Saturday, July 16, 2016

First week in Canada

Sunday morning we woke up in Helena, MT and it was still raining. We had no problem finding the church where we attended Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School and Relief Society/Priesthood. People welcomed us. We had a bite of lunch and drove the three hours to the Canadian border. There were no crowds of people on their way to the Calgary Stampede. We had a very nice, efficient female officer who interviewed us and prepared our visas. It only took 48 minutes and we were on our way. We stayed in Lethbridge Sunday night.

Monday morning we started on our 5 hour drive to Edmonton. It took us 7 hours because we stopped to stretch, run around and change drivers about every hour or so. The landscape is all prairie. The farmers even cut and bail the grass along the sides of the highway and in the median. We really love the bright yellow canola fields. The sky is BIG. It was big in Montana, too, but it was raining most of the time.

It was great meeting the mission office staff in Edmonton.  President Pattison told us we would be serving in Grande Prairie and that we still had to drive for 5 more hours. He then took us home to stay the night and he and Sister Pattison took us to dinner at a place called Montana. We met two of their sons and a nephew. What a nice family. The days are longer here than in Utah.

Tuesday morning and we were on our way at 8am. It rained on some of the drive to Grande Prairie. We met the Elders/Zone Leaders when we got into town. They told us where the apartment was and we met at a new apartment complex building. We are the first tenants of a first floor apartment in the Mission Pointe Apartments. The complex is in the Mission Heights District. Isn't that a coincidence.  It is a very nice apartment. The perks are 2 bedrooms, dishwasher, AND apartment size washer and dryer. We are so blessed. We got a lot of unpacking done before we went shopping to buy food, and other things we need, like waste baskets.

We got to look around as we found the grocery store, Safeway, and the Dollar Store, where everything is $1.25 or less. We stocked up on things we need, and then returned on Thursday, and Friday, to get the other things we need. I think we almost have it.

Wednesday, was a Zone Training Meeting, at 8am. We met the 8 missionary companionships assigned to the Grande Prairie Stake. It is one of the biggest stakes geographically speaking. The farthest north is High Level, another 5 hour drive. It also fans out East, South, and West. There are 1800 people in the stake. It was fun to meet the missionaries. Three of the companionships are Sisters. The Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders, gave good training. And of course we had role play.

After a very nice lunch, we attended a funeral in Richfield, UT. Elder Anderson's mother passed away 2 weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer. The funeral was skyped and Elder Anderson spoke at his mother's funeral. How blessed we are to have technology for this to take place. It was such a blessing for Elder Anderson and his family for him to "be there". It was an honor to support him at this time.

Thursday was the first time in weeks we didn't have to be somewhere at 8am. We could have slept until then, but woke up at 7:30 instead. I do need to make some light blocking curtains. We are so far north, at 55 degrees latitude and have no mountains. The sun comes up at 4:30 a.m. and it doesn't get dark until 11:30 p.m. When the sun gets as high as it would if it were coming over the Wasatch Mountains, it has been up for hours. We organized the office, and went to the store to order internet service. There is only so much one can do on a phone. We did other shopping as well.

The internet installer came on Friday and hooked us up. Mike was such an interesting man. He said no one is from Grande Prairie. That is not entirely true, But there are lots of people here because of the oil and natural gas fields. There is also a big lumber mill here. And there are farmers. And surprisingly to Elder Brown is the plethora of golf courses. E. Brown notes, "Farmers don't take time to golf. Oil field workers aren't the golfing type. Why are there so many places to golf?" Well, according to Mike, the farmers own the golf courses. They are 9 hole courses, everybody walks, and it is usually associated with a Bed and Breakfast. Well, OK. Since we have so many daylight hours after quitting time, what better way to spend time?

We were able to talk to the Stake President, who is on vacation. Our assignment in Grande Prairie is Young Single Adult, activation, and Prospective Elders. We will get started on Sunday. We did meet the 2nd Councilor in the Stake Presidency at Staples. He saw the tags and visited with us for a long time. He told us other stores we could shop at, and acquainted us with the areas of the city. He actually lives in Mission Heights.

Tuesday is P-day and we moved in that day. But today is Saturday. We vacuumed and dusted, and cleaned the bathroom. We went to the post office and a few other places to compare prices. We are feeling confident in navigating and direction. Avenues run East to West, and streets run North to South. There are no mountains for reference, so it is a good thing the car has a compass. Grande Prairie Village started at 100 Ave. and 100 St. The City of Grande Prairie is now about 4 miles by 4 miles. We also now have two computers set up and they both speak to the printer. We have had a productive week.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so thrilled. I read this aloud to Scott. We're imagining our own first week in the mission. So glad to be able to share.