Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2011.

Good Morning Loved Ones!
What a GREAT week! I can't really remember much of the week except for getting ready for the fireside which took places last night. I will write about that in a moment. First of all, as of today, I have a new mission president! President and Sister Scott arrived here yesterday, I believe, and I am very excited to meet them. I'm sure that President and Sister Brower received a very warm welcome home from all of their children and grandchildren. I love them so much and am excited to see them again soon. I find out about transfers this coming Sunday and then the move is Wednesday, so nobody write me at my Burlington address this week. Just send anything to the mission home. I am pretty sure I will be transferred, which is bittersweet. I am kind of in need of a change, but I don't want to leave Burlington. I love the ward here. And Sister Yi and I have been having lots of fun the last few days. She received her Patriarchal Blessing yesterday and said it was really great. She had to get it in English because there isn't a mandarin patriarch in Ontario. As far as she knows, there isn't one in mainland China either, that's why she didn't receive it before her mission. Anyway, I am excited for her to get the printed copy and study it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention in my blog last week: Happy Birthday to Elin on the 23rd! I don't know if she reads my blog, but maybe mom - you can tell her for me :) Thanks!
We met with our Zone Leaders for a few hours on Friday and they helped us to set some goals and feel better as missionaries :) Now I have started a goal book which is kind of like a journal/scrapbook and it is so great. I have been feeling great ever since I started it and am excited to be able to work on goals that will help me become who Heavenly Father knows I can be. I sang "Write Thy Name Upon My Heart" in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. It wasn't ever one of my favorite songs, but I really felt the Spirit as I sang. I love it now.
And now...the fireside! I'll tell you...this was a lot of work! But it was all worth it. There were about 70 people there, which filled much of the chapel. I arranged a program with seven musical numbers and quotes/scriptures or testimonies inbetween each song. There were tears shed in the audience with each musical piece. I sang with three young women, I sang a solo near then end, and then Elder Ward and I sang the last song. We had members do the rest of the music. Then Stake President Homer gave closing remarks. He mentioned how Christ was on the earth for a short time and while here, He performed miracles, taught His Gospel, and strengthened feeble knees. In this dispensation, Christ is not here among us, so at this time "We Are His Hands." If you remember from my past e-mails, that was the theme for the fireside. We had a poster that said "We Are His Hands" and the members brought cut-out hands upon which they had written experiences they had recently when they acted as the hands of Jesus Christ. The fireside could not have gone better. I am very grateful for my loving Father in Heaven who helped me knock down the road blocks in front of me that told me I couldn't do this. My district leader and I had a good conversation on the phone last night and he said "This fireside may have been the one reason you are here at this changed many lives tonight." I am grateful for the gifts God gives EACH of us that allow us to be instruments in His hands. If you want to achieve a goal that you have, then pray for strength and ENDURE until you accompish the task. With God, nothing is impossible!
Thank you for all you do for me! I will let you all know about transfers next week. Ahh yes, I will be e-mailing on Tuesday due to Labor Day on Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend :) I love you all!
Sister Barton

Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

Wow, lots to write!
I am just going to start with Monday and see what I can catch up with :) Monday evening we went to dinner at a Chinese members house who lives in Waterdown. We cover that area, but this member goes to church in the Hamilton ward because they have a chinese class. That was a fun dinner. We had a funny experience on Tuesday as we were walking home for lunch. I started talking to this older lady named Adele and she told us to go to lunch with her. I didn't want to buy anything but we still went anyway. We sat there in the restaurant while she ate her Thai soup and taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel. I'm not sure how much she understood haha. I don't know if it is old age or something else, but I'm pretty sure she wasn't completely following us. In the end, she gave us the rest of her soup to take home. Then we found a whole snickers bar on the grass on the way home hahaha. Score! So we put it in the freezer when we got home (it was melted) and ate it after lunch haha. We had a conference call with the assistants and all of the sisters on Tuesday night to find out the surprise they had been keeping from us for a week. We knew about the sister sleepover on Friday night but what we didn't know is that all of the sisters would be going on exchanges from Wednesday to Friday! Sister Yi and I had to stay up late packing Tuesday night since we got off the phone right at bedtime and would have no time the next day to get ready. Sister Yi stayed in Burlington and I was off to London!
I spent Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon in London with Sister Rosenlof, who is so great. She is from the previous East Mission so it was fun to work with a sister with a different style. We laughed a lot and had a good time. We were able to set up a couple of appointments too. Almost everyone in London actually listens when we knock on their door! They are all so nice and we could actually have a few conversations, which hasn't happened in Burlington for a while! We left for Kitchener on Friday around 3:00 pm where we met with some other sisters to carpool down to Brampton.
It was SO fun to be with all of the sisters in the mission. I think there are 25 of us, including four Hermanas. We ate a yummy dinner. While enjoying my yummy sweet and sour chicken, I looked up and froze....guess who had just walked into the mission home? Sister Britney Lavatai - my trainer! It was SO good to see her and hug her AND sing with her later on. I miss her. AND one of my favorite companions ever, Sister Danielle Olsen, was there too so we hugged and talked. I knew they were visiting the mission, but I didn't think I would see them so I was very happy. Friday night we continued to have fun, play with hair, watch a church movie, and sleep all over the floor in sleeping bags!
Saturday morning we enjoyed a companionship study with President Brower who taught us about the temple. After breakfast, we drove to the Weston Chapel in Toronto (I never want to drive again haha) where we role played for about two hours. Then the big surprise was that we were going out on the streets to contact. Jane and Finch is supposedly the sketchiest area in the mission, so there we went...25 sisters and some elders...armies of Helaman! It was awesome. I was in a little bit of a mood and told a man who was lighting his cigarette: "You know, cigarettes are much better when they are unlit." Sister Swim laughed pretty hard and I just shrugged my shoulders haha. It was really fun.
It was so good to be with President and Sister Brower because they are going home this Sunday and I won't see them for a while. I am so grateful for them in my life. They have changed me and I will never forget them. It won't be too long until I see them :) But I am also very excited for President and Sister Scott to come on Monday. I know that they are called of God to preside over one of the Lord's greatest missions. They will be amazing.
I could probably keep writing for ages, but those are the basics of the week. Transfers are in two Mondays and I want to soak up my time in Burlington and with Sister Yi. Who knows what will happen!? I am grateful to be a missionary for Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and Redeemer. We can have eternal JOY - can you believe it? What a blessing! Have a wonderful week and count your many blessings!
I love you all,
Sister Barton

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011.

