Monday, January 4, 2016

There was a glitch in her mission email account so we didn't get this letter from her until AFTER she got home. She loved her mission, as you will see, and had a hard time saying goodbye. But she is doing well getting acclimated to normal life. And we are beyond thrilled to have her back. -Mom

I'm just gonna start off by saying it's the hardest thing in the world to try to think of the title for your last missionary email ever. For example, here were the options I was considering:
-Unsure What To Call This Email Cause It's Like...So Much Pressure
          -I Know That My Redeemer Lives
-Saying Goodbye=Worst Thing Ever
          -Ode to the Canada Edmonton Mission
-What the heck time?!?! Slow down!!
         -Packing and How to Make it Less of a Torture.
-T-Minus 53 Hours Left
-#TheFinalCountdown #TheLastMelon #TheGrandFinale #eeeeewwwwwwwwww

So.....you can probably guess how I feel right now. At the end of the mission.........................................................................................
But instead of focusing on that dreadful business I thought I'd tell you about my Christmas week!! (But just to warn you this email is being written on little to no sleep so it might get a little boring)

Christmas Eve we spent with our Ward Mission Leader's parents, the Butlers. (The same ones who gave us a tour of Edmonton) It was sooooooo great!! We ate a huge fancy meal. They made us try dates.....(not really the highlight of the meal, but hey! I tried them!) Brother Butler is a wood working wizard so for Christmas he made each of us a super fancy candlestick!

They heard how much I missed singing in the Messiah. So we hooked up an accompaniment of Handel's Messiah to the surround sound and stood in a circle to sing along. Like. Seriously. We just stood there belting FOOOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORN. It was so fun. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

For Christmas Day we had meal after meal after meal. #whereismywaistline #gone It was so fun! We helped some kids build their Lego Hockey Rink  #onlyincanada Then of course taught them about the true meaning of Christmas. ;) Or at least tried. They were pretty excited about Lego hockey.
My favourite human ever, J, made us some Dutch food for lunch and them had us take her rock solid frozen laundry off the line outside..... The rest of the day we pretty much just visited lonely people and sang Christmas music to them. And ate more. Ya know. Life.

We made gingerbread houses with the Bishop's wife and kids. We went carolling with the Elders. We ate lots of food. So yeah. I'd say it was pretty good. I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday and it produced a lot of tears.

I LOVE GLEN ALLAN. Seriously these people here are CELESTIAL. I wish I could just pack them up and take them with me!!! I can't imagine not knowing them! I can't imagine not knowing any of the people I've met in Greenfield, Drayton  Valley, Lakewood or Glen Allan. Ok. Yeah. Sorry. I'm. Freaking out right now.

Moving on. Yesterday was the worst day in the history of the world because we had to take Sister Kwasney to the airport. (Also we had to wake up at like 3am but it was worth it) You guessed it. I cried. Let me just take a second to say I LOVE THAT GIRL. She has changed my life. And so I'm sad. Cause she's like infinite miles away from me. :(

But then I made the day better for Sister McSweeney cause it was her birthday!!!!! She turned 22 so I sang her a little T-Swizzle and took her out for breakfast. And after I freaked out about getting my suitcases under 50 lbs for a bit, we went to say goodbye to everyone. Also Sister Cardona came to see me and I could have died from happiness seeing her.

But instead of telling you all about how sad it was to say goodbye to everyone, I think I'll just tell you my testimony and call it good. :)

I have a testimony that the essence of the gospel is LOVE. I LOVE my Saviour Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves me. As a missionary, I've learned just how much he loves everyone because as I've served others, I've felt His love for them. And it's amazing. I love everyone here sooooo much!!

I'm so grateful I came on a mission. I'm thankful for my dad who always made it seem like the coolest thing to be a missionary. He's the reason I wanted to come out in the first place. I have a testimony that this is God's work. It's hard to serve a mission. And sometimes hard things happen. But I am grateful for every minute of it. It's SO worth it. And I am so happy for the chance I had to be here.

Love Love Love,
Sister Whiting

My last distric meeting!!! :(
The bishop and his family

Decorating gingerbread houses

Milo was dying to eat his!
Awe... So Cute!
Christmas morning!  Sister K's family has a tradition of getting matching ridiculous Christmas pj's.
Called home to talk to these people....
...the family on the other end of the phone call

Editor's note: It has been a joy to read Sister Whiting's weekly letters and get a glimpse into her experiences as she has served, taught, and loved the people of the Canada Edmonton Mission. Thank you for your support and prayers on her behalf. Next blog post will be directly from her.




