Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!!

What a glorious time of year! I love Christmas and most of all I love my Savior. It has been a great week here in Kitchener. I have a new companion, Sister Rigby, and I love her! We laugh all day and have so much fun together. Sister Stanbrough is here as well. It is a college city so it is easier to talk to young single adults than in Brampton where there are a lot of older people too. The only challenges right now are exams and holidays...nobody is here! The majority of the population here is Chinese so we also have Chinese speaking Elders in our ward. It has been amazing to testify to many people about the power of prayer and the Book of Mormon. However, not many people are willing to listen with their busy lives. The scripture 3 Nephi 13:33 comes to mind: "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you!" As we put God first in our lives, we will receive strength and a greater capacity to accomplish the tasks of life. I love the Book of Mormon.

Church was great yesterday. It was the first time in my life I have ever been to a branch instead of a ward! It was pretty small but amazing. Sacrament meeting was so great and the Spirit was strong. There were talks about service and peace. I wish the spirit of Christmas could be present all year long. I am looking forward to getting to know the members here. We don't really have any investigators right now so we spend much of our time finding. We walk around the same loop everyday all day because it passes by two of the colleges. It is pretty cold, but I bundle up a lot (which might be why people don't talk to us - we look ridiculous! haha).

I went to a birthday party for a girl that we apparently were teaching but decided not to any more because she isn't progressing. She is from Burma but much of her family grew up in Thailand as well. There were loads of people there, all sitting on the ground all around the house and they did a sort of service that had songs and scriptures. It was all in another language and I had no clue what was going on haha. All I can say is I am so glad I am an english speaking missionary! Anyway, we ate food and left. There wasn't really a point to us being there, but oh well. I guess it was a cultural experience.

I love the prophet! I read his talk about gratitude in the general conference Ensign this morning. With this new year approaching, let us show our gratitude more, so it fills us. Showing gratitude to our Heavenly Father can change our hearts. I love you all. Have a very merry Christmas this week and remember to serve others. Show love to others. Remember what matters most!

Love,
Sister Barton :)

P.S. The library is closed next Monday, so I will be e-mailing on Tuesday :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010.

Happy Winter Weather!
It's freezing here! Well, actually, below freezing! Today we have reached the low of the season in Brampton. It's -12 degrees C, which is about 10 degrees F, but walking around in the middle of the day, it is very cold! We drove home last night from the church in Etobicoke (about 30 minutes away from home) and the roads were so bad! We prayed and drove carefully. Luckily, much of missionary work is walking!
Neniker was confirmed yesterday! He is so great. I wrote down notes while he was receiving his blessing and gave them to him. After church, he also received the Aaronic priesthood! Sister Stanbrough, Sister Cheng, and I ran all around the church trying to find him so we could be there and when we finally found the room he was in, we looked in the window of the door and he was already being ordained :(. It's okay though. He was glowing when he came out. He came up to me and asked if I wanted him to baptize me with a big grin on his face, because he now has the priesthood power and authority of God to do so. I laughed pretty hard. He is very funny.
Last night was the big Mississauga Stake Fireside and I was so privileged to be a part of. It was recorded, so I am looking forward to watching it someday. It was wonderful. The whole fireside was musical numbers about the Savior and about Christmas. We ended with "O Holy Night" where I stood in the front with a microphone and did a solo for much of the song. I was laughing so hard after because one of the elders from the Toronto East Mission had me autograph his program for real. Everyone was asking me if I was professionally trained. Maybe being on a mission makes my voice better or something hahaha. It's the Spirit. It was a wonderful memory I will never forget. It's pretty rare to get that kind of opportunity on a mission, so I am very grateful.
The big news of the week is that transfer calls were yesterday and guess what?!?! First of all, Sister Cheng is going to her trainer, Sister Brandley (one of my MTC comps), in Burlington, but everyone here basically already knew that. And...Sister Stanbrough and I are moving to Kitchener YSA to triple with Sister Rigby! I have known about this for a week but haven't been allowed to tell anyone because President accidentally told me where we were going. Brampton YSA will be covered by the assistants to the president for the next five weeks until the next transfer, when two new sisters will be coming out, one from England and one from Zambia! Crazy, eh? I am excited. There is another sister coming out from Washington around February and another one from China in April.


Sister Cheng has been with us all week. She is from Hong Kong and graduated from BYU Hawaii just recently. She sort of knows English, but I don't understand lots of what she says hahaha. It is nice to have some reminders of things we learned at the MTC since she is so new. But yes, Kitchener will be super great. I'm excited to serve with Sister Rigby and to have Christmas there! All letters for this transfer can still be sent to the mission office, since I don't know how long I will be in Kitchener.
Well, that's about all I have today. I attached a picture we took at sports this morning with the Elders we play with each Monday morning. We just got some mission shirts made for each of us and they're awesome, especially the back, which says at the top "Wear the badge, hit the pavement!" Then has CTWM in grafitti lettering.


I also attached a picture of us with two of the elders from the Toronto East mission that we have been working with for the past transfer because they are in our ward. We've become great friends.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Be safe, don't freeze, and always remember the glorious birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If not for Him, we would be lost forever. Think of Him as you prepare to celebrate his birth, life, and resurrection :) I love you all!
Love,
Sister Barton :)


Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010.

Week of MIRACLES!!!!!!!
I already know I don't have enough time to write everything I want to say, but I will just go for it! We started off the week with District Meeting, where I always learn so much from the Spirit. I am reminded of how I can be a better missionary and set new goals for how to apply the teachings. The picture here is only part of my district, but the senior couple wasn't able to go.


NENIKER GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!! WAHOO!!!!!! The baptism was SO amazing.

