Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm getting transferred.....?

Dear family, So I'm getting transfered, all the way up to Brantford North. I'm technically opening a new area...my own area...It's going to get weird. I'm really hoping though that means I get to finish out my mission in Brantford, because I really hate the idea of only being somewhere one transfer. I like to get my roots sunk in. But it's going to be SO FUN! Sister Sorensen and I will both be training, and for the first few days we're all going to live in the same house I'm in right now until March 1st when my companion and I can move into our new apartment. SO PARTY IN BRANTFORD!

So my next week will consist of trying to figure out who's now in which area, getting the new furniture and food and stuff for the new apartment, learning how to share a car, and still trying to actually find and teach people. I pity our poor new companions haha. Our district this next transfer will consist of: 4 elders (one of which has only been out 5 weeks and is still being trained), 3 sisters being trained, 2 sisters training who have only been out 5 weeks, and myself. But I'll give you a quick run down on the week and then we gotta jet and get ready for transfers.

 This week was SO GOOD. We're in love with our investigators. Too bad the all live in the south end and will be staying with Sister Sorensen! At least I'll get to go to all their baptisms, because we're teaching SO many solid people. We left so many appointments this week just beaming.

Paul is making so much progress, we see alot of missionaries who used to serve in this area and I was talking to some of them on Friday and they were shocked we were seeing him regularly. I guess alot of missionaries have tried but never gotten very far, but it's finally his time and he's doing so well. He's started reading the Book of Mormon on his own, which he said at first he wouldn't do he would just have his wife read to him, and he said the closing prayer at our last lesson when again he'd said he would never do that! Their family is too precious.

Shawn, who we met street contacting, has been surprisingly awesome! We had like a week between our first and second appointment, and in that time he read the 4 chapters we left about the plan of salvation, the introduction and testimonies, the first 15 chapters of Nephi, and the suggest readings at the back of the pamphlet we left. When we started his second lesson he said he didn't see himself coming to church or praying for several weeks, and at the end he said the prayer and said he wanted to rearrange his time he visits his son on Sundays so he can come to church. It was amazing!

It's been cool to see too how recently everything Sister Sorensen and I have studied in companion study and in district meetings we've been able to apply that day to our lessons and seen amazing progress from it. I love inspired studies :)

Love you all!

Pictures of the week:

SNOW DAY! This was a few weeks ago, it snowed all this in about 6 hours. It was so bad we weren't allowed to go outside, we spent all day going through the area book and going stir crazy. But of course we went out for a few pictures.

 We LOVED you valentines day box!

We went bowling as a zone this last p-day. 
Sister Sorensen did REALLY good. I did not. But it was too fun.

Elder Dewey had never bowled 10 pin before, they usually bowl 5 pin in Canada, but he was annoyingly good at it. 
Even when we bowled between our legs, I guttered and he got down like 8. Gah!

I thought you'd enjoy this- this is us with our zone leaders (and Sister Wester creeping in the background). Elder Silva and I are the same height, Sister Sorensen and Elder Lynn are the same height, but when standing on a ledge we're all the same height! Hahaha the first time I saw Elder Lynn and Silva standing next to each other I turned to Sister Sorensen and said "Is that what we look like?? That's hilarious!"   I forget I'm short sometimes.

The more pictures I send the more I realized I've told you nothing about my life this transfer.
After bowling on p-day we went on exchanges with Woodstock, so I got to spend the day with Sister Stats in Woodstock and Sister Wester came to Brantford for the day. It was SO FUN! First of all, that ward clearly still adores me- score. And I loved whenever we saw members it took between 45 seconds and 3 minutes before they realized I shouldn't be there hahaha. The first night we visited my recent convert, Robin, and the branch president dropped in by chance and did a huge double take on me. Secondly, Sister Stats is so cute and also openly adored me and just soaked in everything I said as  great advice because she was so nervous about potentially training this next trasnfer (she is btw). So it was just a day of feeding my pride. And I got to go teach Jessica, who we found literally 2 days before I left and who is close to being baptized, along with her 2 cousins. I loved it. And Sister Wester and Sister Sorensen had a crazy and hilarious day, so we spent the next 3 days swapping stories about how cute Sister Wester is.
Anyways, this is us exchanging back :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I've never been so busy in my life

This week has been and is going to be insane.....Our entire upcoming week is completely booked, people have to give us about 8 days notice to see us :) We're going to have to arrange some splits this week to see all of our investigators.

We're teaching the BEST new person! Paul is the husband of a member and we have no idea why he isn't baptized. We taught him one of the best plan of salvation lessons I've ever had and committed him to March 17, which turned out to be 1 day before his wife was baptized 12 years ago. So they're both super excited about it! He really just has to go through the lessons and see if he's missed anything while coming to church on and off over the last 5 years. We started to teach the lesson and I was filled with so much love, seeing this family with 2 little girls all sitting around a table learning about the plan God has for them was one of the sweetest sights I've seen on my mission. You could just picture them in the temple becoming an eternal family in the year. I LOVE WORKING WITH FAMILIES!

