Monday, February 23, 2015

Brighton...The Happiest Place in the UK

      I am glad this week is over.  We literally spent all week trying to find people to teach and saw 0 success, so it was a long week to say the least.  We have set goals and made plans to have a successful week this week though.  Missions are really hard, I had always heard people say that before and during my mission, and until now I never really agreed with them.  I hadn't really had a hard time on my mission yet.   The hardness I am experiencing now is totally different though.  We have no one to teach and we are trying so desperatly to find people.  We had correlation last night (the missionary meeting w/ the ward mission leader to discuss the work) and the WML had mapped out the work in Brighton over the past year with the number of lessons taught, baptisms, basically all those statistics stuff.  I came in right when everything was at its peak.  We were teaching more than they had all year, we were baptizing a lot, and we were just doing really good.  Every companionship was at its peak, so I didn't see the hard side of missionary work.  But boy am I seeing it now.  Missions are a learning and growing experience and definitely are a trial of your faith.  Our faith has been tried so much this week, every door we knock we say we have had enough rejection and our faith has been tried enough, success will come at that door, but it never does.  This week we do have so much faith though.  We set the goal to have 2 baptismal dates by the end of this week, where those will come from, we don't know yet, but we are going to try harder than we ever have our whole missions and we know that we will be able to achieve that.  This week was really bad numbers wise, we only taught 9 lessons (usually we are teaching around 15 a week), but we aren't letting that get us down.  
     On Thursday night accounting Elder Green was really worried about us I think, we had literally spent all week finding, so we had no numbers to even account for, but he said last night after accounting that he was really impressed with us.  We aren't letting this get us down, this is the time we have to find people.  I got a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Smith this week and in it there was a magnet that they sent which basically said the key isn't to change our circumstance but to change our attitude.  That is so true.  Attitude is huge out here.  It is something Sister G and I are working on this week.  We are going to have a happy attitude to everyone we talk to, we really do think that that will make a huge difference.  There are thousands of people here, and I know that there is one person waiting specifically for us to find teach and baptize, and we are going to find them this week :) 
     Well this week we also had some pretty funny things happen.  
On Monday I got to take a nap, which was great.  Then we went out to do some shopping and it started pouring down rain.  The weather here has been so weird this week.  It will be sunny and warm one minute then raining and hailing and windy the next, you can never predict it.  But Monday when we went out shopping it started raining really hard, we were walking along the street and a car drove through a puddle on the side of the road and my legs got soaking wet.  I thought that only happened in movies.  Nope, happened to me, multiple times this week.  So that was fun. 
     Tuesday we had our interviews with president.  The Brighton chapel was having work done inside of it, so we had to take a bus out to Eastbourn to do it in their chapel.  That took basically all day.  But my interview was really good.  I was really scared for it, because I had heard different stories about president and he kind of scares me.  But he said everything I needed to hear.  The interview was really good and I came out of it feeling a lot better than I did when I went into it.  It is sad to think I only have one more interview with him probably before we get the new president, I wish I could have the same president my whole mission, but I obvisouly have something to learn from the new one and I am excited to see that change. 

The Sisters in our district/zone at President Interviews.  We were all wearing navy blue that day!

     After the interviews we were on the bus going back to Brighton and I was just talking to Sister G, and all of a sudden the guy behind us taps me on the shoulder and asks me where I am from.  He proceeds to ask me on a date...that was awkward.  He asked if I wanted to go get coffee, and I told him I don't drink coffee, so he asked if I wanted to go get ice cream.  We tried to explain to him we are missionaries, but he is from Iran and hardly spoke any english so he didn't understand at all.  He proceeded to go on about how he can't find anyone to date...I had to do all I could to not bust up laughing right then and there, it was hilarious!  #awkwardmissionarylife 
     Tuesday night we have 'doc n choc' a little class we do with investigators, ward members, and recent converts.  It was the elders turn to teach and so they taught about satan and his "fiery darts" and keeping our shield strong against him.  To demonstrate they had me stand on a chair with a little cardboard shield and everyone there got to throw those plastic fruits at me...I swear the elders just wanted to beat me up.  But I don't have any bruises, so thats okay.  It was funny though.  
     Friday night we had a big Chinese new years party so we helped with that for a lot of the day.  We had a whole bunch of Chinese food, it was so good!  It was a really fun night, the Chinese elders did a really good job.  

