Hello! I am so grateful for this week and give thanks every day to be alive! Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving and I am still counting my blessings today! They are endless... With that, this past week was great! I learned so much this week and loved every second. I am so grateful for the simplicity of the gospel and the spirit. I have been able to come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ because of it J
I was able to go on two exchanges last week with Sister Penrod (Mandarin sister in Mississauga) and with Sister Leung (Cantonese sister in Markham). They are both so incredible!! I had such a fun time when I was with Sister Leung traveling on the buses and met so many Asians that can't speak English, so I just wrote on some cards in Chinese to give to them and invited them to ESL that way. Several of them loved it and really appreciated the smiles and effort.
There was also specialty training for three zones! The district leaders, zone leaders, and sister training leaders all were in attendance and we learned SO much from our meeting! These trainings have really impacted me and have helped me--not only during contacting or teaching as a missionary--but as a person and have influenced me and strengthened my testimony. I loved when we talked about the Restoration and how it's all because of revelation--I have always known this, but as I really emphasized this while I teach, I can see the light bulb (or in this case, the spirit) light in their eyes and countenance. The Plan of Salvation is because of Christ's atonement and in every aspect it truly is. I know this because as I studied it and have pondered and prayed about it... It all makes sense and has increased my love for our Savior, Jesus Christ even more. The Gosepl of Jesus Christ is the way or path in every principle or ordinance, it shows this. With the knowledge of revelation, the atonement, and the path we must walk on... EVERYTHING CHANGES. There is SO much to learn and so much to apply, ponder, grow, and know!! I love studying these things!
ESL is going great!! There is a super cute Hungarian girl in her teens who came with her parents, her name is Sunshine [the name completely fits her] She came to church again this week and liked it and really enjoyed conference as well. We gave her a Hungarian Restoration pamphlet and cannot wait to talk to her about it and see what she thinks so we can begin teaching her.
Speaking of ESL, we met with Hatem and Eghbal again. It was a great lesson. Something that really touched my heart was when Hatem asked how I can read people so well. I asked him what he meant and he said, "You have a special gift of knowing myself--like if something doesn't make sense, you know that I feel that and help me come to know. I remember my first day, I knew you didn't know me... But you did know me I felt like... It's a very good gift to have." Wow! It was a really interesting experience to take a step back and to look at things from a different perspective and his outlook. I was able to explain that it's the spirit that I was able to do that and he said, "Well... Don't get too good or else you'll know everything about me!" Haha. It was a good laugh... But it's true! Heavenly Father does know our spirits perfectly and that we truly are all of his spirit children. He knows us and loves us perfectly. I am just so grateful for the experiences I have to be able to see this every day. J
Yesterday was the annual Turkey Bowl for the Canada Toronto Mission, every Thanksgiving the zones that are close to the mission home get together and celebrate Thanksgiving by eating some pie and treats, playing football, soccer, and being with each other. It was so much fun! Best preparation day ever!
After I pondered the scripture from last week [D&C 100:4], I have come to realize that suffer means to allow. I am SO grateful for the Canada Toronto Mission. It is such a sacred mission and is absolutely amazing. There is sooo much sacred history that is in this mission with Joseph Smith being here along with Brigham, Hyrum, Parley P. Pratt, and so many more people! I am so grateful for Thomas S. Monson and his service here as a mission president. In a talk called "Days Never to Be Forgotten" (October 1990 General Conference), he talks about the events that have changed his life as he served as a mission President here. He says:
"During the period 1959 to 1962, my family and I lived in Toronto, where I served as the mission president. We are witnesses to the love God has for the Saints in that area. May I describe some of these “never to be forgotten” events?" [He tells of stories of places and people in Ontario]
"...All of this history and much more crowded my mind during the dedication services of the Toronto Temple. I reflected on the many nationalities represented by our members there. English, Scottish, German, French, and Italian predominated, but there were also members from Greece, Hungary, Finland, Holland, Estonia, and Poland. Surely, Toronto is an example of the promise of the Lord found in Jeremiah: “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:14.) This He has done; and from this Zion called Toronto, the word now goes forth in these native tongues to the home nations of those He has gathered."
"...When I prepared to leave Toronto following the concluding dedicatory session, I gazed upward toward heaven, that I might offer a silent prayer of gratitude to God for His watchful care, His bounteous blessings and for “days never to be forgotten.” High above the gleaming white temple, which personifies purity and reflects righteousness, is the gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni. I remembered being told that from that height of 105 feet, on a clear day one can see all the way to Cumorah. I noted that in Moroni’s hand was his familiar trumpet. He was gazing homeward—homeward to Cumorah. The beautiful Toronto Temple prepares all who enter to return homeward—homeward to heaven, homeward to family, homeward to God. That all of us may travel safely to our eternal home..."
I know that everything said by Thomas S. Monson is so true. I love serving here and love every person I get the opportunity to come in contact with. May we continue to strive for the spirit in our life everyday by reading, praying, partaking of the sacrament, and going to the temple often. We will all be able to return back to our Heavenly home together J I love you all.
Until next time...