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'd Like To Publicly Thank Celine Dion for Her Version of O Holy Night

If you're wondering if missionaries get prank referrals, the answer is definitely YES. It's too bad you guys don't listen to Canadian radio cause I was definitely on it the other day. Why? Because some punks decided to go on Mormon.org and send a fake referral to us. So we ended up calling Fresh Radio and I answered a question on the air of what I think about furry toilet lid covers. I said tacky, in case you wanted to know.

This week was so fun, and painfully fast. But I've loved every minute of it. In preparation for Christmas, God has been sending us so many MIRACLES!!

Miracle #1
We've gone carolling like infinite times already. The first time was with the young women in our Ward. That was sooooo fun. It was at this old folks home and after we finished singing, this random super old lady just walks up to me and starts telling me about her family in Idaho!! So I was like "I'm from Idaho!!" And she just kinda looked at me and was like "that's nice." Then she gave me a hug and left.......I hope it will be easier for me to talk to young people cause I think there's little to no hope for my non-missionary social skills.....But anyways. The reason carolling was a miracle was because of how powerful the spirit of the Lord was with us as we sang about Christ's birth.

Miracle #2
We had our Christmas program at church and guess who came?!!? L!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were there practicing with the choir and all of a sudden we see L walk in with J. Crazy, hey? Oh yeah and we found out that K and L are friends. So like all our investigators could sit together at church if they ever came on the same Sundays. Sherwood Park is such a small place. It was fun to see her there. And our program was a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. All our insane songs came together and sounded so good. I only messed up a tiny bit on the piano. ;)  


(note from the editor - I got this sweet email about last week's Christmas program:

Sister Whiting,

Just a quick note to thank you for sharing your daughter with us. Sister Whiting is a wonderful addition to our ward, who has grown so much on her mission. She and her companions were part of the choir in a special Christmas program in yesterday's Sacrament meeting. She accompanied the choir and did such a great job - you would be very proud of Sister Whiting. May the Lord bless you and your family for your continued support of the missionary effort. Best Wishes for the New Year!

We are, of course, very proud of her music and her missionary service.)
Miracle #3
The other night we were driving down the road, listening to Celine Dion's version of O Holy Night. (And by "the other night" I mean every night cause that song is a Christmas miracle.)


Miracle #4
One day while also experiencing miracle #3, I turned to look at some Christmas lights, when all of a sudden, BAM!!!!! We saw HUGE northern lights in the sky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So of course I safely slammed on my brakes and we got out of the car to watch them. (Don't worry we still had like 15 minutes till curfew) We tried to take pictures and videos for you but you can't really tell....They were sooo bright and colourful!! I felt like I was in Brother Bear!!! :D

Miracle #5
This one also has to do with Carolling. We were supposed to have coordination with our WML on Sunday night, but before we went he told us "we can't coordinate but come anyways". So we did and his family and like 6 other families from the Ward were all ready to go carolling. Like we're talking 30+ people on a doorstep to sing. It was soooooooooooooo fun. I pretty much died it was so fun. Afterwards, the Bishop's wife invited us to spend our p-day making gingerbread houses at their house. So that's what we'll be doing later. #fulnessofjoy #theperfectChristmas


Miracle #6
I think I'm good at wrapping presents now.
(That's code for: we wrapped our investigator's presents for like 3 hours...)
I love Christmas.




Well........that's about it from me......I'll try to do a bunch of super great stuff this week so my last email is good. In the meantime, I haven't listened to Celine Dion yet today. Sooooooooooooooo


Peace out.
(Literally cause it's Christmas week)
Sister Whiting

Helped out the old folks home Christmas party. Turns out Santa and Mrs. Claus are already members of our church. :D
Last visit with our favourite humans ever. #Bostonpizza #findthegiantnutcracker

#socold #frozeneyelashes #nomakeupmonday

Walking on the frozen lake with K

K was like, "Sister Whitening!! Let's run!" So we did. Me and a 78-year-old lady running on a frozen lake.

#instagramworthy #frozensisters

#nomakeupmonday

My absolute favourite. This is the lady I told you about a few weeks back who's friend died and I talked to her about it. Isn't she adorable?!

Our volunteer friends

 I learned how to make a toque ornament out of yarn and toilet paper rolls.

Visiting J

Our service on Thursdays :-) Love these peeps

Carolling with Ben, our WML's son. He's obviously our favourite 7-year-old
Piggy back?! Yes, please!


video

It isn't the best video, but she tried to share her sighting of the Northern lights with us.

These Boots Are NO Longer Made for Walking

(This post is from her December 15th letter.)

