Monday, September 30, 2013

What's up Eastside, What's up?

Oh goodness, what a week!

I think I told you last week, but our area split into two, as we welcomed Elders McKay and Crane into the new Bowmanville West, and we became Bowmanville East. It has been REALLY wonderful having help out here in Bowmanville, especially since our area is so dang huge, we've been having difficulty reaching all of it. But I guess it didn't register to me that we'd be giving them a whole lot of our teaching pool when the elders were to arrive. And by a "whole lot," I mean the whole thing. After the split, we were left with 4 of 16 investigators, none of whom were progressing and attending church. One is on a vacation in Panama for two weeks. Surprise! We had our work cut out for us. That's for sure.

Missionary work has got to actually be WORK though, right? That's what makes it fun!

This weekend we helped a family move in and we truly experienced the blessings of having four missionaries in the ward. What corresponds perfectly with a number of 4?? HOGWARTS HOUSES. Apparently all of us LOVE Harry Potter and it made my heart soar. Our Ward Mission Leader is very tall, has a beard, and wears glasses - so naturally he was Dumbledore. The rest of us assigned ourselves to houses and began to receive house points for good things we'd do, and for trivia questions we'd answer. Magical things are happening in Bowmanville, I can tell you. I opted for Gryffindor (naturally), and was prepared to fight for it, but Elder Crane has red hair so he got Gryffindor by default. Lame. Sister Noker jumped in and noted that I was very cunning and deceitful so I should be Slytherin.  Whatever.  So just know, I am racking up the house points in honor of Salazar himself, over here, representing in Bowmanville.

This week we continued helping the Leebodys renovate their basement. I have been promoted to "project manager." Do you know how I know that? Because they told me I was the boss, asking me what to do next. Also, I got to operate the saw. That was really great, except also frightening because my experience with all those things was very limited, but apparently everyone was excited to follow my lead... Good thing we prayed before we began and no one died. People trust me way too much out here.
[Editor's note: Mallory has never operated a power tool without perilous and often permanent consequences - either to herself or others.  But, even then, none of the things she has operated included anything close to carbide-tipped teeth spinning at more than 4,000 rpm.  So we're very happy that they prayed before they began, and even happier (and surprised) that no one died.]

The Leebodys have been working closely with their friends from college whom they have been trying to share the gospel with, Mel and Peter. We've met Mel and Peter a couple times at game nights hosted at the Leebodys', and this weekend we helped them move into the ward boundaries, and also played catch phrase and had a pizza party after the move. We were able to share a message about our premortal existence with them and the spirit was definitely there. Peter asked some very thoughtful questions about our purpose on this earth and why we go through the experiences that we do. We were able to testify to him that the Lord knows us perfectly, so He knows exactly what we need to go through in order to become perfected through Christ. We're going to continue teaching them, they're interested to learn more about what we teach and their friends (the Leebodys) believe. It was awesome.

I am so grateful for the examples that the members of the church set for their friends and neighbors - all whom they come into contact with. Most of the people we randomly talk to know someone who is a member of the church in some way, and I am SO grateful when those associations are positive ones. It makes moving the work forward so much easier.

I hope that you are all staying safe, and are getting excited for Halloween! We don't really do anything fun for Halloween here, but I bet I'll be dressing up as a missionary :)

I love you! I miss you a whole lot.

Mall
Sister Hutchings

Photos:

1. Emerson Leebody (2 1/2) and myself :) He's actually "Tiger" Leebody in this photo. His name changes whenever he puts on those tiger ears. He goes about roaring through the whole house, as well.

2. Mallory and the saw.
 
3. My new District!!

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bowmanville for Life

So I'm assuming you all want to know my transfer news... Mostly because all the emails I got today started with questions having to do with that... But I'm afraid I have to disappoint! We didn't receive a transfer call last night or this morning, which means that both Sister Noker and I are staying here in Bowmanville for at least another six weeks! I'm pretty satisfied with that because I feel like I have quite the amount of work to do here, and I feel like I just barely got started. I'd love to be here for a nice long time. Past Christmas would be nice, except for the fact that it's going to be freezing out here. But I have this creeping dread that I'm not going to be able to find a single area in Canada that will be warm for the winter. Maybe I should pray harder about that.

Guess what? I finally have some good health news! Remember those nasty photos of my knees and the rash/sores on them? Well I talked to a doctor about them and I found out that I have an infection of my hair follicles on both my knees called Folliculitis. So now I have prescribed cream I put on them three times a day, and I'm on antibiotic pills (that smell absolutely putrid) that I take three times a day with my meals for ten days. Quite the upkeep, I know. But so far it's starting to work. I forgot what normal knees look like, and I'm excited to figure out what life is like without painful knees! Ah, the joy of the Lord's work, eh? :)

This week we had a cool trio exchange opportunity where one of our Sister Training Leaders joined our companionship for 24 hours. It was weird because instead of being observed as individuals, we were able to receive counsel as a companionship (which we were in desperate need of). Sister Fiabiano came with us this time. She is going home tomorrow, so it was her last exchange on her mission. I think she's awesome, and I really learned a lot.

