From: Camille Gunnell
Subject: Week 1.. Booh yeah!!
Date: June 3, 2013 5:29:35 AM MDT
Dear loved ones,
I am having an experience that I would've never thought possible for me to have. It is all just a blur. Like all of the time I am thinking. Is this really happening right now? Am I really here in England? Am I really going up this street knocking on these doors? Am I really saying hello to everyone (and I mean everyone) on the streets and seeing them as a best friend or how Christ would see them?! I just can't believe this is all happening!! Because of me saying hello to EVERYONE on the streets you can probably imagine what happens. Most people are very nice, which I am surprised about, but then I get people that tell me to F off or glare like I am a demon. Yeah at first it really hit me hard. I felt bad and I hated them saying and looking at me this way, but then I think hey their loss haha!! I have decided that from now on if anyone says anything rude like F off I will just say THANK YOU and smile haha. They won't know what hit them. Wow, missions are crazy!! I love it for some reason though.
K start from day one.. The MTC went by like a breeze! During it though, it was the longest two weeks of my life! I was learning and studying so much and trying to get everything they taught me into my head. I think most of the info rubbed off on me, but I have so much more to learn and study to be a successful missionary. My companion at the MTC, Sister Shalvis, really taught me about striving to be the best that I can be. She had a way of teaching people and connecting everything. It is so hard to connect things to the gospel doctrine for some reason for me. I love chatting away with people and I can do that easily, but I realize that this is not why I am out on a mission. I am out here to help people come closer to Christ. I need them to realize that I am here as a missionary and a teacher. The MTC experience was great, but I am glad it is over with. I would not have been able to come on my mission without going to the training center. I would've been a total wreck that is for sure!!
Saying goodbye to the 60 people at the England MTC was very hard because of the love and friendship we had for one another. It was also saying goodbye to lovely President and Sister Edwards. They were such wonderful leaders. I loved being able to be there and learn and grow from such wonderful people. While saying goodbye to President Edwards, he was like, "You are a Fellows for sure!! There must be some Gunnell in you, but total Fellows." (They probably said that because when I bore my testimony I cried and when I was saying goodbye to people I was crying haha.. and you know how the Fellows cry hahaha) Anyways, such a lovely experience. I can feel myself growing. I love setting goals for myself and seeing me achieve them. I set yesterday the goal to talk to everyone, and I DID IT!! It was the greatest feeling. Now goal number two is to share the gospel or hand out a pass a-long card to everyone!! I am pumped!!
So it was about a five hour drive to Staines from Preston. I was half asleep the whole time. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. Finding out who you are going to be with for 24/7 for 12 weeks is kind of a big deal!! We got there, ate some pizza, had interviews with President Millar, and then went into the chapel to hear who our companion would be and where we were going to be headed. My heart was racing!! There were a couple of girls I met that I was thinking, "Oh my gosh! I would love her as my companion!" It kind of reminded me a little bit of the Hunger Games. It was that crazy!! Finally President Millar said at the pulpit, "Sister Gunnell. You will be headed the very south west part of England. You will be headed to Redruth with Sister Barlow." I couldn't stop smiling. I don't know why I couldn't, but I just felt so good and I couldn't handle myself. It was kind of weird haha. Everyone was clapping everytime someone was announced, which I thought to be a little strange because we were in the chapel, but whatev. When I saw Sister Barlow I knew she was a keeper haha. I knew I was blessed right when I hugged her to have her as my trainer. Since I have been with her for a couple days, I realize how inspired President Millar is. She is exactly what I need to get started on the right track for the rest of my mission. She is the most loving person ever and always so sweet. Man, I can't believe that I got so lucky :) Like seriously no faults about her. She pushes me. She is 6' so she books it EVERYWHERE and I have realized that I am pretty slow. I think that I just get too caught up in looking at England and the beauty around me. We have had some good laughs together that is for sure!! I am loving it here with her!
