Monday, March 31, 2014

Finishing in Trois Rivieres

Hey everyone!
Hey everyone! Happy Birthday dad! I'm glad I'll be there for #50.
It's a pretty weird feeling today as I start my last transfer. It just kind of hit me this morning. I'm doing my best to give it my all and not slow down in the end. Just like a good cross country race. :) Last Monday after I e-mailed home we went to the music store with Stéphane cause he wanted to hear me drum ha. It was pretty fun but after I had played for a few minutes the lady came in and I could tell she wanted me to wrap it up so I played a couple guitars before we headed home for dinner. It was fun.
On Tuesday Elder Read and I gave blood. We had been looking for a blood drive for a while with no success. Finally the university here had one. It was a good opportunity to talk with a lot of people while doing some community service. Plus you can't complain about free juice boxes. There were a ton of people there.
This week were so blessed. When we called to set up an appointment with our investigators Anita, Pierre & kids (see photo), they told us to come by at 6 so we could have dinner with them. They made us a delicious African meal (see photo). We ate with our hands and it was awesome! Afterwards we watched a conference talk with them and they really enjoyed it. We're hoping they'll make it out for a couple sessions this weekend.
I made my first loaf of homemade bread this week (see photo). A lot of missionaries in our mission have been trying different things to get more contact with less-actives so I thought I'd try it. It turned out pretty good. It wasn't too heavy or anything and it raised pretty decently.
Yesterday we had a lesson with our investigators from Cameroon (the four sisters). The object of our lesson was to really help them understand our purpose as missionaries. We explained to them that we want to help them make positive changes in their life. The spirit was very strong and our member bore a strong testimony of the reality of the Gospel. It was really good.
Yesterday we had a pretty wicked snow storm all night and all day. Today it's a bit more calm. Spring comes late in Québec...
We also had transfer calls this week... I'll be spending another transfer in Trois Rivières, bringing the total to 6. I will also, therefore, be finishing my mission here. :( I'm glad to be staying with a lot of awesome friends for another 6 weeks. It's going to fly by.
Love you all!
Elder Oxborrow

Monday, March 24, 2014

Still cold in Trois Rivieres

Hey everyone!
We had an awesome week! I guess it's hard not to when an apostle visits your mission. It was an awesome meeting with him. Bishop Caussé of the presiding bishopric spoke first though and I was glad cause he addressed us in French. When he spoke in Conference last October I was wishing I could hear him speak in his first language and voila, wish granted. He had some awesome things that he taught us about. His wife also addressed us in French. Elder Andersen's wife addressed us as well and shared a powerful testimony and some awesome spiritual stories. Elder Andersen taught us for about 45 minutes. It was awesome to see him pause, receive spiritual promptings, and then teach us accordingly. I learned a lot from him. Elder Read bought a voice recorder and recorded the whole thing so we'll be able to listen through it again. One of the things Elder Andersen taught us was that big doors swing on small hinges. The little things that we do in our lives affect us in huge ways. He gave the example of the people we associate with. That's a huge influence for good or bad. He also said "you can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the apples in a seed" while talking about our efforts as missionaries. As long as we are giving constant efforts, we can know that we are helping in the Lord's work. Elder Andersen also conducted our stake conference yesterday and called a new stake presidency. President and Sister Morin were released since they've been called to serve as the mission president (and wife) in the Benin Cotonou mission in Africa. He had been leading the district/stake for 18 years I think. You could see he was happy to have a bit of responsibility taken off his shoulders. He's a great man and will be a great mission president.
Well I hope it's warmer out west cause it's still cold here. The wind is still fierce. April should show some more warmth. We'll see. Anyway, take care. Love you all!

Elder Oxborrow

Monday, March 17, 2014

Apostolic Visit

Dear everyone,
I loved reading all your e-mails. Looks like Wade's birthday was a good one, and I'm glad he was able to squeeze in his eagle haha. We had a pretty awesome week this week. I was still in a trio with the other two Elders up until Friday when Elder Read arrived. He's pretty mobile, just has to take it easy to avoid post-surgery pain. He's able to move enough to get to lessons though which is good. We saw tons of progress with our investigators this week. Pretty much everyone made a good step in the right direction. Freddy and Claudia from Columbia had us over for a delicious lunch. We hadn't had a lesson with them for a good while so it was good to regain more contact. Our lesson went well with Tao who is from China. He comes from a non-religious background and has been making very small steps in gaining more faith. This week he expressed to us the desire to know why he's even here and what his purpose is, which is more than he's told us for a long time. We're hoping he'll gain a real desire to learn so that he can find the answers to his questions. Anita and Pierre are our investigators from Ivory Coast and we also had a great lesson with Pierre this week. We had been committing Pierre to read Mosiah 24 for a few weeks straight and he hadn't made the time for it... until this week. He read it and totally loved it! He soaked up the whole chapter and was ready to discuss it. It was awesome. I think our highlight of the week was with Williane from Cameroon. We had a lesson on the 2nd half of the Plan of Salvation. As we read through the pamphlet, the Spirit was in the room for sure. Afterwards we told her that the way she can know if it's true is through prayer. I asked if she had prayed to know if the church had been restored (which we've committed her to do multiple times). She said she already believes in the restoration of the Gospel. We were all just like ''Ok... now what do we say?'' We asked her if she would be baptized and she said she will continue thinking about it. She's getting so close. It's been a great week.
So this Saturday we have a pretty big-time meeting in Montréal for our whole mission. These are the details that were sent out to us:

