Where do I even begin?! I guess from the morning I left the MTC in Utah. We woke up at 2:00 AM and were on the bus to the airport at 3:30 AM. Just imagine... 31 Elder and Sister missionaries running through the Detroit Airport to catch our next flight. It was hilarious! I landed safely in Toronto, Canada but... Half of us (including me) were praying that the other half of our bags were on the next flight coming in. We waited for about an hour and a half and sighed with relief that our bags finally arrived. We then were met by President & Sister Clayton. First off... They are absolutely amazing! I love them SO much! Whenever they talk, you can feel the spirit so strong. We were their first new missionaries for their mission since they just arrived about 3 weeks ago. They are like my parents here in Canada :)
We all met at a Hilton Hotel in Toronto for the night to have a nice dinner, meet with President Clayton, and have a testimony meeting. As I bore my testimony, I knew that I am meant to be here. It was the most peaceful feeling I had experienced since being away from home.
The next day we were called to our first location and to meet our training leaders! Drum roll... LONDON! I am in London, Ontario! London is about a two hour drive from Toronto. It is pretty up here! It rains quite a bit and is a little humid but it's okay! I can say this... People are interesting here! I have met Italians, Hispanics, Africans, Jamaicans, and many more nationalities. We are a bike and bus area but we walk a ton. OH! You wouldn't believe this... My companion is a red head! Everyone laughed and laughed. I think President Clayton has quite a sense of humor :) Just kidding. I know I am meant to be with her. Her name is Sister Shurtliff. She is from British Columbia in Canada and is quiet in a way. She has been a great teacher! I can assure you that people notice both of us everywhere we go because of our red hair but mostly because of the spirit that we both bring. I have been stopped by people in stores and asked who I am. I have talked to people who want to know. It's amazing.
That first Tuesday after I had dropped of my bags, it was go time. I didn't have much time to settle in but just asked what we were doing tonight, packed my mission bag, and left! I can say this... A mission is hard. Without a doubt. But... I have had some of the most amazing experiences already.
|Thinking of you Brother!|
My favorite teaching moment was with our investigator named Alli. She is married to Jamie Boez who is an inactive member and is a mother of two children--Anthony (7) & Abby (10). Alli is so interested in the gospel it's incredible. We taught her the restoration the first time we met her and she loves us! Why it was my favorite was because she wants to do this as a family and not alone. I then promised her that "if she has faith in Jesus Christ, has her family with her in this journey... There is no need to fear. Christ is with you and he loves you so much. I know that the gospel has blessed my family so much and can testify to you, that if you try your hardest, repent, and want to be baptized... You will be so blessed and your family will be so blessed. " Her kids went silent. She looked down and thought in silence for about a minute. The spirit was so strong. She then looked up and agreed and smiled. AH! It was amazing. Sister Shurtliff and I are teaching her tonight about Baptism/Confirmation and Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. I will be inviting her to baptism tonight so... Wish me luck! I pray that the spirit is there again like it was last week!
One thing I love about Sister Shurtliff is that she is so dedicated in missionary work. She pushes me to be my best--memorizing missionary stuff, to greet people, and shows me our boundaries and wants me to guide us to the houses—she has truly taught me how to be the best missionary I can be.
One of the funniest things that happened was on the first day in London, first time about to go out to teach, we knelt in prayer before we left our apartment. I said this deep, heartfelt prayer and then stood up and... RIP! I heard my skirt rip! I looked at her and said, "Well... That doesn't sound good..." She then began to laugh and laugh and laugh. It was funny!
My favorite scripture this week is 2 Nephi 31:20, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward feasting up on the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." I know that I need to press forward everyday, every moment, every prayer, every time I teach... With Christ. I have learned and felt so much love for the people of London since I have been here. I hope and have faith in Christ and when I do... I have seen the blessings of Him. EVERYTIME. As I read the scriptures for two hours every morning, feasting on the words of Christ... I am changed. I am becoming like Christ. Yes... My feet are swollen from walking miles and miles a day. My back hurts from the weight of my bag filled with missionary stuff. But.... All of that goes away when I focus on my brothers and sisters here. I have learned to love them. I feel sad when they don't want to hear about the gospel. I have cried with them. I have laughed with them. I bear my testimony to them. I have experienced the charity of Christ for his sons and daughters. It's been incredible... Words cannot describe.
Some stuff I have figured out:
1. Canadians do say "eh"!
2. People in London drink milk from bags
3. They do say words differently like "washroom" instead of "bathroom"
4. They only have sidewalks in certain areas! It's weird! So I bike and walk a lot on the streets!
5. Smarties are chocolates... Not American Smarties candy.
6. And... London people say their "A"s different like bag--the A sound is like pAy... and the O sounds are long... I don't know how to explain it! It's funny.
7. Canadian money smells like maple syrup! Crazy!
I am so grateful to be here. Honestly... I have seen so many blessings on my mission so far. I wish I could type more in.... I will go into more details about my other investigators like the Eastons, Alli & Family, Christina & Family, Courtney, and Kissie & Karim. I have learned to not judge people... TALK TO EVERYONE! No matter where you are at! Whether it be in a food place, bus, walking in the pouring rain, riding your bike to an appointment, or even just walking down the street. Talk to someone you have never met before or do some service for them. I promise you that you will be amazed at what experiences and blessings you will receive and strengthen your testimony in Christ.
I know that the church is true. I cannot deny the blessings, promptings, miracles, love, and strength my Heavenly Father has given me. I know that he is our loving Heavenly Father--he knows us, cares about us, and loves us more than we could ever imagine. The gospel has been restored! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and through his faithfulness, love, and hardships for the church... We are truly blessed. He is with us every day, every hour, every minute. May we read, ponder, and pray everyday. I know that we will receive so many blessings and be strengthened through these dark times in the world. I know that my Savior lives.
I need to head out now but I want you to know that I LOVE this gospel and I absolutely LOVE this work! Of course it's hard, but it was hard for Him. Why should I expect that this would be easy when it NEVER was for Him? I know my Heavenly Father lives and is leading Sister Shurtliff and I to those who He has prepared for us, and I am going to do my absolutely best out here, every day! I love you all and appreciate your love and support, I truly can feel your prayers on my behalf, every day!
I love you all, until next week…
New Address: 45 Pond Mills Road #207
London, ON N5Z 4W5