Monday, March 30, 2015

Letter 74 -- Walking by Faith

Hello wonderful family!!

This area is amazing.  It is a BIG area, and we had limited kilometers to use due to the end of the month so we had to be tricky with where we went and how we used our time. There was a lot of walking and a lot of running haha. And I only have one pair of working shoes now, and they aren't boots, and Sister Chelson doesn't have boots or a winter coat so this early spring season is pretty chilly for the both of us. We are loving it :) This area is amazing. The people are wonderful. Our Bishop is from South Africa - as always we have people in our ward from all around the world. They are very welcoming and friendly, and they LOVE missionaries. We have dinner appointments almost every night and some lunches. While the people are wonderful, the work has the reputation of being very slow. Everyone works and is away during the day, and everyone has cars so no one is outside walking. It is a place of tracting. The stake just had a fast for the members to have a missionary opportunity and the members are gung-ho (spelling haha) about it and we are SO EXCITED to help them out. We got into our area and there is very little action right now. And with us being new, not knowing the members, the area, and having no investigators, there is a lot of work to be done. And boy oh boy have we been praying a lot. My testimony of prayers of faith increased so much this week. I will tell you a couple experiences we had in a little bit.

Sister Emily Chelson is from Saint Anthony, Idaho. She is AMAZING. That word really doesn't cut it, but it's the best that I can do. She is just on fire with the work. She loves every minute of it. Haha the second day, we were walking around our area and needed to get back to the car in time for our dinner appointment. We started to run and after a little while Sister Chelson says to me, "Sister Bodine, I don't know if you already know this, but we have the best mission in the world." We get along really well. We have been making an emphasis on being proactive with everything. We walk quickly, we talk to everyone, we pray A LOT.. we are just so happy. She is a GREAT teacher. She loves everyone around her. She isn't afraid of making a mistake, she just does the work and learns. I am blessed with such an amazing companion. It makes me so excited to see what her mission has in store. She is a natural-born leader.

Sister Chelson and I had the marvelous opportunity to surprise Brother Newall and be at the temple with him when he went for his first time! Usually we aren't able to go when we are not serving in that area, but President gave us special permission to go with Brother Newall. Turns out that Brother Newall had been praying and praying that I would be able to join him. He didn't know that we were coming - it was SO MUCH FUN to see his eyes light up when he saw us walk into the waiting room at the temple. He was able to be baptized for his father, and Marcella (she was baptized a week before Brother Newall) was able to be baptized for his mother and grandmother. Such a sacred sight. I am so grateful we were able to go. But I think the thing that made me the most excited was being able to go with Sister Chelson. I was so happy for her that her first experience on her mission was seeing a recently baptized member go through the temple for the first time. Hopefully it set the goal for her to help those she teaches to get to the temple. :)

On Thursday, we had an amazing day, but it wasn't very successful despite our efforts. We got to our dinner appointment on time and were about to pray in the car before going in. That whole day we had been praying for the Lord to guide us to where He needed us to be because we did not know the area. As we parked the car, we saw a man walking his dog, and before praying we felt that we should get out and talk to him. We got out of the car, crossed the street, and he yelled "Mormon missionaries! I have never seen Mormon missionaries in all my years of living on this street!" We greeted him and he told us that he was a Mormon! He and his wife hadn't been to church for the past 10 years due to historical things about the church that they didn't agree with. He said he was talking to his wife just a few days previous and they were remarking that they hadn't seen Mormon missionaries in a very long time, and they couldn't remember a single time that missionaries had come near their area. He continued to talk and we listened without putting a single word in. Haha he gave us his address and told us to come over and visit him and his wife any time. Wow. We could probably say that the Lord answered our prayer :) and he answered our new friend's inquiry without him even planning on it! All in the Lord's timing. But what's even cooler is that while we were talking another girl approached us in our conversation and asked us who we were. We were able to talk to her about our purpose as missionaries. By this time we were a few minutes late for our dinner appointment so we just waved at a man and his dog while we hurried to the Sim's door. As we knocked, that man walked up to us and asked us what we were doing, and what our purpose was as missionaries, etc. Haha the Sims saw that we were having a conversation so they waited to open the door until we were done talking. But in those 10 minutes, 3 people approached US and asked US about who we are. It was such a testimony builder to me that if we work by the spirit, and we strive to be led by the Lord, people will see that we are different and will be interested in finding out more. 

