Dear family and friends,
Happy May week! The wisteria and lilacs are in full bloom and are cascading everywhere. It is breathtaking and the air smells unbelieveably glorious. May is definitely the time to visit Cambridge! We are so looking forward to Scott and Sherri, Chloe, Carlee and Jaylee coming to visit next week!
We had a great week, albeit sad! It was transfer week. That is always hard on us. Sister Bader and Elder Champion went home and Elder Hiltunen was transferred. We've started a tradition to have a waffle breakfast for the departing missionaries the day they leave. It is really fun to gather for the last time, swap addresses, hug them and express our love. We got three new missionaries; Elder Daley from Lehi, Elder Coon from West Valley City, and Sister Becker (a greenie) from Hanover, Germany. We got to meet them the next day at district meeting, which is always a great thing, especially watching the deer in the headlights look we get from the new ones! Our purpose is to hopefully put them at ease and let them feel of our love and support.
We had a glorious day on Wednesday. We usually meet with the Tilbrooks on Wednesday night and this was no exception. We have taught Andrew all the discussions and have decided to review gospel principles with him. Brad felt strongly that we challenge him to baptism. They will be moving to Scotland within the month and we didn't want them to leave without their knowing of our desire for him to be baptized. The spirit was strong in the home as we talked about faith. I think he was quite taken aback when Brad issued the challenge. He was quiet for a while and then said, I am just not ready. I know what is required for membership in the church and I am an all the way kind of person. I don't want to join until I know for sure and can honestly commit myself to live the gospel. The thing that was touching was that his wife Gail offered the closing prayer and prayed that Andrew would be baptized. The spirit in the room was palatable! We left feeling so grateful for the blessing of being on a mission. We feel that maybe this is why we came to this mission--to meet and grow to love Andrew and Gail. We really believe that he will be baptized some day! We will be eternal friends!!! They are so excited to meet Scott and Sherri and the girls, so we are planning for the girls to have a first class missionary experience and share a FHE lesson with them!
One of our missionaries we have grown to love (Sister Collette Nebeker), returned to visit us with her mother and twin sister. They came right before institute and it was like old home week. Both she and her sister are engaged within two days of each other and they will be married at the end of the summer. It’s amazing to me how we have made eternal bonds of friendship in such a short amount of time. That is one of the miracles of serving a mission!
Friday we were able to meet at the mission home with President and Sister Stevens and all the YSA missionaries in our mission. It was a forum of sharing ideas, successes and love for the work. Each couple has a slightly different assignment. One is a couple serving in a YSA ward in London. The others are serving over an entire stake of YSA and we are serving in a ward YSA program. Two of the couples will be phasing out a full-time missionary YSA assignment, meaning that the stake will call a local couple to serve. The Area Presidency is feeling very strongly that eventually the whole YSA program will be organized and run through the individual stakes. As we talked with the couples leaving soon, they shed tears thinking about leaving their missions. They are very tired, but also are dreading to leave the young people they have grown to love and cherish. I can understand their emotion very well!
Sunday, Brad was able to confirm Alex Towey, a young single adult that will be now joining our ranks! He will be a blessing to the ward. He is strong and committed. Then one of our YSA’s , Kalil Studer (from Brazil) had conferred upon him the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to the office of priest. He asked Brad to ordain him, which was a real honor for Brad. Generally, one doesn’t give his priesthood line of authority to someone unless they are receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood, but Brad felt impressed to give his line of authority to Kalil. In this way, he could explain to Kalil that he was ordained by the power of Jesus Christ. Kalil was so touched and said that he was going to frame and hang this priesthood line of authority next to his certificate of receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and being ordained to the office of priest. It is so humbling to us to see the childlike faith and joy that these young people possess. Then Brad was able to give priesthood blessings of healing to three more young single adults. They have become like our family and Brad was so humbled and honored to be asked to use his priesthood in these sacred ways.
We attended a Sunday night stake YSA committee meeting with some of our committee members, Jordan Clarke, and Sam Ablett. Like I said, we are the only senior missionaries in our stake and we serve in one ward. The other wards were anxious to ask us how our program is organized and wanted to know what we have found successful. We likewise were anxious to learn how the other wards were working and hear of their successes. It was a great meeting, however, like many in the missionfield, we had to travel about an hour and a half each way to attend the meeting. It sure makes me appreciate having to go about 4 blocks to the church and even then, we drive!!!!
I want to thank you all for your kindness and thoughtfulness for my birthday! I felt so loved that day and want you to know how much I love and appreciate all of you. You are such a strength to us! May you have a wonderful week and know that you have someone in the UK who is praying for you every day!!!
We love you all! Missions are the best!
Dad and Mom
Grandpa and Grandma
Brad and Vicki