Just a few words is sometimes enough

Dear family, friends, and lovely people, 

How about I do a run-down of my week, eh? 
Monday–PREPARATION DAY! We emailed in the morning, played sports with the other missionaries in our zone at our church building, laughed until I cried, and then went to dinner at Bishop’s house. They have two teenage boys…and I legitimately felt like I was back at home. They were being…totally typical 18 and 15 year-old boys! It was perfect! And I laughed SO much. They also live out…in the middle of nowhere. And so we were just driving along these rolling country roads, and it was absolutely beautiful! And then we see SO many Mennonites driving their horse and buggy along the side of the roads. It was so crazy awesome! Sidenote: So many Mennonites live in this area. After planning, I made sugar cookies that turned out flat…but they were still good. 🙂 
Tuesday–CHRISTMAS EVE! In the morning, we went and decorated the sugar cookies I made with a recent convert! She lives in a retirement place and doesn’t have a lot of family, and so she became our Grandma on Christmas Eve! It was really fun to decorate cookies with her. We then drove to the Kitchener Stake Center and buckled down to what would be the longest 9 hours of my life…reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John….–verse by verse–…in a large group of missionaries. From 12 pm to 9 pm at night. I about died. We all had snacks, but it was a very long day. I learned a lot though, and I’m glad that we got to do it. I called my family at about 9:30 at night to confirm for skyping the next day…I bawled my eyes out. Way too much emotion going on there. 
Wednesday–CHRISTMAS DAY! We got to sleep in until 7 am that morning. It felt so nice to be able to push the snooze button and go back to sleep for half an hour. We then got ready, and went to eh Stake Center to work on our read-a-thon…hence 4 more hours of reading the scriptures. I should invest in a pillow next time we read. 🙂 After that, we went to a members home and skyped our families! Sister Prescott went first, and I took a teeny nap on the couch next to the computer, and read the scriptures. And then it was my turn! It was so great to be able to see everyones faces and how they are different…but still exactly the same! It was so hard to click the “end call” button…but I survived and will continue to plug on forward! Then we had dinner at the Clifton’s, they are WONDERFUL! Some of my favorite people in this world! We had a delicious dinner, and lots of laughter. I had a really cool moment, actually. Sister Clifton’s Mom was there (who is elderly, Korean, and doesn’t speak any English) and I felt so bad that she was just sitting there and not enjoying the night because she couldn’t interact with anybody. I felt so sad for her. So I pulled Sister Clifton aside and asked her to teach me how to say “You are beautiful” in Korean. As Sister Prescott and I were leaving, I went to see Sister Clifton’s mom and told her “You are Beautiful” in Korean. Her face LIT UP like a Christmas Tree. Her happiness was so evident on her face. It made my heart so happy. I then asked Sister Clifton to teach me “I love you” in Korean and then I said it to her Mom. Her mom repeated “I love you” back to me and gave me a hug. It was such a beautiful moment! A couple of days later, we found out that Sister Clifton’s mom was in the hospital and was not doing well. It made me so sad that she was ill, I was just so grateful that I had said that she was beautiful to her! It turns out that she hadn’t smiled in a long time, and when I said that, it was the first real smile she had given in a while. precious moment! 
Thursday–BOXING DAY! Apparently, this is a holiday that Canadians celebrate. It’s not that they celebrate boxing other people (like with gloves and stuff) but it just means they box up the things that they don’t need and give it to others or charities. I will definitely be celebrating it when I am back at home! we went to an AWESOME members home, and we also had interviews with our President and Sister Scott. That is always good. 
Friday–WEEKLY PLANNING! So long. And we talked to people. yea! 
Saturday–NORMAL DAY! It’s still weird that I am a missionary…I still feel like I’ve been out for 1 week! Not almost 11 months! 
Sunday–TEACHING FRENZY! We got to teach the Gospel Principles class, and part of the combined RS/Priesthood hour. It went really well, and my love for teaching classes is growing. I might actually like to teach church classes by the time I am done with my mission. Sister Prescott is really good at getting people to feed us…we are being fed 6 days this week. 😛 she got that calendar going. We had PEC. We also met with some Less-Actives this day. They are progressing. 
Monday…and here I am! Another week has come and gone. It is bizarre how things go by. 
Christmas is over…but let’s bring on the New Year…2014 for the win!!! 
Love always, 
Sister Colvin 


