My legs are really sore as well. We had the most amazing weekend. On saturday, we did like 4 hours of service. The 2nd counsellor in our bishopric, Jeff Bray, and his dad Eric Bray were going over to this guys house to clear a bunch of trees for him. Laura Bray (jeff's wife) met a lady named Rachel as they were both dropping off their kids at school, they started talking and eventually Laura went over to Rachels house. They started talking, and had this big conversation about religion and our faith and stuff. Rachel, and her husband Gareth, just moved into Cornwall like 3 months ago, they are in a huge house but it is one that needs a LOT of work. So they are doing some major renovations. Gareth and Rachel are both like 30, are both really well educated and come from pretty affluent backgrounds (as far as I can tell). Because they just moved here, and they are living out in the country, they have like no friends. This guy, Gareth, one day just felt this strong desire to become a vicar for the church of England. He was running his own buisness at the time, making a lot of money, but he felt the need to become a vicar even though he had never really been religious before. However, the vicar school didn't accept him, and he was a little bit mad about that and so he no longer likes the Church of England. So I guess to wrap this all up, Laura Bray went to their house, noticed how much work they had to do, and offered the services of Jeff and Eric as well as us. Jeff and Eric are landscapers by the way. A few days before we went there, Gareth had bought a chainsaw and just took down like at least 100 trees on his property. So there were just these massive piles of trees and branches all over the yard. We went there with chainsaws and a big chipper, and cleared a bunch of the felled trees. It was really hard work, and that is why my legs are sore.
When we first got there, Rachel was there. Jeff introduced me and Elder Oscarson, and she gave us a tour of the house and chatted for a bit. Then she brought out like hot chocolate and cupcakes for us, and then went over to Lauras house. 4 hours later Gareth came home from work. He was also really cool. He saw all the work we had done, and just got out of his car and came up to me, shook my hand and gave me a big hug and said he didn't know what to say. We then all went over to Jeff and Lauras house, where she had made a big pot of this awesome soup. We had soup and hung out there, just chatting. It was actually really comfortable and just fun. There were like 6 kids running around screaming and playing, I was chatting with Gareth and Jeff in the kitchen, Oscarson was explaining the book of mormon with Laura to Rachel, and it was just really cool. I don't feel like I am describing it properly. But these two are golden. We are going to go to their place like every week and do more service for them. They are both just really nice and easy to talk to. And really interested in the church. We have their number, and any night we are free they said just to come over. They also said they will come to church next week. I am so excited for them. And it really helps that Ken and Toni are getting baptized after church next week...
Yesterday was also so good. We had the funniest sacrament meeting I have ever attended. The first speaker was actually Elder Casey. He is a missionary from Scotland and it was his 3rd day in the mission field yesterday, and he was on an exchange with me in the wrong ward. Oscarson was up in St. Austell doing a baptismal interview. So after he talked, an older lady in the ward gave a talk about the true meaning of Christmas. This was a really good one. It pretty much consisted of her talking about her Christmas' before she joined the church. She told us mostly just about how much fun she had drinking. She told us about her days going to pubs, to nightclubs, told us about her favorite drinks and just about her parties before she was a member. She did manage to tie it all together at the end, and she explained to us that she has now learned you can have fun at christmas without alcohol. I thought this one was hilarious, but I didn't laugh out loud or anything. The next speaker I have no idea what she was talking about. She stood up and started reading from a piece of paper. Really monotone. I got really bored really fast, and for the first time on my mission I may have nodded off for a minute. However, I woke with a start as I heard singing. I have no idea why, but she just seemed to burst into song in the middle of her talk. She started singing this Christmas hymn I had never heard before. After I recovered from the inital shock, I was fighting to hold back my laughter. But it got better. She got really emotional though, and choked up about 4 lines in. As she stood there fighting back tears, a man in the congregation yelled out 'I love this song! Let me help!' This is an older and very eccentric member of the ward. He jumped up from his seat, and literally ran down the aisle up to the front of the chapel and put his arm around the speaker, and they then proceeded to sing an impromptu christmas duet. A few members of the congregation joined in at the end as well. When they finished, people started clapping. Well, needless to say I was just dying. I was laughing almost to the point of tears, luckily I was seated in the back row. I The bishop was trying to keep a straight face, and he told me afterwards that he saw me laughing and was doing everything he could not to make eye contact with me so he wouldn't start laughing as well. The weird thing is, the rest of the ward didn't seem phased by this at all. I'm chuckling even as I write this email.
Aside from all that, things are still going good. We are headed to plymouth again with Ken and Toni, our whole zone is making a christmas missionary movie for our upcoming zone conference and then we are all going out to Nando's. Ken and Toni are goingto be like investigators or something in it. Our zone conference in on thursday. We have to travel all the way up to London on wednesday night and thursday morning. But, we will get to do a session in the temple, which I am pretty excited for. I should also mention, this Eric guy we have been teaching has accepted a baptism date! We have taught him 4 times now, all with Chris Thomas, and on the third teach he agreed to be baptized on Jan 15. The fourth teach was WOW, as he smokes. The ironic thing was that Chris Thomas also smokes, and there he was trying to help Eric to quit. So Chris felt pretty bad about it, and a bit hypocritical. On Sunday he asked for me and Brett Joliffe to give him a priesthood blessing to help quit. So we did, and it is really amazing to see his renewed desire to quit smoking and be baptized. So hopefully all will go well for that. He has been trying to quit for like 10 years, and hopefully this will be just the push that he needs.
The bad news is Elder Palmer and Elder Conkling were transfered. Actually, I might have mentioned that last email. The new guys that transferred in are kind of lame. Luckily Elder Evans is still in Redruth. Oh, and I think I will be doing a two day exchange with Elder Simmons in helston for tuesday and wednesday, which should be pretty fun.
I'll need your skype name and cell phone number that I can call on Christmas Eve.
Thanks for everything,
Love Elder Steed