Monday, March 4, 2013

Finally in Toronto!

Holy cow, what a week this has been! I now serve in the single most multi-cultural place I think I have ever been in my entire life (hence my subject line).  Last Monday just got more and more hectic as the day went on.  I found myself lying in bed at the end of the day experiencing a "Life of Pi" situation.  I didn't know exactly which story my life told that day.  On one hand, I knew that we had barely made any of our flights, had gone 26 hours without food, gotten up at 2:00 AM to begin our travels, and that my luggage was lost in transit (hoping for it to be delivered before we were sent to our new areas the next day).  On the other hand, my stomach was full of pasta and salad at that point, I was laying by myself in a cosy Marriott hotel bed, I had met and fallen in love with my Mission President and his wife and I didn't have to say goodbye to my MTC compadres just yet.

As it turns out, the group of 30+ of us that were traveling to the Canada Toronto mission that day (only five being Elders) was so large, that the Mission President couldn't fit us all in the mission home, or in a regular van.  So a huge coach bus picked us up at the airport and took us to a Marriott hotel where we spent the night.  It was awesome!  He interviewed each of us, and then let us go to bed early in preparation for the next day when we would meet our trainers and head out to our new areas.

The next morning I met my new companion and trainer, Sister Andrea Arksey (24 years old). She is from a small farm in Brandon Manitoba, and has already graduated from University in a piano performance/teaching degree.  She taught middle school band a little before coming on her mission.  After I met her, we had to say goodbye to everyone and head to our area.  It was so sad to say goodbye to Tebbs, Balderson and Dagsen. Especially Tebbs, we had a little crying moment. It's crazy how quickly these people become your family out here when we have all left our families behind. Missionary work unites deeper than anything.
Arksey and I are opening a new area called Etobicoke South.  It has been absolute chaos.  We have the new address for my apartment, but that's not where we live right now.   We have been living with an elderly couple, Floyd and Denise Murphy, ever since we arrived here last Tuesday.  We were set to move into our apartment on March 1st, but there are a lot of complications (that no one will tell us about), so we are having difficulty getting things up and running.  They have also switched out area boundaries on us about 3 or 4 times, so that has been hard. We keep finding people to teach and setting appointments, and then we have to had them to other missionaries because our borders change.   But I think we finally have them set in stone now... so we're keeping our fingers crossed!
I have LOVED living with the Murphys. Sister Murphy is from Quebec and has the silliest french accent.  Brother Murphy has recently taken up the bagpipes so we hear those constantly.  They make us meals all the time and are very chatty.  They have been so good to us.  We want to move out and finally unpack out suitcases, but we love the Murphy's homecooked food, crazy stories, lively humor and adventure for life... so it's a Catch-22 situation here.  

Our area is HUGE. Well, at least with the boundaries we have now.  Between the members, less-actives and investigators we've met with so far, I feel like I walk into a different country when I walk into each apartment.  I've never walked down an apartment building and smelled so many different smells before.  There's a Hungarian lady, Etelka, who keeps a pet pig in her house; Beatrice is from Nigeria;  many are from places such as the Philippines, Poland, Namibia, China, Japan, Canada, Jamaica, Germany, India, Tonga etc. 
We are also in a bus zone, which means we have been trying to figure out the bus system.  We cover three cities: Toronto, Missisauga, and Etobicoke, which span two bus systems: Toronto and Mississauga.  It's complex but we're learning.  And since we're opening the area, no one else knows what's going on, so we've been trying to figure it all out.  Thank heavens I'm such a dang good organizer.  We've purchased many maps and I have everything color-coded to a "T" (you know, trying to be the most effective missionary over here!).

I have never been asked to perform more musical numbers in my entire life as on my mission.  Sister Murphy found out the Arksey is a blessed master-pianist and that I like to sing, and therefore she makes us perform for our meals (she thinks she's quite funny). Then in church yesterday Brother Murphy blabbed to the whole ward about this, and now we're performing in Sacrament meeting on Sunday and our Zone Leaders have asked us to perform for out multi-Zone training on Wednesday.  I don't know if we're any good - but I think we're starting to become famous :)

Sister Arksy and I have become fast friends.  At first I wasn't too sure how we'd get along, but after a few days we opened up completely to each other.  She is much more obedient than I am, and I admire her greatly for her sacrifice to come on a mission.  Her father is not a member and was not happy that she wanted to come.  She works so hard, and she puts up with my wise cracks and my Pop-Rocks (I got a stash before I left the MTC), so I figure she's golden if she can do that!

I am happy out here.  I am working hard.  We haven't been able to teach many people at all.  At this point, it's been quite hectic, and it's mostly been finding people.  A LOT of street contacting.  I feel like a popsicle, sometimes so cold I think my lips are going to fall off, and Sister Arksy has to take all the rest of the contacting for the day because I can no longer talk (no joke, that happened Friday).  I think that I am most confident in teaching people in lessons, and Heavenly Father knows that, so He's challenging me and making me do something I'm less confident about: bothering people on the bus and on the street, telling them in 30 seconds or less why I believe this message of the restored gospel is something worth their time (or their entire salvation)... no pressure, right? 
Morning study time continues to be my sanctuary, I enjoy burying myself in the scriptures, learning how to become a better teacher and representative of Jesus Christ.

I love this work.

Je t'aime,
Sister Hutchings


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  2. Hi Mallory, We are the Southwicks (the family you had Thanksgiving dinner with this year at the Robisons), and we just want you to know how awesome your mission is going to be and how much we have loved your entries. What a great family to live with to start your mission. My husband Brady served in the Calgary mission, and I served in Brazil, and reading this brought back a lot of memories for both of us. We are excited to share your experiences with our kids over the next 18 months. Best of luck to you and keep up the great work!