Monday, November 24, 2014

Belfast and The Love of God

At least the horses will talk to me....
Hey Elder!  No kissing on your mission!!  

This week was fun, I'm still sick. I have tonsillitis and have to go to the doctors, pretty fun huh? Well this week I went on exchanges with Elder Reeder From South Africa in Johannesburg. He is funny.  He always says "eat your hair" with a African accent.  It’s hilarious. We tracted the whole day and we chapped into this guy with an English accent who looked and sounded like Shaun Connery, it was funny.  

Countryside near Omagh

Elder Penman, Elder Smiler....biking it!
Elder Penman, Elder Smiler Omagh countryside
Omagh Countryside

In the morning, we rode a bus to Belfast and walked 5 miles to the church for Zone interview training. It was cool to walk down Holywood Road. On Holywood road you can see where the Titanic was built and all of these murals for the Catholic and Protestant rivalry.  It’s crazy stuff. We stayed the night in The Holywood Elders flat for stake conference. During the day, Elder Smiler and I went on exchanges with Rosetta area, Elders Utley and Crittenden. I went with Elder Utley to a park where we GQ'd for a few hours. We found this single mom that loved how families can be together forever so they will be seeing her in a week. We are doubling our prayers in our mission so we decided to thank God for letting us meet her. Later we saw a lady staring at us so we talked to her and she just unloaded her life story and all her concerns on us. We talked about the Book of Mormon and asked if she wanted us to give her one next week. She paused and said "well...nah... That would be fine." It was so amazing to see the Lord soften her heart. We said another prayer and thanked again and asked to meet another person that will receive the gospel. We later ran into an African lady and told her about Joseph Smith and how prophets are on the earth like they were in The Bible. She loved that and wanted to meet on Sunday. We said another prayer of thanks. We later talked to an atheist and helped him understand God a little more and invited him to ask if he was there. He said He would think about it. We thanked God again and then went to stake conference.
Stake conference was amazing. Elder Liamer from the Area Seventy spoke about member missionary work. It was amazing!!! We heard from President Brown and from the Preston Temple president. We also watched a video of Elder Henry B Eyring when he spoke in the Vatican about families. It was amazing. That night we stayed in the Zone leaders Flat. Elder Benesch-who trained me and Elder Nordfores-who trained Elder Longman. The Sunday session was just as good.

Well, I don't have too much to say so I’ll just share some more of my studies in Nephi 11. I love Nephi 11 It is amazing. This week I was able to understand that which is most precious above all things in my life. In Nephi’s vision, He sees the mother of Jesus and then he sees Jesus. In verse 21, the angel asks Nephi if he understands the tree of life. Nephi answers and is very excited. In verse 22, the answer Nephi gives about the tree made the whole room I was in fill with the spirit.
And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
The love of God is Jesus, because God soooo loved the world He gave His Only Begotten Son.  Jesus Christ shed Blood and felt our pains and afflictions and sins, so we could freely be forgiven. He gave that to us because He knows and loves us all so individually   So on the strait (not straight) path we will fall because it is so small. In Lehi’s dream in 1 Nephi 8:10 it talks about fruit and how its desirable, so as a child I wanted to eat this fruit because it was described to make you happy when you eat it. But as I read in Nephi 11,  I realized I can partake of this fruit now and I can do it over and over if I let the Atonement cleanse me and change me. I truly realized how much I took the atonement for granted and all that Jesus did for me and all of us so willingly. It was given freely for me so I can have eternal joy!! There is sooo much more I can and have learned from Nephi 11 that I won’t share because that will take away all your fun of finding these small but amazing things! The most joyous things!  So you should all read it because these words have so much more power when you read it from the Book of Mormon.

I love all of you sooooo much.

Elder Penman 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Very Fast Week Has Come and Gone

Omagh to Derry/Londonderry
To start of this week Elder Smiler and I headed to Derry Londonderry for our district meeting, and guess who was there? One of my trainers, Elder Benesch! It was really nice to see him again. We got a training on how we can make our prayers more meaningful and how we can receive more guidance on listening to Heavenly Father. I have been doing this all week and I feel my relationship with God is a lot stronger, and a lot more meaningful. It has really helped me out a lot!! 

Omagh to Belfast
My mission put together 2 choirs-- one in Scotland and one in Ireland. Me and my companion are in the Ireland one. We had to travel to Belfast and spend the night in this area where, on every street post, there is a Catholic flag or a Protestant flag, and graffiti for both too.  It was cool to see. We also got to see where the Titanic was built. The braces were huge that held it up (during construction)!!! It was cool to see where the "unsinkable" ship was built. 

