Monday, June 27, 2011

Final Zone Conference with President Bullock

First Baptism

The library had no internet so we are in an internet cafe today... adventure! So many smells!
I love it!

This week has been great! So many things to tell and so little time! Sister Davis is back in action! Her stitches are slowly dissolving, her face is not swollen, and her energy level is almost normal so we are back to full days out. Its wonderful! I just love her so much, we seriously have a blast.

I don't know if I have told you this but there is an EMM accent. Most of the Americans have it. It's not really an English accent , more of an adaptation to help everyone we talk to understand us. It's classic. I am in denial but I catch myself doing it every once in a while, especially when I bear my testimony. I will record it on the tape and then I'm sure after another year I'll be full in it.
The weather here has been wild. Huge storms and now sticky and humid. It's gorgeous but not too glam when your wearing nylons and skirts- haha. I LOVE the vitamin D though! It's always classic to talk to people on the street when they ask us why we are dressed this way or think we are Jehovah's witnesses.
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the people here! I go outside and it's a real life U.N. So much diversity!

Our Miracle of the Week is Paul McNulty, who found Sister Davis's blog, and may end up reading this too. (Hi Paul!)
We are SO EXCITED because Paul, after many months of meeting with the Sisters, has decided to be baptised!We are the benefactors of the diligence of past missionary work. Paul met the Sisters late last Fall. He is a middle-aged single man and was a devoted Catholic. Missionaries taught him several times before seeing he wasn't ready to moving forward. Paul rang them one day after they had moved on, and they simply told him to read the Book of Mormon. The cycle of Paul recontacting missionaries and then not progressing occurred several times. The most recent was the transfer before I arrived in which Sister Davis made the call that if Paul wanted to learn more, he would have to start showing it by coming to church. Something you should know about Paul is that he is agoraphobic-which is a fear of wide open spaces. When he goes to areas like parking lots or wide streets he gets a feeling of dizziness and vertigo. He will then proceed to have a panic attack. One of the reasons he would never come to church was the giant parking lot there. Finally the Sisters conceived a plan to help get him in the side door to avoid the parking lot all together. Paul began to come to church for a few weeks, always coming in the side door. When I arrived, Paul had been taught everything, but not moved forward. Last week he said, " I don't want to be dropped." So we agreed to meet with him to explain that our purpose had been served. We can merely invite people to Christ. They have to decide, act, and commit. Last Monday night we met him in a park near our house. I had filled out a baptismal calendar and decided to be true to myself and be direct. We began the lesson and shared the importance of showing the Lord our commitment level. Committing to a baptismal date is a leap of faith for the investigator. They have to pray to receive a confirmation that it is what the Lord wants from them and that it is the right time. Obviously not because we as missionaries want him to. We pulled out the calendar. The Spirit began to fill me as we testified to Paul that he WAS ready. We could see it, the Light of Christ was in his countenance and his diligence to be obedient to all of the commandments is profound. We shared with him two dates, July 2 and July 9. Two Saturdays.We said,"Paul we want you to choose what day your baptism will be." As he sat and pondered, tears filled my eyes.  July 2nd jumped off the page. I knew he was going to pick it. I could feel it. He put his finger on July 2. I couldn't even speak just smiled like a fool for a few minutes.

We meet with Paul almost everyday and his spirit is growing each day. He is truly preparing himself in every way he can to be ready for this Saturday. He bears his testimony each lesson we have with him and he always says he wishes he could be baptised right now. "I don't know why it took me so long, I procrastinated so much, I just don't know why." He is so humble, it touches my heart. He is an inspiration to me to be better. He loved tea and that was one of the most difficult things for him to give up. He replaced it with something called Rubash-I think it's South African? Anyway, he says it tastes like antiseptic and yet he drinks it all the time.:) We laugh so hard when he tells us, and honestly, we don't know why he does it. We have tried explaining that he can have herbal tea or hot chocolate but he is determined to stick it out and,"Get an acquired taste" for Rubash. As Sister Davis says, "Bless his heart". His dedication is inspiring.We went to another baptism this week, a boy named Danny who will be in the YSA ward and Paul cried. He said it felt like his baptism even though it was just a "dummy run". Paul is an example of how we all need to be...So humble before the Lord.

