Monday, December 29, 2014

December 22, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia


Elder O'Brien 

Dear Family,

In three short days I get to speak to you verbally. This Christmas has gone by fast and speaking to you will be the cherry on top of the cake. It will be good for all of us hear from one another. As I'm sure you have lots of questions for me and it comes just in time for me as well. Although 45 minutes isn't long I still to get to talk to you. I still remember calling home from the airport. I remember Chris and Dad just barely leaving for work before I called. How when mom picked up the phone she got so excited to hear me. But I didn't get to talk to Julie though. So I'm really looking forward to hearing from her. It will be so nice to be able to hear your voices again. 

On Monday Melanie texted us saying Kelton (her son) had a high fever of 104; could you give him a blessing. So we went over and Elder Willoughby gave him the blessing. Then we left and 10 minutes later she texted us back saying his fever was gone. Then she told her husband and he was shocked. It was quite the experience for all of us. It goes to show you the power of the priesthood. Later on that night we had lobster at the Morrisons. I got to hold one of the lobsters before Bro. Morrison cooked them. I was a little nervous but it actually isn't too bad as long as you hold it by its tail. One of them was quite squirmy though. 

On Monday night I learned a hard lesson. I was just going through my e-mails while the zone leaders were Skyping the Halifax YSA sisters thinking it`s no big deal it`s still p-day. When Elder Willoughby turned to me and said ``preparation day is over Elder O`Brien; finish that e-mail right now buddy." P-Day ends at 6 o`clock and it was 8:00 at the time. I was kind of frustrated because it`s my family and my family is important to me. Anyway, the zone leaders gave me an example of the law of the tithing and how that`s similar to checking my e-mails throughout the week or sending a short e-mail after P-Day is over. It`s a minor rule but it is a commandment of God to pay tithing and likewise to e-mails.

On Tuesday, we met with Gordon. He was asking about grace and works - how we tend to muddle those two together. We were having a tough time answering that question. He kept on giving bible references to us about it. It was interesting. I don`t know much about that so I was kind of at a loss of words. At the end of the visit we asked him if he found the Book of Mormon to be true would you get baptized and he said yes. But he wouldn`t commit to a date. I think he was testing with the whole grace and works thing to see if we would be like we're right you're wrong sort of thing. But we were understanding of him. His hang up is mainly the Book of Mormon. He is so focused on the bible but he needs to start opening up to the Book of Mormon.

Wednesday was an emotional day for Elder Willoughby. He had his final interview with President. Then we stuck around the Church to help with a primary activity. He said goodbye to the Morrison's, Cathy Drennan, Bishop Spinney, and then the McDonalds. The hardest one to say goodbye to was the McDonalds. He and Elder Dupin were the ones that found the McDonalds. Then he baptized Melanie and Madison a week ago. We had supper with them that night. It was a tough one for him. He said that it's hard saying goodbye to people who have shaped who you are as a person. He said he didn't want to go home. It was a emotional day for all of us. Kentville has a great ward with so many loving people in it. They have been giving us lots of goodies lately. The McDonalds gave us some food, the Drennan's gave us a gift, the Bonds gave me a present, Shannon Hirtle gave us a plate of cookies. The ward has us taken care of for Christmas.

On Thursday. we went to the temple to drop off Elder Willoughby and pick up Elder Hatch. It was good to go to the temple again. It was one of the newer films. After, Elder Dupin was like that was a new film and I'm thinking to myself "well no it's not; what are you talking about?"  But then I realized I've gone to the temple a lot more than he has in the past 6 months. Anyway, after the temple I said goodbye to Elder Willoughby. That was hard; I actually started crying when I said goodbye. He was such a good missionary and I really learned a lot from him. He made me laugh every single day. He is really outgoing and really spiritual. It was such a joy to serve with him. I told him that I would see him in a year and a half at my homecoming :). Being with Elder Willoughby made me want to be where he is in a year and a half. I want to be on my last transfer, I want to be crying because I don't want to go home, I want to go to my last Sunday as a missionary. All those things have motivated me to want to be in his shoes.

Elder Hatch is from Manning, Alberta. He's been out for 18 months now. He just came from Newfoundland. He is nice, but quiet. He is also obedient and faithful. It's been a slow adjustment for us but that will come with time. He works hard also. 

So the plan for this week is we're going eat at the Beckwith's on Christmas Eve. We stop working at 5 o'clock. She asked what my favorite Christmas treat and I said nuts and bolts. So that's nice of her. On Christmas Day we still have to wake up at 6:30. Were going to eat breakfast at the Gee's and then they are going to open up their home for Skype. So I will be Skyping from the Gee's. They have two computers.  Last year Skype calls were for an hour and we were allowed to watch G-Rated movies on Christmas. This year we are not allowed to watch movies and Skype calls are for 45 minutes instead. So it's kind of unfortunate but it is what it is. But if I experience any technical difficulties I will phone you. 

Well.. these last four and half months have been the fastest four and a half months of life. Now I finally get to talk to you again.

Talk to you all on Thursday!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014 Kentville, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,

Wow. What a week it has been. Probably one of the most spiritual weeks I've had on my mission so far. We got transfer letters yesterday and I am staying in Kentville with Elder Dupin with Elder Hatch replacing Elder Willoughby as the new zone leader. So I'll still be in a trio. I really don't know much about Elder Hatch besides he's from Northern Alberta. So we drop Elder Willougby off on Thursday and we pick Elder Hatch up. So I get to go to the temple again.

