Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011.

Hello Hello!

Wow, this transfer is already flying by! First of all, I will tell some news that I just got as I logged onto my e-mail this morning. In June this year, the Toronto East and West missions will reunite as they were decades ago! Crazy, eh? So President Brower will be the mission president for the Canada Toronto Mission! That means I may have the opportunity to serve in the actual city of Toronto and the eastern part of Ontario! That will be a fun change for the last six months or so of my mission. For now, I will soak in my West Mission :) (I'm not too fond of change haha).

Yesterday we had ward conference and it was so great! I prayed for Heavenly Father to teach me from on high and to learn from the Spirit as I listened to others speak. It was a great Sabbath day. The sun was shining. We had a baptism after church for an investigator that the assistants were teaching from Brampton. His name is Kevin and he is so amazing. His friend from school inviteed him to learn from the missionaries and just a few weeks later, Kevin was baptized! He told me after "I feel good. I feel good." The gospel truly does bring joy. Sister Brack and I wore matching sweaters to church that we bought last week. It was pretty cool ;D

We taught a guy named Sagar from India last night and we will be meeting with him again on Saturday. We teach many lessons on the street, but are just struggling with finding new investigators. We have new resolutions to work even harder this week and to strive each day to be exactly obedient. I know that the Lord will bless us. It's His promise, as given in D&C 82:10.

I have also attached a picture of me praying with my friend Penelope, Penny for short.

She was given to me from a member and great friend in London. Penelope likes to pray with me. Sister Olsen was given a frog and named him Hamlet. Fun facts about the life of a missionary:) (don't judge the doggie paw pajamas!).

Anyway, I love being a missionary. I am grateful to be serving in this part of the Lord's vineyard, which is soon to be a lot bigger in June. Thank you for your support and testimonies. I know that God lives. Christ will help us if we will but open our hearts and let Him in. Have a wonderful week! Pray and seek for missionary opportunities! I love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011.

Let me just start by explaining my cold night of finding last night. Yesterday, we woke up to a bright, sunny, COLD morning of -20 degrees C, with a windchill of -37 C!!!! As we started to warm up the car for church, I went to scrape the window and found that I couldn't because the ice was on the INSIDE of the car! I never thought I'd be scraping the inside of the windshield. Only on a mission...:D. After church, we went home to layer up for the night. Below you will find a picture of all of the layers I wore as we contacted.

Okay, so here is a summary of my layers: 1 baselayer of underclothing and 1 layer thermals (both not pictured), wool tights, black thermal leggings, sweat pants (good thing I have a big skirt!), a slip, a skirt, thermal top, green sweater (when it's this cold outside, you don't care about matching!), scarf #1, black fuzzy hoodie, knitted scarf #2, winter coat with hood, wool socks, 2 pair gloves, mittens, and my huge boots. Fun, eh?

It was -18 degrees C (-3.9 F) with a -33 degree C windchill. This means that outside, it felt as if it was -27.4 degrees F! I have never even stepped into weather this cold in my life. I think my eyeballs were about to freeze.

There was hardly anyone outside, but the last contact of the night made it all worth it. We contacted a man at a bus stop (he may or may not have been intoxicated). He talked with us for a minute and when his bus came, he grabbed us to hug us at the same time and tried to kiss our cheeks. All I have to say is that I am so grateful I had three hats/hoods on so his face got nowhere near mine. We laughed the whole way home.

Okay, now I must wrap my whole week up into a few minutes. Hmm...where to start...Well, I am training!
I met Sister Brack on Monday at the mission home. We had dinner and a testimony meeting. We slept at our Brampton apartment and headed back to the mission home for training meetings the rest of the morning. We all ate lunch at the Mandarin (huge, delicious, gourmet buffet). Sister Brack is from a small town in England called Haltwhistle, right next to the Scotland border. I feel like she came out of the movies! She says the funniest things and we have different names for almost everything. We have had some great laughs already. We met a boy named Robin who we are teaching right now. He is from India. He is willing to read the Book of Mormon, pray, come to church, and be baptized. The catch is that he won't do anything that doesn't make logical sense. He doesn't believe in faith or that we have spirits. He wants to see the evidence. He is willing to read, pray, and attend church for now. As long as he does those things with a sincere heart and with real intent, he will develop the faith he needs to have the witness from the Holy Ghost. It's a promise from the Lord. We will meet with him again tomorrow.

I got to see Neniker and Sandra!!!!! I showed up to Neniker's house for the appointment the Elders had set with him and he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw us. He was so happy. I was so happy to see him as well. He is doing SO well. He has been to the temple to do baptisms, he passes the sacrament, he has a calling, and he is continuing to learn! Sandra is doing extremely well too. She testified to Robin and I felt like I should just give her my missionary tag. The Holy Ghost speaks through her and she has so much knowledge already. She is still teaching the french Gospel Principles class! I'm so proud of them both. Well, my time is about up, but I pray that you all have a wonderful week! Be grateful for the warmth that you have haha. I am so grateful to be here. I know that our Savior lives. He is real. Heavenly Father LOVES us! I love Him.
Sister Barton :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011.

So much to write!!!!

