On Monday evening in Manchester, our home town, we experienced an horrendous terrorist attack. This took place at the Manchester Arena which is a venue we have all visited many times for sporting and music events. For Eleanor, most recently, she attended a Summer Live event with various artists performing. Although Manchester has been the subject of terror attacks in the past this seemed different somehow. Knowing that Soeur Holt would be worried we sent a message through Sister Herrington which she received on Tuesday morning: First of all, thank you so much for the message to Sister Herrington-I received a phone call from her on Tuesday morning, and from then on throughout the week everyone who I met spoke to me about the attacks- after introducing myself as from England they would say “not Manchester?” I would then proudly proclaim YES!! I love my city and after reading the response from the people of Manchester I love it even more; it’s true what they say distance makes the heart grow fonder!!
In our emails to Soeur Holt we had focussed on the remarkable response of the community and city. We sent her a poem that Tony Walsh had written for a public service on Tuesday that seemed particularly poignant and peculiarly Manc! The atrocious events are not things we can begin to comprehend or control but we can choose how we respond. For all of us it has helped us realise the love that we have for our city.
Everything else we might say after that pales in comparison, but one of the messages of all of this is that life must go on, and in life continuing we are able to move forward and not give in. One thing along this line of thinking that stood out from Soeur Holt’s email is her reflection on my reasons for serving a mission because when we start teaching someonewe often discuss just that and I often talk about the hymn “Because I have been given much I too must give!!” But I also found a scripture this week in Luke 3.11:
“He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”
This also linked with one of the Sisters’ experiences with a man they are teaching. He explained a bit about his life that he is sceptical about God and religion after working in a psychiatric hospital in France and seeing horrific things which we understood can damage someone spiritually- he told us that he questioned the existence of a loving God. We taught him that as he receives the Holy Ghost he can have a constant source of comfort.
Soeurs Holt and Tepapatahi had a very busy week this week and found someone new to teach every day. They were very excited about this. One night we spoke to a girl along the road who had met the missionaries before and then saw someone we had been teaching, her husband joined us. We tried to talk about the reason that we are here as missionaries- they were really engaged. We were then posed the question “how can I know which religion is the correct one because all profess to be?” We turned to James 1.5
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
One other example came from when the Sisters were contacting in a tall apartment building.
On the last door we met a lady who is a teacher and she asked us lots of questions about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and why he had to die for us. We bore a quick testimony and set up a lesson for the next day… On Saturday we taught her about the plan of salvation and the atonements enabling power; she received it really well and I think we answered some of her questions.
Another talent show in the branch: We went home and did our studies before heading to the soiree de talents at the church- it started an hour late!! It was a great night and the branch is so full of talent a highlight was a little girl called Andrea who sang a folk song in creole and everyone joined in whilst dressed in a madras dress!! So cute!! Soeur T and I sang “I am a child of God” in Tahitian, English and French. Soeur Tthen played the guitar and sang a song about going on a mission; she is so talented!! We ran home to get in on time!!
Sunday- Danielle came to Church and also a friend of a member who we had taught in the week but without his member friend!! After church it was time for Soeur T to talk to her family as it was Tahitian Mother’s Day. We did this at Soeur Volet’s- I had made a Victoria sponge so we ate and chatted whilst she was on the computer.
Soeur Bouchaut then picked us up and we spent some time with her family and her mum who is not a member but she could fool anyone with the way she prays and sings our hymns.
So that was my week,
Love you all so much stay safe happy and healthy!!
Couple of other things to note- the six month package that we sent arrived safely!
So Soeur Holt has a record of the blog and all her photos we made a book of the first six months and it arrived this week. It looks fantastic:) A preview is available here.