Humility has been my key endeavor this week. The Bullocks depart this week, so we had Zone Conference to say good bye. They had missionaries stand and talk about the mission culture. Primarily, the mission vision of BECOMING pure in heart, exactly obedient, and "Preach My Gospel" missionaries. The Bullocks have done a beautiful job setting the tone for the mission. Someone told me that this is one of the most exactly obedient missions in the world. I BELIEVE IT.:) The missionaries are ALL solid. Not just a few. I am so inspired by them. I am humbled and honored to be here in this mission. I feel inadequate yet SO motivated to try and carry on the legacy the Bullocks have established. I know that exact obedience brings miracles. This is not an easy mission but it gets easier as we do exactly what we should. The Lord will help us more if we show him  how diligent we can be. I might not be drinking Rubash everyday but I am trying to consecrate my life. I do not want ANYTHING I am doing to prevent me being receptive to the Holy Ghost and his promptings.

I know this Gospel is true. I know more, now than I ever have in my life, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and our Redeemer. He loves us. He wants to help us. He is on our team. He is here with me on the streets of England, rain or shine. He is there with you in your home. He is in our hearts. And He can be everywhere if we live worthy of His presence.

Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for being on the righteous team. Really the best way you can support me is to be valiant. Lift just where you stand.

I love you with all my heart. Please post on the blog to read Elder Holland's talk, 'Mend Broken Things' and 'Lessons From Liberty Jail' and Hugh B. Brown's, 'God is the Gardener.'

I LOVE MY FAMILY! I love hearing about what you're doing, I don't feel like I am missing out because this is where I am suppose to be! I love you all.


 Sister Lovell

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Laying the Foundation

 This week has been a bit different then the rest. Sister Davis had jaw surgery on Tuesday. So we have spent most of our time in the flat letting her rest. I really pleaded with the Lord to help me best utilize the time inside to better prepare myself and get oriented, logistically.
Lets just say I stayed PLENTY BUSY. I organized any space in the flat I could find, bathroom, kitchen cupboards, book shelves. I created a work out schedule for us to do each day together. I decided how to organize my study journals, what my study schedule would look like each day/month and established weekly, monthly and yearly goals. haha I was so busy that whenever Sister Davis would wake up she would always be surprised about whatever random project I was working on. I have been happy all week. My spirits have been high and I have sincerely felt a shield of peace and protection over our home. Thank you for your prayers, we really do feel a peace with each day and the power that your support brings.

I am short on time today but wanted to share one powerful moment I had this week.
As I sat waiting for Sister Davis to come out of surgery, I spoke with my temporary companion, Sister Cannon. Sister Cannon and her husband, Elder Cannon, work with the YSA /Institute programs in Manchester. She expressed frustration that the Center for Young Single Adults will be built after they leave, though it was supposed to already have been completed. That means the Cannons end up having 20 plus YSA in their home nightly. The Cannons also do the difficult paper work for the YSA ward, sifting through WHO actually is in the ward and who has moved away.  This is tough since most students are in a permanent state of transititon. She felt frustrated about doing the grunt work knowing they would be gone before they see the fruits of their labors.
It reminded me of the experience of working at CHOICE in the villages in Kenya and Guatemala. Looking around and seeing the POTENTIAL for growth and development, I thought about how we dig the foundations of new classrooms and often leave before any of the bricks are laid for the walls. I remember talking to expeditioners about their concerns. "How do we know that it is going to be finished? Will we be sent pictures of the final product?" We all love results! As Sister Cannon and I spoke, I had a realization. The hardest part is digging the foundation and laying the cement. It must be done with the most care and skill. If it is not done correctly then the whole building will not last. As missionaries in an area, "That is going to see a huge change in the next few years," it can be discouraging. However, the big changes and developments will only happen if we work our hardest and smartest now. Being a futurist, I am very motivated by what will be. I am honored to be a part of getting my hands dirty and shoveling out the foundation of what this area can become. We must understand that each role in the process is important. Whether we are simply laying seeding of the Gospel, or laying a foundation, it is all important! Many missionaries have taught me you typically see the fruits of your labors, the transfer AFTER you have been working your hardest. I am committed...ALL IN... Both feet in the mission. I am motivated and have faith that after we leave the village, the walls of the classroom will be built. AS LONG AS I(we) do a good job in laying the foundation. The future depends on our efforts now.
I am grateful for the strengths Heavenly Father is blessing me with daily. I know that this Church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and gave his life laying a foundation for us today. I know Christ suffered and bled to create a solid foundation for each of us to build our lives upon. I will work hard to show Him my diligence and am humbled daily by His love for us. I don't quite know why we deserve it but I strive each day to be worthy.
All my love,
Sister Lovell

