Today we went on a Church History tour of some early Church sights in Preston and Manchester area. We saw the home that President Gordon B. Hinckley stayed at when he was a missionary in England. When the then Elder Hinckley first got into the town square of downtown Preston he was completely discouraged and didn't believe he could do it. He wrote home to his father with saying that he didn't think he could do the work. His father wrote back telling him to, "forget yourself, and go to work." President Hinckley later said that was his moment of decision to fully commit to the Lord's work and do his will.
We also saw the River Ribble where the first baptisms in England occurred. The people were so excited to be baptised that they raced across the river. The river was also in a park where the picture of me pulling a leaf off a tree was. That tree was planted for all the missionaries that serve in England. So since I'm currently in England as a missionary, I took a leaf to remember that tree!
My very favorite place we visited today was in this little tiny town named, Downham. We visited this Church of England and sang, "Come, Come, Ye Saints." Most of the tour was about the early Saints of England that built up the church, and immigrated to America to cross the plains. Singing "Come, Come, Ye Saints" almost brought me to tears because of how much my ancestors sacrificed to be members of the Restored Gospel. My ancestors lived in tiny towns just like Downham, with simple lives. But they heard of missionaries coming to their town with a new message of Jesus Christ. Their faith was so strong that they left everything they had to believe in Christ and join the Saints crossing the plains. The picture of the Church was that Church. I was truly humbled to be in such a beautiful town remembering such beautiful faith and devotion to following God.
This week we focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Our Church meetings were focused on the Atonement and I had to prepare a talk in German for it. Then that same night we had an amazing testimony meeting which really strengthened my testimony of the greatness of the Atonement. We taught a lesson to an investigator named Marion on Monday night about the Plan of Happiness and particularly the Atonement. We taught her that through the Atonement we can be clean from any guilt and mistakes we feel or have felt. I know that God truly did send his "Only Begotten Son" to atone for our sins. I know that through the atonement we can be free of any and all guilt we may have. I truly love this gospel, and my Savior, Jesus Christ.