Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Have you ever had a really good day and bad day at the same time?  Hard to comprehend as it may be, it happened today.  I will try to explain.  On our way to our area, while driving, we were at a stop light.  Our car was on the inside lane of a 3 lane boulevard, we were first at the light.  We heard a police siren and were trying to look to see which direction he was coming from so we could move appropriately.  The policeman was in an unmarked grey Dodge 6-pack truck coming from the opposite direction.  He went through the red light, his headlights flashing but very hard to see, when he was smashed by a blue SUV.  You know how things turn to slow motion some times?  The collision turned that truck on the slippery road so fast.  I saw the bumper coming right for Jim's window and at the exact height for Jim's upper body and face.  I could only say a fast prayer soliciting protection for him.  There was a small cement median between us.  Somehow, and I know it was by Divine Protection, the truck sheared the light pole right in two.  It went down behind us landing on the hood of a small car.  The cold makes things shatter even more profusely.  We had refuse on our hood and windshield, under the car, all over the lane to our right.  Everyone had seatbelts on.  The young officer was first out of his rig and checked on the other driver who was stunned.  Jim gave the driver and the police officer our phone number and surveyed our car.  We were unscathed.  It is a miracle.  There is no way he could have missed us.  I admit at the point I knew the impact was coming I braced myself and closed my eyes.  When I didn't feel anything I opened my eyes in utter amazement.  How could this be?  Well, I am so glad we were blessed when we were set apart with special protection; plus family prayer that morning.  We are very sad for those vehicles and people involved but at the same time so grateful that we weren't hurt and our old car lives for another day.  We were released from the scene, went to the Church and offered a prayer of gratitude.  Have the days of miracles ceased?  I can answer that one!  NO!

After prayer we went back to work.  Every house we contacted and every person we talked to on the phone turned us away saying they wanted no contact with the Church any more.  It was very depressing.  I was questioning my ability to greet people.  What were we doing  wrong?  We had asked the Spirit to guide and direct our very words because we never want to offend a single soul,  just invite people to come back to Church or to find out if there is some way we can serve or answer questions, etc.  Bad day!  One young woman was so vehement and said please just quit calling me and hung up.  I waited and called back, thinking I was talking to her I tried to explain that we visit everyone on the roles, it is a requirement of the Lord that we check on each other so we can serve and help if needed.  Ends up it was her mother.  I apologized for giving her my speech.  I commented on how angry her daughter was and she concurred saying she had been angry a good while.  I then told her there was only one way to keep anyone from contacting her again.  I explained the process.  But I feel really bad about the whole thing.  There are dozens of people that feel the same way,  I don't get it.  I fear many people join the Church too fast not knowing that they are expected to serve and help others, not just sit and be entertained.  And of course there are those who join without knowing another person and have no one to sit with and feel like an outsider.  Admittedly, that would be really difficult.  Well tomorrow will be another day and we will work harder on our approach.  I would like the chance to explain to people that if it was Christ himself visiting you, He would know the perfect thing to say to you.  We don't know the "perfect" thing to say, but will try to do what He would have us do.  
Well, we still love being missionaries and hopefully tomorrow will just be a good day.  Remember dear family: study, pray, love and serve each other will all your heart.   God will make up for our shortcomings and in Eternity bless us to be a forever family. 

Love you all,
mom, grandma, Sister Basting 

Cold day, eh

This past week has been a new "Winterpeg" experience. We have had about four days of real cold temperatures more typical of a regular Canadian winter eh. At 3 PM Tuesday afternoon it was -14 F but the sun was shining and it was beautiful. Actually it has been that cold all week with nighttime lows near -20 F. Our old car does not like it. It sputters and shutters a bit when starting then runs OK after a few minutes. Every morning I check the temperature so I can tell Mom how many layers to consider. It takes time to put all that stuff on. And just like when you were a little kid, once you are all bundled up that's when you have to go wee. Most amusing. Rex loaned us his Columbia coat he had in Russia and I wear it when it's 15 F or below. Mom has a long down filled coat she acquired from the mission office coat collection which seems to work pretty well for her. The other challenge is getting in the car and belted wearing all that stuff. Coats are bad enough to deal with because they are so bulky but then what to do with hats and gloves. Do you wear them and if you don't where do you put them so you can put them on again before you get out of the car. I told Mom we need "idiot mittens" with a  string that goes up each sleeve and attaches to each glove so you can't lose them. Rex's coat is so thick the hood is always against my head and when I see it in my peripheral vision and I think someone is following me. Just think we get to this again next winter!

