Monday, October 27, 2014

Virtual Stalking

Okay -- I google street viewed Coleman's address!

And his church

Monday Oct 27th 2014 -- First Area

So yeah, on Saturday we got up way early like 545 and got ready and then took a bus with just the missionaries going to  the Leeds mission to a chapel in some town I cant remember the name of, I really don't even know where it was. Anyhow we got oriented and taught by the senior missionaries and the Assistant to the President missionaries and we had interviews with the President and got taught by him and fed lunch. My companions from the MTC are both going to the Manchester mission so I said goodbye to them for good probably on Saturday morning.
After all the orientation a bunch of missionaries showed up for a transfer meeting and all the outgoing and ingoing missionaries bore testimony and then we were assigned to our new trainer companions. My companion is Elder Jaeger and he is really great. He's from Southern California and he's been out on his mission for 17 months. He has been a zone leader for the past 7 months or so and now he's been assigned to be my trainer and our district leader. He is very obedient and knows his stuff but is also super nice and funny and easy to get along with it's nice.
We moved into a flat with two other elders, Elder Diaz and Elder Wright, both from Utah, who are both funny but also very hard working missionaries. Our flat apparently is one of the nicer flats but it is still rather small and amenities are slim. Were at the library now down the street renting the computers for an hour, we might pay for another hour if were not done.
Sister Thompson is a nice old widow from our ward (North Shields ward) who is in a wheelchair and loves the missionaries. She fed us lunch after stake conference yesterday. Oh yeah btw yesterday and the night before that was stake conference. It was great but I was really tired and it was hard to pay attention. Anyways yeah sister Thompson took a picture of us and sent it to our parents, apparently she loves to talk to missionaries moms. Do you know the Sims who live in Calgary? Joe Sim was in my area apparently for a long time and his mom knows sister Thompson. But yeah she is nice and drives us around places sometimes and she said that if we need to get things mailed to us to send it to her house because she is almost always there to receive it and is more than happy to get it to us when we go visit her, which is often.
Some rules I wasn't aware about that I found out yesterday: We have to wear suit jackets all the time in public. So all those trousers that we bought are not going to be used because they don't match my suit jackets. Also there's a new rule in the mission because of injuries that we are not allowed to play any sport at all. No basketball. No football. Nothing at all ever. On the bright side a lot of movies are approved for us to watch and tonight were meeting up with some other elders to watch a movie I think.
Yesterday we spent some times knocking on doors around our area, in a neighbourhood called Marden. We talk to everybody on the streets too. I haven't taught any investigators yet. We are white washing our area which just means that neither elder Jaeger nor I have been in this area before so all the information we have on investigators is in the area book and that's pretty much it, it's almost like starting from scratch. You could probably find marden where we were yesterday on google maps but if you look for the actual township of North Shields - that's where I'm staying.
I'm not feeling too homesick yet but I miss my guitar a lot. I'll probably be homesick soon. Love you guys and I miss you lots. I'm feeling a lot better now that I have a good companion and I'm out in the field.
Also the people here talk really funny. This area is where the Geordie accent is from and people say things sometimes and I jsut say ''what was that?'' Instead of hi they say 'yaright' and they call us canny lads and they use the word champion a lot, like how was your day? 'It was just champion'.
Also another story. On Friday night (our last night at the MTC) we went to the temple for one last time. I felt the spirit more strongly in that session than I ever have in a temple session before and I remember thinking a lot about certain phrases and thinking, 'did they ever even say those before?'  I had entered the temple with a specific question in mind and as I sat in the Celestial room I prayed again and asked Heavenly Father my question, which was just how to be a better companion, and answers started pouring into my head and I felt enlightened and inspired. I was thinking through all of these thoughts and the spirit witnessed to me that all of the qualities I need to have to be a good companion in the mission field apply to the relationship I'll have one day with my eternal companion, and dealing with people now will help me understand how to be a better husband and father someday. I also felt inspired that I knew that I would return here one day , or to some temple one day with my eternal companion. I've realized that that is my primary goal in my life, to be worthy to be married in the temple and raise up a family in the Gospel of the Lord, and I know that that is what my future has in store for me. I love the Lord.
To continue the story I was walking back from the temple to the MTC after the session and a man came out of the stake center and invited us to come in to get some cake because they had just had a cake competition and therefore had an overabundance of cake. This morning I was reading in first Nephi chapter 1 and he talks about tender mercies of the Lord. That was a tender mercy, coming out of the temple already on top of the world and then ''hey free cake''. It was wonderful.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An email from a sister in Coleman's new area

I got an email today -- from a Sis. Heather Thompson curiously enough -- she just wrote to let us know that Coleman arrived safe and sound in North Shields.