Neniker truly was prepared by Heavenly Father for this wonderful time in his life. Sister Stanbrough and I taught him almost everyday last week and often times just felt like we were shoving information into his brain. His interview was Saturday and he was baptized after church yesterday. The service went really well and I sang "O Come All Ye Faithful" with a few other people (Neniker requested it and it gave me a pretty good laugh because it is a Christmas song :D). I realized that I have sung at 4 baptisms so far since being in Brampton and I have been asked to sing a musical number for our church Christmas program in two weeks! I am so grateful that music has been a big part of my mission. There is more on that later in my e-mail. Back to Neniker. He is so great. The ward has really fellowshipped him lately. He sill be done with high school in January. He seems to have something in common with most of the ward members, whether is is break dancing, graphic design, etc. He is very happy and his spirit touches my heart. He has lots more to learn, but he has shown his faith by taking this step onto the path back to our Heavenly Father. It is just beginning for him. I like how the counselor in the bishopric put it when he welcomed Neniker into the ward. He said that for Neniker's whole life, he has been on a journey, and now he is on the path to eternal life! He will now prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. I have felt the truthfulness of the scripture about the sons of Mosiah found in Mosiah 28:3 which says: "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." My heart is full this week because of Neniker :) He also came to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which was so good!
Another miracle of the week started after our lesson with Neniker on Friday night. I checked our voicemail on the way home and we had a message but no return phone number. A girl called, saying timidly "Hello, I found your card on the bus with your number on it. I felt like I should call. I need you to pray for me. I just came to this country from Jamaica and I am a Christian. It is really hard here and I don't know what to do. I just walked onto the bus and found your card, so it must be fate. I was hoping you would answer. I can't leave you this number, but I will call back another time." !!!!!!!! We had our whole district praying for us that she would call us back because we had no way to contact her. Saturday night, the phone rang and said "Private No." I picked it up and immediately knew it was her. I asked if she was the girl that left the message the night before and she started bawling in the phone. Her name is Michelle and she is here in Canada with her daughter, Kimberly. She is having a really hard time, but I'm not sure with what yet. I told her we have been praying for her and she started crying more. I told her we prayed that she would call us back and that we want to help her. I said we would love to meet her somewhere. She couldn't leave us that phone number, but she said she would call back today, Monday, sometime in the afternoon from school. My heart goes out to her. I know that the Gospel will heal her from whatever she went through or is going through now. The Savior heals all who will come unto Him in faith. I am looking forward to her phone call today.
Next week I have the privilege and blessing of being part of a stake choir for a Christmas fireside. I had to get special permission from my mission president because it is for the Mississauga stake, which is in the east mission (remember, half of my ward is made up of the east mission and half of it is the west mission). I have a few solo parts and will be soloing in the finale of "O Holy Night." I was SO happy to get President's approval because I know how stressful programs to be, especially when half the choir doesn't show up until the day of the performance. I am so grateful for wholesome music which allows us to feel of Heavenly Father's love for us even more. This will be a wonderful program and I feel blessed to be able to serve.
Last, but definitely NOT least.....I found out this morning that I will be mini-TRAINING!!!!! Sister Chang, from Hong Kong flies in today! Transfers are not until next week, so until then, Sister Stanbrough and I will be training Sister Chang for this week! I don't know much about her, other than the fact that she doesn't really have the support of her family and must have an amazing testimony. I am so excited to meet today as we will have dinner at President Brower's house :) There are also three new elders from Ireland, Brazil, and and Utah! Lots of diversity coming in! This week is going to be full of fun, serving my companions, hard work, and miracles! I know there are more people prepared and ready, like Neniker. Well, transfers are next week and it is a huge mystery on what is going to happen to all of the sisters. Sister Chang could leave somewhere else after the week, or she could stay and I could train her, or I could leave, or....anything! You are all wonderful! Thank you! I love you all!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

(Before)

(After)


Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010.

Hello Loved Ones!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? I hope everyone was safe and felt the joyful spirit of gratitude. I heard that there was a big storm in Utah. Right now I am grateful to be here in Canada where it hasn't even really snowed yet! Haha. Ironic. It snowed once this week but it didn't stay. It is very cold though. I'm pretty sure snow would make it warmer.



I feel a bit scattered because this morning after sports with the Elders, I left my planner at the church. I am never without it and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Most of you probably know this about me - I am a very organized person. I usually write down
notes of what I am going to e-mail about, but since I don't have any, I will just write my thoughts, which is just as good!

Sister Stanbrough and I worked extra hard this week. We weren't really seeing much success, but our biggest miracle overrules all anyway haha. We taught Neniker on Friday night. We taught him about the first part of the Plan of Salvation. He already understood a bit of it from church last week. The best part of the lesson was at the end when I set him for BAPTISM! Wahoo! He has a baptismal date for THIS Sunday, December 5th. He is so amazing. He came to church yesterday and dressed up all nice for it. He has such a great spirit that is so friendly and warm. He smiles a lot. I think I said it in my last e-mail, but he is from St. Lucia. I forgot what language they speak. A ward member here said that they speak a language that is a mix of other languages. I'm not sure. I told him that when he is
baptized, he will be able to feel the Spirit and Heavenly Father's love for him. He said that would be neat because he was baptized as a baby and doesn't remember it at all. We have a lot more to teach him, but I know he will be ready. The situation is comparable to D&C 4
which says that "if ye have desires to serve, ye are called to the work." If ye have desires to come closer to Heavenly Father, ye are called to be baptized! Hey, it works! I love the scriptures. They are gems that I will always treasure!

Today is the last time I will see Sandra for a while because she is going to Mauritius to visit family for the month of December. She found a church there and will attend while she is gone. Get this - she got baptized three Sundays ago and the bishop is calling her to be
a co-teacher of our new french Gospel Principles class! Ha! She is so incredible. The class is mostly for a recent convert, Cesar (baptized two weeks before Sandra) who speaks mostly french and isn't learning much in the english class. Sandra will do very well as she works with another ward member who speaks french. We don't even have to sit with her anymore during church because she is friends with the whole ward already! I love her.

One of the highlights of my week was receiving a Christmas package from my brother and sister-in-law. The box was decorated all cute and said that I could open it on American Thanksgiving.



Thursday finally came and when I opened it, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
There are lots of little wrapped presents inside with instructions on each one for when to open it. I was able to open two the day after Thanksgiving and again...died and went to heaven. One of the presents was a little stand-up felt Christmas tree with homemade ornaments that have pictures of my family on them.



Leave it to Sarah to be the most creative person in the world! I love my Christmas tree and my little stocking that used to be full of candy, but I ate it all! I am excited to open the rest of the presents, some which say "Sing 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' and open on a snowy night in December" and "Open when in a gift and goodie giving mood." I love Christmas! Does
anyone have any fun plans for Christmas? Do tell! :)

I hope you have all had a wonderful week. I love you and am grateful for your love and support. This is the true Church with the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and with God's power and authority again on the earth. How blessed we are to be a part of it.

Love,
Sister Barton :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010.

