Thursday, July 9, 2015

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

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