Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,
It has been another hot and humid week here in Nova Scotia. Yesterday we found out about transfers and I am being transferred to Woodstock, New Brunswick. It is right by the border to Maine. I will be in the Presque Isle Maine District. From my understanding, I will have to cross the border for church  as it will be in Houlton, Maine every week. I also will be crossing the border for District Meetings as well as they will be in Caribou, Maine. So I will be going back and forth quite a bit in my new area. My new companion will be Elder Evans. He is a younger missionary. He came out in December and has been out for about 7 months now. I have met him a couple days. He was in my district when I was in Kentville. From the couple times I've talked to him he seems like a very nice, humble missionary. With having to cross the border quite a bit in Woodstock, I will be switching back and forth from the Atlantic Time Zone to the Eastern time zone as Maine is on eastern time.  So feel free to like the new area Facebook page I'll be on. It's called "Mormon Missionaries In Houlton and Woodstock"
As well as me being transferred,. Elder McGuire is also being transferred to Grand Falls, Newfoundland and will be a zone leader up there. It took us both by surprise when we saw that both of us are being transferred. I knew I would probably be leaving but I didn't think both of us would be going. It was bittersweet when I found about transfers. I have loved serving in Bridgewater. The ward has been so good to me. It was been an absolute honour serving here. I have made a lot of memories from being stuck in a blizzard to shovelling the Church roof. A lot has been transpired here in the last 5.5 months. I experienced some adversity here. We had a number of investigators drop us at one point. I have had the most success on my mission in Bridgewater. It's also safe to say the area is a lot different from when I found it. Bridgewater was the most beautiful area I've served in so far. A lot of beautiful scenery here along the South Shore in Nova Scotia. The cabin I have lived in has also been the best apartment I've lived in.
Now I find myself in the same position I was in when I left Kentville. Not wanting to leave a area that I have loved and gotten attached too. They say you're supposed to make the area you serve in your home away from home and I have made Bridgewater my home for the past 4 transfers. Now I have to leave home again :/. But just like when I got transferred to Bridgewater, I know I will end up loving Woodstock as well when I leave there. It is getting harder and harder every time I get transferred to say goodbye but I know I have been transferred to Woodstock for a reason and I have received a witness of that. I am looking forward to getting stared there.
I had another very successful week this week. Last Monday Night we picked up another new investigator. He was a potential that hadn't been followed up on. We knocked on his door and let us right in. He recently broke up with his girlfriend and has been having a hard time with it. He has friends that are members and has spoken very highly of us to him. He asked us a lot of good questions about trials and agency. He is a very humble man. But he is open to meeting with us and wants to be friends with us. He actually ended up ordering us pizza when we were there.
We had District Meeting on Wednesday. The focus in this District Meeting was contacting and tying in whatever they say to the Restoration. I was assigned to give the Doctrinal Discussion for District Meeting. The topic was the Liahona and the principles that the Liahona works by and how that ties into planning. Overall, it was a good doctrinal discussion. I learned a lot about the Liahona by reading 1 Nephi 16 and in the topical guide.
After District Meeting I went on an exchange with Elder Sortomme for the next 2 days in Bridgewater. So I got to take the lead in the exchange. It was a good exchange. We went to Lunenberg on Wednesday and actually ran into some members from Florida touring the area. Small world. We went to a Thai restaurant because Johnny works there. The food was pretty good. It's similar to Asian food. I ordered the main dish. But it was really expensive; it cost 20 dollars for the root beer and the dish. Elder Sortomme is a lot like me. He is quirky and has a good sense of humour. He is also very nice. It was a good experience for me being in charge of the area. I did it confidently and with ease.
We got to watch the funeral for President Packer on Friday. I thought President Monson gave a good talk on President Packer. I also liked what his son said about him. President Packer had a big emphasis on the family and was a good teacher of the Plan of Salvation.
On Saturday, we had a ward potluck with a dessert auction for the youth for their trek afterwards. There were a lot of people there. Two of our investigators came as well. So they got to meet some of the members. It was great to see them come out. They seemed to have really enjoyed themselves. During the Dessert Auction, they had a lot of dessert items including cinnamon rolls, peanut butter cupcakes, oreo cheesecake, cookies, etc. Sister Harlow was kind enough to bid on the peanut butter cupcakes and bought them for us. I actually bid 8 dollars (after a couple other bid some money as well) out of my own money for a box of a dozen Tim Horton's doughnuts and got them. So we got a lot of sugar that night and ate some that night. Yesterday morning, I got the side affects of all that sugar. I woke up with a upset stomach and was struggling eating all day yesterday. I didn't much sleep that night either. Now i'm regretting getting those doughnuts. Typical Eric to bid 8 dollars on a box of Tim Hortons doughnuts at a dessert auction right? :P In my defence, it was for a good cause though.
Have a great week! Have fun at Settler Days!
Elder O'Brien