Happy American Thanksgiving Week!
Since I already had Thanksgiving here, I had to remind myself of when all of you have it there in America. I hope you all have fun plans and that you have a greater attitude of gratitude during this time of year. The lights are going up around the city of Brampton here and I am getting excited for Christmas. I realized a couple of days ago that I get to call both of my homes on Christmas and I was so happy. I am definitely looking forward to it.
This week seemed pretty un-interesting until about yesterday. First of all, Sandra was confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost in Church, which is the greatest gift in the world, so that was great. She is amazing. She speaks French and she translates in Sunday School for the boy that got baptized two weeks before her. He is from the Congo and when the elders taught him, they had a translater. Now Sandra tells him everything and she already knows so much about the Gospel. She loves her scriptures and reads a lot. We didn't have any investigators come to church because at the time we didn't really have any!
We taught a lesson last night to a boy named Jay who the previous sisters had taught a couple of times. He's not really an investigator though because I'm not really sure if he is actively seeking the truth. Anyway, we met him at Tim Hortons (the coffee shop here...yes, It's weird to teach in a coffee shop when we don't drink coffee, but it's basically just a fast food place haha). He had a friend named Loren with him. We ended up focusing more on Loren and gave him a Book of Mormon. We set up return appointments with each of them on different days. After the lesson, I checked our voicemail and the bishop had called us. He said that he had spoken to a bishop of another Brampton ward who said that there was an 18-year-old investigator who attended church. He was wondering why the investigator didn't attend the YSA ward or why the sisters aren't teaching him. The investigator is a boy named Neniker who Sister Stanbrough and I met last week. We taught him a couple of times and then passed him off to some elders because he is still in high school. It turns out that the bishops think it best for him to go to the YSA ward. Anyway...lots of details and maybe confusing, but long story short, we called the elders and took Neniker back hahaha. Woops! I felt bad, but I just really want to do what is best for Neniker. He is from St. Lucia and has been in Canada for two years. He attended all of church yesterday and also a baptism that was held after church! I am excited to teach him again this week.
I got a letter this week from Jenn, who got baptized in North Bay. She is amazing! I love the eternal frienships that are formed on missions. We will be great friends when I get home. Well, I hope all of you have a great week! Enjoy a yummy Thanksgiving dinner :) I am so grateful for each of you. I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is why I am who I am today. The Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, as it has been multiple times throughout time. It is the ONLY way to have lasting happiness and to be with our families forever. How grateful I am for that gift. I love my family - every single person. I have been blessed with a lot of family and they all brighten my life. Thanksgiving is a great way to start of the Christmas season! I love you all :)
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16, 2010.

Happy Tuesday!
I just wrote part of my e-mail and it got deleted...gotta love computers :) Today is a great day. Don't you just love when you wake up happy, even at 5:15 in the morning? Sister Stanbrough and I got up early and went to the church to play soccer with all of the Elders. It was so much fun. Boys are very funny. I was laughing the whole time. Next week we are going to play volleyball, which I love. I feel that there is so much to tell and not enough time to tell it. I will do my best :)



Sandra got BAPTIZED on Sunday! It was so amazing. First of all, church was so great. Isaac, one of our investigators came to the ward for the first time and he learned so much. The Gospel Principles class was all about the Pre-Earth Life, which we haven't taught him yet. It was so great to spend a whole hour talking about who we are as children of God and to build that foundation for the rest of the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing. Sandra's baptism started after church was over. I sang an arrangement of "Come Ye Disconsolate" just before she was baptized and the Spirit was strong. As Sandra was getting dressed after she was baptized, she said that she felt like a new person. When we are baptized and when we take the sacrament each week, we really are starting over fresh and can repent of the things we did or failed to do before. This principle is essential. Sandra and Isaac both came to Family Home Evening (they should really change the name since we're in a Young Single Adult ward haha) last night where we watched an incredible movie on the life of President Thomas S. Monson, the current prophet. It's called "On the Lord's Errand," and if any of you haven't seen it, I highly suggest it. Our prophet really was called of God and was prepared throughout his life to serve as the leader of Christ's Church. How grateful I am for him!
Yesterday I had my first Zone Conference in the Brampton Zone and it was so great. All of the missionaries there truly were taught from on high. I learned so much about improving myself as a missionary and ultimately as a person. At first we talked about obedience. I love how my mission president said "80% Obedience does NOT equal 80% power!" It is so true. If we are mostly obedient, we don't necessarily have the Spirit with us most of the time. Christ has commanded us to be "perfect," and knowing that we would not be able to on our own, He atoned for those imperfections, IF and only if we come unto Him. I am going to strive this week to be exactly obedient. My mission president also emphasizes how "fun" it is to be obedient haha. I was reminded of what Sister Evanson and I wrote on our whiteboard in North Bay. We said "Obedience = Fun." It was kind of a joke, but it really is true. Life is SO much more rewarding when we follow Father's plan. It's a fact!

Well, I love you all! I am thankful for you. Strive to be obedient. Pray always. Serve your brothers and sisters. As Moroni says to his son Mormon in Moroni 8:3: "I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of His Holy Child, Jesus, that He, through His infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on His name to the end." I pray for you. I love you. Your Father in Heaven loves you. Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010.

I survived my second week in Brampton!

It's been a great week. Sister Stanbrough taught lots of lessons and were able to find many new people to teach for this coming week. The best part of this coming week is knowing that on Sunday, Sandra will be BAPTIZED! Wahoo! She is so amazing. She even told us in a lesson earlier this week that she can see in her life how Heavenly Father has been preparing her to know the fullness of His truth. She loves coming to church and the ward has been really great at fellowshipping her. She is so sweet and always gives us treats at the end of our lessons. I'm excited to send pictures of her baptism next week.

We had a couple of lessons with a boy named Gideon. The first lesson was pretty rough because he was trying to prove us wrong using the Bible. In the second lesson, something amazing happened. Although Gideon would come up with a new question each time we would anser the previous one, he could not confound us. We spent the whole lesson testifying of truth. This isn't just a Gospel or a Plan of Salvation that we teach, it is something we know to be true. Nobody can deny the power of the Holy Ghost. I love Galations 5:22-23, which talks about the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, peace, long-suffering, joy, gentleness, etc. I don't have my Bible with me right now, but the last line of these verses says "Against such there is no law." There is no law on earth that can prevent one from feeling the Holy Ghost. Even in a country where there is no religious freedom, if one seeks God, they can find Him. No one can ever tell me that what I know is not true. I have felt it. I know it. I cannot deny it. The Holy Ghost can teach us all things if we will allow Him to. That is the key!

I read a really great talk that Sister Stanbrough has called "Why 1820?" It talks about why the Church of Jesus Christ began to be restored in the year 1820 and not before. I really love what the speaker said at the end of the talk, speaking about who we were before we came to this earth. He said "If you knew who you were before you got here, it would scare you. Do you know what that means? It means that we don't have the right to do all the dumb stuff that a lot of other young people in the world are doing? Why? Because we know too much. Why? Because we are here because we were somebody before we came here and the Lord has sent us here to accomplish some great task. And that task is to take and exhort the reality of the fact that the Gospel has been restored." We did not begin when we were born on this earth. We lived with Heavenly Father before and because we are His children, we have divine worth. You were somebody great among the hosts of heaven and because of that, You have a great responsibility on this earth. I cannot imagine what life would be like without the knowledge of the greater plan. That is why I am on a mission...to help people know who they truly are in God's eyes and the divine potential they have.

I feel like I have rambled on and on haha. These are just my thoughts of the week. Thank you for being the good people you are. You are all amazing! Have a fantastic week :)

Love you lots,
Sister Barton

P.S. Since I have Zone Conference next Monday, I won't be e-mailing until Tuesday, so look for my update then!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010.

