Monday, September 29, 2014

Letter 48 -- Just another great week :)

So transfers this week! Some of you were curious as to what I think is going to happen. We have a feeling that I am going to stay - simply because we received a call from the Assistant's asking for me to sing in a trio with a couple other sisters for MLC, and that is happening next transfer haha. I love my companion so much and would love another transfer with her, but I also really hope that she would be able to finish her mission in Chinese work. That's what she hopes. I guess we'll see next week!

We dropped by a referral named A and her friend S... this week. When we got there, she was completely drunk so we decided to just sing her a song and come back another time. Haha the whole time we were singing, she had her eyes closed, and her hands up above her head leading us to the music, and yelling "Bravo! Bravo! Beautisimo!" It was pretty hard to keep from laughing, and feeling the spirit during the song because of her reaction. But what I neglected to notice until after we finished, was the look on S...'s face. His eyes were big and filled with tears. He speaks Polish and knew very little English, but we could tell that he felt something. He gave us his number and asked us to call him again. We will see what ends up happening with S... :) Really cool!

I was blessed to go on exchanges in a Spanish area again this week! Hermana Guerra is amazing. She is the perfect example of power. I loved hearing her talk to people on the streets and see how much urgency she has in sharing her testimony with them. You can tell what is most important to her as she speaks with people. And even when I couldn't understand much of what they were saying in lessons, I could see that the members and investigators we visited just LOVE her and Hermana Fife so much. It was overall an amazing exchange. And boy do Spanish people know how to feed missionaries! It was all so delicious and there was a LOT of it. I felt like I was eating the entire day haha.

Women's Conference was AMAZING as always! Haha just like last time, I cried as it started, thinking about how I was watching it the same time as my mommy. An overwhelming feeling of love for her came over me. Thanks for raising me in the gospel, mommy and daddy! I am so grateful. I am so grateful for ALL the wonderful women in my life! A big shout out to Brittany, Andrea, Taryn, April, my wonderful Grandmothers, Kayla, Tessa, Callie, and the new little precious one that's on her way :) I am so grateful for all of you.
    We had a dinner with all the sisters in the stake just before the Broadcast, and we played the game of "What if" on our tables. It's where you write a random question like "What if the sky was purple instead of blue?" - you put it in a pile and then someone else writes an answer for the question on the paper. Then you go around in a circle and one person asks their question, and their neighbor answers the question with the answer on their own paper. (hope that makes sense) Hahaha one of the greatest things a person could ever experience is playing that game on a table full of 70 and 80 year-old Jamaican Relief Society sisters. They were hooting and hollering with laughter the whole time. SOOOO funny.
  Some of my favorite quotes from the conference:
    -Where much is given, much is required. "Where much is required, much more is given." -Linda K. Burton
    -In answer to the question, "Do we really need to follow ALL of God's commandments?" Pres. Uchtdorf answers, "I think God knows something that we don't." There is always a reason and always a blessing connected with God's commandments.

This transfer's lesson has really been based on the power of listening to the spirit. One example was yesterday when we were going to visit with a less-active family, the M....'s. We finished our prayer in the car and were about to get out, when we both felt prompted to change our lesson plans. Instead of talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we felt we should focus simply on how to gain a testimony. During our simple overview, M.... M.... got really excited and said something along the lines of, "I knew you were going to say something I needed! I've being thinking a lot about how I don't feel I have my own testimony, and right now you came to teach me how to gain one!" It was a very spiritual lesson. They both listened so intently as we taught them how to gain a testimony. But the greatest part of the visit was seeing their faces when we acknowledged what they were saying and helped them recognize the testimony that they already have. So cool! Both she and X... committed to read the entire Book of Mormon, cover to cover, for the first time in their lives.

We were blessed to go to the temple this last Saturday! I GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE LAST SATURDAY. First time in a year. Greatest day ever. And what's even better? As we were outside taking pictures, a little person ran up and gave me a hug, and then someone else wrapped their arms around me. I turned around and who did I see? The Palladino family from London!! I died. It was so much fun to see them. The ward was having a Primary temple trip and they all came at the perfect time, so I got to see the Jenkinson, Palladino, Davies, Rapacz, and bunch of other families! I love those people so darn much.

