Monday, April 2, 2012

City snow disposal area

City snow pile

Esplanade Reil foot bridge & resturant

Lumberjacks at Assiniboine Park

Remains of an outdoor hockey rink

Selkirk Bridge

Smokin' Bob's eh?

The Forks

Thin ice on Assiniboine River

Red and Assiniboine River confluence


Greetings from Winnipeg, we have been here four months and enjoying our opportunity to serve as missionaries. The daily contact with the Sr. and young missionaries is wonderful, they are all grand people. We are still learning lots in our daily duties as well as being instructed in our weekly District Meeting. President Paulson told all the missionaries that we should be spending over 50 % of our study time in Preach My Gospel. He said everything we need to know in order to simply teach the Gospel is in that manual. Everyone should be familiar with it.

Last Saturday March 10th, was a pleasant but cold day. We went to the park to walk and make some vitamin D since there was plenty of sun to enjoy. We ran in to two women who saw our missionary tags and began visiting with us. It turns out one woman had had the discussions but said the Branch President wouldn't allow here to be baptized because of her race. She is Mate, half native and half French. I told her that couldn't be and she wandered off into how we weren't Christians etc. Anyway through the conversation we found out there were legitimate reasons for her not being baptized and it wasn't her heritage. I don't think we convinced her about us being Christians because she attends another church and they have swayed her thinking. Our visit was pleasant enough and maybe we will see Ruby again at the park.

We attended Church in a small town called Selkirk which is about 35 miles north of Winnipeg. Selkirk has about 10,000 people and is known for is abundant catfish population. We went there to check a missionary apartment and car. It's one of the jobs we have. While there we were able to watch the ice breaking machines called Amphibex' working on the Red River right at the town bridge. It's really fascinating but watching for any length of time is like watching paint dry eh, it's a very slow process. Check them out on u tube it's worth a look. There were three machines working in tandem making a pass up river then down breaking out the center ice. Just up river from Selkirk were many (?) ice fisherman out on the ice with trucks, snowmobiles and ice fishing shanty's. I think there days on the ice are numbered because here in the city the rivers are showing thin spots and even open water in places. On the way back we saw snowmobilers riding alongside the 4 lane road in the wide ditch line at a brisk pace.

On Monday the temperature began to warm up and is still climbing. The last several days have been in the mid 50's F so spring has sprung here and the snow is almost gone. Just a few piles here and there. Lots of potholes and sand on the streets. It's amazing to see all the dead grass appear as well as all the trash and leaves from last fall that were buried under the snow all winter. I saw my first tank top today although most people are still wearing boots and a light jacket. In one week it has gone from being in the mid 20's F to nearly 70F. Crazy weather.

I have been waiting to transfer money from our US account to our Canadian but the exchange rate is not the best. The rate seems to be tied to world unrest and hasn't gone up even though there is lots of talk about the US economy improving. We watch the news most nights on the computer trying to keep up with what's happening in "the states". There always seems to be a problem everywhere we are located overseas. The Republican primary race is quite interesting as well.

We had a chance to go with our Ward and work an evening ( March 1st) at the Salome Mission in downtown Winnipeg. It occurs four times per year. Last time we cut up heads of lettuce, this time it was mounds and buckets full of sweet potatoes. Mom raised her hand to help serve and I kept cutting. After cutting I got to peel even more sweet potatoes then I manned a broom and swept the kitchen for awhile. Finally we helped mop the floor and wipe down tables and chairs. It was a good evening and when we left for the night it was snowing.

Yesterday (Saturday March 17th) on "P" day Mom and I went to "The Forks" located at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. We went to check it out, walk along the river and see the sights and make vitamin D. It was once where early settlers and the Indians meet, lived, traded etc. Now it's a big park where people come and mingle, eat and see the history of the area. In winter there is ice skating on the river and in summer lots of grass for playing as well as a skateboard park. I was in hopes when we went we would see the ice breakup on the river. I may have mentioned before that the video of last year's event was spectacular. It has been very warm here (68F today) and the ice has melted quickly with lots of open water showing and no ice breakup to see. Maybe next year. Also motorcycles have appeared overnight and there are lots of them on the road to comingle with the potholes and jaywalkers.

That's all for now. Take care eh. Love Dad.

