Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010.

Happy Summer Everyone!!!!
How are you all? I hope everything is wonderful in America. Boy have I got a good story to start out with :) It happened last Monday after I e-mailed, so it seems like it's old news, but it is still really funny. Okay, so two Fridays ago (July 16), Sister Lavatai, a girl from our ward, and I taught a guy named Eric the first lesson (I don't know if I mentioned him in last week's e-mail). We taught him the whole first lesson and then he asked "Wait, what religion are you?" He thought we were Roman Catholic, and when he found out we weren't, he said he wasn't interested. Well, the girl from out ward that came with us gave him her number and told him maybe they could hang out sometime. He just moved here, so he might be interested in some friends. Sister Lavatai and I gave him our number on a pamphlet we left and he kept asked questions like "Wait, who's number is this?" so we told him it was OUR number. When we got in the car, Sister Lavatai laughed really hard because she said Eric was crushing on me. I couldn't tell at all. Okay, so here's the story. Monday, I came out of the washroom (a.k.a. bathroom), and Sister Lavatai handed me the phone saying it was for me. First of all, nobody calls the missionaries and asks for a specific one. So I answered "Hello, this is Sister Barton," and the reply was "Hey, this is Eric!" AHHH! I was laughing so hard inside. I could see Sister Lavatai in the next room cracking up. He proceeded to ask me if I would be available that night to go get some coffee with him! Hahaha. He said "I just have the biggest crush on you!" Funniest thing ever. I had to explain yet again that as missionaries, we do not date or hang out for the time we are on our missions. I told him a mission is 18 months, and he asked me how much time I had left. "16 months!" I replied. It was hilarious. I tried to be nice about it and not make it seem like he just got shot down. Bless his heart :)
It was another week full of teaching and finding people to teach. Welcome to the life of a missionary! Sister Lavatai and I taught most of our lessons at the beginning of the week and were left with lots of finding time Saturday and Sunday. We are almost out of K's (kilometers) for the month, so on those two days we walked only. I've never walked so much in my life. I felt like a pioneer. My feet are bruised and each step feels like my bones are shattering. And to top it all off, I got the worst sunburn ever on my neck, so now wearing shirts is uncomfortable. I am definitely loading on the sunscreen from now on. I ate dinner at a ward member's house on Friday night and she joked around with us the night before telling us she was making "Goose breast." When we got to her house for dinner, we realized it was no joke. I ate Canadian goose for dinner! I had to have major mind control for that one! It actually wasn't bad. It tasted like steak. I guess the worst part was that she said it was from 2007.
Pierrette is still set to be baptized on August 7 and I can't wait. I love her and am so happy for her. Tracy probably won't be getting baptized until she moves to Calgary at the end of October. Sister Lavatai and I have done all we can to help her, but I don't feel like she is truly converted and isn't thirsting after the Gospel on her own. I am really excited to teach a few new people this week. I contacted a couple on the street last week and will be teaching the woman on Thursday. Her boyfriend said he was a Jehovah's Witness, but it seemed like he just grew up that way or something, because he didn't say much. The woman's name is Nancy, and she said she would like to learn! It was a miracle :)
Heavenly Father watches over all of His children. He loves each of us. Mosiah 7:33 says "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in Him, and serve Him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, He will, according to His own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage." That's my favorite scripture of the week. As we turn to the Lord, we realize the true meaning of life and the reason we go through the trials we go through. We can either let our trials bring us down, or we can use them to perfect us! This life truly is the time to prepare to meet God. What a great opportunity! I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Pray, read your scriptures, serve others, and SMILE! :)
Sister Barton

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 19, 2010.

Hello All!

What a great week! The highlight of my week was Zone Conference on Tuesday. I met President and Sister Brower! They are amazing :) I felt the Spirit SO strongly from them and know they were called of God to be here at this time. President Brower introduced many new mission programs that have come from the First Presidency. We are one of the first missions to receive these instructions. The MTC won't know about them for months. One of the new items of business was that we now only have Zone Conference once every quarter, instead of each transfer (6 weeks). The new programs will allow the missionaries to work more closely with the mission president and be trained by him. It is so exciting to get new revelation from the prophet on how God wants His work to be done :) Sister Lavatai and I are the only sisters in our Zone. It was fun to see all of the other missionaries and meet many of them for the first time. It was a life-changing day. We talked about who we really are as servants of the Lord. It was incredible. Sister Lavatai and I prepared "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee" to sing as a musical number. Then President Brower asked us if we would sing it again for the closing hymn. The Spirit was so strong. I had interviews with President Brower and Sister Brower and truly felt their love for me. I think it was just what I needed. It's really hard to be away from parents' love and I felt as if they were my parents in a sense. This was the first week I was able to focus more on the work I am doing than on thinking about my family and the future. The drive home from Zone Conference was a great one. Sister Lavatai and I were so pumped that each time we made a stop (getting dinner, stopping in a city to teach a member), we shared the Gospel with everyone we saw. When we got back into North Bay, we immediately started tracting. I was changed as a missionary! I was excited and fearless. I was able to open my mouth and the Holy Ghost spoke through me. We met many people that night, one of whom we are teaching tomorrow night.