Well I love you all! I hope you have the greatest week! Thank you for all the prayers and support in behalf of this work! I will be a missionary for the rest of my life!!!! Keep your standards! Love you!

Sister Bodine

Sisters Hsuing, Guerra, Fife and Bodine. Photo bomber is Elder Safaee

Monday, September 22, 2014

Letter 47 -- The spirit feels good :)

Hello family!

Way to go on the bike ride everyone! I saw that pic with dad dead on the couch. It sounds and LOOKS like it was a good ride haha. Glad you were all able to do it! Happy to hear my family is doing so well!

So many wonderful experiences lately. For the sake of time, I'll share two special ones that happened last night.

Sister Hsiung and I had an amazing experience yesterday. We feel like we have been working hard in this area, and we have been trying many different ways to contact and teach investigators. There have been a lot of small miracles! Yet this area hasn't been seeing a lot of success. Last night, while walking down the street, we were expressing our feelings about it and how we feel a little guilty that this area isn't seeing a lot of success, yet we feel peaceful about it. Are we being complacent and lazy with our work? Or are we doing what God wants us to do, and we feel this way because He is pleased with us? While having this discussion, there was no one on the street, but just as we shared that thought, we saw a man walking toward us on the street. We introduced ourselves and began to have a great discussion with him. His name is E... and he is from Nigeria. The spirit was pulsing through my heart as we were talking to him. It was a very simple conversation, but exactly what he needed, and at the end he gladly volunteered to give us his number and he invited us back to visit with him and his family. He was the last person we talked to that night. With that exchange happening immediately after our discussion about our work, I knew it was an answer from Heavenly Father that He is proud of what we are doing.  I am so grateful for the way that God works. He is so mindful of His children. I could see that as He answered a man's aching heart, and two imperfect, faithful missionaries' questions at the same time. 

Sister Hsiung and I had another amazing experience with following the spirit last night. We were calling Black Creek North (Hermana Guerra and Fife) about our exchange coming up on Tuesday. Hermana Fife has had the flu for the the past couple of weeks and they haven't been able to do anything as a result. We called to see if we should cancel the exchange and do it a little later. They denied that offer because they are amazing haha and felt that they needed the exchange. However, Hermana Fife would probably end up staying indoors throughout the day because she is so weak. Just as we were about to hang up, I felt prompted that we needed to change it up and Hermana Guerra and I needed to stay in Black Creek rather than come to our area to help them get things going (they haven't had any lessons in two weeks). So before they hung up, I stopped them and offered that option. It was hard to do because our area has been very slow lately and another day of not working was painful to think about. But right as I said it, it felt SO right. I found out later that Sister Hsiung received that same feeling and was going to talk to me about it. Once we finalized the exchange, we felt the spirit so strongly that this is what would be best. We've never have such a strong impressions about who should go where for exchanges before. It was definitely a testimony builder to me that the Lord is constantly directing His work! And the greatest thing ever, is that about fifteen minutes after that call, we received a text from the Hermanas saying they had already put set up four solid lessons, two of them with members present, (probably a dinner appointment also).. I have never seen missionaries with such a drive to work as these sisters show. They are incredible.

Daddy asked a bunch of questions about how the exchanges work. So I will answer them for all of ya'll! :) We go on two exchanges a week. We cover two zones (Weston and Ossington) - twenty sisters. We exchange at around 8 in the evening, spend the night, the whole next day, and then exchange at 8 the next evening. We are asked to drive 1800 kilometers a month, but it is pretty much impossible with our ward boundaries, and how far away our exchanges are. It usually ends up being around 3000 instead... Let me know if you have any questions!

I love you all! Thanks for your support! You are wonderful :) Have a great week!

Sister Bodine

Exchanges with Sister Anderson.  She played for Forza a year younger than me.  Wow she is amazing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letter 46 -- The joys of missionary work :)

This week was a marvelous one. Why? Because everyday was an amazing one, yet the week went by soooo slow. Let's pray that that happens every week :) It's nice when the time slows down on a mission haha.

