Monday, July 30, 2012

First Month in Trowbridge!

Hey fam! I hope Deep Creek is fun. Super bummed that I'm not there, but there's nowhere I'd rather be than here.
In all honesty, this week has been relatively uneventful. It's really hard to believe that my first transfer is almost done. Granted, I know I'm staying here so it's not really relevant... but still! For P-Day today, we went over to the Wells Road Chapel to play sports. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, weekly District Meetings with the whole zone have been abolished :( it was too expensive for the mission for everyone to get into Bristol on a weekly basis. That's okay though, it just means we will probably have more zone P-Days. Now, our District Meetings will be held with just our district, alternating between Trowbridge and Bath.
We did see one major miracle this week! On Saturday, on our way to our teach with Adam, we received a text from an inactive member. The missionaries had been teaching her a couple of weeks back, her children hadn't been baptized so they were going to get baptized. Two days before the baptism, they cancelled, saying they wanted all contact to cease immediately- apparently they had to choose between church and family. Anyways, we got a text from them requesting that we arrange a lift for them to church. This was quite difficult because they live in Frome which is a considerable distance from the chapel. However, we succesfully found a member (after calling about 20 people) who was willing to drive them to church... but he could only drive them to church, he could not drive them back. So then we called everyone again, saying that they just needed a ride home. After an agonizingly long three hours, we finally received a call back from someone with whom we'd left a message, saying that they could drive her and her children home. The whole thing was quite miraculous. I'm pretty sure that these happenings correlated directly with our obediance- the night before, a member offered to have us come over and watch the opening ceremonies and feed us tacos. But we didn't watch! It was a HARD decision. Especially for me, taking into consideration my love for tacos. As such, I gained a powerful testimony on the positive consequences of obediance.
This week, I also gained a testimony regarding the usefulness of the Area Book. One day, as we dug through one of our three area books, we found about forty former investigators who had not been contacted since 2008. We had prayed just that morning, requesting that we find new people to teach. As we read through their records, we realized that quite often they had no real reason for not learnign the gospel anymore other than "not being ready yet." We now have created a list of all these formers with their addresses and will visit them over the coming week. I am so excited to see the results of this endeavor, even if none of them are interested, we will be able to update their information and make our area book all the more useful for the missionaries that follow us.

Our weekly Family Home Evenings for single adults and investigators has either been hit or miss. This week is was most definitely a miss. We were going to play a Frederickson family classic- Trivial Pursuit. Upon the arrival of the supposed FHE beneficiaries, they decided that they were above Trivial Pursuit. One person (remember, these are grown adults) said "ehhhh this looks boring, bye guys." The rest decided to take a walk. Two people stayed, because they were physically incapable of walking. So the four of us sat together and read Trivial Pursuit questions because, as it turns out, we did not have dice. 

On a FAR more positive note, Elder von Allmen and I have managed to start weekly basketball on Wednesday nights at the chapel! It is SO much fun. We have a couple of members come, we invite our investigators and less actives, and occasionally the Bath Elders come and bring people with them. It's always a blast. The ward I'm in is really great. I feel so blessed to be here in Trowbridge. With the unfortunate exception of the previously mentioned FHE attendants, everyone is so good to us and incredibly supportive of the missionary effort. I am so excited to see what the next week has in store!  Thank you to everyone who has wrote me emails and letters this week, I love you all so much. You are the best. If I'm ever slow to respond, I'm really sorry... it's just because I'm extremely busy! 

Awesome scripture of the week: Alma 27:18 :)

With love,
Elder Frederickson

(Alma 27:18 Now was not this exceeding joy?  Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Matthew and his companion at a service project in Trowbridge