Not to brag or anything, but during our trip exchange, we had to return a GPS to another sister companionship. We couldn't get into their building to return it, so we had to place it on their balcony. We weren't sure which was their apartment, so in order to be certain, I had to climb a two-story building on top of the balcony to look in to window. I was super-grateful for all my push-ups at that point in my life. Except for the fact once I got up there, I realized I had no way of getting down, except jumping. I climbed atop the ledge and let myself down slowly, but I still had about six or seven feet between me and the floor... Luckily Sister Fabiano and Sister Noker made their hands into makeshift "stepping stools" for me to get down. Quite the adventure. One of those "good" missionary ideas that probably aren't so good... But at least I didn't die! We looked pretty sketchy though, I'm sure.

So I forgot to mention earlier that our area is getting split. We are getting Elders in our ward! I am really excited! We'll probably be losing more than half of our current investigators, but it'll really be better for us. It'll be nice to not be spread so thin over such a large area, and to focus on some smaller towns and spread the word. I'm excited.

We taught a really fantastic lesson yesterday to 21-year-old named Taylor who has been researching the church for a few years. It was probably the best lesson I've ever been able to assist in teaching during my whole mission. He was incredibly prepared by the Spirit. It was crazy. I am so grateful to have the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord when we are teaching and when we find. This work truly is a waste of time if you don't seek the Lord's help and act of his promptings. He makes is all worthwhile. I love being His instrument.

I love you all so much! Stay warm. You'll have an easier time than I will. Count those blessings.

And I'd love some mail. Since I got to Bowmanville, it's been a little scanty, my friends :)

I miss you,

Mal
Sister Hutchings

PHOTOS:
1. My District!
2. Sister Training Leaders and me :) Sister Williams and Sister Fabiano
3. Haircut photo, if you cared
 


 

Monday, September 16, 2013

What a week!

It was a really good and crazy week in Bowmanville for us. Which is very welcome :)

We were blessed with many miracles from the Lord this last week and were able to reach standards again. I'm really striving to get into a habit of that, so hopefully that'll come. We worked so hard for it this week. We drove around to our investigator's houses on Sunday morning to make sure they were up and ready to get to church and everything!
 
[Editor's note: "reaching standards" means that they are doing many things they should be doing as missionaries this week, including: (1) working with at least two investigators who have committed to a baptism date; (2) had at least two investigators attend Sunday services with them; (3) teaching at least four lessons with church members present; (4) working with at least two continuing investigators who are progressing; and (5) working with at least two new investigators.]

We worked out a LOT this week. Which I thought was awesome. Sister Noker... not so much :) But she was a good sport and participated anyway. Monday night we went to a lady named Paulene's house for a free Tai Chi class. It was really nice, actually. After the class, we ended up talking about what we do as missionaries to the whole class and had return appointments to teach a couple ladies in the class and their families! Talk about clever finding, eh? We had dinner with Paulene and her family on Saturday and the lesson went REALLY well. She was really searching for a church that would help her family together grow closer to Christ and whatnot. Her oldest daughter is going to the Young Women's activity and we're meeting them again this week. Hopefully all goes well!

Our Relief Society started a work out group every MWF early in the morning at the church where they do various strength training and aerobic exercises. One of our investigators, Alethia, has been going to every single one. We had dinner with her on Thursday and she begged us to go to the work out sessions with her. We rearranged a little of our schedule to make it work, and went to it. It was so much fun! Alethia kept telling us how glad she was that we were there. We're going to try to attend every Friday for Alethia and to support the ward. It's wonderful when the Relief Society has so many activities we can invite those we're working with to attend, so they get to know the ward members better.

So... I think I broke my hand. Or severely damaged it. But I don't know how it happened... Odd, right? ALL I know is I woke up one morning with a swollen hand, and I can't really use it at all. It's been like that for DAYS now, and it's useless... As a missionary there's not much I can do about it. It's incredible how tough you get when you have to be. Lucky I'm so dang resourceful and know how to use medical tape :) That seems to help a little. 
 
[Editor's note: throughout Mallory's sometimes colorful history, it is not as uncommon as one might think for her to wake up one morning and have a mysterious ailment - yes, even including broken bones.  And she's always been very creative with tape.] 

Something else really cool that happened this week: We taught a guy named Alex, who lives on Bill Lishman's property. He's actually the property manager, or something like that. It was a really great lesson, but it was really cool because it started off with a whole tour of the property! We rode around on a golf cart and looked at all of Bill's sculptures, airplanes, sculpting studio, and even got to go inside and tour his house! Bill was home, so we were able to chat with him for a little bit as well. He remembered me from the Pig Roast, so that was pretty cool. His house is underground (I don't know if you remember that), and apparently it cost upwards of several million to build. It was a beautiful place.

