Called To Serve

Called To Serve

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This is it!

WE DID IT!!! We made it to the LAST time I will email you! I remember getting all of these from friends - like seeing Kenz's and thinking how on earth is she already coming home. I think back to points on my mission and just thinking that this day would never come... and now LOOK! Its here. I just can't believe it. Crazy crazy crazy. 

But to update ya quickly! This week has been great. A rollercoaster ride for sure. Its so hard to stay focused on what is important and still keep my mind on the work and all of that but there are so many distractions and just things to take of - that have to be taken care of as well. So i have just been really working on keeping my thoughts focused and trying to be where I am as much as possible. It has been helpful having 2 exchanges because I am just thinking about them instead of me! Isn't that great. A mission has taught me that service and always thinking of others is ALWAYS the key! It really does make everything better. But yes! I HAD MY LAST EXCHANGE OF MY MISSION ON MONDAY! WHOOO!!! I have LOVED getting to spend most of my mission going on exchanges with other sisters. It has been the biggest blessing to get the privilege of getting to meet and become such great friends with so many amazing girls from all over the world too! I have been the lucky one to work with all of them which has helped me become better and then strengthened our area too! I have loved it. But they are also a lot of work... can be exhausting and takes loads of preparation and planning SO it was exciting in that aspect too! :) So that was great. Grateful to be a sister training leader and learn so much from the sisters. 

With that! I have also LOVED being able to go to MLCs and just be so close to President and Sister Gubler. OH i love them. But crazy story of this week. WE were supposed to have MLC yesterday but last weekend we got an email that they changed it to TOMORROW and then on Friday we also have another full day of additional trainings and meetings. SO on my very last week I am at MLC all of tomorrow, the training all of Friday, and then run back to prepare the chapel for EMMANUELLA'S BAPTISM!!!!!! AHHH!! Can you believe it! She passed her interview yesterday and is getting baptized this Saturday! It is SO GREAT! No better way to spend my last weekend. But with that we will run back to get the chapel set up because on Saturday morning at 9 we have Zasha's patriarchal blessing and then the baptism at 10 and then at 11:30 DLC will start - that will go for probably a good rest of the day and then Suman is having us for dinner. and then Sunday and Monday and then i leave! CRAZY RIGHT? I was trying to fall asleep last night and I panicked realizing that we are so busy but I also still need to pack! haha its so good though! Im excited for a busy week and so grateful for MLC and meetings because I get to see some of my best friends like Sister Couper! Where i wouldn't get to see her and say goodbye if not! So it will be exciting.

How great is that? Emmanuella is getting baptized! She is so funny. The most spunky and crazy 10 year old I have ever seen. It's so crazy to me that all of these kids I have taught I always think how I have a little sister their age. and then I stop because I don't! I LEFT a little sister their age but she is now 12! TWELVE! Linds still seems like this little girl to me. I think i am going to have a shock with her for sure. But I'm so excited to see her. Ive been living with sisters for the past 18 months and I am excited to get to be with my real one! 

But a lot of the past week has just been getting Emmanuella ready and teaching and just running around. Its been really fun! we didn't do anything special for new years eve... besides NOT being able to sleep because of all the noise. I have been struggling lately to fall asleep. Its the worst but i feel like with everything going on once I get to bed that is the time my brain still doesn't switch off and my thoughts are all over the place. So its been hard anyways but then on new years eve our neighbours were BLASTING music. it was exciting. So nothing fun there but on new years day 
Sister Aidoo invited us over for dinner! It was great! She is so wonderful. We will definitely come and visit her when we come back! 

