Monday, 27 August 2012


Here I am in the lovely green state of Virginia! And what a great place it is! As we flew over, it felt like I was coming home - it's the spitting image of England! I love it here!
So, I'm serving in the Poquoson Ward - it's a ward of about 200+ members so it's relatively big! It's got a lot of young families and a big youth so I'm really happy to start my mission here! The ward loves missionaries - we get fed every night and are free to pop in at any time! It's refreshing to have that as Poquoson is a bicycle area... yes, I'm on a bike ha! I'll make sure I send some photos although it won't exactly help my 'street cred' and definitely fulfills the missionary stereotype!
My new companion (and trainer) is Elder Bernfeld - he's awesome! He's very humble and hardworking - although his attempt at an English accent is rubbish ha! We've got a very similar vision for the ward and our missions so I feel confident that we'll make some miracles happen in this transient little town. It definitely needs it - last month, they had their first baptism in three years! Elder Bernfeld and I expect to change that to one a month - pray for us ha!
We have some fantastic investigators right now - there's one lady called Danielle who is incredibly faithful and is working hard towards baptism! She has such a love for our Saviour and knows that, by entering into the covenant of baptism, she can develop her relationship with him! I'm really excited and grateful that we get to play a part in this process... I know it will transform her life as well as ours.
So, I feel that I should share a funny story once a week with you all - so, here goes! Elder Bernfeld and I were cycling back from the chapel two days ago with the sun shining and the wind in our hair (well, his hair!). All of a sudden, these black storm clouds come over and we're caught in a tornado storm in the middle of nowhere! By the time we arrive back home, we're both soaked from head to foot and shivering! In fact my shoes are still wet now! I think I needed to learn the lesson of carrying an anorak with me everywhere sooner rather than later! Oh, plus, Elder Bernfeld wants to be a personal trainer so he's got me doing P90X each morning... Ben, I know you'll be laughing by now! It just looks wrong ha!
Long story short - missions are great! As much as I loved the MTC, it's nowhere near as spiritually intense as being out in the field is! These are real people now and I love that... each person I pass could be the one I've been praying for since I was little boy! Know that I've thrown myself straight into the work... I've never been shy after all so why start now! I haven't had anyone be rude yet which is great but I'm sure it'll come ha! And that's fine :) If anyone is reading this and considering if a mission is for them, listen up: JUST GO! I promise you that, if you pray for a witness of whether you should, you'll get one - I did! And the moment you meet a person with a sincere desire to learn more, you won't be wondering if you should have come or what you could be doing otherwise... you'll be grateful that YOU get to be the one that teaches them! Test it; it works,
Love to you all,
Elder Pelham

