Monday, December 29, 2014

Letter 61 - It's not 2015 yet :)

Hey familia!

It was so good to see you all! You looked great and I loved hearing your voices! Thanks for being my family!

Transfer news..... Sister Mencarelli and I are staying in Mississauga! We were guessing that I was going to Christie Spanish my last few transfers, but I guess that's going to happen in another six weeks. That's okay :) We are sadly splitting up the District. The family haha. We had so many amazing experiences together in the ward. I am going to miss everyone so much, but we are excited for what's coming up!

M... is increasing in her faith so much. We felt that something was a little off when we went to visit her during the week, so we went back the next day to figure out any concerns she might have. Sister Morgan and I had a POWERFUL lesson with her while on exchanges. We read a scripture with her - 2 Nephi 31:20 - and it hit her so hard. She said "That's it! It's so true. There is no other way! Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, it's all true! 100%!" We invited her to stop focusing on the worry of her finances, and start focusing on her faith in Christ and expect miracles as she does her part and lives the commandments. She understood and accepted. And what happened after that?! A good friend of hers came to visit her that same night - she hadn't seem him in over 7 years - and out of no where he plans to pay her back the money he owed her, the EXACT amount of money she needs to fix her car. :) Wow. Miracles. She came to church yesterday and loved every minute of it. The ward loves her. While we were with her, she prayed about it and set her own date to be baptized and confirmed on the 11th and 18th of January!

That's all I have time for sorry! A man named P... sitting next to us asked about our church and we got to spend a good amount of time talking to him! Yay for too! Thank you for everything! I love my family! Have a great week!

Sister Bodine

Caroling at Dundas Square

Contact with President Clayton

Monday, December 22, 2014

Letter 60 - Christmas Musical Miracles!

Hello Wonderful Family! 

Merry Christmas! I am excited to see all your pretty faces on Thursday!

This week has been so busy and so amazing! Sister Mencarelli and I had 3 PHENOMENAL exchanges with some of our sisters - so many answers to prayers. As my companion and I would be planning while on exchanges, we could just FEEL the Lord guiding us in our thoughts. The next day we would go as planned and the spirit would direct us to another side street right next to where we had planned and we would meet someone amazing! If we do our part, the Lord will guide us and turn us to where we really need to go :) Also, So many fun Christmas musical miracles happened this week. Loved it so much.

We have a very cute Potential friend named M.... She is 17 and she has been loving coming to church - the members are doing a wonderful job helping her feel welcomed. At last week's Christmas party she asked if she could sing, so I played the piano for her as she sang Silent Night. Several days ago she called us asking if I could give her voice lessons. We received permission from our leaders for it. I told M... that I could do it with a few things to remember - it couldn't be a set-in-stone-time-each-week type of thing because I'm not sure how long we will be here, it would have to be church music, and our purpose as missionaries is to invite people to Come Closer to Christ so we asked her if she will allow us to share with her the meaning of the songs we sing. She gladly accepted. Starting this Thursday! Pray for M.... that testimonies through music will help her learn and love the gospel :)

Also, somehow I ended up in the front of the Sacrament Meeting yesterday, leading the music for the Primary kids' Christmas songs. And I have been asked to lead the music in Primary for the next several weeks because there is no one else available in the ward that could do it due to callings and everyone being away. Haha it's been a blast!

Last night, our ward had the Christmas Musical Celebration that we have been working on for the last several weeks. I wish with all my heart that we could have recorded to remember because the event in general was miraculous. But a recording would not do it justice. The spirit of Christmas enveloped the room that entire experience. When we first brought this idea up, our Bishop wasn't excited about the idea because with it being the week before Christmas, he didn't think anyone was going to come. But we, missionaries, felt so strongly that we needed to do this and we promised to put ourselves in charge of it and make sure everything went smoothly. We created the script, wrote up the programs, put together all the side parts, and strived to include as many ward members as possible. Not to mention we invited everyone we talked to on the streets as well. We had about 15 songs altogether - all sung or performed by members in the ward. Narration of the nativity was done by Elder Dunyon, and 13-year-old Gionni Colantonio. The chapel was filled with over 100 people! Over 25 of whom weren't members! WOW!! Afterwards, we had refreshments provided by all the members and we situated the chairs in the way that people could sit and mingle with lots of different groups. We are just sitting on cloud nine right now. It was wonderful. Many ward members approached us stating that they hope that this happens again next Christmas and many expressed that they wanted to invite many more people to join them as well! It was a Christmas dream.

