Bonjour tout le monde!
This morning Elder Reid, Rasmussen, and I decided that we wanted to play Settlers of Catan and it took longer than we thought it would (go figure!) so I'm already short on email time. This morning I also figured out that my camera is more awesome than I thought previously and took a bunch of pictures. So hopefully the pictures will make up for the short email.
But nonetheless, here is a low-down of the past week!
On Tuesday morning Elder Osorio and I went to get bubble-tea (sans tea) at China Town with Murianne. It had been a while since we saw her last so it was nice to catch up. She said that she had taken a break from all technology so it was near impossible to contact her. We're glad that she picked up the phone for us, though! She said that she has been working to find a new job so that she can start coming on Sundays and to the activities throughout the week. After that we went back to the office and did our facebook contacting and then had a lesson over the phone with Stephanie to figure out her baptismal program. She will be baptized on February 23rd! We are excited for her to make this step and progress in her relationship with Heavenly Father. We had a lesson with Brennan right after her so we metro'd as fast as we could to the freshman student housing where he lives. It was a pretty good lesson but Elder Osorio and I were just on completely different pages and I'm afraid he realized that and didn't get much out of the lesson. It was kind of upsetting but he still opened up and shared some personal experiences with us. Later on in the week when we texted him to confirm an appointment he told that we could come pick up the Book of Mormon we gave him and that he didn't want to spend any more time learning. He even used "It's not you, it's me." It felt like a high-school break up! We are still talking with him though and trying to help him realize the importance of the Plan of Salvation. We got a call later that day from Sonny (the one who investigated the church because one of the members gave him a hug in the metro and was baptized). He asked us if we could go to the hospital with him to visit his mom. She has been addicted to hard drugs since she was 15 and has really started to lose control of her mind and body. I could go off about how dangerous and destroying addictive substances are but... time restraints! We shared a thought with her from the Book of Mormon and Sonny shared his conversion story with her. Sadly she was completely past feeling and didn't really understand what was going on. All she kept asking was if she was allowed to smoke in her room or not. I was pretty sad about that. Then we got a call from Nichelle and AJ from the YSA asking if we wanted to come over for dinner. They are engaged to be married at the end of this month and are such a great couple! We have become really great friends. They made us one of the best meals I've had here so far! It was some sort of tomato, basil, chicken, rice dish. It was so good! They gave us a referral to teach one of their friends that AJ goes to school with. We'll contact him later this upcoming week when AJ talks to him at school.
Wednesday we went to lunch with Jason and Ben Glowa—two of my absolute favorite people! I'll miss them when I leave this area. I have a feeling that I won't be staying here after this transfer. I would really love to stay but it's YSA and is the envy of the mission so President Cannon likes to switch people out after three transfers. But anyways, transfers are in two weeks so I still have some time! We went to an all-you-can-eat buffet near the south-west end of the island. It was super good food and the waitress recognized us right off the bat as Mormons. It was pretty cool! When Ben sat down at the table she came over and took one of the menus away and he said, "Oh wait, no, there are four us. We're waiting for my brother." And then she said, "Your brother? Or your brother brother? Cause I know you Mormons think everyone is related." We all laughed! It was a good teaching opportunity. Ben and Jason both won stuffed animals from the claw game for their valentines. That afternoon we knocked a bunch and passed by a lot of the potentials that we had met in the weeks past to see if they were really interested in learning more or not. They weren't. You know what's awesome about being a missionary? After about 6 weeks you become immune to the pain that comes from rejection. We are publicly rejected just about 12 hours a day 7 days a week. Not really any other experience—well, besides telemarketing—can give you that ability. Being rejected is not fun, but it's not the end of the world and it definitely is not the end of the work! Some people snicker when they slam a door thinking that they just defeated us and that we'll mope back to our apartment and give up for the day but the thing that they don't realize is that no matter what happens, no matter what they say or do, can take away from what we know to be true. The Gospel brings peace that lasts and happiness that is real. I love being a missionary! That night we helped clean the chapel. Caitlin brought one of her friends, Talia, to help clean and to play sports. I love being able to play sports with our investigators because it really gives a chance to teach by example in a non-confrontational setting. She was really interested as to what we actually do as missionaries and the sacrifice that it is to be here.