Most of our work so far has been finding members of the Ward and confirming addresses. As mentioned before we have found many people who are not at the address the Church has in the Ward directory. Some have been gone for months or years. People who are apartment dwellers move frequently for better housing, jobs or for family reasons. They change cell phones as often as they move so it's rare that anyone will answer a phone call. So when we had a chance to go with Elder Orrego to several teaching appointments we jumped at the chance. It was good to do. It has been our only opportunity to be involved in teaching thus far. The first two appointments were on Tuesday evening. We met with an older man who attends church with his wife every Sunday, but struggles with the Book of Mormon because he is trying to figure it out archeologically. He knows a lot about the Church and hopefully will let the Spirit work on him. Nice older couple. The second appointment was with a Hispanic couple from El Salvador/Guatemala, they are at the beginning of their learning. It's funny to hear a Spanish accent punctuated with eh! At the end of the lesson, the father, Mauricio, wanted us to give his son a blessing. Elder Orrego wanted Mauricio to give the blessing but he resisted a lot. I suggested that Mauricio anoint his son and he agreed to that when I told him I would help him. Elder Oreggo gave the blessing and it turned out really well.

Wednesday evening we went with Elder Orrego again since his new companion won't be with him until Thursday. We visited a couple in their 30's where the wife is the member. We helped teach a lesson on the Restoration. The husband likes the missionaries in their home because he feels the spirit but doesn't recognize it as such. Hopefully in time he will let the spirit work on him too. We challenged him to read from the Book of Mormon every day.

It has snowed here maybe 5 or 6 times since our arrival but only a few inches each time, so there hasn't been a much of an accumulation. However business's with parking lots have their lots cleared occasionally. Safeway has their snow piled and after a snow or two contractors clear the store parking lot at night. Monday night they came in with 3 front end loaders and piled all the snow then Tuesday night they came back with one loader and a truck or two and hauled it off. It's cheap entertainment and we have a grand view of it from our balcony.

Just a couple more things we have discovered. When it's -14 F the baby wipes we keep in the car freeze solid, you cannot even begin to peel the corner up to get one out of the package. The second thing is that your nose hairs freeze. It feels weird to wrinkle your nose, things get stuck in there.  One more thing of interest. Two different families with dogs told us that their dogs don't like to get their feet cold. So while outside doing their doggy things these particular dogs just flop over on their sides when they have had enough. The owners then have to go outside and pick them up and bring them inside. Fortunately they were both small dogs .We have been told we are over the hump for winter, now we coast into spring. Today was Sunday and the temperature rose to 23 F and felt reasonable. It was a about a 40 degree temperature swing in just a day. Mom and I love you all. Dad.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A powdered sugar doughnut?

We are doing good here in Winnipeg. Thursday the temperature was nearly 40 F. Then Friday we were greeted to 4 F. and light snow. Friday night we went to visit a family and while walking up to the house I found myself in a horizontal position rapidly approaching the frozen pavement. Man did I go down like a sack of potatoes. I remember realizing the ground was going to be coming up quick but the landing was a real jolt. I flopped around for a few seconds then slowly got up. Landed on my hip and forearm. I looked like a somebody had rolled me around in the snow and came out looking like a sugar coated donut. Donna did good, she tried not to laugh. After a thorough brushing I looked as good as new but a bit bruised. The hazards of the climate. Today it was -6F and sunny. When it's this cold the car takes a bit to warm up. The transmission oil is so thick the gear shift almost will stay to either the right or left while in neutral. It moves very slowly back to the center position.  It takes about 3-4 miles for it to warm up and act normal. We also plug the car in every night.

We have met one of Donna's second cousins that lives here in the city. He and his wife are retired teachers. They take the months of February and March each year and travel the warmer parts of the U.S. The genealogical connection is that they share a great grandfather. Sometime in the summer they want to take us to meet more of her cousins and see the area where he was raised.

I am in training for my motor pool assignment. I didn't think it would be so complicated. Lots of computer work with way too many reports. If I just had to deal with car inspections, repairs, driver certifications and that kind of stuff it would be much easier. There have been several car accidents of late mostly due to slick roads and narrow streets. One missionary was traveling to fast in a residential area and slide on a corner and crashed into the curb on the other side of the street. When the tire hit the curb the front suspension was pushed back to where the tire was almost rubbing the back of the fender well. With all the suspension parts being replaced and bending the wheel it wound up at $2000.00. The driver was suspended from driving for at least 3 months. Since these young folks have to drive in winter it may be more challenging than at ODF. 