She also mentioned that we can send packages to her house (I'm not sure, but maybe they're living with her???  More to come with details I'm sure!!).
Here's her address:
Heather Thompson
3 Cleehill Drive
North Shields
Tyne and Wear
NE 29 9EW

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letter and Pictures!

Oh man I miss you guys a lot. I know Olivia's whiny all the time but she's still cute. Okay so this week has been super crazy for me we've been doing so much stuff. We do all these practice lessons with 'Investigators' and we learn how to teach simply and clearly and how to make commitments and how to plan study time and all sorts of things. On Saturday I had an interview with one of the MTC presidency and he asked me what I had learned and I told him that I'd learned a lot of patience and humility because of learning to deal with people (my companions mostly) who don't think the same way I do and who frustrate me because of the way they behave. I talked about the goals I made to develop certain Christ like attributes specifically LOVE for my companions and for everyone. I read Dad's e-mail and he was right in that between last week and this week I've grown a lot in learning especially how to love people who are different than you and who annoy/bother you because of those differences. Elder #1 and I have been both doing really well in explaining our feelings to each other and allowing that to strengthen our relationship and allow us to work better together, but Elder #2 struggles in every aspect of missionary work including, I'm sad to say, his testimony. He refuses to acknowledge weaknesses or change at all which is frustrating. He is definitely one of those kids that is on a mission because his mom made him.

Anyways after talking to President Durkin, of the MTC Presidency, at the end of the interview he expressed that what I said was exactly all of the things that he thought that I needed to learn when he first spoke to me and my companions the first day here. He said that the way in which I have grown was exactly what he wanted me to do and had been praying about. He said that what I had said amazed him and strengthened his testimony and was exactly the part of his calling here that he loved so much, seeing missionaries develop. He said I made it into his journal that night.

Anyways, we got here two weeks ago on a Thursday, so usually we would be leaving the MTC tomorrow on a Thursday as well, but all of the Mission Presidents and MTC Presidents are in Portugal for a big meeting this week until Friday, so our stay at the MTC is being extended a few days, we're leaving now on Saturday. The funny thing is that tomorrow we're not leaving, but a whole new bunch of missionaries are arriving, so this place is going to be a jungle for the next bit.

We have district classrooms that we spend most of the day in having lessons and studying for teaching appointments, and before this the biggest district was 8 Missionaries. My district was called 'Abinadi' (which by the way all the British people pronounce weird) and we had 7 but now were combining with another district and were gonna have 13. It'll be okay though most of the missionaries are really well behaved.

The roads here are so small and there are tons of traffic circles and they drive on the left so to answer Sam's question yes it is so confusing and disorienting. Also there are no straight roads. Like none. They're all super windy I have no idea where were going all the time.

Last Thursday and tomorrow we'll be doing this again, we took the train into Manchester to go finding. That basically means that we just go around and talk to people on the street about the gospel. Even on the train there and back we talked to tons of people. Anyways one of the guys we talked to in Manchester was a music prof at Manchester University on his lunch break and he was devout Christian. He tried to convince us that maybe the reason we ran into him was because God out people in our place to prove to us that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet and that our religion was based on lies. He also said in his own words ''Lot's of stuff you read on the internet really cant be reliable because who knows what sources they came from, but I read some stuff about how Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet and that stuff was totally true''. My testimony in Joseph Smith was actually strengthened because of the ignorance of that man. Hopefully tomorrow well find some people who are more open to hearing our message.

Anyways I'm doing a lot better this week and today is P-day again so I'm probably gonna have a nap and then play some basketball, or in some order like that.

Also we went to the temple this morning. It was great.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Letter from the MTC President

We got a letter today from the President of the Mission Training Centre in Preston, UK where Coleman is currently living and studying. 

Here's what he had to say:

Your son will be departing from the England Missionary Training Centre on Saturday, October 25.  We want you to know how much we have enjoyed having him with us. 


Elder Thompson is a fine young man and we are grateful for the opportunity we have had to work with him on a daily basis.  He is well-prepared for his mission and he continues each day to grow spiritually.  He is developing good teaching skills and is excited about the work.  He is ready for full time service in the England Leeds Mission.

