Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 18, 2016 - The Winter Struggle - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

This week has been an uneventful week. But we did get more snow. On Tuesday night we got 20 cm of snow. We were stuck in our apartment the next morning until Brother Hirtle plowed us out. We were supposed to be going to district meeting in Sackville that day but because we were snowed in we Skyped in instead. All of the meetings at the Church were cancelled Wednesday evening because members were still getting shoveled out. On Saturday it was snowing hard. We had planned to go to Liverpool that afternoon and we did. After only being there for two hours, President Pratt called all the missionaries back in lieu of the snow storm. So we turned around and headed back to Bridgewater at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon; then we were in our apartment for the rest of the night. The sad thing was that we were supposed to be having rabbit in Liverpool on Saturday. I was really looking forward to that too. Because of the snow that was accumulated on Saturday, Church got postponed to 2 o'clock in the afternoon and it was just sacrament meeting. Not a lot of people showed up.

Chris and I will be watching a worldwide missionary broadcast on Wednesday. The missionary executive council and the Presidency of the Seventy will be training the missionaries and the mission presidents. The broadcast is entitled "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." They will be talking to us about the process of repentance that leads to baptism. It should be really good. This is the first worldwide missionary broadcast that I've had on my mission so I assume it's pretty important. Be sure to follow up with us about next week.

On Tuesday, I went on splits with Austin Fraser while Elder Evans and Elder Quinton went knocking. We taught some investigators the plan of salvation. We didn't have a lot of time so we weren't able to go into detail with every point. I just did a brief overview. The lesson went pretty well, I was able to control the conversation and keep Austin involved. They were asking some tough questions like "At what point does the spirit enter the body?", "Why couldn't have there been more then one pair of Adam and Eve's?", "What are the specifics of where we came from?" I didn't have answers to all these questions but I did say that nowhere in scripture does it say the exact details of where we came from.

Have a good week! 

Elder O'Brien (the older)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 25, 2016 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,

It has been another week. This week the temperature has been consistently cold with temperatures being above -10 on certain days. But we did have a full Church service yesterday with no setbacks although we did get 4 inches of snow Saturday night. That prevented all of the Liverpool members from coming to Church because the roads didn't get plowed in time. That was the case for most of the members that lived outside of Bridgewater. We were small in number for Church. 

It was Austin Fraser's (The bishop's son) mission farewell yesterday. He will be going to the Congo Mission. He flies to the Ghana MTC Thursday morning. In his farewell talk, he spoke of the challenges he faced when he was trying to get his visa for the Congo. He said he was on the phone constantly with Salt Lake and with the government, He said he had a hard time speaking with the Tongan lady from the government. He spoke of how he felt stressed and anxious throughout the process. He related that to Satan and how he tried to stop him from serving a mission. He also talked about how his mission will be hard and there will be times where he will want to give up. He talked about how in those moments he will need to rely on the Savior the most. It was a good farewell talk overall. It was different going to a farewell from a missionary's perspective. Because I know what he will be going through and the things he will experience. I know the things he will experience already because I've experienced them. We also went to his open house on Saturday night at the Church. There was a good amount of people there. There was some nice food and good fellowship. It took me back to my farewell. It feels like that was just 2 weeks ago. 

We got two potential investigators this week. One was on Monday night. While Elder Quinton and Brother Whiting were teaching, me & Elder Evans went knocking. We knocked into a old couple that let us right in. We taught them a 20 minute Restoration and left them with a Book of Mormon and our number. She seemed more interested then he did. She was asking lots of questions about what we do and about the Book of Mormon.

The other potential was in Chester. It was a young mother and her family. We were knocking and they let us right in. We explained to her our basic beliefs. She was very busy so we didn't have a lot of time to talk to her. But she invited us back at another time when she's not busy. We grabbed her name and number from her. 