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Hey all,
Well, here I am - I've been here in the MTC for 21 days! It's crazy how quick it's gone - as we say say here 'the days are long but the weeks are short'! And it's so true! Today is my last day and then, tomorrow, I'll be on a plane to Virginia to meet President and Sister Perry! Talk about exciting!
I feel like this has been the most intense 21 days of my life! I mean, I've had great and spiritual experiences before but this is completely different. Each day, I can see myself changing into the type of missionary I've always aspired to be and each night, as I get on my knees and give Heavenly Father a report of my day, I barely recognize myself! It's tough to explain... it's not that I'm a different person! I still like to have fun (in fact, some Sisters in another district going to Virginia have made me a quote book called 'The Book of Pelham' - maybe I'll share some quotes at my homecoming?), I still say stupid stuff sometimes and, every now and then, I would give anything to play my guitar and watch 'How I Met Your Mother'! But, I can see how, slowly and surely, God is 'refining' me into the missionary He needs. And that is amazing to see.
After all, the most important convert on your mission is YOU! Because if you're not constantly trying to improve yourself (through repentance which isn't always saying sorry for sin - it also means to change into the person God wants you to be), then why should your investigators, right? So, it's vital that you constantly seek for ways to become more perfectly converted. The Bible Dictionary (yes, I've been reading the BD - we get a lot of study time okay?!) states that conversion is achieved 'through much testing and many trails'. And that's true - before I got here, I seemed to think that as soon as I became a missionary, I would never have trials again - just blessings ha! In reality, I have never been so intensely tested in my life! There are moments when it all seems too much, when you just want five more minutes in bed or you just don't want to have to reprove a member of your district. But, I've discovered something... when you can't bear to do those things but you do it anyway, YOU ARE BLESSED! And it's that simple! If you don't believe me, try it - you won't regret it, I promise :)
Anyway, I had to stop this e-mail for a devotional... Elder Neal L Andersen and his wife came and spoke to us! WOW! Talk about an amazing spiritual experience - he shared a few thoughts about missions but what really came across to me was this: that Jesus Christ lives! Those times I've felt lonely and prayed for comfort... it was Him; when I wanted to give up and prayed for strength... it was Him; when I felt inadequate and pleaded to be made better... it was Him! How incredible is that?! That Jesus Christ, the Saviour of all things living, cares and loves me enough to hear my prayers! And I get to share that with people... I hope you can feel how excited I am?!
I love this Gospel! It is the way in which we can change - it truly is the mechanism of transformation! I know that, as I work hard, I will be a blessing to my family, past, present and future :) I miss you all but not because I want to be at home with you - I want you to be here with me, seeing true faith in action. I'm excited to continue learning - 'to learn is to grow' after all! I hope you can see how hard I'm working and can be proud of what I am doing right now - I've worked my entire life to be here! And that's not me bragging or trying to make myself look good... that's me testifying that, if you want something enough to turn your life to Jesus Christ, it can and it will happen! I am a witness of Jesus Christ and it is Him that defines me... everything I have is because of Him! And I love my Saviour for that...
I share these things with you - my friends and family - in the name of our Redeemer,

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


So, I've found out a lot about myself over the last week - firstly, that I suck at keeping a journal ha! So now I'll be using this blog as the main source of recording the next two years - a mission journal is, after all, future scripture for your children! Secondly, when I need to, I can work really hard! There is definitely an inspired reason why it's called 'missionary work'! We get up each morning at 6.30am, study for at least 2 hours (both personal and companionship), attend 6 hours of class, teach at least twice each day and then, after all that, don't go to bed til 10.30pm! Plus, add all the meetings I have to go to as District Leader and times I have to deal with issues that arise and you get one tired teenager! It doesn't help that I'm the youngest in the MTC either ha! This probably doesn't sound like a good advert for missions huh?! The reality is that missions ARE hard - it's not like, the moment you are a set apart that you can't feel tired or ill or disheartened! But what it does mean is that, when you feel those things, you can really ask Heavenly Father to help you out! And, all that work goes into just one celestial moment...
Let me share one with you! As part of our training, we teach a lot of actors who take on the role of investigators - even though we take it seriously and teach as if they're a real person, we always know that, even if we mess up, it won't ruin someone's eternal exaltation! So, Elder Stapley and I turn up to one of our teaches - she's a less active lady named Mary who hasn't been to church for a good few years! We dive straight into to getting to know her - she feels bad that she hasn't been as faithful as she should have and that this has caused her children to leave the church and take up some pretty nasty habits. So, we begin teaching her like normal. And then, we realize that Mary isn't an actress... she's a real person with real questions and problems! We were actually in a real teach! Well, we flipped ha! It was an amazing experience and some pretty cool stuff was shared and said and, by the end of that half hour, Mary had committed to go to church on Sunday! I really can't express how happy this made us; but the miracle was this - that, for that moment, we weren't focused on how tough this is or how tired we are - we were focused on how much we loved this lady who we had just met! And that was an amazing experience for me...
I really feel happy here; my district has become my family and each one is a major support to me! My companion is, simply put, excpetional - he makes each day a joy (no homo!). And, most importantly, when it comes to 10.31pm and I'm finally in bed, I feel my Saviour's love and peace come to me, testifying that I'm here for the right reason and that this is truly HIS work! That's a massive concept but I feel I'm starting to get it! True joy comes through working directly with Jesus Christ! So, for the netx two years, I expect to be pretty happy ha!
Love Elder Pelham