July 6, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

President and Sister Pratt, New Mission President

Hello Family,

It has been a very unique week. From Canada Day to President Boyd K Packer passing away. I was sad to hear about the passing about President Packer on Friday night but I can't say I didn't see that one coming. He was getting up there in age and it was only a matter of time. He has given some wonderful talks about the Plan of Happiness and has given powerful testimonies. My prayers are with him and his family at this time.

It was very interesting meeting President Pratt at zone conference. I can see the difference between coming into the mission with a mission president that has been doing this for two years from a brand new mission president right out of the MTC. President Leavitt had a wealth of experience; you could tell that he's seen it all. With President Pratt, he doesn't have a lot of experience yet and I could tell he is trying to figure things out. President Pratt doesn't have that flair that President Leavitt had. I think it will take him a while before he figures out how he wants to go about doing things. We just need to be patient with him until he settles in and adapts. The Pratt's are very nice, warm, humble, genuine people.I think I am going to enjoy working with them for the next year. I could tell that he cares about me and loves me. He also has a sense of humor but definitely not as outgoing as President Leavitt. The purpose of last week's zone conference was so that President Pratt could meet all the missionaries and we could meet him. At zone conference we basically trained President Pratt on what we're doing right now as a mission so he could get a feel of where we're at. President & Sister Pratt got to introduce themselves to us and give us their background. They told stories of when they were at the MTC where they were walking among st the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their wives every day. A member of the First Presidency was there every day as well. He mentioned one day where all of the First Presidency was there including President Monson. It was very fascinating. The Pratts have four children. They were both born in Utah then moved to Florida. One of their children actually lives in Alberta. Small world :P. They told of us about their mission call. They said that in November, Neil L. Andersen phoned them asking to Skype with them. So they did and Elder Andersen asked them about their family and their finances then at the end he said that they have been recommended to serve as mission president and mission president's wife. Then in March they got a call from President Uchtdorf about their call. So they Skyped him and he told them they have been called to the Canada Halifax Mission. When telling us about that call, they said "It just felt right" when they got their call. One of the missionaries asked them if they've ever shoveled snow before and they said not for 30 years. Then everyone burst out laughing. Then that missionary said well you've come to the right place then. We all got a pretty good laugh about that. Sister Pratt mentioned that President Leavitt had been e-mailing her photos of this last winter we had. At one point she got scared and told President Leavitt to stop sending her pictures. She said she was checking the weather hourly. Sister Pratt is a tennis player and President Pratt is a Florida Gators fan.  So I thought that was pretty cool. At Zone Conference, President Pratt read us the letter from the Quorum of The Twelve and the First Presidency. It was a good zone conference overall. I really enjoyed meeting the Pratt's and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my mission.

So on Sunday we get transfer letters. Transfers will still work the same this transfer. We all get transfer letters on Sunday morning and then transfers will take place on Thursday. As for my situation, I have been in Bridgewater for almost 4 transfers now and I have been with Elder McGuire for almost 2 transfers. It is very rare for a missionary to stay in an area for 5 transfers. I only know of a few missionaries that has happened to. It is also very rare for a missionary to be with a companion for 3 transfers. So the odds are stacked up against me staying in Bridgewater. So I will likely be transferred. One week in and President Pratt already has some tough decisions to make. I am a little worried about him doing the transfers only a week in with just meeting us and having little knowledge about the areas. But I know he will be inspired of the Lord on my behalf. He is now entitled to revelation on what areas I should go to, what companions I should have, etc. In the meantime, I remain focused on my current assignment in Bridgewater and my current companion. I'm not thinking about who my companion will be at Christmas, I've not focused on where I'll be at my birthday. I am focused on the present. Although I would be lying to you if I hadn't thought about where my last area will be and who my  last companion will be. That is completely normal for all missionaries to think about. 