So our eventful week started off with Christmas Zone Conference. Before Christmas Zone Conference, everyone had to buy a white elephant gift. Christmas zone conference started off with "Meet the Mormons." It was a good movie. It had 5 documentaries, "The Coach", "The Bishop", "The Fighter, "The Candy Bomber", and  "The Missionary Mom." My favorite ones were "The Coach" and "The Missionary Mom." The Coach documentary was about a  man who coaches the Navy football team but balances it with his religious beliefs and keeping everything in perspective. The Missionary Mom is about a woman who went through a hard time growing up and two sister missionaries knocked on her door as an answer to her prayer. She said at that moment, "She felt God's love." Before that she didn't believe in God because of the bad stuff that was happening in her life. Then her life went uphill from there and she got married and had a son. That son got a mission call. Then it shows the timeline of him entering the MTC. The mom was struggling letting her son go because of everything they'd been through together. It really hit home for me because it made me go through all the emotions I went through when I left home. I wasn't the only getting emotional. I noticed some other missionaries tearing up as well. Right after that we went for lunch at Swiss Chalet. Then in afternoon we had our talent show. There were some good acts that were formed. Elder Dupin played the guitar for it. Other missionaries performed acts such as a missionary version of the Cup Song,  One missionary did a magician act that was pretty funny. Some sister missionaries did "Christmas in the Maritimes" in an elf voice. Anyway, it was highly entertaining. After that we did our white elephant gift exchange. I got a box of cookies and a tie for my gift. Elder Ashby (Elder McNabb's companion) got mine. Elder Willougby got dishwasher soap as his though. He find it kind of odd. Elder Taylor got a big teddy bear for his white elephant gift. It was funny. Since we could exchange gifts after, quite a few missionaries wanted that big teddy bear. We concluded with getting a picture with Santa (Elder Jason) and then we got a Christmas program with all the current missionaries in the mission in it and where they're from, how long they've been out - that sort of thing. Finally the day ended on a more spiritual note by the reading of the Christmas story by President Leavitt. Then we sang "Away in the Manger."  It was a lot of fun. There was no training, no business, just strictly a zone conference full of Christmas fun. It was raining all day. It stared light in the morning but by the time we got out it was raining hard. But we made it home safe and sound. 

On Friday, we had our ward Christmas Party. It was a potluck. There was turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, etc. Then for dessert we had Rice Krispie squares, brownies, cookies. It was a good turnout. One of the less active families that we work with (The Domnies's) came. So that was good to see and they seemed to have enjoyed it. There was actually more people then Sis. Walker (The Relief Society President) expected. 

On Saturday was Melanie and Madison's baptism at 2 o'clock. It was so neat to see the fruits of our labors even though I wasn't the one that found them and taught them from the beginning. It was a really good experience. I felt the spirit throughout the baptisim. I hope it gave Melanie's husband a push in the right direction seeing his wife and daughter get baptized. It was a decent turnout. There wasn't as many people as I expected but that's probably just cause it was earlier in the day.

Yesterday, was a very long day. Elder Willougby gave his final testimony at the end of church. He got emotional. He's been here for 6 months and he really loves the members and all that they've done for him. The members are going to miss him as well. This is going to be an emotional week for Elder Willougby to say the least. Saying goodbye to everyone and everything he's ever known for the past two years. Elder Willougby has been a great example to me and a great leader as well. I am glad that I got to spend his last 6 weeks with him. Right after church we had our final choir practice before the Cantata. That lasted an hour and a half. Then we went to a YSA potluck where Hillary Harker (she's from Raymond) brought three of her non-members with her. They are all going to Acadia in Wolfville. So we mainly talked to them the whole time. They seemed nice. Then we went to the church for the warm-up. The Christmas Cantata started and it was wonderful. A lot of people showed up to see it. We sang song's like "What shall we give", "Born is the light", and other songs that I don't the name of. Then there were some videos in between numbers. One of the song's that touched me was "Lullaby, Jesus"; that was sung as a solo by a little girl. It made me think of Ayla. It was an amazing fireside and it made me reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and what he did for me and for all of us as a family. 

It was a very spiritual week as I said. When I confirmed Madison I was a little nervous but I felt the spirit as I confirmed her. I felt the Spirit help me speak loud enough so that people could hear me. Quite a few members came up to me and told me that I did a great job and that they could hear me perfectly . 

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder O'Brien

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia

Companionship with boy from the ward


Dear Family,

Thank you for your 12 days of Christmas package! I got it last Tuesday (The 3rd). I am interested to know how the scripture references on your gifts tie into that particularly gift on that day. It will be fun. I'm excited to do my first 12 days of Christmas.. I can guess at what some of your gifts might be but some I can't tell so good job! Elder Willougby is anxious to know if Chris got me the David Archeaulta Mormon Tabernacle Christmas CD. That CD seems to be the hit around the mission as far as Christmas music goes. Also on Tuesday, I got another gift in the form of my own bed to sleep on instead of cycling through who sleeps on the air mattress.Needless to say both me and Elder Dupin were pretty happy that I have my own bed to sleep on. In the morning we had to move Sister Balby and it was one of the easiest moves ever. It only took us 20 minutes if that.

On Wednesday at district meeting, we held Elder Willougby's "Funeral." since it was his last district meeting ever. I know it sounds weird but what else do you expect from 21 year olds. So we all had to wear black. When missionaries go home we say that missionary is dead. Elder Dupin gave his eulogy. Like the areas he's served in, his trainers, that sort of thing. It was different. At the end, Elder Willoughby gave his testimony. But it wasn't all about his funeral; we still had training. The zone leaders actually gave training on bold missionaries.How when our investigators disagree with something we need to correct them but in a loving way. The four characteristics of a bold missionary is: Preparing the Environment, Taking control of the lessons, Teaching with Power and Authority, and Extending invitations straightforward. Then we split up into role play groups. In the role play I was with Elder Edge. The issue I was given was "Why is there the Book of Mormon?". I was able to explain why but I was kind of soft. So being bold is something that I definitely need to work on.

On Saturday, we had a special mission leadership council with Elder Kacher of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He gave a talk at the latest general conference. He was the one that talked about the riptides. It was with the all the zone leaders and sister training leaders of the mission. So some of them only got to Skype in. Mission Leadership Council is normally on Tuesday at the mission home in Dartmouth and we would Skype into those. But since this was a special one, we got invited to go to it in person. Kentville is only about an hour away from Dartmouth so it's not too bad. Anyway since I am in a trio with the zone leaders I got to go. It was really cool. Although when he was talking about the mission, he decided to ask me if I knew what the standard of the mission was for the key indicators, And I was like Umm, Umm, (Oh shoot a general authority is asking me what the standard is for the mission and I don't know; I've only been out for 4 months and I'm not a zone leader). Then I finally said I don't know. But right after I said that, President Leavitt butted in and said that I'm still a pretty new missionary. I was pretty nervous when he asked me that. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In my head I was like Thank you President; good to know you have my back. Anyway, one of the things he talked about was the ladder of faith. He drew a ladder with 5 rungs on it I wrote it down and it said this:

The first rung on the ladder said "this is too hard for me". He said that missionaries that feel that way usually go home. The next rung on the ladder said "I am not seeing success but I will endure". These missionaries stay out, and go through the motions, slack off and are disobedient...just wanting to get through. The next rung on the ladder said "I can work hard, I can do this. I can do hard things" These missionaries do as they are asked, learn good qualities but don't have a lot of success. The next rung on the ladder said "I can do this and the Lord will help me" These missionaries do better, they are obedient, hard working and ask the Lord to help them meet their goals. They have some success. The top rung on the ladder said "The Lord can do this and I will help him". These missionaries, the few who reach this level, really thrive. Missionaries who heed the Prophet's call to think, do things differently and work as one are on this rung of the ladder. 

