Sunday, November 20, 2011

Toronto crazies

We have heard from other missionaries that most of the people in downtown Toronto are crazy. Since we work in the Christie Ward and don't understand the Spanish they are speaking we can't tell who is crazy and who isn't. This week we had a few encounters with some of the Toronto crazies. On Thursday after a baptism a man came to the church and wanted to talk to us (instead of the sane missionaries at the church). He had a story about being a member from Cambodia who needed help in getting his family to church. Although we suspected a scam we helped him with a little bus money. On Friday at the wedding reception we were called out by a member of the Toronto Ward who was obsessed about giving a blessing to a non-member friend with a sore throat whom he could not contact. After several attempts to contact her, prayers (on our part) and much agitation (on his part) we were able to go home. We received a call at 11:30 PM wondering if he should stop trying to contact her for the night. On Saturday coming back from ESL we were approached by a may from Somalia who knew all about the church (how Jesus didn't really die on the cross, but visited the Nephites instead and how Brigham Young translated some golden plates). Elder Woodruff has the reputation of attracting all the crazies of Toronto. Since he is going home in a couple of weeks, I guess we will be taking his place.

We had a typical Monday by going to the supply room in the morning, a lesson with Sidy in the afternoon, and watching videos (The Mountain of the Lord) for FHE. Simone called and cancelled our lesson for Tuesday since she just returned from Brazil (she was to return on Sunday) and had to work because she missed work on Monday.

Fancy lettuce as a potted plant in a shopping mall
Most of the day Tuesday was spent in weekly planning and in preparing the institute lesson for Thursday night. Spending a beautiful day indoors was hard. We finally got away just before supper time, but the sun was already going down. We located a store by the church that has a good selection (though expensive) of gluten-free products. We found a special gluten-free bread made in Toronto that is almost like real bread. Rather than go back to the apartment for supper we decided to be adventurous and eat out. We found an Ethiopian restaurant on Bloor Street. It comes with enjira, a flat bread made out of teff (we hope). No silverware; we ate with our hands. We walked to the church just in time for ESL. The lesson was about family history so we had them fill out their own pedigree charts and family group sheets. We learned a little poem:
I do my genealogy
To learn about my ancestry;
I fill out all my family tree
By researching my pedigree;
I write my pers'nal history
To pass on to posterity;
I chart my family carefully
This is my family history.

Everyone seemed to like it and were eager to go home and contact family members to get more information. The missionaries thought the poem was a rap.

Tiger of lights in Koreatown
Mural in Ethiopian restaurant
Our Ethiopian dinner
We had our regular district meeting on Wednesday. After the meeting Elder Seabra demonstrated a magical person-lifting ceremony they used in the MTC to lift a 300+ pound Samoan.

Sisters performing the special lifting ceremony
Lifting Sister Hodgkin (she's no 300-pounder). Each person using only two fingers
 Sister Hurst and Sister Hodgkin told us about a new gelato (Italian ice cream) shop on Bloor Street and about Sebastian who owned the shop. Since it was close to the church we decided to go with them after district meeting to find out where it was. I told them I would treat them to a cup of gelato. (Yes, it was very good - as good as we found in Italy). We had a good visit with Sabastian as Sister Hodgkin challenged him to read the Book of Mormon they had given him. As I went to pay for the gelato, Sabasian waved it off. It was on the house.
Artegelato, best gelato in toronto
Sabastian, the gelato man
We took Elder Woodruff to his physical therapy session in Unionville again on Wednesday. We stopped by the supply room for some Italian missionary supplies (Sebastian's Book of Mormon was in English). The old Toronto East Mission office was unlocked so we walked through it, unlocking many fond memories of our first month in Canada. We had trouble getting home because of an accident on Don Mills (some pedestrians crossing at night were hit) which closed the road down for several hours. Knowing a detour helped.

Elder and Sister Wheeler on their six-month mark
The Christmas guardian in the corner of a yard
 We had an emergency baptism on Thursday. Lucia was going to Mexico, but called the Spanish elders asking if it were possible to be baptized before she left on Thursday night. Arrangements were made for her to be baptized and confirmed on Thursday before leaving. President and Sister Scott were able to attend the baptism. Sister Wheeler played the piano for the baptism.

Smiling faces at the baptism
Sister Wheeler at the piano
Institute class on Thursday evening was on selecting an eternal companion. As part of it, we went through the proclamation on family. Elders were there from Etobicoke (pronounced eh-toe-bi-co) with a young investigator (Tessa) asking if she could attend institute. Of course we had no objections. She got a full dose, including the proclamation on family being scripture as revealed through the prophets, eternal families, and testimonies from class members about the importance of marrying members of the church. She participated in some of the discussion, but turned down the opportunity to say the closing prayer when asked by the class president (who didn't know she was an investigator). It ends up that the elders had just met her and had not even given her any lessons. She said she like the class, however.

Institute class with Tessa next to SisterWheeler
No preparation day on Friday. We got a call from the zone leaders asking us if we could be at the church at noon for a baptismal interview. We finally found out what we are good for as senior missionaries - balancing out the number of males and females allowed to be together for lessons and interviews.
After the interview we were able to go to the Talho (Portuguese butcher shop) for some chicken and Sumol (a Portuguese soda with real fruit juice).

Elder Williamson and Elder Germann modeling a size XXXXXL
 We had a lesson with Marzia in the evening and a chance to meet her husband, Domingo. He is very nice, does not want to hear the lessons himself, but is supportive of Marzia being baptized. She said she would like to be baptized on November 27th before Elder Woodruff returns home from his mission. Domingo said he would attend. We hope they follow through.

We have two fewer young single adults in the church. Victor (the institute teacher for the Spanish class) and Kristie (from the Toronto Ward) were married in the Toronto Temple on Friday with a little reception at the church on Friday evening (who's teaching his class?).

Kristie and Victor entering the chapel
The bride and groom (they seem happy)
Laura Kay (former Sister Crosby) and Angel (ward mission leader)
Sara and Ryan (our institute class president)
We had CES as usual on Saturday morning. Our topic was adventure stories. We decided to go on a lion hunt (if you remember the activity from camps). We got a call in the afternoon about having a missionary coordination meeting. We have been having them on Sunday mornings, but some of the missionaries are picking up investigators at that time so they decided to try Saturday afternoon. When we got there we found out it included a dinner. Elder Wheeler has been working with Angel (pronounced ang-hel, our ward mission leader) to have an area book and to follow the ward mission process. He is eager to learn, but this is a Spanish ward, so we'll see how things work. As part of the Spanish ward customs, birthday parties for children are often held at the church.

Missionary coordination meeting
Saturday birthday party (we didn't attend)

Sunday was a bit disappointing since none of our investigators attended church, but the Spanish elders had another baptism. We just do the best we can and leave the rest to the Lord.

1 comment:

AZ SMITHS said...

Ha Ha, I met a few doozies on my mission too. I guess there are crazies no matter where you live. Here in AZ an investigator had a crush on the elder and kept texting him love notes. :)

Sounds like you're keeping pretty busy! You sure are being a support to those missionaries. I know they really count on you.