On Wednesday we watched the Worldwide Missionary Training over the internet in Sackville as a District. Elder Andersen, Elder Bednar, Elder Oaks, Sister Oscarson, L. Whitney Clayton, and Elder Nielsen all spoke. I took a lot of notes so I'll just summarize what they said. Elder Andersen spoke of the doctrine of Christ and how as missionaries we need to have Jesus Christ's name on our lips all the time and how we need to be ready to testify of him at all times. Elder Bednar spoke of the Role of the Holy Ghost. He spoke of how we need to be worthy vessels of the Holy Ghost to work through us. He said if we're disobedient the Holy Ghost can't work through us. He said our job is to bring the spirit unto the heart of the investigator not into. Elder Oaks spoke of our callings as missionaries and how this is the most important work we'll ever do. He also spoke of our divine opportunity to be missionaries. L. Whitney Clayton spoke of finding thorough less actives and part-members. He said that we need to treat less actives and part-members as investigators by teaching them the missionary lessons and rekindling their faith. Sister Oscarson spoke on Teaching People, Not lessons. Elder Nielson spoke of working with members to build up the kingdom of God. The main thing that stuck out to me was I need to testify of Jesus Christ more and talk to everyone. I also want to be more discerning in lessons. Those are all my notes. Hopefully Chris can fill in all the gaps I missed with that iPad of his.

After the training we traveled back to Bridgewater and had fish & chips with the Harlows. They were the best fish & chips I've ever had my whole mission. It was the first time I've had sea food in a while. They were so good. I'm converted to fish & chips now. After the dinner appointment we went knocking before Ward Council. While we were knocking, me and my companions were wrestling around the snow. Elder Evans ended up having a rip down the middle of the back of his pants. Haha! It was so funny. Luckily his coat was long enough to cover the rip; he just had to sit down and walk around very carefully. I remember hearing a similar story from Dad on his mission. 

On Friday, we went to Mahone Bay. In Mahone Bay we talked to a "Evangelical Atheist." I know. It doesn't seem quite right to us either but he told us we were crazy and that we're a joke. A lot of people were rude to us that day actually. It was a hard day. 

On Sunday, we got told that we were teaching Sunday School with 3 minutes notice. We taught the Sunday School class with 12 youth from ages 8-16. Instead of teaching a lesson we did Q & A session with the youth. They mostly asked us silly questions about our missions like "Why aren't you allowed to do this, Why aren't you allowed to do that." But they did some good questions like "My brother talks about how he had the spirit with him all the time on his mission but when he got home he still had it with him but not as much as he did on his mission, why is that?". We answered with when you're on a mission you are on the front-line of an army; when you're off a mission you're not on the front-line. He had the spirit with him when he needed it for 2 years straight. When you're home you don't need it as much but you can still have it. The same youth asked the question "If you're in a bad place can the Holy Ghost tell you to leave even though you're in a bad environment?" It is a good question and the answer is yes. If you are being worthy of the Holy Ghost then you are able to receive promptings even in a inappropriate circumstance. There were some other good questions asked by the youth. I was impressed with the quality of the youth in the ward. The youth here are stalwarts. There is no cliques with them. They are all a big group of friends. Most of them said they want to serve missions. 

There is a sad side to the week. Over the last month 3 Elders have gone home early for medical reasons. This week a Sister Missionary that I served with in Houlton had to go home early as well. It made me really sad when I found that out. This Sister was a really good missionary and I had a great time serving with her. It is hard when you see missionaries you served around and that you've served with go home early for medical issues. It just breaks my heart to see these missionaries who have a strong desire to serve the Lord and are dedicated have their missions cut short because of things they can't control. My heart goes out to them.

Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the older)

January 11, 2016 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,

This week has been much better last week. We finally got a car again on Wednesday. Sister Pratt was kind enough to give us her car. So now we can drive again and we are back on track with the work. But it came at a price. Because of the accident I have been banned from driving for the rest of my mission. This week we learned that the second counselor in our mission presidency has been called to serve as the mission president in Edmonton beginning July 1, 2016. His name is President Pattison. He is from Hampton. I got to have dinner at his house every week when I was there. The way he carries himself is very business-like. He is similar to President Leavitt in that regard. He has a lot of the same ideas and perspectives as President Leavitt did. He loves missionaries. He has a good sense of humor. He cares a lot about people. He`s outgoing and passionate about the gospel. He'll be a good mission president for the Edmonton Mission. And who knows maybe sometime when I go to Edmonton, I`ll stop by and say hi.