So this week was Canada Day here in Nova Scotia and it was surprisingly really quiet. Something that I'm not used to.  There wasn't a lot of people out on the streets. I didn't notice a lot of bbq's or blaring music. We went to Liverpool that day and it was very barren. It took me by surprise. There was a parade in Downtown Bridgewater but there wasn't that many people there. At the end of the day, I concluded that Eastern Canada doesn't know how to celebrate Canada Day like we do. It was even a hot day and there were still not many people out. We did hear fireworks last night but didn't see them. Western Canada knows how to do Canada Day right :). We went to the Ripple's for Canada Day and they had bbq smokies and burgers with corn on the cob. It was really good. 

We went to a funeral on Tuesday. She died of old age. It was a good funeral. We got to sing in the choir and sing "O My Father." One speaker that was supposed to speak didn't end up coming though. So that was a little awkward. 
On Saturday we had a long day. We spent the day in Lunenberg and ended up talking to 130 people by the end of the day. Although we only got one potential investigator from those 130 people. The rest of them were tourists from all over including Halifax, the States, and foreign countries. They were all pretty hard rejections. Not many people were nice to us that day. So we had a lot of contacts and worked hard that day. But they weren't quality contacts. Lunenberg is a very touristy area in the summer.

On Sunday we felt the after affects of Saturday. I was so tired yesterday morning. Throughout the day I found myself physically exhausted. It was a hot and humid day so that didn't help. The lake looked awful tempting to jump in yesterday I'm telling you. It was so  hot yesterday. But we had a great day still. 2 of our investigators and 2 of our less actives was at Church. It was so good to see them at Church again. It was one of the highlights of the day. One investigator was taking notes during Sunday School. We found out later on in the day that she told Sister Harlow that she wants to be baptized and she wants to me to be the one to baptize her. The reason being is because I was the one that found her in the beginning with Elder Nielsen. She didn't to have a lot of potential then but now she does. I was very humbled when Sister Harlow told me that. We were both thrilled in general that she wants to be baptized . Although we haven't set a date yet but will next time we meet with them. To top it all of we got 2 new investigators last night- a younger couple who were former investigators. We received a lot of blessings yesterday. The Lord was blessing us for all the hard work we did on Saturday.

Have a great week! Safe travels back home! Wish me luck with transfer letters on Sunday!


Elder OBrien

June 29, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,

A year ago yesterday I got endowed in the Cardston Temple. I am grateful for the temple and the sacred ordinances that we make in the temple such as being sealed for time and all eternity, endowment, baptisms for the dead, and confirmations. I am glad that Chris got to go to the temple on Friday on a day where we needed to feel peace. On a somber Monday morning, I write you my last letter under President Leavitt's stewardship. It has been a very interesting week. You are in for a special treat today. This will be one of the most heart-felt letters I will have ever written to you. In this letter I will talk about two main things - 1. The Plan of Happiness and 2. President Leavitt.

While we were in Liverpool on Friday, a less-active told us something very alarming. He told us that gay marriage is now legal everywhere in the United States. We were hoping he was wrong. But when we went on that night we saw the statement the Church had made. I would have loved to not hear about that but I'm afraid there was no escaping something that big and significant. We saw a number of rainbow flags that day. We made the connection after we found out about the ruling.

One of my favorite hymns is "Master The Temptest is Raging." I will quote some of the verses. "Master the temptest is raging, the billows are tossing high, ... the winds and waves shall obey thy will, peace be still, peace be still." That relates to the temptest we are now facing. The Lord can command the temptest to obey his will. Peace be still. The Lord is in charge and can calm any storm we face. 