Hey Brothers and Sisters,
How's it going?! Well, here I am in the MTC! Crazy times - the Spirit is constantly here! There are currently 2500+ missionaries right now so, even with my black tag, I don't look any different!
I'll just give you a quick update of the past week or so...
After I said goodbye at the airport and had passed security, I sat down at my gate and waited for my plane to arrive. I took some time to look over some letters that people had sent me (ps. thank you for the tie Jordan! I'm wearing it right now!) and to consider that I wouldn't see my family or friends for the next two years from that moment! It got emotional, let's just leave it at that! But, as I looked around at people, I noticed the guy next to me was writing in a journal with the slogan 'Called To Serve' on the front... this is how I met Elder Adams from the Huddersfield Stake! He's been called to serve in the Spain Malaga Mission! We got talking and ended up travelling to Utah together! The fact that the only two English missionaries in that airport at the time happened to sit next to eachother really strengthened my tetsimony that God send people into our path when we need them!
When we arrived in Salt Lake, I had a group waiting for me; I got to see Rachel (<3), Skylar and Sam King and meet Jarith and Bronwyn! We grabbed something to eat and managed to spend some time together which was great! The next day was the day I reported to the MTC so, after a classic IHop breakfast and a few emotional goodbyes, I checked in with the other international students! Within moments, I felt at home... even though I knew no-one at all, I felt comfortable and a confirmation that this IS the right placed for me!
I also met my AMAZING companion Elder Stapley - the guy is 110% lad! We're able to have such a laugh whilst keeping the Spirit with us, something that I haven't always been great at (especially after half ten Ben ha!) We've shared some spiritual experiences already and we've only been here a week - I'm excited to see what happens over the next two! My district is also fantastic... this includes Elder Stapley and I, Elder Hilton, Elder Pauga (a 6"6' Samoan - he's massive! but such a gentle giant!), Elder Fish, Elder Andersen, Sister Tanner (who we've learnt loves to punch babies!), Sister Kuta, Sister Banner and Sister Pond... every single one of us brings a different aspect to this work and we each love eachother as family! I have been called as their district leader (basically, I have to keep an eye on them ect.) and it's very humbling - for the first time in my life, I don't feel like I'm the most qualified for the responsibility! But I know that Heavenly Father calls who He needs and so I will try to be the leader they need! Not that it's a tough job... they're all exceptional and have great faith already!
I'm beginning to understand what Moroni taught in Chapter 7, Verse 48 about how 'love can help us become the sons of God'! Love is really the key to missionary work - before this week, I felt confident in my ability to teach people about the Gospel! I've always found it easy to teach the doctrine and bear testimony! Yet, whilst these attributes are important to success, they are worth nothing if we cannot love the people. As part of the MTC, we do a lot of role play teaches - one of these was with an investigator called John! Now, John reminds me of my own dad - his entire family go to church and he is very supportive! However, he feels as if he doesn't need Jesus Christ in His life! And so, Elder Stapley and I prepare to teach John! As we're praying one afternoon, I suddenly start to think about John and his situation and pray for the guidance as to what he needs. And I got my answer... When it came to teaching him, I felt a genuine love for John... I felt that I knew him but, most importantly, that the Saviour knows him! And that was, by far, our best teach so far!
I want you all to know that I'm safe and that I feel happy! I've wanted to be a missionary my whole life and, now it's here, it's hard work ha! But I love it! I'm starting to change - I feel like Jesus Himself is refining me little by little so that, when it comes to seeing you all again, I will be the missionary - indeed, the person - that He knows I can be! So, that is my first week of missionary service... and I'm loving it!
Lots of love (seriously, check Moroni 7:48 ha),
Elder Pelham
ps. If any of you want to write to me, use the service '' - I'll get the letters that day in a printed form! Let me know you love me ha!