Monday, November 10, 2014

Testimony

SURREAL: Haha when strange or funny or undescribable things happen to us-which is on like an hourly basis-Sister Barnes and I just turn to each other and say surreal? and the other one answers surreal!, and that is how i feel writing my last email SURREAL! It has been the greatest blessing to end my mission with Sister Barnes. We are seriously one when it comes to our reactions to things or just our humour or teaching. Heavenly Father has been so kind to me and I truly am so blessed to be able serve a mission and end in Bournemouth. This past week has been amazing. We were able to have 14 different members/families come on teaches with us. It has this tri-fect of strengthening missionaries, members, and investigators faith in Jesus Christ. This is what missionary work is all about. Uniting us all in understanding how blessed we are to have a compassionate, forgiving, consistent Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who has restored the truth through living prophets.

Paulo: A special moment this week was when we were teaching Paulo at Mike's home with another member, Louise. We found Mike in the beginning of July on the street as he was delivering parcels and he was baptised in August. When we were asking Paulo who he wanted to baptise him,and he turned to Mike and asked him. Mike, very touched, accepted his invitation and so it will be a very special upcoming Saturday seeing my recent convert baptise my newer recent convert. I love that this gospel is perpetual. It never ends and I am grateful to understand the eternal perspective. Happiness really is the only thing that doubles when you share it. I got an e-mail from Chris who is back in Mexico. A year ago today he was confirmed a member of church and received the priesthood.

Lost Sheep: We were street contacting and off to the next appointment, but I felt specifically the need to talk to this certain man. His name is Remy. He is from an island off the coast of Madagascar I can't pronounce and we couldn't understand him completely since his native language is French, but we scheduled an appointment to meet. We realised he was baptised 8 years ago and is keen to come back. He works in a hotel and never has been able to have Sundays off, but said he would ask his boss in January. On Saturday, he texted us saying a miracle happened where he had Sunday off and would be able to come to church. He said this never happens and he loved really enjoyed being back at church. It is things like these that remind me how mindful God is of every person.

Hot chocolate and chapel tours: We set up a little table in front of oru chapel and invited people to come in for a tour and some hot chocolate. It was really effective especially since it is starting to get a bit colder. I would send a pic, but left my camera.

My testimony: I was reading a talk by President Monson this morning and the quote "decisions determine destiny" stood out to me. I was realising that this mission has been the greatest decision I have ever made in my life. It seems like yesterday I was in Jerusalem when I heard President Monson announce the age change. I knew at that moment that the Spirit was telling me I needed to go. I have never wavered from that thought as I have been called to serve here in England. I have had so many moments that have made me realise how important the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is in my life. I never understood the scripture that says how great your joy will be in bringing one and many into the gospel, until this past year and a half. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like you are a cup and you are overflowing with joy and you can't even catch it all or explain why it is happening. Well I know why it can happen, and it is all made possible through our Savior Jesus Christ. I have learned so much, but I have also learned that I don't need to know everything.That is where faith comes in. I think I have heard most anti-mormon questions and opinions being here in England, and it has strengthened my faith even more. I truly know that there is opposition in all things. Just look to the source of Jesus Christ who descended below all things because he loved us so much and knew in the end it would be worth it. I am confident in who I am as a daughter of God and disciple of Jesus Christ. I am confident in the doctrines of Christ which are faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I know Jesus Christ died for us, but that He lives again and loves us. he knows us personally. The truth will always be battled, and that is why we need to stand firm in our testimonies of Christ and focusing on the things that matter most. I go to church because I know it is literally Christ's church here on earth and that the authority of God has been restored that opens the blessing and connection between Heaven and Earth. I sustain and support the leaders called in His church. I know they are called of God. I know these things by the small and simple things of prayer, reading the scriptures, going to church, and keeping the commandments. I know that the reason why we need faith is because we need to act every day to learn how to become more like our Savior. I love the family I have adopted here in England. I love these people. I will always treasure this year and a half, but I know my work is not done. This is only the beginning to helping me realise what type of person, mother, artist, sister, aunt, wife, missionary, etc. the Lord needs me to become. To anyone thinking of serving a mission I quote Elder Scott in the last conference with my finger raised saying "DO IT." I love all of you so much. I am excited for the next chapter of my life. I am not sure how it all will go, but I just know if I stay close to God, he will kindly guide me to where I need to be and who I need to become.