Hello from the big city of Brampton!
Wow, what a week so far. White-washing an area is definitely a lot of work! Sister Stanbrough and I have hardly had time to make phone calls with everything we have to do. I'm not quite sure where to start, so I will just talk about our investigator Sandra first. The sisters before us were teaching Sandra for a few weeks. She is from an island in the Indian Ocean (starts with an M...don't know how to spell it). Sister Stanbrough and I have met with her twice and she came to church yesterday! She has a baptismal date for November 14! She is so great. She often worries and wonders if she should know more before making this big step. I assured her that Heavenly Father is pleased with her decision. It is a step of faith, but she will only gain a testimony of it if she takes it. I am excited to keep teaching her. We will see her again on Wednesday.
It was nice going to my ward for the first time. It is a unique ward because it is actually made up of two different cities, covering about a 45 minute area. There are two missionaries from the Toronto East mission that cover the Toronto side of the ward, and Sister S and I cover the Brampton side. So we travel out of our area for church! Yesterday after church, there were two baptisms for the East mission and I was so happy Sandra could attend. I sang with a few other people and we didn't even have time to practice! Then Sister S and I did a little presentation and shared our testimonies while the two people who got baptized were changing. It was a pretty hectic day. We got home a little before 6:00 pm and had to stay in the rest of the night because it was Halloween. Sister S carved a pumpkin and we ate a lot of candy. We have a whole pecan pie in the fridge that the senior couple missionaries gave us!
Something happens to me when I am in Brampton. All of the sudden, I am able to talk to everyone I see with no fear and the Spirit tells me what to say. It is really amazing. Heavenly Father is helping me to see how I have improved since I came out here. There are always challenges though and I will continue to learn each day. One of the hardest things right now is just that Sister S and I don't know anyone. We are learning the streets, but we don't know most of the members or the investigators right now. There is lots to learn here!
I was sad to say goodbye to Sister Evanson, but I am happy for her and her new companion. I met the new sister, Sister Hodgkin, when I slept at the mission home on Monday night. She is SO prepared and is already an amazing missionary. I hope to be able to serve with her someday. We really are so lucky to have such amazing sisters in this area.
Hmm...that's about all I can think of to write at the moment. My brain is still scattered and I can't exactly think straight yet haha. One funny thing happened on Saturday night. Our ward mission leader had called us earlier this week and told us that when we meet with him he usually feeds us (we meet at his fiance's house). He said he had to work on Saturday so we decided to meet at 7:30 pm. Well, I figured that since we were meeting so late, Sister S. and I should probably eat dinner. We went out to eat and filled up. When we got to the house for our meeting, there was a whole dinner on the table. I guess 7:30 pm isn't too late for dinner! So...I ate a whole other meal and could barely get it down. I know I eat a lot, but I was not prepared for that! Haha. Only on a mission...
Well, I hope you are all doing well! I can hardly believe it is already November. Christmas is almost here! I hear it's the greatest to have Christmas on a mission. It's a great season to celebrate even more fully the life of the Savior. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Helaman 5:12, which talks about building our foundations on Jesus Christ. When everything else in life fails us, He will not. He is the way. The only way. I want to focus on always remembering Him this week. I love you all! Thank you for your support and for your love. It is so great to hear from many of you and I always look forward to it. Heavenly Father loves you :)
Love,
Sister Barton


Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010.

Sad Goodbyes, Happy Beginnings!

Hello everyone! How has your week been? It has been a crazy week here. I will start with the biggest news and then talk a little bit about my week. Transfer calls were last night...! Sister Evanson and I were driving home when President Brower called. We pulled over the car and started panicking. When the President calls on transfer day, it usually means someone is training. He asked to speak to Sister Evanson. I grabbed her arm and covered my mouth, not believing what was happening. We soon found out that Sister Evanson would be training in North Bay! Then, President spoke with me to tell me that I will be moving to the big city of Brampton! My new companion will be Sister Stanbrough, who has been out just one transfer more than me. We will be white-washing the Brampton Young Single Adult ward, which means neither of us have served there before. We do not know the area or the people at all. When I got off the phone with President, I cried. I have a lot of mixed emotions. I am scared out of my mind to white-wash an area and especially such a big city. The hardest part of all of it is probably leaving Sister Evanson. We are such great friends and really wanted to stay together. It was a shock. I am also sad to leave North Bay and wonderful people here. I have made great friendships with people I will always remember (the Jenners, the Hatts, etc.). Regardless of the uneasy, nervous feelings I have, I know that the Lord has a plan for me. Brampton is an amazing area and I believe we will already have a baptismal date for the first or second week of November. It is going to be a big change, but it will be exciting. No more knocking on doors. Now I will pick areas to contact and will talk to everyone I see. It is much more fast-paced than North Bay. Sister Evanson and I will be leaving today at 4:00 pm and will stay in the mission home tonight, which I am looking forward to so much. We will eat breakfast tomorrow with all of the new missionaries and their trainers, then I will go with Sister Sippel (one of the senior missionaries) to help her in the mission office for a few hours. Brampton is amazing. Almost everyone there is from another country so I will definitely be the minority. I have served there for a few days before during leadership conferences and it is so great to teach the Gospel so simply. I am getting excited! This morning, while Sister Evanson was in the shower, I made us pancakes and eggs (see picture). It was fun to celebrate our transfer together :)


This week was full of adventures. As we we tracted, we had some memorable experiences including me stepping on rotted wood and falling though a wooden deck (see picture of bruise attached!).


I lost my hat and we backtracked all of the streets we had tracted to try and find it, which wasn't successful. People told us to leave their property. Old men hit on us almost everyday and best of all, we saw a black bear run down the street right before our very eyes. We worked very hard and I had more finding hours than ever before on my mission. It is usually a struggle to get 20 in a week and Sister Evanson tracted or contacted for 26 1/2 hours this week! Although our work was not very fruitful, we kept on pushing forward. We witnessed a miracle in church yesterday. Sister Evanson and I both spoke on missionary work in Sacrament meeting. As I sat on the stand, I saw a family with two kids walk into the chapel halfway through the meeting. I figured they were visiting from out of town. I came to find out after that they live by the church and decided to come. Sister Evanson and I taught the parents about the restoration of the Gospel during Sunday School. They have a native background, so we really focused on Jesus Christ and how it is only through him that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I haven't had an investigator come to church once this transfer, but Heavenly Father answers prayers and he leads His children to the truth if they seek it. The most miraculous part of the story is how this family knew to come to our church. Tashina, the mom, said that a lady named Paula invited them to church and that she sings in the choir. Um...there is nobody named Paula in the ward and we do not have a choir! I'm pretty sure they went to the wrong church because there is another church just up the road!!!!! But it is really the right church because it has the fullness of the Gospel with the priesthood power and authority from God. The ward was very kind and welcoming. They will be going to the Halloween party at the church this Saturday. I am so excited to find out what happens with the investigators I have taught in North Bay. I will have to keep in contact with missionaries here so I can know. It is the most exciting work! Heavenly Father loves all of His children. The Book of Mormon brings more strength, peace, and joy than any other book on the earth. Life is great! Have a very Happy Halloween!!! I love you all!