Ice Breakers

Elder Paulson & Elder Basting

Shoveling snow at the mission office

Ice fishing

Hello from Canada.  We have so much to tell you.  I will start with the most tremendous news first.  We taught our first discussion Monday evening.  It was one of the most wonderful experiences of our life.  This is how it came about.  At church there is a young woman who comes.  She is a member.  Her husband often accompanies here.  He is a terrific man.  He is not a member but was raised Catholic so he has very strong family values and a good understanding generally.  They have 4 children.  One is a firefighter/paramedic, he lives in Thompson.  The next child is a daughter, she is studying to become a doctor, and is attending BYU.  Their third is attending University here as a freshman.  And they have a bonus baby, a young deacon.  Dad is a farmer.  They have 1800 acres in the rural area of Oak Bank.  They met at a BYU volleyball game where she was attending and he was playing on the U of Manitoba's men's volleyball team.  He looks like Tom Selleck (Magnum, P.I.) only thinner.  They have been married for 24 years now.  She kindly said to him, "I am not pushing you, but I would like to prepare to attend the Temple (3 of their children are of marriageable or mission age) so I can attend with our children.  She asked him if he would mind or did he want her to wait for him?  He said "wait" and the next day she asked us to come and begin the discussions.  We were thrilled, more then  I can explain.  Dad was cool and calm.  I got really nervous just thinking how much this means to her and their 4 children.  So I couldn't sleep Sunday night.  Monday we drove out there, about a 1 hour drive.  It was slow starting.  Then we explained that we had never done this before and were a little nervous.  He said great!  That makes me feel better.  Things picked up from there.  We are invited back.  The next discussion is on the Plan of Happiness.  I am excited all over again.  Hope I can sleep. 

A new to our ward sister, bore her testimony Sunday.  When the missionaries knocked on her door she smoked, drank coffee, tea & alcohol and was living with a common-law husband.  She listened and the lessons rang true to her.  Then the missionaries taught the lesson on the word of wisdom but instead of being defensive she accepted that too.  She was taking chemotherapy and her doctor had just told her to quit drinking coffee (I did not know this) because 1 cup will deplete your body of 5 cups water.  Apparently chemo contains dehydrating chemicals and the combination can prove deadly.  It never ceases to fill my heart when modern science proves something we received from a prophet 179 years ago!  "We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet"! 

There are some people who think they can drink decaf and be alright.  Then I mentioned to one, did you know that the 4 chemicals they use to cut the caffeine are all cancer causing?  Yep, follow the prophet.

We had 2 baptisms last Saturday. We meaning the mission here.  Zin Xavier Yu, another college student and Nadon Huntinghawk, a young boy, 9 years old.  It was a wonderful baptism.  I could see the back of Xavier's head and he never quit smiling.  I met him afterwards and tried my knowledge of Chinese on him.  Nin hao, welcome my brother.  He said something in Chinese thinking I spoke it well, C: and I am glad to meet you my sister.  I received 2 more referrals in the office from Chinese immigrants.  One had an attachment on it that said "Hurray, please save my people!"  I wish I knew how this is going to work but the Lord knows and these wonderfully humble people are going to get their chance!  I also filled 2 orders for Books of Mormon in Amharic (Ethiopian) and Tagalog (Filipino).  This is very exciting work.   FYI, our office has the Book of Mormon in 64 languages.

Our FBI agent (retired) Institute teacher and his wife gave a great fireside on repentance.   He mentioned, in an analogy, that they had U2 planes that flew at 13,000 Kilometers over L.A. on special reconnaissance.  From that height he could hold up 4 fingers and they could be counted.  He also said that the plane could register his body temperature and that of each person in the car they were following and the building they entered.  Wow,  someone needs to ask DeLewis if he flew any of those missions being stationed at Lancaster.  I think we might be wowed at the technology we know nothing about. 

We also attended a special meeting:  Dad went to the High Priest meeting and I went to the Relief Society meeting.  In this meeting the Stake President told us that the Church has changed the wording of our 3 goals:  Perfect the Saints:  Redeem the Dead: and Preach the Gospel through missionary work.  Have any of you heard this?  1.  Gathering Israel through Missionary Work;  2.  Enabling Salvation for the Dead;  3.  Helping members live the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and a new one:  4.  Caring for the Poor and Needy.  Tell me what you have heard?  I can't wait for General Conference, this should be a topic of discussion.  One sad thing in Canada, their are no Bishop's storehouses, no dry packers and no source to get the food storage like we have in the States.  If there is any one thing I hope you are doing after building your individual testimonies of Jesus Christ and teaching your children, it is get prepared.  Put in food and water storage a little at a time so it doesn't drain the budget, but be steady at it.  There is counsel to store that which you could at least survive on because storing food to eat like we do every day now would be impossible.  We love you all so much.  Thank you for your prayers, emails, skypes and mail.  Thank you Kase, Grant and Molly for the valentines!  

xoxoxoxoxo Grandma and Grandpa

P.S.  Thank you for all the birthday greetings.  I was really spoiled on my birthday.  Plus the Assistants sang to me.  I love these elders.  I get so touched when we come into the office and from upstairs where the assistants live you can hear them singing before their companion study.  These are choice young men!  Even if one of them commented of my inheriting the blue winter coat from the "Blueberry" who had it before.  He decided to call me Mama Smurf, I don't understand?  He still calls me Sister though.

Elder Skinner shinning dad's shoes before transfers

Nadon Huntinghawk


Xin Yu