Monday, April 24, 2017

Week #87

Oh man! Have I got some news for all of you! I'll tell you at the end though so you'll read the rest of this letter (but then again you can just scroll down and read it anyway)

On Monday we went bowling as a zone which was pretty fun and exciting! I got second in both games but of course elder McBride (the ringer).

Tuesday we went and saw the prodigal son and shared President Monsons talk on the book of Mormon. He really enjoyed it.

Wednesday we visited a returning member out in Bowmanville and strove to teach about the importance of the temple but she just didn't have too much desire. I think that's what it comes down to, at the very end of the day and life, desire. Are we really trying our best? Are we really fulfilling church callings and magnifying callings? Are we really being the most nicest and best we can be? It really is our choice. There is a quote by C.S Lewis that I love and it says "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who say to God 'thy will be done' and those to whom God says in the end 'thy will be done. All that are in Hell choose it. No one who truly and constantly desires happiness will miss it."

On Thursday we decided to take our handy dandy bus passes and use them to the max and decided to take them from Oshawa all the way out to Picking (we cover a whole stake) So we get on the bus and figure out that the stake president's Daughter is on the bus so we talk a little and start contacting and talking to people about the gospel on the bus with me talking to some people and my companion talking to others and this girl starts listening in and becomes intrigued and is really enjoying it and is listen to my conversation and then my companions and is thrilled by all of it and thought it was so cool she even laughed. She then starts talking to a lady on the bus which was the coolest thing! So cool to see missionary work in someone so young!

Friday we had a district meeting and did an activity in PMG in which you evaluate how you are with Christ like attributes and I did good in some categories but not as well in others and so I decided I need to work on Humility and will be doing that as my focus for the next transfer. I am so excited! After we met with this man and had a lesson. I learnt a lesson myself as this man was very flattery and wise with his words, but they just, when you broke it down didn't make sense. Kinda reminded me of some of the Anti-Christs from the Book of Mormon who are impressive on the outside but spiritually are weak. We also met with a couple other people and the lessons went pretty well. The prodigal son kept his reading commitments which was awesome!

The next day we had to drive all the way out to Brampton to get a 2017 Silverado and trailer and then drove back to our zone and moved an apartment. We then had to go out to Kingston aka Stoney Kingston, the famous story told by President Monson and get it back so we spent the whole day basically driving.

Sunday was super great and we went to the LaFrances for a BBQ. We got transfer calls and I am going to Hamilton YSA so I'm pretty pumped because over a year ago I served in one of the family wards there and I'm getting a companion Elder Taylor who has been out just a little longer than I and also we are living with a couple other Elders. I'm stoked! Pretty pumped! Good things to come and I'll update you all on the humility thing in the future!

Love you all and have a great week!

-Elder Toly

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week #86 Happy Easter

Well this was another week here in beautiful Oshawa!

The weather here had been extremely nice as of late and it's been interesting because this last week was the 2nd last for exams so most students have been to busy to meet up and hear the message of the gospel (or at least they think they're too busy... time management and procrastination are things that ysa struggle generally with, I've really learned how bad I was with those things while being on my mission but have definitely improved!)

This Monday we were able to go a conservation area called Lynde Shores, a place a member had told us where chipmunks and chickadees majestically land and eat out of your hand and even gave us some seeds to feed them. So we went and it was super nice out, like really nice and we went around for a bit and then decided to go on a longer trail and then it started just pouring buckets of rain! To quote John Lennon "life's what happens when you're busy making other plans!"

Tuesday we were able to help out with some service at a members and then went to one of our new investigators and met with him and taught him just some basic things like the Godhead (How its three separate individuals with one purpose) because he didn't have too much previous knowledge on any of it. So we taught him how to pray and invited him to pray to know God was really there. We also had dinner with a fun family, the Evans who have 5 boys, 2 who are in ysa and 1 about to enter it. The 2 older ones are actually going to Alberta for the Summer time so maybe they'll visit my family??