We're also teaching a man we found street contacting this week, Shawn. We stopped and talked to 2 men and had one of the WORST contacting experiences of my whole mission, I don't know if I've ever been cussed out so bad and for no reason at all, we didn't even invite them to do anything or talk really but one of them exploded at us so Sister Sorensen grabbed my arm and dragged me away before he got to finish. So we walked around for a bit and cooled off, talked to a couple of people, and then found Shawn. I'm pretty sure he was Heavenly Father's direct blessing for the earlier 2 men, because Shawn also hates religion and religious people but in the last few months had some really positive experiences that has made him more curious about the Bible and interested in finding a church. We also taught him the plan of salvation this week and he loved it, he was so grateful to have an alternative to the fire and brimstone interpretation. He set a date for April to work for baptism.

Roger is finally over his awful flu and we're going to meet with him again today- and by we I don't mean me haha we're doing Sisters exchange with Woodstock today! I'm going to Woodstock with Sister Stats and Sister Sorensen and Sister Wester are going to work here. We're all really excited. I'm going to go visit the Butlers, the family we started teaching right before I left and whose niece is getting baptized this Sunday (YES!!!!!), hunt down my recent converts and drag one of their butts back to church, and tell one of the families there that we're reactiving their son who lives in Brantford and he's started going to the addiction recovery program with us every week. Oh, and I guess visit people Sister Stats has planned for us :)

But anyways, Roger and his grandson Anthony are doing really well, they both came to church this Sunday. They're going to set them both with baptismal dates tonight. Brantford's going to baptize like nuts next month!  I've never been so busy in my life. I'll be SO sad next Sunday if I get moved (and I have very little faith I won't be.)

I hope everything is moving forward with the house still!

Love you all, talk to you in a week.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A day of Gratitude


Oh man, today is a day of gratitude.

So throughout my mission there are times I feel like I'm never doing quite enough and I worry so much that I've missed opportunities and let things slip past because of my mistakes and weaknesses. Obviously I realize no one's perfect and I take comfort in the fact that Heavenly Father knew I was going to make those mistakes when he sent me to areas so it must be okay in the end, but there are still times or days I just really feel my imperfections and can't seem to find how to overcome them. Pretty standard for most missionaries I think, but this last week I'd had all those feelings weighing on me extra heavily.

Then I got a call last night from my first ward mission leader. His daughter is in our ward and so she passed on our number. After first telling me I'm perfect and they all love and miss me (what else is new), he told me he really called to tell me that my very first investigator ever is getting baptized. Like, actually. He's set dates to be baptized so many times but never made it, but Brother Parsons told me it's been announced, he's been interviewed, he tried on clothes, and he asked Brother Parsons to do it. So it's finally happening. Best part is, guess who's the missionary there right now? Sister DeRuvo! So I got to start teaching Steve and then train the missionary that would finally get him to baptism!

He then told me about a family that my companion and I tried to contact while I was in Owen Sound. He was this golden guy who studied online with missionaries for months while in Afghanistan and he walked in the church one day with his 3 little girls and told the bishop he wanted to be baptized. But his wife was really against it so he disappeared and we never were able to teach him. But he's been coming out for a few months now and has almost worked it out with his wife. He told me "So the effort you put in there wasn't a waste." It was interesting because when we couldn't get a hold of him we prayed to ask what we should do and we got the answer, Wait. When we told Brother Parsons that he said the missionaries before us had the same experience. So the timing just needed to be right, and again now Sister DeRuvo can help harvest that family.

THEN he told me about the little boy who had been baptized a few months before. He's the son of a less active who we tried to see but couldn't very often. So again, not really someone I felt like I was working with at all. But it was so interesting as he told me all these things, I got to see the plan for these people be laid out how Heavenly Father had seen it all along. It really is true that no effort we put into sharing the gospel is wasted! We have no idea what Heavenly Father will eventually do with the little bit of energy we invested.

I dunno, it was just really cool and it brought me so much peace that if the one person who I most had regrets about how I aught and my imperfections is now being baptized, the rest of my mistakes will be compensated for as well. One of the missionaries said one time in a zone meeting right before he went home "There's a lot I would do differently, but I have no regrets, because I did the best that I could in that circumstance and there's a perfect Atonement to make up for the rest." That's the feeling I've had ever since that call. I love it. And it motivates me to do so much more and really put in effort every minute of every day so that those seeds can be planted.

