Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Mission has come to an end.....

Well this is it! I will be home Wednesday! I can't believe that my mission has come to an end! It still doesn't feel real, it probably won't feel real until I have been home for a few days! :)

We have a lot to do so I will keep this short! When I get home and have ample time on a computer I will have to write a nice mission wrap up! :)

Thank you all for all of your love and support while I have been serving my mission! This has been the most incredible experience and I am sad that it is coming to an end, but I am excited to see what other adventures are ahead of me! :)

My mission has truly changed my life and I will be forever grateful for it! 

Thank you all for everything! 


P-day at the Waterfalls

With Elder Palmer

Our Whole Group
With Elder Itthi

Minh's baptism celebration!‏

With Sister Taylor

The Last District Meeting‏

Gloria, baby Valerie, Dureeta, and Rachel

The Altimirano Fam!‏

The ladies we volunteer with at Kerr Street Ministries

Our last coordination meeting with the Lowachees‏

I am going to miss this lake!‏

I found my Prince‏ ;)

Going to miss Joe -  A LOT‏

Delores and I!‏

The Gernon Family and Minh - They live across the street from Minh and are a big part of how he even knew about the church and wanted to listen to us

With Sister Gernon‏

Sister Grace - Wonderful woman from Nigeria who is temporarily living in the ward

Monday, July 7, 2014

What a Week !

WHAT A WEEK! :) Which I guess is a good thing to be saying considering it was my second to last week of full time missionary service. :(   A lot happened this week so I will just take it day by day so I don't forget anything. :)

We finally went and played tennis! 
I hope all you Americans had a wonderful Canada Day! ;)  We sure had fun here! The ward had a BBQ at the Chapel and it was SO much fun. Tons of people came and we had food and played soccer and sang Oh Canada. I love everyone being together at ward activities. I am really going to miss this ward, so it was good timing that we were all able to get together.
Me almost getting my face taken off while I pretended to play soccer. haha 

Brother Marjanovich, and President Taylor and us. 

Us with Minh

Karly Parker and I! She is such a nice girl and they have a great family. And it seems like Karly and I have a lot in common.. more than just our name. haha

Oh Canada !

Me, Brother and Sister Arce, Brother and Sister Marjanovich and Sister Mendenhall

A picture of the whole group at the church on Canada Day! This reminds me of a "Where's Waldo" picture. haha Can you spot me??

Sister Clifton,  Sister Mendenhall, Sister Herfort, and Sam Healey and I helping out in the Kitchen at the Ward Canada Day BBQ

With Brother Arce

Later that day we went down by the Lakeshore near where we live to check out all of the festivities there. 

There were A TON of people and we were able to talk with a few people, and then later that night Sister Healey came down with her kids and we got Gelato. We also were able to watch the fireworks show from our balcony. It was a really fun day!

K really... the bed bug thing is not a joke. haha I probably shouldn't be writing for the world to see that we found a bed bug in our apartment, but honestly it is too funny to not talk about it. It is ironic in so many ways that we found a bed bug the 2nd to last week of our missions.  

I guess Heavenly Father was just testing our patience.. once again.. I think that the whole Test of Patience is a never ending thing in this life. :) Luckily I think there was only one bug and we cleaned it all up and vacuumed everything and put some powder under our beds to keep bugs away so I think we are good!
We haven't had any bites soooo... I think we are good. 
I guess I will be leaving my suitcases outside when I get home! 

So Wednesday wasn't all about bed bugs, thank goodness! We went to a dinner appointment that night and ended up getting a new investigator. The member has a friend living with her who we are now teaching! We have taught her a few times now since Wednesday and she is great!

Thursday we went to Hamilton and were able to meet President and Sister Clayton... They. are. WONDERFUL! It is amazing how with about 300 missionaries and them only being here a week they were able to have so much love for us and I really felt that as an individual. Meeting them made me even more sad to be going home. I wish that I could be here and serve with them! But.. all good things must come to an end. This mission is in really good hands, though. The Clayton's are amazing people. 

During our interviews we were having an instruction and we were setting goals for how many baptisms we would like to see in our Zone in the month of July. With only two weeks left, and with Minh wanting to get baptized but facing some opposition from his mom, I didn't think we would see a baptism in our area at least while I was still here. But then as I was sitting there I got the impression that we should say that our area is going to have a baptism in July and that Minh was going to get baptized before we left. So I looked at Sister Mendenhall told her that we were going to baptize Minh in the next two weeks and then raised my hand and said that our area would have a baptism. I wasn't sure how we were going to do it, but I felt like it was going to happen. We just so happened to have an appointment with Minh that afternoon and I felt like we should text a particular member, Sister Taylor, and have her come with us. 

We went to teach Minh and things were going good as usual.. we had told Sister Taylor that we wanted to set him with a new baptismal date and so in the middle of the lesson Sister Taylor says, "So Minh.. are you going to get baptized before these two Sisters leave??" To which Minh said, "I would like to." So we told Minh that he is 100% ready to be baptized and that he could be baptized Sunday if he would like to. He said that he wanted to, and even though is mom isn't totally agreeing with his decision, her heart has softened in the last few weeks and she will support him.
And just like that we were planning a baptism! :) I could not have been more thrilled! It really felt like all our hard work was paying off. Two Sundays left in my missionary service and one Sunday we would have a baptism and the next a Confirmation. I could not think of a more perfect way to end my mission. :)

We had a lesson with Minh at the church and then he had his Baptismal interview! And then we went to our coordination meeting and had a small 4th of July Celebration! 

