Leeds - September 30, 2013

We had a super good week. We started going to a few new areas and the people there are super nice, I love it. We've just had fun these past few days and we've been working really hard. I'm really good. I think that I'm getting used to Leeds a little bit more and more. It's still really different and seems a bit foreign at times. Last week we went into Leeds city center and I bought a new suit. It's a really nice suit, but I think I'll only wear it for meetings. You know people here in England are a bit stylish, they like their style I think. But hey that's alright.

I took pictures that I wanted to send to you. I brought my camera, but I forgot the cord to upload the pictures. So hopefully next week I'll get them to you.

We ate at a burrito place. They really don't have Mexican food here so it was okay, but not really that good. I think Elder Brendon Ressler will be eating loads of Mexican food on his mission. I'm a bit jealous, but I've gotten to experience Polish and English food.

We'll watch general conference at the church, or maybe at the home of an investigator. The mission home is close, but out of our area. I think maybe 30 min by bus. I'm still the district leader in this area. I love my district! There's Elder Mast who I'm going on exchange with today. He is from France and is still learning English. He's so energetic and happy. I love them all. Now I'm the oldest missionary in the district though, the rest all haven't been out longer than about five months. The zone leaders are in our area, but in a different flat.

This week we found a lady and she accepted a date to be baptized. She knew the Book of Mormon is true so that was exciting. I used to not talk a lot in lessons, but now I think I talk too much. I need to let my companion speak a bit more. We're still getting the hang of teaching together; every companionship has to figure out how to teach effectively together. Also we met a guy from India, who met with missionaries five years ago. So it'll be interesting to work with him as well.

Elder Mullen says that since I've gotten here we've ran into more and more Polish people. So I think that Heavenly Father knows where they are and leads us to them. In fact I know that we run into them on purpose. He is putting them in front of our path all the time. I like speaking to foreigners. It's weird, but I am a foreigner here too.

It's interesting when people say that they don't really care about salvation or that they don't want to be with their family forever (yes, I've had people tell me that they don't want to be with them forever), sad day. But I've come to realize what I've been blessed with and that I'm so glad to come from a religious background that wasn't forced on me but I chose it. I tell people that before I was baptized my parents asked me if this was what I really wanted. I'm grateful for that.

One thing I've learned about the spirit is that it often times will only lead us to the next step. And then we need to search again for the next step. I've had many experiences where I've been led to the next step and then had to go a little farther. It's like walking through a foggy day as Elder Bednar puts it; you can only see in front of you to see the next few steps, but as you take them, the next few steps will show up. That's how we found Daniel. I can't imagine what would have happened if I hadn't taken the next steps.

Love you,

Starszy Ressler

Leeds - September 23, 2013

I'm terrific! The change has been good but really different. I like Leeds though; I always wanted to serve here. It's super big! I thought Salt Lake was big, no. I thought Hull was a decent size. Leeds is HUGE.

It really was strange for me to give a talk. I don't really like public speaking, but I'm not horrible at it. So I think that maybe Heavenly Father is preparing me for getting better at it. I give instruction at district meeting, but that's only about 4-5 missionaries. Its fun, I'm starting to enjoy it.

Yea, Elder Mullen is really nice and down to earth. He's about six months younger than I am and is super good and humble. He's really confident and I like working with him and we're becoming pretty good friends. Elder Mullen was a welder before his mission.

I’m grateful Mom showed me how to do stuff like clean out a fridge; because we did that today.

They do talk different in Leeds; I can hardly understand some people. And a lot of times people don't understand me. There are two teams here, us and the zone leaders. We just went on exchange and I went to work with Elder Crabb in the Dudley Hill area, which is near the city Bradford. It was good. Elder Mast who is a new missionary from France came and worked here with Elder Mullen. I have a really good district. Leeds is Huge!! So huge. Today we are going to go into the city center; it’s probably going to be big. I haven't even seen all of it, but I'm slowly getting used to the area that I'm in.

It's getting colder because it's winter, but it's not too bad though. I think Hull was pretty sheltered as far as weather goes, but it'll be interesting to see what's up in Leeds.