Christmas in the mission field

Dearest Family and friends, 

You know when you see those massive storms on the television, and you realize that they’re bad, but you’re not in them, so you don’t really think about it? Well…on Saturday and Sunday of this past week, this area got NAILED with a MASSIVE ice storm! I had one of those moments when I realized that these things actually do happen. We woke up on Sunday  morning, and followed our schedule just like we do any other day. We were planning on teaching Sunday School and Relief Society, and I was just about to start reading the lesson…when the power went out. We thought it would only be for a couple of hours…but then the Bishop called us and told us that church was cancelled because the weather was so poor. And then it started to get cold, and trees were starting to fall down…everywhere! We did not have power from 7:30AM that morning until 7:00PM that night. We went over to some members homes for a couple of hours (mainly because we had no heat) and then we walked around in the ice storm…because we’re missionaries…and that’s what we do. Don’t worry, though, we were very careful not to have tree limbs fall on top of us, or for cars to run us over. We were very cautious. 🙂 It was a crazy experience, that I will never forget! We are just very grateful that we were safe, and that we have power now. Because that would have been a completely different issue altogether. Southern Ontario got the brunt of the storm, and hopefully, the ice can melt off so that we can feel more comfortable driving around in it. We’ll see what happens. 
Can you even believe that it is Christmas already? It just seems like yesterday when I was packing/preparing things for my mission at home in little ol’ Rexburg, Idaho last Christmas. Who would have thought that I would be in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada one year later? Time seems to be picking up more and more lately as I realize how little time in life we really do have. I mean, heck, it will be 10 years from now, and I will still be feeling like I should be in Kitchener, Ontario for Christmas. I guess that all I can do is to cherish every moment…ice storms included. 
We did not teach any investigator lessons this week. Mostly because everyone is busy with the holidays and such, and they really don’t have time to meet with us. It’s hard for us because we don’t do anything else all day…this is all that we do! We just want to teach you about Christ…let us flippin’ meet with you! But, hey, that’s not very Christ-like of me…so I should probably repent of that. We have been able to meet with some less active members this week, though, and that has been SO good. We’ve been singing Christmas songs, and really teaching about the true meaning of Christmas! We got to go and sing at this member’s “Coffee Club” at the co-operative where she lives at, and there were about 20 people there! I got to sing “Angels We Have Heard on High” and then Sister Prescott and I sang a couple of carols together. It was a lot of fun, and these people were stunned that 2 young women could get up there and talk about Christ and sing some Christmas songs. It’s good to surprise people. 🙂 It is very neat to share our testimonies through song. I’ve noticed that people are always more receptive to it as well. That reminds me of a story of when I was with Sister Taylor in Simcoe! We were teaching this one couple, and they weren’t really “feeling it” per say. So, I turned to Sister Taylor and said, “We are now going to sing a song called ‘Joseph Smith’s First Prayer’ and then ‘The Spirit of God’.” That spirit there was so strong as we sang those songs! Music really does touch people in ways that words cannot. It’s been a lot of fun to use the Christmas songs in the Hymnbook to talk to people this time of year. I am sad that I won’t be here next year! Oh, well, more missionary work to do back at home! 
I hope that you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas with lots of snow and hot chocolate! I’m so grateful to know you all.I LOVE Christmas, and I wish you could be here with me to experience all of the joy and happiness that comes from serving a mission at Christmas time. I miss you all so much, and is definitely hard to be without you. But I am so happy, and so blessed to have all of you supporting me. I get to share the Savior’s love with hundreds of people every month, and I get to see them developing the happiness that I have been blessed with my whole life. How great is this time! 
I love you all so much! 
Love always, 
Sister Colvin 

A weather report…

Dearest family, friends, and whoever reads this, 

Not a lot of “huge” things have happened this week…at least in comparison to last week…but I will try to give you a glimpse of the “tiny” things that happened in the past couple of days! 
It has been snowing for the past three days. We got quite a few inches of snow, and we are learning that Canadians really don’t like to push their roads…and people still don’t know how to drive in the snow. Even though they’re from Canada. But, hey, maybe taking Drivers Ed in the snow really helped me out! 🙂 I’ve let Sister Prescott drive for the last little while, because she gets some anxiety about having someone drive her in the snow, and if I don’t look at the road…I don’t get too much anxiety. It’s a sacrifice that I can make…she always laughs at me though because I do the…”Mom thing” = when we are sliding all around the road, my hands go out and touch the window and glove compartment, and I take deep breaths. It is stressful! But, oh well, and I know this may sound ironic, but Rexburg actually does pretty well on pushing the roads…I won’t complain about it anymore when I am home. The weird things that you realize you are grateful for when you’re on a mission. 🙂 
Oh man, the other missionaries that email here just arrived unexpectedly. so, I guess you just get a weather update from me this week. 😦 DANG IT. I was planning on writing a long post today, but I guess next week will just have to be super long. Next week will be Christmas, can you even believe it? 
Write me letters, people! 
I love you all SO much! 
Love always, 
Sister Colvin 