A Catholic Church in the town of Lorett


Flags in downtown Winnipeg

Gail and Mum Gross with Sister Basting

The Red River frozen over

Man-made hills that used to be garbage dumps, good for sledding

We had District meeting yesterday.  We have a new District leader, Elder Vankomen.  What an awesome young man.  He led a good meeting.  He centered the meeting on 6 things that will build our Faith.  This meaning Faith in Christ so we will be good missionaries. 

First, 3 statements from Preach My Gospel  " The doctrines and principles in this chapter will strengthen your faith that the Lord IS preparing people to receive you and the restored gospel.
#2  Seek to strengthen your faith that God is preparing His children to receive the message of the Restoration.  #3 Believe that people who are being prepared to receive the message of the Restoration will be placed in your path."

6 things that will build your Faith:
1-Bear your testimony...this helps you and the investigator or person at the door because they see personal relevance and your sincerity
2-Be obedient...when you are obedient the Lord is bound (D&C 82:10)
3-Be Diligent
4-Combine social & spiritual with door-knocking/visiting.  Be genuine in your interest of every person.  Get to know them by asking questions. 
5-Give everything you have:  talents, skills, be yourself with dignity and with urgency.  Offer to give service
6-Help them recognize you care about them.

There were testimonies given that prove these principles to be true.  I will mention one.  Two Elders in Dryden walked into a Christian Ministry Center that helps the poor and offered to serve.  They were put to work.  They kept coming back to help.  The minister invited them into his office.  This is a man with 2 degrees, his Master's being in Theology.  His said to them you have 2 hours to tell me everything you know about Jesus Christ.  They did.  He said he had never met any young men like them, that they taught him, he learned things he never knew.  He has continued with the discussions, has resigned his ministry and is being baptized in February.  I wonder how he will announce this to his congregation?  wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall there!

These Elders are amazing.  They got to discussing these things and decided that they needed to raise the bar for themselves.  They devised a plan.  They pumped each other up.  Elder Vankomen said, text me (this is allowed between DL & missionaries) when you find a new investigator and I will pass the good news along and it will inspire us all to work harder.  Wow, we left with a tremendous feeling, with a goal of working harder.  It was 4 degrees yesterday and snowing.  They went right to work.  Dad and I went to visit a less active sister who is actually an angel.  Her husband who is only 65 is blind from diabetes, just had his big toe amputated because a worker cut him while trimming his toenail and it wouldn't heal.  He is faithful at coming to Church, but she was offended over 25 years ago and hasn't come since.  She has a great sense of humor, I very much liked her.  We came home and made dinner and then went back again.  It was really cold and still snowing.  I had donned my boots.  As we approached the home we were visiting I heard quite a commotion behind me.  Much to our chagrin dad went down on ice covered cement bricks.  I feared the 2 thumps I heard included his head.  Thankfully, it was a hip then elbow.  Oh, it hurt.  He never let out a squawk though.  We brushed the snow off of him while he make me take an oath that I wouldn't mention this to the people we were visiting.  He is very blessed that nothing is broken, only bruised and very sore.  So I suggested that he join me in my goal not to break a hip on this mission.  I know I'm next, I pray to avoid it.  It is 0 degree today and we have several appointments.  We have concluded there is more than warmth that comes from wearing many layers.  AKA extra cushioning!  We were glad we went to this particular home.  The sister is recovering from surgery and they called her to give her some good news and some bad news.  She goes today to find if she has to have chemotherapy.  Dad and her husband administered to her and it was a special blessing.  We continue to feel the Lord's blessings and are growing in our testimonies and resolve to serve Him all the days of our lives.  What a blessing the Restoration is to the world.  When you stop to think, how things were the same from Adam until the rediscovery of America.  Then look what has happened in the world since the Restoration in 1820: mode of transportation, education, medicine, inventions, etc.  It has mushroomed and has continued to increase since that day.  Unfortunately, Satan always has an evil counter use for about every invention, but his days are numbered and he knows it.  It just galls ya that he has deceived some of the best people I have ever known.  Well, dear family, we love you and pray for you and miss you more than words can express.  Carry on! This is the greatest work(especially your calling to teach your children) and best way of life on earth!


