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