This was on Friday and it was the most perfect day. We taught Minh outside the Chapel with Brother Marjanovich and it was such a great lesson. I am really, REALLY going to miss teaching people as a full time missionary.

The Canadian in me celebrated on the 1st and then the American in me celebrated on the 4th! Sister Mendenhall made this cute flag for me and then when we went to our coordination meeting at the Lowachee's on Friday they signed the back of it and we all stood and sang the Star Spangled Banner and then we ate watermelon to celebrate!

It was a perfect day for a baptism! ..and for a final fast and testimony meeting. The Bishop invited us to share our testimonies, and it was a bitter sweet thing knowing that that is the last time I will share my testimony in a sacrament meeting as a full time missionary. I'm thankful for the testimony that I have, and it has really strengthened as I have served!

Minh's Baptism
After Church was the Baptism! President and Sister Clayton came which was a pleasant surprise! It was really great to have them there. The baptism couldn't have been more perfect. All of the talks were wonderful and at the end Minh bore the most powerful testimony. I am SO thankful for being able to be there for that. It was such a great day and I am really happy for Minh.

So.... this week was really great. SO much happened and it was a lot of fun... it also went by super fast! 

And now... I will be starting my last week! I can't actually believe it! I am grateful for all of the experiences that I have had here and am looking forward to making this coming week another good week. 

I will try and email next week for a bit and then it will only be a few more days and I will be home! I am really sad to think about leaving Canada and all of the wonderful people that I have met here but... all good things must come to an end! I am excited to come home and see my family and to move on to life's next adventures!

Thank you all for all of your love and support as I have been here serving! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Elephant in the room.........

Well.... I am just going to go ahead and point out the Elephant in the room and acknowledge the fact that I will be home in 16 days.... yup... just 16! Seems pretty unreal actually! I know it is coming, but it sure doesn't feel like it. It probably won't hit me until I am on the plane headed home... and even then it probably won't feel real.

Anyway... enough of that. :)

So... that past 2 weeks have been really great!

We had our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Scott. They are now home and President and Sister Clayton are our new mission president and his wife. 

President and Sister Clayton
We will be meeting them this Thursday and I am looking forward to that. Zone Conference was good. Since it was my last one I, as well as the rest of the departing missionaries were able to bear our testimonies. Since there are so many of us going home in the next few months we only had about a minute each to share our testimonies. Since day one of getting in the mission field I always thought it would be weird when the day would come that I would bear my testimony at my last Zone conference and now that day has come and gone.. just like that! It was sad to say bye to President and Sister Scott... luckily they don't live too far from me back home so I will be able to see them soon. Mission Presidents are allowed to hug the sisters when a missionary is leaving and since he was leaving we were able to give him a hug and that was great! He really has made such a great impact on my life and I will be forever grateful for President and Sister Scott!

President and Sister Scott
I forgot to mention that for the past few weeks we have been volunteering at a soup kitchen here in Oakville and it is a ton of fun. We usually make sandwiches, bag bread, wash dishes and serve food to the clients who come it. There are a ton of wonderful people who volunteer there and it has been fun to get to know them as well.

Toronto last Monday was also really great! The Big City is a bit different than what I am used to but it was nice to be able to see it. The Skyline there is seriously beautiful! It was fun to be able to visit but... I don't think I will ever be cut out for the big city life! Too many people... and too expensive. There are a ton of Condo's there and one of the advertisements we saw said, "Penthouse condo's starting and $1.5 million" uh.... no thank you. haha Do you know what I could buy for $1.5 million? A whole lot of property and a huge farm house. haha

The work has been going well! We are still just out trying to find people to teach.. it is the never ending story of missionary work! :) Joe is the greatest recent convert ever! We are still working with Minh and he will hopefully be getting baptized soon! :) 

Just looking forwarding to making these next two weeks fun and just really enjoying the time that I have left as a full time missionary! I can't believe that it will be coming to a close so soon but I so thankful that Heavenly Father blessed me with this experience! A mission has been just the thing that I needed in my life and I am so grateful for every single day of it! :)

We taught Joe on the beach after church on Sunday

Monday, June 23, 2014

P-day in Toronto!

Most of these pics were taken today on our P-day.
We traveled to Toronto, and took a ferry out to Toronto Island Park

Brother and Sister Lowachee (our ward mission leaders) took us. 

Toronto Skyline in the background

Heading back to Toronto on the ferry from Toronto Island Park

At the ferry terminal - a memorial to Jack Layton

This past week we had a picnic in the park with the Healey's during a Tornado warning. haha

The Altimirano family‏ - They had a birthday party for two of their daughters, so we went by to help and to meet their friends.

Next week I'll have more time, and be able to write more !!
Last but not least.......

We got our travel plans !