Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter 52 -- The power of a Book

Hello everyone!

This has been a great week! It's starting to get colder here. I've been denying the cold as much as possible and have been going without tights and my winter coat, but Sister Hsiung and I gave and spent all last night walking around in the chilly weather in our winter gear :) The maple leaves are GORGEOUS! There really are maple leaves in Canada! haha

Probably my favorite thing this week has been seeing how great of a name the church gives itself by offering so many resources to the community. For instance, while on exchanges with Sister Caner in Toronto North (my last home!), I met a man named Rafael from Brazil. He visited a temple open house in Brazil and loved it s o much that he longed to be able to go again. We had a wonderful conversation about the sacredness of the temple and the importance of being worthy to enter. He asked me, "What does it take for someone like me to join you?" That is a great question Rafael :) He is now being taught by the Portuguese Elders and is preparing to be baptized on November 16th! 
   A couple hours later, we came across a woman named Jackie, She knew about and loved the church for its family history resources. Although she was not interested to meet, she has good feelings for the church. She remarked, "I saw the "Book of Mormon" play and absolutely hated it. It was not funny. You spread the good news, endorse strong families, and help everyone. They were making fun of you because they knew that you are good people with good moral values and standards and you wouldn't fight back." 
    Another example is there was a 17 year-old Chinese girl who had gone to ESL and church before and loved it, but hadn't been back for a while. She met Sister Caner on the Subway and loved her past experience so much that she is willing to meet with missionaries again. So in one day, I witnessed temple open-houses, family history, and ESL plant seeds for wonderful people to look to us as friends, and sooner or later they will come to better understand their Savior because of it. I love the gospel!

So, the day has come that I must say I have been out for a year. The time has flown by. Haha my subconscious thought it would be funny to play a joke on me, and I dreamed about my homecoming party a couple days ago. There were a bunch of people there, everyone that I love from home. I walked in late, expecting that there would be music and laughter, and no doubt smiling. Quite the contrary, everyone was dressed in grey, pale faces, looking at the ground. No one was talking to each other. Everyone was slowly sipping their drinks. Hahaha needless to say I woke up VERY grateful to still be on a mission with six amazing months left. I hope my dream was wrong and that you all still have a personality ;)
    But anyways, I took the challenge with both my London ward and Toronto ward to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover, and my goal was to finish on my year mark. It is the greatest thing in the world to read that marvelous book from front to finish, and end it knowing that you are a changed person because of it. And it happens every time I read it :) During personal study, I knelt down and prayed and asked if the Book of Mormon is true. My answer did not come while I was praying the way I was expecting. But rather in a much more tender way. We were teaching an Iraqi-an man in Tim Horton's. The day before, Sister Kurtz and I had met him while contacting at Square One (a giant mall in Mississauga). He is a very very educated historian, and he was very interested to read the Book of Mormon, and meet the next day to "see if we can answer his questions". As we talked in Tim Hortons, he began to ask question after question, leaving no room for us to answer. It was easy to see that he was trying to smart us out of believing in the Book of Mormon because of all the facts he thought he. As he talked and we listened, I had the most peaceful feeling, and I began to smile. Haha it kind of caught him off guard and he paused just long enough for me to be able to speak. I began to bear my testimony to him. "This book is a miracle, I can say that for sure. A couple days ago I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. I've read it many times. And I know that it's true. I asked the person I trust more than anyone. I asked God, my Heavenly Father, if the Book of Mormon is His word. And I know the answer. I know it is true." Our friend was not expecting that response, and quite frankly we know he wasn't listening in a way that the spirit could touch his heart. But it touched mine. As I bore that testimony to a scholar who knows far more about the world, history, and life than I do, I felt the spirit testify to me that what I had said was true. It was an answer to my prayer. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. There is no greater book.

That's all I have time for, but I want you to know that I love the Book of Mormon. The people in those pages are my heroes. It's words are powerful and they change lives. If you have not yet read the Book of Mormon, if you have read it many times and do not doubt its content, or if you have read it before and life has caused you to forget the testimony that you once had of it - I invite you to read it again and ask God if it is true. It'll be worth it :)

I hope you have a great week! Keep your standards!

