Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Streak Continues!

Friday afternoon we found out that this new baby coming to Brad and Katy will be our SEVENTH grandson!  Yes the streak continues on Miles boys!  We are so excited to have one more little grandson!!  We love them all!!! Can't wait until June when he makes his arrival!

Zone Conferences!

This past week we held 4 of our 5 zone conferences, and they were so wonderful.  We really love Zone Conferences--they are so inspiring.  We always pray that the conferences will uplift, inspire and edify the missionaries, and strengthen their testimonies.  For these conferences we had each of the missionaries come prepared to give a 3 minute talk on the attribute of Christ they are working on for this transfer.  One of our Standards of Excellence is to choose and develop a Christlike attribute, (many of which are listed in Preach My Gospel) and work on it for the whole transfer.  At each conference we chose 3 or 4 missionaries to give their talks, and they were so good.  We heard talks on patience, charity, humility, and hope.
We also discussed the talk Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave in General Conference last October on 'Sharing the Restored Gospel', and how we could share his suggestions with the members in the wards.  He gave 3 great ideas that all members should do...1)Pray for a desire to share the gospel 2)Continue to be faithful and keep the commandments 3)Pray to be inspired as to what we can do in our individual circumstances, and commit to act on the promptings we are given.  So, we invite anyone who reads this to follow these suggestions from an apostle and see what wonderful things can happen.
We also discussed being diligent, and then each zone had their own breakout session where they discussed using the back page of Preach my Gospel every day in their work.  We also had a fun question and answer game (candy bars being the prize!), where they answer questions out of Preach my Gospel, The White Handbook, and the scriptures.  It is always fun!
Then we had lunch which is always deliciously prepared by Relief Society sisters from the different stakes.
After lunch we talked about teaching repentance, and the importance of that as we teach our investigators, because it is through repentance that we begin to change, and we access the power of the atonement in our lives. We then role-played teaching repentance, which is always a great thing to do.
After that Steve led a discussion on 'Coming to Know Christ'.  The missionaries shared their personal experiences on how they have really come to know Christ.  Not just know of him, and have read about him, but how they have truly come to know him.  They shared many things--through prayer, through the scriptures, through adversity, through serving, and through trying to develop the attributes of Christ they come to know Him.  It was such a wonderful discussion.
After that we had a testimony meeting which was so powerful.  We love to see how their faith and testimonies grow throughout their missions.  It is really amazing.  I wish everyone could sit in on one missionary testimony meeting.  There is nothing like it.  I always hate for them to end.
We held two different conferences in the Calgary area, then we held one in Lethbridge and one in Taber, and tomorrow we head to BC to hold their zone conference on Tuesday.
Thursday night we were able to go to dinner with our Area Seventy in Lethbridge, Elder Evanson and his wife Jody.  We just love them, and are so appreciative of his support in this work.
On Friday night in Lethbridge the 3 stake presidents hosted a tri-stake community musical event featuring Wayne Burton who is an LDS singer/songwriter.  He has written songs for EFY and many other things.  The event was held specifically for members to invite non-members and less active members.  We had an incredible turnout--about 800 people, with about 100-200 being non-members. The music was beautiful and all centered on Jesus Christ.  Wayne did all of his own music, with the exception of the hymn, Beautiful Savior, which one of our Sister  missionaries, Sister Messick performed-and she did a beautiful job!  And one of our elders, Elder Assily also did another solo which was absolutely beautiful, too.  Then, most of our missionaries serving in that area sang two choir numbers with a few other members in the stake.  It was such a great night--you could feel the spirit strongly through the music.  We hope that many people were touched by it, and that it might generate interest in wanting to know about our Savior.
Saturday we did interviews with the Lethbridge zone, and following interviews we had dinner with President and Sister Lybbert from Cardston.  They have also become good friends, and we love to be able to be with them.  One of the wonderful perks of serving in the gospel are the friends that you meet.  I look at my life and the many dear friendships I have because of serving in callings, and it is so cool!  I have so many friends because of church service!
This past week our weather has been so much warmer--around 25-34 Fahrenheit.  Such a change from the bitter cold we were having.  I haven't even worn a coat--in fact I sent it to the cleaners!  I guess I am acclimatized to Canadian weather!  Everyone has told us that we can now say we have experienced a true Canadian winter.
Cardston Zone

Lethbridge Zone

Sisters Patton, Hatch, Ence, Sears

Bow River Zone

Sisters Rasmussen & Brignone

Fish Creek Zone

Fish Creek Zone

Confederation Park Zone

All of our Spanish speaking missionaries

Calgary North Zone

Calgary Zone

They love taking selfies!