A fun experience this week was on a teach with Emmanuella we brought a brother from Ghana to fellowship Emmanuella's dad ( a LA coming back! ) We were almost done with the lesson but then we asked him how he came to know about the church. Cute brother Akesson then told the greatest story of his conversion. Lasted about 30 minutes... yikes! Definitely went over time on the lesson. But it was great. He talked about how he actually never had missionaries teach him. He had grown up believing and came across the BOM and said because he knew of God he wanted to know what this book said about Him. So he started reading and he said that it felt like there was a magnet. He couldn't put it down. And as he read he said he started seeing changes in his life - he was blessed to find a job when the situation was so hard at the time. He was being so blessed that even his friends he lived with asked him what he was doing - thought he was using voodoo magic. He told them that it was just the book. Even his muslim friend apparently read and it converted him as well. After all of this they finally found out that the Book was associated with our church and were baptized 2 weeks after finding the church. It was so neat to hear him bare the most humble and powerful testimony of the Book of mormon. As i reflect on it I love it so much because I have come to know that as well. There is a power that comes through reading it. I know it because I have experienced it. No longer do I read because I know i should or I am told to but I LOVE IT. I truly feel a difference in the days where I don't get to read it, or read it as I should. I long for it. And I think that is because as I read I remember HIm. I remember my saviour. As I have read the Book of Mormon on my mission I have come to know my Saviour Jesus Christ. I have seen how he has healed, lead, and blessed his children. I have seen his compassion and service and example. And i have come to recognize how he has done all of those things for me as well. I am so grateful for brother Akessons testimony that reminded me of my testimony as well. I know the book of mormon is true. And with that it will never matter what anyone says to me about our church or Joseph Smith or the current prophet. the Book is true and so it backs up everything else.

Another tender moment this week was last night traveling home from Kelly and her girls. I sat by a man and just started to talking to him about his day. He was a sweet man from Jamaica. The conversation eventually lead to why I was there... my favorite question :).... and I told him! I showed him the Book of Mormon and I testified how It could help us. He said he had heard of it before and then asked the BEST question - how could he get one of those books. I know I have done it so many times on my mission but I realized when I handed him the book of mormon and promised him how much it could help him I realized how much I am going to miss that. Get to miss being in London and serving these people that I LOVE. I love the crazy London life and so many people that say no to me ALL day long but then we find that ONE person that is just ready for it and wanting it. And then getting to see how the gospel really does change them. because it is true. Ah even writing it out my heart is just really full. I love this so much. I am so grateful for the blessing it has been to serve here but mostly to serve Him. 

But with that! I know that it will be so great at home - I'm still not to sure about the whole school thing and next steps with it all - but i know it will be the best because I will get to be back at home with all of you! :) And so that will make it the best no matter what. 

I am so excited to see you - and I feel like i am ready! I am definitely tired and so looking forward to just being the best member of the church that I can be. Just getting to apply everything I have learned here but I am going to miss this a lot. I love getting to do this. I guess as i have been thinking (going on my rollercoaster ride :) ) my heart is just so full of thanks that Heavenly Father lead me to serving. I think back to when I was trying to figure out if I should go or what I should do - if it was right - and how difficult it was for me. The thought though if I had decided not to - oh it makes me just cringe. I am SO thankful that I decided to come. It has been THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. Nothing has pushed me more emotionally and mentally and spiritually as well. I have literally had the WORST of the worst times and the hardest situations where I have felt alone and confused and just so hopeless. But with all of that - and through all of that - Those times have become the most sacred of experiences for me now because I came to know my Saviour Jesus Christ. I came to know that He really does live. I KNOW THIS. I know that he can help us NO MATTER WHAT. no matter how silly or small or even how big - that his sacrifice covers it. And His sacrifice covers me. I have come to see how His love changes others. I have seen it time and time again as I have been blessed to witness so many friends come to know him as well and get on the path to coming to know him more. I have come to know him as I have not just testified of his name but defended it. And i am determined to forever do that. I have come to know that His atoning sacrifice is real and I have felt peace. I have felt forgiven. I have seen for myself that guilt and regrets and dispare can be turned to hope and peace and relief because he suffered it all for me. Oh i just know that he is there. If there is one thing that I have learned these 18 months is that I have come to know him. And that has made all of those hard experiences more than worth it. and with that I know that no matter what the future brings it will be okay! He is going to have my back just like he always has. I know that he will always be there and so with that I am not afraid! He will help me! I loved your quote mom - it was exactly right. 

