Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Finally able to write!

I'm finally getting a chance to write--wow it's been busy here.  I think I say that every time I post!  I guess that is just missionary life!
Last week was another great transfer week!  We welcomed 10 new missionaries on Tuesday afternoon- 7 sisters and 3 elders.  It's always so fun to see them come through those doors at the airport!  Excited and exhausted from getting up so early at the MTC to get here.  I had to laugh because as we were doing our training that afternoon I could see their heads starting to nod, so we invited them to stand whenever they needed to to be able to stay awake.  Most of the time on Tuesday afternoon is orientation stuff--learning about housing, cars, medical, etc.  We have learned not to do any 'doctrinal' or spiritual training that day because they are just too tired to even comprehend it.  So we do this orientation and then have our yummy dinner and then the assistants come and do some fun things with them--telling them about the different zone areas and letting them guess where they think their first assignment will be.  We really are done by 8:00 pm so we can get them to bed early!  And they love that!
Wednesday after our training in the morning they all met their new trainers and were off to their areas.  I love watching them all head out--they are so excited to now really be 'in the field'!  It's amazing to watch the faith of these missionaries as they come out.  I love it.
Wednesday evening we had to unexpectedly drive to Lethbridge to deal with some challenges there, so we stayed down and met up with all the  missionaries for transfers at the stake centre there.  Then we drove back to Calgary to take our departing missionaries to the temple.
Our temple session is always so nice with them.  It really is a tender time to be with them in the temple as they reflect on the service they've given, and contemplate going home.  And of course after the temple we had a delicious dinner with them.
Friday morning we took them all to the airport and hugged them good-bye!  It really is such a revolving door--we are sad to see these ones we have grown to love leave us, but yet we are excited to greet a whole new group!
Saturday we were able to catch up on a bunch of things and prepare for our MLC which was today!  And we actually took a little date night on Saturday night and went to dinner and relaxed.  It felt good-but we still had so much to do that we were both a little anxious!  But we sure slept good on Saturday night!
Sunday we were able to go to the ward where we live.  This is only about the 5th time in the 20 months we've been out that we've gone there.  And Sunday night we spoke at a city wide YSA Fireside in Calgary.  It was great to see all of these young single adults--one of them was Mike's mission companion from his mission in Phoenix--so it's fun to catch up with him, and one of them was one of our returned missionaries now living here in Calgary.
On Monday we had our usual office meeting with our couples serving in the office. They are so wonderful, and we are getting nervous because we are losing them and haven't found replacements yet!  Elder and Sister Peppinger leave March 17, and the Thorleys leave at the end of May.  We have found a brother to come in and do finances, but we are praying to find two senior couples!
Monday we drove to Lethbridge to stay for the week.  We began interviews with the Lethbridge East zone on Tuesday and today we had our MLC.  We love MLC!  Today so many missionaries did trainings that were so great.  We had trainings on the Doctrine of Christ, on companion exchanges, and How to Introduce the Book of Mormon.  We are always so proud of these missionaries when they teach and train.  We love to hear their insights. Steve taught about being spiritually 'born', and how Christ becomes our 'spiritual father' because He gives us new life through repentance and baptism.  It was really great.   We also had training on how to teach the doctrine of Christ, and more specifically on repentance--not only how to teach it, but how to practice repentance in our own lives.  
MLC is just a wonderful meeting, but our hope is that the leaders can take what they have learned and be able to teach it and use it to help the rest of the missionaries in our mission.  That's the purpose of MLC--to take what is learned there and bless the whole mission with it.  These leaders are learning how to be leaders, and they are doing a good job!  This is great work, but it is work!  I know that the Lord directs it and He helps us in it.  There are times when I am so tired I wonder if I can go on, and yet He always strengthens me to be able to do what I need to.
Elders Moffit, Stringam &Assily (assistants) love to eat at Chick-fil-a at the airport before picking up the new missionaries.

Our new missionaries!

At the temple with departing missionaries.

Sending Elder Ajeman home to recover from his broken femur.

Dinner and then a selfie with Sisters Taylor and Lane!

Role playing at MLC

More role-plays at MLC

Doing a few little 'wake up' exercises at MLC before afternoon session!

Elders doing a few push-ups to wake up and get energized!

All the Sister Training Leaders at MLC.

All the zone leaders at MLC.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rough week!

