Happy Independence / Canada Day !!!
I am so grateful to celebrate my freedom! As we celebrate the freedoms of whatever country we live in, I suggest that we remember our Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, who provided the ultimate blessing of FREEDOM from sin!
For July 1st everyone rocked the red and white for Canada, but I gotta say, celebration is nothing like what we pull in the states. (It was weird singing "O Canada" in Sacrament instead of our own national anthem) Rather, everyone here gets super pumped for STAMPEDE (which begins on the 3rd and goes for 10 days). Cowboy hats and boots come out in abundance, and it kinda takes over everything. Unfortunately, we as missionaries are forbidden from going downtown during this time, so no stampede for us. We are however on equal grounds when it comes to the weather: in one day we experienced all 4 seasons. That's right, temperature dropped from the sunny 20's to thunderstorms to snow... FUN :)
For stampede, the big tradition is to do a pancake breakfast, and there are dozens all over the city. Calgarians love and make the most of it. Our ward threw its own, and we got to help out with game stations for the kids. (it was Saturday, so that was our 4th fun. But you will be happy to know I did rock a red white and blue outfit in recognition of home :) The best part though was that we ended up having 20+ investigators, less actives and other nonmembers show up! This area is the BEST - I love being a missionary!!!
Oh, this past Monday we also got a bunch of missionaries together to go to the Sikh Temple nearby. Anyone can walk in (although we definitely stood out), and we got to see and learn about their worship and beliefs. It was actually SUPER interesting, I loved it! Turns out they have a lot of practices and beliefs very similar to ours. And the most interesting thing happened, as we listened to the tour guide explain, I felt a strong reminder from the Spirit that God loves ALL His children, and that pieces of eternal truth and light can be found all over the world. Whenever a Truth was spoken (for example, that there is a path of righteousness we all must follow) I felt the Spirit testify of that specific Truth. It was remarkable. Going there and learning more has really helped as we have conversations with people of that faith. And I have discovered a great respect for their best efforts to come closer to God.
This past week we also got to meet our new mission president, President Miles! They are from Utah, and super young (early 50's), full of energy and enthusiasm, though when we met you could tell they were still a little shell shocked at being here. They took the time to shake each missionary's hand and say a personal hello - twice!! I am excited to see what kind of leadership they provide, and I know their call comes from God - it is what this mission needs here and now. It's going to be fun!
So long 'til next week!