Speaking From The Grave

Helloooo friends and family!!

I’m BACK. I’m home! I’m in Alberta!!

My last day as a missionary, Sister Arnold and I hosted FHE where we opened up the visitors’ centre and gave temple tours. So many people showed up, that we had to do it in two groups! It went so well! The spirit was strong! I’m so glad that we were able to test run our temple tour guide before I left! And I saw my Polish ESL friend from Mississauga one last time… She gave me the cutest teddy bear!

Perfect last day.

The next day, the departing missionaries (there were 16 of us) had an instruction which was basically about how to adjust to normal life. We learned about careers, and relationships, and then President and Sister Clayton spoke to us. My favourite thing that Sister Clayton said was, “It’s okay to be poor, as long as you have an objective.” That made me just a teeeeeny bit less nervous about paying for school.

Then we went to the temple. Departing missionaries always talk about receiving a confirmation that the Lord is pleased with their offering when they go to the temple on their last day. I sought for that. As I was sitting in the temple, waiting for this confirmation, I felt a lot of love for about one second. Then I felt like I should go. No sense lingering around- my time here was up. There is more work for me to do! Time to build the kingdom in Alberta.

Then, Sister Mandla, Sister Howle and I stayed up until who knows when talking in our bedroom in the mission home…

By 6am, we were out the door, on the way to the airport.

No companion by my side. And of course, I was “randomly selected” for a pat down. Ugh.

The flight attendant gave me a WHOLE can of diet coke on the plane. #tendermercies

And now I’m home. And it doesn’t feel as weird as I had feared it would…

I thought it’d be so weird to come home and call all these dead missionaries by their first names and to respond to my own first name…. But it’s actually not!
Although, I do still go to adjust my name tag when I put my bag on my shoulder 😦
Texting continuous conversations is weird. This whole “hey what’s up?” Conversation starter is preetttyy annoying. I’m way too used to using texts simply to confirm appointments!
Speaking of appointments, I’ve been on a few dates 😛

You know when you get out of an appointment and you have two missed calls and 5 texts and you’re like holy cow! We’re so popular! Well now it’s more like 7 texts, 10 Facebook notifications, 12 instagram updates…. etc. #popular #firstworldprobs Also. Texting with autocorrect is so stinkin hard.

When I got off the plane we had like 8 hours to kill before I got released, so we went shopping.. 🙂 I invited the guy who sold me running shoes to come to church. He might have thought I was asking him on a date….? #ALWAYSACOMPANIONSHIP

Three other cashiers that I saw were LDS! One was totally inactive. BUT NOT FOR LONG.

I was dying without mormon.org cards. I could’ve given so many away!!! Then I got my mom to text the elders in her ward and ask for some mormon.org cards and they were like, “uhhh we’ll have to order some from the mission office.” YOU DON’T HAVE SOME ON HAND?! Who are you?! Then my mom was telling me about an 18 year old girl that they’re teaching and I was like, “Hold up. Why isn’t she going to YSA!?” So I texted her and offered to drive her. 🙂 #1investigatoratchurch. Except she got called into work saturday night and couldn’t come anymore. =(

me

I’ve been so long without hashtags that I’m probably abusing my right to use them right now. #hatersgonhate

Well, I still remember all the words to my favourite songs. I still like the same music. I’m pretty much the same! Just… wiser 🙂

Love you all 🙂

Make Good choices!

Brooklyn

2 John 1:12

Hey guess what?! This week, we did weekly planning! Woooo!!! Well, Sister Arnold did weekly planning while I updated the area book 😛

I FEEL SO WEIRD RIGHT NOW.

Tonight, we’re hosting FHE for the recent converts and returning members in our zone. We’re opening up the visitors’ centre, and giving tours of the temple grounds. Tomorrow, I’ll go to a workshop about finding a career, hear some departing instruction, go to the temple, have dinner and a testimony meeting at the mission home with all the departing missionaries…and then tomorrow at 9am, I fly home. Weird.
Temple

Packing is such a pain. Everything fits in my suitcases, it’s just all too heavy. I’ll have to go repack after I’m done emailing today. Sister Arnold is inheriting a large majority of my wardrobe.

The gospel principles lesson this week was on Eternal Marriage…. of course.

It feels like I’m going to wake up in the morning, and still have six more weeks in Brampton…

Sister Jolie is replacing me in Brampton. She’s gonna love it 🙂

Where do I even start. This week was crazy! All the days just blurred together.

We assembled our desks for our new apartment all by ourselves this week. 😀 Add that to the list of skills acquired on my mission.

We went on exchanges with the Mississauga Sister Training Leaders this week. I went with Sister Jensen, who is from Magrath. We got to see my ESL friend that got baptized, and other new people that I didn’t know. Mississauga has a very special place in my heart.

My baby, Sister Lundin, went home this week. =( She’s been in and out of the hospital the past few weeks and needed to go home to recover. Sister Clayton asked us to accompany her and Sister Lundin to the airport so that she wouldn’t have to pay for parking. Which means… that we drove the mission president’s car! Now that is trust, my friends. It was good to be with Sister Lundin. She’s such a wonderful person. I’m excited to see her at Glenwood celebrations 😀

This week, we decided to try something new, and go sing to patients at the local hospital. It was great! They were so appreciative! It definitely brought the spirit into their rooms. The temple is right across the street, so hopefully they’ll come visit once they recover. 🙂

Sister Mandla was my MTC companion. She also used to serve in this area. Sister Mandla called us a while ago to give us a referral. Sister Mandla’s dad is the home teacher of someone in Australia who has relatives in Brampton. One of those relatives is from England, was baptized in Spain at age 10, and now lives in our area here in Brampton, and hasn’t been to church since moving to Canada. So Sister Mandla’s dad asked if his daughter could go visit him, but by the time it all got worked out, Sister Mandla was moved to another area. Anyways, we’ve been meeting with him and his family and he is SO GREAT. He still has such a strong testimony and really wants to read the Book of Mormon the whole way through. His wife and two children aren’t baptized, but he’s excited to share the gospel with them! They are SO PREPARED. All of their questions were golden. We taught them about the Spirit World, which was a totally new concept for his wife. At the end of the lesson, we asked him to say the closing prayer, and right when he went to do it, he got the worst leg cramp. He said, “I can’t wait for the spirit world!”
Then his wife said, “No, you can’t go there yet! You’ve got things you still need to do here!” and pointed to the pamphlet where it says that we need to repent and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ while on the earth. Hahaha they’re so great. Now is their time! I’m so excited to hear all about their progression in the coming weeks.

