Monday, August 26, 2013

Holla from Bowmanville

Guess what? This past week was better than the last, HALLELUJAH.

Picking apples in a new member's orchard
My time in Bowmanville started out a little rough, and I was having a pretty hard time. I was really praying for some help, and we got a random call from our Sister Training Leaders asking us if they could move our scheduled exchange up to that day (instead of two weeks later). It was a little difficult arranging a schedule for an exchange that quick, but we did it. Of course we wouldn't say no. So I spent all of last Monday night and Tuesday with Sister Williams. I'm going to admit, the first couple hours we were together I was nervous for how it would work out, because it started off bumpy. I almost regretted the exchange, because I'm fairly certain I prayed it to happen and Heavenly Father arranged it. But the next day Sister Williams and I were able to talk through a lot of the things I was struggling with, and we were able to do some good, hard missionary work. That's the best kind.

Ah, before I forget to tell you: JANE AND JOSHUA GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!!! I almost cried when I found out. Right on schedule ;) They are the most wonderful family. I miss them.

Our new digs (our apartment is in the basement)
It is SO strange adjusting to the work out here. Mostly because it's an entirely different pace, and we have to take different approaches. But this week, Ilene (we've been teaching her family, but it's going a little slow for the others in the family), told us that she wanted to get baptized sooner rather than later, and began talking to her mom about it! They're out of town until next week (she's been texting us), but as soon as she gets back, we'll begin planning her baptism for September! I am so excited, I love her. She's 13 years old, the one braiding my hair in the last post. 

This is the door to our cellar-apartment (with Sister Noker)
When we're driving to some of our areas, we just lose cell service. I am seriously serving in places that feel in the middle of nowhere. It's kind of cool though, to just go on long drives and be in such a beautiful place. One of the recent converts we're working with, Rod, has a huge corn field and apple orchards. He sent us into the orchard to pick some apples for ourselves. We had a lot of fun.

This is our room.  Guess which one is my bed...
There's the lady in the ward, Colleen, who we called up on Friday night and basically begged her to let us come serve her on Saturday. She said she'd for sure need our help with cleaning her house and what not. She has cats. And dogs. What was I getting myself into? But when we got there and she just said "I really need help cleaning and organizing this mess of a kitchen!"  I was elated. It's kind of disgusting how much of a hobby cleaning and organizing is for me.  [Editor's note: the development of "cleaning and organizing" as a hobby must certainly be one of the blessings of serving a mission, because this is certainly not a hobby she had before.]  I've already done work to my apartment since I got here. And now Colleen's kitchen was before my eager little hands. Speaking of hands, as I was working like mad, I apparently did a cursed thing: I cracked my knuckles (a bad habit I've really gotten into the past few months). Colleen just about kicked me out of her house! I got a very stern talking to (along with threats to my health) for cracking my knuckles. She made me swear that I would quit it cold turkey, and if Sister Noker caught me cracking my knuckles I would do 10 jumping jacks right then and there. No matter where I was. I've almost never been as scared in my life than I was during those dreadful 20 minutes of chastening. I did 30 jumping jacks before we left.... Not fun. I haven't had to do too many since, but I DEFINITELY look ridiculous in my skirt doing jumping jacks alongside the road.... Everywhere we go.  [Editor's note: I'm not sure the skirt has anything to do with looking ridiculous doing jumping jacks on the side of the road.  But maybe that's just me.]

So I took a lot more photos this week, especially of our apartment/house!  One documents me trying to catch a tea bag on fire this morning in my hand.... Yeah, I wouldn't ask about that if I were you.... :)

Ummm, our power is out. It's been out for two days now. I don't know why this keeps happening to me! I swear I'm cursed. It's really odd though, apparently most of our breaker is broken, but some of it works. [Editor's note: Mallory has always prided herself on her self-taught electrical engineering ability.] We have one outlet in our house that works. So we have a TON of extension coming out of that one outlet. Our fridge, fan, microwave, lamp and toaster all are runnin' on that thing. Probably not a good idea because it'll probably explode. Oh well, it'd be an adventure, right? It looks like a big mess of a spider web.  

We had a nice, long rainstorm last night and I felt much more at home. I really do love the rain.

I miss you guys a whole lot! Know that I am doing the best I can out here, and I'm feeling more at peace and happy.

