Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oct 21, 2012

Hey Dad,
After sending a weekly email for the past like 60 weeks, I feel like you guys must be bored of hearing about the same old stuff. I don't always know what to write... I guess there were a couple crazy stories this week. Stuff always seems to happen in the zone and now we are supposed to deal with it. A companionship in the zone is working with a lady and her 12 year old son. They had to go to hospital friday night because they though the son had appendcitis. He was a complete mess and screaming at everyone and said he would only take his blood sample is Elder Diaz was there. So I get a call at 815 from Diaz saying they need to go to the hospital and help this kid. I said if they can get a member to drive them they can go for it. They call me back at 9 and say they couldn't find a member. They said they are on a bus going to the hospital (it is a 40 minute bus ride) and I tell them to get off the bus and go home because it is way too late. Diaz tells me he promised her over text they would be there. If you knew Diaz this would make more sense.. he is only 18 and is really hyper and talks non-stop. He is a really nice kid though just a bit lost sometimes. So they go to the hospital. I had been up all night the night before talking to Elder White on exchange as it was the last time I will see him. So I am exhausted and just to tired to deal with it. So Perry and Atkinson go to the hospital to find them and bring them back to our flat to spend the night. I called them at 11, because they still weren't home and apparently Elder Diaz's phone had died but last they heard they were still waiting for the doctor to turn up. I decide to go to bed. I am woken up at 215. 215! Apparently Perry went in and tracked them down. They waited for hours to the doctor to come. When the doctor came, he said that the kid is alright and doesn't need a blood test and can leave now. Flippin NHS. We all acted like we were really upset with Diaz and stuff but really it was a pretty funny night.
The only other thing that happened is we taught Alice and Keith. We taught the WOW. We committed Keith to live it, and he said he would start by cutting out tea and coffee and work towards quitting smoking after. We then asked Alice, and she said she would quit everything right now. They got in this huge argument. They were like yelling back and forth with us sitting there. Keith was trying to convince her that she can't quit smoking because her son is really misbehaved and if she quits she might die because without smoking her body can't deal with the pressure and stress. We kept assuring them it was possible and they finally settled down. Every time we give them a big committment absolute chaos erupts. I wish I could film some of these teaches.
The brightest ray of hope for our area is a referral we got this week. A YSA guy who I have gotten pretty tight with gave us a friend of his to teach. We stopped by him, and he was really open and we have an appointment to see him. We will try to get the YSA friend with us also. Members refferalls is where it's at. Also I am really excited for Saturday. The bishop asked us if we could organize a sports activity. He is really worried about his son who is going less-active. So we are playing basketball saturday morning with the young men, most of the ysa guys and some of the other men in the ward. We got less-actives coming and if we can make it a regular thing we can start getting investigators and get members to bring their non-member friends along.
So ya that's pretty much it. Sorry I didn't send the photo you want. I'll try to remember this week.
love Elder Steed

