Monday, April 18, 2016

That one time that an Apostle made fun of me..:)

So, Elder Christofferson and Elder Martino of the 70 came to our mission this week. It was probably the coolest thing ever to happen to me. 
On Friday (we're jumping ahead in the week, here) the whole mission gathered for a conference with the apostles. This is a big deal, because our mission is huge and so it never ever happens that the whole mission is gathered together all at once. So anywho, he did a Q&A session with us and I stood up and asked my question: "How do you discern when the Spirit's not there because of something you did or failed to do, versus it just simply not being there for reasons beyond your control?" He said without hesitation in front of the entire Canada Calgary Mission, "It's always your fault." And then everyone laughed for a solid minute, and he laughed, and then his face turned bright red and it was probably the greatest thing ever. Who else can say they've been made fun of by an apostle? He then, after composing himself, actually answered my question. I don't remember what he said exactly because I was still basking in the event that that just happened. :D

Ok, on to the rest of the week. 

Tuesday: We had interviews with President Miles. He's just a wonderfully inspired man. It's always such a treat to be able to talk with him and feel the Spirit that he brings. He always has great advice, and he's funny. Like, he fist bumped me during my interview. Coolest thing. 
We spent a good chunk of time with one of our returning less-actives. She just returned from her mission reunion in Utah and general conference and so she shared all the spiritually uplifting experiences she'd had and we discussed how to implement them into her life so she can continue to feel the Spirit. She then felt really inspired to go tracting with us, so we picked a street and went at it. We didn't have any success of the teaching and baptizing kind, but we did talk to quite a few amazing people who were very kind and had amazing stories, however not interested in our message. 
She then fed us supper and came with us to a lesson we had. She was able to add her testimony to what was being taught and how the principle had blessed her life and shown her the love that the Lord has for her. 

Wednesday: Was BSD. Bermuda Shorts Day. That's the last day of classes for the students on campus, and our institute/church building is right off campus. Basically, lots of people running around half naked drunk out of their minds. So that was interesting. We mostly stayed inside the institute building and helped out with the Mormon version of BSD, where we just had hotdogs and one of the teachers did a magic show. He was actually really good, he does it on the weekends as a side job. 
We made a gift for one of the girls in our ward. Every time we ask if we can do anything for her, she says she'd like a box of kittens. So... we made her a box of kittens. Her reaction was probably the best thing ever. 
We had a lesson with J.R. and taught him the first half of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He says some pretty powerful things that totally bring the Spirit. It's amazing. He's just soaking up everything we teach him and he's recognized things that need to change in his life, even though we haven't taught him any of those lessons yet! He's stellar. 

Thursday: We had lunch at this amazing burger drive-in with Andrea before she left for Utah to enter the MTC this weekend. Saddest/happiest thing ever. She's probably one of my favorite people and it's been a blast having her. But she'll be a stellar missionary. Anywho, sentimental things aside, we took some dope photos. Those burgers were so good. And then we took some cool photos on the outlook over the city. Soooo pretty. Ahh. 
After lunch, we met with a recent convert and got ice cream with her at Wendy's and talked about priesthood power and how it can bless our lives. I joked that women are already really good at serving, so men need the priesthood to teach them how to serve. She laughed, which was a highlight because she never thinks I'm funny. Haha! While at Wendy's, we saw this guy bring a homeless man into Wendy's and buy him a meal and sit and talk with him. The homeless guy was pretty out of it, but I was so touched by this guy's act of kindness, I went up and talked to him. Tried to give him our card and he was all, "Yeah, I'm born-again Christian. Thanks but no thanks." Ahh.... uhh... hehe ok. But then he was nice and talked to us about other things. Yay for random acts of kindness(:

Friday: The guys in charge of the service we do at the gardens threw a BBQ for us for all our help. It was fun to talk with them about all the work that's gone into the gardens. They gave us some of the calendars that they make with the gardens in full bloom. There's even a bench in the garden dedicated to the missionaries because they've been going for years helping out. 
We finished teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to J.R. and emphasized on why it's important to have the Holy Ghost with us. He's so awesome, he was like, "I can feel the Holy Ghost right now." AAAAHHHHH.
We had a few other lessons that night, one at a froyo place and another in the temple parking lot. Soooo cool. Love it. This area is awesome. Who else gets to have lessons at the temple on the daily? :D