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hunters of Men

Sister Davis and I were on the bus heading to a potential appointment and I had the the map out trying to decipher the most efficient way to get to our intended destination. Sister Davis was behind me. Sister Davis talks to everyone, no hesitation, so it was odd she would be sitting there and not actively engaged in conversation. I turned around and as I did so, she moved and sat next to a woman near the front of the bus. She began,"We are sharing a message...," but as she spoke the woman cut her off... LOUDLY. "STOP IT, STOP IT!!" Puzzled, Sister Davis tried to continue talking to the woman. The Woman started mocking her, mimicking her words loudly. Her accent was very thick, possibly Polish. She then said, "JESUS??! NO!! HUNTERS!! HUNTERS!!" She pointed at Sister Davis and then at me and kept yelling it. "HUNTERS, HUNTERS!" We promptly exited the bus. As we walked away, still in a bit of confusion, we discussed what she had said and pondered, what compelled her to act in such a violent manner towards us? What had she meant? The Bible talks about how Israel is scattered and how fishers and hunters of men shall gather again.
Jeremiah 16:16-Behold, I will send for many fishers, said the Lord, and they shall fish them, and after will I send for many HUNTERS and they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.
In the 1800s many of the original twelve came to England (Read the history of the Church in Manchester-SO INTERESTING)... and when they preached the gospel, MANY gathered and the Church grew rapidly. They were fisherman casting their nets. The fish would come and the Gospel could engulf them. The reception of the the people was abundant. Today it is quite different. Those ready and willing to accept the gospel are less frequent. The line is cast, the invitation given, but few take it. Those seeking the truth are out there, the Lord is preparing them and such, they are preparing themselves. We as missionaries just have to FIND them. We are hunters of men. Our purpose, to find those who are seeking truth, yet know not where to find it. In a way the crazy bus lady was right. We ARE hunters, only our purpose is not to harm those we find, rather to bring them the Gospel, the secret to the greatest happiness we an receive in this life and the next.
The England Manchester Mission is a "forever finding" mission. This means we talk to EVERYONE. In PMG it says : "As you do all you can under the guidance of the Holy Ghost to find the people to teach, the lord will place such people in your path."
I know this is true. The Lord wants his prepared children to be found. He wants them to return to live with Him again. Later that same night we were getting off the bus near our house about to head home, we noticed we had 15 minutes...those are the golden minutes, right before you head in.
We approached a man, his name was Dave. Dave is very religious, his faith in God is strong. He had visited many churches. He saw the Book of Mormon in my hand and said he had one at home. He then said, "I have read it many times and I keep asking people about it. Who is Joseph Smith? No one knows! I just want to know more about all of it!"
The Lord is preparing his children. Dave committed to be baptised at the end of the month. :)

Sister Davis and I decided everyday to keep track of the "Mishaps and Miracles." At night when we total our key indicators (lessons taught, people talked to, etc...) we also write down one of each. Here are some from this week :

