We had a warm week. 7C (40 F). I was ready to put on a short sleeve shirt and ask President if we could wear shorts... just kidding! The snow is back so now we have to be more careful when we drive. Time is flying especially when there's a lot of work going on like this week!
We got a new investigator this week. We were dropping off stake directories to the inactive members in the ward and Bruce McDonald answered the door a couple of weeks ago. He isn't a member and agreed to take the lessons. He's a bouncer at a bar so he works late nights and is available during the afternoon. He's living common law with a less active member, Kristie Turner. He likes to talk a lot especially about his outdoor skills. He's also an MMA fighter and was in the Canadian navy. He's pretty intense. He is Christian and so the first lesson went very well. He understood everything we taught and wants the gospel in his life because of the importance of his family. He has 3 kids and Kristie has 2 of her own so it's a pretty split home. He wants the gospel to bring them together. That's why we were there. He is preparing for baptism on the 16th. He does have word of wisdom issues and doesn't understand all of the rules our church has (especially when he asked us to play xbox) but that's where regular meetings with us come in. He does have a strong desire to come to church. HE was In Edmonton this weekend but he wants to go regularly with his kids.
Bev is having a rough time right now. She didn't come to church so she is now preparing for the 16th as well. She's really sick and is having a tough time understanding why there are so many trials. Our fellowshipper wouldn't really let us talk during the lesson so it was a struggle. She's not keeping her commitments such as praying or reading. We've got to keep loving and being patient with her as she understands what it takes to come unto Christ and finding out if this church is true.
Nick's mom doesn't want Nick to be baptized. He and Tiffany (both have ADHD) are retaining information really well. After we confirmed our appointment in church, Nick and Tiffany "broke up". We still taught Tiffany and she knows about the Godhead, prophets, Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon. It's a matter of repeating ourselves over and over which helps them remember. We also asked her why she would want to pray about Joseph Smith. She said to know if the church is true or not. Then, Elder Reese asked why is that important to which she responded, "So that I can know if this is God's word or not." It seems like there's application of her learning as well.
A common concer I've noticed while teaching is the necessity for commandments? We get questions like, "Why do I have to give up coffee to show God that I love him?" or "It doesn't seem like you guys have a lot of freedom." That second question may be true for missionaries... but it's important to understand why God gives us commandments. Not only are they for our protection and safety but they are also opportunites for us to receive blessings. 2 Nephi 2: 27 says we can choose to follow Jesus (a.k.a. keeping commandments) and recevie liberty and eternal life or we can choose to follow Satan (a.k.a. the natural man, our carnal desires) and have captivity and be miserable. We may be given the freedom to make the choice but we are not given the freedom to choose our consequences. I am so grateful that we have a Heavenly Father who gives us liberty and blessing as we choose to follow Him. Hopefully, if someone approaches you about the "rules" Mormons have, you can use this insight to answer their questions.
I love you and really do appreciate the e-mails and letters I receive. Thank you Brother and Sister McCollumn for the regular letters I receive from you. They mean a lot to me and help encourage to keep working and helping others come to Christ.
On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Kathy and Randy M
Another chinook came! No winter coats, ice on the roads or snow shoveling this weekend. We got a new bishop yesterday, Bishop Wright. I don't know if I already told you this but he served in our stake. He was on his mission from 2002-2004 so he's a pretty young bishop.
This week was very interesting. We haven't been able to contact Mikhael since last Saturday. We've been calling and stopping by but it's only been a week so we'll see how things go from here. We taught Bev again on Thursday. This lesson went a lot smoother than the first one. She had less tangents to go on and we taught very simply. We got through half of the Plan of Salvation and then went over the Word of Wisdom. She said she can't go cold turkey on smoking and coffee because the doctors said it would be too stressful on her heart. She has a plan where she's going to stop smoking by March 19th. We were pretty concerned about this because her baptism is on the 26th. We encouraged her to do all she can to keep the Word of Wisdom. She wasn't at church on Sunday because of the Dailylight Savings time so her clock was an hour behind. We're meeting with her today and will have to reschedule her baptismal date.