Lately my companions and I have been doing a new knocking approach; the missionary who`s not knocking says a keyword right before the person opens the door and then the missionary knocking has to incorporate that keyword into the contact. If they don`t incorporate the keyword into the contact, then they lose. So on Monday we were knocking in a trailer park in Wileville and we did this new approach. It was my turn to knock so I knocked and then the person begins to open the door. 

Elder Quinton: Steps.
Me: Hi, how are you doing today?
Lady at the door: Good.
Me: Well yeah my friends and I are actually missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Lady at the door: I have my own religion actually sorry. 
Me: Oh okay well before you go I like your steps; they're nice and easy to walk on.

Elder Evans and Elder Quinton burst out laughing after she closed the door. They got a pretty good laugh about that for a while. I was desperate to get that word in and she was about to close the door so at the last second I blurted out something about steps. We have had other funny experiences like that as we've done this new approach. This new approach has made knocking sessions more exciting and its made our contacts a whole lot better.

Wednesday: We had zone training in Kentville. The training in the morning was from the Sackville Sister Training Leaders. They gave a training on Spiritual Self Reliance. For the training they had us each answer these 3 questions: Has there been a time on my mission when I have seen myself or another missionary show spiritual self reliance? Have there been times on my mission when I needed spiritual self reliance but couldn't provide it for myself? What has the atonement done for me? The training concluded with the STLs sharing with us how in those times we feel weak spiritually or unmotivated in our missionary work to Remember, Remember. Remember those spiritual experiences you've had in your life and draw strength from them. It was a very powerful training. I felt the spirit very strongly. I almost began crying has I pondered the last question.

Thursday: We picked up a new investigator. He is a former that I taught when I was here last time. He is 18 years old. He is Christian. He has very similar beliefs to ours. His whole family has met with missionaries before. We feel like he has a lot of potential.

Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the older)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 4, 2016 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

It has been a long stressful week. We do not currently have a car anymore and I am the reason why. Let's just say our car made very good friends with a telephone pole this week. On Tuesday it was beginning to snow in the morning but it wasn't that bad. In the afternoon it was starting to snow a little more but still good enough to go to Lunenberg. So we went to Luneneberg and we tried to go street contacting but no one was out so we stopped by a former investigator. We knocked on her door and she let us right in. We ended doing some How To Begin Teaching. She said she would ask her husband if it would be okay if we met with them and then get back to us in 2 weeks. After the lesson the snow is really starting to come down so we decided to head back to Bridgewater. So we proceeded to do so. The road back to Brigewater is very windy and curvy. It's scary enough as it is let alone when it's snowing hard. I came up on a tough turn and skidded a bit before having control of the car again. But then I came up on a another sharp turn and I skidded again. Only this time I didn't regain control of the car. As we were approaching the turn I heard at the last minute "slow down." By then it was too late. In the blink of an eye we skidded off the road into the ditch and hit a telephone pole. We called the vehicle coordinator and he told us to call a tow truck. So we did and we waited on the phone for about 10 minutes. In the meantime lots of people kept pulling over and asking us if we were okay. We finally got hold of the tow truck but then waited for another 10 minutes for it to get there. It got there and it towed our car out of the ditch and then the sisters dropped everything they were doing to come pick us up. And now we have no car. 

The good news is no one got hurt. The bad news is we have no car now and we don`t know when we will get a new one. My driving privileges have also been revoked on my mission. So we have been traveling by foot since Tuesday and we have had the Sisters pick us up and drive us places. It has all added up to be a inconvenience for everybody involved. Our area is very spread out and without a car it's hard to get as much work done. It has been a hindrance on the work. I have felt very upset with myself for going too fast in a snowstorm on icy roads. I know better than to be going that fast in winter. I have been taking it really hard. I'm doing the Lord's work out here,  So yeah it's been a rough week for me.

