Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On the road, Interviews, A Baptism!

After our BC zone conference on Monday we drove to Lethbridge and did 3 zones interviews on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday--Lethbridge Zone, Lethbridge East Zone, and the Cardston Zone.  We were also able to meet with two stake presidents in the evenings-so it was a good productive road trip!  We got home later on Friday evening, and it was good to be home again.  We don't mind the traveling, but it is always good to get out of a hotel room and back into your own bed and home!  Although we have become friends with the hotel front desk people, and have given them pass-a long cards, and we have given a Book of Mormon to a woman who works in housekeeping.  We keep hoping and praying that the messages we ask them to look at will touch their hearts and they will want to learn more about the gospel.
On Saturday evening we were able to attend a baptismal service for 2 different people in our Spanish ward!  It was such a sweet service and both Margarita and Kepler, the ones being baptized, had smiles from ear to ear the whole time.  There is nothing as great as seeing someone embrace the gospel and choose to be baptized.  Even though the whole service was in Spanish, you could feel the spirit and love there.  Elder Tate, who gave one of the talks, printed his talk for us in English, so we were able to read it while he gave it in Spanish.  He did a wonderful job.  I love seeing our missionaries participate in these services.  Hermana Vera sang "I am a Child of God" and Elder Crockett was the pianist.  Elder Ibanez performed one of the baptisms, and Elder Williams did one of the confirmations.  They are amazing missionaries with such powerful testimonies of the Savior.  We just love them all!
On Sunday morning we left early to drive to Lethbridge to participate in the creation of the first Young Single Adult stake outside of the US!  Elder Vern P. Stanfill and Elder James Evanson were the General Authorities there.  It was such an exciting day for the young single adults in southern Alberta!  Now they will have their own stake with a Stake President who holds priesthood keys to lead and guide them.  We know it will bless our missionary efforts too!  We look forward to finding many young adults to bring into the gospel, and also bringing back those who have wandered.  We are so excited about it!
This gospel is amazing, and  I am so blessed to know of it and to know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me.  I am so blessed to know I have a Savior who gave His life for me, and that because of Him I can return to my Father in Heaven, as well as my whole family!  I love having a prophet to lead and guide us, and I love the Book of Mormon.  That book has changed my life, and continues to do so.  I feel such power and peace when I read it.  If it has been awhile since you have read it, I would invite you to start again, and let it touch your heart as it testifies of Jesus Christ.
Hotels!  Where we spend a lot of time!

The Taber parade at beginning of Corn Fest!  We were there doing interviews.

At interviews Elders Ajeman & Mecham had us try a new soda called Dirt Soda--and that is exactly what it tasted like!

Baptism of Kepler Sanchez (3rd from left) and Margarita Deschner-great day!
Front row: Elders Tate & Schiel
Back row: Hermanas Amaller, Vera, Elders Ibanez & Williams

Kepler Sanchez with Hermanas Amaller & Vera, who taught him!

Found one of our returned missionaries, Eden Hardwick, (clear from England!) in Lethbridge at the YSA stake  creation!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Last zone conference-in BC!

Today we completed our final zone conference out in Cranbrook, BC.  It's a small group-just 10 elders, and one senior couple, the Ebert's.  But it is always a great conference, and fun to be out there with them!
Our great BC zone!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More zone conference pictures!

More pictures from zone conferences!
Sisters Stash, Russell, & Elder Wahlquist doing at  selfie at Zone Conference!

Cardston Zone

Sisters Hawkins, Stash, Hansen & Rogers

Lethbridge Zone

Sisters Rowberry, HoChing, Christensen & Russell

Huge selfie at zone conference!

Lethbridge East Zone

Medicine Hat Zone

The Elders in zone conference got Steve to do a selfie with them!  

Sisters selfie!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interviews, MLC, Zone Conferences & visitors!

