Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 43: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! I hope you were all able to have a lovely Christmas day! And Christmas Eve. And Boxing Day today since that is a thing! We had a pretty good Christmas, I have to admit.

Our week started off by heading to York for p-day where we mostly sang to practice for our various musical items that we were doing in the next 24 hours. We then all headed off as a zone to do some Christmas caroling again in York city center. That was pretty fun. Not as cold this time thankfully. We then slept on the floor again... Can't wait till that becomes a less frequent thing for me... But we then got on the coach, continued to practice all of our musical numbers, and headed to Billingham! So fun. The Christmas social was a blast, loved it so much. We started it out by breaking into groups and rotating through various games and activities that the senior couples were running. We then all got together for the entertainment part of the day... Which each zone went through and did about a half an hour of performing. It was so fun. Some people did songs, one guy did a hilarious stand up comedy routine, there was some dancing and lip syncing, there were a couple of little skits, some rapping and guitar playing. Our zone mostly just sang, there are a lot of singers in my zone. It was pretty fun. From there, we set up a very lovely Christmas dinner that we all had together. It was catered by this place that did the most amazing pulled pork sandwich I have had in a long time. So good. We of course also had Christmas crackers, so English! From there, we took a group photo because we always do. Santa and Mrs. Claus also came to visit, that was really fun. We then had a cute little nativity and then we all had to head home! Man, good thing I like traveling. Basically, this whole past week we visited a lot of members. Tried to bring a lot of Christmas cheer to people. We also were given a lot of gifts from people, which I was so surprised about. People are so kind and giving! So grateful for their kindness. Christmas Eve was so much fun. We went to M's home and not only ate, but helped her prepare a really great Christmas Eve meal. I love when I go to their home. She does such good food with so much flavor. Some of the meal was typical Christmas, a stuffed turkey. We also did this amazing dish of chicken and vegetables and cheese and hard boiled eggs and this really great garlic butter sauce... It was amazing! And she also took really green bananas, chopped them into big pieces, fried them, and then smashed them with a rock to make these chip sort of things that we then put really fresh and delicious guacamole on. Sorry if a lot of this email is about food... I love food and I had a lot of really good food this past week. So sorry for that random focus. But yeah. We had a good Christmas Eve. Christmas day! We slept in... Opened some presents! Went to church. We had a shorter service where we just sang a lot of songs and had some readings from the Christmas devotional in between. It was really lovely. Because not that many people showed up for church that day, Sister Majc ended up playing again and I once again lead the music. Real grateful I learned how to do that. It was a really great service. I love talking about the real meaning of Christmas! After church, we got picked up by a taxi with a couple of other members and headed off to the Brooksbanks for a wonderful Christmas meal! That woman is amazing. So much food. She had done 5 separate meat dishes alone. Just crazy. We really enjoyed our time at her home. Played some silly games, ate way too much once again... Good thing the new year is coming up! Any of you have any good New Year's resolutions?? I'm not really sure yet myself... But yeah... Hope you are all having a brilliant Christmas holiday and I will email you all again next year! ;) Love you!!! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Week 42: Mission Tour

So I don't have a ton of time to write on account of too many people on trains and being here in York.... but I do want to share some highlights this week! We delivered and received Christmas cards, helped with the primary nativity, helped at the ward Christmas party, shared #lighttheworld with some people, spent time with the STLs, sang Christmas songs, visited less active members, knocked lots of doors.... That is about it. The real highlight is from the mission tour with President Kearon. Amazing! So good.... so, outside of the fact that my back and shoulders hurt way bad from sleeping on the wood floor that night, I had an amazing day! Talk about prayers and questions answered. It was a pretty inspirational day. Plus, if nothing else, I love taking coach rides with my zone. We have started doing this thing where we always sing on the coach which is awesome. We have quite a few very talented singers with quite the range, it's awesome. Also, when we I was having an elder help me sort out some music on my iPad, the elder sitting next to him saw the photo of me with a fake moustache on and said that I looked like what he looked like before the mission lol. Same curly hair and everything. But yeah, President Kearon is so amazing. He is such a genuine, warm, friendly, funny person. We all got to shake hands with him at the start of the meeting and he asked us each our names and where we are from. He knew Vancouver Washington! That was cool. Goodness, that man is so inspired. I loved every time he listened to one of us speaking, he would nod, sometimes closing his eyes, pause and then respond. He listened like he was listening to his favourite song or something. Listening to missionaries testify is his jam! It was so cool. He spoke a lot about how we are the message, even by just how we appear and how we present ourselves to those we meet. We spoke about how we as a church, while we may not like it, we thrive on adversity and make the most of it. We talked about being happy. We talked again about stretching and not stressing and that we are good enough and that everyday we have a new beginning and God gives us billions of chances to start again and do better and just start where we are and even the smallest improvements are good. We talked about hastening the hastening. We talked about the Spirit in conversion and the role that each of us play at different stages. Some really touching experiences and stories were told, it was so lovely. We of course had a lunch of Subway at this meeting, (it's all we ever have!) and we had sat at a table marked for the sisters and the next thing we knew we were being joined by President Turvey and President Kearon! That was a surprise, but a lovely one at that. It was just such a good experience that left me feeling invigorated and excited. Love missionary meetings! Even President Kearon said he prefers missionary meetings over other kinds. That was funny.... So yeah, amazing meeting full of laughter and the spirit.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Week 41: Transfer 8 already!