Happy Chinese New Year!  Elder William, Lewis and I 

     Saturday we went out and did some contacting.  The church has what is called AUP files, they are members who they lost track of but then they find their addresses through different stuff, so basically us missionaries have to go track them down and try and get them to come back to church.  Less Active work, but more extreme because they have been lost for a long time.  We did that for 3 hours because you have to knock 10 doors for each one you go to, and we saw 0 success.  It was freezing cold, and we walked forever to get there, it was miserable.  But we got back to our flat and had 5 minutes before we were going up to the Deans to have dinner, so we decided to call some former investigators from our area book, and guess what, we called 4 and 3 of them set return appointments.  #areabookmiracles So that was cool and they have all been taught everything, we just need them to feel the spirit and live some commandments and then they can be baptized!  Hopefully we can see success from that. 
     Those were the highlights of my week I think...sorry my brain is all scattered lately.  
     You keep saying you want to hear about lessons, so here are some we taught this week (remember they were slim haha)
We taught Tosin about the Book of Mormon because he isn't reading it, he is reading the bible.  We showed him the clip of Elder Holland bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon with the Joseph Smith movie playing in the background, which is such a powerful video, but we showed that to him and the spirit was there so strong.  Well every lesson we teach Tosin the spirit is there so strongly, he is such a solid member. 
     We also taught a lesson to Ian and Liz, the recent convert older coulple, about eternal marriage.  That is always exciting to teach people about the temple.  Well those were the two lessons that I enjoyed the most this week.  Teaching is fun, I like it a lot better than finding, but then again every missionary does.
     I got your package this week Finally!  Thanks so much for everything in it! Jack's letter and picture made me cry...I showed it to my district and they all thought it was cute...but remember I still have 14 months, no need to make banners yet ;)  
     Well I love you guys and appreciate everything you do for me!  I love it out here.  I actually had a dream last night that all of a sudden my mission was over and I was home and it was really scary.  It was like the last 18 months of my life just flashed before my eyes.  It really scared me, I don't want to ever come home, this is such a great lifestyle.  Thinking about others all the time and how you can serve them is such a great way to live.  
The gospel is true.  Remember that :)
Sister Robison xx (the XX means like love over here, everyone always puts it after everything...every text to anyone you put that is why I put it...) 

Oh and Brighton was named the happiest place in the UK, so I am basically at disneyland...except its not disneyland...

So we had 2 huge spiders in our flat the other night...we killed one of them, but then the other went behind the counter, so we used my hair dryer to try and get it out, it didn't work and we still don't know where it is!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Another Glorious Week in the Promised Land

