Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Latest from Edson / Hinton

Hey everyone!

I've been thinking about it and i figure my weekly e-mails have been a little lacking on a couple of points recently. 
1) All the cool experiences i get to have on a daily basis as a missionary .
2) What life out here is really like 
3) Evidence that i'm still learning so much and hopefully changing for the better!

Even though i really don't have time to write all the thoughts/experiences that I'd like to i figure i'll try and touch on even a few of the above points today.

1) If only there were enough time in the day to tell you all about the daily goings on and the excitement that comes from working with so many different kinds of people! I honestly get home at night and can't even journal all of the events of the day without it taking forever and running out of time. TIME is going too fast, and it feels like things are picking up pace now more than ever. I have never been so busy as a missionary! And to be honest, it is such a huge blessing. I still feel like there is still so much to accomplish before i even think about coming home. Some news updates for you about the work/ the people i'm teaching right now: 
Essentially we have 5 people who are taking the discussions very seriously and are considering/praying about the next step of baptism. We have 3 more people who are very keen to meet and who we just need to figure out times between us in order to start teaching. Ah man, this is so hard! I wan't to tell you about ALL of them. Here's a few:
We met with Pamela last night who recently came to her friends wedding at the church and then came to a relief society activity and whilst we were talking with her basically invited herself and us over to her friends house so that we could start meeting with her! She's moving soon, but she's just started reading the Book of Mormon and maybe by our next appointment she'll decided to get baptized before she leaves.
Andra is 9 years old and her family are all less active. She has 3 older sisters who have all been baptized but only now has she come forward and made the decision to ask her dad is she can be too. 
Ashley is Amie's friend (a recent convert) who actually was the one who introduced Amie to the missionaries around a year ago. Because of things that were going on Ashley stopped investigating, and Amie went on to get baptized, and now Ashley said that she wants to start learning again. We're the same age and we get along really well so i'm so excited to work with her! We're taking bother her and Amie into the city this Sunday to attend a YSA ward and introduce them to some people there. That'l be a new experience for all of us!
So there're some insights into some of the people we're working with right now.

Other news! (This may only be particularly exciting for me)
Comfort (our investigator in River Valley) Has finally set a date for her baptism!!! Arghhhhhh!!!! I am beyond excited!!! She's been investigating for a bajillion years and now it's finally time! Teaching her has honestly been one of the many highlights of my mission. I just hope i get to be there to see it! (Comfort actually heard that i was going to be in the city so she turned up to our zone conference and interrupted everything so that she could come in and see me! Hahah. We hadn't had the chance to see each other before i left because she was in Africa for a month, so she wanted to bring me a birthday gift and some African chocolate. I wasn't complaining!)
Ohh and Dave found the missionaries in Red Deer :) I can't wait to find out how he gets on!

2) Life in Edson/ Hinton.
So, i don't think I've actually mentioned anything about the towns or what it's like to work here.
Basically both are reasonably small towns built around the main highway that connects Jasper National Park to the City. They have around 10.000 people and they are both characteristically very transient places. 2/3 of the population are male as the main sources of employment here are either in the mine, in the mill, logging or on the oil patch. This part of Alberta is very blue collar/red neck. So on the surface of things it's a reasonably 'rough around the edges kind of a place. It's great though- i love it!
There aren't another set of missionaries here in Edson (the elders got taken out a few months ago for being a little bit silly...) so sister Kunz and I live here and hold down the fort. Additionally we are assigned to cover the Hinton Branch (which is about and hour away, and which does have a set of elders there). Typically we take 2 days out of our week to travel into Hinton and work there, and we alternate our Sunday meetings between Hinton and Edson each week. So lots of travelling! Oh and we do also cover the small town of Jasper. That's a tiny town further into the Mountains and is around 1 hour away from Hinton in the opposite direction to Edson. It's in the National Park- so it's pretty cool! We rarely ever get to go though, as it's not the most productive use of our time. All in all- i love all the areas and working between them certainly keeps us busy!
Plus, driving along the highway is where we see the majority of wildlife. This week we saw a Coyote, a Raccoon and a whole herd of Elk crossing the road! Obviously not all at the same time though because that would be weird. ;)  

3) Actually now that i think about it, i have no evidence, so im sorry i lied! You'll just have to take my word for it :) I will tell you of one thing though, which happened about 5 months ago and I've only just since heard an update. Apologies if I've told this story before. 