Mishap: The boiler breaking-now using the kettle to make hot water for the shower and to do the dishes!
Miracle: Sister Davis being able to get into the doctor (socialized medicine!)Someone cancelled when we were there and she got right in :)
Mishap: During a lesson I asked a man named Attila, "What would it mean to you to know God is there and that he loves you?" He responded, "I don't know but your eyes are hypnotizing!"
Miracle: Meeting Andrea. 19 year old girl in the street, restoring hope in her eyes, feeling the Spirit in our first lesson with her so powerfully, it was truly tangible during the first vision. Inviting her to be baptized July 9th-she is "SO EXCITED!"
Mishap/miracle: Seeing a previous investigator at church named Paul (previously dropped because he wasn't progressing anymore) He approached us and said, "I don't like not seeing or hearing from you anymore I don't want to be DROPPED" I don't know who told him this terminology but he's back on the calendar!
Miracle: I have been feeling so strongly that great changes are going to be made in this area. England was once the largest area in Europe for growth in the church and round two is fast approaching! The Area 70, Elder Steven R. Kerr came and spoke to the YSA ward on Sunday. He expressed SUCH enthusiasm for the new emphasis on missionary work in the area. We are all on a rescue mission to help all those who are searching for truth or who have fallen away. We must strengthen the foundation from within. "We are invited to be coworkers of the prophets." The army is united and we are all enlisted until the conflict is over!
I am honored to be apart of this movement! I can't wait to look back, years down the road, and see the membership double in this area, and know I had the privilege of being on the front lines. This work is hard, bearing testimony to strangers on their way to "Parklife,"a two day party/music festival,  is awkward and can feel hopeless. BUT there are people who are searching! Those who are ready and if 15 people laugh at me each day, I still know the Lord is preparing at least ONE who will be strengthened and brought hope by our message!
When I turned in my papers I knew it was the right thing but I didn't fully understand why. I did not appreciate the Gospel in my life the way I do now. My gratitude and enthusiasm are magnified DAILY. WE have the best gift known to man, the true secret to happiness! There is NOTHING more rewarding than sharing this news with everyone I meet. I know that God is our LOVING Heavenly Father, His love passes my comprehension, yet engulfs me each day. This Gospel is true and changes lives. It has changed mine and I am watching it change others.
I LOVE you family! Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH for the packages and letters! I LOVED the pictures, getting mail really is like Christmas :)keep it up!I am grateful for the time and energy devoted to sending me love! I feel your prayers everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My first full week in England. I am LOVING LIFE. I love Manchester! Sister Davis and I live in the South part of the city in an area called Withington. Our area consists of a diverse mix of flats, small houses, and an even more diverse mix of cultures. We meet many English people but have also met people from the Middle East, North Africa, Portugal, Poland, Russia, China, etc. I love the diversity. I am thrilled with this melting pot.:)
Sister Davis and I get along great. Her first name is Molly and her blog is called "Manchester meet Sister Davis." Pres. Bullock shared with us, that before I came, he thought she and I would serve together and when I arrived, the Lord confirmed it. In this short time we are learning why. Sister Davis and I are very compatible in work ethic, motivation, and energy. I always thought I was a fast walker...then I met sister Davis.:) I LOVE it. We are efficient and never linger. Our team teaching comes naturally and I am excited to see how we learn and grow together this transfer.
We attended both the family ward and the singles ward yesterday and had investigators at both. I was able to bear my testimony, introduce myself, and express my passion to be there. I felt the Lord blessing me to remember names as we were introduced to many people. It was a day of miracles. One investigator who had come with our zone leaders approached the pulpit in an old t-shirt and baggy pants. He shared that he had visited many churches and had been searching a long time to find the right faith and the feelings he felt in that meeting were different than other churches he had visited. He then said, "This is where I belong, this is the true church and I want to join." Talk about a missionary's dream. This week has  been a week of miracles. I already have a testimony the Lord is preparing people and as missionaries, we just have to be obedient and go looking for them. When the Lord thinks people are ready he MAKES our paths cross with them.:) Last night we got lost on our way home. We asked a man named Kay for directions. It started to sprinkle and I was digging in my bag for our umbrella. We made small talk with him and then Sister Davis started to share our message. She asked him," If the Lord wants us to know He is there, how do you think He would show us?" Kay's response made me want to look around for a hidden camera..."Well I think He would send us a prophet like he did in the old times, like Moses." We meet with him again on Friday. The Lord prepares people. The Lord's work is the most fulfilling work! I am blessed and honored to be here.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Now that she is in England, you might be amused to know that Kate was reassigned to Kentucky for 2 months. The day before she was scheduled to leave they called her in and told her. The entire afternoon and evening she processed this news! Then the next morning, the day she was to leave, they called her back in and told her her visa had come!( Kate just loves this kind of unscheduled turn!:) ...."Dancing lessons from God!"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Companion and First Area

With President and Sister Bullock 

New Companion Sister Davis


Hello FAMILY :)