This is one of Bill's sculptures. There were SEVERAL throughout the entire property. When Alex gave us directions, he told us we couldn't miss it because there was a huge blue camel out front :)


These are a couple pictures from the inside of Bill's house. It is really, really cool.


 
On top of that, this weekend there is a national LDS Women's Conference being held at our stake center. Apparently our companionship and another companionship of sisters were asked to attend to represent the church and to be available for questions. I'm really excited for that!

Transfer calls are coming this SUNDAY. I would really love to stay here in Bowmanville. I feel like I'm barely rollin' up my sleeves and being able to make an impact here. Hopefully the Lord agrees and has more work for me to do. I certainly feel that way.

For the record: As soon as I found out that there were new scripture mastery scriptures, I got my hands on the new list and switched them in my scriptures. I'm a little sad to see some of them go (especially since some of them I use very often in my teaching!), but it's a refreshing change. I have since recommitted myself to memorize all 100 scripture mastery scriptures. We're starting with the Book of Mormon ones, and memorizing them while we drive in the car. It's going really well so far! Hopefully we can keep it up.

It's getting really cold here, in case you were wondering. But I'm stalling putting my tights back on as LONG as I possibly can. I know once I do that, there's no going back. What a tragedy.

I miss you, I'm working hard, and staying safe. Ha ha compared to Etobicoke, there's not a concern in the world I have in regards to my safety ;) Bowmanville is nothin :)

Mal
Sister Hutchings  

Photo Creds: The first two are Sister Noker and myself doing Tai Chi poses (sort of) after our class... The third one is music time at the Fentons! We went to a couple in the ward's house for dinner (I think I talked about them before), and because I love to sing jazz, he loves to break out instruments and have a jam session before we leave. Classic.


 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hello Fall

I love the fall. It is by far my favourite season. I also learned that the "British" spellings of adding unnecessary "u"s in words are apparently how Canadians do things as well. Of all the traditions to carry over, I wonder why they kept that one...? I got foolishly called out on that one teaching gospel principles yesterday because I spelled "honour" and "Saviour" wrong. So for all intents and purpouses, fall is my favourite season.

Sister Noker and me walking down the street
of Old Bowmanville.  Yes, there's a mural behind us.
Canadians love murals.
Something I love about Canadians.


It's starting to get a bit chillier here, the sun is setting earlier and the leaves are starting to fall. It is beautiful in Bowmanville.

So this last "week" was a short one, and not too much happened on the Bowmanville front. We're beginning to find those stubborn investigators that I warned Sister Noker about from my previous area... It's pretty funny. But I love it, they keep me on my toes.
We met with a young man this week named Matt (23 years old), who has been in and out of church for the past few years. We drove all the way out to in Timbuktu to meet him, so we were very glad that by chance he was off work early and it all worked out. I was pretty determined to get Matt to consider going to a mission. That was my goal going in. When we sat down outside, Matt prefaced our meeting by saying "Just to let you guys know, if you guys say something that is wrong or doesn't make any sense, I have no problem calling you out on it or correcting your flawed logic"... Sister Noker just looked at me and laughed because she knew that that was exactly what I was planning on doing right on back to him. So I smiled and said "Of course, I wouldn't expect anything less!" We began with a prayer and then jumped right in. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and his testimony of it. He has read that book more times and knows it better that I do. He doesn't have a single doubt that the gospel is true. So after I asked him all my questions about him considering a mission, he told me he knew it was the right thing and is what the Lord wanted him to do but... And just laid out excuse upon excuse. This was where I was able to explain ways around each excuse he could possibly come up with ;) It was really fun, let me tell you. But the end of it, he just looked at us and said "Ah, you're right, fine! I am just putting this off and I know I should go. My quit date for smoking is Sunday, I'll go to church for all three hours, and meet with the bishop to start my papers." It was the best. Of course he came to church on Sunday having fulfilled all his promises! I really hope that we can help him get on a mission. I truly believe that missions change lives. For EVERYONE involved. It's never a bad choice. You can never regret taking that time and serving the Lord. Only good will come from it.

So remember last week how I told you about Bill Lishman (from Fly Away Home)? Well... we have an appointment this week to teach his tenant. So we'll be going to his very property. I'll keep you posted about how it goes. The guy, Alex, forewarned us they have a blue camel out front. It'll probably be quite an interesting day for us.


This is the brand new library
where we do our P-day emails. Enjoy.
I'm getting my haircut on Wednesday. I had an appointment scheduled for today, but the bishop's wife approached me yesterday in church, asked where we get our hair done, recommended someone to us, and gave me a free haircut card. The day before I paid someone to do the very deed! Great timing, eh? So I switched the appointment around and now I'm going somewhere nice for free on Wednesday. Gotta take care of these lovely locks :) They're getting WAY too long.