   So we got to visit Aunt Alaine and her family on Wednesday! Everything was set for it to work, we were prepared and excited - and while we were on our way.... Sister Bodine realized she forgot the Address at the apartment... But no biggie! We thought we can just call Aunt Alaine and get it from her. Nope. Her phone was down and no one was answering. But thankfully she lives on a circle which usually aren't too big and it was an apartment building so it should be pretty easy to find. We looked at the map and saw that it was pretty much the biggest circle in Mississauga and when we drove there we found that there were multiple apartment buildings.... so we went to all of them looking for clues because I couldn't remember their last name either haha! So much for preparation eh? Sister Hsiung and I were laughing our heads off the whole time as we were getting drenched, running from building to building. Thankfully, Aunt Alaine's husband was waiting in the lobby for us in the LAST building we checked. You gotta love those hilarious moments. 
   But ya it went really well! Some of our second cousins, Margaret and her husband, and Janet. They were so nice! We talked a lot about the family, and Grandpa - Aunt Alaine showed me pictures of Grandpa when he was younger. I thought it was nice that she had an older picture of our family on her fridge with all her other family! Aunt Alaine talked most of the time. She is so loving! The whole family is so accomplished and so smart! We sang Joseph Smith's first prayer after dinner and had to leave quickly. But I was so happy I got to go and that more family got to come! Grandma Barrett thanks for having such great family!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!!!

We exchanged with Sister Mendenhall and Sister Reeves on Tuesday. I got to go to Donn Mills for the day and work with my mommy! It was so much fun working with each other again. She is such a hard worker as always. We had no planned appointments so we spent the whole day outside talking with everyone! The funnest days. And miracles were happening right and left. We prayed to find a family, and honestly I feel like everyone we were seeing were young moms pulling strollers! A lot of potential amazing families to teach. God answers prayers. And Sister Reeves is AMAZING. haha Sister Hsiung said that Sister Reeves was giving her advice on how to contact, and how to be healthier. She's so awesome :)

1) B... and L.... So we went to visit a potential investigator J... who ended up not being home. Which was weird because she literally texted us 5 minutes before to say that we can still come by. Anyways long story short, she was actually not interested in the gospel at all...weird but she wanted us to visit her siblings... why? we still don't know.  So, we met with her siblings L... and B.... L... was upstairs so we taught B... the Restoration with the pamphlets like I talked about last time! He got a strong impression that "this is true" and he wanted to be baptized! We were very excited. Right after we are done praying, L... comes down stairs and we decided to teach her too. So we spent another 15 minutes teaching the wonderful message of the Restoration. When it came to inviting her to be baptized, she said, "But I've already been baptized." our first initial thoughts were, "oh no, she didn't understand our message. " so we started clarify how the gospel of Jesus Christ has been lost for centuries and it has been restored once again on this earth. It seemed like she understood it more the second time so we invited her to be baptized again...and she said again "but I've already been baptized". our thoughts were really? I thought you understand. Our member starts talking about priesthood authority again... and then finally she said, "no I don't think you understand, I've been baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints".  What What?! It was crazy but cool experience haha. She was baptized when she was 12 and went less-active soon after. She is visiting from Montreal so we are planning on getting her in contact with the church there. God knows where ALL His children are!!

Well I love you all and I am grateful for you all and I am so happy! I hope you all have a great week! I know that we can ALWAYS trust in our loving Heavenly Father.

Sisters Mendenhall and Reeves

Sister Hsuing

Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter 45 -- Come What May and LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!

