Friday, January 12, 2018

One COLD transfer week!

We had another successful transfer week this week!  We sent 5 missionaries home to reunite with their families on Wednesday morning, and welcomed 9 new ones in Wednesday afternoon.  It is always hard to let the old ones go, but exciting to get the new ones in--it is pretty much a revolving door in a mission every 6 weeks!  We love hearing the final testimonies of those really is such an incredible thing to hear them verbalize how much they have grown, and how they have come to know the Savior.  I cherish every single final testimony meeting.
And then it's so fun to be at the airport to welcome the new ones and to see their excitement and also their nerves!  We love to have that first dinner with them and begin to get to know them on a more personal level--and then it's even more fun to see them meet their new companions the next day!
This week has been very cold, after having a week last week that had warmed up significantly!  So when those new missionaries arrived it was -20.  And then on Thursday, which is our regular transfer day, it was close to -30!  It was so cold outside while missionaries were hauling their luggage around  that you really just froze!  I had to keep going inside the church to warm up for a few minutes, even though I had layered up, and had on my warmest boots!  Because of the weather we didn't bring our BC missionaries in that were being transferred because they were having snow and the night before part of the road had been closed.  So, we held them off, because we don't like them traveling in those conditions.  Today the few that were being transferred to and from BC did their moving.  It's such a nice feeling when transfers are over and everyone is to their new area with their new companion!  It feels like a new beginning every time!  It's a great time for missionaries to re-commit and rededicate themselves to the work, and we get re-energized, too.
Our mission is going to be using smartphones in the near future, so we are in the process of having families purchase the phones for their  missionary and have them shipped to the office through a special website.  Steve and I have been receiving online training which features Elder Bednar teaching missionaries in the Gilbert, Arizona mission about the use of smartphones as a missionary.  It is pretty exciting, and will enhance the work.  And the missionaries will also develop good habits of phone use that they can use when they go back home.  The Lord is wanting them to learn to be good agents and use these devices for righteous purposes.  Missionary work in the traditional sense is changing and it will be exciting to see what happens in the next few years.  Our purpose is always the same: to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.  Modern technology, if used correctly, can help us do this!
Today we had all of our missionaries watch President Monson's funeral.  We felt like this would be a spiritual experience for each of them, as he was the prophet that called them on their missions.  We will so miss President Monson, and are so grateful for the remarkable example he was to each of us.
We know he was the prophet of God here on the earth.

Our missionaries that will be training new missionaries this transfer!  Great group!

At the temple with our departing missionaries.

Welcoming our new missionaries at the airport!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!  We are so excited for what this year will bring to the Canada Calgary Mission.  I think our missionaries are ready to work, and as much as they loved the holidays, they are ready for people to be back into a normal routine, which will help them in their work.  They all loved their Christmas phone calls home- for many it was their first phone call, which is always exciting and special.  For a few, it was their last as they go home next week!
We had a nice relaxing Christmas Day where we were able to talk to all of our children at different times and share a little in their day with each of them. We also began our reading of the Book of Mormon with our mission, which we are loving. Along with this our missionaries have been looking through the scriptures- the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, for their top 10 scriptures that describe 'What Think Ye of Christ'?  Steve and I have also been coming up with ours, and it has been a neat experience to be reading in the New Testament, Old Testament, and the Book of Mormon, and D & C to find the ones we would put on that list.  I still haven't decided exactly on my 10 yet, but I did just put one on it from Isaiah 41:10 &13, where the Lord tells us to 'fear not, for I am with thee..I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee..I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand..'  I just love those words from the Savior telling us how He will help us, and I have felt it personally in my life.  He is so kind, and so loving, and truly does carry us in our times of trial. You ought to try this if you want to have a wonderful experience.
 The weather the past couple of weeks has been downright freezing!  As we drove to Lethbridge on the 26th our temperature gage in our car reached -29, which was a record for us while driving.  And then the next morning it was -30!  That is COLD!!  Needless to say, I have been wearing tights and another pair of socks over them, and layering like crazy!  In Lethbridge we were able  to complete our interviews down south, and while we were there we were able to attend a great district meeting in Taber with our missionaries serving there and in Coaldale.  We got home Thursday evening and then on Friday had a great 'retrainer's meeting' with all of our new missionaries and their trainers.  We discussed and addressed their needs, referring to Preach My Gospel, and it was just a great meeting.  We are so blessed to have these missionaries that have such a great desire to be the most effective missionary they can be and to go spread the gospel!
Sunday, New Year's Eve, we had dinner at the mission home with 5 of our missionaries that were returning home the next day, after completing their missions.  It was great to be with these wonderful missionaries that have truly consecrated the last 2 years or 18 months to the Lord.  Following dinner we had a nice little intimate testimony meeting with them.  As always, it was very special to hear them all share their testimony of the Savior and how much they love Him, and also their testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
Then on Monday morning we took them to the airport and sent them on their way home to have wonderful reunions with their families.
This week we are preparing for transfers next week and for the 10 new missionaries that will be coming to our mission!
Proof of the cold temps!

