Monday, August 12, 2013

Miracle week!
     So about Tatiana and Alex. Monday Alex went back to Ottawa where he lives, we passed him off to the Elders there. Yesterday they sent us a text that they taught him and he went to church yesterday! As of today we have taught Tatiana six times. She is our miracle! On Friday we we took her on a tour of the church building. She was raised in a cult-like christian church and has anxiety when it comes to churches. She told us that the church felt good, like home to her is what she said and she did not feel any anxiety. Even so , she did not think she was ready to go to church and face all the people there. But, on Saturday we got a call from her. She had read a talk that we had given her (President Uchdorf's "The hope of Gods light") and also read the first book of Nephi. She told us she prayed to Heavenly Father as to what she sould do and she felt really strongly that she needed to go to church. It was really awesome!
     She came to church, AND LOVED IT! The Gospel Doctrine lesson was on the Word of Wisdom. This freaked us out a little because we had not talked about the Word of Wisdom yet. After the lesson she just said "Well then, I need to stop!" We also had a lesson with her after church and she said she read through the Gospel Doctrine manuel that a brother in the ward had given her and she came across the section on chastity. She felt really bad and told us she's going to have to talk to Alex... She is so amazing and sincere and awesome! So keep her in your prayers as she tries to quit smoking. She is already down to three a day, and we have faith in her. Everyone at church thought she was the fourth missionary. We love her!
     Oh, and Anne-Marie the lady in her 80's has a baptismal date for August 31st! We're so happy! Everything is going great and we are having so much fun!
     The weather in Cornwall is perfect! We are loving it! Walking whenever we can and soakingup the sun! Some days are sort of hot, and it rains a lot more than it does in Utah, but overall, pretty good! We have a car and the ward provided us with bikes too, in case we need to save klicks (kilometers). Sister Berg drives. The apartment is really big and furnished nicely! The last missionaries that lived here were a senior couple, so they supplied it really well. Our area is really big. It goes up to Crysler, and out past Iroqois on the west and Lancaster on the East. But we do mostly work within Cornwall. Check out he map  :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

     So this week has been really busy! We really set a huge goal to be working with the members. We keep asking the bishop for people to visit. We visit them and aske for more. All in all, the Cornwall sisters visited over 25 households in the ward last month. It's a blast! We've had so amny less-active lessons and it's been great!
     On Wednesday the Sister training leaders from Montreal came down and spent the night and the following day with us, and since there are five of us, we did splits! It was so fun. Sster Grossenbeck, Stiles and I were dropped off to go visit a less active, but she was not home so we did street contacting. But then it started to POUR! Like HEAVY RAINFALL. Nothing like that happenes very often in Utah. We looked like we had been dunked in a pool. But we contacted Tatiana, a real cute girl that I think thought we were crazy...BUT IT WAS A TOTAL MIRACLE!!!
     She said we could come by the next day and we did! And then she had her boyfriend there with her and we taught them both. It was the best lesson! They had so many good questions and are really interested. We had another lesson with them yesterday! Her boyfriend was visiting from Ottawa so he when he goes home he will be taught by the YSA Elders and we will continue to teach Tatiana here. So, Tatiana and Alex! They have huge potential! We love them already!
     Things are great. We have been having dinner with the bluff family and other members. The weather has been wonderful, and we're going to try to borrow a bike. I'm happy, I'm healthy, we are having a blast and doing the Lord's work. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hello from Cornwall !

     So, Cornwall! It's in the middle of nowhere! It's pretty much the opposite of Montreal. There are cows, and fields, it's beautiful, and I love it! I wouldn't mind living here! The people are so kind it's unreal. Our ward is good! Lots of older people, and they are good members. About 2/3rds of the ward are less-actives. So there is a challenge we're going to take on. We've already got a huge list of  pass-bys to do and people to visit. We're stoked!
     Sister Berg is such a sweetheart! She is from Kaysville and only a transfer ahead of Sister Stiles and I. We have three main investigators right now. Anne-Marie is an 80 year old woman who is a sweetheart and is really close to baptism. She is afraid to pick a date, she is worried that she might miss it because of health problems. If that would happen she would be so disappointed in herself. Next time we met with her we are going to bring the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Heinz. He will talk about the priesthood and maybe give her a blessing. So her baptism could happen anytime, she is ready!
     Then we have Tracy. She is living with a less-active member in the ward. She is really awesome! She is drinking it all in and  really excited about everything we've taught her. We taught her the law of chastity last time and asked her to pray about how she can best live that law.
     Then there is Steven, who referred himself on because he is online dating a returned missionary from Utah who suggested it to him. He is super interested. He asks a lot of questions, but it okay. Last time he asked a lot of questions about the temple recommend interview, and we were like WOAH buddy, let's talk about the baptismal interview first! He's got good intentions, he just needs to learn to get his answers through personal prayers and not so much through Internet and books. We are so excited about him.It is like in the scriptures when it talks about having milk before meat. In the gospel with  somethings, most things, we have to start with the basics and slowly work up to it as our capacities increase. We all need to remember to be patient with ourselves and not be frustrated if there are things that we still don't understand yet. That will come. That will come.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Oh la la! Quel surprise!

     So, Sister U-fa is leaving! She is headed to Terrebonne, which is up north, French speaking, she's going to be with a sister here in the English ward and they're already good friends. ALSO...I'm transferred too! I was super not expecting it, but yep!  They are flushing our area and I'm headed to Cornwall. It is Ontario. It's and English speaking! I really hope I don't lose my French. It is the area of our mission that is the closest to the U.S. Also, another surprise, I am going to be in a trio companionship with Sister Berg and Sister Stiles, my companion in the MTC. I would have never guessed I was going to be transferred, let alone this! So, on Wednesday, bye-bye Ville-Marie!
     Proverbs 3:5 "Trust  in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
     Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
     Alma 26:12 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

Monday, July 15, 2013

     We have had a little setback this week with Rachael. She had a baptismal date for the 20th but she had to cancel us last week and she was not at church on Sunday. So we are going to have to push back her baptismal date. She has a strong testimony and likes us a lot. We have to figure out how we can improve our lessons with her. I'm sad about he change in her baptismal date, especially because transfer call are this Saturday and I'm pretty sure sister U-fa is leaving me. This weeks marks the half way point of her mission and she has spent it all here in Ville-Marie. Rachel was going to be her first baptism.
     Sister U-fa and I have really grown to love each other so much. During weekly planning this week we had a pretty tender companionship inventory. There were lots of tears shed as we both sense that she is leaving soon. I am filled with overwhelming gratitude for the example she's been to truly caring for each individual person and teaching with all her heart. The love she has for those less-actives is astounding. She has given the people in this area so much love and patience and it has been an honor to learn that from her.
     We spend lots of hours knocking on apartment doors, which is a challenge for me. It's not always something I want to do. I am having a hard time  beating myself up for not wanting to do it. I do love teaching lessons, and experiencing the love that the Lord has for each person.
     Last week we were walking around a park in Verdun and we talked to this one man for probably 45 minutes. He was intrigued and impressed with our willingness to serve. We found out a lot about his religious beliefs and family struggles and how he has such righteous desires to have a family, but it hasn't worked out. It wasn't really a conversation out of the ordinary, but when we walked away I was suddenly overcome with the strongest feeling of love for this man. It took me quite off guard and brought me to tears.
     There are people that are searching for the healing hope that the gospel has, so earnestly and honestly, and they haven't found it yet! I so hope that we can make an appointment soon and he can realize that we have what he is looking for. It's amazing how the Lord blesses missionaries to get a glimpse of how much he loves each one of his children, it's probably one of my favorite blessings about being a missionary.
     Things are good. Sister U-fa and I laugh and work and teach and sleep and do it all over again each day. I miss you like crazy, but we are having a blat here, doing our best to do what the Lord wants us to. I can testify to you that I know without a doubt, that He can make more out of our lives than we can by ourselves. I've felt it, and continued to feel it every day.I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and I know it's because I'm doing what He wants, serving and loving others and trying to be more like Christ.

Monday, July 8, 2013

     We had a miracle this week! There is a less active/recent convert in the ward, named Gemina, from Haiti, that cut contact with the church and missionaries about seven months ago. On Thursday Sister U-fa felt like she should call her...She didn't answer, and we thought nothing of it. All of our appointments fell through, which happened a lot this week.But...then Gemina called us back! We had a really good lesson and she even fed us and THEN she came to church! The Patricks were so welcoming and kind. She asked the Patrick's 19 year old daughter, if she could come teach with us this week!!! Wahhh!! We have a teaching appointment with the Mission President's daughter! She knows a bit of French, she's preparing to leave for the France, Leon mission in less than two months. She is so awesome.
     Sunday night we went to the house of a family in our ward, the Rafafinimanana family, and the Bishop and his (Eveque) family was there too! Fun fact; the word for bishop is eveque. Hehe. Eveque Eveque! Well when I got there, everything was green... They threw me a surprise "greenie" party. Everything we ate was green or had green food coloring in it, and everyone wore green. It was so fun and they were so welcoming. They decided after the party that I was no longer a "greenie".
     We had a zone study this week, and President Patrick came to speak to us after.Their sweet family sang a song for us and then bore testimony. They are so amazing! So willing to serve even though they have young children. The youngest of the four of their children is only nine. Wow! I'm really feeling like the member work in our mission is going to be changed drastically in the next few months. The spirit was so strong after the meeting!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

     This week! Oh my goodness this week! First of all, yesterday was Canada day! Two national holidays in a row, wow! And in Montreal/Quebec since they don't like Canada...It's also moving day! It's the day when all the leases end! So we moved! All of it was done yesterday. We are very much indebted to the wonderful missionaries in our ward, Elder and Sister Bendio,and of course the Elders, Christensen, Smith/Griffiths and Malone. They were so much help! It was a big job. Today we are a little sore. Our apartment still needs to be painted so we couldn't unpack anything or even set up our beds. We slept on a mattress on the floor last night, and it's been fun hunting for miscellaneous dishes and stuff. Hopefully we'll be able to settle in soon.
     The big news of the week is THE PATRICKS ARE HERE!!! Woo!  So the Cannons are leaving. Friday morning the missionaries of the IDM zone (Isle de Montreal) got together and rehearsed a hymn "Each life that touches ours for good" We rehearsed it at the Villa Maria church, then we went to the mission home, and snuck up to their house (in the pouring rain), then Elder Babin, who was just recently an AP, called Sister Cannon and asked her to open the garage door. We all walked in singing and they were crying and it was the best. We love them so much! Then they bore their testimonies to us one last time
     And! Then! Sunday! I was called that morning and asked to give a talk...(eeks! french!) and then we get to church and during the opening song the Patricks walked in with their family!!! Whattt?! I was really nervous, but also super excited that they were there. I feel like I did a pretty okay job. It was really simple, basically my testimony, and a bit about the broadcast, which was what they asked me to do. After sacrament we met their family. It turns out that they're going to attend our ward!!! They've lived three years in Belgium so they know french. They want to go to our ward so their kids can learn more. The mission home is in our ward boundaries. The Cannons went to the English speaking ward. This is so BIG for our war! We're going to see miracles. After sacrament meeting President Patrick came up to the missionaries and said, "Okay. There were 5 less active families in church today, they will all be visited this week and we are going to retain them. Okay? And don't forget to ask for referrals." YES SIR! We're really excited.
     We visited Rachel, our one investigator with a baptismal date, a lot this week. She is a single mom from Haiti. Her date is July 20th.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Happy St. Jean-Baptiste Day!

So yesterday was basically Quebec Day!

     The poutine was good...? Fries with gravy and cheese! It was pretty good, but I was sort of expecting a snack, but here it's like a meal. By the end of the plate I was feeling pretty sick, and felt sick after. Also, it felt embarrassing to be eating something so fattening, but we were in a restaurant full of people doing it...ha ha. I kind of felt like we were all eating our own tub of ice cream.
     Sister U-fa does not have a licence so I'm driving our car. Did I mention that she has hair down to the back of her knees? And we are changing mission presidents next week!!! President Patrick and his family are arriving this weekend. We're so excited!
     Last week we had a member lesson with a lady named Anne-Elizabeth. She's from Haiti and we brought a member with us, Sister Morah. Sister Morah is an ex-nun! She became a nun, but they eventually kicked her out because she asked a lot of questions and could not get answers. There was so much she wanted to know that they couldn't help her with. She searched and searched, and was so confused because she LOVES her bible. But something was missing. Anyway, the spirit was so strong hearing her testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, how when she found it she just ate it up and how it just makes sense. How the Book of Mormon and the Bible fit together. It was amazing. She knows her stuff, and she is so committed to the Lord and she loves the gospel so much.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello from the Island of Montreal!

     Wow, lots of changes! On Wednesday we got up at 5 to get to the bus station by 7, to take a two hour bus ride to Montreal where we met and exchanged and met our new companions. Sister U-fa, my new companion,  is from Tahiti. She learned English in the MTC and is still working on it. I feel blessed to have a native french companion. I am starting to roll my r's and speak Tahitian french. Sister U-fa is very kind, patient and loving and very people oriented. She has been in Canada for 6 months and is still in her first area.
     Ville-Marie is such a stark contrast from Gatineau. Apparently the Ottawa zone is nicknamed the 'land of milk and honey' and I have seen that already. Yesterday we had one investigator at church, compared to the six we had last week in Gatineau. Sister U-fa was here for one whole transfer before she had anyone at church. But, I have been lectured plenty about how our attitude is what is most important and to not have any pre-conceived notions about an area. I'm remaining positive. Our little branch is so small. We had probably 40 people at church yesterday, eight of which were missionaries. Yes, we have eight missionaries, a senior couple, two groups of Elders and us!
     It is hard with all of these new investigators that I don't know and I am not familiar with their progress and history. I miss my friends in Gatineau. I am having to reaffirm why I am here a everything and the french is really difficult, and we are speaking it ALL THE TIME. I am glad I brought my farewell talk because that has helped a lot. It's a work in progress. "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Yep. I've got lots of room for improvement.
     John was so sweet. When I left, he gave me one of those books about Gatineau Park that includes some very pretty photography of the animals and nature. We are both nature nuts. I was very touched! I really hope he finds the truth and happiness in the gospel. I think he will.
     Sister U-fa heard that I haven't heard poutine yet so she insisting that we fix that this afternoon, It's basically french fies with gravy and cheese curds. Everyone eats it here. There are 'potaterie's' on every corner. I'll let you know...

Monday, June 10, 2013

     *DRUM ROLL*.....And I'm off to the "Ile de Montreal"!

     Things here are great! So great...Too great in fact...I don't want to leave, which is probably the reason the Lord wants me to leave, being a missionary isn't about being content. I am getting transferred to Montreal and I leave on Wednesday. The area I will be serving in is called Ville Marie. My new companion is Sister U-Fa. She is from Tahti! She is Elder Sinjoux's cousin. He is one of the Elders that serve in Gatineau with us.
     For the most part , our investigators are doing good. Daniel is doing really well. He is so sincere and has such a good heart. Sue went to church last week and really liked it! We are meeting with her tomorrow. John is doing awesome. He keeps talking like "If I get baptised, I want to..." So that is really fun! I'm bummed that I won't be here to see how that pans out... I'm determined to have a positive attitude with this new change even though I'm loving it here and I love Sister Smith to death!
     This week on Tuesday we contacted ALL day! I was assigned to work with Sister Martinez, and it was so fun. It was all in English, except two people we talked to from Haiti, and that was fun because since Sister Martinez is new and only been in an English speaking area, It was just me talking to them in French! Street contacting is so fun! I love the Lord's work, and getting to talk to people about a message that's so crucial and has the potential to bring so much happiness! I love it! Already I have seen changes in lives, John's changing bit by bit as he keeps his engagements and visits with us.
     The Ottawa zone did so awesome contacted the most people , 3,228 in one day! WOO! So fun!
     Pray for me as I encounter these changes! You are always in my prayers and we pray lots of times a day...

Monday, June 3, 2013

      Greetings from your favorite "Hull's Angel"...Hehe....Hull is the township we live in.

      It is June already! It is summer here. It is so warm, and humid...Which is new for me.

     Dad asked what a typical P-day is like so here goes- We wake up at normal time and exercise, study personally and in our companionship then we basically have from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. to do whatever we need to do. Those things usually consist of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, writing letters etc. A couple of weeks ago all the Sisters in the zone got together and visited the parliament and then had frozen yogurt after.  At 6 we continue proselyting.
     Since I have been on my mission the importance of goals has really pressed on me. Sister Smith sat down and made some visions...Overarching goals that we want to reach while we're on our mission and while we are together. Some of them include things like being fluent in French, being the most faithful (optimistic & diligent) missionaries, to laugh more and have a good time, to have members be trusting enough of us to give us referrals...And then I made some personal visions like being more courageous, being more courageous, being brave enough to talk to EVERYONE, and looking for the best in everyone...I want to follow the promptings of the spirit in any situation without delay. I want to exactly obedient, leave thank you notes for everyone, memorize a scripture a week etc.
     This week we had a good week! Really good. We had SIX investigators at church! It was so awesome, but also so busy! We felt a little like chickens with our heads cut off. We had Daniel, Brian (who has a baptismal date for June 29th), Ricky, Sue and Jocelyne. So it was a busy Sunday but very rewarding.
     Silly story of the week: On Wednesday we taught Ricky at Lake Leamy, which is nearby. There is a beautiful little trail around the lake that we walked while we talked. (Just in case you forgot, we not allowed to teach male investigators alone, we either have to have another female member with us or be in another public place...hence the lake) it was beautiful...but Sister Smith and I got DEVOURED by les moustiques! That night neither of us slept very well, we were itching ALL NIGHT!!! In the morning Sister Smith asked desperately if we could use our exercise time to run to the store and buy some itch relief cream. We did, and it worked...kind of. By afternoon Sister Smith's legs looked like Marge's in the second Harry Potter movie. Her feet also swelled up really bad. Both our legs looked pretty bad. We called Sister Cannon and we took an emergency trip to the pharmacy for some anti-allergy pills, some hydrocortisone cream, etc. Her feet are still a little swollen but the itchiness gone down!
     I know the church is SO TRUE and it really is just Christ's church...Today! There is nothing I've ever done more fulfilling than talking to EVERYONE about it and helping them see that it can bless their lives.

Monday, May 27, 2013

     My weekend was good! Really good! We had an awesome week, we almost doubled our previous weekly actuals as far as lessons taught! Also, we ran into John and he "un-dropped" us! He now has a baptismal date for June 29th> I really hope things stay good with him. I guess he had decided to drop us because he had come across some anti-mormon that had said some crazy stuff how we think black people are evil because of the curse of the Lamanites...We answered his questions and he is back!
     We have also been teaching a man named Brian. He has a solid testimony, has read the Book of Mormon but has not been baptized because so far he has been unable to quit smoking. Pray for him this week. We are going to try to help him quit starting on Wednesday. He really wants to quit.
     We have been working really hard and talking to EVERYONE! We fall into bed every night, exhausted. Even though we are so tired we have had a hard time sleeping...I have woken up several times from dreams where we were teaching lessons and I'd wake up and be so confused and panicked that we weren't working...and then realize that it was the middle of the night and it was ok to relax. Silly, silly. Last night Sister Smith was talking in her sleep and she woke both of us by asking some invisible person if they'll commit to praying about the truth of Joseph Smith. Hahaha! So classic!
     Funny story-Yesterday Sister Smith was talking to a lady and accidentally told her (in French) that the book of Mormon is a girlfriend to the Bible...instead of companion. I could not help but laugh once the lady was out of earshot.Whoops! Copine, college, same difference..

Monday, May 20, 2013

     News for the week...We had an EARTHQUAKE! ( French...un tremblement du terre)! Pretty crazy! The other morning Sister Smith and I were in companionship study and everything started shaking! We thought the Shultzke's were moving furniture but we later found out that it was like a 5.2. Fun stuff.
     On Tuesday we had a zone conference. It was wonderful! We got to see the Cannon's again, which was wonderful. Also, that afternoon I went on my first split. I was sent out with Sister Robles and I drove the car! Eeks!
     We had a good week.There was a baptism in the YSA ward on Friday and after a miracle and lots of phone calls we were able to get Jerome to go. We have been teaching him and his roommate for about two weeks now. It was awesome! I think he felt the spirit and got to know some of the YSA members. On Sunday we had four amis (investigators....or amis de l'english..friends of the church) at church. John, Jerome, Anne-Marie and Jocelyne. Then Sunday evening it all fell apart. Daniel, our investigator who has been trying to stop smoking called to tell us he was dropping us. And then when we met with Jerome he told us he mostly just wanted to be our friend. He said he didn't really think that the first vision was possible and he had other things to pray about. His roommate had been feeling the same way.Then this morning John called us and told us that the church was not right for him. Rough! Four of our best investigators...poof! Gone!And since we're opening this area we really didn't have very many. Man. Rough. I am feeling pretty sad about that. Not discouraged, just sad. But Sister Smith told me that she thinks it's because a miracle is headed our way. So we're both really hopeful and excited for that. Pray for us to find people in our area that are prepared! We know they are here...somewhere! As Sister Smith would say, "best treasure hunt EVER!"

Monday, May 6, 2013

     Okay, wow! It's been a crazy, crazy past 5 days. (Five days? Really? Only five days?!) So, first. First of all! I'm in Gatineau,Quebec! It is about two hours away from Montreal. It is part of the Ottowa zone! We are in the only French speaking area in the Ottowa zone and right across the river from Canadian parliament. We see it on the way to and from our district meetings.It is beautiful here! It is summer. I love it! It's so green! Not too many trees, but more than Utah, that's for sure! Our area covers Hull, Alymer and up to Chelsea.
     My companion is Sister Smith! She is from Draper, Utah. She is a hard worker, that's for sure. She has only been out three months! She has had six years of French. We are opening the Gatineau area to Sisters! Because it is a new area, we don't have any inversigators....except one, Jocelyn is the one investigator we did inherit. She is a super sweet lady, I love her to death but she has been investigating the church for 35 years! Wow! I really hope we can meet her needs and help her find peace.
     We live in the basement of a member's home, Spring and Lancer Shultzke. They are so noce. SO NICE. The apartment in their basement is brand new! We are so spoiled! Brand new new car, apartment, phone etc.
     So because it is a new area, we are knocking! All day! Knocking, knocking, knocking. It's hard  work, especially when nobody wants to talk to you and you're trying not to feel like you're bothering people...But it's good. Sister Smith is good at keeping me positive. It is hard work, much harder than I expected. But I am happy. I't really awesome knowing I'm where Heavenly Father wants me to be and I'm doing what he wants me to do! I can't ask for much more than that. :)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

     We are here at the mission home safe and sound! The Cannons are SO nice and we feel just at home. Montreal is....overwhelming! It is kinda like Salt Lake except with French signs , a lot more graffiti and older roads and freeways and such. So much to take in but I am so happy and all is well!

Monday, April 29, 2013

     It is my last day in the MTC and the changed the schedule and surprised us with an opportunity to go to the temple. We met one of our teachers Frere Startita and his wife at the temple and did an endowment session. It was absolutely wonderful! We have been told that we won't be able to go to the temple in Montreal until the last day of our mission so I'll have to wait for 17 months! Appreciate the temple! Take advantage of your opportunity to go! The peace there is so amazing! I definitely took it a little bit for granted, and I;m sure I'll miss it, although i'm excited to go share the blessings of it with others.
     We had a good weekend.! Lots of craziness and a few tearful goodbyes...but it has been good. Saying goodbye to our Elders (Ringle and Overson) last night was rough! My district feels like a family. We have spent every day, all day, with them for the past 6 weeks!
     I am not nervous to leave.....Only excited! I'm ready to go out there and get this french down and start sharing the good news! I'm super stoked to meet my mission president. I'm determined to make a good impression and show him I'll be a hardworking and obedient missionary.
     I'm so happy they've called me on a mission!  :) It is where i'm supposed to be.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hey! It's my last week in the MTC!
     In exactly seven days from now my plane will be touching down in Montreal! How wonderful is that! And crazy? And scary?! And awesome! I can't wait to be out in the real world again. It's been almost six weeks since I have been outside a mile of this place> But also I'm remembering that the real world is kind of scary, and people in the real world will probably make fun of my french and not want to get baptized. So the MTC feels safe :), and that's kinda scary to leave.
     So this week...Krystal left! For those of you who don't know, my cousin who is my same age and who went into the MTC the week before me left yesterday> I saw her on Sunday before the devotional and we chatted and hugged and cried a bit. :) She is so amazing. I thought she was absolutely glowing the day of her farewell...If only you could see her now! She is absolutely radiating! She has learned how to live close to the spirit and it's had a profound effect on her. She's got such a strong testimony and one of the biggest hearts out of everyone that I know. She'll be awesome, and I am so blessed that I could see her before she left.What an amazing missionary she'll be. Gah! Love her.
     This last week we had the privilege of having Elder Richard G. Scott speak to us at last Tuesday's devotional!!! It was really special. Sister Stiles and I were singing in the choir along with Sister Curry and Sister Del Castillo...The song we learned was Nearer my God to Thee. Our choir director is fantastic! He expounded about how the hymn is actually about Jacob (think Jacob and Esau...? Issac and Rebekah's son?) when he is wandering in the wilderness. Go look it up in Genesis. It's really, really neat. And the arrangement is absolutely superb. So! We were already stoked about the song, and excited because since we were in the choir we had pretty decent seats...:)We'er just sitting there, waiting for it to be time for the devotional to start and in walks an apostle of the Lord...Wow! What an amazing spirit. It was such a blessing to be able to open with that song, to bear my testimony to a living prophet, and then to hear one of the most amazing discourses on prayer that I've ever had the opportunity to hear. He was so complimentary of the sisters...It made me cry.:) His first words? "I fell like I've died and gone to heaven...And I'm so happy to see so many sisters." He gave us a lot of promises that our missions would bless us, our future families  more that we can ever know. It was amazing!
      After telling us how wonderful we were for making the decision to serve, he said that he wished he could sit down with each one of us, to hear our stories, to hear our struggles, our hopes, our progression...and we'er all in the audience were wishing SO badly that that could be possible...and that's when he goes on "it would not be practical or possible for me to do that with each one of you...But there is one who is capable of such a thing...Our Heavenly Father."...Wow. I think we all had a bit of a reality check realizing just how huge the blessing of prayer is in each of our lives. He reminds us to pray often, take our time, and feel the responses...He urged us to really TALK with our Father, to tell him all the desires of our hearts, not just the big ones, but all of them...He reminded us that if the Lord seems a bit slow to answer our prayers he's giving us the opportunity to exercise faith, and that it's our time to act, not just sit around and wait.
     Ultimately so much of his talk was promises. A promise for those learning the language, that if we pray and remind Heavenly Father that he called us to speak a language and that we want to master that language...that the language will come. Over all...I fell like my notes aren't adequate to express the power of his talk. It was very comforting.. He reassured us that we are not alone,, we always have help, that He called us and He will help us and ultimately fit our calling to our capacities. :) Awesome.
     So, in our zone, next week 17 of us are headed to Montreal, only 4 of those are Elders. Sister power!!! Sister Stiles' dad told her in an e-mail that there was a massive maple syrup heist in Canada a couple of weeks ago. I laughed, really hard. I mean c'mon...A maple syrup heist?! Is that even a real thing?! I'm going to Canada!
Love you all,
Sister Ferguson

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two weeks from today I'll be headed to Quebec! So excited.

     Our teacher Frere Sybrowsky served there and the other day he was telling us stories. :) He said that the people who speak french, especially in the countryside, speak with a Quebecois accent. Apparently I shouldn't expect to understand it for a couple of weeks...I'm stoked. :) He is pretty good at imitating it.....It sounds HORRID, but kind of cool and intriguing at the same time. It makes me laugh, every time. Unfortunately our district has found out that I sometimes snort when I laugh and it's become a daily district goal to make that happen.....He also told us a bit about the cold. He and his companion wold have competitions on the cold winter mornings and try and see who could guess the temperature. He said he learned some tricks...If it hurts to breathe, it's below -20. If it hurts your eyes, it's below-10. i should probably be scared, but when I hear about that I'm just ridiculously excited.
     This week was good! Really good! On Wednesday Stiles and I taught probably our best lesson so far. It'll probably be my best lesson in the MTC. :D It was with Jean! The time before we had finally gotten him to warm up to the idea of the Book of Mormon and we asked him to read 3 Nephi 11, the chapter when Christ comes to the America's. A little bit about Jean...or rather, the real Jean, who Frere Startita is acting like, who Frere Startita taught on his mission to Africa) He lives in Africa, LOVES the bible, loves Jesus, but dislikes any notion of any other revelation. But we figured since he loves Christ, 3 Nephi 11 would be a good one for him to read before our visit on Wednesday. Welll...He didn't read it. So! That's what we did for our lesson. That account is So powerful. And it was perfect, because it talked about baptism and how Christ gave the prophet Nephi the authority to baptize. So we had a really good discussion about baptism, authority, the restoration of the correct and true authority...(which was the l had planned to teach him about the restoration, but since he didn't read we had to wing it!!) It worked out!!!  We asked him about being baptized and he said yes!! Our 'date' is April 20th. :) The spirit was so strong. It was awesome. And we both did a good job following it and asking inspired questions, because we were winging it completely! And it was amazing! I'm excited and I'm really excited to be able to teach him as a recent convert before we leave. Pretty awesome. 
     Our teachers asked our district to start doing progressing investigators with each other. We will take turns teaching each other as if we were nonmembers. So basically the same thing we have been doing with our eachers. It's exciting , but now we we are planning for 2-4 lessons a day! We're so busy!

     Funny story of the day: Fere Sybrowsky had a companion that once told an investigator the after you're
baptized you receive "le gateau de l"esprit"...(the cake of the spirit) instead of "le cadeau de l'esprit"...(the gift of the spirit)...Oops. :)
     Another fun fact...The abbreation for my mission is the CMM mission. Canada Montreal mission or...another nickname for itis the elestial Marriage Mission. A lot of people joke about how an uncanny amount of people end up marrying people from their mission. O.o. Not happening to me, I assure you. just funny.
Love you to pieces,
DFTSYPARYS! (don't forget to say your prayers and read your scriptures)
God loves you, and so do I!
Sister Celina Ferguson

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Three weeks left!
     So! Craziness! I leave for Canada three weeks from today! I'm more than halfway done here at the MTC.
    Wasn't conference amazing! I certainly thought so. It gave me the boost I needed. Did any of you go to conference with any questions that got answered? If so, I'd love for you to share them with me, or maybe any favorite talks or things you learned.
     Did you watch the little short program in between the Sunday sessions? It got me SO pumped! I'm so happy to have 'caught the wave' as Elder Nelson put it. It's so awesome to be here and be part of it!
     Dad, I couldn't help thinking about you when Elder Bruce D. Porter spoke about his cheerful roommate that was singing that song for Oklahoma, "Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day..."...i just smiled and thought of you belting that throughout the house. I miss that for sure.
     This week is going better, Sister Stiles and I got two lessons planned and we ended up teaching one to our investigator Jean. He had a really hard time last time ...But this time we totally rocked it!! We did so well!! Our teacher gave us both high fives and only pointed out one little nit-picky thing we could do better for next time. We were untied, stuck close to the spirit, asked good questions, and got him to commit to read the chapter in the Book of Mormon when Christ appears to the Nephites. :) So, YEAH! Best feeling ever!
     The French is coming much better, and my teachers keep telling us we're all doing really well considering how long we have been here. So, that's comforting. Plus this week we'll start getting more into other tenses and such which will really help me speak better French. So, things are getting better! I'm a little sick of the food, but it's okay. On our P-days when we go to the temple we usually go to the cafeteria to eat and boy are we grateful for it. I'm excited to get to Canada! I miss and love you all SO much!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2, 2013

     Holy Cow! Tomorrow I'll have been here for 2 weeks already!! It's less than a month before we ship off to Quebec!Crazy talk!! It's exciting though. The French is coming easier.. Still frustrating as heck, and makes me annoyed.. But I'm really learning over and over again the the french will come when I/and the spirit needs it to IF I rely on the spirit. There have been times already in lessons with investigators when the spirit is prompting me to testify even though I don't know the words...and so I just GO for it, (which requires major trust in the Lord)... and bear testimony in the most broken French EVER, but then the spirit just comes, and the testimony actually is super powerful. Pretty amazing.:) The spirit is absolutely mandatory. We can't convince someone the gospel or the Book of Mormon is true, they have to read and pray and find out for themselves. The spirit is what gives them that knowledge. ANYWAY! Cool stuff.
     So funny, the power often short  circuits in the mornings in the girls residences because of all the blow dryers being used. Easter Sunday we had to reset them three times!! Hahah. Speaking of...Easter was fantastic!! We had our fast and testimony meeting at 7:30 AM with our french branch. :) Then at 10 A.M. we went to sacrament meeting. What an experience!!! The sacrament being served to over 3,000 missionaries (1/3 more than the stripling warriors!!!), by over 100 elders. Super amazing.
     Our April fools was funny. I guess on April fools in France there's such thing as a poisson d'avril (fish of April) where you try to stick a post it or something of a fish on someone's back without them noticing and lots of other fish pranks... Our teacher Fere Sybrowsky hid an open can of tuna in our classroom as his poisson d'avril joke Haha! He is a hoot! The other day he was making fun of how everything in French is so passionate. Foe example, if you'd like to say something like 'everyone' in french it would be 'tout le monde'... or directly translated 'ALL THE WORLD'..Haha:) Funny, funny.He keeps telling us thet we're going to be lost when we get to Quebec because Quebecois is so different. He said the accent is best described as ...Pirate French. YAY!
     I get to watch Mormon messages/conference etc while i work out at the gym. i saw a really cool Mormon message about fatherhood. :) Look it up.
Soeur Ferguson
All the girls in my district- Me, Soeur Curry, Soeur Martinez, 
Soeur Del Castillo, Soeur Ruiz, Soeur Stiles and Soeur Wrght

Soeur Stiles and I at our temple walk. 
We get to wander the around the temple
every Sunday for an hour. 
Too bad she closed her eyes... 

Our district! Elder Ringle our district leader is the goofball up in the 
upper left hand corner. Elder Oliverson is in the lower left.
So many sisters!

Soeur Del Castillo and I

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I got my scriptures engraved!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

     I am having a really difficult. It is so frustrating wanting so badly to share the gospel with someone in a meaningful way , not just reading off your notes, but not being able to. I know they/re letting this happen so we are motivated to speak the language, but it's been really hard on me.I can't believe I wanted to go foreign speaking!
     But...with all that said....I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I wouldn't rather be at home, or at BYU, because Heavenly Father wants me here. And the spirit is amazing and I'm learning a lot. It's just really accelerated and hard and I am learning lessons the hard way way, patience, communication, diligence, humility, trust and reliance on Heavenly Father. It is all good, just hard.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I found her! My cousin Krystal left for the MTC one week before me. She is learning Spanish and will be going to McAllen, Texas. She is doing so well and seems like she is knows what she is doing already and I am jealous!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Me and my companion Sister Emilie Stiles from Bakersfield California

Hello everyone!
     Hey! First day complete! It really has been so awesome. The spirit is so strong here...It's a little overwhelming but super amazing. My companion is Soeur Emilie Stiles from Bakersfield California. She also was at BYU until last semester and even lived at Wyview where I did. Cool!
     I am pretty stoked to be here. It is where I am meant to be for sure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quick Note!! My Addresses!

OH! I almost forgot! In case you'd like to write me.... Here are my addresses!

MTC Address:

Sister Celina Elizabeth Ferguson
MTC Mailbox #253
CAN-MON 0430
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Mission Office: (after May 1st)

Sister Celina Elizabeth Ferguson
Canada Montréal Mission
470 Rue Gilford, Ste 300
Montreal, QC H2J 1N3

(and for family: my email address is

Also, I'll have my mom post my addresses to my specific apartments once I get there. :) And I'm thinking along with having emails posted here, we'll forward them to those who would like in addition. If you'd like that, send your email address to or probably marylynnferguson@hotmailcom ... It's been fun! I love you all so much!! Write me letters... ;)

My Farewell

Hey guys! I leave tomorrow! It's official! I'm betting that I'll be in Canada, or at leaving to go there around May 1st! ... Pretty crazy. I'll be set apart tonight by my stake president, President Tingey. :) I already know it's going to be such a sweet experience. I'm trying to get my mom to update this blog for me while I'm gone.. Maybe posting pictures and letters/emails I send home.

Thank you so very much to all that came to my farewell to support me, I am overwhemled by how much love I feel for all of you. I admire each one of you, and I know that you've each taught me so much. Thank you for being my friend along the way.... You're so wonderful! (Send me letters! ;)

Below is a copy of the farewell talk that I wrote in preparation for last Sunday. Forgive me for the errors (puctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.)... I didn't write it with the intention of it being read by anyone but me, but several people have asked for access to it/copies. :) Just know that I mean every word.



Why do I want to serve a mission? – Farewell Talk 3/17/13

Exactly five months and eleven days ago, during the Saturday morning session of General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson made an announcement that has, and will change my life forever. He declared that the age requirements for missionaries for the LDS church had been adjusted, and that “able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at a 19 instead of 21, which had been the previous protocol. I had turned 19 just two months before this announcement, so this was particularly striking to me. The mission decision had previously been something I had been contemplating and preparing for, but with an attitude a little along the lines of "anything could happen between now and when I turn 21". Suddenly the decision of whether or not I was going to serve a mission was right before me, and not in some distant time in the future.

                Obviously, choosing to serve a mission, putting your entire life on hold for a lengthy period of time to serve the Lord, is a HUGE commitment, sacrifice, and decision. For a few weeks after the announcement I thought long and hard about what it was that I was supposed to do. I prayed to God, telling him that I was willing to do whatever it was that he wanted me to do, and that I trusted Him to guide me. After a lot of thinking, prayer, and discussion with my parents, I made the decision to begin the process of turning my recommendation papers in. Two weeks later I received my call, to the lovely Canada Montreal mission. This Wednesday I will enter the Provo Missionary Training Center to begin working hard to become the missionary that I know Heavenly Father wants me to be.

This decision is huge for me. I can imagine that many, particularly not of the LDS faith, are confused as to why I would decide to do such a thing. In so doing, I am making a lot of sacrifices. I will be leaving my family and friends behind, keeping in contact only through handwritten letters and access to email once a week. I’m leaving my phone behind, my computer, all access to the internet except for the sole purpose of emailing, or helping with family history work. The music I listen to will only be mission approved, I’ve promised to put any forms of dating on hold, and overall… Commit myself 100% to the Lord’s work. To many of you, and at one time or another to myself, this seems like so much to ask, especially of a 19 year old girl. Why would I voluntarily make this choice? Today I am grateful for the opportunity to speak, and explore in depth, the exact answer to that question… why I want to serve a mission.  What you have to understand, is what being a member of this church means to me. It isn't merely just a really great organization that I'm a part of. It's not just an awesome support system that teaches good morals as to how to be a good person. It's so much more than that. My beliefs, my knowledge that this is the one true church and the glad tidings which it contains… is an absolutely fundamental component of who I am. So in considering what it is that has driven me to make this choice in my life, I seem to have thoughts that fall into three components.

I mentioned before that once the announcement was released, I immediately started pray, and converse with Heavenly Father, asking what it was that he wished for me to do. As my testimony and conviction of the truth of this church has developed, I have discovered the validity of a comment by the prophet Ezra Taft Benson, that “men and women who turn their lives over to God quickly learn that he can make more of their lives than they can”. I have learned, time and time again, that when faced with decisions in my life, if I turn to God and consult with him, things will always work out. As members of the church, we constantly try to align ourselves more and more with His will instead of ours. And so in praying about the decision to serve a mission, I was doing just that. I asked to know of His will concerning me and the choice to serve. The response was overwhelmingly, “yes”! I received such a strong witness that He wanted me to serve, and that a mission at this time in my life is definitely included in His plan for me. When we are baptized, we make a promise with God that we will stand as witnesses of Him, and the way that He wants me to do that is by leaving my family for a year and a half, to serve and testify. I think the words of the hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go” sums up this point pretty well. It reads: It may not be on the mountain height or over the stormy sea, it may not be at the battle’s front my Lord will have need of me. But if, by a still, small voice he calls to paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord… Perhaps today there are loving words which Jesus would have me speak; there may be now in the paths of sin some wand’rer whom I should seek. O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, tho dark and rugged the way, my voice shall echo the message sweet: I’ll say what you want me to say. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place in earth’s harvest fields so wide where I may labor through life’s short day for Jesus, the Crucified. So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me, I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere: I’ll be what you want me to be. And so, the first component of my desire to serve a mission can be explained by simply saying that I know it’s what God wants me to do.

To explain the second component, I ask you to put yourself in an imaginary scenario for a moment. Imagine that you have just discovered the cure for cancer. What would you do once you’ve found it? Would you share it with others? How urgently would you do so? Who would you share this momentous discovery with? Today there are so many rampant and unrelenting illnesses. Not all of them are physical. A lot of them are spiritual or emotional in nature. Addictions to drugs, alcohol or pornography, family struggles, pains from the loss of a loved one, tough challenges in relationships with others, a lack of a sense of purpose, loneliness, purposelessness, emotional pain, hunger, disease, abuse, hate, depression… The list is absolutely endless.  All of these are different ailments that many, if not all of us, suffer from at one time or another. I am here to tell you today, and in three days I will be leaving my home to boldly declare to all who will listen, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christ’s church restored to the earth, the one and only true church is the absolute cure for all of the ills in the world today. As I grew up, read the Book of Mormon, attended church, and studied the teachings of the church… I came to know, to discover this cure. Why I am serving a mission, is to share this cure with everyone within my reach.

Some people out there suffer from the affliction of loneliness, self-esteem problems, or a lack of identity. The message of the true church provides comfort for these people. Revelation given to Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants declares that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”(D&C 18:10). Through the restored church we can know that each of us are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves each of us unconditionally. He loves us and wants to help us and guide us in everything that we do. As you learn about Christ, you begin to understand what God sees in you, and what you can become. Heavenly Father and His spirit can be your constant companion, guide, and comforter. The church structure itself can serve as a healing balm for these ailments. Stakes and wards provide strong supportive units, with home teachers and visiting teachers constantly loving and looking out for the welfare of others.

Sometimes families are subject to disease and corruption, sometimes with symptoms that may include contention, unkind words, divorce, abuse, neglect or abandonment. Again, the church lends a hand to help. Strengthening marriages and families is of utmost importance within the church. The family is the most basic unit of the church, and so much of the church’s daily efforts are aimed at strengthening and improving family relationships. In 1995, the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley revealed The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which articulates the importance of the family, stating that “the family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and women is essential to His eternal plan… Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”. We know through the restored church that families are forever, and that the bonds we have with our loved ones will not be broken by death.

Some people lack purpose in this life, or perhaps a peace, happiness or hope that they wish they had in their life. Again, the good news of the gospel provides a solution. God’s plan for us is even often called the plan of happiness. Missionaries know that every person is precious. We know that that all Heavenly Father wants is for us all to return to him. That’s what I want, and that’s what missionaries want. We want for all of us, every single person no matter who you are or where you are to be happy and return with God. That is our purpose. We know that the gospel, the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, is the only way to achieve peace in this life, and eternal salvation and joy in the next. In Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk, Safety for the Soul, he states “Love. Healing. Help. Hope. The power of Christ to counter all trouble in all times—including the end of times. That is the safe harbor God wants for us in personal or public days of despair. That is the message with which the Book of Mormon begins, and that is the message with which it ends, calling all to ‘come unto Christ” and be perfected in him’”. The Book of Mormon was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the latter days. That is its purpose.  In Elder Holland’s talk he even says explicitly that the Book of Mormon is one of the Lord’s powerful keystones in the counteroffensive against latter-day ills.

There are many other ‘cures’ that the gospel of Jesus Christ provides. The church, the scriptures, and prayer can provide answers to thoughts concerning who you are, where you came from, and where you’re going next. “The word gospel as we use it in English comes down to us through early scriptural language which meant literally ‘good news’ or sometimes ‘glad tidings.’ The ’good news’ was that death and hell could be ecaped, that mistakes and sins could be overcome, that there was hope, that there was help, that the insoluble was solved, that the enemy had been conquered. The good news was that everyone’s tomb could one day be empty, that everyone’s soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life.” (Jeffrey R. Holland- Missionary Work and the Atonement)

Today I want to testify that I have had challenges in my life. There are experiences that I have had that I’ve struggled with and that have been hard for me. But I have also experienced the cure, the amazing healing power of Christ’s church upon the earth. For this purpose I have accepted the call the serve. I go to serve a mission with the sole hope of making life better for other people. I want to witness to the world that I know it is true, I know of its healing power. The analogy that I have used today, discovering a cure for cancer, is a little similar to one of the allegories contained in the Book of Mormon. I’m speaking of the story of the prophet Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life. In it, Lehi dreams that he comes across a tree, “whose fruit was desirable to make one happy”. He tastes of some of the fruit, and remarks that it is more sweet than any he has tasted. Partaking of the fruit filled his soul with great joy, and immediately he had desires for the rest of his family to come and partake. In this allegory, the fruit represents Christ’s atonement and tells of its extraordinary sweetness and joy that comes from partaking of it. The Atonement is really the center of God’s plan; it is what enables us to return to live with Him again. The Atonement, and by consequence, the ability to repent is what gives us the ability to overcome our sins, constantly striving to become perfect so that we can achieve salvation. Partaking of the Atonement, and making it a daily part of our lives, gives us the ability to overcome the pain and sorrow we experience. In my life, I see repentance as a constant thing I am trying to do, constantly working on fixing the mistakes I make, and trying each day to be a little better, a little more Christlike. The Atonement is truly what contains the ultimate healing power. I have tasted of this delicious fruit, and I feel an extremely strong and insatiable desire to share it with everyone I meet. I know that for many of you this may not make sense, but ever since I found out that I was to serve in the Canada Montreal mission, and began to pray for the people within my mission I have felt an overwhelming love for them, none of whom I have met. I am excited to meet those who I will cross paths with, and I already desire for them to know of the truth, to partake of the fruit, to let Christ heal their injuries and cure their sicknesses. Love is what it’s all about. Love for others. I read a scripture earlier that states that the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God… That chapter goes on to say “if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” Growing up I took that scripture to mean that if you labor and bring one person to be baptized, your joy will be great in heaven because of the reward which you should receive. However, since I have received my call, and have experienced a glimpse of how much Heavenly Father loves those who I will have the opportunity to teach… My perspective of that scripture has completely changed. My joy with him in the Kingdom of my Father will not be because of my reward. Bringing that one soul unto Christ will be the reward. I will have joy because I will have brought a fellow brother or sister unto the loving arms of my Father. I will have the opportunity of seeing them become a changed being in Christ, and obtain happiness, and knowledge of their true worth. I now know that becoming a missionary does not entitle me to some great material reward in heaven, I know instead that being a missionary means being a humble servant of the Lord and carrying out His will. I’m going out to serve others, and to serve Him.

This brings me to my last, and perhaps strongest driving force that has compelled me to make the decision to serve a mission, which is ultimately, to become like Christ. That is my ultimate purpose in this life, as it is for all of us. We are to follow and come unto him, to become like him through adapting His attributes such as love, patience, hope, humility, charity, faith, virtue, knowledge, diligence and obedience. I know that if Jesus Christ were ministering on the earth today, the work that he would be doing would be missionary work. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained in his talk “You Are My Hands” that “Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. He did not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the people, Jesus reached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others. He not only taught but also showed us how to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His Hands, those he touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result.” That is my goal, as a follower of Christ. To follow in His footsteps, to serve others. The missionary handbook, Preach my Gospel promises that “as [I] follow this example, [I] will find those who will receive [me]. Through service, [Me] and those who are prepared for the restored gospel come together in a powerful, inspiring way.”

One of the neat things about being a servant of the Lord is that in reality, I am merely an instrument in God’s hands. Because I realize that He has given me everything that I have, I am willing to give him everything that I have in order to carry out His purposes. As a missionary, what we do every day is strive to be a vessel through which the spirit can work. The spirit is the true teacher. In one of my missionary preparation classes I have been attending, one of my teachers explained to me that when I meet with someone who is investigating the church, there are three groups in the room. Myself and my companion, the investigator, and the spirit. My companion and I are the least important out of these three. What the spirit and what the investigator has to say is the most important. In reality, a missionary is nothing without the spirit. Without the Spirit, he/she has lost their ability and authority to teach the message of the gospel. But with the spirit… Anything is possible. That is how testimonies, or a knowledge that the church is the true church, is obtained; through the spirit. That’s what I think it absolutely amazing about this church. We, as missionaries, are not out there tricking people or using fancy language to convince people to get baptized. We’re saying “Look. Here is this book. Read it! Read it, take some time to really think about it, and pray with an honest heart to know if it is true… And He will tell you that it is. Your life will be changed forever.” The gospel testifies of itself! I love it. I love it so much. I’m so grateful to know of the truth of it, and experience it blessing my life every day. I love my Heavenly Father, and I am grateful that I can pray to him always to receive help, guidance and comfort. I know and love my brother, savior, and redeemer, Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the healing power that he gives to us, because of him every trial in life is temporary, no pain is permanent. I have happiness I knowing that I can be with my family, those that I love the most, forever. I love my life, and as long as I remember to keep the truths of the gospel in the forefront of my mind, I am truly happy. I’m so excited to go to Canada to find people there that are looking for someone like me to help them find the truth… To figure out who they are, why they’re here, what their purpose is… I’m excited to witness their experience as they feel the love that Heavenly Father has for them, and come to know that they are His sons and daughters and He wants them to be happy. I truly believe and know, without a doubt, that Christ’s sacrifice enables us to all change a little, each day, to become a little better, a little kinder, a little more loving, a little more trusting… I know that through that process, we can obtain complete happiness. I know that, and I want to share it with the world. I’m really just sharing truth that brings absolute joy, light and everlasting happiness, and I can’t wait to witness God change people’s lives.



Temple Square - An Amazing Day!

(Note: I wrote this post on Monday, March 11th, 2013)

Man! Yesterday was amazing, and today was just as good, if not better! Absolutely wonderful. :)

So. Backstory. There's a wonderful facebook group that I'm a part of, that's titled "Many are called... but few are sisters"... Which is funny, because there sure are a whole lot of sister missionaries lately. ;) There's about 5,000 members, and it's pretty genius, I think. When girls get their call, they're invited to join (if they're friends with someone in the group), and they can post their call on the page! It's pretty fun, because then other sisters can post and say they're going to the same mission, or speaking the same language.. etc. There's even a google doc on the page that lists all of the calls according to mission and dates! There are 9 other sisters on the page that are going to my same mission that report on the same day! The page is useful for other things... Some ladies that are having a hard time for various reasons with mission related stuff can post and recieve replies and comments of comfort, support, testimonies, and scriptures. It's so wonderful! And it's even useful for other more practical things... Such as... 'Where have you guys had luck finding cute/practical shoes?' 'Does anyone know what kind of bags they want us to take?' ...etc. :) I think it's brilliant. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, a sister posted about putting together a sort of temple tour, during spring break for those that have it. I think the plan is to go to 9 different temples over the course of a week. Anyway, so this sister opened the invitation to anyone on the page to join her on her tour, and asked for volunteers for homes to stay. Since my time is starting to run out (!!!8 DAYS!!!), I commented and said I'd love to join them for the day that they went to the Salt Lake temple, and would be more than happy to open my house to whoever was wanting to go for the following evening! So. That day was today. :)

I woke up, got ready, and was picked up by Sister Krebs! We went to do an 10 o'clock session at the Salt Lake Temple where we met the other 9 sister that would be joining us for the day! Every one of us had our calls already!! (New York, South Dakota, Canada, Florida, Ukraine, Slovakia, California...) The temple was amazing... As usual... Then we just hung around Temple Square and City Creek for a while! It was so amazing to have so many excited pre-missionaries in one place. :) We ran into several sister missionaries there (both future, present, and past) who had such amazing spirits, advice, and testimonies. It was so amazing to feel of their spirits and just to get SUPER pumped about joining their forces in a week!! Super amazing, one of my favorite pre-mission days by far. :) The work really is hastening, and what an amazing work it is! Next time you're at temple square... Go talk to the sister missionries, they're super friendly! Go talk to them... And think of me! :D

(Edit: When I started this post... I intended to go into a lot of detail! But I forgot to finish it, and now I'm being set apart tonight and haven't finished packing and.... Simply don't have the time. :) I hope you'll forgive me, it really was amazing!!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Opening the Mission Call

Here's a video of me opening my call. :) Such a long time ago! ...At least it feels that way.
117 days from the day I opened my call, to the day I report... 4 days from now.
As each day comes closer, my conviction that my call is from God grow stronger and stronger. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Divine Call of a Missionary

It's Friday night. :) My farewell is on Sunday, and I leave Wednesday! Five days left.... Wow.
I'm learning a lot about myself and about missionary work as I've been preparing my talk. It's really neat, and I'm grateful for such an amazing opportunity. Hopefully I do well!
I had a pretty amazing day yesterday, visiting with my friends in Provo. I'm going to miss them a lot, and it was hard to say goodbye to some that won't be coming on Sunday... But I find comfort in knowing that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. In my research for my talk I came across this talk, one which I've read a couple of times. It's really neat, and outlines the process by which a missionary receives their call, please watch it! Then you'll know just what events occurred that led to me receiving my amazing responsibility to serve the people of Montreal. It's pretty humbling to think about.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ten days Left! Also, farewells! And Canada!

So, I had a pretty amazing day today. :)

First of all, today was significant, because today marks t-minus 10 days until I report. (TEN DAYS. THAT'S NOT VERY MANY.) So. Things are starting to really feel crazy. I've been having a lot of really crazy experiences lately and just so much is going on. All of my emotions are really close to the surface, you can tell... And tears have been shed pretty often these past couple weeks. I'm not necessarily nervous or anxious... Everything just feels... intense. I definitely feel a lot of pressure to make these last few days count, that's for sure. I keep feeling the urge to micromanage everything so I don't leave anything important out. I think we're just about done with the shopping, I've got my wardrobe all set, and my luggage, and my books, and bag... I'm just missing a couple things that I'll probably get at the grocery store tomorrow or something. It's pretty interesting, this past week and now... Pretty much 100% of my thoughts are centered on the mission. I'm "in the zone", as my dad said. I didn't know I could focus so completely one one thing until now. Really. Every thought. It's kind of weird. And now it's coming! So soon! So soon. I'm still a little in unbelief about it... It'll be interesting when it finally 'hits me'.

Maybe it'll hit me when it's the day of my farewell. Eeks. I got my topic a couple days ago: Why I want to go on a mission... Using Alma 17 and the talk by Elder Nelson, 'Ask the Missionaries'. Oh boy. That makes me nervous. So nervous. I'm probably going to start writing it today, although I've been thinking about it a lot already as I've been studying Preach My Gospel (the missionary handbook of sorts) and my scriptures. Oh man. Nervewracking. There will be SO many people there. Just family alone will be huge. I have 6 siblings, 5 of which will be there their families. Plus my mother has 4 siblings and my dad has 3, and I bet they'll come with their families. Oh my goodness, so many people, and so much pressure! I want so badly to be eloquent and express myself adequately. Especially to those that aren't members and don't really understand a lot of what's going on in my life right now. I want to be able to express myself and my testimony properly. I feel that is is so important to do that. I feel the need to prove that I know what I'm doing and I am a fully informed member of the church. I am not naive, sheltered, or even brainwashed. I have studied and searched and pondered and prayed and found it to be the truth. I haven't been leaning on the conviction of my parents, I haven't been that way for a long time. I think so many of those present may be thinking otherwise.... Maybe they think that religion is something I'll grow out of, almost like finding out one day that Santa Claus isn't real. I want so badly for those present to know that I know. My testimony and conviction of the gospel is so strong, I deeply and fiercely love my savior, and the gospel fills me with such unbelievable hope and happiness. I'm just worried that I won't be able to express that like I want to because I'm not that articulate, especially when it comes to things I care about most. I hope that I can be prepared enough and worthy enough to be a vessel in His hands, so that the people that I love so much who are there can be touched by the spirit, and feel the truth in my words. I do know, despite my nervousness, though... That Christ is aware of my concerns and my worries.. I know that if I do my best to prepare and be ready, He'll take care of the rest and everything will work out. :) That's his role, as Savior... To take our best, to take our efforts, and make them enough, make them fit for what is required. Pretty amazing. I just need to keep remembering that this next week as I prepare...

Speaking of farewells! I went to my cousin Krystal Larrabee's farewell today. She's about four months younger than me and we've had a pretty amazing relationship. We've grown up and have always been pretty close, usually having multiple sleepovers together, going to girls camp together... etc. We both felt the impression to serve a mission when the announcement came, and it's been pretty cool these past few months. our calls were issued on the same day, which is pretty special I think. :) We got our calls a day apart. She's going to the Texas McAllen mission, speaking Spanish. (It's actually kind of funny. Her dad went to Brussels, speaking French, and my Dad went to the Uruguay/Paraguay mission speaking Spanish! It's like their daughters got switched.) Her farewell was today, mine is a week from now. She reports on Wednesday, I report a week later. :) I hope I get to see her in the MTC (missionary training center). She was absolutely stunning today. She looked so happy, so full of the spirit and a very visible strong testimony. The musical number for the meeting was Savior, Redeemer of My Soul... (Go here and press play... Amazing.) One of my very favorite hymns. It set the mood perfectly for her message. Her message was about repentance. She did so well, and it was so amazing to hear her speak. Just listening to her I know she's going to be amazing. She treated the topic with an amazing amount of love. She has such a kind and caring heart, it's one of her most prominent qualities. I know the people of her mission will be blessed by her sweet heart. She's such an amazing example to me, I want to be just like her. :) If I speak on Sunday with half of the power, compassion, and amazing spirit that she did today... I will consider my job well done.

Also! Krystal's brother-in-law, Jaims, told me at the farewell that he served his mission in Eastern Canada as well! I didn't know that! I guess he served in the mission just east of mine, in Nova Scotia, New Brunswik, Prince Charles Island, Prince Edward island... Other places. Anyway, it was so fun to talk to him. He was so excited for me to go. He said that Canadians are SO nice! "I don't even think there's crime there..." Haha. :) He gave me a tip to brush up on my Canadian history, because a lot of times they think Americans are arrogant because they know our history, but we don't know a lick of theirs! (Note to self: Their first prime minister was John A. Macdonald.) He told me to memorize the song Un Canadien Errant, which is a very patriotic song that they love which is about the Lower Canadian Rebellion, when the British colonials exiled the French Canadians to the United States. We also talked about their money, their churches (can you imagine church with talks and hymns both in English and French?!) and some other things. :) It definitely got me even more pumped, and gave me a confirmation that I've been called to the perfect mission for me. Pretty cool!

I'll keep you updated! My LAST week! Pretty crazy. I'll be woking on my farewell, getting one last shot, cleaning the house, bathing the dog... All in preparation for family coming to visit, late Friday night. Then Sunday is the farewell, then there's Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon, I'm off!

(See also, the end of Romans chapter 8. Specifically verse 28. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Mormon Worldview

(Quick note: This is an article that I found today on the Mormon Newsroom website that I really like! The underlined portions are ones that I thought were particularly neat. I think it does a good job of answering the 'why' of Mormonism. Oh! And here's the link to the original article)

A Mormon Worldview

While so often the debate about Mormonism centers around the peculiar and controversial on the one hand and the banal and unimaginative on the other, Latter-day Saints are animated by a much grander vision of life. Journalists often ask what differentiates Latter-day Saints but rarely investigate what inspires, motivates and moves them. As is the case with any religion, the transcendent side of Mormonism cannot be captured by caricature and stereotype. For example, much media attention has been devoted to such topics as the precise location of the Garden of Eden and on which continent Christ will reappear without examining the over-arching worldview that gives them meaning.
However, as an exception to this rule, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life hosted a substantive conference aimed at exploring the larger picture of Mormonism. One reporter initiated a thought-provoking discussion by asking Mormon historian Richard Bushman, “What is the question that Mormonism answers?” Bushman replied: “What Mormons really try to do is to offer a story – a story of human existence that begins in the world before and comes to this world. It answers the classic questions of whence, why, and where. It’s not just something that stands above Mormons, but is imbued into their minds.” This broad view of humanity stirs the inspiration of Latter-day Saints, elevates their earthly aspirations and gives poetic meaning to their eternal longings.
Accordingly, the journey of human life originates in a pre-mortal existence, where each individual exercises free will and progresses spiritually by learning from a loving God the principles of truth and happiness. To further that progress, God provided a mortal existence in which His children could prove their faithfulness and fulfill a very individualized destiny. His personal guidance and mercy, manifested in the Savior Jesus Christ, give each individual more than ample opportunity to succeed. Participating in this mortal test is a choice each person makes freely. And the choices made in this life determine one’s station and activity in the eternities, where God reserves a unique place for all of his children. Throughout this process each individual maintains a core identity and possesses immense capacity for growth and progress. Above all, the main purpose of God’s numberless creations is to allow his children to be happy.
Anything but earth-bound, the most deeply-held desires of Latter-day Saints constantly stretch towards eternity. All earthly disappointment and loss can ultimately be redeemed, thus providing a surety that the most precious things in life – human associations and personal character – can continue forever. Mormon scholar Daniel Peterson wrote in the book Why I Believe: “I am convinced … that our spiritual yearnings will not and cannot be fully satisfied in this life, however desperately we may seek to quiet them with inadequate substitutes.” “And the gospel speaks,” he continues, “with special eloquence at times of death, when … those who depart do so into a very real and concrete world in which social ties and family relationships flourish even more richly than they do here, and where learning and growth continue into boundless eternity.”
This transcendent worldview affirms both a broad perspective of eternity and a focused concern with the immediacy of the present. It motivates actions into civic involvement by extolling the inherent worth of the individual and urging mutual responsibility between all humankind. It exalts the attainment of intelligence and knowledge, and not only in this life — these will continue to increase and serve wonderful purposes in our eternal journey.
Latter-day Saints embrace the acquisition of knowledge as a spiritual mandate. Joseph Smith proclaimed: “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” And, according to revealed scripture, “whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life” will follow us in the hereafter (D&C 130: 18). Thus, all human striving blends seamlessly into eternity.
Writing about religion involves the difficult task of capturing the ineffable individual and collective spiritual experience of a large group of people. Getting at the heart of Mormonism is best undertaken not by narrowly focusing on controversy and getting mired in esoteric theological debates, but through a more imaginative examination of the worldview that inspires its members.

Friday, March 1, 2013

19 days left...

It's March 1st!!!


I leave SO SOON! My farewell is on the 17th and I leave the 20th! I won't be back home for 18 months after that. Pretty crazy. I'm just about all the way ready, I've got my wardrobe put together, I've got my luggage, my umbrella, alarm clock, scriptures, some envelopes and notepaper to write letters... And I really don't need much more than that. Pretty crazy.

I'm so excited, and nervous, and it really hasn't hit me yet, the exact magnitude of what I'm doing... But I know it's going to be amazing!

I'll be in the MTC for 3-6 weeks, learning the French language, and then I'm off to Canada!


Moments that Matter Most

This is one of my favorite videos of all time. :)

" My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most... As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(for the entire address, go here!)

Here Am I, Send Me!

The announcement:
(Particularly starting at 4:28)

My reaction: 

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