Sunday, September 25, 2011

TV Interview

Monday we found out that they changed the locks in the Toronto Stake Center. We were able to get into the supply room, but not into the institute area where we normally have lunch. That's OK, though, since we didn't take a lunch anyway.

Tearing down a building next to the stake center

We spent the morning Tuesday getting the lesson for our institute class. For some reason it always takes longer to prepare than it would if either one of us were teaching the class on our own. We actually enjoy working together on the class. We each read the lesson and the quotes from the student's manual then we get together to organize the class. As you know, we have quite a view from our window. Elder Wheeler has been watching a windmill by the lake. We decided to go see where it was. We took the bus as far south on Dufferin as possible then walked to the windmill. It as in the exhibition area close to Fort York were we went a few weeks ago. We had ESL in the evening, but no one showed up for the beginning class.

North America's first urban wind turbine
Fort Rouille - last French post in southern Ontario
Lake Ontario
Peace Memorial fountain
This is Canada
 We had zone and district meetings in the morning. They were actually very good and inspired us to do more. There seems to be a lot of pressure on the younger elders and sisters in this mission to spend all their time finding and teaching investigators. We talk to people on the street, bus, and subway, and teach now and then, but a lot of our time is spent doing other things. We visited Adriana and Derek (pictures are on an earlier post) Wednesday evening. Adriana is a member of the church. We need to get her records so her daughter can be blessed. Derek has received the lessons, but has not joined the church. Hopefully they will start coming to church. They surprised Sister Wheeler by asking her to say a prayer (in Portuguese). She did well. She also read three verses from the Book of Mormon (and could be understood). At one point in the visit they asked if the Portuguese elders were teaching Portuguese people in areas where they were transfered. Sister Wheeler understood the question and corrected Elder Wheeler in his answer. That's what good companions are for.

Man in the woods

Replacing asphalt at our apartment building

Thursday we got a call from the mission office asking if we could get some Books of Mormon for a zone conference they were having on Friday. We made arrangements to meet them at noon in the supply room. They were delayed, so we prepared a box for them and left the room unlocked. We got back just in time to meet Sidy at our apartment for Sister Wheeler's Portuguese lesson in the afternoon. The Carrolls and Elder Woodruff dropped the supply-room key off at our apartment later. We had our institute class on Thursday night. We seem to have different people there each night. Our lesson was on setting goals and time management. We had received a letter from Andrea talking about her time management which we read a part of in class. It shows anyone can learn to manage their time (especially if you have six children, are teaching in the school, and are writing a novel). Way to go Andrea!

We were planning to go to the zoo on Friday, but it was raining so we went to a couple of indoor activities. We got free museum tickets from the library which let us see the textile museum and the McKenzie House. The textile museum had an exhibit of African cloth with magic numbers used for protection. The McKenzie House is a restored 19th-Century house of Toronto's first mayor and a printer. We got a downpour in between, but the rain let up by the time we finished so we could walk down Yonge Street.

Elder Wheeler in his new missionary suit
Sister Wheeler weaving a rug
Sister Wheeler at the McKenzie House
Sister Wheeler printing a new tract
Dinner time

While returning we passed through Dundas Square on Dundas and Yonge. We saw a lot of Pan Am stewardesses in really short skirts (sorry, but no pictures). It turned out they were filming a commercial for a new TV show for this fall. Next thing we knew we had a microphone in our faces and a camera running with a man asking what we thought about obesity and forced infertility. Elder Wheeler said as representatives of the church we don't state personal opinions. We hope it wasn't interesting enough to get on the evening news.
Dundas Square - center of city action

Saturday brought ESL again. This time Quan You and Fatima showed up. Fortunately, Adam was there to teach the Mandarin class while Elder Wheeler taught the Portuguese class. Sister Wheeler went to the stake center for the Women's broadcast. Elder Wheeler waited for her in the foyer. We learned that our mission isn't an obligation, but a path we are able to take.

