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.

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 :)
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!
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 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 :)
Sister Barton