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!

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!
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!
Sister Barton :)