Monday, February 24, 2014

32nd Letter from England

Hey everyone! 
You always say things in your email that refer to things I had no idea were going on!  What's up with Ukraine?  Why's the President fleeing?  
I would love to watch American Idol sometime.  That picture you sent me, I'm assuming my favorite would be the bloke on the bottom left?  
What else have all of y'all been up to? 
Last Monday for P-day we played basketball and ping pong all day, that was a lot of fun.  After that, the bishop and his family had us go to an all you can eat restaurant in the middle of Small Heath (I feel more in arabia there than in arabia).  We ended up walking the opposite way to get home  but ended up not being able to get a bus and were very late getting in. 
Bishop gave us some names of less actives to go and see so first thing Tuesday morning we went and saw a man named Tony.  He has claimed he will never come to church again but still has a picture of Joseph Smith and a picture of the Saviour on the wall.  His baptismal certificate, and the missionaries that taught him hanging up.  All, ironically, covered in residue from a gross amount of smoking.  That night we went and taught our first English lessons.  3 people came, Ladi, Adi, and Kamilla.  All from Albania.  We had a lot of fun and it went pretty well. 
On Wednesday we had district meeting in Solihull (where Elder Holland was on assignment in the early 2000s -he actually used to come to Sheldon ward or so I'm told) after that we went on exchange so I was with Elder Ruka.  We went tracting and knocked door after door, not a single English person answered the door and we were given several items of islamic literature to read and 'find out for ourselves.'  It was actually funny because from a car I heard prayer call, then I knocked on a door and nobody answered, I saw in the window a woman praying, so we decided to just talk to people on the streets for a while.  Who would have thought that prayer time would ever affect my proselyting?
On Thursday we did several hours of finding, found no one.  We had to go to the chapel to practice a skit for Saturday night's ward activity.  We spent the whole day talking to people with nobody being interested.
Friday, we had our weekly planning, and we also had to prepare for English lessons.  We did that then did some more finding.  We got a return appointment for next Tuesday so hopefully that will work out.  We had dinner at the Hadleys house and then went to teach English again.  This time, Ladi, Adi, and their friend Bledi came.  We taught prepositions and things like that then gave them a brief tour of the chapel.  Hopefully they'll start investigating the church. 
Saturday we again, did finding all day.   It's amazing the amount of people you can talk to and still have nobody wanting to hear what you say.  We every now and then talk to someone who's cool but still isn't at all interested.  We had our weekly dinner with the Watsons then hurried off to the chapel for our ward activity.  We had a story telling night that went really well.  The missionaries did a skit of the good samaritan that had a few funny things in it.  Everyone seemed to like it when I came riding in as the good samaritan riding on my 'beast' Elder Chardon.  Other members shared great stories and some good talents.  It reminded me of the coffee houses we had at the Academy. 
Sunday was just like another church day except during Sunday School a guy named Robert just walked into the church!  He is super cool and extremely interested.  After sacrament meeting (because we have that last) he said he was so excited to become a good member of this church.  He said he has found something better than he has in other churches.  That was a miracle.  Robert is in the other teams area so they'll be teaching him.
I did get Arabic nametags and they are sweet!  I wear them depending on where we're going that day.  A lot of people have looked at them and read them.  They all seemed a bit taken aback that I'm wearing Arabic on my chest.  Especially bearing the words 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints'.  It's been a good opportunity to start talking to these people.  

So I said that this was the hardest week of my mission, but it doesn't sound that bad.  The thing is, ever since I was moved from Eastwood it seems like we've been talking to people, inviting them to learn, doing all we can and nothing happens for us.  I've taught very few lessons in these past weeks and essentially have not gained a single new investigator.  I also see miracles happening all around the mission, Coventry had 7 baptisms this week (aww yeahh Elder Harris! :D )  The other Elders in Sheldon are seeing sweet miracles and I even heard that back in Eastwood they have a family on a baptismal date.  It does make me really happy for all of them and I'm happy that people are accepting the gospel, but my patience is just being tested.  Hopefully I'm passing the test by staying diligent.  There's actually a story that Elder Steel gave me from a missionary in the 80s that talks about 7 months of his mission where he had essentially no success, very few lessons and no baptisms.  He was in.... our area.  The exact area I'm over right now.  He talks about a lot of valuable lessons he learned by serving there.  I'm trying not to sound all sad or depressed or discouraged because I'm not.  But it is hard and I am going through a bit of a hard time.  It's all part of the experience though.  This is the mission. 
I hope all of y'all are doing great.  I hear of all y'all are doing and occaisonally am tempted to think about how much fun that sounds like doing.  But there really is no place I'd rather be than in England, at this time, doing this work. 
I love y'all.
Elder Evan Pogue

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