Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015

I only have a little while today to write, so it's gonna be short. So, remember how we got a golden referral? It's this cute little family that basically walked into the temple lobby asking to know more - Hallelujah!!! I will keep you posted on how it goes :)

Also, I have discovered there is a whole new level of "clean" in the mission field when it comes to housing inspections. Long story short, we scrubbed our place, because President suggested a good solution for dirty homes is a tent on the boulevard. ;) Luckily, we passed with flying colors!

We were able to attend the Women's Broadcast, which was lovely. If you didn't get the chance to watch, I highly recommend it! I would like to highlight their theme, that the family is not only essential, but that it is essential for families to stand up for righteousness, to live, defend and share the gospel. I know that that is true, and we are so incredibly blessed when we strive to follow that counsel.

Now, I have something to say about Easter this weekend. I wish I could be there for the fun (especially combined with General Conference), and the treats, but I would remind us all to look forward to the purpose, to remember our Savior's atoning sacrifice and consequent resurrection. If you haven't heard, the church is commencing an initiative to spread this message through a short video entitled, "Because He Lives." It is stunningly beautiful, and I invite each one of you to watch it, and then share it with someone else who needs that message. I can promise as you do that not only will you have your thoughts and heart turned more towards the Savior, but that you will be blessed for responding to the call to share the light of Christ with all the world. So many people want it, but have no idea where to turn. We can be the instruments to bring them to it, so that they too may be partakers of that heavenly gift. I know that Christ not only died for us, but that He also lives for us, so that we too may live again.

I love you all, and my prayers are with you.

Sister Patterson

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 23, 2015

Hello again! I hope you all had a good St. Patrick's holiday, and a wonderful week.

My week was, um, eventful. So last weekend my comp and I both got the stomach flu, so we took it a little easy for a few days. BUT in spite of that setback, we managed to have a lot of great experiences!

You'll be glad to know that the mission office finally swapped us the truck for two little cars, so no more sharing! The downside is we have only 25 clicks a day, so yeah, we will still be doing some walking to conserve :) But it's been such a blessing, and came right in time too, because the weather is back to being crazy and cold. I don't know what it is, but Calgary has the strangest weather, and it varies dramatically from day to day. On Friday and Saturday we got this super dense fog, and even the locals were amazed. I, of course, thought it was super novel, :) and there also comes something called hoar frost (spikey ice coating everything), which is super pretty.

Our zone has been doing finding activities to help out each area, and my comp and I found a golden investigator (so exciting!) Too bad we had to pass it off, but we are excited to hear what happens :)
We also had a training conference, and it was wonderful to reunite with my MTC district. I am so grateful for that friendship we built during our time together. Even better was hearing from President, and getting training on how to be more effective missionaries. Something we discussed was the fact that we as missionaries are not alone! We have the Spirit as the third member of our companionship, to guide and to witness, and we have the ability to go where angels fear to tread.

Sister Milius and I realized that we have loads of room for improvement, and so we have tried extra hard to be exactly obedient, and it's been amazing to see the blessings that have come from it. Heavenly Father blesses us immediately for even the smallest effort, and if we are looking, we will notice it. In our case, within 24 hours we got a referral for a golden family to teach.

My comp has given me some wonderful advice, and this week's was especially good:  you know how in movies people say "it cant possibly get worse" and then it begins pouring? It's like you can almost speak something into existence. Well, in her family they instead say, "How can this day possibly get better?" and they see the wonderful results. I invite you to try it sometime, and see what happens. :)

This week we also got to start teaching some ward members how to do family history online. I got to work with this sweet old lady, who I'm convinced knows nothing about computers :) SO, after a long process of setting up accounts, I was able to show her how to look at and build her family tree. It was the sweetest experience to see her cry in joy for finding family members, and by the end, we had a name for her to take to the temple. I would re-extend the invitation to look at familysearch.org and look for a name to take to the temple. In our tree, you may have to go sideways or far back, but they are there, and they are waiting for us to find them!

