Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First of many baptisms! (23/9 email)


AHHHHHH this week was the best!!!

Estella was baptised on the 21st and I can't put into words how good it felt. Pure Joy :)
And we get to experience it all over again this Saturday when Remek, Tanwa and Femi get baptised on the 28th! Awww yeaaaah!

So this week I went on my first exchange! I went to Stafford. My companion was Sister Hansen from St George, Utah. We are very similar and got along well. We had a wonderful opportunity to speak to a class of college students about our beliefs. We had a Q&A style discussion about our religion. It went for about an hour and it was so good! I must say I was super nervous talking to a group of about twelve 16-17 yr olds but they were great and asked lots of good questions. We gave them all mormon.org cards at the end of it :)

So, Tuesday we travelled to Manchester to have a multi zone skills workshop! It was amazing! I learnt so much! Our mission's goal is 350 baptisms for this year... we are only halfway but President Preston recommitted us to achieve this goal and if we each have a goal of one baptism per companionship per month we will achieve it! And we've got four this month already :P so pumped!

We got to go out to dinner with some members. We went to a carvery. Oh my goodness! Soooo good! Yorkshire puddings! Get on that!

We've been chatting to this man who owns a hotdog stand. Phil, he is such a nice guy. We tried a breakfast sandwich or manwich as he likes to call it... to.die.for! I see a lot of potential in Phil... hopefully he will want to hear the lessons from us :)

I don't have much time... but this week was amazing. Miracles happen. Love you all so much.

xoxox Sister Riley

Estella's baptism!

Exchange with Sister Hansen

With Remek at the baptism

These are for mum... she wanted photos of the flat... enjoy :P


Monday, September 16, 2013

Bananas and Baptisms (16/9 email)

Hi everyone!!! What a week it's been! Thanks for the emails, seriously they make my day! :)

Ok where to start! So this week one of Sister Martin's friends back home sent us some groceries online so that was exciting! I have no idea why but when they delivered them there was like four bunches of bananas! so we had like 40 or so bananas in our flat!!! We ate as many as we could but now they're getting brown so we are gonna bake a whole bunch of banana bread and give it to our investigators :P 

So I went to my first zone meeting on Tuesday. We caught the train to Crewe which is like an hour or so away. It was great meeting all the other missionaries. We were able to learn from each other and enjoy spending time together. Elder Palmer and Elder Walker are our Zone Leaders and they are great! Elder Walker is the best! He is so enthusiastic about the work and really motivates me :)

Ok so we've been seeing our dated investigators, Estella and Remek a lot... making sure that everything is going well with them. Estella's Baptism is this Saturday! I'm so excited! She is the coolest girl! Remek's baptism had to be pushed back to the 28th cos he wasn't ready. But he is doing well. We saw him yesterday and had a big chat about everything, and we are confident he will be ready by then.

So we have been teaching an African lady named Tanwa and her two children Remi and Bernice. Tanwa is amazing! she has such a strong desire to follow God and as soon as we teach her a commandment she commits to living it! It's the best! Tanwa and Remi are set to be baptised on the same day as Remek! So that makes four baptisms!!! I can't even describe how blessed I feel! I've been out two weeks and we have four baptisms set! I kinda feel like someone has made this amazing cake and I've come in and I'm eating it! lol.

So we have been working with a few less actives too. First there's Dawn who is 40 and she has had some issues and stopped coming to church for a while, but we have been visiting her and she's been coming back! She is such a great lady. She's funny and crazy and we have a great time with her. We went round for tea and she made these amazing cakes for us!

The other less active we've been working with is Gemma. She got baptised about seven years ago I think... we've been going round and reading the scriptures with her. We made some banana bread with her and I tried smores for the first time! So good :)

So I went tracting for the first time this week... I must say I didn't like it much, lol. Out of all the doors we knocked only one listened... she said she had her own beliefs but took a mormon.org card.

This week has been very busy... I don't have time to write everything we did... so you know what sucks!... Jeffrey R Holland and Russell M Nelson were here in Manchester to see the missionaries like two weeks before I got here! maaaaaaan!! When I found out I was devo! I love Jeffrey R Holland; he is the man! Anyways, Sister Martin gave me a printout of the talks they gave to the EMM and if I had been there I think I would have died! It was so powerful just reading it! Let me share what he said: 'DON'T YOU WASTE A SINGLE SOLITARY MINUTE OF YOUR MISSION! DON'T YOU DARE!' wow! wow wow! And you know what he is like when he gets fired up! After reading that It really hit me how important this work is and I need to step up my game!