The questions we need to face, me included, is this. What rung of the ladder am I on? Am I ready to take the next step up? What rung is our mission on? Are we as a group ready to take the next step up? "

It made me think of what my mindset was. I would say that my mindset is the fourth rung. "I can do this with the Lord's help." I know I can't do this by myself. I know I need the Lord's help.

Yesterday after Church, we had a three hour long choir practice for the Cantata which is this Sunday. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by the end. Elder Dupin and Elder Willoughby even fell asleep near the end when just the girls were singing. That pretty much sums it up. Later on yesterday we got to talk to Dr. Craig Evans, one of the world renowned bible scholars. He had some pretty interesting insights about the Bible. One of the questions we asked him was how we get a lot of backlash for that one verse in the Book of Revelations where it says "This book shall not be added unto." So people use that to argue the Book of Mormon. But even he agrees that it is talking about just the Book of Revelations. So there you have it - a world renowned bible scholar agrees with us on that topic. I can't remember all that he said but he talked about the Hebrews and the Egyptians. He also used some of our language that we use. One other thing he said that stuck was that there is more evidence of Jesus Christ than there is of Alexander the Great. He mentioned that he's going to BYU in March to teach one class. But anyway, by the end of the conversation I came to the concluison he would destroy us in an argument. He was all about evidence and history. 

So we got to watch the devotional at 9 p.m. last night. I found that it was very spiritually uplifting. I liked Elder Christofferson's story of the little boy. I also liked Elder Eyring's talk on the light of Christ. I like how they all talked about the birth of Jesus Christ and how that was one of the greatest gifts we have ever gotten. The Church's theme this year is "He is the gift." It is so true and I am so grateful that I have the special opportunity to share Him and the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. But after the devotional, I had a good cry just letting it all out thinking about how much Christmas meant to our family. The devotional kind of made me homesick. Being away for the first time from my family for it. I But when the zone leaders noticed I was crying they told me that the first Christmas away from your family isn't easy but in 18 days you get to talk to them for 45 minutes to an hour about anything you want. Christmases as a missionary are always super spiritual - we get to share the birth of Jesus Christ with our brothers and sisters. They told me that it's worth being away from your family, and that everything will be okay. It really comes down to that; I am where the Lord wants me to be as Mom and Dad said. It was a good talk.

Transfer letters are this Sunday and then transfers take place next Thursday. President told me that I'll probably stay in this area for awhile so we will see. But I'm 95 percent sure I'm staying in Kentville. I've been bounced around enough. 

Have a great week!

17 days!

Love,

Elder O'Brien

December 1, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia



Dear Family,

Another week has flown by and now it is Christmas time. Just in case you're wondering there was a big storm that came through New Brunswick last Tuesday that we were supposed to get a part of but luckily we only got a little bit of it. But if I was still in New Brunswick I would have gotten hit pretty hard by snow. I actually kind of want to be in Newfoundland next winter. Just to see what it would be like. That would be quite the adventure. 

Last Tuesday Melanie had us over for her birthday. I can't remember what we had for dinner but we had this really good Skor cake. It was nice of her to do that for us. I think Melanie really likes us. During the dinner, Madison (Melanie's daughter) asked me to do her confirmation. I was really excited when she asked but nervous at the same time since this will be my first time doing a confirmation. Madison is a really smart kid. She has made some funny comments to Travis about the Church. Like one time Travis was talking about looking into the Catholic Church; then Madison told him that wasn't where the truth was, don't you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day was the true Church.

We went to Sackville for district meeting this week. At this district meeting, one of the trainings was conducting a companionship inventory out of "Preach my Gospel"; then we role played doing one. It was good for me because some weeks I didn't do companionship inventory with Elder Bodine. But doing companionship inventory is something that needs to be done otherwise those things that bother me get all bottled up and your companion doesn't know how you feel towards him. That`s the big thing I got out of of district meeting this week.

Lately, President Leavitt has been emphasizing about Finding through Facebook. Whenever we make a contact, we need to ask for their Facebook name so then we can message them on Facebook and share Mormon messages with them or stuff like that. He said that most people nowadays have a Facebook account and most people don't mind telling you their Facebook name. So what we've been doing lately is going through the ward list and adding them as a friend to the area page. I think that since we're now getting iPads, President wants to make sure we know how to use them.

On Thursday, we had some lobster at Bishop Spinney`s. This was the first time I've had lobster since I've got here. It was alright. It didn't have much of a taste to it. Then we had this really good pie for dessert that tasted like Skor. Later on that night we met with Gordon Squires. This time we brought Brother Thompson (2nd Counselor in the Bishopric). It was good to have him there. Gordon seemed to have liked him. Gordon is a really smart guy. Every time I've been there he talks about the scriptures deeply. At the end of the lesson he was asking about the plan of salvation. I can't remember the exact question but it was a very deep question. 

On Saturday, we logged wood for the Bond's for three hours straight. By the end of it I was exhausted. But they did reward us with lunch after so that was good satisfaction. Yesterday morning I woke up with a sore back and it's still sore today. Later on that night while we were out knocking, we apparently knocked on a famous bible scholar who wasn't home. We found out that he was famous through the neighbors next door. That night we had dinner at the Drennans. They are a really funny family. The parents are both pretty young. Brother Drennan is a cop that works with Travis actually. He has a lot of energy and likes to joke around. But he has big muscles. I can see why hes a cop. They don't act mature sometimes though. But anyway, I found out that Cory Grinton (a ward member in Stirling) is Sister Drennan's nephew. She said she didn't know I was from Stirling but when I told her that she was excited to find out that I knew Cory.