This past week has been a rough one!  It actually started out well-going to Zone Training Meetings, which are always awesome.  We were able to attend the Calgary North Zone's meeting, and it just invigorated us to once again hear these missionaries teach and train each other.  The future of the church is in good hands as these young adults grow to become the leaders.  They really are amazing.
Then on Wednesday we were headed to the Confederation Park Zone training meeting when we received a call that one of our elders in BC had broken his femur and they were waiting for the ambulance to take him to the hospital.  We arrived at the building for the zone training meeting, and when we received word that this break would require surgery and the insertion of a rod in his leg, we decided we needed to head to BC.  So we left the meeting and went back home to pack a couple of things and head out.  We arrived in BC about 8:00 p.m. thinking we would make it in time to see this elder before the surgery.  Well, we got there, and found him, and they kept putting his surgery off because more serious cases had come in.  Finally about midnight the surgeon came in and said he felt it was best to postpone surgery until the morning because he was tired, and he didn't feel good about performing surgery in that condition.  We agreed of course!  So, the poor elder had to wait until about 9:00 the next morning before going in.  His surgery went well, but he is still in the hospital recovering, and we are hopeful he will be out in 2-3 days.  After we got things squared away with him- with his companion, and the ward ready to look after him, we had to leave to get to Lethbridge for Steve's coordinating council meeting with Elder Evanson and all the stake presidents in the south of our mission.  We didn't know if we would even be able to get out of Cranbrook because the weather conditions were so poor, and roads had been closed due to accidents. BC has had a record year for snow--it is piled so high in that city on the sides of the roads, and on Wednesday night while we were there it snowed about another 10 inches.  But a sister who works in the transportation department phoned us and said that all accidents had been cleared, and if we left in 15 minutes we would be able to get out of Crowsnest Pass before they closed it.  So, we did!  And let me tell you, there were some horrendous driving conditions!  At one point we were on complete ice.  It was white knuckle driving, and I was glad it was Steve driving and not me.  But we made it to Lethbridge only about  30 minutes late.  That meeting ended about 9:30 and we headed back to Calgary and got home about 11:45p p.m.
Friday morning we had our meeting for our new trainers who will be training the new missionaries coming this Tuesday.  We have 10 new ones coming and are excited to get them here in our mission.
Saturday and Sunday we participated in the Calgary West Stake Conference with Elder Peter Meurs of the Seventy as the General Authority who came.  It was great to meet he and his wife.  He was just newly called last April--so they left their home in Australia and moved to SLC.  I have such admiration for these couples that just leave their homes to go serve the Lord wherever they are asked.
It was a great stake conference with a wonderful spirit there.  President Steele, the stake president, spoke about our need to be able to listen to the spirit, and to find time to be still and let the spirit speak to us so we can be guided.  He reminded us that the spirit always speaks the truth--so if we can learn to recognize it, we will always know what we need to do.  It was such a good talk, and reminded me that I need to find the ways to access the spirit more in my life.
I learn so much at stake conferences.  It really is a blessing to be in so many of them.
We are excited for transfer week this week coming up!  It's always a fun, busy week!
Calgary North Zone surrounding Elder Boss for his birthday- he is front left!

Sister Zimmerman blowing out a candle for her birthday at the New Trainers  Meeting.

Saying good-by to Sister Jakobi before she goes home to Germany.

Monday, February 6, 2017

True Canadian Winter!

Today I needed to go to Costco since I hadn't been there since before Christmas.  Steve thought I was crazy because it was -19 outside and snowing and the roads were bad.  But, I was going!
Well, I learned that the best day to go to Costco in Calgary is on a day just like this!  No one was there because of the weather I guess!  Easy to find a parking spot right up front--no lines- it was great!
Everyone has told us that this year has been a true Canadian winter.  And I believe it.  Last Sunday we had a chinook and temperatures soared to +14 (which is 58 fahrenheit), and this past weekend and today we have been at -15 to -19. (about -4 fahrenheit) Bitter cold!
We have also learned that they don't really worry about plowing the roads here either!  So you need to like driving on snowpacked roads.  I don't mind that really!  We have been getting quite a bit of snow the past few days--and our zone out in BC has been getting pounded with snow.  They had to cancel their zone training meeting for tomorrow because they can't let all the missionaries that need to drive in be on the roads.  They are hoping to hold it on Thursday.
You gotta love it!
This is how they plow the roads in Calgary-- they don't!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Crazily busy!

