Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011.

My thoughts today will probably be very scattered since I don't feel like any big events happened this week. Sister Hodgkin and I have a teaching pool of zero right now so we are working to find more people to teach. I am SO excited for General Conference this week. I loved th Relief Society broadcast on Saturday and feel like President Uchtdorf's talk was just for me (I'm sure many people thought that!). I am going to print it off today and study it. Sister Hodgkin and I made homemade bread and already ate a whole loaf (they are small loaves) since last night hahaha. Woops. We are going to the Royal Ontario Museum today and that will be fun. I'm not quite sure what to expect, but we're excited. I highlighted Sister Hodgkin's hair and it looks really good. I felt like a professional hahaha. It was fun.

We ate at a Vietnamese restaurant with a member and Sister Hodgkin and I took a picture of the little bowl holding the gross parts of the food we didn't want to eat, such as beef tendon and cow lung (ew!). We also took this neat picture of a rooster on the window with the CN tower in the background.

Sister Hodgkin and I have made really good friends with a man who owns a new gelato shop near our apartment called "Artegelato." It's the best gelato in the city (someone told us haha). The owner's name is Sebastian and he always teases us to make sure we are getting home ontime. He's from southern Italy and I told him my mom went on her mission there. We have good gospel conversations. He gave us a box of free cookies, although we tried to resist :)
I was reading Alma 30 the past few days about Korihor, the antiChrist. It was amazing to read it at this time because almost everything Korihor says is something I have heard on my mission. I am realizing that one way of likening the scriptures to ourselves is being able to testify like the ancient prophets. Yes, we all need our own testimonies, but the way they sometimes testify to others is powerful. Next time somebody tells me that I cannot prove that there is a God, I am going to say as Alma did: "And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. But behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true...all things denote that there is a God." It's true! There is no proof that there is no God, but there is endless evidence that He lives and loves us very much! I am so grateful for that knowledge.

This week we have the opportunity to hear from a prophet of the Lord and His apostles. How blessed we are! I know that Heavenly Father has individual messages to deliver to each of us through His servants' words. Go to conference with questions and with a willingness to do whatever the Lord asks of you. I know that we have much to learn in this life and that as we obey the Lord's words, as given through His prophet, we will receive the guidance that will keep us on the straight and narrow path to eternal life.

I love you all very much and pray that you will have a wonderful week! Enjoy the beginning of fall! I hear that the leaves are beautiful in Utah. The leaves haven't changed here, but hopefully they will soon. Happy Autumn!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011.

