This has been a crazy week. I didn't get a chance to email you guys on Wednesday, as they flew us back to London again for transfer day. They have flown us back and forth so many times. I'm sure we are the most expensive missionaries in the mission.
So the big news, Elder Martins was transferred to somewhere in London.
And my new companion is Elder Erickson. A greenie! My first son. Only
6 weeks before Simmons goes home, so he got to see a grandson before he leaves. We have only been together since Wednesday, and on the island since Thursday. But it is exhausting. My gameplan is to work him to the point of just complete exhaustion. And even though it will probably just about kill me as well, try to just act like this is normal and I'm doing totally fine. But I am already totally knackered.
We knocked for like over 3 hours yesterday and walked at least 10 miles. Erickson broke his bike on his first day. So we are now on foot. He has money though so he is going to buy a new one. My favorite part of yesterday was when we were walking and Erickson said we needed to stop and sit down for a quick rest. I want him to be on the brink of collapse every day for the next couple of weeks. We haven't taught a single lesson all week. Just pure knocking and contacting.
But so far it is going really good. I've been working hard my whole mission but I haven't been this diligent or obedient since Simmons.
Things like staying in my shirt and tie until I finish accounting at night, or actually excercising every morning. It is hard work. But I think this will be good for this branch. Elder Erickson, like every greenie, has huge expectations and is just on fire to start baptizing like crazy. That greenie faith often leads to a lot of miracles. So we will see what happens.
There were two really good parts of the week. The first was one of the highlights of my mission. Getting to go to the temple with Ken, Toni, another family from Helston I was good friends with, Simmons and Oscarson. Like the odds of all of us being able to get there at the same time was astronomical. And this happened to be the only 2 days all month Ken had off work, which happens to be transfer day, which happens to have all three of us missionaries coming to the temple.
This was all meant to happen and doing baptisms with them was one of the most spiritual and special experiences I have ever had. We had a lot of fun as well. We all went out to a pub/restaurant for dinner their first night at the temple, and we all got these massive 12 oz.
hamburgers. Me and Simmons split the bill for everyone because we were both really happy.
The other awesome thing was the greenie prank I pulled. I had the AP's in on it as well. The first day new missionaries come to this mission they have a solid day of training with the AP's and with President Shamo. And then at night, right before dinner, we have a ceremony where they are all assigned to their trainers. So when the greenies arrived, I was already sitting in the eating area where they were going to have lunch. Elder White introduced me as a new missionary. We said I was from Provo, that I had had VISA issues and so I did my three weeks in the MTC, got my VISA, and now I came here. Greenies are scared to death their first day at the temple so they all believed it.
As we ate though they started asking me a lot about Provo. Turns out one of the kids who sat by me went to provo for a week for VISA issues. They were asking me about all the rules, where my district was going to, how my companion was, about all this other random stuff. But I managed to keep up with it. So I did a full day of training with them. The President and his wife and everyone was in on the joke as well so they didn't blow my cover.
Me and Elder White were loving it. He was using me for like every example. I was teaching the plan of salvation out of the book of Moses at one point. When White opened it up for us to ask any questions, I started grilling him about if he had any girlfriend back home. We talked about why we were out here and I said the only reason I was here was because my parents made me. These greenies must of thought I was the strangest missionary ever. But they didn't catch on still. The highlight was when my area phone started ringing in my suit jacket which I had draped on the piano. Everyone started yelling like whose phone is that. I didn't say anything, and eventually whoever was calling hung up. But then they called right back, and I was forced to stand up and take the phone out and reject the call. The greenies just about lost it then. They were all shouting at Elder White 'he has a phone!' Me and White were trying not to bust up laughing.
But the coolest part was at lunch. A couple of real missionaries I know came into where we were eating. I didn't want them to recognize me and ruin everything, so I put my head down in my hands like I was crying. Another missionary saw this, he came up to me and put his arm around me and just said it's alright, he still remembered how tough the jetlag was and that everything would be alright. That missionary was Elder Erickson. After lunch all the greenies went to grab their luggage, but I stayed behind. I asked President Shamo if he would allow me to train Elder Erickson. He just smiled, but then sure enough, that is now my companion. President Shamo said I was supposed to train someone else, but about 15 mintues before I had come up to him and asked him, he had changed me to serve with Erickson. I thought that was pretty cool.
Erickson is from Utah, he told me in the MTC he was asked to pretend to be an investigator and to just try to act like one of his non-member friends. Sadly, he doesn't have a single non-member friend.
Centerville Utah. But he is a great kid. He is going to see a lot on his mission he has never seen before. But I am so excited to work with him. He isn't some loser greenie. He is excited to be a missionary. He has no problem talking to people. In the few cases we have done a little bit of teaching, he isn't afraid at all to talk. I remembered being terrified and having Simmons do like all the teaching when I first started. So we are going to have a good transfer.
I'll stay off the ocean. Don't worry though, we had lifejackets.
Just one last insight I thought of today during personal study. In the sacrament prayers, we witness that we are WILLING to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We aren't actually taking his name upon us, just saying that we are willing to. Actually taking the name of Christ upon us comes later. Sacrament should then not only be to renew our baptism covenants, but to remind us of the covenants that come later that allow us to more fully take Christs name upon us. I just thought of that as you mentioned talking about the sacrament. I read Mosiah 5 today. Great chapter.
Love Elder Steed