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!