Another Great Week in Trowbridge

Hello all!
How is everyone this week? Good, I hope. This week has been a big improvement on last! The sun finally decided to come out! It did not rain all week :) it was a very welcome change. I'm delighted that everyone had a good time at Palmyra- that was such a fun and spiritual Youth Conference for me. It's where I gained a testimony of my own of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Anyways, on to news about me! Adam is still on track to be baptized in a little under two weeks. He wasn't able to make it to church or our teach with him immediately after church. I think he felt bad though, because he texted us about it that night. Bishop is a bit hesitant about us baptizing him because of his issues, so we are praying about it this week to ensure it is the best thing to do.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to make contact with Louisa for about two weeks... aka since she committed to be baptized :( we do not know why. We take the train down to Warminster and knock on her door but she is NEVER there. It is pretty sad. How can someone say they feel the spirit and then ignore us? It's okay though. We will keep on trying!
Cool event of the week: I met an Olympian... tracting! We were knocking doors in Hilperton and this ripped guy answered the door. He said no to a Book of Mormon but said yes to the intro DVD. We asked him if we could come back to visit the next week and he said he was going to London for "a couple of weeks." We asked him what he was doing there and he casually said "oh, the Olympics." We thought he meant to watch them but upon further inquiry, we found out that he was COMPETING! In the 4x100 for Team GB. By the way, by the end ofmy mission, the two things I'm gonna buy are a new suit (towards the end) and a Chelsea jersey! I have pledged my allegiance to them as my favorite football team hahaha it was between them and Arsenal. 
We also found two new families to teach whilst knocking... which is a miracle in and of itself hahahaha knocking/finding is quite difficult. We are going to meet with them this week! I am SO excited, they seem way cool. Actually, the way we found the first family was a miracle! We got a referral from a guy on the street and we knocked his door. He opened the door and was only in his pants (here, pants=underpants!) and had a rather rotund belly. Needless to say, he was not very interested. We walked away and then I had the most intense feeling that we needed to knock the rest of the road. We did, and the VERY last house had a family who was a bit strange but were WAY cool. It just goes to show that faith, diligence, and following the promtings of the Holy Ghost brings miracles to us!
Also, yesterday after church we went to a bishopric members house and we went over the ward list and updated it for five hours, that was a joy! Hahaha. I read one third of "Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R. McConkie during that time. It was absolutely fascinating. Apparently it's dangerous messing with the deep doctrine, especially the Discourses of Brigham Young! So yeah that's a fun fact. Some people read things like the Apocrypha during personal study... it's tempting, but I try and stick to the standard works and Preach My Gospel... nothing else is gonna help spead the gospel, if we're being honest!
Anyways, I am a bit short on time! Thank you very much to Becky, Bethany, Mom, Sarah, Grandma (LOVED the bit about the rain in Bogota hahaha), and Grandpa (my companion and I found it very intresting). Getting letters is really the best feeling! I'm still working on the package, it will come soon! Promise. :)
I cannot think of a greater priveledge than serving the Lord and spreading His gospel to the people of England. I love you all so much! There will be far more next week, I promise!
With love,
Elder Frederickson

Monday, July 16, 2012

Soaking - But Happy!

Hello everyone! It is hard to believe that another week has come and gone. The time is starting to fly already. I'll be honest, this week definitely has not been the easiest. It was lovely every morning but POURED every single afternoon! My camera is broken, my scriptures are thrashed along with my planner, and I wrote my testimony in like ten Book of Mormons but they were all ruined. THAT IS OKAY THOUGH because a mission is not supposed to be easy. It is not supposed to be a cake walk. I am exactly where I am supposed to be going through exactly what I need to be going through. The thing is, it is never hard in the moment. It is only hard when, at the end of the day, you give yourself time to reflect. It has helped me realize why we are always supposed to be so busy! :)

So yeah, I've had better weeks, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I think the craziest was when we were in Warminster on Friday and it was raining about as hard as I had ever seen it rain in my life. We were walking all over (about 6 miles) to visit investigators (none of whom were there) and then we finally went to see Louisa, who we are still hoping to baptize. We trudged up this huge hill to get to the military base where her house was and she wasn't there. We were pretty frustrated. When we walked back down the hill to catch our train, we walked by some HUGE puddles. Some people thought it would be hilarious to speed up when they got to the puddles, utterly soaking us from head to foot (that's when the stuff in my bag got all wet.) It's okay though, stuff like that just happens sometimes.

That's not to say that good didn't come out of this week, because it definitely did! We committed Adam to be baptized on the 4th of August and I'm really excited! He is not quite there yet, but it's amazing to see the change of heart he's had as we've been able to teach him. He comes to church every week (which is quite the experience, I must say... if you want to know more about that, contact me individually hahaha) and participates. He is still REALLY afraid of baptism and we aren't quite sure why... we showed him the font and stood in it (there was no water in it duh) and asked him to pray about August 4th in there. He did, and FINALLY accepted the day. I am so excited to see him (and hopefully Louisa) be baptized so soon! 

