Monday, March 25, 2013

Wonderful Week

All I have to say is this week was good news goats** :)  SO many great things happened and I will try to do it all justice so that you really can know how great it was! The week started out with a training meeting with the mission president and other people in the mission. I got to see some of the sisters I met at the MTC, and it was so good to see them. It is always nice to see missionaries who have been going through the same things as me.

**What is good news goats?
"haha, it's just something I say, Riley always says, "bad news bears" when something is bad news, so I started saying, "good news goats" when things are good. Just one of those weird things I say I guess. haha"

So Wednesday of this week is when some pretty cool stuff started to happen. Sister Tuia and I were riding the bus around trying to contact people, and at one point we were about to get on a bus and I noticed a guy staring at us. I thought, "Okay.. people usually stare at us... so why does this seem different?" Anyway we get on the bus and this guys follows us to the back and sits down by us. He then leans over and asks, "Do you have any literature??" It literally took me 10 seconds to reply because I was so shocked. No one ever approaches us and asks us for anything. I said yeah and gave him a Book of Mormon and started talking with him. He said that his mom had been baptized into the Church in Turkey and he recognized the name on our badges. He said that he has been trying to change some things in his life and get back to church (can you say, Golden?). We talked to him and got his number so that we could set up a time to meet with him. We ended up meeting him this morning and he is interested in learning more. I really see potential in him and I am so thankful we were able to meet him. This is one of those instances where if you work hard and are obedient Heavenly Father really does put you at the right place at the right time!!

Friday was another day full of awesome things... I am just going to type what I wrote in my journal that night for times sake.. :)

 "I loved today! LOVED everything about it! And I am so thankful I can finally say that. Heavenly Father blessed me big time today and I am so grateful! The day started out with District Meeting which was great as always. We talked about how Charity is the catalyst of missionary work and I am discovering every day how that is so true. After the meeting they gave us mail and I was super pumped because I got a lot! So grateful for all the awesome people I have in my life! (Seriously though thank you for all of you who are sending letters. Mail makes a missionary so happy! Keep em' coming and I will try to write back as much as I can!) 

After District meeting we went to meet Gill, the man who had asked for literature on the bus. This started a chain reaction of incidents that prove God really does work in mysterious ways! We missed the bus so we were late and couldn't get a hold of the member who was supposed to come with us. Because of this we took another bus and met a Lady named Helen who was SO great, we will be seeing her tomorrow. (Since this Helen has come to a Relief Society activity, church, and we will be meeting her tomorrow. See.... God works in mysterious ways!) When we finally got to Gill's we couldn't meet him because we needed a third girl, he was so understanding and said, "Things happen for a reason." 

Which they totally do, because us not meeting him led us to meeting another man at the bus stop. Turns out this man is a member of the church who fell away after he got divorced years and years ago. We got his information and gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and I really hope we can meet with him soon. Then we went to Tim Hortons to get a bagel where we had a funny experience. This man was Skyping near us and I saw him holding up women's shirts to the screen. I started laughing and said something and he turned around and said that his wife is in northern Iraq and doesn't like the clothes there so he shops for her and then sends her things. I told him that he is a good husband and then Sister Tuia and I left and laughed for a good 5 minutes (writing it now it doesn't seem so funny but in the moment it was one of the funniest things I have had happen in weeks! haha) 

God timed things perfect again after this, when we decided to walk through the mall to catch the bus. We ended up seeing Natalie (a girl we met the other day who is a teen mom and looking for something in life) who I have been thinking about lately.  I just really feel for her. The Gospel is something that will really help her and I hope that we can teach her and get her to see that. 

After that we rode the buses for a bit and I got my first real contact! I started a conversation with a guy that ended with me getting his number and committing him to try and pray! :) He says he would like to learn more so we will be calling him soon and hopefully we can meet with him. 

We then had dinner with some members. Super good Korean food, super awkward conversation... I have a love hate relationship with dinner appointments. ;) 

After dinner we had our teaching appointment with Aubin. It was SO good! This was one of those things that missionaries talk about, and I was able to experience it for myself. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit was SO strong. I finally had the experience where I didn't have to think about what I should say, the Spirit just taught through me and it really was super powerful. We invited Aubin to be baptized and he said YES! 

