What a week. An extremely long week. But a very rewarding week non the less.
It started off like any other week. We had some appointments set up and a lot of finding to do. But it quickly went the other direction when we found out that there was a district leader council meeting in Birmingham on Friday. Since Elder Ruttan is the district leader here he had to go. I was hoping to get to go too but instead I got to go to Swansea. Swansea is about a two hour drive away from us. We drove to Swansea Thursday night and stayed the night with the Zone Leaders there. One of the Zone Leaders (Elder Lowe) is from Australia. It was fun and refreshing to hear the accent again after living with one for 3 months! We had a fun little sleepover, but had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to get ready and go exchange with other missionaries. We exchanged and I got to spend the day with Elder Magda from Hungary. He is really funny and super crazy. We had a fun time together. Swansea is a beautiful city full of hills and right on the beach like Aberystwyth. Anyway, after the meeting Elder Ruttan got to drive the 3 hours back to Swansea from Birmingham, and then the 2 hours back to Aberystwyth. The poor little guy was just beat! We got back to our flat around 9:30 and went strait to bed. It was a very tiring day.
In other news. The work here in Aberystwyth is amazing. The people are so much friendlier than the people in England, and there is so much history all around. In Aberystwyth we actually have a university so we teach a lot of students much like in Coventry. It's like they say, the up coming generation is the future of the church, so we need to find all that we can.
Probably the coolest investigator ever is Dominique. Domi is from London and she is a student here. What else can I say than she is golden. She has such a strong testimony especially of the Book of Mormon. When people try and tell her bad things about what the church believes she answers simply with, "If you can find where it says that in the Book of Mormon I'll believe you." She is the coolest! She just loves the church and is hopefully going to be baptized on the 28th of this month! There is actually a cool story. One day randomly out of the blue her Dad called her. She said that she hadn't spoken to her Father in years and he randomly just called her after she had started taking the lessons. They talked for a bit and ended up talking about her joining the church. He said that he really wanted to come to her baptism and so he is! It was so exciting to see how even just learning about the gospel can bring families closer together.
To answer your question, yes we do do less active work. With how Wales is set up there are just loads of scattered villages here and there. Most of the members of the Aberystwyth Branch live in these villages, not in Aberystwyth itself. It would take about two and a half hours to drive the length of the branch boundaries. Scattered through these two and a half hours are villages that will have maybe a member or two. A little more than half of the members in the boundaries that we know about are less-active. So we will occasionally set aside a day or afternoon to go and visit these members. This would be the main reason that we get the honor of being in a car. Specifically we are working with one less active couple. We go to there house every Wednesday for dinner. Then we play some piano and sing a bit, (Sister Taylor loves music). After that we have a foosball tournament. Brother Taylor Loves fooseball. It is really fun and they love the missionaries. We are just hoping that we can help them get back to church! I definitely hope they come back.
Things are a little different in a small branch compared to a large ward. Especially when it comes to callings. In a big ward you sometimes have to start making up callings, but here you have to combine them. For example the Relief Society President is also a Primary teacher. It has given me a new respect for the members here and in small areas around the world. We have it so easy in Utah it is unreal. Doing our occasional sacrament talk here and there and teaching a lesson once in a blue moon. Yes I understand there are a lot more people to look after, but it is much easier when the responsibly is divided out. But along the lines of helping out, the missionaries get an amazing opportunity here to help out in so many different ways. One of them being giving the occasional sacrament meeting talk. I got to give a talk this last Sunday and it was pretty fun. Different because there were only 40 people there, sitting on chairs set up in the top half of an office building. But it was an enjoyable experience because of what I learned.
I decided to give my talk on Hope, Faith and Knowledge and how these three are different but the same. While I was preparing, (during personal study Sunday Morning), I came up with an analogy that I really related to. I compared these three things to tennis! I love tennis! But specifically how we are all in the biggest double match of our lives. It is us VS Satan and the 1/3 but don't worry we have the best doubles partner in the world, Christ. I can't imagine having anyone else by my side for this match. As I was thinking about how this relates to hope, faith, and knowledge I thought about tennis. When playing at the net in doubles you have to have a lot of hope. A hope that if that ball gets passed you then your partner has your back. You also have to show a lot of faith. Often in the church we talk about how the biggest part of faith is our action. We show our faith by playing our hearts out at the net, or if we are serving then we make sure that every serve is in. In doubles we can't always see our partner we just have to trust that he is there. It is the same in the gospel. We don't always see Christ behind us, ready to return the ball that satan hits at us. But sometimes we are behind and we can see are partner and it is then our job to be in the right place at the right time. Christ isn't going to hit every ball for us. That would defeat the purpose of this life, if we just got to stand around doing nothing how do we improve. We improve by hitting every ball that comes our way. We improve by learning from our mistakes. Sure we are going to double fault here and there or maybe we will even hit one into the net, but with every stroke comes new experience. What we must never forget is that no matter how poorly we are playing as long as we are trying our best Christ is always there and he is always going to serve an ace. When we rely on him and learn from him our game improves and Satan will never stand a chance against us. Remember we have to have a hope that he is there standing behind us, we show our faith in him by playing our hearts out, and we get knowledge when we see that ball go back over the net. Even though Christ is perfect we can still choose not to play at all, but if we do want to play he will be there every step to help us win the match!
I know that is kinda corny but it connected with my simple mind and I found a new side to the Saviour. Well that is it for this week. Tomorrow we are going to Cardiff for a Zone Conference and I am singing in a group for the musical number! It is going to be fun! Wish me luck.
Hope you are all happy and healthy! Happy Birthday Evie! You are the cutest little stinker ever!
Love you all,