Monday, 23 March 2015

Transfer Calls

Hey y'all, 

It sounds like it's been a pretty interesting week. Especially in Albania, all of the missionaries there have had tons of insane stories to tell me about the mission. I pray for President Weidmann as it seems that he's got a lot on his plate right now. 

The cool peeps in my district
As far as my week.. well, I've been transferred to Toronto! I leave tomorrow morning and that's where I'll be serving. I guess now is my time to hunt down those Albanians. I've been transferred to the Toronto East area.. I'm not exactly sure what that means.. but, my companion is pretty sure it's just the east side of downtown. So, that's exciting! Sister Rasmussen is staying here in Barrie and will get a new companion. 

As far as everything else goes, it's been a pretty good week in Barrie. But, it's freezing. It's been snowing the past few days and I'm getting pretty sick of it but I guess that's Canada for you. Haha. On Saturday we had a mission temple trip! So everyone within an hour and a half of the temple was able to go. It was really good! I'm so excited to have the opportunity to attend the temple. I missed it so much while I was away in Albania, I wish we could go weekly! 

In preparation to go to the temple, Sister Rasmussen and I had been working on some family history. Okay.. I'm not even going to lie, I've always been bored by family history.. It just didn't interest me that much. But now I understand why people are addicted to it!!! It is so cool! I was able to find some ancestors from Dad's side of the family, and I've printed their names to be baptized and everything like that. It's so exciting to do! 

Sister Todd and Dorthy... Dorthy is seriously the sweetest lady ever.
She has the mental capacity of an eight year old… we love her
So, as we were going throughout the week we found a new investigator and he looked at both of our name tags and he asked where our last names were from.. As it turns out, he is what I would call a family history enthusiast.. Nailed it! He's so awesome. He's Scottish.. So, that's pretty awesome. I'm sure Sister Rasmussen will have a lot of fun meeting with him.

Sister Lofters… this Jamaican lady is the best!
I've only been in Barrie for 5 weeks, but I've met some awesome people and I'm sad to be leaving some of my investigators. But, I'm grateful for the opportunity to see another area in the mission and to have even more experiences with the people here.

Today, I was writing about all of the things I've learned in the past 3 months. It's been incredibly hard, leaving Albania and coming out to Toronto, and there have been times where I didn't know how to deal with all of it. But, as I look back at it all I'm able to see some of the specific lessons that I needed to learn and am still continuing to learn. We are so lucky to have this life in order to grow and learn from adversity. As we turn to the Lord for strength and we have an attitude of perseverance, we can overcome anything that lies before us. I'm so happy to be a missionary, and I hope that this e-mail finds all of you happy and healthy :) 

With love from Barrie, 
Motra Vermunt  

Our investigator, Mikayla

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Hey everyone! 

So, this week went by really fast.. and I feel like nothing super exciting happened, so sorry if this e-mail is kinda lame.. 

But this last Wednesday we had zone conference and Sister Rasmussen and I gave a training on how to receive answers from the Holy Ghost. Personally, I think it went really well.. a lot of other people told us that it did too.. So, that was really fun. We bought starbursts to throw at people to encourage participation.. Nothing is worse than asking questions and trying to facilitate a discussion and just having no one make contributions. It was great though!

In my personal studies recently, I've been reading general conference sessions.It's making me so exciting for the upcoming April session. We are so blessed to be able to listen to the words of a modern day prophet and his apostles. One of the most incredible things that I've found as I've been going through different years and things like that is that there is always a theme, and so many of the talks have the same concepts or explain one another and it's just such a strong testimony to the fact that the Lord truly speaks His will through the words of His servants. None of the conference talk topics are assigned, each speaker prays and seeks to know by the Spirit to know what they should speak about, and by the end of the conference you are always able to depict the message that the Lord is trying to get through to us. 