I love you very much! I think of you very often, you're always in my prayers. I miss you.

Sister Noker and Cathy (recent convert) playing Jenga.
Each Jenga block has a gospel topic written on it.
Yeah, we get creative out here :)

Sister Hutchings

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reincarnation...

This last WEEK AND A HALF in Bowmanville has been a pretty crazy one, I must admit.

[Editor's note: Because Canadians also celebrate Labour Day (but with a "u" added), Mallory's P-day was moved this week.  And then they had a Zone conference on Tuesday, so she didn't get to write until today - Wednesday.  We're happy we didn't have to deliver that news to Mallory and feel a bit sorry for the person who did.] 

I guess I'll start off impressing you, for what better way to hook you into an email than to impress you?  I've began to RUN. That's right. Maybe I told you this before, but this week I've been running every other day at 6:30 in the morning. Sister Noker sits in the driveway and meditates and I run up and down the long street for about 20 minutes. It's exhilarating. I don't know what's more exhilarating: the running part, or how much one can become an entirely different person in the name of missionary work... who knows? But running is helping to keep me sane out here.

So this week we had a big meeting with all the missionaries in our zone and learned that our zone is going to pilot advertising our services on Kajiji (I'm absolutely sure I spelled that wrong, but it's the Canadian version of Craig's List). It's the first use of internet that we'll be using to further our missionary work in the field, and we're going to test it out. Apparently one companionship is going to monitor the results from the free advertisements for bibles, books of mormon, ESL, Stop Smoking Workshops, bible study groups, etc. Then they'll text it out to the rest of us and we'll check out the Kajiji referrals we receive. Odd, huh? I think it'll be pretty cool. I hope it works out for us.
Rod's house (where we had the pig roast) has
a huge corn field in back.  We had a little
bit of fun back there...

Do you remember the Disney movie Fly Away Home? About the geese, or whatever? Well... that movie was based off the life of a Canadian man named Bill Lishman, who's apparently a millionaire and well known. On Sunday after church, Sister Noker and I went to a REAL, LIVE PIG ROAST (or in this case, a real, DEAD pig roast) in a small town way up north at the houses of one of our recent converts. There were quite a few people there, and we were answering a ton of questions about what missionaries do and whatnot when we heard a loud sound from above our heads. We looked up and there was Bill Lishman flying a homemade contraption above our party!  Apparently he knew some people there, so he landed and joined right on in! I got to meet the guy and learned quite a few things about him (for example, he lives in a fancy schmancy house underground).

There are the most beautiful old houses in Bowmanville.
This is one of my favorites.  I think it was
built in the 1890s or something crazy like that.
A ton of other strange things happened this week: We accidentally dropped by the wrong house and ended up teaching this guy named Mike who had met missionaries before. Mike is from Italy and has a whole lot of life experience. He is a very wealthy, self-made businessman. Part way through our lesson on his front porch, Mike was insistent that I was an "old soul." I thought he was meaning that I had some experience and that I valued old things.... Until he continued by saying that he could tell that I was in my seventh or eighth life.... So apparently I've been reincarnated and this is my eighth time around. That was a strange discussion. He also said "no" when we asked if we could leave him with a word of prayer. Imagine how awkward my response was to that one....

This is the Donut Drive-Thru.
My sanctuary.
We also had a referral to contact. The only means of contacting her was to find her at work. Where did she work? In a drive-thru donut shop. SCORE. We didn't know when she worked, so it was literally hit or miss. Three times this week we just HAD to swing by the donut drive-thru to see if Fathima was working, and HAD to purchase a donut in the name of contacting a new investigator. Yesterday, on our third try, she was working! It was awesome, we got her phone number and address, and hopefully we'll meet her soon. I love donuts.

Apparently food has been a common theme of this week, yesterday we taught a lesson to a man named Mario in his Mexicano Mobile Kitchen. While he was still serving customers off and on. It was a very strange experience. At least we had buckets to sit on, and the sweet smell of burrito to fill our noses. If that doesn't bring the spirit, I don't know what else does!


I caught a frog on the side of the road. 
I know it's small, but I was excited. 
We had a lot of fun this week, which I desperately needed. I truly am beginning to love serving in Bowmanville. The ward is fantastic, and the people are so kind and laid back. We reached the mission standards of excellence in our area this week. Which apparently hasn't been done in a LONG time here. That made us pretty excited. Hopefully we'll be able to make a habit out of it!

The Lord truly has been blessing us a lot this week. I am so grateful, because I needed to feel His hope, support, and guidance in my missionary work again. I truly love serving Him.

HAPPY FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! I love you so much, and I miss you.

Please be safe!

Mall
Sister Hutchings