Wednesday, 31 October 2012


So, Boycey commented on how I didn't include many stories in my entry last week so I hope you're ready to be blown away my friend!
This has been a great week (I say that every week though eh?) with hurricanes, miracles and trials. I started off the week feeling really frustrated and wondering why my mission seemed so had so far... I mean, I'm trying to do a good thing right?! As I was writing all this into my journal, I felt prompted to set some goals (based on Elder Whiting's training the day before) on how I was going to change my situation and become a more powerful missionary. I recommitted myself to exact obedience - including a change of attitude concerning the rules - my focus level, using dignified language and striving for more unity in my companionship! Now, I mention this because it forms the background for the rest of the week...
On Wednesday evening, we scheduled a lesson with Brendan for the next day. We had been planning for the last two weeks to teach him the plan of salvation. So, we drive up to the chapel with him on Thursday and we're all set for the lesson. Well, as soon as I get out of the car, I feel prompted that we need to teach him the word of wisdom instead! Which makes me panic because I've never studied for or taught this lesson before ha! I turn round to Elder Bernfeld and whisper 'change of plan - I don't know why but we're teaching the word of wisdom today'! (I'm grateful for a companion that listens to the spirit too btw). We go sit in the sacrament hall - it's lovely and calm - and I'm pleading with Heavenly Father that we'll know what to say. And then, all of a sudden, I have the words I need to say come to mind to start the lesson. Whenever I finished these words, I stopped talking and Elder Bernfeld would continue where I left off (this may sound simple but teaching in unity isn't one of our strong points). And then I'd feel prompted to add onto that and, before we knew it, he'd committed to live the word of wisdom, especially quitting smoking, prior to his baptism!
However, that wasn't the celestial experience... as we closed the lesson, Brendan asked if I would close with prayer. As we knelt together and I began to pray, the Spirit bore witness to me of all that we had discussed and I really felt Christ there with us. When we'd finished, we looked up to see Brendan still on his knees and on the verge of tears. He shared with us that they hadn't been able to contact his brother for five days and that his family had been worried he was back on drugs. He felt touched that I had pray for our families, something I hardly ever do with an investigator. It really showed me that, when we strive to be better, the Holy Ghost will work through us! And, if it's the Holy Ghost that teaches the hearts of men and not me, then why can't every single lesson be a celestial experience?!
I also had my first interview with President Perry this week - he truly is an inspired man! The things we discussed are very sacred but I will share just how loved he made me feel and how he sought revelation that was to help me specifically! He is a great mission president and I love him a lot :)
On Saturday, the hurricane hit so we got evacuated to Yorktown to stay with some other missionaries! And, actually, it's been pretty fun! We've been playing a lot of card games though ha!
The highlight of my week, however, was Sunday! Christian (he's been an investigator since my first week in the field - in fact, we met Brendan on the way home from our first appointment with him!) came to church for the first time this week :) After church, we went straight over to see how he felt - I will now quote from my journal:
'We started off by answering their question about the word of wisdom (something Elder Bernfeld had felt was necessary during his personal study that morning) and, as we did so, I received a strong impression to invite Christian to pray for his answer right there and then (bold move as a missionary!). I promised him that if he did do, he'd receive his witness (by this point the Spirit was crazy as it testified to me that the Lord would honour my promise). At first, he hesitated so Vanessa called him out and said 'what are you expecting as an answer?!' and he said that he didn't know. We read D&C 9:8-9 together and, after bearing testimony again, he accepted our invitation.
There have been very few times in my life where I have recognized the Holy Ghost so strongly. As soon as Christian uttered 'Dear Heavenly Father', I felt overwhelmed and just wanted to cry. To hear this man who just nine weeks ago didn't believe in a god talk to his Father was simply majestic - the feeling of peace and joy I felt is why I love this job! As he closed his prayer, we stayed on our knees for a few minutes whilst he processed his feelings. And then he said 'it felt like it did last time'...
