Monday, June 30, 2014

Letter 35 -- Slow down the time!!!

Hello family!

How the heck is everyone doing? I'm glad to hear the soccer camps are going well, the wedding plans are working out, mommy is in Delaware, daddy is still loving his bike, Grandma is getting the help that she needs, and everyone is happy! Thanks for the emails :)

So Toronto is great as usual. This week was a crazy one. Filled with miracles and filled with interesting experiences (as always) haha. I'm excited to be here during Canada Day. It should be exciting. The streets are still crazy after a soccer team wins. Police cars are everywhere on the streets around our building, because that is the street that people celebrate on. They build up the traffic by stopping on green lights, honking their horns, and then doing a U-turn so that they can stay on the street and keep doing it. haha I love Toronto.

So we met this awesome guy named R... this week. We went to drop by a former investigator. As we were walking across the street to her building, a car - with its windows open - stopped right in front of us to drop of their friend. So obviously I walk up to the window and start talking to the driver haha. He is from Hungary and he loves God with all his heart. He wants to follow him but has found it hard because temptations always seem to come right when he is trying to better his life. Boy do we have a wonderful message for him! We scheduled a time to meet, went to his house and taught him the restoration, and he is stoked for baptism, church - not to mention he hopes to invite all his friends and family members to join as well! Problem is he never wakes up early. Ever. We will have to be creative in getting him to church.

J... is another amazing person. He is from China. We were walking in front of him on the street. When I turned around and saw him, my initial reaction was fear because he looked intimidating. I was so frustrated with my inner response that I immediately slowed down, turned around, and said hi. Haha it for sure caught him off guard but he didn't turn around and run away (which has been the reaction more than once before). We got talking and I found out that he was trying to make changes his life and Spirituality was something that he was really interested in and confused about as well. We have been meeting with him and he is really excited about everything. The best thing ever was when he told us about his experience of God answering his prayers. His comment was "I know that it was an answer from God, and going against that experience would be a lie. I cannot deny what I experienced."....... WOW!!!! Coolest guy ever.

Some of my favorite experiences are those times when people try to contend with you, or get you to contradict yourself, or explain to you all the reason why your beliefs are wrong. It's so fun because this is NOT a time to Bible bash, but to bear a simple testimony of everything that you know to be true. There were so many instances where my testimony of a certain concept was strengthened because all they would us allow us to do was testify. Alma 9-12ish is one of my favorite stories because of that.

President and Sister Clayton are officially here and leading the mission! We get to meet with them tomorrow and I am excited beyond all reason. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

Some great quotes of the week (I'm copying you Sister Price hehe)

"The secret of success is find something that works and then do it again"
"Faith is not an inheritance. It's a choice." <-- SO STINKIN TRUE!!!!
The entire Preach My Gospel and Book of Mormon

Love you all :) Make it a great week! 17 more days Jared and April! Don't get sunburned in Lake Powell!
Sister Bodine

Monday, June 23, 2014

Letter 34 -- A computer. An Engagement. and lot of Crying.

Hello Family!!

I got ALL of my birthday cards from everyone and I just wanted to THANK YOU ALL!!!!! Grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, friends. I love you all so much. Thank you for taking the time to send me a letter. It meant the world :) I love you!!!

So great week this week! We had our last zone conference with the Scott's on Thursday and it was amazing and SO HARD to say goodbye. Not to mention this transfer is when the first HUGE wave of missionaries leaves also, so we had 26 missionaries get up to share their farewell testimony. Both of my companions got up. There was a lot of crying this Zone Conference that's for sure. President Scott gives the departing missionaries some "lessons for life" and we were blessed to have him give his life lessons to us at Zone Conference!! Word for word. It's like scripture :) And President and Sister Scott surprised us by letting us know that we were allowed to give them BOTH a hug since they were leaving. It was the best thing ever :) The spirit was SO STRONG this conference (as always). President's theme for the conference was based off Light and Darkness, a subject he has been studying for years and years now. We have been studying it on our own for the past month now so the conversation was POWERFUL with everyone sharing their thoughts. Some statements I really liked:
-Do not process in the dark with the adversary. Process in the light with the Savior
-There is NO middle ground when it comes to God's Plan. We are given a choice and a choice we will HAVE to make sooner or later. When we aren't working with the Lord, we are working with the adversary.
-There is no one Satan wants to destroy more than you. Use the Savior's light and - as stated in D&C 50 - Chase darkness from you.
I love President and Sister Scott with all my heart and will miss them dearly. And I am SO EXCITED for President and Sister Clayton to come in!! Can't even contain my excitement :)