Whilst serving in River Valley i went through a couple of different things. None to talk about right now, but all you need to know is that i was in need of some motivation to keep pushing forward. I started studying a talk about becoming a consecrated missionary and around the same time i made a huge conscious effort to become even more consecrated in any way i could. I was already working hard, as hard as i felt i could, and i was already being obedient. But upon reflection i decided that there was even more that i could muster. I was on an exchange and the exchange had gone well. The sister was a hard worker and i had enjoyed my time with her. As we were nearing the end of the exchange, a lesson fell through and then the backup also went to pot. We sat in the car and occupied ourselves with making some calls and sorting out a few other non essential things. As i sat there though, the thought flashed across my mind: just go tracting. Now, tracting is not my favorite thing, but i have testimony of it and i know that it works. I also know there are alot of other ways that are more of an effective use of missionary time. This was not one of them. With only 10 minutes left to spare before we had to head back from our exchange, the thought crossed my mind again: You're a Sister Training Leader, listen to me! Just go tracting. I remembered the talk about the consecrated missionary and thought there were a ton of excuses crossing my mind for turning back early, i ignored them and asked my companion to get out of the car with me and to knock a few doors with me. She did and she told me that they had already tracted down this particular road and had stopped somewhere in the middle, and so that's where we began. She couldn't remember which house they'd left off at, but we picked the right place to start. We knocked on the first door and a mother came to the door. She had a young child too and she was wrestling to keep the dog from bursting through the screen. Great i thought! She's not going to have the capacity to listen.This is going to be over in 2 seconds. But guess what: She did! In ten minutes we'd spoken to her about the plan of salvation and we'd set up a return appointment for us to come back and share more. We were ecstatic! Since that time Nicole has been investigating and has been bringing her husband and child with her to church. I called the sisters for updates and helped them out with their lesson periodically so it felt like i had an investigator in a whole other area that i wasn't even teaching! The update that i learned this past week was that Nicole had been praying for us to come. She said that she was praying for something and then we knocked on her door and she knew that Heavenly Father had answered her prayer! For me, i can't even begin to describe the joy that comes from having an experience like that! My experience with Nicole has taught me, and continues to teach me many many things. I know that as i continue to consecrate everything to the Lord that he magnifies my efforts. He grants me great blessings as i learn how to use my agency wisely. I know that Heavenly Father asks alot of us sometimes. But i also know that he promises blessings great blessings in return.

So there you go.
There's probably the longest e-mail you've had from me/ that you will probably ever get from me again! Haha. I don't mean to go on and on, but i just felt it important to talk about a few of these things today.

Next week you'll probably get a one liner! Haha!

Have a great week everyone!
Winter is almost here and transfers is in a week and a half. Pray that next transfer i get to train! I want to so bad!

I love you ALL!
Be good/ safe/ happy :D

Sister Young

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ever had one of those week that you look back on and think !?! Yeah.....that was this week!


Before I begin, I want to give a great big thank you to everyone who's been praying for us out here in Edson/Hinton. I'll explain more later because if I start now i'll get hysterical and won't be able to finish my e-mail by talking about anything else.

I would like to do the stereotypical Sister Missionary thing and tell you all about the miracles that have been taking place (which have been happening in small and significant ways, rest assured.) But this week I feel like other things stand out more so to me. I'll try and keep this brief but I'm in the mood to share :) Lucky devils! 

Firstly- Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! We had our Turkey dinner yesterday, which was amazing. Only downside is that Libraries are closed as usual for one of the many monthly Holidays they have in Alberta... It's a great country!

Ok, back to the week.
We'll we got a text last minute on Wednesday from a member asking us to come out to Jasper with her to do her visiting teaching. This girl (Who is a recent convert but is less active) had apparently requested that we come, so we made a few calls and were more than happy to oblige! My 3rd Time into the park- I just love it so much! It turned into an almighty ordeal though and long story short we didn't do much that was productive and then we had to head home for the night because we were headed into the city for Zone Training Meeting the next day. (It takes about 2 hours to get from the town of Jasper back to our apartment in Edson.)