I would like to conclude with some thoughts from my mission President:

"If we want to become the kind of missionaries that the Lord would have us be, then we must have the courage to hearken to His words, accept His will, exercise our agency, discipline ourselves, and apply the enabling power of the Atonement to change our lives for the better.
We ask our investigators and less actives to do this every day as we teach them about the doctrine of Christ, and many of them bring about marvelous changes in their lives. Do we have the individual and collective courage as a mission to do as we ask others to do?
Each one of us has been given the power to change his or her life. As part of the Lord's great plan of happiness we have the marvelous gift of agency, that we might choose the Savior and follow His will. As a result of His Atonement we have the power to do better and to be better. "

I can testify that these things are true, and I know that they apply to us all no matter the circumstance.

I love you all, and keep you continually in my prayers!

Sister Patterson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 16, 2015 - Pictures

(Banff trip)

(Lego rendition of Calgary Temple)

March 16, 2015

So, I definitely spoke too soon about the nice weather - it's back to being a winter wonderland. But for a few days we were enjoying some really nice sunny days, and we were super excited to see it had gotten up to 15 degrees C. :)

This week has been miraculous in so many ways. I got to go on exchanges to the lovely area of Banff, and my goodness was it beautiful!!! I loved how scenic it is, with the majestic mountains. We had a really good view of a particular mountain called the "Three Sisters," right outside our apartment window! The town is a little tourist attraction, but I would love to someday explore the hiking trails and old buildings. Oh, and fun fact, every street is an animal name, so you could live on the corner of "squirrel" and "moose". :)

During exchanges I got to teach a few lessons, and it was amazing to see the little mental lightbulbs go off as they understood.

This week was also the Relief Society anniversary dinner, and we got to not only do service for it, but heard some amazing talks. The theme was "Be as Ruth". We truly have an amazing ward.

So one of the miracles of this week was our success in tracting - we passed out 33 Books of Mormon!!! We also picked up a new investigator, and she is showing a lot of promise. The challenge is however that she has only ok English (native mandarin). In Calgary there are a ton of Asians, and so we have some Mandarin elders that are kept very busy by our referrals. So it's rare for us to pick one up, but she insisted on wanting English instruction. I have learned the importance of having a member present for lessons, because they can provide a different perspective that will help them understand.  Hopefully she will continue to progress towards baptism.

The highlight of the week, however, was getting to go to the Calgary Temple. It is such a beautiful building, both inside and out. Sister Milius and I had both prepared family names to take, and it was such an incredible experience to do their work. I would encourage you all to make the effort to find a name - it is totally worth it. Every time I go back to the temple my testimony increases, my gratitude for the gospel expands, and my desire to do all He asks grows. His plan truly is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple.

I am grateful for you all, and keep you in my prayers. Please keep me updated on what's going on back home, even if it's just the silly small things...

Sister Patterson

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 9, 2015


Guess what? The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week! Either spring is just around the corner, or we are about to get another major reality check in the form of a cold snap... :)

This week has been super busy! First of all, I have a really fun district, we all get along great. In fact, the elders have already started a little bit of pranking, so we are trying to come up with a way to get them back :)

So, our stake is really pushing the family history program, and wants all missionaries to become certified consultants to be a resource for the work. We've gotten permission to have extra computer access to do the training, and that means we've had to go into familysearch.org and work on our own names. The goals is for everyone to find at least one name to take to the temple. (Which by the way, we only get to go to the temple once every two transfers!) And guess what - I FOUND SOME NAMES!!! It's been so exciting to learn all the extra tricks of the trade for locating ancestors that need their work done. I am loving this opportunity, and I am so excited to be able to eventually take them to the temple.