     Hello mi familia.  So this week was weird.  Transfers week is always weird.  My new companions name is Sister Ghalkhani and she is from Germany.  She has only been out on her mission 6 months, so this is her second area and I am her 3rd companion.  She is super sweet, quite and soft spoken.  She is very obedient, which will be really good for me.  I need to improve on being more obedient.  But it can be frustrating sometimes too.  I always remember what President King told me when I was getting set apart, that it is possible to be an obedient missionary and have fun at the same time.  My past 2 companions have borne witness to me of that.  We were obedient, but we were able to laugh and make memories as we did the work, which helped get me through my first 2 transfers.  We were still obedient to the white handbook, but we were able to relax and enjoy the time we have here.  I keep talking about that with her so hopefully she will start to laugh more and we will be able to have a good time.  There is a difference between being disobedient, being obedient, being perfectly obedient, and being overly obedient.  I know I can learn a lot from her though.  Everyone calls Brighton the Promised Land, and I never really understood why, until now.  She talks about her old area and how different it is from Brighton.  There were no other missionaries in the ward, it was a branch, no YSA, no one to talk to, basically it was just them.  Here, I am best friends with all the YSA and missionaries, and I do have a really good relationship with a lot of people in the ward, which I believe is okay to have, because we are here to help strengthen the ward as well as baptize people.   I can sit and carry on a normal conversation with most of the YSA. We all know each other pretty well, and I guess it isn't like that in most places in the mission.   So there you go, Brighton is the best.  I don't ever want to leave, because I am scared that when I do leave I will be put somewhere where it is only my companion and I and no one to talk to or become friends with.  That’s scary.  But with that said, this ward has a lot of work to do.   Some of the  people in the ward aren’t involved as much with missionary work, so that is going to be a big focus this transfer, getting to know these members and getting them involved in the work.  
     Brighton is also a hard place to serve because everyone in the mission looks at it and sees that there are so many people here, we must be baptizing so much and teaching so much, but the truth is they don't see the struggle it is to actually find people to teach here.  We spend so much time out talking to people on buses and on the street, and hardly ever see success.  It can get very discouraging sometimes, but we keep praying in faith that we will see a miracle soon.  There are so many people here; you would think someone would listen to us!  That is a big struggle, and our whole district is struggling right now trying to find people to teach. 
     We have interviews with President tomorrow, it will be my first one since I have been here, and he has asked that we bring our area book and planners so he can look at them.   I have spent a lot of time this week sorting that out and getting it organized.  There is a lot of paper work we have to do as missionaries...
      I’ll tell you about this week.  Monday after Sister Stuart left (so sad...) I was with Sister Sargysen for 3 days.  She is serving in Eastbourn and is the other sister in our district.  So we spent Monday in Brighton contacting referrals and street contacting, then Tuesday we went to Eastbourn for the day.  Nothing too exciting happened.  We did start talking to one lady on the street and she asked us where we were from, so I told her I was from Utah and she said “Oh I have a sister in law who lives there, she's a Mormon” and just kind of laughed like she was making fun of us, so that was awkward.  When we told her that we were Mormon... she walked away and got on a bus...ha-ha
     Wednesday was our P-day so Sister Sargysen and I went charity shopping, they have so many charity shops here, and they all have so many skirts for the 2 pounds!  It is the best.  I got one that is pretty cute.  Then I met my new companion and we came back to Brighton to unpack and contact referrals.  
     Nothing really happened the rest of the week.  It was a lot of street contacting and contacting referrals.  We haven't had any new investigators for a long time now, like the whole time I have been on my mission, so we are desperately trying to find people to teach.      On Saturday the Chinese Elders had a baptism.  A girl named Jessie got baptized and she is the cutest girl I have ever seen.  She is 3 days younger than me and I love her so much.  It was such a good service as well.  Baptisms are so cool; the spirit is always there so much.  I love them. 
      At church yesterday one of the ladies in the ward came up to me and sister G and asked who the new missionary I guess I need to show my face and talk to more people in the ward so they will recognize me ha-ha.  In study this week I studied about the millennium.  That was pretty cool to read about.  I studied the different resurrections and the angels that will sound their trump...Tosin had questions about it, so it wasn't a pointless study.  The plan of salvation is actually really fun to study, so much to be learned!  I also read Alma 5, if you need a good rebuking and reevaluation, check that chapter out, it will do it.  I read it and had a good realization of what I need to do to improve my life and become more converted to Christ.  I also set the goal this week to read the New Testament on my mission, so I started reading it; I am really excited for that.  Sacred Time (study time) is my favorite, I really wish we could just study all day; one hour is not nearly enough.  
     Well folks, that is just about it for my email this week.  We have a lot of fun activities this week in the ward.  We are having a big Chinese new year party Friday night which is supposed to be epic, so that will be fun.  Then Saturday there is a family history workshop that I think we are going to go to...oh I checked out our family tree last week...our last name has like no origin, it is from New Hampshire or something...weird.  But we do have a whole bunch of ancestors from England, which is cool, but not in my mission I think...
     I love being a missionary, it is hard and this week was hard.  I thought a lot about home this week, especially with Sister Stuart being home...but I know I need to be here.  I just have to take it one day at a time and slowly things will improve and as I try my very hardest I will be able to find those in need of the gospel right now.  I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week!  
     So there you go :) love you so much!  Thanks for all your prayers; I know they really do help in my week. 
Sister Robison :) xxx

