Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26

It has been very hot here! Thursday and Friday it was hot and Saturday it rained in the morning a ton and then the rest of the day it was so humid. 35 without the humidex but with the humidity it was said that it felt like 45 and then yesterday, it was even worse. The humidity was said to be at 73% but it could have been worse! We were at the Dryden fair Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so we had a booth inside a metal building with no air conditioning so it was quite warm and sticky to say the least!

I kind of had to laugh when I read about those guys going to Boise Idaho and Salt Lake because those are the two missions that people always laugh at, and then I am here in the Winnipeg Mission, but yeah I think you know what I mean.

So, here is my week:

Monday was p-day so we shopped, washed the car, prepared for the week etc., had dinner, and then went to FHE with the T's. J came and we watched a movie about a guy who found a Book of Mormon and took almost his whole life to be able to get in contact with someone who had the priesthood and get baptized. It was really good though and was true story. J loved it and afterwards we had pie and ice cream.

Tuesday we went and worked at community gardens, filling in some more garden plots with soil. We had one of the wheelbarrow tires get completely flattened by a tack that was on the ground, which slowed us down a bit. We went and helped hang up some shelves at the Dryden Native Friendship Center and after lunch we helped J at the Dryden Mission for a few hours and then he took us to A&W. Later that night we did some stop bys and got in contact with some of our investigators and did some street contacting.

Wednesday we had a great district meeting over Skype again and had some good practices. Later we went to the food bank and helped out there. We had a good conversation with the guy who manages it there. He is a pastor at another church. We then met G in the park again and taught another great lesson with him. He lights up every time we explain things to him and when he learns more. We can tell, and he can tell, that the spirit is really working through him. It’s fantastic! So excited for him!

Thursday we woke up and helped J at the Mission again take a bunch of garbage out from the Dryden Mission and he prayed for/with us. We have been praying that his heart will soften and it continually has been every day. We then had a great service opportunity with N at Aarons Park. We had previously not been able to work with him or talk to him too much, but we prayed that we would be able to talk more with him this time, so we went out there, and the whole time we were there we were working with him, cutting brush and trees and we had a great conversation and really broke down some barriers between us. We are now a lot better acquainted and he is way more open with us now. Then we had lunch and were able to meet with the N family for a while, which was great. They invited us to one of the kid’s birthdays on Friday, so we went there. We then went to the fair for the rest of the day at the booth and it was great. J came. Even though she originally signed up for 2 hours, she was probably at the booth helping out for around 10 hours total. She recently read overt the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and really loved it and told us of the great spiritual experience it was for her and how she really believes it and how it all makes more sense now! Her testimony is growing so fast. She was even testifying to people of different faiths who came by the booth and would tell them that this was the church where she had found the most truth! It was so great. We also ran into others at the fair who are investigators or people we knew who we hadn't seen in while and we had a great time talking with them. Then that night, the district president in our branch gave us two referrals. One was to go and help out a new couple prepare their yard for their wedding, and then he said he was having another person over at his house and that we were going to come over and teach them the plan of salvation. He also invited us to his retirement party where he is going to bear his testimony at the end and give all of his colleagues copies of the standard works with their names embossed on them. It will be great to be there and a great opportunity to find.

Friday we did our weekly planning and were at the booth the rest of the day. We got to know some of the members better and ran into G and he introduced us to his brother. Then we came home and finished our planning.

Saturday we went to the Birthday party for a bit and got to meet the rest of her family. We then went to the fair and J came again. We had lots of opportunities to talk to people and share the gospel with some and we just got ourselves more recognition out in the community.

Sunday J came to church again. This will have been the 4th week in a row and she stayed all three hours for the first time. Later, we were at her house teaching her and we asked how she liked church and she loved it and said she can see herself coming every week! Earlier in the day we were able to come across two families we have been trying to get in contact with ever since I have been here and they were both home (because everyone was home Sunday except us because it was extremely hot outside with humidity at 73%) and we were able to set a service opportunity with one and the other set up a dinner appointment with us for later in the week! We also ran into J, who just decided to randomly drive down the random street we were on. We had a great conversation with him again and he told us he really would like to take us to dinner some time this week and then have a serious talk about the gospel with us afterwards, which is great and was exactly what we were hoping for and he just asked us!

But overall it was another fantastic week here. I love it still! The Lord continues to bless us with miracles and service opportunities continually!

-Love Elder Shane Dola

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life in Dryden

This is my week:

Monday we cleaned the house really well and then went shopping, cleaned the car, did some laundry, and hung up some invitations around town for church tours and other posters with information on some of the activities that we do weekly at the church. Then we started looking up information on all of the pastors in town that we could contact and let them know that we are here to help. Then we street contacted a bit and went home at the end of the night.

Tuesday was such a great day, just packed full of miracles and great experiences. We had been praying to know how to contact the pastors and when we were walking down the street, we saw a man working in his garage and offered to help. We got to know him a bit and turns out that he is "Father A," the pastor at the Catholic Church. He was super nice and referred us to a lady named  H, who was the head of the "Ministerial Association" in Dryden, which covers all 12 or so churches in Dryden. We knew of her, we just never knew how we could get a hold of her. He told us where we could go and said to tell her that he sent us. It was a miracle; we had planned on searching out all of the other pastors but the Lord provided us with a better way to do things. As we continued down the street, we ran into some random lady I had never met, and Elder F had only met briefly, but she knew who we were and told us that she wanted us to come help her husband put in a heater and said that after we would have dinner as a payment. This was another miracle because we had been praying to find more service activities and she just gave us one. As we continued on our walk (we were heading towards a teaching appointment) we ran into B, a really old investigator and he told us to come down to his house to set an appointment with him and his family, who we had been trying to contact for quite some time. Once we finally got to our appointment, they weren't there but we had those other great opportunities. After that we made our way to the Dryden Mission and were able to help out J for a few hours. He really opened up to us and told us that sometime soon he wanted to meet and talk with us again and it had been a very long time since he has wanted to discuss religion with us, and he kind of gave us a referral to one of his volunteers, and he asked us to pray with him and he prayed for us! Then we went home, had dinner, and went out street contacting again and ran into a guy on the street named G. We started talking to him and he looked like he was almost ready to walk away, but we continued to talk to him and we then went down to the park and taught him the restoration. He was really interested and told us that he has been wanting to leave Dryden for a long time but had always felt that there was something he needed to do here first and when he was walking that night he hadn't planned on walking down the street that we were on but felt prompted so he did, and said he felt like he knew a little bit more of what he needed to do now. It was such a great day!