Thursday morning and afternoon we had Zone Conference! It was the best one yet. (I'm sure that they'll all just keep getting better and better.) We had a great training from President Cannon on the role of members in missionary work and how to help them understand their role. There is so much emphasis on member missionary work going on right now. President Cannon has put a lot of thought into the best ways to teach that so it's understood to members. He shared a lot of his thoughts and gave us a few teaching tools and techniques to share the message. I wish I could explain all of it here but it would take up the rest of my email time! After Zone Conference, I went on splits with Elder Reid, one of the Zone Leaders. This is his last transfer and the second one that I have spent getting to know him. He was Elder Heder's companion last transfer. He had so much to share and show me. And I got to drive the car! It was fun to drive again. We had a pass-off lesson with two Haitian girls that were really nice. They are going to start coming to the YSA. We stopped by and saw a less-active member in the Montreal Ward and read the scriptures with him. He is a retired poet and gave me a few of his unpublished poems. They are actually super good! We did some knocking and a bunch of pass-by's all over the city. It was nice to be traveling above ground because I got to make some connections between areas on my mental map of the city. Even though we live just two doors down from each other in the same apartment building I still slept over at their apartment. Elder Reid is one of my best friends here. He has taught me so much about having fun while doing missionary work and is a great example and a wonderful leader.
|Elder Reid and I on splits|
Saturday started off awesome! Caitlin met us at the McGill gates to help us teach a lesson. We finally got in touch with Tim and have started teaching him again. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and is almost done with 2 Nephi! The lesson went really well. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. He said the one thing he has always felt that he's had questions about is what happens after this life. He told us that he has always felt that there is more to the story of life than just heaven and hell. We were so happy to help finish to the story for him! Caitlin was also very happy to help us teach. This was her first "real" lesson that she helped us teach after her baptism last month! She was just called as a Sunday School teacher as well! She has been doing so well in her lessons! After the lesson we went to brunch with Caitlin to a place called Cora's. Mom, you should totally look up the story of the restaurant, you would love it! A Greek lady started it about 25 years ago after her husband died and it has grown and grown! She is the most successful Canadian businesswoman ever. It's a pretty cool story. The food was amazing as well! I got crêpes and some fresh fruit. That was the first time (surprisingly!) that I've had them since Nicole and I made them for breakfast before I left! They were super good. We talked for a while with her and shared some of our recent missionary experiences. After we went to McGill campus to a library and had a lesson. It was a fun lesson because we had to whisper the whole time. My throat didn't think it was so fun afterwards, though. Caitlin showed us a museum that is open on Mondays that we are going to go visit as soon as I finish writing this letter! Sonny came knocking with us were able to teach a few lesson with him. I love taking some of the recent converts out to do missionary work because they seem to know so much about it already! It is a great experience for them as well to strengthen their testimony by sharing what they believe with people the meet. There is nothing like proclaiming what you believe to strengthen the core of your testimony!
Sunday we had great meetings! In fact, the night before, Charles invited us to his church again. We decided we would go but we would only stay for 20 minutes and then leave to our meetings on the condition that he would meet with us sometime this week. I wrote my testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon and gave it to him when we saw him. He seemed pretty shocked but I hope he'll give it a chance. We had our normal correlation meeting with Jason and then branch council. I love this branch and it will be tough to leave it eventually! I've grown to love the people here so much! They are some of my best friends! The Stake President from the Québec Stake came to see the YSA Branch because their YSA will be hosting a conference in Québec City this weekend. He spoke in Sacrament meeting and gave a combined lesson to the Priesthood and Relief Society. (Wowzers, those last two sentences require a Mormon Dictionary to understand...) A lot of the less-active members that we have been visiting and working with came to church which was so great! We even had a potluck afterwards and a devotional from President Cannon. We were invited to stay but it turned out being just a whole bunch of talk about how to adjust after getting home from a mission and dating so we left pretty quickly to do some work. We had a lesson planned with a Chinese investigator so we went on splits with Chinese Elders to teach it. Elder Riff and I went but the person wasn't home so we knocked almost all night. We have become really good friends and I am so glad that I've had so many chances to work with him recently.
Well! That actually ended up being a pretty decent email! I had a great week as you can probably tell and I'm doing great. I love being here. I love what I'm doing. And I love the people that I get to see every day! I hope everything is going well at home and everyone is having fun cleaning (ha!) and getting ready for Austin to come home!