One AMAZING thing about our area right now is that each investigator that Sister Rasmussen and I have picked up have been member referrals. This week, we received 4! It's not that we don't go tracting or contact people on the street because we try to find that way but our members have been so incredible and have just invited their friends to events or to church or they have had friends in their home when we go to visit them. As missionaries we do a lot to try to find God's elect.. but as I go throughout my mission I come to understand that people are so much more receptive to us when they have their friends and family bring them to the gospel. Let's be real.. how nice are any of us to the random people that show up at our door throughout the day.. 

Probably one of the highlights of my week this week was we were in a parking lot waiting for something and I saw a semi truck with a shqiponja on it.. (the double-headed eagle that is on the Albanian flag.) I seriously wanted to like, die and run the truck down to talk to the Albanian man that was driving it.. I didn't. But, I wanted to. 

Well, we're just moving along here in Barrie. Things are good.. The weather is improving.. kind of, so that's nice. But yeah! I hope everyone had a great week! Happy Monday :) 

Motra Vermunt

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Per Shkak te Tij

Hello everyone, 

It's been a pretty good week here in Barrie, Ontario and I hope that everyone else has been enjoying the weather.. It's a balmy -1 here today and I'm stoked about it.

The Barrie Zone
So this past week we had a few fun events. We had zone training and we received "Because He lives" pass along cards. I don't know if you remember the He is the Gift campaign that we had at Christmas, but that changed my life and got me so pumped to spread the gospel and now we have another initiative and I'm so excited to learn more about it and to get out there and share it with everyone!! 

Anyway, so we got a huge stack of the new pass along cards and when we went home I opened up a package that I had received from Albania (full of contacts that of course arrived there shortly after I departed..) and in the package were 3 "Për shkak të Tij" cards.. (Because of Him in Albanian..). I got really emotional when I saw those cards. Since I've arrived here in the Canada Toronto Mission I have missed everything about Albania. It's been hard, but I've been praying fervently to the Lord and sought His help. When I saw the Albanian pass along cards, this feeling of comfort overcame me and I felt the love of the Lord so strongly. I felt as though He was affirming to me that He hears my prayers and He knows my heart and the things that trouble me and I was so comforted by the fact that truly because He lives, all of our pains and our sorrows can be washed away and because He lives we can rely on Him to carry us through anything that lies before us. I now have the "Because He lives" and "Për shkak të Tij" cards taped next to each other in my journal. This is His work, and it happens the same way here as it does there. 

We also were able to go to the temple this week which was SO exciting and such a crazy experience to have a temple in the mission. I appreciate it SO much. Seriously, I cannot even express how incredible it was. It was a temple trip for all of the recently baptized members and they were going for their first time. We were able to go because 2 of Sister Rasmussen's recent converts were attending. It was so special to see her love for them and to see her experience their first time in the temple. I won't lie, it was hard because I yearned for the opportunity to see my own recent converts and people that I love be able to enter the temple for the first time. I miss them so much, and I'm so grateful for the wonderful people that have become huge parts of my life throughout my mission. 

I wanted to share a quick story from a family in our ward. They had been less active for quite a while and are just coming back to the church. Money has been tight because the father had been out of work and they were seeking help financially. Our bishop encouraged the family to exercise their faith and pay their tithing even though it seemed literally impossible to do so. One night about a week or so ago, the sister texted us and asked us if we could bring a tithing slip to her house. So, we did.. This week on Wednesday, she texted us telling us that her husband had been hired full-time working 7 days a week, making more than he did in the previous job that he had lost. I bear my witness that this is exactly what the Lord means when he says, "..and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (3 Nephi 24:10/ Malachi 3:10) His promises are real, of this I testify. 

Another experience I wanted to share was that this week we had goals to find 2 new investigators. Finding new investigators can be stressful, you just have that pressure.. but you cannot control the agency of others. So towards the end of the week Sister Rasmussen and I were kinda stressed because we hadn't found any new investigators yet. I had prayed to the Lord and asked for His direction.. Within an hour we received a text from Church headquarters telling us that someone in our area had requested a Bible for us to take to her house. And then not 15 minutes later, our investigator Krista told us that her friend John would be coming to sports night and asked if we could "Tell him more about God." Truly, miracles happen! I am so grateful for the hand of the Lord. This is His work. 