It is interesting how in this last general conference they spoke a lot about families. Bonnie L. Oscarson gave a talk in the women's session on being defenders of the family. In her talk she shared a story of a young girl who stood up for her beliefs. There was a mob of people outside some missionaries' apartment. Yelling at them to get out so they could torture the missionaries. This young girl came out and commanded them to depart with conviction and authority. They then departed. She said if it wasn't for the Lord she couldn't have done that by herself. Bonnie L. Oscarson then talks about how not all of us will have to stood up for our beliefs like this young girl did. But we all need to defend our beliefs and doctrines. She then talks about how some of our most cherished and sacred doctrine is being attacked. Particularly marriage. Now she's talking to women but I think this applies to everyone. She talks about how as disciples of Jesus Christ we need to raise our voices in proclaiming the truth and defending our beliefs.

At the same general conference, Elder L. Tom Perry talks about Why Marriage and Family Matter. "We also believe that strong traditional families are not only the basic units of a stable society, a stable economy, and a stable culture of values—but that they are also the basic units of eternity and of the kingdom and government of God." The family is key to a stable economy and society. He also talks about how marriage is between "One man and one women" This is part of the plan of happiness.

Elder Christoffersen also gave a talk on family. "A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive." He talks about the first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve was to multiply and replenish the earth. One thing that stuck out to me was that Heavenly Father created us from the beginning and has a divine plan and destiny for each of us. 

Elder Robert D. Hales talked about religious freedom. "As disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to work together with like-minded believers, to raise our voices for what is right." Something that stuck out to me was that we need to stand up for our beliefs together in unity.

In the Family A Proclamation to the world. It says "WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."

So that's basically saying we're telling you if you don't make this a point then the your going to have bad things happen and it's not going to be good.

I testify to all who will read this that marriage is between a man and a women. We were created in God's image. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. One of the recitations we recite in companion study is the Standard of Truth. "The Standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." No group of people, no individual can touch this Church... ever! They will try and fail every time. The Lord is at the head of this Church. 

For the past 11 months, I have had the honor and blessing of having President Leavitt as my mission president. He has been like a Father to me and means everything to me. He has cared for me like I was his son from the beginning. He knows me better than I know myself. He has taught me many things. He taught me how to love others. He taught that everyone matters.  He has taught key principles that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. He has had a big emphasis on follow-up. One of my favorite quotes from him is "Worry is a prayer to the wrong God." He was also big on asking ourselves "What did we learn, What did we feel, What are we going to do about it." He always had a big sense of humor. My favorite memory of him was when I was at Christmas Zone Conference and he took me, Elder Dupin, and Elder Willougby out to Subway. While at Subway he came right up to me and asked me how I was doing with my panic attacks. It was at that point I knew he really cared about me. I had my last interview with President Leavitt on Thursday. It was very simple and to the point. He said "it's been a privilege to have you in the mission and I wish you nothing but the best with the rest of your mission." He has played a profound impact in my life and I will truly miss him. 

My week was good. I went on an exchange with Elder McNabb in Kentville on Wednesday and it was bittersweet. Kentville is a lot different from when I left it. I got to see the Drennan's again. It was a nice reunion. They seemed happy to see me again. We picked up two new investigators on Saturday. We knocked into them and they let us right in. They are an older couple. They grew up Baptist. They had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon, prayer, and baptism. Another investigator was at Church yesterday and seemed to have really enjoyed it. She is showing sincere interest right now and is progressing really well.

Hope you have a good week! Happy Canada Day!

God be with you till we meet again, President Leavitt!