After a few questions, he shared that he had been in the woods a month or two ago with Vanessa and this was when she told him about the church. It was then that he first felt that 'piercing voice' we call the Holy Ghost ans, as he prayed with us, that feeling was only intensified.
To me, that is yet another miracle - during my study, I felt that Christian has indeed already received his answer and he just needed to remember (Mosiah 4:9-12). I feel very humbled that we were used as instruments in God's hands today to help a friend hear and recognize his Master's voice.
I closed the lesson with prayer and, this time, I couldn't contain the tears - for those two hours, I had become the missionary Christ needed me to be and I am so grateful for that! I know Christian is apprehensive to act upon his answer and accept the ordinance of baptism but I will do whatever I can to help him respond to this call. I have come to love his family and they give me hope that, one day, I too can have those experiences with my own family. I will never forget the experiences we've shared and have yet to share. The day he gets baptized will be one I tell my children!'
I know that these experiences have came as a result to those goals I set on Tuesday morning! I have a testimony that God works with those that work with Him and I feel very blessed to be on His team as a missionary! This church is true - I love it so much and that grows more every day! God hears our prayers :)
Love Elder Pelham :)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Hello everyone - how you doing?! Thank you so much for all your letters/e-mails this week... I really appreciate it! I will try and reply asap!
Well, here's week twelve: this has been a great week for me! We've had some really good experiences but I really wanted to concentrate on yesterday - we had a mission conference in which Elder Scott Whiting of the Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us. It was AWESOME - he trained on how we, as missionaries, can develop the authority we hold into spiritual power through faith, obedience and unity. He highlighted that there is a huge difference... that if we wanted to be 'the missionaries are mums think we are', we needed to step up our game and enhance that power that we are entitled to when we live in the way Heavenly Father expects us to.
We were also asked to prepare a five minute discourse on the Doctrine of Christ (namely faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end) and we were told that Elder Whiting would choose a few of us to share it during conference. Well.... guess who got asked first ha?! It was a great experience though - I read one quote from Elder Oaks ('the purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens!') and then bore testimony of how the Gospel of Jesus Christ allows man to change into something better! It was a really spiritual meeting and it was also great to see some of my MTC district that our outside our zone!
I'm loving my mission! I appreciate all your prayers and love you all,
Elder Pelham

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Another week done out in the mission field... time is going by WAY too fast for me!
So, this blog is turning out to be more of a 'highlights showcase' for missionary work - we are being blessed like mad here in Poquoson and this week hasn't been any different! When/if work finally slows down, I will spend a little more time telling you about the area, mission life ect. But, for now, you'll have to put up with some more miracles... tough times or what?!
First bit of news... the legendary Brendan (or 'Subway Guy') has another baptism date. He was meant to be baptized on Saturday but, because of work, we haven't seen him for the last two/three weeks! But, after some perseverance, we finally got in contact with him and had a lesson with him on Thursday. We felt prompted to watch Elder Holland's talk from the latest General Conference (watch it - it's powerful stuff with him! So, he's never been to church but we got him to watch an Apostle (pretty cool huh?!). Anyway, as soon as the movie finishes, he says 'Well, Elders, I'm meant to be baptized in two days huh?'. We replied, 'Yes Brendan... actually, we wanted to talk about that...'. And he sits there, looks me straight in the eye and goes 'I'm ready... when can I get baptized?!'. We're shocked but we manage to invite him to pray right there to know which date to commit to. And he's halfway through the prayer when he stops and says 'I need to be baptized in the 23rd of November'! It was awesome... there's a change in him from before and there is a sense of commitment unlike last time! We're excited! He's an awesome guy... watch this space!
Second miracle: there's a part member family in the ward who we've been seeing pretty frequently the last two months or so. The father is less active (although he loves the church, reads the Book of Mormon daily and still pays tithing) and the wife has ALWAYS made it clear she didn't want to know about the church... she just likes having us over, that's all. We popped by on Thursday, just to see how they were. They told us about some crazy stuff happening at the time and basically vented for an hour. And then, out of nowhere, we begin teaching two separate lessons - I talk to the husband about coming on lessons with us (I have no idea where that came from?!) and Elder Bernfeld taught the wife about Joseph Smith and repentance. It was amazing... we both really felt the Spirit and felt led to say certain things! We committed them to receiving the lessons and to investigate the church!
