Thursday, July 31, 2014

Miracles, service and a new area

Changes again and this one was a little unexpected.  Transfers came and Katelyn will now be serving in the big city.  She is actually going to be almost in downtown Edmonton.  The new area that she will be serving in is called River Valley and by the looks of it on Google Maps, it is called River Valley for a reason.  Obviously, the reason is that there is a big river running right through the valley.  As I looked a little closer to the map, the real name of the area should be "Golf Course Valley" because of the fact that there seems to be a golf course at every bend of the river.  Within about a ten mile stretch of the river, I was able to count six golf courses.  The funny story about the golf courses is that when I pointed this out to Katelyn, she told me later that she had the Elders believing that she was a pro golfer so this new area would be perfect for her.  Then she broke the news to them that she had barely gone mini-golfing a couple of times in her life and that was the closest that she had ever been to a golf course.

Katelyn is still a Sister Training Leader and still going on a lot of exchanges with some of the other sister missionaries in the zone.  Just recently Katelyn had a chance to go back to Spruce Grove which was her previous area and go on exchanges with her previous companion.  Katelyn said that it was really a great experience and also one of the more interesting dinner appointments that she has ever had.  The menu consisted of things like cabbage and cole slaw mixed with eggs along with some old pickled beets.  But bless their hearts, the most important thing is that they were doing their best to serve the missionaries.  The next day Katelyn and her companion were able to meet with some the people that the sisters have been teaching in the area and had some really great lessons.   

Service is always at the center of missionary work.  Whether it is teaching the Gospel or helping someone move.  This time the service that they were doing was the latter.  Apparently the Elders in the area had promised to help some people load their truck during their move.  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain at the time.  But the work goes on despite the rain.  Of course it could have been worse.  They could have been helping someone move in a blinding snow storm in -40 degree temperatures in the middle of January.  Anyway, as it turned out, the people that were moving lived right next door to the Ward mission leader and the Ward mission leader didn't even know that his neighbors were moving.  Anyway, everything was good and the people that were moving were really grateful for the help.

So during the month of July, we in the U.S. celebrate the 4th of July.  But in Canada they celebrate Canada Day.  So continuing on in the spirit of service, Katelyn and her companion volunteered to help with all of the Canada Day celebrations.  Katelyn said that they were on their feet for 13 hours straight with no breaks.  Their first assignment was during the fair where there were a lot of food and clothing vendors all set up in a large parking lot.  With all of the vendors taking up the space in the parking lot, obviously where wasn't and room for the public to park.  So people who were attending the fair had to be bussed in or walk.  But occasionally one of the vendors would need to make a run to get more supplies or food to sell.  This is where Katelyn and her companion come in.  They would have to escort the vendor that needed to make a supply run, down a long drag and then escort them back all on foot.  That meant that during the day they probably walked about 10 miles or more.  Then after spending 4 hours escorting cars in and out of the fair, they were reassigned to bike storage detail.  This meant that they would take someone's bike, give them a claim ticket and then have to store the bike for the person until they returned.  Then after several hours of bike detail, they were assigned to parking lot detail again.  Only this time it was the VIP parking lot.  They could only let the cars in if they were on the VIP list.  Finally after a long day of volunteering, Katelyn still had to go back to their appartment and pack up all of her stuff for the move to her new area in River Valley.  Katelyn said that it was obviously a very exhausting day be a good day none-the-less.

So on the first Sunday after arriving in her new area, Katelyn and her new companion were in Ward Council meeting when the Bishop turned to the new Elder in the area and Katelyn and told them that he would like them to stand up and introduce themselves in Sacrament meeting.  Oh but there was one catch.  Elder Nelson of the quorum of the twelve Apostles will be attending their meeting, so no added pressure, right?  Actually, Katelyn said that it was great.  Both Elder Nelson and his wife spoke during the meeting and Katelyn was able to visit with them for a few minutes after the meeting.  This was one of the most memorable experiences that Katelyn has had on her mission.  It was quite the "Welcome" to the River Valley Ward.

Over the last few weeks Katelyn told us that things have been really up and down in her new area.  Unfortunately, they have had several Sisters who have had to return home due to medical problems.  Katelyn told us a story about one of the sisters and what happened at the airport when she was about to fly home.  Apparently, she was really struggling with having to fly home by herself.  So the mission president and his wife said a little prayer along with this sister and asked that all would be well.  Just as they finished their prayer, they heard someone behind them say, "Hey missionaries".  It turned out that it was a family that was returning home to Utah from an international trip and they just happen to be on the same plane as the sister missionary that was returning home.  The mission president's wife then asked the mother of this family if they would accompany this sister through security and stay with her on her way home.  They agreed and were happy to help.  In their prayer they had asked that all would be well, and all was well.  Definitely a miracle.

Katelyn loves being a missionary!

Celebrating Canada Day

Tracting in the park

Make follow up calls before zone conference

A random sculpture of silver balls off the side of the road in River Valley