Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spring is Finally Here in Brampton

April General Conference we had the humbling experience of sustaining our new prophet, Russell M. Nelson.  He is such a humble and loving man.  He is close to the Lord in all he does and says.
Conference was amazing with all the announcements and teachings.  We can all become closer to the Lord as we learn to minister the way the Savior did.

The first week of April was one spiritual experience after another.  General Conference was such a great start to the week.  April 4-6 we had a Mission Tour/Zone Conference.  We had S. Gifford Nielsen and his wife, Wendy, visit with us and teach all of the missionaries.  Wednesday evening, most of the senior missionary couples were able to come and have dinner with them and listen to some amazing experiences.  As Elder Nielsen spoke of Conference, he said that more is to come.  Elder Nielsen taught the missionaries to set goals and plans on how to achieve their goals.  He also taught the Plan of Salvation and showed it as a Plan of Love.  Sister Nielsen reminded everyone to remember "who you are and whose you are."  We are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.

Saturday, April 7th, was our annual Relief Society party.  We had a joint party with our ward, Heart Lake Ward, and Brampton Ward.  The theme was the Temple.  We had a delicious meal followed by an activity of painting a picture of the Toronto Temple.  My efforts in painting left much to be desired.  It was a fun evening.

Monday, April 8th, we had our Senior FHE in our building.  It was at Elder and Sister Anderson's apartment.  We all shared thought from General Conference.  It was a spiritual time and a fun time to socialize.

Friday evening as we were leaving to meet Elder and Sister Donnelly for dinner, our garage door would not open.  We called them to pick us up.  We do not like apartment living some days.

Friday night (Apr 13) through Sunday night, an ice storm hit most of southern Ontario, including Brampton.  Church was cancelled on Sunday due to very icy roads and a thick layer of ice every where.  We had fun watching out our window as a few brave cars tried to leave our parking area.  Saturday night, I phoned all the senior couples in our building to plan a short meeting in Elder and Sister Card's apartment on Sunday afternoon.  We shared more about General Conference and also what we learned at our Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Nielsen.  Sister Card made some delicious cinnamon buns and brownies for treats.
Monday morning, shortly before we left for the Mission Office, our parking area had most of the ice plowed away so cars to move.

When we got to the Mission Office, it was like a huge skating arena.  They were just starting to plow there.  We had to wait about 15 - 20 minutes before we could get in and park.

Today, we were asked to help in the Family History Centre for a Stake Youth Activity.  There were lots there and it was fun to help them.  Some were doing research on their family lines and others were indexing.  It was also fun to see them work together and help each other.  It ended with a nice lunch brought in from the Mandarin, our favorite Chinese food restaurant.

The last couple of days have been warmer and sunnier.  I think that spring is finally here.

We are so enjoying serving a mission for our Father in Heaven.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  He loves you!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Spring is here in Brampton

March has been amazing in the mission field.  It is a joy to work closely with these young warrior elders and angel sisters.  We love these young missionaries so much.  They are an awesome extension to our family.  They are like more grandchildren.

This was our chosen parking spot at our zone conference in London.  Scary to think we are in that category - well, at least in relation to all the missionaries.

Spring is here, unlike snowy Calgary back home.  We have some sun and a few snow flurries.  The clouds here in Brampton are so awesome.  We have seen lots of geese returning and even a few robins.

Two weeks ago, we had Family Home Evening at the home of Elder and Sister Hodgson.  The showed us a video of General Conference, October 1990.  Here, President Monson spoke of "Days Never to be Forgotten."  In this talk, he talked about the early days of the Church in Canada (Ontario), his time as a mission president here, and the beautiful Toronto Temple.  It was wonderful to watch.  Here is a link so that you can read or watch the talk.  If you can, watch it as the pictures are beautiful.

We had the elders from our ward (Heart Lake Ward) for dinner last Sunday.  This was right before transfers.  Elder Garner and Elder Cruz are awesome.

This past week has been a wildly busy week.  Monday through Wednesday was transfers.  We had four super missionaries go home and five awesome and enthusiastic missionaries arrive.  Monday was arrival time for the new missionaries.  We had dinner with them at the Mission Home.  It is fun to get to know them.  Five new grandchildren for us.  As we arrived at the Mission Home, we notice tulips and daffodils coming up in the garden.  I love Spring.

 Dinner at the Mission Home is always fun.

Elder Kimball, our newest AP, got the last of the dessert.  We gave him the serving bowl and he cleaned it out.

Once transfers were finalized in the computer (Thursday), I had to do residency letters for all the missionaries and redo the transfer board in President Shields' office.