I went on an exchange in Bath last week! I was with Elder Hanks, who was in my MTC group, so that was a lot of fun hahaha it was an adventure though because we've each only been in the field this month so yeah. I must say, the view from the flat in Bath is one of the coolest views. It overlooks all of Bath. I forgot my SD card so I'll send a picture next week. I'm going there again this Wednesday to work with our District leader. We also had our first District meeting last Wednesday at the Wells Road Chapel in Bristol. The whole zone meets up and we have a little meeting, then break off into our districts. Afterwards, we all have lunch together. It is a lot of fun. 

On Saturday, we had our first interviews with President Millar. It wasn't really an interview though, it was like a five minute get to know you thing... it wasn't really what I was expecting, but that's okay. Yesterday was LONG but it was really good. I sang in church yesterday with Elder von Allmen, Zach Turvey, and Brother Ramsbottom. We sang Brightly Beams. I sang the highest part, it was really fun. I hope I get to sing in church a lot!

That's about all I have to report. If this email seems negative at all, it's not. I just don't want to sugar coat it, or give the false impression that there are no challenges involved with missions. I've never been happier. I want everyone who reads my blog to understand what missionary work is like. I don't want people to think it's the easiest thing in the world, because it isn't. It's the most difficult, yet most rewarding thing that you can do. I absolutely love it. There is no greater joy than that of serving the Lord.

How are things back home? I am so excited for all the youth going to Palmyra! I remember that was an AMAZING youth conference. I hope that is amazing and I can't wait to hear about it. Also, I would like to wish the happiest of birthdays to Sarah, Jenn, Carter, Becky, and Tom. I'm gonna send you guys stuff (as well as other family people) a big package so I don't have to mail everything individually because that would be REALLY expensive and I run a really tight budget. The Brother Okiishi game we played at FHE was Human Battleship and tell him that I would LOVE if he reminded me what other games we played because we are desperate for new activity ideas for FHE. 

I loved getting letters from Mom, Grandma, Tom, Phil, and Ariana! You guys are the greatest. Getting mail is the BEST feeling. Also, I got Becky's package! Thank you so much! I am excited to get the rest of the stuff that you got hahaha. 

Love all of you so much,
Elder Frederickson

Monday, July 9, 2012

Some pictures of the areas Matthew works in!

Second Week in Trowbridge

Hello all! I just burnt my finger quite badly taking a pizza out of the oven so my right fingers are soaking in water.... as such, this email might take a while to type since I'm only typing with my left hand. 

This has been an absolutely crazy week! I didn't really talk about this at all last week so I figured that this week I'd start by telling you guys what an average day is like. We wake up at 6:30 every day. No exceptions. This is never fun, for the record hahaha I've done a pretty good job at that though. The latest I've gotten out of bed is 6:40 and I've never gone back to bed! It's just strange going to bed and getting up so early! After that, Elder von Allmen and I exercise. We usually play football. Not to be confused with American football :) hahaha I'm still rubbish at it but I get better every day! After that, we have personal and companion study til about 10. Since I'm in my first twelve weeks, I also get an hour of additional study where we review MTC stuff... NOT FUN haha I thought I'd never have to do that again, but that is okay. We then go out proselyting! Seldom do we set aside time specifically for knocking or street contacting, simply because we need to spend so much time traveling from place to place. We usually stay around Trowbridge in the morning, because we only have an hour until we have lunch. After lunch, we usually have a couple of teaching appointments. We do TONS of traveling by train since we have to get to all the towns (Warminster, Westbury, Frome, Bradford-on-Avon) for our teaching appointment... I have a love/hate relationship with the trains haha I'll go into that later. After our teaching and proselyting is done, we head in at 8 PM for dinner. I'm actually learning how to cook haha so yeah that's an adventure! But, like football, I'm getting better every day! Tonight, I think I am going to make teriyaki chicken :) then, at 9, we plan for the next day. Finally, we account to our district leader at 9:30. Then we go to bed. The days are long and hard but they are always worth it. 

Now for some details about the adventures of the last week! Our investigators are a fascinating group of people. First, we have Adam... he is a true test of our patience and ability to love. He says he believes, but is an alcoholic who drinks eight bottles of beer every night. He then drunk texts us about how depressed he is. He comes to church and loves being taught, but is prone to massive mood swings. In church, he prays to himself in Spanish. My solution to this is to give him chapters in the Book of Mormon to read. He says we are his only friends, so that puts a lot of pressure on us. Last Friday, on our way to a dinner appointment, we stopped at Tescos to get some ice cream. We saw him with a cart with 32 beer bottles in it. He was SOOOO embarrassed. I told him straight up that he needed to put all of those back but he did not. Kind of disappointing. We'll see what happens with him. We might be taking him to the temple/visitors center on Saturday. We'll see.