So Shannon Hirtle met with the bishop last Tuesday and she was given a calling after coming back to Church for just a week. But she's really made a lot of big strides since we first contacted her. She has come to Church for two weeks in a row now. I can see a big difference between when we first saw her until now. 

It looks like well have a pretty full week next week.. Here is what our schedule looks like: First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday, Christmas Zone conference on Wednesday, Ward Christmas Party on Saturday, Melanie and Madison's baptism on Saturday, transfer letters on Sunday and then the Christmas Fireside which is that night. 

I did have a couple of off days this week where I was thinking about my first Christmas away from home and I was concerned about my family being without me for it. I was also feeling inadequate because I don't know some of the deep doctrine of the scriptures that other missionaries do. But after I talked to Elder Willoughby and Elder Dupin, they told me that it takes time to know the scriptures as well as they do. That was a good reassurance from them. 

Have a great week,

Love Elder OBrien

Monday, December 1, 2014

November 24, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia


Another week has gone by. The weather has been pretty moderate.Today it's supposed to get up to 14 degrees. On Saturday it actually snowed pretty heavily in the morning but then by the afternoon it all melted away .

On Wednesday, we went to district meeting in Halifax because the zone leaders normally visit the other district meetings during the transfer just to see how things are going with that particular district. During this district meeting, one thing that really stuck out to me was when we were talking about the toughness of a mission. Some missionaries say that this isn't what they signed for. But you did. When you wrote your acceptance letter, you committed to living the mission rules and following the counsel of your mission president. You wrote the prophet personally committing yourself to two years of preaching the gospel and crying repentance unto these people. So that was a good reminder to all of us as missionaries.

This zone has a lot of good things going on right now. We have quite a few baptisms on date. Which is really exciting. It shows that the missionaries in this zone are working hard and are touching investigators' hearts. 

Melanie, who is one of our investigators is super solid right now.She has come to church every Sunday I've been here. She is going to be baptized on December 13. Her husband however isn't so solid right now. He is going at a slower pace than Melanie right now. I think he feels pressured because his wife wants to get baptized. But he said he doesn't want to get baptized just because his wife is getting baptized. We also have been asking him about the 13th. So he has just been taking steps back because he feels pressured. So we just have to put less pressure on him and let him go in baby steps. He is a good guy.

So our bishop (Bishop Spinney) asked us a week ago Sunday to give the members of the ward council the missionary discussions in hopes of engaging missionary work in the ward. It's funny because when we've phoned some of the members of the ward council, they invited us over to dinner. This week we have started doing that. We strarted with the restoration. It has been great practice for me because they're members and i don't have to worry about messing up in front of them. It has been really beneficial for me and my growth personally as a missionary.

Yesterday at Church we had quite a few less actives come. Shannon Hirtle who is one of the less actives we teach came to Church. Shee just graduated from college and is in her mid 20's. Really nice girl, really outgoing and really receptive.  Ashley Dreenan came to Church. She is 17. We don't teach her.  The Brightman's, one of the less actives, the Wolfville sisters work with. came to Church. Brother Budge's wife also came to Church. Her husband and her are recent converts. They got baptized in January. 

I don't know if I told you this already but this mission officially gets iPads starting on February 1st, 2015. That is really exciting. 

On Friday, we got to set up for the ward Relief Society Christmas party. That was fun. We set up the tables and some of the decorations for it. Then at the actual Christmas party, one of our investigators Michelle Mercer came. We have gone on splits teaching her. She seemed to have enjoyed it. I don't know much about her because we have been rotating going on splits with Brother Burgan.

Things are going great for the three of us. We all get along great. We laugh, we joke around. But we work hard as a companionship. That's the most important thing I like about Elder Dupin & Elder Willoughby. Elder Willoughby isn't dying, he is still energetic and focussed. He is a littly trunky but not too bad right now. We talk a little bit about Lethbridge here and there but it dosen't make either one of of us homesick.

Have a great week, one month tomorrow!

PS-We get to watch "Meet the Mormons" at Christmas zone conference on Decemer 10th.

Love,

Elder O'Brien

November 17, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia

Sister Lybbert, Sister Lybbert, 
Elder Willoughby, Elder Dupin, Elder O'Brien

Another week has gone by and it has gone by fast. That's one thing that I am finding on my mission - that days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days.

Last Tuesday, we helped a member named Bro. Collet move in from British Columbia. That took about three hours to do. He lives out in the middle of nowhere.   It was a house that was more than 200 years old. He worked for Worker's Compensation and now he is retiring. He is a really nice man. He is fully active in the church. Later on that day we had a big mega lesson with the McDonald's. The Morrison's were there and Sister Dreenan was there too. They are the fellow-shippers for the McDonald's. The lesson was on Ether 12, obedience, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I gave an experience of obedience during the lesson.  

I met one of our other investigators this week; his name is Gordon Squires. He literally lives out in the middle of the woods. There was a gravel road that was 5 km long that took us like 20 minutes to get across. It was a very bumpy ride and it was at night too when it was pitch black. It is now beginning to get dark at 5 o'clock in the afternoon out here. That makes it hard to door knock because people seem to be calming down and not as receptive. Now we just do area book work or member book work. I usually fill out the progress record for our ward mission leader, Brother Hudson. Anyway, Gordon is a Christian but he is open minded. He believes a lot in theology. During the lesson he talked a lot about why the church has so many rules and standards and why we follow those rules. We used the Strength of Youth, the scriptures, and the prophets to help answer his question. Then I was able to bear testimony at the end of the importance of how following the church's standards has blessed me in my life. I am working on contributing more in lessons because sometimes I can be pretty quiet during lessons. That has been something I really have been making a conscious effort on this week - contributing one thing to every lesson. We get a lot of teaching opportunities in Kentville which is beneficial for me and my progression. 

Last Friday was zone conference. I really enjoyed it. I felt the spirit so strongly throughout it. In one of the trainings, we role played and evaluated each other after a door approach. The purpose of that training was so that when we evaluate each other we can give proper feedback based on a criteria. Then in one of our other trainings, we role played committing someone to be baptized.  We did 5 different scenario's - they say yes, they say their out of town, they say no, they say that's too soon, they say I've already been baptized. I was in a role play with Sister Jarvis for this one. This role play made me realize that if an investigator doesn't want to be baptized, I need to ask deeper questions to find it why. It was a good training. Sister Jarvis was a good "investigator." 