We went to go visit our 95 year old friend from the ward, but we were 12 minutes late. Sister Arnold and I pride ourselves on NEVER being late, but this day we were just over booked and were running behind. We met our 95-year-old friend in the hallway, and boy, did we get a scolding! THE ONE TIME SHE REMEMBERS OUR APPOINTMENT WAS THE ONE TIME WE WERE LATE. Oh man she was not happy with us and was not interested in seeing us today. We stood in the hallway dumbfounded for a couple minutes before going on our way to our next appointment. It was the nicest, sternest scolding I’ve ever received from a grandmother before haha.

THE M FAMILY WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!! We helped them prepare some family names, and the mom and her two sons went to the baptistry for the first time together =’) The father was unable to attend… but we’ll get him next time >=] The oldest son was advanced to the office of a priest by his father yesterday. =’) They were completely off the map when I first arrived in Brampton. Now they’re right back in the swing of things!

We went to a relief society activity this week with the intent to set up appointments with the members…. but we invited almost everyone who showed up, and already had appointments with them. =P When I tried to talk to people it just reminded me how awkward I am. “Soooo… how’s your Book of Mormon reading going?” What do normal people even talk about? Real world relief society is just around the corner for me… Oh boy I’m doomed.

We received 11 member referrals this month. That’s like a 200% increase than past months! Brampton ward knows how to do missionary work.

Speaking of the Brampton ward, can I brag about my ward mission leader and relief society president for a minute? They’re married, and they’re stinkin’ awesome. We called them this week with an idea for an activity for the 25th anniversary of the temple, and right then on the phone the relief society president said, “Okay, I’ll write up an email to bishop and the ward council to get their input… and I’ll tell them that they need to reply since we don’t have meetings this week… my husband is looking at the calendar right now.. okay so August 25th is a Tuesday. We’ll have to make sure that the chapel is booked since that will be the biggest thing…” etc. They are people who know how to get stuff done. I love it! They have been huge in helping the work move forward in Brampton. And I promise that I’m not only saying this because I know that a member of their family may or may not read my weekly blog posts… 🙂

One less-active member that we’ve been working with finally broke up with her boyfriend who has definitely been pulling her down. She said, “I told him a half truth… I said that I had met someone else at church. What he doesn’t know is that the ‘other person’ is Jesus.” Bahaha. I love her.

Brother S is still smoking. But! He came to church again. It’ll click one day.

Working with Brother S has really made me appreciate the counsel found in the Word of Wisdom. Addictions really do remove our agency. We become slaves to that habit or substance. It’s so sad! The good thing is that hope is not lost. There is a way to overcome addictions through the atonement. It does require a lot of effort on our part, but then the saviour makes up the rest. http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/the-savior-wants-to-forgive

C is a media referral. She requested a Bible from mormon.org and she is prepared to hear the gospel!

The Elder’s Quorum President’s friend is doing very well. He finally started to read the Book of Mormon! He said to us in our last meeting, “I’m very sad that Sister Davidson won’t be here to see my baptism, but maybe Sister Arnold.” 😀

When we arrived at church this week, Brother S was already there. Then, one by one, our other investigators started to file in. We tripled the Standards of Excellence this week. 😀 Talk about going out with a bang. I feel confident that I’ve left this area better than I found it.

2 John 1:12
“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”

I suppose I’ll close with a bit of testimony. Thank you everyone who has supported me throughout this time! It’s been a wonderful adventure. A time I certainly will reflect upon for the rest of my life.

President Clayton asked me to write a letter about what my mission has meant to me. This is what I said:

What has my mission meant to me? Where do I even begin…

Lesson number one learned out here in the field was definitely humility. I can’t believe how upset I was to be coming to this mission! I have absolutely gained a love for the people in Ontario. I feel so blessed to have served a large majority of my mission in the GTA. City life is the life for me! One of the many benefits of serving in the city is the diversity. It’s incredible! I’ve worked with Sikhs, muslims, buddhists, atheists, and a variety of christians. It has really helped strengthen my testimony that we truly are all brothers and sisters. No matter what corner of the world we come from, God created us all. Living in such a diverse place has also helped strengthen my testimony that the apostasy absolutely, 100% happened. No doubt about it. Not only the great apostasy, but many apostasies. There’s so much confusion in the world! It’s been a blessing to help people become less confused. In the process, God’s plan has become clearer to me as well.

The church is true! If I haven’t learned anything else in the last 18 months, I at least now know with a certainty that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the one true church, or as Jynx would say, “Jesus’ chosen group.”

God’s timing is so perfect. I could have left for the MTC on my 19th birthday in June, but I felt uneasy about that. When my mom suggested that I do another semester at school and then leave, I felt instant peace. Coming in to the field, I knew that I’d get a new mission president in 6 months. In my setting apart blessing, my stake president blessed me that I’d develop a good relationship with my mission president and his wife, and that would be a source of strength for me. I never saw President Scott too often out in the Oshawa zone. He helped me a ton those first six months, but I always felt like that blessing referred to President & Sister Clayton, even more I met them. I’ve definitely seen the fulfillment of that blessing! The Claytons have been a wonderful example to me of how I want to live my life. I’ve learned so much from them! President has really helped me understand what it means to be a full-purpose missionary. Because of the emphasis on the whole work of salvation, and always being a missionary, I feel like I’m more prepared to go back to Edmonton and continue to build the kingdom there. I, and every other member of this church, need to always be missionaries!