 Donna's 2nd cousin Bill and his wife Carolyn, meeting for the first time!

You've got mail!

Mail headed for Saskatoon

Elder Paulson and Elder Basting checking the tire pressure : )

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Everything is going well here.  We are much more busy now.  We are working in the office, learning that calling.  The rest of the time we spend in our area looking for people.  We found a good sister the other day.  She had not been contacted for a very long time. She seemed geniunely excited we came.   While we were visiting, her dear friend Pollie came to visit.  This lady was a hoot.  She can speak English, French, Russian and Ukrainian.  So she recited the Lord's Prayer in Ukrainian for us and at the end she added:  A men, A men, and for wo men too. 

Hey Kase we found out that a stocking cap is called a toque here.  That is pronounce touk.  That can be your word for the week?  We love the names of streets around here, too.  One of my favorites is Sterling Lyon Street named after a former Premier: Bishop Grandin:  Lagimodiere (Lauge-e- mode-e-a), etc.  Then the names of the ward and branches are:  Brandon, Dalhousie, Dauphin, Gateway, Kenora, London, Portage la Prairie, St. James, Selkirk, Thompson, Warroad, Waverley and Wellington.  Cool huh?

Yesterday after District meeting, we were invited to meet and have lunch with my second cousin that I met through genealogy.  What a wonderful experience!  He was a Phys. Ed/History major and his master's is in school counseling.  He is retired now but still consults with a group that helps to get scholarships for the aboriginal people here.  Australia flew him to Syndey to present a paper on the subject.  His wife Carolyn is also retired but she is the student teacher advisor/counselor/evaluator for the University of Winnipeg.  She takes a limited number of students each year.
They winter in Palm Springs and have a cottage on a big lake here for summer heat relief.  Can't wait for that.  They are delightful people and he is writing a history on part of our family here in Manitoba.  I never knew my grandfather lived here for a time.  They plan to take us to see the family home sometime this summer.  They are well educated people and know a lot about the history of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I hope we have the opportunity to share more together. 

We have been helping prepare for transfers and the arrival of new missionaries.  I had no idea of the time, prayer, planning and money that goes into running a mission.  It is mind boggling!  It was very fun to watch 40 elders greet each other, and sing "Oh Canada!"  They about blew the roof off.  They love each other and have hearty greetings.  Then they share ways they have taught the Plan of Salvation or the Word of Wisdom or some other principle of the Gospel.  Their enthusiasm and faith knows no limits.  They have had 16 baptisms since november and this is a very difficult place to get investigators.  Most come through member or media referrals.  The Church's website is very fruitful.  There are so many divorces, abandonments and dysfunctional families that the Church's views on marriage and family is very attractive to people.  They are looking for peace and commitment.  I guess what people aren't? 

About the pictures:  boxes stacked on our car contain the mail going to just Saskatoon.  Elders looking for mail.  Elder Paulson and Elder Basting checking tire pressure (couldn't resist) and my second cousin Bill Gadsby and his wife Carolyn. 

 Bye for now, love to all.  mom, grandma and Sister Basting

Happy New Year 2012!

