Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunny In Basingstoke

Good morning everyone! It is a sunny morning here in Basingstoke. The only bad news is that today is the last day that I can obtain the McDonalds Monopoly stickers that provide us free food and adorn one of the "notes" pages in my planner. Elder Aichele actually won a "20% Off" coupon at a hotel. Too bad it expires in August! P-Day will be relatively uneventful today. Just cleaning and shopping. It'll be good though- just what I need. Last week's Zone P-Day in Oxford was wonderful. We arrived at about 1 and found out the Zone was at Pizza Hut. We went to Pizza Hut. I then found out that the original plan for the rest of the day involved "just playing some football."  Instead, we went to the top of this big tower that overlooked all of Oxford. Beautiful! Then we went to this church. It is not an ordinary church however, it is a church where HARRY POTTER was filmed! Yes, we saw the Great Hall. Yes, we saw several sites from Hogwarts. Yes, it was magical (no pun intended.) We also were informed this morning that there is a Zone Conference next week in Staines. Our train involves us changing at one of the London stations. So I'll be in London for like a few minuets. I guess that will be awesome.
What a wonderful week it has been! Our investigators are progressing wonderfully in the gospel. I am so grateful to be a missionary.

This week a major focus of mine has been to teach people, not lessons. Throughout my mission, up until now, I've had a tendency to put a lot of thought into what I was going to say. Last week, I decided to let the spirit take over- to prayerfully study the lessons that we would teach that day and then, whilst actually teaching, focus a lot more on listening! I've found that if I don't over-think things and don't always decide what I am going to say beforehand, the Spirit becomes the teacher. I become a mouthpiece for the Holy Ghost and there is really nothing that compares to it. Sometimes I stumble over words a little bit (because relying THAT much on the spirit takes a bit of getting used to!) but with divine guidance, I speak the words Jesus Christ would have me speak. The fruits of this effort have been wonderful. I figured that it would have a major impact on the investigators, but it's actually had a major impact on our finding efforts! Our finding is now far more powerful. We've been able to meet several "kingdom builders" this week, what a blessing! I am so grateful that as we do our part (being obedient, following the spirit, and recognizing that our success comes from God alone) then the rest will be taken care of. We just need to lift where we stand, joyfully (and that's important!) fulfil our duty, and the Lord will provide.
 It's funny how when you and your companion teach in unity, you can know what the other is thinking and silently make adjustments on the fly, as the spirit directs. One of the biggest evidences of the Spirit being the true teacher is that often times I'll think of a scripture or feel how I need to address a concern, and then Elder Aichele will do it in the exact same words I would've used. It's really cool to see that! We no longer really need to look at each other during the lesson, we just know when to transition. What a blessing!
I now know the meaning of serving with all your "heart, might, mind, and strength." Funnily enough, out of those things, I think my mind is what I need to put the most focus on when it comes to giving myself to the Lord. I am very easily distracted! Usually by silly things, but Satan takes advantage of that weakness and causes me to stress. He finds even the most minute chinks in my armor and endlessly works at them... however, I have my agency. It's up to me. If I continue to do my best to be obedient, he can't prevail. The only true power that the adversary has is the power we give him. If we turn ourselves over to the Lord, He will fight our battles. I recognize, however, that I need to play a role in this or nothign will happen. I have decided that the best solution is to be "anxiously engaged in a good cause." I need to always be focused! I need to have an urgency in the way that I work. When we get home at night, I need to write in my journal. If I fill all my time with efforts on the work, Satan (at the very least) has his power severely limited. That's my gameplan this week. I do believe it is inspired, I know it will work. I guess now I just have to do my part and wait for the miracles God will provide.
I hope to hear from all of you soon :) I love you and feel your prayers each and every day!
-Elder Frederickson

Monday, April 22, 2013

Off to Oxford!

Good morning dear friends and family!
It is a beautiful Monday morning here in North Hampshire. We will be spending P-Day in Oxford to meet the new missionaries in the Zone and see off Elder Wu. Elder Wu is going to Portsmouth tomorrow. Chinese-speaking Elders kind of operate in a lawless society because of the MTC time, their moves are at completely different times then ours. But that's okay! It will be sad to see him go, but I am sure I will see him soon. Elder Wu has absolutely torn it up in Oxford, he's had five baptisms there in the past few months. Tonight I will also be having Fufu at an investigators house- for those of you who do not know, Fufu is like a staple food of Ghana and apparently it is delicious. Elder Riehle will be having TONS of it in Ghana :) something to be excited about. We haven't heard anything about a multi-zone conference this transfer yet, but I really hope there is one! Anyways, on to the spiritual side of things.

 Elder Aichele and I continue to see miracle after miracle here in Basingstoke. To be honest, the week started off incredibly slow, we even allowed ourselves to become a little bit discouraged... but we did not give up. We kept going, we kept trying. Despite the reality of the adversary and his efforts, we were priveledged to be instruments in the Lord's hands.