I really wish I could describe how great it was, it was just one of those moments that makes all of the bad days worth it.  After this I can see how missionaries are sad when their missions are over. Experiences like this don't happen just to anyone on a given day. As missionaries we have the authority to teach and to invite people to be baptized in the True Church. That is a pretty big deal when you think about it. :) Today is a day that I need to always remember. Because when things get tough I just need to remember that this is why I am here. To find those people who are ready and to teach them so that they don't have to miss out on the truth anymore. :)" 

Okay, that was pretty long, but it is a good description of how great that day really was! This week some members bought us all you can eat sushi... best day ever. :) This week really was so good. I am happy and really starting to love this work. It is so awesome that everyday I can meet new people and bear testimony and promise them that the message we have to share can help them and will change their lives if they are willing to let it.

Pic from the MTC
Thanks Elder Lee !
Sister Tuia and I started this transfer in a new area that literally had nothing to work with. And now, with the help of the Lord we have people to teach, we have people who want to be baptized, and we are really starting to move the work forward. It takes hard work, but it's worth it. I thought this week about how my decision to serve a mission will change lives. If I wasn't here all of these people I have been meeting would have continued to go about their lives not knowing about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is pretty cool when you think about it and motivates me to talk to everyone. Everyone in the world needs to hear about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether they choose to accept it or not, everyone needs to hear. :)

 Okay, that may have been SUPER preachy but hey..... if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck. I better take full advantage of this whole being a weird missionary thing because it isn't going to last forever, eh? ;)

 Love you all.... thanks for reading my blog! I hope I didn't bore you too much today! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good News !!

Well hello family and friends! Looks like we all made it through another week! :) I have some good news! The mission policy for emails has changed... we can now email friends! #raisedaroof So..... go crazy, kids and send me some emails! :) I want to hear about what's going on! The only bad thing with this being I will probably never have time to reply especially in this area. The mission president does give us permission to spend more time on the computers but the libraries here only allow you to have an hour a day so..... just send some emails and I will respond if I can or write letters back. I finally got some letters this week! They were written and sent around the same time I left the MTC, though, so it really does take about a month to get mail here. I also sent some letters home so it will be interesting to see how long that takes.

 This week was better than last week, I hope that pattern continues. Everything gets a little bit easier as I get more and more experience with it.The only thing that is not getting easier is dealing with this weather. I freeze ALL. THE. TIME. I can bundle up and and wear a million layers and this cold still finds a way to cut through and leave me miserable. (OK maybe that is a little dramatic, but it is cold) Last night we walked about 2 miles in the cold until we were able to find a bus. Bus systems are different at night so we though we were going to have to walk the whole way. I guess it could have been worse, but it still was pretty bad.

 This week I did my first exchange with the other set of sisters in this area. It was fun to see how another missionary works and the different things they do in their teaching and finding. More and more I am being able to pull ideas of the kind of missionary I want to be and the way that I want to teach and do things.

 At District Meeting this week President Scott came. It was a little intimidating because I had to give a thought and then role play with him, but it was good. He is such a great guy and I am so grateful to have him as my mission President. He really is so loving and cares about us individually and that really is good to know. Talking with him makes me feel like a million bucks. He really needs to come around more often. haha

We did a ton of finding this week and still didn't have much success. We need to find people before we can teach people and the finding part is proving to be hard. Some people will want to listen but a lot of people open their doors, say something that is usually not very nice :), and then quickly close the door. Oh well, we'll just keep going and eventually we'll find those people who are really prepared. I promise cool and great things happen during the week but I just cannot seem to remember them right now...... I guess this email will be short then. :) But here are a few random things!

 1. St. Patrick's Day was like a serious thing here.... I am fairly confident that the college students (did I mention Guelph is a serious college town?) were all drinking from Saturday night all through Sunday. Which meant we got to see a lot of people make complete fools of themselves all day long. Also they don't just use the holiday as an excuse to drink, they also went crazy with the wearing of green. And not just a green shirt here or there, they were wearing green mini skirts and huge bows and wigs and it really was out of control. I have never seen anything like that.

2. So my District leader, Elder Dewey, is the son of a famous artist.. Simon Dewey? I didn't know who he was, but I guess his dad does a lot of the famous LDS paintings. I am sure a lot of you will know who he is.

 Sorry that was so short.... I will try and do better next week. :) Missionary work really is amazing. Everyday I learn so much and my testimony is strengthened. This week I really have seen the importance of a testimony. People will argue doctrine or not want to talk with you but a testimony is something short and simple yet so powerful that you can leave it with everyone. It is hard for people to dispute something you KNOW to be true. There is no arguing with that. :) So I challenge all of you to constantly strengthen your testimonies, in whatever it may be, because that is the most powerful thing we have when it comes to sharing the Gospel with others. Have a great week!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Second Week - better than the first !