Sister Ghalkhani and I 

Monday, February 9, 2015

England...the land of many foods

     Well family, this week was weird.  It has been a rough few days getting ready to say goodbye to Sister Stuart.  I love her so much and we have had so much fun this transfer.  I am going to miss her so much. 

Right before Sister Stuart left., it was so hard...I love her so much!
     I know you are dying to know what is going to happen to me.  I am staying in Brighton and my new companion is named Sister Ghanikali, she is from Germany and actually trained Sister Holley (my mtc comp), so we will see how it goes.  This next transfer will definitely be different, lots of changes in the district with 4 new missionaries coming in.  It will be interesting.  
     So this week was a week of trying a whole bunch of new food.  On Monday Tosin made us some Fufu, which is classic Nigerian food.  I had heard so much about it and everyone wanted to try it, so he made it.   It wasn't my favorite food, but I tried it! 

My Nigerian friends Tosin, Vincent and the fufu!

     One night we had a DA with some recent converts and they had Prawns for an appetizer, that was a first.   We also had lamb for dinner that night...I think that was a first. 
     Friday night we had a Chinese hot pot.  It is like fondue, but with water and chinese food.  I tried crab that was weird.  But I figure I am on a mission I might as well try all the food that I can.  I also had curry for dinner last night.
     Sorry this weeks email is super random and unorganized.  My mind is all over the place and I am so scared for what is going to happen this transfer.  I got another priesthood blessing last night, which was nice.  The priesthood is amazing.  Such an amazing blessing to have it on the earth today.  I have cried more this transfer than my whole life I think.  It has been bad.  I don't know what or why, but I am so grateful for the things that I have learned from Sister Stuart.  I have learned the importance of teaching people not lessons, she is so good at loving people and really caring about them, I need to improve on that.  I have learned the importance of enjoying my mission because pretty soon that will be me in her shoes going home.  I have learned how to work out differences with companions.  It is once I realized that Sister Hickman was really gone that me and Sister Stuart were able to become best friends and really enjoy our time together.  She has also taught me how to have fun.   I honestly can't believe that my time to be trained is over.  Where did the past 3 months go?  I don't feel any where near to the type of missionary who is trained already.  I honestly don't even know what happened for the past 3 months of my life, being a missionary is so weird. I have learned so much about myself in the short 3 months that I have been out and I can't wait to see what is going to happen for the rest of my time here.  I need to truly enjoy every moment I have out here, especially in Brighton, because before I know it I will be leaving and probably bawling my eyes out.  
     I am going to miss all these missionaries leaving so much.  I am sitting here at the Deans with all of them having a pancake breakfast just waiting for them all to leave.  It is so weird, these guys are all my best friends and have all been there since the beginning of my mission.  They have had such a big impact in my life and I couldn't thank them all enough.  We have made so many good memories and I am truly grateful for that.   

My District

     I am so blessed to be here in England as well, this land is amazing and so beautiful.  It is very very cold as well though...miserably cold, but thats okay I am surviving.   
     I love you all!  I loved your email this week.  That message from Elder Nelson you shared with me mom was something that I read this week.  It was such a powerful message, I loved everything that was talked about.  The apostles are inspiried people, listen to their council.  I can't tell you the amount of talks that have blessed my life out here, they are the best.  
     Have a fantastic week!  Pray that I will be able to make friends with my new companion.  I am scared for what the future holds and I know that trials are coming.  That was talked about in my blessing last night.  But trials make us grow right?  Trials are a good thing, it shows me that it is time for me to grow and the Heavenly Father wants to see me progress.  

