It was so great to be able to sit down with each of these wonderful missionaries and get to know them more personally. Many of them come from the 'typical' LDS family--raised in the gospel, had fun activities as a family, held family home evenings, family prayer, and overall were raised in a happy, healthy home. Then there are those who come from such different backgrounds...some have only one parent, some divorced parents, some have no support from family, and some have family that are very upset they chose to join this church and serve a mission. As we have sat and visited with all of them we have grown to love them even more. We admire all of them for choosing to answer the call to serve, but especially those that come from such difficult and humble circumstances.
This next week we will be interviewing all of our 'southern' missionaries--meaning those serving in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Raymond, Magrath, Cardston and British Columbia. We are excited to get to know each of them more personally as well. We will also have the chance to meet all of the Stake Presidents in southern Alberta, which we are looking forward to. We have been so warmly welcomed by all of the leaders here.
Today we attended the Rocky View ward in the Calgary West Stake and as we met with the bishop he invited us to sit on the stand and asked Steve to take a few minutes at the end. After the sacrament, the counselor stood to announce the speakers and he said, 'after Brother Ursenbach speaks we will hear from our new mission president and his wife.' So, I was then on the program! I have to say though, it is easy to stand and share my testimony and a few thoughts. Dad did such a beautiful job in his closing remarks. I have really seen the mantle settle in on him. He is doing a wonderful job.
We are still very humbled in this calling. But we feel the guidance of the spirit and are starting to get direction on things we would like to help our missionaries with.
One funny thing yesterday! We went to Costco - well Steve dropped me off so I could go in and get some things--and I got up to the check out stand and they didn't take VISA! So there I am with all my groceries and no way to pay. The man was kind and said, 'if you want you can put your cart over there and run to the ATM machine and get cash.' So, that's what I did. So, note to self from now on--get cash before going to Costco!
We also found a place for Dad to get his hair cut that is only about 1 mile from our home, so he got a hair cut yesterday, and then we found a dry cleaner and some things like that. It's kind of nice to find the things that you need...and I actually drove to Safeway by myself--I haven't driven since we went to the MTC! It was good to get behind the wheel! Dad was teasing me that I would lose all my driving skills if I didn't start driving. But we go everywhere together so he is usually driving! And here they have radar cameras--so if you speed you are caught on the camera. We have been extra careful driving!
I haven't mentioned our office staff at the Mission Office. We currently have Elder and Sister Birch from Idaho Falls, Idaho who are serving full time. Then we also have Elder and Sister Shields, who are serving part time as church service missionaries. And then we have the Clarke's who are also part time church service missionaries. The Clarke's get released at the end of August, I believe. As many times as we have been in the office, we still have not seen Elder and Sister Shields there! I guess we are always there on the days they are off. But we were able to meet them down in Sandy when they came down to visit Elder Shield's sister who is in our home ward. We just haven't seen them here in the mission! We love our office people--they truly keep all the administrative stuff going--and it is amazing at all they have to do. Cars, apartments, arriving missionary paperwork, departing missionary paperwork, letters to parents, to Stake Presidents, scheduling...you name it, they do it.
We are so grateful for them. We have another full time couple coming in August which will be great, because they will need to be trained before Elder and Sister Birch are released in November.
Steve has been going out with the missionaries on teaching appointments about 3 nights a week, and he loves it. It gives him a chance to work side by side with the missionaries. I have also gone out with him with sister companionships. This last week we were able to teach the Plan of Salvation with the sisters to a very humble, spiritual woman from Ghana. She was so receptive, and felt like everything taught to her made sense and was right. She wants to completely read the Book of Mormon before she commits to being baptized, so she is reading it now on her own. The missionaries found her one day sitting by the Calgary Temple. She was coming there each day for a long time to just sit and ponder, and she wondered what went on in there. She has some struggles in her life, and she felt peaceful at the temple. We know it is no coincidence that the sisters found her there.
This missionary work is amazing. We know that the Lord directs His work, and He prepares people to hear the gospel. We are learning ourselves to be more bold in speaking with people...we have spoken with waitresses, our movers, and others, and so many say, 'yes I would let your missionaries come and tell me more.' So we get their names and numbers and give them to our missionaries. We hope that one of them will be touched!
|This is the west side of Calgary by the church we attended on Sunday--check out the Olympic Ski jumps in the background!|