It is an exciting time to be a member of the church in the Loughborough Ward (of the Leicester Stake), for missionary work has been flourishing. Within the last year there have been eighteen convert baptisms, with new members coming from China, Vietnam, various African countries and Romania, as well as from the local area.
A few of these new members have had to return home after completing studies at Loughborough University, but most are learning, growing and participating in the ward. The gospel is making a difference in their lives and their testimonies are a joy to hear, reminding everyone of its truthful simplicity. One young man, Di Liu, said in a sacrament meeting talk, “When I told my friends and relatives that I had joined the church, they all asked the same question – ‘Why? What difference does it make?’ Part of what I told them was about the Word of Wisdom and that I would not drink tea, coffee or alcohol any more. They said that a doctor could tell me to do that, but I replied, ‘Yes, but a doctor can’t give me the power to do it’.”
Another new member, Hannah, arrived in the UK from Beijing in January 2014 to study for a PhD in Business. She was baptised two months later, recognising church as “warm, friendly, home-like place” and that prayers can help her with her university work. Her visiting teacher, Yanning Yang, can identify with Hannah, having also joined the church while studying for a PhD a few years ago, and afterwards married and settled here, far from her family in China. She told Hannah that church gave her the strength to complete her studies and she learned that life has seasons. Her callings taught to keep on trying at similar tasks until she succeeded, and prepared her to focus on the things that God needed her to learn.
It is prayer, diligence and a united effort that has made the difference to the ward missionary work. Ward Mission Leader, Russell Ford explained, “The bishopric called twelve ward missionaries of different ages and background and since January 2014 they have been working ‘as one’ with the full-time missionaries, teaching with them daily. To begin with we were teaching six missionary lessons a week with members present, and now we sometimes have members teaching with the full-time missionaries three or four times in a day. As a ward we pray daily for investigators, new members and our friends; we invite missionaries, investigators, new members and our friends into our homes; and we always follow-up.”