Ultimately, I think the biggest lessons I’ve learned is about consecration. I’ve spent 18 months of my life trying to understand what it means to be a “consecrated” missionary. Now I feel like I have a deeper understanding of what it truly means to be consecrated. At that start, I thought that consecration meant only ever thinking about proselyting. I always heard missionaries talking about the “altar of sacrifice” and what other things they can give up or stop doing in order to become more “consecrated.” I think it was Bishop Causse that gave the talk about the difference between sacrifice and consecration at a mission presidents’ seminar. Consecration is the higher law. Bishop Causse said, “[Jesus] consecrated everything – His strengths, His talents, His capacities- to accomplish the mission with which He had been entrusted. The law of consecration requires that we too dedicate ourselves to the Lord’s sacred work- that we willingly give our time, talents, strength, and all that we possess toward building the kingdom of God on the earth.” The dictionary definition of consecration (according to the 10lbs dictionary in our apartment) is, “To devote solemnly to a purpose.” So I’ve learned that consecration really means that you devote your whole self to your purpose in missionary work- which is to invite everyone to come unto Christ. Everything you do, and everything you are helps move the work forward in your area. It means utilizing your talents and your interests to help others come unto Christ. If you like to play basketball, organize a ward sports night. If you like to sing, go sing at the hospital. If you like to draw, go draw the first vision on the sidewalk in the park. Consecration does not mean giving up things you enjoy. God called ME, Brooklyn Davidson, on a mission, and he wanted me to consecrate my talents and interests unto Him, not put them in a box and leave them at home. The Lord doesn’t want a bunch of robotic missionaries. Consecration means to not hold anything back from God.

Consecration means progression, not perfection. We will never achieve full consecration in this life. And that’s okay. We’re not supposed to. “Latter-Day Saints keep on trying.”

So now that I can say with confidence that I have become a consecrated missionary, I’m going to lose my name tag pretty soon. I’ve spent 18 months of my life trying to focus all of my thoughts on the Saviour and missionary work, and now I’m going to be allowed to think about other things! My box up on the shelf with a pretty green and gold bow is about to be opened, and I’ll have to think about school and all sorts of other life decisions.

So now I need to make the transition between becoming a consecrated missionary to becoming a consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ.

Luckily, I think they’re really the same thing.

Consecration is devoting solemnly to a purpose. My purpose as a disciple of Christ is still and always will be to invite others to come unto Him. I will still “conduct [myself] at all times in such a way that everyone who sees [me] will recognize [me] as a representative of Jesus Christ (WHB p.8).

So when I’m out grocery shopping, I’m shopping as a disciple of Christ. When I’m at work, I’m working to support myself or my future family, and I’ll work with integrity, because that’s what Christ would do. When I’m cleaning my house, it’s so I can feel the spirit stronger. When I’m in my bed having a nap, I’m napping because I need a break and the scriptures say that “it is not requisite that man should run faster than he has strength.” Everything I do and everything I am should be to allow myself and others to come closer to Christ.

There are no fence sitters in the Celestial Kingdom.

That is what my mission has taught me. I will always be a missionary. I will continue to consecrate myself to Christ. Daily scripture study is something that we just do; it shouldn’t even be a question. My mission has meant everything to me, and that’s because it’s helped me figure out my relationship with Christ and how I can continue to improve it throughout my life. It has helped me understand my role in the hastening of the work in these last days. I feel like I am better equipped with the tools and knowledge I need in order to build the kingdom for the rest of my life because of what I’ve learned here in the Canada Toronto Mission.

I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve changed for the better. But I’m still myself. I am still Brooklyn Davidson. I’ve been Brooklyn Davidson for the past 18 months, and it’s still Brooklyn Davidson who will walk off a plane in a couple of hours. I’ve been bent, broken, and molded into a better version of me. The molding process of consecration will continue on for eternity. So, I’m not too afraid to take off my name tag. I’ve worn it with honour and with pride. I’m sad, because I’ve loved every second of being a full-time missionary! But my time here is up- the Lord has other places I need to be and other things I need to do in order to progress. My personality has not changed. My likes and dislikes have not changed (I’ll have you know, I tried REALLY hard to learn to like eggs out here in the field. I just can’t do it). I’ll still be the same person, the only difference is, I’ll be wearing pants. 🙂

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Love you all 🙂
Sister Davidson
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rain

boots were made for tracting

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tims

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Who Needs Weekly Planning Anyway?

Last night it hit me that this is my last week in the field…

I’m really sad!! SO MANY good things are happening in Brampton!! We’ve been busy busy busy and sooo many people are progressing in the gospel. I just want to be able to stay here forever and keep working with everyone! It feels like I’m getting emergency transferred to Rainbow Valley Ward. 😛 I guess they need me, too.

On Wednesday, I hit my official 18 month mark since entering the MTC. I decorated my planner for the occasion…
Transfer 13 Planner

Naturally, I had to make my planner for my last transfer a special one.
July 15th

Brother S. Still smoking. Still not giving up, though. Keep praying for him. The ward council is awesome and has already assigned him home teachers 😀

All of our other investigators are progressing beautifully as well. =)

The stake high councilman and his companion came to speak in our ward last Sunday. His name was Brother Davidson, and he brought his son to come speak with him, who had just recently returned from a mission. The son talked a bit about his own family history, so I went up to him afterwards and asked if his ancestors were from Denmark. Turns out that his dad is cousins with Grandpa Davidson. Small world!