So yes. Im just so grateful. I love him! And I love these people and this experience. And i am so grateful that I love it so much and that it will be hard to leave it all. That is what I wanted! I have let Him change me. So as funny as the transition might be, I'm grateful its not something that will be easy! 

I was also thinking of all of the other fun things that serving has taught me though too! Like how to use a knife! Honestly I have to use it now... I have also learned of the incredible thing of CUSTARD! Taught me the importance of Goals. As well as how to manage my time and keep a planner! So important. I think i will need to buy one or use a phone (will i have one of those? ) or something! I don't know how I would do it otherwise - i have turned into a list person! Warning you as well a mission has also taught me how to multi task REALLY well. I think it drives poor Sister Dorich crazy but I just can't sit still. I have to be doing something all the time. So help me get over that, I think it would  be good for me to just sit... But i have also learned that love is the MOST important thing. That is doesn't matter who they are or funny things that they do - you can get along with anyone and not just get along with them but learn to love them! I have learned the value in serving. Teaching one by one. I have also learned the importance of friends - good friends that have the same goals that you do. I have learned that I do not handle funny foods well - and that I love carrots! :) Oh just so much. So grateful to be here.

BUT, i was thinking about how excited I am to just update you on everything. I have felt my whole mission, it actually frustrated me a lot at the beginning, on how I couldn't really tell you anything. Ha sounds kind of funny as this is getting SO long but I would send emails and it just doesn't tell anything really of my week or certain experiences or telling you about the people! OH i can't wait to tell you about everything. I didn't end up buying a stick to put my pictures on. They were crazy expensive. But they should all be on the computer right? You have them on your emails at least? And I will send them all over to me again so i don't loose them. BUT i can't wait to go through the pictures and just tell you the stories behind all of them. 

Cant believe that I get to see you so soon! 
Hope you have the BEST week and just get to excited for me to come home! :) 

Thank youfor being the BEST support while I have been out here! SO much of it goes to you as well. Thank you for your love and help and guidance and patience. Just everything. I LOVE YOU!!!!! 

And not only TALK to you soon... but SEE YOU SOON!! 

I love you! 

Sister Gwilliam 

From my side!

Sent from my iPad

Christmas Day Skype time!


Cute Wilma - I love her.
And then sister aidoo and her daughter Josephine! Love them!

Sent from my iPad


Sunday, January 1, 2017

I love my Family!!

I LOVED your emails!! OH it is so fun! Don't worry im not getting trunky... still got SO much to do and so little time to do it.... but im in the same boat! I GET TO SEE YOU IN 2 WEEKS FROM TODAY! Only two weeks! AHH!! I'll touch on it later but it just doesn't even seem real. This is something I have looked forward to for 18 months and it didn't ever seen like it would happen. And the fact that I will only email you one more time... no way. Its just crazy. Its kind of funny too because in all honesty, after being away for so long, part of me just feels like you are just email addresses that I get every week. the fact that my family is REAL and that I will get to be with them again is just so exciting! SO so exciting in 2 weeks but don't worry! Right now England is where I am and want to be!:) 

But skyping was SO WONDERFUL!!! Oh it was so great. And DON'T EVEN WORRY! Both of you and ky apologized for not letting me talk - but all i wanted was to hear about ky and how he was doing! That is all that I wanted so it was PERFECT! Just what I had hoped for. Cute ky! It did sound that he is a little homesick after it. Which is totally normal. I do remember the first christmas is the hardest. Its just hard when you are so used to so much family and the activities and relaxing - I know i really struggled with it being so different last year. It is still so good but so different. This christmas was a million times better!  But i do remember it being hard! But skyping was definitely the highlight of both! It was so fun to get to be able to all talk together for a few minutes. Oh I just love our family! 

