Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hot Dogs for lunch
 Our Book of Mormon 50 day Challenge
You know spring is on its way when ducks show up in your yard!!

Prayers do get answered! My mom has been praying lots for me to get fed while I have been out here on the mission, but with being in a young single adult ward you do not get fed very often. This week though with my mom's prayers and her feeding the missionaries back home, Sister Verdin and I were fed five times this week! It was like breaking History in the ward, but we weren't complaining =) This week we taught many lessons on Family History work and it was really neat to see that even the young adults that we teach see the blessings of family history work! This week we also started a 50-day Book of Mormon challenge with all the people we teach and the members. It has been really cool to dig deep and study the Book of Mormon with them. The Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion so to have people we are teaching understand it is so great! Since I have been on the mission our mission president has put a HUGE urge on helping less actives come to church. Its what we spend a lot of our time doing. Just these past two weeks we have gone over the ward list many times to try and contact these people. The result of this through out the mission has been tremendous with many less active members coming back to church. Today president announced that we are switching our focus to convert baptisms and he wants us out there finding more. This is exciting and it will be cool to see the result of it! It looks like I will be hitting the streets more with lots of Street Contact =) it’s a good thing the weather is getting nicer! I really enjoy being a missionary and to be able to wear Jesus’ name on my heart everyday! Sometimes I think my tag has a blinking light bulb on it because everyone stares at it. People are not use to seeing the words Jesus Christ written on them because people do not include him in their lives anymore. I can testify and I have many times out here on the mission. With having a gospel centered home you can have a better life. For awhile I always wished I had a cool conversion story to tell people when I told them how I first knew about the church, but then one day a wise companion of mine named Sister Olson told me that I should be proud that I grew up in the church because my story is living proof that the gospel does bless families! It made me realize how much I have been given in this life. I am so thankful that my parents taught me how to live and that trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ is how I could one day return to live with my Heavenly Father! Time goes by too quickly as I approach my eight month mark this Sunday. That’s why we should always live to our full potential! I love you all bunches.


Sister Dick

Monday, April 21, 2014

 Our tour guide
In front of Parliament

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. This week was really great because we got to hear and share so many messages about our Savior Jesus Christ, which is always so great. This week went by so fast it’s a blur its just one of those weeks I have to sit back and even remember what I did. I know that the weather is getting nicer which means people are coming out of hibernation and that means we get the chance to speak to more people! I have been sick for three weeks with a cold and this week I came down with a sinus infection. It’s no fun but it’s clearing its self up! This week I went on splits with the Gatineau sisters and Sister Verdin stayed her and I went to Quebec. It was really good and it was neat to see that I could understand so much more French. I have been praying lots for the gift of tongues lately even though I’m not even in a French area and I know that my prayers had been answered because I could see the difference from this time and last time. They had a ward sports activity that we went to with people they teach and I never knew it would be so hard to play sports in a language you didn’t know so well. I finally just started waving my arms instead of getting their attention with my broken French. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed my time there. Church was awesome as always and I loved all the talks on Jesus Christ. It really helped me get a better perspective of what he really went through. I know we will never be able to fully understand all the things that he went through but even trying to see a bit of the things people did to him helps me to gain more and more love for him. The senior couple in our branch invited the missionaries in the ward to eat at their place on Easter because with young single adults we don’t get fed very easy. It was a really good meal and it was a good way to celebrate Easter! Today I had to take Sister Verdin to see Parliament so she could experience the coolness of Ottawa Canada’s capital. It was really cool even the third time I have been because this time we took the tour in French. The people probably thought we were crazy because two of the missionaries were Asian, one Mexican, one Jamaican, one Haitian, one British all going through the French session it was a great conversation starter about the church for the people wondering why we could all speak different languages.
Well this is it for this week. Have a great one!