Saturday: Was the big day that Elders Martino and Christofferson came. I was asked to conduct the music for the meeting and when I saw how many missionaries there were, I thought I was going to puke all over the back of Elder Christofferson's head. Luckily, that didn't happen. It was fine. And they decided to go without the intermediate hymn so I only had to do it twice. Phew. It was amazing to see so many missionaries I'd served around previously. Like, talk about spiritual high around a bunch of 18-20something year old spiritual giants and a few apostles. So amazing. 
After the meeting, we had lunch with the sisters in our zone and then a lesson with one of our less-actives who's actually doing really great. We're super proud of him. His girlfriend was there when we taught, so maybe she'll want to learn more about the church, too(; 
And then, becasue we're in YSA, we got to go listen to Elder Christofferson speak again. He held an evening fireside for the YSA in Calgary and we got to go. J.R. came and afterwards he says,"Did you guys, like, have a meeting with him before and tell him all the things I needed to hear and have him speak on them? Did you plan this? Because he answered just about all of my questions." AAAAAAHHHHHHHH APOSTLES ARE SO INSPIRED AND AMAZING YAY YAY YAY. He did a Q&A with the YSA, too, and some guy literally asked if Elder Christofferson would give him a blessing. And he said yes. So that happened. 

Sunday: The STL's passed their investigator, Robert, off to us because he's YSA aged. He's pretty cool, he just needs help understanding who Christ is and why He's important. We're working on it:D But during our lesson, his mom made us these flippin' professional lookin/tasting crepes and I about died from excitement. Crepes are so good. These crepes were so good. Aaaaahhhhh *sugar coma*. 
It was quite the day of food, we had a linger longer after church, crepes at Robert's, and supper after that. All of the boom boom boom back to back. Whoo. That was quite the day. But it's awesome, because it means the people like us(: That's what I tell myself, anyways.

So, my mom asked me what my favorite part of being a missionary is, and I thought I'd share what I said. 
The best part about being a missionary... There's so many great and amazing things. I think the hardest part about being home will be that when I see someone struggling with their testimony or needing to be reached out to, it's not really socially acceptable for anyone but missionaries to just drop by, chat for a bit, and then share a spiritual message specific to their needs and talk about how we can help them. I love love love getting to know and love people on that level and missionaries get away with the awkwardness of it because we leave every six weeks and, well... it's our job. 
I love the feeling of belonging with all these missionaries, in my mission and across the world. We all have this relationship that's unlike any other because we're all going through the same things, doing the Lord's work together. Once I'm no longer a missionary, I'll see missionaries walking down the street and freak out because I used to be one of them and they'll be like, "what's wrong with this lady" instead of, "hey another missionary!"
I love being able to be spiritually poured upon every zone conference, interview, district meeting, zone training meeting. Reminded of the love the Lord has for His servants and that we're not alone in this work. 
I love the whole hour set aside for personal study and that nothing comes in the way of that precious time to feast upon the words of Christ and be strengthened for the day.
I love p-day. lol.
I love being out walking and members saying, "Hi sisters!" or, "it's the sister missionaries!" or thanking us for what we do, because heaven knows this isn't easy. 
I love being able to bare my testimony all the time. All the time. People come to us, the confide in us, they trust us, and it's amazing to be able to focus on them instead of myself. 

I know this gospel is true. I'm grateful for it every day. Every day, I pray and say, "I'm grateful for this gospel" and Heavenly Father's probably like, "Yeah yeah you say that every time." But really. Without this restored gospel, I don't know where I'd be. I don't know where my family would be or what purpose we would even have in this life. There wouldn't be a purpose. This gospel is everything. We need it more than we need air. Don't ever think you can do this life without it. I've tried, and it just doesn't work that way. 

Love you all so much! Thanks for all you do(: Hope your week is amazing! 

