Monday, 22 August 2016

This is not the end.

I guess this is it.

This is the last time you'll be hearing from me from the mission field. It doesn't feel real. My mission went by so fast. Home feels like it was just a dream, and in a few short weeks or months, this too will feel like it never really happened.

But it did.

My mission has been the most beautiful, dramatic, frightening, soul-searching, inspiring, tiring, and fulfilling 18 months of my life. I've taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to people from over a hundred different nationalities, people who speak dozens of different languages and dialects, people who are so poor they can't afford a bus pass and millionaires, university professors and people who can't read, children and the elderly, humble followers of God and indignant Atheists. I've been exposed to so many different cultures and lifestyles, and I've been blessed to see each of these precious souls through the eyes of their Saviour who loves them. 

I cried all through sacrament meeting yesterday because I realized I wasn't going to see most of the members of my ward again. I love these people. I love Montreal. I love the people I've served in all six of my areas. I love the companions I've had and the missionaries I've worked with. I'm really going to miss being a full-time missionary.

But here's the catch: it doesn't stop here! The things I've learned and the person I've become are not going to vanish away in a puff of smoke when I step off the airplane in Kelowna in a few days. NO! These things are only building blocks, steps along a path, dawn's early rays of a sun not yet risen. Missionary work doesn't end here. The relationships I've formed with members, missionaries, and investigators don't end here. Learning doesn't end here. Growth doesn't end here. The love I have for God and for His children doesn't end here. Discipleship doesn't end here. This is not the end! 

While sometimes I feel like I wish I could stay here forever, I'm inclined to say, as Alma, "Now, seeing that know these things, why should desire more than to aperform the work to which have been called?"(Alma 29:6).

God called me to be a missionary at this time and in this place because that is where and when He needed me. Now my time is up, and He is calling me another way. I can't explain how grateful I am to have been given this incredible experience. I'm so sad that it's over. But if Heavenly Father has taught me anything on my mission, it's that I can trust Him.

And that's what I'm trying to do.

His plan is perfect. He is perfect. He lives and loves us and guides us today. I have full confidence that whatever the next pages of life bring me, I will be better off because of what I've done here, but much more so because of what my Heavenly Father has done for me here.

crossing the finish line
I'll see you across the finish line!

Sister Shaver

Monday, 15 August 2016

Rainbows after the Storm

Hey, so this week started off pretty rough. For some reason we weren't able to schedule very many appointments the first few days, and it was WAY too hot, and some of the people we taught had crises that were difficult to deal with. I was feeling pretty down for a few days.

But gradually, things took off! And I can't even count how many miracles came in the second half of the week! I guess it's true that things get tough right before something great is about to happen. I'll just list some of the cool things that happened this week:

- JASMINE GOT BAPTIZED! (There were more than a few glitches with the baptismal service, but it all worked out in the end)

- We got to teach Peter, who's getting baptized a couple days after I leave
- A man that Sister Hoffmann met on the metro came to church and stayed afterwards for a lesson with us. He's from Iran and speaks very little English, but he explained how he has felt "pushed" by the Spirit to believe in Christ and come to our church. So cool!
- We started teaching the boyfriend of a less-active member who has already come to church twice and loved it. He was so impressed by the loving atmosphere and warm welcome of the members that he became really interested in learning more about our beliefs.
- I had a wonderful exchange with Sister Morgan, the newest sister in our zone! She's already so good at so many aspects of missionary work, and I feel like I learned a lot from her about courage and overcoming doubts.
- We met a man from Zanzibar on the bus who was kind of staring at us so we didn't really want to talk to him, but we gave him our card on our way out, and he actually called us! We had an incredible first lesson with him, and he accepted a baptismal date right away! 
- I had my last district meeting.
- One of our investigators, Nyon, texted us yesterday morning to say he was in Vancouver and wanted to know if he could get in touch with some of our "people" over there. We gave him the address of a church and left a message on the bishop's phone - shout out to Bishop Getts in Vancouver for contacting Nyon and meeting with him!! He loved it!

I am reminded again and again just how much God really loves not just me, but everyone. His plan is the best plan. I was reading in Alma this week about when 1005 of the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi are massacred because they refused to take up weapons against their enemy - but in so doing, many of the Lamanites were converted. Following what seems outwardly to have been a tragedy, look what happens: "And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have nreason to doubt but what thewere asaved.
And there was not wicked man slain among them; but there were more than thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lorworketh in many aways to the salvation of his people"(Alma 24:26-27).
We don't understand all of God's ways. I, at least, certainly don't. But I do know that He has a much greater understanding than I do, and sometimes I or the people I love need to suffer for a time in order for Him to accomplish His great purpose, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man"(Moses 1:39). This week was a testimony to me of that truth.

