Monday, February 24, 2014

Winter in 3 Rivers

Hey fam,
Consider yourselves lucky that the snow is already pretty much melted. We still have huge piles everywhere. What's worse is that we still have another two months of snow storm potential. I can't complain too much though because the Winter is Trois Rivières was much more mild than the Winter last year in Québec city. Time is flying though so I'm sure Winter will be over before we know it.
We had another semi-packed good week. We finally had some investigators at church! It had been a while that our investigators hadn't been making it out. We had an awesome African meal Friday night with our investigator Williane from Cameroon and then Sunday morning we walked with her to church. She seemed to enjoy it. She loves discussing the word of God. Stéphane has really been doing well he's been coming out to church and family home evening without too much emotional distress. One of the most rewarding things about being a missionary is seeing people progress and truly change.
We've been having some good success in building our relationships with the members here. We've done it through service and just having visits with them. Remember that when the missionaries come by for a visit it's not just for fun but it's to have stronger ties with members so that we can work together more effectively. Do all you can to act on invitations they leave with you.
So President Patrick has requested that some of the missionaries from my group stay one more transfer which would mean 4 weeks past the 2 years (June 26) rather than the transfer 2 weeks before which would put me home May 15. I'm not sure yet what I'll be doing since I do need to get going on work and school. Let me know if you have any thoughts. I'll let you know what I end up deciding. In any case, time is absolutely flying.
Love you all!
Elder Oxborrow

P.S. I keep leaving my camera in the car so next week I'll try to remember it so I can send pictures.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Staying in Trois Rivieres

Hey everybody,
We had quite an eventful week. There was a lot more going on than usual. We had a good zone conference on Thursday as well as interviews with President Patrick. He's got quite the prowess. He just seems like such a powerful man haha. It's cool but a bit intimidating in an interview setting. I learned a lot from the trainings which were given. We also found out we'll have a visit from one of the apostles next month! That will be an awesome experience.
Thursday night and all of Friday it dumped snow like crazy. Our weekly planning day turned into snow shoveling day. It was worth it since we were able to strengthen our relations with the members as well as show our investigators we care about them. We were pretty sore the next day though. Saturday was a big day... Marcel Croteau has been working super hard to get back into the church got baptized! He was pretty emotional as were the rest of the people there. We had a hockey game before the baptism (in the parking lot, no ice-skates) and it was the Trois Rivières branch vs the Shawinigan branch. We ended up losing by 1 but it was only because their goalie was so good. That night was transfer calls! They are supposed to start at 8:00 but ours came about ten minutes early and we were still in a lesson with Stéphane. He was freaking out when we got the call because he had been telling me for a couple weeks that he was afraid I'd be leaving. When they told us we'd be staying here Stéphane starting celebrating and clapping his hands haha. It was pretty funny. I'm excited to spend at least six more weeks here. The people are wonderful and the area is making great progress.
Sunday we had an awesome lesson with Williane, Alvanie, and Aïsha. They are the sisters from Cameroon. They are progressing super well! We brought our branch president with us to teach them and they invited us over to have a big African meal on Friday. I think they'll get baptized (knock on wood). Sunday we'll be walking with them to church to make sure they get there haha.
I'm doing well and I'm excited to keep working here. Hope everything is going well back home! Already more than half way done with February... Time flies!

Love, Elder Oxborrow

Monday, February 10, 2014

Transfers coming

Hey everybody!
It's crazy that transfer calls are already coming up again. This transfer has flown by. A mission is like a roll of toilet paper- the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!
We had a good week this week including splits with the zone leaders, a lot of lessons with less-actives, and a lot of personal lessons as well. We've also come to a realization this week that our branch needs a lot of work and a lot of help. We've realized that before we put a lot of focus on bringing others into the church, we need to strengthen the members we already have. We've been trying to focus on that more. The branch council is strong which is a good base. It wasn't very long ago that the branch divided in two so it's still a bit of an adjustment phase (and we don't even have our own building yet). I'm enjoying Trois Rivières and I think I'll end up finishing my mission here. If I don't get transferred next week, there's no way president would transfer me when I only have 6 weeks left. We'll see what happens.
Today the senior couple took me and Elder Read out to a buffet for lunch which was pretty good. Since I'm still on my sugar fast I didn't have any dessert which made the buffet experience just a little less satisfying but it's worth it in the end!
Not a ton to report on this week but still just trucking along. Love you all!

Elder Oxborrow

Monday, February 3, 2014

February in Canada!

Hey everybody!
I was sad to hear the news that Grandma Toni, probably the most loving and caring person I ever knew passed away this week. :( She was always going so strong I always just thought she'd be around forever. I wish I had been able to see her again before she passed but it'll just be a short time apart before I see her again for eternity. :) Sometimes I wonder what we'd do without the knowledge we have from the gospel.
We had a great week this week. Between working with addiction recovery, teaching lots of Africans (who have beautiful French), and being used as a psychiatrist by one of our less-actives, we have stayed pretty busy.
We have started to see a lot more real progress from some of our investigators. Yesterday we had an awesome lesson with Williane and Alvanie, two girls from Cameroon. They are so prepared to receive the Gospel it's crazy. During the lesson, they asked "Is there a church you go to or do you just do home visits?" we told them we meet at the cegep building and they are excited to come. We will be setting up baptism a date with them soon. They read multiple chapters in the Book of Mormon since the last time we were there and they're starting to recognize the spirit testifying of it. Another good lesson this week was with Pierre who is Anita's husband I wrote about last week. She was the referral we had gotten through He loves the spirit we bring and is willing to keep commitments but the main struggle for him is going to be coming to church since he's pretty involved in the church he's going to.
One person I who I've been working with since I got here in September is Stéphane. He's the less-active we've been working with on cigarettes and other things pretty much since I got here. He is an awesome guy and I've really come to love him a lot, but I didn't realize quite how much until we were at church on Sunday. He told me he didn't want me to get transferred any time soon and I told him there's a chance I'll stay here for the rest of my mission until May. He asked me for the President's phone number so he could call him and tell him to keep me here. I told him it didn't really work that way haha. It made me realize how many awesome friends I've made and how many awesome experiences I've had and really how much a mission is worth it. It's hard at times, but the lessons learned far outweigh the sacrifice. I love these people! I've made some friends who will never fade for sure.
Love you all!
Elder Oxborrow

p.s. Sometimes batman swings into our apartment.