We went to our community garden again this week (which is growing beautifully!), and it started to POUR on us part way through. The funny thing is that it didn’t even phase the missionaries. They all just kept working along, harvesting and sorting the crop in the downpour while Sister Arnold and I labelled bags in the shelter of the shed. 😛

Our zone got together early Friday morning to play soccer, and I realized how different missionaries are from other people in our same age group. No one curses when they miss a shot, or when the other team scores a goal. No one’s keeping score, or being aggressive. The overall the conversation is uplifting (with a little bit of friendly trash talk, of course). Everyone’s dressed modestly, and there’s no flirting, or gossiping. It’s just like getting together with your cousins, or something. It’s kind of annoying when you’re the only sister on a team, though because you know no one is going to try to stop you when you go for a goal since no one can touch you haha. It has been very refreshing to be surrounded by missionaries for the past year and a half. Everyone is just trying their best to be consecrated disciples of Jesus Christ!

It has been lovely to be completely immersed in the gospel every second of every day for the past year and a half. The thought of going into the real world without a name tag on is a little terrifying!

While I was in Mississauga, we were teaching an ESL student from Poland about the gospel. I remember our first lesson we just focused on who God was and how to pray. She refused to pray, even in her native tongue. She has continued to learn about the gospel since I left, and I got to see her a couple times on exchanges and at stake events. She’s read the Book of Mormon THREE times in Polish. We email pretty frequently, because I love her a lot!! On Saturday, I got permission from our mission president to surprise her and attend her baptism in Mississauga. Another recent convert that I taught while I was there baptized her. WHAT A BLESSING it was to be able to witness! And she was so happy to see us there! Highlight of the transfer for sure.
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We were in the gas station one day this week and saw a man in there who Sister Arnold and I thought looked like he could be a Mormon. He looked like a normal guy, he just had an air of “mormonness” about him. I dunno how to explain it. Anyways, he opened the door for us as we were leaving and said, “Have a good day, Sisters!” Yep. He was Mormon. Him and his family were visiting from the States for a few days. We really do stand out from the crowd, even if it’s only subtly. Modesty is a rarity. On that note, has anyone else noticed that smoking seems to be increasing in popularity again?

An investigator that Sister Howle and I taught showed up to church out of no where yesterday. She wanted to talk to the Bishop about volunteer opportunities in a church office. Bishop cleverly told her about indexing! So we’re going to help get her set up with that on Thursday! A returning member that we’re working with has become addicted to indexing as well. It’s helping to strengthen her desire to return to the temple!

Sister Arnold and I finally finished compiling a standardized temple tour outline for the missionaries. There’s so much symbolism to the temple exterior that I never knew about! Hopefully the missionaries in the Brampton zone will be able to give many more temple tours soon =)

We exchanged with the Hermanas this week. Hermana Sandorf from Utah came to hang out with me in English work for the day. We went to go by a referral from the ward council and found this lovely sign in the parking lot. Ain’t gonna let some sign get in our way. 🙂
Hermana Sandorf exchange

This week has been crazy. We’ve been trying to move out of our apartment for ages for a number of reasons, and finally we got a phone call Thursday night that we could move into our new place the next day…. so Hermana Sandorf and I went back home to pack up as much stuff as we could! Since it was so sudden, no one was available to help us move in. But not to worry- by Saturday morning, Sister Arnold and I had moved everything on our own. =) We now live in the basement apartment of a lovely couple in our ward. We’re excited!! Kinda unfortunate that I had to pack everything up, only to unpack and repack within the next week though…

Sister Arnold and I haven’t done weekly planning since week 2 of the transfer… which means we’ve been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for most of the transfer! There’s so much to do! Which is great, but also kinda stressful! We arranged to go on splits a couple times this week to cover all of our appointments and ensure that we made time to plan, and yet somehow we still didn’t manage to get around to that…

We weren’t going to go on the zone blitz this week in order to plan, but then we felt bad for not supporting zone events. So we went and found a cool new investigator for the elders named Ruben. Ruben doesn’t like weekly planning either.

We did sharing time in Primary this week about how “Jesus Christ’s example teaches me how to live.” We played a matching game that we made of pictures and statements about what Christ taught. We were pretty impressed with ourselves for coming up with the idea on our own without even consulting Pinterest! It went very well! We now know all the primary children by name. =)

SO many good things are happening in Brampton. This area has flourished so much in the past couple of months. The ward is AWESOME!

So yes, this week was chaotic! And this email doesn’t even begin to describe half the details. We moved apartments, attended a baptism, taught tons of lessons, went on splits, had a couple of emergency companionship inventories, finished our temple tour, prepared sharing time, managed to squeeze in an exchange, and finish weekly planning. Oh wait, nope- we still didn’t do weekly planning.

Well. Until next week!
Love you all!
Sister Davidson

Arson at the Palace

OH HEY.

So… if you combine mine & Sister Arnold’s last names, we’re Arson!! And we live at the palace. So we decided that our new band name is “Arson at the Palace.” 😉 Aren’t we cool?

We performed a few musical numbers this week. One at skills & interviews, and one at a baptism yesterday. Fun fun fun.

Has anyone looked at the last page in the Ensign for this month? Just in time for me!

We had skills & interviews this week, where Sister Arnold and I gave an instruction about working with members. It went so well!

So, we were driving up Bramalea one day, which is the road that goes past the temple, and a guy pulls up beside us at a red light.

“You ladies having fun tonight?”

“Yeah! We’re going to church! Want to come?”

And then we had a wonderful ten second conversation about church and how he’s actually been looking for a church to attend. So I got out of the car and handed him a card before the light turned green. 😛 He’ll be baptized one day.

Brother T! He’s doing so well! We met with him again and he asked us even more “tricky” questions. And once again, he loved our answers.

Brother S is still struggling with his addiction. =( He’s been taught everything that he needs to know, and he’s given up coffee and alcohol, but tobacco has an awfully strong grip on him.