I love you,
Mal
Sister Hutchings




 

Monday, August 19, 2013

BONUS POST: From City Mouse to Country Mouse

[Editor's Note: Mallory is in culture shock as she is now going from being a City Missionary to a Country Missionary.  I'm sure this reminds you of when Anne of Green Gables had to leave Queen's College and said "When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.”  So here are some additional Mallory thoughts about it]:

The ward here is predominately white. Which was a really big change from Etobicoke, where white was the minority. There were about 200 in church yesterday, I think, maybe closer to 180. We have a lot of less active and part-member families we can be working with, so that's exciting. They have a great primary and the YM/YW program is extremely small. I think maybe we have one or two young men, and a couple more young women than that.
 
The largest of the towns that we work in is Bowmanville. All the other ones are a couple streets. Maybe similar to Trossachs and Klahanie combined. We currently have about 8-10 investigators, I believe. I still haven't met them all yet, only a few of them. In my last area, we mostly found people through the members, investigator referrals, and through street contacting. We never tracted. Out here, the missionaries tract a whole lot more. I'm kind of determined to avoid tracting as much as I possibly can, because I think that for the most part it's a waste of a day. So far we've been getting a lot of member referrals, so hopefully our focus on finding will be through member referrals and through working with part-member families.

The missionaries are spread pretty far apart out here, so I only see other missionaries at district meeting every Wednesday. It's a lot different than Etobicoke, where I was running into other missionaries several times a week! Our farthest town North is called Nestleton. And we go all the way to Lake Ontario in the south.
 
There is a pretty wide variety of employment for people out here. Some people are farmers by profession, some farm by hobby, and a lot of people work outside of Bowmanville, commuting to other places. We helped a wonderful lady move this weekend, and she works for a law firm in Toronto... So she has a nice 1 1/2 hour commute each day.
 
We don't really have any form of public transit. I see a couple bus stops here and there, but they're few and far between. So we basically drive everywhere. We sometimes drive to the middle of a town or neighborhood, park the car, and then walk around for the rest of the time, to save kilometers.
 
Last supper in Etobicoke with the bishop's family
The members are great out here, they're so willing to help. They're extremely loving. It's odd because we teach in so many houses, and we teach a lot more families! It was a rarity to teach families in Etobicoke. And we almost always taught in apartments or in public places, like in fast food restaurants or in parks.

My companion's name is Sister Elizabeth Noker, and she's from Omaha, Nebraska. She's 22 years old and has been serving for the same time that I have been, a little over six months. She is the third of six kids and is the third one to serve a mission. She's been serving in this area for the past three months, and served in the town of Kitchener before that.

The mission is definitely getting new missionaries, it's slowing down a little bit on the sister front, but we're still getting about eight or so a transfer. We just got a ton of elders this last transfer. The new social media policy has yet to come into effect in our mission. I hope that it does while I am out, but from the things that I've heard President Scott say about it, it doesn't sound too promising :/

We come to the public library to email on P-days (today). It's a really nice and fancy public library! It'll be a lot like P-days in Etobicoke. After this we will go grocery shopping and then a couple errands, then head home to relax and furiously write a ton of letters. There's a famous zoo here in Bowmanville that we want to try to go to on a P-day... Apparently the tiger from the Life of Pi was borrowed from this zoo... I bet he's back by now! I could see Richard Parker in the flesh!

My car is silver, so basically it's exactly like my old car, but less new... The weather is a little bit colder out here. It's rained less since I've been here, so hopefully that'll change. I hear that the winters are colder out here, so I'm scared out of my mind to see how that will go if I'm still here for the first snowfall!

Each week we work in a senior center preparing and serving food, and also we work at a thrift store called Second Chance, where all the proceeds go to the women's shelter nearby. We've also had the chance to far to do typical missionary service things this week, like helping people move :) I love stuff like that. Most of the buildings and houses out here are VERY old and so dang cute. All uneven wooden floors with big gardens. I love them.

There have been about three or four baptisms in this area in the past year. I feel really strongly that we can work with part-member families and help them come to the gospel. So hopefully we'll find investigators there.
 
What do missionaries do for fun in this area? Ha ha I don't really think much of anything. We drive through corn fields, eat delicious ice cream, and maybe we'll make our way to the zoo.

I forgot to tell you: Michelle Amandy got baptized this last week!! Woo hoo!!! I was so happy when I heard that everything worked out and there weren't any problems. I love that family. I wish I could have been there, but nevertheless, I know that she and her family will be blessed incredibly being united in the gospel.  


 

Bowmanville Numero Uno

This week was easily one of the strangest and most difficult weeks of my entire mission. 