Oct 20, 2012

That was a long email. But it was good to hear so much about what you guys are up to.
So I told you guys a few weeks ago I was struggling... and I have been getting loads of stuff ever since! You sent me two packages, and a letter. And I got a package from some girl, so I have just had loads of stuff lately! Thanks so much for those they were really nice. We used those balloons and glow sticks and had a dance party in our flat last night. It was fun. I have attached photos. Also I am wearing my new BYU shirt. Elder White thought it was a sign from heaven and that I am meant to go to BYU. I assured him that this is not the case.
Elder White is seriously my best and maybe only real friend in this mission. My other two friends, Simmons and Palmer, have gone home long ago. I feel like everyone I know now is cool but not the same. So Elder White goes home in like 5 days. It's really sad but I'm sure I'll see him again sometime. He is an assistant, so we were able to do an exchange this week. I also have a photo of that attached.
No, so far the DA's have not led to teaches. But we are sort of switching focus and I am trying to work with the YSA more now. They should really have loads of friends that we can teach. We are still knocking and working with Less-actives but I think YSA is an under-utizlied resource. And we have like 10 of them in this ward. We went to a YSA fireside last night and gave a spiritual thought and chatted with them afterwards and it seemed to be a really positive thing.
The temple sounds awesome. I can't wait to see it. And I was blown away that 100000 people went through! That is a tenth of the population of Calgary! Hopefully you guys can find other people to work on and share the gospel with. And thanks for all those letters from Riley's friends. It is great to hear about their stories. Brinley is an office elder. Haha, maybe it is different there but in this mission everyone always is making fun of office elders.
Christmas package... last year I wanted loads of stuff. This year I think I have a different mindset. I could use a new shirt. I really like the Enro short sleeve shirts that I think come from missionary mall. One of those would be good. Actually 2 of those would be nice. Maybe don't get me very much for Christmas, and instead I will have Christmas next June. The month before I leave I want to go on a huge shopping spree. The clothes here are so much better. I want to buy a really posh english suit and some other stuff, jeans and shirts and whatever. CLothes here are cheaper and better. I really don't need much for Christmas. My satnav broke, but I think rather than buy a new one I will just try to survive the last 8 months. That is kind of my mentality lately. I want to just make everything I already have last until the end. I would love rootbeer... but it is so expensive to send. There is a place here where they sell american food maybe just send money and I can buy stuff? I don't really know. I like mormon music... there are lots of good lds things that aren't motab. I have a ton of it already. When I get home I am going to send Riley a ton of awesome music. So if you can find anything like that it would be cool. I always like new ties. A new sweater would be cool. A scarf? I dunno. Pray about it.
Sean emailed me this week. I am glad that although Sean might be a bit shaky still he is not given up completely on the church. I really want to move to Edmonton when I get home. The only thing holding me back is Sean and Tyler. I think it could be really good if I stayed and tried to help them but at the same time I don't want to get dragged down again.
So ya, I don't know what else really to say. I'll mention the area briefly in my letter to dad. Love you mom, have a good week,
Elder Steed

Oct 14, 2012

Hey Mom, 
That was a good email to read. The pornography talk sounds like it was really good and hopefully all the kids can stay away from that. It destroys so many people. Good to hear about how the family is doing also. 
Haha women speakers at conference... that is my nap time. I do feel bad I missed so many conferences at home when I would just be asleep on the couch. 
I pretty much said the big news to dad. Don't worry about us here. Transfer day is in two weeks exactly. It is changed this transfer from Wednesday to Monday. We need to get going to our zone pday. 
Just a quick update on our only real solid investigators, Alice and Keith. Keith accepted a date for Nov. 10 that seems really solid. He has come to 3 weeks of church in a row and loves it and believes the BoM is true. He was really prepared. Alice thinks it is true and loves it, but she thinks that God will accept her whether or not she gets baptized and does not want to get baptized at all. She flips out when we talk about it. But we are making slow progress. She will get baptized, maybe a little bit after Keith though. She bought me a tie and gave it to me when we taught her on saturday. I had a really good exchange with a new missionary who has been out like 4 months in Bournemouth. It just reminded me that there are loads of good, normal missionaries out there. 
Love Elder Steed
p.s. Thank you for the care package! That is my favorite one I have ever got. Twizzlers, fuzzy peaches, sweet chili heat, photo albumbs, eat mores, that was perfect. I am eating some of my sweet chili heat right now and loving it. Also thanks for the missionary letters from Josh and Brinley and those guys. Crazy that Graham had to go home. 