Next day: We take our car in for repairs (Don't worry- we didn't crash. Just routine stuff) and to cut a long story short by the time we got out of ZTM and made it over the other side of the city to pick up our car, the place only had to go and close! So we had no car keys and no way to get back to Edson. The sisters we were with thought this was absolutely hysterical, and took pics of us standing outside the shop trying to get in (I will attach). The other picture I will attach will be of us having to swallow our pride and tell the mission president we were homeless. I don't think I've heard him laugh so much in a long time. In the end, Sister Kunz and I ended up staying the night in the mission home, listening to President's old mission stories from Germany and having a blast. It was so great! Only wish I had known in advance so that we could've packed a few essentials... haha! Good times. This is an insight into my mission presidents personality: (Background, He'd just asked about the Zone meeting.)

'Me: It was great, they had a guest speaker from England who was over attending his Missionaries wedding and he talked a lot about how to work with the ward council. It was really useful! He's a recent convert and since he's been called as the ward mission leader they've had 2 baptisms every transfer rather than every year!

President: 'Is he cute?'

Me:  -.-

I love that man!

Eventually we made it home and all was well.
Sis. Kunz got attacked by garden shears though but that's a story for another time.

We were driving back from a supper appointment and all I can say is, the unthinkable happened. And I so wish I was telling this in person so that you can get the full effect! Haha.

Let me set the scene: It's late at night, pitch black, driving on a country highway, and then Flash! How's about a GIGANTOR Mamma moose legging it across the road right in front of you! Holy smokes!!!!!! Because it was so dark, there was no way to see it until it was RIGHT there!!
That was literally the sound that I made as I slammed on the brakes and then realized that there was not one moose, but 3 moose suddenly on the road! Well, the first one I could handle. They can make a few strides and get across quick enough before you reach them if your lucky. The second two were the ones that made me scream. All I know is, somehow the car was stopping and there were still 2 large objects coming towards us straight to the drivers side. Holy holy heck! Turns out the first one was the mamma, and the second two were the babies. They were moving pretty swift but not fast enough. I do not know how I managed to stop the car in time before impact but I did. I have NEVER felt so scared. I didn't even realized I was the one screaming until Sister Kunz tells me it's going to be ok. HAAHAHAHA. I got post traumatic stress from a flippin' moose! Honestly, I kneeled down to pry by my bed that night and I felt like there was one right there and it freaked me out! Hahahahhaahha. Just for the record- those things are BIG, and UGLY!

So there's my confession.
I got scared, and for the first time I was a little freaked out about the wildlife in Canada. It is SUCH a different world out here.

Anyway! None of that is probably half as interesting to hear as it was to go through.
Needless to say it has been a crazy crazy week and I'm looking forward to things going a little bit back to normal :) 

I'm still loving Edson (& Hinton & Jasper), Still loving missionary work and still learning so much about myself/life/the gospel that i never want it to end. It is a blast!

I know that prayer works and that each of us has an all knowing and all loving Heavenly Father who hears our petitions and answers them according to our needs. It's a tool and a resource (prayer) that i'm learning to masters a little better every day. I'm so grateful for it and i'm so grateful for all of you! I had tonnes more to say, but for the sakes of all of you i'll end it rapidly now!

All in all= God is good!

I'll try and attach some pictures , but can't make any promises. Also- advanced warning- i may end up attaching a ton. Simply because it's less time consuming than sorting them all out.

Sister Young 

Please click on the image to get a larger view and to scroll.  

Ringing the bell to come for supper (At the Millard Farm)

Driving towards the mountains (Jasper) on the way to Hinton

Driving towards the mountains (Jasper) on the way to Hinton

Sister Millard made us some 'Touks' (hats..and i don't think i spelled it right)

've become a little obsessed with Camo. The Thrift store where we volunteer at doesn't help matters.

A big Male elk chillin' by a restaurant in Jasper

Friends at ZTM!

President, we have a problem...

The district.

The new shirt from the Thrift store i inherited today. I couldn't help myself! Canada rocks :D

Thought ide end on a high.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Greetings from Edson

Hello Everyone!

Sorry about last week- things got a little crazy there but it's all good now.

Basically- i don't even know where to begin. I guess with our investigators.