One of my favorite quotes from zone conference was when Pres. Leavitt was talking about what the church stands for. "This isn't the Church of Steve Young, this isn't the Church of Ebola, this isn't the Church of Family History; this is Christ's Church and He stands at the head of it." Later on, he talked about serving a mission "You only get one chance to do this, you get to give this 100 percent of the time for two years, so work hard and make the most of it, We'll know each other for the rest of our lives think about it. Then this was my favorite quote, "Fear is a prayer to the wrong God."

I really enjoyed zone conference. It was very spiritually uplifting. Then on the way home we had our first snow storm. The road was pretty slushy. We actually were on the way to a baptism of a little girl in our ward that we were a little late to because of the snow. And zone conference ended a little late.

Have a great week.

Love,

Elder OBrien


November 10, 2014 - Kentville, Nova Scotia

Elder Knowles, Elder O'Brien, Elder Bodine
Transfer Day


It has been a busy week as transfer weeks usually are. In the days leading up to being transferred, I had a lot of members say goodbye to me. On Monday, we went to a Family Home Evening by Sister McMakin and she did a lesson based off of Elder Dallin H. Oak's talk on the language of prayer. We also had dinner with Phillip & Jessa. Phillip is always so missionary mind; he is the best member missionary I've met so far. He always would ask us about the work in Hampton. 

On Wednesday night, Rhonda Fox had her baptismal interview with Elder Waldie over Skype. She passed all the questions. But we since her husband is only a teacher and cannot baptize her, we had to postpone the baptism. It was a little disappointing.

Thursday was transfer day. I had to get up at 6 in the morning to get ready. Then we were off to Moncton at 7. It was pretty cold too. By the time all the missionaries got to Moncton and everyone visited, we were off to the temple. We got to the temple at about 2:30 in the afternoon. I got to go to the temple for the first time since I first got to the mission in August. It was so nice to be able to go again. It was just what I needed. I felt such peace as I went through. It was President and Sister Leavitt, all the missionaries going home, the missionaries being transferred to somewhere in Nova Scotia, and the missionaries in the Metro that went. There was quite a few of us. It was so edifying though to go to temple together as fellow missionaries. After the temple Elder Willoughby and Elder Dupin picked me up and we went to Kentville.

My first couple days in Kentville with my new companions have been interesting. Being in a trio with the zone leaders, my companions can sometimes be busy doing zone leadership stuff. It's interesting to see what goes on with being a zone leader. On Friday they had a Skype meeting with Pres.Leavitt about some of the things going on in the zone about other missionaries, and discussing a zone vision. Something else that I have also thought about this week is the fact that every one of my companions so far has held a leadership position. I was with the assistants for like a week and then we decided that wasn't working as they are way too busy. Then I was with Elder Knowles who`s a District Leader, then I was with Elder Bodine who`s a district leader, and now I'm with Elder Willoughby and Elder Dupin who are the zone leaders for the Nova Scotia South Zone. They can be busy sometimes with their callings but they still have time to do missionary work. On Friday, I met one of of their investigators (the McDonald`s) and they are really solid. They are on date for Dec. 6. The wife`s name is Melanie and the husband`s name is Travis. They are a really funny family. So we committed them to watch the Restoration movie. Then a day later she texted us and said she felt the spirit very strongly as she was watching the video and that she thinks she has her answer as to whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet. That was quite the text. 

At Church on Sunday, as usual they got me to bear my testimony. I am finding that as I introduce myself in a new ward I feel more and more confident each time. It seems like a friendly ward. Although I don`t think I'll get as many dinner appointments as I did in Hampton. That`s one thing I'll really miss about Hampton. I gained 10 pounds while I was there. After Church we go to choir and are practicing for a Christmas event in December. I'm not much a singer but I enjoy Christmas songs. On Sunday night, we had dinner with the Morrison`s; they are a family of about 7. They were one of the first families to introduce themselves to me. 

Being in a trio has been an adjustment. It's been a little harder to be involved because I'm the new guy and there's three of us. Sometimes I feel like they're so much better than me because they are so focused and such good missionaries. I feel like I'm good enough at times when I'm around them. But I just have to remind myself that they have been out way longer then me and that I am still pretty young in the mission field. Elder Willoughby has a lot of energy and is pretty enthusiastic which makes it fun to be his companion. Elder Dupin is pretty funny himself. They have made me feel welcome ever since I got here. 

Love,

Elder O`Brien 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 2, 2014 - Hampton

First Snow

Dear Family,

It rained all day long yesterday here in Hampton (Saint John County) and at night the rain turned into ice pellets. It was pretty rough. When we woke up this morning there was snow on the ground and it is currently 5C. I bought hat and mitts last Monday from Sport Chek. I think I'm going to get some boots, a scarf, and some thermals this week or next week. My first winter in the mission field is here!

So yesterday we got our transfer letters and I am getting transferred yet again. Three straight transfers in three different areas. I am getting transferred to Kentville, Nova Scotia. I'll be in a trio with the zone leaders (Elder Dupin & Elder Willoughby). Elder Dupin is from Utah and he goes home in January with Elder Knowles and of course you already know who Elder Willoughby is (from our stake); he goes home in December which is the end of the transfer. So they're both really close to going home and they have a lot of experience. It'll be good. I already know who they are since they were zone leaders in Halifax and I am really comfortable with both of them. They are really nice and work hard. There's a reason they are zone leaders. We're going to do great things together. I am really excited to serve with them.

In other transfer news, Elder Torrie has been released as an assistant and now he's going be a zone leader in Fredericton. Elder Waldie, who was the zone leader in Fredericton, will be the new assistant with Elder Jason. Elder Waldie was a good zone leader. He was very focused and was so sophisticated. We met over Skype with him once a week because Elder Bodine was the district leader to talk about our district, our area, the key indicators, and the zone (that sort of thing). He's from Fort Collins, Colorado. He'll be a good assistant. So during this transfer, there will be two zone conferences (one regular one next week and then a special Christmas zone conference near the end of the transfer). This transfer ends one week before Christmas

Anyway, it was a pretty uneventful week for us. On Halloween we just spent the night with the Saint John Elders. We stopped working at 5. We played scrabble and we listened to some talks. We hung out and talked - that sort of thing. 