Oct 8, 2012

Hey dad,
Thanks for the letter. Things aren't all bad. You and mom worry too much. We got our first baptismal date this week. We had 7 D.A's this week and we used to get 2 or 3. Our zone has gone from 0 to 7 baptism dates since the start of the transfer. So it isn't like things are just a total mess. But you are right. My time really is running out. I can't just wait for transfer day. I only have 6 transfer days left. I know you guys are thinking of me and praying for me so thank you. I have struggled far more than this before and I will be alright I am sure. 
So this has been a pretty crazy weekend. We got a call at like 5 yesterday from the Elders in Yeovil. They were talking about a fight and a station and calling president and we couldn't understand. We thought they were making a joke about how they got robbed or something. But we realized it wasn't a joke. These two Elder were out knocking in Yeovil and a guy came up to them and asked them for their money. They had none, Elder George refused to give him his backpack because his scriptures were in them, and it led to this big fight/chase. Elder George got beat up, his companion was just frozen, they got taken to the police station and interviewed for like 3 hours. We got the call and drove up to Yeovil which is an hour drive. Their bishop and ward mission leader were there. So we hung out at the police station for a while, did some missionary work with one of the officers who was working at the desk, and waited until like 1030 when they were released. They hadn't eaten since like 1230 so we took them to McDonalds and I got everyone some big macs and then Elder George went to the hospital to get his head checked out. It was just one unarmed guy, but the Elders didn't fight back at all and George got hit a few times. He was fine, but had to wait at the hospital until like 130. We stayed at there flat, and went back to the police station this morning. It was pretty crazy. They were really shaken up. Elder Ormsby was one of them and he has been out like 2 months and was really upset. So we took them back to Poole with us, we are going to spend p-day together and tomorrow morning President Millar is coming to do interviews with the zone so we will take them there with us. It was pretty scary. My first real crisis I have been involved with. They are both fine.
So because of that I don't have much time. It is already 1. And we are going with the zone to play laser tag. I have been remembering fondly the laser tag games we did the week before I left as a family. Fun times. And that christmas card idea is brilliant. I will try to get a suitable photo and send it next week. 
Love Elder Steed

Oct 7, 2012

That sounds like quite the race. Congrats on your finishing time. Anything under 4 hours is pretty good.
I feel like there isn't really that much to mention from our week. Me and Perry have not got along at all this week. We sorted it out yesterday for the most part but the tension is still there. I'm just not sure I will ever like zone leaders even when I am one. Most of the problem is my companion is the senior zone leader and believes he should be in charge but I am a much more dominant personality. So it has been a struggle this week. We have good and bad patches. The other 2 in our flat aren't getting along either. The Russian guy got so angry at his companion calling him dude that he punched the door of his room. It dented the door, ripped open his knuckles, and left bloody streaks all over the door. Luckily for both our companionships there are other people around to talk to. We are able to put all that behind us when we go to work, and we are having success, but we will have so much more success if we increase our comp. unity. If there isn't unity in the companionship people we talk to don't feel the spirt as much. We had a zone p-day monday but only half the zone came. That was disapointing but we played bball and dodgeball. We also had our first zone training on wednesday. We got the AP's and a the 1st counsellor in the mission presidency to come and instruct us and it seemed to go quite well.
Sorry my email is short. I am trying to sort out my ipod and stuff as well.
Love Elder Steed

Oct 6, 2012

You guys are always on holiday. I am wondering if you have started selling drugs or something on the side because Dad is always off doing something and working like 3 times a month. As soon as I leave it is like a monthly family holiday.
Those were awesome photos. Dad looks like he had a good race, the Dodgers game looked awesome, Alyssa didn't defile the temple grounds with immodesty, Jackson has longer hair with a swoop, all three kids are trying to dress really trendy, Noah is flippin huge, you seem to have different hair colors in different photos, and the one of Riley leaving was nice. He had a weird suit on though. I brought those 2 500 dollar suits with me, destroyed one of them, I am saving the other one, and I wear a 70 pound black suit everywhere. I'm going off on a tangent, but I had to buy new shoes. I need a new 8 gig memory card for my camera, and I need to do some dry cleaning. So the credit card will be used a bit. The good news is I don't have to buy much food. When I got here we were getting a few DA's a week. We now have a DA every night, and we have thursday, friday and saturday both lunch and dinner. I'm not the best missionary and I have a lot of weaknesses but getting people to feed me has been one of my stronger suits.
I'm really jealous about the outdoor musical you saw. But in my first area there is an outdoor theater just like that, carved out of the side of a cliff. So we can go to that one.
Conference was so good! We had 3 investigators come to the sunday morning session, and that was the greatest session ever. Hollands talk like knocked me out of my seat. We tried to download it but it isn't realeased yet. That is one of my favorite talks ever. All 3 investigators, Alice, Keith and Alice's daughter Michelle, were like 'we know this is true. Everything they are saying is true. This church has so much more power and strength then the CoE. I believe they are really apostles.' Stuff like that. I was just like 'ya they are, shut up I'm trying to listen to them.'
This week was alright for us. We found a new family to teach, got to know more of the ward, normal stuff like that. Probably the best was we went out to TGIF's with a LA couple in their 20's. The guy works there, so we got 50% off. And they had like 4 of their non member friends eat with us. Apparnetly as soon as we left they started asking all sorts of questions about what we are doing and what we believe. So that was cool. We are going back in a few weeks.
Hopefully you have a good week,
love Elder STeed