There are other missionaries who play the piano better than I do, so they play it at church, but we need to baptize someone who can play the piano... (We are listening for piano music when we go finding). But also now, we're starting to try and knock in posh areas so that we can hopefully find a piano player. But also in the poorer areas (cause that's where I like to go). It's like in Alma 32 how they find more success with the poorer part of the people.

Ah getting sick. NOT FUN. I hate getting sick. Well I try to tough it out the best I can. I can only think of a few times. If you get a cold or runny nose you try to treat it, but can't really do much, so just have to do the best you can. They really don't like missionaries to stay in and waste time (it's the Lord’s time) but if you are sick enough that you got to, then you just have to lay in the flat all day and sleep. I remember Elder DeShazer and I were sick for a couple of days. One time three out of the four of us got food poisoning (horrible night). Mostly I just have a runny nose or sore throat though.

I love the Olsons. I'm so glad that you got to meet to them; they are so great. I loved serving with them! They are so nice and kind and really became like family to us (the four of us were the only missionaries to stay in Hull while all the others got moved around). I think they have a lot to do on their farm because they haven't lived there for 18 months and a farm takes continual maintenance. But I think they'll slowly, but surely get it back up to snuff.

Isn't it so great how the church is doing missionary work? I like how they are stepping it up with the computers.

Love you,

Starszy Ressler

Leeds - September 16, 2013

Leeds is....Huge! There are about five wards in Leeds. Elder Mullen says that he doesn't even know his way around the city center because there is just that much stuff. My new companion is really nice and humble. He's from a small town in Idaho and the youngest of a lot of children.

This week we did lots of finding. We've been hitting it hard, trying to find families for this ward. It's a lot smaller than any ward I've ever been in and it needs some good families. There are lots of inactive people as well, so that's also a big focus. As far as missionary work though they are very supportive, it's a change for me, because I wasn't really used to working with members.

I had to give a talk in sacrament meeting (about 10 min). Ah, I really don't like giving talks I've decided. I'm getting a bit better at giving instruction to missionaries every few weeks and that's about 20 min. But when you give a talk it's a bit scarier I think.

I've realized that I love to speak Polish. It's so much fun. But I'm not using it as much, sadly, but we met a Polish guy who we might go teach!! So that'll be good.

There's a lady named Bev who is really nice and likes the missionaries. The ward feeds us a lot of food. I've got to be careful not to gain too much weight. This area used to be the assistant's area I think and then the zone leaders area so they didn't have missionaries on foot for a while about until they had Elder Mullen come with his trainer. So we're trying to work up the area.

Anyway, the ward is really, really good. There's a few who have mission calls, so that's good. The area is really culturally diverse. There aren't a lot of Polish people; but I find some every once in while which means there are some.

Oh yea, we went knocking in an area that was rather posh. I got to pretty much knock on a mansion, I felt really brave...then no one was home. But it was quite the experience. I think since we are trying to find families for the ward and families that will help build up the ward, we may go back.

Usually missionaries play the piano in church, so we need to find a piano player for when there aren't any missionaries that can play. In our area it goes from poorer areas all the way up to posh areas, so there is quite the difference. Most of the foreigners live in the same area. 

We knocked on a strange guy’s door, who believed in God, but does it "his way". He told us that the gift of discernment is a gift of the spirit, and that he has it so he can tell our church is wrong and that we're preaching the work of the devil (strange chap). I'm pretty sure he is mixing up the spirit with some other feeling then. He really didn't even check to see or pray about it, so I don't think that he'd get a different answer than what I got. But...like I've learned here on my mission, when people say weird things, just handle it calmly and politely. Oh, and this older black lady brought up about black people not being able to join the church (she obviously got it confused with not being able to have the priesthood) and it was apparent that she'd argued with missionaries before about it. And when we talked with her, we could tell she was looking to argue again with us. She asked us if there was anything we had to say about it. I simply apologized if for any way we had offended her and explained that there are lots of members of the church who are black. I think she was surprised a little bit and hopefully we softened her heart. But I'll probably never know in this life. I've learned that arguing never really gets you anywhere.