Wednesday was full of miracles as well. I was able to testify and teach many people. We tracted into a woman named Francis (in French pronounced Franswas) and I was able to share Joseph Smith's experience when he prayed to know which church to join. I started crying. I KNOW that this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Christ was on the earth, he set up a perfect church because He was perfect. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that same church, restored to the earth today. It's hard for me to fathom how so many people don't believe. The Gospel has been restored many times since the world was created. That's why we read about all of the prophets in the Bible (Moses, Noah, Enoch, etc.). This just happens to be the final time because it will never leave the earth again. We are preparing for Christ to come. He IS coming and it will be a glorious day for those who are prepared. The more I teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the more it makes sense. Everything about it makes sense. You can know of its truth as you pray. The Holy Ghost will fill your heart :)

Anyway, Wednesday night we taught a guy named Eric. We brought a member of our ward with us too and she was great. We practically finished the whole first lesson and the member was summarizing because Eric wasn't looking like he was understanding. Then he said "wait, what church are you from? ...You're not Roman Catholic? ....oh, then I'm not interested." HAHA. Wow, took him an hour to notice. Haha. He was really great though. The member we were with said when we got in the car "He will join the Church. I am never wrong when I say that. Just wait." It was great. I don't think he understands what we do as missionaries though because he asked for our home number and wanted to go dirt biking with us. Hahaha. Sorry, but no. It was a great experience all together. I learned a lot about how I need to improve my listening.

We have TWO baptismal dates!!!! Monday night was amazing. Sister Lavatai and I taught Pierrette and before we had even begun, she had a certain look on her face. Then she asked "Can I be baptized?" I started crying! It was so amazing. She is ready. She will be baptized August 7th and confirmed the next day. There is no greater joy as a missionary. Tracy was set to be baptized July 25th, but we will have to push it back a couple of weeks because of some health stuff. But I'm so excited for her as well.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week! Know that I am thinking about you and praying for you. May the Spirit be with you! Look for opportunities to serve. Pray often. Be positive. Have faith :)



Sister Barton

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010 :)

Happy Summer!!!!!

Wow, what a week! I will recap each day a little bit. Last Monday after e-mailing, Sister Lavatai and I went to Sister Jenner's house (we live above the Jenner Jr.'s and the Jenner "Sr.'s" live about 30 minutes away...they are all some of my favorite people ever!). Sister Jenner took us to her lake and we spent some time with her at her house. It was really fun to go on a short adventure instead of spending the whole day writing letters, although that can be fun too. I also got a steak dinner for the second night in a row! Lucky me :)

Tuesday was a great day overall. Sis. L. and I went to Mattawa (about 45 minutes from North Bay) with Sister Etches from our ward to visit some inactive members. The first woman we visited was Madeline. She had a french accent. Sister Etches was frids with her when she was active in the church but hadn't visited her for years. Madeline told us how she had a stroke about four years ago. She has been going to church with her parents since then because she can't drive or anything. She was such a sweet lady. She wasn't very old. Anyway, Sis. L. and I sang her "I Need Thee Every Hour." She was crying. She said "Oh thank you so much. You are my angels. You make my day. That is my favorite song." Earlier that day we had prayed for angels to assist us. To know that we were someone else's angels is a miracle. I know that the Lord knows Madeline's heart and she will be blessed. We made two other visits to women and sang then songs as well. Music is an instrument of the Spirit and I am go grateful for it. It softens hearts like nothing else can. After Mattawa, we visited a man from our ward who was in the hospital because he broke his femur. He was doing really well and it was a delight to talk to him. We also taught Tracy before going home for the night.