I love you all.

Cheers all me dears,
Sister McLeod

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lessons Learned

Temple Reunion: I think my happy place in my mind will forever be the grounds of the London Temple. It is the most peaceful and beautiful place and we were able to go there with a few of our investigators with the ward. The ward hired a coach and it was especially special because Dan Williams went through the temple for the first time. He is going to serve a mission in Provo in December. A cool story behind that is that Elder Bradshaw was actually trained in Bournemouth and and was here a year ago. He helped Dan have the desire to go on a mission and start his papers. When Elder Bradshaw left, Dan was praying for him to come back, and a year later he did. This doesn't happen too often, so it truly was an answer to Dan's prayers. The Elders got permission to go through with him. How special is that? I love the Williams' family so much. They have been through a lot, and are such examples to me. It was the prettiest day ever and I'll send loads of pictures. Out of all the days to be at the temple Sister Schimdt and her companion came with an investigator and I was so excited to see her. Also, it was the stake temple day for Bristol so I saw loads of the Bath ward. It was the sunniest day-weather wise and happiness wise. Heavenly Father is so kind to me.

I am supposed to write 5 valuable lessons to submit that I've learned to the mission and thought of these 11 things that I have learned on my mission. I could elaborate on them, but I'll keep it simple.

1. My mission never really ends.
2. People who fall away from the church just need to feel sincere and consistent love to come back.
3. We need to be conduits to the Spirit in order do the Lord's work. 
4. There is opposition in all things.
5. True Faith in Jesus Christ leads to diligent, consistent action.
6. The small and simple things are actually the largest and most significant in spirituality. If you are struggling, go back to the basics.
7. We all have weaknesses, but when we rely on the Lord they can become our strengths
8. Use your talents and the unique person you are to share the gospel.
9. The Book of Mormon opens the door to truth, personal revelation, and Jesus Christ.
10. The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God- leave judgments at the door. Like my good friend Mother Theresa said "If you judge someone, you have no time to love them."
11. Obedience brings happiness. Disobedience does not. Obedience is the only way to progress.
 "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phillipians 4:11

Content: I came across this in my scriptures this morning and I felt like it really spoke to me in how I am feeling at the moment because everyone loves to ask you how you are feeling as your time is dwindling on your mission. I honestly feel content with life, and I know that is a choice that we can make every day in whatever situation and location we may find ourselves. I have 2 weeks left and am going to work hard and enjoy this time, but I know my mission is just starting a new chapter soon that is exciting and different. I am so exicted for Paulo's baptism coming up and we are teaching some amazing people who I love so dearly. I love you all so much and hope you are content where you are at this moment:)



Rodney and Mark, our invetsigators at the temple. Rodney is too cool for school to smile, haha. Me and Sister Schmidtyyyyyy!!!!!!!

The Elders and us with Dan Willaims and his brother, Josh, Halloween! The ward did an awesome trunk n treat even thought they call the trunk boot and I carved the temple in my pumpkin :) Justine (dressed as a pumpkin) is amazing! She is a recent convert's friend we are teaching




Monday, October 27, 2014

Balloon Popping

The moment where you feel more comfortable in ward council than at a YSA game night....that is when you know you've been on a mission a good long time. Haha, ya that was me and Sister Barnes this week.

Balloon popping: I had an exchange with Sister Jacobsen. I don't know if I told you how I totally thought I was going to train her instead of Sister Schmidt, but that is the one. She is AMAZING! She was born in Denmark, but then grew up in Zimbabwe, then went to uni in England to study law and is a convert of 3 years. She has such a powerful testimony that just hits you to the core with the Spirit. We stayed in Bournemouth and had a jam packed day of teaching, but then we did some finding. We wrote a question (ie: Do you believe in God? What do you think happens after we die, you know question of the soul type of stuff) and rolled it up and put it in a balloon. We blew it up and just went around asking people if they wanted to pop a balloon and answer a question inside. It was so effective! Most nearly everyone we stopped was game for it. It was cool that a girl said she wouldn't have stopped to talk to us unless she was intrigued by the balloon. I mean who doesn't love popping a balloon.