I am glad that I didn't look like I had a bad fake tan! haha! Dont worry! I wouldn't let me come off a plane and spoil those pictures! :) And with the talking - I realised as well that in 2 weeks you both are just going to hear ALL of the stories. Probably until you are sick of them and me talking! :) So I thought we could just focus on ky and then you will get a proper update on everything! ARE YOU EXCITED? I am. 

But i am glad that Christmas was so much fun! It sounds like it was a fun day and the SNOW! Mom you must have been so happy! White Christmas' are your favourite. I can't believe how much snow there is there as well. That is something I will have to get used to again. it can be FREEZING here but I haven't had snow like that since I have been here. So that will be fun! :) 

Christmas for me was so great! Like i said before- this one was SO much better. I think it was just becuase I realized that It wasn't going to be like christmas' back home - and so i didn't expect it and it was so great! Christmas eve we spent going around with goodies and handing them out to formers and potentials - and then we went to a LA that night. Then on christmas - i tried sleeping in. President gave us permission as a Christmas gift to sleep in an extra hour and I couldn't do it.  Honestly I am still so frustrated about that. And it makes me nervous for being at home. I better be able to sleep past 6:30. But we had church which was so great. I loved having christmas and church!! I think we should have a service every year. Sister Dorich and I for our personal study that morning each read our favorite scripture about christ and then opened a present. And then the other would go... I LOVED IT! Haha! Totally might try and do that in the future too. LOOK! I have totally become that RM that would drive everyone crazy. But it would be great. And it kept him the focus.... haha! I can just see linds's face if I brought up that Idea! :) But on Christmas day none of the bus's work in london so we had to walk to all of our appointments which was the BIGGEST tender mercy so I could have time to try and digest all that I was eating. I have done SO WELL  towards the end of my mission of eating well and I think i put everything back on in the 2 days of meal appointments. It was so much. SO yummy but so much. So we went from the Kamara's to the Campbells and then to sister aidoo! It was so great! We even had our friend Denis come to sister Aidoos with us and he really enjoyed it! So it was a great day! 

The day after Christmas is also celebrated here in England. IT is called Boxing day and it is still a public holiday! A lot of people just stay at home with family and rest! So that day we also had 2 meal appointments. It was a bit crazy but great! So so great to be serving in London for christmas. I LOVED IT! and it will be super fun being here for new years eve too! They have a HUGE show in London - just right opposite the river. And apparently Zasha said that you can see it from here sometimes! Not that i will see it though with going to bed at 10:30... :) 

But I was smiling about both of your comments on me coming home. How it is so exciting but also kind of sad and can make us nervous... it was good because I AM IN THE SAME BOAT! So look! We will just all get through all these emotions together! :) 

I have jsut realized how much different my life has been for the past 18 months. SKyping was SO wonderful but it was also a little funny in seeing our home and just hearing about life there and just realising how I am not the same person that was there before. And how that might make it a funny transition. I always thought it was funny to hear how missionaries sturggled with the adjustment coming home - but I see it now. I have just been so focused on one thing for so long and have changed and then am going back a different person - better person for sure - but will just have to balance it all out to make sure I stay that same way.  The boy and friend and school drama just dont even interest me while i am here. I AM HERE SAVING SOULS! haha! I know that is dramatic. but I think it will be hard for me to balance that all out. I have also thought about how funny it will be that I wont have people around me that are so on the page as I do here. I dont know if that makes sense - but just for 18 months I have been surrounded by people who are doing the exact same thing, have the same goals, have all left their family, all know their purpose - and it is the same for all of us! So they perfectly understand in a way. Where I am realizing it will be different. Everyone back home has been at home or serving other places or at school and it will just be different. So yeah... sorry i am rambling! But i am definitely a little nervous and anxious about it too! BUT in my interview I loved how he said that I am not leaving I am just being transferred to Draper! How great is that! I don't have to change anything but just I am going somewhere else. Just like how it took time to get used to aldershot or sutton after being in a different area it will take time to get used to things and find out what is most effective but it will come with time. And if there is anything that I have learned it is that the lord supports us through it all! I know he will help me! he has proven that time and time and time again out here. I know he wont leave me but be with me to help as I get things all sorted. So with that... more than me being patient with you... please be patient with me! I told you how there was an RM that came home about a month ago and goodness sakes - she was SO AWKWARD! Just so quiet and seemed confused trying to figure life out. We went to theirs on boxing day and she seems so much better now. So we will just figure it out together and it will be great! BUT so much to be excited about! It will be A BLAST! and it will be the best becuase this time I will get to adjust and be able to have your help doing it! I have missed that SO much these 18 months! 

