Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 4, 2015

Hey ya'll!

Sorry it's been a little while, busy busy. This week has really begun to feel like Spring, and so people have been asking for help with all kinds of service opportunities, mostly yard work related. Gotta admit, one of my favorite parts of service opps is the fact that we get to wear pants. :) Seriously though, it's wonderful to help people out when it's beyond their own abilities to accomplish the work by themselves. This past Thursday thru Saturday we were practically booked solid with service, and never have I been so sore in my life. On Saturday all the missionaries in our zone got recruited for a highway cleanup project, only that day turned into a blizzard. Gotta love Canada! :)

Oh, we got a new ward mission leader and ward missionary. Both have returned from their missions within the last 3 weeks, so the ward is gonna get a strong does of RM fire! It should be interesting...

SO, last week I got an email from the sheffer's, asking me a few questions about missionary life. I figured the responses were worth sharing, so enjoy!

How many ties do you own?

Sadly, I don't own any ties. :) However, I asked some elders and the average is anywhere from 10 to 30 !!!

What is your favorite Canadian food so far?

So far, the food has been pretty normal. They do love their beef up here, though! I'd have to say one  of my favorite normal foods so far has been the local favorite of beef on a bun (similar concept to pulled pork sandwiches, but different. It's hard to explain...) I have yet to try the infamous poutin (fries with cheese and gravy).  One of the most unique things I've had (and loved!) was a Jamaican curry and dumplings dish - SO GOOD! Super unique though, not sure how to describe it. :)

What is the most important spiritual lesson that you have learned on your mission so far?

The most important spiritual lesson so far has been that if you don't have the spirit with you, you CANNOT teach. Try as I might, my own abilities are not enough to convert people. It is ONLY through the Holy Ghost that hearts and minds are changed and that people feel the power and authority of our message and calling as representatives of Jesus Christ.

What is the most important temporal lesson?

The most important temporal lesson so far has been how to thoroughly wash and detail a car. We had car inspections this past week, and they are INTENSE. We spent almost a total of 4 hours working on ours! Random tip for the day: apparently using newspaper to dry windows does wonders. Who knew?! But it was worth the effort; we won 2nd cleanest car out of two Zones!

How do you speak Canadian? 

Most of the time people sound pretty normal to me. But there are a TON of immigrants from other countries (especially India and China). Everything has both English and French writing, and depending on what province people are from, they could either sound like they're from France, England, India, China, Utah, or Minnesota. People DO say "eh" or "hey". I think the proper usage would be to use it at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question. For example: "It's super cold out, (h)eh?!" People also swap their vowels, hard vs soft sounds. Beg for bag, pasta as in fast, etc. Just imagine an American Midwest accent. :) There are also quite a few things they call differently, like "washroom" for restroom.

How long have you been in Canada now?

As of April 25th, I have been in Canada exactly 2 months! Crazy, eh!? ;)

Does everybody there love MAPLE syrup?

I don't know about the maple syrup. So far, I have had it exactly twice at random breakfast meals. But there does seem to be an abundance of maple flavored things when I go grocery shopping.  Local favorites are the maple flavored cookies and milkshakes. I think it depends on the province, but from what I've heard the maple-mania is more in the east... Although, some of the money smells of maple- does that count? ;)

What are the names of your companions? What do you do to get along with them?

My companion's name is Sister Lark Milius, and she is fantastic! It's turned out to be strange how many things we have in common, and so we get along really well. But there are definitely times when one of us needs her space. We have an understanding that each evening has a little quiet time before bed to do journaling or whatever to have some "alone time." But in general, to get along we share stories, jokes, awkward moments (which there are a TON of as a missionary- comes with the territory), we laugh together, sing along with music on car rides, and respect each other's opinion and space.  You find whatever works for your personalities so you can communicate and work together well. Part of a weekly planning session we have includes a companionship inventory when we sit down and talk about our individual strengths and weaknesses and how to strengthen our companionship in the coming week. It's a time to resolve any issues and concerns and to make goals on how to help one another improve. I guess in the end, it comes to whether you really do feel like "sister" goes deeper than the nametag, that you share a bond of friendship and trust for one another.

What time do you wake up in the morning?

We are required to wake up by 6:30am every day, but my companion and I are discovering that our day actually seems to work out better if we get up by 6:00am. That half hour is HARD to give up, but means we are less rushed to get to our studies, and so we get more out of them, which is critical to having a truly productive day.

How does it feel to be a missionary?

How does it feel to be a missionary? Now that is a BIG question... To be honest, before coming out I kind of imagined putting on the tag would magically turn me into this perfect little missionary who is immune from personal issues and can automatically connect well with everyone. FALSE. Being a missionary means being even more acutely aware of weaknesses and the urgency to improve. And yet at the same time, it is so fulfilling knowing exactly who you are and what you are supposed to be doing and to know you are doing your assigned part to build the kingdom. It means you feel the Spirit differently; you can tell whether the Spirit is in the room or not and you can tell if an investigator is feeling that witness of truth. It means you have the power and authority to make promises as a representative of the Lord, and you treat that privilege sacredly.

I love you all, have a wonderful week!!

Sister Patterson