Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Peaceful day going to Peace River

We have been so busy and are having such wonderful experiences. The Lord is showering us with many tender mercies. It is becoming more apparent that Heavenly Father really knew what He was doing when we were assigned to Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. And we thought it was because we wanted to go someplace cold. Could someone else do the same thing we are doing in Canada? Yes, for sure, eh. But the important thing is Heavenly Father knows us, Bruce and Robyn. He knew we could do it and that we would rise to the challenge and do our best.
Our prayers are being answered. Last week we found one occasion where we really felt that our prayers were being answered, but we don't know yet what to do with the answer. Sometimes it is like that. But other examples abound where we know we have been prepared for the task at hand.
On Sunday, we drove to Peace River to go to church in that Branch (small LDS unit of people). We called the Branch President so we could meet with him and talk about organizing YSA. We also had a list of names the Elders (male missionaries) had sent us. They had talked to some of the young single adults and felt there was interest. We called some of the names on the list and invited them to meet us after the block and talk about YSA. Two girls were waiting for us after Sacrament Meeting. The Branch President approached our group and told us he would meet us after the block and then welcomed the girls, saying he was glad to see them. They said, "Sister Brown invited us, so we came." I really do wish it was that easy, eh. It isn't, but it worked this time. The time was right and we were just instrumental in helping Heavenly Father's plan. We are excited to be helping the Peace River Branch. We have to drive, one way, 2.5 hours north, but if the weather holds out for a bit we can get YSA activities going. Our meeting after the block was with the Branch President, (like the minister), the President of the Elders Quorum (Priesthood men the age of young fathers), and the secretary from the Relief Society (all women over 18 in the congregation).

Taking picture into the sunrise. Really not this dark.
These two pictures are looking south from the sunrise.

Elder Park and Elder Stephens, church building in Peace River

I believe in the tender mercies from our Heavenly Father. And He is keeping us safe. We had planned to leave at 7:30 am to be there by starting time of 10:00. (Some people drive 1-2 hours to get to church in Peace River.) We were ready a little bit earlier, but I didn't want to leave that early. So we waited. It was light, but the sun hadn't come over the horizon, yet. And it was overcast making the day gloomy and darker than it would usually be. As we left Grande Prairie County we came on an accident between a car and an elk, that had happened about 10 minutes before. That could have been us, and I've been there done that before. Everyone but the elk was OK. A mountie was on the scene. The tow truck had to still come. I'm thankful we didn't leave 10 minutes early. 

This little lady was really agitated. We stopped because she wanted to cross the highway. She is running in both of these pictures, and just kept running around. We crept out of her way, then drove off.

As we came into town and crossed the bridge over the Peace River, we saw a mother and young moose right by the side of the road. We couldn't stop and take their picture.
On the way home we saw a bald eagle sitting in the top of tree in the river valley. It made him level with the road. We couldn't get a picture at that time either.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful. Most of the leaves on the trees have fallen. There were a few stands of the aspens in the pines that made a pretty contrast. We saw fields in different stages of harvest. We got into a bit of rain, just enough to make the car dirtier. It is hard to believe, but elder Brown doesn't worry about a muddy car here. It is part of the status quo. It gets washed on P-day and lasts maybe 6 hours.
Looks like castles on the prairie.                                                                Fall colors on the prairie.

More blogs will be coming. Love you all,
Sister Brown, Robyn, Mom and Grandma

Friday, September 16, 2016

This is what we do.

I'm sorry it has been so long since we updated our blog. We are fitting into a routine and it is busy. I think it is because we are new, and the mission president is new. Our second zone conference had interviews the night before. We were doing lots of things with YSA (Young Single Adult, 18-30 years old) in Grande Prairie, but not going to many meetings. That changed. Plus, the Stake President thought about it and decided we should also teach Institute, and we are.

Last Sunday was a Worldwide YSA Devotional broadcast from Washington D.C., via satellite. Yay, I now know how to set up the satellite for any broadcast. We started with a potluck supper and then watched the broadcast, followed by our first Institute class. Elder Brown taught the first lesson. We did not have everyone who could have been there in attendance. But we will build.

But the Friday before we had the biggest crowd we have ever had to an activity. It was the first YSA activity not on Monday. Monday is FHE (family home evening) with the YSA. We attend but are not in charge of it. We facilitate other activities on other nights. At the first activity we had a make your own pizza night. Everyone made a pizza, played silly games and had a fun time.

Everything is ready.

Lots of activity. Some were heart shaped.

The sister Missionaries were there because of the 3 investigators. One was new today.

One of the games involved stickers. Elder Brown had the most.

We will be going to the other branches and help the YSA get started in their areas. We would like to get it all done before the snow hits. But time is now a little more limited. On the first and third Sundays we are in meetings from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm. We go home for dinner and then go back to Institute which will start at 6:30. It is a long day. On the other Sundays we have meetings from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and then Institute. But, you know what, it is not bad. It keeps us busy, but we are enjoying it.

There are two meetings on Saturday. We go to a long term care center to visit a man named Chris. I am going to have another blog on Chris.

Each week is District meeting and we skype with the other companionships in the district. At least once a month we get together for district meeting all together. When it is British Columbia, Elder Brown and I drive the Zone Leaders and the Sisters so they don’t have to use up their allotted kilometers to get there. It is a long day, but with good company. There are four companionships and then us.

At this District Meeting in Dawson Creek, BC, we played chair soccer.

If you are sitting down, you are out.

Elder Brown is going at it. He kept up with them on all rounds. Obviously I'm out, I'm taking the pictures.

This week has been transfers. Every missionary companionship in our District has a new Sister or Elder. And we have a new set of missionaries. So now we will have five. We have a Tagalog Companionship. They will be servicing all of Grande Prairie Stake, the whole zone. There are a lot of investigators, and members, from Philippines. Sister Lacno is from the Philippines but she couldn’t possibly keep up teaching them all.

There is a zone conference every 6 weeks. Our first one was on the second day after we got here. The second zone conference was six weeks later. And our third one is next week. Time is going fast.

That is filling you in on the hows and whys. But, our mission is so much more than that. We are having spiritual experiences as well. So many of these YSAs do not come to church. Some come to FHE. A lot have moved, and some are just lost. I found 1 last week on Facebook and 2 this week. We make contact with them and send them messages about their jobs and hobbies. We visit them at work. We take lots of treats. In essence, we love them and pray for them. The other people at YSA are happy to see them at activities and welcome them and play with them. And, when they come to church we get so excited. They are starting to remember Christ and feel the love He has for them. Some of them never had a firm footing, but they are building new footing. And it is equally exciting when we have investigators. These are people who are just learning about their Brother Jesus Christ and their Heavenly Father. It is fun and fulfilling to be part of this work.
I mentioned treats. I do a lot of baking. I am in to my second 10 kilo bag of flour and my second 5 kilo bag of sugar. I make lots of cookies, some cakes, brownies, and sweet rolls. I have made tapioca pudding and I’m collecting recipes for gluten free treats. The missionaries are always glad to get treats, and the YSA knows I’m good to fill in when someone is out of town. Other people we visit like them, too.

I have more material for blogs and I will get them sent soon. Until then, know that I love and miss you all.

Mom, Grandma, Robyn and Sister Brown