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Leeds - September 9, 2013

I think it's colder here in Leeds. We are a bit more north than Hull and it is going to be winter soon; summer is over. I can't believe that it is already September!! 

I'm in the Leeds II area. The ward members are super missionary minded and really nice (I like ‘em). I'm serving with Elder Mullen. He's great. This will be his third transfer. We are in a smaller flat, but it's a bit nicer that the old one I had in Hull. It's only been a few days, so I'm trying to adjust.

Leeds is a lot different than Hull. I had a bit of a culture shock I think because I'd been so long in the one area. But I like it here. It's mostly English except for an area called Hare Hills were a lot of foreigners live. There are lots of Middle Eastern people and I think that missionaries used to live there until September 11th happened.

So there aren't as many Polish people as in Hull; but lots of Slovakians and Czechs and Romanians and Hungarians and a lot of Gypsies (Slovakian and Czech). I'm really trying to learn bits of all sorts of languages! So it's really adventurous!! I understand a lot of the people (the Slovakian ones). There's a lot of Slovakian people and  the language is really close to Polish, so I can talk Polish to them, and they speak their language to me, and we understand each other!! Crazy, huh?

I like it lots though. We started teaching a Romanian family that met with missionaries about two years and were taught for a long, long time. It's hard because there is a language barrier when teaching them, but I'm working on that... (I definitely believe in the gift of tongues). As well we are teaching some Hungarians. I understand Slovakian pretty alright, but it's the Czech that I don't understand...but we're doing our best.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks came on Sunday because we had stake conference. That was so neat!!

Well, I love you a lot. Have a good week!

Starszy Ressler

Hull - September 3, 2013

So the weirdest thing happened. I got transferred. I'm going to serve in Leeds with an English speaking companion. So many memories of this place; I've spent 14 months here! It's so strange for me to have to pack my stuff. I've sort of gotten a lot of stuff now, and it’s not good! Elder DeShazer is going to Sheffield to serve in the Slovakian branch. In a month he will train an elder who is learning a language (we are guessing Slovakian, Polish or English). And both Elder Owens and Elder Olsen are training English speakers here in Hull and Elder Olsen is the new district leader! I'm both excited and nervous to go to Leeds and have a new companion who I know nothing about (I don't think he's been out longer than six months) and to an area I don't know. I am really going to miss Hull, but maybe even more I'm really going to miss Elder DeShazer. I've also become really close to Elders Olsen and Owens. And not to mention all the people I know here. I'm pretty sad about leaving them. I don't think it'll really hit me that I'm leaving until I get to Leeds.

Samantha didn't get baptized, but we set a new date for her in a month. She wanted to feel more ready. I know she has gotten an answer that it's true, but wants to feel more ready. But I think she'll one day be baptized, I mean she's come to church five times in a row, lives the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity, and studies the scriptures, and all the rest. She even is spending time with other Young Single Adult friends. I think she'll get baptized some day, but patience is the key. I can't really do too much more about it.

I bore my testimony as well on Sunday, I just felt like I needed to do it. Now I'm glad I did it because I got transferred. It's a bit odd when you have 12 missionaries in one ward. You don't want it to seem like the missionaries are taking over the meeting, so we usually try to let the members have more of an opportunity to share (12 missionaries could talk for well over an hour I think).

I'm so happy for Brendon; he’ll love every second of the MTC! I think he'll do just great. I've emailed Brendon and he's emailed me back, so that's all fun. I'm really excited for him, I know that it'll be hard, but if it wasn't hard then there'd really be no point in doing it I suppose. That's sort of my thinking on doing hard things. (Remember 1 Nephi 3:7). I don't think that Spanish is a terribly hard language to learn; in fact Samantha is studying Spanish in university, I think.

Now I get to try and get things going with the Polish people in Leeds! But I'm on my own in a way now, but I know that it's got to be possible. I'm pretty alright at Polish, I can survive talking to people and I understand a lot! I'll have to. I'll be the only Polish speaker in the area, in the city! I am confident I'll survive. The hard part will be when I have to say goodbye to Daniel and his family today, and to everyone else I taught.

Love you,

Starszy Ressler