Surprise, surprise, Sister Majc and I are staying here in Pontefract together for her second transfer of training. The interesting thing is that our flat started with four, then Sister Hippard left bringing us to three, and now Sister Cockburn is going home, so we are down to two! With Christmas and things all happening, so most people didn't get moved around. Only like two companionships are changing in our whole zone. Yup! And yes, this transfer was only five weeks if you thought it came quickly. This next transfer will be seven weeks to equalise it out. Here we go into the depths of winter!

Monday: For pday we went to Selby to go bowling. It was supposed to be as a zone, but only us, the Selby Elders and the York One Elders showed up. It was way fun anyways. Took some traveling, but we did it. Sister Cockburn really wanted to since it was her last real mission pday, so we humoured her. Got back to Pontey and caught a bus to Featherstone. Visited with M, continued to teach her English and small aspects of the gospel that we can talk about in Spanish.... man, so grateful Sister Majc knows Spanish, my Spanish is atrocious! 

Tuesday: Zone training! Got to go to York! So fun! And we had a very Christmas themed meeting. President and Sister Turvey were there, which was nice. We talked about the Grinch and how some people have hearts that just don't get the Christmas spirit that we feel. It was good, I really like all of my current leaders. We then went back to Pontefract, did some finding and things, went to the Waites for tea, and then went to the chapel so Sister Cockburn could do some things, but as it turned out the room we wanted was being used by the YW, so we ended up joining them in making Christmas cards for the whole ward. It was fun. I finger painted, lol. 

Wednesday: Went to Castleford to go visit some less active members. We knocked on one of their doors, but they weren't in sadly, but when we kept going we ran into her on the street. That was pretty great. God does work in mysterious ways! Able to share some things with her and to invite her to church once again. So here is hoping! We then were able to use our time at the chapel so Sister Cockburn could prep to go home. Went home, had tea, and then had ward coordination meeting at our ward mission leaders house. Thank goodness he and his wife do not live far. They are so funny. Love the Bartons. 

Thursday: Went to go see K, and her niece was also there, so that was nice to teach the, both. Talk about a house getting ready for Christmas! We then went by some old potentials and knocked on some doors. Went to go see J, but she wasn't in, so we headed off to Castleford again. Had tea with the Bottoms and the Keys, who are lovely people. We then came back to Pontey, to the chapel, to see O! Had a good lesson with her and really continued to figure out more of where she is coming from on things. It was lovely. 

Friday: Had weekly planning while Sister Cockburn started to pack! We then headed off, went by a less active, not home. Visited a member at the library and O happened to be working at the same time, so we were able to have a lovely chat with both of them. Played with the member's little boy for a bit, he is so funny... and really liked to skip down the sidewalk. We then went to go see V who is just great. She got a cake for Sister Cockburns going away. She also gave us a bunch of clothing to try... We then headed home, trying to talk to people along the way.

Saturday: Went to go see a member who struggles this time of year. Waited forever for a bus. Had lunch. Finally got in to see a less active who always flogs. We then did some contacting and headed off to Knottingly to have tea with some less active members. We then had to head in early because transfer calls were tonight instead of Sunday! Surprise! We found out in the middle of the day. So we got the exciting call then about how basically no one was going anywhere! Whooo!

Sunday: Sister Cockburns last full day! So crazy! Had church and helped out the primary again. I ended up having to sit with some kids because they were being crazy... It was still fun. In the evening, we went to Roy and Jill's for a Christmas dinner, which was of course very nice. We even had Christmas cracker thingies which was pretty fun. We then went to go visit O, who had gone to a Christingle and brought us each one of the oranges they made. Had a lovely lesson with her and Sister Cockburn was able to say her goodbyes to everyone she wanted to. Glad that I will be sticking around at least one more transfer!

