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!
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!
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 =! 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?"! 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!
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 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. :)
Sister Barton