We love this young man and are grateful to you for all you have done to prepare him for this wonderful time in his life.  Your love and continued support are important to his success.   Letters from home are always greatly anticipated and appreciated. 

He also attached this picture.  From Coleman's email, I'm guessing that these are all the missionaries currently at the MTC.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

1st Email -- Wed Oct 15 2014

Okay I don't have that much time to email so I'll just spit a bunch of stuff out. The MTC is really small. We are the only zone here right now, but we have one district who has been here for 4 weeks already learning German. The rest of us are all going to the Leeds or the Manchester missions. I got placed with two companions so we are a tripanionship. Elder #1 is from New Zealand and Elder #2 is from Idaho. These two elders are the most immature 18 year olds I've ever met and it's been a real struggle to do anything with them. The days are really slow because they're hard to deal with and don't really want to do anything. Elder #2 doesn't participate and knows very little about the gospel and has terrible people skills. Elder #1 is really loud and obnoxious and refuses to take criticism from anybody, even if it's like 'Elder we're in the temple can you be quiet?'. It's frustrating. The teachers and classes and devotionals here are amazing though and I'm learning a lot even with my difficult companions. I pray every day for patience and humility and the ability to be more like Christ when I deal with my companions.
Also there's a total of around 40 missionaries here in the MTC so the meals are all prepared at certain times, not like buffet style like in Provo. The food is sometimes amazing and sometimes bland and gross. There is no chocolate milk :(
I really miss playing my guitar. I can't really sing very much either because Elder #1 is super loud and obnoxious and he is always yelling or singing really loud completely off key. Also there are some sister missionaries here who sing so loud and they're so off that every time we sing hymns I can barely hear the piano and the pitch is just lost. My musical ear is frustrated and I'm itching and itching and wishing I could play a guitar, just for like 5 minutes. Or listen to some music that's not Elder #1. Also just another point, he sings all kinds of pop song, but as soon as the hymns start he doesn't even sing.
There are missionaries here that I really do like though. There's elder Cain who's in my room and he's from England. There's elder Carpentier from France who's awesome. There's some other guys from Utah and England and one guy from Alberta and some New Zealanders and some guys from other states who I've become friends with. There's a map in one hallway with everyone's picture posted where they're from and it's so cool. Finland, Sweden, South Africa, New Zealand, China, it's cool. Elder Metza-Tokila is from Finland I think and he's another guy who I've become friends with. All our classes are held in our district room though so none of the other elders are there, just my companions, but the sisters are great, there's sister Nelson and Sister Thalen from Utah, and sister Nagy from Hungary and sister Lunden from Sweden and they make the class so much better. And the teacher is Brother Boysen from England who recently returned from his mission in The Czech Republic, and there's brother Ibba who lived in and served his mission in Italy.
We do a lot of role plays and practice investigator lessons here, and they're helpful. They have like rooms decorated like realy house living rooms and stuff and teachers go in there and pretend to be an investigator and you like teach them progressively every couple of days and it's pretty hard. It's mostly hard because I know what to say but both of my companions don't and it's frustrating. Yesterday we taught ''Giovanni'' who is actually brother Ibba for the third time and brother Ibba told me to just not talk/barely talk for the lesson and it was a train wreck. Any real investigator would have been so confused. There were super long pauses and it was so awkward and the lesson wasn't taught properly, and after I was like ''So elders how did it go?'' and they were like ''It was fine''. When it wasn't it was terrible. They don't take anything seriously.
Anyways. I'm with them all the time. We have next to no free time. They stay up too late and then sleep in. It's okay though. The MTC President is awesome. There is a stake center up the street with a half a basketball court but the hoop is 8 feet and there's no net its terrible. I played once but there were like 30 people so it didn't really work.
I was able to send him an email explaining that once he gets out of the MTC hopefully his first companion (trainer) will be eager to work and then the time will move faster because they'll be working so hard -- and then he won't miss basketball and his guitar so much.  He got that email the same day and replied with this:
It's just before dinner time now actually and today we got to go to the stake center with less elders and played some good basketball and that was really good. And yeah I think so but I think I'm still gonna itch for guitar. Also we went to the church bookstore today and I got a Preston MTC hoodie. The roads here are really small and being in a car is disorienting because they drive on the other side. Anyway I'll try to send you some pictures soon from my camera or some other guys cameras. Also we went to the temple this morning. Tell everyone I miss them!