Good Morning!
The weather is cooling down here and I can hardly believe that summer is nearing it's end. It has been a great week. First I will start with the biggest news since last week. We are putting on a musical fireside on August 28th!!!!! I am so excited. The idea came about during District Meeting on Wednesday. I texted some elders asking if they really thought it was possible to do it and they said yes. So I have been busy busy ever since. Due to transfers on September 5th, and the fact that it will be Labor Day weekend (everyone will be gone), we are doing the fireside on August 28th! It's soon but it's going to be great. The theme is "We Are His Hands." Each member will trace their hand on paper, cut it out, and pray for an opportunity to be the hands of Christ in the next couple of weeks, whether it's through service, missionary work, etc. Then they will write it on their paper hand and bring it to the fireside to tape it to a big poster. This will really unify us as a ward as we ALL can be the hands of Christ. I've been busy doing crafty things for the fireside as well like posters, flyers, writing out quotes, etc. There will be many songs with quotes, scriptures, and/or testimonies inbetween. Many of the quotes are taken from President Uchtdorf's talk "You Are My Hands," from the May 2010 Conference Ensign. Sister Yi and I are going to Hamilton today to practice the music with some Elders. I also have assigned a few members to be doing musical numbers. I am so happy that everything is falling into place and I know the Lord's hand is in it. I have been tearing down the walls that I have put in front of myself all week. Thoughts of "I can't do this," "I don't know what to do," "What if nobody comes?" etc. have filled my mind. I've been able to push the thoughts out, stop thinking so much, and just DO! Sometimes that's my problem...I'm a master planner haha. But it's often best to stop making plans and just start taking action. Then I am able to figure it out as it comes. So the Lord has really helped me more forward with faith this week.
I had a really neat experience on Wednesday after District Meeting. Sister Yi and I were tracting and I was singing away as we walked. I prayed in my head that I would have the opportunity to sing to someone since it very rarely happens in Burlington. I KNOW that Heavenly Father answers prayers! We knocked on a door that had a sign on the front saying something about keeping visits to one hour. I figured the person inside was either very elderly or sick. A home care nurse answered and invited us in. In a back bedroom, we met Sheila. She is a painter from India but has been in Canada for 40 years. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in March and said "now all I have are my pain killers and my faith in God." She was amazing. I was able to sing her "I Need Thee Every Hour," and "I am a Child of God." It was a tender mercy from the Lord. The best part was that I was able to serve others, not just get blessings for myself. Heavenly Father will bless us much more in life if we are willing to give what we receive to others. :)
I had the neatest experience yesterday while on the phone with Brian. He had been avoiding our phone calls and messages for about two weeks but finally answered yesterday. He began to say how he wanted to talk to me, probably to say he wasn't interested. He said "I have a question for you. Be honest with me. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way back to God?" I testified that we do and told him why. I actually was able to use the third Article of Faith (We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all manking may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel) because I had read it on Saturday night. I mentioned the Book of Mormon a couple of times. Brian got pretty upset and started asking why I always referred to the Book of Mormon and not the Bible. He mentioned that he had been drinking. He may lose his house and is going through a really rough time. Remember that Brian is the one who is so afraid of going to false churches. He doesn't want to be deceived. This began about a five minute testimony from the Holy Ghost through me because I don't know where all of it came from! Here is a little summary of what I said: "Brian, you are very special to Heavenly Father. You are one of the few people on the earth right now who is searching for truth. Most people think they already have it figured out and their hearts are closed. You need to replace the fear that you have with faith. Doubt, confusion, and fear come from Satan, not God. Take a step into the unknown and God will shine light on the path! The Spirit will warn you if you are going in the wrong direction." I said many more things, but that's just a little bit. When I stopped, Brian said "Wow." I said "How do you feel right now?" And he said "I'm bawling like a baby." When we were ending our conversation, he said "Call me again." Later he texted us: "Thank you for calling. I need God in my life, the more the merrier. God bless you." I testify to each of you that the Spirit changes hearts! My heart was burning with the Spirit after this phone call because I KNOW that Brian felt the truthfulness of what I was saying. Feeling the Spirit of God is NOT an imagined feeling or sensation. It is the most real feeling that can ever be felt because it deals with our whole souls - our spirit bodies and our physical bodies. The Spirit can fill us when truly nothing else on this physical earth can. Of course I am not talking about love...put that aside because God is Love, so in a sense, that is all connected to the Spirit as well.
I'm looking forward to a fun week with many dinner appointments, district meeting, a sister sleepover at the mission home (yay - all 23 sisters!), more fireside preparations, and of course: Finding, teaching, and baptizing!!!!!!!! :) In the words of Elder Holland: "My mission means everything to me!" Thank you all for being who you are! You amaze me :)

I love you!
Sister Barton

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 8, 2011.