Sister Dick

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 Ice Cream Break
 Easter egg hunt
Sister Verdin and I

First day ever in Canada with out a coat! It’s been half a year here in Canada trucking along with a coat on and today for the first time I did not have to wear a coat! It was actually 83 degrees out there. The sad news is its suppose to snow tomorrow, but I thing spring has officially come! Easter is around the corner, so today Elder and Sister Adams our senior couple missionary in our ward had all of the missionaries get together today for an Easter egg hunt and coloring egg party it was a lot of fun and it brought me back to when I was a kid coloring eggs.
   This week has been very busy teaching more then usual! We have been running around meeting with people all over town. This past week Arzaan one of Sister Olson’s and mine recent convert graduated his first year of institute. He has been going since he was introduced to the church 3 months ago! It’s amazing what he has learned from going. There is no doubt that as a missionary Sunday is your favorite day! You get to see all the amazing members and you hopefully get to see all the people you teach come to church. That was the case for this week because so many of our people we teach came to church it was awesome. It was fast Sunday this week for us and testimony meeting here is incredible people stand in line to be able to bare their testimony it is amazing. The coolest thing ever happened though this fast testimony meeting two of our investigators bore their testimonies. Carolyn we have only taught twice and she was a referral from a recent convert she is so smart it amazes me most of the members were scared to even go up and share their testimonies after her because they said they never quoted general conference before and she did many times. She was nervous to share it so she typed it out on a piece of paper before hand and she told me I could share it with you all! 

  “Brothers and sisters, a few Sundays ago I listened to Sister Olson bear her testimony. I sat in the pew as she explained that a testimony was like a car. You need to fuel it in order to keep it going. Prayer, scripture study and going to church are a few of the ways you can fuel your testimony.
  I tried to look back and see if I had a testimony myself, and I was sad because I couldn’t think of anything. But I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me open my heart and really look back and see what the Gospel has taught me, and through Him I was able to see.
  Before I go on, I want to do a small introduction of myself. My full name is Carolyn Joan Simon and I am new to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- like this is my 4th time here. I wanted to bear my testimony this Fast Sunday and here I am, standing here, doing this. I’ll apologize now, because I’m a bit nervous. All of the “googling” in the world could not make it go away. :P But, as mentioned above, Sister Olson’s testimony helped me to pray so that my rather small testimony can grow.
  A couple of weeks ago, I had a wonderful lesson with Sister Dick and Sister Verdin and my best friend Meaghan about the restoration of the Gospel. Of all the things that stuck with me, it was their strong urge for me to pray for answers to my questions. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you”. I realized that, in order to get the questions answered and for my faith in Heavenly Father to grow, prayer is the only way. I just need to talk to him.
  The past month hasn’t been a walk in the park for me. It’s been quite a challenge. But when Meaghan invited me to this church I decided I’d go. Through it all, I was strongly urged to quietly pray and speak to God about everything I’m going through and I was constantly reminded I’m not alone. So I did. I prayed to Heavenly Father for the strength to carry on with what I was doing, I asked Him to make things easier and, this time, I actually hung on to Him.
  I watched the sessions at General Conference and learned so many new things. It really felt like God was speaking to me as I sat in the chapel with tears running down my face. I learned that being thankful in any situation will bring you peace and joy in the long run, I learned the power of prayer can help carry us through difficult situations.
  I’ve started to read the Book of Mormon. Although I’m still on 1 Nephi, I feel a huge admiration for the spirit of Nephi. He’s an example I’d love to follow. The faith he had in Heavenly Father through all of the attacks he’d suffered is incredible. My goal is to have faith like Nephi, I know if I can have that I can get through anything.
  I know that if I continue to Pray, I will be able to hear God tell me the answers to my questions. Is the Book of Mormon true? Is this Church true? But I need to be very quiet, because we all know he isn’t a loud person.
  He’s answered my prayers and I know it. Through my praying, I was blessed with 4 wonderful weeks here with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I was blessed with wonderful people in my life, and he’s giving me peace. Now things for me haven’t been ideal, they’ve actually been quite tough at times. I didn’t think I would be able to pull through. But he’s given me the strength when I actually thought I would die. Guess it’s not in his plans for me to leave yet.  As I was mentioned in General Conference, I think these burdens are what gave me the traction to continue.
Matthew 11:28-30 says Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden is light
This scripture follows me everywhere, I’m not even kidding! I hear it everywhere, especially after I began praying for God to reveal himself to me.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me”. 

These are the two verses our Heavenly Father keeps telling me to reflect on. He wants me to give myself to him, and he’ll make things bearable. It’ll make me stronger. And it’s true! I’m still here when I thought I wouldn’t make it.
Brothers and sisters, if just four short weeks ago someone told me I’d have a testimony to bear, I don’t think I’d have believed them. I didn’t even know I had a testimony until I prayed and I opened my heart. But it’s incredible what the Gospel and the Book of Mormon have taught me. Faith. Prayer. It all can give a person the strength to continue through hard times. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is comforting too. It’s helped me so far, and I know that if I continue to love Heavenly Father, I can get through just about anything. And I say all of this through Jesus Christ, Amen.”

