Hello from the new Canada Toronto Mission!
The Toronto West and Toronto East missions are combined as of last night at midnight. Transfers are today but hardly anybody moved due to the mission combination. Only those going home and those filling in their place have moved around. So I am happy to be here in Burlington for another short transfer. This transfer is only about four weeks and ends the end of July, when transfers will change to be on Fridays. Today is also a day we remember the martyrdom of the beloved prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum (my fifth great grandfather), on June 27, 1844. I will be forever grateful for the strength and courage of these men and so many others who pushed forward to bring the Lord's truth once again to the earth. I was in the Family History Center last week and wrote down the names of my ancestors back to Hyrum Smith. I am so excited to research about the lives of these heroes when I get home. If you do not yet have a desire to do your family history, then get an account on new family search (newfamilysearch.org?) and pray for the desire. It is so fun to learn about those who have gone on before us. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson has been here in Ontario this week. The Thomas S. Monson camp was dedicated on Saturday, Sunday he attended and spoke at the Brampton YSA ward where I served for six months (why am I not there NOW! :D), and today he will attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance in Toronto. I love the prophet so much because he truly leads us to Christ.
This week has been miraculous for Sister Yi and we are looking forward to more miracles this month. Tuesday morning we met with a member referral named Susan. She is a single mother with five children. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel and committed her to be baptized on July 31st! She said yes! She came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it. We are hoping to move her date up a week because I know she will be ready and transfers are on July 29th (selfish reason, I know, but I want to be there and who knows if I will be transferred or not!). Thursday night we met with Andris and had a good lesson, although we still didn't set him for a date. I can see that he has a logical, mental testimony, but he is lacking a spiritual testimony. His roots are not yet firmly planted in the soil. Thursday night we met with Karey. Her husband was not there and we brought a member with us. When we brought up baptism at the end, I was praying so hard because I really didn't know what to say. I told Karey we had been thinking and praying and asked her if she had been praying about baptism. She said that she had and that she was thinking maybe around September because of her busy schedule. Well, Sister Yi and I had already planned to commit her to a date in July, so my prayers to Heavenly Father continued as I listened to the Spirit for the words to say. I told her that we knew that she would be ready to be baptized on July 24th! We showed our confidence in her as we helped her to see her spiritual progression. Instead of getting scared or saying it was too soon, she felt calm. She got excited. We set up all of our appointments until July 24th! She was almost committed to the date but just said that she wanted to talk to her husband about it. We are meeting with her tonight and we will see what has happened since last week. She didn't come to church yesterday because she was at her family cottage. She has said that the first and only time she came to church so far, she felt like she was on the right path. She has no doubts. She is seeking for truth. Many of Father's children are prepared to know the truth now! Let us all, missionary or not, pray to be guided to these lost sheep whom we can help to bring into the fold of Christ!
Today I read a talk called "More than Conquerors through Him that Loved us" by Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Quorum of the Seventy from the last General Conference. He talks about how "Trials are not just to test us. They are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature." I studied many scriptures about enduring through trials and asked myself "How can I endure well?" and "Why is it important to endure well?" How can we endure well? We can show gratitude, refrain from complaining, stay busy, pray for strength, and as said in Preach My Gospel, pg 66 "Continually exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, making commitments, and following the Spirit.". Why is it important to endure well? You will have "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17), God will exalt you on high (D&C 121:7-8), we will be refined -Elder Johnson's talk says "Being good is not enough. We want to become like the Savior.", It will "build up our character, purify our hearts, expand our souls, and make us more tender and charitable" (Orson F. Whitney), it is a commandment from Heavenly Father and is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, "We draw closer to God, conquer temptation and sin, and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost more abundantly" (PMG, pg. 66), we will gradually grow in Christlike attributes, and we will be "lifted up at the last day and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb" (1 Nephi 13:37). Elder Johnson says something that I feel was written directly for me: "At times it may seem that our trials are focused on areas of our lives and parts of our souls with which we seem least able to cope. Since personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges, it should come as no surprise that the tirlas can be very personal--almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses...the furnace of affliction helps to purify even the very best of Saints by burning away the dross in their lives and leaving behind the pure gold." I don't know about the pure gold part yet, but I do agree fully with Elder Johnson ;D. He says "We must be careful that we do not resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature." We all have the capacity to endure well, but we must choose to do so. Christ will give us strength if we give ourselves to Him. It is not a one-way thing. If we do our part, then He will do His. If you want to take a shortcut around the furnace, then you will end up on the other side, the same as you were before. Trust in the Lord. Put on the divine nature that is within you!
Well, those are my many thoughts of today. It's going to be a great week - new season, new mission, new transfer, new investigators, new starts :) Have a wonderful week! I have heard that the mail will start back up this week, but I'm not sure, so don't think I am ignoring you if I don't send letters :) You are always in my thoughts and prayers! May the Spirit be with you this week and always!
I love you all,
Sister Barton :)