July 20, 2015
Missionary work is quite difficult, but Elder Christensen is really helping me. The new senior couple came in on Tuesday who will be in Galway with us. They are the Reimers from California. They are pretty nice and said they will be able to feed us at least once a week so we're pretty excited for that. As I explained last week, we had to give our car to them, so now we are on bikes... which makes everything a lot more difficult. For the first few days on bikes, my legs and butt were so sore all the time from cycling everywhere. Elder Christensen is really fast, so I am getting a workout keeping up with him. It also doesn't help that there are lots hills that are challenging to pedal up. And our flat just happens to be at the top of this giant hill... So everyday we have to pedal up the giant hill at least a few times. My legs are going to be so strong by the time I am out of Galway.
The stereotype holds true: it rains... a lot! Almost everyday you can count on rain at some point during the day. On Saturday we were riding our bikes in the rain basically all day, so we were completely drenched by the time we got back to the flat at night. Although, there were two days this week I think where it was sunny pretty much all day long, so that was a blessing. It can also get very very windy. While studying in the morning a few days ago, I looked out the window and the rain was literally coming down sideways! I'll tell you that one of the most physically demanding tasks in the world is riding a bike uphill into the wind and pouring rain.
This week was also pretty difficult because we had a lot of appointments set up with investigators and they literally all fell through except for one last night! So it was frustrating, but we did visit a few recent converts and less actives. We visited this really nice Nigerian woman and her two sons. We intended to visit her to just get to know her more and leave a message, but she insisted on us eating food while we there so it was pretty nice that we got fed dinner as well. We also visited another single Nigerian man and he was generous as well and gave us a snack. There are some really wonderful members put here! We had two dinner appointments this week as well with very nice families. All the food was great! There wasn't a whole lot that was different, but they do love potatoes as you might have guessed. One family had made boiled potatoes, potato croquettes, AND mashed potatoes. And there were other vegetables and meat and apple sauce and other normal stuff. Oh and there is this really great drink called squash which is like really concentrated fruit juice that you put in your cup and add water to. I love it! However, I don't think I have to worry about gaining any weight in Galway with all the bike riding.
So in Galway, proselyting is pretty difficult because when it's raining it seems like there aren't a lot of happy people and nobody outside wants to talk because they are just trying to get out of the rain. So when it rains we tend to do more door-knocking and when it's not raining we like to walk around parks or the city centre and talk to people there who are outside enjoying the lack of rain. We met a lot of nice people this week who were willing to let us come teach them. Hopefully it will work out and we can actually teach them. You wouldn't believe how many tourists and non-Irish people there are here. I really wish I knew Spanish or Italian because we have talked to so many people from Spain and Italy who don't speak English very well. I've met people from all across Europe! And it's always nice to see a few Americans because they always recognize us and want to talk. There are especially a lot of visitors right now because there's this big Galway International Arts Festival which attracts a lot of people.
Sunday (yesterday) was a great day because it was sunny just about all day. It was interesting riding our bikes to church in our suits, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Right before we left the flat, one of the branch members asked if could be the pianist and told me which hymns to play. Oh and it was really interesting because the opening prayer was given in Irish! I hadn't really heard it much until then. It sounds pretty weird. Elder Christensen and I taught the gospel principles class too; we switch off every week with the other companionship in our flat. We had our real first lesson with investigators on Sunday night as well. Earlier in the week we saw two girls sitting outside their door, so we stopped and talked to them. They are from the US so they recognized us and they even had a high school friend who went on mission. They are finishing up college, but are just in Ireland for the summer to take a break. They agreed to let us come by Sunday night to teach them so we did and it went pretty well!
Missionary work is real humbling, but I am so grateful to be out here. I am learning that I need to trust the Lord because he has a plan for all of us and gives us the experiences we need to learn and grow. In Jacob 4 we were studying and it talks about how mighty Heavenly Father is and how we need to take counsel from his hand and not just think we know everything for ourselves. As is says in Alma 26, we cannot boast of our own strength, but only in the strength that comes through Christ
|View from the missionaries' flat|