I sat in awe as she bore it and that is not all. After church we had a stake choir performance and she sang a solo in it! People would think that she has been in the church for years, but she is a witness that it does not take much to realize how amazing this gospel is it just takes a little effort! It looks like this week is going to be just as busy and I also get to go on splits with sister training leaders in Québec speaking French so I am excited for that! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday and think of the real reason why we have Easter. I am so thankful for what Jesus did for us! As i grow and stronger testimony of Jesus Christ everyday I become more and more thankful that he would endure such pain so that we can one day live with our father in heaven one day! I know that even if Jesus had to go through all of that just for you he would! I love you all 

Sister Dick 

Sending Sister Olsen home
 The fabulous 4
 The snow is starting to melt
My new companion, Sister Verdin

This week went very well, but seem to be a very long week. I think it is because through out this week I had three different companions. It was really hard to say goodbye to Sister Olson. She has become my best friend and I couldn't count the miracles on my fingers and toes that we saw together! I dropped her off at the bus station and Sister Gerday and I got to spend the day together teaching Old people ha ha, jk but older then 20's. It was really cool to see another view of Ottawa. We picked up both our companions at the bus station later that night. Sister Verdin’s new companion is Sister May who is Jamaican originally form England but has lived in Montréal the last five years! She is super awesome with a really cool English accent. Sister Verdin is a fireball. She is the human form of Dora the explorer and she is hilarious. She is not afraid to tell anyone what  she thinks! I hit my seven-month mark this past week I don't even know where that one went?? Right before conference a recent convert I have been teaching since I have been here opened his mission call! He will not even be a member for a year until next week! He is going to Madrid Spain and I am so excited for him he will be such an amazing missionary! Conference this weekend was so amazing and I hope everyone was able to watch it and if not I hope you take the time to go and watch it. Sister Houde came up at watched it in Ottawa and of course took really good care of us. She gave some of our investigators a ride to it and then after conference took Sister Verdin and I out for dinner and dessert. I love her sweet spirit so much. I am so lucky to have one of my companions close by to see all the time. One of our investigators has been having a rough time in life right now and she came for conference on Sunday. As soon as Conference started it brought her to tears to hear what Dieter F. Uchtdorf had to say about gratitude. She continued to cry through out the rest of conference while taking intensive notes on all of it. I know everyone loved conference, but I have to say it was so cool to be able to see first hand how the words of prophets can affect people. After conference we asked her is she wanted a blessing and she said yes. I asked the recent convert who just got his mission call to give her a blessing. He was super nervous because he had never given a blessing before but he did such an amazing job. She even said when she was getting the blessing she felt like a whoosh of wind just came in the room and made her feel better! All of the talks in conference touched me and I got all my questions answered. I loved Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk a lot because I think the best analogy’s are with horses =) I have used my knowledge of a team of horses working together a lot on mission. I have realized it is crucial that as a companionship you work together and pull together that's the only way you will be able to be the most effective! Now that I have seen Elder Andersen in person I feel like I can relate to him more and I really enjoyed his talk about spiritual whirlwinds. Times in the church are tough and they are not going to get easier. It comforted me to hear talks that helped us to fight back with the evil in the world. To end my email I want to tell a story that I have seen unfold on my mission lately. We teach a recent convert and her non-member boyfriend. They are always inviting their friends to church and to meet with us. The other week at church a friend of theirs came. This friend is not the normal friend you would see at church. This friend happens to be someone who has the struggle of who they are and dresses as a girl. They are very nice and really enjoyed church, but as you might imagine the ward had a really hard time with it. I thought to myself why is this? We as Latter day saints preach everyday that we are ALL children of God no matter what. Why wouldn't they want someone that is confused like this at church rather in the streets trying to figure out what to do? I realized that Heavenly Father put this in the wards path to learn from it and they have they have learned to realize that they are just like us, a child of God. I hope that is how everyone can see each other I promise if you do then you will be able to have the love Heavenly Father has for them. I love you all have a great week!

Sister Dick