This weekend was stake conference in Fredericton. We were going to go to Fredericton for it and stay the night with the Fredericton Elders since they weren't broadcasting the Saturday Sessions to Hampton. But on Friday we found out that they were broadcasting the Saturday Sessions because of the weather. So we ended up just staying in Hampton for stake conference. Some of the things that I like from it was that they talked a lot about the temple and how all things in the Church lead to the temple.and how the saints in the Maritimes had to work hard to get a temple. In 1997 President Hinckley on his way back to Salt Lake decided to drop by Halifax at a stake conference. Then at general conference, he announced that a temple would be built in Halifax. One of the other things I liked from stake conference was when President Leavitt gave a talk on Sunday. He talked about how we are a people church. We go on missions not for ourselves but for the people. We want other people to receive the fullness of the gospel. How sharing the gospel takes courage but all we need to do is to open our mouths and then the Lord will put the words we need to speak into our mouths. By the way.. make sure you're following the mission Facebook page "Mormons of Atlantic Canada"; it keeps you updated on the mission and what's going on.

On Saturday morning, we raked leaves for Brother Hilchie. We did that for about two and a half hours. I was pretty exhausted by the end. It was a good workout. But then after, he treated us to Subway. So that made up for it. That extra hour of sleep was so nice on Sunday morning though; let me tell ya. I needed it. It was beginning to get really hard to get up in the morning with it being so dark outside.

I have something to share that I think Julie will like. Last night we had a dinner appointment with the Downey's. They have a little girl named Kaylia, who is about 5 years old or so. She normally doesn't like missionaries. We've been over there twice now and every time we're over there she's given me stickers and drawings. Then last night, when I told them that I was leaving she wanted to give me a hug. But I couldn't give her a hug because we're not allowed to. So I gave her a handshake instead :). She's a really sweet girl and I could tell she really liked me. I think she had a certain little girl telling her about me. Haha. (kAYLIA) just take away the "I" and there ya go. 

Just think.. by the end of this transfer it will be four days before Christmas then I will get to see all of you and talk to you in person (on a computer screen mind you) . I can't wait!

Anyway, so tonight I'm going to start packing. Then I'm off to Nova Scotia on Thursday morning. 

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder O'Brien

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hampton - October 27, 2014

Dear Family,

We just got back from a helping someone move-in in Saint John. They are moving into an apartment. We had to pull up their couch from the ground using a pulley. It was really hard. I don't know if you've been following the weather here in Hampton (Saint John Area) but it has been raining all week long here. I even had to pull out the umbrella. It was just pouring.

On Thursday we went out knocking in the pouring rain in Sussex. And while we we're out knocking people would ask us what we're doing knocking in the rain, We should be inside where it's nice and warm. We had this one guy let us in because he felt bad for us. He wasn't interested in the Church at all; he said he was Roman Catholic and is pretty entrenched in that. I think he just felt lonely and was being nice to us. But we did knock into a potential investigator named Mikeala; she's a single mom who just graduated. She said she has gone back and forth from the church but right now is looking to come back. So we set up a return appointment with her this week. We are pretty excited about that.

Andrew has been smoke-free for over a week now. If he keeps it up, he'll be able to baptize Rhonda. That would be awesome. Last Tuesday we helped Bro. Bursey shingle his roof for three hours. He did give us some pizza for lunch so it was worth it. I mainly helped put away the scraps of the shingles. On Saturday, we helped with the Halloween primary party. It was fun. We mainly just showed the little kids around from room to room. The primary president is Sis. Bursey (Brother Bursey's wife); she's nice but she's always so serious all the time. So after the primary party one of the recent converts that we work with, Sis. McMakin, treated us to Pizza Delight. It was good.

Brother Urkhart is getting ready to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. We met with him last Tuesday and he asked about the difference between the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood. He sounded pretty excited about it. I really like Brother Urkhart; he's one of my favorite members in the ward. I just feel like I have a connection with him. 

So this Friday is Halloween and we can't work from 5:30 till the end of the night. We just watch Bible videos the whole time. It should be interesting. This weekend is also Stake Conference in Fredericton. We might not be going to the sessions on Saturday because it's so far away but on Sunday it's being broadcast to the Hampton Chapel. So we'll be able to go to that. Also on Sunday we get our transfer letters because transfers are next Thursday. So you might want to hold off on anything that you're sending me unless it;s just to the mission office address.

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder O'Brien 

Hampton - October 20, 2014



In Saint John, New Brunswick
Dear Family, 

It is a cold brisk morning here in New Brunswick today. The temperature right now is 6 degrees Celsius. As it is starting to get pretty cold and the signs of winter are here, I am going to need to get winter clothes pretty quick. So don't be surprised if you see a charge from New Brunswick on the credit card in the next two weeks!

This week was a busy week for me. I had two exchanges and visits with the Saint John sisters as I mentioned last week. It was fun. I got to go street contacting again which is something I haven't done since Halifax. I was a little rusty at first but once I got going it became easier. One thing I am learning from street contacting is the art of small talk. That's one of the main things I learned from exchanges. Sometimes I would just offer them a pass-along card, introduce myself, and then tell them about our message. Whereas I need to talk to them a little bit first like, "Are you from Saint John?," "Are you just visiting?," that sort of thing instead of being like a salesman. There are a lot of tourists in Saint John since the Bay of Fundy is like right there. We see big cruise ships every time we're in Saint John. It's pretty cool. Anyway, I got to see some of the people that the Saint John Elders are working with. On Tuesday, when I was with Elder Quinton, we saw a guy named Brenden O'Mahoney. He has been in and out of the Church for years. He has some major anxiety issues. He met with the Saint John Elders before but he stopped meeting with them because he didn't like one of the Elders that were here before. He sounds like a bit of a rough investigator. I think the Saint John Elders have their hands full with him. He said that he goes to a different church but still strongly believes in the doctrine of the Church. He doesn't go to the Ward in Saint John because he doesn't like the ward. So those two don't go hand-in-hand with one another. You can't have a testimony of the Church but go to another Church just because you don't like the members. Later on that night we went over to the ward mission leader's house for dinner. He is a really nice ward mission leader. His name was Bro. Cosman. They have a family of 10. They had a son who just got back from his mission in California. Then they have another son who's out on a mission right now. I really enjoyed working with Elder Quinton. He seems so focused and hard-working, 

Then on Thursday when me & Elder Allsop worked together, we got to do a family-history booth in the mall for two hours with the Saint John Sisters. It was cool. We had quite a bit of success. There were quite a few people who were interested in their family history. We had this one lady ask us about one of her ancestorsand then we showed her how to look it up. Now she's going to look more into it. It was great. 

