Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Letters #42, #43, #44, #45, #46, #47, #48, #49, #50

#50 August 3rd, 2015

The Form of a Butterfly
Well, things are cooling down a little. But we still have hot days. It was in the 30s earlier this week (now that's Celsius which is around 86 F. Not to mention humidity. And our apartment is on the top floor. . . ugh) but right now it's nice. Early in the week Elder Shumway got another organ lesson from Sister Plumb and I talked with Elder Plumb. He is a very doctrine-ly smart man. Actually, he's just a smart man in general. We talked about how he and his wife were going to a YSA Conference this last week end up in Quebec City. He was the opening speaker for it and the theme was "Let them be one" from. . . the. . . Bible. . . It's when Jesus is saying a prayer to help the disciples to be one, like how the Father and the Son are one, just before Gethsemane. He was telling me how when he prepares his talks, he writes his thoughts, and when he has how he wants to word them, he just makes an outline. Then he says that when he speaks, he speaks to the audience like how he speaks to a friend. He says it makes it more interesting. I thought to myself, "I've never thought of it like that. I want to have my talks like that!" so, just a cool idea. Then we went out to eat after, which is always nice. Later that day we visited the Grenier-Houdes, the family of one of the councilors in the Bishopric. We had a nice visit. During the visit we had mentioned in passing how our air conditioner is broken and how hot it is. Then, as we were leaving, Frere Grenier-Houde said, "We have an air conditioner that works well that we don't use any more, I can come by tomorrow morning and drop it off for you." And we were blessed with a fantastic air conditioner that keeps our apartment soooooo nice. Yay for members!
We had a really good District meeting this last week. Elder Shumway gave an excellent training on Home Teaching. We don't just home/visit teach because it's something that the First Presidency thought would be nice homework for us, we visit the families in our wards so that they may be nourished by the good word of God. We help them with their difficulties and are there to bless their lives and be their friends. The talk he got it from was by Elder Russel M. Nelson: Shepherds, Lambs, and Home Teachers. So, if you haven't already got the hint, DO YOUR HOME AND VISITING TEACHING. If you've been doing it, good I'm glad. Go buy yourself some chocolate. The rest of the meeting went very well and the Spirit was there. My chest was burning after and it just felt good.
Later in the week we were on the way to an appointment and Elder Shumway sat down next to a guy who I could tell was looking at us. As soon as Elder Shumway sat down, he pulled out his BoM and started reading and the guy asked him if it was the Bible. They had a nice conversation and in the end Elder Shumway gave him the BoM. We got to our appointment, which was in a large park, and we could NOT find the investigator. We called several times and we couldn't find her. Finally, we figured it out and as we were walking this called out to us from under a tree and asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses (haven't heard THAT before). We said no, we're Mormons and he said, "Ok, do you want to teach me something?" I thought to myself, YES! But we had our appointment. So I gave him a card with our number. The lesson went well and right in the middle of it, a butterfly came and landed on my shoulder and stayed there until the closing prayer. I told Elder Wassum about it and he asked, "So, it was the Holy Ghost in the form of a butterfly?" I'll take it. 

Hopefully that email was long enough and I hope y'all got something good out of it. Have a fantastical week!

Elder Perkes

#49 July 27th, 2015

Splits and Gifts
Bonjour à tous!

This week was pretty good. We were able to talk and teach and walk and preach and all that jazz.
Tuesday we were on our way to a meeting when this random lady walked up to us and asked if we would like to buy a violin (I was wearing my ukulele and she thought is was a violin case). We said no, were not all that interested and we started to explain that we're missionaries for our church and she started going off about all these things that she "knew" about Mormons. I was a little startled at how crazy these different accusations were, but Elder Shumway was able to make her take a Book of Mormon to read and think about. She was a little hesitant, but he was persistent and I did my best to testify of the truth. Then we quickly left to our meeting.
Wednesday, after an OK district meeting, we left with the other Elders to help a random lady move. It was crazy. The truck showed up late and we had other appointments we needed to go to. It was pretty disorganized and 2 of us had to leave before it was all finished, but I feel like she appreciated it. After, I went with Elder Hernandez to his area and Elder Smith went with Elder Shumway to ours. It was a nice day. We were able to teach some less actives and meet some people. The next day, Thursday, we had English class, but we had to do another split with the English YSA Elders so that we could do a pass-off lesson. It was pretty crazy, but it went well.
Saturday went very well, I felt. We were able to see Hugo, a new investigator. He had called the day before and he said that he had read the Restoration pamphlet and a bunch of other things on line and he wanted more! We were very excited and we went and taught a nice lesson. Then we were able to have another lesson with a pass-off from the Sisters in the Montreal Est branch. Her name is Margalie and she has lots of family that are members. Here mother (who was a member) recently passed away which really hit here and opened the doors of her heart to let the spirit in (ooh, that was deep, was it not?). We had a great lesson and we were able to bring Bro. Cajuste, who actually knew Margalie's mother and sister from when they were all living in Haiti. Coincidence? I think NOT! (my new favorite line to use as a missionary). So, it was a pretty good week. To top it all off, Jimmy was able to come to church (which he loved) and we had a lovely dinner after with some members.
This week was full of lovely little miracles and I know that when we are looking for them, we realize how often Heavenly Father places these little miracles in our lives. Look for those miracles and show your gratitude for them! Because it's like thanking your mom for those delicious cookies she just made. You'll often get seconds, and maybe even thirds. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" ~Matthew 7:11