Instead of worrying about not understanding Spanish at church on Sunday we concentrated on being able to associate with wonderful people (even if we don't understand them). Sister Wheeler had the chance to practice a piano duet with Maria for the ward talent show next month. We didn't even know there was a ward talent show thinking all the time they were talking about the stake talent show in November. That is how it is being Portuguese-speaking missionaries in a Spanish ward. We just muddle along, something we are very good at.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

President Scott

Most of our week seems normal now: going to the supply room on Monday, having ESL on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning, and trying to make contacts around town. We walked around Dundas and College streets on Tuesday, walking through Kensington  Square (a Hippie-type area) and stopping in a Portuguese lace shop. We also passed by the African drum shop where they were playing in a drum circle. They were playing a game where if they called out a name the person would arrive. He called out my name (from a month ago) and sure enough, we arrived.

He remembered my name
Kensington Square

Fits my limited diet

Is meese really the plural for moose?
We had new missionaries for ESL this week because of the transfer. Here are the missionaries in our district. Elder Germann came from Kitchner replacing Elder Te'o (who was transfered to Brampton) to be our zone leader with Elder Sitton. Elder Robinson came all the way from Sault Ste Marie replacing Elder Ruttan (who became a zone leader in Sudbury) to be our new district leader. Sister Barton came from Berlington to replace Sister Phillips who was changed from an English-speaking missionary in the Toronto Ward to a Spanish-speaking missionary in the Christie Ward replacing Sister Crosby who went home.
Elder Germann and Elder Sitton
Elder Robinson and Elder Bruce
Sister Hodgkin and Sister Barton
Sister Phillips and Sister Fotheringham
Elder Sitton gave us a contact for a Brazilian he met on the bus. He didn't have a name nor phone number, but had an address and a time (7:30 on Wednesday) we could visit. We went there and of course, no one was home. Since we were in the neighborhood, we passed by Marcio's house (a member we have been trying to meet for two months, but he was never available). He was there with his wife who had returned from Brazil following cancer treatments. It was one of those times when you go out to do one thing, but accomplish something else in its place.

We had our second institute class on Thursday evening. Only five out of ten of the students who attended the first night returned. We had six new students, however.

Friday afternoon was our zone conference with President Scott. We really enjoyed it, there is a calm, peaceful feeling he brings with him. Past zone conferences would have two or more zones meeting together. This one was only our zone, which made it more personal. It also means a lot more work for President Scott who has three solid weeks of zone conferences. After the conference we were able to go to a shwarma place to eat (a middle-eastern restaurant) with President & Sister Scott, the Carrols, and the APs.
Dinner with the Scotts and Carrolls
A few more pictures around the city.
Elder Wheeler likes the arched brickwork on some houses
Insert a quarter to use a shopping cart (refundable if you return the cart)
We found the Brazilian restaurant where we ate the first night inToronto
Immigrant statue in Little Italy
 Since we had zone conference on Friday we had our preparation day on Saturday (after going to ESL that is). We went to Black Creek Pioneer Village with the Dodges. We had seen the village 12 years ago on our way to New Hampshire for sabbatical. There was a festival going on which meant a lot of extra activities. It felt good to go back to the 1800s for awhile. Even though it is in Toronto, it is hard to tell.

Roblin's Mill
The mill was actually operating during the festival
Sister Wheeler carrying maple syrup
This is not a witches brew, it's a hand wheat grinder
 On the way back we stopped at Northwood Park to see where John Taylor was baptized (at least where they think it happened).

Place of baptism for JohnTaylor?

Elder and Sister Dodge with Sister Wheeler

Sister and Elder Wheeler

 Another week is gone and so are we.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Sorry the blog is late this week, but our schedule has been off a little. Monday was Labor Day in Canada (as in the USA), but we went about our normal schedule. We decided to ride bus 63, the Bloor subway, followed by bus 25 to the stake center (taking about an hour) to work in the supply room. We got a call from Manuel, a Portuguese man who stopped by the Ossington Chapel one day after ESL trying to find his unknown cousins. He wanted us to show him how to get to the Family History Library in the Stake Center even though it was closed for the holiday, so, he went along with us. He was there when we went in today (a week later) and had found out his uncle changed his name when he entered the USA.

Manuel with Sister Wheeler at the Family History Library
On the way back we decided to walk around Greek Town and Arab Town (by the subway station) which we had only passed quickly in a car other days. There are many little ethnic neighborhoods in Toronto.
Mosque in Arab Town
On Monday evening we gave a review lesson on the Restoration to Joao and Fabio. Their roommate, Cleton, was also there. That means we officially have three Portuguese investigators. We showed the Restoration video.

