zone.  The ward is “uber” small but they are very active. 

So, although the words were lacking this week, his spirit was strong, and he left us knowing that he was safe, happy and fully engaged.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July 27th—August 2nd: The End of my First Transfer

This has been a pretty busy week.  The first part with meetings, the second with finding and trying to work with the Wilson’s (Karina and Paul).  So, the beginning of the week we had Pday, which was actually our most successful day of the week, go figure.  It was District Meeting on Tuesday.  We actually stayed the night in Lancaster so we could travel easier.  The thing that stuck out most about the meeting was something that Elder Nelson said, “We have to think about what Christ would think if he was with us when we were finding.”  He used the primary song “If the Savior stood beside me”…, would we try to share the Gospel.  Every person that we let pass us is someone that the Savior suffered for that will possibly have to suffer for themselves.  What would the Savior say if he saw us let these people go by without making the effort to help them use His sacrifice for them?  That afternoon we went over to clear up some anti-mormon literature with Karina, which is always fun stuff.  On Wednesday, we were up early so we could make it to Manchester for “First Five Weeks” which is a new missionary training.  On the bus rides,  I talked to 2 people. One man who had seen missionaries before and knew who we are but hadn’t been taught.  It was legendary. Such a great lesson.  I hope that at some point in my mission I can serve in Manchester.  The people there are so prepared.  I guess the grass is always greener…right?  Oh, I got my iPad that day.  It is great,  but still in the box, I will set it up on Pday.  Thursday we had tea with the Boysers, they are an interesting group of people. Haha.  After that we went and did family history.  I found another 17 names to be done.  On Friday, we had another lesson with Karina and Paul, and told them that the way they can come to know these things are true is to read and pray.  We actually did service for the first time this week and I loved it.  We did some lady’s gardening (yard work) so we chopped weeds and pulled weeds.  It was great fun.

The two “member” families I love the most in Blackpool are the Mclucas and Hardmans.  Brother  Mclucas is the Sunday School President but is probably the most missionary minded member of the ward.  He is the best—a super crazy man but I love him and his wife to death.  He is a very simple man as well.  Brother Hardman and his family: Lea Hardman has got to be one of the best people I have met over here.  He is the one that drove us to Manchester for the fireside that one time.  He is the best and he is always willing to come help us but he works a lot and just had surgery on his hand so he hasn’t been able to.  He is a very hands-on kind of man so I think that’s why I love him so much.  He kind of reminds me of Uncle Brooks.  

We are not allowed to visit less actives or part member families unless the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader have cleared them first.  There is a lot of hostility toward the Church and they will do anything to bring us down, like anti-mormon hostility. 

This week (Wednesday) is transfers, and I will be going to Crosby, in the Liverpool District.  Elder Maughn and I are trading places so I will be getting follow-up trained by his trainer and he will be getting follow-up training by Elder Fernandez.  My new companion is an islander.  I don’t know how to spell his name, so I will give you more information next week when I am actually with him.   

During the first “transfer” of my mission, I have learned so much about relying on the Lord while I have been here.  I have never felt closer to Him and I have never felt His love and strength that He can give more strongly.  When you are on your own, miles from any true support besides your companion, it is really hard, it was definitely something that I needed to learn, to rely so heavily on prayer and on the Lord.  He truly is my Father in Heaven and since I haven’t been able to talk to my earthly father as much as I would like to, I have turned more to my Heavenly Father to help and counsel me.  I am so grateful for that knowledge I have in my life that He is there, He is listening, He loves us, and He answers our prayers.  I wish that others would just experiment on the things we teach them enough to be able to know of this wonderful thing for themselves as well.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July 20th—July 26th: Mission Historical Tour

The highlight of the week was the mission historical tour. We went and toured around Preston, seeing Pres. Hinckley’s flat, Vauxhall Chapel site, the place where the Apostles got attacked by legions of demons, and Market Square where they preached from the obelisk in the middle. We went to the River Ribble where many baptisms took place.  Then we went to this little town in the countryside, called Downham,  where a bunch of people were baptized and the town is still the same as it has been since the 1800’s. There were two parts that really stand out looking back. The first is something that President Ulrich said when we were next to a creek that hundreds were baptized and confirmed at. “We are never alone. The saints on the other side are here with us helping us to continue their work.” The other highlight was in Downham, me, Elder Jolly and three others sang in this Church from the 1600's and it was amazing. I don’t have the best voice but I could follow along when someone else knows what they are doing. It was also nice to see Elder Jolly (Blake Jolly, we graduated high school together). 
Karina and Paul are giving me stress ulcers.  The have dropped us 4 times and then they come back.  Karina has such a strong testimony but she just gives up and goes anti-missionary for a few days.  We haven’t been able to find Peter (the one with cancer who came to the Church for a blessing).  We keep stopping by.  We did meet a new person Amy this week on the bus, and had a great conversation with her.  Right now we really don’t have much in the way of sincere investigators.  One thing I have learned in my first month in England is that English people are very nice until you start talking about the gospel.  I have also learned how to be more bold and just walking up to people and go for it.   We have been here over a month and don’t have a lot to show for our efforts, which is a little frustrating.   I worked with the District Leader on exchanges two days this week, and worked with one of the Zone Leaders on Saturday at a Zone Street display and learned a lot from both.  
To answer some of your questions: 
Bikes:  The way it works is the bikes do not transfer with you.  We have bikes but they are rubbish and would need some serious work to be usable.  
Money:  We get GBP129.00 a month for food and miscellaneous expenses.  We get reimbursed for travel. It has been kind of scary this month because I lost my bus pass and would have had to buy another one (and not be reimbursed), which would have been really hard, but when we went to the bus place to inquire about what to do, they gave me another one that someone had left on the bus, which was a true tender mercy.  
Weather:  Humidity is a killer.  The weather is so unpredictable.  We have no clue what it will be in the evening judging by the morning.  It’s quite a pain.  The rain over here is super strange as well.  We don’t get proper rain, it’s more of a mist that gets you wetter than normal rain. 
Flat:  My flat is a shared house, we have 4 rooms and a bathroom, it is the worst lay out for a house that I have ever seen in my life.  So much wasted space, and terrible design.  We have a washer, dryer, oven, stove, fridge (it’s tiny), blender and a knock off George Foreman.  Yeah, it’s not much but we get by.  
Food & Exercise:  I eat a lot of chicken, and not as many veggies as I should.  My companion eats boxes and boxes of cereal.  I try to have an exercise routine in my flat most morning.  We do a lot of walking.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find holes in my shoes in another two months. I have lost 7 pounds. 
Temple:  We went to the temple twice in the MTC and that was a wonderful experience.
                       Elder Tarbet

Mission Historical Tour Pictures

This is what I imagined England would look like before I came

English countryside

English village—Downham

Mission Historical Tour

The Preston obelisk in the background

Me and Elder Jolly

River Ribble Park