This past month our whole family spent some time in Canada. Obviously, Brendan was in Regina, Saskatchewan serving as a missionary and the rest of us were in Edmonton, Alberta. We were their touring Brendan's sister's mission who returned home from her mission just two days before Brendan went into the MTC. In Canada there is a Dunkin Donuts like store on every corner called Tim Horton's. The missionaries like to go there occasionally to get hot chocolate and pastries. While we were in Edmonton visiting many of the people that our daughter knew and taught, we received this rant from Brendan about Tim Horton's in his weekly email:
"So I don't know what it is like in the rest of Canada, but here in SK, Timmy Hortons has been advertising the socks off of their new creamy chocolate chill. And it looks so good! And so this has been the week of the lunch (aka dropped appointments, for those non missionaries) we were discouraged. So we were so hyped to get our CCC on! Honestly, I think I was just sold on the alliteration. It is so catchy. say it, Creamy Chocolate Chill. Creamy chocolate chill. Well IT'S GARBAGE!! straight up nesquik powder blended with some ice. I'm mad. I HATE TIM HORTON!!!!"So just to spite Brendan and since we were in Canada, his brother had to stop by Tim Horton's to get a "Creamy Chocolate Chill". We all gave it a try and it turned out to be one of those things that you either loved or hated. I was on Brendan's side and didn't really care for it. However, his brother just couldn't get enough of the CCC. Everyday thereafter, he had to stop by the nearest Tim Horton's (which was usually on the next street corner) and buy another CCC. We lost count of how many CCCs Brendan's brother consumed while we were touring around the Alberta area. But at least we felt like we were somehow sharing a moment with Brendan even though were were hundreds of miles apart.
For Brendan, the disappointment of the Tim Horton's CCC just seemed to continue that week. Brendan told us that every day they had a bunch of appointments with investigators and were ready to really do a lot of teaching. But each and every day, all of their appointments fell through. Then on top of that, Brendan told us that they were targeted in a "hate crime". Luckily nothing happened to the missionaries personally but someone did key their car rather severely and carved some rather crude and vulgar things into the side of it. So their day turned from being ready to teach, to having no one to teach and finally spending the day with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) sorting out the whole car issue. But just when it seems that all was lost, a miracle happened. Brendan and his companion were able to meet with one of their investigators and set a baptismal date. From the way that Brendan put it in his email home, that one appointment made up for the whole day and probably the whole week.
So the craziness of missionary work continues. Brendan told us last week that it was time for transfers again and he had a feeling that his companion was going to be one of the new assistants to the president in the mission. Well, his feeling turned out to be true which also meant that Brendan's companion was going to have to leave a few days early for Winnipeg to get started with his new responsibilities. This left Brendan as the lone zone leaders in the area which meant that he was going to have to take care of transfers by himself. From what Brendan said, there is a lot more to transfers than just missionaries moving from one place to another. As the zone leader, he has to keep track of the phones, car keys and answer any questions that the transferring missionaries might have. He said that it is truly a three day event that he will be doing by himself. Hey, welcome to missionary work. Sometimes, if not most of the time, things just don't go the way you planned.
Brendan included a little "Aha" moment in one of his most recent letters home. This is what he said:
"It's incredible what changes you can make when you spend all day every day trying to be Christ-like. Linda K. Burton had a quote last conference that has changed my life forever. It says "When was the last time you chose to be happy rather than being 'right'." I have taken that to heart and it has made all the difference for me. Me and Elder Joncas were not similar AT ALL. We honestly had no compatibility, yet we became the greatest of friends. Why? Because we were both striving to be like Christ. It's that simple. I love it. Just thought I would let my family and friends know that. I know you can't imagine a Brendan without imagining him always trying to be right, but I'm pleased to say that I'm changing. And I blame the Atonement. once again. I'm not perfect. I still have sassy remarks come to my head that I have to bite my tongue to keep from escaping, but I'm getting better. I'm a recovering know-it-all and you can too."