There's a few others but I really wanted to focus on the ward for a moment. This ward is AMAZING! It is wonderful to feel so comfortable in a place after just seven weeks with them... we get fed every night and I love being with the members! There are several families who have really taken me in and adopted me as their 'little British orphan' ha! Take my birthday week for example... I have a party with two of my favourite families on the Monday, dinner with another on Tuesday, have two dinners on my birthday on Wednesday, Thanksgiving with another favourite on the Thursday, another party on the Friday and two awesome families on the Saturday and Sunday! In fact, several other members came up to me on Sunday and asked when they could see us for a birthday treat! I feel very loved here and I love them too... I have made friends for life in Poquoson and I thank Heavenly Father for sending me here! And yes, it helps that I'm English but I'm also being myself and I think they find that refreshing... I'm human and am not ashamed of that!
I love my mission... I still need prayers but I'm grateful to be here! I hope that you feel the Spirit when you read these blogs... I only have this opportunity because of the reality of the Gospel! It is true :)
Love Elder Pelham

Monday, 8 October 2012


Hey everyone,
So, here I am writing my update for week ten! Can you believe how quickly it's going?! It seems like yesterday I was in the MTC meeting everyone and thinking 'what the freak am I doing here?!'. And yet, somehow, now I'm into my second transfer and actually becoming a missionary!
Today has been another great week with - as usual - many miracles! Let me share some... last Monday, we met up for out day off with 32 other missionaries from the stake. One of those missionaries was Sister Allan who was in my group that left from the MTC! We spoke a little and she told me how her MTC companion, Sister Jepson (one of the most amazing people I've ever met!) had been struggling recently because of some family issues. I thought about it and decided I'd ask President Perry if I could call her sometime (we have to get President's permission because Elder/Sister relationships have a lot of rules... I wonder why ha!). So, I'm on the phone to President and he randomly says, 'Elder Pelham, if you feel like you need to call Sister Jepson, please do'! Sister Jepson and I ended up on the phone for a whole hour and, although I can't share too much, I can tell you this... it was one of my most spiritual experiences in my entire life! She is exceptional and her faith inspiring... Through her quiet example, I came to better understand the reality of God's love for His children! No matter what we face, Christ understands and He will 'succor us'. I will always be grateful to Sister Jepson for helping me understand that better :)
Another miracle happened on Wednesday - Elder Bernfeld and I were running late to a dinner appointment and, I'm not gonna lie, I was getting impatient! I HATE being late, especially when a member has made us food! Anyway, we're walking to this appointment when a lady in our apartment complex asks 'are you missionaries?' ha! Of course, we say yes and then she reveals that she is a less active member who hasn't been to church for four years. She'd recently moved to Virginia and had felt lonely and needed help. And then, there we were ha! (sounds like Elder Nelson's talk this weekend huh? 'we can help') We asked if we could help and then this dear sister began to cry, right there on the street. She shared her gratitude for Heavenly Father for sending us into her path that day and we left her with a prayer and a promise to help her move furniture! This experience definitely helped illustrate to me that God's servants follow God's timetable... if we are too obsessed with getting to the next place on time, we refuse to be an answer to a humble sister's prayer!
We also had a great lesson with an 18 year old girl named Brooke. As a quick sidenote (and a way to get lad points I guess), I should share that Brooke used to be a Hollister model... yeah money ;) Anyway ha! We met Brooke three weeks ago during service and, after a lot of persistence, we managed to organize an appointment with her on Thursday! It was an amazing experience for me because it helped me realize how far my ability to teach the message of the Restoration has come from just ten weeks ago - we were able to create a spiritual climate in which the Holy Ghost could testify to Brooke that the things we shared were indeed truths that would develop her personal relationship with Heavenly Father. There is very little in this life that brings so much joy than watching someone change before your eyes... I love my job!