It was jacket weather for our Tuesday morning walk. This is transfer week so we had a social following ESL in the evening. We found out that Sister Crosby is going home, Elder Te'o will go to Brampton, Elder Ruttan will go to Sudbury, and Sister Phillips will become a Spanish sister with Sister Fotheringham.
ESL social
We were not involved in the transfer on Wednesday so we were able to work on our institute lesson. We got a call from Amanda (a member of the ward) to see if we could get rid of the virus on her computer. While I worked on the computer, Sister Wheeler talked to Amanda. It gave a good opportunity for her to get to know ward members better. We are trying to get to know the bus system better this week so we took the bus down to Little Portugal and walked around the streets a little. sister Wheeler was able to get a Portuguese tort (like she had in Lisbon) and Elder Wheeler enjoyed looking around a small Brazilian shop.

Sister Wheeler waiting at a flowered bus stop

Sister Wheeler beside a painted wall

Little Portugal

We had the best zone and district meeting we have yet had on our mission. We were sorry we had to leave early. Elder Germann is working with Elder Sitten as our zone leaders. Elder Robinson is our new district leader. The zone vision is "create success through obedience". We left early to pick up supplies at the stake center to take to the mission office in Brampton. This was followed by a temple session with senior couples and the homebound missionaries (which included Sister Crosby and Elder Payne from our zone). We had a chance to meet President and Sister Scott who were there for the session. They had a dinner planned for the senior couples following the temple session, but we couldn't stay. It took us an hour and 20 minutes to get back from Brampton, arriving just in time to start our first institute class. We had 10 students which the institute director figures is good. Our class is "The Gospel and the Productive Life" which starts with the Plan of Salvation as a plan for life. We really enjoyed teaching, but were very tired after the busy day.

Friday is our normal preparation day, but it didn't happen. We were asked to take Lindsay's car to Buffalo for shipping, since they had to return to Utah early. They couldn't find the car registration nor the insurance (the APs packed them up with items shipped earlier). So here we were driving a car that didn't belong to us and no proof of ownership across the international border. With the help of prayers, we got through without any problems. Elder and Sister Sipple followed us down. They couldn't drive the car since they are Canadians which would look suspicious in a Utah car (so we were elected). Arrangements were made previously to pick up the car at a church building in Buffalo, but Elder Sipple got a call from a Russian-speaking driver requesting we meet him at a mall where there is more room. He didn't know the exact address and had miss-spelled the name of the mall so it was difficult to find on our GPS. We finally found it and were able to meet him. He was about 4 hours later than we had planned (about 8:30 PM). We did have a chance to get a nice meal for a reasonable price. The GPS saved us because none of us knew our way around Buffalo. It was 11:30 PM when we finally got back to our apartment in Toronto.

Catholic church in Buffalo

Sister Wheeler teaching Ben Franklin in Buffalo

Eating with the Sipples in Buffalo

Our Russian driver with the truck

Lindsey's car is finally on its way to Utah

Saturday brought ESL again. Adam Opper, a recently returned missionary from Taiwan stopped by to help Elder Wheeler with the Mandarin class. He was very helpful.

Sunday was another busy day. We started with a 2nd lesson, The Plan of Salvation,  with Joao (Fabio and Cleton were gone). We gave another invitation to attend church, but he didn't go, even though he knows it would be good for him. On the bus to the lesson we talked to Jenny, a young lady from Colombia on vacation in Toronto. Her boss back in Columbia is a member of the church. Another young lady, Juliana, was listening to us. As soon as Jenny left the bus, Julianna came to talk to us. She even went past her expected stop so she could talk to us. She had met some of the younger elders, but she had been praying to meet some older missionaries (the priest figure) to work with her alcoholic boyfriend. We tried to visit him after church, but there was no answer. In the evening we had two activities at the stake center. The first was the mission fireside. The second was the YSA social followed by the church CES broadcast. Elder Oaks was the speaker, talking about the two-sided coin of truth and tolerance. It was late enough when we got back we couldn't do the blog.

