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!