Thursday, February 11, 2016

Back at it. Letters #68-#75

#75 February 8, 2016
"My companion broke the window"

Dear Everyone,

How's it going? It's getting colder here but it has been a pretty warm week. Monday we helped a friend of Mike's son move and the weather was perfect. Sunny, a few clouds in the sky, with only a slight breeze to cool us down. I had to roll up my sleeves at a few points so I didn't get to hot. So much for a Canadian winter. Oh, well, I shouldn't complain too much. It's supposed to get really cold these next few days.
Let's see... Tuesday was pretty great. We started working with a roommate of one of our older (in meeting with us, not in age) investigators. The new investigator is named Johanne (not to be confused with the Johanne who just got baptized). She has a real desire to know the truth and this second lesson we had with her she had read almost 90 pages of the Book of Mormon! Quite impressive [yes, yes. Quite]. She a had few question which were easily resolved with some discussion and after a lesson on faith, repentance, baptism and the Holy Ghost we invited her to be baptized on the 26 of Marchand she accepted! She then told us she wasn't expecting it all to go so fast, but she said that she'll make it a goal. She's already good friends with Bro. Proulx, our branch mission leader, and so that's pretty cool. She seems to progress well and we'll have another lesson this next week.
Another great thing that happened on Tuesday is that we were finally able to meet up with Ashley again! He's been a little bit under the weather because he's been sick and not feeling to good mentally, but we'll be starting to meet up with him again some more. He's super solid and ready for baptism, we're still just trying to find a way to get him to church... But we're working on that.
Wednesday was an adventure in the morning. We woke up to find a thin layer of ice. Everywhere. On the car, the roads, the snow, the houses. It wasn't too thick and it started warming up later in the day so driving and such wasn't too dangerous. We made quick video of what looks like Elder Sorensen smashing the window on our car (it was actually the layer of standing up with the window rolled down) We've showed it to several people. So far 1 missionary and 3 members have believed Elder Sorensen actually broke the window. It's been great. But shoveling that day with all the slushy snow was a pain. Super heavy with ice stuck to the driveways. We went home and slept happy that night.
Other than that, not too much happened this week. Visited members and less-actives, trying to help them feel the spirit, trying to cheer them up, service, more service, and planning. So much planning. But that's missionary life! It's great.
I've been trying to do some self-improvement lately. Well, I know I should be doing it all the time, but I think this next week I'd like to do a little more. I just need to get into a better habit of finding things I can work on then actually making a plan and then working on it. Probably the hardest thing to do is to come up with a solid plan that I know that I'll do. You can always make a plan to make a plan, but when you make one and stick to it and do all in your power to make sure it gets done, that's when the improvement comes. So that's my goal for this week. Coming up with a plan for something I want to improve in missionary work or just in my personality. And then I gotta make a plan to keep on doing that throughout my life. So you could say I'm planning on planning to make a plan to help me plan better. Now plan sounds funny in my head... I hope you all know how much I love and miss you all and I hope all is well in wherever you are!
Bonne semaine!

Elder Perkes
This video may not work :(.  I'll keep working on it.

#74  January 25, 2016
"Another email from your friendly neighborhood me"

Hello all you people who read my emails, tune into my un-updated blog, or just happen to stumble across these words through the magic which we call internet.
This week was not uneventful, for events did happen. One of which was the grand Missionary Broadcast which was watched by all the missionaries in the world. Funny to think how we were all watching the same thing at the same time. It's like we all live under the same sun or something.
It was quite a nice training. It basically went back to the basics that we all learn the first 12 weeks on the mission. It refocused us on our purpose to teach repentance and baptize converts. I thought it was wonderful and I picked up a few things that I personally could work on the upcoming weeks. Then the day after we had our Mount Royal Zone Conference, where we basically went over the things that we had learned the day before, but more applied to our zone. President Patrick gave a great training on justification and sanctification. Becoming rather than just doing. Really and truly consecrating ourselves to the Lord. It's a little easier said than done, but then again, that's basically what this life is about. I highly recommend studying it a bit, starting with D&C 20:30-31. I really enjoy comparing it to the sacrament, but when you think about it, it can relate to many things in the gospel.
Probably the next best thing is that Johanne is doing well. She's having a few struggles (as normal) but she is staying as positive and ever and it's contagious. No complaints there.
Our branch president right now is pretty awesome, too. He's a wildlife/nature artist, is pretty buff, does races such as the Gladiator (look it up. It's boss), and is just all around an awesome guy. We had supper at his house, and it was great.
Thanks for your prayers, your support and for your dedication in reading my emails even if they are not the most exciting in the world. But I hope you enjoyed it. If not you may send complaints to my secretary, Joey.

Have a great week!