On Thursday, it was transfer day. For transfers we woke up early in the morning and dropped off Elder Darche at the mission office. Then we got a temporary car for the day. Me and Elder Quinton got put with guess who for the day. We got paired with Triston Barr. It was a little weird being with him at first. I'm so used to Stirling Triston, not missionary Triston. It took some getting used to. We went knocking with him in Cole Harbour. On the very first door he knocked on, the person opened the door.
Elder Barr: Hi how are you.
Person: Good, you.
Elder Barr: Good my name is Elder Barr and this is Elder Quinton and Elder Eric. I mean Elder O'Brien. We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Do you have a few minutes that we could share a message with you.

He did pretty good except when he called me by my first name. But that's understandable :P  That's all he's ever known me as. But he did a pretty job for his first day. His flight did not get in until 5 in the morning  so he was really tired. He seemed more mature than my last memory of him. So I got to catch up with him about Stirling and about you guys and Chris. It was nice. I hope I made a good impact on him for his first day out in the mission field. 

After transfers were over, we picked up Elder Evans and drove back to Bridgewater. Then for New Years Eve we went to a Progressive Dinner where we went from house to house and had appetizers at one house, dinner at another house, dessert at the last house. It was fun. So that is how we celebrated New Year's Eve :).

On Friday, the Sisters drove us to Halifax for a WebEx meeting. It was a mission-wide training from the Assistants. They showed us a new retention sheet online and they went through every detail on how to fill it out. After the meeting all the metro missionaries had a pizza party. By the time it was over, it was 9 o'clock at night. So we drove back with the Sisters and when we got home it was 10:30.

On Saturday, we knocked into this really nice lady who very politely told us that we weren't Christian. I told her that we are. She said no you're not because you don't follow Jesus Christ. I said when it comes down to it we just simply invite people to read the Book of Mormon and found out for themselves if it is true. I did it in a very patient and loving way. Then as we were walking away she said you should read the New Testament. Elder Quinton responded we do every day! She was very lovingly trying to bash with us.

I have enjoyed being back with Elder Evans. It has felt like I never left him. He is still the same as when I left him. He probably knows me better than any other companion. We talk frequently about our experiences in Woodstock together. 

Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the older)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

December 28, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,

Christmas is officially over :(. It has been a tough pill for me to swallow. I got a little emotional Friday night when Christmas was ending. Last year I laid comfortably in bed knowing I had one more Christmas left; this year I laid in bed teary-eyed knowing that this was my last Christmas as a missionary. You don't get to feel of the Christmas Spirit as much when you aren't a missionary. You see clearly the symbols of Christmas and the message that it is to all the world. I enjoyed talking to you on Friday and I am so glad that the group Skype call worked and we were able to talk to each other as a family. Sorry if I kept cutting you off. Oftentimes when I'm Skyping you or e-mailing you I have all these thoughts racing through my mind that I want to get in before I have to go. I don't get to say them all by the time I'm done. Every time I Skype home it reminds of how much hasn't changed and that 2 years isn't very long.

I have thought a lot about this year's Christmas and last year's Christmas. I have decided that I liked this year's Christmas better then last years. This year we did a lot more extracurricular activities: we caroled, we were in a parade, we sang in the choir, we spent the majority of Christmas Day with other missionaries and shared the love for Christmas with each other, we had some investigators come to the Christmas Concert, we had other investigators come to Christmas Dinner at the Harlow's, we got to see more of the members this year as well. But overall I enjoyed both Christmases for different reasons. 

