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)

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