Words to describe my new area Watford: Awesome, lovely, amazing, wonderful, fun, praiseworthy, of good report. I.LOVE. IT. So my flat in Sittingbourne was pretty ghetto but man if you guys could only see the flat here in Watford!! We live right in the town centre on the 8th floor of a posh flat. We have a balcony that looks out over all of Watford! I feel like I'm living in a hotel! It's soooooo nice. My companion is Sister Sarah Benson and she is COOL. She was adopted from China when she was 1 and was raised in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. I love her a ton. We are in the same ward as the zone leaders, Elder Williams and Elder Parkin and they drive us around everywhere! They're also both super hilarious so that's a plus. I'm living the life out here. Another reason why I love it here so much is because Harry Potter World is nearby and you can just feel the magic in the air, and there is a bus modelled from the movie that drives around, I see it everyday. No one except my dad knows how big of a Harry Potter nerd I am, so I'll just fess up to it right now, no one loves Harry Potter more than Sister Barnes. I truly believe that is why the Lord called me here. I belong here.
The majority of the people we teach are all African men. (Just a tad bit different from the English people in Sittingbourne). The ward is awesome! There are a lot of people from Brazil, Portugal, and everywhere in Africa, so the accents are a little different. I went from "Sistah Bahhhhns" to "Sister Bah-nez", they all look at my name tag and get that out of it. Some of our investigators/recent converts came to church and I don't know what's really going on yet since I've only been here for a few days, but I swear there were like 5 African guys all named Joseph. One of them is planning on building a temple in Kenya, one of them asked when I get home from my mission because he wants to marry an "ex-missionary" and he wants it to be me, and another Joseph pedalled to church on his red bicycle. These Joseph's though. We were able to see a cute 8 year old boy get baptised and sang a musical number for it! I really love everyone I've met so far and feel like I just belong here! I truly cannot even describe or express how much I love Watford!
I was able to meet a very special recent convert that has gone through a lot in her life and has been in and out of the hospital. She loves sister missionaries but everyone told me that it takes her a long time to warm up to the new ones, Sister Benson told me to be prepared to feel really awkward the first time we went over to her house. But we went over and I just completely bonded with this recent convert. She was like, "This is so weird, I love you already. It usually takes me weeks!" It was so cool. She even let me sit on the couch with her and told us some of her struggles and let me comfort her. I felt like I was really following in the footsteps of Christ. I love being able to connect with people out here! It is so special to me!
Fun story, the other night we had dinner with a Portuguese family. The dad had just had an operation on his leg and he couldn't really walk, so he came and sat down by me at the table. This family has two absolutely crazy boys and they were running around and this loud mom was screaming at them in Portuguese and the boys started telling this super bizarre story to Sister Benson. The dad looks at me and says, "Sometimes. . . I feel like my kids are aliens from another world. . ." It killed me. It absolutely killed me. They are the cutest family!
The work is going so well and through all of the struggles I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of missionary work and things are getting a little easier to bare. I was reading a talk by Thomas S. Monson called "Finishers Wanted" and wanted to share this poem that he quoted that I absolutely love, it really has been inspiring to me❤️
"Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
"Stick to your task 'til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life's victories after a while."
Have a brilliant Week!!