Sunday, July 2, 2017

Canada Day - Proud to be a Canadian

We had a tender mercy the other day.  I was doing some family history on Mike's family and found his grandparents, his dad and two of his dad's siblings in the 1911 Danish Census.  There were a lot of extras on the census that I could read as I don't speak Danish.  I sent John (Mike's brother) and e-mail asking him to take a look at it and let us know what else was there.  He speaks Danish as he served his mission in Denmark many years ago.  He e-mailed back and said he would look at it later as they were leaving that day for Utah to start their mission.  We didn't think they were leaving till August 1st.  We called them from the mission office and had a good visit with them.  They will be serving in the Adriatic North Mission as Welfare Specialists for 23 months.  It was so good to visit with them.  

Canada Day started out with a breakfast for the couples that we work with in the office and the couple that trained us:  Elder and Sister Cannon, Elder and Sister Wolfley, and Elder and Sister Youngberg.  We were missing our family tradition that we started a few years ago.  We feasted on pancakes, sausages and our special hash-browns.  We have lots of left overs, so we will feast again tomorrow morning.  We all had a good time and a good visit.

Late afternoon there was a pot luck dinner at the home of Ed and Sheila Ludlow. They host dinners for the senior missionary couples every month.  There were about 40 people (senior couples, young elders and others) there in total.  We dined on all kinds of salads, pickles, chips and back bacon on a bun.  Then we rolled up to the dessert table to top off our already full tummies.  Sheila goes all out for her dinners.  We all got small Canadian flags and pins to take home with us.  We ended the day by singing all four verses of O Canada and the Star Spangles Banner (in honor of the many Americans that were there).

We chatted with Elders Bybee and Payne who started teaching Chuck earlier that day.  Remember him from last week's post??  He called the mission office wanting to know how to join the church.  At his first discussion yesterday, he asked to set a date for his baptism.  It is July 29th.  We are looking forward to being there.

It was a quiet week at the mission office, last week.  Wednesday was really bad as all the computer programs that we all use, were down (US and Canada).  We all went home early.  This week we will be gearing up for transfer week which is in two weeks.

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of Heather, Bryan and the girls on Tuesday.  We will be able to take a few days off to do things with them.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Most Wonderful Sabbath Day

The weather these days is quite unpredictable - sunshine, blue skies, fluffy clouds, storm clouds, rain, downpours, lightning and thunder.  The clouds here are so wonderful to watch.  They are very different from what we see in Alberta.  They are all spectacular, just so very different.  More of Heavenly Father's wonders of this beautiful world.
Summer is here, I got a couple of mosquito bites as we were out walking.

Last Monday, Elder Swendsen and I both had messages on our phones (from the weekend).  They were a man who said his name was Chuck, gave his phone number and asked how he could join the church. WOW!!!  We gave the info to the APs who gave it to the Brampton Ward Elders. "Look at what happens on Sunday!"

Last week (Wed, Thurs & Fri) we had three zone conferences where we saw all 10 zones over the three days.  The missionaries are getting much better at cleaning their cars.  The top winner was on day 2 - the Ajax sisters left Elder Swendsen a 300 gram Lindt chocolate bar and a note thanking him for being the best vehicle coordinator in the world!  Their car was amazing - they had worked hard.  Treats and notes help too.  We so love meeting with all the missionaries at these conferences.  Their enthusiasm for the work and the strength of all their testimonies is amazing.

What a most amazing Sabbath Day!  So many tender mercies touched my heart.
1.  Sacrament Meeting - due to a Spanish multi stake conference, we met later in the day with the Brampton Ward for all 3 meetings.
The first two speakers talked about going to the temple a week ago when the husband received his endowment.  They shared such beautiful feelings and testimony.  The second speaker talked about the blessing of having a son on a mission.  The third speaker talked again about the blessings of the temple and how it has impacted his family.
2.  Sunday School - we checked out the Gospel Essentials class and there was no-one there.  I told Elder Swendsen that I had seen the Brampton Ward Elders walking down the hall with a possible investigator.  We found them in the Temple Visitor's Centre looking a movie about the temple.  We sat in with them.  After talking to this man for a bit, and all of us sharing feelings about the temple, we took him for a walk around the temple grounds and continued to talk with him.  Elder Swendsen asked his name, as we hadn't been told - it was Chuck.  We told him and the Elders that we had both received his messages and were glad that he was here.  The Elders are going to meet with him on Saturday.  He seems to be a golden contact.  He is from Nigeria.  The Elders are going to get a couple of their ward members, who are also from Nigeria, to be his fellow-shippers.
3.  Relief Society - We had a lesson discussing the Conference talk by Elder Sabin - Stand Up Inside and Be All In - we had an amazing lesson.  Several sisters shared some extremely challenging trials that they have gone through or are going through now - the faith and love of the Savior, the trust in the Lord for all to be well, or as it should be and the courage to accept what happens.
Needless to say, I came home overflowing with a testimony that has been greatly strengthened.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  Heavenly Father and the Savior love us more that we can fathom.  Our prayers will be answered in His time and according to His plan.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Transfer Week