Wednesday, we went to to a place called Ponty Pool where we do exchanges and its funny cause its a place where I've been doing exchanges since last year, I've been in this zone for that long. I got to go to Peterborough with a first transfer missionary, Elder Sparks for Phoenix, Arizona! It was super fun and we we started with some studies and then went and contacted in the Peterborough downtown. While talking to a person, I saw this one person who I recognized but didn't know from where and he knew who I was too and came up to us and it turned out I had taught him a year ago when I was in Lindsay. He had disappeared because of circumstances, but was willing to meet up with the Peterborough Elders in the future when his exams were done. We had lunch at this place called the whistle stop which is a poutinerie with 100 different flavours of poutine. I got one that was called (no word of a lie) Taku's Big Booty Chicken. It was splendid and way too much. It was overall a good exchange and got me pretty pumped because greenies just love everything and are just excited.

The next morning we had district meeting and the theme was that no effort is wasted. If you go about doing good and no one seems to accept it don't worry cause maybe you'll be the positive result of it. As I've been reading Jesus the Christ this week and with it being Easter Weekend where Christ performed the Atonement, died and came back again I wanted to highlight on a couple things I've enjoyed reading. The first is the story of the man that was paralyzed. Christ was preaching in this home where it was way too crowded for him to get in. This man had committed some sins in his past and his predicament was most likely the result of it and so he may have been a little afraid of the possibility of being condemned by Christ but he came unto him anyways. The amazing part is that four men got him on like a stretcher thing and put in all this effort to get this crippled man onto the roof of this house and that they lowered him down into the house. Their faith shown by their works was amazing. If not for them their friend who was paralyzed may not ever have gotten the chance to be healed by Christ. I think we can relate this to our lives, there are people who are spiritually paralyzed who deep down want to be healed but can't or are too afraid. They can't make it to Christ without some help and thats when they need help. We need to be reaching out to others that are in this predicament and be willing to go the extra mile much like these four friends that went out of their way to help their friend be healed. The other thing I liked from what I read was the story of the Leper. It read in ch 14 of the book "Among the afflicted seeking the aid that He alone could give came a leper,c who knelt before Him, or bowed with his face to the ground, and humbly professed his faith, saying: “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” The petition implied in the words of this poor creature was pathetic; the confidence he expressed is inspiring. The question in his mind was not—Can Jesus heal me? but—Will he heal me?"

I really love this and know that Christ and CAN and WILL heal us in our lives and that we just have to have a desire and a willing heart. He will heal all and is the physician of our souls.

On Friday we went home teaching with one of the members and he showed us and the guy we were teaching some stellar magic tricks which was really fun.

Saturday we helped out at the soup kitchen and have come to recognize some of the people who knew me so that was fun. We also had a lesson with one on our investigators and we just really talked about his concerns which went really well. If theres a problem, you really just need to recognize it and address it.

Church on Sunday was good as we went to the family ward. It was weird cause it wasn't really quiet like it is in ysa. We had our easter dinner with the LaFrances which was great as always.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week #85 GRATITUDE-The invitation this week is to compliment someone once a day!

Gratitude. One word, and it means a billion things. That's how I'm going to start this wonderful session today haha.

So this Monday we were able to go as a zone, not all of us but a lot and we went to The Parkwood mansion here in Oshawa where we took some good pictures haha. The mansion is where the movie "Billy Madison" and X Men was filmed so it was really cool.
 After we tried the new bus passes we got. Here in Oshawa Missionaries haven't had them for a while but we were able to get some and experimented with them and it was super fun and kinda intimidating at first. I hadn't contacted on a bus since I went on exchanges back in Hamilton downtown. After we had FHE. So the spiel with gratitude is our zone had been doing very well compared with the past and with all the blessings we were experiencing it had been decided at the zone meeting there would be an instruction on it. So in preparation for it, I attempted for the few days before just having prayers of gratitude. I would not ask for anything, and when I say anything I mean anything I mean Anything. It was difficult at first, but I got better at it. Since when we pray we are literally having a conversation with God we should talk with Him as though He's right with us. If I had a friend that was always asking and asking for things and never showing appreciation I don't think that person would be my favorite person in the world. But someone always showing gratitude and thanking you for things is a person a lot easier to like and you more likely will want to help them out. I suppose this is kinda how it is with God in the fact we need to let Him know things we're grateful for so he doesn't have to in a sense "take our order." It went really well and we were able to have some cool success which I will tell you about later.

