Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Week 23: Gratitude and OCD

Hello to all!!!

Well here is my report from good old Niagara Falls! This past week has been pretty good. It has been snowing here sooooo much! Our cruz is still trucking through the snow drifts but it has been slipping a lot more lately. We have been able to provide a lot of service shoveling peoples drive ways and helping people get unstuck. I have been gaining my snow shoveling muscles back from last winter. But man this snow here is so much more heavier as it is more wet. We have been going over to a lot of the members getting to know them and giving them a hand with different things. It has been nice to get to know many of the members here. Like our Bishop, he is so awesome! He will have us over for dinner all the time and his wife is soooooo nice! She is the happiest person alive! She is always wearing the biggest smile! it is so heart warming! You know we should be the Happiest people on Earth even though yes we all face trials or troubles but we have the Gospel in our lifes and the truth. How amazing is that. We are so blessed to be able to be apart of this church. We should have the eternal perspective and always try to share it and be that peculiar people.

 I was watching a Mormon message this morning called Dayton's legs but it was different and talked about this lady who was communicating with someone in the church. She eventually requested a Book of Mormon. However she did not read to much of it and just left it. Than social media of Mormon Messages came out and this guy saw the video of Dayton's Leg and wanted to show it to her and so he did and in 10 mins after she read and watched it she called him and said she wanted to come to church and learn more about this church who produce young men such as Dayton! It is so cool to see how one person who is so young just being a friend to his best friend Spencer and running a marathon would bring a whole family into the church. It is amazing the example we can set and how from our example alone we can help people learn about the gospel. Sometimes we are the only standard work people will read now a days. I challenge you all to this week pray for a missionary opportunity try to find a way to let your light so shine and invite someone to learn more about the Gospel! I promise you as you pray with faith and diligently seek for that opportunity you will be able to plant a seed in someone and see miracles come from that. I know that there is so much joy to be had with sharing the gospel with others :). I am so grateful for this gospel! I am so grateful and have gained a new appreciation for temples this past week as having temples can really allow our families to be together forever beyond the grave. How amazing is that? That we can have that promise to seal what is done on earth and seal it in Heaven. I am so grateful for eternal families. I look forward to that day when I can go and be sealed too. Until than I want every person I met to know about how their family can be together forever through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Anyways back to the ward members. They are all so kind and caring. I love the Bishop and his wife. Bishop is now teasing Elder Lowry about some food we were eating and he did not like it so he was just playing with it and Bishop pretended to puck and it was so funny Elder Lowry could not eat it anymore haha. It was homemade Bree for any of you who know what that is it is soooo good! Than we have Bro. Atkins who is so awesome he is the ym prez and is so funny. He is so young at heart. We always have a good time when we go over to visit with him. I have come to love all the members in this ward. 

So this week we have been teaching Lisa still she is so excited to learn about the Gospel and has been loving coming to church and reading from the Book of Mormon. It is so cool to hear how she is saying she feels closer to God by coming to our church than the Catholic church and how she has come to believe Joseph Smith is a true prophet. It is so cool to see how God will answer everyone who prays. I love seeing the progression people make as they accept and keep our commitments! We also are now working with a part member family, the husbands name is Terri. He is kinda like Caesar the dog whisperer or at least was! He is super fun but has been retired for awhile. He is from Lethbridge, go figure haha. His wife is loving us coming over and teaching him. They are also reading the Ensign together and the whole 9 yards. It is so cool to see how supportive he has been since she was baptized 2 years ago. They even got married so she could get baptized :) true love at its finest. Than we are still teaching Kayla. She bombed our appt last week and told us we could not come to see her anymore that week so we will try this week. She was super sorry which was nice to see because that means she still wants to met with us :). Lets see we had a cool experience tracting. We were tracting on a street and got to one door and I knew it was a family so we knocked and we started talking to the Father and then the Mother came over and was listening to us at the door talking about how Families could be together forever through the restored Gospel and through Temples. It was so cool as we asked questions that were directly from heaven. It caused them to ponder so much and really think about what we were saying. They unfortunately were to busy to let us and leaving for a few weeks. So i hope we will get to see them again in a few weeks. It was so awesome to see their hearts soften as we taught and testified about the temples and the sealing power. 

So this past week I finally got sick of all the paper work lying around our apartment and I have now arranged every paper into its proper place. So we have area books and all that and old teaching records just scattered about. So I organized our area into different sections and now it is all organized and I can finally sleep at night. It is so much easier to plan our day and work around names rather than just pick random streets. But ya there is my OCD coming out haha. I love how clean our apartment is now! Elder Lowry does not like how clean I want things sometimes but he does not really care as long as it benefits him or as long as he does not have to do it. 

