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: