Monday, November 3, 2014

8 months of blessings

This week was the best week ever, with the exception that a few unfortunate things happened.
Ah man! There were just so many miracles this week! This week, Sister Coleman and I put forth an extra effort to talk with everyone. It's interesting, if you want to see some miracles, you talk to some people; if you want to see loads of miracles, then you talk to loads of people!

Even though not everyone was interested or super prepared, we met so many great people. Alanna, Jack, Fuat, Eric, Melissa,  Josh, Matthew, Rose, etc. So many cool people! I think sometimes we underestimate mankind! But really, people are cool! and have great stories and perspectives on life; and as missionaries, so many stories and perspectives are shared with us. I love it.

Throughout this week, it was neat to see how when we just got out of the way and opened our mouths, that the spirit just gave us words to say!

The other day, we prayed and felt like we needed to go to Bathurst station. So we took the bus and subway there, got off, and just started walking. We met a guy named Samuel. At first he was like "nooo I'm good, it's okay, I've found my spirituality" and because it's the missionary thing to do we kept walking with him and talking. We talked to him about music and life and then he started to ease up and open up. He began telling us about how he is homosexual and how it was really hard for him when he was younger because he tried to repress it and hide it and he would go to church and pray that it would be taken away from him and it was just a really hard time, and how over time he just began to accept it and even embrace it.

It was really interesting because as we talked, we began telling him about the Atonement and how the fact that he has overcome many obstacles in his life is evidence that the Atonement has already had an effect on him and his life and how it can continue to do that. We talked about how Christ loves him and has felt everything he has. It was really cool to see how to spirit completely changed his countenance and how he truly felt God's love, even if it was for just a moment.
I know that we don't know everything. We don't have all the answers. But there is a God in heaven who does. But something I do know, with all of my heart, is that the enabling power of the Atonement is real. I know that it turns hearts and changes lives. I know it because I've felt it in myself and I've seen it in others. I love my Saviour and I know He loves us. Our trials are but a small moment, but if we endure them well, our Heavenly Father will exalt us on high!
This week we also met a really cool guy. We were almost about to just pass him and keep walking (hating so hard on the natural man these days), but we talked to him (and Sister Coleman later admitted that it was simply because he wore his hat like Harry Styles-- thinking of you, Sierra!) anyway! We talked to him, and I don't know whether to be offended or flattered, but he was super surprised that we were really normal and "not freaky". Anyway. As he talked to us, he told us how he and his girlfriend just got in a fight the previous night. He talked to us about his life story; we talked to him about our message and what it does for people. Then he said, "'s funny. Talking to you both about this stuff has made me not think about everything that's been happening."
The spirit is real and it literally touches people so that they can feel that God is real.
We also met with a guy named Daniel who Sister Coleman found while we were driving one day (really discouraged and having a bad day actually, but she saw him on the side of the road and 5 minutes later turned around to go talk with him- she's so cool), and we taught him the Restoration. He believed it and wants to continue meeting to one day prepare for baptism. He also went to institute and made lots of friends!
(Also at institute, before we left the church, we saw a table with hundreds of loaves of free bread! so, you can probably guess what happened next... #missionlife #naturally)
This week, our less-active friend Chris took us to eat, too! He always takes care of the missionaries and he is actually such a good missionary himself! What a kind, Irish lad. We think we'll keep him.
Saturday and Sunday was Stake conference! Crazy because last time stake conference took place was 6 months ago and I was with sister Waldron. And Sister Coleman and I just hit out 8 month mark/anniversary yesterday. Precious, we know.
Common theme in stake conference: choose, feel, do, believe, act now, don't procrastinate, hold to the faith you have, testimony comes after we act, etc. I felt the spirit so strong when a returned sister missionary bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon and missionary work! I, too, love this work! We must always defend our Saviour by vocally standing up for the truth of His restored gospel and by helping others.
"The sweetest thing to know in mortality is that our Heavenly Father has worked through us."
Also, a girl named Jacquelin walked into church yesterday and said that God told her to wake up, put some church clothes on and head over here, so she did. (BECAUSE THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME). She loved it! And she wants to prepare for baptism. And! two less active girls, who are like best friends, came to church yesterday and loved it.
This week was beautiful.
Except for last night when we forgot our apartment keys in our car that the Toronto sisters took so we had to borrow our zone leaders' mini van and spend the night with the Don Mills sisters, and then bus and subway all the way back downtown early this morning to pick our car back up.... ripple effect. Every decision we make affects so many people. My testimony has strengthened on this concept.
Well, the church is true! And a late thank you/shoutout to Aubrie and Crystal and Crystal and Sirima and Hayley and Carly for the birthday packages and cards! I love y'all!
Also! The new depression mormon message is beautiful! Everyone please watch and share it!

