Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas Week

Well.... I didn't really manage my time too well this morning and thus I don't have much time to write so.... I will do my best to get all of the details out. :)

First things first, I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I know that my Christmas was great! Especially since I was able to Skpe with my family. :) Christmas morning started out at the Stake Center doing the scripture Read-a-thon. After that we headed to the Clifton's to do our Skyping.  That really was THE best Christmas present ever. So great to see my family.... but then so sad to have to say bye to the for another 5 months until Mothers Day roles around.  I am just super grateful for the time we did have to talk. We had dinner with the Clifton's that night with was a lot of fun. I like seeing the different traditions that different families have and I am looking forward to incorporating into my life at some point. :)

We had dinner with the Skogstad's on Boxing Day which was fun! Brother Skogstad found out that I had a blog and this is the conversation we had at church yesterday...

Brother Skogstad: "So.... I found your blog.... and then I read it."

Me: "Perfect! I will give you a shout out tomorrow."

So.... Here is my shout out to my newest blog follower, Brother Skogstad and his wonderful family. :)

The week really was good and pretty busy. Janet and Norm both came to church yesterday which was really great. (I think I have talked about them before?? haha) Janet loves everything about church and is really looking forward to getting baptized. :)

I know I am forgetting a million things to say but I just have no time... sorry. :( I will prioritize better next week... but... hopefully some of these pictures make up for it.

Christmas Day Read-a-thon
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year... we will be doing more of the Scripture Read- a- thon and then back to the regular mission grind at the first of the year. Well... talk to all of you next year! (that is the lamest joke in the book but... I felt I should use it. haha)

OH!!! Remember how I wrote once that I am REALLY good at getting dinner appointments... well... I have a classic example of this. :) Yesterday we went to church with a completely empty dinner calendar and within one hour of it being passed around the combined RS/Priesthood meeting (which we taught by the way) we went from 0 dinner appointments to about 20 dinner appointments... we are getting fed everyday this week but Saturday. haha Sister Colvin thinks I am a mooch... which I probably am... :) But I promise I am a classy, mooch. :)

Christmas Eve Morning with Anne

Sister Griffin and I

Merry Christmas from a couple of kids from Morgan, UT

At the Read-a-thon - very fake glasses of one of the Elders

One of my favorite Christmas presents - Duck Dynasty flash light.. to go along with my Duck Dynasty shirt

Monday, December 23, 2013

I survived the Ice Storm "Ontario 2013"

So this week went form being not too exciting, to quite exciting thanks to the Ice Storm that hit Ontario Saturday night into Sunday! People had told us that a storm was coming but we didn't really know what to expect or didn't know if it would be as bad as they said it was going to be.

The mission had us park our cars Saturday night and then just work around our homes to keep us safe. It wasn't so bad when we went to bed and we had arranged rides to get people to church and we had also been called and asked to teach Gospel Principles AND Relief Society the next day.

So... we woke up in the morning, started getting ready, it didn't look too bad outside and then we got the news that church would be canceled (I was bummed yet also a little relieved considering the 11 hours that had passed since being told we needed to teach in church hadn't given us much time to prepare. haha) And then the power went out.... and then the tree next to our house spit into 3.... and.... it just went on and on from there. I will let the pictures tell the story. haha

We survived, though. The power came back on later at night and the apartment warmed up nicely! I feel like I need to make a tshirt... something along the lines of "I survived the Ice Storm" "Ontario 2013" haha

This street was closed with all of these trees down

It honestly feels like such a weird week without going to church. I live for Sundays because I feel like they give me the boost to get me through the week. I guess I will just have to wait until next week for my boost! :)

So it is Christmas and that is a little crazy to think about! The mission is doing a scripture read-a-thon so Christmas Eve we will be reading the scriptures from 12-9 and Christmas day we will read from 9-1. (and we will also be doing that on New Years Eve and New Year's Day) Not sure how I am going to stay awake for that many hours but... it should be a lot of fun, and a cool experience to be able to get an overview of the scriptures like that. We will be reading the Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

Our Christmas Card
Well, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! It is weird to be away from my family and friends, but I am grateful that I get to be here with such wonderful people! I am also excited, of course, to be able to Skype with my family Christmas day! It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was Skyping them on Mother's day.. and now here we are... 7 months later!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Staying in Kitchener Waterloo for Christmas

Our District BEFORE transfers

Transfer calls were last night and Sister Colvin and I will be staying in Kitchener Waterloo again, in spite of the fact that basically everyone else in our District got whitewashed. haha We have a lot of good things happening with this ward, though, so we are happy to be staying. :)

It finally snowed a decent amount this week and it has been super cold. It has been nice, though. The snow is pretty and makes me happy so I am ok with it. At least it looks like Christmas!