This past week was transfer week.  We got eight new missionaries and nine missionaries went home.  Monday was a "Murphy Day" - anything that could go wrong, did.  As we arrived at the mission office on Monday morning, I noticed that the mission trailer was not in the parking lot next to our truck.  It turns out that it was stolen on Sunday evening.  This was not the week for that to happen.  We use the truck and trailer to pick up missionaries and their luggage on Monday afternoons, move apartments on Tuesday and take missionaries and their luggage to the airport on Wednesday mornings.  Thank goodness, we had a small group coming and going and we had enough vans to help with the transporting. The truck was full of luggage.  Elder Swendsen spent most of Monday on the phone about the trailer - reporting to the police, Salt Lake and then calling around trying to find a good deal on a new one.  I think we should be be getting a new one some time this week.
I got into the office and on to my computer to find out that we were having an extra new missionary coming that afternoon that we hadn't been told about.  She was coming from Edmonton and not the MTC.  She was waiting for her passport.  I had to get busy and get her Welcome Packet printed and prepared.  Later in the morning we are informed that one of the elders coming from the MTC lost his passport on the train and wouldn't be coming till Tuesday.  Needless to say, Monday was a very hectic and busy day at the office.  Monday evening, we go to the Mission Home and meet the new missionaries and get their passports, Visas and driver's licenses.  We take them all back to the Mission Office to photo copy.  I also send a letter to all the parents to let them know that their missionary has arrived safely in Toronto.  When we met the new missionaries, it turns out that the new Sister that came from Edmonton, was the grand-daughter of Claire and Rochelle Shields.
Tuesday was orientation for the new missionaries, starting at 7:30 AM.  Transfers of all the other missionaries happened through out the morning.  Late morning and most of the afternoon, the Mission Office had missionaries coming and going.  It is a super time as we, seniors, get to enjoy their enthusiasm and spirit.  We have such a great group of Elders and Sisters.  Late Tuesday afternoon, we got to go to the airport to pick up the Elder who had lost his passport on Monday.  It had been found and returned to him.  We got to drive around in the Toronto Airport, or should I say Zoo.  It is a crazy place.  We got turned around leaving and were headed to downtown Toronto instead of Brampton.  What a day!
Wednesday  is a sad day as missionaries who we love are going home.  We lost some really top notch ones this transfer.
Thursday was MLC - Mission Leader Conference.  The office couples make breakfast for them (about 30) for 7:30 AM.  Again we love being around these great leaders of our mission.
Friday was a quiet day and we were glad as we were all exhausted.
Saturday was the Mission proxy baptism time at the temple for new converts.  We helped with that.  We had 6 new members who all did some family file names.  It was a nice way to end the week.
In the afternoon we went to Brampton's Kite Festival for a bit.  There were lots of kites of all sizes and shapes in the air.  It was a good windy day for kites.

It has been a crazy, busy week, but so much fun. The gospel is true.  Serving a mission is a great experience.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Niagara Falls and Other Wonderful Sights

Last Saturday, we took a day trip down to Niagara, Ontario.  It was a beautiful drive and so much to see.  We started with the Butterfly Conservatory.  We watched a short film about butterflies and then spent over 45 minutes in the Conservatory.  There were waterfalls, small streams, large trees and plants of all varieties to attract the butterflies.  Butterflies of all sizes and colors were everywhere.  It was amazing.  One butterfly liked Elder Swendsen's hat and rode around on it for a good 20 minutes.  It looks brown when it's wings are together, but when it opens them to fly, the tops of them are a gorgeous and vivid blue.  We had a quick lunch and then took a horse and wagon ride through the Botanical Gardens that are there.