We had an awesome 7 day challenge where the majority of the lesson was where worked with the member to find out how she was going to invite her friend! This is was awesome because this is how 7 day challenges should go. We talked about her concerns and about her friends and how she was going to invite them. It was awesome to see the spirit of revelation work with the member. We're excited to see when we get to teach her friends. It's fun to be able to work with the members. I really enjoy it... but teaching investigators is probably what I prefer.
Now for the part you all really want to hear. Elder Christofferson came on Saturday. The Spirit filled the room as soon as he walked in. We all got to shake his hand which was pretty special. I was waiting and Elder Real (member of the 70) whispers to me, "He's quite a powerhouse huh?" When he shook my hand, I was awestruck. He asked where I was from and then smiled. It was pretty awesome seeing an apostle when they're not in General Conference. Their personality comes out a lot more. He asked a question and a missinary answered his question with a quote from Elder Christofferson. He then said, "Wow, do we have a cookie for this elder?" Some things that really caught my attention was when he talked about salvation. He asked why don't we just dunk a paper with a bunch of people's names on it and then pull it out? Then he said because salvation is individual. We can't rely or blame anyone else that is here on earth. He also said judgement isn't about how many good works we have done but more of what have we become? As he said that, I turned to my Preach My Gospel and worte that down in the Plan of Salvation section. Now I know how I'm going to teach that section. One missionary had a good question which was, "What do we say when people are happy with their religion?" He said ," Find some way to get the Book of Mormon into their hands. Tell them we appreciate your faith and qualities that you have. We're not here to take away your goodness but simply to add to it."
It was a real treat to be able to shake hands and be taught by Elder Christofferson. What an incredible humble man he is. I want you to know that this church is not directly led by men like Elder Christofferson but it is led by the Lord. They are the pure and consecrated servants in which he uses to do His work among the earth. The Spirit confirmed that to me very strongly as I sat there. I love you all. Take care and keep looking for those opportunites to invite.
Well, this week was pretty interesting! It was definitely a cold one especially with the wind chill going up to -36C. There wasn't a lot of people to talk to on the streets... I wonder why.
This week was pretty good. We taught Mikhael the first lesson in 2 different days. He wants to learn more before he is baptized. Teaching is very slow.He said it takes him 5 minutes to translate one word in the Book of Mormon. He has a lot of desire to learn and is taking it one step at a time as he says. He didn't come to church this week but was at the zone leader's baptism. He says he feels "troubled" about making the step to be baptized.
We met with Bev on Thursday. She's an interesting child of God. She brings up quite a few tangents during the lesson which are easily avoided by the response, "We'll research that during this week and get back to you on that, but what is important to understand now is.." We were prepared to teach the Plan of Salvation but after she started talking about finding her way and where to go, we felt prompted to teach Lesson 1. It went pretty well. She had lots of questions and concerns which drug out the lesson pretty far but we were able to resolve and answer a lot fo her questions. She believes that Joseph saw God and Jesus Christ. We firmed her for March 26th and she said yes! She does have some word wisdom issues and is moving at the end of the month so we'll see how things progress regarding that. She is planning on giving up smoking. We've invited her to church and to the Addicition Recovery Program.
2 of the potentials we found last weekend dropped us (within 10 minutes of each other) which is always frustrating. We worked a lot with the members this week in inviting their friends. It's amazing how when we begin, people feel like there's nobody they can invite. But as we talk about people they could potentially invite, it's amzing how simple an invitation to meet with the missionaries sounds.
I love each of you. It is quite cold up here but I'm doing well. I hope that you're able to find ways to invite your nonmeber friends unto Christ this week.