I sang in sacrament meeting again yesterday.... yes, I don't know what has come over me. haha Sister Colvin, Brother Olsen (our ward mission leader), Brother Shulske (who is actually from Idaho and taught Sister Colvin primary), Amanda, Sue and I sang the song "Virgin's Lullaby" by Katherine Nelson and Jason Deere... Click on the video below and you will be able to listen to it. It is super pretty and everyone said it went really well. There were lots of people in the congregation crying... that is when you know you have done well. :)

Janet came to church again and is still loving everything! We have set a baptismal date for February 16th, but we will keep working with her and I am sure she will move it up. We weren't in Relief Society because we were helping the Bishop out with his sharing time in Primary, but apparently Janet announced to all the Sisters that she is getting baptized. She is such a wonderful Spirit!

Starting to get excited for Christmas (even though it still feels weird that it is next week...) It will be nice to be here with all of these ward members that we already know for the Holidays! They are wonderful and it will be a lot of fun!

I hope everyone has a great week preparing for the Holidays! And remember..... we celebrate Christmas because of CHRIST.... not because of all the parties, food and gifts.. So everyone take a step back and think about what the Savior has done for you and focus a little more on that and a little less on the things that aren't exactly that important in the eternal perspective of things. :)

Haha , Cat's paws remind me of mittens and that is
why this is even remotely funny

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Came Early

Christmas came early this year in the form of the best week ever!! SO many great things happened... I will number them off so I don't forget to tell everything! :)
1. Wednesday we got a text saying that on Saturday Elder Hallstrom of The Presidency of the Seventy would be visiting the mission and we would be lucky enough to attend the meeting!! I was pumped! And then of course I got a bit more pumped when I realized that I would be able to see Sister Tebbs, Elder Palmer, Elder Healey, and Elder Ikeda. haha

Sister Tebbs and Karly
Saturday came and we rode to Etobicoke with two of the other Sisters who serve near us. We got there quite early because they told us multiple times that if we were going to be late, then we just shouldn't come.  And there was no way I was missing this opportunity. :) I got to see everyone before the meeting started, and then Elder Hallstrom and President and Sister Scott came. They started the meeting with us going up and shaking their hands, and then, just before it was my turn, President stopped us and he went to the back of the chapel and brought a man up with him who had just walked in. This man turned out to be Elder Homer who was called to be a member of the Seventy a few months ago. (He used to be the Stake President of the Hamilton Stake.) So then I was able to shake the hands of both a member of the Seventy and a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.... I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty awesome. :) Elder Hallstrom is with the Prophet and the Twelve Apostles daily, so shaking his hand was almost like shaking the Prophets hand. :)

             Elder Homer                     Elder Hallstrom                                            
Both Elder Homer and Elder Hallstrom spoke with us and I was mostly blown away. They both talked a lot about how special the time on our missions is, and that we shouldn't waste a minute of it. Elder Hallstrom also talked a lot about how he sees us not as missionaries, but as future husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, Bishops, and Relief Society Presidents, and that our time on our missions is the best time to build a foundation in our lives that we can build on, so that we can be successful in our futures. And if we are not doing all we can now to be obedient and fulfill our purpose, we need to repent now and do better. It was pretty awesome and I think the Spirit was teaching all of us the things that we need to work on, and his message was definitely an answer to my prayers.

It was also pretty amazing to be in the same room as a man such as that, as he bore to us his Solemn Witness of Jesus Christ and of the message of the Restoration, and the reality of a living Prophet and Apostles today... I am telling you, I could have sat in that room for forever just because of how strong the Spirit was. That really will be an experience I will always remember. It was very special!

2. I found out this week that the woman that Sister Tebbs and I taught 8 months ago, Shelmith, decided to be baptized and was baptized yesterday!!! I was SO excited to hear this. Shelmith was prepared the day we met her, it just needed to be the right timing. I really do now see the importance of "planting the seeds" that can be "harvested" by other missionaries later.

 Shelmith with Brother McMullen who is SO awesome. He is the ward mission leader in the Heart Lake ward, and the sister missionaries serving there also.
3. Speaking of the Harvest... we got our Christmas present from the Mission at Zone Conference on Tuesday and this was also something that I was very excited about. Elder Dewey's dad... (ya know.. the Artist Simon Dewey. :) haha) had made this picture of the Savior and the Toronto skyline and they put it on temple recommend holders for all of us.

