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!

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!
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!!!
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!!!
Sister Barton :)