Sunday, September 11, 2016

Traveling the mission

So here we go.  I have kind of slacked off a little bit over the last month or so with this blog so I will try to catch up now.  And there is a lot of catching up to do.  As you can probably guess, things are still rolling along for Brendan.  He is still serving as one of the Assistants to the President and is loving every minute.  Several weeks ago he emailed us to tell us just how busy he and his companion have been.  In fact they have been so busy with just taking care of the administration of the mission that they have had little time to actually do any proselyting.  But that is where the miracles come in.  Just as Brendan was talking about how they haven't had time to teach any lessons or find new investigators, some people show up at church that he had never seen before.  Then just a few days later, one of the members of the ward invited Brendan and his companion over for dinner and introduced them to another great family that is interested in learning more about the Gospel.  So even though their missionary work has taken Brendan and his companion away from actually teaching, the Lord has blessed them with opportunities to teach.  Teaching is just one of the things that Brendan really loves about his mission.  So it is a wonderful blessing from the Lord to have teaching opportunities given to them when they are having to spend most of their time serving in other ways.

I think I mentioned before that Brendan will often throw down "Brendan's Words of Wisdom" and new challenges in his emails home.  Here is one of his latest inspirations:
"Can I just say how much I love the children of God. People are great. Like amazing. We carry in our truck a pack of 40 granola bars at all times to give out to homeless people here. Surprisingly there are a lot, Winnipeg, probably the worst place in the world to be homeless. -50 and homeless do not go to together well.
But anyways, we always stop at red lights and they walk up to car and we give them so food and what ever change we have and just chit chat with them till the lights go green. And you know what, that is some of the most refreshing parts of the day. Just to have the opportunity to make someone smile. I in no way share this to put us on a pedestal, I mean they are granola bars for goodness sake. but I say it to issue a challenge.
I have come to find that happiness, and I mean honest to goodness happiness, is only found through loving others. Don't agree? Try it. We all know people who are just ecstatically happy even through trying times. Think of those people and think about the way they go about. I will bet you anything that they spend a large majority of their time thinking of others and serving others. So try it. Give happiness a chance.
Doesn't mean you need to put granola bars in your car or even do anything big. Just try everyday to put a smile on at least one persons face. And then the next day make it two and before you know it, it will be a habit. A habit of happiness. Think of that."
 Several weeks ago, Brendan's mission president sent Brendan and his companion out to visit some of the missionaries that work on the Native Reserves.  Just as a side note, in Canada the reserves are not called "Indian Reserves" or "Reservations".  The appropriate name is Native Reserve.  Anyway, Brendan went on splits with one of his favorite missionaries and within just a few minutes of being in Badgerville (yes, that is the name of the town), they found themselves outside of a wild house party and getting verbally crucified by several drunk people.  Then one thing lead to another and two drunk natives pulled them aside and in one moment they were telling Brendan that he had the most beautiful eyes.  Then the next moment they were crying and apologizing for being drunk in front of God's messengers.  Then they were bowing to Brendan and crowned him the "King of Badgerville".  So Brendan is now the new King.  Brendan went on to describe a little bit more about what the reserves look like.  A lot of wild dogs running around and some of them have rabies and other diseases.  Not the most wonderful living conditions.  But none the less, there are still a lot of great people who are looking for something better.  Unfortunately, being the King of Badgerville did not turn out to be as great as it sounds.  Brendan wrote us a few weeks later and said that he no longer wanted to be the King of Badgerville.  It turned out that one of the drunk natives that he met that evening and who gave him that title, was later murdered on the reserve.  There are a lot of God's children that live in terrible conditions around the world.  It just makes Brendan's previous challenge even more important for everyone of us.

