Thursday, June 30, 2016

1 YEAR in the SIM !

Monday, June 27, 2016

Well it's pretty hard to believe, but I have officially been out here in the UK/ Ireland for over a year now. It's absolutely crazy how quickly how time has just flown by. So many trials, and happy times and heartbreaks and miracles. They say the 2nd year goes by even faster, which I'm not sure is possible, but we'll see! I am excited for  what the second half of my mission has in store.

It was quite a crazy week for us!! Lots of things got changed last minute and we had a couple of difficult situations to deal with. So we originally had our zone conference planned for Wednesday this week, but it got postponed the night before because there was a funeral and wedding happening at the stake centre the same day and a few other things were happening. So on Wednesday we went to Edinburgh to go on exchanges with the Assistants instead. However, when we got there in the morning there were a lot of sudden events that were happening, so Elder V and I had to help out with some emergency moves happening in the mission. Long story short, one of the Assistants, Elder Lindsay, and I had to drive a missionary back to Glasgow who is now part of a trio there, and some new Sisters got moved to our zone until the end of the transfer as well. So it was quite a hectic day driving back and forth between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but we finally got to do some good missionary work in Edinburgh the rest of the day. 

So our Zone conference got moved to Friday, and it was actually really great!! There was some great instruction and I think the whole zone really enjoyed it! The end was incredibly spiritual. After the conference we got some compliments from some of the Sister Training Leaders, and the Assistants who came to the conference, that it was really well done and great preparation was made. So we were really satisfied with it! 

Teaching at the Botanical Gardens
(Lisa-ward member, Lisa-investigator, Me, Elder V)

Even with all the crazy things going on, we were still able to have a pretty good week! Lisa is still doing incredibly well, and has learned all the commandments now and just wants to keep learning more! She's been thinking about baptism more and even talked with her family about it as well, which was a huge step for her. Elder V and I love teaching her. There's a few others that are doing well also, but sometimes we lose contact for a couple days, and then they are back, so there's not as much consistency. But we have found lots of new people as well, so this should be a great week!! 

Sadly, it could be my last week in Glasgow... Elder V and I thought for a while that there was a possibility that Elder V could be taken out of a zone leader role because President doesn't usually like having missionaries ending their missions as ZL's. But after our interviews with President, we think there's probably a good chance that he stays a zone leader, which means that he would probably stay in Glasgow and I would probably get moved somewhere else. So we'll see... I would honestly love to stay here in Glasgow. There are so many great people here that I love working with and it would be so sad to leave. But I trust President Donaldson- he is such an inspired man. So whatever happens, I know it will be perfectly right! 

-Elder Oxspring

Oh and today, Elder V and I went with some other missionaries in our ward, Elder Jones and Elder Shiels to an area way North of Glasgow and hiked this huge hill. So it was a lot of fun, and I'll send some pictures. 

                P- Day hike up 
                Campsie Hill 

Sister Stapley - best friends with a Sister missionary serving in our ward

Monday, June 20, 2016

Continuing Success

Monday, June 20, 2016
    Happy Father's Day for all the Dad's out there! For some reason UK Father's Day and US Father's day are the same day, but not Mother's day... oh well, it was great day for me to remember my great father back home as well! 

     Things are going so incredibly well still here in Glasgow! We have experienced so many blessings and miracles recently, it's amazing! 2 baptisms happened in Glasgow this week. A man was baptised into my ward (Springboig Ward), and confirmed on Sunday, as well as a man in the other ward in Glasgow city (Glasgow ward). They had a combined baptismal service on Saturday, which was incredible! I helped out in a musical number that was performed after the people getting baptised were changing- I accompanied a recent convert who sang. As well, there were a lot of investigators, family and friends that were there! The two people who were baptised last week, Keri and Jane, each came to the baptism and brought a friend along, it was so cool!! 

     I went on a lot of exchanges this week again. On Tuesday, I was with Elder Davainis who is a convert from Lithuania! Fun Fact: He is 1 of 2 missionaries in the world who is from Lithuania because the church is really small there. He is such a mature, great missionary! I was with Elder Jones, from Wales on Wednesday (we serve in the same ward so I already know him well), so that was fun. And On Friday, I was with a new Elder to the zone Elder Perkes, from Idaho Falls- he is a really great missionary as well; he started his mission the transfer before I came in. We have so many great missionaries in our zone, which we can clearly tell by all the success that is happening at the moment. We also had a zone leadership council with all the district leaders in the zone on Friday, to reflect on how things are going in the month and how we can improve, so that was a really good meeting!