Good Morning from the Big City!
It has been a good week full of some adventures and shocking experiences. The weather tells us that it is fall now and we are wearing scarves and jackets. We had all of our usual plans this week of teaching ESL, going to FHE, having sports night, etc. We also had Zone Conference, which was really great because we got to meet President and Sister Scott for the first time. And you will see in the picture of me with the assistants that I crocheted each of them ties. They look pretty good, eh? At Zone Conference was when I got a big shock. One of the assistants stood up and asked if "Sister Barton and Elder Jung" would stand. He started to say some good things about us and then said that we would not be at the next zone conference (it will be around Christmas time) so we would be giving our farewell testimonies right then and there. What?!?!?! My mission is NOT over and I still have a LONG time! It was really strange to stand in front of everyone, bearing my last testimony at zone conference, when I still have a few months left. Normally I would have thought about what I wanted to say beforehand, but I guess this way I said what was in my heart in that moment.
On Tuesday we taught a girl named Ashley who had been contacted on a bus by an Elder. She was very girly and thought it was really "cute" that we prayed. She was really fun to teach and accepted everything except the baptismal commitment. She says that she wants to take things slowly. We tried to resolve her concerns, but we will have to continue tomorrow when we go to teach her again. We also taught Mike this week. It was a really good lesson, although we left not really knowing what his true intentions were regarding the gospel. He brought a friend to church yesterday and they both asked many questions. The Spirit was very strong at church, but in the end, Mike decided not to meet with us again. He did give us his info for after our missions though....funny. :)
Funny things always happen after teaching Mike (remember last week when I got pizza thrown at me?). Sister Hodgkin and I were taking the subway home when we had quite a scare. We were getting off at our stop and the doors were open for less than 15 seconds before they started to close. Sister Hodgkin barely made it through the Subway doors, but her side bag that was around her shoulder was stuck in the subway car, and she was holding the strap outside the car!!!! It was amazing to see all those around us huddle around, pulling the doors apart to help us free the bag. A girl inside the subway even got up and worked to push it out the door. Then her cell phone flew from inside the car to outside and we hurried and picked it up, throwing it into her hands in the subway car just before the doors slammed shut!. It was quite an adrenaline rush!
My back has been hurting this week so we went to a sister in the ward who does Chinese medicine. It can't hurt to try anything, right? Hehe. So she determined that my T1 (first Thoracic vertebrae) was out of alignment. She put a mallot on one side, told me to breathe in on the count of three, then hit the mallot with a hammer. Hahaha. It was interesting. After doing a few other things, I laid in her massage chair for about 15 minutes, which was great! I wanted to have the faith that the mallot hitting my back would fix it, and she said it would feel better in a few hours, but it still hurts and it has been two days. Oh well. It was worth a try.
There is a member that I love here because she makes me laugh so hard. Her name is Myrrhiam and she was baptized this past summer. She is from Jamaica and is in her 70's. She walks with a walker and her speech is very slurred because she is very aged. She is so funny. She comprehends the Book of Mormon more than more people and can recite complete stories to us from her reading. She is always laughing, clapping, and saying "Praise the Lord." And when I pray, she says "Amen" to everything I say hahaha. I love her.
A couple of thoughts for the week from some of my lessons with recent converts:
"It's easy to be positive when you're positive!" -I don't think Jimmy knew exactly what he was saying when he said this because it is in fact very profound. I interpreted it to mean that it is easy to be positive when you are positive or SURE. It is indeed easier to be positive in this life when you are SURE of your purpose, of Heavenly Father's love for you, of the great plan, and of the eternal truths that God desires to bless us with. A knowledge and testimony of these things brings about a light that emits positivity and happiness not found anywhere else in the world. :)
"Pride and humility are not feelings, they are attitudes that bring about feelings" -This was said by Rene, baptized a few weeks ago. There is a theme in the previous East Mission that they call "NBA - Nothing But Attitude." Much of life is not about events or just undesired feelings coming about. It is about choosing and working to have an attitude that will bring about fruits of humility, love, joy, security, and peace. So we can no longer say "I am a prideful person. That's just the way it is and I have no control over changing it," but rather we can change our attitude so that feelings of pride no longer come into our being.
That's about it for my week. Sister Hodgkin and I have fun making breakfast for each other and helping build each other up. This week will be great and we will find many of Heavenly Father's children to teach. I'm sure of it :) I love you all! If you want to write me straight to my apartment, get the address from my mom. I will most likely stay through the next transfer. But of course send packages to the office. Love you!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011.

Hello from the great city of Toronto!
I have been here since Wednesday and it has been so good. I was scared out of my mind when I found out that I had to drive to the Toronto Stake Center on Wednesday morning because I thought I would just have to drive to Hamilton and take the transfer van to Toronto. I got some great instructions and a map from an elder and it helped me get there! I am just happy that I will probably never have to drive a car again on my mission! I've been riding busses, street cars, and the subway all week. I even felt sick the other day because of all of the motion going on. Even watching the subways go by can make you sick haha. I have also been extremely tired, which usually happens after I move to a new area. But it has been great. We are very busy here with FHE on Mondays, ESL Tuesdays, district meetings Wednesdays, weekly planning Thursdays, ESL Saturdays, and church/meetings on Sundays. Teaching ESL is fun and we had a miracle when about 15 asian girls showed up on Saturday for the first time ever.

Sister Hodgkin (love her!) and I were walking downtown on Saturday night and witnessed a huge miracle. There was a guy walking behind us and I turned around to say "hi." I asked him where he was headed and he asked us the same question. Then I told him we are missionaries. Eventually we were sitting at a picnic table and teaching him about the Restoration. His name is Mike and he is going to school for his Masters. He had lots of questions and had somewhat of a desire to learn. He said that he would love to have the strong faith that we have. We told him it is possible. He tried to refuse the Book of Mormon saying he could just read the assigned chapter (Alma 32) online, but he eventually accepted the Book. We had SO much fun teaching and we all laughed a lot. We didn't set up a return appointment but we have his phone number and will call in a few days to see how his reading went. I don't know if he will investigate any further, but it was still amazing to teach someone right after meeting him.

After our lesson with Mike we walked and took the subway home. Then came one of the funniest experiences of my mission. Sister Hodgkin and I were almost to our apartment and were just crossing the street to get to our block. I could see a man on the corner and he was about five feet away from the path that we were walking. He looked a little homeless but he was obviously crazy because of the next events that occured. When I was just about to walk past him, he backed up about three whole steps and ran into me on purpose. Then he looked at me like it was my fault and about five seconds later, I felt something hit my back. I turned around and he ran around the corner after giving us the evil eye. On the ground I saw his half eaten slice of pizza. He threw his pizza at me, getting sauce all over my favorite shirt and my backpack. Sister Hodgkin almost peed her skirt because she was laughing so hard. Only on a mission...and ONLY in Toronto!!!!!