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Perkes

#48 July 20th, 2015 

I can’t sing
Dear Family, friends, acquaintances, and creepers who read my emails,

This week has been pretty good. We had a nice, casual P-day of pool (the green fuzzy table, not the swimmer thing), Foosball, and ping-pong against a team from Zarahemla ward (the Spanish ward that meets in the same building as us).
We were able to visit a few different people this week. There's a member who is new to our ward that we visited. He's going through some financial difficulties, but he seems to be doing well. His wife isn't a member (yet), so there's some potential there. Wednesday we had pretty good district meeting. I used my District Leader power of delegation and it seemed to turn out well. We had a few good trainings and I could tell that the spirit was present. So really, I didn't have to to do anything. We had dinner with a member that night with her less-active son. It was a little rough. We tried to sing a song with my ukulele, but we had forgotten to practice. And to top it off the son made a joke just before and Elder Shumway started laughing in the middle. It was somewhat disastrous, but it was pretty funny.
Thursday we had interviews with President Patrick. It went pretty well. He gave me some good advice on really focusing on our purpose of missionaries. Sometimes in missionary work (this can also apply to callings, responsibilities, families, or most of life in general) we get caught up in the check list of things to do. We look at our list of things to do and we do them and check them off, then forget about them until our next check list. Life is not a check list. We need focus on why we are doing what we're doing. An example in missionary work: we are told by our leaders that we need to contact the people we are working with daily. Sometimes we go about it as check list. We send a text message with a scripture and then check their name off. The purpose of daily contact is to help them have the daily dose of the Gospel that they need. Satan is bombarding them (and us) every hour with worldly temptations. We need to combat that by doing the "primary answers" daily. Reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, etc. Really focusing on why we do things will help us want to do them instead of looking at them as some mundane chore.
So there's my rant for the week. I hope you got something from it.
Other stuff from the week. . . Probably the last highlight is that we had 3 people give us food to take home on Sunday. Food is nice.
So, that's the week in a nutshell. Have a good one!

Elder Perkes

#47 July 13th, 2015

Like a District Leader!  (not quiet the same ring as ‘boss’…)
Bonjour tout le monde!

So, this week started with Cedric (a member in Laval), Elder Shumway and I going to see the St. Joseph Oratory. It's this giant cathedral/church dedicated to Joseph, the father of Jesus. It's gigantic. It was pretty cool. I got a pastry after which was nice. On the way home we went down into the metros. As I sat down this guy on the bench said Bonjour and shook my hand. I sat down somewhat next to him, but he didn't say anything afterword. I felt awkward. I didn't know if he was a member, an investigator, or just one of those crazy people that say hi to missionaries (they do exist). So I started making some small talk, asking him about his day. Then I asked him how he knew the missionaries and he replied (in french), "I talk to missionaries from time to time." In my head, I thinking, That tells me NOTHING! Then he said Hi to Cedric and I felt embarrassed. He was a ward member in YSA. So I got pranked, sorta.
Thursday I had my first District meeting as District Leader. It started a little late, but it went pretty well. Not the best, but well. I've got some ideas for next week that will hopefully improve it.
Thursday we had splits with the Zone Leaders, which I was really nervous about. We were supposed to have a lesson with Jimmy, our awesome investigator, but he was working and didn't show up. I was pretty disappointed. The splits went pretty well. I went with Elder Pesquiera. He goes home next transfer. He's cool and is from Orem, Utah. He gave me some good advice on being District Leader and contacting people on the metros, because I still have difficulty with that, but I've made a plan and I feel like it should go pretty well.
Other stuff this week. . . We had a good dinner appointment with Sister Kinic, a Congolese women who lived in France for most of her life. She showed us a song she wrote and she wants to get it published, but she doesn't really know where to turn to find people to publish it, but it's a pretty good song. Sunday we had a dinner appointment with the family Lemus. They're pretty awesome. The Wassums were there too. It was fun and we sang with my ukulele with them. They're from El Salvador so we sang in Spanish. It was all good fun. That night I did my first District Calls as District Leader. It went pretty good. I basically winged it, but it was fun. Lots of good stuff this week. 
A final quote that I read in a talk this week:
"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for a future that only He knows."
~Corrie ten Boom (I think that was the name)
Everything that happens, happens for a reason. It prepares us for not only our future here on earth, but after this life as well. Heavenly Father know us and knows what's best for us. I love you all!