Sister Bodine

Thousands of people dress up for a 'Zombie' walk in Toronto

Monday, October 20, 2014

Letter 51 -- Eternal Families, Pie-ing the Assistants, and awesome exchanges!

Hello Family!

I just want to start off by bearing my testimony of the power of the Plan of Salvation. I know that it is real. I know that Christ was the first to rise from the dead so that we may all live again someday. I know that there is a life after this, and the only way for us to live with God and our families again is through our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am SO GRATEFUL to hear that Grandma is happy and blessed to be back with Grandpa, Terry, and all her family again! I love you so much Grandmommy. Just think of how amazing of a reunion it must have been, thousands of family members being able to come up to Grandma and thank her for doing their work. She truly spent her whole life giving, and looking outward. And family was always her first priority. Because of her and Grandpa's testimonies, and their acting upon them, I was blessed to be raised in the church, my family is sealed together, and I am able to be on a mission right now sharing this beautiful message with everyone in Canada. I want to be like Grandma someday. 
Things that I remember about Grandmommy:
     -She loved to steal one piece of my cereal in the morning to make it more "balanced"
     -I remember loving when she came to visit and reading stories with her.
     -Like my mommy, she always loved being a part of whatever was happening. It was so cute the way that whenever she came to visit, she would just sit with the family and soak in whatever thing was happening.
     -She never missed a Birthday. I remember wondering how Grandma had such a great memory. And my mommy has the same gift now too!
     -Historical genius. I remember calling her in fifth grade to ask for help on a project about the history of Delaware, and she knew EVERYTHING.

Well this week was great! Like I mentioned last week, our zone had a Turkey Bowl at the mission home against Brampton zone. President and Sister Clayton hosted and provided A LOT of food and a powerful spiritual thought. I love them so much. We played two-hand-touch football. The sisters in both zones went against each other. It was the worst football you could possibly ever witness haha it was hilarious and SO MUCH FUN. Then the Elders played each other and President kept having the sisters on the sidelines chant "Two-hand-touch! Two-hand-touch!" - they were getting a little more into the game than we did haha. All in all, it was a blast! The best part was the end. Our zone had made the challenge to extend 20 baptismal dates in three days (doubling the amount we already had), and if we achieved it then we would get to throw pie at the Assistant's faces. We achieved it :) I'll attach the picture.

Sister Hsiung is leaving for China in four weeks! So we have been working hard on getting her VISA. We spent all Friday at the Chinese Consulate in downtown Toronto only to find out that she needed more information before she could get the VISA. It was an adventure haha. So we get to go back again this week! Road trip!

President Clayton has been really focused on working with members and strengthening them so we have been spending a lot more time in member's homes, teaching them the lessons, and binding our efforts with theirs. We have had some pretty cool experiences with it!

 Yesterday, we visited with the T... family, by request from the Bishop. They were not interested in our visit at first, but they still allowed us over and we really worked to show them our love. As we taught them the Restoration, we gave them the chance to share what they know to be true. Multiple times throughout the visit both parents would get excited about the certain testimony they were giving and would say something like, "My hair is standing up!" or "I'm getting the chills I just know that it is so true!" It was a very wonderful experience. 

My favorite lesson, though, was with a less-active family. Sister A... is active but she didn't want us to come over because she didn't think her two teenage daughters would want it. So at a recent baptism, we saw the two daughters and went over, introduced ourselves, and talked to them as friends. They invited us over to their home, and Sister A... was surprised and so excited! As we went over, we took teaching the Restoration in a different way. We told them about how we are teaching the Restoration in a new way and we needed their input (is it too slow, too fast, boring, do you feel the spirit, does what we are saying make sense, etc.). So we taught using the pamphlet, and throughout the lesson we stopped to evaluate. The girls were so awesome! They really helped us out by being honest with how they felt about the way we were teaching, and we could tell it made them feel important that they were helping us. The coolest thing was when we asked them how they felt, and we identified that the peaceful feeling they were feeling was the spirit! So cool! And they invited us back. Sister A... is ecstatic. It was a really cool experience.