Well i spent my first valentines day as a missionary and family day. It was quite awkward haha.  Everyone we talked to had plans for a date that evening and ended up being completely busy haha. 
Well this week was not bad :) we are still working hard and trying to find new people to teach! So here's hoping we can have more people to teach this week! We have two baptismal dates and they are set for a day before my b-day so that would be pretty nice. :) have an awesome week everyone! I love you all! Awe man my b-day is coming up in 2 weeks! I feel like I have been out here forever anyways haha :P have an awesome week you all! Bye love you! 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Week 22 of (week 2 of Transfer 4)

This week was another decent one! It was our second week together and time is moving faster and faster. It is crazy that I am almost up the first side of the house haha for all you return missionaries who understand that lingo haha( house analogy). This past week was not bad. So to start off it has been feeling a lot like back at home! There is huge piles of snow and it is awesome! I have never felt more at home in this cold weather haha. It is honestly awful. I love the snow soooo much! Well i am grateful for our car even though it does have bald tires and we have to get pulled out of a snow drift haha by a tow truck. Yes you heard me we got pulled out of a ditch by a two truck haha. We high centered our car and that plus snow is not a good idea. Any-who we have been doing lots of snow shoveling and service with the snow that will not stop falling haha.
This past week we had Zone Training in Hamilton. So imagine this! Your are driving super early in the morning, highways are plastered with snow, its a white out, and our tires are bald. Yeah, that was our fun adventure up to Hamilton. It took us about 2 hours for a drive that should of taken only an hour haha. Than coming home was even worse! We went soooo slow. Traffic was awful. So I always went to my first Mucho Burrito. It was sooooo huge. I could barely finish one but my comp decided he would devour two of them. He has the largest stomach I have ever seen. But man it was so good! I love Mexican food. I literally could barely even hold it. Traveling back to Niagara was quite fun too.

Well as for our investigators we have a few they are Tim. Who we have been having trouble actually meeting with. His number doesn't work and so we have to literally drop by and pray for a miracle. It is so hard to catch him. Than this past week we picked up a new investigator named Lisa. She is super nice and really awesome. She was catholic but stopped going to church because she lost faith in religion. So we are now teaching her! She came to church and is reading like a mad man from the book of Mormon. It is so awesome to see the ward support her too! It was nice as we did not have to worry about her on Sunday, one of the members stole her and took her around for a chapel tour and to all the classes haha. We are super happy to have found her. Then we have Kayla who is a young single mom. She is wanting to find out if God is really there. She is loving the Book of Mormon but having trouble understanding the wording. So she has actually bought herself a dictionary and is now studying everything! Her Book of Mormon is starting to look as colorful as a missionaries! It is awesome to see people progressing towards truth and coming closer to Jesus Christ. Something that I have been pondering about is just the power of pray and how much it really does help. We are taught just as Joseph Smith did to ask specific questions to God to receive specific answers. We have to ask questions to God to get a confirmation of the truth of all things. I have a strong testimony this past week become even stronger that when we ask specific questions God will give us the answers and the truth we seek for. I have seen it in the lives of our investigators as they have asked and have received that answer. We all too must continually strengthen our testimonies of the Restoration and so I would encourage all who reads this tonight in your prayers ask God, if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and wait for the answer. I can promise you God will by the power of the Holy Ghost confirm that. We also still have Bryan who is MIA haha so nothing to report on him. But this week we are hopefully going to find more people to teach :) so people of this area here we come!

The ward here is amazing! They are so kind and giving. We had a Ward Valentines party and it was super fun! We brought Lisa too it and the Ward treated her as their own. It is always nice to have a ward who is behind you in missionary work. This ward has been feeding us to! A lot they love having the missionaries over. They are all so friendly and so kind haha :). I cannot begin to tell you about how funny some of the members are!
Have an awesome week! Love you all!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Week 21: The Pure love of Christ and New Friends