This week has been very eventful. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Sackville Elders and the Kentville Elders came and "blitzed" the Brigewater area. So on Monday and Tuesday night there was 7 elders in the apartment. It was a little crammed to say the least. Each of us split up and all worked in the area for the day in an effort to get the work going more. I was with Elder Heimonen on Tuesday. We went to Chester and did a bunch of finding with him. He is the zone leader for this zone. Most of the people we talked to weren't interested. One of the people we did talk to said he's seen 7 deaths in his life and didn't think it was possible for there to be a God. We tried testifying to him that God had a plan for him but he was too scared to take it. It was sad for both of us to see that man and hear of his story. That night we had an older couple let us in and dry off from the rain. They had met missionaries before but it was for education, not real interest. But they did give us some water and they were friendly. 

On Wednesday I was with Elder Cox and Elder Darche. We went to Liverpool for the afternoon and did some finding as well. We stopped by a less-active family and had a nice visit with them. They are a part-member family. They also have a daughter that is a member. It was a short visit. We weren't able to share a message with them but he seemed very friendly with us and it seemed to uplift them. 

For Christmas Eve: In the morning we stopped by a part-member family and wished them a Merry Christmas. Then we did family history before lunch. In the afternoon we spent the majority of the time caroling in front of Wal-Mart and then No-frills. When we were caroling in front of Wal-Mart, the Sister Missionaries came as well as many members. So it was a full crowd of church members singing carols in front of Wal-Mart. We sang a mixture of Christmas hymns and up-beat Christmas songs. Then we caroled in front of No-frills with some of them. By the end of all of the caroling that afternoon, my voice was pretty worn out. We had dinner with the Hirlte's. Their daughter was there. They fed us turkey, then we caroled around the neighborhood for the evening. After that we took all our presents with us and went to Sackville and spent the evening with them and the Kentville Elders.

Christmas Day: We all opened up our presents in the morning with the Kentville Elders and Sackville Elders, played basketball with a bunch of missionaries in the metro for a while. We also played chair soccer. Then we went back to Bridgewater and Skyped home and then we had dinner at the Oickles and then at the Harlow's. Their neighbors and another member came, two of our investigators came, the sister missionaries came. It was a full house. They had us do some arts and crafts before dinner. They gave us each a model to put together using glue. It was hard! You had to be exact with lining up the glue. After a while at the Harlow's, Christmas ended.

Yesterday, we had Sacrament meeting but then the rest of Church was cancelled because of the snow and ice pellets. It was the first Church-cancellation of the winter :P. We also found out about transfers. Last transfer I got transferred to an area I already served in. This transfer I am serving with an elder I already served with. Elder Darche is being transferred to St. Stephen. Elder Evans is being transferred here. So I will be serving with him again in a trio. It will be me, him and Elder Quinton together. One of the sister missionaries I came out with is going home a transfer early for school. Triston Barr will be serving in Woodstock with Elder Steimle and Elder Ashby. 

To close, I would like to express to you how grateful I am to be a missionary. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be a missionary during Christmas and share the best gift this world has ever known to everyone every day leading up to Christmas. I am grateful for the areas that I have served in and for the people in each area that have helped me grow. I am grateful for the companions that I have served with and the eternal bounds I have made with them. I am grateful for the challenges I've faced on my mission that have helped me become stronger spiritually. I am grateful for my mission presidents and all their guidance and leadership. I am grateful for the passionate love they have for me. I am grateful for the members in this mission and their humility and kindness towards me. I am thankful for all the care they have provided me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be on a mission and to be a full-time representative of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be able to share His message of hope every day all day for 2 years straight. I am grateful that I still have 7 months to be an instrument in the Lord's hands and learn and grow. To eventually become the missionary the Lord wants me to be. I testify that He lives. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true. I testify that He loves each of us. This is my testimony and I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Happy New Year! Have a fun week!


