Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dear people,
The time continues to fly here! It was so great to be able to Skype the damily yesterday :) seriously, it was the highlight of my day. So much fun. It was tempting, however, when other friends signed onto Skype! But I resisted hahaha. Today for P-Day we are going to do absolutely nothing. We will do some shopping. I will write a couple of letters. I will sleep. It will be wonderful. Zone conference last week was splendid. It was so much fun to see everyone from Portsmouth Zone and Staines Zone, I saw a lot of people who I haven't seen for a long time! Also if anyone (in Virginia) has letters to send to me, send them this week to my Basingstoke address and I will get them before moves :) if not, send them to the office.
Our baptismal dates our doing great. We committed our investigator to live the Law of Chastity and are trying really hard to get her to a baptismal service before we see her next Sunday. Whether she does or not, the Lord will take care of her, but we will keep trying. The spirit was really strong as we bore testimony that the Lord could help her conquer her fear of water. We love her so much and love seeing her progress. She is happier every visit! Her baptism is 12 days away now!

Our other baptism is also 12 days away. This week we saw him several times (each time with a member.) He is definitely changing for the better.  We think that his main concern about baptism is that he doesn't want a lot of people to be there. He doesn't want it to be a huge deal, I think the attention scares him a bit. We are going to prayerfully consider how to deal with this, because there is another baptism the same day. We are going to try and see him daily this week because we still have a lot of material to cover!
Our other investigator is amazing. She attended church yesterday and actively participated in the Gospel Principles lesson. We then taught her after church and reviewed the baptismal interview questions. It went really well! No question 4 issues. We scheduled a day for the interview and we just could not be more excited. She is SO prepared.

This week I've tried to apply something new in my study- writing it all down, being good about keeping a study journal. Whether it is personal study, at conferences, in church, I am just trying to always take notes. The results have been wonderful! My study is SO much more effective. The Spirit teaches me so much. I've found this to be especially the case in a situation when someone else is teaching and expounding upon the scriptures. I'll be taught more truths about what is being taught and I am able to understand it. I can feel a noticable increase in my knowledge. Not only that, but I am able to apply that knowledge FAR more effectively. It is having a massive impact on the way I work.

This week, Elder Aichele and I watched some of the Preach My Gospel DVDs in Companion Study (since we review the 12 Week Program.) We felt impressed that we really needed to begin finding through the ward. Not just asking them for referrals though, but actually working with them. Teaching them. Loving them. Doing all we can to get to know their friends. Capitalizing on the trust they clearly have in us. We also decided that we needed to work with Less-actives more. Going to there homes and getting to know them. I am certain that referrals will flow from this effort and baptisms and re-activations will occur. We are excited to see how all of this goes.

We will see miracles as we press forward in this marvelous work and wonder that we are priveledged to be a part of!
I love all of you so much and I feel your prayers.
With love,
Elder Frederickson
PS The picture is Elder Hagedorn (one of the Chinese Elders in Oxford) and I and the Great Hall from Harry Potter!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

He Irons????

Good morning everybody :) I hope all is well. It is an absolutely gorgeous Bank Holiday Monday here in "Amazing-stoke." Today should be great. We are going to play some football and I am getting a BADLY needed haircut. I still have yet to pay for a haircut and I do not intend to. In other news, I bought some slim fit shirts past week and they are lovely. They are way comfy and A LOT easier to iron. Tonight we are going to Farnborough and doing a work-over with them and then staying the night, we'll catch the bus to Aldershot tomorrow morning then take a train to Staines for the Zone Conference. The alternative was waking up at like four and catching a train all the way to London then going back to Staines... it would've been awesome to go to London but it just wasn't rational. So yeah that is the agenda.
This week has been amazing! Although we weren't able to see our investigators as much as we would've liked, we were able to touch base with them and keep working. In all honesty, the place that the work is in right now isn't any different from last week. Well, it is, but it has just moved forward. Nothing exciting or crazy or (unusually) miraculous... but sometimes that is the way that it needs to be. Just solid, honest progression.

We have really been focusing on getting members on as many of our teaching appointments as possible. We want all of our lessons to be taught with a member present within reason. I've found that the key to accomplishing this goal is PERSISTENCE. To keep asking, to work around schedules, to be flexible... to just make things work out! I've realized that if we just do all we can, the Lord will sort our the rest. He'll provide those fellowshippers and friends. He'll pave the way. The Lord provides for His servants. Through faith and prayer, we were able to get a member to accompany us on every single appointment this week, except for two, but those two were with the same person and with more effort on our parts we could've had a member there. We now have a twice-a-week standing appointment with him and a members home to do a mini-PMG class. We're really excited about that. We've prayed a lot and we think that it's the best thing for him.

I think the biggest miracles of the week was when we taught our investigator on Sunday evening. All week he's had a hard time meeting with us because of his coursework (but apparently that's all done now so hopefully it won't be an issue.) He's really prepared for his baptism, which is now only three weeks away! We were planning on reviewing the Restoration with him, but he asked us what we could and could not drink. Obviously, we knew that we needed to teach the Word of Wisdom (which is what we thought his main concern would be.) In a moment when, I admit, I was internally freaking out, he walked over to the cabinet above the TV, GRINNED and said "Can I drink thiiiiiiis?" and opened the cabinet to reveal a whole range of alcoholic beverages. We bluntly told him "no." to which he replied that we were right, that we shouldn't drink that. He said he was "testing" us. Apparently it is all his dads. What a relief! The rest of the Word of Wisdom was received well. He even said that it was "easy" because those are all of the things he doesn't like anyways. No complaints there! His only concern was the promised blessings of walking without fainting and running without being weary. He claims that it gives unfair advantage in athletic contests and that it's dishonest to cheat. We were able to talk him through it though and now he understands it. He's a star!

We are making finding a big part of our daily proselyting efforts and I think that is why the number of lessons we are teaching has gone down. That's okay though! Nothing happens in missionary work until we find people to teach! So we just need to stick to it. It's not easy. It's a lot easier to beat a dead horse, to stop by the same people week after week with no results. We are here to teach seekers, to find the elect, not to just find a couple of people and chat with them for numbers. Granted, when the mission pushes for numbers (because they represent people) it can be tempting to fall into that trap. Being the competitive person that I am, I have fallen prey to that sinful mindset before. But we can overcome it! I know it! The Lord always provides a way to overcome temptations. I've seen it many times throughout my mission thus far. What a blessing it is to be doing the Lord's work, to know that if we simply follow the rules, the Spirit, and the Scriptures, we will become His mouthpiece. Truly, this is such an incredible privilege.

One particular Biblical character that I gained greater respect for throughout my studies this week was Joseph (the Joseph in Egypt!) With some help from a BYU Old Testament manual that was in our flat, I was able to understand what made him so special, what made him so great. It was his optimism! One would think that he was dealt with the worst hand. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused of terrible crimes, he spent years in jail in a foreign land, most people back home thought he was dead... yet he made the most of it. Not only did he smile through it, he took these terrible situations and made the most of them. Through his persistent reliance on the Lord, he didn't just overcome the trials, he took the trials and made them... well, not trials! :) Would I do the same? That is the question that I ask myself. When trials come (and obviously they do) how am I going to react? That is a decision I can make now! I can follow Josephs example and make the most of them. With the Lord, all situations we are in can be for our benefit. Otherwise, He wouldn't put us in that situation!
I love you all so much! I hope that things are wonderful no matter where in this world you might be! Soon, this email will be going to someone on every single continent (except Antarctica) and I think that is awesome. You guys are awesome.
With love,
Elder Frederickson