Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Canada Day!!!

Being a missionary in Raymond during this time of year has its perks. One of which is that the Canadian pride, but more specifically the Raymond pride, is unreal. So they went all out for Canada Day and we got to help with most of the celebrations. #service4dayzz. Which meant we weren't bored out of our minds trying to visit people on the holidays that didn't want us to visit them. So this week was a blast.

Tuesday: We had a zone meeting and it was really neat because we talked about how when we fulfill our purpose as missionaries, it's helping us change into the type of person we want to be for the rest of our lives, not just the kind of missionary we want to be for the next few months. Then we took a zone photo in front of the Cardston temple. Ah, it's so pretty. I'm a little partial to the Calgary one, but I like this one too. 
We had pizza for lunch and it was dang good. And then we went to a lesson with our member who's shooting for the temple in a few months. We did our hide-n-go-seek game with the Holy Ghost with her and invited her to pray to know what she needs to work on to help her get to the temple and then heed those promptings from the Spirit. Remember that talk given in conference in October, What Lack I Yet? That's what we're going for! Try it(: 
We had a couple of other lessons with some families we stopped by. We're really pushing for people to read the Book of Mormon as a family right now. It's definitely something that will strengthen us personally and as a family unit, so that's the main focus of our object lessons. 
We went to heart attack a girl in our ward and she walked out on us while we were doing it. And it was super awkward. And we tried to get her to go back inside... It didn't work. So when she finally did go back inside, we stood there and waited for a few minutes and then finished hear attacking her hahaha. 
And then it started poooouuuuring. Like, buckets. So, we're walking to our next appointment and this car pulls over and offers us a ride. 
"Where you goin?" she says. 

"Uh... your house. We have an appointment with you, remember?" 
Hahaha she didn't. She'd forgotten it was her daughter's birthday party and it was recked because they'd planned to have a camp-out in the backyard but it was pouring and all the 9 year-old girls she'd invited were bummed. So we went over and made a fort in the basement for them so they could still have a "camp-out." We helped them roast marshmallows over the fire that was still going despite the rain, and helped them brush out their snarled, rain-soaked hair. It was a blast. 

Wednesday: We helped lay sod. So, I didn't know dirt and grass could be so heavy...??? Well, It was. So there's that. 
We had correlation/lunch with our stake Mission Leader and it was my first time meeting him. He's pretty cool, Brother Bridge. Very missionary minded and ambitious with getting things done. I like it. Also, the Raymond stake is being rearranged, ward boundaries and such, on Sunday, so we talked a lot about that. 
We had a lesson with Julia, an older less-active-ish in one of our wards. We did the BOM object lesson with the can where you smash your finger but it dents the can instead and she freaked haha it was great. But it got her to commit to reading every day! 
Then we packed. A lot. Because -- Surprise! -- we're moving! We just moved apartments because where we were living was just temporary and they finally found us a permanent residency. So that took a ton of our day. We also helped a member clean her house in preparation for the Canada Day festivities. 
Sister Taylor and Sister Romney's 82 year-old investigator got baptized, so we went to that and it was so neat to be a part of. People can change, guys! 
Then we went to our ward BBQ and our family that's investigating came! They had so much fun! We got all the kids to play Red Rover and Capture the Flag after all the eating was done and it was a blast. 

Thursday: We did weekly planning and finished packing and then actually did the physical process of moving. All the appointments we had set up fell through, so none of them happened haha. We did service at City Hall passing out donuts after a concert and there's an A Capella group with a bunch of kids from our wards that sang to us afterwards. They're adorable. We gave them donuts. 

Friday: Was Canada Day!! 
We started off by being in the parade on a float for one of the wards and it was lot of fun. We ran out of candy halfway through... Oops. But we got our royalty wave down pat. While on the float, I saw a ton of people from previous areas and it was so cool to see those familiar faces that I wasn't expecting at all! 
We went to a couple of families houses for lunch (we got fat) and then went to help out at the rodeo. We were in charge of the Lil' Buckaroos for the little kids and that was a lot of fun. 
We had supper (leftovers from lunch) with a family in the elders' ward and they made homemade donuts. Holy heck, they were so good. No leftovers after that. Then we went uptown to the street fair where we ran the bouncy houses. That was a lot of fun. We basically were in the sun all day long and so we have been applying aloe vera like our lives depend on it for the last few days. But it was so fun to see this little bitty town of 4000 explode to around 10,000 to celebrate Canada Day. 

