It is December 8th, and today my zone is playing soccer outside in a field. I am so okay with this no snow thing! We decided to make snow angels in the bright green grass the other day. Does that make them grass angels? … doesn’t have the same ring to it. It’s 9 degrees today, and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.
Maybe it has to do with the lack of snow or something, but people in Toronto are seriously lacking the Christmas spirit. We’ve been using the “He is the Gift” initiative as the main focus in all of our contacts and it’s been rough! It’s a little harder to talk about Christmas with everyone when most people are either Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or Atheist…. And I’ve discovered this week that a lot of Christians here don’t actually celebrate Christmas. Or if they do, they celebrate it in January. So aside from all those people, when we find someone who actually does celebrate Christmas, they’re bogged down by the commercialization of it, or they think that Christmas is just “for the kids.” What!?!?! Toronto needs some serious Christmas revival here. A couple people realize that Christmas is a time to be with family, which is a great start. But it’s so much more than that! Christmas is about reflecting on the birth of our savior. It’s about emulating his christlike love through service and charity. It’s about spending time with family and loved ones and lifting the sick and the lonely. Satan has done a SUPER good job of turning the most wonderful time of the year into a bundle of stress and apathy. I’m just floored. So now our main focus is to go around spreading Christmas cheer and helping people discover the gift of Christ this year. Christmas isn’t as universal as I had thought it was.
Construction is still alive and well on our balcony. Luckily it’s not so noisy any more. We gave the construction workers a “He is the Gift” card and then we found this message written on our window when we got home in the evening 😛
So we’ve been still spending a majority of out time cleaning up the ward list. This week we removed another 20+ out of service phone numbers from the directory. There’s only 155 family names in our section of the ward and about one third of the phone numbers weren’t even in service any more! Our mission president told us that there are some 17000 less active members in our mission. I’ll bet 10000 of those don’t even live in the province any more…. Did I mention that last week? Probably. It’s been really bothering me lately.
We’ve had some pretty cool miracles this week associated with our clean sweep project. On Thursday, we called every single number in our section of the ward and invited them to the ward Christmas party. One lady, M, answered her phone and agreed to meet us the next day. After a hectic transit ride, we finally met her at the very edge of our area. We shared the “He is the Gift” Christmas message with her and taught her the Restoration. She was baptized 5 years ago in Hong Kong, and then when she came to Canada the church was far away from her house and she didn’t know anyone, so she just slipped away. I thought it was kinda a mediocre lesson until she offered the closing prayer and started crying. She opened up to us about how she really wanted to come back, but didn’t know how and didn’t know who to contact. And then we called her! Her address on the ward list was outdated so she gave us her new address, and it turns out that she’s actually in the Don Valley ward now. So Sister Lundin will get to continue teaching her. 🙂 The Lord’s timing is such a cool thing.
The ward Christmas party was on Saturday. One guy, A, walked up to me and sister LaPoint and said “Ah, there you are!” We were having the hardest time figuring out who this guy was, so sister LaPoint asked if he’s a member of our congregation, and he said that he “used to be” and that if it wasn’t for the kind voicemail we had left for him, that he wouldn’t have been there! He came all by himself! The Bishop is working on assigning him some home teachers to help integrate him into the ward! That was a pretty cool miracle. He was travelling all over the world a couple years ago and when he came back, he just stopped going to church. He works on Sundays right now, but we’ll teach him about the importance of the Sabbath day next time we see him 😉
Luis got his patriarchal blessing this week 🙂 He texted us after and said, “HE BLEW MY MIND!! I had no idea it would be that awesome! THE CHURCH IS TRUEEEE!!”
We had three investigators at the ward Christmas party on Saturday. L was there, along with B (a new investigator) and his friend. B is Persian so the Farsi elders are supposed to be teaching him but they live in a different zone so we can’t call them. Which is pretty silly because we’ve passed off his information twice and they still haven’t made contact with him…. B keeps calling us and asking us questions and we keep telling him to call the Persian elders but he feels weird doing that because he doesn’t know them. ANYWAYS long story short, we’ve been teaching him and he came to the party and the First Presidency Devotional on Sunday. He practices Buddhism but is pretty interested to learn about Jesus Christ.
We ordered pizza this week, and when we first walked into the store, the cashier was swearing like every second word. And then he spotted us. It was lunch time and there’s a high school across the street, so there were a ton of teenagers in there. One girl took Christ’s name in vain, and the cashier goes, “Don’t bring Jesus into this! He didn’t do nothin to you!” And then he called out a bunch of other kids for using the exact same cusses that he used half a minute before haha. People definitely recognize us as servants of the Lord before we even talk to them.
Well, it’s Sister LaPoint’s birthday today (as well as Luis’s. What are the chances?), so we’re off to get pedicures. 🙂
Until next week!