I still just sit back, awestruck with everything that has happened this past week. What a week let me tell ya :) First off, I have pretty much a best friend as a companion. She is amazing. We work so well with each other in lessons because we trust each other 100%. We laugh a lot. She is just so funny. She has Kristen Mella's type of personality actually (if that helps you at all haha). Contacting with her is so much fun because we don't hold anything back. We are very lovingly bold and honest in the things we say :) and we have found many wonderful people that we are now teaching because of it!
This week truly was a miracle, and Brampton is back on track with brothers and sisters that are working towards baptism and working toward the temple right now! Abigail is excited to go to the temple On March 7th, and Mary from Mississauga will be going that same day too so I will get to be there with her! Another woman named M..., and her boyfriend B... called us about a week ago to reschedule an appointment we had with them. But we were so confused because we didn't have an appointment with anyone named M... and B..... We looked through some records and found them! They had been visiting with missionaries for about a year in 2013 and stopped for some reasons, but they are excited to start from the basics and work again towards baptism with greater excitement! They came to Sacrament on Sunday before going out of town, and it was easy to tell that they felt comfortable there. Old friends in the ward were going up to them, giving them hugs - it is a missionary's dream to see your friends fellow-shipped like that :) I love this ward.
Well you might be interested in the header of this email when I talked about frostbitten toes... Well... I have frostbite on three of my left toes :) Talk about a mission story right?! Three days ago, as we were walking, my little toes felt like they were bruised or something and I guessed that I stubbed them. That night I took my socks off and saw that they were swollen! But it looked like they were just bug bites or something so I didn't pay attention to them very much. The next day, Sunday, it was the coldest day of the year, and of course that was the day that we had no appointments the entire day haha. So we walked outside for a total of four hours straight in -42 C (that converts to -43.6 F) and no one was answering or letting us in. It was so much fun. Sister Howle and I were laughing the entire time haha. Finally, we decided the most effective thing was to organize our areas book to be more effective with our formers. We went home, I took off my socks and they were even more swollen and purple!! We called out mission nurse and now we have to be indoors at all times in the time being. No more walking outside in -40 degree weather at the moment. It okay though. We will be out soon enough. Look out Brampton :)
Alright, now for the best news of all. Our dear friend D... :) I can't even try to tell you all the wonderful things that has been happening to him lately, but I'll do my best. Two weeks ago Hermana Ridgeway and I felt that we should tract this specific area, so we did so and found our new friend D.... He told us about his life, about his wife being sick with cancer, and he was just in the lowest of low in his life at that very moment that we knocked on his door - planning to finish his life any day. The first two times that we went to visit him, we just listened to him talk. He just let out everything, all of his religious beliefs, the pains in his life, the struggles and trials he has been going through - we taught him the Atonement but we simply listened. At the end of the 2nd visit, we gave him a Book of Mormon and promised him that it will bring him a lot of peace. D...'s wife died the next day. He was distraught. In the greatest pain of his life he told us. But he allowed us to come back two days later, we invited him to open the Book of Mormon before we came. He did so and when we came, I could see a difference in him. He was still in a lot of pain at that time of course, but his words were much more positive. He had many questions about the Book of Mormon and we taught him about all of it. He listened this time. He prayed at the end. The spirit was undeniable. Then we continued to meet with him almost every day, teaching small pieces at a time. Every day he had that much more light in his eyes. He became so excited about everything. He was noticing so many little miracles in his life - his relationship with his son increasing, his ability to forgive other, he would wake up everyday with so much motivation to do something, excitement to be living, different chances to serve other people, etc.
D... has a lung disease that is killing him and he is ready to die any time now, but he told us that his dying wish was to be baptized. We told him about the spirit world and he said to us "I don't want to wait until then to accept the gospel". We prayerfully considered his baptismal date, and we told him we wanted to set a goal with him. He gladly accepted. We told him that we knew he would be prepared to be baptized on March 15. And then he started to weep. He gathered himself together and told us "that is my mother's birthday. She died four years ago and there is nothing I could do to honor her more than being baptized. There is no way you could have known that."
Next experience, he came to church for the first time and loved it. The last song that we sang was "God Be with you till we meet again" and D... began to cry. He said that was the last message he wrote on his wife's wall just before she passed away.
Yesterday, we went to visit him. He has been reading the Book of Mormon everyday and can't stop reading it. He was so excited to tell us, he couldn't wait until we sat down to tell us that "he received his answer." He told us that he was reading after church on Sunday and the feeling that he felt was undeniable. It kept coming stronger and stronger. He knew it was all true. He received his answer at 3:14 in the afternoon :) As a result of his confirmation, he made his decision that that was his last day of smoking cigarettes. Going from 2 packs, he is now committed to smoke no more. He said it with so much conviction :) And little did he know that we were planning to teach him the Word of Wisdom! He gladly accepted to make all those changes :)
I KNOW I came on my mission so that I could meet D.....
I testify that this work is real. I have seen it more powerfully this past week than any other week. I love you all and pray for you everyday. God bless my wonderful family and friends! Have a great week!