Mallory and Natalie (Ilene's niece) - she's the cutest thing.
It was extremely difficult to leave Etobicoke. I was so attached to so many people and investigators, I suppose that's why it is good to have transfers as often as they do! So let me tell you what happens when transfers occur (unbeknownst to me until this last week):

The mission arranges big carpools in very large vans to drop off missionaries at their corresponding meeting places. So early Tuesday morning Sister Mitchell and I got off late (big surprise:)) and met up first at Brampton, which is where the Toronto temple is. I then loaded into a huge van traveling east with a whole bunch of Elders. Yes, I was the only sister there for the whole day. It was quite fun to have a day chatting with other missionaries and getting excited about my new area. It was sad to see the beautiful city skyline diminish behind me as we drove farther and farther out into the countryside. We made a couple pit stops where we dropped off missionaries and picked up others. I was on the van until the very end. At the last stop (outside a grocery store), Sister Hutchings was kicked out of the transfer van and led to her new vehicle and new companion (I'm still driving a Chevy Cruze, which is glorious news). After meeting Sister Noker, we traveled to our house (I live in the basement apartment of a member of our ward. The apartment is pretty small and cozy, but it's nice). After that we headed to a Senior Center and helped them prepare and serve food to all the guests and residents who were there. Apparently we do a lot of service hours each week in this area, so that's pretty cool.
Ilene, one of our investigators, braided my hair.

It is quite a bit different being in Bowmanville than being in Etobicoke. I'll certainly have to adjust my methods of missionary work, but I feel that I have a lot to contribute that will be helpful. So hopefully I'll be able to help get a few struggling areas rolling pretty soon here.

There's an older couple in the ward who are serving a mission at church campgrounds around here, the Fentons, who invited us over the first night to meet me. It was really funny because Brother Fenton learned that I love jazz music, so he got out his bass guitar that he's teaching himself how to play, and we began to jam out. It was awesome. I miss singing a lot, especially jazz :)

It is so strange to be in an area where we have the entire ward at our disposal! I'm used to only working with half the ward, and half the boundaries. Speaking of boundaries, our boundaries are HUGE! We basically have ten little towns scattered throughout all this vast farmland. We have to be very frugal with our kilometer limit if we want to go out and teach/visit people there.

Me and Ryan
Another thing that is different out here is how much we get fed. We have at least three or four dinner appointments per week. I am not used to this at ALL. I'm coming from a place where we maybe got fed once every other week. Sister Noker is allergic to wheat, so we get fed a lot of meat and vegetables. One of our dinner appointments this week was with the Labelle family. Want to know what was so cool about this?? Sister Labelle's son was good friends with Ryan Gosling growing up. On Youtube there are videos of Ryan Gosling performing at "Mormon talent shows" and whatnot, and he went with the Labelle family to those. She has a signed picture of him that says "To Colette, my second mom." I was in heaven.  

It is beautiful out here, and I hope that I'll be able to contribute to the work in Bowmanville. I have come to love each and every person I've met so far. Everyone is extremely friendly and helpful :)

Please be safe, and let me know how things are going! I miss you and love you, very much.

Mal
Sister Hutchings

 


 




Monday, August 12, 2013

Bowmanville, here I come!

So I'm sure you're dying to know transfer news... here it is:

I am being transferred out to a place called Bowmanville! It is east of the city of Toronto, near Oshawa. My new companion's name is Sister Noker, who apparently came out with me, but I have no idea who she is (a LOT of sisters came out with me...). There were a LOT of crazy changes this transfer and it's quite dramatic throughout the mission. They're bringing two new sisters into our area and making it a Sister Training Leader area. Ask me how I feel about that.... Not happy quite frankly. Not just because I'm leaving (I expected that...), but because all the wonderful people we're working with will have to start all over with brand new people, and they've been progressing so far already. It's kind of breaking my heart. I know as soon as I get to Bowmanville and can focus on the people who need me there I'll feel better, but right now I'm quite sad for all the people I've grown to love wholeheartedly here in Etobicoke South, and that they will now start again with brand new missionaries. It's a really odd thing.
map_overview
Here's my new address in Bowmanville, you can begin immediately sending letters and packages to this address (and no longer to Mabelle):

20 Herriman St - Bsmt
Bowmanville, ON
L1C 4L6
Canada

[Editor's Note:  here's a link with some Bowmanville history for all you enthusiasts:  http://www.bowmanville.com/history.  And here's a link to an article about the LDS Church and ward in Bowmanville:  http://www.durhamregion.com/community-story/3511426-bowmanville-church-celebrates-expansion/]
 
All that sad, sappy stuff aside, we had a really great week this last one. We are planning for Michelle's baptism for this coming Sunday, and her husband is bringing a whole roasted pig! Wouldn't that be crazy?! Wish I could be there for that :) I'm so happy for her. Jane and Joshua are getting baptized for the youth activity (I know, it's kind of funny :)) two days later, next Tuesday. Etobicoke South is just booming right now!

