Serving in the Canada Edmonton Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Friday, September 30, 2016

Week 52, 9/26/16

Hey Fam!  Wow.  I seriously can't believe I have been out a whole year.  It has absolutely flown by!  At the same time though, I look back on some experiences early on my mission on it kind of does seem like forever ago in a way, just because so much happens every day, it's like cramming 5 years worth of experiences and lessons learned into one year.  This week was so awesome and so busy, as usual. 
Drowning in the work - 4 area books and 1 companionship!
Wednesday I was on exchanges with Elder Shipley in River Valley.  I would say the highlight of the exchange was a lesson we had with one of their investigators.  She's a 55 year old lady and I guess she has a thing for brown men haha... And she isn't afraid to make it known either. Elder Shipley is half Mexican, and after the lesson when she was leaving she said to him (after he declined her hug), "Well I will surely see you again my handsome Mexican man."  Hahaha it was so funny and weird.  Good thing they are passing her over with the sisters!   

Thursday we had a ZTM which is always just splendid.  We had a bunch of new rules and policies implemented which I think will mostly help the mission a lot.  We also received a great training on how we help people make and keep commitments and following up.  I also got to hang out with the Parks which always makes my day!  We also were able to teach Tracy again, and this lesson went really well!  We found the perfect fellowshipper for her.  Same job, similar age, they really hit it off.  We taught her the Restoration again and showed the short first vision video.  The spirit was so strong!  At the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized and she said she had already been baptized... We were super short on time so we said we would talk more about that next time.   
Crossing over the hump on HUMP DAY

Friday- HUMP DAY -  the official year mark!  Somehow, someway a member offered to take us golfing with a nonmember on Friday morning!  Talk about tender mercies.  We got to go golfing at probably one of the nicest golf courses in Edmonton, Jagare Ridge.  The nonmember who came with us is part of a part-member family, and it was an awesome chance to get to know him better and build a relationship with him.  We have been trying to get in contact with him for a while and now we feel like if we called to set something up he would accept.  Anywho, golf was super fun even though it was cold and windy.  I did terrible which I was completely expecting so it was okay haha.  I did manage to have some good shots and some decent holes which was a nice surprise.  
Look for me soon on the LDS Missionary Canadian P-Day Tour

Saturday the highlight was probably the chance we had to give a few sisters in the district priesthood blessings.  They were both really stressed out about a lot of things, and then when I called for stewardship it was so cool to hear how much better they are doing now. We also taught AM that night, and she actually read the Book of Mormon and LIKED it!! This is such a huge step for her because that has been her biggest road block in her progression up to this point. She also came to church and enjoyed it:) She is doing great, she still has a long way to go but I can see the Lord helping her step by step along the way.   

Well that's it for this week.  I guess some other big news, WE ARE GOING TO JASPER AGAIN TODAY!!! That's why I'm sending this so early haha.  Thank goodness Elder Sites hasn't been, otherwise I wouldn't be able to go.  We are gonna have an awesome time, I'll send pics next week or possibly later today.  

 Love you all tons! Hope you all enjoy watching conference this weekend!  I'm so pumped:):):)   

Weekly Scripture:D&C 75:29: 29 Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.    

Week 51, 9/20/16

Hey everyone! This week was awesome:)  I'm sending out my email a bit earlier because a member is taking us to Elk Island National Park today!! It's kind of like a wildlife preserve 45 minutes east of Edmonton.  It's not Jasper or anything like that but it will be fun and we should see lots of crazy dope wild animals. I'll send pics later today.   