And then GET THIS!!!! We felt good in that area where the Sims lived so we decided to go back the next day and tract the area. We knocked on every door, only a few people answered and the ones who did were very quick to reject our invitations. The next day, the Sims got a knock on their door, it was one of their neighbors. He asked Brother Sim if he was a Mormon. Brother Sim said yes, and his neighbor told him that some missionaries had knocked on his door very recently and he was interested in learning more about the church. He wanted to know what life was like for a Mormon family. Sister Sim saw us at church yesterday, and very excitedly ran over to tell us the story. She told us that they exchanged numbers and got his address and plan to invite them over for dinner sometime to answer his questions and spend some time together. Sister Sim is a returned missionary and she is so excited to have an opportunity again to be a missionary for this neighbor and his family. And the thing that made us the most happy was what she said at the end, "The spirit you sisters brought into our family's home and our neighborhood was very special and very unique. And because of who you are, our neighbors were able to see that light that you have. We are very grateful to have you in our ward."

On Saturday, we had the goal to find a new investigator. It was going to happen, and we felt SO GOOD about the area that we were working in. As we were walking a little later in the day, we were feeling a little slower and not much was happening so we decided to stop and pray. But it was a weird spot to pray because we were on a very busy street so we decided to turn off onto a smaller road and pray there. But when we got to the smaller road we decided to cross the street and walk a little further and pray there. But then we saw a mailbox a little ways away and decided to walk to that mailbox and pray behind there. Then we saw a man walking his dog so before we prayed, we went to talk to him. Our new firefighting friend, Grant, is curious and willing to learn more about our message. We were guided every step to him through our unsaid prayer :) 

And those were just a FEW of our miracles last week. I know that this is God's work. We are the Savior's hands. It is the spirit teaching. There is no greater and more satisfying work than this. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. And there is nothing greater that I want to think about. I COMMIT to serving the rest of the Savior's mission here with no regrets. These next several weeks will be the greatest weeks of my mission and for my life. Sister Chelson and I have committed to do it together and we are so excited :)

Thank you for everything! Have a great week!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 23, 2015

Letter 73 -- We did it

I have great news! Sister Howle gets to stay in Brampton with Sister Davidson (she served in Toronto North after me, and was STL with Sister Mencarelli in Mississauga for a transfer).

Sister Howle and I felt like proud mamas yesterday after church. Abigail Lunario taught Gospel Principles for her first time and did an AMAZING job. She is a natural teacher. She told us while she was teaching that she wasn't happy with her job and was talking to her husband about it about a month ago. She told him that she always wanted to be a teacher but she was just too shy to do it. Two days later she got a call from the bishopric asking if she would be a teacher! The Lord knows! We are so proud. 
   And what's more? Brother Newall was baptized last week, was confirmed in Sacrament yesterday, received the Aaronic Priesthood, has done his family history work for his wife, parents, and grandparents, and is going to the temple this Wednesday to do baptisms and confirmations for them!! And he is scheduled to pass the sacrament next Sunday!!! I love this gospel :) Like he says to us every day, he is "on cloud nine right now". After he was confirmed, he came back and sat down next to me with the biggest grin on his face - he shook my hand and said, "We did it. We did it." He is now a part of an eternal family. A brand new man. That is the greatest sight, the greatest experience. What a blessing.
It is General Conference time which means that it is missionary temple time for all the missionaries that live in an 1 1/2 hour radius of the temple. We live three minutes away :) I love the temple so much. I went in hoping for an answer, and left with a feeling of peace. Exactly what I needed. It truly is the house of the Lord.

