Thursday, December 26, 2013

Life in The Great White North

The spirit of Oliver
Aunt Cathryn and her amazing view of Okanagan Lake.
Aunt C's boyfriend Robin.
Merry Christmas from the missionards.
Sunrise on the way to Richmond for transfer meetings.
Our MTC district plus trainers.  We're the cutest!
Sis L playing Santa with our packages.
All our packages - Holla Holla!
Sleeping Beauty.
Most excellent Canadian hats.  Thanks Grandmas!

So, uh.  Hi.

It's been a long week.  We had transfer meeting last Thursday down in Richmond.  We left Tuesday night and stayed in Penticton with the sisters there.  We left in the morning, drove to Kelowna and caught the Greyhound from there (I saw my great aunt Cathryn...more to come).  Can I just say...those buses are terrible.  Someone please send an angry email to Greyhound and tell them to not let people who fart a lot on the bus.  It's ridiculous and keeps extremely tired missionaries awake.

We finally got to Langley [BC] and my grandma picked us up.  HOLD UP.  You read right.  My 'mission grandma' meaning Sister Larsen's trainer, Sister Parkinson.  See...she's my grandma!  Although I would be grateful if Grandma Cliffdog came up here for a quick visit.  I'm really missing that cotton-headed ninny muggins this Christmas.  Keep it fresh my cotton ball hair g-ma.  Anyway, transfer meeting was long but I was so grateful to see my MTC district!

The next morning we went to catch the 8:55am bus [ back to Kelowna ].  But that was freaking backed up because everyone and their dog (literally, every Canadian has a dog, refer to last blog post with Sis L and the mean dog) was traveling on Christmas.  We ended up sitting by this odd couple that kept making out but would also talk to us about the gospel and how he is the chief of his tribe.  I don't even know.  It was super weird.  The bus is weird period.  And smells so bad.  People need to control themselves. 

We finally got to our car in Kelowna and started driving to Arby's (this is a monumental deal because there are only four in all of BC and Kelowna has one) so we were pretty psyched.  Oliver has like no food.  There's like a Subway and a pub.  Needless to say we generally don't go to either of them.  So we are on our way to Arby's when the Sister Training Leaders call us and say the roads are too scary back to Oliver so we need to stay the night with them.  So we did...but we were angry.  FYI it snows a lot here.  We don't like being told what to do because we are strong, independent black women!  Clearly that is a lie and I will repent because we have obviously gotten a lot whiter here.  There is virtually no sun. we stayed the night in Kelowna (grudgingly).  When we finally got home we were so excited to see our new mattresses!  It was like the journey that never ended.  Seven (7) hours on the bus each way, plus driving in the blizzard, PLUS a giant sleep over with other sisters, wasn't exactly how we wanted to spend our week before Christmas, but...whatever.  It's what the Lord wanted I guess.

Our new mattresses are the bomb.  They are kind of hard, but we'll break them in.  Funny story, one of our members gave us some de-alcohol-ised wine.  As you can see in the DOES have alcohol...0.3% and 0.5%.  So we dumped it down the drain.  But it's the thought that counts.  On Sunday (yes that [ the trip ] took up our whole week) we had our Christmas sacrament meeting.  Sis L sang beautifully…like a heavenly mermaid.  So majestic.  I did a reading, which was equally majestic. 

We had a killer P-day yesterday.  We got the oil changed.  We didn't have a car during that time so we walked to the grocery store and carried our grocery bags around town like thugs.  We looked stupid.  Sister Martino passed us and yelled out the window "your hair looks ridiculous!"…referring to the YouTube video"can I have your number?"  It was the funniest thing that has happened all week.

Both Sis L's and my grandmas gave us money for Christmas, so we bought some true Canadian hats.  The picture above is also on her blog  You'll love it.

Christmas thought: Mosiah 14:5.  The atonement is the most wonderful gift the Savior has given us.  Keep Him in mind as you celebrate this season.  Merry CHRISTmas to all of you and your families!  Hope you are all safe and warm, thanks for you love and support!

In Tiny Tim's voice, "God bless us, everyone!"

xoxo A

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Sister Sevy's amazing view.
Looks like Chookie!
Life of a missionary.
Beds.  No, really, mine's the one on the floor.
Our little tree!  Thanks Mom!
We get beautiful sunsets.
Sis Larsen washing my hair in the sink.  She's the BEST!

It's been an interesting week to say the least.  Here are some updates:

I went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders up in Kelowna.  They are in charge of the YSA there.  Everyone we talked to was smoking weed or drunk.  So yeah.  I missed all my oldies in Oliver.  We had a very intense lesson with a part member family.  Long story short, we basically thought they were going to get divorced (he is very stubborn about the church) and that it was our fault.  But we still love them!

I've slept on the floor for the past 3 nights.  Our mattresses are TERRIBLE.  Like, so bad.  Sister Larsen has some back problems so she's sleeping on my bed (which is still awful) and I'm sleeping on the floor.  We call her bed "the bed from Satan" because you can't sleep at all on it.  Hopefully we'll get some new mattresses for Christmas!  I don't know how much longer I can go running on 2 hours of sleep a night.  No bueno.

It's been a bit warmer here, 2 degrees...we are ever so grateful!