My favorite day of the week was Friday. It was a day of spur-of-the-moments. We had a bunch of set plans, and they all fell through. Throughout the entire day, as we were going to fulfill our back-up plans, one of us would get the feeling that we should get off the bus or the streetcar and back track a little. Having no idea why, we would follow the prompting and get off the car, back track a little, end up crossing someone's path, and end up teaching them for the next 30-45 minutes about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It happened all throughout the day. We didn't do a single one of our back up plans. It's so cool - I KNOW that when we make plans, even if we end up doing something completely different, the Lord will bless us for being prepared.

We have been teaching an awesome kid named S.... He won't tell us how old he is, but we are positive he is YSA age. He is the son of one of our recent converts, P.... S.... has been taught by missionaries before and hasn't shown any interest at all. When we first met with him, we could totally tell he was playing some kind of game with us. He is SO Intelligent, and he kept coming up with excuses or concerns with what we were talking about. But with the help of the spirit, we would end up getting him to confess what he really felt on accident. The Spirit is always SO STRONG when we teach him. He is such a good kid. And after we confounded him in his mysterious game, the next time we met with him he was a completely different person. He was so open and honest, and HE bore his testimony on many occasion. He first denied God's existence, but then confessed that he knows He's there. It was so cool to be a part of. We are just praying he will continue to notice how he feels and not just what he can see.

Funny moment of the week:
-Sister Bodine got left on the street car. I got stuck behind someone as we were getting off. As I stepped onto the step the door remained shut. I looked at my companions and Sister Marler had a look of terror. Hahaha I grasped the pole and yelled "NOOO!!!" in front of everyone as the street car drove away. We were only going to the next stop which wasn't too far away so I just watched in terror as my companions sprinted from one stop to the next. I bolted out and we reunited like in those slow motion experiences on the movies. It was hilarious.

I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!!! I read Alma 5 during personal study and talk about a check your progress on steroids.  "Be ye separate" from the world (vs. 57). And the last verse is AWESOME. An invitations for those who have not accepted, and a commandment for all of us who have to follow Christ. :) I love you all and hope you have an amazing week! Keep your standards!

Sister Bodine and Sister Marler

Monday, June 16, 2014

Letter 33 - The City that never sleeps..... during World Cup.

Good morning brothers and sisters :)

How is all of you?! Sounds like you all had an AMAZING week which is so much fun to hear. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the fathers, future fathers, and amazing men out there. Specifically Happy Father's Day to my wonderful brothers, and more specifically Happy Father's Day to my own daddy. I love you daddy with ALL MY HEART. I am so grateful for you and will always be grateful for you. It was fun to take some time and reflect yesterday on all the wonderful experiences I have been blessed to have throughout the years with you like watching rain storms on the front porch, practicing foot work, seeing you on the sidelines cheering me on at EVERY event I was ever a part of, asking for advice, sitting in silence on longer car trips... I love you so much and am so excited for the never ending memories I am going to continue to be able to have with you :) It's crazy to think that I have brothers and a brother-in-law who are fathers/future fathers too!!! I love you all so much :)

So I guess I should start off by saying I love being in downtown Toronto during the World Cup. The event, first off, makes it really easy to find out where people are from because they wear t-shirts with their country's flag on it every single day. It's also easy to tell which team won the game because afterwards, everyone from that country who watched the game jumps into their cars and drive through the streets, honking their horns full blast, hooting and hollering with their flags hanging out of their windows as they drive. It goes on all day and all night. I love it so much :) The World Cup is a GREAT way to get talking to people - and it makes is that more fun to slyly slip in the gospel afterwards hehe.