Remember how I had like the greatest and most stylish boots of all time before my mission? Well. This weekend, just 2 weeks before making it my whole mission with these boots. 
They broke.
Horribly.
It's really sad.

I'm over it. K, so this week was super great. Lots happened!!!
On Thursday Sister Kwasney and I went to the follow up trainer meeting to talk about how her first few weeks have gone. While we did that, Sister M went to work in GA with another sister. It was fun to see Sister M take over the area and serve people while Sister K and I watched comp unity videos and role played...........

We went on exchanges with our STLs over the weekend. It was sooo fun. I went to the Strathcona Married Student Ward with Sister Platter. :) We did a booth on Whyte Ave (which is kinda a sketchy place) and talked to some people. At this point my shoes were broken though...so it was mostly just fun cause it was a gong show. I super majorly love Sister Platter cause she helps me with my freak out-ness. Love ya sista!!

Speaking of freak out-ness. I'm a freak out. Cause I'm gonna be home. In like. Not enough time. So......I'm doing My Plan still. It's good except this week I had to set dating and marriage goals...like um what is that?! Idk. But whatevs. Some sister at Christmas conference were like "Set a goal to brush your hair twice a week minimum. That should guarantee a date."

I prefer missionary work.

Speaking of Christmas conference!!! We had it yesterday. It was amazing. And also your letters made me big time cry. And so. It is great. Seriously. I love you guys so much. My two new comps each got like INFINITE Christmas packages and they were about to feel bad for me for not getting any. But I was like "if I got any we wouldn't be able to carry all yours to the car." #swerve

Our investigator L came to our stake choir performance in which I played the most ridiculous song on the piano. (It's actually gorgeous but unrealistically difficult for a missionary who gets little to no practice time). The coolest part was that it actually sounded good!!! God FOR SURE was helping me on the piano and Angels were singing with our choir. The spirit was so strong and L definitely felt it. I love the spirit of Christmas music.

We also had our Ward Christmas party which was Polar Express theme. Our investigator S and her kids came to that. It was AWESOME. The youth in the Ward totally friendshipped them and made them feel at home. It was so fun. :) Since it was a pj party, we made pj skirts!!

Let's see. What else. Um......I got to see Sister Burton and Elder Mitchell and Elder Bennion and Sister Moser and all sorts of missionaries that have changed my life at Christmas conference. Honestly that, and the chance to be with the people here in GA are the BEST Christmas gifts ever. I couldn't have been happier to see them.

I love my mission and I love this gospel.
Christmas is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Us with our WML's kids. After church they asked us if we could take a selfie!!!! :)

Christmas conference with my Millwoods BFF's
Me with Carrie from DV

Follow up Trainer meeting!!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

Christmas-themed dinner at a member's home



If you're wondering if I have the new Christmas video memorized already, the answer is yes. I do. It's so cute I can't even believe it! Also cause this Christmas I miss Handel's Messiah so much it's nutzo and the video is like the song. :) **Shout out to mom for sending me the Messiah music** (Thank Elder Parker Whiting. He asked me to send him a copy so I did the same for Sister Whiting.)

This week was so good!! We did infinite and beyond amounts of service again. But it was sooo fun! You know the show Extreme Hoarders? We cleaned a house like that. Only she wouldn't let us get rid of much. So it was mostly just organizing....still fun though. Seriously. I love cleaning. #imweird #swerve

K came to church!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She also stayed after for the break-the-fast and the first presidency Christmas devotional afterwards. It was so good. She loved it. Then!!! Sister Morrison (the mum of my first greenie), who speaks German, came and talked to K for a bit and she loved it!!! It was saweeeeeet!

Ya know how missionaries are always like "if there's ever anything we can do to help, give us a call!" And then no one ever calls? Well. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE HAS OCCURRED!!! Someone actually called! So we got a referral. She was Menenite. Remember her? She called us and asked us to help her assemble an outdoor bench swing in her basement...without instructions. 

I have a testimony that God gives us abilities we don't actually have when we need them to help people. Straight up, we got in, we built the swing out of a bunch of random pieces of metal, and got out. #tendermercies #miracleshappen 



I had the coolest experience this week. Ya know how we go to Silver Birch (an old folks home) to help with the adult day program? Well. This week was the best week ever. Here's the story:



We showed up just as they were finishing story time. One old lady in particular is obsessed with Sister McSweeney, so she went over to sit with her. Sister Kwasney went to chill with another group of oldies. I went to the kitchen to hang out with one of the workers, H. After a bit of whateverness, H had to run out to answer a phone call. So I kept washing up till about 20 minutes later when she came back in crying. 


