Saturday, November 17, 2012

Walking in Line

 Across the street from the mission office is the Metro.  Our windows look right out on in.  In front of the Metro I often see these little cuties walking.  In fact all throughout the city you can see little groups of children walking together holding onto a common rope.  I think they are so adorable as they walk along.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ottawa Zone Conf

 Yesterday we had zone conf in Ottawa, the capitol of Canada.  The drive there took about 2 1/2 hours.  We left in the afternoon on Monday after working in the office and arrived later that evening.  We stayed at Macies Best Western.  I liked it although it didn't have a fridge or a microwave and was quite expensive.  Also none of the hotels served breakfast.   I think that is so inconvenient and also not economical.  The room was nice and the beds were very comfortable.We

 We walked around in this tiny mall and then found Rockin' Johnny's a nice little diner.
 Papa is reading the menu and I loved seeing the old juke box on the table.  It reminded me of my youth when we had those in many restaurants.  They also played music from the late 50's, 60's and I enjoyed that.

                                            Papa had a hamburger which was huge.
 I had wings and the best spare ribs.  In fact, I think these were about the best ribs I've ever had.
                                                     The decor was lots of fun too.
 In the morning we ate bagels and fruit which I had packed and took off for the conference.  We took a wrong turn and what should have been a 10-15 minute drive took us 30 minutes.  Luckily we arrived just in time for conference to begin.  After the hymn and prayer and a few announcements, it's my turn to do training and after me it's Elder Arhets.  This time I was teaching the missionaries how to fill out baptismal certificates properly.  It should be a fairly simple exercise where you just fill in the blanks and yet the forms have not been filled out carefully.  I tried to teach them to be careful and I added a little bit of humor to my presentation.  One of the things they need to be careful about is putting in either m for male or f for female.  I got a few forms from which I need to submit the information to Salt Lake City for their permanent records that had the sex marked as g.  What does g mean.  At first I thought maybe it stood for girl?  I discovered that it actually stood for garcon, which is boy in french.  However we are filling these forms our in English and I am sending the info to America and it needs to be in English.  I also told them how important it is to get dates correct.  For example one form had the mother of 10 children listed as being born this year.  Now I'm quite sure that a mom of 10 is not just 8 months old.  We also need to write who the head of household is.  On one form one of the children was listed as head of household at the age of 11 when the rest of the siblings has the father listed as head of household.  There were a lot of other things that I needed to make the missionaries aware of in how to fill out certain form and documents.  Elder Arhets who is in charge of the fleet of 47 cars spoke on car maintenance and also instructed the missionaries on safe winter driving.  Then while the conference continued we had to go outside to inspect the cars.  Wouldn't you know it, it was just our luck that is began snowing just as we began inspecting the cars.  It continued for the next couple of hours and then just as we were finishing up, the snow stopped.  Luckily there was not much wind, so it wasn't as cold as it could have been.
The lady in the picture above is Sister Booth.  She prepared the lunch for everyone.  She has been cooking for the Ottawa zone conference, every 3 months, for the past 14 years.  I think she is amazing.  I cannot even imagine doing that.  She is a woman of dedication and hard work.  She does the whole thing herself and does not accept any help.  Yesterday she fixed chicken tetrazinni,  corn, green beans, rolls, and a raspberry, nut, green salad.  For dessert she served some sort of a pound cake that had been soaked in some sort of a fruit sauce and had fruit in it.  It was topped with whipped cream and had a cookie on the side.  Everything was absolutely delicious.  The table was set with nice dishes and a candy cane at each place setting.  Afterwards there were also after dinner chocolates.  We are sure thankful for her selfless service to the missionaries.  She is waiting for her son, the father of several of her grandchildren to return home from Afghanistan in 3 weeks.  We pray for his safe return.
Here are the Ottawa Zone missionaries.  Two of the sisters are from Mexico, one is from Montreal, and one is from Tahiti.  The elder on the front row right is Elder Vanfau from Vanuatu.  The one in the front row in the middle didn't even know about the church 2 years ago.  He is from Mexico also.  In this group there is also an elder from Switzerland, one from France, and several from the U.S.  I didn't get a chance to talk to all of them, but I look forward to meeting all of them.  I am always amazed at how wonderful the young missionaries are.  They are so nice and enthusiastic.  They love the Lord and they are anxious to do good.  It is just a pleasure to be with them and to work with them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Burger King