Anyways, it was a really good week here. We're teaching Roger's grandson Anthony now along with Roger- they both immediately got sick after we taught them and have been down all week so that's stunk, but I think Anthony is going to be baptized the end of this month! We also started teaching 2 people, Brandon and Kevin, who are so fun to teach. For example we asked to start with a prayer and Brandon immediately said "Okay but explain everything you do and why you do it." He prayed at the end and both opened and closed "In the name of the Heavenly Father" haha it was cute. And they take in every word you say and ask really great questions about it. Sister Sorensens said "God is our loving Heavenly Father, and we lived with Him before coming to Earth" and they had about 10 super solid comments and questions on just that. We kinda taught all 3 first lessons in one hour lol.

We're going on sisters exchange next week, and I'm going to go back to Woodstock to work with Sister Wester's baby! I'm so excited! I'm already planning people to tell them to make appointments with, especially the Butlers, who we started teaching the day before I left and who are getting really close to baptism now.

Okay, I'm going to go experiment with EFY. Wish me luck! Love you, good luck with all your projects!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another busy busy week of white wash miracles

Cioa bellas,

Wow, another busy busy week of white wash miracles.

Seriously, if President makes me white wash train every transfer for the rest of my mission I'll be totally happy. You're too busy to think about yourself, you have to be focus on just the ward and your companion, and you see crazy amounts of success. Basically it's all the best parts of missionary work multiplies.

We have 7 people we're teaching now. Our main investigator is Roger, this amazing sweet man who's actually been coming to church for about 2 months but somehow the Elders were never able to meet with him. He's friends with a member couple in the ward and wanted to change his life so he started coming to church. We invited him to be baptized and he told us he had a goal to do it in a month, which was the weekend we were going to commit him to so perfect! He may have to move it back a bit because he's living with his fiancee right now so it depends on when they're going to get married, but he's already made a ton of progress, including cutting his smoking down by half.

Remember that awesome finding miracle I wrote about last week, Suzanne? Well we taught her that night and she's crazy prepared, she's really busy but our next appointment she's going to bring her husband as well. It was Sister Sorensen's first lesson, and when we left she said "I feel like I'm getting pranked and I'm still in the MTC, she said things that are so perfect it was hard to remember this time it wasn't an actor!" Hahaha!
The last like 10 sets of Elders here left AWFUL records- Erin, tip for you mission, KEEP TEACHING RECORDS FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD- but they did leave a huge fatty stack of phone numbers from contacts that had, so we've been calling them (way more effective than hunting down interested people's numbers yourself). So far we have 1 new investigator from that and i think 4 more appointments this week. And, not that this should be a motivation, but it's also nice to do some finding from the warmth of your home. It has been COLD and SNOWY ever since Sister Sorensen came in, she brought that freezing Utah weather with her!

And the less active work here is almost out of control here, no wonder they're putting in more missionaries. We have at least 4 appointments every day this week, and we haven't even set one with all our investigators yet. GAH awesome but crazy!

So basically, I love this place :) and Sister Sorensen continues to prove to be amazing and adorable. She's so funny too, we were going to teach Roger a super brief law of chastity and word of wisdom so he could start working on those things, and she looked at me right before and said "YOU TEACH IT." So I was like, okay, I can, we forgot to role play it this morning so she's never practiced it, that's fair I guess. Then the time came and she taught both of them perfectly. Afterwards she apologized and said "I don't know what's wrong with me, I talk to much! Even when I don't want to talk about something and don't know how, I say it anyways just because I can't stay quiet!" Hahaha works for me, she's training herself. She also finds things most missionaries find annoying or disheartening hilarious. Like we talked to this teenager and he wasn't interested, so we asked if he knew anyone who was and he said "Try buildings Q and R, I don't know them very well but there's a rumor they're religious" and then immediately took off to his home to watch us from his window. I wasn't going to tell Sister Sorensen that was definitely a bogus referral, probably a prank on his friends, but then she turned to me and was like "Well that was a big old lie!" ut of course we went to contact them just in case- and of course both were not only not interested but close to the opposite. But she was just cracking up during the whole thing and afterwards was like "Props to him, that was quit thinking! He didn't even miss a beat! How funny!" It was be hard to get discouraged with her as a companion.
I can't believe I've been here 2 weeks already. Mind blown.
I don't know Sarah very well but I adore her mom, that's super exciting! And that's amazing Sophie's in the field- you'll have to watch her for me and see if she has to train immediately lol.

Hahaha I love little kids, you have the best calling ever. The button story KILLED me. I didn't know you taught with Bridget, that must be too fun.
Whelps, gotta mail the prez. By the way, he said I can apply for EFY so I'm going to start that next week. Any suggestions about what weeks or places to apply for? I may just do everywhere in utah for June and July and see what I get. LOVE YOU, have a great week!