We have been so busy with zone conferences, interviews, and today an MLC, that I am just now sitting down to write about the last 10 days.  Last Monday we were able to go to BC to do their interviews that night, and the next day we held their zone conference.  It's kind of fun to go out and do their zone conference separate from all the others.  It's just a small group--but they are great, and we love being with them.  So, our zone conferences for this transfer are over, and we will complete all of the interviews by this Saturday afternoon--so they will all be done for the transfer.  We have come to know that this is how our life will be from here on out!
Wednesday we had the great blessing of watching a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast.  It was so cool!  To begin with they basically took us on a virtual tour of the Church Office Building and it ended up in a room with Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Andersen, Bishop Waddell, Sister Oscarson, and Elder Brent Nielsen--all members of the missionary committee.  We then got to just 'sit in' on their council live!  It was an amazing experience.  They again reminded as (just as they did last year in their broadcast) that we are here to "Teach repentance and baptize converts".  And they discussed the importance of repentance in all of our lives. They told the missionaries that they can't teach repentance without practicing repentance in their own personal lives.  They also discussed the importance of living and teaching the Doctrine of Christ.  They also discussed topics such as: Helping investigators progress towards baptism, establishing the church, how to become a more persuasive teacher, and helping people keep commitments.  It was such a cool experience to just watch them have a council together.  Close to the end of the broadcast they announced a new change in the daily schedule of a missionary.  They are giving the missionaries more latitude to decide when they will have their companion study, language study, and do their 12 week program.  They can choose to do it in the afternoon, however their schedule works best.  Also, they moved planning from the nighttime to the morning--which that in and of itself is an inspired move!  To not be planning at night when they are so tired is awesome.  It is now done in the morning before 10:00 a.m. They can also come home and even be in bed by 9:30 if as a companionship they choose to, and get more sleep.  The brethren want the missionaries to become 'agents unto themselves' as stated in D & C 58, and to learn to make more decisions on their own, as they pray and ponder about it.  This will bless their lives as they go home as well.  I loved it.  And our missionaries loved it.  It inspired us!
Wednesday night while Steve went to his coordinating council meeting with Elder Spackman and all the stake presidents in Calgary, I had a young women's group come to the mission home for a little fireside.  I had two of our sisters, Sister Grange and Sister Williams, come teach them and answer questions.  It was a fun night with these young women.  They are so cute.
We had interviews on Thursday and Saturday, and on Friday we had a retrainers meeting with all of our newest missionaries (all 6) and their trainers.  We had a great meeting with them.
On Saturday afternoon Steve participated in the Confederation Park stake conference general priesthood meeting.  He was able to show pictures of families and others that have been baptized in our mission, and one family that has even been sealed in the temple.  He said it was great for them to see the successes that are happening in the Canada Calgary Mission, and to inspire them to just open their mouths and invite people to learn of Jesus Christ.
Sunday Steve spoke in the Woodbine ward, and right after that we drove up to Airdrie (which is about 35 minutes away) to participate in their 3rd hour meeting, and share some thoughts on missionary work.  That was really fun.
Monday we had our usual meeting with our couples serving in our office.  As we are losing Elder and Sister Peppinger on March 1 we are in a real bind because we don't have someone to replace them.  They have been fanstastic, and we will be so sad to see them go.  Elder and Sister Sefcik, who serve part time in the office, and live here in Calgary, are also supposed to be released, but they have agreed to stay on to help us out through this bind.  But, Monday afternoon Steve was able to meet with a brother that lives here in Calgary who wants to serve a church service mission, and he wants to come in and do what Elder Peppinger has been doing (our finances).  So, that is a HUGE blessing.  You just don't know how invaluable the office couples are.  They do so much work.
Calgary's weather is crazy!  On Sunday, as we had a Chinook here, it got up to 55!  Most of the snow melted, we weren't wearing coats, it was great!  Then yesterday it dropped right back down to -8, which is 17!  So, I put my warm winter coat back on today!
We had a great MLC today, with not only our zone leaders and sister trainer leaders, but we also invited our district leaders.  It was such a wonderful day--so filled with the spirit, and all of the trainings were wonderful.  We feel that everyone went away uplifted and edified and inspired to go do the work.  We had 62 missionaries there- about 1/3 of our mission.  Every leader in our mission attended--so as you can realize, they can have a lot of influence. ..for good or bad.  So, we tried to help them realize the vision of what they can do.  They are so awesome though--we just love all of our missionaries.
This is great work; but it is also very tiring.  Sometimes I wonder how I can make it through the day.  But as always, Heavenly Father renews my strength and energy.  He answers my prayers and gives me what I need, to do what needs to be done.  He is so kind and so generous in his blessings to me.
It's little things like this that help me know how much he loves me.
Sisters Barlow, Larsen and Elder Murdock in BC

More BC selfies!

The BC zone at zone conference.

The Somerset Young Women at the mission home- Sisters Williams & Grange in the middle.