Well, the Northeast is a very interesting place. We're right next to the airport and this is Elder Reese's last transfer... joy! His dad is in the Air Force so he's lived all over. He lived in las Vegas during high school and his family is in Virginia and pretty soon, he'll be moving to Alabama. He and I were in the same zone in Lethbridge for my first transfer and we would guard each other in basketball. He's pretty good (Let's just say I didn't do a very good job of guarding him)
I love this area! The members are so awesome and the people are very humble. I've never had people this receptive to us during tracting and contacting. It's a pretty poor area. There's lost of East Indians and there's a Siek (Muslim or Hindi) temple next to our church! We see at least 10 police cars everyday but the Lord is watching over us. These past 4 days, we found 7 potential investigators. Bev Seeward is a referral from a member and is meeting with us tomorrow. She had an out of body experience after a heart attack and said she had a decision to either stay down here or go to heaven. She knows there is a life after this and so the Plan of Salvation will be an awesome lesson to share. We've been applying the 15 minute training and because of that, we were able to find 2 people through tracting who we will be teaching this week as well. Another result of the 15 minute training caused us to visit this part member family where the mom is a recent convert and the dad has been holding her back from attending church. We visited with them and the dad wants to take the lessons now. We'll be teaching them on Wednesday.
This one is something I will never forget. We were sitting in church and the Spanish missionaries call us over. A man from Egypt walked in and asked for a Bible. He said he felt so good to be at church. Elder Reese told him that was God's love for him. I told him if he stayed longer, he would be able to feel more of God's love. You could definitely see Satan working against him because you knew deep down inside, he wanted to stay but he kept saying, "No, I gotta go." Eventually, he saw picture of Christ on the wall and aksed, "Who is this man?" Elder Reese told him about Jesus Christ and He came down to die for our sins. He started crying. "I have too many sins, I can't be in this holy place," and Elder Reese told him that is why we come here, because of our sins so that we can come closer to God. He stayed for Gospel Principles class and sure enough, the lesson was on the Atonement. It was a bit overwhleming for him and he told us he has some questions for us when we meet him tomorrow night!
Miracles are happening here and as we stay obedient and work hard, the Lord will continue to bless us. We've found a potential investigator everyday so far.
I love you and hope there are lots of good things going on down in San Diego. Leaving Banff was pretty rough and Elder Nielsen got his visa. Divine called us after we said goodbye and was crying. She is really going to miss me and wasn't sure why I had to leave. That's a pretty tough thing to answer but all I could say was the Lord wants me in East Calgary so that's where I am. Continue to pray and be diligent in all the commandments.
You have a Wonderful Son up here on a Mission and he is doing a Great Job and we ALL Love Him!
If I were the two-of-you I would be pretty proud of Keith and his dedication to his mission.
Last weekend when he was at my place and we were watching Stake Conference on the Internet, he mentioned your Anniversary to me and I offered to call you but he said no he wasn't supposed to do that, so I respected his wishes. But he was thinking of you!
On Tuesday he got transferred to the Calgary East Stake and I really hated to see him go.
You know, Missionaries come and go, but then there are those special ones that you feel attached to that you really miss when they get transferred, and Elder Madsen was one of those keepers.
Well, the trio is over! I'm being transferred to East Calgary in the Prairie Winds area with Elder Reese! It's going to be tough leaving this area especially with all of the miracles that we saw this week!
On Friday, we met with Florentino and his best friend Ramil. Ramil is 42 and has a family back in the Phillipines. Last week, we 7 dayed the family and this is the man he invited. We talked to him about the church and got to know him very well. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to take the discussions. As soon as we gave him the Book of Mormon, we asked if he would read and pray about it and before I could even finish the question, the Spirit touched his heart and he said, "Yes!" I asked why and he said he felt a comforting feeling in his heart that was overwhelming him. Just goes to show it's not our words but the Lord's. They'll be teaching him on Wednesday (the day I get transferred).