Sept 30, 2012

Hey dad,
I have always wondered why our ward never seemed to have that great of missionaries in it. The YSA ward I went to the year before I left had great missionaries but they are the only good ones I have ever met. Getting to know the ward like that is a huge job in wards where there are like 250 active like sundance, but I think doing stuff like that is really important.
It really is such a blessing to have the temple so close. But I think it is too bad that there will no longer be the cardston road trips with all the youth. Those were always so much fun.
So ya we are still having some companionship issues but things are getting better. I think the things you said are pretty accurate. They did a lot of administration and not a lot of ministration last transfer. I have learned a lot about my companion in a week. He is someone who is lacking confidence. He naturally just conforms to the habits of his companion. But because he felt like he was the senior zone leader he wanted to be running things. We have had many discussions, some pretty intense ones, and I think we are finally starting to understand each other more. You and mom know probably better than anyone else. I can be pretty tough to live with sometimes. I am very set in my ways and expect people to do what I say but I don't always listen to what they are saying in return. So I can see where he is coming from as well.
And he is a good missionary. He still seems pretty young and inexperienced, he hasn't really had many investigators to teach on his mission. But he has a lot of good qualities. He is really caring and kind, and I think he does a good job making people feel loved. He is also fun, he isn't a boring robot missionary he knows when to have a good laugh. And he is really obedient and he is always keeping me away from the edge. He doesn't like to push the limits. I always get put with someone or at least around someone to keep me on track.
The zone is doing a bit better. We had a zone leader council this week, where we all went to the Presidents house and talked about our zones. The biggest change we came up with is that we no longer account every night. Up until now, every night the District leaders call their areas and account for their day, and then they call the zone leaders and account to them for their district. President Millar felt it was too much phone calls, too much time, not effective, and it made people feel less accountable to the Lord in their nightly prayer. So I totally agree. And I love having an hour of free time before bed now. We are running a zone training on wednesday for like 3 hours and hopefully can ignite some of the elders here who don't seem to have their hearts into it.
I wanted to mention as well that this alice lady had a pretty cool experience. She said 2 days before she met us, she prayed to god and he told her to stop drinking tea and coffee. So she tried to stop. And then on saturday the member we brought with us casually mentioned that we don't  drink tea or coffee, and she told us of her experience. She was pretty amazed and she definitely took it as a sign. Which is cool.
Also last week we were knocking. I don't like to cook my own meals here. So we talked to a really nice catholic lady for like 10 minutes  and she said ultimately she wasn't interested. But she was nice, so I invited ourselves over for dinner sometime. She was a bit shocked, but she was like ya of course you can. So this week on saturday we went over for lunch. Pizza, salad, good stuff. Except she also brought her catholic priest over as well. We had a really good chat, nothing hostile just really friendly. Even though we didn't share the restoration with them, I think things like that can do a lot to change how people view Mormons and mormon missionaries. I also found it really funny that the priest was drinking a beer when we walked in and offered us one.
So good luck with your marathon.
I also got that shoebox full of sweets so thanks for that. My favorite part was the envelope of pictures, especially the pictures of your guy's canoe trip.
Love Elder Steed

I thought of one more crazy story. We got a referral for a russian guy given to us by the Elders in the neighboring area. A lady answered the door, and looked at us like we were really suspicious. She said that the Russian man who lived in one of the flats had just been murdered. She pulled out that day's newspaper, and sure enough the front page story was the murder of this Russian guy. We were just like well, what about yourself? Would you like to read the BoM? She was not.