4. Now... I can talk about Janet. :) She was found by missionaries in another area and the story of how they found her is pretty amazing. Janet had heard of Mormons years and years ago, but had never really had the opportunity to look into it. She had researched many churches and a couple of months ago had even been baptized into a church, but she said that there was still something missing and that she was looking for more. One day she was praying that she would be led to the Mormon Church and... that very day she was sitting at a bus stop that she normally wouldn't go to at a time that she normally wouldn't be there and guess who walks up?..... Sister Mitchell and Sister Griffin. She immediately tells them,"You are not going to believe this... I have been praying that I would find you." So.... they taught her! And then she moved into our area, and it took us about a month to meet with her and when we did she said that she was loving everything that she had learned so far, and that she knows Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.  She was just waiting for an "a-ha" moment to know that she should be baptized.

Which brings us to this weekend! Saturday night Janet came to the Christmas party and loved it, and then she also came to church on Sunday and the Spirit was really working on her. After the blessing of the Sacrament she said, "Wow... there is some power behind that prayer.. I can just FEEL it." (Sidenote: it is my favorite thing when investigators are describing the Spirit and how He works with them.) So the rest of the day went great, and after church Janet was SO excited. She told us that at the Christmas party she thought she "felt" something and she went home happy, but then told herself that she might have just been making that feeling up. Then she said that when she woke up that feeling was gone and that she wanted it back. She said the second  she walked into church on Sunday, she got the feeling again and she knew that this is what she had been missing at all the other churches. Before church that day she didn't know about being baptized, but Janet got her "a-ha" moment during the meeting and she couldn't have been more excited. :) We will be working with her toward baptism which will hopefully happen soon.  So incredible to be a part of her experience in coming to find the WHOLE truth. :)

Well now that you are all probably extremely bored with reading, I guess I can wrap things up! This coming week some pretty exciting things will be happening, as in Wednesday it will have been one year since I received my mission call. Can't believe it has been one whole year! It feels like just yesterday. And also Friday will be my 10 month mark since going into the MTC!

Transfer calls are also this weekend, so I will update all of you with that news on Monday.  I really have no feeling this time as to what will happen. I would like to stay, but in the end God knows where I need to be so I will go wherever! He hasn't let me down so far! :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and a Morgan Connection

So it is December, and this week it hit me that I have been in Canada the better part of 2013 and that is SOOO weird to think about. Really, only a month and a half of this year was spent in Utah... can't even believe it!

Sister Colvin and Karly
This week was good! I hope everyone had a Happy "American" Thanksgiving! We had fun here. We went to a members house and had dinner with them and all of the other American members in the ward. There were SO many of us there between all of the couples and all of their kids. It was a lot of fun. We ate a ton of good food, and decorated gingerbread houses (credit given to my family and that tradition we have) :). It is so great to have a nice ward family to spend holidays with. I know all the members feel that way too because a lot of them are up here without their families.

The Mitchell's
Their little one Eli is missing in this picture. They are THE BEST.  Brother Mitchell is the one who dressed up like Duck Dynasty. And notice how their gingerbread house has a moose in the yard, and a man in a chair with a shot gun. haha  They are so great.

We have still been just working and living the mission life. We have a few people that we are teaching that I think have a lot of potential. I will keep you all updated on any exciting things there.

Oh this week something pretty random happened. The ward had asked us to go and help with a new program they are doing with the food delivery for the welfare system. Anyway a couple from another ward was there because they had done this program before so they were helping our members. So we worked for about an hour and then the man, Brother Jacob, asked where home was for me. I told him Utah, he cracked the joke that everyone cracks about all missionaries being from Utah and then we moved on. :) But then he made some comment about how his daughter is coming up in a few weeks from Utah and I just said, "You made fun of me being from Utah when you have a daughter living there?" and he just laughed and said "yeah, she is in Morgan, Utah." To which of course I was like. "Woah woah woah, wait a minute... I am from Morgan, UT!!" To which he says, "get out! do you know Grant Leishman?" And I said yes, and then everything connected and I remember that Grant had married a girl from Canada. So.... anyway, the world is small!! Grant and Erin were in our ward in Peterson when I was there and I can remember them at church. So that is pretty crazy. The Jacob's live in Barrie.. hopefully I will get to serve there at some point! That would be cool.

They shared this new Mormon message twice at church yesterday and I thought it was SO GOOD. So... watch this and feel free to share it on your facebooks and such! It is a good way to share the Christmas Spirit!

I hope everyone has a great week! Our Zone Conference is tomorrow which I am really excited about. And the ward Christmas party is also this week, a lot of fun things to get us excited for Christmas!