Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MIssionary Miracles!

Another busy week has come and gone and beautiful July is now here. It is beginning to feel like summer, at least for a day or two. It was warm yesterday and today, also, but it is supposed to cool off and rain tomorrow. I asked one of our Elders who is from England when summer begins over here. He just said, "You've already had summer!" So I guess it must be short and sweet here. This mission has been a marvelous experience, full of many different experiences, emotions, learning, and miracles.
The people that we associate with here have been real testimony builders for us. I am sending pictures of two of our favorite young Elders that we have worked with. They are such hard workers and are so dedicated. They are often not treated well by the people around here, but they continue to smile and work harder still. They are a great example to us. Elder Jackson is from Northern England and Elder Binks is from Spanish Fork, Utah.

We see miracles here every day. Some of them are small and
sometimes overlooked while others are larger and easy to recognize. Last week, the LDS Church over here sponsored "Helping Hands" day all over the United Kingdom. It was a day to do an organized service project for a needy group in the community. Our stake did a clean-up project for a large council housing project here that was badly in need of aid. We painted, cleaned up weeds, hauled off old furniture, etc. It was a great day with many people participating. The Perrys (the senior couple from Arizona) and Ken and I were cleaning up a planter near one of the buildings. Kenneth and Steve were cutting out the bushes with pruning shears and Leslie and I were loading up the branches into garbage bags. I had this distinct impression that we should not be picking up the trash with our hands, but that we should go and find a shovel to do it. Just then, we looked down and noticed a hyperdermic needle right on top of the next pile of garbage to be picked up. We stopped immediately and listened to the prompting that I had just received. Small but significant!
A couple of months ago we were building shelves and helping a single sister in our ward to organize and clean up her home. We had sort of wondered if this was the most productive thing that we could be doing with our time. She was so grateful and it seemed to help her so much that we continued. That night, I woke up in the middle of the night with the song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" running through my mind with the particular part of the lyrics repeating in my mind over and over. They were "These deeds shall thy memorial be, fear not, thou didst them unto me." That was my 4:00 AM miracle that night. These are just of a couple of the manifestations of the spirit that we feel almost daily here. It is a great blessing for us.
At a recent Zone Conference, we learned that the theme of missionary work is: Work, Work, Work, Do Your Duty! We feel that that truly is the theme of our mission here. We are beginning this morning to paint the Relief Society Room/Baptism Room, the Bishop's Office and the Women's Restroom. They are all painted pink and are in a sorry state of disrepair. Elder Perry and Kenneth have repaired all of the holes in the walls and now we will begin painting and watching the church become even more beautiful. The church here has really turned out to be quite nice and we are very pleased.
We try to remember Elder Monson's quote in our work here. "Never, never, never delay a prompting!" That has served us well so far and we hope to continue to do the Lord's work as he prompts us to do so.
We hope that you are all well and happy. I'm sure that the summer weather is warm and everyone is vacationing and enjoying this time of the year. We are trying to think of a way to celebrate the 4th of July here. We are thinking of a barbeque and watching "National Treasure II" but we shall see. Maybe we can even find fireworks here. We're going to look at least!!! Take care and we send our love and best wishes to all of you.