Hadley - Don't worry, I totally felt the hug you put in there when I opened it. You're so sweet Hadley :) Wow, 10 bucks! That's a lot of money. I love you times infinity too :)
Ellie - Haha, a beanie boo? At least that will last longer than candy. Sounds like you've been loving the swimming :) How often do you go to swim team?
Mom - Ya, I got the package safe and sound. It was super funny to see him :) ya, I'm sure Elder Earley did a good job. He's a really great guy :) Love the quote as well, and I love the package. The beef jerky is awesome.
Ashleigh - Wait, your sending another package? Man, how fat do you guys want me to get ;) Just kidding, it's great. I'm sure he's super excited to come up to Bayview.
Dad - Ya, seriously, I've moved around so much. The way things are in the mission now with the Chinese missionaries means I'll probably be here quite a while though. You never know, but I'll probably be here at least a couple of transfers. Ya, I don't know why he was complementary of me either. Elder Earley's a really cool guy. It sounds like you saw Elder Kendall too then?
Anyway, I guess I'll tell you all about the week.
Twas a wonderful week and all through North York
The city was filling with gospel galore
For Stowell and Sabin, together as one
Will now and forever kick some major butt (butt rhymes with one, right?)
Nothing like some poetry to really get those creative juices flowing eh? Darn. I said eh again. I'm turning into a Canadian. Pretty soon I'll be apologizing all the time and going on postal strikes.
Actually, that was a pretty authentically American offensive comment. I'm probably doing fine. But hopefully I didn't just offend a whole ton of Canadians. If there's one thing I've learned it's that THE GOSPEL IS TRUE even if the missionaries are dumb and make offensive comments sometimes.
On a note completely unrelated to the comment I just made, Canada's postal service is on strike currently, so don't send me anything. It will get stuck in a warehouse somewhere and make it to me in a few months. Honestly, the mission has warned us like 10 times to not mail any of the mission information. I know you all love expressing your love to me with abundance of letters and packages, but you're all just gonna have to hold it in for a little bit. I know, I know, it's hard, but you can do this. With God all things are possible.
If I could describe this week in one word it would be "This-week-has-been-really-crazy-because-we-whitewashed-in-but-also-awesome-because-I-am-back-in-bayview-serving-with-elder-stowell-who-is-celestial-and-beautiful-and-I-am-having-a-hard-time-expressing-this-in-one-word-so-I-am-just-using-lots-of-hyphens". There. One word. It's a really long one though.
Anyway, life has been good here. It's so nice to be back in Bayview. We don't even have to try hard to find Chinese people here. We just walk outside and and talk to a random guy who turns out to be Chinese. Then he usually says something along the lines of "no english" and then we try our best to baptize him. Sometimes it works.
Elder Stowell has been awesome. I haven't seen him too much since the MTC, and it's been great to be with him again. Also, it's even better now because our Chinese doesn't stink. Just kidding, it probably still does, but less so.
One of the highlights of this week was that we got to go to MLC in Brampton and meet the new president! He is super cool. President Clayton was awesome, and I love both of them, but they are way different. President Shields was a YSA stake president, and that was a really good calling for him. He's super energetic, and loves to share stories from his life. He loves joking around, and Elder Stowell and I are going to go running with him before next MLC. Haha, it was great.
MLC was wonderful as well. The night before, all the zone leaders drive to Brampton and go stay with the AP's so no one is late the next day, and we all get to catch up with each other. That was really fun. Then, the meeting itself is super spiritual and we just get tons of revelation. One of the things that came to my mind was the commandment "Be ye therefore perfect." As a mission, we do wonderful things, but obviously we are far from perfect. The problem with the perfect organizations of the church and the mission, is that they are staffed by those who are imperfect. Those who are flawed fill the positions required to do this incomparable work. God entrusts the work of saving souls to those who aren't perfect at it, and it is virtually impossible for us to fulfill that calling to the extent he asks us to fulfill it.
Luckily for us, there is hope. He commands us to be perfect, and he provides a way. It is only in and through Jesus Christ that we are made perfect, but in order to access that power, we have to put forth effort. We have to strive and work and sweat, and only then do we have the promise that we can be made perfect in Christ.
So now that we know we don't have to be perfect, let's worry about being good. Joseph Smith once said "Let the Saints remember that great things depend on their individual exertion." I know that that is true. One of the greatest diseases I've seen not only in the church, but in any organization is the problem of thinking "Someone else will do it." No. You will do it. There is too much riding on this. This is a matter of salvation and exaltation, and there is never a reason for you to wait for someone else to do it. When a friend stops coming to church or a member needs a helping hand or you feel a prompting to share what you know about Jesus with the person next to you on the bus, do it. There isn't really a good excuse to wait. Waiting for someone else to do it? When did Jesus preach that? The reason you have been put in the situation you are in is so that you can help the people that God knows only you will be able to help. You are qualified, because the only requirement is a desire, and if that's there, everything else will turn out. We, as a church and as people need to stop waiting for the green light when it comes to doing good. If we continue asking people "is there anything I can do for you" the answer will always be "no." Think about it. Every time you asked that question, the only thing you got in response was something trivial like "pray for us" or "just keep doing a good job." Quit asking and start doing the work that you've been called to do, because "great things depend on YOUR individual exertion."
I love this gospel, and I love this church, and I know that everything we teach is true. I am far from perfect, but I love the people of Toronto and I have a desire to serve them. Everything else has worked out.
Me and Jim:
Me and Nan:
Cheryl (awesome member missionary) and me:
Us with a bunch of the Kitchener YSA:
Counterclockwise from me: Me, Tommy, Elder Early, Jim (big eyes), Jack, Leah (big smile), Stephanie, Sam, Elder Brand (blurry), Bella, Sister Skinner, Sister Deng. Nan is on the right kind of cut out.