 A couple of weeks ago after working at the office all day, the Conways invited us to go and take a drive with them to Mount Royal and to visit a huge cemetery.  Unfortunately it was closed so we could not go in. Instead we drove around a little and did a little sightseeing from the car.  By then we were all very tired from working all day and I don't think any of us felt like cooking.  We invited them to go to eat.  They picked Burger King because it's fast and easy.   Well turned out it was upstairs in a 7-11 type of gas station.  You order downstairs and then eat upstairs.  We each had 1 hamburger and 1 order of fries.  That is, each couple split a hamburger and split the fries.  We drank water.  It cost us almost $20.00.  Yes, it's very expensive to eat out here.  In fact, everything is VERY expensive.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Zone Conferences

 Every three months we need to go to zone conferences.  The first one last week on Tuesday was in Quebec City.  We drove there on Monday afternoon and stayed at this very nice Normandin.  The drive up took about 3 hours.  Of course we arrived in the middle of rush hour traffic going home from work.  It was very cold up in Quebec City and the winds were very strong and cold.  We were looking forward to having a nice Thai dinner which we bought just by the Hotel, but the food was not tasty at all and in fact we couldn't even eat much of it.  That was after we spent almost $30.00 on it.  Very disappointing.  We will not be eating there again.

 As part of zone conference, the missionaries were given a lesson on how to cut hair.  Pres. was the guinea pig for the first conference.

 Elder Teuira from Tahiti actually did a great job.  When he first arrived at the mission, he couldn't speak any English and was afraid to even say a prayer out loud, but now he is one of the AP's.  He is such a pleasant guy with a big smile always on his face.
 Everyone in this particular zone speaks French.  Luckily for me I understood everything that was said.
 Papa is wearing a jacket because after we do our training, we have to go outside and inspect the cars.  Car inspections take quite a while because they are very specific and detailed.  It really takes both of us to do it.  Every single thing about each car has to be inspected.  We begin by checking the trunk to see if it is clean and if all materials are well organized in boxes.  Then I get in the car and taking the odometer reading and checking the seat belts and the cleanliness of the car inside.  I also look for 4 things in the glove compartment:  registration, accident forms and guidelines, insurance, and another certificate.   John is looking at the outside, checking it for cleanliness and damage.  Then we check all the lights.  When we check the brake lights, I have to be pushing on the brake.  Because some of the missionaries are so tall I am sometimes lying down almost totally on my back and stretching my leg out to reach the brake.  Then I turn the turn signal lights on and off.  Next comes the front of the car.  We check the lights and turn signals again.   John checks all the fluid levels under the hood and I mark down if they are good or if they need additions of any kind.  Finally he checks the pressure of each tire and I write that down and also the depth of the tire treads and I write that down.   You should see us.  John wears 2 jackets, a scarf, hat and a parka with big boots.  I have on tights, boots, a sweater, boots and a parka that is so big that I look like a bear.  The sleeves are so long that my hands don't even peek out making it a bit difficult to hold a pen.  

                                 The two couples on the right are from the Stake presidency.

                                             Elder Bagnall is one of the AP's
                                                        Look how tall Elder Teuira is.

                           This Elder wanted a picture with us because he is from American Fork.
                                        Wednesday we went to the Mount Royal Zone Conf.
                                  A whole new group of missionaries to be taught and uplifted.

 The black sister sitting with the sister missionaries is a fairly new member.  She goes out with the missionaries almost every day.  She is anxiously awaiting her mission call.
                                          Here I am instructing these awesome missionaries.

                                                       Papa has his turn too.

The senior couples help prepare and serve the meal.  Sister Howard on the far right does almost all of the cooking and planning.  She and Elder Howard work with the young adults and the center.  I think they have the best calling.  I loved working with the young adults and the missionaries 

 I see Elder Heder and Elder Ellis a lot at the office.  Elder Ellis is a computer whiz.  He used to work for the Apple store in Provo and he knows all about macs.  He has been able to help me a lot.  Elder Heder is from PG and lives very close to our house.