Hello and Happy New Year from Canada,

    We had a very pleasant but quiet Christmas.  We ate an afternoon breakfast at the Mission President's home; he being chef.  We have never had ham gravy on Belgium waffles.  It is a rival to sausage gravy on biscuits.  That was Christmas dinner.  Of course we went to Church; that was nice, and Elder Basting was one of the speakers.  After, we talked to our family and saw two families on skype.  Modern technology, isn't it great!
     I have to hand it to Canada for advertising it is a Christian nation.  Everything shuts down for Christmas, and not just 1/2 day but for 24 hours.  They have billboards and school reader boards with Christmas messages.  The Muslim people here don't seem offended by it, everyone is accepting of different races and cultures.  They are very tolerant.  We have been told that there are some places in Canada where it is the law to close all business establishments on the Sabbath.  Wouldn't that be neat in America?   People could worship according to the "dictates of their own conscience" and it would save $$$$ in electricity, gasoline, etc.  What a novel idea! 
     Commenting on Canada's socialized medicine: we met an elderly less active sister.  She is in an assisted living facility.  She was vacuuming and tripped, falling against the couch.  Some how her glasses penetrated her left eye.  The ambulance took her to the hospital.  I guess there was nothing they could do, so they removed the eye, replaced it with a glass eye and sent her home on the bus.  The bus!  I was mortified.  They hustle everyone through hospitals and clinics like so many cattle.  She had an amazing attitude, I have to hand to her for that.
     We have traveled much of this big city.  We have been to 43 addresses.  We have been invited into maybe 10-15 homes, I have lost count.  We have had one mother and son come back to church and one other elderly sister (not the one previously mentioned).  We don't live in our area so it complicates how long in a day you stay out if you want to eat.  Petrol has gone up, it is somewhere over $4.40 a gallon but no matter.  Even if the people visited are not interested, they have been very nice and polite.  Sister Paulson and I went on a service project Friday.  Her Bishop asked her to help a Native Sister who lives in a very poor area.  She is a hoarder which is only one of her mental challenges.  She suffers from some form of anxiety and becomes volatile without warning.  We tried to help clean.  I offended her by putting on gloves.  I calmed her by telling her that I have eczema and break out from certain chemicals, etc., (which is the truth).  But that wasn't why I gloved up in her one room apartment.  I got to clean up the mouse droppings I could reach.  We emptied 4 or 5 loads of garbage and helped do one load of 15 waiting piles of laundry before she couldn't take it anymore.  I felt sorry for her plight and the fact that her 3 children and all grandchildren, she never said how many, were all in the grave.  But I didn't deal to well with her outbursts towards Sister Paulson, so we departed.   Sister Paulson was much relieved to find her Acura still in tact with no missing parts or damage.  We were just thankful for God's protection.  Although, I have never felt in danger or the least bit threatened, she was warned of this particular area.  By the by Elder Basting & Paulson were working in the office that day, preparing for transfers coming this week.  That is why our protectors weren't with us.  4 people would never have fit in there any way.  Oh, this is funny, well kind of.  Elder Basting and I climb stairs and walk the hallways in our building for exercise.  One morning we were crossing the ground floor.  There was a group of older people sitting in the foyer waiting to depart.  One older gentleman said (when he could finally see us well enough)  "I thought we were being invaded by big bikers."  I said no, "big is right, but Americans not bikers."  We walked on giggling and thinking, we have got to lose weight!  We are scaring old people. 
     I think we told you before that this mission is the largest in the world, bigger than the state of Texas.  Our ward is also very large, but I can't tell you how many square miles.  We visited a member farm that was a 96 mile round trip.  What fabulous people!  Out there the roads are made on the square mile.  They can get snowed in but he has a snow blower of his own to clean their driveway.  They are our Gospel Doctrine teachers and ward missionaries.  Lots of people wear more than one hat up here.  There are just not enough committed people to share the work.  We visited another Filipino family.  They are endowed with great musical talent and marvelous senses of humor.  By the time we left, we had been serenaded with piano and song, ukulele and song and guitar and "I am a Child of God."  They said they felt blessed to have a visit from the missionaries; but I can testify that we are the ones that came away uplifted. 
     In Closing for now, I want to share a quote from the Prophet David O. McKay, about the lost sheep, which seems to be the main reason for the first month of our mission, searching these wonderful people out and inviting them to come back...."Sheep go where grass is.  It seems apparent that the sheep in the parable was not lost through willful disobedience or careless neglect; it simply strayed away in search of greener pastures and soon was lost.  I ask you tonight, how did that sheep get lost?  He was not rebellious.  If you follow the comparison, the lamb was seeking its livelihood in a perfectly legitimate manner, but either stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, it followed the enticement of the field, the prospect of better grass until it got out beyond the fold and was lost.  So we have those in the Church...who wander away from the fold in perfectly legitimate ways.  They are seeking success, success in business, success in their professions, and before long they become disinterested in Church and finally disconnected from the fold;  they have lost track of what true success is, perhaps stupidly, perhaps unconsciously, in some cases, perhaps willingly.  They are blind to what constitutes true success."
     Well dear family, I will sign off now.  We love you, we pray for your well being, health and everything  that Heavenly Father knows you are in need of.  I know you invite your friends to learn of the Restoration and the blessings of living the commandments.  I know you strengthen each other and your friends.  I also know you reach out to the lost sheep.  May God bless you as you live the commandments and reap the joy of raising your children in the Lord.  That is where is greatest joy comes from.  We miss you but feel our Heavenly Fathers strength as we try to lift others.  Happy New Year.  I hope you set realistic goals and in them find success and peace.

 All my love, Mom, Grandma, Sister B.

A Few Photos

English & French

London Ward Building

Mission Home

Mission Home Dedication Plaque