Whew - what a week this has been! I can't quite decide if my weeks go by fast or slow. They are so packed with things that we have to get done.... Opening a new area is extremely challenging, I had no idea. When I was in the MTC we heard stories about new missionaries opening new areas once they got to the field, and I felt strongly in my heart that that would be my experience, but little did I know, the Spirit was preparing me for this wild and crazy adventure.
To explain a little bit more about my situation: In the Etobicoke ward where I serve, we split the ward with another set of missionaries (our Zone Leaders, actually). They have the North area of the ward and we have the South. The ward was SO EXCITED to have sisters assigned to the ward. One of the older gentlemen in the ward, Brother Pallin, tried to kiss me on the mouth yesterday because he was so happy to see me (and I sang in Sacrament meeting, which apparently he liked), but I dodged it right in time! One of my Zone Leaders was right there and he was dying, he was laughing so hard.
As it turns out, with the way the ward is divided, most of the active members live in the North. I'd say we have about 8-10 active families that live in the South. It makes being fed and getting help with teaching appointments rather difficult (I've lost 10 lbs so far on my mission though, so I suppose that's a plus!).
We moved into our apartment this week! FINALLY! It was so sad to leave the Murphys' house though. I think those folks are going to miss us. We visited them later in the week to borrow a tool box from them, and they said we were like their granddaughters.
Our apartment is scantily supplied with things that sweet members of the ward have provided for us. Arksey and I are still in the process of assembling our desks. We have about 30 mins each day to try to assemble some of our furniture that was delivered on Friday, so it's in the works.
Apparently we live in a sketchy area.... I think the Lord is really protecting us, because we don't feel TOO unsafe. But there are police outside our building every other day, and people we talk to at night always tell us nice girls like us shouldn't be out here at night.... Don't they know we're messengers from the Lord?? Missionary opportunity right there:)
This week the greatest thing that happened was that we got some investigators. We didn't really have any people to teach at the end of last week, and we were all over the place with where we were living, organization, transportation, boundaries etc. But this week I taught my first lesson indoors, my first lesson outdoors, prayed with an investigtor on the side of the street for the first time... lots of firsts.
One of my favorite stories is of a man named Sye. We met Sye contacting one night in our sketchy area, he is a really nice guy - quite a talker. We met with him at a public park on Saturday morning because he was in prison and for some reason we can't visit him at home because his apartment complex doesn't know that he lives there right now (he lives with his wife). We don't know if he's avoiding parole or anything like that, we haven't asked yet.... But anyway, his wife ended up kicking him out Friday night and he slept on the street in the freezing cold. He still met us for our appointment. We chatted for awhile and then taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Part way through the lesson his demeanor changed and he started acting very strange. Call me Ammon if you want, but we had a King Lamoni moment, in the flesh: after Sye prayed and we finished our lesson he stood up to go home and HE COLLAPSED ON THE GROUND. It actually got serious. I just looked at Arksy and said "He needs medical attention." She said "Uhhh, so I call 911?" I quickly replied "Yes, right now." So that's what happened. We talked to Sye (he maintained semi-consciousness at the park) until the ambulance arrived and then we sent him away. We called him a few times and he hasn't answered since then. I hope he's alive and well. We pray for that. We have another appoint scheduled for tomorrow with him (which we scheduled before he collapsed by the spirit), so I bet he makes it. Pretty crazy.
I finally got a winter coat last P-day, HALLELUJAH. This last week wat 3000% warmer than the last (although I tend to exaggerate a little bit). But also, it is getting a little warmer, and I think spring is coming. Then once in awhile the weather teases us with some snow. We'll see what this week entails. Yesterday's daylight savings time really caused a big hassle in the missionary world. Being so naive about EVERYTHING going on around us, nobody really knew about it. Plus people were running late to church and all.
But I was able to give a church tour yesterday to the wife of the most famous opthalmologist in Ontario and it was the most powerful spiritual experience I've had on my mission thus far, expecially when I showed her the baptismal font. This truly is a fantastic work, to be able to invite others to come unto Christ. Yesterday we were talking to a man at the park with his daughter and he asked Arksey "So you want me to be a member of your church, huh? That's what this is about?" And she replied "No, we want to bring people to Christ and we believe we have ways to best help you in strengthening that relationship." It's incredible to see people's very faces change in 20 seconds on the side of the street with a simple and pure testimony. The Lord knows what he's doing, even when we do not.
One of my favorite parts about this area where I live is that there is this strip called the "Road of Murals." I took pictures with some of the murals.
Thanks for sending me so many things! I think it takes exactly one week to receive post from the U.S., so I hope to receive them soon!!Sister Hutchings
Please be safe.
Please be safe.