We have decided to begin street contacting in the city center daily (when reasonable) at lunch time. Since that decision, every single time we have went street contacting, we have been approached by someone whom we had never met. It is absolutely incredible. We are literally being led to the elect. All we have to do is obey, have faith, and do our part. The biggest of these miracles (there have been several) came (I think) last Thursday. A lady approached us and asked us if we were the Elders in Basingstoke. We said yes and she told us that her and her husband hadn't been to church in 10 years, but they would like us to come over for dinner and answer the questions their children have about the Gospel. We got her information and we'll be seeing her soon. Elder Aichele and I just kind of stood there for a moment in awe. The Lord leads and guides us constantly, I am so grateful for that.

On Wednesday night, we were flogged. We were discouraged because it was about 7:30 at night. We had no other appointments. After a little bit of discussion, we decided to knock. Now, Chineham (which is where we live/where we'd been flogged) has allegedly been "knocked out", which apparently means that all the doors have been knocked. Regardless, we began knocking the first road we saw. We scheduled a return appointment for the first door. The second door was a potential investigator who had not given the Elders there number. She wouldn;t schedule a return appointment, but she agreed to have us over "another time." The next several doors brought no success. We then knocked someones door at about 8:15ish. A lady answered, smiled at us, read our badges, and her countenance completely changed. She informed us that we were "incredibly rude" and that it was far too late. After this encounter, we contemplated returning to our flat. It would've been easy to justify. But we decided to knock one more door. A 16 year old boy named Adam answered. We taught him on the doorstep for about 15 minutes. We taught about the reality of God, bore testimony, and taught him how to pray. We asked him if he would like to give it a go and he said absolutely. He then offered the most sincere prayer, I think it's the first time I've ever heard someone say "we thank thee" so many times. He didn't ask for a single blessing. He just thanked our Heavenly Father for everything he had. We gave him a Book of Mormon and the pamphlets and asked if we could return. He said yes, but not for a while. He said his parents wouldn't like us being over, that they would think he was being "rebellious" (ironic?) but he said he would pray dailyand read the pamphlets. We will try again soon. But for me, that was such a powerful experience. We need to do all we can to make the most of it.

We have received several other referrals from members and will begin working with them this week. It's such an exciting time to be serving here in Basingstoke! This area and ward are absolutely incredible.

Personally, I am doing great. I am working my hardest to overcome my weaknesses and "become" the missionary the Lord wants me to be. You don't "become" something in an instant. It's a process that takes time... I think that can be hard for me sometimes. I want to be my best self right away, but it's not possible. It takes time, humility, prayer, and effort. That being said, I know that it's possible. I know that as I continually submit myself to Him, all things are possible, I can become the man Heavenly Father wants me to be.
I love you all so much and am so grateful for the prayers that are said on my behalf. I feel them daily! I know this church is true and that it's the work of Almighty God. Don't take my word for it though- find out for yourself! Once you've found out- rediscover it. The thrill of it all never goes away as long as you keep seeking it.
Have a fantastic week!
With love,
Elder Frederickson

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Basingstoke for 6 More Weeks!!!!

Good morning everyone!
So moves calls are done- Elder Aichele and I will both be STAYING in Basingstoke for (at least) six more weeks! I am so excited because I love it here.
Despite the reality of the adversary, the Lord's work continues to press forward.

Though I may not realize in the moment, the obstacles are always a good sign. The closer we come to miracles, the closer we come to fulfilling our purpose, the nearer we draw to Christ... the harder the work becomes . Trials and tribulations are for our benefit. If the work of the Lord was easy, it wouldn't be beneficial. Regardless, we continue to teach. We continue to find more than we would be naturally inclined to. We continue to do our best. It's not always easy to "drop" people or end a teaching appointment at 45 minutes but doing so demonstrates committment to our purpose.

Working with members is the higher way. Gaining their confidence and trust is crucial. As we do all we can to fulfil our purpose, love everyone, and be obedient, there is only one thing left to do... man up and ask for referrals! It's much easier said than done, but I've learned that if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, when we ask, we shall receive. Working together with the members, I know that the missionaries in the ward can not only achieve the goals we have prayerfully set, but surpass them. The Lord has no limits.
I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. It is SO hard to believe that it's almost been a year. Has it really been that long? Is that possible? The time is just soaring by. The first group of missionaries that I didn't consider to be "old" when I came out just went home, and that is strange. I am so excited for what lies ahead though- especially with the massive influx our mission will be getting over he next few transfers. 30 came in today. 30 will come in next transfer. 30 more the transfer after that. TONS of new areas will be opening and TONS of people will be training. It's an exciting time to serve the Lord! :)
Also, since I am staying, no address change!
I love you all!
-Elder Frederickson


Monday, April 8, 2013

Beautiful Day in Basingstoke!