Calgary West Zone

Lethbridge East Zone

Medicine Hat Zone

Our missionaries that sang at the musical event in Lethbridge- Wayne Burton on right  in light blue shirt

Monday, January 16, 2017


This last week we began our interviews for the transfer.  We headed to Medicine Hat on Monday afternoon (on snowy, unplowed roads) and arrived safely Monday night.  Tuesday morning we were able to attend a great zone training meeting with the Medicine Hat zone.  It is so awesome to see the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders carry forth with what we discussed at MLC the week earlier.  They really did a good job training, and also having others in the zone participate.  These great missionaries are the future leaders of the church and I have all the confidence in the world in them.
Following the zone training meeting we conducted interviews with that zone.  Or I should say Steve conducted interviews!  When those were done we met with the Stake President, President Salmon, to see how we could help him with his vision of missionary work in his stake.  He is a wonderful leader and we have grown to love him.  We love all the stake presidents we are able to work with, and feel it is such a blessing to be able to know them!
After our meeting with him, we drove to Lethbridge.  Wednesday we had interviews with the Lethbridge East zone, and then Wednesday night Steve went out teaching with some elders and I went out teaching with Sisters Jakobi and Messick.  It was such a great night of teaching.  On our first lesson we met with their investigator, Leon, who was getting baptized on Saturday.  They were going over the baptismal interview questions with him, to be sure he was prepared.  It was such a tender experience to hear this man (I would guess his age about 55), answer these questions and be so excited to be baptized.  He actually offered the opening prayer, and in it he said, "Thank you for helping me to quit smoking."  It was such a simple, heartfelt prayer.  I felt so honored to be able to sit in on this lesson with him.  After that, we went to teach a Young Single Adult named Judith.  She was so sweet.  She is very spiritual and has been taking the lessons for a bit, but has struggled with her reading of the Book of Mormon to know if it is true.  So, the sisters had prayed about what to teach her, and determined they would read the first chapter with her.  As they did, they shared favorite verses with her.  And then she began to share verses that 'stuck out' to her.  After we were done, she said that she was now motivated to read the Book of Mormon--that she liked these verses!  It was so cool!  Following that lesson we went to teach a less-active family from Peru who have been here in Canada for quite a long time.  They were so kind and nice, but struggling in their faith.  They are also struggling financially finding a job--so life isn't easy for them.  So, the sisters taught what they could and invited them to come to church and make friends in the ward.  It was a great night of teaching, and I was so proud of our sisters.  They taught with love and enthusiasm, and they shared their own testimonies and experiences, and it was really touching.  It is always good to be out teaching with our missionaries.
Thursday we drove to Raymond, Magrath, Cardston, Fort MacLeod and Claresholm to conduct interviews.  It was a long, but good day!  We then drove home to Calgary and on Friday we conducted interviews in the Calgary zone.
Saturday we spent most of the day preparing for zone conferences which begin tomorrow!  But we did take a break to attend another sealing of a couple who were baptized last year, Shawn and Amanda Ryan.  This is the couple that we were present at one of their very first lessons out in BC.  And then they were baptized-and we were able to attend their baptism-and now sealed in the temple.  It was such a beautiful day!  We have been able to witness now two different couples (families) be baptized and then one year later go to the temple to be sealed together forever!  That is what this great work is all about.  We have to begin with the end in mind!  Our purpose as missionaries is to bring people to Christ through the ordinance of baptism, but we always have in mind that this is just the beginning, and where we want them to be is in the temple!
I wish you could all see people that a little over a year ago knew nothing about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and  see them in the very early stages while they are investigating, and watch the spirit touch their hearts and they embrace the gospel and decide they want to be baptized.  It is just so incredible.
I love this gospel!  My life is full of joy because of it.  Yes, we have had our fair share of challenges, but through them we have been sustained and comforted and lifted.  I know the Savior's atonement is real--I love Him for what He has done for me.  Words cannot express!
Medicine Hat Zone