MIRACLE! We had a hard day on Saturday.  No sleep combined with cold weather and all of our appointments cancelling on us makes for some very discouraged missionaries.  So we decided to spend the next 3 hours calling all of our investigators, formers, potentials, and less-actives and inviting them to the branch Christmas dinner!  We left a lot of voicemails and weren't feeling too great about results.  But...Heavenly Father blessed us SO much the next morning!!  We had 4 investigators and 6 less actives show up to church!!!!!  Our diligence paid off!  We were so grateful!  We had about 70 people total at the dinner, which is way above normal for our teeny tiny branch.  As a companionship we've been praying for miracles and Heavenly Father answered our prayers!

We've got all but 2 of the Kinder Surprise Winnie the Pooh collection! It's coming along nicely.  So…I accidentally split [cut, badly] my finger.  I blacked out.  I just remember yelling to Sister Larsen to come in and help me.  For the complete and scary version check out her blog I promise I'm somewhat okay now.

We have 18 investigators in Oliver and 1 in Osoyoos!  We had a phenomenal lesson with one of our newer ones in Oliver, Glenda (name changed for privacy).  We taught her the Restoration and she was more than willing to read the Book of Mormon!

Sorry it's not the most crazy, interesting week!  I guess that's just how life gets once you're out here for over a month!  Transfer meeting is this Thursday and luckily neither of us is going anywhere!  I don't know what I would do without Sister Larsen!!!  She's my BFF4L.

This morning I read Alma 26.  It is all about missionary work!  Mom and Dad, if you are ever feeling concerned about my safety read Alma 19:23.  Have faith.  The sons of Mosiah are just amazing!  I would also recommend reading Alma 17 if you are thinking about a mission!

I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers and support!  Hope you have a phenomenal week…and try to do something good for others!

xoxo A

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holla holla dolla bill yo

Being cute reindeer!
Cheese on sale.  $9 doesn't seem like much of a deal.  Oh Canada.
Cold! (12.2deg Fahrenheit)
Just doing our thangggg.
Holla holla dolla bill yo!
Literally so many layers.
Sis Larsen and a mean dog.
P-Day shenanigans.
Sister Pitcher, one of our members.

Sunday dinner at [branch] president Fields home.
Tracting in the middle of nowhere...but it's so beautiful here.
First A&W drive-thru visit in Canada

Well, our motto has been working!  We (Sister Larsen, the Lord, and myself) have found 10 new investigators since my last email!  We are seeing miracles here in Oliver!  We actually found one investigator in Osoyoos, check Sister Larsen's blog to learn more;  If I ever forget to tell you about something, it will be on there!  We have had an interesting week.  The good news: 10 new investigators, Christmas caroling, and official member missionaries recently called in our branch!  The bad news: -11 degrees (Celsius), PLUS wind chill, dropped by one of our most promising investigators, and some weird tracting moments.  Like I said, we have a ton of new investigators that we are really excited to teach!  They are all friendly and more than willing to hear our important message!  We also went Christmas caroling with our branch at a care center in Osoyoos!  Sister Larsen and I got all dressed up!  Even though our branch is small, it was nice to see everyone come and support this little activity!  After we went back to the building and had some wassal (vodka free of course!). 

The bad news...  well it's flipping cold here.  From what I've heard it's pretty cold in the states, but I think it's worse here.  Probably because we have to go out in it.  It gets so windy here and it literally burns our faces.  It's hard to motivate ourselves to get out of the car, but it's why we're here.  It's what we 'signed up for' and it's what the Lord expects of us.  Tracting in this frozen tundra is always..  interesting.  People will see us coming and wave with big arms, like "don't come over here!!  GO AWAY" through their windows..  .so we just wave back and turn around.  Super weird.  We also went to go see an investigator and she wasn't home, but there was this dog by her door that wouldn't stop barking.  We knew it wasn't her dog, so Sister Larsen tried to bend down to see what the phone number was and it tried to bite her...  sooo we just left haha.  We still prayed for it though.  Another weird thing that happened was while we were tracting in the middle of nowhere..  literally (look at the pictures!) and some man didn't want us there, so as we were turning around to get off the porch, he aggressively tapped (pushed) me and yelled "get out of here!!" It was so bizarre.  I was shocked.  I understand that not everyone is ready to hear our message, but most people just decline politely…this guy was crazy.  Oh well.  Heavenly Father loves him too right?

Sister Larsen and I have been reading like mad!  We are already in Alma chapter 12.  We've also been thinking a lot about the atonement.  Mosiah 14 is an amazing chapter.  Verse 5 makes me cry.  Also, read Alma 5.  38 is amazing too.  I want to invite anyone that reads my blog to read these chapters and really think about the atonement and what is means during this time of year.  Please write me back with your impressions and feelings  We truly are his little flock (DC 6:34).  He is the good Shepard who is always calling us back to him (Alma 5:38).  Go listen to [ the hymn ]  "I Stand All Amazed" and think about your feelings for the Savior and His sacrifice.  It will make celebrating this Christmas so much more meaningful.  Thank you for all the support.  Missions are hard, I’m not gonna lie.  It's a challenge to be out here, but also a privilege.  I love the people in my area and my ever-so-patient companion.  Hope this week is awesome. 

xoxo A