Love,
Sister Barton :)

P.S. Now I can get letters and packages each week from the mission office, so just send stuff directly there if you so desire :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010.

Hello Family and Friends!!!!!

What a great week! I learned a lot and am continuing to learn each day. I just wanted to touch on a couple of experiences that I had this week. My testimony of prayer was strengthened on Friday. Sister Evanson and I had a late dinner and we also left the apartment about 15 minutes later than expected. As we prayed before we left, I asked Heavenly Father to place someone in our path that we can help and share the Gospel with. We were not even at the end of our street when my prayer was answered. Sister Evanson was making a phone call and a guy was walking by. I said hello and introduced myself to him. He was probably around my age and his name was Nathan. He proceeded to tell Sister Evanson and myself that he was on his way to the hospital (the mental hospital) because he was not at a good state. He didn't know what to do with his life anymore. His girlfriend broke up with him and he just felt that as much as he tried to please everyone around him, he wasn't the person they all wanted him to be. He was sad, angry, confused, and lost. He was laughing a little because he couldn't believe that he ran into us right as he was on his way to get help at the hospital. We walked with him over to a curb under a street light and sat down. We began talking about faith in Jesus Christ and how Christ knew what he was going through. I didn't have much to say, but when I did talk, I knew it wasn't my own words. I told Nathan that he is priceless in Heavenly Father's eyes and that He loves him so much. We told Nathan that he can find peace and healing through Jesus Christ. We gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to pray. We prayed with him and just pleaded for Heavenly Father to comfort him. This was an amazing experience. Heavenly Father knew where Sister Evanson and I were and He was leading us. He loves us, each one of us, and wants to guide us in our lives. He does know what is best and the only way we can truly know is if we turn to Him.

My testimony of the Holy Ghost as a warning voice was also strengthened. Sister Evanson and I were in a pretty scary situation (if you want details, ask me) yesterday. We felt the Holy Ghost warning us with a still, small voice and when we didn't listen right away, He got right in my ear and yelled "Leave NOW!" So we left. We called President Brower after the experience and he told us that angels were watching out for us. How grateful I am for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is worth everything to me. I couldn't live without Him.

I cannot believe that transfers are already this coming Sunday! I want to stay in North Bay another transfer, but everyone thinks I am going to leave. I will go where the Lord wants me to go, but I definitely wouldn't mind staying with Sister Evanson again. We have a very busy week this week with at least 11 appointments already scheduled. Because there is a chance that I may leave North Bay, if any of you are sending letters this week, make sure you send it to the mission office and I will get it in a few weeks. I will be speaking about missionary work in sacrament meeting this Sunday and am excited to get started on my preparation. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Always remember that Heavenly Father loves you and His angels are around you to "bear you up" (D&C 84:88). You are amazing!

Love you all!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010.





Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Week!
Yesterday was Thanksgiving here and it was so fun to celebrate. I will talk about that in a minute...first of all, HOW ARE YOU? This week was great. Sister Evanson and I drove down to Brampton Monday evening and had Leadership Conference Tuesday-Thursday. It is always so wonderful to be around so many missionaries and to feel the Spirit edifying us all. One funny experience was after we had a break, we were going to sing a hymn when we got back in the Relief Society room (there were around 50 missionaries at conference) and someone suggested "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." President totally let us do it! Then we sang and did actions to "Once there was a Snowman!" I was laughing pretty hard. It was great. Remember last week how I said I was so excited that Sister Evanson and I could go to the temple while we were in Brampton? Well, here's the story :D We woke up Thursday morning at 4:45 am, got ready quickly, and drove to the temple so we could go to the 6:00 am session. Well, I guess I was in the Utah mindset where there are sessions all day long starting at 6:00 am. We got there and there was one car there. There was a temple engineer outside who told us there was no session until 11:00 am :(. It was so sad. Not knowing what to do, we asked the man if he had the keys to the Stake center right next to the temple, where our conference was. He did, so we took our blankets out of the car and dragged them into the church with us. The seminary teacher was there to set up for seminary and he helped us carry a couch from the foyer into the stake offices where there was already one couch. Sister Evanson and I slept in the church for about an hour and a half! It was definitely a hard day. I had a headache and was actually so tired at one point that when I laughed at something, I started crying. No sleep is not good for emotions (at least for girls hahaha), not to mention I got a super bad cold that day. Well, we tried to go to the temple. I guess I will just have to wait until next year. It has been nice to read the October Ensign, since it is the special edition Temples issue. I LOVE it. I love the temple. It is the most joyful place on earth.
After getting our new car on Thursday, we were headed home in the evening. Our new car is a 2011 Subaru Impreza. Her name is Pearl. She is great. She is smaller than Chewy (the Ford Fusion I previously had), but she is nice. Friday, Sister Evanson and I were walking back to our car to go home for the night when we heard a bunch of guys singing Amazing Grace. We couldn't see them and we just kept walking. They were almost done with the song when I joined them and sang a big finish. They all started hollering and clapping haha. It was really funny. The next day, we tracted that side of the street, and when we knocked on a certain door, they guy said "Are you the angel singer from last night?" HAHA! It was so funny. He said that the reason they sang the song is because they saw us walking by and figured we were some kind of missionaries. It was fun to chat with him for a few minutes (apparently he has a recording studio in his basement with lots of instruments).
While tracting on Sunday, Sister Evanson and I met a lady named Lorraine. She was taught by sister missionaries about a year ago and they had lost contact. She lives at home and has two cute dogs (that she talks to like they are children. It's really funny). She said she has no friends or family. After Thanksgiving lunch yesterday, we took her a whole pie tin full of dinner and she was so grateful. I am excited to teach her more. It sounds like she knows it is all true, but just needs to make some commitments. I am grateful for Lorraine and what she has taught me so far.
Yesterday we went to the Hatt's to have Thanksgiving lunch. Jarham Hatt got home from his mission on Friday, so it was fun to meet him. It was so wonderful to sit at a table where both of the people I watched get baptized were. Pierrette is dating President Hatt and Jenn is dating Jonan Hatt (who leaves on his mission in a month). We went around the table and said what we are grateful for about the Gospel. The Spirit was strong. Heavenly Father is so loving. He gives us everything. He has given us a way to be happy and to have joy that lasts forever. I don't know if there is one thing I am the most grateful for, but if I had to say one at this moment, it is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without it, we could never return to live with Heavenly Father again. We would be fallen forever. It was an act of mercy that allows us to progress and live together as families forever. Count your many blessings this Thanksgiving season! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!!!
Love,
Sister Barton :)



Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010.

