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.