Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011.

Happy Autumn!
I am finally in an area where it feels like fall around me. It is beautiful here in Kingston. Now that I know more about my area, I can write it. I am in the city of Kingston, but I serve in the Cataraqui (pronounced Cat-uh-rock-way) Branch, thus my area is called Cataraqui. My companion is Sister Braithwaite, who is originally from England but has been in Vancouver, BC since 2005.

One of the highlights of the week was when I recorded our voicemail in an english accent, which I can do because everyone else will just think it's Sister Braithwaite. It was fun :) Oh, random story. Sister Braithwaite and I were sitting at our desks writing in our journals last week and she asked me where my dad is from. I said that he grew up in Seattle, WA. Then she asked me if my cousin is Stephanie Potter!?!?!?! I was in complete shock on how she even knew that!!! Then she proceeded to tell me that when my Grandma and Grandpa Barton lived in England, she was in the same ward as them in Lincolnshire! Then when the Potters went to visit, Sister Braithwaite hung out with Stephanie and they are friends on Facebook hahaha. What a small world! So that is a fun connection.
We are teaching a young single adult named Mike and he has a baptismal date for November 20th. The main concern right now is that he is trying to quit smoking. He has done it before for two years, but since he has been smoking since he was very young, it is a hard thing to do on his own. So he is going to start going to the addictions recovery class at the church. I've only taught him once, so there aren't many details I know about him. One of his best friends was baptized months ago and Mike attended the baptism.

The district (as in stake, not missionary district) had a hoedown on Saturday night and it was so much fun. The whole gym was decorated really cute and we had good food. Then it was fun to watch many of the members and some non-members square dance. Most of the people in attendance dressed up. Sister Braithwaite did the best we could with costumes and wore matching sort-of-plaid scarves :)

Neal A. Maxwell said: "Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory." I know that this is true. The Lord doesn't even ask us to live the Law of Consecration at this time, but there is still much required of us. We must put our lives in the eternal perspective in order to realize that true treasures can only be attained by giving our all to God. His blessings are sure if we will but follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that He has shown us the way, the sure way. It is a blessing to have His guidance in my life. May we each strive to give more of ourselves and sacrifice what must be sacrificed in order to be a disciple of the Lord. Have an amazing week!!!! Thank you for all that you do.

Love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011.

It's a season of change!!!
Well, it looks like I didn't escape transfer calls last night. Sister Hodgkin and I suspected a call coming, but of course we were in denial. We were on the phone with some Elders when we saw "President Brower" was calling. I got really excited, then realized that we just hadn't changed the name in the phone hahaha. It was of course President Scott and he was calling to inform us that Sister Hodgkin would be staying in Toronto and training, while I am going to Cateroqui (Kingston)!!!! I hear it's one of the most beautiful areas of the mission and is the farthest east area. My new companion will be Sister Braithwaite from England. She has been on her mission for almost a year now and I have met her a few times. I am sad to leave Toronto and Sister Hodgkin, but I know that Cateroqui is where I am supposed to be for this final season.
I realilzed that one of our main purposes this transfer was to be able to help less-active members come back to the church. I experienced the sweet joy of watching a sister come this Sunday who had not been in years. We visited her for the first time on Wednesday and came to find out that she even served a mission years ago! She had been less active for years, although she never doubted the church. She just did not have the desire to come. We had a very spiritual lesson and I was either crying or I was just so sick that amidst my yawns and tissues, tears kept coming out. Anyway, it was so amazing to see this sweet sister come back to the true church. She was glowing. The sisters are going to visit her this week as well.

Saturday was one of the craziest days of my mission!!!!! I won't tell all of the details until I return home, but it was definitely an experience. Haha. Sister Hodgkin and I went to meet a member referral for the first time at her house. Well, we never met her because of the events that occured, the Spirit strongly telling us to leave, and then watching an arrest. (Did I mention I'm glad to go back to the country?:D) We were pretty shaken up after the whole experience (sorry there aren't many details and it seems'll just have to wait until later), which made it easier to notice all of the other funny little things of the day. The feelings of warning from the Holy Ghost are PROOF that there is a God. No big bang or science could create such a feeling right at the heart. Some call it intuition, but when we humble ourselves, we will realize that it is not our own power that gives comfort, warnings, and direction. All of that comes from the power that created the very universe, which power is of God Himself. I will be forever grateful for the promptings of the Spirit and for the knowledge that Heavenly Father knows where His sister missionaries are and will make sure to protect them!