Elder Perkes

#73 January 17, 2016
A Quick Update

 This week was pretty great! Johanne got Baptized! [applause] There was a nice light snowfall and we even saw 3 big turkeys in the parking lot while filling up the font. The actual baptism was bilingual, which was fun. We sang in French and English, had a talk in French, the actual baptism was done in French by Elder Udave, the first missionary who taught Johanne (he got permission from President to drive an hour from Laval to do the baptism), the 2nd talk was in English, and the confirmation on Sunday was in English. It was great. Johanne is so awesome. 2nd miracle of the week: we visited our newest investigators, Yan and Marie-Eve, and we were going over the Restoration in a little more detail. But before that, I had asked them what exactly they expected from us, or what did they expect when we knocked on their door. Then Marie-Eve explained that just before, they had been in an argument. They were wondering where was the love from when they were first together. They just didn't feel the same towards each other. Yan asked for a sign or something to help them become close again. Then we knocked on their door. I was like, NO WAY!!! In my head, and a big smile came to my face and I was even a little bit shocked because I was not expecting that. We then explained that that is one of the central points of our message. The Gospel bring families together. It was just a really cool experience and we are very excited for them.

#72 January 11, 2016
"It's Raining, but It's Good"

Dear Everybody,

How's it going in your various places across the world? Doing good up here in Canada. Things are a abnormally warm but most everyone isn't complaining. It's better raining than being -40.
So, this week has been a bit stressful but had some good peaks as well. 
There have been a few people in the branch that have been going through a rough patch and so we've been doing our best to help them out where we can. We as missionaries can only do so much and it's a little frustrating when we don't have the time, talent, or resources to help more. But we do our best and give God the rest and we'll be blessed through this mess...ed/t. Rhyming.
Anywho, we also had some success finding 2 new investigators! Elder Udave, an elder who used to serve here, said that he had knocked into a couple doors and remember that they were open to have missionaries back. So he text us and told us to try them out. We knocked on the first one and... they weren't interested. So we tried the second one and the let us right in! I was a little shocked but once we got talking and stuff we were able to share a quick restoration lesson and give them each a Book of Mormon. It was a young couple who, we found out as we were leaving, were just engaged the day before. It was a little funny because we were getting ready to leave and we were talking about who-knows-what when the girl said, "Ya, he proposed to me yesterday on my birthday." It was little like Wow! That timing. And we awkwardly said a few congratulations and it was good. 
The most bestest thing this week though is Johanne passed her baptismal interview with flying colors! She is on track to being baptized this Saturday! So this week is going to be lots of planning and preparing and we are quite excited for that.
Thanks for all your support and love and I hope that you all have great week!

Elder Perkes

#71 January 4, 2016
"Christmas was Green, but New Years..."

Well, the snow is finally here. Canada has finally shown true colors and it is blue and white. Cold, and Quebec.
Tuesday we had a HURGE storm. It snowed at least a foot and we shoveled 3 different driveways and we had to shovel a few of them again 1 or 2 days later because of other smaller snowfalls. It's been pretty fun. We got our work out for the day, had a snow ball fight, and shoveled some more. Tuesday we were also able to meet with Johanne and she has a baptismal date! [yay!] We will be having her baptism in 2 weeks, on the 16th. We are super excited for her because we have been working with her for a long time and ya. She has made some big strides in her faith and we are very excited for her.
Probably the next biggest thing is that we have been working with one less-active family for a long time. They are very nice people but they all have some personal challenges they need to overcome. This week was particularly stressful for the father. He has some mental challenges that leave him tired and not at his peak. It was very difficult this week and so we needed to visit him several times in order to help him out. It was a bit stressful for me as well because there really isn't much that we can do to really help him besides try to strengthen his faith and then refer him to church leaders for more assistance. So, we've been doing our best to help him. He was always very grateful for having us over.
Other than that not much has been happening. The snow is coming and the temperature is dropping, but thankfully I've got my boots and my coat. Hope you all have a great New Year!

Elder Perkes

2 Nephi 32:9
"But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

#70 December 28, 2015
"The Pie Wasn't the Only Thing Filled"

Merry Christmas to All! And a Happy New Year, too!

