To enhance our experience here in London, BYU sends us out in groups to different wards in the London area that need experienced members help (since when I became an experienced member, I have no clue). So today was my first Sunday in the Clapham Ward in South London. I got assigned to be a Gospel Principles Teacher and I am so excited. It is a class for investigators and new converts, and the ward has such an aclectic group. Even more than teaching a lesson for 45 whole minutes, I think my biggest challenge will be understanding the people in my class. The ward is mostly filled with Africans but there are a few Brazilians, a Chilean, and 2 Chinese members. In our small class of about 15, we were reading from the Book of Mormon in 4 different languages. I honestly couldn't be more thrilled with my calling and cannot wait for the experience and growth that will come my way because of it.... not without much nervousness and preparation! Wish me luck, I start this Sunday!
Tonight at our weekly fireside I was introduced to a new scripture that I don't think could be any more perfect for my time here in London.
Ephesians 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
I never completely understood or experienced this until today. I have never felt such warmth and love from complete strangers. Sure I have been fellowshipped from my new wards at the start of the school year, but today was different. Today I was greeted by the most genuine people, love was just pouring out of them. Living in such a transient and cultural area, they truly understand that no one, not even the out-of-place, white, 20 year old BYU students, are strangers or foreigners because we are all family in the household of God. This will be an experience I know I will never forget. If there is one thing that I wish to take away from my London journey, it is their example of my favorite Les Miserables proverb, "to love another person is to see the face of God." I know that the members of the Clapham Ward see God each day as they share their love for His children. I hope, so badly, that I will be able to develop a love like theirs someday.
Shameless Les Miserables plug: I saw it for the 3rd time on Saturday. No matter how many times you have seen it, see it again when it comes your way. If you have never seen it, find out where it is playing and go! No question about it. Such a beautiful story of mercy, forgiveness, salvation, and love. Happy Sunday!
Oh! Also wish me luck because they asked us BYU students to sing a musical number for Sacrament meeting in 2 weeks... I don't sing. I leave that one to Brad and Carly. But I guess when their ears hurt it will be their fault because they are the ones that asked me! Don't worry, I'll report.
More to come!