Well Hello to everyone again! This is Elder Sopal. This past week was my first week in Niagara Falls. This place is so much bigger and confusing than Windsor! So Monday night I packed up everything and man do I hate packing! I left a few things behind by accident haha whoops! It was weird to leave. 
I am impressed for a packrat that this is all he has acquired. 
We went over to Becky's after Prep day and ate and chatted. We were in such a rush and I was honestly so sad to leave. I cried. I did not want to go, I had grown so close to her and was really hoping for her to get baptized while I was there. It was so sad to say good bye. We than left and drove up to London to stay the night with the Zone Leaders. So I got to chill with Elder Beyer. I was so nervous about this whole training thing. I did not sleep at all that night. Well Tuesday came and we got stuck behind traffic coming into Brampton. So we got there late and arrived late for the trainers meeting. But man I got a lot of my nerves and questions out. I became much more excited to train after that. They called up the trainees and we had a testimony meeting with the trainers bearing their testimonies and then we would get our new comps! 
The new companion - Elder Lowry
I was so excited to get my first son! That Ballet guy, I told you all last week who came from Australia! I met him and I was excited to see if he was going to be my son! But I got someone who was even better! An Islander from the Cook Islands! His name is Elder Lowry. He was born in Lethbridge! and lived there till he was 5 and then moved out to the South Pacific! He loves climbing coconut trees and music and much much more. Our drive back to Niagara was a fun one! He had so many questions about the mission and he was so new to the big city and all it was fun to watch his excitement and his newness emulate from him. He wanted to get to work but sleep at the same time haha. 
So there was a sad story too! The guitar I acquired from Windsor got lost in the transferring and now I do not know where it is. I was so sad. But oh well it happens. So on the way back we had our travel plans for our new address but it was the wrong one and led us to a place in Stoney Creek which was an hour away! It was an adventure. So then we got into Niagara and we got a call from a Sis  Gilmour to come over for dinner so we did. they lived in a super nice neighborhood. Little did we know her husband was the Stake President  haha. So we were both surprised with finding that out half way through dinner. I was amazed we had a dinner appt our first day here. Then that evening I found out we had them for the next three days straight. The ward is going to feed us so much here haha. We have been over to a lot of the members houses already! They are all super nice! The ward here is awesome! it covers a lot of the Niagara  area which includes Fort Erie, North part of St. Cats, and Niagara Falls, and Niagara on the Lake! So we have a huge area! We have about 140 people active in the ward! Which is super awesome! The Bishop here is named Bishop Sorely. He is super cool guy and really fired up about missionary work! So we will be seeing a lot of miracles here and being put to work too! This past week we had two people who got confirmed into the church. Their names was Dylan and Virgil! They are super awesome people, it is a mom and son. He actually looks a bit like Harry Potter. So a lot of these members in our ward know people from back home which is sweet! Even there was a family who used to baby sit my Dad and his brothers! It was pretty awesome! Everyone is so kind here.
We had to do a huge clean up on our apartment and also do a lot of book keeping arranging which sucked. As we are still working through all the area books we found in the messy apartment. I can now finally sleep at night again as it is relatively clean. My comp Elder Lowry was ever so helpful with that. We made our apartment cozy and our home now and are settled in. Our apartment is on the 6th floor and pretty nice minus the hard wood floor which is so cold in the morning. We even had to buy a new toilet seat as the other one had gross mildew on it and also the shower curtain was molding haha. So we cleaned the place right up. 
Ew... note the gloved hands.  How can you tell teenage boys lived there?
Um, really?!
Bonus!  Weight set!

As of missionary work wise. We had only recent converts to work with when we came in. The first night here I wanted to find a new investigator to start off the week good. So we prayed and the first house we knocked we got let into. It was a guy named PJ who was super nice and really kind. But he was a little less accountable and so we are just befriending him and helping him learn to read the bible so it will be fun and a lot of work. But we also picked up several other people this past week. We met a guy named Tim who is super nice and has been investigating before. He has read half the book of Mormon and still is not baptized but we will help him to recognize the Spirit as he is having trouble doing so. We will also re-commit him to be baptized and help him enter the waters of baptism this transfer! Then there is a family named Tracy and Tyler who will also will be teaching they have four kids! All of baptismal age! So we will work with them this transfer! We also met a single mom, named Kayla who is seeking for truth and trying to find God. We are trying to help her do so. She said her first real prayer with us and it was so amazing how strong the Spirit was. We will continue to work hard and be diligent. 

Well as you all know I am training Elder Lowry. He is my "son" and my posterity. He will be the best missionary out there. We have been hitting the pavement and was so close to hitting standards this week! We plan on hitting it every week from now on this transfer! Hopefully haha. he is super fun and really laid back but he is trying to learn. It is sometimes trying when he does not get things or blanks in lessons but I love him still. He is going to be a good missionary. He has a strong testimony and is trying to become a successful missionary. I love training and helping him learn. I have learned a lot about patience, perseverance, and love. I have gotten very flustered with him sometimes but than I try to think of what Christ would do and how i can serve him or help him and it takes those feelings away. I hope he is learning a lot and is having fun. He tells me so many stories back from home and has a sleight accent too of the Aussie nature.
We also get the pleasure of driving a car so I am quite happy and content. 

Niagara falls is awesome! I am definitely going to love this place! We have even gone to see the falls already! they look so cool all frozen over! I will send pics next week of them! It will be good. Well that is all for this week if you all have any questions just let me know and I will try to answer them! 

Love you all! 
Elder Sopal signing off!