So we had a dear sweet old Russian man come to ESL. He is probably in his 70's, he speaks very little English, and he has taken quite a fancy to Sister Bodine... After ESL, we invited him to come on a chapel tour with us. He isn't religious and didn't want anything to do with God, but continued to look around the building with us. We taught him using pictures on the walls. When we got to the chapel, we sang him a song. This cute little man went from saying "No" to a chapel tour, to "I'm coming to church". So V came to church. Haha during the sacrament I kept having to tell him "prayer" when we were praying and he would fold his arms, or "song" and he would get excited, hand me the hymnbook and say "sing music". When we passed around the Water in the Sacrament, he asked me if it was vodka haha. No V, it's not vodka. During Gospel Principles class, I sat down a little ways from him, and he looked at me and summoned me over to sit by him. I sat down and this sweet 70 year old man puts him hand on my leg. Hahaha I immediately move his hand onto his own lap and pretend like nothing happened. He told me later "Wherever you go, I go. Whatever you say, I do." He is very excited to come back to church to see Sister Bodine again. We gotta somehow get this man into the Book of Mormon haha

We have been working on an open house at our church the whole time we have been here. The Toronto and Christie wards have done an open house before recently and it went really well with a great turn out. We have handed out invitations to everyone we talk to for the past two weeks, and we were SO EXCITED for it!!!! The day and time came, and hour went by, and no one was there. We had 8 sets of missionaries out on the streets trying to get people to come in and no one would. We were praying and praying that God would allow even just one person to come and feel the spirit. And what did He do? He goes and creates miracles and He always answers prayers. We walked outside the chapel and there was a man standing at the gates. We went and got him and brought him in. His name is K. K has gone through SO MUCH in his life. In and out of jail, drugs, stealing, raised in abusive home and taught to fend for himself at a young age in all the wrong ways. He had brain cancer several years ago and that really opened his eyes to the desire of a better life. He has seriously considered going back to church - several times he found himself at the front doors of a church but couldn't get himself to walk in. His construction job randomly was cancelled for Saturday (the day of the tour) and rather than stay at home and watch TV, he decided to go out and get to know the city a little more. As he was walking he ran into some missionaries and they told him about the tour so he decided to go check it out. We found him and brought him in. The spirit was so strong during that tour. He is amazing. And he actually worked on the vents inside the Brampton temple several years ago!!! Small world! But I know that God is looking out for K and it was so much fun to be a part of it. He is preparing to be baptized because he wants to have that clean slate and a start to a new life. He will for sure get that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! I love this gospel.

Something I have been loving lately is hearing the conversion stories of everyone that we talk to, non-members but also members. If you ever have the time, I would love to hear all of your personal conversion stories of how you have gained your testimonies throughout your lives. If you would be willing to do that and then send it by mail, that would be so awesome :) Just in case, the mission address is:

197 County Court Blvd Ste 203
Brampton, ON L6W 4P6

That's all I have for today. I love you all and I know that God gives us nothing that we can not handle in this life. I know that everything happens for a reason, and this Plan is truly a plan of progression. Eternal Progression. That's so awesome :)

Make it a great week! Serve someone! Smile! Keep your standards! Jump in the nearest rain puddle! Pray for missionary opportunities! This is for you Sister Price!! ;) Sticky note attack someone!!! Woohoo!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Letter 32 - TORONTO!!!!

Hello Everybody!

First off I just want to say how excited I was to find out that our dear friend M.... that Sister Gillins and I were working with was BAPTIZED on Saturday! I'm sad I didn't get to go but I am just so proud of him. I know how hard he must have worked this week to quit smoking. I am so excited to hear what his experience was like!

So I only have an hour on the computers here in this library. I am a slow typer and even slower reader haha so I have to ZIP through reading the emails! PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING!! But I'm sorry if I am horrible with responding to them because my time is limited. Handwritten letters are like the best thing ever just so you know :) I'm glad to hear all is going so well though with soccer and engagement pictures and everything!

Toronto is the promised land. I thought my love for missionary work couldn't get bigger, but coming to Toronto, I found out it could. I find myself eating, drinking, singing, sleeping, EVERYTHING about missionary work - how I can improve, where we should go, how to get the work moving forward. This is all so much fun. I have never met so many amazing people in one week in my entire life.