Well, another week has gone by with a lot of different activities. Elder Wheeler has been asked to teach the high priest group next week and we both have been asked to teach a session in a regional workshop next month.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Bus At Last

We did it! We got bus passes for the month of September. On our way back from the stake center on Monday we encountered an accident which meant a detour upon which we encountered another accident which meant a lot of traffic and a long delay. We have not driven the car since then. We have either walked  or taken the bus (and/or street car and/or subway). For some reason we don't mind it a bit. We do meet some strange people on the bus, like the old man from Portugal who has been in Canada for 50 years that we had to help get off the bus at an unscheduled last stop and wait for the next bus.

Side yard in our neighborhood
Roofing project
The guardian lion of our apartment building
 We have spent a lot of time this week getting ready for our institute class that was moved up from Sep 15th to Sep 8th. We learned this when we met with Brother Goldthorp, the institute director, for orientation on Tuesday. Yes, we walked to and from the church for the orientation and again to and from the church for ESL in the evening. We figured we got our 6-mile walk in for the day. This was followed by zone and district meetings on Wednesday (another walk to and from the church).

We finally got to take public transportation Thursday afternoon after spending the morning preparing our institute lesson. We caught the trolly (Sister Wheeler insists they call it a street car in Toronto, but it would be a bonde in Brazil) then a bus to Whole Foods to check on gluten-free food. This is the same place we went last month, but could only find 1-hour parking several blocks away so we didn't have time to look for anything. We then went walking around Bloor Street in the city without worrying about a parking ticket. We caught the subway at another location followed by a bus right back to our apartment.

Our first street car
Yorkville - the ritzy area of the city
It looks like the Masonic order has purchased MTV
Sister Wheeler is color coordinated with city walls

Thursday evening we were invited to a missionary dinner at the home of Angel, our ward mission leader. It seemed like a Young Single Adult gathering. Many of them may be in our institute class. We had tacos (of course, those that lived there were Mexicans).  We rode the bus there even though we have walked there in the past. On the way back we just missed the bus so we had a pleasant walk back to our apartment.

Angel (the ward misson leader) and Victor (who will teach the Spanish institute class)
Marco - a new member of the church

This has seemed like a busy and tiring week (even though we don't know if we have done anything) so we were ready for a p-day on Friday. We spent the morning in slow motion the decided to go to see Fort York. It played part in the war with America (or what we call the war of 1812). Again we were glad we didn't have to drive. There was the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) going on in the neighborhood with a lot of traffic and $25 parking. Once we were at the fort it was nice and peaceful, even though you can see the city all around.

The war between Canada and the United States
Officer's halls
Officer's dining room
In the kitchen
Fire the canon
 After ESL on Saturday (in which Elder Wheeler tried reading from a Chinese Book of Mormon with a student) they had a picnic at Christie Pits park for the priesthood. Fortunately, Sister Wheeler wasn't the only female there. We were, however, the only Portuguese speakers there. We really felt like outsiders, even though everyone was friendly.

Ward barbeque
We took a little walk through Korea Town before going back to the apartment. It's nice being able to ride (and then walk) anywhere we want in the city. Since this is a holiday weekend, the Canadian Air Force put on an air show which extended to where we were.

Sidewalk flower painting in Korea Town
Flying high in the sky
Large truck blocking all traffic trying to turn a corner
On Saturday morning we got a conference call from our new mission president, President Scott, from Huntsville, Utah. He told us that the mission vision is:  1) Being pure in heart, 2) exact obedience, and 3) being a "Preach My Gospel" mission. We will learn more as we have zone conferences during this month.

We might even know what we are doing here in Toronto. Jesus asked the Nephites the question"What manner of men ought ye to be?" the answered it, "Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27). Peter described what manner of man Jesus was: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good." (Acts 10: 38). Maybe all we need to do is have the spirit with us and go around doing good - simple, isn't it?

Meanwhile, we figured out we have six roles here in Toronto (in which we can do good). 1) We are working with the Christie Ward (especially the Portuguese-speaking); 2) We are working with CES as institute teachers; 3) We are working with the younger missionaries in ESL, district meetings, and zone meeting; 4) We are helping the mission office with the supply room and other chores as needed; 5) We are proselytizing by teaching Portuguese-speaking investigators an "letting our light shine" as we go around town; and 6) We are trying to keep our sanity, which may be the most challenging role we have.

Meanwhile, it looks like everything is going well at home without us. Here are a couple of pictures by John Edmond of scenes from the yard. These are real pictures from Logan.

Summer flowers