Ok, on to a story that is typical missionary type of funny.  Brendan told us about how he and some of his former companions went to the temple to witness the sealing of a wonderful family.  But just as they got to the temple, one of Brendan's companions discovered that he had forgotten his temple recommend.  Luckily they were able to get in touch with the mission president and get that worked out.  But here comes the funny part.  They were all in the changing room and Brendan could hear his companion in the next stall struggling with his clothing.  Come to find out that his companion no longer fit into his white pants.  So the next thing you know, Brendan and his companion are exchanging pants underneath the wall of the stall.  But the problem is that Brendan is quite a bit taller than his companion.  The pants fit around his waist but, as you can imagine, they really didn't fit in the length.  Since they really didn't have any time to spare before the session started, Brendan ended up wearing a pair of white pants that hardly reached his upper calf.  Brendan said that he looked like Mr. Bean (if you know who that is you now have a great image in your mind), walking around the temple.  But the temple session went great and the family is now sealed for time and all eternity.

As you know, Brendan loves to throw random thoughts into his emails.  Here is another one:

"I am struggling through a common cold that causes me to feel as though I am swallowing a cheese grater every time I breath. But that is OK. Just wishing I still had mom's random and possibly contraband drawer of home remedies that some how placebo-ed me out of sickness. But yeah know, I will just resort to drinking so much water that you can call me Nile. Cause that's how much I'm flowing. hah

But I bought an entire rotisserie chicken this week for like 7 bucks and it has been one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done. I mean, it's a whole chicken. Right there. cooked and ready to go. That's what life is about."
And another random thought from another email.  Enjoy!!

"K, I am just sitting here and have to say something. So when you think of a big city you think of sirens. Sirens are always going off always. Cop sirens, fire sirens, ambulance sirens. But usually that is reserved for huge cities. Now don't get me wrong, my booming metropolis of Winnipeg, Canada (800,000 peeps) is Huge... but you usually think bigger. 

Well, I kid you not, if you go 15 minutes with out hearing a siren go off, it is a miracle. They are just a blazing. Always ambulances. Like I don't know if it is free health care here that causes it, but people call sirens here to pick them up for anything. You're done with work and too lazy to walk home, don't call a cab, call an ambulance. Much faster. haha, its crazy. Helped some guy call an ambulance a couple days ago and literally he was simply having a small asthma attack. we tried telling him that he will be OK he just needs to use his inhaler and wait it out, but the man was demanding we call him an ambulance. 

Actually in the last two weeks we have got ambulances for two people. They should practically just hire us as dispatchers. People out here in the Peg just dropping like flies. You hear these things going off daily. Oh, and the worst part... NIGHTLY!"

You probably got this idea from things that have been previously mentioned on this blog but a big part of being an assistant to the president is having to do a lot of traveling all over the mission.  The assistants visit a lot of places and see a lot of missionaries.  Recently the Winnipeg mission got a visit from Elder Von G. Keetch of the Seventy.  Part of that visit also included traveling around the mission to visit different areas.  Brendan had the opportunity to travel with Elder Keetch.  Brendan told us that the grand total for this trip would be 21 hours of driving and over 2000 kilometers (for the metrically impaired, that is over 1200 miles).  Many of the cities that they went to, Brendan had served in before.  Everything from International Falls, Minnesota to Kindersley.  You probably have no idea where those places are but it is about the same as driving from the Great Lakes in Minnesota to somewhere around Denver, Colorado and then back again.  Anyway, I mentioned that they had traveled around the mission with Elder Keetch.  During that same time, we got an email from Elder Keetch that included a wonder note about Brendan and a picture of Brendan with Elder Keetch and his wife.  Brendan said that traveling the mission with Elder Keetch was one of the highlights of his mission.  He got to spend some one on one time and have some great discussions with a member of the Seventy.

Brendan sent a bunch of pictures over the last few weeks so are are just a few of them.

 Outside the Temple in Winnipeg

 The Elders of Weaverly Place

 Wear'n the Thuggies

 Road to eternity

 The Aurora Borealis

Members of the deaf branch

Rare opportunity to watch a very minor league baseball game