Saturday, August 29, 2015

July – Continuing Celebrations – Part 1

We have found the seasons here to be Winter, Winter, Short Spring, a Summer of Festivals as well as Construction. We don’t know yet about Fall. We just know that there are a lot of Festivals in the summer and a lot of construction. Does the construction sound familiar. Every ethnicity has a festival ad there are festivals at the lake, downtown, etc.

Wednesday, July 1, was National Canada Day. It is like the 4th of July for us in the USA. We went downtown to walk around and see the festivities. Most of the streets were closed so we drove part way and parked the car on the street where there were no parking charges or meters and then rode the double decker bus into town.


The Canada Supreme Court building was open for public tours so we went in. We found it very interesting. Canada has nine Supreme Court justices, three from Quebec because they are French speaking and three from Ontario because they have the most population of all provinces, two from the west and one from the Atlantic side. All the judges are required to be bilingual in French and English. They are required to retire at age seventy-five. The building is high quality, French in style and very well finished with wood and stone. The presentation was given in English and French alternately. We both enjoyed the tour very much.
Sorry about the side view, but we could not fix it. This is an RCMP with Elder Payne
We walked on Parliament Hill and watched a Secondary School band play. We were on the grounds when a RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) told a couple that he had to leave because it was going to really come down in about 5 minutes. It did and we had an enormous rain storm. We were prepared with an umbrella and our raincoats and we and everyone else ran toward the Rideau Mall. By the time we got there Elder Paynes pants were soaked below the knee. His shoes seemed to be Ok. Sister Payne's skirt was soaked at the bottom and my shoes were swimming. We finally got in the mall and headed for Nordstrom’s. Sister Payne went into the washroom and wrung out the bottom of her skirt and tried to dry her shoes in the hand dryer, after which she put paper towels in the bottom. The operative word here is try. We decided to eat lunch with about 1,000 people in the food court with no seating. We went around and around and finally found a place to sit.

After it stopped raining we walked to the Canadian National Mint and took the tour. We loved the Mint. The exterior has incredible architecture.
Again it was very interesting. The mint in Ottawa makes collector and investment coins for countries all over the world. I think he said they can make two thousand coins an hour. And they had two hundred million dollars’ worth of precious metal on supply. We lifted a gold bar and of course took a picture. We bought some collector quarters for souvenirs.

After, we walked through Murray Hill Park and bought two cobs of corn from a farm vender. We saw the locks that start from the Ottawa River and go south along the Rideau Canal.
All day we had walked a total of 11,420 steps and finally boarded the bus to go home about 7:30 or 8:00. When we got home we went up to the sports (24th) floor of our building and watched the fireworks through the window. The fireworks were spectacular.
We like to walk along the Rideau Canal. These pictures were taken just as the sun was setting. It is beautiful no matter what time of the day it is.


We love to help at the Garlic Farm. This month we got to go and help sort the garlic. We would make sure the garlic bulb is solid and not splitting and put them in the proper pile. The garlic had been picked and was drying on these large wooden shelves. We had a couple of Chinese YSA investigators helping with garlic. They are both really sweet. We hope they keep coming to church and keep progressing in the Gospel.


It is interesting that many of the Chinese students are interested in the Church; but, from outside influences, they read decide not to listen any further. We have a quite a few Chinese members on our YSA rolls that we cannot find both here and Montreal. Many have gone back to China. We hope when China is open to proselyting, they will come out of the woodwork and be good members in China. However, we have one great Chinese sister that is absolutely darling. She helps a lot in missionary work as she studies at U Ottawa. She is definitely amazing and we love her to death.

This month we had a couple of days to travel. Brother Turner had told us that we really needed to see Jones Falls. We drove down to Jones Falls and saw this beautiful set of locks. There is a 54’ drop in the river at this point. The locks are huge. We watched some boats going through a couple of the locks. Then we hiked up to the top lock, then went back to this quaint little village with its boat docks, a very expensive old hotel and a small, older fast food sit down restaurant.

We traveled to Kingston and stayed in Gananoque. The next day we took a one hour boat tour of the thousand islands on the St. Lawrence Sea Way. This is something that Elder Payne wanted to see since he served his mission on the US side of the St. Lawrence River. It was beautiful.
To count as one of the Thousand Islands, land within the channel must be at least 6’ square and have at least one living tree and one bush or two trees and be above water level year-round.