Well, once transfers were over we began again with interviews!  We have done 3 zones so far, with a Mission Leadership Council in between them.  In our Mission Leadership Council and in our zone conferences we are talking about making the 'culture' of our mission a Christ Centered Culture, which means everything we do is centered on Him.  The missionaries suggested that a Christ Centered Mission is one where missionaries are applying the atonement in their lives, repenting, being obedient, developing Christ like attributes, studying and learning more of Christ, learning to teach as He did, being diligent like He was, loving as He did, serving as He did, teaching His doctrine of faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end, and many other things.  We determined that our Standards of Excellence help us to become a Christ Centered Mission.  We are excited to keep this as our focus and always ask ourselves, "What would Christ do?"  We believe as we ask that and then act as He would we will become as He wants us to be.
We have had two Zone Conferences this week- both in the Calgary area, and tomorrow and Friday we will hold them down south- one in Lethbridge, and the other in Medicine Hat.  Then on Sunday after we participate in the Calgary North Stake Conference with Elder Schweitzer of the Seventy, we will drive to BC to hold Zone Conference with them!  And we will be gone that whole week doing interviews!  So, it is always busy, busy!  We love zone conferences and being with these amazing missionaries and seeing their faith, and listening to them teach and inspire each other.  Steve and I are always uplifted after zone conferences.  We love our missionaries!
We had a call late in the night on Sunday night from one of our elders having extreme chest pain, and we ended up sending him to the ER.  He was then transported from the small hospital there to a larger one in Lethbridge and he has myopericarditis.  This is an inflammation of the sack around the heart.  Everything is under control and he is doing well, but he has been in the hospital since Monday morning, which is tough!  We were grateful for a good companion that gave him a priesthood blessing that night.  And then we are grateful for his zone and the attention and prayers they have given him!  We have all been praying for him!  And we are grateful for good medical care and for wonderful doctors that help us out!  I have some great doctors who are LDS that have been lifesavers for us in our mission!  One in Lethbridge, and one in Calgary.  We are so grateful for them!
We have had a lot of visitors the past two weeks!  Quite a few of our returned missionaries have stopped by to say Hi, and it is so fun to see them and catch up!
And our good friends, the Hunts, also came up and it was so fun to be with them!  We had to speak in the branch in Banff on Sunday and they were with us there, which was fun for us!
There have been a lot of fires in BC, and so many days we even get the smoke from those fires!  When we were in Banff on Sunday for church it was really smoky, which is too bad because it obscures the views of those incredible mountains!
We are busy as ever and are also re-energized by our new missionaries that have arrived.  They bring new enthusiasm to our mission.  And yesterday we went to the airport to pick up two new Mandarin speaking elders who had completed their time at the MTC.  It was fun to get them and take them to meet their trainers, who are both from Taiwan!  The new ones are both from Utah, so they are both getting native companions--they are going to learn Mandarin very quickly!
We love this work, and know the Savior guides us in it.  At our zone conferences we have studied a talk by Elder Bednar on the Atonement, and we have a discussion about it, and we are all coming to appreciate and love what our Savior has done for us, and how his atonement not only redeems us, but gives us strength to do things we would not be able to do on our own.  We are learning how His atonement changes us.  It is always such a favorite part of zone conference.
This gospel is so wonderful and we are so grateful for it.  It has brought us so much happiness in our lives.
District meeting in Confederation Park Zone

Our missionaries always want us to try  Seniore's for donair pizza- we finally did! 

Foothills Zone

Confederation Park Zone

Sisters Sims and Romo & Elder Jenkins  doing a selfie!

Bow River Zone

Fish Creek Zone

Elders Peterson & Hancey-our new Mandarin speakers!

Calgary Zone

Elder Higashi's selfie!

Calgary North Zone

Elders Fisher, Rodriguez, Boss doing their selfie!

Calgary West Zone

Monday, August 7, 2017

One HUGE transfer week!

Well, last week we had our huge transfer week where we welcomed in 29 new missionaries on Tuesday afternoon!  It took a long time to get them through customs, so we didn't even get to the church for training until about 5:00 p.m.!  So we just took pictures with them to send to their parents, and then had dinner and did the training afterwards.  They are a great group of new missionaries straight from the MTC, and we love the enthusiasm and faith and excitement they bring to our mission!  It kind of re-energizes us, because we want to lead them and help them become the best missionaries they can be, and help their testimonies and faith grow as well.  We are so excited to have them here!
Wednesday they all met their new trainers--some got them by 11:00 that morning-up here in Calgary- and the ones serving down south were able to meet theirs about 1:30 in Lethbridge.  We always love seeing them meet their trainers and head to their new areas to really go to work.
Then on Thursday we had our regular transfer day where everyone else that was getting transferred was moved.  Because we had so many training this transfer, it didn't leave that many left to be transferred to new areas, so our Thursday wasn't as crazy as it has been.  After transfers were complete we loaded a rented yellow school bus to take the 37 departing missionaries to the Calgary Temple prior to their going home on Friday morning.  It was pretty fun for them to all be on one bus together!  We felt like we were on a big field trip!  The bus driver, Brent, told us we were a pretty 'tame' group--he is used to driving kids in elementary, and he said they are much rowdier than us!
Our temple session was very special.  The prayers offered in it for the missionaries were so touching that they brought tears to my eyes.  It was really a tender experience for all of us, and I think our missionaries left there feeling the love of the Savior.  We then loaded up on the bus again and headed back to the church for dinner and our testimony meeting.  Usually we do all of this at the mission home, but this group was so big we couldn't accommodate them, so we had to do it at the church.  We had a wonderful testimony meeting with them--as I've said before, I wish everyone could listen to a 'final testimony meeting' of departing missionaries.  It is quite incredible to hear them share how much they love the Savior and what He means to them.
Friday morning we got up at 4:20 a.m. to take the first 8 to the airport.  Then we came back and showered and got the next group of 28 and took them out.  Then we had one left that was taken out about 5:00.  It was quite a feat by our senior couples serving in the office and us to get it all done!  We are so grateful for our senior couples serving with us in the office.  They are wonderful and this mission couldn't run without them!  It is always sad to say good-by to these missionaries, but we are also very excited to see what life holds in store for them. We know if they will stay true to their covenants and stay faithful in the gospel they will have happy lives.  We always share with them how blessed our lives are because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the joy and happiness we have had because of it. That is what we want for them!
On the weekend we had visits from our dear friends the Funks and Schmidts, who were Steve's counselors when he was the stake president.  It was so great to see them!  One of the great blessings of serving in the church are the incredible friends you make.
Elders Assily, Wolfe (our new assistant) Stringam, enjoying Chik-fil-A before the new missionaries arrive!

Our new missionaries!  All 29 of them!

Loading the bus to go to the temple!

Bus ride!

Selfie with sisters after the temple!

Our wonderful departing missionaries!

Sisters Rasmussen, Sears and Schnebly slept at the mission home because they left at 4:30 a.m.