Friday, we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council).  This is for all zone leaders and sister trainer leaders to be trained by President and Sister Shields and the APs.  The office staff were on hand bright and early (7 AM) to make breakfast of waffles, fruit, yogurt and juice for this awesome group.  We got to eat too.  This council usually goes all day, but they finished after lunch (served by Sister Padron).  The Friday before General Conference we have four sessions booked at the temple for the missionaries who can get here in less than about 2 hours.  Elder Swendsen and I attended the second session.  There is such a wonderful spirit in the temple with all these wonderful missionaries.

The best thing of this past week was Wednesday, as we had the arrival of a new grandson, Everest Isaiah Swendsen.  He joins Evan and Tara's family with Cameron, Phoenix and Raelyn.  We now have 19 grandchildren and one great grandchild.  Added to these sweet ones are 193 wonderful missionaries.

 General Conference has been amazing so far.

We know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  The only way to have true happiness and joy is to keep our Father in Heaven's commandments.  Obedience brings blessings.  We love serving the Lord here in Brampton.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Time is Marching By Faster and Faster

I am sorry that it has been two months since our last posting.  Time is flying by.  In four months, we will be on our way home.  Last Saturday, we booked hotels in Palmyra, Kirtland and Nauvoo for our return home.  We have so much to do before then.  We have had unusual winter weather here in Brampton.  Many severe storms have been forecasted, but they seem to miss our small area.  Lots of snow and ice all around but not too much in Brampton.  Church was cancelled a few weeks ago due to a bad ice storm coming.  It missed us.

We had another transfer in February with great new missionaries coming in.  It has been sad to see great missionaries going home.

In February, Elder McBeth (on the right) went back to serving in Toronto and speaking Farsi again, which he loves.  Our new AP is Elder Kimball, on the left.  He and Elder Ballard (middle) are now our APs.  We have had such wonderful APs the whole time we have been here.

We have had lots of Family Home Evenings on Monday nights at various homes.  We love the people of Brampton.  I found out last month that one of the brothers in our ward is my third cousin.  I was helping him and his wife with an e-mail about an ancestor that they did not recognize.  As we followed the line, I started to recognize his family members.  My second great grandfather and his second great grandmother are brother and sister.  In February, I taught a Family History class on how to organize your digital photographs and documents.  We had some technical teaching to do as well to help some.

The last Saturday in February, we went to Toronto to see the beaches and harbour.  At the Waterfront (right downtown) we saw this beautiful swan and this really cool ship.  We then drove a bit further east and stopped at Woodbine Beach.  They had several architectural ways using the lifeguard towers as a base.  We also discovered a piano on the beach that people could play. I also had to take my shoes off and walk in the sand for a bit.  The sand was cool, but not cold.

 March 2nd was Elder and Sister Donnelly's 50th anniversary.  They are the medical advisers in the office.  On March 1st, the office couples and President and Sister Shields all went to Vesuvios for the best Italian food.  It was amazing, especially the dessert - a chocolate and raspberry mousse.

The first Sunday in March, I taught another Family History Class.  This one was on How to Prepare Names to Take to the Temple.  It went very well.  I heard later that several were able to find more names and get them ready.

This past weekend was Stake Conference.  It was excellent.  Both Saturday and Sunday we had a new convert speak.  Their talks of their conversion were amazing.

Last week was zone conference for three days.  We went to Oshawa, London, and Barrie.  We drove over a bridge in London that crossed the River Thames.  Our missionaries all are using smart phones and Facebook to help with their teaching and reaching out to their investigators.  They are amazing to watch as they are all posting very uplifting thoughts and scriptures.  We have so many "new" friends on Facebook now.

Yesterday one of the members in Orillia asked to be my friend.  It turns out that he was my very first friend when I was a little girl living in West Hill, Ontario.  He is about 3-4 years older than I am.  His wife joined the Church in 1975 and he joined in 1978.  When I asked how he found the gospel, he said it was because my mother was such a good friend to his mother.  My Mom wasn't a member back then.  She was just always gentle and kind and helpful to all.