We got to Redruth very late it felt like!! We got to our house.. yeah we live in a house not a flat!! It is kind of like those townhouses at BYU that have an upstairs with some rooms and then downstairs is the living room and the kitchen. Yeah it is way to big for just two people to live in, but it is alright. It smells old though haha. t an air freshener, but that didn't help whatsoever. I am paranoid that I smell like it now and all my clothes do too.. sure hope not. We cleaned for like 2 days straight. It was DISGUSTING!! I can't believe it!! It's new so no missionaries have ever lived in it before so we were expecting something nicer haha, but seriously it is great!! We are in the slums of the area but it is pretty cool. I talk to everyone anyways because I know that angels are watching and helping me out so I don't have anything too scary happen to me hopefully haha. My companion kind of is a little more timid on talking to people so hopefully she doesn't think that I am too much of a psycho. She says that she can't believe how confident I am in myself. Maybe I should simmer it down haha. The zone leaders drove us here. It was about a four hour drive. When we got to the house, the bishop of our ward in Redruth came and gave us the key. He put some food in the kitchen for us. We have been living off of it since. I am so glad today we are going shopping. The bishop is about 30 years old. He is great!! We went over to his house Thursday night and had a lovely dinner with his wife and two little boys. It was so fun being there and enjoying their company. They have been wanting sister missionaries here for about two years now so he is so excited they have finally came! Sister Barlow and I are white washing the place meaning there hasn't been missionaries here for a while so we are pretty much starting from scratch. I would've never guessed I would come out and be doing this. There is a lot placed on our shoulders because of this. Good thing we have a good little ward (about 50 people) and some ward missionaries in our ward. We went over to the ward missionaries house and went over the ward directory and the less actives. There are so many less actives it is crazy!! Sister Barlow and I are going to try to visit them also. There are five big towns where we are serving: Camborne, Hayle, Truro, St. Ives, and Redruth. Camborne is where we live and that is the slums of them. We live close to the beach so there are a lot of people that come to Truro and St. Ives for "Holiday" meaning summer. It is very busy in the summer because everyone comes to the sandy beaches here in the summer. This is one of the only areas in England that have these beautiful sandy beaches and not rocky. I didn't even know that there was such a thing in England because I am just used to Pride and Prejudice. Surfing is huge in this area! It is a very big deal here. Everyone comes here to surf. I guess there are big surfing competitions.. yeah I want to go haha, but nope I am on my mission. I haven't went down to the beach yet to see it, but I hope on one of these P-days I will go. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous since I have came here. My companion says it is because I am here in this area. She is so sweet. I have loved it though. Such blue skies and a slight breeze is just perfect! I have to enjoy it while I can because it will soon be miserable haha.
I am learning to really get out of my comfort zone. I am feeling the Lord help me so much. The first day that I was here I was kind of miserable to say the least. I felt like how is knocking on doors going to help anyone come closer to Christ. I have now figured out that I just have to have the best possible attitude I can and see people as Christ would see them. He would see them with so much potential. I need to be more Christ like always!!
This whole missionary experience makes me feel like I am in a total different world. It seems like my mind has been so focused on me me me for the past couple of years because of college and always thinking about myself, but since being out here I have had to change extremely. The times that I feel the most down are the times I am thinking about myself. When I think about others I get so happy and know that I can push forward. I know that angels are helping me press on.. like I can feel it. It is so crazy.
We haven't really had any success yet. It was very hard having our key indicators be all zeros. We are going to change that though for sure!! I am so pumped to change it!! It is kind of exciting how much Heavenly Father trusts me. He truly has so much faith in me to call me to this area to bring people to know of this gospel. I feel blessed even though it will be SO much hard work and patience. I am so glad that I know that this church is true and how much happiness it can bring into people's lives. This knowledge helps me wake up in the morning saying to myself today is going to be a great day!! We pray so much out here.. like all the time like I think ok we just prayed five minutes ago. I hope I am not repeating myself too much hahahahhaha. I love to pray though. It is great!!
The people here in this area are so nice. Even when we are knocking they are like I am so sorry dear (or my love) but I am not religious, etc. They call everyone my dear or my love and I love it!! They also TALK LIKE PIRATES. Yeah.. it is sure interesting. It's hard to take things seriously when they sound like pirates. I laugh all of the time about it. And then I start laughing because I can't understand half the things that they are saying and I would feel too embarrased to be like can you say that again. Everything is like jumbled. Even the women talk like pirates. It is so entertaining. There are so many different accents around England it is insane!! I just am so blessed to be in this beautiful area with these people. I am so glad that I know that they are my brothers and sisters and they have that spirit in them. All they have to do to feel that spirit is to open their hearts and they will be able to feel how wonderful and happy we can be if we strive to feel the spirit.
I know that this gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is central to this gospel and He can help us in any way through the Atonement. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for how much Jesus Christ did for me. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel to this earth. I know that families can be together forever. I know that understanding the Plan of Salvation can lead us to understand our purpose more fully on this earth. I know that the work is hastening right now and I am part of it!! Without the gospel, I would be lost and uncertain about everything. I know that if we put our trust in God, He can help us overcome ANYTHING!! I love you all so much!! I hope you all are happy because you should be. This is a wonderful time to be living on this earth. There is so much joy that can be found everywhere. Find the joy in all aspects of life and I PROMISE that you will be able to overcome and trials or hardships you are facing.
With love always,
Sister (Camille) Gunnell
P.S. Some things that are happening that are kind of a bummer:
1. Our washing machine is not working.
2. The hot water doesn't get too hot and most of the time it doesn't work so you know what that means.. I don't shower a lot haha. We have to use cards/keys for our electricity and heating/boiler so we go in and put money on them. It is so expensive!! We are going to be doing that after this. The church will hopefully reimburse us. Everything is very expensive, but we get $100 for travel each month and $120 for food (not$86)...Hallelujah!! I probably will spend it all anyways because of the cost of everything here. The members in our ward are very considerate so we have had some dinner appointments and will have some more this week. I am grateful to be here!!
3. I wish that Gigi was here to do her ironing magic to all of my clothes. I don't like to iron:)
I love you all!!!! I pray for you guys so much and I hope that you know ho much Heavenly Father loves you!! Keep smiling and keep your head up!! Make goals and strive to fulfill them!! It makes life way better and it feels good to accomplish them. Be nice to one another!! The church is true!!
|Sister Gunnell and Sister Shalvis, companions in the MTC|
|Sisters in Camille's district at the MTC|