Sunday, June 28, 2015

FINALLY IT'S SPRING - At least it's May

Yes, it is finally spring. This pictures show the view from our deck toward Mooney's Bay and the falls in early May. The trees are just starting to leaf out. They have been preparing the beach for summer fun.
The end of April and all of May were full. Every day something happened. On Mondays we work on our lesson and go to HEG which is Home evening group. The YSAs have fun playing different types of games at the meeting house. Sometimes we join them, but most of the time we watch. One night they had kick boxing and each YSA was pared off. Sister Payne was pared with the trainer’s assistant. Some looked like they had done this for a long time and some were very timid and shy.

 During the day we usually spend time taking the sisters and elders to Wal-mart to shop. They are bussing missionaries and don’t have cars. They would rather not have to bus their groceries because it would require two busses and so we take them. We have a lot of fun going with them and doing a little shopping of our own.

Tuesdays we finish preparing our lesson. We want to make sure that we know it well enough that we can be ready to teach with the spirit. It has been a really great experience to learn more about the New Testament and the Ministry of Jesus Christ. It has strengthened our testimonies and we hope it has done so with those who attend. We have anywhere from 3 to 8 or 9 every Wednesday night. We are using a power point to augment our lessons. We are also able to use the Bible Videos and little segments of the Prophets and Apostles for our lesson. It is a great experience for them to hear and see videos directly from the Prophets and Apostles. We had one YSA say that she liked the power point and the videos, etc, because she is a visual person and can learn better with the videos, power point, etc. One Tuesday, when Sister Payne was doing her facebook stuff, she found one of our YSA girls had posted her Testimony. It was very strong and to the point. We were impressed that she felt so deeply about Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. Sister Payne complimented her about her testimony and she said that she had 14 responses and two were not members, so she felt good about having posted, since she is on our missionary committee. We love studying the New Testament. We are in Matthew and will finish that on July 8th. We will study John after that until the middle of August.

As far as Institute goes this summer, many of the YSAs have gone home, others are always going places, like Dubi, Iceland, New Brunswick, etc and are in and out. Busy, busy, busy. It is hard to keep up with where they go. However, we did have a great spring/summer Institute kickoff BBQ. Elder Payne had signed up to give blood. It took over an hour to give his blood and he basically missed the BBQ.

Wednesdays we also have District meetings in the morning, as well as getting ready for our class in the afternoon. We have 5 sets of missionaries in our District including us. We are so happy to be there and be able to participate. These missionaries are wonderful (have we said that before). Their knowledge of the Gospel and their desire to serve the Lord is great! We learn a lot from them. We have learned a lot and hopefully have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands. After Institute, the YSAs like treats or some kind of food. They also like playing games inside and talk, talk, talk. It is a great way to socialize.

Several Thursdays we have had meetings with our CES Coordinator, Brother Turner. We discuss his review of last year’s accomplishments and this year’s goals. In one meeting he asked us if we would like to study the scriptures together. That was a great teaching experience. He is a really good teacher. He said when people think or talk about the Atonement, far too many people only talk about keeping the commandments, sinning and repenting side. President Benson emphasized that there is another side to the Atonement, that of changing our hearts and becoming more like Christ, the pure love of Christ and wanting only to be like him.
That was a powerful explanation of the Atonement. He then gave us Elder Bednar’s talk, “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality.” He quoted President David O’McKay who said “The purpose of the gospel make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature.” Elder Bednar said, that “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints---for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully.” We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey all from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.” We also read John 14: 15, 16, 17 and Mosiah 3:19 and other scriptures.

One Thursday we were able to take a bus tour of Ottawa and learn more about the beautiful buildings and cities here. We have to remember that this is the Capital of Canada, and is like Washington, D.C. It has the Bank of Canada like our Federal Reserve, the Canadian National Art Museum, the Supreme Court building

 as well as Parliament Hill, 
which is like our White House, etc. Sister Payne had a neat experience going to the Archives and found the paper that shows that her Grandfather William Hunter, who came from Scotland to Kemmerer, had signed up to serve in the Canadian Army during WWI. He left Grandma and two children to serve. Many Scots did the same thing because it had close ties to England. It was neat to find out that Grandpa did feel a desire to serve and came this long way to do so.

We have the opportunity to go places with our District. One Monday, their preparation (P-Day), we went on a hike to Pink Lake in Gatineau Park. 

We took Jessica, a new convert. Gatineau is a city and is actually in Quebec; but, is just over the Ottawa river from Ottawa and it is a French speaking section. Pink Lake is a very pretty lake and is surrounded by trees. There are lots of trees and green, green, green is everywhere. Of course they do not have to water.

Fridays are pretty much the same; however, one Friday was extra special because we had Zone Conference. What an amazing experience. We were with 28 sisters and elders being taught by the Zone Leaders, Zone Sister Trainers, President Patrick - our Mission President, and President Nemeth our Stake President and Brother Woolsey, the counselor over Ottawa. They are amazing and work so well together to further the work of the Lord in the Ottawa Vineyard.  The missionaries love to get together. We have lunch and of course the missionaries get their mail. Good times. We learn a lot, it strengthens our testimony and everyone goes away very full of ways to do our missionary work better.