Every once in awhile, missionaries get really good ideas that turn out to be dreadful ideas. [Editor's Note: Mallory and her companions seem to have their fair share of these good ideas gone wrong.]  Sister Mitchell and I lay victim to something like that this past week.... It all has to do with cats. How do I feel about cats? Let me tell you: I severely dislike cats. Jen, our recent convert, is running into some problems with her NINE CATS and child services. Basically, in order to increase the chances of keeping her child, she needs to get rid of some of her cats. She has been struggling to find homes for them, and decided to take them to a shelter.... But she has no way to get them there. On Friday this week, Sister Mitchell and I were eating lunch and I just said "I'm texting Jen that we're getting her cats in 10 minutes, and to choose who stays and who goes." Now I have extremely limited experience with animals, but it seemed ridiculous to me that those animals would stand in Jen's way, and I wouldn't let it be like that. Sister Mitchell and I taped up a cardboard box, threw some towels in it, and planned to sweetly pick up these cats, throw them in the box, and carry them away! We thought deeply about the white handbook (our missionary rulebook, basically), and it specifically mentions that (1) we can't have pets, and (2) we cannot babysit, but it doesn't say anything about "babysitting pets," and absolutely nothing about saving a poor woman from her own cats. So we were in the green. We marched on over there to liberate Jen from her cats and this is about where our genius plan flopped over on itself and failed miserably. Those dang cats didn't want to hop in the box and come along for the ride - can you believe that?? I certainly couldn't. They were mean cats, too. We spent some time chasing them and trying to get them to stay still; they kept clawing and scratching to get away. I always just let mine get away, but Sister Mitchell was more determined. I don't know who had the better idea there, because we both came out without any cats and an empty box, but Sister Mitchell was bleeding with a LOT of cat scratches. Bad idea, right? We got beat by a bunch of house cats. It was pretty funny when Sister Mitchell was all bandaged up the past few days and had to explain to everyone that she got attacked by house cats. Maybe that's why they're splitting us up.... ;)  

Remember how I talked about our LONG weekly planning session that we hold as a companionship each week? Well, in that we also set personal goals. I thought you'd get a kick out of my goal for the past two weeks: "Shower like a Speed Racer."  No joke.  I have an inability to shower in a shorter amount of time than 25 minutes.  [Editor's Note: we can confirm that Mallory is unable to shower in less than 25 minutes - and even that's quite a stretch for her.] It's a problem. It's kind of a funny problem, but embarrassing in the same. So my mission goal is to take a faster shower. It reminded me of when I was in high school and Dad used to bang on the door like Godzilla whenever my showers went too long.... Guess I never learned my lesson.... Oh well.... [Editor's Note: the knocking (certainly not "banging") was very respectful at the beginning, and the real action usually didn't start until she was in there for more than 45 minutes or so.]

We had a fantastic Service Crew project this week, we helped a young couple renovate a house they just purchased! It was so cool, we had more than 30 people there to help out. I love stuff like this :) Guess what? I used power tools to take down iron railings, I put up dry wall, etc. I'm going to come home with so many skills, you're not even going to know who I am.  

Except Spanish. My Spanish is coming along horribly, thanks for asking....

There's a lot on my mind with transfers and all. Tomorrow morning by 7 am we will drive to Brampton (the stake center at the temple) and exchange cars. Then I'll get in a big van with a bunch of missionaries (I mean, who doesn't love invasion of personal space for extended periods of time with a bunch of people you don't know?), and head on down to another stake center to meet my companion and get my new vehicle and drive to my new area. Yes, I'm designated driver again. I'm just that good ;) I'll make sure to write you all about my new companion and what Bowmanville is like next week.