Elder O'Brien

Thursday, July 9, 2015

June 22, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Bridgewater Missionaries
Hello Family,
Yesterday marked the official first day of summer. But it wasn't a good way to start off the summer as it rained all day yesterday. If yesterday is any indication of how summer will be, I'm in for a long summer. But luckily it wasn't like that all week. There were days where it was hot and really humid. I have been feeling really tired lately. I think that is because I haven't been eating very healthy lately. I have been eating a lot of junk food and sugar. I have made it a personal goal of mine to eat more healthy this week. Hopefully that will give me more energy. I have been feeling very anxious and on edge lately with most of the anxiety going towards the new mission president. 
So a week from now the Pratts will be there. President Leavitt leaves next Tuesday morning. We found out this week that we will have an extra zone conference in order for President Pratt to meet all of us. So zone conference for me will be on July 2nd. I have been doing fairly well with it. Mostly mornings and nights are hard for me. So mainly when I have down time is when I have a hard time thinking about it. I thought about asking you to do a special fast for me this week. Luckily, I don't have much time to think about it this week. We have a dinner appointment every day of the week this week except for today. So that is kind of exciting. I also get to go to Kentville for an exchange on Wednesday with Elder McNabb. I am really excited about that. I have been getting better at being optimistic of President Pratt. I am sure when all is said and done I'll have just as hard time saying goodbye to President Pratt as I am with President Leavitt and I will love him just as much. I just need to tell myself that everyday "I am excited to work with President Pratt. I will love him and learn a lot from him."
Wednesday, at District Meeting we talked about bringing members to lesson and evaluating and repracticing during role plays. I have gained a better appreciation for role plays on my mission. At first I didn't like them. But now I understand why it's important to have them. 

Friday we went to Chester in the afternoon and visited a less active and tracted. The less active is stuck right now and is struggling. He has been discouraged by his efforts to come to Church. He talks about how he wants to come to Church every time we visit with him but doesn't come. It is disappointing to me. So we're just continuing to encourage him and praying for him. That night, Sister Hughes asked us to give her a blessing. She had her wisdom teeth pulled on Saturday. Before her mission she couldn't have them pulled because they were so low at the time they couldn't take them not. So the consequence was she had to get them pulled on her mission. She asked me to give her that blessing so I did and it was humbling experience.
Sunday, we had Church in the morning. Then it rained all day as mentioned before so we spent the afternoon making calls and talking to people on Facebook. After dinner, we visited a former investigator. He actually let us right in and fed us supper. He is a free mason and is a professional cook. He is a really nice guy. We ended up picking him up as a new investigator! It was awesome. He wants to learn more about our religion and enjoys us visiting him. It was the highlight of our day. Sadly he is going away for 2 weeks. But he said to message him on Facebook and set something up with him then.
Have a great week!
Elder O'Brien

June 15, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

It has been a beautiful week here in Nova Scotia. The sun has been out all week and it has been hot and humid. For most of the week, I wore a short-sleeved T-Shirt. It is a glorious time to be a missionary. It is summer. At zone conference on Wenesday, President Leavitt was talking about the winters and maritimers. He jokingly said "I've been living here for 3 years and they say it's the worst winter they've ever had every winter." So that is a bit disconcerting. At Church yesterday, Sister Caulfield came up to me and said that my dentist wants to know how I'm doing and that Kylie is coming to my mission; she also said that he wanted to remind me to "Brush my teeth." Sister Caulfield and Doctor Heggie are related. So next time you see Dr. Heggie you can tell him that I got his message and I'm doing great and brushing my teeth every night :). 

With President Leavitt now going home in 2 weeks, it is beginning to sink in and it has been taking it's emotional toll on me. It's interesting how President Leavitt is still doing business as usual despite going home soon. You could hardly tell that he is going home in 2 weeks. I have been thinking a lot about my impressions and thoughts from Zone Conference lately. It was a very spiritual zone conference. I almost cried at the end.

While we were out in sun on Tuesday, Elder McGuire got a bug bite that started out small but kept growing. We had to go to a lesson at the time. So on the way there he was holding his finger. Trying to get to feel better. So we got to the lesson and he ignored it during the lesson. The brother really opened up to us about why he hasn't been going to Church. He said he has been going in circles and isn't happy. He wants to come back because the guilt of breaking one of the standards has been getting to him and he wants to repent. Elder McGuire was in a hurry that lesson so it lasted for only 30 minutes. After we got out of the lesson Elder M called Sister Leavitt and she told him to get some Reactane from the drug store. So he did and he took a pill and it got a lot better.