Elder O'Brien (the older)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

December 21, 2015 - Merry Christmas! - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Dear Family,
This week is going to be an amazing week. This is Christmas Week. To start off the week last night was the Ward Christmas Concert. The sisters and we sang in the choir. A lot of hours of preparation went into this concert. We had been practicing for an hour right after Church every Sunday for the past 4 weeks. We sang "Jesus Name of Wondrous Love", "The Gifts of the Season", and "Jingle Bells." My favorite one was "Gifts of the Season." It had a playful tune to it that made it fun to sing along to. Overall it was a fun evening. I felt spiritually uplifted and nourished by the music and the spoken word. A lot of the members brought their non-member friends and 4 of our investigators came and said that they loved it.
We went caroling with the sisters at a Day Care Centre on Thursday. We sang 3 hymns that they could sing along to. They loved it! I thought about Julie when we were there. The children were singing along and they were smiling. You could tell it made their day :). Elder Darche even sang a song in French.
On Wednesday it was our Christmas Zone Conference. On the way there it hit me like a ton of bricks that this would be my last Christmas as a missionary. I was like "Ooo.. ouch" that hurts. In the morning there were some talks given by some missionaries about Christmas and about the Gospel. President & Sister Pratt spoke about the Atonement and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the morning we had our talent show and the white elephant gift exchange. For the talent show I was in two of the acts "Journey" and "LDS Puppet Pals." Our skits went pretty well, I liked the "LDS Puppet Pals" one the best. It was a great time. As missionaries we don't get to relax and be light-hearted but we did that that day. We got to worship together in the Christmas spirit. We got to express our love for each other and join in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. It was a family-like atmosphere. For the white elephant gift exchange we all put our gifts in the middle of the floor and then we each had a number. When it was our number, we either got to choose a gift from the middle or steal a gift from someone else. When it was my turn I stole a plush Hershey baseball dude stuffy thing. But then another missionary stole that from me and I ended up with a kittens 2016 Calendar.

After Christmas Zone Conference we went to dinner with Sister Harlow and the Yarmouth Elders were there. So there were 5 Elders at her house for dinner. Both the Yarmouth Elders served in Bridgewater and Bridgewater was on their way back so they decided to stop in Bridgewater on their way home. Oddly enough I served with both of them here. So I sat with both of them individually at one table at their house. It was like deja vu. We had a fun time reminiscing with them about Bridgewater and had a nice visit with them.
We stopped by a less active on Tuesday. Her husband is active but she's not. She said that she went on a spiritual journey that took her away from the Church. She said she isn't hostile towards the Church and she didn't read any anti. We were confused with what she meant when she said she went on a spiritual journey. We tried digging deeper but she wouldn't give us anymore to work with.
We helped a man stack his wood on Saturday morning.  We put in about 2 and a half hours of work. He fed us hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies in between breaks. He has a bad heart condition that prevents him from doing much so that is why he couldn't do it himself.
We picked up a new less active this week. He lives in Branch Lahave. He is originally from BC and has lived here for only a couple years now. He is a super cool guy and is open to coming back.

Merry Christmas!
Elder O'Brien (the older)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

December 14, 2015 - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

It has been a rough week. We didn't see a lot of success this week. We did a lot of stop-by visits for less active members and former investigators but none of them were home or couldn't meet. There was one day in Liverpool where we stopped by potential investigators/former investigators for 2 hours and we only talked to 3 people during that time. It was frustrating. We don't really have any less actives that we are regularly meeting with so right now we are trying to figure out which less actives we want to work with. I have a couple in mind that I worked with when I was here last time. But some of them don't come because of health and there's not much we can do there. This week we want to set actual appointments with these less actives so it doesn't keep happening.

I have a sad story to tell you this week. There is an Elder that I came out with that lost his mom a couple years before his mission. So when he left for his mission he only had his father at home. Well this week his father suffered from a major heart attack. A few days later he passed away. So now both of his parents are gone. It is quite tragic and very disheartening. It has been a somber past couple days for the mission. We are a close knit mission and when a tragic thing happens to one of our fellow missionaries it affects all of us. We are brothers and sisters. We are here for each other when we are struggling. This Elder is a strong Elder and he is going to stay out on his mission but he is going to try and go home for the funeral then fly back out to the mission field the next day. He is the only one in his family out on a mission right now and for him to stay out and get through it on his own is remarkable to me. We are all praying for him and his family at this time. This Elder is a warrior.