With all of these meetings we’ve been having in the mission, I’ve had 5 opportunities so far to share my “departing testimony.” I’m running out of things to say! The church is true! What more can I say?

I can’t remember if I’ve ever shared the following story with you. I don’t think I have, but I felt like I needed to share it with you this week.

So. I always knew that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was true. The spirit confirmed that to me at a very early age. Because of that, knew that the Book of Mormon had to be the word of God.

I had a goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon multiple times. Once, when Gordon B. Hinckley challenged everyone in … 2005? to read it before the end of the year, then I think I got to Alma. Whoops. I started over again when I entered Young Womens with a goal to read it cover to cover. At the efy summer camps, we have personal study time in the morning, where I’d read the Book of Mormon. I remember my second year at efy opening my scriptures and finding my bookmark exactly where I left it the year before…. whoops.

Then they changed the Personal Progress program, and they added the requirement to read the whole Book of Mormon, cover to cover. I picked off where I left off from efy and finished barely before my 18th birthday.

Of course, I prayed afterwards to know if it was true, and I don’t remember any miraculous answer. It didn’t really phase me.

Then, I went to University and my YSA ward had a reading schedule to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the semester. I read the scriptures on my phone on the way to school every morning on the train and finished a few weeks early. I read the whole Book of Mormon within the semester, but I didn’t really study it. I don’t know how much information I actually absorbed. That time when I prayed, I remember getting an answer like, “Silly Brooklyn. You know it’s true! Why are you asking me?” I was content with that answer.

Then I came on my mission. The people we were teaching weren’t progressing because they simply weren’t reading. We told them time and time again that they needed to read from the Book of Mormon if they wanted answers to their questions about the gospel. I knew that a testimony of the Book of Mormon was essential for our investigators. Also, people in Bowmanville were so mean! There were many people who hear misinformation about our church from their ministers and they were very vocal about it! They people we met on the streets kept trash talking Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and it was really getting me down! I wasn’t doubtful, because I still knew that the church was true, but I didn’t feel like my testimony was strong enough to really defend the Book of Mormon. I was a little worried that these people knew more about the history of the Book of Mormon than I did! So I decided to take my own advice and study from the Book of Mormon every day, and I set a goal to finish the Book of Mormon within the transfer (6 weeks). So I read every chance I had and truly studied it. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and study out the answers.

Side note: Never be afraid to ask questions. As long as you “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith,” diligently seeking answers is a wonderful way to strengthen your testimony.

I finished the Book of Mormon a week early. And I prayed.

No answer.

It’s pretty easy to rationalize away previous spiritual experiences, my friends. Write them down!

Oh man talk about the Lord’s timing. So here I was serving a mission, wondering what on earth I was doing in Bowmanville, second guessing all my previous spiritual experiences.

I really really really really wanted the Book of Mormon to be true. I wanted to have unshaken faith like the other missionaries I served around. But I was just so darn confused. I even talked to my mission president about it, and he wasn’t very helpful.

And then, God sent an angry old man in a red shirt to cross my path.

Sister Hoki is a suuuper talented artist, so one day we went to the park and she drew the first vision on the sidewalk while I sang and talked to people passing by. This cranky old man walking a tiny little dog was one of them.

And oh BOY was he cranky. And mean!

People who want to bash are usually kinda sneaky about it. They start out seeming sincere, then all the sudden they attack! And they don’t hold back! Well this cranky old man was FULL of anti-misinformation. I don’t remember everything he said, but I do remember that he thought the Book of Mormon was one of the most blasphemous things he’d ever heard of in his life. Finally I asked him if he’d ever actually read the Book of Mormon.

“Of course not!” he said.

“You can’t possibly know if the Book of Mormon is true or not until you’ve read it!” Fuming. Oh man I was fuming!

I knew that the best way to deal with grumpy people was to just testify and walk away. Except I couldn’t just walk away because my companion was drawing on the sidewalk. And I was mad. So I took a deep breath and just testified.

“I know that the Book of Mormon is true, because I’ve read it.”

He scoffed and went on walking his tiny little dog.

I was pretty upset. Sister Hoki kept on drawing, and I flipped open the Book of Mormon. It landed on the chapter about Korihor. I thought that was pretty ironic.

Anyways, we started walking up to the church shortly after, and at some point, I started to cry. I was pretty distraught that so many people had so many terrible things to say about my faith, and was feeling terribly discouraged.

Poor Sister Hoki didn’t really know how to comfort me, so I went into the bathroom when we got to the church and soobbbeedddd. And then I prayed. My experience was very similar to Mosiah’s sons’ in Alma 17 when the Lord says to them, “Be comforted. And they were comforted.” It was that quick. And then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t possibly be that upset if everything that the grumpy old man said was true. I knew that the Book of Mormon was true- I felt it when I testified to him. Even though I wasn’t sure of the simple testimony I bore, when the words came out of my mouth, I felt it. And I felt it confirm once again in the Bowmanville chapel’s washroom.

Isn’t it funny how well God knows each of us individually? He had answered my prayers multiple times in the past, yet I was slow to remember them. He knew that I needed to have a weird, twisted experience that would force me to bare my own testimony to remind me of the truths I already knew.

In my next area, we were teaching Frank about the Book of Mormon. When I bore my testimony of it’s truthfulness, I knew I couldn’t deny it any longer. The spirit confirmed the truth of my words. The Book of Mormon is true! I’m certainly no Book of Mormon scholar, I still don’t understand Isaiah, and I still can’t tell you the order of all the books, but I do know how I feel when I read from it.  “And now, if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement seat of Christ.” (Book of Mormon Title Page)

“Suffice it to say, I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets of God-that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wide and children are sealed to me for eternity. That is the choice we face- a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other. And for me, and I hope for you, the choice is an easy and rational one.” (Tad R. Callister “What is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church?)