Hello loved ones!
Another week has passed and it was a great one. We had district meeting on Wednesday and Sister Yi and I taught about revelation through church attendance. I also shared the spiritual thought. On Friday, Elder Ward and I practiced our song for Zone Conference again and that was really fun. We were very prepared so when we actually sang it in zone conference, there was nothing to fear. So it is with life...when we are prepared, we can go forward in confidence and strength.
We had a lesson with Nyari on Friday and it was kind of awkward. I was the only one that talked because we didn't prepare enough for the lesson and Sister Yi didn't talk when I looked at her to do so. I definitely want to prepare more for her next lesson. She said she would come to church yesterday and then she didn't. I'm not sure why but will call her soon. We haven't spoken to Brian for about a week but we have been praying for him each day and hoping he will continue to have the faith to meet with us.
Zone Conference was amazing. We carpooled there with a few elders and I didn't have to drive, which was nice :) We went to London, ON, which is about 1 1/2 hours from Burlington. In Conference, we really focused on the role of the Spirit in missionary work. Since then, I have really counseled with myself and Heavenly Father about how I can be more consecrated and focused. It may seem like four months is still a long time, but if I don't make changes now then it will soon be over and I will not have become all that I can truly become through Christ.
Sister Yi and I got out of the car to begin tracting yesterday and I opened the trunk to get out a Book of Mormon. We were both trying to shut the trunk and tragically, her pinky finger got shut in the trunk. I hurried to push the trunk button to open it. Her nail was purple and immediately started bleeding, which is really good actually because then the pressure didn't build up in her finger. I held her close as we held her finger up in a napkin and she shed some tears. She was SO brave and amazing. She barely made a peep. I'm sure I would have screamed. We drove to a member nurse's house and she was able to "dress the wound" hehe. Sister Yi's finger is a little swollen today but it is much better and she is typing like normal. What a blessing! Her attitude was a great example to me :) I still have much to learn from her!
We have a busy week ahead of us and hopefully it will become busier with investigator lessons! Thank you all for being great :) You amaze me!
I love you,
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011.

Hello Hello!
It is so good to write today. I am kind of hyper so my thoughts are all flustered. Sister Yi and I drove to Hamilton this morning. I was practicing a song with one of my zone leaders that we are singing in zone conference this week. We had SO much fun. He was in a band before his mission and it was just so fun to sing and make the song unique. I hope to record it somehow and maybe a member could put it on youtube so you can see it. So that made me really happy for the day because I love to sing.
The biggest story of the week happened on Sunday when Andris and Sister Hofstetter walked into the church. I was greeting at the door to the chapel and Andris said "I'd like to introduce you to Sister Krumins!" Then Sister "Krumins" put her hand up with a ring on it. WHAT?!?!?!??! He had proposed last Sunday, the day he got confirmed (they had never talked about marriage before), they planned it all week and the stake president married them in the church on Saturday. I didn't even know because only family was there. I am SO happy for them and they are so happy. They are going to Hawaii tomorrow. It was fun to see some pictures from the wedding and hear stories. I am so grateful for them in my mission and in my life :)
We got a new investigator named Nyari (pronounced Nee-yah-ree) on Friday. She was a member referral and is from Zimbabwe. She committed to read the Book of Mormon, but we just have one concern to solve...she says that her church in Zimbabwe had a boy similar to Joseph Smith who started seeing visions and they read a different book in addition to the Bible so she thinks that she has been baptized by the proper authority. That's a tough one. Well, all she has to do is read the Book of Mormon and pray with a sincere heart. The Spirit will witness the truth of the message of the Restoration to her and all will be well :) We teach her again tomorrow. We also have district meeting tomorrow and zone conference on Saturday, so it's a busy week. We had a zone meeting last week and met all of the new elders in the zone. It was really fun and we played some get-to-know-you games. The Spirit was strong as we worked together to decide what our zone focus would be for August. We all decided on the focus of "I am His hands" and felt very strongly about it. We will continue to make our action items as well.

Carey wasn't confirmed on Sunday because she was really sick so she had to stay home. She will be confirmed this coming Sunday so I am looking forward to that. This week has been BIG at home too with Hannah getting married and Alex going on her mission! I am so happy for them both.
Have a wonderful week and be strong! I love the gospel! Can you believe it? I am a missionary for the Lord, Jesus Christ. How great is my calling! I LOVE YOU ALL! Be Happy :)
Sister Barton