We had transfers and no we are not going anywhere; but, our grandson Tyler, Alisa and John’s son is coming home. We are so excited for them. We see the missionaries as they are transferred both to another area and home. We love to be these missionaries and we get so attached to them, it is hard to see them leave our YSA area.

Did we mention that the YSA has no boundaries within our mission in Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. Our Dows Lake missionaries also get to use Facebook to communicate with the YSAs, since that is their main form of communication next to texting. It is a good thing they can use Facebook, because they can keep up with their investigators, their less actives and their new converts. The missionaries keep in touch with the new members for at least two years and the less actives as well. The church hopes that they can be friends for life. That is a great opportunity for the missionaries as well as the members, because they can see them progress and know how they are doing.

We have been asked to teach the Temple Prep class to a member of our ward. She is going to get her endowments in August and is so excited. She is a great member and a wonderful YSA. What a blessing we have to see her progress and her love for the Lord as she prepares herself for the Temple.

We had our HEG (home evening group)/institute combined activity at Brother Turner’s home. We roasted hotdogs and s’mores in the fire pit. One of the counselors asked if anyone had a spiritual thought. My mind went blank, but Elder Weber, one of our Chinese Elders assigned to our ward, offered to tell about the scripture he had recently read. It was an excellent end to the night.
We will send part 2 in a couple of days! Love Elder and Sister Payne






Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our very busy June – Installment #2

There is a lot of work to be done here. We are starting to work on the list of all the YSAs in our ward. We have a list of about 181, but during the summer we see about 40 coming to church. Some on the list are at home for the summer, but the majority we don’t know where they are. Let me review the numbers. The stake has 540 YSA members of which about 50 chose to stay in their home ward for one reason or another and 12 are on missions. So we, mostly Sister Payne, are going over the lists making notes and getting help from the missionaries in each ward to find out where everyone is. It is a daunting task but necessary because the Young Single Adults are vulnerable so we need to support them in any way we can. We hope that soon the Stake will call some people to be on the YSA counsel and the IRC counsel who can help with the effort.
During HEG (Home Evening Group) this month we have played sand volley ball on Moonies Bay. We also brought our Kubb set. They have had a lot of fun with it and It is fun to see the energy of these young people. We hope to continue to get to know them better. Picture of Moonies Bay with the sand.

Spiritual experiences abound and the Lord works in mysterious ways.

We had appointments to take the Chinese Elders shopping at 2:30 and bring our Kubb set to the HEG activity later at Moonies Bay. We headed downtown to find the Elders. We called to find where to pick them up and found they were very close to where we were. As soon as they got in the car I, for some reason, asked them if they had had lunch, I don’t normally do this. No, was their answer. So, I said, how about Subway? There was one right where we were and there was a parking place right in front of it. That never happens. I parked and instantly a lady walked up we recognized as the mother of a new convert. She was so happy to see us and agreed to come to church next week. She was Chinese and the elders spoke Chinese with her. Just as she was starting to walk away and Sister Payne was putting money into the parking meter, another Chinese lady came up and asked her for directions. As the missionaries started going into Subway.Sister Payne called them to come back,  Collectively, we were not sure with which way to send her, so Sister Payne got the GPS out of the car and the elders found the street she was looking for. It was close and instead of sending her on her way, these smart Elders offered to walk with her to her destination. By the time they got there they had explained that they were missionaries and she had expressed her interest in finding a church so they set up an appointment for a lesson. The Elders returned so excited that they had found a new prospect. We bought them lunch.

Now on to Moonies Bay. We picked up a YSA and went to the beach where the HEG activity was to be but when we got there we couldn’t find any ward members. So I set up the Kubb game and started playing with him. The missionaries and a couple of other YSAs started coming while we were playing Kubb and Sister Payne was sitting on a bench close by. A young man came up and sat by her. He was from Iran, a Muslim and was working on his PHD at U Ottawa. He finally starting asking Sister Payne about girlfriends. Which one should he date and how do you date. He had never had a girlfriend before and had never dated before. Sister Payne was so impressed with his beliefs and his moral standards she told him he believes a lot of the same things we believe in our church. They talked for the longest time and he was so grateful for the talk, he asked if he could possibly call her if he had other questions. She gave him a pass along card and we hope that eventually he calls to ask about the church. We count that as special spiritual experience. During that time the RS president came and told us that she read on facebook that the activity had been cancelled. She and another couple of YSAs had come and the elders and sisters were there because investigators were supposed to come. We ended up having eleven people there. So I said, let’s sit on the grass and make a home evening out of this. We had prayer and passed a book of Mormon around and each read a verse or two. Then we had a closing prayer. That was significant because HEG activities almost never have a spiritual component. I felt great about it because one member was less active and another boy and girl sat by each other and seem to be developing a relationship. We hope so, they would make a great couple. We are on a mission and the Lord is in charge around here.