M... is doing amazing of course! Progressing towards baptism on the 4th of January. Please pray for her! Miracle is this: M... has had health problems pretty much her entire life. She had an enlarge aorta that was close to erupting that needed to be checked, plans for surgery on her shoulder, therapy for broken ankles, soreness from her car accident, this list goes on and on. She received a blessing from our Ward Mission Leader a couple weeks ago. Last week she missed church because she was in the hospital for two days getting everything checked out. After all the tests were done - EVERYTHING was gone. No more doctor's appointments until the middle of January, the heart thing disappeared, her blood sugar is leveling out. She is receiving so many blessings right now. I TESTIFY that it is due to the power of the Priesthood and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It produces MIRACLES. So grateful.

Merry Christmas everyone! I love you all so much!

Sister Bodine

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter 59 - Merry Christmas!

M... is doing AMAZING!!! Holy cow. She is so prepared and teaching us more than we are teaching her! We were teaching her the Law of Chastity when her neighbor A.. walked in and wanted to listen. We asked M... to fill A... in on what we were talking about. M... holds up the Law of Chastity pamphlet and says, "We are talking about Jesus Christ. And this is one of His commandments" and she goes on to teach the commandment in EVERY detail perfectly. Haha she gets so excited when we teach her about the commandments. When we taught her the Word of Wisdom we opened by saying "we are so excited to get to teach you today" and she cuts in with a huge smile and says "are you going to teach me a commandment??"
   So M... had a miracle this week. On Monday she received the test results from her MRI after the car accident. Turns out that she had an enlarged aorta in her heart. Something that REALLY needs to be taken care of. She wouldn't have known that had she not gotten in the car accident - and the amazing thing is she recognizes that. Thankfully, she doesn't need surgery and she has been able to get the help that she needs to fix it. Such a blessing in disguise. She is LOVING the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, church and knows that it is all true. Not to mention she and A... and S... came to the ward Christmas party Saturday and M... was one of the best friend shippers there! She was making everyone feel loved! 

I don't have much that I want to say except that I was blessed with many eye opening moments this week to teach me about the Savior.
   -A former member of the seventy told me "The level of one's commitment is dependent upon the level of one's witness of the Savior." That really caused me to open my eyes to my own personal witness. How well do I know my Savior? How have I chosen and why do I choose to serve Him every day? Do the things I testify of Him every day come from my heart? I have LOVED pondering these things lately. I have thought about it a lot, I know that we do it already, but now it has sunk into my heart at the perfect time - All of my time and attention and testimony and lessons are going to be focused on testifying of the Savior. And it's going to come from my heart. This past week, the scriptures, Jesus is the Christ, prayers, priesthood blessings, and acting on everything I learn has really opened my eyes and broadened my view on who Jesus Christ is to me. This Christmas is going to be one of the best Christmas's of my life :) I have already seen it changing me.

I love you all so much! I love you all so much! Double time :) God is so good to give me all of you. Go and serve someone this week! Love everyone! Bear your testimony! Keep your standards! Smell! I mean smile :)

Sister Bodine

Zone Council where we were all matching

Hermana Fife between Sister Mencarelli and me IS ELAINE MOSS

The Amazing M...

Mississauga Skyline

My Christmas Tree

April's Baptism

Monday, December 8, 2014

Letter 58 -- He is the Gift #ShareTheGift

Hello everyone! 

How goes it? I just love you all so much. I love when my family comes to mind throughout the day because I like to say a little prayer thanking Heavenly Father for my family. It makes me happy :) I hope you all had a wonderful week. Good luck everyone with finals! I'm praying for you! Mom your Disney tree sounds adorable!
Please give the little kiddies a hug for me!

December is going by way too fast. We are sponges here trying to soak up every minute haha. A bunch of members in our ward came up to Sister Mencarelli and I yesterday inviting us to visit their friends and sing to them. We had a couple great experiences with it last night. Planted seeds :) 

Haha so Sister Mencarelli and I were knocking on a row of doors last night, and it was a pretty consecutive response of "no thank you's" and slammed doors. So we decided to change it up a bit. When someone answered the door we immediately started singing a Christmas carol. Haha this brought several different responses. A couple got excited and laughed, and their family came to the door. Another person stepped outside and started singing with us. We had a man who we think got a little scared because he turned around and walked away with the door still open and us standing alone singing to ourselves haha we don't think he spoke any English. Overall, it was a fun experience. There was one woman who stopped us in the middle of "Silent Night" and told us they just had a death in the family and she couldn't really handle anything at the moment. It was so sad. We shared our simple testimonies with her and left her with a smile. It was a good experience because we don't think she would have even talked to us had we not sung to her. Pray for Tracy's family!