So yesterday we started the stop-smoking with Andy (Rhonda's husband). So if he does stop smoking, then he can baptize Rhonda. That would be amazing if he could do that. He has been smoking since he was 11. So it's going to be a little harder for him but I have faith that he can do it. Were going to follow-up with him every day to see how things are going. At church yesterday we had a potluck. The Kennebecasis ward holds a pot-luck right after church every other month. It was really good. They had mainly finger-foods and desserts. 

Last Monday night, while we were at the Downey's, Brother Downey offered me a wool suit. He wore it on his mission. So I tried it on and it fit pretty well so I took it. The pants are a little loose but I'll just have to wear a belt. 

Tell Papa thank you for the birthday card! It got here last Tuesday.

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder O'Brien

Hampton - October 13, 2014



Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your birthday packages! I got them on Saturday night when President Leavitt came to do personal interviews. I'll be sure to make those brownies you send me soon. Most of all thank you for the birthday cards you sent me. Those were really nice of you.

While we were knocking last Monday night we ran into a lady that was a member but hasn't gone to church in 12 years. She was kind enough to let us in. She said that she left the church because of hypocrisy. So we just sat down and explained to her that the doctrine of the church is perfect but the people aren't. We also taught her about the message of the restoration. She said she was going to the Church in Saint John before she left. She also had questions about the Book of Mormon, and the plan of salvation. She seemed pretty receptive but she still has issues about some of the doctrine and the members. Her name was Lorna Graves. She wouldn't give us her number. But she told us to stop by whenever were in the area next. We didn't get chance to stop by this week but we're going to try and see her this week. She lives in Quispamsis and we're only there two days a week which makes it a little hard for us to come and see her.

Later on this week while we were knocking again in Hampton on Thursday, we ran into a man named Dan Reed. He was also a member of the church but hasn't gone too church for 3 to 4 years. He didn't tell us why. He was pretty busy when we ran into him. So we didn't get to talk to him for long. But he did tell us to come by whenever we're in the area next. He was very nice to us about it. At Church yesterday during Ward Council, Bishop Russell said that before he didn't want anything to do with the Church. He said that he wouldn't allow home-teachers to come by before. So the fact that he invited us to come by another time is a huge step.

So this week we ran into two less actives while we were knocking that haven't been to Church in years. I'm starting to think that maybe the Lord wants us to bring these people back. It made me thing of my setting apart as a missionary.

As far as our investigators go, Rhonda Fox is still smoke free. She hasn't smoked in 8 days. So we're feeling pretty good about that. Now we just need to teach some of the commandments and she should be good to go for baptism. But her husband Andy who is a member is smoking sadly. The really sad part is that Rhonda wants her husband to baptize her. But he can't baptize her if he's smoking. We offered to help him stop smoking but he declined. He is a really nice guy. He comes to Church every week and everything. He just has a problem with smoking.  It's funny because every time we go over there they have these cats that like to crawl up on my lap. They seem to be really attracted to me. When we leave their apartment there have been a couple of times where I have been covered with cat hair on my tail-bone and also on my legs. But i'm usually fine . I don't get an allergic reaction at all. Anyway, Andy actually referred us to his sister Cathy Fox who is a less-active but her husband is anon-member and then she has her niece there. They were really nice to us. Her niece is in a wheel-chair actually. So we just kind of introduced ourselves because she was busy with dinner. They told us they want to quit smoking. So that was really encouraging. We did have an appointment with them yesterday but it ended up falling through. But we're going to  reschedule for another time this week.

President Leavitt, in my personal interview with him on Saturday, said "Ya know what, you're exactly obedient aren't you Elder O'Brien?"  He also asked if I was a good student in high school. He said let that continue on into my mission. He also asked if we did companionship inventory and I said no.. we don't :/ He then told me to start doing companionship inventory every Friday during weekly planning. It makes a difference. During the interview I told him that I was working in an office for a year. He asked if I would be comfortable working in the mission office in Dartmouth at some point and I told him I would. So we'll have to see what comes of that. It was a really good interview I had with President. At the end of the interview though when he was getting ready to leave we asked him about the "Meet the Mormons" and he said it's likely that we'll be able to see it once it comes to Canada. 

So this week I'll be spending four days in Saint John from Sunday-Thursday. We're doing exchanges with the Saint John Elders tomorrow and Thursday. Tomorrow I'll be working with Elder Quinton; he's from Magrath and be's been out for about 5 months. On Thursday I'll be working with Elder Allsop; he came out with me. But in case you're wondering we're going back to Hampton tonight for dinner and then Saint John elders are coming up later on to do the swap tonight. So I'll have three companions this week. It should be a good experience. 

Tonight we're having thanksgiving dinner with the Downey's. So that should be good. Brother Downey is the 
second counselor in the bishopric. 

I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for their such loving support for me, I am thankful for the way they've 
raised me, I am thankful for their examples to me, I am thankful for being a missionary, I am thankful for the new area I am serving in.. I am developing a Christ-Like love for the people in my area, I am thankful for the atonement. I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am thankful to be able spent a part of Thanksgiving e-mailing my family, I am thankful for the missionaries in this mission. They've been so supportive and have made me feel comfortable. Elder Jason actually phoned me the other day to see how I was doing.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Elder O'Brien