So the members are great. We get tea dates all the time :P The elders don't lol shepherds pie and then some kind of crumble with custard is the norm. It's all good now but we definitely need to exercise every morning or I'll turn into a puddin!

Well I best be off now! the highlight of my week was the feeling I felt after teaching Tanwaa on Saturday night. I can't put into words the joy I felt. This is why I am here. I am here to help others feel this joy. I know that God and Jesus are real. I feel it every moment of every day as I am out here doing His work. I don't want to be anywhere else. I didn't feel that way at first. In fact there were many times that I was like... what am I doing here?? I miss home... I miss having 'me' time, lol, but seriously this is the best thing ever.

Everyone who has the chance... serve a mission! You will be so blessed.

Love you all.
Sister Riley xoxox

Best drinks ever!

Sharing the gospel to everyone we meet!

One of the cakes Dawn made for us!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

HIYA! (9/9 email)

Hi everyone! Life as a missionary is the best! I can't put into words how wonderful it really is. I got your second card mum, thanks :) From now on please send mail to my flat: 

12 Bickerstaff Court
Wellington, Telford Shrops, TF12HL
United Kingdom

Cheers! lol everyone says that here. So since my last email a lot has happened! I think I told you that we have two baptisms lined up.. .Estella and Remek. Estella is a girl round about my age, her mum is a recent convert. Estella has already been taught all the lessons by the Elders about a year ago but for some reason never got baptised. So we are re-teaching her and the baptism is set for the 21st. She is such a great girl. She has some great questions... she has some doubts within herself but I know as she continues living the Gospel the Lord will bless her and she will be ready :)

Remek... he's Polish and barely speaks a word of English lol, but he is a funny man! I got to meet him on Saturday night. His baptism was scheduled for the 14th and the Elders came round to give him the baptismal interview... so turns out he's been drinking coffee again and his baptism has to be postponed. Sister Martin was a bit frustrated I think. We explained to him the importance of the Word of Wisdom and he has re-committed to live it. The Elders gave him a blessing to help him resist his addiction. I have faith in him that He will be able to get through and be ready in 2 weeks time.

We are also teaching an African lady called Tanwaa. She is amazing! She used to be Muslim but converted to Christianity  She has two young children and wants to follow God. She came to church on Sunday.  I sat with her kids and kept them entertained which meant unfortunately I didn't get anything out of sacrament meeting, lol. The people in my ward are very friendly, reminds me a bit of Paralowie Ward actually :P They got me to give the opening prayer, and afterwards everyone came up to me and asked me where I was from... no one could pick up my accent :(  They thought I was British.  I guess the Adelaideian accent isn't as strong as the other states...I think I sound pretty Aussie :/ 

Ok so let me tell you about the experience I had train contacting this week. We have to catch a lot of buses and trains everywhere because we live pretty far from everything. So one of our main finding methods is through bus and train contacting. I was so scared to do it for the first time! We got on the train and split up, purposely sitting next to someone. I talked to four people all up that day. The best conversation I had was with this man who was in uniform... at first I felt intimidated and I wasn't even going to talk to him! Finally I started talking and had a wonderful spiritual conversation with him (don't judge a book by its cover!!) He talked about his family and his beliefs, and I shared with him how the Gospel has helped me. I told him about prophets and how we have a living prophet on Earth today and he said that makes sense to him! I wish we could have spoken for longer, but I left a mormon.org card with him and he said he would check it out! Oh yeahhhh! I felt on top of the world!

My feet have been hurting cos the flats I brought with me suck... so today hopefully I can buy a new pair. My shoulders hurt from lugging my scriptures around with me and I am tired and hungry all the time... but you know what!... I am just so happy... The good experiences I've been having far outweigh all of those things and getting in to bed at the end of the day is the best thing in the world. Seriously when I think of bed I start smiling like someone who is in love haha!
So this morning in companionship study Sister Martin and I had a huge d&m and we just cried for like an hour lol it was a good experience for us and we're tight now.