goodbye october, hello november

This week was the week that we saw the fruits of our labors! Wow, so blessed.

So, where to begin, really?
Sick Sister Howle
Okay, so one day a few weeks ago, we were going to meet up with someone downtown. On our way there, we were kind of lost, so we asked this lady that was walking toward us for directions. We chatted and she told us her name we Beth. We told her who we were and started talking about our Heavenly Father and this earth and the restored gospel. Something I loved that she said was, "It's stupid to think this is by chance and it's vain to think it's all about us." Amen, sister friend. She was so cool, but not interested at the moment. She never gave us her number, but we gave her ours and she wished us good blessings as we went our way.
This past week, we were headed to an appointment with a potential investigator named Brian. When we got to where we were meeting him, he stopped answering his phone, not too uncommon. So, we decided to talk to people in that area. As we are walking, we find a really cool guy named Adam who actually met missionaries years ago! We got his number and went on, convinced that we went to that area to find him. After a while, we are heading back and guess who we see? BETH. She gave us the biggest hugs and told us she had been thinking about us the day before! (ahhhhh) and then when we went into her antique shop there on the street, we pulled out this record there and guess what it was? Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 
Sister Coleman & Sister Howle
She gave us her number and address and wants to meet sometime soon!
THEN, Brian ended up actually calling us back because he forgot his phone! So it was a great day!
This past week, our friend Chris came teaching with us a bunch! He is such a good missionary! He is a convert and has a strong testimony, just a little shaky at times. But! When he teaches ad testifies with us, it's so powerful! It made me reflect on my own testimony. As missionaries we learn to just cut the fluff and keep things simple, but with that, I realized that I want to work on being sincere and personal when I bear my testimony! So, it's coming along!

(If anyone else feels the same, I HIGHLY recommend studying chapter 3 of PMG and making a list of blessings that you have received from each of the principles taught! I'm doing it, too!)
We also went on exchanges. I love our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Hsiung and Sister Bodine!

Church was so good yesterday! We had quite a few investigators finally come to church and it was fast & testimony meeting and the spirit was so strong! I love the YSA! So many of our ivestigators finally came, that Sister Coleman and I didn't even attend Sunday school or Relief Society because we needed to meet with them before they left! Briefly:
-hyunee came back! she first came in July, but came back and wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon
-Yesol came! She felt the spirit and missed many people. It was so good for her to be there with everyone! She loved it!
-Calvin FINALLY came for the first time. He loved it! He said it was very impressive and that he felt honored to be there. ahhh. And he brought his friend! Yessss! So good.
-Daniel came and met so many people and even told other missionaries in the church that he knew the church was true. (Sister Coleman actually found him when we drove past him one day and after 5 minutes, turned around because she felt that we needed to talk to him-- super prepared!!)
-Karen. Oh man, is she special. After 8 years and a bailed baptism date so long ago, she felt something different and special at church; particularly when they talked about the sacrament. Through her tears, she admitted that she just wanted a big sign-- we told her that she has gotten so many of them already. She is praying about a date for baptism this week :)
-Jacquelin came even though it was hard! The spirit prompted her to come church!
Before my mission, when I was preparing, I started to feel this love for people that hadn't met yet; in testimony meeting yesterday, I expressed that a portion of that love was for them-- the YSA and our investigators there. I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THESE PEOPLE! I love them so much!! I am so grateful that I've been here for so long because this area has changed me. It's been such a blessing to see it grow and to see the miracles that take place here. Toronto is my sacred grove. I love this place and these people.
I love y'all! xoxo