It's hard to believe that this is almost the end. Next week, I'll be sending out my last email from the mission field. It's definitely been the richest experience of my life. Until next week!

Sister Shaver

Monday, 8 August 2016


Hi everyone!

Sooo this week was super cool! Even in the last month of my mission, I'm still doing lots of new things! For example, this past weekend there was a YSA conference in Montreal, and my companion and I got to go to help out with an activity. We brought an investigator (we brought Peter, this super cool man from Egypt) and taught  him a lesson with about 10 YSA. It was really fun! Peter is progressing really well. We've only known him for a few weeks, but he has a scheduled baptismal date and is really looking forward to it. His English isn't too strong, but he held up his Arabic Book of Mormon and told the group, "This is like gold." So true.

Another highlight from this week was that Jasmine passed her baptismal interview!!! And she came to church!!! She and her dad were like 15 minutes late, and Sister Hoffmann and I were basically not breathing that whole time. But she's getting baptized this weekend!!! She has grown SO much since we first started meeting with her. She almost literally glows with the warmth and light that the gospel has brought into her life, and it's so beautiful to see her family one step closer to getting sealed in the temple. :')

I'm so grateful that the Lord has been blessing me so much! This whole transfer might just be the highlight of my entire mission. I love these people a ton, and it feels so rewarding when I realize that they love me a lot too. We had my last stake correlation meeting yesterday (that's a meeting with us, the zone leaders, the stake president, the mission president, and stake high councilors over missionary work), and the stake President was genuinely sad to hear that I'm leaving. We have these meetings once a month, and that was my 7th one, so we've known each other for a while.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Shaver


Us and the mandarin district! 3 of those elders are from Vancouver, 
and the 4th is straight out of Taiwan. They're so cool!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Faith is all you need!

Where do I even begin? This week was awesome! It was actually even busier than the previous week! I can hardly believe how blessed we are, with so many investigators to teach, most of whom actually want to learn and progress! We found a couple more new ones this week, including a woman from Sri Lanka who has the most adorable little toddlers and an elderly woman from Jamaica. Some of the other people we teach are from Egypt, Rwanda, Philippines, St. Vincent, and Lebanon, to name a few. Did I mention that practically none of the people we teach are Canadian? 

One of our investigators who IS born and raised in Canada is a 10-year-old girl named Jasmine - and she's getting baptized in 2 weeks! She is so precious. An 8-year-old girl in our ward got baptized last weekend, and Jasmine came to watch. Afterwards, I asked her, "So what did you think?" She paused to think about it, then said, "Watching people get baptized makes me want to get baptized." I love this girl so much! 

Although we have a few other investigators who have accepted baptismal dates, I've come to the realization that I probably won't be around to see any of them make that covenant with God. It makes me sad because I love them a lot and I want to be there, but at the same time I guess it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that it happens. Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism are all steps along the only path that leads to eternal joy in the presence of God, and our purpose as missionaries is to help people along that path, from wherever they are to farther up. Then at some point, we leave, and they continue on without us - with help from the next missionaries and support from ward members. Most importantly, if we've taught them well, they'll know that they have the love and guidance of God to take them where they need to go.

I'm coming to learn more and more that faith is all you really need in this life. You don't need reasons to keep the commandments, you need faith. You don't need money to pay tithing, you need faith. You don't need time to read your scriptures and go to church, you need faith. You don't need great conversational skills to share the gospel, you need faith. You don't need a perfect life to be happy, you need faith. Faith is all you need! 

Sister Shaver

lilianne and her two girls at church, us painting lilianne's house, lilianne's girls :)

some more random pictures...
us and jasmine

        one is with Emayou (hiding) and one is with Chastine, a member

Monday, 25 July 2016

Strengths and Weaknesses

Hey everyone!

So I've been thinking about a verse in the Book of Mormon, Ether 12:27. Most of you probably know it; "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

When I first read that verse, I understood it to mean that my weaknesses would be fixed and changed so that in their place I would have strengths - for example, if I ran really slowly before, I could turn to Christ and He would help me run faster. But I've come to realize that while this is true, it is also true that sometimes when we turn to Christ and have faith in Him, rather than change something about me, He shows me ways in which those very things that I thought were "weaknesses" are actually strengths. Like, maybe instead of helping me run faster, He'd help me appreciate that by moving slower I can be more observant and enjoy the beauty around me.

I have no idea where I heard this, but it reminds me of a story about two buckets. One bucket had a hole in the bottom, so every time the man went to draw water, it would leak slowly until it was only half full by the time he got home. But as water leaked from the "weak" barrel, it nourished the flowers growing alongside the path. I guess it's kind of like that. 