Wednesday I had my first district meeting. It was in Sudbury, which is about an hour and a half west of North Bay. It was fun to see other missionaries. There are just four elders and my companionship in the district, so it's pretty small. We all went out to eat after and it was fun. We got to go to Institute that night because we had an investigator come as well. On our way into our apartment, Sister Jenner spoke to us outside her window and said to come in. We made fry bread...not the best thing to eat right before bed haha. But it was fun to spend a few minutes there.

Thursday it rained really hard for about an hour, which made the rest of the day really nice. We taughed Tracy and tracted for much of the day. We had two people say that we could come back. The miracle of the day was meeting Scott. We were tracting and Scott pulled up in his car and started walking to his house. He said hello to us and we told him we are missionaries. He practically said "Oh, awesome, come teach me now!" So we sat outside and taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel! It was so amazing. Definitely a miracle. We hope to teach him again soon.

Friday we visited a few members about thirty minutes away. One couple fed us lunch and I could hardly move after. She kept trying to give us more. Note to self: eat slower. We are going there again next week, so I will have to prepare myself haha. We met a woman named Angela that night as we tracted and she was so friendly. She already attends a Catholic church and wasn't really interested, but she kept chatting with us for a few minutes. Sis. L. and I sang her a hymn and she started crying. Then she told us to visit again sometime. I've been praying that the Lord will soften her heart :)

Saturday was a wonderful day. It was the first time we accomplished all of our goals as far as numbers go and we got 2 NEW INVESTIGATORS!!! We were able to teach a young girl named Tessie who we met Thursday night. She is 15 years old and said that she has never really gone to church. She prays every night! She was going to come to church yesterday, but didn't make it. We have an appointment with her on Friday, so I'm excited for that. As we tracted that night, we got a phone call from a member asking if we could come teach her boyfriend the second lesson. Sis. L. and her last companion already taught him about the Restoration in May. His name is Matt. He is very logical, so we spent a lot of the time answering his questions. It is a joy to teach the Gospel. It is intimidating at times, but those are the moments where I just testify.

Church was great yesterday. Tracy came and so did Jenn, our almost-investigator haha. We teach her for the first time Wednesday, but she has already had most of the missionary lessons. I taught the Gospel Principles class about Gifts of the Spirit. I am enjoying teaching because I've never had a calling as a teacher before.

This week is very busy. I have zone confence tomorrow so I will meet President Brower and his wife for the first time!!! I'm looking forward to it and to being spiritually uplifted. If anybody needs to e-mail me for any reason, just contact my mom. I cannot e-mail friends back, but if you put your address in your e-mail, I can write you a letter. I'm interested to see how many people are doing (like Aubrey and Kevin and your new BABY!!!!!). Anway, this Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! It is everything. It is the only way back to God! Without it we would not be on this earth. I love my Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost which guides me daily. I hope you have a wonderful week and remember that you are loved!!!

Sister Barton :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 3 in North Bay.

