Wow!! So, there is a bit of pride in me that doesn't like to lose. Mom always told me, growing up, that if I put my mind to something I could achieve it. So, we put our mind to it and did it this week.
It was a mission wide challenge week. Elder Ballard invited us back in November to "Wake up!" So the leadership council in the mission decided to have a mission wide challenge week. So the night before, between 8:30-9, we would get a voice mail with the challenges for the next day. Then we would plan accordingly and work our hardest to get them done the next day. The prizes were... for the winning companionship - a posh dinner with President and Sister Leppard. For the winning district - matching hoodies and attending the zone pday. For the winning zone - they get a zone pday. The last zone pday happened before I came to the mission and there hasn't been one since. So, it was an awesome incentive.
Monday... We were to have a member pray about a street and go tract it, find one potential before pday ended, and then email someone you haven't in a while. We did it!! I got to write Belynda, Andy's wife, and I got the sweetest response :) We also had dinner and family home evening with a family from Finland. It was way fun - such a sweet family.
Tuesday we had to get 7 selfies with people, 2 new investigators, write and deliver one letter to a member of the ward council and get 4 potentials. We went finding and prayed so hard for help. I wasn't feeling well, but we had some cool lessons and ended up finding three new investigators!! The Spirit was there, guiding us to people. It was such a blessing and it felt so good to be able to get everything done!! At coordination, they realized that my time as a missionary is coming to an end and they signed me up to speak, a 15-20 minute talk, for my last Sunday..... :/ Oh well, it should be fun. I have already started to prepare for it.
Wednesday we had service with Joan and Allan. We painted some more - it's always fun and we usually get such good weather when we go :) For the challenge, we needed to get a member present lesson, stop by two new part member families that we hadn't met, and video a dance off we had with a random person. To be honest, the dance was the hardest part. It took ages, we barely finished before we had to go for an appointment. I looked like an idiot, but that's cool - no one is ever seeing that video! We had a sweet family home evening with Connie. It was good and made me think - I love those times :) Oh, and we polished her silver!
Thursday.. We actually had a lot of things planned and we were a bit worried about getting everything done, but we prayed hard and worked hard. We needed to commit 6 people to church, get someone to draw a portrait of us on a pass a long card, do 30 minutes of finding with a member and place 3 copies of the Book of Mormon. We got our pictures drawn on our way to district meeting. To be honest, mine was terrible, but I love it. It was a hard day - the previous days' work was taking a toll on my health and I ended up having a a fever by 1 in the afternoon, so, before we left district meeting, I got a blessing. It was just what I needed - aren't they always?! But we went out and got it all done. We had lessons set up and we were able to invite some of those people. So with the condition of our area (no one was progressing and most people had never been to church), it was good to commit them. We had some cool experiences. Stella's husband hasn't always been a huge fan of the church and we aren't 100% sure what's going on, but we invited Stella to come and to bring her husband. The Spirit came in and we promised her that we would pray for her and him, and she said "next Sunday we will try to come," with a smile on her face. It was a good lesson. We had travel time between that lesson and a dinner/lesson. Wayne was with us so we went finding on the way. Perfect! We had Iranian food and it was so good. We got it all done with the help of Heavenly Father.
When we got the challenges for the next day we were a bit worried. Friday the challenges were to stop by three members and have them write their testimonies in the Book of Mormon and then place it that day, pet 10 cats and put two people on a baptismal date. We had a blank day... nothing planned before we got to planning. So we took it to the Lord and ideas of members to stop by came to mind, more than what we needed (always have a back up). Streets in the areas we were going stood out on the map and we remembered former investigators who lived in the area. We had a packed day. Granted, nothing went exactly to plan, but a few miracles happened. We ended up having to go to our back up plan for the member. Another member was just about to leave the house, so we got both to write. We went out finding in the area, and a lady who we were about to stop, stopped us and was so perfect to give a Book of Mormon to. The Spirit said not to put her on a date, so we didn't, but she is a sweetheart. I don't know if you remember the family from Nigeria that we found my first week of this transfer - well, we lost contact with them, but they lived around the corner from the member who wrote in the Book of Mormon. We were also going to have dinner with them later that day, so we went to stop by but no luck. We left the area and about 40-50 mins later we thought... "Let's call Felicia." So, we did and she answered and was so excited to hear from us. We got a lesson set up for right after dinner. We went to dinner at the members house with a children's Book of Mormon for her kids to sign and then took it with us to Felicia. Felicia has at least 3 kids - one we were thinking might be 8 or older and it turns out she is :) We followed the Spirit and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and invited them to be baptized and they said yes - for the 12th of June!! Tonight we are going back to teach them again :). Also, another miracle - it was raining, but we had to pet 10 cats. So we prayed and soon noticed cats sat by doors to get shelter from rain. So we biked around some neighborhoods and anytime I saw a cat, I would slam on my brakes and shout "Cat" to Sister Anderson. She would hold my bike and I would get it to come to me - it was fun. We also found a family and a really nice guy that way. It was a huge blessing and we got all things done :)
Saturday we needed to teach 6 lessons and teach a member at a home you hadn't been in (I can't remember the last thing). I love having street lessons. That is my favorite thing to do and so we got that done. Well, we taught some members and, oh, we had to find using family history and use our fan chart and commit them to learn. I got to tell people a bit about our family - it was cool. We met a guy named Joe who was nice to talk to and little things like this made the day go so well. It started snowing/hailing for 15 minutes, but it was all good!! Oh, and we painted for service in the morning. I love it!!
Sunday, we were to get two referrals and contact them, stop by two members, get five dinner appointments, and find two new families and commit them to learn and get a return appointment. Again, Heavenly Father made it all possible. Because it was my last week people were willing to feed us!! We taught sharing time in Primary, twice and helped teach in Relief Society. We shared somethings with them and the Spirit came in strong. I bawled my eyes out and as we talked, we saw this wall come down between the Relief Society sisters and us. I have never received so many hugs and now they are all sad I am going home next week. How cool is that! If that's all I needed to do while in this area, which Heavenly Father told me my job in coming was to build the relationship with members, I am so grateful Heavenly Father trusted me to do that and allowed me to see the difference in their eyes. As we were out finding, we just followed the Spirit and were led to families. I just love the gospel!
We got 100% with all the challenges this week. We got a voice mail to saying there will be a tie breaker. We were given the rules and this morning we got the challenge. We were told to be in our flats or we were disqualified. We were prepared for anything at 10 am, with the phone by the door. We listened to the challenge as fast as we could. It was to get one potential and whoever called the AP's first, won - first district to call the AP's, won the district prize. We left the flat at 10:02-10:03, walked across the road, I pointed to a guy (Jake is his name), Sister Anderson golden questioned him while I made sure there was nothing else to the voice mail, we got his number and called the assistants at 10:04.
We don't know who won yet - they didn't say if we did or not, but I am grateful we live in City Centre and that Jake was out having his cigarette this morning. Oh, the little miracles that happen!
Looking back on the week, our area has been so blessed and the work has taken off and I couldn't ask for a better way to end my mission. I am grateful for the insights we had and the times we had to put our faith to the test and see that, again, Heavenly Father does provide.
Well, I love you all!!
Sister Ashley MacKay
p.s. We didn't win. No prize for 2nd place - just tons of blessings!