Love you all!

Sister Robison xx

On p-day I bought me some diet coke and ice cream, I was in heaven!

I love this place!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Holy Moly 3 Months!

      I can't believe another week has come and gone!  I have been a missionary for 3 months now!!! Holy Cow, it is flying by!  This week was a good one, but it was hard to because I have to start mentally preparing myself to send another companion home...that isn't fun to do if you were wondering...
            So Monday flew by, as usual.  We went shopping after emailing.  I love/hate Brighton because there is such good shopping here.  I seriously wanted to buy everything!  But I didn't, I just bought some skinny jeans, because I am sick of wearing flair jeans, a nice big warm scarf, and a skirt.  We just kind of walked around as a district and had a good time, it was fun. 

      Tuesday was just an average day.   We taught an investigator that day.  I don't know if I told you, but she agreed to get baptized!  She is so excited and was supposed to get baptized this Saturday, but she isn't coming to church so we had to move it to the end of February which was sad cause I really wanted Sister Stuart to be there...but you have to do what you have to do...Then that night we had correlation, nothing too exciting happened there...and Doc n Choc, the class we do Tuesday nights.  Sister Stuart and I had to teach it and we did the "Do you want a donut" analogy where someone does push ups for every donut no matter if you eat it or not, we made Elder Green do the push ups and I think he was dying a little bit. You then relate it back to the atonement and how Christ has already suffered for us so we need to "take the donut", or use the gift he has given us.  It was a really good lesson and really spiritual. That night all of us Brighton missionaries were standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus for like 15 minutes, and a bunch of transvestites were walking by winking at the elders and all this stuff...yup that is Brighton for you...see that on a daily basis...
            I read a really good talk Tuesday for study called 'Cast not away therefore your confidence" by Elder Holland, READ IT! It is such a good talk and I learned so much from it!  He is a powerful speaker.
            Wednesday started with district meeting.  The Zone Leaders were there this week so I was scared that they were going to rebuke us about not working hard enough or something, but they didn't, it was actually a really spiritual district meeting.  Elder Green (The DL) got up and just talked about how proud he is of our district, that was a good reminder that we are doing a good job.  It was nice.  I then went on exchanges with Sister Sargysen who is serving over in Eastbourne.  I learned a lot from her and it was a really good exchange.  She is really good at contacting people and talking to people on the bus, so I really enjoyed being able to see her work and I am trying to apply the things I learned from her into my skills now.  That night was one of our converts birthdays, so we ran to the store and bought a cake and had a little party at the chapel for him. It was fun and a nice night with him because we weren't sure when or if we would see him again because of his visa expiring.  
            Thursday was a rough day.  We exchanged back that afternoon and then had lunch at the chapel with the Elders.  We are starting to just eat all our meals together, we are like one big happy family, it is great.  We were then supposed to go out to Newhaven to visit some recent converts , but the bus schedule was weird so it didn't  work out.   Instead of seeing them we went up to the hospital to visit one of Sister Stuarts grandpas who had a heart attack and is in the hospital here.   There is a huge difference from the hospitals here and the ones in was cool to see them...Then we had to go out to Newhaven  for a dinner appointment, so we sat at a bus stop for probably 45 minutes waiting for our was snowing and freezing was miserable...and the bus never came.  We finally walked to another one to look at the time tables for when the bus comes, only to find out the bus we take out there only comes once that hour.  We were so mad, and already so late. So we got on a different bus that would at least get us to Newhaven, then we had to walk forever up huge hills in the snow and cold to get there.  Sister Stuart and I were both screaming and laughing and so mad at everything.  It was bad.  