I love you very much. I'm so glad that Lizzie decided to get baptized, and the Andy-man decided to baptize her! I wish I could have been there, but I'm sure everything was wonderful. I'm so proud of all of you :)

I miss you incredibly,

Mall

Sister Hutchings





Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wagvan! (apparently that's some type of greeting in the Carribean)


[Editor's Note: They had a holiday in Canada yesterday, so that's why Mallory didn't put this together until today.  Just wanted to make sure you know the Editor wasn't late with the post.]

Happy holiday yesterday! I had a pretty fun time with that because I took every opportunity I could to ask everyone what we were celebrating in Canada yesterday, and NO ONE knew. It was hilarious. That's because there was no point to that holiday. We even looked it up on our Canadian calendar and it just said "Holiday." Wonderful. So Sister Mitchell and I made sure to get a special ice cream cone and wish everyone a happy "holiday." 

There are some stark and strange differences between Canada and America, but I must admit, we catch ourselves turning into Canadians more and more each day. I didn't think it would happen, but it is. I love ginger ale. I crave that Canada Dry. I say "eh" all the time, I am now calling otter pops "freezes," and a whole myriad other Canadian oddities are popping up here and there in my regular life. 

This week was a strange one, because it seemed rather long, but we did a lot of really cool things. We had our first week of Service Crew. We're meaning for it to be a tradition, and we're planning on having a service project/event where the investigators, less-actives, and members in our ward with whom we're working can come and serve each other for a couple of hours each Saturday morning. So it takes a lot of planning and coordination, which I love, of course :) Our bishop is super excited about it, so it's good to have his support. We went to an older lady's house (Georgie Adeite) this week and helped out with some stuff she needed done to her house. We prepped her basement for painting, replaced a ceiling, removed mold, replastered holes in the walls, de-junked and mowed her lawn, etc. It was really fun! We're planning a HUGE one this week that is a house remodeling with 30+ people, so I'll keep you posted on how that one goes.... 

There was also this huge festival/parade this Saturday called Carabana (don't know if I spelled that right), and it was insane. [Editor's note: she didn't spell it correctly.  It's "Caribana."  But that's closer than she usually gets on these things.]  They know how to party in the Caribbean. I'm sure that's a surprise to no one. We just were planning on dropping by Paul and Kristen's place to pick up our two liter carton of milk we left at their house (long story...), but they were on their way to Carabana [Ed: Caribana] to eat some jerk chicken for dinner and invited us along!  So we went for our dinner time, and it was a ton of fun. There were lots of sparkily costumes and crazy reggae music [Editor's note: I don't think "sparkly" is spelled correctly either, but I'm not sure it's even a real word, so maybe she can spell it however she wants.... lots of high people and cops, too, so we didn't really look like we fit in, dressed modestly to a "T" and wearing "Sister" tags, but it was still very fun. That was some SPICY chicken though... yikes. 

So we helped out Orlando with his family history this week, and I just wanted to let you know: Guyanese family history is SO DIFFICULT. I will never whine about where my roots are from.... It is hard to find records from Guyana. But coming up sometime soon, he is preparing to be baptized in the temple for his father, and it is SO cool. I was thinking about Orlando, and I have been SO blessed to see his progress in the church after his baptism that I think few missionaries are privy to. I was present for his baptism, confirmation, his first calling, his priesthood ordination, his first talk in church, and helping him be baptized for his father in the temple of the Lord. He is such a wonderful man and to have been able to help him make covenants with his Father in Heaven and to move forward in his gospel knowledge is something I will always be grateful to have been part of. 
 

This week we have transfer calls. On Sunday. It is the moment of truth. Yes, I'm being dramatic, but transfer calls (especially this one) merits such drama. The chance that Sister Mitchell and I both stay is probably 5%, so there is almost certainly going to be a call coming our way. Who's it for? We can't possibly know. I've been here twice as long as Sister Mitchell and haven't served anywhere else in the mission field, but I don't want to go. There are so many things I'm working hard to implement in this area.... We have an awesome Filipino baptism coming up on August 20th where three of our investigators (Jane, Joshua and Michelle) are getting baptized. I really hope that I can stay. But we'll see. Stay tuned for next week, I know it's a cliff-hanger. 

As far as mail is concerned, probably don't send out anything else this week, and wait until Monday AFTER I do P-day emails to let you know where to send it, in case I get transferred. If you HAVE to send something between now and then, send it to the mission office, just in case. But it'd be best to leave it until next Monday. 

I love you all so very much! Please be safe. I can't believe how summer is already drawing near to an end. My, how time flies. 

Peace. 

Sister Hutchings