Saturday: We helped with the pancake breakfast they had after a relay run. Lots of people came through and if I had a dollar for every person that asked me where I was from and if I knew someone, I'd have so. Much. Money. But it was a lot of fun. I love getting to meet new people. It's a blast. 
So we helped with that for a few hours. We had lunch with a member, and then we helped another member plant lilac bushes. And move railroad ties. They're heavy. 
We had a few lessons with members, but our investigators weren't able to meet with us, so we were sad about that. 

Sunday: Was our usual 9 hours of church. Bishop and Sister Steed, the members we used to live with, saved us Chinese food leftovers from the night before and gave them to us so we had lunch for Sunday. We pigged out on that after we broke our fast, and then we headed to the big stake meetings where they rearranged the ward boundaries. So, we now cover four wards and the boundaries are completely rearranged, as well as the members in them. So, what little I've figured out about our areas and the members, I've thrown out the window. Woo hoo! But it'll be fun to meet more new people. I'm excited for this next adventure! 

Something I learned from the stake rearrangement is that, change happens. That's part of life. And resisting change slows the progress of the Kingdom of God. We've been sent here to learn and to grow and that all involves change. We are meant to eternally progress and the Lord knows what we need for that. Change is good! That doesn't mean it's easy, but it's good for us. 
Also, the Church is true no matter where you go. #micdrop 

Love you all so much! Hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July! Take lots of photos for me and then... and then send them to me(: 

<3 Sister Pipkin 

Sister Black is white

She is, just in case you were wondering.

So, probably five times a day, people will ask Sister Black, "How come you're white if your last name is Black?" Or, "You know, just because your last name is Black, doesn't mean you have to always wear black." Or, "Bye, Sister Black! Bye, Sister White!" I'm Sister White, in case you were wondering.
It makes for pretty entertaining days as we reenact people's reactions to her name haha. Even this morning as we took our care into the mechanic's to get the tire fixed and one of the guys working there, who is a member, asked her why her watch was white if her name is Black. So, that's a basic rundown of our every day lives. 

Monday: We had a zone p-day in Cardston and it was super hot. We played capture the flag and the losing team had to line up along the fence and the winning team got the pelt them with water balloons filled with paint. So that was fun. Especially because my team won. Hahaha. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was guarding our flag and was totally camping on it(; 
Elder Johnson and I decided we'd paint our faces while we waited for the games to begin, and since we both super miss 'Merica, we pretended to be the flag. #Represent
We then had a lesson with a family in one of our wards. Their dad is kind of semi-active and the kids recently got baptized. Their grandma is making her way back to the temple, and so we have FHE with them every Monday. This week, we did an object lesson on the parable of the Wheat and the Tares from Matthew 13, and talked about some real-life ways we can make sure we're doing what the Lord asks so we won't be "sifted as the tares." During our lesson, the grandma shared her testimony with us and her story of how she decided to come back to church. Tears and all. It was so amazing to hear the hard things some people have to deal with and how the gospel can just bless us. All of us. No matter our situation. 
We then stopped by a guy in our ward who goes to church by himself. None of his family goes with him and we felt bad for him because it was Father's Day. So we dropped some cookies off and left them with his son because he wasn't home. We weren't sure if he'd actually get the cookies, but stay tuned, because that leads into a cool story later (:

Tuesday: We had District Meeting and for some reason decided to eat at that same burger place again that takes forever. Why? Because it's the only place in Magrath and we're all too lazy to pack lunches. So there's that. We then had a lesson with a member who's preparing to go through the temple in the next six months. We talked about the temple prep booklet and read a little bit from it with her. Then an ant bit me. I'm pretty sure I've never been bit by an ant before. Then it bit Sister Black, too. Same ant, guys, same ant. 
We then had a lesson with a recent convert, Troy, who is 9. His dad is the bishop of one of our wards and they helped him take the lessons and get baptized. We're now doing his new member lessons, but he has ADHD hardcore, so they have to be short object lessons that get straight to the point. This week, we taught him the importance of scripture study. So we gave him a little nibble of a cookie I made, and then gave his cousin the whole cookie to eat. We asked him how he felt watching his cousin eat the whole cookie while he had a little nibble. He didn't like it. We read 2 Nephi 31:20 with him and focused on "feasting upon the words of Christ" and then gave him a whole cookie. And that was it. But he loved the cookie, so that was good(: It helps that his grandma is super involved with it because she helps him read from the Book of Mormon and come to church and stuff like that. Yay for grandmas. 
We had supper with the Graves' and they fed us a "greenie meal" for Sister Black. Everything was green. But it all tasted so good! They're awesome.
We went to mutual and helped decorate shirts with the girls for camp and then crashed the priest's activity. They were having toaster strudels and chocolate milk, so we ate their food. It was great. And then they told us we're the coolest sister missionaries they've ever met and they like us better than the elders. We got it on camera. Mwahahaha. 

Wednesday: We went to a member's house who used to be a seminary teacher for, like, ever, and he taught us about the Hebrew temple and then his wife fed us chocolate zucchini bread. There was definitely more chocolate than zucchini in it. They also have a Harry Potter room, like legit like his bedroom in the movie. So that was cool. 
We went to the retirement center and visited a lady who has rheumatoid arthritis. She was so stinkin' cute. I brought my ukulele and sung her some songs and then she cried.  
Walked around a lot and I got sunburnt. Oops. 
We went to Institute and then started watching Meet the Mormons with a less-active couple in our ward. 

Thursday: We visited a member in our ward who, turns out, is cousins with my aunt's father-in-law! Mom, tell Wayne that Sister Kanyo says hi!
We visited a couple of less-active families and shared an object lesson with each of them. 
We had about 10 kids come to Scriptures with Friends! We were so excited to see that many kids there. They didn't know it was every week, so now that they know, they'll tell their friends and hopefully we'll have more this week when we act out the Tree of Life! This last week, we acted out Nephi and his brothers getting the plates from Laban. And the brownies were really good. 

Friday: Can you tell I'm running out of time to email? My description of my days are getting shorter and shorter, hahah sorry. 
We visited a less-active lady and read from the Book of Mormon with her. When we got to her house, she was cleaning her pool, so while she finished, we talked to her and I stuck my arm in. It felt great. 
We got lunch at Subway with the other sisters and then went to the retirement center to help with some activities. I love working with the old people, they're so funny. 
We visited a family we had supper with last week and were just following up on their commitment we left them with at supper. I asked the daughter how the wedding plans were going and she says, "Oh... yeah, I called it off." Sister Black and I just stood there, mouth wide open, staring at her for, like 25 seconds because we had not idea what to say. Finally, the nine year-old daughter goes, "Awkward turtle!" Haha so that happened. 
Kathy fed us butter chicken. Oh my goodness, it was so good. Just about as good as anywhere I could've gotten it in Calgary. Kathy is in the relief society presidency in one of our wards and is kind of like a mom/grandma to us. She got us these cute hats for Canada Day on Friday. 
Remember the guy we brought cookies to? We stopped by him to see how he was doing and we ended up talking to him on his porch for, like, 25 minutes in the cold wind. He was so touched by the cookies and he shared with us how he's been going through some really hard times lately. I felt impressed to share a scripture with him that was on a card my mom sent me at the beginning of my mission when I was really struggling. D&C 68:6 "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." I love this scripture, and it helps me when I'm really struggling. He said, "Wow, that's really what I needed to hear," and then proceeded to tell us how he's been feeling lately. We shared how proud of him we are for coming to church every week by himself and setting that example for not only his family, but for the rest of the ward. What a guy. 
Saturday: We had breakfast with Jacquie, one of our members. She has a farm and we got to hold her baby chicks! We then did some service for a family whose non-member grandma was visiting and they wanted us to make that contact with her. We did some heart attacks for some girls we're teaching that we haven't been able to get a hold of recently, and then we went to a baptism for the Graves' son.
We visited a lady who has been battling breast cancer since September and she is just so sweet and strong and we were so blessed to visit with her. 
We went to the other sisters' ward BBQ since we didn't have a supper, and then we went to have a lesson with the Collies. We got permission to go out to their campsite where they were because a member took us and we had a lesson on prophets. We also got to roast hot dogs with them and it was way fun! The Spirit was so strong during our lesson, Tracy, the mom, cried. Who knew having a lesson in nature could have that effect? 