We met with a sister in our ward at her home. She told us about her mom in Jamaica (nonmember) who explained a dream to her that she once had. The dream that her mom had was EVERYTHING in the Tree of Life story in the Book of Mormon. So cool! We asked our friend if she ever read that story to her mom to show her the similarity, she said she did but her mom didn't think much of it. This happened several years back. We invited our friend to follow up with her mom now and see what she thinks. During Relief Society our friend taught the lesson yesterday and told everyone what happened recently. After talking to her mom about it a couple weeks ago, that same week her mom was passing by the church in Jamaica on her usual walking route, but this particular day she became very very weak as she reached the gate of the church. She needed to sit down so she walked up to the church, it was opened so she found a chair and sat down. A man came to her asking if she needed anything - it turned out to be the Branch President. She got the help she needed, and accepted to meet with the missionaries!!!! Now she is meeting with them. How amazing is that!! The Lord knows the timing that is best for His children. Our dear friend is just so excited to hear that her mom is opening up to the gospel right now. EVERYONE!!! Follow up with your friends about the gospel!!! You never know how the Lord is touching them in their lives. We MUST be His mouthpiece.

Sister Howle and I were walking to drop by someone that lives on a crescent. We ended up taking the really long way, and we laughed saying, "Well there must be someone really special that Heavenly Father wants us to meet on the our way then." About three minutes later we run into this woman, and she was intrigued at why we were smiling so much, and so happy. We talked with her for a little bit. We asked her if we could say a prayer for her, and she told us she was actually going to ask us to do that for her. We asked if there was anything specific she wanted us to pray for, and she started to cry. She looked at us and said "There is so much in my life that I need you to pray for right now." We said a prayer, we each gave her a huge hug, and now she is meeting with the elders in the other ward! Tender mercy.

I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week!! Keep your standards!!

Sister Bodine

Sisters Price (left) and Sister Coleman

Monday, March 16, 2015

Letter 72 -- He did it!!

Stake Conference! So many people came for the first time and LOVED it. President Goobie is AMAZING. And the choir had angels singing with them and they sounded wonderful! Many people came up afterwards with tears in their eyes thanking the choir members for bringing such a strong spirit. I was just so proud :)

Brother Newall was baptized yesterday! It was right after stake conference so he had a very good amount of support from the ward, but also from some of my dear friends from Mississauga that stayed for it! The spirit enveloped the room as he was baptized. It seemed to be in slow motion as he went down into the water, which was exactly what he wanted it to feel like. He was shining like a new man afterwards. Dressed up in his new white shirt that a ward member gave to him. It was so cool that his son came to support as well. There were a lot of people from the YSA group that fellow-shipped his son and invited him to different activities. Bro. Newall shared his testimony at the end. The greatest blessing to have heard. Brother Newall will forever be one of my heroes. And he recognizes that this is just the BEGINNING. So exciting. He fed us and Donna Purchase dinner this week. It was GOURMET. He is an amazing cook. Everything in Brother Newall's life is just putting him on cloud nine right now. Haha he had someone come to his home to check out the room that is being opened for rent. And before he was even baptized, Brother Newall told this tenant, "Now I want you to know right off the bat that I am a Mormon. I am an ex-smoker, so if you need to smoke it's going to have to be outside." Booyah :)

I went on exchanges with Sister Guzman this past week. It was one of the most powerful days of my mission. The spirit guided every conversation, answered EVERY question she had. I went into that plan with specific ideas as to what we could work on together and everything changed for the better. One of the experiences was during Brother Newall's baptismal interview, we had planned to discuss weekly planning. But as we were talking on the way to Brampton, a thought came into my mind that we should just talk to Elder Anderson while Elder Gibb was with Brother Newall. My initial thought was "that wouldn't do anything. It wouldn't be effective use of time" haha the thoughts of a missionary :) But it came again so that's what we did.  We simply asked Elder Anderson about his mission, things that he has learned, experiences he has had. At the end of the exchange, while we were evaluating the day, Sister Guzman began to cry and told me how grateful she was for the chance to simply hear the stories and insights from both my mission and Elder Anderson's mission - she received so many answers during the conversation that was going to help her out. Such a great experience for the both of us :)

Do you remember T... from London? Sister Gillins and I had been meeting with him for several weeks while there. He was such a wonderful person. The spirit was so strong because we could tell that he wanted to change so badly. But there were a few things that he just didn't want to give up. I just found out this week that he committed suicide :( I was devastated in hearing that. I am so grateful for the seed we were able to plant in his heart. I have full confidence that wonderful people like my Grandparents that have passed on will find him in the Spirit world and pick up where we left off in helping him.