Balm to my sassy side…

Dear family and friends, 

What a week! I’ll try to talk about some of the most important things that happened. It’s been a very uplifting, emotional, spirit-filled, seven days. You get to a point on your mission, where you think that you can’t have anymore wonderful experiences…and then it happens. And I’m still in awe about how the Lord helps us to learn what we need to through other people and experiences. I know that some of my prayers have been answered this week. Here we go… 
1) Zone Conference: It was last Tuesday and in Guelph (which is about 20-25 minutes from where we are at now). We were combined with the London Zone, and there were a lot of missionaries there–about 75 or so. President Scott talked about repentance, and how our job is to declare repentance unto the people in Canada. And how we are the only ones who know how to do it for these people! We read a lot of scriptures about repentance, and we practiced on how to help people understand how important repentance is. As we practiced, I really felt how essential repentance is. What a wonderful blessing in the lives of those who we are teaching, to feel their burdens be lifted from them as they repent and access the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I got to sing a solo as well, “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul” (the Vocal Point version)  with Hermana Sandall (also a Rexburg-ite). It was a pretty incredible experience to be able to sing in front of all those missionaries and be able to bear my testimony through song. And I made President Scott cry…and that was a good feeling too. 🙂 I always look forward to learning so much at Zone Conferences! Sister Scott then instructed us on the Savior’s birth. She told the Christmas story, while music and pictures were playing in the background. It was powerful…and I really felt the true spirit of Christmas! We then got a gift from the Scott’s. It is a beautiful temple recommend holder showing the Toronto skyline and Christ beckoning to the city! It is wonderful, and was put together by them and Simon Dewey! I will always treasure it! It was a very special Christmas Zone Conference! 
2) Relief Society Activity: This took place on Wednesday night at our chapel. It was a special program put together by the Ward Relief Society. It was about the Savior…and his birth through the Eyes of Women. It was really neat to feel the spirit that music and the scriptures play! I had the opportunity to sing “Silent Night” with a Spanish sister (Hermana McKinley) and then to sing a solo “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” accompanied by a sister in the ward on the organ. It was a very special night as we talked about how loved we are as daughters of God, and how we all have parts in this grand scheme of life. No matter what area of the world that we are in, or what time period we live in. I really understood then how we are all individual…but we all need each other…and we all play a role! 
3) SPECIAL SURPRISE: We got a text message on Wednesday of last week from President Scott informing us that Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, from the Presidency of the Seventy was going to be visiting our mission(.http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/turn-to-the-lord?lang=eng&query=elder+hallstrom) But only the people within an hour of where he was going to be were invited. We were 57 minutes away. So we were barely able to attend, but I am so grateful that I got to go. It was in Etobicoke (which is part of Toronto) and almost half the mission was able to attend, it was on Saturday. So there were A LOT of missionaries at that one. We got there, and the Spirit was already so strong when Elder Hallstrom walked in. Elder Homer (an Area Seventy for this part of the world) was there as well. President and Sister Scott addressed us first and talked about how we are called of God for this specific area of the world…but just because we are called…we have to decide to step-up and fulfill that calling and responsibility that he gives us. Elder Homer then bore a powerful testimony of the gospel and of the opportunity we have to make our missions sacred. I liked it though, because he said something along the lines of “You need to have fun. And laugh. And have companions that are your best friends. That is part of the experience. And it can still be a sacred experience…and you can have fun!” I really liked that. We don’t have to completely change into a different person. That was a balm to my sassy side. 🙂 Elder Hallstrom when he addressed us…it was INCREDIBLE. He always referred to “We love you. We care about you. WE.” I then realized that when he referred to “we” he was referring to the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency. He talked about how he sees them everyday, and associates with them, and how they are what we feel and say they are. He talked a little bit about the Work of Salvation. We are telling members to “invite their friends”…and to, in all reality ‘step-up” their game. Well. We need to step up our game as well, then. When the Lord says to hasten his work, it just doesn’t mean the members…the missionaries need to hasten their work as well! It was a little bit of a rebuke-ment, actually. He committed us to change one thing that we are doing that might not be exactly obedient or whatever, and change that RIGHT THEN and THERE. Immediately, a couple of things came to my mind. I wasn’t being disobedient, by any means, but I could change my thoughts toward some people and the experiences that I was having. It was eye-opening for me. It was as overwhelming spiritual experience! And…I got to see my favorite companion, Sister Taylor (who I haven’t seen in 5 months) is was a sweet reunion! 🙂 
4) We had our Ward Christmas Party! This was on Saturday night, we were about 30 minutes late (because we had to drive through Toronto traffic…yikes!) but we found a place and started digging into the great food! We had ham, potatoes, and  corn/carrots. It was absolutely delicious! Something really neat happened (at least for me) next. I was sitting by a less-active man and Sister Prescott was saying hello to people on different tables. This man then starts asking me questions about the gospel (mostly doctrine). He had brought his less-active friend from Brantford, and his friend had a lot of questions as well. I basically then taught them a lesson, and listened to their concerns, and answered their questions. They told me that they were so grateful that I would just plainly answer their questions and not beat around the bush about the answers. Some of the questions were very simple…but a lot of them I didn’t even know the answers too! It was just neat to realize that even if I didn’t have the answers right there at the top of my mind…I still said something that they needed to hear. Later, they told me that I had answered all of their questions. I was astonished! The Lord really does teach people through the Spirit! Because I know for dang sure that I didn’t have the answers to a lot of their questions! The Christmas Party was quite fun…and we got leftover food! 🙂 
5) ONE YEAR: This past week, it was one year since getting my mission call. And I’m on a mission. It is so crazy to think that one year ago, I was working at Journeys (which doesn’t seem that long ago) and doing paperwork when my Dad texted me to let me know that my mission call was here…and this is what the postage was! I about went crazy until I got home to open it. But, I do remember the feelings I had when I read “You have been assigned to labor in the CANADA TORONTO MISSION.” . I knew that it was right. I had no idea what trials/experiences I would have in this next year, but I know that the Lord knows best. He knows what I need to grow and to be able to progress in the gospel…just like the people that we are teaching! Before I came out I thought about what kind of missionary I wanted to be on my mission. Being on my mission, I  face days where I am cut down and feel like I am not where I should be or who I wanted to be, but I know that when I step back and really look at the good work I am doing and the good work I have done, I will see that I may not be the missionary I wanted to be or do the things I dreamed to do but I am doing exactly what God wants me to do, it is through him we ALL can reach our full potential. We are exactly where God wants us to be and that is better than anything we could have dreamed of!
I’ve got to scoot, but I absolutely love you all! Keep on being faithful and strong! I pray for you every single day! Let me know if I can do anything to help you out! 
Love Forever, 
Sister Colvin 