Love you all. Study your scriptures. Feast upon the words of Christ. See you soon!
Sister Davidson

Corner of Church Street and Rebellion Way

Happy Canada Day! We’re singing O Canada every morning in companionship study until Sister Arnold has it memorized 🙂
MLC Canada Day

Speaking of Sister Arnold, it’s her birthday today! Sister Griffin’s birthday was July 7th last year, so it’s two years in a row that my companion and I get to celebrate our birthdays together in the same transfer 🙂

Barrie Exchange
Barrie Exchange

We started out our week with an exchange with the Barrie Sister Training Leaders. We set our GPS to “shortest route” to try and save on kilometers, and it took us on this crazy scenic route on a bunch of back roads. It was very pretty, though! I never realized how flat Alberta truly was until I came to Ontario! We found ourselves on the corner of Church St and Rebellion Way at one point! Made the detour totally worth it.
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I stayed in Barrie with Sister Howle for exchanges. So I got to be her companion again for the day! She’s going home three weeks after I am, so it was good to talk to her about going home. We had an hour drive on the way back to Brampton, so we had a long time to talk. It was nice. 🙂

sister Training Leaders
sister Training Leaders

We exchanged the day before MLC, so we drove from Barrie to Brampton and we all slept over at our place, and the Brantford Sister Training Leaders stayed over as well. The Assistants live in a house with the Brampton Zone Leaders, and elders who have to drive far distances to get to MLC stay at their place the night before. Everyone refers to the assistants’ house as “The Mansion.” Since sisters stay at our place a lot too, we decided that our house deserves a cool name as well. So we named it “The Palace.” It’s gonna stick 😉
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MLC happened on Canada day, so we were inside for most of the day. 😦 Of course, my companion and I dressed in red & white. In the evening, we went to the park where the Canada Day festivities were happening and invited people to come out to church. We saw more than one person in a Canada Day morph suit. #canadianpride

zone conference
zone conference

MLC was heavily focused on helping those we’re working with understand the doctrine of the Sabbath Day. We’ve discussed this a lot as a mission recently, so it must be important! Something interesting that Elder Holland said was something along the lines of, “Partaking of the sacrament is the only ordinance that we repeat for ourselves.” Think about it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

By Wednesday, I had FINALLY recovered from this stinkin’ cold.

‘Murica day happens to be Sister Arnold’s favourite holiday, so she forced me to wear red, white, and blue with her 😛 We also went to get ice cream, a tradition of hers. On the TV in McDonald’s, they had a blurb about Boyd K. Packer’s passing. When I first read it, I thought, “Oh yes, I heard about that.” And then I thought- “wait! not everybody’s Mormon!” Haha. I thought it was pretty cool that we caught that on national television. And then the lady that served us ice cream told us that she used to attend our church. Coincidence? I think not! Just means we’re gonna have to go get ice cream far more often.
Boyd K Packer

T requested a bible from Mormon.org, and we delivered it to him a few weeks ago. This week, we finally got in to teach him about the Restoration. He had several questions that he asked throughout the lesson to “test” us. He was looking for a few specific key points of doctrine- truths that had already been confirmed to him through the spirit. For example, he asked if we believed in the trinity. After we answered no, he said, “Good answer. If you got that one wrong, I wouldn’t listen to you any more!” Another question he asked was, “What happened to Moses?” T is very familiar with the Bible. We know from the Book of Mormon that Moses was translated, and I found it interesting that that was the answer he was looking for, because in Deuteronomy, it talks about how Moses was buried. But T was confident that the spirit told him that Moses was translated, and was elated when he discovered that we believe the same. He asked us several more questions like that throughout the lesson, and every time, our answers were the ones he was looking for. The Spirit definitely brought scripture references to my remembrance during that lesson, because I’ve never been very good at remembering where to find scriptures. But every time he asked a question, I knew where to find the reference. It was very fitting, since we had just had training about using the scriptures to answer questions. The spirit was definitely felt in that lesson, and we’re very excited about Brother T!

Brother S is all set for baptism whenever he can find the strength to quit smoking. He’s trying so hard! He gave us his coffee this week 😀 Keep him in your prayers.

The Visitors’ Centre for the temple here in Brampton is very under-used. So we decided to try and pull in as many people as possible on Saturday. All the missionaries in the zone came to contact on and around the temple grounds, and we were actually able to get a couple people off the streets to come watch a video about the temple! So many people walk by our temple every day and have no idea what it’s all about. We even set up a stand on the street saying “Ask a Mormon.” We blew bubbles to try and attract attention haha. It was fun! We’re hoping to use the Visitors’ Centre much more frequently in the coming weeks!

Brampton zone
Brampton zone

4 Bubbles

ask a mormon

We had dinner with the temple president’s family this week. You can see three of my areas from the view in his apartment (Toronto, North York, and Mississauga). The picture kinda stinks, but if you look reeaally closely, you can see the CN tower. I forget how close we are to Toronto sometimes.

View all three areas
View all three areas

Make good choices!
Sister Davidson

We Stand On Guard For Thee

Oh haaaay Darell, how you doin?
drenched

So I hear that the Edmonton mission has iPads now…. I’m pretty convinced that the Canada Toronto Mission will never see those nifty devices.