We are loving being here in the Canada Toronto Mission as missionaries serving in the office.  We love all our wonderful missionaries.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan of happiness and can bring much joy and peace into your life.  Our Father in Heaven loves each one of us, as does the Savior.  The Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

First week of 2018

The year 2018 has started off with a big bang.  We were working in the mission office all day.  Monday through Wednesday was "Transfers."  We had lots of new missionaries arrive on Monday, late afternoon.  Elder Swendsen and I got to have dinner with them at the Mission Home with President and Sister Shields.  Each new group coming in is filled with amazing young missionaries.  After dinner, we all shared our testimonies and sang a few hymns.  Elder Swendsen and I then collected all of their legal papers and headed back to the mission office.  We photocopied all of their paperwork and I sent a letter to all of their parents letting them know that their missionary had arrived safely.  It was a late night - we got home about 10:30.  It was such a great night.  We so love these young missionaries with their enthusiasm and love of the gospel. 
Tuesday morning started early (7:30 am) with orientation of all the new missionaries at the Brampton Stake Centre.  This is done by the three office couples.  The Donnellys (medical staff) and I then head back to the office.  The others have to stay and help with some other things.  Late morning and most of the afternoon is what I call "The Swarming."  Missionaries come and go - checking for mail, getting a few supplies and just visiting for a bit with their extra grandparents (the office staff).  It is a super wonderful time. 
Wednesday was the sad day as we had several of our wonderful elders and sisters go home as they had completed their missions. 
Thursday was another early morning as it was the monthly Mission Leadership Council (MLC).  We had to be at the Mission Office just before 7 AM to start preparing breakfast for about 42 missionaries.  We make waffles and have fruit, yogurt and juice for them.  We get some as well.  They have training all day till about 3 PM or so.  Then it is another "Swarming" time.  It was a wonderful week.  This all happened with three of the office staff being sick (Sister Anderson, Elder Swendsen and myself).  We did survive and are all slowing recuperating.
Sunday evening I had the opportunity to teach a Family History class at our stake centre.  It was about writing stories about your ancestors.  Those, who came, seemed to enjoy it and were able to learn a few things.

This is President and Sister Shields.  They are awesome.  They work very long hours to help the missionaries and help the work go forth.  We love our valiant leaders.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  We are saddened by the passing of our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.  He will be missed.  President Nelson will carry on and the work will continue as the Lord would have it.

Serving a mission is such an exhilarating experience.  We love serving the Lord.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas in the Mission Field is Awesome

Christmas this year was awesome.  We had a beautiful Christmas program at Church.  It was combined with the other two wards in our building:  Brampton Ward and Chinguacousy Park (Spanish) Ward.  We had several short readings and lots of music.  English and Spanish - it was inspiring.  Elder Swendsen sang a duet with Sister Goobie (wife of our former Stake President)  They sang Silent Night and Elder Swendsen played his guitar.  That evening, we went over to the mission home and had a light dinner with President and Sister Shields and most of the missionaries from the Brampton Zone.  It was a great evening.  We all shared Christmas traditions from home.  We then sang some Christmas carols and enjoyed the spirit of Christmas.

It was really snowing as we left to go home.  We drove by Gage Park to see the lights again.  Once we got home, we were able to chat/Facetime with all of our kids and grand-kids.  It was so good to hear from all of them.

Christmas morning was fun with Elder Burton and Elder Ernest (Bert & Ernie).  We had them over for breakfast (honey fried ham, fried eggs, and hash-browns).  We had a good time with them.  We have such great elders serving in Heart Lake Ward.  We also completed the puzzle that Adam, Pam and the kids sent us.  Great pictures of the kids.

We left about 11:30 to drive to Oshawa to have Christmas dinner with The Salway cousins and their families.  All five of Uncle Monte's children were there with most of their kids and grand kids.  We met Craig, the cousin we didn't meet earlier this year.  There was about 30 or so people there.  It was a lot of fun.  We had a great visit and got to know more of the family.  Dinner was fabulous.  Shirley's daughter, Meagan did the whole dinner.  We took lots of pictures.  We had a group photo taken before every one started leaving, but I don't have a copy of it yet.  They have a family tradition that Uncle Monte used to do and now Janice does it.  It is called Salway Christmas Pie.  The tag with your name on it is attached to a small gift.  There is also a poem on the tag.  You have to read the poem and then try to guess what your gift is.  It was a ton of fun.

 Boxing Day we had a pot luck dinner at the Mission Home for all the senior missionaries.  Most were able to come.

This past week we were only in the Mission office for three days.  Most of the time was spent getting ready for transfers next week.  We get six new missionaries on Monday, Jan 1st and 14 are leaving on Wednesday, Jan 3rd.  One of our APs, Elder McBride is going home.  Our new AP is Elder Ballard.  He is going to be great.  Elder McBride is on the right, Elder McBeth in the middle, and Elder Ballard on the left.

Elder Swendsen and I have been sick since Wednesday.  We have stayed home Saturday and Sunday in hopes that we will be well enough for this very busy week.  We have colds and just feeling totally BLAH!!

We love our mission and serving the Lord here in the Canada Toronto Mission.  It has be great to remember his birth and the wondrous things that Jesus Christ has done for each one of us.  We are indeed grateful.  We love you all.