Well things are feeling better this week, than they were last week. I guess that is what happens when you give it time. I am starting to get more comfortable with things and getting used to the schedule. We are busy ALL of the time, which is great, but it took some getting used to! At this rate I really think I will come to love my mission! More and more cool things keep happening and there are moments when I know this is right where I need to be. Unfortunately, there are moments where I am not enjoying myself at all, but I guess that is how I am going to build my faith. If it was always easy I wouldn't learn anything.

 So time in the mission field is weird! It feels like it has been 2 months since last Monday,just because so much has happened, but looking back on it, it feels like yesterday that I was sitting at a computer writing my email. I am going to go ahead and say that is how my whole mission will go and I bet it gets even more weird as time goes by. Sometimes I feel like I am going to be out here forever, but then I remember that this week I will have been out a month and I start to think it is going to go by super fast! I can no longer say I have 18 months of a mission to serve. I am now down to 17 with still so much to do in that time. It's crazy, but it's good. The saying really is true, in the mission field, "days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days."

 One experience that really boosted my week was a lesson we taught to a less active member who has really been struggling with the law of the Word of Wisdom. He has a strong, powerful testimony, but he had a few bad things happen and then he slipped back to old habits. I really feel for the guy, he doesn't have much family support and struggles with depression and just really is having a hard go at it. We saw his name on the ward list one night and felt that we should call him. It was good we did and I really feel that it was inspired because he said that he has been praying for the missionaries to come and see him and said that he was really needing that support. We were able to talk with him and share that video that I sent last week and it really helped him. For the first time being here I felt that I had experiences and ideas that were coming to me that could help him. I was teaching by the Spirit which is something I had been striving for but hadn't really felt it working up until that point. It was great, and we told him that we would work with him and try and get him back where he needs and wants to be. We have been texting him scriptures and he came to church yesterday. It is nice to finally feel like I am helping people after a few weeks of feeling like I was doing nothing.

 We had zone training this week which means we got together with our zone and did training. :) It was nice to see some other missionaries and get to know some more people. They had me, as one of the newbies, bear my testimony. I kinda wanted to be annoyed that I had to, but it was really great and I am glad I had the opportunity to do it. It was also nice to see other new missionaries at this training and see that they had been struggling as well. It was nice to know that I was not the only one having a hard time. :)

The members here are great! We have had a few dinners with them and are getting to know them. They are all so willing to go to teaching appointments and other things. I am coming to realize more than ever, just how important members are in missionary work. They really have to be "doers" here and not just "takers" and I am thankful that they rise up to that challenge. It is nice that people who have only known us two weeks are willing to let us into their homes and treat us like family. Sometimes it makes me sad because I miss my family, but then I remember in 17 months I get to go back to my family so I might as well enjoy the time I have here to help strengthen their families and testimonies.

This week I was also able to take the lead in teaching the First Lesson. Sister Tuia helped a lot, but this was the first time that I was able to recite the First Vision in a lesson. It was scary, but the Spirit was there and I know the more and more I do it and teach lessons, the more natural it will be and it will be easier to focus on the needs of the people I am teaching and not worrying so much about my insecurities and what I lack as a teacher. This week I have really come to realize how powerful we are as missionaries. I am not saying this to brag or say that we are above anyone, but we literally are representatives of Jesus Christ and people notice and they can feel a difference when we walk into their homes. I know this because so many times we will meet people and after talking to them for a few minutes they will invite us into their homes and want to know more about what we are about. Even when people will tell us at their doorsteps that they "have their own religion" or "are not interested" we leave them with a different feeling and I can literally see that difference on their faces from the beginning of the conversation to the end. It is pretty amazing and super powerful. I know that everyday I am going to see more and more how great my calling is.

 With it only being our second week here we have already found quite a few potential and new investigators. And I credit that to how hard Sister Tuia makes me work. :) She is always going and it is SO good. Even though I complain, things have been working out. Just the other day we walked and talked to people and knocked on doors all day and nothing came of it, until literally the last door we knocked on. It's little things like that that I am beginning to realize that you have to keep going and keep going because you never know when and where you are going to find that person that needs us. That was definitely true for yesterday. Our plans didn't go as planned, but because of it we ended up meeting a mom and her two little girls. We helped them shovel some snow and talked for about 40 minutes. Before we left, the little girl kept asking me if we had a day off because she wanted us to come back to see her again. I told her she would need to ask her mom, which her mom agreed and said we could come back and teach them. That is just another example of that difference people notice in us. And it is cool... bottom line, it is just awesome.