Happy October!
The Halloween treats and decorations are coming out! It doesn't mean much for missionaries, since we go in at about 6:00 pm on Halloween. It's fun to see the fall colors though. How is everyone? Wasn't General Conference amazing!?!?!?! I loved it. I am looking forward to getting the Ensign next month so I can read and study each talk. The prophet and apostles are truly inspired of God and as we listen to their counsel and apply it in our lives, we will receive even more blessings and happiness from our Heavenly Father.
It was a great week. Even with lots of cancelled appointments, Sister Evanson and I still did pretty well with our goals. We are teaching two boys right now named Cameron and Evan who are in college. Evan is more interested at this point, but it is so neat to hear their simple questions and thoughts about God. I absolutely love hearing investigators pray. Their prayers are so simple and sincere. Perhaps we should learn a lesson from that. Sister Evanson and I had quite the frustrating experience when teaching Faith and Vicky this week. We brought a member with us who is also from Africa (all three of them are from different countries). Faith and Vicky had hardened hearts as we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They refused to believe that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life. There was a lot of contention and it was so nice to breathe the fresh air after leaving their house. I still pray for Faith and Vicky and think they are wonderful girls. Someday they will realize that God has so much more for us than just what is in the Bible. The thought of not living with Heavenly Father before this life haunted me for days after that lesson. How sad life would be to not know one's divine worth and potential. To just believe that we appeared here with no former relationship with our literal Father in Heaven is heart breaking. Although experiences like this happen a lot on a mission, it is crucial to learn and move on. There are people prepared and I will find them :)
A funny but scary experience happened a couple days ago. Friday night Sis. Jenner gave us a HUGE loaf of bread and told us to cook it for a certain amount of time. We did so after planning at night and then enjoyed eating nearly half of the loaf (woops!) that night. It was so delicious and warm with our homemade strawberry rhubarb jam from Jenn's mom. When we were done, we wrapped it in a towel and kept it on the pan on the stove. The next morning, I turned off the shower and smelled something burning. I yelled for Sister Evanson and asked if everything was okay. She seemed pretty hesitant, but said "Everything is okay now!" When I opened the "washroom" door, I saw smoke filling the apartment. Apparently, Sister Evanson had put some water on the stove to boil so we could make Jello for the potluck between conference and then went in the other room to stretch. She started smelling and seeing smoke. She had turned the wrong burner on, and when she went in the kitchen, the loaf of bread with the towel of it was black with red ashes, almost on fire. She hurried and took it outside so the apartment wouldn't burn down. We spent the morning freezing cold because we had to open all of the windows and turn the fan on. It smelled SO bad because of the burnt rag. Let's just say we are lucky to be alive and our house is lucky to be standing! It's pretty funny looking back now and I am quite upset that I didn't take a picture of it. Just imagine it in your heads :)
Sister Evanson and I are headed down to Brampton tonight for Leadership Conference this week. It has already been two months since the last one! I am super excited. There is one thing I am looking forward to a lot. Sis. E. and I called President Brower and asked if there was any way we could go to the temple while we are down there. All of the sisters in the mission get to go when the temple trip comes around four times a year, but North Bay sisters don't because we are too far away. Well...we are going THURSDAY morning! I am SO excited. It is the best, happiest place on earth (despite what people say about Disneyland :D).
A week from today is Thanksgiving in Canada, so I won't be e-mailing. I will e-mail Tuesday afternoon. As far as I know, Thanksgiving is pretty much the same here, but it's just not as big of a holiday as in the states. It will be fun though. Have an amazing week! Remember how much you are loved by our Father in Heaven and by me :) Thank you for your support and prayers. I love you all!!!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010.



Happy Conference Week!
I am so excited for General Conference coming up this week. Hearing the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and his apostles is one of my greatest joys and I look forward to it all year. It was so wonderful to watch the General Relief Society Broadcast on Saturday night (not to mention the yummy soup dinner we had with the Relief Society bofore the broadcast :D). I love how the prophet spoke about charity and not judging others. I look forward to printing off his talk and reading it again.
This week was great! Sister Evanson and I were very busy with District Meeting on Friday, the baptism on Saturday, the Relief Society Broadcast, and all of the dinner appointments we had (yum!). We found a new investigator named Faith (how fitting!) and will teach her for the second time tonight. Now for the baptism...
Saturday was a very adventurous day. Sister Evanson and I woke up, exercised, and got ready for the day. The morning was already off at a bad start, but it wasn't horrible because I prayed a lot. Sister Evanson spilled milk (milk comes in bags here...weird!) all over my skirt (which is really her skirt), but I just laughed. I remember Erica's baptism two years ago and how everything went wrong that day. Okay, so after we were all ready to go, we headed to the church to meet Jenn and the Zone Leaders because her interview was at 10:00 am. Sister Evanson and I arrived at the church a few minutes early and the fire alarm was going off. I called Sister Jenner to ask what I should do or how to turn the alarm off because as far as we could see, there was no fire. She said to call the fire department. I dialed 9-11 and told the fire department what was going on. Pretty soon the church parking lot was full of three huge fire trucks and a smaller truck. Three firemen came walking up to the church with all of their gear on (I was laughing really hard at this point). We opened every door of the church and tried to find a key to the panel that we could open to reset the alarm. The bishop was out of town and he had the key. So we eventually just ripped the wooden frame off the wall around the panel, unscrewed it, and reset the alarm. The best part about all of this is that I asked if we could get a picture with the firemen HAHA, I know...I would. They are really nice and laughed with us.




I had forgotten how long the font took to fill up, so we just started filling it at 11:30 am (after Elder Staker, one of our zone leaders, killed all of the spiders in it!). Sister Evanson and I brought some soup and cooked it in the church kitchen. While we were eating, I was rambling on about who knows what when mid-sentence, I gasped and said "the font is still filling!" It was only 12:30 pm, but we rushed into the font room and found that it was almost overflowing!!!! I got my camera and took a picture because we were laughing so hard. Sister Evanson then proceeded to pull up her skirt and go a few steps into the water. She pulled the chain to unplug the drain and the chain BROKE! Now we were stuck with a completely full font and no way to drain some of the water. I told Sister Evanson to just swim in an unplug it, but we figured there was another way ;D. I went into the janitor's closet and got out a broom. I unscrewed the broom part and we used the stick to unplug the drain.
Even through all of the adventures of the morning, the baptism was wonderful. Jenn laughed because she had to go under the water twice (the first time her elbow poked up). She was so happy. She was glowing. It was so incredible to see her in the water with her boyfriend Jonan, who goes on his mission in November to Peru, engaging in this sacred ordinance that will change her eternal life. She is a beautiful daughter of God and I learned so much from her. She was confirmed a member of the Church and received the Holy Ghost yesterday in Sacrament Meeting. I will see her in two weeks for Canadian Thanksgiving, so I didn't have to say my official goodbye.