Stake Conference: We had stake conference this weekend and Sister Barnes and I were asked to teach the Restoration in 10 minutes to a fake investigator in front of everyone. We were nervous, but the Spirit kicked in and was really special. The Poole stake is getting bigger and can't hold everyone in Poole so this is the first time they hired a place in the Bournemouth International Centre. It was really cool, and Paulo our investigator really loved it. He is doing amazing and is planning to be baptised on November 15th, but he wants it to be earlier so that is awesome! 

We really had an amazing week, and I was able to really feel the Spirit more fully in every aspect. I'm so grateful to be here in this place in this moment surrounded by people I love so much. I'm really trying to focus on the moment because this time is precious to the Lord and it His time not my own, and I better not waste it. I love you all and hope you are enjoying the moment of today.

Love,
Sister McLeod

Haha, just a little fun Sister Barnes and I had on an empty bus one night coming home. We tried to look like we were on a roller coaster...ohh the things that amuse Sister Barnes and I. We laugh so much. She will literally kill me on the mission from laughter.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Conversion

Hannah's baptism: Becca Lever, who I adore SO much, is a convert of 2 years and Hannah was someone she worked with. Hannah saw the elders on the bus one day and then talked to Becca about the church. Becca sent the elders around to see her and she was amazingly prepared and so ready to change and accept the gospel in her life. 3 weeks later she was baptised and she bore her testimony at her baptism and the Spirit really touched me. She is such a beautiful girl. Paulo, our investigator, came to the baptism and felt a lot of emotion and is so excited about his baptism and was telling everyone about November 15th:) as his day. He can't wait! We taught him the word of wisdom and he accepted it like a champ without any complaints and we didn't even have to commit him. He said it sounds like I need to quit smoking. I love when you can see people's faith increasing to the point where they don't even doubt it and take their own initiative to follow Christ. I love when people use their agency wisely.



Primary Program: is my favorite Sunday of the year. The primary here in Bournemouth is huge 40 plus, and I think of that scripture that we must become like a little child to enter into the kingdom of God. Their humility and cuteness just overwhelms you with the Spirit. I love how these little kids teach you so much about the gospel simply. The most tender part was when Charlie, who has special needs, said I love my family. Appropriately after we all sang together I Stand All Amazed. We were able to teach Justine (WHO IS THE COOLEST LADY EVER) Jo's friend) twice this week and then she came to the primary program and loved it. After one teach she said how re-energized she felt and I love the happiness and energy the gospel brings into life.

Life is wonderful. The gospel is true and can help anyone who tries it. I love how I tell people you really don't have to take my word for it at all, just try it and you can feel the Spirit for yourself tell you if it is true or not. I love that the depth of our conversion comes from doing the small and simple things daily. I love you all!

Love,
Sister McLeod  

 Birthday pic

This is us trying to take a pic with Elder Idso and Stephen at zone conference and President Millar's awesome voice.
  video

Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthday Week

I seriously want to cry right now because I just spent 30 minutes writing out a really good email right now, and randomly it just vanished right now, and now I have no time, so I'm really sorry and really mad at the moment. My sweet companion let me re-write some of what I originally wrote, and really sorry all of you I didn't get to properly respond to. Next week! Thanks for all your birthday wishes:)

22: I don't know about you, but I don't feel 22 T-Swifty. What the heck! I felt like I wasn't 21 at all. Time flies when you're preaching the good word I guess. Twas a lovely day. Sister Barnes made it special and left me loads of cute funny notes accompanied by random poundland (equivalent of dollar store) finds including a One direction 2015 calendar. We went to lunch with my Jamaican grandma Monica. She is the best. Missionary work wise: We taught this amazingly prepared man for Portugal, Paulo and he gladly accepted a baptismal date. He came to church too and loved it. We were then flogged by Harry, but then taught a really spirit filled plan of salvation lesson to Manny. In the evening we went to the Blightons for a birthday dinner. Their little boy Charlie was turning 8 so it was fun to celebrate with them :) It was really cool because their friend Justine came and we got chatting and she is interested in learning about the church and so excited to meet with her tomorrow. We then got picked up from the zone leaders and drove to Chichester for MLC the next day. The sisters made Costco brownies, so overall a really wonderful 22nd day of birth. 