So naturally I went to give her a hug, which turned into like ultimate best friend deep talk of greatness. Her best friend had called to tell her that her dad just died. H's mom died about a year ago this month so that was also still fresh. So she was just overwhelmed with grieving. For the next 2 hours while my companions helped old people do chair exercises, H and I just talked and talked. She taught me and I taught her. It was such a neat experience to testify to her that she will be with her loved ones again. We talked about her family members that have died and what they taught her. We talked about how reaching out to help others heals something within us. We talked about the way God directs our path and how she landed at Silver Birch. It was so amazing. I invited her to the Stake Christmas Music thing and she said she would definitely come. Before we left, I gave her another big hug and she thanked me for being exactly what she needed. I was happy to see her happiness but I also knew it wasn't me entirely. It was perfectly timed by God that we would be there when she got that call. 


On Christmas.Mormon.org there is another video called "Why We Need a Saviour." At the beginning it talks about a world where every heartache lasts forever, mistakes are permanent, and you can never take back bad words you've said. Mankind would just drift further and further away from happiness. Thankfully that world doesn't exist!! Unto us a child was born. 

That's what I was thinking while I talked with H. She doesn't have to be sad forever!! She will be with her loved ones again. She will be made whole. She can REJOICE GREATLY.

That is why unto us a Saviour was born.

And boy am I grateful for that.

I love you all! Merry Christmas!!
Sister Whiting

K wouldn't let me go on a walk with her without a coat, so this is what she made me wear...
Not bad, hey?


Visiting J!!! Our Favorite Dutch lady!!

Time for hot chocolate


Our ward mission leader's wife gave us advent calendars to count down to New Year's...
 (When Sister Whiting comes home!!!!!!!!!!)


Friday, December 4, 2015

Mr. Tissue, You're My Only Friend

You know that episode of Captain Literally when the guy says "I literally feel like a flaming porcupine is being shoved up my nose" and then it comes true? I literally feel like that. Wanna know why I'm so sick right now?

Cause this week was CRAY CRAY!! Here's what happened:

1. Our super famous Crèche exhibit was this week. We spent hours and hours setting up and then hours and hours taking it down. Plus all the hours in between when people were looking at it. Sheesh. Here are my highlights from Crèche.
-K came to help set up for quite a few hours and for some reason thought it was an honour...ever since then, she's been a lot more willing to progress. She's even going to join our Ward choir!!!
-We set up a missionary table with different languages of the Book of Mormon and after the whole thing quite a few were gone. ;)
-A member put Bath and Body Works soap in the church washrooms. :) #myideaofgenius This same member brought a sentsy plugin so our church smelled soooooooo good!!
-It was gorgeous and the spirit was so strong. There were about 800 nativities and 1500 people (that were mostly nonmembers) to see them. Several different choirs performed, filling the church with such powerful testimonies of our Savior. It was amazing. The spirit of Christmas truly is the spirit of Christ!!
-Brother Keyes from Lakewood showed up!!!! It was seriously so fun!!! I was so happy to see part of my Millwoods family there. #fullnessofjoy
-Everyone who helped was sick and so I got it. Oh wait....were we talking about the good parts?.........#timefornastymedicine #tissuesaremyonlyfriends #tistheseason

2. We went on a gazillion splits with members this week. Sister McSweeney is rocking the missionary world right now. She almost got out investigator F on date for baptism and she's helping a PM family in the ward sooo much!! They love her. Sister Kwasney is just plain awesome. Seriously I love her so much. #inspiredquestions #queenofboldness I'll miss her when she goes off to Pittsburgh. I'm seriously so proud of my two little greenies. They're teaching me so much.

3. Our Bishop and his counsellor got together and had us over for American Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, pink fluff, sweet potatoes and more. It was sooooooo nice. I didn't realize how much I missed our family traditions until they started doing some of the same ones we do and I felt so much at home. It was a tender mercy to get to be around familiar traditions but mostly I just loved being with my Canadian family for a night of fun. I will miss these people so much. :/

4. I got recruited to be the pianist for our ward choir. And of course we're doing like hardcore Mack Wilberg, key changes galore, crazy part songs. So.....pray for me lol.

5. We started volunteering at the food bank and it's so great. Lots of germs and snot. But it's worth it cause after our shift, they give us free Cob's bread!!!!!!!!!!! So it's fine. Also everyone there is super nice and let's us talk about church stuff.