Anyways, we had zone conference this week. It’s so fun seeing all my missionary friends at these big meetings 🙂 The Pan Am games are coming to Toronto in July. I’ve never heard of them before, but it sounds like some of the games will be olympic qualifiers! Doesn’t sound like it’ll affect Brampton too much 😦 But someone came to zone conference to talk about how the Toronto missionaries can help out. There’s gonna be a ton of people from south america there, so the Spanish and Portuguese missionaries especially are very excited! On Wednesday, we helped out with the community garden again and the Pan Am torch relay came through where we were gardening. It reminded me of when the Olymic torch came through Strathmore. Except… less exciting.
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pan am torch

Back to zone conference! So, it was my last zone conference ever… that was weird. Actually, that’s a lie. It wasn’t really that weird. 😛 I expected this whole “going home” thing to be weirder than it is. I only have 4 weeks left and I feel strangely at peace about it… Since it was my last zone conference, that meant that I bore my departing testimony. I remember the testimony that I gave when I first arrived in the mission field… and I remember saying something along the lines of, “I dunno why I’m in Toronto, but here I am!” And as I gave my departing testimony, I was far more confident that I am standing where the Lord needs me to be.

Half-way to zone conference, I realized that I wasn’t wearing a name tag…. luckily I had a pocket pag on my scriptures that kind of fit on my cardigan haha. Rookie mistake.

As we were driving home from zone conference, I got suuuper tired and had a bit of an itchy throat. Well, that itchy throat turned into a full blown cold 😡 Wednesday I was pretty sniffly, and Thursday just knocked me out. I slept for like, half the day :/ My lovely companion updated records and set up appointments while I tried to recover. I needed to feel better because we were supposed to exchange with the YSA sisters on Friday!

As we were walking around a neighbourhood one night this week, we saw some people having a get together in their yard. We stopped to talk to them, and one by one people started to leave. Fine then!! But, Joan and Cheryl stayed to listen to us. Turns out, they’ve always been very curious about the temple and the Mormons. We were able to answer many of their questions and dispel a few misconceptions about our faith haha. We met with Joan later in the week, and she said that she’s felt for a long time like something was missing from her church and she thought that it was no coincidence that we stopped to talk to her. She recognized us as an answer to her prayer! Cheryl also freaked out when I told her that she had the same name as my mom haha. “There are no coincidences!” she said. They’re pretty cool! We hope to give them a tour of the temple grounds this upcoming week!

By Thursday night I was feeling a little bit better. I got colds almost every month back home, and I’ve certainly been blessed on my mission to rarely get sick! This has definitely been the worst cold I’ve had to fight in the last year and a half. God gave me the strength that I needed to exchange with Sister Turley on Friday. I love YSA work! It’s so fun! We talked to people at York University’s campus, and one guy that we talked to wanted to take a selfie with us for his new instagram page haha. He’ll be baptized one day!

We met with some returning members and recent converts, whose testimonies are just so strong! It was so wonderful to hear how the gospel has changed their lives. We also had dinner at their bishop’s house, who served as a mission president in New Zealand. Sister Turley is such a great missionary. She challenged me to contact someone using the Law of Chastity pamphlet… something we don’t normally do! But honestly, we need to be talking about the law of chastity more often! I had a lovely conversation with a guy about how families are being torn apart because people just aren’t observing the law of chastity like they ought to. God’s laws don’t change, my friend.https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2011-07-004-i-choose-to-be-pure?lang=eng Anyways, Sister Turley and I had quite a fun day 🙂 Even if I was downing some Buckley’s every 4 hours…
sister turley exchange-1

God helped me get through Friday, but by Saturday I felt like death again. Ugh.

Every Saturday, our zone congregates in one area and finds new investigators for a companionship. This week we all went to our area. We take different youth with us every week, and this time we took a 15 year-old mia maid. It poured for the whole. two. hours. Definitely didn’t help my health. But we were determined to show her that missionary work is fun, even in the pouring rain! When it rains in Brampton, it pouurrs. And it pours hard! It’s a warm rain though. Absolutely everything in Sister Arnold’s bag got soaked. So if you’re looking for a bag to buy for your mission, make sure it’s waterproof! We found two new people to teach with our Mia Maid friend. Poor girl didn’t even have a proper rain coat on… but on Sunday, she found us in the hall and said, “Hey, I have a question for you guys! Can I come with you again next week?” Needless to say, we were pretty surprised! She’s gonna be a stellar missionary in 4 years.
mia maid

We met with Brother S almost every day this week. He’s really struggling with smoking! But we set some goals and made some plans and he’s determined to kick this habit! He wants to be baptized so badly, and smoking is the only thing holding him back!

Our bishop has started assigning ward indexers as a calling, and he’s asked us to help people get set up. Which meant that we had to learn how to index pretty quickly! My word it’s so difficult! How do people read all this crazy handwriting?! Good thing there’s some amazing youth in our ward who can help us out.

Our mission president texted us at 11pm one night and said “Please call me in the morning.” Well sister Arnold and I didn’t sleep all night because we were too busy speculating what he could possibly want us to call him about! It’s not normal for president to text you after lights out! So we called him first thing in the morning and it wasn’t a big deal at all haha. He just wanted our opinion on something. All that worrying for nothing.

One of our investigators (I’m pretty sure I’ve written about him before) is just so filled with false doctrine that it’s hard to teach him. He’s read every book of scripture he can get his hands on, yet for some reason he’s having a hard time getting through the Book of Mormon… He was raised Catholic, but doesn’t align himself with that faith anymore. Every time we ask him a question, he starts his answer with, “Well, my dad was catholic. And his father was catholic. And the one before him was catholic. My uncle was catholic! And it’s done all of them well…” and then he drifts off onto some tangent that doesn’t have anything to do with what we asked him…. I don’t understand why he says that because he doesn’t follow Catholicism at all. Don’t know how much longer we’ll teach him for 😛 He’d be such a kingdom builder though if he’d just read the Book of Mormon…

By the time Sunday rolled around I was stiillllll sick. And we were supposed to sing a musical number with the Elders 😦 We sang the efy medley, but with missionary lyrics. The men’s part was the same, but the Sisters’ part had missionary lyrics. And instead of saying “We will be the Lord’s missionaries” we said, “We are now the Lord’s missionaries.” I prayed really hard that God would clear my sinuses for those four minutes and I think it turned out okay! It must’ve been alright, because after sacrament meeting, we were asked to sing at the fireside that evening as well as for a baptismal service for a primary child right after church. 😛