I've had the privilege of seeing this promise fulfilled in both ways this week. In the first sense (running faster), we've watched our numbers of lessons taught and progressing investigators skyrocket. Not only did we achieve the standards of excellence this week, we DOUBLED them! Unheard-of!   And in the other sense, I feel like God has been showing me so many reasons why He needs me right where I am because of who I am. For example, early in the week I met a man on the metro who opened up to me and described some challenges he's going through. I've had similar trials so I was able to relate to him and testify powerfully of the Saviour's Atonement. I could tell him that it would help, that I knew it, because I have lived it, I live it, and I will continue to live it. He was touched, and later in the week we taught our first lesson to him, and yesterday he came to church!

So basically, our week was very busy, and we're just loving it! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Shaver 

I got an envelope with a letter thanking me for my missionary service and my flight plans. 
And there was an enclosed tissue for when I cried. Haha!

 what do this milk jug and my name tag have in common? 
(hint: see the expiration date)

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Last Transfer

Okay, first things first: TRANSFERS!!!! 

I'm staying where I am. With the same companion. :) So no need to freak out! I'll be "dying" in Montreal Ward with Sister Hoffmann! 

Let's look at some numbers for a minute: By the end of my mission, I will have spent 1 transfer in Spanish, 3 in French, and 8 in English. My longest area is this one, Montreal Ward, for 4.3 transfers. My shortest area was Kirkland, for 0.7. I've served in all 5 zones in my mission! 2 transfers in Longueuil Nord, 1 in Montreal, 3 in Ottawa, 1 in Longueuil Sud, and 5 in Mount Royal. That's also 5 transfers as a sister training leader! Trained once, "killed" thrice. It's been GREAT!!! :D (In case you had any doubts!)

Anyways, so other than getting all worked up over nothing for transfer calls, this week I went to Lasalle for an exchange with Sister Cruz Arenas. We were on bikes, and I was unprepared and I almost died. Not because biking itself was hard, but because we did 3 hours of it in the hottest part of the day. It was actually really nice though, other than the sunburns. I like biking, and it's been a long time. We also went to Kirkland to sit in on their district meeting, which was great. :) We met a lot of interesting people on the way back. 

And so it begins! The last transfer! It's going to be amazing. We have a lot of wonderful people to work with right now who are really progressing, and I love my companion and I especially love this area - Montreal Ward feels like home now. I look forward to seeing what miracles the Lord is going to work in these next 5 weeks!

Sister Shaver

 We had a goal to be more "cool" this week!!

Sister Hoffmann

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

It's amazing!

Hola hola! 

Okay, so quick comment on reality - I opened my email just now and a particular email caught my eye - it's the one that tells me I've been enrolled in MyPlan!!!!! My Plan is a 6-week training course to be completed online during the last 6 weeks of your mission. It's real!!!! D:

Um, but other than that, we've just had another wonderful week! I've had the pleasure to run into my new mission president and his wife and kids multiple times this week. Sister Hoffmann and I are basically in love with the Phillips family! They came to our sacrament meeting yesterday because they're still choosing between attending church in French or English. (We hope they choose our ward!) President and Sister Phillips have so much fire for this work and I can't wait to see what comes next for our mission! Transfer calls are coming this week and we're anxious to see what happens! 

We had three investigators come to church yesterday. One was a 10-year-old boy who comes pretty regularly because his mom is an active member. Another was a 10-year-old girl who came for practically the first time, but we had to go to their house and pick her up (and her parents) so that she would actually get out of bed. We were SO happy to see her there though! And the third was a young man named Sajad from Iran. He has a muslim background but is very interested in learning about Jesus, and this was his first time in a Christian church. I got to sit next to him and explain the basics like how to read a hymn book, what the program was, and the significance of the sacrament. After the water tray passed us, he whispered, "It's amazing." And that got me thinking.

Isn't it amazing? Isn't it just so incredibly wonderful that there is someone out there who loves and cares about us so much that he not only walks with us, cries with us and smiles with us - he not only suffered our every sorrow, heartache, fear, injustice, bitterness, frustration, pain, sickness, and weakness and took upon himself the load of our sins, but he also paid the ultimate price by dying so that we could have new life. In a song we recently heard from some other sisters on our mission, it's explained quite beautifully: "It vit, et parce qu'il vit la mort n'aura plus de victoire! Grace a lui, nous pouvons prendre un nouveau depart." (Rough translation: He lives, and because He lives death will never have the victory. Thanks to Him, we can have a new start.) IT'S AMAZING!

I heard another beautiful thought from a Moroccan I met on the metro. He said, "I cannot be an Atheist, because I look around me at nature and the world and I know it had to be created by Someone." Which reminds me of a scripture: "...The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is God; yea, even the earthand all things that are upon the face of it, yea,and its motionyea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is Supreme Creator."(Alma 30:44)

To add one more quote, this one from an elder at mission leadership council, "It's the Gospel. It works!"

Yeah, it does.

Sister Shaver