Sunday, July 16, 2017

Busy, On the Road, Zone Conferences

I am finally getting a chance to sit down and write about the last 2 1/2 weeks!  I don't think I will recap it all, but it has been action packed!  After transfers we began interviews again, and after our first week of interviews we left on Friday June 30 to drive out to BC, particularly to Trail and Nelson, the farthest west cities in our mission where we have elders serving.  We had set appointments to meet with the branch presidency in Nelson, and with the Ward Council in Trail.  We arrived in Cranbrook late on Friday evening, and then on Saturday, which was Canada Day (celebrating 150 years as a nation!), we decided to take a little detour before getting to Nelson and go to Nakusp, the little town we have skied out of.  It was fun to go see it in the summer, as we have only seen it in the dead of winter when we skied there with our kids. Sunday morning we were able to have our meetings in Nelson and Trail, and we also were able to interview the elders serving there.  Then we left and drove to Creston, BC, and interviewed the elders there before driving back to Cranbrook.  On Monday we attended their District meeting and completed the interviews with that zone.  We stayed in Cranbrook overnight so we could meet with President Anderson, the stake president on Tuesday, before driving back to Lethbridge. In Lethbridge we were able to meet with President Stewart of the Lethbridge East Stake on Tuesday night.  We then did interviews with both zones there and also the Cardston zone the rest of that week.  And Steve and I were both able to go out teaching with missionaries on Wednesday night in Lethbridge, and that is always good!  It's good for us to be out with our missionaries 'right in the work', so we can better know how to help them.  We got home on Friday night after being gone for 8 days.  It was a great road trip, and we put on a lot of miles!  It was so fun to get out to Trail and Nelson in the summer instead of winter!  The scenery is spectacular at this time of year.  We noticed lakes that we have never seen in the winter because the weather is always so bad that you can't see them!
The canola fields are also in full bloom right now in Alberta, and so when you drive from the south up to Calgary you see the beautiful fields of yellow!  They are spectacular!  We have also had some very hot weather!  A couple of days it has gotten to 36!  Which is about 97-98 Fahrenheit!  So hot for Canada!
On July 6-7 we had a mission wide fast to help us in our efforts to find more people to teach.  Each companionship began with a prayer around 7 p.m. on Thursday and would close the fast together about 5:00 on Friday. It was so neat to think that our whole mission was united in fasting and prayer to bring more souls to the Savior.  We designated the hours from 2-5 p.m. on Friday to be hours where every companionship would be outside talking with people, exercising the faith that if they were out working, they would find people who are receptive.  We had so many miracles happen, and we felt very blessed. Steve kept receiving texts from missionaries telling him of the events and miracles that were happening.  It was so powerful!  We truly do know that when we come together unitedly in fasting and prayer, the Lord will bless us, and He did!
We had the weekend home to prepare for zone conferences the next week and then on Monday evening we drove back to Lethbridge for our zone conference with every single southern zone.  We had to do it this way because we had Tiwi's being installed in all of the cars.  Tiwi's are devices to help our missionaries be more safe.  It has a GPS system in it, and it will actually alert the driver if they are going above the speed limit, so they can readjust their speed.  We are excited to have them in our vehicles.  As we've read the statistics from other missions that have them, it is amazing to see how their accidents and speeding violations have decreased.  It will bless our missionaries.
We had our 3 zone conferences, the one in Lethbridge and two up in Calgary this past week.  We focused on Teaching for Understanding, Applying Preach My Gospel more in our work, Having the Faith to Find, and Finding through the Spirit.  We felt like the conferences went really well, and the missionaries were uplifted and inspired.
At the end of our conference in Lethbridge as we were holding our testimony meeting, Joe Paul (the man in charge of the TiWi Installation) came in telling us that a senior's facility right next to the church was on fire and they needed help getting the senior residents out of it and into a safe place.  So, we stopped testimonies and headed outside to help.  The Firefighters were evacuating the people, and our missionaries helped walk them from the facility into the church where we set up chairs in the gym and got them comfortable.  We were able to get them bottles of water, and some snacks, and just visit with them and calm their nerves while they waited for family members to come and pick them up.  The Red Cross came and set up their station inside the gym and began helping with 'triage' and assessing if any of the seniors were in need of medical attention.  It was a great blessing that we could be there to serve and help, and an experience our missionaries won't forget!  It was quite an ending to the zone conference!
This first week of July we also had the difficult experience of informing one of our sweet sisters, Sister Poll, that her dad had unexpectedly passed away.  We have not had to do that before, and prayed for the spirit to be with us, with her, and with her family.  That was one of the hardest things I've done on my mission, is to relay that news.  We let all of our missionaries know what happened, and as it had happened  right before our fast began, they all included her in their fasting and prayers, so that was a sweet experience.
So, we have completed all of our zone conferences and this week we will complete interviews and start preparing for transfers.  There is never a dull moment, and we had a few days where we were literally exhausted.  But we are always renewed to do what needs to be done.  We know Heavenly Father blesses us beyond our capacity.  We were grateful for prayers from our children at home, who sent extra ones our way.  We are so grateful for their love and support.  
Beautiful BC scenery


Elders Hawkins & Bryner helping out on Canada Day!

Sisters Ence & Williams dropping me off after going out teaching with them!

Canola fields in full bloom!



Lunch at zone conferences in Lethbridge



Love these sisters!


Missionaries celebrating birthdays getting their 'gifts'

The seniors our missionaries brought to the church from the fire

The senior facility on fire in Lethbridge

Zone conferences in the north

More cute sisters!


and more cute sisters!


Spanish speakers!

We always enjoy lunchtime at zone conferences!



Selfie with Sisters King and Carillo