Sunday: Was church alllll day long and then we had supper with the Nickels, the family whose grandma was in town. We finished watching Meet the Mormons with Mavis and Jack and then had a lesson with a family in 1st ward. They're pretty hilarious. 

And now I have to go. Geez, where does 2 hours go? 
You guys, I love this gospel. I love seeing how it blesses the lives of everyone, no matter who they are or what they do or what they like. The Lord loves each of His children. All of His children. Individually. Isn't that so neat? I kind of have a hard time wrapping my brain around it, but then I listen to people share their testimonies, and it's just so evident that He loves us. 

Love you all(: 

<3 Sister Pipkin 

Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked


My mom used to sing that primary song to us as kids all the time. I'm not sure why, but she did. And that's what we did this week. All week. And I have a killer tan line on my feet from my shoes because of it, so that's pretty exciting. Also, I definitely sing while we walk. Very loudly. Because there's no one around in Raymond to here me burst into Frozen. :D 
So, here in Raymond, Sister Black and I cover three wards, so we're kept pretty busy, which is awesome. It's a cute little town, I'm lovin' it! (Ba da ba ba ba!) It's so funny to me that there's three sets of missionaries in this tiny town, but then again, there's 9 wards and rumour has it they're making a tenth. Like, that's just comical. I love it. 


Tuesday: We had district meeting in Magrath and got lunch at this cute little burger shop that took forever. While we were waiting, I lost What-Are-the-Odds and had to eat at on of salt. Yay, me. 
We had a lesson with a returning less-active who's preparing to go to the temple! Yay! 
We walked clear to the other side of town (which is, like, 5 blocks) to the retirement center because someone told us this lady wanted us to teach her the lessons. So we get there and she says she'd changed her mind. It was so stinkin' windy that day and we'd walked and I was like, uhm, no, lady. We're gonna share a message anyway. And we did. And she liked it. So there's that. 
We visited this other lady who's just lonely. And then we had supper at a member's who brought their granddaughter who is getting ready for baptism. But she's scared of the water. So we did a cute little object lesson with her about baptism and explained why we are baptized. After, I said, "Are you scared of baptism still?" Luckily, she said no. I don't know what I would've said if she's said yes haha. 

Wednesday: We visited a lady who neither Sister Black or I had met before, so we assumed she was the lady we were looking for. We go to say the closing prayer, and Sister Black says, "Please bless the Walkies." After the prayer, the lady says, "Honey, I'm Sister Garner." LOL AWKWARD. Haha poor Sister Black, she was mortified haha. 
We had a couple of stop-by lessons and then as we were walking to another appointment, this lady pulls over and asks if I'm Sister Pipkin. Obviously, I said yes. Turns out, her son is on a mission serving with my friend Graham Lowe, and they live in the same apartment! Somehow, he found out I'm here and told his mom to find me and say hi for Graham. So that was really neat. 
We had some amazing Mexican food for supper at a member's house and during the object lesson, the granddaughter snuggled right up under my arm. When we went to leave, she tried to come with me haha. 

Thursday: We did weekly planning and I made guacamole. Mmm. We went to the retirement center and helped with watercolour painting. There's this one resident, Eddie, who's hilarious. He literally only says whatever, and he says it after everything you say to him haha it's hilarious. We had a lesson set up with some girls who can't get baptized until they're 18 and we were going to do Personal Progress with them, but they didn't show up. So we did Personal Progress with the member we had come to our lesson. That was neat to be able to remember some of the value projects. 
We had supper with a family of 5 kids, all their names start with H. 
Then we went to the seminary building for Scriptures with Friends. That's a neat idea Sister Black had, where we invite the youth to come and we read and act out a story from the children's' picture Book of Mormon. We only had three kids show up, but we did the First Vision with them and it was so fun. Plus, the treats that were provided were so stinkin' good.

