Hey there family :)
So what's the news? after 7 1/2 miraculous months in the "Land of 3.5 million tree" London, I am leaving to serve in the blessed land of Toronto!! Toronto North which, from what I have heard from others, is straight up downtown Toronto. It is New York City but safer, cleaner, and it is known to be a place of miracles. IT'S TOTALLY GOING TO BE!!!!! I am going to be serving in a tri-companionship with Sisters Marler and Von Neiderhausern (cool name right? :)) I have role played with Sister Von Neiderhausern before and she is amazing! I haven't met Sister Marler before so we are meeting up tomorrow and going together to work our tails off in Toronto! I'M SO EXCITED. Sister Gillins is blessed beyond blessed to stay in London and she will be serving with Sister Wanlass. We've heard nothing but amazing things about her so it will be so great. We got the call last night. After hanging up, I got up as always and starting dancing a hideous little jig because I was so excited (Sister Gillins is used to my weirdness by now haha), Sister Gillins and I hugged, and then I started bawling my eyes out about leaving London. A mission is so emotional haha. I love London with all my heart. I love Sister Gillins more than I can express and I am so grateful for the chance I had to serve with her. She has grown so much and I learn more and more from her every day. With her, I truly have learned the balance of working hard and having a blast while doing it. And we have seen so many miracles in this area. God is SOOOOO good to all His children. The ward is transforming into something amazing and it will continue to get stronger and stronger with the help of Sisters Gillins and Wanlass. We have a wonderful Bishop who loves everyone like none other. We have a family of 10 who can speak Italian so it's even cooler ;) and we now have three amazing converts to the church there to help build the kingdom of God in this area.
That's right... THREE converts! K... and J... were married on Saturday night and she was baptized yesterday! The spirit was wonderful. Haha the London first ward has MASTERED the art of Mormon Standard time. It was 6:25 (the baptism started at 6:30) and we, Bishop, G..., and the Atkinsons were the only ones there. Ten minutes later the whole ward files in. It's the greatest. J... (her new husband) gave the opening prayer which was very sweet. I got to sing "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus". All the little kids gathered to the front for the baptism and it was such a tender moment getting to kneel there with K...'s little son J... while he watched his mom be baptized. While she was getting changed, Bishop felt prompted that we should watch a Mormon Message of a few people bearing their testimonies. And Sister Gillins and I felt prompted that we should have G... bear his testimony. I bawled through it as he did so. We made copies of it because he wrote it down and I am sending it home. I was like a proud mama sitting there listening to it. He has changed SO MUCH I can't even begin to explain. He, K..., and A... will all be such wonderful additions to the ward.
Plus a young family from the third ward just moved into our boundaries. Our ward is growing!!!
M... is doing AMAZING!! Last Wednesday we went over and found out he relapsed the night before and was pretty bumbed out about it. We asked him what his plans were to quit and said he planned to start it again on June 16th after he went to the Doctor's and got some medication to help. That was too far away for Sister Gillins and I to like it - especially with him preparing to be baptized on June 21st and him progressing so far with everything else. So we said, "how about you start again tomorrow?"
Us "Ya why not?"
M... "I'll start on Friday then"
Haha it was awesome! We talked to him about the role of the Holy Ghost and promised him that he is NOT quitting this habit alone, and that through baptism he would have an added strength to conquer it. After that we had a really strong prompting to change his baptismal date. "M..., I promise you that the gift of the Holy Ghost you receive after you are baptized and confirmed will be an added strength and help for you. And we do NOT want you to have to wait longer than you need to receive that help. In the name of Jesus Christ, we can PROMISE you that you can quit smoking this Friday and be prepared be baptized next Saturday. Will you begin now to prepare for that opportunity?"
M..., "Yes I will."
The Spirit was SO Strong. M... started again, he is going strong. He came to Stake Conference yesterday, as well as the adult session on Saturday, he went to the Family History and learned how to research his ancestors, he came to the baptism yesterday, received a Priesthood blessing from the bishop and is learning to recognize the spirit in his life! M... is so amazing :)
Stake Conference was this weekend. It was phenomenal. The Conference was broadcasted from Salt Lake City and we were blessed to hear from Sister Burton, Elder Holland, a member of the seventy, and President Eyring. All their remarks were inspired and were PERFECT for G... and M... - who were there - to hear. Some of the thoughts I had while there was how grateful I am that I was not raised in a home where we yell in arguments - random emotional outbursts are exempt haha.
I love this gospel. I know the Jesus is the Christ, my best friend and greatest example. I know that God's Plan is perfect and it is created for eternal happiness and not for "temporary warm fuzzies". THE BOOK OF MORMON IS POWERFUL and you can never stop learning and changing from the truths it teaches. I am so grateful to be serving and I am so excited for the new chapter of the mission. I love you all and hope you have an AMAZING week! Make it so!