 Well I need to go because I still need to email the President, but before I leave I will give you a few random things from this week...

 1. LDS Churches are to Utah as Tim Hortons are to Canada.... They. are. everywhere!

 2. I met 2 Wickins this week.. I was told they are not "witches" but they do practice spells and stuff...? I don't know.....?

 3. The college girls here really toe the line on when it is appropriate to wear legging as pants. I honestly don't think any of them own jeans... It is always leggings.

 4. I only get mail monthly soooooo send some letters people so I am the most popular girl around when that time comes. :)

 5. I saw Elder Prochnow the first day I got here (Forgot to mention that) I also met Elder Marshall who was actually trained by Mat Roundy.

 Okay, I really need to go but I love you all... Thanks for reading my blog and have a GREAT week! :) Love, Sister Prescott

 P.S. - birthday shoutout to Dallin Wilson. haha Riley if you could write on his FB wall for me or something that would be great. also... any engagements/births that I need to know about?!?!?!?!

Monday, March 4, 2013

First Week

So we got to Canada Monday (Feb 25, 2013) and stayed in a hotel that night. That next morning we did some training and were assigned our companions. My companion is Sister Tuia (pronounced too-ya, like happy birthday to ya!) she is 22 and from Samoa (Someone should tell Coach Wiscombe that. Derick served in Samoa, I know she will enjoy that bit of information)

We are serving in a city called Guelph (pronounced like gwelf) I still have a hard time saying it. This area used to just have one set of missionaries here and so now it is split into North and South so Sister Tuia and I are opening a new area in the South end and let me tell you it is HARD. I think most missionaries go their entire missions hoping to never open a new area and I don't blame them because it isn't easy. We have hardly anything to work with, there are very few members in our area and so we have just been trying to contact people to teach. Contacting is the hard part that I feel like no returned missionaries really warned me about. We are supposed to talk to everyone and go around knocking on doors which is still really hard for me.

Some people are really nice and will take a pass a long card and some people are not so nice. Like last night, we were going to the home of a less active who apparently doesn't live there anymore, because this man just basically yelled at us and then accused me of rolling my eyes at him. I know we all know I have an eye rolling problem but I can promise you I would have never rolled my eyes at a man who was yelling at me! haha Oh well.. Sister Tuia tells me that I will get used to it and all of the door knocking and contacting will be worth it when we find someone who wants to learn more. Just for now it is really hard and scary to talk to random people. I am getting better at it though. I just need to be patient.

So in our area we use the bus and walk, which is good because we are able to meet more people but bad because I am absolutely FREEZING! It snowed a lot this week (all Canadians were telling us that is the most it has snowed all winter) so we spent most of the days walking around in snow which then turned into 4 inches of slush which then turned into sidewalks of icy death when it froze. Thankfully we will have a car for a few days because we are sharing it with the other sisters, but Wednesday we will have to go back to the bus grind, I am sure I will get used to it. And I guess I won't get fat just yet if I have to continue walking everywhere!!

 Our apartment is nice. Because were are opening a new area, though we have nothing. Thankfully the Relief Society President was nice and gave us a lot of dishes and pots and pans and some food so we had something, but our mattresses are on the floor and we don't have much furniture. Our landlord is great! He is Indian and always has his music blasting as he does meditation and different prayers. Our apartment also smells like Indian food all the time because we are just in the basement of the landlord's house. It is good though, I can't complain. The only complaint I have is that it is freezing. We have to use the oven to heat up the place, thankfully the landlord gave us a small heater to use. He really is kind about taking care of us and the things we need.

So yes I am still alive, still trying to preach the Gospel! I feel like the mission is nothing like I expected, but it is good. Just a lot of work! And it is hard to keep working when we are not seeing any results. I have come into a tough area in tough circumstances. I know it'll all be good and things will start to happen but as for right now I am just trying to keep going and have a good attitude! :) I feel like this email hasn't been really that motivational for everyone but you all should watch this video that we watched in Relief Society yesterday.... I dare you not to cry.. :) Have a great week! -Sister Prescott