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hampton - October 6, 2014


Elder Bodine and Elder O'Brien

 Eating apple crisp for his birthday

This last week I had a lot going on. On Wednesday, we had zone training in Fredericton where all of the New Brunswick West Zone met together to discuss goals for this transfer. We were also trained on teaching skills. Our zone leaders (Elder Davidson and Elder Waldie) conducted the meeting. The Sunday before zone training our zone leaders asked our district, the St. John District, to prepare a 5 minute talk on hope and then chose a random member of the district to give their talk. So during Monday and Tuesday I wrote a talk on hope using Preach my Gospel and the scriptures. I felt I was prepared if I was picked on to give my talk. In the morning they trained us on using the how to begin teaching points, and being warm, friendly and  genuine with people as we're  contacting them. They would split us off into role play groups with other missionaries in the zone and then practice these things. So we did that for the morning; then in the afternoon our zone leaders picked a missionary from each district to give their 5 minute talk. I wasn't picked again haha; Elder Quntion from St. John was chosen. But even though I wasn't picked I felt like I learned more about hope. I learned that hope is something that we yearn for, it goes hand in hand with faith, having hope leads to having faith. When we have hope, we have hope for things that are not yet seen. We also went over the goals for the zone this transfer. The focus for this transfer is teaching skills. Like one of the goals is having 12 lessons involving a member each week per companionship. Also, having a 5% increase in sacrament attendance, . At the end of zone training all the missionaries that are going home at the end of this transfer bear their final testimonies.  I enjoyed zone training. It was nice being able to meet together with the missionaries in the zone and discussing goals and the vision for this transfer. During zone training, I got to see Elder Craig.. He's in my zone now. It was cool being able to see him again. I haven't seen him since the MTC. He's training a new missionary right now in Woodstock; his name is Elder Wilson from Lethbridge. I know that if there's anybody that can train a new missionary 6 weeks into the mission field it is him. He truly was a great leader for us in the MTC. 

On Thursday, it was my birthday. After companionship study, Elder Knowles and Elder Willoughby (My zone leader in Halifax) phoned me and sang me happy birthday. So that was really nice of them to remember me and my birthday. Elder Knowles said that one of the investigators we had in Halifax misses me; his name was Matthew. He was Maye Carson's brother. Elder Knowles said that Matthew said "Where's Elder O'Block?" Haha "I miss him; he was just starting to come out of his shell." So I would say that made my birthday knowing that I made an impact on an old investigator in Halifax. Matthew was a funny guy to have at lessons, he would always make funny comments that weren't bad or rude in anyway, they were just funny. He made one comment "Why would I believe that Noah built a boat and put animals in it, I want to pick up this rock and throw it at you." He wasn't talking to us, he was talking about when he talked to a bishop one time cause he used to go to church at one point. Not so much anymore as you could probably assume. He always had a lot of questions and would go on rants about the Word of Wisdom, Joe Smith. He had an accent too. Later on, on Thursday Elder Bodine took me out to dinner at Pizza Delight in Hampton. I had hot wings for dinner and then apple crisp for dessert. So that was really nice of him to do that for me. I appreciated it. He even paid for the dinner as well. 

Last week we did a lot of contacting former investigators. Sadly, we didn't find a lot of success from former investigators that would be interested. Some of the former ones we tried contacting had the wrong address as well so that didn't help our cause either. But I had a cool experience on Saturday. In between conference sessions we went to a candy shack in Hampton. To you know just buy some candy for conference. :P  When we went in we introduced ourselves and said we were just stopping by and then going to a Church Meeting. He said that he's heard of us before and that we're well known in a positive way. He asked how we knew the Church to be true for ourselves. Anyway, he said he wasn't interested but really admires us for sharing our message with him. So that question kind of made me reflect on how did I know this Church to be true. It wasn't by anything dramatic, it was just by going to Church every Sunday and doing all the little things that made me know the Church to be true for myself. It was also cool that even though that we weren't there for that purpose, we still turned into a missionary opportunity. 


On Friday, we stacked wood for three hours for a friend of recent converts in our ward. His name is Bro. Urkhart; he got baptized in May. He is an older man, who we meet with at least once a week because he's a recent convert. So anyway, the friend we helped stack wood was Mary Kay. By the end of it I was pretty exhausted from moving all that wood. But at the end she gave us a dinner and then we talked a little bit about general conference. We told her that she's more than welcome to come. She said that she was raised Catholic but never really went to Church. 


For conference this weekend we went to over to the church for all the sessions. Right before the priesthood session, we had a Ice Cream Social for all the priesthood holders. Then we watched the priesthood session at 9. My favorite conference talk was by Elder Bednar yesterday on why we are so anxious to share the message of the restoration with non-members. While we were trying to contact one of our former investigators, we ran into a lady at a house. We told her that we're  missionaries and that we go around and teach people about Christ. Then she said "I have my own personal savior and redeemer thank you very much." So that talk by Elder Bednar reminded me about that lady. How he talked about if you already have those beliefs then why not test them out and learn about our message. Also, the reason why we want to share our message is because it has helped us in our lives. I really enjoyed the story he shared about the little boy. Another talk I liked was President Uchtdorfs talk in the priesthood session. "Lord.. Is it I?",  the parable of when Christ says "One of you will betray me" to one of his apostles I think. Then everyone asks "Who is it?." They don't think of themselves. They think of others. I liked that because it's easy for us to diagnose others around us imperfections and their faults but that we never think of ourselves as being the one who's imperfect. I also really enjoyed that Swedish Seventy's talk on taking responsibility for our lives. I also really enjoyed the MTC choir for the priesthood session; it made me think back to the MTC and what a wonderful experience that was. There was such power in that gym when we all sang together as missionaries.

I thought it was curious how two or three apostles in a row talked about following the prophet. Made me wonder if something's gonna happen, ya know. The other thing that stood for me in conference was receiving personal revelation in our lives. Another theme was making decisions. There was a a lot of really good talks this weekend. Hopefully next month we get an Ensign so I can study them more. In between conference sessions yesterday, we went over to teach Rhonda Fox. She's on date to be baptized on Nov. 8. She has a problem with smoking but wants to stop so she can be baptized. So yesterday we gave her a stop-smoking program that's  for 7 days. It involves grapefruit juice and cinnamon toothpaste. By the end of it, she's supposed to be smoke-free So we presented that to her and we're  going to  follow-up with her every day to see how things are going. We were actually late for the opening song and prayer of the last session.


So what do you guys think of some seventy's giving their talks in their native language? That was new.


This weekend the Graef's fed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They seem to really like us. The Graef's are like the Nelson's of Stirling. There are a lot of them in the ward. Except there not farmers. They are a really nice family. 

So starting tonight Elder Bodine is the new district leader. Since Elder Edmond is going home on Wedensday.  Things have been better between Elder Bodine and I. He can be a little unfocused at times and kinda rude. But this week I've really gotten to know him and he's a pretty good guy.