April 20, 2015
The difference a couple of weeks make. The rivers and lakes are starting to thaw.
It is also interesting that I thought that our car was really called on this mission. We live only about half a mile from the our meeting house and less than a mile from the classroom at Carleton University and only about five miles from downtown but we still drive a lot. Since entering the MTC we have driven 4,552 miles. Since we arrived in Ottawa we have driven 1,621 miles or about 200 miles a week. Where do we go? Some of that is going to church or to the store. But most of it is giving people rides. We are often asked to pick up someone and give them a ride to church or take someone home from church. We pick up the Elders and Sisters and take them to the store or somewhere else on P-day and take them home again or to the Church or library so they can email their families. And sometimes we meet them for lessons with their investigators. Saturday we took an investigator home to see his grandmother in VanKleek. It all adds up. Actually, we like giving people rides as it gives us a chance to talk and get better acquainted with the young people we are here to serve. We couldn’t do this mission without our car.
The other thing I have been impressed with this week is the quality of local leadership the church has here in Ottawa. Yesterday at church a young woman spoke who just took out her endowments and who will get married soon. She talked about the role of women in the church. It was a fantastic talk and a fantastic testimony. I was very impressed with her readiness and couldn’t help but think that she will be a great church leader in her ward. After she spoke, a young man, who is a returned missionary, a student and who will get married in June, spoke. He talked about power and the keys of the priesthood. His talk was well documented and heart felt as he talked about fatherhood. He spoke with the spirit. I couldn’t help but think about what a great church leader he will be. Then I remembered that all three of the members of the bishopric in our YSA ward are past bishops in family wards and love these YSAs. They know that some of the YSAs have major hurdles to overcome but are willing to help each and every one. They truly know that these YSAs are children of God and it is important to help in any way to strengthen their testimonies and help get them back to Him.
When they realigned the ward boundaries at a Stake meeting, the meeting was organized superbly by the new stake president who is also a CEO of a national company here in Ottawa. And the mission Zone leader does his job well, he surely will be in charge of more things in the church and in business as well. Another example is the ward mission leader who comes, with his soon to be wife, to correlation meeting prepared with a book of progress reports and asks about individuals and makes follow up assignments. The teacher of our Sunday school class and the Elder’s president and the Relief Society president in our ward are all young singles and are so capable of leading. They are willing to learn and help. I am so impressed that the Lord raised up a whole generation of leaders and the church is not lacking in this area. It is a privilege for us to serve among them.
The missionaries are busy teaching and are always bringing people to church. These investigators are being welcomed. It is easy for me to visualize the Church growing to double its current size in the Ottawa area because of the layers of leadership the Lord has in place.
We have HEG on Monday night (Home Evening Group). We had kick boxing. It was interesting.
We had an incredible experience with a beautiful Chinese YSA. She was baptized on April 12. The service was in both Chinese and English. Those in the program would say the talk in Chinese first and then in English. Her mother has supported her 100% and Sister Payne was able to have such a good experience and a good friendship with her mother.
After the baptism we had a Break the Fast dinner. These YSA’s have a good time together.
Brother and Sister Martinelli, one of the Bishop’s counselors and Elder Payne
Sister Dustan, The Bishop’s wife.
This was also the last Sunday Elder Mourier was here in Dows Lake. He was being transferred to Montreal. He only has 3 transfers (6 weeks each) left.
We are fortunate that Sister Matos and Sister Arizmendi and Elder Weber are staying and lucky to have Elder Jules as the new District Leader and companion to Elder Weber. He is from Alberta, Canada, but his parents are originally from Haiti and then Montreal. He speaks about 4 or 5 languages. He is a good teacher and he also has 2 transfers left.
On Friday, April 17, we had Institute Recognition (graduation) Night. We had around 50 YSAs that have taken Institute at least one semester this past year and went to class at least 70%. This includes the Mission Prep class as well as the other five Institute Classes offered each semester. A couple of the talks were given by the graduates. They were strong testimonies of the Gospel. After, we had an ice cream social. There were about 20 people there. It was fun for us to put the social together. We tried to make it special so that it would be a memorable evening. We had yellow strips of paper with each of the graduate’s names on the wall and used smiley faced balloons for the tables. We had some great peanut butter topping, caramel sauce and strawberry sauce as well as the traditional chocolate sauce. We got the ice cream from Costco that was wonderful – Moose Tracks and Vanilla. After we took the names down we put them in the hall on our bulletin board. The YSAs went to Sky Zone (trampoline place) for an activity after.Note the Bachelor for rent sign. No they don't rent Bachelors. It means that they have a 1 bedroom for rent.
We continue to have spiritual experiences daily and we love this mission and love the YSAs.
Love,Elder and Sister Payne