August – Less than one month of summer festivals left - First edition
Summer is festival session in Ottawa. We say less than, because many of the festivals and events in Ottawa officially end August 23rd even though elementary and secondary schools and higher education doesn’t start until September 8th.Just to let you know we both now officially have bikes. We haven’t been able to ride them very much because there has been more rain this month and it has been very hot several days. But they are fun to ride. It is beautiful to ride along the canal. We are so lucky.
Here is our view of Moonies Bay on the 1st of August. Not much difference.We started the month off with a baptism. This YSA loves the Gospel and prayed and accepted everything the Sisters taught her. She is from the Congo, but now lives in Ottawa. The sisters met her on the bus as they are busing missionaries. Each lesson the sisters taught her she accepted easily. She is grateful to be baptized and we love to see her at church. We are so grateful that she has chosen to be baptized. Our Mission Leader got to baptize her on Saturday, August 1st. Sunday Elder Payne was asked to confirm her a member of the church and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was a privilege. We are very grateful for the 4 baptisms we have had since we have been here. There hadn’t been a baptism since last November before the first of the four in April. It is the good work of our Dows Lake Missionaries. They are spiritually sensitive to those who are investigating. They love the Lord and His Spirit shines in their lives. It is so good to watch these missionaries be so excited about the church.
At the baptismal service one recent convert of less than a year spoke on faith. It was very articulate and one of the best most heartfelt talks I have ever heard on the subject. She said that faith grows as you live it “just look at the Payne’s, who are lifetime members”. That was special. There were over twenty people there and we were the only lifetime members there besides the missionaries. It made me think how special it is that we are here and how much they look to us as an example. (Elder Payne writing). My thoughts went back to my own baptism. I was baptized in Richfield in an old church building that had a concrete fount at the end of a hall in the basement and I changed clothes in a classroom. I remember standing to bear my testimony from the choir seats in the chapel on Sunday. That building has since been sold to some other church and replaced with a newer bigger building. Yes, I have been a member for a long time and my testimony has grown a lot. I have had so many experiences, done so much service, made so many choices and felt the spirit so many times that my testimony is indeed strong. I am grateful that the YSA’s here can benefit from it. Frankly, I need to give Sister Payne a lot of credit because it is her they love. After the talks a quartet of sisters sang the primary song “I Feel My Savior’s Love”. It was another tear jerker for me.The same day we got to participate in Ella’s baptism (she belongs to Kellie and Brandon) through skype just like we had with Eli (Heather and Dan’s son.) in March. It was such a great experience to see these two wonderful spirits want to be baptized and so happy to be baptized. We are so glad that we could participate through Skype. Thank you family, for making this possible.
We got to go to the Garlic Farm again for Home Evening Group. This time it was to sort the garlic. There are the good bulbs that are firm and together and there are those that have started to split. The split ones they separate into smaller garlic. This is the last step in getting ready for the sale the second week in August. They also braid the garlic for the sale. We had two cute Chinese YSAs come that are investigating the church. They had a good time. We ended the night with popsicles courtesy of Brother Jones.
The second weekend we went to La Salle, by Montréal for the mulit-stake single adult conference. The stake center was in the southeast corner of the island. It was a newer building on a commercial street. Our assignment was to just be there and to be easy to find so nonmembers or less active member could find us and ask questions that missionaries could answer. We met so many great people all with stories to tell. We were like the instant friend people came to meet. There were 150 or 200 people from four stakes with about half speaking French and everything was translated. The chapel even has a translation booth. LaSalle is a 2 hour drive. We met several interesting people and attended two interesting workshops. We invited two younger people that were there with their mother to our institute class. One of the older kids in our class this summer, who is over 30, went and he is very outgoing. At lunch he was at the table near us and he yelled out Elder and Sister Payne stand up. When we did he told the people at his table, much to our embarrassment, that we were his savior. He is now listening to our Savior of which we are very glad. Later at a break he tried to explain that he has only been coming to church and institute for seven weeks and we have had a great profound effect on his life. He went on and on about how great institute is. He told about the first day he met us and asked about our mission. Elder Payne said the best part was his companion. Since that he has set a goal of going on a senior mission with his wife some day. Now that he is active in the church all he needs is a wife and a career, a family and retirement. It is all very attainable.
