Ok, where to even begin....
Transfers have come and gone once again, and Sister Page and I are still together - so that will be the third transfer with each other in the same area - pretty surprising! But fortunately we have a great friendship and work well together. Still, every once in a while you itch for change, and ours came in the form of moving apartments! This is the first time in my mission I have my own apartment (instead of living in a basement) and it's wonderful! :)
Since we've been together for a while now, we have gotten to celebrate our "mission birthdays!" January was her 7 month mark, and my 11 month mark - so to celebrate we picked up some 7/11 Slurpees! :)
|Celebrating our 7 and 11 month marks with slurpees :)|
But as of February 11th, I have been a missionary for 1 YEAR!!!! Crazy, eh?! I can hardly believe it. It feels like it's been more like 6 months... But that's all I've got left, and for the first time I'm feeling this thought creep in that I don't want to go home, and even though it's months ahead, I don't feel ready to wrap up being a missionary.... it's taken time, but I can truly say I love being a missionary, I love wearing this name tag and knowing my purpose each day. I love seeing the light of the gospel illuminate peoples lives with peace and joy and understanding. It's the greatest, hardest most life changing experience anyone could have, and I am so glad to have not passed up the opportunity. :)
I know this is way delayed, but way back when for New Year's eve our zone got a special invitation to have dinner with President Miles and his family. The mission home is within our zone boundaries, so it was just us and them. Some of his married children came up for the holidays to visit, and it was so sweet to see the Miles' act as loving grandparents. It was a fun evening - but we had early curfew at 6pm - so not the typical "celebration." :) I am so grateful for their positive influence, and we all love them dearly.
Actually, a couple Sunday's ago they surprised us by showing up to one of our Sacrament meetings! We were elated to have them, and the Bishop invited them to get up and share their testimonies. I was filled with appreciation as President Miles got up and bore his humble witness of the Savior and of His work, and asked the members to let us into their homes and find people for us to teach (something we've been struggling with lately). We can tract all day, and walk the streets talking to people, but in reality, the most success comes from member referrals. So we were extremely grateful for his comments in our behalf.
No idea if you heard, but there was an "historic" worldwide missionary broadcast held a few weeks back. All the missionaries around the world tuned in, whether it was 7am, all the way through 7pm (all but a few missions were able to watch live). It was a broadcast from Salt Lake, during which members of the quorum of the 12 apostles and other presiding leaders gave a 2 hour training on how to be a more effective missionary. The program was titled, "Preach Repentance and Baptize Converts." My favorite part was a little classroom seminar Elder Bednar taught, about how we often approach lessons as if we are the teachers and the Spirit is like a tool we can pull out when needed. But in reality, when we go into a lesson, the Spirit should be the teacher, and we are the tool that creates the environment needed to learn. All we can do is bring the word to the investigators, but the Spirit is the only one who can take the word into their hearts and ultimately bring them to conversion. It was a powerful experience to listen and be given direct counsel on how to move the work forward.
Since we've been in the area a while, we have started up a mission prep for the youth in our wards. Some are getting ready to leave, and are really good about going out with us to lessons or whatever. It's been fun to see the nervousness and hesitation grow into testimony and confidence. It makes me think about how far I've come... I wish I had taken the chance to prepare more before my mission though... reaching out to the missionaries for insight on what to expect- what a surprisingly logical resource. :)
A few weeks back we had the opportunity to help our ward go clean the temple one morning - it was a beautiful experience; I got to be apart of the group assigned to clean the entire upper floor. It was a unique privilege to help do a small part in taking care of that sacred beautiful building.
Most recently, the highlight has been that of baptisms. This past weekend we had the privilege of holding baptisms for some wonderful children, all of whom we have been teaching and preparing for a few weeks. In one case, it was an 8 year old boy who's parents are active and just wanted us to teach him basics in preparation. Others, like this girl Madison, have parents that are either not members or have been less active, and so we have been working with the family unit itself. It was powerful to hear her experience of wanting to know for herself if the church is true, if she should be baptized, and through study and prayer, coming to the conclusion for herself. That is part of what it means to be converted: to have a personal witness. It has been a privilege to be apart of her and other's journeys toward baptism...
Sorry for the long ramblings, I feel like so much has happened and I have no idea where to begin to describe 2016 thus far. There has been lots of laughs, and lots of tears. But I can testify to the reality of Miracles, and I am so grateful for the knowledge that the Lord carries out His work through small and simple means, even if that means me.
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and thank you for your prayers in my behalf - they have carried me through this year, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Lots of love,
|P Day at the park.|
|Calgary sky with geese.|
|Calgary city skyline.|