Saturday, December 8, 2012

"With the birth of the babe in Bethelehem, there emerged a great endowment - a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar.  This child was to become the King of kings and Lord of lords, the promised Messiah - Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  (Pres. Thomas S. Monson, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator)

Painting by Wendi Oickle,
mother of a Bridgewater YSA
We had our last class before the Christmas break in Bridgewater.  We really love that group and are going to miss our weekly meetings with them, but we will not miss the drive.  But the Lord has been good to us, as we didn't have to make any trips in the snow.  After class was ended, they gave us a gift of appreciation - a beautiful oil painting of a Nova Scotia cove, and a beautiful picture of the Sacred Grove.  We were a little overwhelmed with their thoughfulness.  In our new assignment we will get to see them on an occasional basis as observers rather than as instructors.

We are gearing up for the new year and our new assignment.  We meet on a regular basis with Rick, our coordinator, to learn what he would like us to do when we go out to visit the many seminary and institute classes throughout the province.  The institute classes usually meet in the evenings, but the seminary classes usually meet in the EARLY mornings.  That may be a challenge to get from Halifax to their class on time, but we'll do our best to be good "students".

Pres. & Sis. "Moray"
Pres. Leavitt, our mission president, is anxious that the senior missionaries feel fulfilled with their mission experience, so he has get-togethers, as well as trips he sends or takes us on to see a little of other areas and couples.  Last weekend Elder Tiffany went with the president and Elder Wiebe, a senior Elder, to Bathurst, New Brunswick, located in the very northwest corner of that province - right across the Bay of Chaleurs (in the Gulf of St. Lawrence) from Quebec, about 350 miles from Halifax.  They had a lot of frozen rivers and a very cold wind coming off the bay, but no snow.

A very contented (after dinner)
Elder Nzojibwami &
Elder Skinner
We went up to help Elder and Sister Foley set up a new apartment for a senior couple coming in this week, and to determine where to put more missionaries.  Two sets of lady missionaries will probably be sent up to that area to open two more towns, as well as some French speaking missionaries and a couple to open a French area on the Gulf.  They have a small branch in a very nice, small chapel, and they are very loving and full of the spirit, with a great Branch President (don't know how to spell his name, but it's pronounced Moray).  Sis. "Moray" prepared a wonderful dinner for all of us, including Elders Skinner and Nzojibwami (Zoegeebwahmee) - French speaking missionaries in the area.

Elder and Sister Foley left this morning to go home to Salt Lake City.  They have been the mission office couple, and, like all head secretaries, have been the wheels that turned the mission.  They will be sorely missed, but those who have moved in to take their place will surely keep us going in the right direction.  Heavenly Father will not let His missionary work falter.  We had a nice dinner last Sunday evening at the mission home with senior missionaries from around the area, to give the Foleys our love and wish them well and a safe journey home.

Our temple assignment is a blessing.  We love being there every Thursday to serve with the locals and temple missionaries assigned there.  Elder and Sister DelaCruz got to see some snow fall last week.  It only lasted for about half an hour, but it was the first Elder DelaCruz had ever seen. so he was delighted.  He was happy, too, that there wasn't more to have to drive through.  That's right - December, and still no measurable snow, IN CANADA! (At least Nova Scotia)

We took Sis. Evelyn Roberts (mother of Trisha Jamison who introduced Joni to the church) to lunch and saw a few of the lobster boats coming back in with their catch.  It was a very cold day and we appreciate these men and women who sail out into the ocean to bring in the fresh fish, lobster, etc., DURING THE WINTER, for us to enjoy in our warm and cozy homes.

Sister T and Tayson (grandson on the apron)
with trees from friends and family
We've put up a Christmas tree with donations of decorations from Melissa, JJ, and Milford (Joni's brother).  We do hope that everyone is getting into the proper Christmas spirit, and remembering what it all represents.  We love our mission and we're very thankful for all of our blessings.  We miss our family at home and wherever they are, but we are among the very blessed because we are still close to Joni's family for the holidays, and at the same time spending our full time testifying of the love and blessings available through following the Savior all year long.

Some say we Mormons are TOO focused on Jesus; others say we are too religious for them; and still others say our lives are misdirected because we don't believe in Christ exactly as they do. We testify that the Savior should be our ONLY focus, that by observing and keeping His commandments is the ONLY way to lasting joy and happiness, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His church. Jesus Christ said: "Where two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20)

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