Saturdays during May consisted mostly of cleaning our meeting house. One Saturday, late afternoon, we took a less active member to see his mother about two hours away. (It has been a great experience helping him come back into the church). He needed to get a copy of his passport so that he could get a job and it costs quite a bit of money to do so. He was hoping that his mother would help pay for it. She told us that she had been praying for a long time for him. She was surprised that we would make such an effort to bring him such a long way. Sister Payne gave her a big hug and explained that we were just trying to help her son come back to church. We visited with his sister and grandmother for a while. His mother expressed that we may just be the blessing she has prayed for to help her son. He is excited to learn more about the church and we have spent many evenings with him while the sisters have taught him beautiful lessons. He has born his testimony in fast and testimony meeting and is really glad that he has decided to come back to church. He told us that he had been praying for what to do and what church to go to when a friend he knew told him that she had joined the Mormon Church and he should look into it. He felt like that was an answer to his prayers and he called the sisters to teach him. He is a member but has not been active for over 10 to 15 years. We took him to Montreal and he applied for a copy of his passport. We were able to get his church records transferred to our ward and he was also able to get this birth certificate. It took 5 weeks for this passport to come. Patience is always a virtue. Hopefully, he will be able to get a job and won’t have to work on Sundays. We have enjoyed getting to know him better and are glad we are able to help. 

While we were in Montreal, we visited the mission office. Besides the offices, they have two YSA wards that meet in the building, one French and the other English.

We were able to see the Montreal Temple that is under renovation and is scheduled to be rededicated in November. 

We saw the beautiful tulips at the Tulip Festival and saw Antonio and Ana from our Dows Lake Ward.

This festival is about when Canada helped the Queen of Holland during the war. She stayed in Ottawa and had her baby here are well. They designated a part of the Hospital in Ottawa, Holland, so that the Queen could have her little princess in Holland. Otherwise, her baby would not have been able to be King or Queen of Holland. Each year Holland sends 1 million tulips to Ottawa. Ottawa adds to that amount Dow’s Lake area along Queen Elisabeth Drive is planted to the hilt. It is beautiful. They also plant tulips throughout Ottawa. 
Dows Lake at the tulip festival 

The festival lasts 8 days. We had fireworks 3 different nights and one just happened to be from Moonies Bay and we watched from our deck.

Julie and Eric and family were able to spend Mother’s Day weekend with us and go to church as well as see part of the Tulip festival. It was fun to have them here. When they got here we had walked down to the locks, walked along Moonies Bay and went to the water fall. This is the late May spring picture we took from our deck showing the lake and Moonies Bay. It has a beautiful sandy beach.

The kids went swimming in our indoor pool on Saturday night and we got to have David, Rachel and Daniel stay with us. We drove them around Ottawa and showed them the beautiful buildings. On Sunday, we had the Sisters and Elders come to eat as well as the Lentz’ and we had a lot of fun. The Elders stayed and skyped their mothers. We are really glad Julie and Eric and family could come.

Sundays are full as well. We have correlation meetings, ward council, Sacrament meeting, Sunday School and Relief Society/Priesthood meetings. Once a month, on fast Sunday, we have Break the Fast dinner and another time we have Munch and Mingle. We hope that besides feeding them, they actually talk to each other and get to know each other better and are spiritually fed through the meetings. On May 31st we had a rebroadcast of the CES Fireside with Elder Robbins. We had our break the fast dinner just before.

Our Bishopric - Brother and Sister Martinelli  Bishop and Sister Dustan, Brother Pack

We had another baptism. This was Sister Matos and Sister Arizmendi’s baptism. Jessica, is a wonderful young woman. She was really ready to hear the gospel. She knew the church was true from the get go and she asked the sisters if she could be baptized. She is amazing. We are so happy to know her. She graduated this spring from Algonquin as a law clerk. She is now deciding what it is she wants to do.

We were able to go to the Gathering in the Grove over the US’s Memorial Day Weekend. We took 3 young women with us. One is from Brazil and the other two from Ottawa. It was a great weekend. When we finally got there Friday night, it was cold. We helped or rather watch as 3, 20 somethings set up the girls tent. We then stayed at the Manchester Inn. This was the same Inn that Sister Payne had stayed at 50 years ago when she went to The Pageant for the first time. Elder Payne was a missionary there and Sister Payne went with a group from Boston. No we did not meet each other at that time. We spent most of the morning in the Palmyra Temple and had a great experience.

While in the sealing rooms, a Vietnamese Sister was having her ancestors sealed. Two couples had been the Emperor and 
Queen of Viet Nam. We got to seal a chinese YSA’s grandparents together. We then spent time at the conference and listened a bit to Daniel Rona, their main speaker and a guide to Israel. After that we went to the Sacred Grove and met Eric.

He is the early morning seminary teacher and had been planning on bringing his class to the Grove the same day. We walked through with 4 of our grand-kids, we got to listen to their testimonies before heading over to Chill and Grill for these humungus ice cream cones. Ask us about them sometime.

 We got to stay at Eric and Julie’s before heading back to Palmyra to Sacrament Meeting. As we sat in Sacrament Meeting, we heard the Star Spangled Banner in the background and Sister Payne wondered why anyone would be singing that in Church in Canada, before she realized that we were in the USA. All in all it was a good trip.

Finally we see our Mooney's Bay view at the end of May. It is beautiful.

Like we said something happens everyday and even on a slow week we have found ways to help the Lord bless lives. We feel a great satisfaction in our missionary work. The Lord has blessed us and we love working with these young people. We hope we can find others whose mothers are praying that their children will go back to church as well. We hope that we can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and help touch the lives of our Heavenly Father’s children, the YSAs that live in the Ottawa area.

Love, Elder and Sister Payne