Friday, March 18, 2016

March 14, 2016 - Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia

Hello Family,

It is a sunny day here in the Canada Halifax Mission. It will be nice to see more of the sun. I find that the brighter it is outside the more people are happy and receptive (including me). Spring is definitely on its way and so is Easter. I have lucked out from a bad winter this year. This winter weather has simply been too easy. It didn't give us missionaries enough of a challenge to get through.

You'll be happy to know that I cooked my very first turkey ever last night. Gary gave us a nice big store-bought turkey yesterday. He gave instructions on how to cook it. We put it in the oven last night at 10 o'clock. We took off the plastic, buttered it and let it cook for an hour on 350. We checked it after an hour, buttered it again and put it back in the oven. We checked it after 20 minutes and re-buttered it. Put it in the oven again. Waited 20 minutes. When we checked it the 3rd time it was nice and brown and soft. It was in the oven for a total of 2 hours by the time it was done. We didn't get to bed till midnight. But it was well worth it! Now we have this nice huge turkey to eat for the rest of the week. 

As I have been going through the "Atonement Study Guide" this week, the talk that stuck out to me was the talk by Elder Bednar on "The Character of Christ". He shares several examples of the Savior turning outward instead of inward when he was in agony and distress. For example in Matthew 4:1-9 when Satan tempts Jesus after he fasted for 40 days to use his powers to turn rock into bread to feed himself. In Matthew 4:11 it says "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." But in the JST it says "Then the devil leaveth him, and, now Jesus knew that John was cast into prison, and he sent angels, and, behold, they came and ministered unto him (John)." So the angels didn't actually come and minister to the Savior but rather he sent angels to minister unto John. Jesus was thinking more of John than himself at the time. It is a powerful characteristic that the Savior has and one that takes a lifetime to emulate. 

I went back to an old area of mine last Tuesday. We went on exchanges with the zone leaders in Kentville. On the exchange I saw a few familiar faces. While we were at the Kentville Chapel, I saw some members there to clean the chapel. They were actually surprised to see me. They thought I would have been done my mission by now. We went street contacting in Wolfville. Street contacting there is a gold mine because there is a lot of university students. We had dinner with the Morrison's that night. Their kids have grown a lot since I left. They are one of the families I grew quite close to when I was there.

During dinner the Morrison's told me that it wouldn't be a bad idea to visit the sister I baptized. After dinner we punched in her address and stopped by her house. I was getting pretty nervous leading up to knocking on her door. Simply because I just didn't know how she would react and I didn't know how I would react. Sure enough I knocked on her door and she opened it. She kinda jumped and was startled to see me. She didn't expect that :P. But I told her I was in the area and I wanted to stop by and say hi. She was being very friendly and upbeat as she always is. She said that the church wasn't making her happy and it was causing too much stress for her. She says she has no hard feeling towards the church at all and she still associates with members of the ward. I told her that if she ever wanted to come back the Elders are there for her. She appreciated that. I walked away feeling confident she would come back to church one day.

We had a lesson with an investigator on Wednesday. Sister Nelson and Sister Johnson came to that lesson. It was our first lesson with her since we knocked into her. In the lesson the investigator asked a lot of good questions. Like "If God was so loving then why would he not allow families to be together in the same kingdom?" A lot of investigators have a hard time with that doctrine of the three kingdoms. Rightfully so. I've typically responded by saying because God is a loving and just god. He has given us our agency and he can't take that away from us. He has provided us with a way to return and live with him with our families by giving us the plan of happiness. 

We had breakfast with Gary at McDonalds on Thursday. We had a quick restoration lesson with a potential investigator. He's the one we shoveled for. He said he needs some time to think about it. We picked up a new investigator in Bedford that afternoon. He is 28 years old. We knocked on his door in an apartment and he let us right in. He lives on his own. 

We had our personal interviews with President Pratt at the mission office Thursday night. During my interview we talked a lot about the area, working with less actives, and the Pilot Program. I talked to him about my mission and he would like me to start thinking about the future on P-Days. I expressed to him that I was getting stressed out about going home soon. He gave me some input and said that that is very common among missionaries. He said that their are 3 universal things that missionaries stress about:

1) Getting too casual and falling into old habits
2) Their future
3) Dating 

Personal interviews with the mission president are some of the most sacred personal experiences we can have on their missions. It's different from an interview with a bishop or stake president. It's like being in an interview with a General Authority. There's just a lot more love and revelation in those interviews. Its hard to describe if you haven't experienced it first hand. Chris & Dad know what I'm talking about. 
Have a good week!

Elder O'Brien (the older)


  1. Hi, have your Elder watch for Elder Greenlief. Just arrived yesterday. Heading to NE Maine for his first area.

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