We are also required to do service each week, and so some other sisters and us all go to a retirement center and play "elderly bowling." It's super fun to watch them get really into it. Even better was the fact that I happened to have a really good luck streak, and won the game hands down. SO now, if nothing else on the mission, I can claim to be a bowling pro ;)

On Saturday I got to teach my first lesson - which was both nerve-wracking and exciting. Now, you're probably thinking "first lesson? What has this girl been up to all this time?!" It just so happens that my area tends to have less investigators and a high number of LARC's (less actives and recent converts) Our efforts have been concentrated on visiting and fellowshipping. We do have several potential investigators lined up however, and one in particular looks very promising (we will meet with her hopefully this week). But our one solid investigator kinda dropped us for a while, until he randomly agreed missionaries could come back, and we were were super excited to hear it. Unfortunately, it's a hard one and so far he has given a soft yes to a bold invitation to be baptized. So - we'll see how this goes. But I've discovered one of the best things you can do for an investigator is invite them to come to a baptismal service; the spirit is so strong! That's what happened Saturday afternoon, and it was an incredible to experience, even though I didn't know the individual. I would encourage you all to try and make it to a baptism once in a while for an added boost of the Spirit and a reminder of our own commitments to follow Jesus Christ.

Another incredible experience I had this week was with a member of the ward. Long story short, we unknowingly did something that bothered her, and so we decided to go and pay her a special visit to apologize and make amends. It turned out being such a testimony builder, because as  we asked if there was anything we could help her with, she broke down in emotion - just prior to our arrival she had been praying to have the energy to complete a project, and then there came a knock at the door. We were able to be her hands and answer her prayer. Not only did we mend a bridge, but we laid the foundation for a friendship, and that was our miracle for the week :)

This past week we didn't have the car, and so guess who got to walk EVERYWHERE! Some of it could've been avoided by riding the bus, but unfortunately, we didn't have enough loonies and toonies  to pay (and yes, that's really what they call $1 and $2 coins :) SO, the song of the week has become "pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked and walked and walked and walked... " :) I have a renewed gratitude for wheels :)

On another note, Sister Milius and I are such kindred spirits, it's almost unnerving. It's so much fun having someone who not only gets all the same references, but who understands what you're struggling with. I get the feeling we will remain good friends for a long time, and that is a valuable thing.... We have both expressed gratitude that we were assigned to each other, and I have a ton of love and respect for her. It continually amazes me how the few experiences I've had and people I've met so far really are a remarkable fit; I know I am supposed to be here and now, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! Truly the Lord is merciful for allowing such imperfect and weak individuals to play a part in his plan, and not only does he bless others through us, he blesses us as missionaries for the rest of our lives through others.

I know Heavenly Father loves us, and that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. This work is not only a voice of warning, but of hope. Even when we can't see the path or outcome, we can always trust in Him and move forward with faith.

I love you all and keep you in my prayers. Until next week!

Sister Patterson

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2, 2015

Greetings from CANADA!!!

First of all, you know you're in Canada when:
- restroom's are called "washrooms"
- you have to take off your shoes every time you enter a house
- you see Asian men wearing kilts shoveling snow
- you can practically shovel  off your windshield
- you think anything warmer than -10 C is nice (That's 14 degrees Fahrenheit!)
- when you can wear tights, leggings, 2 pairs of socks, and multiple sweaters
- you learn to account for at least 10 degrees worth of wind-chill on a regular basis
- when people really do say "eh"
I guess I could keep going.... :)

Anyway, hello everyone! There is so much, I will just have to give you the highlights. So, on the 24th when we left for Canada, I discovered what it's like to fly on a tiny rickety plane, and how fun going through immigrations is :) When we arrived, we were greeted by President Nicholas and his sweet wife, and spent the evening at their home. (BTW Mom, what the Leavitt's (in Sarah's home ward) said is true, Brother Palmer does help out. We met, and it turns out his son is the awesome ward mission leader in my assigned  ward - small world).

On Thursday we got to go to transfers, where we were picked up by our trainers. I have been assigned to the Arbour Lake Ward in the Calgary West zone, and my companion is Sister Milius, who is a fantastic human being! We get along famously, and seem to have really similar personalities. So far we also get each other's references. (She kinda reminds me a lot of Joy:) Also, Sister Milius and I have discovered that not only do we have a lot in common, but so do our various sisters, especially the younger ones.

