Monday, 28 September 2015

It's General Conference Time Again!

Buenos dias! 

This week was wonderful! We were super busy most of the time and had a lot of lessons. We also got transfer calls! Since we're still halfway through the 12-week training program for new missionaries, Sister Cunningham and I are staying right where we are. However, this week we're getting a huge batch of new missionaries, and only one or two are going home! So lots of missionaries are opening, re-opening, flushing (whitewashing), and training! It's so exciting! 

Some other great things that happened are that one of our investigators, we'll call her Lydia, came to watch a baptism at the church last weekend and came to church on Sunday. Another one, our Muslim amie, came to a Relief Society activity on Saturday. For the women's session of General Conference, our Relief Society decided to host a potluck/PJ party at someone's home to watch it together. The best part is we got to go too! We didn't get to wear our pajamas. But we did get permission to be out past curfew to watch the whole thing. :) 

The broadcast was wonderful. There were some really amazing talks. I think that sometimes we forget just how wonderful the Gospel really is! Not long ago we taught a lesson in which the investigator expressed gratitude to the point of tears for the beautiful and wondrous gift God has given us; a living prophet. Think about it for a moment. The Supreme Creator of the entire Universe, who is so great and so wonderful that we cannot comprehend it, He who is perfect, has sent prophets to the Earth in our day to guide us back to Him. That's how much we matter. That's how loving He is. In His eyes, we are worth it. I don't remember who said it, and I'm paraphrasing, but I am reminded of this paradox: "Compared with God, man is nothing. But to God, man is everything." 

Have a great week, everyone! Happy General Conference! :)

Sister Shaver

 Pics of our hike in Gatineau last week.

 The Terry Fox Run in Ottawa!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Why do we do what we do?

Hey hey! 

So here's the update! This week we got a media referral (meaning someone made a request online) asking for a Bible. We called, set up an appointment, and went to drop it off. It turned out to be this 12-year-old boy who just wanted to replace his old, falling-apart Bible that he used at his church every Sunday. We were a little disappointed, but we asked if we could talk to his parents. His mom came to the door and it turns out that she knew about our church and had attended a few times back in Haiti before she moved here! And she said we could come back and talk more about it! Woo hoo! 

We also went to Montreal last Thursday with all the other new missionaries and their trainers for a meeting. It was great. We got winter coats and poutine - who could ask for more? :D 

And today we had a sisters activity with the other sisters in our zone. We went hiking in Gatineau.It was super fun, and really pretty!  It was super weird to drive 20 minutes and suddenly have everyone speaking French. That's one of the cool things about Ottawa, though. Sister Cunningham and I love it here. For the most part, it's really great! But then there are other times where it takes us an hour to catch a bus, or we get caught in the rain, or we have to change our route to avoid a protest, or we awkwardly have to cross the biggest Terry Fox run I've ever seen (twice!) to get to church. But those moments are, fortunately, far outweighed by the good times! 

I've actually been thinking lately about a question that our mission president asked us at our meeting in Montreal: Why is missionary work important? The answer, to me, is obvious. If there were no missionary work, no one would hear the Gospel. If no one heard the Gospel, no one would have faith, repent, or be baptized. No one would be saved, and the whole plan of salvation would be frustrated. Life would be meaningless. The Atonement would have been in vain. Serving a mission can be hard. It can be disappointing and discouraging. But remember, "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God... and if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father" (D&C 18:10, 15). That's what keeps me going - realizing that I could spend these 18 months having the hardest time of my life, experiencing every trial and hardship I can think of, and it would all be worth it if I help even one of God's children return to Him. I hope that you back home who have been blessed by the restored Gospel can remember that, and remember to reach out to those around you. It might be uncomfortable, but realize that no amount of comfort can compare with the eternal joy you will feel when you help someone come unto Christ.

Sister Shaver

Monday, 14 September 2015

Not Satisfied


A lot of things happened this week! We had a wonderful zone conference, the theme of which was "Always Remember Him." We talked a lot about the Sabbath day and the sacrament, and we got to watch video segments from the training given to General Authorities at last April's General Conference. It was so good! Those of you back home who are in ward councils either have seen or will be seeing the same ones. :) And then our mission president happened to randomly remember that President Russell M. Nelson's birthday is September 11th, so afterwards he took a video of us singing Happy Birthday and emailed it to him!

Shortly after zone conference, we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. It was so much fun! Sister Azimi-Tabrizi is fantastic! She and I stayed in my area while Sister Cunningham and Sister Hill went to Gatineau (and Sister Cunningham got to speak French!). It was awesome, but it was also raining and suddenly really cold (it's been really hot the last few days). I wasn't prepared. I got sick. It's sad. 

I also have a funny story from last week. Sister Cunningham and I tried to make Haitian food together but instead all we got was a very smoky apartment and some burnt mushy inedible mess. We later found out that when one wants to fry plantains, one must buy the green ones, not the yellow ones. And that one shouldn't make the oil too hot. We have so many adventures!

We also learn a lot of great lessons. One lesson I learned (or re-learned) during zone conference is that Heavenly Father just isn't satisfied with who we are. It sounds a little harsh, but it actually isn't. He loves us immensely, but He is not content with who we are right now because He knows out great potential. In the parable of the prodigal son, found in the Bible, (if you don't know it, look it up:) ) we often focus on the two sons and their behaviour, and we often overlook the things we can learn about the Father. In the story, the father sees his returning son when he is "yet a great way off" and rejoices. For him to have seen his son from so far away, he would have to have been watching and waiting for him. He never forgot him. He never gave up hope. In the same way, our Father in Heaven is watching and waiting for each of us. He rejoices when we take steps in His direction. He knows how far we've come and He sees how far we still have to go. And He helps us.

