Sunday, 26 April 2015

Meanwhile, this morning in Saskatoon....

This picture came in just before I taught my Sunday School lesson in Trinidad today. While we waited for the class to gather, I tried to explain what cold felt like. We meet in the kitchen/serving area room, so I said it was kind of like jumping in the little fridge freezer and closing the door.

Thanks to Steven for the photos of Saskatoon today!

It's good to be part of a ward...

Wards or branches are the smallest administrative units of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ward I attend here is well-established and quite large; but there are branches in this mission with as few as two priesthood holders, one being the Branch President and the other the clerk.
Our ward used to meet in a rented building closer to the area it's named after (Curepe), I'm told; but instead we now share a Church-owned building with another unit, Arima Branch. It's a nice big building with no a/c but lots of electric ceiling fans and louvered windows so the breeze can blow through.

The women in Relief Society are friendly and welcoming; a couple of times today in our class, some people got the giggles and the (very experienced, well-prepared) teacher had to rein things in...reminded me of home!

Yesterday I used my "new" (to me) church key for the first time, to open the building and teach piano/keyboard lessons. I forgot my teaching notes at home (!) but remembered the practise pads, other student materials, and especially the Froot Loops, to play "Don't Eat Pete" - I thought it might entertain some of the younger students and help to decide who took turns at the piano. As it was, the game was so fun I think we got a little off track...
Several older students are progressing well; it's encouraging to hear them play; but it also reminds me how long it takes to really become competent at it, even using an accelerated learning method.
Then there's accompanying, which is another separate skill that also takes practise. It's a bit daunting for students sometimes, I think.

Today was a long day at the church; for me, it meant getting a ride so I could bring the requested two pans of brownies I made last night; then teaching Gospel Principles class (another lesson on the Priesthood! just as interesting as the first - I learned a lot - see Chapter 14, Gospel Principles manual on
[After my parents' mission, my Dad said all you really need to know about this Church, is in the Book of Mormon and the Gospel Essentials manual. I agree!]

I've getting to know and love all the different personalities in the ward - "even the stinkers" as my Uncle Blaine used to say about their missionaries...I text and invite various individuals to participate in class, and it's so rewarding when they show up...

After our regular 3 hour block today, all ward members were invited to stay and attend a fireside about the Seminary and Institute program. (Then refreshments! sandwiches, the brownies, and ice cold drinks for a hot day.)
Some students here get up at 4am in order to attend a 6 am class and still be on time for school.... impressive.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

with gratitude, sorry it's overdue

I forgot to say thanks to my brother Keith for sending the vitamins I requested; we are all taking them here, for stamina! Thanks! and also to my cousin Lori for helping with the "I hate my clothes" problem....her fashionista advice was much appreciated. (I hope I no longer look like the "before" photo's on the TV show "What not to wear!")

Grant borrowing someone's bike on a Sunday for a short ride...

Peak spiritual experience today:

I taught Gospel Essentials Chapter 13 re: the Priesthood to a room full of almost all men! There were 9 male ward members ages 28 and up, average age maybe 40; plus two young, male full-time missionaries; also 3 women (one being an investigator attending for the first time).

All those white shirts were a bit overwhelming at first - I felt like I was in the wrong meeting!

Sacrament meeting was great but had run late - so in our class first we briefly went over the 5 lesson sections: What is the priesthood?, Why do we need it on the earth, How do men receive the priesthood?, How do men properly use the priesthood? and What blessings come when we use the priesthood properly?

Then we watched the latter part of a video, a Conference talk from Oct. 2012 by Pres. Uchtdorf called "The Joy of the Priesthood" where he described a couple of airplane experiences. (I love Pres. Uchtdorf's talks! You can search for this one on, it's easy to find.)

I also showed a picture of my late husband Grant on a motorbike...he loved riding "dirt bikes"(off road motorcycles), especially in the mountains, but eventually he sold his bike, and rarely rode anymore...He found he was too busy with family, job and church work to take the time and/or money necessary to continue the sport. His decision to quit biking resonated with the excitement, longing & wistfulness I felt in Pres. Uchtdorf's talk.

The picture shows Grant in a suit - I believe it was a Sunday when one of the kids rode home on a motorbike. Grant hopped on and rode to the end of the road, and back. That was probably the last time he rode.

I know it's not an "either/or" proposition for everyone - but due to circumstances and choices, it was for him - and he showed a great example of using his priesthood in Church service, even though he had to sacrifice some personal pleasure to do so. And as Pres. Uchtdorf described, I know Grant ended up feeling well-rewarded for the service he gave.

Love these gardens!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Top Ten Fun Facts from the mission:

1- You get absolutely sick of the clothes you brought.
2- If you fall asleep in church, the lady sitting next to you might say "good day" very loudly in your ear, to wake you up; then give you a big hug and kiss after the meeting.
3 - There is such a thing as 100% humidity, and it makes rainbows! 101% humidity = very slight drizzle. (This isn't science by the way, just my own made-up version, lol)
4 - Everyone from Trinidad knows someone who lives in Canada. Half of those Canadian residents live in Alberta, the other half live in Toronto. Some have moved from Toronto to Alberta or vice versa.
5 - I love and admire the young full-time missionaries; they are energetic, courageous, hard-working and obedient. I love the senior missionaries too. They are hard-working but sometimes get tired. Then they get up the next day and start all over again. I admire that!
6 - I love the sunsets here. I've started walking at night too just to see them.
7 - I love playing for - and interacting with - the Curepe (my ward) choir. I've found that wherever I've travelled, people who enjoy music are just the nicest!
8 - I love air conditioning. (This after years of avoiding air conditioning).
9 - I love to put ice in my juice/water/almond milk/smoothie. (This after years of no ice).
10 - Did I mention you get sick of your clothes? :-)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Curepe Ward Relief Society self-reliance activity

Here's the bishop frying pholourie (pronounce "puh-lorry) - also yummy! Split peas are soaked, then ground up, then mixed with flour, a little yeast, and spices before frying. Just like at home, the Bishop's wife was in charge of the activity, and he got roped in to help....they both did a great job!

Thanks for all the emails from home!

(and other places) - it's always great to get mail of any kind as a missionary....
This week we had some outstanding Good Friday activities at the church. First the Primary kids made kites from paper and reeds, then flew them...a few of the dads helping out were really, really good kite-flyers! They flew their kites way up high, then made them "dance" and twirl in the sky - really lovely to see. Unfortunately due to it being so bright and sunny outside, I didn't get good pictures...
Then the Relief Society demonstrated how to make some local foods. They did it as a self-reliance activity, so you could learn to make them and/or decide if you wanted to make a business out of it, as the bishop's wife used to do.
Saturday and today I got to watch General Conference on the "big screen" (projected on the wall) down at the Francom's apartment. It was so inspiring! Unlike at home, I didn't even think of falling asleep. It is so rare and precious here to feel that connection to the center of the Church, and see live footage of the Prophet and Apostles giving us direction...
And that Conference Center organ! and the Tabernacle Choir! Such a great couple of days.

Here's spiced, mashed potato filling being put into raised bread dough circles, then folded in half (in an empanada shape) and fried. To eat, you slice it open and put tamarind sauce in the middle. Yummy