MLC: I was a little stressed on my birthday because I had to speak the following day for 20 minutes about Accountability to the Lord. It is a bit intimidating speaking in front of all these awesome missionaries and president Millar, but the Spirit helped me and it turned out well. At the beginning I did a skit acting out the parable of the 10 virgins, but of the 4 sisters to illustrate that you can't give someone else your accountability to the Lord. The bridegroom was the district leader and my homies from the MTC Sister Cowley and Barrow were the wise sisters and Sister chamberlain and I were the foolish ones. It was funny, but I think illustrated that accountability to the Lord is not just a principle of the mission, but an eternal one. 

When it really hits you: On Wednesday I found out my old companion Sister Anderson had a tragedy in her family. Her sister with 2 little girls suddenly died of a brain tumor and she was able to fly out to Denmark to be with her family. When I read that, I immediately started balling and I felt so much sadness for her and her family. There is such a special bond you can make with your mission companions especially when we have been writing each each week after being together. When I returned to the flat, I just got down on my knees and prayed with the Lord for comfort for her and her family. It seems like when I feel the Spirit the most it is when I am praying for others to have peace amidst their difficulty. If you could keep her family in your prayers, that would be amazing. I am grateful for the principle that our families last forever and death is but a temporary pause into our eternal progression. I know that this is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I love my Saviour and his ability to help each of us amidst the storms of life.

Love you all,
Sister McLeod









Monday, October 6, 2014

Last Move


Moves: I got my last moves call from president and I get to stay in Bournemouth with Sister Barnes!!! In mission terminology my granddaughter gets to kill her grandma. pretty funny. She is just excited because as she says she gets to inherit the birthright (haha known as a loads of stuff I'm going to leave behind). But honestly I could not be happier :) I am so grateful to have stayed in Bath, Teignmouth, and Bournemouth for a good amount of time. I guess I was meant to stay in the south west my whole mission. I really cannot complain. I think I have served in the prettiest parts of the mission with amazing members in solid wards. 

Questions and Answers: I wrote 5 questions for conference that I prayed would be answered. 4/5 of them have been answered and I just assume the other answer is in the one session I didn't watch because of the time difference in England. It is truly amazing how the Spirit presses on your heart and mind the things you need to act upon and think about. I think a talk that really stood out to me was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about the poor and poor in spirit. Shocker, right? I just am realizing how much more aware I need to be of those in need. I love that Elder Holland said it was something he did not know the answer to, but that he knew that God knows the answers and as we seek His counsel in prayer we can know how we can help the poor and needy on an individual basis. Isn't that great about life? We can seek heaven's help and receive answers. 

Conference: It was such a cool miracle this week as we were teaching this sincere, humble guy named Manny and he said he wished someone he knew was learning about the gospel too. We said you would really get on with this other guy we are teaching named Rodney. Well, turns out they are really good friends. Both of them came to conference and were impressed by the words spoken. They are both seeking the truth, coming from Christian backgrounds, one from Zimbabwe and the other from Nigeria. We are excited to see how they will progress now they are in it together. 

I love you all so much. Have a lovely week!

Love,
Sister McLeod

Monday, September 29, 2014

Americanisms

We were able to go to the temple this week with our hilarious investigator Harry! Mike, our recent convert drove us with Candy (an awesome American who is here for film masters). Harry is obsessed with going to Utah after his baptism to see the Salt Lake temple, and he makes me smile. He is from London and can talk your ear off, but he is sincere and is loving learning. This is the last week of the transfer and I sure hope that Sister Barnes and I get to stay together in Bournemouth. I correct Sister Barnes when she says Americanisms, (ie: car park instead of parking lot, mobile instead of cell phone, rubbish bin, in stead of garbage bag) but I am not sure if she is just preparing me for going back to America. Anyways I do not have an accent, so everyone lower your expectations, but I do love the British terminology and will have to adjust to not adding an "u" to every word like saviour. Anyways I love you all so much! The gospel is true and am so grateful to be able to listen to the words of the prophet and his apostles. It is my favourite time of the year, and I have started writing questions down to prepare myself for the answers that the Spirit can give during conference.I invite you all to do likewise. I am so grateful for the Spirit nudging to be change and be better each day. I love all of you loads!
 
Love,
Sister McLeod