On the MUCH brighter side, we committed Louisa, a Fijian woman who lives on the army base in Warminster (we learned in a moderately unpleasant way that we were not supposed to knock doors there... oops!) to be baptized on August 4th! We are so excited for her and hope that she starts coming to church and listening to us! 

Anthony and Katie are an engaged couple living at a members house... it's an interesting situation. It's kind of hard to gauge where they are spiritually, but they are coming to our FHE tonight (an event we have every Monday night for our investigators and single adults in the ward, tonight we are playing a Brother Okiishi-inspired game!) so hopefully they continue to progress!

We are also hoping to teach a family from Ghana whose names are Hope (father) Patience (mother) Emmanuel (son) and Praise (daughter) but we haven't been able to meet with them yet. They also live on the army base. We knocked on their door to see if we could teach them but they said they were busy. We began our trek back to the train station (about a mile and a half) through the pouring rain and about ten minutes into the walk, Hope and Emmanuel pulled up and offered to drive us back to Trowbridge (a good 20 minute drive.) What an incredible example of selfless, Christ-like service. I really hope that we can bring them into the gospel, they are so well prepared for it. On an unrelated note, my companion and I bought battered Mars Bars. I am convinced that, as a result, I have gained back all 13 pounds that I've lost since I left hahaha. 

Last Thursday, I had my first zone conference down in Bournemouth. Our zone (Bristol), Plymouth zone, and Poole zone were all there. We had to wake up at 4:30 AM to catch our train there... NOT FUN AT ALL. It ended up being okay though because I slept on the train hahaha. Elder Grachev and Elder Merrill, two of my good friends from the MTC were there, so it was great to see them. President and Sister Millar were WAY late. They showed up halfway through because they put the wrong kind of gas in their car. They were pretty flustered when they showed up. They each spoke for about 45 minutes. I was a bit bummed we didn't do interviews or anything, but they seem just great. We also had Papa Johns for lunch so that was delicious. After zone conference was a real adventure... we (Trowbridge, Bath, and Taunton districts) all missed our train back, so we decided it would be a good idea to go from Bournemouth to Reading to Bath to Trowbridge. What we did not know was that, when you bought your £30 ticket, you had to take a specific route, so we found out (TEN MINUTES outside of Reading) that our tickets were not valid, and we had to pay £50 to make them valid. So yeah the train service is now £300 richer because of this unfortunate blunder. It took us about 90 minutes to get all of this cleared up at the Reading train station. Then, Taunton had to take a different train, so us and Bath went to Bath to have dinner. Then we went back to the train station. Our wallets £80 thinner we got back to Trowbridge at 9. Luckily, travel money gets reimbursed though. Such a relief.  All things considered, it as a great day! :)

Another funny story. When we were in Warminster last Wednesday (the 4th of July!) we were knocking doors with no success. At about 2:45, the Turveys called us. Zach Turvey wanted us to meet his fiance from America, Julie, and have a 4th of July dinner at their house. We were VERY excited and immediately changed our plans. We speed-walked to the military base, got all our work done, scheduled appointments for Saturday, and finished up around 3:50. We were about a 25 minute walk from the train station. We called to see when the next train was. Turns out it left in 11 minutes. It was the last train for two hours. We broke into a sprint, and not far along the way. there was a convoy of tanks crossing the street. We stood for about two minutes as like ten tanks turned onto the road. This was not good. We then sprinted (in our suits with our bags) all the way to the train station. My companion barely got on and as I approached, the doors started closing. I then grabbed the doors to prevent them from shutting and was able to get on. My companion says I screamed "NOOOO" but that didn't actually happen hahahaha the 4th of July dinner was lovely, we had burgers and sausages, they were absolutely delicious! I felt right at home.