This is the McLachlan family that was sealed in the Calgary temple 2 weeks ago!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Transfers, MLC, Blessings after car accident

Well, last week we had our regular transfer day on Thursday and we had a lot of movement going on within the mission!  But everyone seemed happy about where they were going and who their new companions were.  It's always a fun day to watch it all unfold.  It's a good day to have over, know that everyone has gone to their area and are ready to go to work for the new transfer.  This week though we did do one thing a little differently.  We held our MLC on Friday, the day after transfers.  Usually we hold it at the end of the month, but because of our mission tour at the beginning of December and then Christmas, we did it on Friday.  We had 11 new members of our MLC--new zone leaders and sister trainer leaders.  It was really a great meeting.  We discussed things such as how to use our area books more effectively in the work, how to better plan a day, the assistants trained on asking inspired questions and listening (all out of Preach my Gospel), and we had one sister train on being diligent, and one elder do a white handbook training.  We also counseled together on how to correct disobedient behavior as leaders and how to show more love.  Steve spoke with them about coming to know Christ through the ordinances of the gospel, and how the power of Godliness is manifest through the ordinances, and that is why it is so important for people to be baptized, because it is the first ordinance which unlocks the power of Godliness.  It was a great meeting, as always, and we love working with these mission leaders.  They really have a great desire to do good, and to help their zones, and they themselves want to find people and bring them into the gospel, or back into the gospel, whatever the case may be.  And they are just fun to be around!
Later that night while we were at dinner we received a phone call from our BC zone leaders, Elders Ajeman and Austin, and they had been in a bad car accident heading back to BC.  Apparently they hit black ice and began to slide into the oncoming traffic, and there was a semi coming towards them.  Somehow they slid back into their own lane, but they hit the end of the semi's trailer.  Well, it totaled their car, but they were completely safe and walked away without a scratch!  They were definitely being protected from above.  Because when you see the car, you can't believe they weren't hurt!  We were so grateful for their safety.  In my prayers that night I just thanked Heavenly Father for watching out for them.  It could have been tragic!
On Saturday and Sunday we participated in the Calgary Stake Conference with President Litchfield.  He is a good man, and recently had a series of 3 heart attacks in a row, where they almost lost him!  So, we are grateful he is recovering and still able to preside over his stake.
On Sunday evening we held a meeting with all of our Mandarin speaking missionaries to discuss ways to further their work, and things they could do in the Mandarin Branch.  We have a new senior couple also working in the Mandarin branch, Elder and Sister Wong, from SLC, and we are so grateful for them!  It was also a great meeting, and we came up with some good things that could be done.  We love those Mandarin missionaries, and we know there are more people for them to find.  At the meeting we learned there are 50,000 Chinese people just in the northwest part of Calgary alone.  So, we determined we need to be more diligent in finding them!!
Today we had our meeting with our senior couples serving in the office and now we are in Medicine Hat because we begin interviews with this zone tomorrow.  We'll be doing interviews and zone conferences over the next 4 weeks.  It will be a busy time-but it will be great.  We are looking forward to having them more often, we think it will be very beneficial.  This is great work, and it is amazing to see the faith of these young missionaries.  We are so proud of them!
So grateful our elders were safe after this accident!

Our first Missionary Leadership Council of 2017!

Our meeting with our Mandarin speaking missionaries!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Forgot picture of our departing missionaries!

Here they are at the temple!

Post Christmas!