Morning, mates!
It is P-Day once again! Not only that, but spring time has FINALLY arrived in Basingstoke! Temperatures hit double digits (celcius) for the first time in... well, a long time! The sun is shining, and things are most definitely looking up in this beautiful part of the Lord's vineyard which I am priveledged to labour (thought I'd throw in the "proper" British spelling) in. :)
What a superb week it has been! We have seen miracle after miracle, it is incredible.

I mentioned last week that we are putting a lot of faith into the nine Address Unknown Files we received a few weeks ago. The first three AUFs (and the 20 doors on either side) yielded no results. The fourth one, however, resulted in three new investigators and two additional potentials- a proper miracle! The family we met is a Nigerian family with four kids! They are so cool- the 9 year old son, Emmanuel, said that he did not just want the Restoration Pamphlet- he wanted all three lesson pamphlets and a Book of Mormon to "read before bed." If only I had been that dedicated at the age of 9! :)
We now have a baptismal date with  for the 25th of May. I don't think teaching someone has ever been so FUN! We taught her the first two lessons literally by asking her questions the entire time. She answered them wonderfully. It goes to show thta if we teach with enough simplicity, a nine year old CAN understand the doctrine put forward in Preach My Gospel. Frankly, I think it makes our job a little bit easier! I was reading the Preach My Gospel Missionary talk by Elder Bednar and it said something of a similar nature. I really want to focus my study on the small and simple truths of the gospel, for by doing that, great things will surely come to pass.
Everything is just amazing. I love serving the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. I LOVED conference this weekend. As they announced the program at the Sunday morning session, both Elder Aichele and I were DEVESTATED that we wouldn't be able to hear Elder Holland speak :( although by all accounts, it appears to have been an amazing talk. My favorites were President Eyrings and Uchtdorfs (in Priesthood), President Monsons (Sunday morning), L. Tom Perry, and Elder Ballards (Saturday morning.) What a wonderful opportunity it is to hear from these chosen disciples twice a year!
I also found a talk in our flat entitled "Remember Lot's Wife" by Jefferey R. Holland. He gave it in January 2009 at a BYU devotional. It is exceptional. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, especially BYU students and those who love awesomeness.
Anyways, I love all of you so much! Both the Book of Mormon and, by implication, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are TRUE! Have a brilliant week! :)
With love,
Elder Frederickson

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some pics from across the pond!

A bit from Matthew's latest letter!

Good morning mates!
I love being a misisonary. This week has been filled with tender mercy after tender mercy. From everything about my brithday to running into my good friend Sydney at the Temple on Saturday (she is a friend from BYU and is in London doing a semester abroad), the Lord has His eye on me... I am so grateful for that! :) 
 It's a bank holiday, so P-Day won't exactly be exciting. We'll just do our shopping and such. We have a zone-training in Reading on Thursday, so that should be fun. I went on exchange with Elder Stewert to Farnborough last week and it was way good.
Another excellent week has come and gone here in beautiful Basingstoke!

Truthfully, there isn't a ton to report. We're semi-whitewashing.   So - for the most part we are focusing our efforts on finding. We are putting a lot of faith into these nine "address unknown files." We know that by visiting them and knocking ten per side, we will find prepared people. The first two that we visited yielded no results, but that is just fine! We will keep doing our part.

 We went to the temple with an investigator on Saturday and it was a wonderful experience for him. The visitors center sisters were EXCELLENT, as expected. It really strengthened his testimony. It was more of a chat then a lesson, but it was exactly what he needed. The spirit was SO strong. It strengthened everyone in the room's faith- I suppose that is what missionary work does! :)

Everything is wonderful here. I can feel myself changing. I can feel the Lord molding me. It's amazing. Does this kind of thing continue after your mission? I hope so. Some song lyrics that particularly touched me this week were from the song "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" (the version in 17 Miracles I think) and they read as follows...

"Chasten my soul til it shall be
in perfect harmony with thee
Make me more worthy of thy love
and fit me for the life above"

How wonderful is that? Yes, I have weaknesses. I think everyone knows that :) but those weaknesses can become strengths. My mistakes can and have become learning experiences. The White Handbook has taught me tons and I don't think I fully realize that until now. Thus far, everything about my mission has been tailored to me. It has been an experience that Heavenly Father created specifically for me, to help me learn and grow, to help me address issues that I specifically have. I know that He knows me perfectly. He cares about me, and protects me. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the incredible things he's done for me thus far.
I am so grateful to be able to seve the Lord! I know that the work which I do is true! I love you all so much- you're in my prayers often and I know I am in yours because I can feel it!
Stay beautiful everyone! :)
Elder Frederickson