Dave- the man who wanted to get baptized :) Things went really well with him and we had an intense couple of weeks with him working towards everything. What a teaching/ learning experience. I don't think i will ever forget it! Anyway- Dave will be continuing to learn down in Red Deer and will prepare for baptism there. He wasn't quite ready just yet (honestly one of the most interesting cases ever) but he'll join the church when the time is right :) 

London and Virginia- I'm not sure what I've told you about them- Basically we teach a family who's mom have just up and left them all, and the grandmother has moved in to keep things afloat. We're teaching all of them and they really are getting so much from it. It's just insane to think of how much this family needs and how unqualified we are as missionaries to meet all of them (their needs)- even though we want to. It's infuriating at times. They're all coming to church every week but there's so much going on it's beyond our ability to manage. Virginia will return home this week from a 2 week work break and we're excited to see her. (She's the Grandma. The 4 kids have had a nanny)

Tenley- She is so great! Out of everyone she's progressing the most right now and came to church for the first time this weekend to watch general conference! It was great!

Speaking of conference- i really got alot from it personally this year. It's crazy to think this has been my third general conference since being called as a missionary. 
Hhahahaahaha- you have to laugh about things sometimes. Our branch is so funny. We turned up to watch the women conference and the satellite/ projector wasn't working so we had to watch the entire thing from an i-phone hooked up to some speakers at the front. I've never witnessed anything like it! Hahaha. I'll include a picture for you to get an idea.
Then the very next day at church we turned up and a small crowd had gathered around the clerks office where the door was closed and shrieks and muffled sudden movements were coming from within. We asked the kids what was going on and they told us that the Branch Presidnet was inside trying to 'catch' a runway squirrel. Turns out we've had a squirrel problem for the past couple of months, it's been a menace and has caused havoc week after week. Last week it ate all the snacks in the nursery cupboard! Hhaa, poor kids. Anyway- the branch president had it cornered and it was so funny how much of a scene it created in our little branch. The joys of serving outlying!  He up killing it and bringing it out in a wastebin, telling the kids that it was 'sleeping'. So funny.

Anyway! This week i am so tired. It feel's like i've done 10 rounds already and it's not even the end of p-day yet.
Life is good. The work is rolling forward. I'm just trying to keep my head and keep smiling!
Hahah- maybe next week i'll have some more exciting news to report! 

P.s we saw another huge bear this week. It crossed the road right on the highway! Crazy! 

The gospel is true! 

Branch members and missionaries watching conference from an iphone! 

New Area - Edson, Alberta

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Updates from September 22nd - Missionary meeting with Elder Martino of the 70

 Dear everyone,

This week has been another one of those weeks.
Except this week, i feel like I've been on an even bigger emotional roller coaster ride than usual! 

Last Tuesday we got to travel into the city for our mission tour with Elder Martino of the 70. 
Holy! What a fiasco that was! Hahaha. Let me explain...
First of all, we'd all been given the assignment to prepare a 3 minute presentation on diligence. 2 of us were going to be selected at random to get up and present it to the rest of the mission. I prepared mine weeks ago, but having to leave EARLY on the Tuesday to get in for 9am, i didn't have enough time to review it. Anyway! That car journey was like something from dumb and dummer!! We got lost, we had to take a ridiculous bathroom pitstop and WE WE'RE LATE! 
(I hate being late).
The assistants text us and president called me out on it and anyway, we stumble into the meeting just before it was due to start, and i take my companion and go up to meet Elder Martino and his wife just before everything began. We tried to hide out on the back row but nope they called us to sit on the front, right in the line of fire.
What happens next. That's right. Of course.
President Manions calling my name, and at the request of Elder Martino i have to get up and give my presentation to everyone. Shoot me!! The whole mission sighed in relief and i fumble all over the place frantically trying to find my notes and honestly, i was a right mess. Hhaahah! President even leans over and cracks this joke in front of everyone.... "It's about diligence......" Oh boy. 
I got there in the end! My knees were knocking together but i felt i was able to share a good thought and then i sat down. 
The rest of it i feel like I'd be blowing my own trumpet, but i was able to have a really good experience in the meeting and especially with Elder Martino. He'd even gotten my companion and I to get up and do a spontaneous role play with him on the stand, and again i thought i wanted to die.

One things for sure, i really love my mission. I can't deny it. It's the best experience of my life.

Yesterday, i got to sit in front of the sacrament table and watched an elder beak down and cry after giving a talk on the final Sunday of his mission. 
There are no words for moments like that. 
He's one of the biggest, toughest missionaries this mission has ever seen and he's channeled that into his missionary efforts. Serving a full time mission for the Lord really does require all of our heart might mind and strength, but boy, we get so much back from it in return. 
We really do feel it a pleasure to serve Him. We honestly do! 

I am one of the most blessed people i know. 