So Tuesday we were able to try the bus system and get some maps and whatnot and had some good conversations. I got to meet this one man who was a rapper who had actually hung out with a rapper who is up and coming named Logic. We were also able to meet with or prodigal son and showed him the Elder Sabin conference talk which talks about being all in and committed him to being all in.

Wednesday had a good meeting in Brampton where we went back to the basics just like general conference and talked about the book of Mormon. It was super good.

Thursday we tried out the buses again and ended up finding three new people we were willing to meet next week. Once we got farther away from the university we ended up getting a ton of high school students and older people which then it became less effective. We had a lesson with one of our investigators who we hadn't seen for a while and it was good because we had a couple members there and she had a really good question about Nephi 8 which talks about the tree of life and we were able to explain and the member drew some pictures and it went really well and then we tied it into the gospel of Jesus Christ. Super solid and she ended up going to church on Sunday out in Bowmanville.

On Friday we had our zone council meeting which went really well with instructions on How To Begin Teaching, The Book of Mormon, Being creative in finding, having faith to baptize, and gratitude. They all went super well and we had an activity where you wrote your name on a piece of paper then passed it down around the table and people were supposed to write compliments down anonymously. It was really good and I think it's nice to know you're appreciated and that you're doing a good job. I think giving compliments is one of the best things we can do daily and it really doesn't take too much effort but could make the world to that person. So I just want to say that you're all awesome, cause 1. You read my letter and 2. you made it all the way to this point. We also were able to talk to this man while he was walking home and he was willing to meet on Tuesday.

Saturday we met with a few people and one was an investigator who we showed Elder Stevenson's talk and it really spoke to him.

Sunday we went to church and the LaFrances for dinner and it was nice enough to meet outside. There was also an easter Cantata at the church which went really well and one of the Elders in our zone preformed in it. Sorry the last part of this letter was so quick but I gotta go!

The invitation this week is to compliment someone once a day!

Much love!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week #84--Listening

Week 84:

So the name of the game this week is listening. So as mentioned last week we went and played squash with some members from the branch and it was super fun but really tiring so when we came back for zone sports I was pretty tired. We then had dinner with our elders quorum president and his family. We talked about how we find peace or what we do when stressed and we each had different outlets and things we do that are good but most of these things are temporary and aren't lasting ways to peace. We then shared how Christ provides us with that peace we all so desperately and unconsciously need. We shared the new cards for the new Easter video on where a brand new video just came out on Friday... go check it out! We then got to experience FHE which unfortunately wasn't as glamorous as the last one.

Tuesday we met with a couple people and shared about the video and invited them to share it as well. The cards are super awesome and simple. On the front it's a picture of Christ and it can fit in the back of your phone or wallet. We also went and helped this non member lady who had seen our Kijiji Ad for free service move some stuff she really appreciated it and despite our efforts made us take 50 bucks. I mean who gives 50 bucks for service? So I'm excited to go buy something nice for myself.... Just kidding we put it in fast offerings :)

Wednesday we had a meeting in Bowmanville and then went and saw one of our members and we talked about how the gospel is sometimes hard, but it's worth it. I've found that for myself in my own life, that it seems the hardest thing are often the best ones for us, like eating healthy, exercising, studying for a test, practicing an instrument or working on your jump shot. It's easier to take the path more traveled but often it leads down rather than up. There's a quote I saw that says "If you're on the right path, it will be uphill" The gospel isn't the easiest thing in the world to live, from personal experience and living it, I can honestly say that, but it's worth it. We also went out for Thai food with one of our members Tim. It was super good and we had deep fried bananas.