I went on exchanges with Sister Samantha Reeves in Don Mills East. TALK ABOUT A POWERHOUSE MISSIONARY!!!! She is SO hard working. She rocks at contacting people on the streets and on the bus. It was so much fun teaching with her. Last time she exchanged with Sister Hsiung, for Sister Hsiung's commitments, Sister Reeves told her to drink more water and be more cautious of her ankle (Sister Hsiung rolls her ankle a lot). Haha we joked about how Sister Reeves was going to commit me with something along the lines of taking better care of my back. She is so healthy! I must learn from her. Sister Hsiung and I were inspired to try harder to be healthy. It's hard as a missionary!

I also went with Hermana Pilling again (the Hannah Spencer look-alike). She is a visa waiter for Spain and came straight onto the mission - no MTC, no mission prep before or anything - but she has been working hard and she is also a powerhouse missionary! We saw so many miracles in the little time that we were together. I am learning so much from all these amazing sisters. 

This is a really great story that Sister Reeves shared with the mission this week. So cool!! "Yesterday on the bus I was talking to this girl about the Book of Mormon and how we can ask God if it is true, and I finished my sentence and the guy sitting next to us said, "sorry to interrupt but....(at this point I was preparing for some anti) I just have to say I know this book is true. 4 years ago the missionaries came up to me and told me the same thing she is telling you..." It was such a good experience! The book is true! This is His work."

Well I love you all so much! I know this gospel is true. I am grateful for eternal families. I hope you have a great week! Keep you standards!

Sister Bodine

Sisters Hawryluk, Felix, Warburton, Wanlass, Bodine, and Hsiung at MLC

Cleaning the Apartment

Exchanges with Christie South Hermanas!
    Hermanas Dudley, Horton, and Pilling

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Letter 50 -- Quick Happy Thanksgiving Message!

Hello Everyone!!

So we have about thirty minutes right now because yesterday was Canada's Thanksgiving, and today our zone is having a Turkey Bowl against the Brampton Zone at the mission home in a little while! I'm so excited :)

This week was for sure a GREAT week to start off the new transfer. Last transfer we were unable to hit Standards at all. But we started off the transfer by hitting standards and it was a MIRACULOUS thing! 

This week we had a day called A Day In the Life of A Missionary where members followed us around throughout the day and tweeted everything that we did. Mom and dad are Facebook friends with Ekam so they were able to stay connected and watch it in action but it was pretty cool. From what it sounded like, #mormons#lds#missionaries were FLOODING Ontario. We hope to do it again and have it even bigger with everyone involved! Technology is getting the good word out! But honestly I have never had a day like this in my whole mission. We had lesson after lesson popping up, scheduled and spontaneous. We gave three chapel tours, extended three baptismal dates, spontaneously taught 5 college students in their home, 5 new investigators - we ended up having 9 member present lessons that day which is unheard of! And all our investigators are AMAZING. Such a miracle.

A really cool piece of that day was we were blessed to have President and Sister Clayton join us in our lesson with Q...! Q... has an amazing story that I will have to tell you about later. But we taught him the restoration and he soaked it all in and asked US if he could come to church. It was so great. And funny story with him! We received a call from a potential investigator named S... at 10:15 on Saturday night saying she wanted to come to church and asked if we could find a ride for her and her son (car seat was needed). The only people up north that far that could drive were us and Q.... So... we called Q... and asked if he could drive her and he was happy to! Then Sunday morning we remembered that we aren't supposed to have single males drive single females alone (and vice versa) so that morning we asked if we could drive with him as well and he gladly accepted! Haha so we had a party driving to church together.

The missionaries in our ward ate Thanksgiving with a bunch of Spanish families in our ward. Funnest and funniest night ever. I love the Spanish culture so much. They are so giving, and so willing to help out with the missionary work. And they really know how to throw amazing parties and cook amazing food! Haha we were all dying after dinner.

There is so much for me to say, but I have to go now. I love you all so much and I guess I am blessed with two times this year that I am able to say I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOU ALL!! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great week!
I hope to have more time next week to answer all your emails. Grandma I love you with all my heart!!

Sister Bodine