We did not attend the CES fireside last night because there was a fireside at the Toronto Stake Center. It was all about goal making and making our main goal Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. It was fun too see many of my missionary friends. Our investigator, Toshi, came as well. He is one of our only investigators right now but we're not really sure what to do because he doesn't live in our area, but he comes to our ESL and church. We're working hard to find new investigators. This week will be really great and I know we will find more people to teach. We have zone conference too, which will be great because I get to meet my new mission president. Everybody have a WONDERFUL week. Read the talk "Come What May and Love IT" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. An elder gave it to me to read before leaving Burlington and it is so helpful to remember to laugh at any situation life throws at us. :) Be happy!!!! I love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6, 2011.

First things first.....
AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Guess what? I got transferred!!!!! Okay, first of all, I am very sad to leave Burlington. I LOVE the ward and the city. It is home and I will miss everyone so much. But alas, I must move on to......DOWNTOWN TORONTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best part? I'll be with SISTER HODGKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, enough excitement. I prayed months ago to be companions with Sister Hodgkin but then stopped because I realized that it would never happen. We are very good friends and I love her very much. I know that Heavenly Father knows my needs and answers my prayers. Downtown Toronto! That is SO exciting. We don't drive cars there but use the busses. That will be a big change and I'm sure I will have some crazy experiences. Burlington probably could not be more opposite. I'm about to go into one of the melting pots of the world with hundreds of different cultures. I believe I will be serving in a ward that was one of the first wards (I think it's the Ossington ward) and buildings in eastern Canada. There is a lot of history there. I hear it's the ward Donny Osmond goes to when he visits. That's another plus hehehehe. Anyway, I'm excited for a change and I know I will learn many things from the Lord and from my great companion. Want to hear something else funny? Sister Yi's new companion is Sister Yen. HAHA. Her family is from Taiwan but she is really from California. She speaks a little bit of Mandarin, but not much. She's American. But that's funny: Sister Yi and Sister Yen.
There isn't much to tell about the rest of the week. Brian is no longer an investigator because he doesn't want to act upon the things we teach. He sent us a text saying "I've come to the conclusion that I won't be attending your church. My search will forge on. Thank you." Side note: it's not our church, it's Jesus Christ's church ;). Sister Yi and I went to see him after getting the text and nothing much came of it. He is a wonderful person, but just not ready I guess. It definitely didn't help the situation that he was texting me last week and asking me out for pizza. Um...he's 53 years old. No thank you. :)
I have been busy crocheting ties for some of the elders haha. I made one for a certain elder as a joke and now everyone wants one. Haha. It's great. I won't have time to do that starting tomorrow though. I've had extra time during Sister Yi's language study, at night, etc. It's been fun to keep my crafty abilities up.
Yesterday was the annual Burlington Ward Picnic. It was loads of fun and a great opportunity to see everyone before I leave, which doesn't usually happen during transfers. Every family made mottos and banners like the title of liberty in the Book of Mormon. Sister Yi and I won second place (see picture). After the ward picnic, we went to teach Eddy with the elders (see picture). I'm not sure if I wrote about him before but he is amazing. One day he just showed up to church and nobody knew who he was. We came to find out that he is a member and was baptized when he was eight. He doesn't remember much about the church and is learning everything again. About a month ago he went to Alberta for his dad's re-baptism and that is what sparked the change. We watched the movie "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration" yesterday which is one of the best movies ever made. After, Elder Hanny asked Eddy what he would be willing to do to hold that same power of God that the prophet Joseph Smith had (and that all worthy priesthood holders have). He replied "Anything...Everything." He is one of the nicest people I've ever met and he is so humble. He will go where the Lord wants him to go!
I'm sure I will have many more adventures to share next week. I am so grateful to be a missionary for Christ. It's the greatest blessing of my life so far. There is a quote in the Joseph movie that Joseph says while the men are building a temple. He says: "We're not just building a temple here...the Lord is building us." That is very true of a mission as well. I'm not just building a ward or a teaching pool, but the Lord truly is building me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the day today. We're going to Hamilton to have some fun with the Elders...sports, music, signing books, etc. Then we have a dinner appointment. Then it's home to clean and pack! I pray that each of you have an amazing week. Smile :) Enjoy each moment! Let the Holy Spirit guide!
Love you all,
Sister Barton