Oh dear. I have too much to write. I shall just take this a step at a time :D. This week was so great. I had some of my most challenging times on my mission and had to rely on Heavenly Father more than ever. Tuesday morning, Sister Olsen and I drove to Kitchener for Leadership Training. It was so good to see my sisters and other missionaries. The Spirit is always strong in those meetings and I am so grateful. Tuesday night came the big trial. I later learned from somebody that the drive between Kitchener and London is the scariest drive in Ontario. About twenty minutes into the drive (it was night time and Sister Olsen was driving), the roads got pretty bad. They weren't really wet, but there are these little clouds on the roads in Canada. The air is so cold that it is frozen and it passes across the road like clouds, making it near impossible to see. We drive a Cobalt and do NOT have winter tires. As we drove the rest of the way to London, about two hours, we were overcome by two opposing feelings. Fear and worry were present and I tried to calm the situation by speaking positively. I prayed outloud throughout the whole car ride. Sister Olsen was amazing. There really are no words to express what transpired that night. It was one of the hardest few hours of my whole life. When we finally arrived home, I ran onto my bed and sobbed. I felt like the people in Lehi's dream of the tree of life. Nephi says in 1 Nephi 8:30: But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. Picture the people who were just on this scary journey of darkness. They fell down once they were on safe ground. Have you ever been hiking or near a cliff and once you were finally completely safe, you just wanted to hug the ground? That was the feeling. Anyway, the next day we were very prayerful about going back to Kitchener. I felt that is was okay to drive there, but I did not want to drive home in the dark. President allowed us to stay in Kitchener overnight and drive home in the morning. I would write more about Leadership conference, but I don't have enough time.

The main event that happened this week was transfer calls last night. All of the sisters were calling each other trying to figure out what was going on. It was finally 10:30 pm and I was still unsure about what was happening. Earlier, I had thought that I was for sure going to stay in London with Sister Olsen and I was SO happy about that plan. Well, what do you of the AP's called (assistants to the president) about 10:35 pm. I AM TRAINING!!!!!!!!!! I am going back to Brampton YSA to train the new sister from England! President Brower told me this at the beginning of last transfer but with some changes that happened (only one sister coming instead of the two that were planned to come), I thought I might stay in London. President often says "a mission is mortality." It's true. There are so many changes on a mission and it just prepares one for more changes to come in life! I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with one of Heavenly Father's amazing daughters and to start her off on this amazing journey. The Lord has been preparing me and I know that as I turn to Him, all will be well. I'm excited for more stories to come :) More than anything, I am sad to leave SIster Olsen. I love her with my whole heart. We have been through a lot together and Heavenly Father loved us so much to allow us these three short weeks to be companions. Isn't life great? I wish I could write more, but just know that I love my Savior. He is why I am here. He will never fail us. Have a wonderful week :)

Sister Barton :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011.

Hello Family and Friends!
How are each of you? I have had a great week here. I have witnessed many sacred experiences and learned more about my purpose in life. Sister Olsen were blessed to teach many other lessons. I will tell you about a lady named Mary. We tracted into Mary last week. She is 88 years old and lives in a huge house by herself. She is from Holland. We went back a few days later and told her about the Book of Mormon. She kept getting side-tracked (probably the age hehe), but said she would read a Dutch Book of Mormon. She also committed to come to church. Sis. Olsen and I were in a meeting before church and we called Mary to see if she was still coming. She said she was all ready to go! We went and picked her up and she came to church with us! She is SO funny. We sat through Sacrament meeting and then she said she would like to go home. I think it was a long time for her to be sitting. An older man (a widower) had introduced himself to her before the meeting started. When she decided to go home, she asked him if he would drive her home. Then she said "I know it's awkward..." and took his arm!!!!!! I was laughing SO hard. He escorted her to get her coat and then drove her home. We later found out that she couldn't remember how to get to her house and so they got a little lost. I have a feeling she "forgot" on purpose :) It was super cute. Mary will come again next week and we will go visit her sometime this week.
We also had a miracle with a lady named Sue Anne on the same street as Mary. It was a beautiful sunny day with snow covered grounds and we knocked on a house facing the bright sun. Sue Anne answered. We told her who we are and asked if she believed in Jesus Christ. She began to cry and said "Oh yes." Sister Olsen asked how she has seen His hand in her life. Sue Anne then told us how her husband had recently left her and how Jesus Christ has been with her through it all. I then read a scripture with her that I had read to Sister Olsen earlier that day. It was Alma 58:11, which reads: "Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him." Sue Anne wept as we testified of deliverance in Christ. We gave her a Book of Mormon with Alma 7 to read. We prayed with her and through her tears, she said "You are my angels today." She gave us both a hug and kiss on the cheek. I was so grateful to be an angel for someone who so desperately needed it.
Those are my two stories for the week. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoyed their holiday break! I love being a missionary for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am privileged to wear his name over my heart everyday. He lives! He loves us! He IS the way!
Sister Barton :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 3, 2011.

Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

How was the celebration down in America? Honestly, I don't even remember what I did on New Year's Eve. Haha. That's the life of a missionary. I know we came in early and Sister Olsen crashed on her bed. I stayed up studying or...oh yes, I was catching up on my journal writing and it took about two hours because there were so many miracles this week! Okay, backing up. I went out to breakfast with Sister Brower, and sisters Olsen, Stanbrough, and Rigby on Wednesday morning. Then Sister Olsen and I drove to London, my new area! I love it here. It is beautiful and the people are very kind. Sister Olsen and I have been so blessed to teach so many lessons to people on their door steps. I am loving tracting again. Brampton and Kitchener are strictly contacting areas and I miss knocking on doors. While tracting, you can learn so much from your companion as well because there is more time together (sometimes when contacting, you separate and talk to many people). We found two new investigators that are both Muslim. Both of them have agreed to read the Book of Mormon. I am excited to go back and teach them more. In our first lesson with Essam, the Spirit was so strong. He could feel it and he knew it was from God. There were countless times this week when the Holy Ghost spoke through Sister Olsen or myself. We learned so much from the Spirit as we bore testimony.

Now I shall talk about my amazing companion, Sister Olsen. She is an angel, literally. She is charitable, loving, selfless, etc. She truly does see every person as her brother or sister. We are all brothers and sisters but sometimes it's hard for us to realize that. Just imagine...all of us, every person on your street, everyone you work with, everyone at the grocery store, we knew each other before this life! We are all brothers and sisters. Sometimes we think too lightly about that. Some experiences I have had along those lines have been incredible here in London. I have had many people say "Do I know you? You look so familiar. Have we met before?" Truth is, yes we have, but it was before coming to this earth. Our Heavenly Family is amazing! I have learned more about it in the past week than ever before and my eternity is changed because of it.

The ward here in London is incredible. Families get together and do activities and everyone is friends. I want my future family ward to be like that. It invites the Spirit more abundantly into the building. I want you all to know that I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is closer than we sometimes think. I am so grateful for this time we have on earth to develop faith in Him and our Father in Heaven. This is going to be the greatest year of our lives :) Are you all ready? :) Turn to the Lord in all you do!

I love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

December 28, 2010.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Hello friends and family! How is everyone? How was your Christmas? It truly is the best time of year (minus the cold and the dirty snow all over). I highly enjoyed the week and celebrations. I had a special Christmas Zone Conference in London (Ontario) on Tuesday. Half of the mission was there, including Sister Lavatai and Sister Olsen. We ate a nice lunch, took pictures, played Preach My Gospel Jeopardy, watched "Joseph: Prophet of the Restoration," sang songs, and heard testimonies. It was an amazing day, full of the Spirit.
The next few days it was back to work. We taught a new investigator named Julian (from France) about the Restoration. We sat down and a siamese cat walked in. Then another one jumped on the banister. Then ANOTHER one came in! I felt as if I was in the Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp." Of course...they were crawling all over me - the one who doesn't like cats! I started sneezing in the lesson because I'm allergic to cats. I must have sneezed about ten times before Julian asked if I was allergic. It was pretty funny. I guess even the cats can feel the spirit because they wouldn't leave me alone haha. I love funny mission experiences.
Christmas morning we were allowed to sleep in until 7:30 am (some would say that's the best present ever), but of course, I woke up about 6:45 am because I wanted to get some stuff done. I wrote a couple of letters and then decided to make pancakes for my companions when they woke up. We ate a yummy breakfast and then opened our presents. I guess most of my Christmas packages didn't even come yet, so I have some to look forward to. It is fun to see anyone get letters or presents on a mission, even if they aren't for me. I love seeing others' joy. The day was full of many phone calls, since we all had two families to call. It was so wonderful to speak to my family. I love my family. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to have so many amazing people in my life that I can love. Each one of them has influenced my life in a way that no other could. I will be forever grateful. I started reading the New Testament and am excited to learn more about my Savior. I also have enjoyed some crocheting in my extra time inside over the holidays!
Christmas dinner was pretty good. It's a little different when serving in a YSA ward because we don't really know the families in the area that are members. We all just learned together and had some good laughs. Church the next day was great. We didn't have our YSA branch meetings, but we joined a family ward.
Last night I got a call from one of the assistants to the president. It was a somewhat expected call, but it was still bitter sweet. My trainer, Sister Lavatai has been serving in London with Sister Olsen and has been very sick for a couple of months now. She has lots of food allergies and something has changed in her that has made her sick all day everyday. She was supposed to go home in mid-January but is now going home tomorrow so she can start getting better. I received a transfer call last night and was informed that I will be going to serve in LONDON with Sister Olsen for the next three weeks! I served with Sister Olsen for a couple of days during the first leadership training conference and learned more in two days than I had in two months. She is a very good missionary. I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I want to go into the situation completely positive and ready to learn. I have much to learn from her and I have already received a witness that this was planned out by Heavenly Father. I am excited to grow and to invite others to come unto Christ! The transfer ends in three weeks and I'm not positive where I will be, so continue sending your letters to Brampton. I am sad to leave my current companions but excited for what is in store!
You are all amazing. You are full of light. Look for opportunities to serve others. Study the life and teachings of the Savior. Show gratitude to others and most of all to your Father in Heaven. I love you all!
Sister Barton :)