District meeting in Taber!

Elders Ellefson & Steiner ready to brave the cold weather!

Our entryway as missionaries arrive for Retrainers Meeting

Dinner with our departing missionaries

Final picture with our 5 departing missionaries!
Sisters Ence, Caldwell, Call, Elders Fellows & Davis

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Zone Conferences complete! Merry Christmas!

We completed our final zone conference for the Lethbridge East and Medicine Hat zones in Taber on Friday.  And it was just as wonderful as the others!  The music was beautiful, we had a guitar and violin accompany  some sisters on one number, and then some sisters sang Acapella on another number, and they were so nice.  We love how the missionaries are always willing to share their talents and bless us with the spirit.  The testimony meeting of course was the highlight.
We are really excited to begin reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission beginning tomorrow and ending on Easter Sunday, April 1.  We know it will be a remarkable experience for our mission.  We love the Book of Mormon and know that it truly does testify of our Savior and of His love for each one of us.  Merry Christmas everyone!
Sisters Moss, Williams, Follet & Johnson  doing a selfie on my phone!

Elders Boss, Johnson & Eaves-another selfie!

Enjoying lunch in Taber at zone conference!

Elders enjoying lunch!

Showing off white elephant gifts!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

More zone conferences for Christmas!

On Wednesday we had our zone conference with the Fish Creek, Bow River, Confederation Park and Bow River zones.  And then on Thursday we had zone conference with our Lethbridge and Cardston Zones down in Magrath.  As with the other conferences, there was a great spirit in each one.  We had absolutely wonderful musical numbers in each one--cello, piano, singing, flute, and organ!  We have some very talented missionaries, and they try to do numbers that bring the spirit.  And the testimony meetings in each one were so powerful...they are my favorite part.  We also had yummy lunches, and a lot of fun doing our white elephant exchange.
In each conference we gave the missionaries a copy of the Book of Mormon with our testimony in it and invited them to read it with us beginning Christmas Day and ending on Easter Sunday, April 1.
We have done this before as a mission and it has been such a great experience to all be reading it together.  We know there is a power in the Book of Mormon that can't be found anywhere else, and we want to help our missionaries follow President Monson's counsel in his last conference address to read and study it daily.  We know it will bless their lives--it has blessed ours immensely!

The Sefciks helped make our lunch!

Bow River, Confederation Park, Foothills, Fish Creek zones showing off white elephant gifts!