 The sad part of the story is that that day after conference and for the rest of the night and most of the following day about 50% of the missionaries both young and senior were struck down with diarrhea, stomach cramps and illness.  Luckily neither Papa or I got sick.  We think that it might have been that the kitchen was not clean.  We think that perhaps the cutting board was contaminated.  Unfortunately the 25 kgs or 34 lbs of pork loin, that was planned to be used for the following days conference,  had to be thrown away.  We didn't want to chance it being contaminated.

On Thursday we had the Isle de Montreal and the Rive Sud combined conference.  

 This couple is Elder and Sister Cannon.  Elder Cannon is the father of President Cannon.  Each of them has served several missions.  They are newlyweds.  They have only been married just a bit over a year.  Elder Cannon at one time served as mission president in one of the southern states (I forgot which).  He is 86 years old.  Can you imagine serving another mission at that age? In this particular mission they are working with the Chinese branch and so are both learning how to speak Chinese.  Both of them are very active both mentally and spiritually as well as physically.   

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Montreal East Branch

 Each Sunday we go to this building for church.  There are 2 wards, the Ochelaga French speaking and the Ochelaga Spanish speaking, and our little branch.  Both the French and Spanish speaking have a large number of people attending.  The Spanish ward always sings really loudly and really well.   They can be heard even outside of the chapel.  Our little branch doesn't have that many people.  We usually start out with about 20 and after sacrament about 20 to 30 more people come straggling in.   The branch is small and many are struggling, but those who do come faithfully are strong in their testimonies of Jesus Christ and of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Most of the people that I have met speak with heavy accents.  In Montreal almost everyone speaks French and English.  However the French they speak is Quebecois and it is very difficult for me to understand.  Their English also has a certain accent to it.
 Last week a little baby with parents from Mexico was blessed.  She was absolutely adorable and she reminded me so much of Emily when she was a little baby.  She was dressed in a very fancy long white dress and she had a ton of dark hair with a bow in it.  Her Dad carried her oh so carefully as she lay in his arms on a fancy crocheted white blanket.  It sure took me back to the day when my babies were little and especially I thought about Emily all day long because she looked so much like her.  Both parents bore strong testimonies of how they know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and how grateful they are that they can be eternal families.  The Father speaks English some, but was to worried to speak in front of the congregation, so his friend translated for him.  The friend told about how grateful he was for the church and what a privilege it is for him to be a member of it.

 Nadia is an amazing young woman who teaches gospel doctrine.  She is from the Ukraine and speaks fluent Ukrainian as well as fluent Russian.  I do not now her story yet, but I will find out one day.  I do know that she and her husband and mother lived in France for 3 years along with their daughter who is now 6.  About a year ago she went through a devastating divorce.  Nadia told us that she has had many miracles in her life.  One of them was when she was at one of her lowest points in life.  She was in Montreal going to University, working, and caring for her little daughter as a single mother.  At this time she lost her day care and searched and searched to find new daycare for her daughter.  She was unable to find anything.  She also lost her job because she had to provide daycare herself and couldn't go to work.  As a little background to the story, one must know that she had been trying for a long, long time to get a visa for her mother to come to Montreal, but that was also not working out.   People were not able to get visas from France to come to Montreal for some reason.  Anyway, Nadia became so sad and so desperate that she just didn't know what to do or where to turn.  She turned to God.  In prayer she asked him to help her.  She prayed that she needed the help not for herself, but for her little daughter.  The next day she received a phone call from her mother saying that she received her visa.  She was overjoyed because now her mother would be there to be with her and to help with her little girl.  People asked her what did she do to get the visa?  How did this happen?  It was impossible.  And yet, it did happen.  Nadia testifies to the fact that the Lord heard and answered her prayer.  She also speaks perfect English and Spanish.  In fact, she now has a boyfriend that is Hispanic.  She has introduced him to the gospel and he is taking the lessons from the missionaries.  I look forward to getting to know her better.