It's going to be a great week. Thank you all so much for all of your support and love! I love you all very much and pray that you see the joy in each day :)
Sister Barton :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
Sister Hodgkin and I were sick most of the day yesterday so we spent the day inside and then we had a very interesting member appointment where we went to chinatown for dinner. Chinese food for Thanksgiving? Strange. There were only two bugs in the food though, which is better than the hairs in the viatnamese restaurant from a couple weeks ago. It was a great week with a few fun events. It was Sister Hodgkin's year mark on October 6th. I have never had a companion have a birthday on my mission, so I decided to celebrate her "birth"day (when she was "born" into the mission). It was a tender mercy from the Lord that she had to sleep longer due to being sick, so I could quietly decorate the apartment and make breakfast. I wrote her a cute card. She was confused when she came out of the bedroom and I shouted "Happy Birthday!" But then I explained it to her and she was so surprised. Even she had forgotten it was her year mark.

We got to go to the temple on Friday which was so amazing! I don't think my smile left my face the whole time we were inside. It was so peaceful and it felt so great to be dressed in all white again.

We almost had a new investigator and a baptismal date for the end of the month. Her name is Joanne and she has been wanting missionaries to teach her for months. We got permission to go teach her even though she is barely out of our area. We had a great lesson with her and she is totally prepared, but we then found out that we didn't have approval to continue teaching her, so we have to pass her off to the elders in her area. We also taught a couple of investigator lessons this week for other missionaries' investigators because they were busy. So we are definitely doing the work, but just not for our own area haha. At least these people are getting taught, which is all that really matters.

Random thoughts:
I also attached a picture of the downtown Toronto church building. It was built in 1938 (I think) and is one of the oldest LDS Church buildings in Ontario. It's pretty neat.

A bug crawled into my scripture bag in an appointment and when the member told me it was a cockroach, I almost passed out. Gross. I was paranoid the rest of the appointment because I felt like cockroaches were going to crawl on me! We had a mission president fireside on Sunday at the Stake Center and it was neat to hear the testimonies of a few recent converts.

That's about it for today. It's the last week of the transfer, but I am hoping to stay in Toronto. I'm not sure why I would move, unless Heavenly Father has something else in store for me.

We'll find out next week! You are all amazing and I hope you have a wonderful week! Stay strong and true to what you know is right!!!!

Love you all!
Sister Barton :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011.

Winter is coming!
It is pretty cold right now and although it may warm up this week, winter is definitely coming! Wasn't General Conference amazing?!?!?! I absolutely loved it and am so excited to study the talks further when the Ensign comes out next month. Conference is pretty much as good as Christmas when you are on your mission. I looked forward to it for so long and now it has come and gone. So it goes with life :)

I had a very neat experience on Tuesday shortly after getting on a streetcar. The lady next to me was on the phone when I sat down, but after she hung up, I asked how she was. She told me to ask her around midnight. She was tired. I came to find out that she was originally from Ohio and moved here to Toronto to be closer to her daughter and grandkids. Tears filled her eyes as she told me that she knows Heavenly Father answered her prayers. She said: "I was having such a hard day and then you sat down next to me." I put my arm around her and she cried. Some of her best friends in Ohio were members so she is familiar with the Church. She then told me how she had quit drinking years ago and before I walked on the streetcar, she was looking at the liquor store wondering if she should give up and go in. She knew that me sitting down next to her was an answer to prayers and was evidence that her loving Father in Heaven cares about her! She said: "You can't see it, but I am just beaming inside!" I definitely did see it. When she got off at her stop, she was smiling from ear to ear and was excited to tell her daughter who she had met on the bus. It was a tender mercy from the Lord for me to witness that miracle. I am so grateful to be used in His hands to bless the lives of those I meet.

Sister Hodgkin and I taught a Phillipino couple last night, which was a miracle in and of itself. However, they do not want to stray from their Catholic ways. It is hard to witness people hear the truth and have the fulness of the gospel at their fingertips and yet choose to go against it. This relates to other areas of our lives. For example, in General Conference, we hear the words of the Lord that will help us for our day. The truth of what we must do to move closer to Heavenly Father is in our hands, yet how often do we choose to remain with the lesser truth that we already know? Do not be stagnant on your journey to eternal life. As many of the talks said...there is only ONE way to eternal happiness. I am so grateful for that. God would not be a very loving Father if he did not give us direct directions on how to return to Him!

You will see here a picture of the lovely breakfast I made for Sister Hodgkin and myself. I have been into making pretty breakfasts lately and feel like I'm running a bed and breakfast :) Once again, you can still be crafty and creative on your mission!!!!!

There is also a picture here of two asian women (it was in Chinatown) who look like they are dressed in white to go to the temple! Coincidence? I think not! :)

Oh yeah!!!!!! We went to the ROM (Royal Ontaio Museum) on Monday!!!!! It was really awesome but would literally take a full day to even get through. We raced around trying to see as much as we could. There are exhibits from all over the world and it was very fun.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!! There is so much to live for and life can be as amazing as we make it! I love you all and you are in my prayers.
Sister Barton :)