So best news of all. M... :) M... is wonderful. She is doing amazing. Such a wonderful woman. She is beyond prepared and is loving every minute of learning about the church. We visited her on Wednesday and shared the Plan of Salvation with her, she received a Priesthood Blessing from our Ward Mission Leader and the spirit was so strong. At that time, she hadn't started reading the Book of Mormon yet so we talked about that and invited her to start reading. We went back on Friday and found that she had read to 2 Nephi 17! And she was loving it. "I don't know what it is because I don't remember what I'm reading, but every time I pick up the Book of Mormon I just can't stop reading it. It feels like I am filled with peace, and all my problems just go away for a brief moment." We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she was so excited about repentance. We asked her a follow-up question about what it meant to her to repent, and she answers with "Well, it just means that you need to change. Stop doing bad things and start doing the right things. Like read the Book of Mormon, pray, go to church, be nice to people, don't lie, forgive others, serve the people around you, ask God for forgiveness.... she went on and on. It was so cool. She came to church yesterday with Sister Arthurs (they've become really good friends) and she was WRAPPED up by the ward. Different people took her to every class and introduced her to everyone they passed. After church she expressed that she LOVED it.

April was baptized yesterday! She was taught by the Mandarin Elders, but it feels like all the Mississauga missionaries taught her and worked with her because she came to everything, we all taught her in ESL, she helped us with chapel tours. She's so great. I left my camera cord at home so I can't show you any pictures of it. Next week! The baptismal service was so powerful. They created a theme of "I Am A Child of God" and the primary kids sang that song. April asked Elder Dunyon and I to sing Lead Kindly Light. That was nice. M... came to the baptism and she loved it. After the baptism I asked her if this is something she was going to want on December 28th, and she responded by pointing at the font and said, "On December 28th I am going to be in there." I love her :)

It's so easy to take things for granted in this life. We took our friend K... with us to Christmas Carol to our friend Brother Teepell. Brother Teepell about 10-15 years ago, fell down some stairs, broke his neck, and has been paralyzed ever since. As we talked to him, he remarked at the tender mercies the Lord has given him. Like the time when he looked out his window, and saw a balcony that had two 10 ft lines of Christmas lights on it. And just above that he could see the moon. It made his day. Then another time, his nurse took him outside in his wheelchair, and he recounted the joy that overcame him when the sun hit his face and he breathed in fresh air. As I heard these things it made me so grateful for my life. I have been so blessed with everything I need and much more. 

Testimony meeting was wonderful yesterday. Completely missionary focused. It is wonderful seeing the members of our ward catch the fire and excitement of being a missionary. They are so good at it :) Good luck with all your missionary efforts! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Have a wonderful week! Good luck with Christmastime. PLEASE go on and watch the "He is the Gift" video and then share it on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, and with your friends! If you've already seen it, then you can watch it again and share it again!

Sister Bodine


We got a little surprise invite to go help out this morning in the Bishop's storehouse this morning. So we spent our whole morning there (SO MUCH FUN) and now our preparation day lasts for the rest of the day!
We bagged apples, oranges, and tomatoes. Then we used exacto knives (coolest knives ever!) and cut off the tops of every box in the storehouse. My hands are raw right now haha. And I may have cut through a couple orange juice mixes on accident..
We're not sure how many people are serviced by this Bishops store house, but they help Hamilton, London, Brampton, etc. Southern parts of Ontario at least.

There are a LOT of people that need help here. Hamilton is actually known to have the greatest Bishop Storehouse welfare need in all of North America. I loved helping out though. I want to be a part of it somehow when I go home. So many things I want to implement when I go home haha. This mission has been so remarkable, I love it. 
There is Mormon Message that very briefly summarizes our church. It is VERY WELL done. We showed it to one of our investigators and it really shows how involved we are in meeting people's temporal needs around the world.
I heard a cool quote from an Elder at MLC. He said "Ask me what my mission means to me, and I will tell you to look at me in five years and to look at me in ten years. Then you will see what my mission means to me." So true :)  Have a great week!