Zone conference was this past week. It was amazing as usual. I love seeing all the sisters, I LOVE role plays and instructions, President and Sister Clayton and the Assistants are so inspired. It took place in Mississauga so I got to see a bunch of ward members that were helping out with the lunch. Nathalie was there! It was so good to see her. Of course Sister Shoemaker made 17 homemade apple pies for everyone :) I bore my testimony in Zone Conference. It was weird being one of the missionaries sitting up at the front, giving departing testimonies, but I loved it as well. I just loved being able to reflect on my mission. I felt such an overwhelming spirit while sitting there. I loved seeing and feeling how far I have come as a disciple of Christ - how many seeds I have been blessed to plant and lives that I have touched and that have touched mine. I am SO EXCITED for these next couple of months and all the wonderful things that God NEEDS His servant, Sister Bodine, to fulfill. I WILL FULFILL MY PURPOSE AS A MISSIONARY. I am a disciple of Christ. There is no better calling. I know this gospel is true! I am grateful for all of you. And I hope you have a great week! Keep your standards!!

Sister Bodine

Brother Newall and his son at his baptism!

Exchanges with Sister Palmer :) She is amazing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Letter 71 -- Temple, Instruction and Priesthood Blessing!

Hello Wonderful Family!

Happy Birthday to all my wonderful family members that were born in March! I am happy you are born and are a part of my life!!! 

Marvelous things happened this week. One of my favorite things about the mission is the small and simple little promptings of the spirit and the feelings and experiences that come as we follow it. I love receiving a prompting to say something in a lesson, and having it be exactly what that person needed to hear. God knows His children and what we all need :)

Our choir is sounding marvelous! We started to pull all our songs together last night and it is sounding like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.... almost :) Brother N... stayed after Marcella's baptism to listen to the choir and get a ride home with some members and he was getting a kick out of me controlling the choir. Haha when Sister Bodine is in charge of a choir there are a lot of arms flailing all over the place, random noises coming out of my mouth to grab people's attention.. it's hilarious. I am loving this.

MLC was this week, and it was powerful as always. Sister Howle and I were asked to instruct about having Friend-Present lessons, and not just Member-Present lessons - the importance of inviting members to come teaching with you with the intention that they will be a support and friend for that investigator. We felt good about it! We were also asked to instruct a couple days later at Zone Council about Fostering Unity within a Companionship. SO MUCH FUN. Family, I can't express how much I love to teach. I love instructing, speaking, teaching, everything. I can't get enough of it haha. Sister Howle and I were just on cloud nine preparing for these instructions.

We were blessed to go to the temple with Abigail Lunario! Oh it was such a wonderful experience. Our mission is doing this event now where the first Saturday of every month, new and returning members can come and do baptisms for their first time, and the missionaries teaching them get to come as well. So missionaries from around the mission were there with these brand new members, walking into the temple for the first time, eyes wide with excitement. I felt so honored to be there with Abigail. I bawled as she was being baptized. It is a missionary's dream to be able to see the people they love go to the temple and feel the spirit there. Not to mention she just got called this week to be a Gospel Principles teacher! She is so great :)

I received a Priesthood blessing from President Clayton for my back. I KNOW that Priesthood blessings are REAL. They WORK. According to our faith :) I am so grateful for the experience that I had. President Clayton promised me that I would be feeling significantly better and that is exactly how I feel. It's not perfect, I can still feel pain, but it has improved so much. All the way up until yesterday. Sister Bodine never slips, until yesterday when we were walking to our house. The whole walkway tends to turn to ice and I was a little too excited to eat lunch and slipped on my way. I tweaked my back a little bit more but it wasn't anything a little laugh couldn't cure :)

I was blessed to go on exchanges with Hermana Sandorf for the third time! We have been following each other around the mission :) She is one of my heroes as a missionary. That sister is amazing. As always we had a marvelous exchange. We have a challenge going on in the zone where we have to talk to a certain amount of people (at least) each day independent of tracting, working with members, and teaching lessons. It came to be the end of the night, and we were driving home, but we needed to talk to five more people. So we prayed and decided that as we were driving home, if we saw someone walking on the side of the road then we would stop a little ahead of them, act like we were getting something out of the back of the car and then start talking to them. Clever eh? ;) haha well no one was outside. We got really close to our house and really close to time being up and we were REALLY wanting to find these people and then we saw them!!! A group of five people walking to a bus stop. We found them as we were on a busy street so we pulled off to the nearest side road, bolted out of the car, sprinted around the corner and down the sidewalk (literally), we slowed down as we got to the bus stop and started an AWESOME conversation with a group of teenage boys. It was a great way to end a wonderful night :) 