Thursday had another meeting (wow there's so many meetings haha) We saw a couple prospective elders one of which was our new converts and invited them to start working towards receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. We also met with a family for dinner and she was from London and knew the Stewarts-one of my favorite families back home. Our zone then all had to drive through Toronto as we had a temple trip the next day in Brampton which is just west of Toronto. On the way we gave a challenge out to everyone to find different kinds of cars while driving through the city including a smart car, a hummer, fiat and a punch buggy. Also a part of the challenge was to contact someone while in a car. It was fun. We got to Mississauga early which is where we were staying so we went and contacted, it was snowing/hailing/raining and we got denied a couple times but I was having so much fun and was trying not to laugh just being out in a different place contacting and in the city with all the weather. The next day we had the temple trip where I was able to see some of my past companions. The temple was good and was able to have a good experience.
 On the way back from the temple we got caught in traffic which was unfortunate cause traffic for me is just the worst thing and it really tests my patience (so maybe it's the best thing?). We stopped by the lady's house who we had helped with service earlier and helped her with some stuff in the backyard she was still pretty amazed at what we do and how we don't accept payment. We were talking and she really opened up about her life and asked us questions about marriage and its importance and divorce as she had been divorced and we talked about many other things with her and she expressed really some of the hardships she had been facing and how her family was in a sense breaking up. It was really sad, but we really just listened. By the end she was telling us things you wouldn't normally tell two 20 year old kids, but that's the magic of listening. I truly believe that everyone has something say and to express to someone else. That is without question, the one thing I think the world is in shortage of-- is listeners. We all want to be heard and we had a really had a good experience with this lady and ended up giving her the sisters number because she was not YSA age. That's the great thing about prayer I guess, is that you can talk all you want and know that someone is truly listening.

The next couple of days, we had general conference which is when the leaders of the church (prophets and apostles) speak to the world and help us know what we can do to find peace avoid the troubles of today.

On Saturday before the priesthood session we went to Jimmy Guacos, a really good Mexican food place that's also super pricey but good. I'm probably not going to go into too much depth on talks and which was my favorite and all that but invite you to go and watch for yourself on During Elder Stevenson's talk I did have an experience that I'll share.... So earlier either that day or sometime during a session I had built up some anger and frustration. I was looking at the area I had been assigned to labor in and was kinda just tired. I looked at the area and wondered why it wasn't where it should've been. I had tried new things, worked pretty hard, tried working with members, talked to tons of people and other stuff and still it was not there. I feel like I had done almost everything I could and didn't see really anything. I was tired. Therefore some anger built up inside of me and tension and then during Elder Stevenson's talk on the Holy Ghost, I felt it. Call me crazy but I felt peace. It filled my whole chest to a point where I thought I needed to breathe. I still wanted to feel bitter and angry and sorry for myself and so I tried to get rid of the feeling I was feeling by focusing on these things. Couldn't do it. The feeling wouldn't leave and I felt like "it's going to be ok" I can't really describe in too much detail but I felt good and calm. It was a great experience and I guess I really needed it cause it wouldn't go away even when I tried. I think it's interesting how we can always feel this way but just like how I was prideful and wanted to stay in my darkness, as people we generally do the same. The sun is always shining but instead of embracing it we sit in the shade and expect the sun to change for us. It doesn't work that way. We need to embrace it. I was pretty lucky that God basically backhanded me with the Spirit cause otherwise I would have stayed in that shade and never have had that experience. There was a few talks on the Spirit and the whole conference for the most part was on basic truths, which is we follow can truly allow us to feel that peace. So lessons learned this week- the hardest experiences are often the best for us, listening is key, and going towards the light rather than waiting is always best.

Have a great week and watch some conference.

-Elder Toly (ps I lied when I said I wasn't gonna share too much about conference