So I had a chance to write you a simple hello and let you know I made it safely yesterday. Today is my first day in my new area! I will tell you all of that but first more details from yesterday...
So yesterday after I arrived at the mission home I spent most of the day with Sister Bullock. Since we were companions for the day, I spent most of the afternoon preparing the house and meals for transfer day (aka today-Wednesday). It was a very lovely day. The Bullocks have three married sons, a daughter who is a freshman at BYU, and a son on a mission in Japan. Sister Bullock said she really misses her daughter and it was nice to have some helping hands around the kitchen again. I think it was good for me too. No one could ever replace Mom but I understand why the Mission President’s wife gets the nickname mission 'mom.' After we had finished preparing all of the meals, she took me on a walk that she and her daughter, Jennifer, frequently go on to a nearby manor. The estate is quite large and we had a good time just walking around. It reminded me a lot of near where we used to live in Paris (with the grand walking paths and rows of trees). The trees here are gorgeous. The weather is JUST like Seattle. It's nice because I’m familiar with it and the air is always clean feeling :) The mission home itself is 33 years old and has housed 11 mission presidents and their families. It is a quaint little cottage with brick walls and white trim, very typical of this entire area. I feel as if I am on the set of a movie at all times. It’s the coolest!! After our walk Sister Bullock and I came back and she asked if I wanted to rest but I knew if I slept in the day I wouldn’t that night so I powered through. In the evening I had the chance to meet up with two sister missionaries in the area and teach a lesson with them following their Tea appointment. Here Tea means dinner. The appointment was with a less active family. Dona and her two daughters, Dora and Tara. The sisters spoke on forgiveness, the spirit was so strong, and I was even able to share some insights. They talked about how important it is to not hold grudges and how burdening it can be to us if we do not forgive others. I also felt compelled to share a quote from Elder C. Scott Grows conference talk on the atonement. In it he mentions that we must also forgive ourselves. The lesson was powerful and sweet. After we left we went tracking down the street for about two hours. We just knocked on doors. My first real life experience doing this. I’m learning how to be short and sweet! We were able to talk to many people, and the excuses people come up with are quite entertaining. I am so excited to be here. Even getting rejected gives me more desire to keep going. I understand that people are not going to be openly receptive but that is why we are here... to weed through all the sand and find the golden nuggets, to find those who are searching. I will knock doors for hours on end and if I only find one person who is seeking truth, that’s enough. I am so motivated (sure easy to say after day one:) but seriously, I am thrilled to be here. Sister Bullock came and picked us up and took the sisters home. President Bullock had shared with me that there were three trainers open and he didn’t know who I would be working with. I know that both sister Davis and I prayed hard last night for the Lord to put us together...

My new area is the Manchester South Area, so the South West corner of the city. My companion's name is Sister Davis. I am SO LUCKY. All the missionaries at the Stake center today (30 or so) all kept telling me how lucky I was and that if they made female zone leaders Sister Davis would be one! I can tell already that we are going to have so much fun together and WORK HARD :). It’s kind of our half P-day since transfers mix everything up. We live on the third floor of a cute little building. In our FLAT. I love all the new terminology. We will be walking or taking the bus. The senior missionaries in our ward drove us about town and I got my bus pass today. OK COOLEST PART- we are assigned to the YSA ward. So we will be working with single adults (besides investigators we find through contacting). I am so excited; some of the main effort is to work on reactivation. Inactivity is one of the main focuses of the mission. I could not be more thrilled with our assignment. HOW COULD GOD NOT HAVE A HAND IN MY LIFE? I am a skeptic by nature, but this week has been unreal and coincidences like this don’t just happen. I am so thrilled. I think so much about all of the good influences in my life during all my times of doubt and I just cannot wait to PAY IT FORWARD. Truly aligning my life with the Lord's will has changed my life. I just want others to know of the peace and happiness it can bring. I want to instill hope. I want to remind people that God is our loving Heavenly Father and HE WANTS TO BLESS US. We just have to get it together and show him we are worthy of those blessings. I know from personal experience that obedience makes all the difference. The Lord is blessing me so much, and I am so excited to just get to work and starting finding people to teach. I honestly think I’ve said I'M SO EXCITED about 684924 times since I arrived here. I’m sure reality will hit and I will mellow out but my enthusiasm and passion for this gospel won't. The testimony I have is only growing.And my urgency to invite others to feel of this joy is ever-increasing. As I gain confidence in my ability to share the message, I know my boldness with grow as well, and anyone who knows me knows I will say it like it is! I know this gospel is true. Every night I report to my Heavenly Father and He helps to validate my efforts with new ideas and concepts to share. I am thrilled for this privilege and honored by the spirit I feel abiding with me.

I apologize for the lack of detail in this letter-By Monday I will have more information on some of our progressing investigators. But in the mean time, thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your letters. I will do my best to write everyone back that I have not yet but I only write on Pday (Monday).

I love you all!
until Monday,

Sister Lovell