Friday: We visited a few people and had some lessons with less-actives. We went to the retirement center again to help with some father's day activities and serve treats afterwards. Had another lesson, and then headed to supper, which was way in the middle of nowhere. But we got there and they have this castle playhouse thing in their backyard! And puppies(: We had breakfast for supper and it was soooo good. They're having us over again for supper on Tuesday for Sister Black's "greenie meal." Stay tuned for next week's email to explain what that is(; 
We had a lesson with our investigator, Tracy. We're teaching her and her two daughters and we taught the Word of Wisdom. She's so amazing, I just love her. She committed to living the Word of Wisdom and so far, she's only had a cup and a half of coffee since our lesson on Friday! Woo hoo! 
We then stopped by a lady in our ward who is super young and has four little little kids and not much else. Those little kids were stuck like glue to Sister Black and I. Kind of broke my heart. We shared a little object lesson with them and offered service of any kind. It was really humbling to be in their home and see the little material things they had, but realise the love this single mom had for her little kids. Ah.  So strong. 

Saturday: We helped a lady bake for her kids' birthday party most of the morning. I also ate a lot of raw cookie and brownie dough. And didn't read the instructions for the brownies I was making so I did them wrong.. but we went back yesterday and ate them and they still tasted pretty dang good(; 
We helped the bishop and his wife in 2nd ward, the members we live with, stain the wood for their new porch and then we took pictures for  Father's day cards wanted to make. And then we made the cards. And then we made cookies to go with the cards. And then we delivered the cookies and cards. And then it was time for supper. So that went by super fast haha. We had correlation with our ward mission leader in 1st ward and he and his wife are just so missionary minded, it's sweet. They're so willing to do whatever is needed to help with the missionary work. 

Sunday: Was exhausting. We cover three wards, right? Which means three ward councils. Luckily, they overlap a ton, so we don't go to all three meetings of all three wards. It still turns out to be nine hours of church, though. Which, I did in Airdrie, but that was a long time ago, so this is going to take some getting used to. 
We delivered leftover baked goods to families who could use love from the baking spree we did the day before, and then we had to put air in our tire because it was super super low. But we didn't have a loonie (dollar coin) so we had to go into the gas station and exchange four American quarters for a loonie. As we were leaving, our ward mission leader pulled up and gave us heck for it haha.
We had steak and potatoes for Father's Day supper with the Steeds, the members we live with, and then went to correlation for 5th ward. Also a super missionary minded couple. Love it. We then dropped cookies off at some less-active fathers that we wanted to feel loved, and then visited a family. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon this past week, and they didn't think we would actually follow-up, so they didn't do it. So when we showed up and followed up, they were super surprised haha. So we did another object lesson on the Book of Mormon and re-invited them to read it. The object lesson we did was the one with a can of corn or something, and you press your finger firmly in the Book and then smash your finger with the can and it dents the can. You have to do it right, though, or it will really hurt. Trust me, I know. I did wrong the other night and had to pretend it "didn't even hurt." Anywho. They freaked out with that one. It was pretty funny their reaction. And then they made me go get their 13 year-old kid and do it again for him. Needless to say, they committed to actually read this week(:

So, this week, I've been having a freak-out in my brain just about every single day when I have a moment to myself to think. Mostly because I have just over three months left on my mission and that's scary. So I just want to bare testimony super fast that I love this gospel. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and to share it with others. Some days I wonder if I'm even doing anything or having an impact on anyone while I'm out here. Some days we just walk and no one's home and all of our appointments fall through and it's tough and I wonder what I'm needed here for. And then I remember that the Lord works in mysterious ways. And there's no way of ever knowing why He does all that He does. But we can trust in Him and know that all that He does is because He loves us. Sometimes we get offended, and sometimes we get tired of fulfilling our callings and coming to church. Sometimes, life is really hard and we can't figure out why God would let things happen to us. But we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He loves us. He's provided a way to be happy through it all. What He asks of us is to keep His commandments. And sometimes it's super duper hard, but I promise, it'll be super duper worth it. 

I love you all! Thanks for all you do. 

<3 Sister Pipkin