At MLC, we always end with testimonies given by the new Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders as well as those who are leaving their missions this transfer. Afterwards, as everyone was leaving, Sister Mandla and I were talking, and then she turned to President Clayton and asked him if the people who are going to train at the end of their missions were going to be able to bear their testimonies at MLC as well. His eyes got wide and he said he never thought about that before. And then he looks at me and says, "You're going to be training your last transfer." And I immediately start bawling haha. He went out into the hallway and called all the missionaries back in. He started to cry and told them that this was going to be my last MLC because I was going to train the last transfer of my mission. And He gave me the chance to bear my testimony. That was a huge wish that I had was to bear my testimony at MLC and I was blessed with the opportunity. Haha I looked hideous because I was bawling my eyes out and everyone was gathering around me which made my face go really red, but I WAS JUST SO HAPPY. I am so grateful for this opportunity I had to be a Sister Training Leader. It was such a humbling experience. I just love all these sisters so much. And I am just stoked beyond all reason to be able to train my last transfer. What a great way to end the most amazing experience for my life. This will be a great rest of the transfer.

Brother N.... is getting baptized this week. Please pray for him throughout this week! I love you all! Have a wonderful week! Keep your standards!!

Sister Bodine

Monday, March 2, 2015

Letter 70 - Meet the Mormons and Spiritual Promptings

Hello Wonderful family!

Happy Birthday to all those wonderful people in my life that have been having birthdays lately! I LOVE YOU ALL!!! And hope that you had some marvelous celebrations :) I'll give you a hug for your birthdays someday.

Sister Howle and I prayed about where to go yesterday, and chose a certain area to work in. We worked there for about an hour and were about to leave to go to dinner. But an extra surge of energy hit both of us as we unlocked the car door to leave, and we both decided that we wanted to stay for five more minutes before we left. After deciding that, we walked to the first door that we saw and as we were about to knock, a couple drove into the driveway and just stared at us wondering who we were (haha I love the looks that people give us sometimes). We went to their window and introduced ourselves. We introduce ourselves and started speaking their Jamaican language to them and they thought it was hilarious. After seeing our name tags, they asked us if we would like to come in and talk to them about Jesus Christ. We smiled and said "Of course!". It was a marvelous experience. Neither of them have been baptized and that is something that they yearn for. They have a cute, young family and we are just so excited to work with them. We wouldn't have met them had we left earlier.

On Friday night, the stake held a "Meet the Mormons" movie night at the church, everyone was invited to come. We had a very good turnout! And the movie was great as always. My highlight of the night was, during the movie, I turned around to see who was there and I saw MARY FROM MISSISSAUGA!!!! She and her friends came to watch the movie. Haha I bolted out of my chair and felt my way over to her in the dark and gave her the biggest hug. She looks so good :) She plans on coming to the temple to do baptisms on the 7th as well so I will get to see her again! She has prepared 13 of her own family names to perform. I'm so proud of her :)
Brother N... came to the movie as well and enjoyed it very much. The next day, he was so excited to tell us about his experience of getting to the church. He took a cab, and on his way there he got talking to the driver about God and what his beliefs are. When they got to the church, B. N... took out the money to pay him and the driver told him no charge, that he was grateful for the conversation that he had with Brother N... and hoped that he had a great time at the movie. Brother N... was flabbergasted. He is having so many experiences like that! We are making sure that he writes all those experiences down in his journal :)

After talking with someone we always ask them if there is anything we can do to help them or their family. We were talking to this man at his door and at the end asked if there was any service we could do to help his family, he said no, and we left. The next day we received a very angry voicemail on our phone from the woman at the house telling us that we had no right to ask if they needed help with anything. That it wasn't our right to ask to serve when we don't know who they are or what they are going through. Haha we thought it was kind of funny.

I love you all! Hope you have a marvelous week!! Keep your standards!!