Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011.

Is it really almost March!?!?!?!

That is so strange. This year is flying by. Well, biggest news first. We got transfer calls last night and Sister Brack and I will be staying in Brampton and serving in a triple with Sister Worley! I am SO excited. I love Sister Worley. She's really funny and a great missionary. I have a feeling this area is going to explode and the work will be so great this transfer. Sister Worley started her mission here in Brampton last February so she knows the ins and outs of the city ;)

One of the highlights of my week was going with some members to a place called Akita Sushi (a member signed up to feed us and because she is YSA, we went out to eat). It was the neatest place. We sat at our table and it was all you can eat. You pay a flat fee and they only other thing you have to pay for is if you don't finish some of your food, you pay for what you didn't eat. But with six of us, we all ate everything and it was so fun. I will admit, I did eat a fried shrimp AND a sweet potato sushi (remember, I do not like seafood at all). The shrimp wasn't too bad, dipped in the sauce and with all the fried stuff on it :). The sushi, however, is another story. I put the whole thing in my mouth and I struggled to eat it because I almost threw up. All of the girls I were with were saying "you can spit it out, don't torture yourself." I think it's an accomplishment! Haha. We ate ice cream and fried bananas for dessert. It was so fun. I hope there are places like that in Utah when I get home.

We got a call a few days ago from the secretary in the stake Relief Society Presidency. She asked us to have a display at a multi-faith conference this coming weekend called "Preserving the sanctity of marriage according to my faith." There will be muslims, buddhists, and all sorts of different religious women there. It will be a really neat experience and I will for sure attach pictures next week.

Paige came to church yesterday!!!! Wahoo! Also, after church, there were THREE baptisms, which apparently is the most this ward has ever had at once. I sang a duet of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" with a friend from the ward and the Spirit was strong. Paige was there for the baptisms too and she told her friend Jacq (a member in the ward) that she wants to be baptized even more now! We will be teaching her on Wednesday and hope to set her for a baptismal date so she can begin to receive all of the wonderful blessings Father has to give her :). I am so happy for her.

I started the Book of Mormon over and have been reading quickly, marking all the references to Christ, God, Lord, etc. In just a few days, I was already into 2 Nephi and now I am on page 86 or something like that. It is really neat to read it, focusing on Christ and His many names. After I finish it this time, then I will go through again, marking all of the commandments, then the blessings. I don't know how I was so blessed to be born at this time in the world where we have such truth, but I will be forever grateful.

I am grateful for all of my brothers and sisters...meaning the whole world. I learn so much as I contact individuals on the streets. They all have such unique views on life, God, experiences, etc. I learn from each person and it really is incredible how much good there is on the earth. One man last night taught me a lot about love. He had a few crazy ideas, but he really emphasized the importance of love. I LOVE this Gospel. I love each of you. I love my Savior. I pray that you can each pray for and act upon the promptings you have to share your love for others. This can come in the form of missionary work, service, smiling, writing a note, giving a hug, etc. I found out at church yesterday that one of my best friends in the ward here is going through a difficult trial and I can definitely relate. I actually struggled to work last night because I could feel her pain and it overwhelmed me to the point of tears. We, as humans, are all separate beings, but we can be connected if we will allow ourselves to be. The Spirit will bridge the gaps between our weaknesses and shortcomings and allow us to be unified. If we ask with a sincere heart and do everything we know to be pure, Heavenly Father will allow us to see His children through His eyes. We are each others angels, and I have witnessed that multiple times on my mission. I don't know if any of that made sense, but those are just some of my scattered thoughts. It's hard to write in words the things that the Spirit teaches you.

Have a wonderful week! May God be with you all as you give Him your heart and your will to follow Him. I love you all!

Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011.

Happy Family Day yesterday!

It was Family Day here in Canada (hence the reason I didn't e-mail yesterday). It was so neat to see families all outside ice skating. Much of the city was closed. I think this should be a holiday in America. After all, family is pretty much the best thing ever invented ;). I love my family and am blessed to have so many people to be with.