Elder Perkes 

#46 July 6th, 2015

This week was pretty fun. We visited this older brother in our ward named Pierre Cantin. He's deaf so someone has to sign for him in church. We visited him, had a nice little lunch, and he taught us how to sign some. It was fun and I really liked it. He doesn't really do too much, so he takes things that people have thrown out, fixes them up, and puts them in his apartment. He's pretty crafty and he has a fantastic view from his window.
Wednesday we had splits. Elder Hernandez came with me and Elder Shumway went with Elder McLaughlin. We were supposed to help one person move, but then that didn't work out. So instead we helped another lady move. It was crazy. We tried our best to help. And to top it all off it was DUMPING rain. You couldn't stay outside for 5 seconds without getting soaked. But we had a great DA with the Famille Lemus after. We had tosdadas. And I got to hold their pet chinchilla. Pretty cool stuff. Thursday we had Zone Training meeting. We got to see some stats of the missions and the area and we had some good stuff on Charity and why we do certain things to help our members and investigators. Overall it was a good training. 
Saturday we had a nice DA and correlation. Then we had Transfer calls! -yay- Me and Elder Shumway are staying the same, but I am becoming District Leader which I'm a little scared about, but I think it'll be ok. We were able to see a few Fireworks for the 4th of July from our apartment (strange how Canada celebrates our Independence day). But it was a good week. 
Here's a thought from our Training:
" 35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."
Helaman 3:35

Elder Perkes

#45 June 29th, 2015

It’s About Time!
This week was pretty good.
Guillermo Lemus, our ward mission leader, got his mission cal, to LA California, Spanish speaking! So that's exciting. He's not leaving until November so we still have him for a while. But he had been waiting for his call for more than 4 months because a bunch of crazy financial stuff. So we're excited for him. 
I just want to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday! It went very well and we had a fun time. We were able to visit the Athanassi family, the oldest family in the ward. It is a brother and his 2 sisters. They are very old but super nice. We talked with them for a long while and he has such a strong testimony of the church. He has been able to experience so many miracles in his life and he is just amazing. 
We were also able to meet a man by the name of Roger. He is from Congo and seems pretty interested. We're able to teach him a little bit and comit him to come to church this next week. So we're hopeful for him. 
On Saturday we were able to have a wonderful lesson with Jimmy, our most progressing investigator. We had dinner at the bishops house and a great lesson about the priesthood. Unfortunately jimmy did not come to church, but he was moving because his living situation was a little crazy, so I guess he has an ok excuse. 
On Sunday we were supposed to have dinner with the Wassums, the senior couple in our ward, and then talk about the ward list after, but Sister Wassum came up to us and said she hadn't prepared anything, so she asked if we were ok with salad. I was a little disappointed, but I was ok. Then Sister Candenedo, a nice sister in our ward, came up to us and said, "I have food for you to take home!" So we fed the Wassums lasagna, salad, and really good bread. That morning I had watched a Mormon message on the Tender Mercies of the Lord. I took that as one. The Lord's timing helps you recognize his tender mercies, and the timing for that was perfect. 

Hope y'all have a good week! (Elder Wassum has a nice Virginian accent)

Elder Perkes 

#44 June 22nd, 2015

Birthday Salmon
This last week was pretty good. On P-day we visited Old Montreal, which was really cool. Lots of old buildings and expensive restaurants.
Tuesday we helped our Bishop move lots of wood and stuff from his basement. He's doing some renovations and so we helped him out a bit with that. After that we went to the Lemus's where we had a wonderful dinner and scripture study. Also, Elder Shumway and I have started singing hymns with our members while I play the ukulele which seems to be working pretty well.
Thursday was Elder Shumway's B-day. Missionary birthdays are pretty much blend with every other day of the week. We were able to see the Slimi's, a recent convert family from Algeria. They're pretty cool and we had a fun time singing with them.
Saturday we were able to have a great lesson with Jimmy. He's right on track for his baptism on the 18, we just need him to come to church more regularly and to get him more friends in the ward, but once one of those problems is fixed, the other should be easier. Then we celebrated Elder Shumway's birthday that night by eating a big chunk of Salmon. It was really good. Definitely one of the best missionary-made meals I've ever had.
So it was a good week for meeting more members.