Sister Pipkin 

1) The amazing crepes
2) Mommy Pipkin with her two little babies(:
3) The cat box we made Aleena. Ft. her actual cat
4,5,6) Us with Andrea at the city outlook. 
7,8) The bench dedicated to missionaires
9) the sisters of the zone after lunch
11) Us with Alicia, one of our amazing members(:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Brain no worky so no cleaver title

I wish I could say that Fast Sunday doesn't leave me brain dead... but it totally does. Spiritually uplifted and brain dead. I guess that could be the title of this email... 

Monday: Our friend, Brendan, from our ward came back from his visit to Utah for General Conference. On his way back up, he stayed with my family in Idaho Falls and he brought some stuff back for me, including my ukulele! Yay! You'll see below my look of sheer excitement. I've missed that little guy. My ukulele, not Brendan. Lol. For p-day, we played two-hand touch football and a bunch of other outside games because it was so nice outside!! I love it when the weather warms up. So great(:

Tuesday: We had zone training meeting and learned about better ways that we can do missionary work with the members. It's so true, though, that working with members is THE most effective way to do missionary work. Like, so much better than tracting (knocking doors). We then went and heart attacked one of our members who was away for a mission reunion in Utah. Every time we tell people we're heart attacking someone, they literally think we're going to give them a heart attack. Lol. No. Just paper hearts on their door. We then met up with a girl in our ward at the mall and helped her pick out a gift for her dad's birthday while talking about what stuck out to her in General Conference and what we can do to help her. We had a lesson with a guy in our ward who's kind of struggling with his testimony but is doing awesome, and then we had supper with the Rockyview elders and some members in their ward who invited us. They were hilarious and would't let us do the dishes. Lol YSA never objects to letting us do their dishes haha(; We then met with the STL's at the stake center and exchanged! 

Wednesday: I was with Sister Trimble, my MTC comp-now STL, and it was so cool to reminisce on the last year and how this time last year we were in the MTC together as companions! Ah. So crazy how much changes in a year. We stopped by some people on their ward list, because they're both new to the area, and it was a lot of fun, meeting new people. One of the ladies we visited was actually the mother of our bishop's wife and it was awesome to get to know her. What a neat lady. We had lunch at a burger place that was fantastic, complete with a Nutella milkshake, and we also visited a lady in the nursing home with the 17th Ave sisters. We sang her some hymns and she asked me who told me I could paint my nails blue. I responded with something usual from Sister Pipkin, "Well nobody told me I couldn't." She laughed and said I'm sassy. Well... :D
We took some photos at the Bow River and then started heading to meet with the other sisters to exchange back. On our way back to the car, I got a bug in my eye and I screamed. Pretty loudly. We look over at this guy sitting on his porch smoking and he just starts laughing. It gave us an excuse to go talk to him, though, and share a #Hallelujah card with him. I guess you could say I took one for the team lol. While on exchanges, Sister Sears put our new investigator, J.R., on date for baptism in May. WE'VE ONLY BEEN TEACHING HIM A WEEK AND HE ACCEPTED THE INVITATION TO BE BAPTIZED!!!!! Ah, so exciting. 

Thursday: We did weekly planning, like always, but then we made a cake for Manny, one of our investigators (who also happens to be Brendan's roommate) because it was his birthday! Sister Sears is amazing at making cakes, so she wanted to make him a car cake because he loves cars. However, on the mission, she has limited resources, and the car cake turned into looking like a pig. But we pretended it was a car. It tasted so good, regardless. And Manny loved it. We had a lesson with him after that and it went super well. Maybe because he was "sugared up" with that cake(; 
We also went to a tea party held by the Highbanks Society we've been volunteering at, where they showed appreciation for the volunteers. They gave us flowers and some artwork the little kids in their program did for us. It was adorable. Afterwards, we went with the 17th Ave sisters to try and find something to eat for supper. We ended up walking out of two places because their dinner prices were outrageous and ended up resorting to Wendy's. It was pretty comical, looking back. And then, these amazing members saw us at Wendy's and paid for our meals. Awwww(:

Friday: We went to a meeting for the trainers/trainees with President and Sister Miles. Ah. Have I mentioned how much I love hearing from them? They rock. After the meeting, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings with some of the other missionaries and the manager gave us the Thursday deal of 75cent wings even though it was Friday. It was awesome. He then asked us a ton about our missions and stuff. Missionaries go there all the time after meetings and do the Blazin' challenge, so he's pretty familiar with and loves missionaries. Who knows, maybe someday he'll take the discussions(; After lunch, we had another lesson with J.R. He recognized the temptations that he'd be facing as he prepares for baptism, which awesome because then we can help me(: He rocks. We had supper with Jenna and she showed us all the plans she has going for her wedding in August. Ah, love and happiness(:

Saturday: We did some yard work/landscaping stuff at the community gardens again. But it was super windy, and laying mulch in wind is not as fun as you think it would be. One of the elders just sat in the wheel barrow and "supervised" lol. What a guy. We sang some hymns at the retirement center with the zone leaders and the STL's and it was so fun. Old people are the greatest. AND THEN!!! The Feenstra's from my first area came up and took us out to supper. How freaking awesome that was. Oh my goodness, it was amazing to see them again. And then, this was hilarious, we looked out the window and what did we see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree! Lol just kidding. We saw the Spanish elders coming to eat at the same restaurant we were, and one of the elders had served in the Feenstra's ward the transfer after I left, so it was a mini reunion. Ah. So amazing. 

Sunday: Was fast Sunday and it was truly amazing. It was J.R.'s first Sunday at church, not counting General Conference, and Sister Sears and I were kind of nervous. Testimony meeting can be make it or break it for some people. Sometimes, people say some weird things haha. But the testimonies borne were stellar. I always forget how amazing YSA are. They say some of the most inspiring things, they're so in tune with the Spirit. I could see J.R.'s reaction to the words said and I knew that just about every single one of his questions were being addressed in that meeting. It was so neat. And not only his questions, but those of other individuals that we were working with who were in attendance. I hope they were able to feel the Spirit as it was in that meeting. I love fast and testimony meeting, despite the incessant growl of my stomach. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony with others every day of the week as a missionary! What a blessing that is. We had supper with one of the couples in our bishopric and her guacamole was to die for. Mmm. Oh yeah, mom, I like guacamole now(; We went to Andrea's open house afterwards and took photos and gave hugs and stuff. She leaves for the MTC on Saturday and I'll miss her tons and tons. She'll be an awesome missionary, but I'm selfish and really want her all to myself(:

And that was our week! What a great one it was. I love being a missionary, it's probably the best thing I've ever done. Such a blast getting to know so many different people, I just love it. 
I hope everyone has a great week! Love you all so much!

<3 Sister Pipkin 

1 & 2) the fake cow we found on someone's front lawn. 
3) this cute little take&go library we left a Book of Mormon in 
4 & 5) defiantly leaving a card in their mailbox specifically because it says not to 
6 & 7) the retirement center we sing at always has these adorable posters they put everywhere. Lol @ gospel singers. We're the whitest "gospel" singers there are 
8 & 9) Us and the Feenstra's + the Spanish elders. Lol @ Sister Sear's closed eyes hahaha 
10) our girl, Andrea
11) President and Sister Miles
12, 13, 14, 15) E. Ince in his wheel barrow throne. Manny and his cake. He's a hoot. Us and some of the other volunteers at the tea party. My ukulele and I reunited. 




Monday, April 4, 2016

The Mormon Superbowl

That's basically what General Conference is like.
Think about it. 
Lots of people gathered around the t.v. for multiple hours. There's always food, probably green jell-o with fruit in it. There's always a few performances. People laugh. And cry. And those are probably all the similarities. 
Regardless, I'm kind of obsessed with General Conference. It's like, my favorite weekend as a missionary. Or just in general. But I'll start from the beginning of my week, first. 

Monday: A family from my first area came up from Lethbridge and we had lunch together and I squealed a ton. It was so weird seeing them again, it had been a whole six months since I last saw them! It was awesome. Some of my favorite people(: We hung out at the stake center with the other missionaries, as usual, and just kind of, like, relaxed. P-day is a holy day. Normal people dread Mondays, but not missionaries.