The weather has been up and down this week. On Thursday, it was +9 degrees C (48.2 F) and I thought it was a nice summer day! The only problem was the tornado wind! It is so windy in Brampton. Today it is -14 C (6.8 F), so it's absolutely freezing. Winter is more than halfway over though! I hear that March is a lot like February here.

I can't think of any experience in particular this week. I had many good lessons with investigators and members. Shantel, who we have taught twice now, found out some unexpected news. She had been sick for a couple weeks so she kept cancelling appointments. Well, when we went to teach her on Saturday, she told us that she is pregnant! She is 18 years old and her boyfriend is 17 years old and they are both in high school. Although it was a shock, when you think about it, this is the perfect time for her to learn about the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families! I know that to be true. It has blessed me personally with the ability to love more and have gratitude for my loved ones. That's something I have been thinking about lately. I don't think I would have ever realized how immensely I love and appreciate my family. I think a lot of it is because I am away and so I realize what I miss.

Rina, the older woman we are teaching, went to church for the second time on Sunday and is doing so well! We are teaching her today with a senior missionary couple and will be passing her off to the elders. She has already read nearly half of the Book of Mormon and is full of so much faith. She prays constantly and is doing all she can to get an answer from Heavenly Father to know if this is the true church. I know that she will receive that answer, as promised by Moroni and the Lord. I finished the Book of Mormon this morning in personal study. It is the greatest book ever. I am going to start it again tomorrow with a new copy (the blue missionary ones we give to people) and with a new marking system. I know I will learn a lot as I rely on the Spirit to teach me. I read an article in this month's Ensign this morning called "Revelation: Pouring Down from Heaven," and in it, the author says: "A testimony grows line upon line, but it doesn't have to be a slow process. There is a flood of revelation available." I know this is true. We learn little by little, but we can also learn quickly as we master each principle we learn.

It is the last week of this transfer already! Can you believe it? I am almost positive Sister Brack and I will both stay in Brampton another transfer, so there probably won't be news about that next week. I got permission to be in the stake choir for stake conference and we are singing some great songs. I am so grateful for each of you in my life, family and friends! Each of you has divine worth. This week, pray for and act upon an opportunity to share your testimony with someone, serve someone, invite someone to learn from the missionaries, etc. We truly are blessed as we come unto Him who made life possible!

I love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!

From the e-mails I have received, it sounds like it was a great day down in the states! :) It was good here too. I even got flowers (okay, so they were from my mission president's wife, but still...:D). Wow, where did last week go? Where are all of the weeks going? I don't have much time to write about my whole week, but I will start from Saturday. Saturday was a miracle day! First of all, Sister Brack and I went to the dentist. It was a dental hygene/assistant school and on that particular day it was free, so the mission scheduled appointments for the missionaries. We were there nearly three hours because of the long wait. After lunch we had a lesson with a boy named Navdeep. We met him earlier last week and he said that he had been to church once last year. We taught him the first lesson and committed him to be baptized on March 6. The Spirit was present and it was so great. Saturday night, we met with a boy named Rivon. Some of the elders talked to him at a bus stop earlier that week and referred him to us. We ended up teaching Rivon and his mom, Dena, about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. The lesson was so amazing. They both committed to come to church, read the Book of Mormon, pray, and be baptized (not on a specific date yet). Sister Brack and I went home and felt like we were in the clouds. There was a possibility of seven people coming to church (to our ward and to others' wards) due to much of our efforts (and the Holy Ghost of course).

Our highs of Saturday soon turned to our lows of Sunday. The first phone call in the morning was Shantel saying that she was sick and couldn't come to church. Our ward mission leader found rides for Rivon and Navdeep and spoke to both of them. They both said they wanted to come. After that, he tried calling each of them again and there was no answer. I guess the person giving the rides didn't go to pick them up because they weren't answering the phone. We had no investigators at church, but it was still a great Sabbath. One of the Ap's investigators that we had taught a couple of times was baptized after church, so that was great. One of the best parts of the day was learning that one of our investigators, Rina, went to church in one of the Brampton wards. We are teaching an older lady until we can pass her off to the Elders (sometimes Sisters can get into homes easier than Elders, so the Elders asked if we would teach her). She is AMAZING and has been looking for a church for 25 years. She is about half-way done with the Book of Mormon in less than two weeks. We will be going to teach her tomorrow and I can hardly wait to hear how she liked church.