We visited the National Gallery of Canada with Elder and Sister Christensen, the MLS French speaking couple that lives by Albion. We had a great time.

This is a large art gallery and the building inside and out is just as much a piece of art as the art in the building. There is a large spider sculpture in front. It is amazing, we couldn’t believe it, because we saw this same sculpture in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the park while visiting Sister Payne’s cousin, Bettye and Roberto and their family.

Sister Payne and Sister Christensen
After seeing some of the art inside, we walked around the building where there are other sculptures on the grounds. We got some good pictures of Ottawa City from a point overlooking the Ottawa River. We could see the back of Parliament Hill.

Parliament Hill and the surrounding buildings are in Uppertown. They don’t use the term Uppertown anymore, just Parliament Hill and centre-ville or downtown. However, it is the highest point in the city. This part of downtown was settled by the English and Scottish. To the east of downtown is called lowertown and was settled by the French. It includes Byward Market, a quaint artist and farmer’s market area and has Ottawa’s famous Beaver Tails.

This is a picture of Champlain off the point behind the Art Museum. You can see a lot from here.
The green space and canals and rivers always amaze us. There is so much of it. When we walk to the falls, we have to laugh because there are always ducks up on one of the ridges of calm water next to the raging water. It is such a big contrast.

There is a machine we call a water Zamboni. It paddles its way down the canal and brings up the grass that is growing in the water, puts it on a conveyor belt and dumps it into a hopper. This keeps the weeds and grass down in the canal so the boats do not get it in their props.

At the end of the month was our YSA “Conference in the Capital”.  The theme was Coming out of Obscurity” and Brother Goldthrop from Toronto was the keynote speaker. He took a fascinating hour to introduce the theme. Then we had a dance, which all YSAs love, with the gym decorated in an Hawaiian theme.
Our ward helped with those who came from out of town to find someplace to sleep or billeting as they call it here. The members of the stake were very gracious. Saturday we had six workshops and two service projects. Provident living, the Temple, one completely French speaking class, the power of influence, dating 101, and social media were the workshops. The service projects included the garlic farm and making sleeping mats out of plastic bags to send to 3rd world countries. That was amazing.
We ended up that evening at Mont Cascade, a ski resort turned water park in the summer and had a great time.
Sunday, we had our Mission President, President Patrick, as well as Brother Goldthrope speak in our sacrament meeting. We had YSAs from Toronto, Montreal, and in between as well as a few from New York. Friendships were formed and testimonies were strengthened.

We love our mission, we are very blessed and we know that trials can be overcome with the help of the Lord. We know that Jesus is the Christ and is the Son of the Living God. We know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration and that through him the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to its fullness in this the last dispensation.

We think of you often and hope that all is well.

Love, Elder and Sister Payne

Friday, August 21, 2015

June - A Very Busy Month – Installment #1

We keep thinking that we will get this done before a month passes; but, so far we are a month and one half behind. We feel that it is still important to write.

This picture is the same picture we have been taking off our deck. This was taken June 3. The trees are getting most of their leaves now.

This is the same place we took a picture 2 months ago. Much nicer weather.

We are teaching institute this summer on Wednesday nights until August 12. We are really enjoying it. The YSAs are receptive and offer a lot to the class. In June we continued to teach in St. Matthew. It is a great experience to learn more about the Savior and strengthen our testimonies. We taught them that Matthew wrote for the Jews to show them that what was foretold came to pass through Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament Prophets prophesied. We have been able to teach His parables, His miracles, the Mount of Transfiguration and Priesthood keys. We have been able to use power point, video clips of the Bible Videos as well as video clips of modern day Prophets and Apostles. These are very powerful resources and we are glad that we can use them. We have had about 8 in our class. On Wednesday night at Institute there also continues to be a mission prep class and a class Brother Turner is teaching. All in all there are about 25 students.

