As you can imagine the 4th of July isn't quite as big of a holiday, or any sort of holiday at all, in England but we still found ways to enjoy it without any fireworks or BBQs, but I will start from the beginning of the week.
Like I mentioned last week President and Sister Millar finished their time presiding over the London South mission this week and President and Sister Gubler arrived on Tuesday, but we didn't meet them until Friday. I think I said it before but President Millar was the oldest mission president in the world when he was called and held that title until he was released so they were both very tired at the end of their mission. It is sad to see them go but the mantle and keys have shifted and our meeting with President Gubler surely proved that.
Friday afternoon was the Zone Conference where we met President and Sister Gubler for the first time and naturally we were all excited to met them. They started off by giving us all a hug or handshake and taking a little time to get to know each one of us and then we sat down to be taught, and we definitely were taught! President Gubler worked as a seminary/institute teacher for 35 years and knows the scriptures very well. He taught us about our calling in the pre-mortal life and our calling now as missionaries at this time. It was very powerful. We already felt very strongly the love that they have for us and the love already have for them. I'm looking forward to serving with President Gubler for the rest of my mission!
During the week we had a handful of lessons and got to teach Martin a few times which was nice. He is still moving towards the 18th to be baptised and has changed a lot to do so. His testimony of the Church and the finer details of it are growing a lot. We also had quite a few dinner appointments which is one of the greatest things for a missionary!
On Monday we went to one of our favorite families that we see just about every week, the Bowlers. The family is made up of a couple, Melissa and Kyle, and Melissa's boys Jacob and Oliver. Jacob is the only member because Ollie is too young and Melissa is waiting until her and Kyle get married to be baptised but is really excited for that, which should be very soon.
On Thursday we had dinner with the bishop's mom, Sister Gorgas, who is very "cheeky" and fun to get along with. The first day I was in Croydon we did some gardening for her and we hadn't been back since so it was good to see her. She's also a vegetarian and Elder Probst hates vegetables! I was surprised at how good the food was but I don't think I will ever be a vegetarian.
Yesterday we had a big lunch with a lot of the members of the ward! We ate at a family called the Read's house but they invited a few other members to have lunch with us. My actual first night in Croydon we went over to the Read's and it was a good introduction to the ward. The Read's have 5 boys all under 12 and they are crazy! They spend most of the time trying to steal our name badges and running around so it gets pretty loud. They also invited a sister that we call Mama Vega, and another couple Dominic and Esther. All of them are some of our favorites so it was an all-star DA for sure.
Dominic is a really cool guy that has an amazing conversion story as well. He grew up in a very Christian home and went to Bible College when he got older but found out some things about his church and ended up losing his faith for a while. He is very knowledgeable about the scriptures and as he was rekindling his faith decided he would make a list, according to the Bible, of components of God's truth throughout the New and Old Testament. When he finished it fit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perfectly but he had a huge dislike for the Church so he threw it away and started over with the same result. He finally knelt down and said the first prayer he had in a few years and asked Heavenly Father to send missionaries his way if it really was the truth. The next day he met 4 at the same time walking down the street. It took more than 2 years after that for him to decide to be baptized and he studied everything he could about the Church and knew it was true and got baptized about a year ago. He loves coming and teaching with us so we try to teach with him whenever we can.
On the actual 4th we went and to see Allen and Sadie during the day and spent the rest of the time at other lessons or finding so it wasn't super interesting other than that but seeing Allen and Sadie is always great! Allen made us omelettes and it was the best omelette I've ever had! We love them! In the evening Elder Probst and I sang the "The Star-Spangled Banner" and some other patriotic songs alone in our flat to celebrate but it was still pretty fun!
We are getting worse and worse at managing our email time so that will be the update this week. I want you to know that I have a deep and abiding testimony that God lives. He loves us and is involved with every aspect of our lives. I know am where he needs me to be.
I love you all.