Monday, March 18, 2013

Another week bites the dust!

Hola! 

This has honestly been the fastest week of my mission thus far, I don't know where it went! But alas, it is P-day again and I have the pleasure of sharing with you the experiences I have had this week.
Whoever told me that Toronto was a safe and clean city before I came here lied to me. It is not either of those things.  In fact, Arksey and I find ourselves in sketchy areas late at night so often (we're not allowed in our house until 9:00 pm) that on Saturday I decided it would be profitable to make her learn to climb over fences on the way home (she had never done so before).  I figured we may be in a situation where we'd need to run for our lives and we'd have to jump over fences, and if that was her first time, we'd be done for.  So it was quite an adventure of its own, and we gained an audience out of it.  We actually tried to talk to them about the gospel, but they weren't having it.  Strangely enough, it probably made me even more nervous about Arksey climbing fences in the future, so we should probably practice that skill some more.  

Drinking my Shamrock Shake in the subway
So I hope that everyone had a happy St Patrick's Day!  It got a little crazy over here, but the only thing that we were able to do was stop by McDonald's on Saturday for lunch (I don't think I have EVER been more excited to eat at McDonald's in my entire life) and get a Shamrock Shake to celebrate! Woo Hoo! I was so happy, nothing could crush my spirits that Saturday.

So I must be honest: I pessimistically entered this week due to the fact that we had to give back the car that we were able to use last week we had to start using the multi-city bus/public transportation systems this week.  I was not super happy about it.  Our area is huge, and basically as we planned for our days, we could only plan to visit three people a day (if they were home and we could actually get in and share with them a message) because it takes us so long to transport our little selves over there. But, I have had quite a fun time!
This week we have taken the multiple bus systems, subways, and street cars (that one was a cool experience because it was all along the lakeshore at sunset - remarkably beautiful). We also get lost quite often, though.  We ended up walking for MILES on Friday, and I swear I don't think my legs have felt like jello quite like that before.  Neither Arksey nor I really get frustrated when we get lost though, because I know that the Lord always puts us where we need to be.  With all the public transportation we take, we come into contact with SO many different people, everywhere we go!  When we find ourselves walking for miles down streets and highways we didn't expect, we always run into people we can serve, and who are interested in the message we share about Christ's church on this earth today.  It is true, being a missionary means witnessing little miracles each minute of the day - what a blessing!

Let me tell you about Joe. I've been so excited to share with you this story: Joe is an investigator Arksey and I met when we were in the neighborhood of a member.  He was just sitting on his doorstep and we ended up talking to him about the gospel.  He is a nice old man who believes strange things (like that God is an alien and such).  Joe has a view about the world where he believes that there is much wickedness and very little good.  Joe came into my life as a missionary right at the time I needed him, and I believe we came into his life right when he needed us. 
I never questioned the divinity of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ, but I came to believe that there was not much that I, Mallory Hutchings, could offer as a missionary that the Lord couldn't have any other missionary do: thus, why on earth was I here when anybody could be in my place and do the same thing?  I realized that Heavenly Father will use all His missionaries, but we all have different talents and abilities that He will use when He needs them. Whether Joe likes it or not, I believe Heavenly Father led me to meet Joe: Joe is feisty, stubborn, inquisitive, sassy and witty - and he met his match in Sister Hutchings.  Joe always tells us that he doesn't want us to come back, and that he won't read what we ask him to....   But we tell him we'll be back in two days at a certain time, and he just so happens always to be outside waiting for us at that specific time!  Plus, he always reads the materials we ask him to read and he asks us many questions, but he's stubborn about it (of course, he wouldn't make it easy for us!). 
This week we asked Joe to read from the Book of Mormon, but he would not take it.  He had already read all the pamphlets we gave him, but he wouldn't take the Book of Mormon. I told him I'd get it to him if he wouldn't take it, and he didn't believe me... challenge accepted. Arksey and I went straight to the post office right after our lesson with him and over-nighted a copy to his house!  We marked scriptures for him to read and I wrote a note for him in the front with my testimony inside it.  He received it and had read from it before we saw him two days later.  I knew he would.  That day was the first time he prayed with us.  Perhaps the first time he prayed to his Father in Heaven in a very long time - I bet God really wanted to hear from him!

Arksey and me teaching some investigators.
Conrod and Rita - the two in the middle - have baptismal dates!
This week we are starting up our Stop Smoking program and ESL (English as a second language) program.  Among the investigators that we are currently teaching, we teach people who have learning disabilities of all varieties - bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, depression, desperate health and financial issues, and so forth.  I feel like I need SO much more world experience to help and teach these people than the little that I have.  It is very overwhelming sometimes, to be honest.  I am so glad that I have the Spirit to guide me and help me know what to do.  I just try to love and serve everyone the best that I can!  It is certainly more challenging - in different ways - than I ever expected.  But I love it!  Oh how I love it!

Working hard to build my desk all P-day long.
Clearly I'm a genius at it...
The work is moving forward in Etobicoke South!  We are finally getting the hang of working in this new area, that's for sure.  Arksey told me that this past week was what it would feel like as a "normal" first week on a mission, and that the two weeks we had before that usually didn't happen.  But since we were opening up a new area we had those crazy weeks of transition and whatever else went down. I can't even remember all of it. 

I learned that the post in Canada doesn't get delivered on Saturday or Sundays, but it still takes about a week after you send them (if sent directly to my apartment) for me to receive them.
I am working hard and staying as safe as I can.  It is truly an incredible experience being out here. Yesterday we had stake conference, and our stake center is in the same parking lot as the Toronto temple.  It was the first time I had seen it - it was beautiful!  I can't wait until I get to go there (March 30th).  What a tremendous blessing this gospel is, I could not be more grateful.  Keep writing to me, I love it so much!

Sister Hutchings

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