As you can probably guess by the title, we did a lot of walking this week! Our area used to have 6 missionaries and was split up into 3 areas but now there is just us to cover all of the 3 previous areas! The area starts at the River Itchen on the east side of Southampton and runs alone the coast all the way to a little town called Gosport, which is technically part of Portsmouth. It takes us about an hour to get to any of the outlying towns or villages and the buses aren't very regular so it makes it really hard to get around. Last night we missed our bus and walked for about 2 hours before we finally got back to our flat. Even the buses really close to our flat aren't regular in the evenings so we had to walk the whole way!
Though it makes it harder for us as missionaries members have told us that it is a good thing that we basically white-washed into the area not knowing much of the ward or the area or having a companion that has been here for awhile. We're having trouble maintaining our current teaching pool so we are spending a lot of time trying to teach Former Investigators and visit less-active members of the ward to find more people to teach. We're excited to contact these people and hopefully get to teach them!
Over the past few weeks the whole mission has been assigned AUPs or AUFs (Area Unknown Profile/File) which are less-active members who have moved out of their previous ward without telling anyone and the Church has found their address and asked us to stop by. There are a lot of mixed responses. Most of the time they have moved again but a lot of them also pretend that they don't know who we are and that they aren't members of the Church. One lady yesterday was really obvious. She opened the door before we had the chance to knock and asked what we wanted. When we asked her if she was (her name) she replied "Yes. Um no no no sorry." so we apologized and said we had been asked to come to her house to see if she lived there and she asked "How did you get this information" and we explained that we had just been given names and asked to stop by to see if she needed help finding the chapel or wanted us to teach her in anyway. It was so funny to watch her try to backpedal and play ignorance when it was so obvious that she was who we were looking for!
The ward members in Hamble River are great! Stuart, the recent convert, has helped us out a lot recently on lessons and has told us his testimony is still growing as a result of it! He's a boss! He doesn't hesitate to bare his testimony during lessons and jump into the conversation when he feels like he has something to add. He is truly converted. He will be ordained a priest next week in sacrament meeting and really looks forward to receiving the Aaronic Priesthood!
I fully admit that I deserve to be rebuked because of how long it has been since I sent pictures, I'll try to find time today to send them so cross your fingers!
It's crazy to think that in 2 weeks I will have been on my mission for six months! That's insane! It goes by so fast! There are still times when I feel a bit homesick or reluctant to do some of the harder parts of missionary work but I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had so far on my mission for anything, so I am so excited for the next 18 months!