So here we go into another transfer! It is going by way too quickly! Hope you are all having fun getting ready for Christmas! Such an amazing time of year! Love you guys!!

Sister Barret

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Subject: Week 40: Back To The Trio Days

Day 285: Pday! Had a fun pday, the STLs came down to spend some time with the four of us down here in Pontefract. We went to go play pool in Castleford, which was surprisingly fun since none of us knew what we were doing. We made some pretty good shots though. We then headed back to Pontefract, so we could get to Featherstone. But then our appointment flogged so we just street contacted home.... It wasn't too bad though because we came across some horses 🐴. Sister Majc used to have a horse so she was just thrilled 😁. We ended up naming them. They were pretty cute, though I don't think they were all that interested in listening to our message.

Day 286: We had a lot of potential return appointments... we went to each of them, but no response from any of them. Sad. But at least the less active lady we visit was in! We were able to see J and spend some time with her, hopefully helping her increase her faith and desire to come to church. After seeing her, we went home to have our 12 week study before going to ward Coordination. Went to our meeting, and then went home for tea. President and Sister Turvey came by to speak with Sister Hippard, and they thought our flat was a good place to do that... it caused for an interesting evening, that is for sure!

Day 287: Went to Selby again for district meeting, which was our second district meeting this transfer, we keep having all of these different meetings lately! It was fun, we missed our bus so we were stuck in Selby for awhile... But we got home eventually! Because we knew it was Sister Hippard's last night, we all went out for Indian food! Don't worry, our tea still only lasted an hour. 😉 Afterwards, went out finding again before having a quick lesson with O where we shared the Christmas 🎄 initiative with her! Love it so much. If you still haven't looked at it, do so! It's great! After our lesson, we went to the Relief Society Activity where we made Christmas wreaths! I'm quite proud of mine, went for the simple look. O enjoyed being there as well. We had to leave shortly after though so we could get back in time Sister Hippard to be picked up by President and Sister Turvey. And so by the end of the night, we were back to being a trio!

Day 288: I really had to look at my journal to see what happened this day.... First day as a trio! Went out knocking, shared the Christmas 🎄 initiative with some people. Went to O's house for lunch, had a good time with her, read some scriptures. We then went out to Knottingly to go by some less actives and also to have tea with some less actives, it was a good time. While we were waiting for the bus back, we sort of saw someone get hit by a car... His body went flying and his bottle smashed so it made quite the sound. It was pretty scary. But he seemed actually pretty alright when we went over. Thankfully, a lot of people had gone over, so none of us had to bring back to our memory first aid. So yeah... that was eventful.

Day 289: Friday, Friday, Friday. Had our weekly planning, putting the two areas back together and all that, really added to our plans. It'll be sad for when we split it again. So, we went to go see R and J, and then we did some finding, went home, grabbed the guitar 🎸 and then headed off to the Waites! We had tea, helped them do some Christmas 🎄 decorating, and did some Christmas 🎄 caroling as well! It was a pretty fun time.

Day 290: A service Saturday! First, we helped out some members by hoovering and mopping their floors. She had been in the hospital for awhile recently, so we were happy to help! We did some finding later, and then also did our weekly street clean as well! Just trying to help make the world a better place! We were tired though, so for tea we got take away... don't worry, that is not a frequent happening at all. We then went out to visit P. So yeah, that was our day, went home, studied, planned, did all the things we needed to do...

Day 291: When I shook hands with the visiting high councilman today, he said, "I really like your hair! If only we could transplant it onto my head, that would be amazing!" He was bald. It was hilarious. So yeah, I guess you could say church was pretty good. I started playing prelude as well, but then I convinced Sister Majc to take my place... which lead to her playing for sacrament again... I'm sure she doesn't appreciate me sort of volunteering her to play right now, but one day she will. I may have even volunteered her to play for the primary presentation of the nativity in a few weeks... oops. But I am not willing to turn down any invitation we are given to help the ward! After church we went by some less active members and street contacted as we went. I think fasting on a mission is in some ways harder, some ways easier than back home. It's hard being out and about all day... At least I can see the blessings from doing so! I think since coming on my mission, I have been a lot more aware of the times that Heavenly Father has answered my prayers. Which has been many times, and I am so grateful for that!

So yeah, that was my week!

Sister Barret