 We are having a good time dealing with the chaos of running 3 areas, having too many things to do is kind of a nice problem to have as a missionary.  Well Tuesday night was certainly a highlight.  We FINALLY met with zeke and his family again!  I don't know if any of you remember, but he's the 9 year old we had on date for baptism.  His family has had a bunch of crazy things to deal with over the past few months.  Their mom has to go out to their family farm that's like 45 minutes away literally every day to keep the animals alive, and sometimes they stay at the farm house for a couple weeks at a time and that's going to probably continue for a while, so his progression is kind of up in the air right now.  He definitely wants to be baptized as soon as he can though.  It was super good to see them again and teach them about the gospel, I missed them a bunch! 
Running 3 areas means having 3 phones

Wednesday was when the chaos began with us taking over all the sister's work.  We spent all morning taxiing other missionaries and their luggage around the city for transfers, but then after that we got right to work and went straight to weekly planning so we could get familiar with all the people the sisters were teaching.  Greenfield also had a ward party that night that we brought a couple investigators to.  We definitely had a lot of fun (I ate like 4 different plates of dessert... Nuff said), and we think they did too. It's always good to get people more comfortable with the social aspect of the church, it really goes a long way to have a friend. 

Thursday we were able to meet with one of the sisters' progressing investigators, Tracy. She is in her 20's and teaches at a Catholic school and has a cute 2 year old daughter, and she is totally open to seeking for additional truth!! Lots of people say that initially and then right when we bring up the Book of Mormon they shut us down because they are just so in love with the Bible, and also their misinterpretation of Rev. 22:18 plays a big part as well (I am honestly so sick of hearing about that verse hahaha).... Anyways though (sorry for the mini rant) it seems like Tracy is actually sincere.  She is already almost done with the Book of Mormon after only a few months of meeting with missionaries, and she's loving it. She just can never come to church for various reasons and doesn't see the need to be baptized again, so we will work on that:) We are super hopeful for her!  Pray for her to receive and recognize answers to prayer plz. 

Saturday we found a family! K the sisters found a family for us before they left and we went to the appointment they set up haha... Anyways their names are Henry, Regine, Silas, Shiloh, and Star.  Two parents and then 8, 5, and 2 years old from Uganda.  We got to know them a bit and taught them the Restoration, and the spirit was so strong, especially when we told taught about the first vision.  They are another one of those rock solid Christian families who LOVE the Bible and have a hard time accepting anything else as the word of God.  They seemed like they were willing to give the Book of Mormon a chance though:) Right when we were about to invite them to be baptized there was a knock on the door and this old couple walked in with some briefcases and the kids got super excited, and the lesson was basically shut down at that point :(    Apparently it was time for their Bible study.  We could tell the old couple felt weird about this family meeting with us, hopefully they didn't try to deter them from seeking the truth for themselves by reading from the Book of Mormon after we left.... We are kinda worried though.   

3 generations of missionaries.  From G'pa Payne to grandkid Sites, me in the middle.

Those are basically the only highlights from the week that are worth mentioning.  We meet with a bunch of less active people every week. Some are making progress, some aren't.  We will probably have to start meeting with them less so we will have time to do finding.  I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but our mission president is obsessed with finding.  Anne Marie is still doing okay, we weren't able to meet with her this week for various reasons.  One night was because we couldn't find a member to come with us (can't meet with her just the two of us) and she was definitely not happy to hear about us having rules like that, and ranted to us for like 30 minutes at her door about why it's super dumb how we get transferred a lot.... we are meeting with her on Wednesday and we are hoping she isn't quite as salty:)   

Well that's basically it for this week.  There were so many times this week, especially on Sunday throughout church meetings, where I could feel the Holy Ghost teaching me something new.  I really do know and testify that if we are trying are best to follow the Savior (putting words and desires to do so to action), and putting in real effort to come unto Him, we won't be ignored or forgotten, and we WILL feel the guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives, and we will feel the Savior's grace (the enabling power of the Atonement) helping us along the way. Draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to you:) it really works!!!! - 

Another Lamborghini tender mercy
With Love - Elder B.

James 4:8  Weekly scripture: Matthew 7:1-2 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.  2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Week 50, 9/13/16

Hello homies:)  This week was another great one!  I have a tendency to write super long group emails so this week I'm only going to talk about the most important things for you all to know about.   