Life in the mission field doesn't slow down during the holidays!  The Tuesday after Christmas we took 12 departing missionaries to the temple before they left to go home on Wednesday.  It is always so good to be with them in the temple.  We really cherish this tradition with our departing missionaries.  Following the session we came back to the mission home for dinner and then our testimony meeting.  I know I've said this before, but I wish you could all be at this testimony meeting because their testimonies are so powerful and touching.  This was a great group of missionaries.  The sisters slept here at the mission home Tuesday evening, and the elders stayed at the Sefcik's home.  Then we took them all to the airport on Wednesday morning to fly home to their families!
Then Wednesday evening we went back out to the airport at 11:00 p.m. to greet most of our family!
Everyone but Mike and Jillian were able to come Wednesday night, and Mike and Jilli were able to come on Friday night.  It was sooooo fun to have them all here and spend a little time with them.  We laid out pads on the floor downstairs for 4 of the boys to sleep on--just like the missionaries do!  They thought it was great--and every night there was a lot of giggling and goofing off going on before they would finally fall asleep!  On Thursday we took everyone sledding at a hill right by our home.  Luckily the weather warmed up from the -20's to only -2!  It was great!  We had such a fun time watching the little boys (and grown ups) sled.  And we took hot chocolate with us to drink, and had a great time.
Friday morning Steve and I had a training meeting for our missionaries that are going to be new trainers for the missionaries that arrived yesterday.  It was a great meeting with these new trainers, and as I sat there while we had discussions with them, I thought to myself, 'I love this work!'  It really is so rewarding, and we love these missionaries.  We had our family come over to the church where we had the meeting and greet our missionaries--that was really fun.  Some of the little grandsons were a little shy shaking hands with the missionaries, and then Drewbie was out doing 'ninja kicks' in front of them.  We loved showing off our incredible family.
We also celebrated Steph and Jordan's birthdays on Friday.  So Fun.
On Saturday while I stayed home with little Wy and Beck so they could nap, everyone else went to the Olympic Park and went tubing and the adults rode the bobsled.  They had a great time.  And I had a great time tending my two youngest grandsons! Even Wy warmed up to me while I spent the afternoon with them.  When you leave these little ones you wonder if they will remember you and if they will be afraid of you when they see you!  And miraculously, they all remember me!  I just ate up every minute of having these little boys with us--and I loved having all of our kids here.  We are so blessed with such an amazing family, and I am so grateful for each one of them.  They are a huge support to Steve and I, and it was so fun to be here together--all 16+ of us.  We can't wait to find out what this new baby will be that Brad and Katy are having!  Will we get another grandson, or our first granddaughter?
Monday morning we said good-by to everyone (and of course I tried to fight back tears, but they always come!), and then we were right back to work!
We welcomed 6 new missionaries yesterday--we think that is the smallest group we have had come in.  And they were just great.  We love them already!  We have had our regular training with them, and sent them off this morning with their new companions to their areas!  It's always so exciting.
Tomorrow is our regular transfer day, so we will drive to Lethbridge with that, and then we are going to stay down because we have our Mission Leadership Council meeting on Friday there.  Then we will drive back up to Calgary to participate in the Calgary Stake Conference this weekend.
We are excited for this new year, and are ready to push hard!  This year we will begin having interviews and zone conferences every transfer instead of every quarter, so that makes us twice as busy, but we think it will all be so beneficial.  We are excited to be able to have zone conferences more frequently and have more frequent trainings, and be able to follow up better.  The time is going to fly by I think.  We begin traveling for interviews on Monday, heading to Medicine Hat...and as I look at our schedule for the rest of the month, it is going to zip!  We are doing some creative scheduling to be able to fit eveything in--and it will be good to get one round under our belts of doing it this new way.  Then we might have to re-evaluate and re-adjust.  But we are excited to go for this second half of our mission!
Tubing at Olympic Park

All 6 grandsons with their new 'toques' (beanies)

Jord with Beck at the sledding hill

More sledders!

Elders Moffitt & Stringam taught us a lesson following Sunday Dinner, and Drewbie sat right between them!

Finn, Miles & Sam sitting by Elders Manarii and Miller

Our 6 new missionaries from the MTC- Elders Fonseca, Fish, Sisters Hatch, Bodily, Elders Vea, Tung