Wednesday we volunteered at the food bank and got to have a few good conversations with the people there and later that day, we went to a Community living center where they house people with birth defects and handicaps, and we were able to volunteer there and paint some sheds and do other yard work. I got to be a leader and work with some other handicapped individuals capable of doing physical labor. We also invited the senior couple to come, and that was where they found one of the less-active members that they had been trying to find for over a year, so another miracle! Later that night we had a really good lesson with one of our less-actives and we gave him a “Preach my Gospel” book and he was so happy to receive it. The spirit was so strong that night too! Then we had a lesson with J and with the T's and she is progressing so well!

Thursday we went down to Aarons Park and offered our service and helped split and store wood for over 2 hours. Then we had a 5-minute lunch and were able to teach G again and gave him a book of Mormon. And he had prayed like we committed him to do the other day and he received an answer and told us how he knows now more of what he needed to do with his life here in Dryden! We committed him to baptism and he accepted! After that we helped out by putting away tables and chairs at a seniors center. Then we had a sports night at church but unfortunately no one came, but we were able to contact some people over Facebook!

Friday we were invited to play softball with the people at the Dryden Native Friendship Center and we had a really good time and broke down a few barriers. We had a few good conversations, and went to the community gardens and were able to finish placing the last few paving stones after R (a neighbor across the street from the gardens) helped us cut them to shape with one of his stone cutting saws. Then we had dinner and did our weekly planning.

Saturday we went and had a tour of another old folks home, where they are in palliative care. We hope to be able to volunteer two hours there every week, which was great. Then I worked on my talk and we were able to meet with D and his dad, which also was good. We had a lesson with them and then we met with J and were planning on inviting her to be baptized that night but before we could even get to it she asked how she could be a member of our church, so we asked her to be baptized and she accepted. It was great!

Sunday I finished my talk. We had a good sacrament meeting and good Sunday school meeting. J was at church and this will have made it the 3rd week in a row that she has come, and the first time she came to Sunday school, but she loved it still and participated really well. In priesthood we met with A. He is the only young man here and we helped him with his talk a bit with scriptures. Later we taught G again and read with him from the Book of Mormon and he has been progressing still!. Later that night we went out to President Vahovick’s estate and home taught him and his wife with President Hessler and had a really great visit with him, and I go to know them quite a bit better!

But that was my week and it was great! Miracles everyday!!!

Love Elder Shane Dola

Ontario is very beautiful.

Our little church building.

Our well furnished apartment.

Different from the way they package milk at home.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12

My week was great. I am now in Dryden and I love it here. My new companion is so great and it is the best place in the mission. It feels like a completely different mission! It was closed for a year and it was just opened two transfers ago so everything is new and the place has so much potential and we are going to have so much work to do. I love it already! This week we are going to contact all the other ministers here (there are like 12 churches here in Dryden, town of 7000 people) and the mayor and see what all we can do to help! The people I have met so far are really great and I am so excited to work will all of them! And all of Ontario is surrounded by water but this part of Ontario is so beautiful! Just trees and rocks and lakes everywhere, everything about this place is great!  It is just a branch and on Sunday there were 11 people there and a new couple (the male was recently baptized almost 2 years ago) came from like an hour away from some surrounding area to our tiny little branch! It was great to see! There is just Elder F and I here and there is also a Senior Missionary Couple who have been here for over a year now. But it’s great. I am hoping, and will probably stay here for at least 6 months!

As for the heat, it was only really hot for like two weeks all summer and it has already started to cool down quite a lot. I have a feeling that it is going to be an early and a very long winter!

But I love you and hope that you continue enjoying the rest of your summer, at least what is left of it.

- Love Elder Shane Dola

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dryden, Ontario

The weather here hasn't been too hot lately and the mosquitoes have been dying down quite a bit. It has been raining quite a bit lately and since it hasn't been that hot lately it probably means that we are going to have a longer, and colder winter this year than they even had last year!

I did get transferred which will be nice. I could probably use a change, so I will be heading up to Winnipeg on Thursday morning to transfer meetings and then will be headed off to Dryden Ontario, which I have heard is even smaller than Brandon! But I think I will like it there. It should be really good!

For birthday and Christmas gifts, I have no idea! Some pizza bread and canned peaches, maybe other kinds of foods too. I always need new ties, lots of paisley ties and other nice ones too. That Lord of the Rings Music on a flash drive maybe. A sewing kit would actually be useful because when I go to Dryden. I don't think there are any sisters there so I won't have anyone to do my sewing like they do it now. Maybe some tie clips and other good stuff. Maybe some stuff back from my home country of Canada! Also some toothbrush heads would be great since I am down to my last one! Thanks!

But I love you very much too!  Hope you have a good what's left of your summer!

-Love Elder Shane Dola