I hope that you're all doing well! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Shaver

 Me at Parliament and on my 6 month mark!

              SUPER awkward district photo.                        Ethiopian doughnuts. Yum!
                                               We have representation from mexico, Haiti, 
                                                france, Tahiti, the US, and Canada. 

              Round two of getting soaked! It was so hot that day,      A random farm in the middle of Ottawa 
                          and we wished we could swim. Well, wish granted. 
                                                   IT POURED.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Six Months!

Salam alaikum! 

I can't believe I hit my 6-month mark this past week! A year from now, I won't even be a missionary anymore! Crazy! While I can't say I've loved every minute of it (because there are downs as well as ups), I wouldn't trade these past 6 months for anything. Serving a mission is 100% worth it, and I LOVE being a missionary! :)

The biggest news this week is that we got a new investigator, who is GOLDEN. We'll call her Ella. We actually met her last week but I didn't write about it because we weren't sure if we'd be able to teach her - since she's muslim, we had to get permission from the mission president. Anyway, Ella is from Kuwait and is actually a direct descendant of Abraham. She has her genealogy all the way back to Adam. A member brought her to church last week and at the end she practically ran up to us and said, "Baptism! I want it! How do I get it?" Since then we've had two lessons with her. At both, she felt the Spirit very strongly. She is already willing to accept the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith! Obviously, we still have a lot to discuss with her, but so far, she is just amazing!

Another big thing that happened this week is that school has started up again. We are often near the university, so we see a lot of students. 

We had a dinner appointment about a week ago with a family that has a bunch of kids, and the 5-year-old told us all his best jokes: "Why did the squirrel climb the tree?" "I don't know. Why?" "Because his nest was at the top!" "....Okay. Well, that makes sense." "No, I mean at the very top!" "Oh, okay...haha..." Kids are great.

I love you all! Have a great week! :)

Sister Shaver

P.S. Sorry for being a day late! Since yesterday was a holiday, we got to spend it proselyting and taking advantage of people being home. :)

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Every Language is Useful

You know how sometimes in Primary, they teach the kids a song in sign language? And it's super cute and all the parents love it? I remember doing that. Unfortunately, I only remember, like, 3 words in ASL. Fortunately, one of those words is Jesus Christ. Do you see where this is going yet? Haha yesterday Sister Cunningham and I were sitting across from two men on the bus who were communicating in sign language. I really wanted to talk to them but I had no idea how to start a conversation! It took me until we were almost at our stop, but eventually I gathered up the courage to wave at one of them and make eye contact. Then I took off my nametag and showed him (I really wish I had an English one...I don't think he reads Spanish). He didn't know how to talk to me either since I obviously don't know how to sign, so he pulled out his phone and typed in 'For?' Then I signed 'Jesus Christ' and his eyes got all wide and he made a cross with his fingers and smiled. I gave him a pass-along card and he said thank you and taught Sister Cunningham how to say you're welcome and then we had to get off the bus. It was so cool!! Day made!

I have also had opportunities this week to use my French and Spanish, and the very limited knowledge I have of Mandarin and Tagalog as well. I think the next most useful language in this particular area would be Arabic. It's everywhere! And then Haitian Creole. That would come in handy too. But regardless of the language or the circumstance, I am always amazed at how the Lord is constantly preparing people to receive the Gospel. My testimony grows a little bit with every new contact we make!

The other exciting news this week is that we got bikes! The Spanish sisters had some in their apartment that they didn't use. I've kind of decided that you haven't lived until you've ridden a bike in a skirt. Every day is a new adventure as a missionary!

Sister Shaver

Welcome to Ottawa!

These past few days have been some of, if not THE craziest days of my mission so far!! SO much has happened!

First of all, last Wednesday I met my new companion, fresh out of the MTC. Her name is Sister Cunningham and she's from Utah. I love her! I'm going to enjoy these next couple of transfers together! :)

After that, we took a 3 hour bus ride to Ottawa, met some other missionaries, and found our new apartment. It's really cool because we live downtown - as in, within short walking distance of City Hall and Parliament. (We caught the beginning of some fireworks over Parliament Hill the other night.) Elders used to live here, but they did a nice job of cleaning up before we arrived, so it's pretty nice....but there are definitely some eyebrow-raising SIX tubs of margarine in the fridge/freezer.....(We asked about that. Apparently they were all gifts. The elders were like, "I don't know, maybe you can use them as thank-you cards after dinner appointments?") Cool.

So, we're also on transit in this area. It's a pretty huge change for me, coming from an area where we drove 100+ km daily to lots of walking and learning to decipher bus maps...we've made a lot of mistakes...we missed one appointment completely because we got lost and were going to be an hour late, and another time we got off at the wrong stop and had to walk twice as far to get home in the pouring rain. It's been an adventure! But we're actually really enjoying it! :) On top of all that, we have a tiny teaching pool because even though technically we didn't open a new area, we kind of did. The previous sisters are still here, but they now only teach in Spanish, so they kept all their Spanish-speaking investigators and less-actives.

But hey! We've had some cool experiences! The other day we were walking down the street and this man leaned out of a coffee shop and asked if we could talk about the Book of Mormon (so we did). Haven't had that one happen before!

Till next week!

Sister Shaver

 Saying goodbye to Sister Hinkson and Saint-Jérôme families.

 Hello Sister Cunningham! (with the Patricks)

us soaking wet the day we got caught in the rain 

a squirrel we named Nemo because he has a gimpy paw