Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday February 14th Mom and I will have been on our mission for three whole months. We are busy so time moves along. I commented to our Stake President that his blessing me with a happy heart has come to pass. I have been very happy serving here in Winnipeg as has your Mum. Our assignment (searching for lost members) has been interesting and has taken us over a large portion of the Northeast side of Winnipeg in some interesting winter weather. We have found that lots of people have moved and that the people that do answer the door have been friendly. Only one man was certain he didn't want us to stop by again and a couple of folks on the phone were a little grumpy.

We are still in training for our new jobs in the mission office. Next week is a transfer week and is always busy getting things ready for the new missionary arrivals on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday is transfer day and usually about 40 missionaries are at transfer to pick up new companions, trade vehicles etc. It's always great fun to watch all the hugging, back slapping and general good will among the Elders and Sisters. Last transfer one Elder was so happy to see an old companion, one had the other by the foot and made him hop all around over the snow covered parking lot. Both were laughing and having a good time. The planning that goes into the transfer is complicated since missionaries come from as far as the upper reaches of Saskatchewan and from Ontario and a chunk of Minnesota depending on who goes where. Lots of miles and distance to cover. There seems to be several vehicles accidents per month. It usually involves slick roads and fender benders. Many of our missionaries are new to snow covered roads but to their credit most accidents have been other drivers denting mission cars. Several have learned you don't park across from a driveway, it's almost certain your car will be hit by someone backing out onto the street. One older woman backed out of her driveway and down the street accidently hitting a mission car. She wound up on a neighbor's lawn after it all was said and done.

We have had mild weather most of the last two weeks with no new snow. Last Saturday was very mild and as Mom said we went to a local park for some sunshine and fresh air. It was a delightful afternoon. Last night on the way back from our area we stopped at the Manitoba parliament building for a walkabout. The building was impressive and in the legislative chamber there was a statue of Moses with the ten commandments. Hurrah for our Canadian brethren! From the front steps you can see toward downtown and with the lights reflecting off the snow it was beautiful. This month the city sponsors an ice sculpture festival called the Festival du Voyageur. Check it out on the internet. They usually use local snow from around town which is packed into large square blocks about 12 feet high by 10 feet square. The blocks of snow are set about town and snow carvers set to and carve some pretty nifty stuff. Since there is very little snow it has to be manmade and trucked in. We have only seen a few sculptures but hope to go to an area in town where many will be on display.

In our travels around the city we have seen some pretty impressive churches. Many are large domed structures that are Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Serbian Orthodox and others. They are very impressive buildings. Looking at the city map we can see there are many more to find and check out when the weather improves. Today the high temperature was at 8 AM when it reached 17 F. It steadily got colder as the day wore on and 10:30 PM it is -7F. I can't wait to go out in the morning to start the car, to say the least it will be refreshing. (next day) I did go out and start the car and it was more than refreshing. A -14 F to start the day. It warmed up to 4F and was -3F when we got home at 5 PM. Brrrrr!

I may have told you about the driving hazards around town. With some snow still on the streets in shaded areas the traffic medians are a bit hard to see since the dirty snow blends them in nicely with the dirty streets especially at night. Well it happened this way. We left the Parliament Building and I was driving down a one way street and there was this divider I didn't see. Mom did but too late. The race car made it up and over the concrete divider with very little effort. There was however some crashing and grinding noises but we kept right on going. Checked her out at the gas station and all was OK. I proudly thought if I only had a lift kit I would be unstoppable.

An interesting story from a man we have met while serving in our ward. He told us that he joined the church 30 plus years ago. A friend explained the gospel to him and he was baptized without the usual process of meeting with the missionaries and hearing the discussions. He said his life was changed and he needed to make some additional changes as well. He used to fish a lot with his dad and others on Saturday and Sundays. He finally told his dad he could no longer fish on Sunday and the upcoming Sunday was General Conference. His dad asked what was so important about conference and his son told him it was because the Prophet was speaking. The dad was non-religious but seemed OK with what his son wanted to do, so afterwards he asked his son "what did the prophet say"? It gave the son an opportunity to explain what the Prophet had said in that conference and every other conference until his dad died. So my question was did the dad join the Church and the answer was no but he was very supportive of his son and family. I think it was interesting that the dad accepted his sons life change and supported him and was curious what the Prophet had said. Father and son remained close until the Dad passed away.

Mom and I love you all. Hope you are having a good week. Love Dad.

PS. ink freezes in our pens here, they need to be kept warm

 Ukranian Catholic Church

 Holy Trinity Cathedral

 The snowpile at Safeway

Our apartment building on Queen Street (look for the red dot)

Serbian Orthodox Church

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