We're going shopping after this and I'm keen to check out the sweet shop! Oh and they have these little cheesecake things that are soooo goooood! We have a tea date like everyday this week pretty much! They feed us well! Like big portions! But we've been going for runs so we don't get fat... I know what you're thinking.... Jade, running?! haha! Taking baby steps! Soon I'll be a professional runner!

Well I have to go! Thanks for your love and support! Til next time!

xoxox Sister Riley

So happy to be a missionary (5/9 email)

Hey everyone! Well I know you're all super anxious to find out where my first area is and who my trainer is! :P I am in a village called Wellington in the area of Telford! It is beautiful here! Very green and little cottages and ahhh! so sweet! My companion is Sister Martin from Canada, eh! II am so happy that the mission president has let us email today! We just came back from grocery shopping... still getting used to the currency :P 

Last day in the MTC was bittersweet... I was so excited to get out of that building lol but so sad to leave my new friends :( We had to get up at 5 am :( :(  then on a bus to Manchester. We were greeted by President Preston and his wife and we all spent time together learning and doing activities til about 2 pm when we had the transfer meeting!!! I was blown away by how many missionaries were there... about 100, and my companion tells me that was less than half of them! They got us new missionaries to sit up the front and they called out our names one by one and assigned us to our companions... I was the first sister called out! I was so nervous! But as soon as sister Martin came up to hug me I felt relieved and happy.

From Manchester we caught a bus and then a 2 hr train ride to Telford. We spoke to some people and gave out mormon.org cards. It was easier than I thought. Everyone here keeps telling me this is the best mission in the world :P and it is an exact obedience mission so no rule breaking! It is very strict... they don't want us to use casual language at all so it's going to be hard for me! e.g. calling people 'guys' and saying 'cool'. At first I was like this is a bit extreme but president Preston explained to us about living the 'higher law' and the blessings that come from exact obedience. So I am going to try my hardest to live up to the standards set. 

Ok so I have seen some weird things today! When we went out for a morning walk we saw a lady walking her.....cat! lol and then later on we saw two girls, which sister Martin told me were 'chavs', I think that's like bogans... and they were wearing their dressing gowns in the middle of town and one of them had a dummy in her mouth! like a baby! what the? I love hearing people talk. I hope I pick up the accent :P The weather has been really nice so far. Warm and sunny. Sister Martin says that will soon change :P Oh and I am so lucky! We have the best flat in the whole mission! Seriously it is so nice! We have a double bed each; it's very modern... the only thing that isn't the best is the shower... its a bit rubbish :P 

Tonight we have two teaching appointments! We are teaching the 2nd discussion to Estella an investigator who has a baptismal date! and then we are teaching a less active member! Oh another reason I am so lucky is sister Martin has 2 baptisms lined up! So I am stoked! one on the 14th and one on the 21st! So blessed!

Well that's all for now. Thanks for your emails. Love you all. I can't wait to get into it!
xoxox Sister Riley

P.S. Mum I got your card when I was in the MTC. Thanks heaps, love you xoxo

Sister Staheli and me with our teacher Brother McClure

Me and my trainer Sister Martin :)

Hi from Sister Riley (2/9 email)

Hey! So it's my second to last day in the MTC and we don't get a P-day so I don't have much time to write! How's the family? Oh my goodness so much has happened I can't believe it's almost over! I have learnt so much! I came out here thinking I knew a lot and that I was ready but far out, I so wasn't! It's been so great doing role plays and practicing teaching, I have learnt so much about teaching with the Spirit. The highlight of my time in the MTC was definitely the testimony meeting we had on Sunday. I'll just write what I wrote in my journal: 

"We just had fast and testimony meeting and oh my goodness, the Spirit was so strong! There are about 80 missionaries here and almost everyone bore their testimonies. My heart is full. The closing song was 'God be with you til we meet again' and it made me cry so much! I was already crying because I felt the Spirit, but the hymn made me think of you guys back home and also that I would be saying goodbye to missionaries I've met here that aren't serving in the same mission as me... like sister Staheli :(  I feel so motivated to go out and preach the gospel.. to share my testimony and touch the lives of others. I am so blessed."

