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 cityto 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 ourmeetings 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