We were able to see the locks in action. We have a couple of locks next to our apartment that move boats between the Ottawa River and the Rideau River at Hogs Back Locks. this canal is called the Rideau Canal. We went for a walk down by the canal and over to the beach. Coming back the locksmith (ranger) was standing by the lock so I asked if boats have started coming through. He said yes one is coming in just a few minutes. So we ran home to get the camera. I mean Sister Payne walked fast but I broke out in a sprint. It felt good and we got back just in time to get some good pictures. We were able to see this huge boat that sleeps 200 and comes from Kingston, a city by the St. Lawrence Sea Way, up the Rideau River, through several locks including the Hog’s Back Locks by our place, to the Hartwell Locks. It is a five day trip up and five days back. As you will notice, this boat had to pull up its bough to get into the lock. It was fun and we stayed about 45 minutes watching the process. It was the first boat we saw going through the locks. One note is that the locksmiths crank the winches that move the gates by hand. There are no modern gages or radios or engineering or hydraulics or other high tech stuff involved at all.


That day we were able to talk to three people, one had been raised as a Mormon but quit going to church ten years ago because she works on Sunday for Costco. I think some good seeds were sown during this experience.


The ward during summer is small. We have about 35 to 45 YSAs in the summer. The Bishop told us that we would get to know the members that come in the summer better because it is so small. We are looking forward to that. We have a big diversity of members in the Dows Lake YSA Ward. Not only do we have several colors of skin, but we have every level of socio, economic, education, testimony, and church experience in our ward. It would be very challenging to any bishop; but, our bishop has been a bishop before, has been a counselor in the Stake Presidency and is very, very good at it. We are here to help him.
This month we got to go on a District Hike to Luskville Falls Trails. We have the Dows Lake Sister Missionaries, the Dows Lake Chinese Elders, the Chapel Hill Elders and the Chapel Hill Sisters. They are so great! We are so lucky to know such incredible young men and young women. The church is in good hands in the mission field. They are so ready to teach and preach the Gospel and their love for the Lord is very evident. We cannot say enough about them. It was about a 4 hour hike to the Fire tower at the top. There was a beautiful look out place with a view of the Gatineau valley.
The missionaries were so good to us. They seem to really enjoy being with us. We certainly enjoy being with them. Luskville Falls Trails is in Gatineau Park, a large park with several lakes, trails, as well as canoeing, kayaking and camping. Last month we went to Pink Lake.
So far our service projects have been, clean the meeting house every Saturday every other month. Also, we get to go help at the Garlic Farm. The money earned by this farm helps to supplement people with disabilities. It helps provide some housing and other expenses not covered by the government supplement. The land is owned by Canada and they lease for 1$ a year. The farm is run by a retired church member. Each ward in the stake volunteers one week at a time and other churches and charity service groups also volunteer time to help. This time we weeded. This is an ongoing project that many of our YSAs grew up helping with their families. Those that have been doing this for a long time feel a great satisfaction and love doing it. In our assignment, we would weed and then make sure the little garlic mound was covered with hay. This keeps the garlic plants moist and helps keep out the weeds. We had about 16 there. Sorry no picture.

We were able to go on somewhat of an historical tour. It was Open Door day in Ottawa so several historical homes, buildings and churches were open for public tour. We went to see the Royal Canadian College of physicians and surgeons that is located in an old nunnery. This is where they make the rules and regulations for the doctors. We also went to see the Laurier House the historic home of a Prime Minister. We also went to see the Saint Francois d’Assisa Church that was built in 1915.
We had another baptism this month. She is such a cute girl and travels 1 hour to get to church and Institute and 1 hour back home. She is the third baptism since we got here. It is great to see the Gospel change lives. She was baptized by her friend who helped convert her, at 6:00 just before Institute.


We had three marriages in June of YSAs. Hopefully we will have more. They are all strong young people with strong testimonies and they will be a great benefit to both the church and the community wherever they live.


This month was Stake Conference. We had a sweet elderly sister that was recently baptized speak. What a powerful testimony. After the session the visiting area 70, Elder Jack N. Gerard asked new converts or those investigating the church to meet in the Relief Society room. There were about 12 with either the missionaries or a bishopric member there. It was neat to hear about their interest in the church. They were well taught by him and our Stake President, President Nemeth.
More to come