Belfast to Dublin

The next morning, we traveled down to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and met up to practice. You will never guess who I ran into. I saw Bryson Longman or Elder Longman there! That was pretty cool! (Note from Mom--Elder Bryson Longman attended Bonneville High School, where Elder Penman went to High School and his family lives in our Stake) It was weird to see someone who has known me most of my life.  Instantly, I felt like I was at a young men's activity. But the choir was fun to sing in. We will perform all over Ireland and Northern Ireland in 1 1/2 weeks.  I'm excited! We traveled back to Omagh that night and didn't get in till 11pm.  I was so tired! 
Elder Penman and Elder Longman

One of the days, we had to ride our bikes 24 miles out to find this lady, but we got 15 miles out there and we had to go back or else we would have been late for a dinner appointment. We pretty much got our exercise and we were able to see beautiful countrysides!  It felt so good to bike that far though. I loved it. Besides the part were my bike chain broke. 
View in the countryside in Omagh area

Sunday was again wonderful. Tom our "main man" fed us a good old-fashioned Sunday dinner, but then we went back to the flat because Elder Smiler is ill. We have been in the flat for 3 days and I'm starting to get sick too. I hope it doesn't come! 

Well that's my week done. I hope all of you are having a wonderful time. I love all of you.

Elder Penman

Monday, November 10, 2014

Extra Photos Paisley and Omagh

Extra photos from the last P-day in Paisley at Howwood Village Scotland in County Renfrewshire, the Castle Semple

Elder Penman with Paisley Tiger Rug.  Looks like all the missionaries who have been in that apartment sign it.

He always did like dressing up for Halloween

Elder deVries--Doner meat?

Burrowes family--Paisley

And then on to Omagh Northern Ireland.  Interior pictures of the new swag flat!

The workout board--Omagh

Omagh new companion Elder Smiler (from New Zealand) photobombing Elder Penman

One establishment in Omagh

River Strule?  Omagh

Elder Smiler found a slang term on a shop.  In New Zealand, where he is from, Bogan has been defined by word has long been part of the New Zealand and Australian vocabulary and recognised as slang for someone who is working class, listens to heavy metal music, wears jeans and black t-shirts, and could often be spotted with a beer in hand, while enjoying a barbeque with mates.
Burger Hut


Omagh Branch building with Elder Smiler

Of Water and Rivers and Valleys

Sending Elder Dameon Andrews off to head home from his 2 year mission.  He returned to Star Valley WY this week.  (Elder Penman, Elder Andrews, Elder de Vries)
Off to Northern Ireland, Elder de Vries dropped Elder Penman off at the ferry.
Well this week flew by and I have been in 2 different countries. It took 9 hours of travel but I made it safe and sound. So far in Omagh not much has happened but people are very against talking about religion. It’s sad but if they are scared of it from the crazy stuff that has happened in the past over wars here.

Unknown Elder, crossing the Irish Sea

View of coast from ferry in the Irish Sea

Unknown Elders on the trip across the Irish Sea

On Northern Ireland soil

The country is so pretty I love the views here. The branch is small but the people are nice. Tom is a member that loves us and gives us cuppas a cup of hot cocoa. It’s so good. We have a gym membership. We are going to lift early in the morning. I’m going to get buff. Elder Smiler has some insane workouts. I’ve done some with him. My arms are still sore from them. It’s awesome.
There were some protesters in front of this building yelling it was cool. On the 8th they had drums marching up the street. It was way loud. I  couldn’t study very well. It was still pretty cool. We have a nice flat. It’s really really fancy and has alarms just in case protesters get wild. No not really, but it’s a beautiful little town.

Outside the new flat (interior pictures on another post)

In my studies this week I was reading in Nephi 11 and I read up on when Nephi sees the tree. In verse 25, Nephi talks about the tree of life and how it represents living water and love of God which is Jesus.
Nephi's Vision of the Tree of Life from 1 Nephi 11 
Also It reminded me of when I was reading back in Nephi 2: 6. When Nephi talks about where his father stopped to pitch their camp. If you notice in there, after the comma, Nephi says "he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river OF WATER."   It always stood out to me a river of water. He said a river of water but he didn’t say a valley of sand or a valley of trees or even anything. Why would he explain the water part? I pondered on this for many days and after I read in chapter 11:25 living water is Jesus Christ. I know the reason Nephi put the word water in there to represent the accessibility Lehi had to the water. I thought on how this applies to me.
When you are doing things ask yourself this, is Jesus Christ accessible when you are going to that party? Is Jesus Christ accessible when you are watching that movie, or when you are on the computer etc. If you establish yourself by Jesus Christ you will not get yourself into bad situations, you will be the person that God wants you to be. I wish i would have understood this more fully when i was younger. I would have done a lot of things differently. That’s another thing that Nephi 2:6 talks about.
They valley is significant for another reason. If the running river full of water is Christ. That simple river created that whole valley. It was firm ground and seemed to be virtually unchangeable. If you let Christ flow through you just like the valley let the river flow through it, you will have the dirt that you do not want any more washed from you. You will become a beautiful "valley" if you only let the atonement work in your life every day, day after day for your whole life.      
Well I don’t have too much to share but I love all of you. Ask any question if you have any.
Remember to ask yourself, Am I established in Christ? If the answer is no, find Him in a better situation.  

Love,  Elder Penman