Hello Hello!
Wow, it's already been a week since my last e-mail. It feels like it's gone by fast, but at the same time, I feel like I've been here for months! Lots happened this week and Sister Lavatai and I were super busy. The first half of the week was freezing and I wore pants under my skirt, my coat, a scarf, etc. Now...It is BOILING hot! It's really humid today. I'm already sunburned just from tracting yesterday. I have a very adventurous story about yesterday that will come later in my e-mail. I'll just give some updates of my week.
I keep forgetting to write about Sister Lavatai's food allergies. It really reminds me of Jon (my brother) because she is allergic to gluten. She made gluten free brownies yesterday and it made me smile. She is also allergic to dairy, sunflower seeds, pineapple, beef, and a few other things! Crazy, huh? I don't know what I would do. As a result, members have to be creative with what they feed us. Let's just say my third member appointment for dinner was not my favorite! It smelled pretty good and I sat down at the table to find that we were eating FISH! Gross. Haha. It actually wasn't too bad because it was in a rice casserole, so once I put ketchup on it, it just tasted like chicken. Only on a mission...:) That phrase is becoming more funny each day. We ate at a members home yesterday and she cooked Sis. L. fish and I got a huge steak! It was the best steak of my life.
Tuesday Sis. L. and I ended up going home an hour early because I was really sick with a stomach ache. I have felt sick a few times since being here. I just rested an extra hour and the next day I was good to go!
As for an update on our investigators: Pierrette is still doing well. She just has to tell her sons that she wants to be baptized and then we will set a date. I loved her the moment I met her. She reminds me so much of my mom. She is happy, has short hair, is very kind, and is always striving to learn about the Gospel. I'm so happy for her to be baptized and learn more about the amazing daughter of God that she is. Tracy is our other investigator and things are going well with her too. Sis. L. and I have taught her lessons 1, 2, 3, and the Word of Wisdom. We don't quite feel that she is ready to be committed to baptism yet, but we will just have to continue to listen to the Spirit. Yesterday was her first day at church! She really liked it. There's a boy in our ward who just put his mission papers in and he brought a girl "friend" to church as well. Her name is Jen. She has been investigating the church for a few months now and has definitely been prepared. She was taught by the missionaries right before she came home for the summer, but I guess they put a lot of pressure on her to be baptized. Sis. L. and I will start teaching her sometime this week. I'm so excited to get to know her and help her come closer to our Savior. When she knows the importance of baptism and how eternally happy it will make her, she won't want to wait to be baptized. adventurous story from yesterday. Sister Lavatai and I were so excited that Tracy would be at church. We had arranged for her to drive her scooter to the bottom of the hill that the church is on (Airport Road). It was quite a ways away from her house. She has never really left her apartment except to go to her bank, so she was not very confident in finding directions. Sister L. and I left the church building at 9:00 am and walked down Airport Road. Tracy called us when we were about to the bottom of the hill and told us she was lost. It was already 9:30 and church started at 10:00! I soon saw Tracy driving her scooter about 10 mph (I still don't know how to convert miles/hour into kilometers or farenheit into celsius haha) down the middle of the highway road. Wow, what a sight hahaha. After about 15 minutes of directing on our cell phone and Tracy driving her scooter, she made it to us at about 9:45 am. Then we had to hike up the huge hill. Keep in mind that it is July and extremely hot outside. We were super pressed for time so we had to go as fast as we could. AND it was Fast Sunday, so we hadn't had any water or food. Anyway, we had to jog/walk quickly up the hill and were sweating so much. We were only five minutes late to Sacrament meeting! After church we had a whole other adventure. Sis. L. and I told Tracy how to make it home from the church. Then we went to a meeting. Right after the meeting, we got a phone call from Tracy. She was lost. We got in our car and drove down to where she was. We struggled to get her to figure out how to get to our car and cross the intersections. As she crossed the intersection, guess who pulled up? A policeman! He was really nice and he basically told her that she can't be driving her scooter on the road and she can't talk on her cell phone while she is "driving." He told her to go back across the intersection and take the bike trail that should take her back to her house. Sis. L. and I walked over to the bike trail with Tracy and told her to follow it home. We got back in our car and began driving home. We got yet another phone call from Tracy saying that the bike trail ended! Sis. L. and I went to her rescue again and walked with her until we knew she could find her way home. We were finally headed home, soaking wet from the heat of the sun. It was quite the morning and afternoon.
We didn't have much luck as we knocked a few doors yesterday either. To give you a taste of what it is like to be a missionary, imagine this scenario in your head: Sister Lavatai and I approach our next house and knock on the front door. A woman comes outside the side door and says "Make it quick." Sister Lavatai says with a smile on her face "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of..." and is interrupted by the woman saying "Why are you here? You're not welcome here. We are all Christian already. Don't come back!" Wow! Some people say they are Christian and then act completely opposite. It's really sad. One of the greatest lessons to learn while tracting is just to smile constantly. We can't afford to get low in spirit just because of some person who obviously does not understand her purpose in life :)
It's incredible to think that Sister Lavatai and I have stewardship over all of North Bay. There are over 54,000 people here and we are the only missionaries. God has a lot of trust in us! It's wonderful though. I'm getting the hang of things slowly but surely. It does make me feel good that Sister Lavatai says she has never been so blessed with tender mercies and miracles as she has been in the past couple of weeks. I don't know what that means exactly, but I'll take it! Although many are not ready to hear the Gospel, it is still wonderful to partake of their goodness. Many are appreciative of our service. A catholic man even gave us two ice cold water bottles when it was so hot outside. It is amazing to view people as children of God because that's exactly what every person on this earth is. Heavenly Father loves us SO much! Never quit. Never give up. Never stop having faith. If you find yourself doubting, turn to the Lord. Read the scriptures, say your prayers, go to church. "By small and simple things are great things come to pass" is a true statement. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have hope. It is a marvelous thing :) I pray that you will all have a wonderful week! I'm excited for District Meeting on's the first time I get mail :) Yay! Thank you for your prayers. May the Spirit be with you this week!
Love you all!
Sister Barton <3