We are in a bus/street car/subway area so we are literally talking to people all day every day. So much better than having a car I feel. It's so much fun bringing up random conversations and finding a sly way to bring in the gospel. It's like a 24/7 game of spiritual awesomeness. For reals.... I'm beaming right now.

Here is a little bit of Toronto North area:
-There is a barber shop every other shop on the streets haha
-Jamaicans RULE the town - I love them so much
-The biggest, strongest, most intimidating looking people on the bus are the kindest, most spiritual people to talk to.
-The people in our ward represent 70 different countries around the world. We are very diverse
-Our greatest way of finding people is through our ESL class. It's AMAZING. Around 10-12 new people come in every Tuesday and Saturday. I was asked to be desk manager for it, meaning I get to talk to every single person who comes in and try to hand sign what they are supposed to do and where to go. It's such a blast.
-Our apartment was definitely not designed for three sisters to live there haha but we've made it work. We decided that we share the apartment with a hobo named Donovan. If anything happens, we blame it on Donovan.
-But anyways our apartment has the BEST VIEW EVER of the CN-Tower

We have such an amazing ward. Bishop Hamblin and his family are from California. They came to Canada for a 3 year business trip and he ended up getting called to be bishop! He is totally focused on missionary work. The entire ward council is and it makes things SO AMAZING. Our ward mission leader is totally on the ball. We found out that we actually white washed into the area. We haven't had anyone in the Toronto North for three weeks because of an emergency transfer so two companionships were taking over our area while no one was here. This was by far the busiest week I've had on my mission and the most unsuccessful (numbers-wise) of my mission as well. This week will be different. We are totally going to see miracles here.
Whitewashing also means that we had no food in the house either, just random cans and sauces here and there. Good thing Sister Von Niederhausern is a master chef haha. We've survived :)

My companions are awesome! They are great missionaries. This is Sister Marler's last transfer, and Sister Von Niederhausern's second to last. We are going to make sure this is the most miraculous transfer of their entire missions! Sister Nicole Marler is from San Diego California and Sister Serena Von Niederhausern is from Logan and she knows all my frisbee buddies from BYU! We laugh so much in this companionship - I love being in a tri.

Well that's all I have time for. I KNOW this gospel is so true. My understanding of how important this work is has accelerated like none other being in this city. I promise I am going to work until I drop. I will talk to everyone who comes into my path. Every person in this city will know that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. This message truly is good news and I love seeing the faces of people God has been preparing as they ponder upon the things we share with them on the streets. There is no greater call on this earth than missionary work and WE ARE ALL CALLED AS DISCIPLES OF CHRIST!!! The Atonement is real and it is powerful.

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

Bodine Sister

So I guess I have more time hehe

Crazy story. we decided to go subway contacting to see what it was like. Sister Marler sat down on the subway next to this black man (probably YSA age) and invited him to our church's open house we are having next week. When this woman comes over and stands next to them and starts ripping apart Sister Marler. She was destroying Joseph Smith - yelling loud enough for the entire car to hear - talking about things about him that I for sure have never heard of. Then she started talking to the black man apologizing to him for Sister Marler talking to him because our church is racist. Sister Marler did such a great job of standing her ground, and stating the truth after she backfired something. The lady started yelling at her about harassing the black man and we should be charged for harassing people on the streets, on the TTC, and everywhere else now. The black guy was AWESOME and came back as well by saying things like, "She's not harassing me, you're harassing her!" and "Ya they may not have allowed blacks into their church back then but times are changing".
I have had so much more harsh rejection than I ever have before in this past week. I love it haha. It doesn't feel very good but it is such an eye opener to how powerful this message really is. I was reading Lawrence Corbridge's talk on Joseph Smith in the last General Conference this morning and over and over he talked about the rejection that Christ and Joseph Smith received and answered by saying "Why? Because the truth will always be opposed." I have been seeing that I lot. And as a result I KNOW even more than I already did that this is true. And when you meet someone who agrees and who is willing to listen, it seems to be that much easier to recognize the spirit in that situation.

Missions are so much fun :)