Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meeting Madonna

Sister Wheeler has been wondering when we are going to do "real" missionary work. Since we are full-time missionaries we should be spending all day every day finding and teaching. This week we learned what it is like to wear ourselves out in missionary work. Monday was the supply room. Finally we feel like we can be comfortable there (except for the heat). It is a lot straighter than it has ever been since we first looked in to the room. We had some mail and some supplies they needed in Brampton so we took a drive to the mission office on Tuesday. We'll let you meet some of the office missionaries:

Elder Garcia and Elder Rhodes - APs
Elder Pead and Elder Dewey - also APs
Sister Sippel - Mission Secretary
Elder Sippel - Financial Secretary
Elder Carroll - Vehicle Coordinator 
Sister Carroll - Referral, Mail, and Supply Secretary
Sister and Elder Martindale - Public Affairs Missionaries
We have four APs since they kept two from each mission as they combined. These are the people we see when we go to Brampton. We had lunch with the Carrolls and Martindales when we went up there on Tuesday. We were planning on ESL on Tuesday evening, but we got a call about a missionary that needed some medication and to visit a clinic which means we went to the Don Mills area (by the stake center) and didn't get back in time for ESL.

Wednesday morning we had Zone and District meetings. We brought mail for the zone from Brampton which was very exciting for the missionaries.

Elder Bruce and Elder Te'o couldn't wait to read their Ensigns
Sister Crosby at the piano
Elder Ruttan was well prepared and had a lot of good activities. He brought in a potted apple tree for an object lesson which he watered in front of us.
Elder Ruttan with his tree and Sister Hodgkin writing on the board
As he finished his object lesson he invited Sister Fotheringham to have a bite of the dirt from the pot. She dared eat it so soon all of the Sisters were eating dirt. They said it tasted like chocolate. Elder Wheeler didn't try it, however, since he can't eat flower (flour).

The Sisters eating dirt
On Wednesday afternoon we finally had time to do some real missionary work. Last week we looked for less-active members in the outlying areas where we needed a car. This week we concentrated on seven families within walking distance. We were able to make contact with two of the families. Celina recently returned from Angola and has had little contact with the church. We were also able to read out of the Book of Mormon with the Pereira family. They have a 9-year-old son who would like to be baptized so we set up a lesson for Thursday night. No one was home at the other four families, except the son of Maria who said she was away for a few days. One of of the members is truly a "lost sheep" since he moved and left no forwarding address. As we were walking along the streets we said hello to a lady on her porch. Her name was Francesca, from Italy. She was very happy to talk to us and said that Sister Wheeler looked like Madonna (we hope she was talking about the mother of Jesus rather than the rock star). She was so cute we took a picture. By the time we got back we had really worn ourselves out doing missionary work.
Francesca with Sister Wheeler
We spent a lot of the day Thursday preparing a first lesson for Evandro Pereira. It was a challenge getting the right pictures for our little lesson book and preparing sentences (in English and Portuguese) that Sister Wheeler could use for the lesson. She even canceled her Portuguese lesson since the time would conflict. In the afternoon we went walking again to find the five families we couldn't find the day before. After a brief rest we walked to the appointment and met the father leaving with his young daughter. He said that Elvandro was out playing with friends. They both forgot. Such is missionary work.

Friday for P-Day we stayed around the apartment for most of the day. The computer is just under the window so it is hard to see the monitor because of the glare. We went to Michael's to buy a display board. We attached a large map of Ontario to the display board which we can place in the window as a partial blind and remove when we don't need it. Lighting makes the city looks nice lately. There are not as many night lights since it is bird migration season so they minimize the amount of light, thus keeping the birds from flying into windows.

Toronto with morning lighting 
Toronto with afternoon lighting
At ESL on Saturday morning we had four Brazilians come for the first time. Two went to an advanced class. Two others went to the beginning class to join our Chinese friend. Elder Wheeler really had a scrambled brain mixing English, Portuguese, and Chinese.

In the afternoon we walked past two homes we had previously tried to contact.  The brother of Manuel said to return on Sunday. The Ponte family was nowhere to be found (again). As we were returning home a young couple said, "Hi, missionaries". We stopped to talk to them and found out they were the Pontes and were very friendly toward us. Had we gone a different direction we would have missed them. Sometimes small miracles happen. We had marked a visit with Maricio for Saturday evening, but when we arrived he was working so we couldn't meet him. This shows the ups and downs of "real" missionary work.
Ponte family on St. Clair Street
This posting is getting long, but we had a very twisted day on Sunday. We went to church as usual, but Sister Wheeler was asked to accompany the Sisters in picking up an investigator with a bad foot. Elder Wheeler was asked to administer the sacrament in Portuguese. Elder Wheeler also gave the lesson in the Portuguese Gospel Doctrine class. A visiting high counselor (Andre Li-Fun from Mauritius) asked if we were going to the Mission President's fireside in the evening. We ended up taking him with us after church to contact three families (none of whom were available), having a quick bite to eat, then going to the stake center for the fireside. President Moore (of the stake presidency) was the speaker. He said he wanted to talk to us after the fireside. Apparently they want us to teach an institute class in the Ossington Chapel once a week.

This has been a busy week with a lot of failed visits and some successes. We have been exhausted every night, wondering if we are doing any good here, but it's not about us, is it. We are on the Lord's errand.


AZ SMITHS said...

I love those little daily miracles! I love hearing about all of your experiences and I love the fact that you take pictures of all the people you come in contact with!

Kate said...

You are wonderful missionaries. I remember well the highs and lows of it all, being so excited because you finally made contact and had an appointment and then no one answered the door. For all the heartache and tears, there are even greater blessings to come, Keep Going, You are doing great!