6. Sister K and I took a member named J to a lesson with our investigator L. Just so you know, J is a little off her rocker, so we were a little nervous, but we felt like we should take her anyways. During the lesson (which was the plan of salvation) J interrupted us and was like
"Wanna know what I think? None of the other churches make sense except the Mormons cause the Mormons do everything like how Jesus would do it. And I think that's pretty great. So you should pay attention."
BAM.  Nicely done J. Bold testimony. We were all like :O for a while. But then it ended up being really good. L came to crèche and is now much more open. So we're so proud of J for helping us out.

So that's my week. Just gotta go sleep off my cold now. :)

Love you!!
Sister Whiting




Making cookies to give investigators
Our missionary display tables designed by Sister K and me.

This was taken before we put up all the copies

Getting ready for Creche

Found these signs during Creche

Happy Christmas!!

All the sisters in the mission as of a month ago.
Broadmoor Lake
video
Playing games with the Bishop's family for Family Home Evening

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland 2.0

Hope you had a wonderful American Thanksgiving!! Thanks for your patience waiting for this blog post. She sent us lots of pictures and a couple videos. It looks like she is doing well as a "twin mom."


It finally snowed!! So it's officially Christmastime and everything is super jolly and Christmas-y here is Sherwood Park. This week was nutzo. So much happened. So here goes.

I got my additional companion this week!! Her name is Sister Kwasney!! She's from Calgary waiting for a visa to go to Pittsburgh, PA. She's pretty much the greatest if you wanted to know. She just like my first Sister Wilson companion in DV. So. Yeah. I'm happy. Training two missionaries at the same time is probably like having Irish twins.....but I don't actually know what that's like. But it's like that. Probably. :) Take that.

We got a pant load of referrals from one family this week. So naturally we contacted them all. It was pretty sweet. One was a Mennonite lady named S. She was pretty cute. The other was a super old lady named E. And of course the coworker named...I can't remember. But they were all like "oh cool. Yeah." So. #swerve

We tracted into a man named John and got to teach him. (Since there's three of us that's totally allowed! HOLLA HOLLA) But what started out as great, quickly turned into... not so great. I don't want to get into too much detail, but let's just say, his eye contact lasted long enough that even a fortune teller would get creeped out. So. "Elders! We got somebody for ya!"

We got roped into doing a little somethin' somethin' for our Relief Society activity is week. Since our investigator K came to it, we agreed. Words don't really describe. So I'll just send the video...  (We didn't get the video she mentioned, but have requested that she try again to share it next week. I will keep you posted.)

The Montreal Temple was rededicated so we got to go to that. It was so great. :) I love the temple. Also President Eyring was so cute in it. I love that guy.

Oh, speaking of General Authorities... So we were teaching a less active old lady named J this week about the prophet and apostles. 
We were like "Do you know who our prophet is today?" 
"Who?"
At this point we got out the conference ensign to show her "It's this guy, Thomas S. Monson."
And she was like "oh you mean Tommy?! Yeah! I call him Tommy."

Now you should also know that this whole time Sister Kwasney thought J was a nonmember. So she took her enthusiasm as a good sign and was bold and stuff and was about to invite her to be baptized when J was like "I got dunked!!" We died. 10 points to Gryffindor for boldness but....20 points to J for saying she got dunked.

Sherwood Park does this massive nativity display every year called Crèche. It's like a huge deal. And our WML's wife is in charge. So we helped her do some set up yesterday. It was so fun. I felt very Christmas-y. Meanwhile, while Sister K and I helped with that, Sister M went on splits with a member to go see a less active in the hospital. But of course it was dumping snow the whole time. So traffic was bad.

5 HOURS later, when this member brought our companion back to us, I felt very much like a parent who's child came home late from curfew. Lol.

Oh yeah and our investigator F is progressing!! She'll hopefully be on date today!!

So yeah. Now we're all trapped in our family room cause we mopped our house. So. 
Peace.

Love, 
Sister Whiting
Snow Party!!


We're in an ornament!! (Sister M calls it a ball-ball)
Getting our newbie


THE tripan
This member just had this elk at his house...

I found this. And ate it.

Our German investigator game me this and other sweet skirts from like 1940 Germany.

This is an old pic.Cleaning out Brother Butler's shop!!

Tripan chillin'

Playing with Christmas lights...we were a little tired....

Sister K has a polaroid camera!! Mostly I like this because it makes everyone look as white as I am.

 

Making bunnies out of gloves? #boredominthewinter #onlyincanada

Me and Sister K. Kinda orange, though, hey?

Playing on the frozen lake
video

While setting up the creche, we couldn't resist trying on different tablecloths

Creche set up party
Creche

Snow is falling all around...the view outside our window
video

We're sometimes crazy.