My life=laying on bus stop benches trying to keep warm...this was on Thursday when we had to wait forever for our bus...

     Friday was Lewis's birthday so the English Elders and us went out to lunch with him.  We went to this little chinese restaurant, which was actually pretty good.  I tried some crispy duck for the first time there...I am just trying so many new types of meat! haha.  The duck was pretty good, it just tasted like normal meat, but it was really dry.  I guess it is a really posh food though...That night we had weekly planning and at the end I decided we were going to make a bucket list for everything Sister Stuart wants to do this last week on her mission, we have some fun plans for this week :)  But it hit me that she is actually leaving really soon and that I have to get to know another companion.  We both just sat there and cried for a while.  I am going to miss her so much.  I feel like our relationship is so good now and we are best friends, only to have her leave.  Pretty sad.  But at least I know that I will see her when I get home :)  
            Saturday morning we spent a good hour calling former investigators from the area book seeing if there was any potential...and we didn't see any success from it yet, but we aren't going to give up.  We had mac n cheese for lunch too that Grandma Smith gave me for christmas.  It tasted so good. 

            The sisters in Eastbourn (the other sisters in our district) had 2 baptisms that day at our chapel because they don't have a baptism font, so we went to that.  President and Sister Millar were there for the baptisms.   President talked to me about sending Sister Stuart home and I joked with him to just keep sending me the dying missionaries because I am getting really good at sending them home, and he said he won't do that cause he doesn't want me learning how to be trunky (the term they use for ready to go home), in my head I just laughed cause I have learned how to be trunky haha...he said he will give me someone good next transfer though...I thought he was going to tell me what was going to happen, cause he paused before he said that, but he didn't tell me.  I will probably find out Friday who my next comp is.  Next transfer will definitely be weird, half of my district goes home this transfer, so it will be a big change. 

One of the people that got baptized from Eastbourn this week.  Sister Stuart is actually the one who first contacted him a year ago when she was in Brighton.  Pretty cool!

     Saturday afternoon we washed a ward members car.  He just passed his driving test and his car was all moldy, so us missionaries did some service and washed it.  It was nasty.  Mold everywhere on the inside, I didn't think it was possible for mold to be on the inside of the car, but in England it is.  That was fun though, it is always nice to get out and help some people.  
            Yesterday was such a good day.  I may have told you, one of our recent converts wasn't sure if he was going to have to go back to Nigeria last week or not.  So I was just waiting for him to walk into church so I could know if he was staying because I hadn't heard from him for a few weeks.  When I saw him walk in I was so happy, and he had a full suit on, which he has never worn before, I was beaming with joy.  Then bishop is conducting and asks him to stand to propose he gets the priesthood!  He didn't tell us he decided to get the priesthood, so I was almost crying I was so happy!  Then he gets up and bears his testimony about everything he has been going through with his visa and how much God has helped him lately.  Long story short, he is staying in England and is the most amazing convert ever.  I was so happy!!!!  

Some ward members that fed us

     Well there is my week.  I seriously can't believe this is my last week with Sister Stuart.  She is freaking out about going home, so I have to just let her freak out sometimes haha.  I can't believe that I am done training is crazy!  I don't know everything...but I know that I'm not supposed to know everything.  The Lord will help me no matter what next transfer throws at me.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to have 2 moms out here, because I now know how to work with different types of companions and I really think this has just set the stage for the rest of my mission. 
            Man, being a missionary is great.  This life is like a dream and one day I am going to wake up and be home and not know what just happened to the last 18 months of my life.  It is so weird, I can't even describe it.  But it is great.  Focusing on other people so much and not myself has been the biggest blessing in my life.  I was a selfish little brat before I left, I am so sorry about that...hopefully I am changing out here...missions are the best :)
Talk to you guys next week!! Love you so much, thanks for all the prayers!
Sister Robison :) 

Man, I love this place!

Sister Hopgood and I on exchanges last week

My first experience eating fish n chips