Well, my year mark is here and perception changes. From here on out it's not an uphill climb but rather a downhill run with what I'm sure will be increasing speed. I'm becoming a senior missionary as all my older friends and role models depart and it's strange to see.
As for the work, I'm still covering Darnall. I think I've probably set a record for most steps walked on Staniforth Road, and counting. Elder M and I are working really well together, and I'm grateful for him and his buoyant spirit.
Not too long ago a Slovak girl straight up offered herself to me. This was on the street! Like, WHAT? I was halfway down the sidewalk in 3, Elder M trailing behind and asking what just happened. The girl was offended by my rather blatant rejection and was swearing at me as we hastened away. Nice, right?
The past few weeks every new person I've spoken to has thought I was Slovak until I told them otherwise, which is obviously a great sign for my language progression. I love knowing my fluency has gotten to the point where I'd always hoped it would be before. I'm of course still picking up new vocab all the time, but it's gone from basic and ordinary things to unusual and less common things. My French is very faded now, which makes me sad, but I'll pick it up again.
Driving lessons have picked back up again. My instructor was in the hospital for 11 weeks or so, suffering from multiple illnesses and having multiple operations. I don't know how he survived it but somehow he did so I'm once again taking lessons. The hardest part is mastering all the different kinds of roundabouts and such that they have here. Other than that, things are fairly simple with the driving.
There was one funny experience I just remembered. We were walking up the hill to Manor and we saw a guy ahead of us who was struggling to carry a bulky 24 package of beer and a couple large grocery bags. As we neared him, the beer package broke, spilling out cans of beer on the sidewalk, one even bursting. The guy, who was either partially drunk or really, really tired, started to gather everything up into the grocery bags. We stopped to offer help and Elder M picks up one of the last cans, bent over a bit, offering it to the guy kneeling on the ground. The guy didn't immediately notice so Elder M stood there for a good few moments, offering a can brightly emblazoned with the Carling label to someone else for all driving by to see. This was a busy road too, probably the busiest anywhere near us, and to imagine the thoughts of people passing by who noticed is just funny. Elder M says he's the first missionary to publicly offer someone a beer. haha
The work continues onward here in Sheffield and I'm glad to be a part of it. There are many great missions out there but this one is the best one. There are plenty of areas in this mission, but this one is the best one. Thanks for helping me to be here. People are listening, growing and changing. I'm striving to do so myself and I can see a huge difference between me from before and me now. I'm making each step count. I've always looked forward to being where and who I am now. Thank you for that. I want you to know that I love you very much. I think about and pray for you every day. The things I've learned from you ring true in what I say to others. You are a greater part of my work out here than you might think. You are a continual joy to me, and every letter from you adds a reminder in my day of that joy. You are all the best of the best.
Elder Zachary Brown