Friday, August 26, 2016

August 22, 2016

Hey hey everyone!!

I hope you're all having a beautiful Monday morning! We've had a few sunny days, and hoping the continue. Maybe the heat will kill off all the mosquito's we've had from the wet summer. But it's also great for contacting people on the streets, because everyone is out and about trying to get their last fill of summer. 

This past week has been a little slower, but we've had some cool things happen. We've been helping our investigator Page prepare for her baptism in September, and she is so excited, it's contagious! We've also been able to visit some new people, individuals and families that the Lord is preparing. One woman named Fallon heard missionaries teach her mother years ago, and now during a difficult time in her life, has remembered how good she felt around the missionaries, and invited us into her home to share the message of the gospel.

Our members have been so so good to us! I love walking down the street and having a member drive by honking their horn :) They've also been generous inviting us into their homes for suppers, or service, or to teach short messages to their kids. It's harvest season in British Columbia, so all the members are stalking up on delicious fruit from out there. A couple times this week they've been super awesome in sharing peaches or cherries or apples from out there - and boy they are delicious!!

Me and my companion have had some adventures traveling into Calgary too for meetings and such. We just recently had a Zone Conference with President, which was super good. I love seeing mission friends, it's the one chance to get together. So I saw a couple of old companions, Sister Page and Sister Tolbert! So cool to see how much they've grown into great, powerful missionaries.The mission changes ya, that's for sure...

We also had a wonderful Stake Conference this weekend! Elder Scott of the 70 came to preside, and it was a fantastic event! One cool thing is the fact that stake boundaries have been rearranged in recent months, so my first area, Arbour Lake, is now in the stake I'm currently serving in, which meant I was able to see and catch up with members from the beginning of the mission!! Talk about coming full-circle! But I ended up learning a lot at the meeting; the Spirit was there teaching me what I can be doing to better follow the Savior. One of my favorite lessons learned though was that sometimes in life we have things going on that don't matter in the grand scheme of things, but they matter to you; If something I'm trying to accomplish really matters to me, I should remember that it matters to the Lord. He cares about and is in the details of our lives...

For example, we were walking to an appointment, and could see some clouds rolling in, but just walked fast and prayed hard to beat the rain, since we didn't have any jackets or umbrellas. We arrived without seeing any rain, but the minute we got indoors, it began to pour. It stayed steady, until we went to put on our shoes to go back out, and then the rain stopped suddenly, the sun came out, and didn't rain a drop the rest of the afternoon. In His mercy the Lord timed it perfectly in answer to our prayers to stay dry...

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! I guess it's time to finally address the fact that this is my last email from Canada; in 4 days I will be landing in sunny Las Vegas, and probably die of heat... I've totally acclimated to the cooler weather up here, because our high is your low for summer :)

Still doesn't feel real yet to know in a week I will no longer be a missionary, and the thought just breaks my heart. I wish it would never end, that I could stay a missionary forever and never have to take off the tag. This has been both the happiest, and hardest time of my life. This is where I feel like I can make a difference in the world, where I've felt useful and capable in the Lord's hands. These 18 months have been so good because each and every day I've known exactly what I should be doing to build the Lord's kingdom, to care about the big picture rather then get caught up in the distracting details of life. I've been happy because of the privilege to play a part in the Lord's great and marvelous work, by inviting other's to come unto Christ. I have seen miracles; lives changed, hearts softened, families strengthened. I feel to exclaim as Ammon did in scripture,
"And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work... Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord, yea we will rejoice, for our joy is full, yea we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel..."  (Alma 26:16)

I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven, who knows us and our circumstances, and wants to help us be happy. The Savior lives, and loves us; His Atonement is there as the ultimate source of happiness, by healing our hearts and helping us become better each day. I know that we are led my modern prophets today, that this is the Lord's church and gospel, meant to help us return home to live with God. I have learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God, and will help us draw closer to Christ as we make it apart of our daily lives. I am so grateful for this chance to serve the Lord for 18 months, in sharing this message with others. Thank you all for your love, support and prayers, I have felt them sustain me. I love you guys with all my heart!!