Antoine is progressing. Brother Black brought him to Calgary for stake conference. He loved it. The Spirit was so strong and his favorite part was the "testimonies by the young people". The youth are so powerful, they should never underestimate the power they have. We taught him about Joseph Smith and he believes that he is a prophet of God because he knows the Book of Mormon is true after praying about it! His main concern is the word of wisdom and we talked about the times when he feels the strongest urges to drink coffee and alcohol. He identified them and set goals to see how he can accomplish this commandment. He is still preparing for March 12.
We got a call from Sister Mooney and she invited her friend at work to stake conference. They watched it and she loved it and wants her family to take the discussions. They'll have a first lesson on Saturday (again, after transfers).
The work is prgressing and it is blatently obvious that it's the Lord leading and guiding all of us who are working together to those people who are prepared to learn more. Elder Brimhall of the 70 from Colorado came to stake conference and then gave us a training afterwards. He gave us each a copy of our mission call letters and we read it. He said when we got our calls, the only things we cared about were where we were going, the language we were speaking and when we would leave. Now we read the paragraphs that mattered. I was overwhelmingly reminded of why I am out here and who I am representing.
I love each of you and hope that all is going well for you. I pray for you and know that prayers have been offered in my behalf as well. Elder Brimhall gave a great analogy of how we need to be patient with God. He said imagine you are standing on the sidewalk of a busy intersection. Across the street, you notice an exact point of where you want to go and immeditaely, you want to cross the street and go straight to it. But there are cars flying by and so God directs us to go to the corner where we can cross safely. But in our minds, we're thinking, "Why am I going over here, that's not what I where I want to go," when in reality, it is the only way we can reach that point safely. Often times, we have challenges that we wonder ,"Why do I need this? This is not the path I want to go!" and he said we pray that our challenges go away. Elder Maxwell said you need to be careful when you pray for challenges go away because you may also be praying for blessings to go away as well.
I'm almost approaching 4 months in Banff (and with Elder Mercado). Next Tuesday, I find out what's happening so we'll see where the Lord needs me. Challenging week for Banff. Satan is doing everything he can to stop the work from progressing not only with our investigators but with ourselves as well.
Dan has been blowing us off these past 2 weeks ever since we met. He says we can come over and say hi but we stop by and he won't answer the door. His roommate Kyle (member) went to Ukraine for 2 months on Tuesday so the support system is no longer there. We're not giving up on him but we are moving on and finding new investigators. Word of Wisdom (specifically, cigarettes, alcohol and coffee) must be bothering him right now and there may be some guilt that he's feeling right now.
Antoine's date dropped as well because he didn't attend church this morning. Bro Mcouatt (BML) stopped by and Antoine was too tired to go. Perhaps the Lord is telling us as missionaries that we need to stress the importance of Sabbath day even more. He is still open and receptive to the lessons. Elder Nielsen and a member (teaches French at the high school) were on splits and taught Antoine about the Atonement. They emphasized the importance of putting off the natural man. They were also able to committ him to live the word of wisdom for a week. He's trying to substitute hot chocolate for coffee and is showing desire to keep that commandment. He is reading the Book of Mormon and is asking us lots of questions about it! He has been praying and feels like he hasn't received an answer yet. We talked about how we need to pray with "real intent" and "faith in Christ". It's obvious he is praying with a sincere heart but he needs to exercise his faith in Christ that if he does recevie an answer, he is willing to act on it. We'll be setting a date for him this week.
We met with Lorne on Friday. We were concerned that he felt too pressured from the invitations to be baptized. Last Sunday, Tiffany called us, she said she told Lorne that the missionaries were giving him a break. He asked, " Why? I miss the spirit with those guys." So naturally, she scheduled a dinner with us and him on Friday. We talked afterwards and Lorne has been having some trials with work, exhaustion, stress and everything else. We had a lesson planned on forgiveness but as Lorne talked about scriptures and prayer, we threw the lesson plan out the window and went to the basics of the gospel. We found out he hasn't been praying about anything we've been talking about and committed him to pray about the Book of Mormon. We watched the "Choose this day" message by President Eyring and afterwards Lorne laughed, "I get it." There will be no progression with him until he decides to do those small and simple things. Tiffany has been dating and living with him for the past year. He probably knows more about the church than I do. It just goes to show that action is what really shows our faith in the Lord.
