You didn't have nearly as quiet a 4th as I did.... lol. I didn't even have the obnoxious sounds;D It was dead silent in Calgary. But I did celebrate! Elder Clarke and I went to a great view in Calgary and watched the sun set while we drank Shirley Temple's:) There is a firework ban in the whole province, so we couldn't get any fireworks:( But it was all good! We sang the Star Spangled Banner and it was still great:) The sunset was gorgeous as well.
Elder Clarke and I have really hit it off and we are a dynamic duo now;D
NOW for my "report":
President Miles. He is just THE MAN. He is from Layton (or Sandy or something...) Utah. He is an inspiring and incredible man. He is a fantastic leader, and he has already changed my life in the short time that I have known him. He is everything that I loved in President Nicholas, and more. In his welcome fireside, all Elder Clarke and I could do was just turn back and forth to each other and tell each other how much we already loved him. We are in good hands, and some extremely powerful and positive changes are going to happen in this mission. I am so excited for the future of the mission and the missionaries. He is extremely involved in the lives of the missionaries.
We had MLC's this week (Mission Leadership Conference) where all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders came to Calgary and we talk about goals and concerns for the mission. President Miles was asking all those gathered what changes they would like to see in the culture of the mission. An Elder named Elder Gonzalez stood up and said something to the effect of: "President, we really need YOU. It may sound corny, but we need to feel like we have 'parents' out here. People that we can talk to and that will be here for us no matter what. We need you to be a big part of our lives, President."
Now don't misunderstand. No missionary in this mission means to say that President Nicholas wasn't there for us. He most definitely was. But with 200 missionaries, it never sounded possible to really be a huge part of our lives. So it just never happened. We only ever saw President Nicholas at transfers, zone conference, and interviews. That's not a lot. But what President Miles said next almost made me start crying in the meeting. He said something like this:
"Elders and Sisters, we're going to talk a lot about baptisms and reactivations on this mission. But the most important thing to my wife and I is YOU. Period. You are the most important aspect of our calling as Mission President and Wife, and we don't just intend to be a part of your life for a season. We intend to be a part of your lives FOREVER. Our success will come with every wedding invitation, every baby shower notice, and with every letter that maintains communication with you while you are on this mission, as well as when you leave."
I seriously almost burst into tears. Mom, he is absolutely incredible. He has already gone on splits with Elders for appointments a bunch of times. He has really magnified the individual. I'm so grateful for him. I believe in him and I believe that he is EXACTLY what this mission needs.
Alright. Give me a second to wipe my tears off the keyboard....
Alright we're good;)
In other news, the work is going well. We are teaching a Phillippino named Bernard! He is such a good kind soul. He's the personification of all of Grandma and Grandpa's stories about how kind and loving and humble the Phillippino people are. He is nearly on date for baptism, so that is awesome. Elder Clarke and I have been working hard to help him along the path. He is praying every night and reading the scriptures every night when we remind him through text;D He's a great guy. I remember in a lesson just feeling this HUGE wash of love for him. I really do genuinely love the guy, and I've only known him for a little while.
He's our most solid investigator, but we are trying to also get in with his family. They are Catholic, but they all love the Savior so much - says Bernard - that I'm almost certain that we could help the entire family.
Anyway, I am working hard and doing my best:)
My mission has really changed in the past little while. I have found a new desire to do better and to try harder. I'm changing and I am getting an even more deepened conversion. Which is another thing that President Miles talked about in relation to his success as a mission president. That is his goal for each of us. By the end of our missions, he wants us to be able to step off the airplane with an unwavering testimony of Jesus Christ. A testimony that will never falter. And I think that I am achieving that. Trials and the hard things of life are all a matter of perspective. You can look at them as a woe that has come upon you, or you can see them as a divine opportunity. An opportunity to grow. An opportunity to prove your commitment to the Lord. An opportunity to step outside of your own understanding. The hard things in life change when you can see them through a positive light.
I can feel myself stretching and changing and I'm grateful for the Savior for supporting me through it all.
Thank you to everyone and their support! I love you all! Sorry if I couldn't get an email out to some of you this week.... We had to email at the library and they only give us like.... an hour....
P.S. Thanks to Grandma for the letter:) I love you!