Elder Perkes 

#43 June 15th, 2015

First One’s on the House
This week we've had a few adventures.
Tuesday we were cleaning the apartment because splits was the next day and Elder Shumway wanted it to look nice. He was in the process of cleaning the bathroom when he noticed a spot on the ceiling that he couldn't quite reach. So he stood on the toilet to reach it. I was walking nearby when suddenly I heard a cr-CLUNK-a-dunka SPLASH! "Elder Peeeeerkes?!" He had broken the seat off the toilet and landed in the bowl of toilet water. I laughed pretty hard. But it was clean and we got the seat replaced. Later that day we visited the senior couples, the Wassums, and had lunch with them. After, we gave a blessing to a 89 year old less-active member. She appreciated it very much.
Wednesday we went on exchanges. I went with Elder McLaughlin up to north and Elder Hernandez stayed in our area with Elder Shumway. We visited a few members and we were supposed to have a pass off lesson, but the male of the home was not present, so we could actually stay for the lesson. We decided to stop at a depaneur (corner store) nearby to grab a juice. We walked in and asked if they took credit. The owner said yes, but when we went back to pay for our drinks, he scanned them, but didn't take Elder McLaughlin's card. We looked at him and he just gave us our drinks, smiled, and waved good bye. We were a little stunned because this random guy just gave us some free drinks. Super nice. Later that night there was a really cool lightning storm and we just watched it from the apartment window.
Thursday we had a Zone Training meeting. President gave a really good training on how to really help people change. When people truly understand the doctrine behind everything we do, they will change. “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes andbehavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel willimprove behavior quicker than a study of behavior willimprove behavior.”
–President Boyd K. Packer
That's a quote found in Preach My Gospel.
Sunday was quite exciting. The Group du Nord, a group that was technically part of our ward but met in another place up north, became a branch! [yay!] So they organized the presidency and all that fun stuff. Then, after church, one of our members made us dinner and we ate it with her daughters family, who's husband was the former bishop. Turns out, he had served here as well 10 years ago. He's originally from France, but when he came back to visit, he met a girl from Zarahemla ward and they got married. Now they live on the south shore.
So, lots of good stuff this week and Elder Shumway and I have lots of goods stuff planned for these next few weeks.

Elder Perkes

#42 June 8th, 2015

Cloudy With A Chance of SALVATION
The weather this week has been either hot and humid or gray and rainy. We like the gray days better, but our 2 new fans keep the apartment at a decent temperature.
Wednesday after District meeting we went to get poutine with Elder and Sister Plumb, the senior couple in YSA. They served in England and one of their sons served in Montreal as well and they were able to see some of the people he served with. 
Thursday we got our water heater checked. There were 3 more Asians in our apartment and it was kind of weird. Turns out the water heater isn't working too well so we are going to get it replaced. Hopefully sometime soon.
We had a fantastic lesson with Jimmy on Friday. We covered quite a bit of stuff and he just took it all in like a sponge. He's been having a few trials and temptations the past few weeks, which has been rough for him, but he's staying strong and we are planning for him to be baptized in July.
On the way to another appointment we some "public pianos". Just these random colorful pianos that people have set up in various places around the city. Elder Shumway is a really good piano player, so we might have to go try them out one of these days.
We had English Class on Saturday morning, and Elder Shumway really liked it. We had a pretty good turn out towards the end of it. Later that night we had a ward Family home evening. It was... ok. They weren't able to announce it sacrament meeting because of Stake Conference so only a few people showed up. Most of us were missionaries. . . But we still had a good time.
Today we went and saw the City Hall building of Montreal. We just went to get a pin (we might do a tour another day) and the security guard who we talked to was actually a member in Lasalle! it was fun. He showed us pictures and gave us some pins right off his lapels.

A cool scripture we discussed in District Meeting:
"Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me-"
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly are our friends. They will be our best friend.
One more thought that I read in a talk:
"It's what you do with what you have that makes you who you are."

Elder Perkes