Friday, May 29, 2015

WE MADE IT!

I finally made it to the England MTC (Missionary Training Center)! It's been a crazy couple of days. Wednesday morning my family & I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the airport for my flight. My friend, Jordan, came with us to the airport as well. Saying goodbye to my family was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Lots & lots of tears were shed, but a nice airport lady gave all of us tissues so that made it a little bit better. 

After going through security, I got to see my family through a window but we couldn't hear each other when we talked so they were typing out messages on their phones so I could read them while I was writing notes to them in a notebook. I had to leave my phone at home.  

On my flight from St. George to Denver, CO I was alone, but when I got to the airport two other missionaries joined me. (Elder Amermon & Sister McLean--I have no idea how to spell their names though hahaha). Our flight from Denver to New Jersey was delayed by an hour & a half so we had a couple hours to get to know each other. When we finally boarded the plane we were all a little bit nervous that we were going to miss our next flight so when we got there we all pretty much ran off the plane. Turns out, we didn't need to though because our flight to Manchester, England had been delayed from 7:20 p.m. to 10:20 p.m.

When we got to our gate we met up with all of the other missionaries who would be coming from North America to the England MTC in Preston, England. There were four Elders & four Sisters in total. Two of the Elders, Elder Jensen & Elder Whithers, I kind of met before, but the rest of them I didn't know.  It was exciting to talk with all of them. All of us except one Sister is going to the England London North Mission, & she is going to the London South Mission.   

A member of our church was sitting with us as well & actually ended up buying us a pizza & let us send a picture of the 'crew' to our families. #blessed 

After eating the pizza we found out that our flight had been delayed even more & we weren't going to be leaving until 11:20 p.m. Then they just kept pushing it back in 10-15 minute increments until 12:50 a.m. At that point, they told us that the pilot was unable to fly to Manchester because he was over his allotted hours & it would be illegal. 

They ended up cancelling the flight. A lot of people were very unhappy. One couple was going to miss their wedding because of it. It was definitely emotional for everyone, but it gave us missionaries a chance to meet & talk to some people about our missions. A few of us even handed out some pass along cards!! 

After waiting in line until 3:00 a.m. we finally resolved the issue with our flight. We ended up booking two hotel rooms 45 minutes from the airport & rescheduled our flights to leave the following day at 7:10 p.m. Yikes! We got on a shuttle that took us to the hotel & all of us then passed out. The majority of us had only gotten 3 or 4 hours of sleep so we were exhausted. Elder Jensen had taken some sleeping pills before we knew our flight was cancelled so he was totally out the whole ride. Lucky him, I guess. 

We got to the hotel at 4:30 a.m. & finally got to our rooms. The Sisters stayed in one room & the Elders in another. We got to sleep at around 5:30 a.m. and woke up at 10:30 a.m. so we could get some food before leaving for the airport at 1:30 p.m. We ended up hanging out in the lobby for a couple of hours & the restaurant at the hotel made us three pizzas because they weren't serving breakfast anymore. 

Finally, we left for the airport, got through security, and got to our terminal with three hours to spare. Our flight actually left on time so we finally boarded our plane to the United Kingdom. We got to London & went through customs with about 45 minutes to spare before boarding our next flight to Manchester. When we got to Manchester, we got to the baggage claim & found out that seven of our checked bags were still in London, but luckily all of mine made it. 

We met up with a man from the MTC & he took our bags for us, then we took a shuttle to the MTC. The Mission Training Center is so beautiful.  The Preston Temple is on the same grounds with the MTC so the spirit was so strong when we arrived. 

When we got to the MTC, a couple of the Sisters greeted us & we also met our Mission President & his wife. They then took us down to eat some lunch. We had some sandwiches;  some crisps (chips as they say in the good ol' USA) & some malties (whoppers pretty much). 

After that, we walked around the the grounds of the MTC with President Preston &  finally got our name tags. It was crazy putting it on for the first time. The reality that I am  representing The Lord as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints became so real in that instant. Now we have some free time to email & unpack before dinner. At dinner we get to meet all of the other Missionaries here which will be exciting!

 I hope you all are doing well! I'd love to hear from you! I love you guys so so so much & miss you already! (also sorry if this makes no sense, i'm struggling with the keyboard lol)



At the St. George, Utah Airport with Krista (sister), Jordan (close friend), me, Mom, and Dad


Selfie with (from front to back) Sister Fitts, Sister Burtis, me, & Sister McLean



The "crew/squad/gang" waiting in line after our flight was cancelled




Boarding passes to the UK

FINALLY!  Flying into Manchester , England
Love, Sister Johannes

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