I have some sad comical news for you as well. I hate to say this but my appetite is beginning to diminish. I think my stomach might be shrinking. It has been evident to me this week when we've been at dinner appointments and I've struggled to finish the first plate of food they give me. It made me sad when I confronted that reality. I have been known to eat a lot of food and now on my mission I have gotten to this point.

Their has been another development this transfer. This week it was just me and Elder Quinton serving together because Elder Dooley got emergency transferred to Bathurst. Now this week we found out that we will be in a trio again as of this Wednesday. Elder Darche is serving in Greenwood right now but his companion is dealing with health issues so he is in the Halifax Metro right now. While Elder Darche's companion is getting taken care of in Halifax, he will be temporally serving in Bridgewater until his companion gets better or they find a new companion for him in Greenwood. So that's why he'll be with us. But it will only be temporary. My guess is it'll last a maximum of 2 weeks before he goes back to Greenwood.

I was a little disappointed when we found that out. I'm not the hugest fan of trios but it is what it is. It will only be temporary anyway. It has been a hectic transfer between being a trio for 2 weeks, then there was an emergency transfer and things were back to normal. Now I'll be in a trio again. I wasn't envisioning that this transfer would go this way when I got here :P. My anxiety has been tested and tried my whole mission. With change after change, unexpected quick changes, then change. My body has undergone so many missions on my mission it's getting to the point where my body is just used to change and my anxiety has become a non-issue. My anxiety has been put through the refiner's fire. That has become a huge blessing for me on my mission. Going through so many changes.

To add on to the chaotic transfer the Bridgewater Sisters will also be in a trio as of Wednesday. Sister Alverez will be coming to Bridgewater because her companion is also dealing with health challenges and she is being taken care of in the Halifax Metro. While her companion is being taken care of, she will be in Bridgewater. So there will be 6 missionaries serving in Bridgewater this week. It's crazy! So needless to say we'll have a lot of work to do now. 

At the beginning of last week I went on an exchange with Elder Cox in Sackville. Elder Cox is from Utah and goes home in February. He is the oldest Elder in the mission. He is very seasoned and experienced. He is a great guy and a good missionary. I asked some doctrinal questions that I was unsure about and that he was able to clarify for me. He is very laid-back and light-hearted. On the exchange we did a lot of finding. We visited a less active member with health issues. We went to a seminary class because the Elders there help the teacher out with the doctrine. We also had a dinner appointment with the second counselor in the stake presidency. We had another dinner appointment with the Taylor's. They are an older couple that are from England. The Sackville sisters were actually going to have dinner with them but they cancelled so they invited us instead. 

We had District Meeting on Wednesday. At District Meeting we went over the things we learned from Blitz Week and the common one was that we are more capable than we think we are. I mean I invited a random stranger to be baptized that week. That takes a lot of courage. That evening we had dinner with a couple from BC. They like to talk about sports so I got caught up with hockey and basketball with them. I love it when I can talk about sports with a member.

On Saturday we went to Lunenburg and ran into a born again atheist. Never heard of one before that. We had the Ward Christmas Party that night. It was a good turn-out. About 140 people showed up and some of them were neighbors of members. We sat with the Fraser`s during the dinner. We talked about the organization of the Church with Bishop and talked about how strong the Church is in the Maritimes. He made the point that when they lived in Alberta he could pick 10 or more high priests that could be bishops. Out here he said he could only think of a few that could be the bishop in Bridgewater.
Anyway, this Wednesday is Christmas Zone Conference and there's going to be a talent show in it. For the talent show us, the Sackville Elders and the Kentville Elders are going to be doing the Church version of the famous Harry Potter Puppet pals skit. Haha it`s gonna be funny. Feel free to look it up. I`m going to be the Holy Ghost in the Skit. But it should be a lot of fun. Also, this Sunday the ward is having a Ward Christmas Concert so that should be fun too. 'Tis the Season! 

Before I go I received those other two packages on Thursday. When Elder Quinton saw how many gifts I got he said he felt very unloved and neglected by his family. Haha. 

Have a good week!


Elder OBrien (The Older)