     Tuesday, was Elder V's birthday, which I know he really enjoyed! We went out to lunch the Monday before (because we were on exchanges Tuesday), however most of the zone all went together to eat right after district meetings as well for Elder V's birthday, so that was fun. He had a cool surprise because his first companion on his mission, Elder Walters (who I actually replaced here in Glasgow because he was zone leader with Elder Cook right before I came) was back in Scotland and Ireland touring around and was in Glasgow on Tuesday and we met him on the street, and he took Elder V out to dinner. 

      The highlight of this week, is this incredible girl we started teaching named Lisa! She is sooo eager to learn and we love meeting with her. I met her Tuesday on the street, and we taught her Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and this morning as well. She came to the baptism on Saturday and church on Sunday! She got along so well with so many members in our ward. She is social, and everyone was just chatting away with her! She lives right by the church as well, so it's really convenient being able to meet there. We have already started teaching her a lot of the commandments, and she is really willing to follow them and make positive changes in her life. Yeah, so she is just amazing! 

      Many of our other friends we are teaching are on summer holidays at the moment or are pretty busy. But we are always finding new, great people as well. Glasgow has so much potential! This upcoming week, there is likely to be another baptism in Glasgow ward for this girl who has a lot of ups and downs with her faith, but we fasted as a zone for her and so we are really hoping she can make her baptismal date on Friday. We also have our zone conference this Wednesday, and probably exchanges with the Assistants this week sometime as well, so there is a lot to look forward to this week, we are really excited!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Glasgow on Fire!

Monday, June 13, 2016
I am so grateful to be part of an incredible hastening work!! I love Glasgow and I love all the missionaries I serve around. There's no greater place to be! This week we had 2 baptisms in our ward! They weren't from Elder V and I, but from two other Elders, Elder Jones and Shiels, who have been working really hard! Their 2 friends, Jane who is from China, and Keri who is native Scottish were both baptised on Saturday and it was amazing! President Donaldson even drove to attend the baptismal service as well. John who we baptised a few months ago gave the opening prayer, and there were several investigators that many missionaries brought who are getting baptised real soon. We have 2 more baptisms scheduled for this Saturday... One in my ward from another companionship of Elders, and one in the other ward in Glasgow. Our zone is doing so well right now, I love it!! 
It was a really eventful week for us with lots of exchanges!! On Tuesday we had district meeting in Airdrie, and I brought Elder Baker who works in Cumbernauld back to Glasgow to work with me for the day. On Wednesday, I was with Elder Cropper here in Glasgow. Elder Cropper got to Glasgow at the same time as me when he began his mission, so we know each other well after serving in the same ward for 5 months. On Friday, I went to an area south of Glasgow called Motherwell with Elder Plewe who is new to the zone. Their area is really big right now and covers a huge area, so we did some great work in a variety of towns south of Glasgow: East Kilbride, Cambuslang, Hamilton, Motherwell, and Wishaw. It was a lot of fun!! So I really enjoyed this week being able to be work with so many different missionaries and in different locations. 

Elder V and I have a lot of great people to work with right now as well. So Jay left for Aberdeen this weekend, but we started teaching him all of the commandments and he seems to be alright with about all of them, so he is progressing really well! He even asked if he could say the opening prayer at one of our lessons... Which is so cool because just 3 weeks had had virtually no belief in God! We are teaching this awesome lady from Malawi named Linda, who is friend of another investigator named Grand (who is basically a member because she has been going to church for 8 years, but just can't be baptised because she is not married to the man she is living with). And Linda came to church and is really enjoying all of the lessons, so it's really exciting! We have picked up a few others as well, but it's tough to say if they will progress much yet or not. A few others are on summer holiday or leaving soon, like Nicole... but we are steadily finding more and more people.

We discussed a really cool principle in Sunday school this week about, obedience/success vs. trial/opposition. There must be opposition in all things, in order for growth to happen. And as sons and daughters of God with divine potential, we must go through difficulties in order to grow and become better. A few examples:

Right now in our mission we are having some of the most success in Scotland/Ireland that we have had for years!! At a recent meeting with President Donaldson, he discussed with us about some of the trials that are also happening throughout the mission as well. We know something great is happening when Satan is working so hard to oppose the work of salvation.

