I am not very creative with writing opening lines, so I'd rather just say hello and get on with my e-mail :). This week was good. We had a couple of days that were extremely hot and humid but the weather is great right now. We got a NEW investigator this week! YAY! Her name is Karey and she is the wife of a member. I don't remember if I mentioned them in my last e-mail. Karey's husband VJ is from Jamaica and just got his visa to come here a couple of weeks ago. They have been married for about two years and have been living in separate countries because he couldn't get a visa to come here. Anyway, Karey is great and so excited to learn. She loved church and has started reading the Book of Mormon now. She doesn't really have a religious background but believes in God. We extended a baptismal date invitation for July 11th and she ALMOST committed, but her husband showed a little bit of opposition. He wants her to know everything before we even talk about baptism. This is where missionary work gets a little bit difficult. Missionary work is always progressing and we receive new instructions and revelations on how to do certain things. All missionaries will (or at least they should) extend a baptismal invitation in the first lesson. The problem is that the way we do missionary work is not always communicated to the members of the church. So for them to hear us commit people to baptism on a specific date in the first lesson is very shocking. But that is the Lord's way. Unless directed otherwise from the Spirit, we will do it. So anyway, we will work to set a date in our next lesson with Karey and continue to help her husband understand that as we have a goal and set that vision of a date, we are really showing Heavenly Father our great faith and He is able and willing to answer our prayers. More to come on Karey later :)
We got a new ward mission leader!!!!!! SO exciting. Brother Fuller is the new wml and his wife, Brittany, is a Jenner! So I used to spend time with her at the Jenner's in North Bay. Brother Fuller served his mission in Australia and he is going to be a great leader for us. He is already helping and supporting us.
The biggest news of the week came on Saturday. As I wrote in my last e-mail, we had a combined conference with both missions in Brampton and Elder Ballard (Quorum of the 12 Apostles) spoke. First of all, I was on the front row and he looked at me and smiled at me a lot :) This short conference was not, however, what any of us expected. Elder Ballard spoke about the missions combining, President & Sister Eyre going home, and President & Sister Brower presiding over the Canada Toronto Mission starting July 1st. What came next shocked all of us: "And then you will be getting a new mission president in August..." What?!?! He proceeded to inform us that after extensive counsel, due to serious health issues Sister Brower is currently facing, President and Sister Brower will receive an honorable release from their mission in August. Tears filled my eyes and for the remainder of Elder Ballard's talk (and pretty much for the rest of the night), I was crying. Sister Brower kept her head down a little bit because I'm sure it was hard to look at so many missionaries who love her so much. This will be a big change for everyone, but it is still the Lord's work. I will love the new mission president and sustain him just as much as President Brower. The main desire of my heart is just that Sister Brower gets better :) I fasted for her yesterday and truly felt the spirit of the fast, which has always been something hard for me. Elder Ballard paid tribute to Sister Brower (his daughter) and spoke of how she has the spirit of a lion. It is so true. She is a supermom and is an example to me. For now, I am going to cherish the time I have with President and Sister Brower and thank my Heavenly Father for bringing them into my life. It is very clear why President Brower was called to preside over this great mission at this time. He has a great work to do in preparing this great mission to re-unite with the east mission.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY this week!!!!!! I love Father's Day just as I love Mother's Day. Fathers are incredible. The work to support families, they teach children to be good and to do good, they give the best hugs, and they have great responsibility in Heavenly Father's plan. I am so grateful for all of the fathers in my life (brothers, fathers, uncles, friends, mission presidents, etc.). I pray that each of you have a great week and feel the love that so many people have for you :)
I read the first presidency message about tithing in the June Ensign last night and it is SO good. I learned so much from it and it really helped me to appreciate rules and commandments so much. Elder Eyring says: "To receive the gift of living with [God] forever in families in the Celestial Kingdom, we must be able to live the laws of the kingdom (D&C 88:22)...He has given us commandments in this life to help us develop that capacity...one of the blessings that comes from paying a full tithing is developing faith to live an even higher law. To live in the Celestial Kingdom, we must live the law of consecration. There we must be able to feel that all we are and all we have belong to God." Amazing! Everything here on earth, especially commandments, are given to us to prepare us for the way we will live after this life. We won't pay tithing in the Celestial Kingdom but this commandment now prepares us to to live higher laws later. This is true with all commandments now - they are preparing us to have the spiritual capacity to live the laws of our future eternal home. One of the thoughts I had while reading this last night was about the commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." In the Celestial Kingdom, there will be a fulness of love and joy; nobody will speak ill of another. In order to abide the law there, we have to be able to live it here on earth; hence the fact that this life is a TEST!
Anyway, I don't know if I am making any sense or just rambling on, but I hope you feel of my testimony because I truly know that Christ's Church is again on the earth with the power of God to lead us back to live with Him. Have a great week and strive to strengthen your testimony of the Savior! I love you all!
Sister Barton :)
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!!!!!!!!!!!