The Lethbridge and Cardston zones showing off their white elephants!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Zone Conferences

On Thursday afternoon we drove out to BC to begin our Christmas zone conferences and to do their interviews.  We've been having really great weather lately and it was nice to NOT drive in snow and ice like we usually do when we go out there.  But the weather is changing and snow has come and freezing temps are on the way!  Have to admit I was enjoying the unusually warmer weather.
The zone conference in BC is always a small, intimate one, with only 10 elders serving there, and 2 senior couples...but, it is always a great conference and the spirit was really strong. Our zone conference today had 3 zones, the Calgary Zone, Calgary West, and Calgary North.   We made these zone conferences a little different in that we spent quite a bit of time focusing on the birth of the Savior and watching Christmas Mormon Messages that were very powerful. We had some wonderful musical numbers in the one today--our Mandarin missionaries sang a beautiful rendition of 'Away in a Manger', and our Spanish missionaries sang 'Oh Come All ye Faithful'.  Then 4 of our sisters sang, 'Mary did you Know?' We also spent time talking about finding and teaching through our service and sharing experiences as we have been doing the #LighttheWorld initiative. After lunch we had a fun white elephant exchange in the cultural hall, where we had a lot of laughs as we passed gifts right, left, right, right, left and so on!  We closed each conference with a testimony meeting--which in both instances was very touching.  As I've said before, we wish everyone could listen in on a missionary testimony meeting and hear them share their feelings about the Savior.  The spirit is so strong!
We love these missionaries and are so grateful for their testimonies and faith.  We know it is hard work, and they face a lot of rejection--but they keep going and are so resilient.  We are so grateful for their decision to serve and cherish our time to be involved in this great work with them.
Sunday evening we were able to attend the baptism of Sara Gundowry, who Elders Wolfe and Grinwis taught.  It was such a sweet baptism.  There is nothing more special than a baptism, especially of a new convert who is embracing the gospel for the first time.  We really love it when we are able to attend these baptisms--we can't get to all of them, and many times our schedule doesn't allow us to go, but we love it when we can.
Getting ready to pass white elephants in BC!

Elders Pugmire & Wolfe with their gifts!

BC zone showing off their white elephants!

Baptism of Sara Gundowry!

Cute sisters enjoy lunch at zone conference in Calgary!

Lunchtime at zone conference!

Calgary, Calgary West, Calgary North zones showing off their white elephants!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Great transfer week!

Last week was another great transfer week as we said good-by to 19 missionaries and welcomed 9 new ones in.  It is always bitter sweet as we send wonderful missionaries home that we have grown to love--we enjoy taking them to the temple the night before and having a great dinner with them and their final testimony meeting.  I know I've said it before, but I wish everyone could listen in on a final testimony meeting and hear the power of their testimonies as they share their feelings about their mission and the Savior.  It's a pretty incredible thing to be part of.
We took all of those missionaries to the airport Wednesday morning and it took us so long to get them all on their way that we just stayed and waited for the new ones to come in!  Usually we have time to go home for awhile and then come back, but not this time.  So, it was great to meet our 9 new ones- only 1 sister and 8 elders!  The number of sisters we have is shrinking!
We had our usual training meeting with them that afternoon and a delicious home-cooked meal by Natasha (which they always love because they are so tired of MTC food!), and then a little more training before getting them to bed early at the hotel!  Then on Thursday morning we started at 8:00 a.m. with a little more training and by 9:30 they had met their companions and were on their way!  It's always fun to see them meet their trainers and head to their areas!  Then transfer day went on as usual as missionaries were being transferred in Calgary and some from the north to the south and vice versa!  But it always works out and everyone gets where they need to be!
This week was a special week because we also welcomed our very first granddaughter!  Little Nina Dee Stobbe arrived on Friday weighing in at 8 lbs. 15 ozs.  We are thrilled she is here healthy and strong, and her mom is doing so well.  After 8 little grandsons that we absolutely adore, it is fun to have a little girl! And then our youngest son, Mike and his wife Jillian, had the blessing of their little baby, Remington Stephen Miles, on Sunday.  We are so grateful for the blessing of eternal families!
We have such an incredible family who have supported us throughout our mission and we love them so much!
Our departing missionaries at the temple!

All of the departing sisters!

Our newly arrived missionaries at the airport!

The Stobbe's at the hospital with their new little Nina!

Nina Dee Stobbe-first granddaughter!

Jillian and Mike on Remi's blessing day!