Anyway, over the last few days not only have I discovered a new definition of cold (everyone here keeps getting a kick out of me saying  this is more snow than I've seen in my life), but I have also met a ton of incredible people. We have a really good ward, and live with a sweet lady named May Way. We have a really involved ward mission leader who served in Vegas BTW. Oh, and we share a vehicle with two sisters from another ward (so this coming week I will be walking everywhere while they have a turn); we drive a silver 2015 Chevy Colorado truck, and we call it "little boy."

We have gotten to do a ton of service (mostly cleaning) for a couple of families who are moving in the ward, and that's been fun. (BTW, joy will think this is funny - but at the MTC we had a few days of service, and guess who got stuck with bathrooms/toilets EVERY TIME! Even after custodial, apparently I cannot escape ;)

So, while we have a really solid ward, there are a ton of less actives or part member families, so that is where we get to concentrate our efforts. As of this week our only investigator dropped us :( BUT we have done a ton of visiting, some tracting, and have found four potential investigators! It's gonna be exciting.

On Saturday we took the train downtown to do some contacting. The city is beautiful, and I fell in love with the little streets and shops, and park with an ice rink. Someday I would love to go exploring more. But we ended up talking for probably 45 minutes with a homeless man, and got to hear his hard life story. I felt so helpless, because there was no way for me to begin to understand his perspective, and I had absolutely no idea what to say. That's when the Spirit took over, and we learned the power of inspired questions. Nothing we could say would have helped, but the Lord knows what would, and if we are trying our best, the Spirit can talk through us. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon, and leave him with a renewed hope. I have never grinned so much in my life- as we walked away I felt like this is what makes the mission worth it.

Sunday was fun, and the chapel is one of those beautiful old buildings. We spent the evening tracting a neighborhood, and discovered an assortment of attitudes... I can now check off having doors slammed in my face. But that is also when we discovered some wonderful potentials :)

I love you all, and am so grateful to be out here, (I think it's finally starting to sink in ;) There really is a special feeling that goes with wearing this nametag. The important thing is, however, that no matter what I do or how hard I work, it means nothing unless I have the Spirit there, because it's his job to do the converting, not mine. My purpose is simply to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It is by the mouth of two or three witnesses that the gospel goes forth, and in this case, we really have three in the companionship - two imperfect sisters and the Holy Ghost.

I love this gospel, and I love the happiness it brings. I never realized how much of a difference it makes until you talk to so many people who live with no idea it exists. We are so blessed to be a part of the gospel, and to have access to the power of the Atonement in our lives, to be able to receive comfort, hope, and renewal through His mercy. I know that this is the true Church, and it not only is there to teach us, but to enable us to endure to the end through covenants, ordinances, and a ward family which fulfills the promise of standing with one another as disciples of the Savior. I am so grateful for the sacrament and the sacred privilege it is. It has taken on layers of new meaning not only after going through the temple, but also being a missionary, one who literally takes upon them the name of the Lord. I know of the reality and power of personal revelation - Heavenly Father truly listens to our prayers, even when they are just the pleading in our hearts. He loves each one of us - I have felt it, and it makes me sad to think that so many don't yet feel it as well. I cannot count how many times already since being out I have had a personal witness of His power and love, and have received answers to prayers. Just the other day, I was explaining the concerns in my heart, and within the course of a few hours I received the same answer in three different ways. What a powerful witness that He is aware of me, just as I know He is aware of each of His children. I know the Book of Mormon truly testifies of Christ, and within it we can find the answers to the desires and concerns of our hearts, we can find direction and guidance for us and our families, and we can find hope for the future.

Moving forward with faith,
Sister Patterson

March 2, 2015 - Pictures

(Here are the pictures Sarah sent with her email this week.)