Monday, January 7, 2013

We will begin teaching at Dalhousie University again this week, for the Winter Semester.  We will have two classes on Thursdays, the first being the Book of Mormon, and the second being Teachings of Modern Prophets, using the Ensign magazine edition of last November.  Our first selection will be the talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook, titled "Can You Feel So Now?"  We've heard and seen this question come up a lot in our missionary journeys, so we thought we would address it.

Elder Quentin L. Cook,
Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ
This question comes from Alma 5:26: "If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"  I quote from Elder Cook's talk: "This question...rings across the centuries.  With all that we have received in this dispensation - including the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the outpourings of the spiritual gifts, and the indisputable blessings of heaven - Alma's challenge has never been more important." If we have felt the love of our Savior and had a desire to be more like Him, will we strive to get that feeling again, so we may continue to follow the straight and narrow path which leads back to Him and our Father in Heaven?!

Winter has arrived in Atlantic Canada, at least for a few days.  It has been snowing on and off for the last week.  Yesterday, Sunday, we had a big snowstorm that left a lot of white stuff on the ground.  But the winters here can be deceiving.  On any given day we can receive snow, then rain, then wind, then sunshine, then snow again.  Not necessarily in that order, but fairly consistently.  So, we may have 5-6 inches of snow by noon, a little sunshine in the afternoon, maybe some rain in the evening, and lots of cold wind, and tomorrow there may be no snow left - but wait until the afternoon.  Maybe!  Anyway, the humidity and wind make it very cold here.
At least the sun was shining!

Joni's brother Milford -
postcard picture perfect!
Peggy's Cove on December 30th is beautiful but the wind and temperature is wicked!  We picked up Sister Tiff's brother, Milford, and drove out there.  He is a former Mounted Policeman in the Marine Division, so she thought he might like to go for a ride out by the seashore, and Peggy's Cove is the most picturesque spot she could think of.  We were almost blown away by the Arctic wind.  We took a couple of pictures, went into the gift shop for a hot chocolate, then huddled back into the van with the heater on high.  Milford said the next time we want to go out there, be sure to not ask him to go along, "Only crazies do that"!.  We mentioned all of this to Sis. Robinson, the temple president's wife (from Utah), and she thought it would be great.  So she and Sister Tiff may be making a trip out there some stormy day while Elder Tiff and Milford stay at home close to a fireplace or something else that's warm.

Well, some were dancing -
some were not
On New Year's Eve we danced the night away - well, the young single adults did.  We were at the church for the evening, chaperoning them at their dance.  A recent convert, Carmelita, is living here by herself while her family is in the Philipines, and we invited her to come with us instead of sitting home by herself.  She's older than the YSA, but she enjoyed being there very much.  She even joined in with them (these days you don't need a partner to dance, you just go out there and join the crowd).  We volunteered to take her home early, but she wanted to stay, so we were there for the countdown.  Senior missionaries don't have the same schedule as the younger Elders and Sisters, so at midnight we cheered, then headed for home.  I think we were in bed by 12:30.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Rick Cartier, our supervisor, came to our apartment for lunch last Friday.  Sis. T made a fabulous fish chowder that can't be beat!  We've had fish chowder quite often since we arrived, which Elder T doesn't mind at all.  With the price of chicken and other meat being so high (chicken breasts at $6.99/lb - on sale), and fresh fish so available, it's the only way to go.  How about fresh lobster right out of the ocean at $4.50/lb?  Anyway, we discussed our spring schedule and expectations with Rick, and we are excited to get under way.  We'll start next week as we go to Yarmouth and up the Fundy shore inspecting missionary apartments, we'll also try to make it into a few seminary classes for observation and inservice. 

Snacks at our district meeting
provided by Sis. Wiebe
Our District Leader Elder Wolsey &
Our Zone Leader Elder Moss
Our temple assignment is a spiritual high for us each week.  We love serving there with those who attend, as well as the other temple workers.  We now have just one temple session on Thursday evenings, so we go a little later and come home a little earlier.  That will help when we start teaching on Thursdays at the university so we're not pushed for time.  We still spend a little time with the young missionaries at District Training Meetings at the chapel.  We love the time we have with such great young men and women and other senior couples.  Elder Jensen, one of our favorites who has been here since arriving in the mission field, was transferred last week.  He'll be a leader before he goes home - fantastic young man!

Sister missionaries!

Elder Jensen and two anonymous

Yesterday, Sunday, we had a very long day.  Starting with church at 9:30 with the Halifax 1st Ward, a family ward we attend just to keep the feel of families young and old, then into the YSA church meeting.  Being Fast Sunday, we heard some beautiful testimonies of the gospel, that helped buoy our spirits.  The first Sunday of every month we fast from eating and drinking for 24 hours, and pray for extra strength through the Holy Ghost.  The money we would have spent on food for those meals is instead  contributed to the poor and less fortunate.  Church meeting is then used for sharing the added spirit we feel through fasting and prayer by bearing our testimonies of what blessings we have and our love for the Savior and His redeeming love for us.  It is our opportunity to express appreciation for the part the Gospel of Jesus Christ plays in our lives.

After church we picked up Stefan Aulenbach (a son of our friend Melissa) and his girlfriend, Sharlene.  They were stranded in Dartmouth after a week or more on the road, they hadn't eaten for a few days, were very cold,  and needed a ride to Kentville (about 50-60 miles away).  It was snowing very hard when we picked them up, but we took them to a restaurant for a meal then headed down the highway.  By this time it was dark and the snowplows had not been out.  We made the journey on slippery roads in a much slower than usual speed, and delivered them safely at their home.  After getting their car started with our jumper cables, we headed for home.  It was quite an adventure of about 6 hours time, but we're glad we were available for them.  As it says in the Book of Mormon, in Mosiah 2:17 - "And behold I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."  Or, in Matthew 25:40 - "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  Missionaries or not, this is our responsibility and blessing as children of God.

We hope everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas season and their new year will be better than the one just past, Mayan calendar and all.  We and our family have been truly blessed this past year.  A bike accident, a few surgeries, some tangles with rosebushes, football injuries, etc., but we're all still alive to talk about it.  May our Heavenly Father bless everyone at least as much as He has blessed us.

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