Sept 30, 2012

Hey mom,
If you want to send me the same thing you send Riley that is fine. I have attached some photos. I will try to send 5 or 6 every week. I have just filled up my second memory card. I have 12 gigs of video and photos. I will buy another 8 gig and hope it lasts me until the end.
You guys are going to get snow! I'm jealous. It is getting really cold here. And starting to rain most days. Winter is coming but it is a totally different winter. I have finished my last English summer.
That is great to hear about Landon and Lindsey going through the temple. What did Lindsey think about it?
This has been a good week. We have met a lot of the ward and we have some good less-active work we are doing. We also found one family that is pretty solid. She is a gypsy but really nice, and he is a 70 year old guy who grew up in really high class english society but lost everything to gambling and now somehow they are together. He said he wants to be baptized. They came to church yesterday, the ward was really good with them. A lady who bore her testimony even mentioned how happy she was to have them there. We had like at least 10 people bear testimonies who I think must be slightly special. So the investigators names are Alice and Keith. We tried to commit them to work towards a baptism date saturday night. Keith immediately accepted. Alice said she doesn't feel ready yet. Keith then proceeded to do one of the most bold examples of resolving concerns I've ever seen. He just went crazy and tried to commit her to be baptized as well, she kept saying no and it got really heated and awkward so we said we had to go and we will try again next time. Pretty funny.
We also knocked on the door of this indian lady. She let us in in like 5 seconds. Her and her husband are hindu, but really cool and they said they felt the spirit and we are going sometime next week and I am making them grilled cheese sandwhiches. I forget how we got to that agreement, but they ended up feeding us awesome curry and I said I would make them grilled cheeses and they seemed really excited about that.
We have got a few people to work with this week. We had those 2 investigators at church and there have been no investigators at church here in like over 3 months. So I am hoping this area might be getting some life. I always remember that the Lord puts people in areas because it is where they need to be for a reason. And any success that we have doesn't come as a result of our efforts but it is done because of the Lord and his timing. I think I came to this area at a time where the members are just ready to help and God has definitely put people into our path.
Having a car is awesome as well. I am losing all my strength though. Luckily I have a Russian to fight with. Actually the two other guys in our flat kind of hate each other. I don't think they are speaking right now. So it can be a bit weird at times. But it is still really fun. We are having a zone p-day and playing some bball and football and stuff in the chapel. So I am excited to finally have a good pday.
Hopefully you have another great week, send me Riley's stuff,
Love Elder Steed

Sept 23, 2012

Maybe you will have to wait until I'm back to finish the treehouse. It sounds tough. Speaking of cursing though... in this country damn and hell aren't swears and people say them all the time and in church and stuff. So tell Dad it's no big deal. 
I will try to send photos every week now. We have a huge family history center in this church. There are like 10 computers.
 Okay, the church here is amazing. 150 members come every week, we have solid returned missionaries, we have a youth and YSA program, people feed us all the time, we have a car, this area has so much potential. My companion is Elder Perry. From Wales. He is a good kid but still seems pretty young. He has been out 3 months less than me. I came into this area expecting there to be investigators and things on the go.However, Elder Perry was just serving with Elder Day and it was Elder Day's last transfer and he is now home. So Elder Day was dead. And they didn't seem to have done much. We have no investigators and no real potentials. And we are the zone leaders here now so we really need to turn things around. We have just been finding a ton and having DA's with awesome members. I have never been in a strong ward on my mission until now, and I am really excited to bring people to church. We have a great bishop and WML. We picked up 4 new investigators last night. They are a family, and I think one of them might be a gypsy. But they are really open and want to come to church and stuff. 
The London Times this week had the front page of 'THE MORMONS ARE COMING' with a picture of a missionary. This was because of the Book of Mormon musical opening in London, but even though the musical is pretty much making fun of our church, a lot of people have been talking to us because of it. So that has been good actually.
My other thing I am really excited about is we are in a 4 man flat. It is really fun! It is us two, and also Elder Culciu and Atkinson. Atkinson is a great guy and we get along really well so far. Culciu is a Russian convert. He grew up in the street and survived by mugging people. He speaks decent English. He is just such a character. He is tough and a lot of missionaries don't really know what to make of him. But so far we have been like best friends. We served around each other when I was in Slough, and he is a really genuine guy once you get past his Russian exterior. We wrestled last night. He choked me out in about 10 seconds. So we rematched and went for about 5 minutes and called it a draw. I am really sore now. 
The summer is over. It has been cold and raining most days. This was a pretty rubbish summer. 
We were eating with a family yesterday for lunch. They were both RM's from Spain. Returned missionary sisters are on such a spiritual level then a lot of the other ladies in there 20's. These two are my favourite members so far. But sis. silsby talked about a friend of hers who went to central america. She said she had a parasite once that was so bad she had no control over her bowels. She said she completely pooped her pants on a few occasions. We were dying laughing and I can't wait to hear Riley tell stories of this happening to him. He is going to have such a different mission than me. 
Have a good week guys, forward me anything Riley sends
Love ElderSteed