Well, this isn't probably news you want to hear but tension has been building in our companionship especially on Wednesday night with Elder Mercado and Elder Nielsen. After the lesson, they got into an argument and I told them that neither of them were to talk until we got home. When we got home, I took both of them into seperate rooms and got them to vent and get their anger out. I told them that they needed to make compromises with each other: Elder Mercado needed to control his anger more and Elder Nielsen needs to calm down his critiscms. We had a solid comp inventory and hopefully everything continues to work out. We have really made improvements in our proselyting. Elder Mercado thought it would be a good idea to walk the side streets more than the main ones and sure enough we gave out more copies of BOM and bore our testimonies more often. The Lord is here and can cast Satan out of this area only if we are willing to humble ourselves.
This past Zone Conference was amazing. We heard a talk from Elder Holland given to mission presidents about the Atonement. I`ll never forget what he said. He said a lot of missionaries struggle with the trials of a mission. If we are doing the work of the Lord, have an added measure of the spirit with us, have angels watching over us, then why is the work so hard... He said because the road to salvation is not a cheap experience! If we are truly disciples of the Lord, we have to experience a small measure of what he went through in Gethsemane. Welcome to the journey of discipleship.
I want to leave you with my testimony that anything we go through has been met and encountered in Gethsemane. It has already been challenged and conquered by the Holy One of Israel. God will not give us what we can`t handle. With faith and pereserverance, we can develop that relationship with the one who triumphed over death. He loves us and has given us tools in this life to bring us to him. As a representativie of Jesus Christ, do not take the Book of Mormon lightly. I would not be out here getting rejected, laughed at and mocked by the world if I didn`t know of the power it can bring to us in our lives. It is true and if you want to have this knowledge, you must do as Moroni says in chapter 10, ``Receive these things`` and then ask God. I know that by doing that, you can know that Jesus is the Savior and has prophets leading and guiding his church today.
P.s. The San Juan family was at sacrament meeting on Sunday and are doing missionary work. Talk about the elect!
If you think the Lord has stopped working in Banff after the San Juan baptism, then you need to read this e-mail. We 7 dayed a member to invite his roommate to listen to the Plan of Salvation. He had a lot of doubts but thought he should do it. He invited us over for dinner on P day and his roomate, Dan, was there. At the end of dinner, Kyle (the member) told me , "Oh, by the way, you guys are teaching the Plan of Salvation." So we did a 2 second preparation for it and also told Kyle we were going to invite him to be baptized. He chuckled and said, "He'll say no but whatever." As we taught Dan, we really focused on listening to him. He talked about how he was tired of always making mistakes in his life and how he wants to stay on straight course. We talked about agency and a little bit about the iron rod and how commandments help us to avoid those mistakes. He also talked about how he hates churches that say "heaven and hell" and when we first showed the spirit world, his eyes got really big. But then Elder Nielsen explained it and it made sense to him that the Spirit world is actually a holding place. Then we talked about the degrees of glory. I gave him the pamphlet that talked about each kingdom and asked him where he would like to live. He said he wants to do everything he can to go to the Celestial Kingdom. We talked about the Holy Ghost, and he said this whole plan made sense to him and he had a feeling in his heart that this is good. We invited him to be baptized and he's agrred to February 19th. He does have some Word of Wisdom issues but he's working on that.