Tuesday and Wednesday: We had a few lessons with some less-active members and the usual Waffle Wednesday. AND THEN we had a lesson with a new investigator, J.R. J.R. was introduced by his friend in our ward, Johnathan. He brought him to that Friday Forum a few weeks ago about race and the priesthood and J.R. really liked that. He's also been attending the Eternal Families class at the institute building and loving that as well. So Johnathan set up an appointment with us and J.R. and we met with him and taught him the first half of the first lesson, the Restoration. Holy Hannah it was so awesome. He loved it. He agreed with everything we said and said it was what he'd been wondering about and looking for and he just felt so comfortable with us. AND THEN he said, "You know, you people are different. You look at me like I'm special, like I'm important. I feel like you love people just as Jesus would love them." HE SAID THAT. I was so happy, I literally could have flown away. Idk, that's a weird way to say that I was really happy haha. So, he agreed to take the lessons and keep learning more. He also agreed to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. HE SAID HE LOVES THAT WE HAVE A PROPHET TODAY AND ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE. Like, could he have been more golden and prepared???? Ah. So cool. And then a member took us to Boston Pizza, which is pretty much  my favorite place to eat here. 

Thursday and Friday: We had some more lessons with our usual people that we're working with. Did some weekly planning. And then on Friday morning, we met with J.R. again and it was pretty much just as cool and awesome and spiritually uplifting as the first lesson with him. Johnathan texted us later that afternoon saying that after they left, J.R. was telling all his friends that he was going to convert to being a Mormon. WE HAVEN'T EVEN INVITED HIM TO BE BAPTIZED YET AND HE WANTS TO BE A MORMON!!!! You guys, I'm like... Idk. I'm so excited, words can't even describe. Ah. So good. 
We did a service project after that, spreading mulch for a community garden with the elders in our district. That was fun. The guy in charge invited us over for donuts and lemonade after. Such a sweet guy. And I can never turn down donuts so... :D 

Saturday: Was the beginning of the Mormon Super Bowl. Ah, so awesome. It was so neat because I hadn't really decided what I wanted to get out of conference yet until like, that morning. AND THEN there were like THREE talks that basically addressed all of my concerns and issues and such. I was like, woah. Heavenly Father is awesome. 
We had lunch between sessions with the sisters in our zone and then we went back to the stake center. We got back a bit early, so we layed on the sidewalk in the sun because warmth. We're laying there, modest, of course, and flippin' President Miles and his wife pull up. Right in front of Sister Balser and I. Hahaha so awkward, we had no idea they were coming. They got out of their car and President says, "Well, hey there, sisters. Watcha doin'?" And then he went on to tease us. It was awesome to watch the afternoon session with them. I just love them. Even cooler was that I saw a TON of people I knew from BYUI in that choir that sang. I was like, HEY! She was in my class! HEY! We were Twitter besties! (shout out to Miranda) HEY! I had a crush on him! (shout out to Matt). And of course, Sister Ashby. Ah. Love that woman. She was the really enthusiastic conductor. So neat. 

Sunday: Was the commencement of the Mormon Super Bowl. I was so not ready for it to be over, but that's ok. Six more months until it comes again. Mwahaha. Between sessions, we had a picnic with our zone on the lawn in front of the chapel. After conference was over (sad) we had supper with a member from our YSA ward and her family. They fed us actual real life Mexican food. Note: for some reason, Mexican food sucks in Canada. Even though there's actual Hispanic people here. Whatever. But this was good. Mmmm. And then we went to ESL (where we help teach English to people. The church has a program that we get to help out with on Sunday evenings and sometimes  Thursdays if we have time) I got to work with the teenagers and it's just so fun working with them. Deeply considering teaching English in China when I come home. That'd be a blast. 

Love you all so much. Thanks for all your love and support. You're all wonderful and fantastic and I couldn't do any of this without you(:
p.s. be a missionary and share on Facebook your favorite quote from General Conference(: 

1) the Leavitts (: 
2) Sister Blaser and I suntanning missionary style
3) Oh yeah. This lady in Walmart today tried to convert us. Stupid. These were the pamphlets she gave us.