This is a great work. It is the Lord's work. I am so grateful to be a part of it. Continue to find joy in your journey and to love and serve others. Thank you for your examples and your love. I love you all!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 20, 2010.

What a week!
I know for a fact that I do not have time to write everything I really want to write. It has been a great weeks with ups and downs, but mostly ups. This may be a random e-mail as I write my thoughts, but that's just how I am :) First of all, transfers were last Tuesday. I am part of the youngest zone in the mission. I was completely shocked to find out that my district leader from the MTC and another missionary that came out with me are training! We haven't even been out for three months! I have six brand new elders in my zone alone. The Lord has a great work for us to do in the north. Yesterday, President Brower specifically said "The Lord is watching over this part of His vineyard right now!" It is such an exciting work to be part of. My new companion is Sister Evanson from Taber, Alberta. It was pretty difficult to switch companions at first. I was very used to Sister Lavatai and felt safe/comfortable with her. Sister Evanson is very different than Sister Lavatai and I felt pretty alone at first. It really has been missionary work that has unified us. She is an AMAZING missionary! I have changed my whole approach to the work because of her. I have never talked to so many people before she came. She is able to get people to open up. Many people that I would have just given a card to or asked for a referral from have actually invited us in and allowed us to teach them more. My teaching pool went from two investigators to eight in four days and it is still growing!
I don't even know where to begin with the miracles. I have had some amazing lessons with strangers (who are now investigators :D). One of my favorite lessons was with Kaelie and Mike. They had so many questions about the prophet and why we need the Book of Mormon when we already have the Bible. The Spirit was present and Sister Evanson and I were able to answer their questions so they could understand. We are teaching them again this week. We met a college student named Daniel who lives at home. He reminds me a lot of Joseph Smith. He was so humble. He had such a strong belief in Jesus Christ. We taught him about the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. We are going back tonight to see how his reading went and teach him more. We also taught Kelly two days ago and I discovered new things. She really doesn't know anything about Christ. All she knows is "something about a cross." So now I will have to focus a lot more on the importance of Christ as our Savior and how without the Atonement, we would be fallen forever. There is no other way. She is still committed to coming to church and learning, so we will continue to teach her. Jenn is getting baptized THIS week! I am SO excited for her. I taught her a lesson over the phone last night and honestly, I learned more about the Gospel than she did. She is so strong. I am so happy for her to receive the best gift in the world - the Gift of the Holy Ghost. There is nothing greater. No worldly possession can amount to this gift. The Holy Ghost is everything to me. He guides me. He testifies of truth. He comforts me. He helps me know who I am as a daughter of God. It is only through Him that I can really progress spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc. I will be forever grateful for the decision I made when I was eight years old to follow Jesus Christ by making covenants with him and receiving the Holy Ghost.
Yesterday was such a great Sunday. Sister Evanson and I drove to Sudbury (an hour and a half west) early in the morning for Stake Conference. We got a new stake presidency and there were two general authorities there. Elder Walker of the Quorum of the Seventy presided and the Elder Marriott, the area seventy (is that what they are called? I forgot :D), was there. Guess who the new stake president is? It is President Ian Jenner, Sister Jenner Sr.'s husband! I knew it would be him. I predicted it weeks ago. He is going to be such an amazing leader and I know he was truly called of God. After Stake Conference, the plan was that Sister Evanson and I would go to "the Castle" (the Zone leader's house) and we would meet together as a zone. The best surprise was that President and Sister Brower were there!!!!! It was SO good to see them. We had lunch and then we had instruction from president, the assistants, and interviews with the president until after 5:00 pm. I love missionaries. There is so much power present when we gather together. We role-played a lot and talked about investigator concerns. Sister Brower made us cute carrot cake muffin things in the shape of pumpkins in a little bag that said "Keep Harvesting!" I love her. I would SO do that if I was a mission president's wife (that shouldn't be a surprise to most of you hahaha). Sister Evanson left the meeting and drove straight to an appointment with a potential investigator named Cameron. We met him on the street last week. He was skateboarding, and we stopped him. When we showed up last night, it was very apparent that he had been in a fight. He had two black eyes, glue holding his eyelid shut, and he said he may have a broken rib. After smoking a cigarrette (we'll have to talk to him about that haha), he let us in. I don't know when I am going to learn to have faith...I totally thought he would bomb us. Anyway, Sister Evanson and I were able to teach him the whole first lesson. He seemed to be searching for something. He spends the weekends drinking and partying with him friends/girlfriend, but it doesn't seem like it is really making him happy (well of course it wouldn't. Anyone who says that makes them happy is just lying to themselves). Anyway, he said he would read the chapter we gave him in the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him again on Sunday.
As you can see, this week was full of miracles. I wish I could write everything that happened, but this is just a taste of my week. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings happiness. It brings love, peace, direction, comfort, joy, and everything good. My life is dedicated to my Father in Heaven. I am nothing without Him. Thank you for your prayers and support! I love you and Father loves you! Always remember that!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010.






(Here are some miscellaneous photos scanned and sent by Julia.)