So first, we have the legendary #YEGMormon social media day.  Yup, we got followed by people basically all day, with them all posting pictures of us using that hashtag.  It was kind of fun and kind of strange.  We had a lot of finding scheduled that day, with a few lessons and some service.  We were able to have a great lesson with our investigator Anne Marie that night.  We have been very slowly going through the plan of salvation with her, and she is slowly but surely accepting everything we say as truth and changing little bits at a time.  We taught her again last night and finished up teaching her the plan of salvation.  She is of course very interested in life after death because she recently lost her husband, and it's been very very hard for her.  It was pretty funny, when we walked in on Saturday with a lesson plan to teach her about life after death, she instantly started telling us about this preacher video she watched on YouTube about that same subject, and told us all about how we will all be 5 feet and 5 inches tall in the afterlife, and Angels will be 7 feet tall, and a bunch of other bizarre things I have never heard of before haha.  She is progressing well though, and accepting most of everything we teach her:)   

Me Skyping in to Len's baptism!!
Sunday was awesome because:  1. Church is great 2. LEN FROM SLAVE LAKE GOT BAPTIZED!!!  Len is an awesome old English guy that Elder Ridge Francis Payne and I found by tracting.  I knew he would get baptized at some point, and it finally happened.  I got permission to skype in and watch the service (aside from the actual baptism of course) and talk to him a bit, and talk to a bunch of other people dear to my heart up in Slave Lake.  Nothing is better than seeing people change their lives and come unto Christ:)   

Sunday was a new record 10 hours of church for us.  There was a special meeting held after Rutherford church for 3 wards in the stake, for a boundary change.  Basically all that affected us in the boundary change was the Rutherford ward losing a bunch of people.  Oh well haha, Rutherford was too big anyway.  

Pizza Unlimited with the District never disappoints
Now it's time for me to address the "more chaos" part of my subject: Yeah you guessed right, the craziness continues for us.  The craziness update this week is that we found out a little before transfers that the Greenfield/Rutherford sisters are getting shut down.  So that means we get ALL of their work! That is a lot of work haha, we have tough shoes to fill.  A lot of the people they work with are super sad that they are going to have to meet with the Elders now instead.  This should be a fun challenge.  So basically since I came to Greenfield, the amount of work that we have taken on has quadrupled haha.  I love the excitement of a new challenge:)   

Love - Elder B

Weekly scripture: Jeremiah 4:19 19 ¶My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.  

                                         Helping Brandon build his model with out usual efficiency

Week 49, 9/6/16

Hey cuties:)   It's been quite a while since I've sent my group email directly to all of you, I hope you have all been doing truly fantastic and loving life.    Before I get into this week I want to mention something coming up this Saturday, Sept. 10th that you can all somewhat participate in.  That day is going to be Edmonton's YEG Mormon social media blitz day.    So a little background:  YEG is the abbreviation for the Edmonton Airport, and it's also the social media hashtag people use whenever they reference Edmonton.  So YEG=Edmonton.  

The week after September 10th, the Broadway play "The Book of Mormon" is coming to Edmonton.  Apparently the play presents some very inaccurate portrayals of what missionaries do and why they do it.  Saturday, the 10th, all the missionaries in the greater Edmonton area are going to be shadowed by social media savvy members all day long, 7:30 am-9:30 pm, and the members will be posting pictures and videos of what we REALLY do as missionaries, using #YEGMormon on their posts.  Then the idea is for everyone to share/retweet so everyone in the city on social media will get a chance to see what Mormon missionaries are really all about.  So yeah long story short, we are going to have people following us all day on Saturday posting something on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter every 15 minutes or so about what we are doing with #YEGMormon. So on Saturday if you feel like following my activities throughout the day, just search #YEGMormon on social media and eventually you will find some posts of Elder Sites and I :) I will also put some of the people's usernames who will be shadowing us down below if you want to search them and look at their posts of our day.  Anywho... super cool eh?   

District Selfie
Now on to our week.  Most of the week was pretty chaotic with covering 3 wards, and even more chaotic things happened, but we were still able to have some awesome experiences.  We are now back to normal covering Rutherford and Greenfield just Elder Sites and I.  Elder Shipley got a new companion on Saturday.  Thursday basically just had meetings most of the day.  In the morning we had district meeting where I kind of relayed training I had received on Wednesday about the YEG Mormon day.  After that we had to drive a half hour out to the follow up training meeting, a meeting for all the new missionaries and their trainers.  It was a great meeting and we both learned a lot about how we can continue to be more evenly yoked and strengthen our companionship.  Our brains were all pretty fried after a whole day so far of meetings, so we were excited to get back and get some missionary work done.  We had some great lessons that night with our progressing investigator Anne Marie who has come to church two weeks in a row now, and a less active sister.     