Sept 23, 2012

Hey Dad,
It really is a beautiful place. It is pretty posh though which can be good and bad. It is good because there is beautiful places to see and it is safe, but not good because usually the poor people listen to us. Alma 32. And after Guernsey, I don't think anywhere will really compare. I really have had amazing area's in terms of scenery. Except Slough.
I am still driving the car. I heard that because I went to Guernsey I get another year in the UK because they have completely different driving rules. So I will stick with that until a cop tells me otherwise. The cops have no way of knowing when I came into the country either. 
So I think I told mom everything already. The only thing different I wanted to mention to you is that it has only been 4 days and me and my companion have already had some disagreements. He was called as a zone leader 6 weeks ago. And I was just called 4 days ago. So he wants to be the boss and run the show. I am fine with that. But honestly as far as I can tell him and his companion last transfer just kept themselves busy with useless zone leader stuff and neglected any real missionary work. They had found like 30 potentials in 6 weeks and taught 0 lessons and found no investigators. We talk about how if we do all that we can it doesn't matter what results come. But seriously, if you put the time in people always come. So I am a bit frustrated and I think I have been a little bit too bold these last few days in trying to shake up our area and our zone. Our zone had no baptismal dates and we were the least productive zone last transfer. So that is what is really happening in the area and the zone. I am going to learn a lot this transfer. I am really glad it is a 4 man flat so there are other people around when we have a disagreement. But I really just wanted to see if you have ever had an experience like this and what you did to resolve it?
So far in my mission I have got along with every companion and obviously have disagreements and no real problems. I really hope that this transfer is no different. I think I will need to learn to humble myself a lot. I'm sure I have something to learn. A lot to learn. 
I'm excited to hear how Riley is doing. 
Hopefully you have a good week and keep the swearing to a minimun when doing DIY projects. 
Love Elder Steed

Sept 16, 2012

I am at the mission office at the temple right now. I just flew in from Guernsey. The last day has just been a whirlwind. I am being transferred to Poole. So I am staying in the same zone. I am in a four man flat which I am really excited for. I get a car which is nice but also not good because it means that I am going to put all the weight on again. I am serving with an English missionary named Elder Perry. I am really good friends with his grandparents as they live in Cornwall and had me over for dinner like every week. I am sad to leave Guernsey but excited for this change of scenery. 
Love Elder Steed

Sept 16, 2012

The generic email eh?
Just kidding, thanks for writing.
But are you even reading my emails? I said last week that I recieved that package with all the emails from Josh and Graham and those guys.
And Elder Petersen? I served with him like 6 months ago in Slough... I am with Elder Erickson. Haha. My first son.
That was a great email to read though, thanks.
I can't wait to read Riley's first email. I am going to email again Wednesday so I'll keep this short.
I gave my 20th district meeting of my mission this week. I have been running out of ideas lately, but I really felt I had some inspiration this week. I gave a district meeting on covenants. It was a pretty intense (as far as phone calls go) meeting and revolved around the New Testament (or the new covenant) and personal covenants (like the Anti Nephi Lehis who make a covenant to give up their weapons of war). I learned a lot in my studies about it. I have loved learning more about the scriptures and the doctrines of this church. There are so many things you just never know or find out going to sunday school each week. But my hour a day of personal study is one of my favorite times.
Don't work too hard mom. Sounds like you are getting really involved with church callings. Don't go too crazy, just find the balance. I'm sure it is different as this is a new calling, I'm sure things will calm down as time goes on.
And ya I do tell you guys more know about what's going on then I did when I lived with you. Weird. Oh well, enjoy it while it lasts.
Good luck with you taxi service and piano practice policing!
Love Elder Steed