Until we meet again, lots of love,
Sister Patterson

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 8, 2016

Well, this week has been full of high's and low's. To be honest, the start of the week kinda felt like all of the missionaries in Airdrie were in a kind of slump, what with canceled appointments and poor weather. As a missionary, when day's are slow, it's hard to feel like you're doing anyone any good. But gradually it's improved, and boy did we see miracles! Member's are opening more and more to us, and actively thinking about people they can share the gospel with.
We had exchanges with our sister training leaders this week too, always an adventure. I ended up staying in my area with the other sister for the day, and it finally got warm and sunny again, so we spent the day pounding the pavement talking with as many people as we saw. The coolest though, was in one day we got to give away multiple Books of Mormon, and share many lessons just on the street. The Lord was putting people in our path. But sometimes, he also puts us in other's paths. At one point, we accidentally thought we were running late, and so walked in a particular direction much sooner then expected, only to find a man who was not only receptive, but invited us back to teach more! Or at another point, we had planned to contact some certain individuals downtown, only to find no one was home. So, again, we started walking back the way we came sooner then expected. But finally we prayed to be led to someone who would listen. We turned down an alley and saw a young lady get into her car, curl up in the seat, and bawl. We approached to ask what was wrong, and found her obviously upset with something. As we stood in the open doorway of the car we felt impressed to share with her the New Testament story of Peter walking on water. We testified that the Savior not only knew her individually, but loved her and is there with her. By the end she was visibly calmer and had felt the Spirit, and accepted the invitation to learn more. So looking back, for once it was a tender mercy that no one answered their doors, because it meant we were in the right place at the right time to let this girl know she was loved and not forgotten in a moment when she needed it most.

It occurred to me though how that story of Peter applies to us all; there are times when we feel like we're doing great, walking on water, going strong, until we take our eyes and focus off Jesus Christ, and start seeing all the storms around us, until we feel overwhelmed and begin to sink into our own doubts/fears. But the Savior is right there at our side, we just have to reach out to him in faith, and he will lift us to safety...

Anyway, it's been an interesting week. We've just had to laugh at some of the ridiculous situations we find ourselves in, at all the awkward moments we experience day to day - seriously though, they should warn us about the awkward when we get our call letters :) In the mean time, we keep pressing forward :)

lots of love,
Sister Patterson

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 3, 2016

Hey ya'll!

Well, not sure where to even begin! This last week has been crazy busy - like all you have time for is to catch your breath and keep going. But I always love being busy, whether that's with lessons, service, finding, etc.

We've really been trying to teach more lessons to our members, because a) good opportunity to practice, and b) good to be reminded of the joy the gospel brings our lives and how we can share it with others. And it's been great seeing the Spirit work on people in inspiring them on what they can be doing for their friends.

For one family we visited, we shared a brief version of the message of the Restoration, and asked "Who do you know who would be interested in and benefit from hearing this message?" And someone particular came to mind. The woman is a young mom with 3 little kids, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. We decided to go over & offer service cleaning around the house. She was super friendly to us, and as we cleaned, she talked to us about this trial, and how her faith has been an anchor of strength. As I listened, I was astounded at the amount of faith this woman had, at her love for the Savior and submission to "thy will be done." Not only did that experience open the door for us to come back and continue with future visits, but it helped me appreciate how much good is out there, how the Lord is mindful of all of His children.

SO on a different note,  Alberta is known for it's crazy weather, but I gotta say, Airdrie takes the cake. I think we've had maybe 5 days the whole month of July that it didn't rain. This last week had a couple of those days, with scorching heat, so it was a golden time to do some service :) At one house we were helping to paint a fence, which unfortunately, was covered with spider webs - blech! As we're clearing them away, we find a giant web, with a spider to match! Canada doesn't really get big bugs, so no idea where this one came from, but the body was about the size of a loonie. The dad came over, and instead of freaking out with us, got it on a stick and started playing with it... *shiver* I of course kept my distance from probably 4 meters away :) Anyway, icky experience, and a laugh for you to picture me freaking out - I DON'T do spiders, and I'm thoroughly convinced that's why I wasn't sent to serve somewhere exotic. Yay for Canada :)

Of course, the nice weather didn't last too long. This week we've also had some crazy storms, and Airdrie is infamous for it's summer hailstorms. No joke - hail the size of golf balls, and lots of it!

Anyway - this transfer our Zone is working on building faith to find people to teach, and we know there is power in unity, in fasting and prayer. So each day a different companionship in the zone takes a turn fasting, while everyone prays of course, as we all go out and work. It's been amazing to see miracles come because of it!

But personally, my companion and I have experienced something additional: We've been working on appreciating every day to it's fullest - we come in each night to do our planning, and after saying prayer, the first thing we do is recall as many miracles as we can from the day. At first it was super hard, because all we could see were the negatives, the slammed doors, sneers, rejection, cancellations, sore feet, etc. But as the days pass, it's become so much easier to recognize miracles and tender mercies, not because daily situations have changed, but because we're making more of an effort to recognize the Lord's hand, and that joy tends to outweigh any sorrow we may have experienced. I am so so so grateful to be here as a missionary, to be serving the Lord and be His hands. I wouldn't give up this experience for anything in the world :)

I love you all, and appreciate your love and support! Have a wonderful week! And remember, you are loved!!

Lots of love,
Sister Patterson