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve will preside at
the meeting. He will be accompanied by Sister Andersen, Elder
Donald L. Hallstrom, one of the Presidents of the First Quorum of
the Seventy and Sister Hallstrom, and Bishop Gérald Caussé of the
Presiding Bishopric and Sister Caussé. Elder David Homer, the Area
Seventy who supervises our Mission, will also be in attendance, and we
expect all four of our Stake Presidents.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pumped for Saturday! It's gonna be sweet. And then we have General Conference coming up not too long after. As Elder Williams put it, ''General Conference is like the Super Bowl for missionaries''
Love you all! Have a great week. Enjoy the mild temperatures. We're still freezing and waiting for snow to melt...

P.S. The photos are a pile of snow and our columbian dinner appointment.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March in Canada

Well it was another exciting week. Not sure if I mentioned this last week but Half way through our p-day last week we got a call from Elder Ahrets (Senior missionary over cars) telling us we had to drive in that day to Montréal to get our car replaced. Kind of destroyed our p-day but hey, we got a new car so you can't complain. The Malibu wasn't the greatest for Winter.
So Tuesday was quite the day. We had an early combined bithday dinner for Me and Stéphane. His birthday is on the 12th. We decided that we would allow a one-day exception to our sugar fast to celebrate (see photo). Elder Read and I slightly over-estimated the amount of desserts we would be able to eat. After eating a bit of ice cream and cookies, we just felt way too full. I was excited to get back on the no sugar regiment afterwards.
Elder Read got picked up on Wednesday for his knee surgery on Thursday. It went well and he's staying in Montréal for a week or so. I've been in a trio with the other elders in the apartment since Wednesday. It's been busy covering both of our areas but I've enjoyed being able to visit the people I worked with when I covered all of Trois Rivières.
Probably one of the most exciting things this week was when I got to see my old MTC companion Elder Hansen (see photo) who I haven't seen since August 1, 2012 when we arrived in the mission.
Thursday we helped a member put in a railing and do some other work on her staircase. On Friday we had a lesson with some Columbians and they fed us some good Columbian food. I wish I could speak more Spanish.
On Sunday I gave a talk on Seeking the Spirit. Afterwards we had branch council and then we stopped by the funeral for Stéphane's dad. He had some good support from the members of the branch. I learned a pretty big lesson while we were there. Stéphane's sister is semi-famous in Québec because she was a finalist on "La Voix" (French version of "The Voice"). I don't mean to judge, but it just seemed that a lot of her friends at the funeral were very materialistic and saw it as more of a social gathering. Meanwhile, Stéphane was having meaningful conversations and sharing memories with those who were close to him. It made me realize a bit about what matters most in this life. None of our earthly possessions will come with us when we go, but the friends we have and the lessons we learn will.
I've been learning so much lately and I only hope I can continue the trend. I love the people I've been blessed to work with and I'm starting to feel at home here. It's hard to believe I've already been here for over 6 months.
I love you all and hope this finds you well!

Sincerely, Elder Oxborrow

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Amazing Week

Hey everybody!
I wish I could have been there at Jarin's baptism! I'm sure it was an awesome experience. I'm grateful for the many lessons I've been learning lately. We had such an awesome week this week full of life-lessons and great opportunities.
Last Monday Elder Read went into Vermont for a doctor appointment (since Canada's health system makes it impossible to set up an appt.) for his knee. He's going in on Thursday to get it scoped and probably have a surgery. Since he was in Montréal Monday night, I asked President Patrick if we could come in to pick him up the next day so that we could go to the temple. He said he thought it was a great idea. I would have missed out on that since the temple will be closing for construction before I go home. It was awesome to go through for the first time in 18 months, and it was even cooler since I got to do the session in French!
On Friday I had probably one of the most humbling experiences of my mission. Stéphane's dad had been having health problems for a few months, and Stéphane called us and told us he was in the hospital and that it was probably his last day. He asked us if we would give his dad a blessing. We went over there feeling a little sheepish, and as we put our hands on his head and I started to give a blessing, he started thanking us for each thing that we blessed him with. Afterwards, he kept saying how grateful he was and how good the Lord had been to him. Stéphane told us that he usually never talks like that. Later on that night he passed and I had a strong feeling that he did so peacefully. Stéphane showed a strong example of faith and said he knew his dad was in a better place. He felt at peace with it.
We had great lessons with the 2 African families we're teaching right now. Both are progressing pretty well.
I love you all and hope you have a great week! It's still freezing cold here!
Love, Elder Oxborrow

p.s. I received my departure date for May 15th