Wednesday was Zone Conference in Dartmouth. We car pooled with the Sisters there and back. When we got there, there was a line to greet President and Sister Leavitt. When it came to my turn, President Leavitt shook my hand and gave me a big hug. Then he asked how long I've been out; I told him 10 months. Then he responded you're halfway there; your going to make it now! Then he asked me how long I've been in Bridgewater so I told him it'll be 4 transfers by the end of this one. Then he responded, "Usually missionaries stay in our area for up to 4-5 transfers. I've talked to the new mission president and I don't make any suggestions on what I think he should do. So just keep doing what you're doing and you'll be fine, don't worry about it. Know that he'll be guided by the Lord." It was almost as if he knew I was nervous about the new mission president. I haven't even said anything to him about that. It shows you how in tune he is with the spirit. So after everyone was done greeting President and Sister Leavitt, Zone Conference began. During lunch President made us finish our questionnaire with the Pratts. Then we did a group picture and video of our zone to send to them. In the afternoon, the Assistants gave a training on teaching for understanding and then we roleplayed. It was a good exercise. I learned that I need to teach more simply. After that training we all went into the chapel for final testimonies from the missionaries going home and of course President and Sister Leavitt's final address.  
In Sister Leavitt's testimony she talked: 1. Never take your garments off,  2. Love your scriptures, 3. Be good to yourself. The part that stuck to me when she was talking about being good to ourselves. Too often I think I get too down on myself than I need to. She said that we all should pat ourselves on the back and we shouldn't get discouraged for our efforts. We're doing a better job than we think we are. 
In President Leavitt's talk, he talked about how the power is in us to become what we want to become. We are in charge of the happiness on our missions. He shared a story of him and his brother owning their company. He talked about how it was stressful and hard. They were joking back and forth saying "you take the company I can't handle this." But then he realized that he can handle it and endured through it. He talked about D & C 58. Being compelled and accepting it with a doubtful heart. He also talked about how it says we shall do many things out of our own free will. Each one of us chose to be on a mission. The power is in us to accomplish our mission and get through hard times. My favorite quote was "We have the power to become what we want to become." His talk really touched me. He kept on looking at me when he was giving that talk too. I got the impression I have the power in me to get through my mission and everything that happens. I have the power to make it through this transfer and to get through trying companions. It was a really spiritual moment for me.

Have a great week!

Elder O'Brien

June 8, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,
It has been an interesting week. It rained for 60% of the week and on the days that it did rain, it rained hard and was very difficult to work in. But we did get some sun and got some on my face as well. I think I may need to buy some sunscreen today.
It was a bit of a rough week for me personally as I have been down on myself lately because I don't feel like I have been living up to my full potential. Yesterday I fasted for my temporal and spiritual welfare and strength to help to get me through the next 6 weeks. It will be an emotional roller-coaster for me. As you know, I am a very emotional person and I have grown quite close to President Leavitt. It will be hard on me saying goodbye to him. I have been praying for emotional strength to help me through it. 

And so it begins.. President Leavitt's final transfer. 3 weeks now until he goes home.This will be the most significant transfer of my mission so far. One that sees my current mission president go home and a new one come in. This week is zone conference. My final zone conference with President & Sister Leavitt will be on Wednesday in Dartmouth. It will be a combined zone conference with both zones in Nova Scotia attending. It could be a very emotional zone conference. All the missionaries in the zone have been asked to prepare a 5 minute talk on the Book of Mormon. I have a feeling that they might pick me so I am on my toes.
Wednesday, it rained again but not as bad. In the morning we had a mini-district meeting and went over the trainings from the transfer. Then we went to a cooking class at Superstore. It was a referral from the Nillison's. The same group of people go every week and they thought it would be a good way to talk to people. There was a chef that demonstrated how to cook sweet potatoes and then cooked it for us for us to eat. He also showed us how to make apple pie taco, then he made us some and we ate it. It was interesting. We spent the afternoon in Luneberg and ran into this one guy who was Presbyterian and invited us in. He really admires what we do and has a great deal of respect for our faith. 