In our lives when we are obedient to the commandments, often times temptations will come that really test our obedience. It is the only way that we can continue to grow. If we are always tested at the same level, it would be tough for our spiritual strength to grow. For example, Abraham was prophet with such an incredible level of righteousness and sanctity, however he was given a  VERY difficult commandment to sacrifice his son, Isaac. But he willing obeyed, and was blessed and didn't actually have to kill his son. As we learn from James 2, Abraham's faith was "made perfect through works." 

Just as our muscles cannot grow by lifting the same weight over and over without increasing weight eventually, our spiritual strength cannot grow and we cannot grow as children of God without opposition from the adversity. Satan has a role in God's plan of salvation that is actually pretty important. "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things..." ( 2 Nephi 2:11)

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Transfer, New Opportunities

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer is here!! Lately, it has been soooo warm here in Glasgow! We had absolutely no rain this past week, in fact we hardly saw any clouds! The weather has just been gorgeous, and it is supposed to stay like that in the coming weeks as well... Pretty unusual for Scotland! This past week has been quite busy, on Monday and Tuesday we have been planning and moving all the missionaries around that traveled through Glasgow. It wasn't nearly as bad as it had been the last two moves, but it was still a little hectic and a bit of sleep was lost, however things are back to normal now as well. We have a few new missionaries to the zone, but they seem to be adjusting well and are loving it so far. With a drought of missionaries in the mission before the big summer groups of missionaries come, we lost one team of missionaries in Glasgow, but it's not slowing us down at all! In fact our zone is incredible right now! We have many baptisms scheduled for the coming weeks. In my ward, there are two other missionaries named Elder Jones and Elder Shiels who have been doing such great work and are preparing two of their friends for baptism this coming Saturday, and they are sooo great!! In fact, both of them got up and bore testimonies in Sacrament meeting yesterday... not even baptised yet, and they had the courage to get up in front of a big ward! There are several others throughout the zone who are also doing great!

In our area, we have seen lots of miracles as well. I mentioned before, this student named Jay who didn't really have any faith or belief in God... We had kept challenging him to pray, and he was refusing to, but one night he did!! And he had an incredible, immediate answer to his prayer, and even prayed out loud in the next lesson with us as well! It was amazing to see such change in him! We are working with him to help him prepare for baptism at the end of the month... We are so excited! We have a few other people who are also doing pretty well. Nicole, is pretty committed to her Catholic faith at the moment, but still wants to attend our church sometimes, but she is so great, so hopefully we can keep working with her. A few other people have dropped us recently or have just fell of the face of the Earth, so that's been tough, but we have found lots of great new people as well, so there should be plenty of opportunities ahead!

On Sunday, there was a Recent Convert/Investigator fireside in Edinburgh, so we went to it with John and lots of other missionaries and converts/investigators from Glasgow.
John with Elder Oxspring and Elder V at the Fireside
 Pretty much half of our zone was represented, so it was awesome to see!! The Spirit was so strong, and it really helped a lot of the people who have baptismal dates in June become less scared of baptism.
Chinese elders from Glasgow Zone
Elder Chen, me, Elder Parkinson, Elder V holding the camera, and Elder Yip
Elder Jones with Elder V and me at the Fireside
Lydia with Elder Oxspring at the fireside

 I forgot to mention last week, but 2 people that I have found in the last month or two have been baptised in other areas, so that's pretty cool to see the fruits of my labors! There is a girl in Edinburgh who was at the fireside named Lydia, who I found while on exchanges with the AP's last transfer while contacting around the University. She was baptised a week and a half ago, and I talked with her at the fireside and I asked if she remembered me and she said "Of course! I wouldn't be here without you!" so that was really cool to see, she is an incredible convert!

As well, Jeremiah, who I mentioned before, is a man that I found in Glasgow and first started teaching, was baptised last Sunday into Pollock ward, the same one that Rhianna was baptised into. I called him this last week, and he was so happy about his baptism!! Ah... I love being in areas for a while and then seeing great, positive changes that take place! 

Well there should be some great opportunities ahead with the sunny weather! There's no place like