Brother S came to church, and to the baptism 😀

The fireside in the evening was put on my our mission president and his wife. I got to see all my Mississauga friends and Toronto missionaries! And, my Polish ESL friend from Mississauga came! She’s read the Book of Mormon THREE times in Polish, and is now starting to read it in English!! She’s planning on being baptized next month. 😀

Happy Canada Day, everyone!! I’ll be in our Mission Leadership Council meeting all day long, so that’s kinda lame… but I’ve already got my red and white outfit all picked out 😉 We Sang O Canada for our intermediate hymn at church on Sunday, and the American missionaries were the only ones using hymn books… Sister Arnold and I will be singing O Canada every morning in companionship study until she’s got it memorized. 😉

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in thee,
A lasting rich reward.
As waiting for a better day,
We ever stand on guard.
God keep our land, glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Happy Canada Day! I love you all!
Sister Davidson

The MTC is training for the mission, and the CTM is training for life

Hey hey!

Last Monday, we finished off my birthday by hosting a stake Family Home Evening for the recent converts and less-active members in the stake! I’ve been working on my chalkboard calligraphy, Sister LaPoint! 😛fhe Since it was a stake event, Sister Mencarelli and Sister Anderson came, and brought some people I had taught in Mississauga! We played a “Restoration Jeopardy” game that Sister Arnold and I created. It was a lot of fun. 🙂 Over 30 people came from the stake, and we had a great time! Sister Arnold even made them sing to me haha.

Also on Monday, we had lunch with our Elder’s Quorum President’s friend. He wanted to meet with us without the EQP there so he could ask us some questions about life in the church. He’s totally gonna be baptized one day 🙂

When transfers happen, almost everyone meets at the Brampton Stake Centre the Tuesday morning of transfers to meet their new companion. Since we live so close to the stake centre, sisters from far away areas come and spend Monday night with us. So we had a birthday slumber party with a couple sisters from the mission. 🙂

birthday sleepover

Time for the highlight of the week! A couple of weeks ago, there was a man who contacted the temple because he wanted to bring his world religion class to tour the temple grounds. The temple passed his information onto us, and we organized a presentation with our ward mission leader! The “class” was really a church group of 27 people mainly from Mississauga, but one was from Northern Ireland, another was from Chile, a few were from Winnipeg, and a couple were from other various places in Ontario. Most of them were middle-aged, but about a third of them were young adults. It sounded like their church does a tour of various world religions every year, and this year they decided to include us! The man who was organizing all this on the phone said his group visited our church in Chile one year and they made the missionaries there cry…. yikes! Anyways, with the help of our Ward Mission Leader, we put together an hour and a half presentation which started off with us teaching the restoration, followed by a video about our temples https://www.lds.org/church/temples/temples-a-conversation-with-a-church-leader?lang=eng , a tour of the temple grounds, and an open Q&A. They visited the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the morning and ended up being TWO HOURS late for us… luckily everyone involved was flexible!world religion tour

We set up the Relief Society room so that every chair had a copy of The Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet on the seat. We had ten minutes to teach the restoration simply using the pamphlet. Oh man we were so nervous! I guess nervous isn’t really the right word. We were pretty confident in our teaching abilities and the power of the Spirit to guide us. Anxious might be a better word. But it went so, SO well! The Spirit was definitely guiding us.

The Family History Director gave an excellent tour of the temple grounds, and we came back for refreshments and Q&A. There’s a lot more symbolism to the temple grounds than I thought! It was interesting to see how the people with the hardest hearts were the middle-aged people, and the people who had sincere questions were the young-adults. No wonder God called a 14 year old boy to do his work. The old ones are too stuck in their ways.

It was fun to answer their “tough” questions though. It’s also interesting to note how differently I respond to bashing compared to the beginning of my mission. I’ve definitely gained some spiritual maturity! All of their silly questions would be resolved if they’d just prayerfully read the Book of Mormon. Most of them didn’t even take a copy.

Overall, I’d say it was a huge success! Many seeds were planted. And now they at least have correct information. We showed them how to use mormon.org to find more information, and had a table set up with pamphlets and other literature. The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Plan of Salvation pamphlets were the biggest hits.

The missionaries in our zone have been bugging us for the past two transfers to come and play morning sports with them at 6am. They finally convinced us to roll out of bed early to come play volleyball this week. I like volleyball. I don’t particularly enjoy volleyball at 6am…. But it was fun. 😛

A lovely sister in our ward stocked up our fridge this week with groceries. =’) She even bought us laundry soap!!!

We crashed Young Women’s this week to get to know the youth. They sewed ties for Father’s Day. Very cute idea! We didn’t have time to sew one for ourselves, but we helped out a little. Add sewing to the list of homemaking skills I’ve learned on my mission. As they say, the MTC is training for the mission, and the mission is training for life. I’m all ready to go! 😛

sewing

Happy Father’s Day! I’m so grateful to have such an awesome dad. 🙂 He is the definition of someone who has both feet firmly planted in gospel soil. Happy Father’s Day to my grandpas as well! I’ve been so blessed to have such a wonderful family! On Sunday, Sister Arnold and I wore “plaid for dad.” I guess that’s a thing now?plaid for dad

Our friend, Brother S, is doing so well! He just needs to quit smoking! Keep him in your prayers!

This week during our visits with active members, it surprised me to find out how many members of the church haven’t read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover… If you’ve never done it, now’s a good time to start! As Richard G Scott said in the October 2014 General Conference, Feasting upon the words of Christ each day “is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!” His words are true, my friends! I don’t know how much clearer it can get! If you think you’re an exception… well, you’re wrong.

I love you all so much! Keep living the gospel!
Sister Davidson