Have a great week everyone!

oh, and Sister Kunz and I get to serve another transfer together! We're so excited!
Sister Young

London and Virgina - investigators

Updates September 15th - Hinton Branch

Well, this update/ this past week really is and has been UNBELIEVABLE. 

Earlier this week i thought the highlight of this letter would be to tell you all that i saw a WOLF!!! a real life, wolf, in the snow, in Canada, 10 feet from our car, but no. That's not going to be the highlight. 
Neither is the experience where that very same day we tried contacting a referral, and instead got cornered my 2 huge huskeys (that at first glance, looked very Wolf like so the blood started pumping) (And they were NOT friendly). They literally caged us in. HAHAHA. If i could recreate the scene... me knocking on the door. No-one's answering. My companion...(very nervously) ...'errrr, Sister Younggg....' i turn around and these 2 creatures are perched looking up at us and then we realize there's no barrier between us and them because we're in their yard, and they start running up to us. Teeth were bared, sister missionaries were huddling. Of all things, i start nervously laughing and i don't know why but try to pet the stupid thing. Hahaha! Sister Kunz was freaking out!! And so was i, i was just laughing about it! Haha. As soon as we could get around them we made no sudden movements and quickly minced out of there as fast as we could, whilst still trying to keep it together. All the time i keep on repeating outloud, "it's ok, it's ok" Sister Kunz thinks it was to help her, but really i was just talking to myself! We got out of there and we were so hyped up we just died laughing. We thought we were for sure about to get very very hurt! And the funniest thing is that we genuinely believed at first, it was the wolves! Hahaha. Anyway, none of that is relevant to anything, but it was pretty hilarious so i thought we would share! :)

Another highlight is that we got to attend a wedding! It was super rushed and thrown together but basically it was a wonderful experience. Ryan (the groom) has only been baptized 5 years, and Andrea (who was recently baptized just this last December) met at church in the tiny Hinton Branch and fell in love... They were waiting to go to the temple in December to get married but then they found out that they could get married civilly (and have family come) and still get married in the temple on their original date. So they did!  Anyway! It was so funny to be a missionary at a wedding. You could tell between us and the elders who`d been out the longest based on how awkward we found the whole thing! Hahaha. They are such a great couple and we are so excited for them! Yay for eternal families! 

Ok, so this is the miracle. 
There`s a man here in Edson that comes to church  from time to time and 'investigated' but not really (he hasn't been meeting with the missionaries) and he's been doing this for years. Apparently he's been disruptive, asking loads of awkward questions etc in the past and I've heard all sorts about him. Anyway yesterday he asked if he could get up and share a few words because he's moving away. As soon as we heard we were all like, what's going to happen?! But it was a really good, heartfelt testimony that he shared. I will share the contents of it in person at a later time. Anyway.... he requested we teach a spur of the moment Gospel Principles lesson and we did, and answered all his questions about the temple and eternal families etc. We even went over the Baptismal interview questions because he was curious about a temple recommend. At the end of the lesson i was talking to a member in the hall, and i could feel that he was standing next to me waiting to talk. 
He said, you know it's been an interesting journey in Edson, and I've been looking into this for a while. When you read the questions i felt like i could answer all of them. I wonder if it would be possible for me to be baptized before i leave?


So, we have 2 weeks to get him ready. This man has done a complete 180 and actually seems genuinely sincere. We're meeting with him tonight and we'll try and set everything up!
The coolest part about it all is that for the longest time he`s been studying alot of unfavorable material. But yesterday he shared that through all of his studies, his end conclusion is that the church must be true. And, it is!

For myself personally, i was fasting yesterday to find more people to teach. And someone literally tapped me on the shoulder at church and asked if they could get baptized. If that`s not a testimony builder i don`t know what is. Arghhh!! Miracles! The gospel touches even the most unlikeliest of people! I`m super excited i get to be here to witness a miracle. 

I know this is God`s work. I know that we are a part of his church. And beyond anything, i know that he is so, so aware of us, His children. I don`t know much else about Dave at this point. Yesterday was the first time i had met him, but i`ll be sure to keep you all informed on his progress next week. Please pray for him.

Virginia and London are both doing really well and our other investigators are doing great :)

Tomorrow, we`ll be going into the city to attend a mission tour with Elder Martino. He`ll be visiting us again. I am so excited! 

I love this work! I LOVE being a missionary! There is nowhere else i would rather be.

Sister Young