Today is Sister Rasmussen's birthday! We haven't done anything to exciting.. But she's awesome. This week is kinda exciting (for me at least.. haha) because on Friday night one of the assistants to the President called us and told us that President requested that we give an instruction in zone conference on Wednesday. Zone conference is when several zone meet up together and Sister Rasmussen said that there is usually like 75-80 missionaries. She also said that the only missionaries she's seen give instructions in these meetings are the AP's. We're not even Sister Training Leaders or anything! But, I'm super excited about it.. I think Sister Rasmussen is a little less enthusiastic about it, but I'm super humbled that out of all the missionaries that will be there we were chosen for this assignment. 

Well, sorry if this one was a little long.. I had a lot to share. I just want to end with bearing my testimony that this church is true. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ and because of Him all things can become better. As we develop our faith in Christ, everything changes. Everything gets better. He knows us all individually, and He can heal us and support us in all of our endeavors. I have felt this so strongly in this past month as I have struggled and as I have felt burdens weigh on me. I know that He lives, and I pray that we all can share that great message with all of those that we know and love. "Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives: 'I know that my Redeemer lives.'" 

With love from Barrie, 
Motra Vermunt 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Why do people live in Canada?

Si jeni! 

This sums up our week…Stupid!
So.. yeah, basically.. I'll never be satisfied with the weather.. BUT, this is ridiculous. It is so cold here. When the wind hits your face it literally feels like a bunch of little needles. It's pretty much a sick joke. My companion is literally always like, "why do people live here?" I seriously.. don't know. Haha. 

It's been a long week but it's been pretty good! We've had ups and downs. We picked up 2 new investigators this week. One being the daughter of a returning member family. They've been inactive for several years and their 10 year old daughter isn't baptized and she wants to learn about the church before she chooses to do so! :) She's really sweet. Apparently the Elders were invited over there for dinner this past week and she was upset that it was the Elders and not us ;) YES! So, we're excited about that. Another girl said that Sister Rasmussen we're the coolest sister missionaries she's ever met.. HECK YA WE ARE. (Sister Rasmussen's the bomb.. I'll send a picture of her next week.) Haha. 

Our other investigator is the girlfriend of one of our members here in the Barrie ward. She's staying at a members house right now because things are a little difficult at home for her. So, we went to go stop by that member's house and she came to the door. We went in and talked a little bit and all of a sudden she says, "I've never been baptized.." Sister Rasmussen and I were basically like.. DO YA WANNA BE? Haha, anyway.. she's on a baptismal date for April 5th. :) 

We also had stake conference here this week and Elder Kachers from the seventy came and it was great! I remember being like, ugghhh.. It's a conference and now I just take like 5 pages of notes. But the one thing that I really loved was that he asked us if our trials make us bitter or if they strengthen our faith in God. Our trials are opportunities to strengthen our relationship with God and to seek His will over our own. 

So, the hard thing of this week is.. that we have an awesome investigator named Mikayla. She's 14 and she loves the church. She's going to EFY in a few weeks and she's going to Nauvoo in the summer and she just loves everything about it. We teach her and she just soaks up the knowledge.. But, the only problem is getting permission from her mom. But, we figured that since Mikayla is attending all of these church events and things that her mom must be alright with the idea. So, we planned to meet her mom last night and when Mikayla called her, we heard her mom say.. "If the missionaries want to meet with me to talk about you changing religions it will be a very short conversation it's not going to happen." At this point we're really not sure what our next step is but, I have faith that all things will work together according to the will of the Lord. 

I am so grateful to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He is in the details of our lives. I'm so grateful that we can grow in our faith in Him. As our faith in the Savior increases, everything changes.. everything gets better. I have seen that in my life and in the lives of the people that I work with. :) 

I hope you have a great week!

 Me dashuri te madhe, 

Sister Vermunt