We went to the National Art Gallery again with one of our YSAs that loves art. The picture shows a room that looks like a cathedral with sound speakers on all four sides of the room. It is interesting that each speaker has someone’s voice that when put with the others is an incredible surround sound choir.
Here is a recent story of a tender mercy. We have a faithful 19 year old sister in our ward that is planning to go on a mission. She has a job to save money for her mission. One of the part-time jobs she has is McDonalds and her shift is Wednesday night so she cannot come to Institute class. The stake president just called her to be a member of our new IRC, (Institute of Religion Counsel). She was worried about how she was going get out of working on Wednesday night. The very next day, Monday, her boss at McDonalds called her in and asked her to work full time on the day shift. Now she will not only be able to come to Institute and accept the call but she will make more money for her mission. When she told us the story Sister Payne told her the Lord knows her and her needs and makes a way for her to do his will.
Each transfer we usually do something with our district. This time we hiked to the Lusk Caves. While the missionaries hiked all the way to Lusk Caves, we walked along Lac Phillip and enjoyed the stroll.
This picture was taken at the last meeting with our district before transfers. We have District Meeting every Thursday. The District Leader gives a lesson, another missionary discusses a section of our White Handbook, and we usually have a lesson from another set of missionaries from Preach My Gospel. It is always a good meeting and we get to learn from these well prepared missionaries. We only lost one missionary to Montreal. We are so glad we get to keep as many as we can. They are great missionaries.We had two baptisms. One from our Chinese Dows Lake Missionaries and another from Kanata, a YSA that comes to Institute. They were both wonderful young people with strong testimonies. That is 6 baptisms since the first one in April. We are really blessed here. Interesting to note, that when a Chinese YSA is baptized, the baptism is done in Chinese with English translation. We have a great Chinese missionary from Taiwan. This was his first baptism and he got to both baptize and confirm him. The Kanata baptism in English was supposed to be done on Saturday, but she ended up having to leave Thursday to go to school in the states. An incredible young man that will be serving a mission soon, got to baptize her and the Bishop confirmed her that evening. There were about 20 people there. Elder Payne told her to be sure that she looks up the church when she gets there. She said that she already had and it was a 15 minute walk from the school. What a blessing these two will be in the church. After these two baptisms, we know that the church is growing with strong young people both members and new converts and that the Lord is in charge.
We are lucky to have had several training sessions, both with the Missionaries as well as President Patrick. This time it was the S&I Training (Seminaries and Institutes). The talks were wonderful. We were especially impressed with Elder Kim B. Clark’s talk. He told a story about his life. He and his wife were doing well and were active in the church when he had this distinct feeling he had to be better. He and his wife talked and reviewed two questions. What are we doing that we need to stop doing and what are we not doing that we need to start doing? With that they began systematically improving. He said without that he wouldn’t be standing in front of us talking now. His testimony was from the heart. Elder Clark was the president of BYU-Idaho before becoming a Seventy and before that he was the Dean of the Business School at Harvard.We are enjoying teaching institute and learning more about the Savior. One week we only intended to cover one chapter, John 17, The Intercessory Prayer. We had a lot of participation and the spirit was strong, except for one moment when a girl on the back row broke out in laughter. So, I told a story of living in the world not of the world. We were able to get through 2/3 of the Chapter. The Savior loved His disciples and wanted our Heavenly Father to help them because He knew that it was going to be hard for His disciples after He was gone.
For our last night of the regular summer institute classes, the lesson was from John 14, 16, 17, and 20. We thought it was important to teach obedience, the Holy Ghost, the sacrament and the importance of the witnesses of the resurrection. It worked out very well. 12 people showed up for choir practice and 17 for class. Because our YSAs do not want to skip coming on Wednesday nights until Institute starts again, we agreed to have institute class but made assignments for some to teach a short topic each week. After class the missionaries showed up and asked for a ride home so I took them home and left Sister Payne to entertain and clean up. Then when I got back there were five others who needed rides home, Sister Payne took two girls home and came back, then we, took the other three home. We got home ourselves about 10:30. What a good night.
To Be Continued!