So, that was my week! I hope that's enough detail for you guys hahaha. I loved getting letters from Grandma F and Becky! I also loved the letters I got at Zone conference from Mom, Becky, Grandma S, and Katherine :) made me so happy! I still want more people to write me though hahaha getting mail is such a good feeling! I am glad to hear that the beach was so much fun, I so wish I could've been there! It's okay though, Nags Head awaits me when I come home! It's so crazy that I've already been out here for more than a month! It feels like it's been maybe two weeks? Anyways, I love all of you so much! Keep writing and keep emailing! There is no where in the world I would rather be then here :) the gospel is true, my friends.

Elder Frederickson

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Week in Trowbridge!

Hello friends and family! How are you all? I loved getting emails from you guys :) made my day. I sure wish I was at the beach with the family! Especially with all of this rain... not cool. It's okay though! I'm SO relieved to hear that everyone made it through that storm safely. I heard about it out here and it was pretty scary. I also wrote a a few people back! I finished my letters to Macey and Ariana, I'll send those out today. I need to finish the one to Andrew, I'll send that out tomorrow. I'll write family people once they are back from the beach! If you haven't written me yet, I would LOOOVE to hear from you! 

Hello friends and family! How are you all? I loved getting emails from you guys :) made my day. I sure wish I was at the beach with the family! Especially with all of this rain... not cool. It's okay though! I'm SO relieved to hear that everyone made it through that storm safely. I heard about it out here and it was pretty scary. I also wrote a a few people back! I finished my letters to Macey and Ariana, I'll send those out today. I need to finish the one to Andrew, I'll send that out tomorrow. I'll write family people once they are back from the beach! If you haven't written me yet, I would LOOOVE to hear from you!

Anyways, let me tell you about my first few days out in the mission field! It's been absolutely wonderful. We do a ton of walking every day, but I love it because it is good excersise. We've only had two lessons so far, but I'll tell you about that a bit later! Most of our time is spent walking from place to place. It's gorgeous country. Trowbridge used to be a car area but the sisters wrecked it twice and it has been a walking area ever since. Also, fun fact I just learned: damn and hell aren't swear words here. Like, members of the chuch say them all the time. Funny, huh? We haven't been able to do too much work since we've gotten here, but the work we have done is amazing. Allow me to share a couple miracles that I've seen with you guys.

The first miracle is about a man we met finding in Trowbridge. His name is Adam and he is 37 years old. He has severe confidence issue, SEVERE, and has had a really tough life. He told us that God hates him and laughs at him because he isn't from Spain and because he isn't an actor. However, he reluctantly agreed to meet with us. The appointment was a little awkward at first, but we showed him the Finding Faith In Christ DVD and he absolutely loved it. He started crying and stuff and said that God really does love him. We invited him to be baptized on July 21st and he accepted! Only problem is, he's scared of water... but yeah we will work that out. We were surprised he accepted in the first place. We then invited him to attend church. We weren't expecting him to come, but he came halfway through Sunday school! (In ward here, Sacrament meeting is last... it's like backwards) he then came to our dinner appointment after church and you could tell that there was a slight change of heart as the day progressed. What an amazing experience. The Lord really does change hearts.

The second miracle is a slightly smaller one, but still great. Before we went shopping for groceries, we said a prayer as we were leaving (we always do) and in the prayer, Elder von Allmen asked that we might find someone to teach on our way. Less than a minute later, a teenage boy started asking about us. He though we were Amish at first but that's okay hahahaha he was in a bit of a rush so we gave him a passalong card but yeah it wasa way cool experience. The Lord truly does hear and answer our prayers.

I absolutely love the ward! We had a service activity on Saturday where we helped clean the yard at a home for the mentally disabled. It was great to provide service and get to know several members of the ward. On Sunday, we had a dinner appointment at the Turveys. They are a really cool family, apparently they have the missionaries over on most Sundays. This Friday, we are going over to the Ransbottoms for pizza, so that should be great! I'm kinda glad we only have a couple of dinner appointments every week because I want to lose weight, not gain it! Some of my friends are out having multiple DAs every day. I couldn't handle that haha.

This week should be a busy, but awesome week. We have a district meeting in Bristol on Wednesday and a zone conference (with our zone, Poole zone, and Plymouth zone) on Thursday! I think we will meet President Millar and stuff. I know he will be great! Also if any of you sent letters to the mission home and they arrived after I left, I will get them on Thursday. Yay!

That is about it as far as news goes... it's only been a few days hahaha. I wanna hear how you guys are doing! Email/write me! Mom, I'm going to send you a list of things I would not mind getting in a package.

Love you all so much!

-Matthew Frederickson