This is an amazing work that I am privelaged to be a part of! I am so happy to have heard the announcement live that young men can serve missions at 18 (I started a trend obviously!) and young women can now serve at 19 - as our dear Prophet spoke those words, I felt the Spirit! I know that this is part of God's plan and I'm excited to see many more missionaries share the joy that comes from missionary service! This truly is Jesus Christ's church... I used to try and play down the differences from our doctrine and the doctrine of other Christians but now, I glory in it - those differences are evidence that this church is true! There really is a Prophet on Earth... listen to his words on and seek a witness of this for yourself! God lives and loves His children, even each and every one of us!
Love Elder Pelham
ps. if you want a laugh, check out Isaiah 36:12 - the Bible should be rated 18!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Okay, first things first... Barbara's baptism!
This was my journal entry: 'Now... let's talk about Barbara's baptism! It was CELESTIAL :D The Spirit was intense throughout the entire service and you could see how that affected her - she couldn't stop smiling. How humbling it is to think that I played a small part in helping her feel that joy! I love my job ha! It strengthened my testimony of how our baptism's are not a 'one-time' event - I felt the Spirit purify me of my pride, my anger and my doubt yesterday as I watched Barbara take upon her the name of her Saviour'.
This week has been exceptional... I have really had some amazing experiences! For example, last week was really tough for Elder Bernfeld's and I companionship... lets just say, my biggest trial so far has been being patient ha! Anyway, this week has been interesting and has really shown me that this is God's work, not mine. It's been tough as Elder Bernfeld's moods have a direct effect on our ability to work and, this week, there's been several times we've had to stay in the apartment because he isn't 'feeling good today' - BUT, here's what I'm learning! I seek out the Spirit before I say anything and then I pray for love (see Moroni 7:48) and then, depending on the answer I receive, we plan our day around his mood. And, here's the miracle... despite spending a substantial amount of time at the house, we STILL hit our goals this week! It's been amazing to see because I'm learning that, if we strive to have the 'pure love of Christ' and even if that means wasting time, He will bless us with success... in fact, I think it enhances our success because it encourages humility and seeking out revelation! I LOVE THIS WORK - MY JOB IS AMAZING HA!
We've also has some amazing lessons - we're still teaching Christian, who's wife is a reactivating member! He's solid! Anyway, we asked them to read Lehi's Vision (1 Nephi 8) as a couple between our last two lessons and, surprisingly, they did it!!! Then we went through it with them and here's the cool thing... as we spoke about the fruit which was 'exceedingly sweet to the taste', we asked what he thought the fruit meant. He talked about peace and love and fulfillment in this life. And then, I asked 'Christian, is this what you want in your life?'! And without hesitation, he looked me in the eye and said 'of course!'... That sounds small but it is in fact exceptional! Five weeks ago, he didn't care about what we had to say and talked about how it wasn't important if there was a God or not. On Thursday, he shared how he hungered and thirsted for the fruits that Jesus Christ's teachings bring... what an amazing change! The Lord truly will soften the heart of his children!
We've also taught a pastor this week and several young women (the accent definitely helps ha!) and, each time, I've really felt like a missionary! I can see myself changing and it excites me... I'm becoming a missionary! The things missionaries do are changing from 'just because' into who I am... it's natural to talk to a random person on the street and invite them to come to church or to hear our message! I love that... I'm becoming who Christ wants me to be :)
I've had some cool insights in study this week as well that I feel prompted to share. Firstly: 'faith is the response to truth'. Secondly, 'how often do we smile because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?'. And three, faith is more than believing in God and His plan... it is remaining loyal to the promises we make. Thus, when we are 'faithful (or full of faith) to our covenants, we are showing God that we trust him!
I love this Church - it can and will change a willing heart and an open mind. All can know of the truth of the things we teach... Just put it to the test and 'read,ponder and pray'. Thank you all for the good you do in this world... God recognizes it and He will bless you! Just trust in Him and it will be okay,
Love Elder Pelham xx