Looking forward to change!
What a great week I have ahead of me! Sister Lavatai and I got a transfer call last night and are so excited for the changes ahead. Sister Lavatai is being transferred to Niagra Falls! Wahoo! I am so excited for her. She will be working in a triple, with two other companions. She has never been to that area and I am happy for her. My predictions were correct (we always make predictions of where the sisters will go) and I am staying in North Bay! My new companion will be Sister Evanson. She is one of the two sisters I haven't met yet. I am looking forward to meeting her tomorrow SO much. I have seen pictures and she is so adorable. It will be great to write about her in my e-mail next week. Sister Lavatai and I will drive down to Brampton tomorrow morning, swap companions, and I will drive back up to the north. Eight hours of driving in a day = ...fun! I'm excited.
This week seemed pretty normal. I only have one experience to tell and it was very frustrating! Sister Lavatai and I were tracting on Wednesday morning and met a woman who was of a particular faith (you will probably be able to guess which one by my experience). The first thing she said to us is "Do you want to battle?" Um...no! We never want to battle. Contention is of the devil and the Spirit leaves the second it starts. Plus, we all know who would win, so it isn't really a battle ;) We told her no and she said "Okay, well I do have one question for you. Where was Jesus Born?" We explained that he was born in Bethlehem, which is what the Bible says. The Book of Mormon says he was born in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was just the name used for the more broad area. That is like how I say I am from Provo, but I am really from Springville. It doesn't mean I'm lying, it just means I am trying to help people know the area I am referring to. Anyway, this woman says that we have to follow the Bible exactly and was trying to prove the Book of Mormon wrong. We tried to leave as soon as we could without just walking away. I bore my testimony, told her to have a nice day, and we walked away. I wanted to scream. It was such a bad feeling. Situations like that do not shake my testimony, but rather they solidify it more. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the TRUE Gospel and the prophet on the earth today to interpret scripture. I guess it wouldn't be a mission if I didn't get experiences like these :) Bless that lady's heart!
Friday was the annual Corn Roast at the Etches' (ward members) house. It was was really fun. Our investigator, Kelly, her three daughters, and her mother came! It was so good for them to meet so many people in the ward. There was lots of yummy food and a nice camp fire. North Bay is full of great people and I am so grateful to be here.
Sister Lavatai enjoys laughing in the office while I am in our bedroom with the vaccuum trying to kill spiders. It is one of my least favorite things. She doesn't help me, which I guess is a good thing, because I need to be independent. The spiders here are huge and they are everywhere!
We went to lunch with the Jenners (Kere and Fiona) on Saturday. It was really fun. They get me laughing so hard. I love them.
Well, that was a short, random e-mail, but that's about it for this week! If you want to send letters straight to North Bay, get the address from my mom and don't send any letters after October 11th. If you are worried about your letter getting here on-time, send it to the main mission address, which is on the blog and on my facebook page. You are all incredible. Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and as we stay on the path to eternal life, we receive blessings that we cannot imagine. I am so grateful that I know who I am. No matter what happens to me in my life, through the good times and the bad, Jesus Christ will bear me up because he is my Savior. He is the ONLY way. The Atonement is beautiful! Study it, show gratitude for it, ponder it. Thank you for your support and love. I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
Love,
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010.





Happy Fall everyone!
Wow, this week was great. Sister Lavatai and I experienced so many miracles. Quick update on investigators: Nancy's boyfriend Marshall called last Monday and said they would be out of town for three weeks. Random. I'm not sure if it is true, so we will be calling Nancy this week to see what's up. We went to Kelly's on Tuesday. She is the one who thought she was a member because her mom told her that she was baptized. Well, we got the records back from the church and she was never baptized!!!!! So exciting! So Sister Lavatai and I can start teaching her as an investigator. She came to church on Sunday and brought her two young girls. She even bought an outfit for church since she didn't really own anything appropriate. I am so grateful for Kelly and her desire to learn more. It's going to be a couple of weeks until we can teach her because school is starting and being a single mom of four is a little hectic! Jenn is still doing amazing. She will be baptized on September 25th. She had been praying for weeks that her mother's heart would be softened and that she would come to Jenn's baptism (her mom originally told her she wouldn't go). Well, in our lesson over the phone with Jenn on Sunday (she moved to Ottawa for school, so each Sunday we teach her over the phone), she said that her mom called asking if she could go to the baptism!!!! The power of prayer and fasting is SO real. I have seen the miracles from them so much in my life. We are working hard to find new investigators. It is hard to go tracting for three hours and only talk to three people, but I know that as we are diligent and work our hardest, God will provide.
Wednesday was a great day. We had lots of adventures :) First of all, we met a guy named Mike and taught him the first lesson on the doorstep. Sister Lavatai was reciting the first vision in Joseph Smith's words and said "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun..." and at that moment, the clouds parted and the sun beamed through. Mike said "oh, like that?" YES! Thank you Heavenly Father! Miracle! It was SO perfect. Sister Lavatai and I laughed all day about it later. Shortly after that we met a witch. Yes, that's right. A witch. She told us she practices witchcraft. She was very nice, but just a little...intense?! As she walked away, she gave a loud cackle and threw her head back. It was definitely an experience to remember hahaha. When we were walking home for dinner, we were about two blocks away from home when we felt a rain drop. Within five seconds, it was pouring down buckets. I openeed the umbrella and it broke right away. So we jogged home in what was practically a swimming pool. It was so funny. We took pictures afterward.
Funny story...I finally applied to get a health card here and got a letter back saying there was a gender discrepency. I figured there was a box checked wrong or something, so Sister Lavatai and I headed to the health center again to get it taken care of. After over five people had looked at it previously....my visa says that I am a male! I was dying laughing. So I had to mail my visa off to Alberta and am awaiting a new visa with the proper gender on it. At first, the Toronto airport said that I would have to go there in person to fix it, but we have worked it out so I could mail it. It was pretty funny.
Okay, now for P-day yesterday. I had a great day at the Jenner's house out in Bonfield. Much of their family was visiting for Labor day weekend. It was fun to laugh, talk, and relax with some of my favorite people. Sister Lavatai came home in the evening and started tracting. It is beginning to be difficult to work after about 8:15 pm because it is dark. When we knock on doors, the barking dogs wake up the sleeping children and that doesn't look very good! Plus, it's just kind of creepy to have two stranger girls show up on your doorstep in the dark. We had an appointment with a member at 8:00, but she cancelled. Anyway, it was about 8:10 pm and Sister Lavatai and I decided to see if we could contact on one of the main streets hoping to talk to college kids since school starts today. We went out to the street, looked back and forth, and then turned back around because nobody was there. As we walked back toward our car, we met three college guys named Tom, Carl, and Greg. As we approached them, in my mind I thought "Great, three guys that are going to laugh at us and make fun of us." I was wrong! We stood there and talked to them for a few minutes about God and the Book of Mormon. They had questions and seemed genuinely interested. We asked if there was another time we could teach them more and they said they had time right then and lived just a few houses down. So we walked to their house. I couldn't believe it! We sat down and basically taught them all about the restoration of the Gospel, the importance of prophets, the priesthood authority being restored, etc. They asked questions and we were able to answer them. As we were teaching, about four other guys showed up, but they were just in the kitchen (drinking beer-HA). We thought Tom was the one who was really interested, but by the end, it seemed that Carl was the one who really understood. We gave them both Book of Mormons. Sister Lavatai asked if we could pray. I didn't know what would happen or if they would say no, but this was the best part. The guys in the other room asked if we were praying and I said "Yeah, do you want to join?" So there Sister Lavatai and I were, KNEELING with seven college guys from the hockey team, praying. It was the coolest thing that's ever happened to me (maybe). We left their apartment and it was pouring rain. I didn't have an umbrella, but it was SO much fun to run in the rain. Heavenly Father blessed us to be able to share the Gospel and our testimonies. The timing was so perfect for everything and I am so grateful for this fun missionary experience.
Heavenly Father is mindful of us. He loves us individually. How eternally grateful I am to be part of his royal army, to fight for the truth. Righteousness will conquer. Be valiant. Be courageous. Do what is right! Stand for truth! I love you all! Have an amazing week and look for the Lord's tender mercies. He gives so freely to us; let us take time to give to Him. :)
Love,
Sister Barton