This week has been a pretty good Christmas week. Probably one of the most exciting things was our Mission wide conference we had on Tuesday. It was filled with lots of musical talents such as organ, piano, singing, flute, and violin. Our opening hymn was AMAZING. With over 170 people singing Joy to the World, it's pretty powerful. And then our closing hymn was even MORE. The first 2 verses were sung by a small missionary choir, a piano, and the organ (played by my previous companion Elder Shumway) and then everyone joined in on the 3rd verse of Hark the Herald Angel Sing. IT. WAS. AWESOME. To say the least! It was so powerful and solid it was almost tangible how amazing it was. I even heard that some people even started to cry. And then all the wonderful musical talents in the mission were just unbelievable. And the next best thing that day was when President Patrick made a pun. We were talking about three paradoxes of Jesus Christ: He was perfectly obedient, but was patient with others and their disobedience, He was the perfect example of a leader and a follower, and He was the one who showed the example of finding oneself when losing oneself. It was very cool. But the pun was: "We are going to talk about 3 Paradoxes. Paradoxes are 2 truths that don't seem like they should work together, but they do. Now, that is not a Pair-o-ducks. That's just 2 ducks." It was pretty funny, if I do say so myself.
The rest of the week was filled with my stomach being filled. Christmas Eve we went to Sister Kelley's house and had turkey, pork, chicken curry, and beef. Christmas day we were able to skype our families (which was AWESOME. Can I just say that I love my family? I'm pretty sure I have the best parents in the world. And my siblings are pretty cool, too đŸ˜€) and then we had turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and punch at the Gordons. THEN the next day we skyped Weston, formerly known as Elder Pryor, and had a nice big supper at Mike and Elianne's. It was turkey, ham, potatoes, biscuits, veggies, pigs feet stew (which is actually quite good), 4 different pies, 3-4 different types of cookies, and a log cake that was very nicely decorated. So, Christmas was good. I hope it was as good for all of you as well. And with all the craziness, I hope that you all were able to find some time and really think about the Why of Christmas. Jesus Christ and his birth and life. I love our Savior and I'm so grateful for Him, for my family, for my friends, for the good people in my life, for those who are here and for those who are gone, for a wonderful country to come from, for a wonderful country to serve in, and for a billion-trillion-gazillion other things that I could list.
I'll talk to you all next year!

Elder Perkes

#69 December 21, 2015
"Good Bye Bon Fire"

Bonjour et salut!
How're y'all doin' t'day?
This week was filled with good byes. On Wednesday we said Good Bye to Elder Pryor as he was shipped back to Orem where we expect to hear a wedding announcement by Valentine's day (not really but it's fun to tease). The day before we said Good Bye to Pizza Pizza, a popular pizza chain of Canada. You see, as we were on our way to another family that Elder Pryor was going to say Good Bye to, we saw large amounts of black smoke coming from a yellow building. So, we pulled up and walked carefully where we saw some people trying to quickly move a white trailer. We then noticed flames coming out of the ventilation shafts. When we saw that there was nothing we could do, we did what any good by-stander should and got some photos of the scene. Then we proceeded to say more good byes.
Other than that, nothing much. Elder Sorensen is recovering from being sick, I get to start playing the piano for Primary (that's for you Mom), and we finally got some real snow that actually stays on the ground today.
I hope you all have a great Christmas! I'm so grateful for this wonderful occasion where everyone is a little kinder, a little happier, a little better. I hope we can all get past the stresses of Christmas Shopping and really take some moments and be truly thankful for the Birth of our Savior. I love the gospel, I love Christmas, and I love you all!

Joyeux Noël!

Elder Perkes

#68 December 7, 2015
"A Cheap Roof"

Bonjour a tous et Joyeux Noel!
The Christmas Initiative A Savior is Born is awesome! Not just the first video but all of them! I just love Christmas. And because it is now December, we can now listen to Christmas music and not feel silly! So yes, that makes the week a little better.
Monday we were able to do some Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping. Basically we went to a store where lots of stuff were 20-40 percent off, they told us that everything also has an additional 15 percent off, and we all bought stuff. I got a nice $45 dollar sweater for 28 bucks and Elder Pryor got a nice $300 coat for $170 or so. So, good start.
Tuesday we were able to help Doug, a returning member, move. He's been going through a lot but he's doing his best to come back to church and really have the gospel more in his life. Because of financial stuff he had to move in with one of his buddies, so we helped him move a lot of his stuff into a storage unit. He also had a couple buddies help move. It was actually pretty funny. We were cleaning out his living room and I can't remember why, but for some reason we all started making funny southern accents using y'all and such and one of his buddies said something like, "We all sound like a bunch of Americans in here!" And then as he and I were moving a tv into his car he made a comment about how he doesn't really like talking to Americans because he finds they're a too selfish. I don't think he realized that we missionaries were all Americans and I was going to make a funny comment like, "We're not THAT bad, are we?" But then I forgot. . . But the move went pretty well.
Nothing super exciting until Saturday. We had planned to help fix Mike and Elianne (part member family) with their roof. They had been able to get all the shingles and supplies donated from a company that our branch president works at, they just needed the man power. So we had planned to do that and then leave a little way through to go to our other appointments. Then all our other appointments cancelled, and it turned out to be a HUGE blessing. They really needed the help with the roof. There was only 3 branch member who were able to help and they really needed the help. We ended up staying the whole day, putting up shingles, nailing shingles, cleaning up old shingles. We started at 9:30 in the morning and stopped at around 7:30 at night, well after dark. It was a VERY long day, but I learned quite a bit about roofing. It was fun. That night we made some Borscht, a Russian stew that Elder Pryor found. It was delicious. 
The Christmas Devotional was SO good last night! I loved President Uchtdorf's talk. I'm so grateful for this Christmas season and for the beautiful music that comes around this time of year. I'm so grateful for the birth of our Savior and for His life and ministry.
So, it has been a good week.
Happy December! Go out and carol a bit.

Elder Perkes