Man I love Sister Staheli! I feel so lucky to have her as my companion... We had companionship inventory and seriously we have no issues... We get along so well. She is so funny! She loves Harry Potter and cats... and we do 'triple fist bumps' cos we committed three fake investigators to baptism :P I'm gonna miss everyone I've met here :(  I have to leave at like 6 am to go to Manchester :(  but I can't wait!  I don't have time to write much else but I want you to know that I love you all, thanks for your emails... Sorry I don't have time to email individually!

Dad I hope you had a happy Fathers Day! I love you so much! xoxox

God be with you til we meet again, 

Sister Riley xoxox

My district

Me and sister Staheli fist-bumping

With some sisters at the temple

Dear Rileys (letter 25/8)

It's Sunday afternoon & I have some free time so I thought I'd write to you because I'm not so sure how much more free time I'm gonna get! I seriously cannot believe it's only been three and a bit days that I've been here cos It's been so full on - from 6.30 in the mornings it's just one thing on to the next and by the end of the day we're exhausted (even though most of the day is sitting in class)! So much has happened so far, I don't know where to start.

The flight over was soo long! I didn't get a good sleep and I was pretty jet-lagged when I arrived in Manchester. On the flight from Dubai I sat next to a lady and her husband who live in Wales and the lady was super nice; we chatted for most of the flight. I was able to tell her about my mission and she asked me a lot about the church... it was a lot harder than I thought to talk about it and I don't think I did a good job, but I had a pass-along card with me and told her to have a look at the site and it would tell her more. By the end of the flight she gave me their address and number if I ever wanted to keep in touch :).

A teacher from the MTC came to pick me and two other Elders up from the airport. I can't really remember much of what happened the rest of the day, I was so tired. We were assigned companions; my companion is Sister Staheli (stay-lee) from Utah. She's a sweetheart. I think we get along really well - always having a laugh. She like to fist-bump all the time lol. I'm still getting used to it. We got our badges straight away and that made it  feel more real. We were split into districts too. My district is the Lehi district and me and sister Staheli are the only sisters in our district, the rest are Elders - mostly American. There's one Elder from Melbourne - his name is Elder Vinck and he reminds me of Casey Raeside. And we have one Elder from the Netherlands - he's hilarious! We spend a lot of time together as a district so we've become good friends.

The food here is pretty bland, But it's not too bad. Dinner is at like 4.30! So early! Our MTC president is President Edwards and and he and his wife, Sis. Edwards are awesome Americans. Pres. Edwards tells the best stories that teach the principles and Sis. Edwards has a big heart. I love it here. It's tiring but I'm learning so much :) The second day our teacher was Bro. McClure. He's British and he's great - a funny guy. We've been focusing a lot on teaching people, not lessons, which is basically teaching us that we really care for our investigators to teach with the Spirit and to their needs - not just get  through the lessons.

The next day our teacher was Sis. Richardson and she's Scottish. She's also really cool. We had our first go at teaching an investigator. We were super nervous, but as soon as we started teaching it was fine (it was only role-play but we still got nervous lol). Oh I forgot to mention, when I got here it was so warm and humid! I couldn't believe it. I haven't packed for warm weather at all! We got to go for a walk around the grounds and see the Temple, it's really pretty. I can't wait til Wednesday; we will be going inside. This is such a great experience and I am loving every minute.

The first day when I arrived I was questioning my decision and it was overwhelming. It might have just been the jet-lag but that feeling didn't last long. President Edwards spoke to us all and I felt the Spirit and I felt Heavenly Father confirm to me once again that this is where he wants me to be. Today we watched a movie called 'Joseph Smith'. It's not the restoration one that I've seen before; I think it's a new one... anyways it's so good! I cried. I just felt such a deep love for him and everything that he sacrificed for us so that we could have the Book of Mormon. In one part of the movie when John the Baptist and Peter, James and John ordain Joseph with the Priesthood and then he baptised Oliver Cowdery, I felt the Spirit so strong.

This is why I am out here - this is my purpose as a missionary - to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Everything we are learning here is focusing on that purpose and it is exactly the same as the doctrine of Christ (2 Ne: 31). Baptism is essential for us to be with God again. And I am so excited to meet and teach people what I know to be true.