Thursday, the sun was out and there was no rain. We had a transfer plan for the upcoming transfer. We went over the less actives. members, part-members that we want to work with. We also planned on where we want to tract in all our areas and we had also planned how much time we want to do doing family history. We were very thorough with it. That night the sisters were coming and they actually ended up getting lost and didn't end up getting to Bridgewater till 11 at night. We had their keys so we had to stay up and wait for them to get here. That's the latest I've stayed up on my mission. It was a very eventful evening. So we gave them their keys and then crushed that night. The new missionary from the MTC is Sister Killback. She is from Idaho. Her and Sister Hughes are both really kind sisters. Sister Killback seemed so innocent though. It reminded me of when I first came out. I didn't know what I was doing and was lost.
Saturday, it rained all day again. We spent the morning doing phone calls. Then we went to Liverpool and thought we could do some stop-by visits. While we were in Liverpool, the GPS took us on a dirt road that was very rocky and rough. We were on this road for about 30 mins before we decided to go back and take another road. The car took quite a beating. It was quite the experience. 

Elder O'Brien

June 1, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

It has been a pretty steady week for us. It has been raining pretty hard for the past two days with more rain coming tomorrow. But on Friday, it was really hot. I wore a short-sleeved white shirt that day and on Saturday as well. It was pretty hot outside before all the rain came. I had a bit of a rough day on Friday as I had a hard time knowing I couldn't be there to support my brother and all his hard work. My thoughts kept on drifting towards home and I just wasn't very focused on missionary work but I did get through it and was able to re-focus on Saturday. Anyway, so we found out about transfers yesterday and I will be staying in Bridgewater for another 6 weeks with Elder McGuire. But Elder McGuire will be a district leader this upcoming transfer. Throughout the week, I was getting the impression from the spirit that I was staying and I also felt the Lord telling me that he has more for me to accomplish here. So I know this was inspired of the Lord and that he still needs me here in Bridgewater. There's going to be sisters back in Bridgewater. Sister Hughes and a new missionary from the MTC will be coming to Bridgewater on Thursday. Sister Hughes has been out for a while and goes home in August. I've never met her so I don't really know much about her.

I was sad to learn of the passing of Elder Perry on Saturday night. It's interesting because on that morning, we were reading a article on saying that he had thyroid cancer. Elder McGuire said he thinks he's going to die soon. Lo and behold he was right as he passed away that night. Elder Perry has been a valiant and dedicated apostle of the Lord. He has done so much to build the kingdom of God here on the earth. My prayers are with his family and his loved ones. The question is who will fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve now. So will they call a new apostle right away or will they wait till next conference? I had assumed they would do that right away but some of the members here said they sometimes wait till next conference to do that.

So I got a e-mail from Jeff Nelson from what seemed like right after Kylie opened her mission call. saying that she is coming to my mission in August. This didn't surprise me when I found out. When Jeff first told me that Kylie was going on a mission, I had a feeling she was coming here. So I saw that one coming. She will be a great addition to the mission and I'm sure she will love it here in the Maritimes. That would be pretty cool though if we served in the same area at one point. That tends to happen in this mission with so many missionaries from Alberta. Take Elder Willougby and Elder Evanson for example. Hopefully we don't make each other homesick when we see each other though. But when it comes down to it, I just have to think of her as a regular sister missionary disregarding that I went to school with her and know her personally. I am looking forward to representing Stirling with her.

Wednesday, I was assigned to give the doctrinal discussion for District Meeting. So I stayed up a while the night before getting it ready. I did it on the fundamentals of the Book of Mormon. With the big emphasis on the Book of Mormon lately, I found it to be highly appropriate to give a doctrinal discussion on. It went pretty well. I thought I could have asked more questions and gave more references but that's okay. :)

Friday was a really hot day. We weekly planned in the morning. Then we went tracting in the afternoon with no such luck. We talked to a lot of people but none of them were interested. After dinner, we attended ARP. They were on Step 12 of the program - Service. It was neat attending that. ARP isn't just for people who have addictions. It's for everyone who has weaknesses and challenges that they want to overcome.

Saturday, We visited  a brother and taught him about Family History work. The missionaries in the past never taught him about it so we thought we would. We're trying to get him to go to the temple. Later we attended a baptism. It was a bit of a gong show given the fact that no one had filled the font before the baptism. So we had to turn on the font and wait for half an hour :P.

Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien

May 25, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,
It has been a good week. For most of the week the weather was really nice. I even got some sun and felt a little sun burnt on Thursday. Lately, I have had this inside craving to mow someone's lawn. I don't why, but I really want to mow someone's lawn. Looking back, it was one of my favorite summer activities and now I miss mowing our lawn. So I'm hoping that we can help mow someone's lawn soon. As weird as that may sound. I think it's just about time to pull out those short-sleeved shirts. I haven't worn those since the end of August of last year.

 But anyway, transfers are next week. We find out about transfers this Sunday. This will be the last time President Leavitt does the transfers. It's going to be interesting because the new mission president comes in two weeks before the next transfer ends. So it'll be interesting to see how that will work. This is just me speculating but I think there's going to be a lot of big changes made so the new mission president won't have make that many changes. He'll say to himself "Uhh.. I've only been here for 2 weeks and now I have to make all these decisions on missionaries I just met and areas I don't know much about." Another interesting thing will be how he'll do transfers because I know that in some missions they don't tell you until the day before and they only call you when you're being transferred. In this mission, we find out no matter what and we're given 4 days notice and we find out all the transfers in a letter in the mission portal Sunday morning. As far as transfers go, I am very open to the idea of being transferred this time around. I have been in Bridgewater for about four and half months now. With that being said, I would be happy to stay here for another 6 weeks if that is the case. It's a good ward with a lot going on right now. So I am more than happy to be transferred or staying if need be. I am neutral. With 7 sisters coming in, I think sisters will be coming back to Bridgewater next week. 

As for my week we did a lot of tracting. 336 contacts and 20 hours of finding to be exact. We worked really hard to find a new investigator but with no luck. We ran into a lot of interesting people this week.

Tuesday, we ran into these two girls who told us they were having a highly inappropriate conversation before we stopped them. They said they talk about religion when they're not talking about something inappropriate. It was very uncomfortable to say the least. After that we went home-teaching with President Wentzell. We visited Norma Wentzell and Johnny Li. 

Wednesday, we had District Meeting in Sackville again this week. The zone leaders were in attendance, Elders Funa & Elder McNabb. They gave a training on weekly planning using a 10-day planner and coloring in time slots with certain categories such as meals, meetings, family history, and planning time. By then end of it, we found out we have 20 plus hours a week to find. I was amazed. After District Meeting we went to Lunenberg and went on a big contact run. We ended up talking to 75 people while we were there. We ran into a Presbyterian minister that really appreciated what we do. He was a nice man. He has been a minister for 30 years and is deeply rooted in that. 
Thursday, while we were out street contacting we ran into this one middle-aged karate man who came up to us and shook our hand and said "Are you Mormons?" So we said, "Yes" and then he began walking away. He turned back around and said "Where are all the Mormons in Nova Scotia?" and we're like, "Uhh.. probably working maybe, why?" Then he's like "Exactly my point." His comment made no sense to us. We visited an investigator after that. She hasn't been praying lately and isn't making much progress. We told her the answer to her question "Why do people judge?" so we told her and it made sense to her. 

Friday, we taught a man about the Atonement. He asked us if we can be forgiven of our sins if we keep doing them. If we truly feel like we've repented yet we commit the same sin again, what do we do? It was a good question. We answered it by saying none of us are perfect (Either 12:27). As long as we are making a consistent effort by praying to God and reading our scriptures, he will help us. It was a very spiritual lesson. Then we had a very awkward dinner appointment. We walked in and it was just the husband at the time. So he invited us to sit down on the couch. So we talked to him for about half an hour just having a casual conversation. Then he asks us "So were you just driving by?" and we're thinking to ourselves "Uhh.. no you signed us up for dinner today" So we told him that and he was surprised and said he completely forgot. So he offered us these protein shakes. So his wife got home after a little bit and she felt very embarrassed. We ended up having tacos as it was the quickest thing she could make. 
Saturday evening we met with a young investigator. We taught her about the Holy Ghost. She still hasn't asked her parents about baptism; she said she's come close but hasn't yet. So we gave her a blessing to help her have the courage to talk to her parents. 

Have a great week! Happy Graduation Chris!
Elder O'Brien