Friday we had a fun district lunch at good ol Pizza Unlimited and got the legendary donair pizza... Never ceases to amaze me.  Most the rest of the day was spent at a couple less active/ recent convert appointments, helping this handicapped guy in the Ward count out and organize 8050 flyers for the stake food drive coming up, and at our supper appointment, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the week.  There were two foreign exchange students there who were staying there for the school year from Vietnam and Brazil, so of course for our message we taught the restoration and watched the little video about the First Vision.  The spirit was so strong the whole time, and they both acknowledged the good feeling they felt, and agreed to meeting again soon to learn more!  Sadly we won't be teaching them because they are in River Valley, but I'm excited to see what happens with them, they seemed really prepared.   

Saturday we were bummed to leave the River Valley apartment and Elder Shipley, but excited to be able to get back to full focus on our areas.  We taught some potential named Brett who initially just seemed like he was listening to us so he could tell us about his financial education business that he wants to recruit us for haha.  He seriously expects us to email him about it when we are done with our missions.  Anyways, he actually seemed to be decently interested in actually figuring out if our message is true by the time we left, so we will see what happens there.    The rest of the week was mostly just weekly planning, dropping a lot of "investigators" who we have never been able to contact or who aren't progressing at all, getting rejected while finding, and church :) 

I actually saw these right across the street form eachother.
Must be someone's idea of a dirty trick to make me homesick!

I felt the spirit so strong during Greenfield fast and testimony meeting.  At the beginning of the meeting the handicapped guy wheeled his wheelchair up to the front of the chapel below the pulpit and bore his testimony.  He is so severely handicapped that it takes him so much time effort to say anything at all, and it is all nearly impossible to understand.  I couldn't understand most of his testimony, but I hear him say "God knows what we need", "I'm grateful for the life that I have", "He hears us", and "I know the Savior is real".  At first I was kind of not looking forward to listening the whole time, but then I was just overwhelmed with the spirit and love for this man.  I really felt the Holy Ghost testify to me that we are all children of our Heavenly Father, and He loves us all with a more perfect love than we can comprehend.  I say that a lot to people as a missionary, and I know it's true, but this was one of those times where I really FELT it strongly.  It was so humbling to see him with that strong of a desire to testify of Christ to go through all that effort to do so, and to see that even though he has had to go through a lot worse than so many people in his life, he knows that we have a loving Heavenly Father, and that all he really needs is the Atonement.  For the whole rest of the meeting the spirit was so strong!      

 Well I hope you all are enjoying life and making the most of every hour.  Thank you all for the love and support, I really appreciate it so much!  Love you all!   

Elder B

Weekly Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 50:29-30: 29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.  30 But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.  

                                          Study time sillyness

Week 48, 8/30/16

Hey again.  Dang.... This week was packed with eventful things and chaos!  It's probably gonna be a long email haha I apologize in advance.  

Well Wednesday afternoon I got "decimated" (that's the word he used) by a less active guy we teach in Yu-Gi-Oh.  That anime stuff is pretty big here... at least with lots of the people we visit.  But yeah, I got wrecked and I had no idea what was going on the whole time and it wasn't a whole lot of fun at all - haha.  Thursday was district meeting as usual.  I've planned district meeting three times now and Its still by far my least favorite thing about being a district leader.  We had a good district meeting though, my training was on developing Christ-like attributes.   