I love how much I'm feeling the Spirit here. God lives. He sent his Son because He loves us so much. Joseph Smith restored His Gospel to the Earth and brought forth  the Book of Mormon for us. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am so grateful for you, Mum and Dad for staying true and faithful to the covenants you have made and for raising me in the Gospel. I hope you aren't missing me too much! I love you so much! I will email you on Wednesday! 

Give my love to all those that ask about me. I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends and family I have that came to see me off and support me. Hope to hear from you soon. Love you all.

Sister Riley XOXO

Some farewell photographs:

But wait, there's more (28/8)

OK, so it's P-day and I still have some room left on this page and a bit of time, so I figure I'll fill it up. I sent you an email already and some photos... hopefully it worked. we just got back from the shops... we thought we would go into town and get to have a look around but it was only a bus trip to the shops, called ASDA - my companion said it is similar to Wal Mart - it was kind of like Coles and Kmart mixed together. I didn't really need to buy anything... I bought some envelopes because I didn't bring any and some Cadbury chocolate (with Oreo inside! I haven't seen that in Aus!) so good. So I brought $100 AUS in cash and my card. I exchanged my cash... it was only worth like half! I got 52.50 pounds or something like that... so that kinda sucks.

The Temple was so good! I think it's a lot nicer than the Adelaide Temple, definitely bigger! All the rooms are like twice the size! I wanted to stay in there forever, the Spirit was so strong. We wanted to take a photo as a district in front of the Temple. The one I sent you has a companionship missing - Elder Rodgers and Elder Slingerland... So hopefully I can get a photo with all of us together. Elder Slingerland is my favourite - I think Mum would like him as he's Dutch. It was so nice to have the day off. I can't believe I only have one week left here!

I think it takes a week to get letters so by the time you get this I'll be out in the field! Well that's all, thanks for the emails, sorry I didn't have time to reply properly.

Love you XOXO Jade.

Photograph of the Hinckley Zone (would include Jade's district) sent to us by Sister Edwards:

Here are some photos (28/8 email)

My companion Sister Staheli and me

Sister Burridge and me

With my district in front of the Preston England Temple

Hi from Sister Riley! (28/8 email)

Hi everyone! Thanks for your emails, I don't have enough time to reply to everyone individually sorry! Oh my goodness where do I start! I can't believe it's only been a week! So much has happened! OK so the flight over was so long and by the end I was dead but I sat next to this nice lady on the way from Dubai to Manchester and I talked to her a bit about the Church and gave her a passalong card! So I'm doing missionary work already :P

OK so when I got here it was so hot and humid! I have not packed for warm weather at all! It's so nice and green and beautiful here :) My companion is Sister Staheli and she's from Pleasant Grove, Utah; she's a sweetheart and we get along really well :) The food here is pretty bland but we have had some good meals like pizza and burgers. The chef is always singing at the top of his lungs lol. We were split into districts and it's like 2 sisters and the rest elders in a district. Our district is Lehi. It's made up of mostly guys from America.

There's one elder from Melbourne, elder Vinck and he reminds me of Casey Raeside. There's also one elder from the Netherlands, elder Slingerland.. oh my goodness he is so funny! Always making us laugh. They are a great bunch of people but you can tell they are all like 18/19 cos as soon as the teacher leaves the room they stop studying..  So sister Burridge from Sydney missed her flight and came late..  she showed all the Americans how to do tim tam slams; they loved it. Me and her have been over-acting the whole Aussie thing.. it's so funny.. we're always like maaate and other aussie slang and the Americans think its way funny.

Our teachers are brother McClure (British) and sister Richardson (Scottish). They are both funny and charismatic, great teachers. We have been teaching investigators.. roleplaying.. but it's very realistic.. I think we are doing really well. I am learning so much! By the end of the day I am just exhausted cos its such a full on day!

Today is preparation day so we got to go to the temple and later on we'll go into town! The temple was so nice! I think its a lot nicer than our one. Our MTC president is President Edwards; he is a great man.. very spiritual. He is a great story teller.. his wife, sister Edwards is lovely. Man I have so much I wanna say but not enough time!

Love you all so much, I'm too busy to miss you yet haha but it was so nice to read your emails. I know that this is where God wants me to be. I have felt his love and spirit so strong. Hope you are all doing well xoxo Sister Riley.