Thursday, November 12, 2015

Diversity is the spice of life

After spending a few months in Regina, Brendan is off to the "peg", Winnipeg that is.  He has spent a lot of his time serving in the YSA Wards and as a Zone Leader.  With this transfer to Winnipeg, about the only thing that will change is the place.  Brendan will still be serving in the YSA Wards and will still be a Zone Leader.  One interesting thing however, is that in both Regina and now in Winnipeg, he is serving with two other fellow PGers.  Elder Merrell, Sister Alder and Brendan were all friends at one time or another during high school and now they are serving the Lord in the Winnipeg, Canada mission.      

According to Brendan, there have been several miracles that have taken place in the last few weeks in the Regina area.  The most important of which are the baptisms of two young men who have been taking the lessons from the missionaries for the past couple of months.  Besides the fact that they have chosen to join the church, their names are what makes them unique among new members of the church.  I won't mention their names here but just know that with names like theirs, they were definitely destined to do great things.  The other great miracle, although this one somewhat pales in comparison to the previous miracle, is that Brendan and his companion have too many dinner appointments.  That may not seem like much of a miracle to you, but to a missionary it is a wonderful thing.  Well, at least to Brendan anyway.  He told us that while he was serving in some of the smaller areas, it was difficult to get dinner appointments.  But in the bigger cities and the more established Wards, dinner appointments seem to come a little easier.  Another reason why dinner appointments are so plentiful is because of the time of year.  Unlike the U.S. who celebrate Thanksgiving in November, the Canadians celebrate it in October.  Brendan told us that there have been some nights when they have had two dinner appointments and at least one night when they had three.  In fact Brendan said that during a recent dinner appointment with his Stake President who is from France, there were also two investigators from Nigeria, another man and his wife from Mexico, a young person from Iraq who had spent 9 years in a refugee camp and then the two missionaries from the U.S.  As Brendan would put it, Canada is the real melting pot of North America.  

Have you ever heard a missionary give you the "play by play" rendition of how thing are going?  Well, here is the play by play as given by Elder Nicholes in a recent letter home:

"Well well well, here we are again with another edition of random spattering of typos and broken thoughts somewhere racing in my mind as I watch terrible parenting here at the local library. I'm glad you could join us this evening and I hope you don't enjoy your stay.

But this week was a wiz(ard) I don't know why I added that last part. But anyways, moving on. Lets talk baseball. The Jays are killing it in the Playoffs and Canada is going nuts for it. On to hockey, the jets are off to a good start and the city of Winnipeg is ringing with the chant of GO JETS GO. GO JETS GO. GO JETS GO. I like it. On to Canada Winnipeg P-day activity, volleyball. I spiked the ball into a Sisters face today. I don't think we will be playing volleyball any more..."
 Speaking of play by plays and other funny stories, a couple of weeks ago Brendan told us about his new found love for Asian food and how a white kid from Utah impressed the presiding matron of a local Asian family.  Here is the story because Brendan tells it better:

"Well, I want to start by gloating. Yeah, it was good. In Regina I ate a lot with a member family from Vietnam and they taught me to eat with chopsticks and I started getting really good with them. Well as good as a white kid from Utah can get with chop sticks but that is beside the point. Here is why. Elder Gottenbos and I went to a member's apartment who is from China. And they made us Kimchi. AND SINCE I CAME OUT, I LOVE KIMCHI! I love Asian food so much. Like I never had real authentic Asian food till I came to Canada. Where you go to any Asian restaurant and you know it is the real deal. But anyways back to the point. They asked me if I wanted to use chopsticks or a fork. I said Chopsticks and they said the thing they always say... "you sure?" I said yes. They bring them out reluctantly and I start eating the kimchi with them and then the mom who speaks no english what so ever says something in chinese. I look at her son and he says "she just said that you are really good with chopsticks" BAM SEAL OF APPROVAL. That is all. My ego is at all power."
OK, now that Brendan has impressed the Asians with his crazy chopstick skills, it is on to impressing the East Indians with the game of cricket.  Here is how he did that:

"Moving on to my next gloatworthy thing. We were out walking by the university doing some contacting and there were a bunch of East Indians with these boxes and stuff. When I looked a little closer, they had a cricket stick. I WAS SO DOWN! Every night in Regina I would see these East Indians playing cricket by some apartments and one time we went to go join them but we didn't end up actually playing. They just taught us how to play. And So I wasn't letting this chance go by. I yelled out to them and they immediately invited us to play. AND IT WAS AMAZING! Seriously the funnest game ever. And super good way to contact. Me and Elder Bos made a good team I'll tell you what, he was an incredible baller (pitcher) and I was killing it on the hits and fielding. We ended up beating the other team. It was so fun!! Dreams really do come true."
This month's letters from Brendan just keep getting better and better.  Not only were the baptisms, impressing the chinese family with crazy chopstick skills and then playing a mean game of cricket isn't enough, just wait until you hear what's next.  So Brendan and his companion get a call from the assistants telling them that some visitors from Salt Lake will be coming to the Winnipeg area during the next week.  But these visitors aren't just anybody, no they are the people that actually wrote the "Preach My Gospel" manual.  If you aren't family with the "Preach My Gospel" manual, it is the manual that all of the missionaries throughout the world use when teaching the Gospel to people who are interested in knowing more about the LDS church.  In addition to visiting the area, they want to accompany Brendan and his companion during some teaching appointments to see how the missionaries are using the manual.  The assistants told Brendan that he and his companion needed to have three solid appointments for the next Tuesday night.  If you have ever served a mission, you probably know that many appointments fall through.  So making sure that you have three solid appointments, can be tough.  Brendan told us that this assignment really put the pressure on them to set up appointments.  So they literally just started asking anybody on the street if they were free on Tuesday night.  As it turned out, just asking people if they are free wasn't a half bad contacting approach.  Tuesday night finally came and here is how it went:

"This week was actually pretty great. We had some interesting things happen that made it great. If you read my email last week you would know that we were getting a surprise visit from some people from the mission department of the church and that they were going to go on splits with us. Well, turns out it wasn't just anyone from the mission department. IT WAS THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, and we were in a tri-pan with him all Tuesday night. And I have no idea why I fretted about it, haha, it was the best! He took us out to Applebee's for all you can eat ribs and then we had a couple appointments set up for that evening that he came a long with. And at one point we were going through the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with one of our investigators and Brother Wade starts going through it and giving all this detailed background on things in the pamphlet and that's when I realized, "My investigator is going through the pamphlet with the person who WROTE the pamphlet." Blew my mind. But it was super neat. Later he gave us all the little details on Preach My Gospel and how it is used in all the missions around the world. It was a really a super fun night. Love that guy. We are best friends now. haha"
Over the last few weeks Brendan seems to have talked a lot about the diversity of people who live in Canada.  Just this last week Brendan told us that his teaching pool is currently made up of people from Korea, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, China, India, Mexico, United States and Australian Aborigine.  Brendan is now a connoisseur of authentic Asian food and to our surprise, really likes spicy hot food.  Which is funny because he wouldn't touch the stuff before his mission.  Needless to say, things are going great in the Winnipeg, Canada mission and especially in the YSA Wards where Brendan is serving.

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