Saturday, June 28, 2014

Missions of a different kind

I want to start out this post by talking about someone else other than Katelyn for a minute.  But you will see how it all ties back to Katelyn and her mission in the end.  Katelyn had a friend named Michalla who she grew up with in our Ward.  Michalla (Michalla's Miracles Blog) was diagnosed with leukemia not long after she graduated from high school.  She went through chemotherapy and every other treatment that comes with cancer and was declared cancer free a little over a year ago.  She spent the next year preparing for a mission, submitting her mission papers and then finally receiving a mission call.  Unfortunately, two days before she was supposed to give her farewell talk in sacrament meeting, she had a final checkup and the cancer was back.  So instead of entering the MTC that week, she went back to the hospital for more treatments.  After six months of treatments and a lot of prayers and blessings, things didn't turn out quite as everyone had hoped and prayed for.  Michalla passed away on June 15, 2014.  Her funeral service was both beautiful and spiritual.  Katelyn's Mom was able to contribute to the services by playing prelude music and accompanying on the organ during the congregational hymns.  Katelyn's older brother along with one of his former mission companions, was able to play a piano and violin duet (If You Could Hie To Kolob/Come Thou Fount Medley) of Michalla and her mother's favorite hymns that Katelyn's brother just happened to have composed while serving as a missionary himself. 

We kept Katelyn informed of Michalla's condition during the last few weeks before Michalla passed away.  One of the common themes from the time that Michalla entered the hospital the second time and up until her passing was that Michalla simply has a different mission to fulfill.  This past week Katelyn sent home an email which contained the following insight into Michalla's current mission:

"Something else I wanted to tell you that has been really neat. Over the past 2 weeks I have talked to SOOO many people that have either had to fight cancer or have a relative who is in the midst of fighting against cancer. It has given me the opportunity to bear testimony about the plan of salvation and the Atonement and of course about Michalla's experience which has really softened peoples hearts. At the beginning of the conversation they really don't want much to do with us but after sharing these different experiences and doctrine they are open to the gospel. It has been so neat! So Michalla has been helping with missionary work all the way up in the Canada Edmonton Mission! It has been so amazing! Literally I have never talked with so many people who have had to deal with cancer than I have in the past two weeks. It has been really neat to tell them about Michalla and help them to understand that we each have a plan and there is a purpose for all we go through."
That was just one of the many miracles and experiences that Katelyn has shared with us from her mission.  Katelyn tells us all of the time how they seem to always be put in the right place at the right time to meet someone who is interested in learning about the Gospel.  Katelyn told us about a church tour that they gave to some members of a different faith. Afterwards one of the people who took the tour came up to them and expressed interest in knowing more.  Then just a few days later while Katelyn and her companion were doing volunteer work at a local thrift store, they ran into another person who had also been on the tour and who was a friend of the first person that they had met from the tour.  Now it appears that Katelyn and her companion will be teaching both of them at the same time.  Then just recently, Katelyn and her companion have been teaching another investigator who they have seen several times before.  During their latest visit, the woman asked the missionaries a simple question, "How are you able to do that?".  What she was referring to is how are the missionaries able to come to her house and share a message with her which is exactly what she needed to hear at that time.  Katelyn explained to her that it wasn't them.  It was the Lord.  The Lord knows what she needs and uses servants like two sister missionaries to communicate what needs to be said at that moment. 

Speaking of volunteer work, part of missionary service is to spend a certain amount of time volunteering in the community at places like a thrift store.  In a recent email message Katelyn told us about some volunteer work that she and her companion did.  This time it wasn't at a hospital or a thrift store.  Their volunteer work consisted of helping to organize and judge soccer skills for the little league soccer teams in their area.  Of course Katelyn being a dancer, has no clue about soccer and neither did her companion.  But they were put in charge of the kicking skills competition and given a radar gun to help them determine how fast the kids could kick a soccer ball.  One by one the kids would line up and kick the ball.  Katelyn and her companion would use the radar gun to see how fast the ball went.  Katelyn said that they were given only a brief set of instructions on what to do and then left alone to judge the completion.  I am assuming that everything turned out OK.  Katelyn said that it was a bit hectic but that it was super fun.

Katelyn attended a zone conference with her mission president recently.  Katelyn and her companion did some training on how to present the first chapter of the Book of Mormon to investigators.  Then the mission president talked about how the Edmonton mission was unique in that the Edmonton area is a melting pot of different cultures and people from all over the world.  Being that, the missionaries are able to teach and convert people in their mission who will then return back to their own countries and help spread the gospel further.  He talked about how just a few people from Russia who were converted, returned to Russia and were the foundation for the many branches that exist their today.  The whole point was that the missionaries in the Edmonton mission are actually able to teach the world from right within their own mission boundaries.  Kind of a neat way of looking at how the Gospel is being spread throughout the world.

A rare treat.  Panda Express!

Another rare... well something.  Haggis.  Apparent their district leader likes to cook and thought that Haggis would be a good idea.

The Sister Training Leaders in the Edmonton Canada mission.

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