Friday morning we were finally able to meet with Ron and his family! They are an investigator family who were super close with the last missionaries and were showing a lot of promise, but then transfers came and they all got sick and we weren't able to meet with them for a while.  Friday morning though we went over and met Ron and his two kids Joshua and Jordan.  His wife Lisa was working.  They are super awesome though:). Ron got into some anti-mormon material a while ago and now because of the things he read he has a few deep concerns about things that I honestly have no idea how to respond to.  He says he wishes he could just "un-know" what he knows and accept everything and be happy but he needs his concerns answered.  We are trying to set up a lesson in a members home who used to be a general authority so he can answer his concerns and explain things.  Prayers for him and his family would be good;)  

The District in mourning for E. Hlavaty.  May he rest in peace  :(

Friday afternoon during weekly planning we got a random super sad, depressing text from an older, very short, French lady who we recently picked up as our investigator.  She recently lost her husband who she loved very much and is having a rough time dealing with it. We texted back a few times and tried to encourage her and I called her and talked on the phone with her for like 10 minutes, and she was to the point where she was telling me specifically how she was maybe going to commit suicide that night.  I told her we would be over there to talk as soon as possible, so we called our ward mission leader and luckily he wasn't doing anything so we went over there and tried to help her feel of Gods love and explain why bad things happen for 2 hours in her 85 degree, musty apartment. We weren't really getting anywhere with her for a while, and she continued to tell us a couple different ways she could end her life and the pros and cons of doing that.... Gosh we did not know what to do.  She felt so alone and forgotten.  I reminded her how the Savior of all people (she has a heavy duty Christian background) even felt alone at one point on the cross when He was being crucified, when He cried out: "My God why hast thou forsaken me" and that kind of helped a little bit, and then our WML Bro Drew pulled out Matthew 11:28-30 and the spirit was SO STRONG. We all felt it, and just sat there for like 3 minutes without saying anything, and she was smiling for the first time.  She agreed to come to church with us on Sunday :).  

Moving back to River Valley with E. Shipley in a trio.  De-ju-va!
Saturday was a roller coaster.  The morning was just kind of a grumpy one for me for some reason haha.  We helped out at a BBQ a member was putting on for her whole apartment complex around 1.  We helped set up and then she had us be the grill masters so we grilled hot dogs for everyone, it was fun!  There weren't all that many people who came but it was still a good chance to meet some new people and help them be more comfortable around missionaries:) Plus we got to eat some super good hot dogs.  In the afternoon we met with Andy again and he brought 5 friends with him this time.  Luckily we brought our other WML (we have two since we cover two wards) and he was just on fire the whole time with awesome answers mixed with powerful testimony and everything he was saying was just dynamite.  He kind of dominated most of the lesson/bible study but I honestly was loving it.  At the end he explained our role as missionaries and basically told them we weren't going to be meeting with them anymore but maybe they could have bible study every so often with members.  They just aren't quite ready to accept the gospel right now, hopefully we planted seeds.   

Sunday was the usual 9 hours of church, and I gave a talk in Rutherford sacrament meeting on repentance.  I was kind of nervous before I gave it because there were SO many people there.  It was a missionary farewell for one of the most popular Mormon girls in Edmonton, so it was basically like stake conference haha, and the whole stake presidency was there.  But I got up and the nerves were instantly calmed and I feel like I did ok!  Oh, and Anne Marie came to church and liked it:). She just has issues with how much we talk about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith... hopefully she can get over that.  

Adios for now E. Hlavaty.  One of my fav people I've met on the
mish.  His leg is bent cuz torn meniscus, can't staighten it :(
Monday morning.... Chaos struck again.  Elder Hlavaty tore his meniscus while adjusting a fan at the foot of his bed in the middle of the night/ Monday morning, so he had to go home this morning to get surgery on it :( !!  It's a super big bummer in every way obviously.  And now, we are in a tripan with his companion, Elder Shipley, the other zone leader.  We  now get to cover three wards probably for 2 and a half weeks till the end of the transfer.... Haha this should be interesting.  Anywho, if you could all keep Elder Hlavaty in your prayers too that would be great.  

Well that about sums up this week.  The Lord is definitely making sure things stay interesting for us and keeping us on our toes!  This week is going to be a fun challenge:) Love you all!   

Elder B

Weekly scripture:  of course Matthew 11:28-30: 28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  

Another Lamborghini - another tender mercy