It doesnt stop there. We did some service at Victory and Elder Nielsen was talking to one of the volunteers, Antoine. He said he has nothing to do so he gave us his contact info and we stopped by. We talked about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Elder Mercado and Elder Nielsen committed him to pray about the Book of Mormon. As they were talking, I was listening and praying and the question came to my mind, "Should I invite him to be baptized?" After I asked that question, the answer was, "Why not?" So we firmed him for February 26th and he said yes. A couple of days later, we taught lesson 3 and the spirit was very strong. At the end, we asked him how he felt and he said, "Good." We asked him why and he said, "Well, it's the Holy Ghost." We also talked about repentance and after committing him to repent, we asked him why he was so willing to do that. He said, "Well, I want my family to see a change in me, and today I did some things that I shouldn't have and I know that repentance will help." He is so prepared and is very excited to be baptized.
Saturday, we stopped by this potential's home and talked to the man living there. He said the people the missionaries were working with previously weren't living there but he said we could come in. We talked a little bit about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon and he said we could come back on Monday at 4PM.
Miracles are happening in Banff and the Lord is defintiely the reason. I wish you could have seen the San Juan family baptized. The Spirit was so strong especially as we watched each one of them walk into the font and watch each other make their first sacred covenants. I was able to confirm Florentino. After the confirmation, tears were pouring out of his eyes. Elder Mercado confirmed Divine and Elder Nielsen confirmed Dorothy. Brother Mooney confirmed Norma and Jessica. It was incredible to see the Spirit and to be able to feel God's love in that room. One thing that has really impressed me about this family is their faith and testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. A special musical number was played "Joseph's first prayer". If only you could see their eyes as that song was played, then you would know why missionary work is done.
I love each of you and I know your prayers for me have been heard. I pray for you each day and hope that you can be able to share the gospel.
I had my first Chinook this week. It was awesome! 14 C outside and the sun shining with the snow melting. It was great. Now the Chinook is gone and it's -25 C. Oh well!
This week was pretty incredible but it's going to get better (especially on Wednesday and Sunday). We went over the baptismal interview questions with the San Juan family and they passed with flying colors. Florentino is still staying away from coffee and Norma came to church this Sunday. The baptism will be on for 6:00 on Wednesday at the Calgary West Stake Center. It feels like Wednesday is going to take forever to come. Their confirmations will be on Sunday. I'm confirming the dad!
Saturday night, we were supposed to have a dinner and a lesson with Lorne. We knew we should have back up plans for that so we scheduled a back up plan for that evening with members. It turns out that both of our plans went through that night and we wondering what we were going to do. Then the zone leaders called us and challenged us to find a new investigator by the end of the night. After that phone call, I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt! We flew from place to place looking. We stopped by the gas stattion where previously, the worker told us we could come by and share a message. However, he said he was moving to Ft. St. John's. We all had a good feeling we should stop by and invite him again anyways. I went in and asked about Fort St. John's and he said he wasn't moving for another couple weeks. I told him that this message was for everybody and it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, God loves you. He said, "Oh no, that's not what I meant, I've just been really busy and so give me a call Thursday or Friday and I'll tell you where I live and you can stop by." That was 10 minutes after the phone call.
Then, we went to another potential's home. His name is Ron and he's Jewish. We've stopped by before and he said he's a "loner" and likes to learn on his own. We stopped by and he turned to his wife and asked, "How much time till dinner?" She tells him half an hour. Ron says, "Come in, I'm going to grab my triple!" He runs downstairs and has us sit at the table. He then asks us what we learned this morning (I guess he's met missionaries before). Elder Nielsen talked about the brazen serpent and we talked about how simple it is to come unto Christ so that we can be saved. To make a long story short, we invited him to be baptized on February 19th. He said no but appreciates what we do trying to help others. He said, "I'm just not lucky like you guys." He said if he prayed, he knew the Holy Ghost would give him revelation and if he does come to know that Christ is his Savior, the LDS church is the one he wants to join. We asked if we could come back and he said anytime.
I know the principle of planning is real and needs to be taken seriously. God wanted us at those 2 places on Saturday and that's where we were. I know that God has placed me where He wants me, now I need to figure out why.
I love you all and you are always in my prayers. I got the letter from you Gerry which was awesome. I'll be writing back shortly