Trying to keep warm!

Dearest family and friends, 

Do you remember that one time when I thought I could never in my entire life make it to December? Remember how it is December 2nd today? It is absolutely crazy how I thought at the beginning of my mission that December was forever away…and here it is…rearing its ugly head! 
The weather has stabilized a bit and settled at…cold. And colder. I’m getting more and more used to having my fingers turn purple and my skin feel tingly. The only thing that gets me through it is to imagine myself on a hot beach wearing flip-flops and lathering sunscreen on my nose. However, I’m going to regret saying this when summer comes around again…and the humidity just wants to kill me. I guess that I should be more grateful for the cold. That’s something that I can work on. 🙂 
I hope that everyone had a wonderful American Thanksgiving! We have some Americans here in this ward, and they invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner! There were a bunch of Americans there, and so much laughter! It was really fun to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal on a day when we normally would have been home partying with our families! The holidays are really about family…and this year…I enjoyed it with my ward family! We also decorated gingerbread houses and sang some Christmas songs! It was so much fun! 
We are teaching 4 people right now, which is the most we have had in a while. All of their situations are delicate, and so I probably won’t be able to talk about what they need help with because I want to respect their privacy and their personal struggles. HOWEVER, they are all so amazing, and very prepared. I’ve been blessed to be able to help them progress in the gospel. 
This next week brings many crazy things! Ward Christmas Party, a Relief Society Activity, the 1st Presidency Christmas Devotional, Zone Conference, and a lot of appointments! I’m very excited because this week is going to be gone once it begins! We have so many things to do this week! Hopefully everything works out, and we will get done what we need to. 
Quote of the Week: “Why am I not in South America again?” 
Food of the Week:  Sweet Potato Sloppy-Joes…SO GOOD! 
Anyways, I love you all so much, and stay warm! Peace out until next week! 
Sister Colvin