But yes! It is just a rollercoaster but I am just choosing to LOVE everyday! Days seem to FLY by lately. We just can't get everything done that we need to. And the craziest too is that next week is the MLC, DLC, DM, and exchanges week! So it will be even crazier. Those weeks always fly by. So im just trying to enjoy and embrace every moment here! And dad I LOVED your advice about saying a proper goodbye. I loved that! And needed the reminder. I sometimes can be too focused i think - just too focused on the work and doing what I need to do - that I forget the things that are most important. Like the people I have met and the relationships I have here and making sure that I let them know how much I love them. SO THANK YOU for the reminder. I will DEFINITELY do it! And so excited for it.

One of the greatest blessings and best part of yesterday was the Zasha called us yesterday and she is getting her patriarchal blessing on the 7th of January - my last saturday as a missionary. and she has asked that I sit in it with her. OH I COULD CRY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT! Isn't that the neatest thing you have ever heard? OH it is so amazing. so so amazing. Can't think of a better way to spend my last weekend! 

I also wanted to ask!! I REALLY really want to bring stuff home for you to experience england! Have I ever talked about things that you would want to try or specific things you would like me to bring home? Tshirts? Food? mom I am still keeping my eyes open for a nativity - but anything in specific? I am going to bring things regardless so you might as well tell me something that you would actually like! :) I just wish i could take it all home - especially all the people i love here so much so you could meet them. But i guess that means we will just have to come back.... :) 

but things work wise are still going great! We are working with some great friends and hopefully emmanuella (the 10 year old) will still be able to be baptised on the 7th! But whatever is best for her! :) We are busy teaching though and finding as well and it is just a blast. 

I am so grateful for both of you and the incredible examples you are! I hope you realise how great you are - the fact that ky and I are on missions is a result of the incredible parents you have been! I am just so grateful for you! And so grateful I will be able to finally give you THE BIGGEST HUGS in just 2 weeks. Ah it will be the best. 

Can't believe only one more time to email! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? But until then HAVE THE BEST WEEK! Tell linds that she failed at emailing me... AGAIN! and to please send me one! And yes, I love both so much!!! 

Talk to you soon! 

Sister Gwilliam

Sister aidoos dinner - this was our last one of the night!

We also had exchange with the mitcham sisters is week. Sister rahova - Czech republic. Sister lullab from the phillipeans (I don't know how to spell anymore... ?) . Cutest sisters.

Sent from my iPad

This is sister aidoo! I LOVE her. When we come back we will definitely
come see her. She just is e best and always takes care of us and makes
us feel so loved. Her daughter just got her call to Atlanta georiga!

Christmas Day! All the missionaries in our ward!

Our second dinner appointment on Christmas was a family that lives on the 13th floor of their complex. And so to help digest all the food we had just ate we took the stairs!:) it was great!

Sorry for the face. Probably in pain from all the food! But this is sister Campbell. And yes! That is how some members of the Peckham ward comes to church on Sunday! Yay for Africa!

Sent from my iPad