The gardens cover over 100 acres and are gorgeous.  They will look even better come summer when there are more flowers in bloom.  They have trees of all sizes.  There is a huge herb garden, a beautiful rose garden and so much more.  It was a great ride with Rodney (the horse) and our very knowledgeable driver.
After the gardens we drove to the floral clock on our way to the Falls.

The Niagara Escarpment was amazing.  Our world is so beautiful.  On to Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls is so fantastic.  You really have to see it in person to appreciate the magnitude of it all.  We are looking forward to going again when Heather and Bryan and the girls come for a visit in July.  We can take a boat (Maid of the Mist or The Hornblower) up to the falls.  We can also go in behind the falls.  I have heard that is an exciting thing to do.

Monday evening was a special evening for all of the senior missionary couples.  We had a pot luck dinner at the Mission Home followed by a guest speaker.  Brother Pallin is the father of our current temple President.  He was also a councillor to President Monson when he was the mission president here.  He spoke to us about the history of the Church in the Ontario area.  It was so interesting.  He is a great story teller.  We could have listened to him all night.

We had a bit of a slow week in the mission office.  We are all ready for transfer week next week which will be crazy busy yet so exciting.

The gospel is true.  Serving a mission together is so wonderful.  We love our family.  We love the Lord and are so blessed to be serving him here in the Canada Toronto Mission.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Two weeks ago, Makala (12) and her brother, Joshua (9), were baptized and confirmed.  Their mother is less active but she wants her children to come to Church.  They love coming and have made lots of friends in the ward.  Elder Swendsen and I taught them the first two lessons, then the Elders took over.  They were baptized by their great-uncle and confirmed by their great-grandfather.  They have a lot of family support.  They are good kids.

Last week, we enjoyed a lovely walk around the temple grounds.  It was very beautiful and peaceful.  I can't wait to see it with the summer flowers in bloom.
I love temples and the gospel principle of eternal families.  Families are indeed forever!

A week ago, Saturday, we went to Chinguacousy Park which is just a few minutes (5 minutes) from our apartment.  We spent a couple of hours there enjoying the activities.  They have a train for the kids to ride on.  Barbara and Hope will like that when they get here in July with Heather and Bryan.  We also played some miniature golf.

It has been busy in the mission office.  Elder Swendsen has sold two more cars.  I have been slowly scanning the old records of missionaries who have gone home and getting them in the computer.  I need to make room in the filing cabinet.  It was very crowded - not so much now, but still one whole drawer to do.  The young Elders and Sisters are so wonderful.  We love their enthusiasm and excitement for the gospel.

The gospel is true.  Serving a mission is great for senior couples.  We now see why many couples have served two, three, and even four missions.  We are thinking...

reat kids.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Salesman of the Month

On Tuesday, Elder Swendsen sold his 10th car for the mission.  He had two different people coming to look at cars and hoped that at least one would make a purchase.  In anticipation of this auspicious occasion, he went to Value Village on Monday night to purchase his "Salesman Tacky Jacket and Tie."  After he made the sale, he took them out of our car and put them on.  When he went back into the mission office, everyone had a great laugh.  The couple (a bishop from New Market and his wife), who bought the car, had to get in on the photo op.  They even took some of their own photos.  We might work hard but we do have some fun.  Now for the next 10 cars...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spring time in Brampton

It is spring time in Brampton.  These photos were taken over 2 weeks ago.  There are so many trees in bloom.  This week the dandelions have emerged by the thousands.  Brampton is known as the flower city of Canada.  Here is a link to the story of how Brampton became the flower city.
you might have to copy and paste it into the place for a URL on your computer.

Last Saturday, we discovered this beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom.  It is gorgeous.  I never knew that magnolias bloomed here.  The rain stopped on Sunday and we are starting to dry out and warm up a bit.  We didn't get any flooding here.  It was more in eastern Ontario and Quebec.
Last week we talked to our son-in-law, Bryan and found out that he met a couple at the temple who have a daughter serving in our mission.  He met Brother and 
sister Varty and we know their daughter, Sister Varty who is a super missionary.
We had another group of new missionaries arrive two weeks ago.  They are a great group.  We are keeping very busy in the office and thoroughly loving the work.  The gospel is true and our Heavenly Father loves us all so very much.  We had a area Stake Conference broadcast last Sunday.  It was very uplifting.  Dallin H. Oaks was presiding.  
If you can, serve a mission.  It is the greatest thing to do as a senior couple.  Love you all.