The other best part about Sunday was that I got to see all of the sister missionaries and spend time with them. It was so much fun. We laughed so hard. We went out to eat yesterday. We got to spend a lot of time with Sister Brower too. I cannot believe Sister Olsen and Sister Rigby go home in less than two weeks. That is so strange. Two new sisters are coming out though, so that will be exciting.

The best news of last week is that my sister Julie had her sweet little baby! I love him already and it's hard to believe that he will be almost a year old when I get home! I am so happy for their little family. Have a wonderful week! Trust in the Lord. Heavenly Father gives you specific experiences in your life at specific times to teach you specific lessons :) Trust in Him through the good times and the hard times! I love you all!

Sister Barton

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011.

Another month in the new year!

Wow, we're already into February!?! Can you believe it? This week has been great. There are a couple of adventures of the week that I'm excited to share. I will start with one that really has no relevance, but maybe somebody will get a good laugh. On Saturday, Sister Brack and I were walking through a parking garage to get to the other side. You know those gates that can close off a road (just imagine if you don't know what I'm talking about :D)? Well, I was walking quickly, behind Sister Brack, and was looking up, not paying any attention to where I was walking. Next thing I know, I walked straight into a horizontal, metal bar on the gate. The pain was SO bad! I am so blessed that the injury is a few inches above my knee cap, because it would have shattered my knee. I have a baseball size goose egg and bruise on my leg and can barely walk right now. I just started kneeling to pray again this morning because it hurt too much the past couple of days. Lesson learned: pay attention to your surroundings :)

We found a new investigator!!!!! Her name is Shantel and she is SO amazing. We met her at a bus stop two weeks ago (I may have mentioned her in my last e-mail). We taught her at her house for the first time this week and the Spirit was so strong. She is 18 years old and still in high school. She just decided a few weeks ago to start going to church and feels like it is a sign that we met her at this time. She is very happy and nice. She doesn't know much about God or religion, but wants to learn. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel and taught very simply. We explained words like "repent" and "agency." When I recited Joseph Smith's first vision, she said that she had goosebumps. When I got to the part where Heavenly Father says "This is my Beloved Son, hear Him," Shantel gasped and then got a huge smile on her face. At the end of the lesson, she handed me back the Book of Mormon and I told her it was hers. She was full of joy and was so grateful to have the words of God. We committed her to baptism (not a specific date yet) and to come to church this Sunday. I am grateful for the Lord's hand in this work. He has gone before us, not just as missionaries, but as members. He has prepared people all around us that we can share our testimonies with, but it is up to us to be in tune with the Spirit enough to recognize those people.

The way home from Shantel's was pretty scary. It wasn't snowing at all when we got there but it dumped about a foot in an hour and a half. We just drove slowly and were fine. It's beautiful outside when it's snowing. We got to have a sister sleepover last night! Sister Evanson (my last companion in North Bay), Sister Brandley (one of my MTC companions), and Sister Cheng (my one-week companion from Hong Kong), slept over because Sister Cheng had a chinese missionary conference at the mission home. It was so fun to be with some of my best friends. Missions are so great.

I will leave you with this thought from Sacrament Meeting yesterday: Having a testimony is the greatest shield you have in life eternal. Nobody will ever take my testimony away from me. A testimony is a gift and needs nourishment. If we do not feed our spirits, our testimonies will fall away. Look at the prophet Alma the Younger from the Book of Mormon. Yes, he saw an angel, which gave him a great awakening, but it wasn't until he prayed and fasted (Alma 5) that he knew the gospel is true. The witness of the Holy Ghost, which comes as we pray, fast, read, ponder, etc. is far stronger than sight. I am so grateful for faith. I am grateful that we are not left to rely on sight only to know truth. God is real. He is here with us. If we have faith enough, we will recognize Him in all. I met a man this week who told me "If you don't see God in all, then you don't see God at all." Look for God in all you do this week. I love you all!

Sister Barton :)