Dear family :)

WE HAD THE COOLEST EXPERIENCES EVER THIS WEEK!!!!! Oh my goodness Sister Hsiung and I are just BEAMING with joy. I'll just go ahead and start with the reason why. The missionary deparment has been changing things up with the way we teach the lessons now. They are emphasizing the use of pamphlets in our teaching to focus on teaching simply. Sister Hsiung and I have been trying really hard to figure out how to teach in a way that is simple enough, yet powerful enough to help people FEEL it. A friend on a mission sent me notes of the instruction they received on how to teach the Restoration in their mission. The idea is to use the pictures in the pamphlet to assess what the investigator already knows about Christ, and focus on the First Vision. The whole Restoration should take 7-10 minutes to teach. And then you help the investigator pray with a question about what we have shared and after the prayer, you remain silent so they can focus on their thoughts and feelings. Sister Hsiung and I studied it, and practiced it - and we were pumped to try it out!!! The problem is...... we had two investigators at the time and one of them was out of town. So what does that mean? Go and teach everyone you see on the streets :) 

We talked with EVERYONE, and throughout the day, no one wanted to talk to us - we were both just dying to try out this new method. Prayer after prayer, we had the feeling to drop by a member on our ward list (we didn't know if she was less-active or not). So we went over, found out she was a less-active, and decided to teach her the restoration. The question she had was if Joseph Smith truly was a prophet. So we got on our knees and she prayed about it. After about a minute of silence, she looked up just beaming. She felt a calm feeling come over her and she KNEW that God had answered her prayer. WOW. 

And that was only the first experience. We decided to use this tool in every situation. We taught a teenage girl outside her house, prayed with her, and she felt something and was excited for us to come back. We taught a lady in her garage, and she felt something and "knew that [we] were servants of God". We taught a woman and her daughter in their home, and they both "had an impression that Joseph Smith was a prophet" and they decided that they wanted to be baptized. Miracle after miracle has happened these past couple days. 

Sister Hsiung and I decided that we needed to repent. We recognized that after each experience we had, we noticed that our excitement came out of surprise that it really worked. When that shouldn't be the case. Excitement should come because we KNOW that it would work, and that we were simply happy that they recognized the answer. We KNOW that God can and will answer prayers. Always. I know it. I felt it more than ever these past couple of days. I felt the spirit stronger, longer, and more distinct than I ever have in my life with these experiences. I have been feeling more love for these people than I ever have before. I KNOW that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. It was a simple prayer that has changed eternity. Miracles are going to happen here. Seeds are being planted everywhere. I love this gospel so much :)

So exchanges have been a blast these past couple of weeks. This mission is jam packed with powerhouse missionaries. I have been learning so much from these amazing sisters. We had a fun district experience today. While on exchanges with a sister in my district, she expressed concerns about their apartment and how it was really hard to feel the spirit while there because it was so cluttered with things piling up from over the years. So our District decided to have a little cleaning party today! We went over to their apartment after studies, and cleaned it top to bottom, throwing pretty much everything out. Molded mattresses, a random car tire, broken bed frames, probably ten trash bags of leftover clothes... It felt good to get it all out. Afterwards we said a prayer together in the home and the spirit was strong :) It was so much fun.

Haha Heavenly Father gave me an opportunity to remember why I sing on my mission. It is to bring the spirit, and not recognition. Sister Hsiung and I volunteered to sing in Zone Council this past week. We got up there, and I honestly couldn't sing. I was so nervous that nothing would come out. I couldn't look people in the eye. Haha we were singing a capella so Sister Hsiung had the opportunity to sing solo for pretty much the whole first verse. It was so weird. I finally got a hold of myself and we finished singing. It sounded nice. Normally I would feel really awkward or embarrassed about it haha but I didn't! Thank goodness for my mission - haha teaching me the importance of "come what may and love it". But I definitely learned my lesson of making sure that I know WHY I am singing and who I am singing for.

Well, I love you all! I hope you enjoyed this email. If only I could fully express my thoughts and excitement with words! But this will have to do :) I truly feel like I am being the missionary that God wants me to be - I know He has so much more for me to do and I can get there, but I know now that it happens step by step. And it's important to enjoy the journey all along the way :) You are in my prayers as always. Happy Birthday to everyone. Happy Anniversary to whoever got married (since it seems like everyone is getting married right now haha), congrats on school starting and good luck!, and THAT IS SO COOL ABOUT UNCLE ART AND THE HSIUNGS!!!!! NO COINCIDENCES!!!!!!

Sister Bodine

A really big bear we found in Costco. And my cute companion :)

Sister Junadu let us wear her traditional Nigerian outfit :)
Serving in Canada