Monday, April 4, 2016

You guys, being a missionary is the absolute best thing in the world! I don't know if I have been able to make that clear enough... Seriously, If you're thinking of going on a mission, or know someone who is, you need to know that it is the single greatest experience I have ever had in my life, and I would encourage everyone I know to accept the amazing invitation to serve! 

This was a really amazing week! So for starters, on Friday Sister Allard and I started what is called a "40-day Fast." There is a talk written called the 40-day fast that explains really well what it is, and why it is a great thing to try. But is summary, You start your 40-day fast with 1 day of actual fasting from food and drink. And as you go throughout this day, you pray to know the things that Heavenly Father would have you work on, or commit to, in order to become an even more effective missionary, or more effective disciple of Jesus Christ. As things come to you mind, you write them down. At the end of the 24hr fast, you review the list you made and then begin your 40 day fast from those things. So if you wrote down for example, I need to not put myself down so much, then you would fast from negative comments and feelings toward yourself. The goal is that by the time you have gone 40 days without doing these things, you have made it a lasting habit not to do them anymore. Anyway, Sister Allard and I each made a small list of things we want to work on and do better, and are now doing our best to "fast" from these things! I am praying that this process with help me become a more devoted servant to the Lord, and better yield my heart to Him. 

On Friday we had a really cool experience that really humbled me! I know, that's always interesting to read because the variety of experiences that could have happened to cause that are pretty much numberless!
So Sister Allard and I were going to try to visit one of our investigators, Nadia (The one with the crying daughter that I sang to.), for the second time that day. When nobody came to the door for the 3rd visit attempt in a row, I felt a little discouraged. I knew that Nadia and her husband had been really open to hearing our message, and coming to church with us the last time we had visited, but we hadn't been able to get back over there in over a week! So when they didn't answer the door, we had some time before we needed to head over to our dinner appointment, so Sister Allard said we should go try to see a less-active family that lived nearby. I agreed, and went to get in the car, and she said the family lives really close, so we should just walk. I agreed, even though I wasn't quite sure what the point was of taking longer to walk to their house and then back to the car, especially when I knew it was our last day with ever having the car! So with a little bit of a grumbling heart, we started to walk to their house. After we had been walking for 5 minutes I started to get annoyed because again, I didn't understand why we had left the car. The family's house clearly wasn't THAT close... It was 20'C and I was dressed way to warm to be taking a long walk in the heat. When we finally reached the family's house, they were just heading out the door, and clearly had no interest in talking with us. So with the door slammed in our faces, I turned around feeling quite justified in my grievances. As we started the not-so-short walk back to our car we ran into a little girl, her mom, and grandma. The little girl ran ahead of us on the sidewalk, and her mom quickly followed, but the grandma lingered behind us. We turned around and said Hi to her, and asked her how her day was. She replied it was good, and told us we were very gorgeous girls. Before we could thank her for the sweet compliment, she continued... "I'm not trying to come on to you. I am straight. I am not gay." A little shocked by this seemingly random declaration we awkwardly replied "we're straight too!" ...Not our finest moment as missionaries. But then we asked her what her name was, and she told us her name was Myra, and her address was... and her phone number is... and made sure we wrote it all down! She then told us that we should come by and see her sometime! We hadn't even been able to explain that we were missionaries, and she scurried along to catch up with her family. 
Needless to say Sister Allard and I walked away completely shocked at what had just happened. As we walked the rest of the way to the car, I had the rebuking impression come into my mind that the reason we couldn't meet with Nadia, and the reason why we walked to the LaPonte's home only to be turned away, was because all of that had to happen exactly in that way for us to have been able to run into Myra and her family. So while I am not proud to say that I had a bit of a murmuring heart, I quickly learned my lesson to trust God, and trust in His timing. 

General Conference was obviously amazing! It was seriously better than Christmas!! I love being a missionary because while you watch the speakers, you are hearing their wonderful messages, receiving personal revelation for yourself, and then receiving revelation and guidance for all of the people in your stewardship as well! I couldn't help but write down someone I was excited to share this talk with for every single speaker! I think when you are serving a mission, and are out teaching people about the amazing blessing of having a modern day prophet today, it makes conference that much sweeter! 
We even had Andy come to the last session of conference on Sunday! When we had our lesson with him later that night, he told us that he really enjoyed it! He said he was worried he was going to be really bored, but then was surprised at how much it helped him feel like he was part of the LDS community- not just in Calgary, but the world! There were actually only maybe a dozen people at the church that weren't missionaries, so I was impressed that he came away with the feeling of being loved, and a part of something. 
Andy is the coolest kid! And the Michelsen's are the most amazing family! So The Michelsen's are Andy's Fellow shippers. We have our lessons at their house each week, and their son Dalton, who is in the same grade as Andy hangs out with him at school! They have really taken him in under their wing, and it has been amazing to see the world of difference they have made in his life. 
We actually had dinner at the Michelsen's house last night, with Andy. And then we had the lesson right after we finished. I think the combination of his younger age, and chances we have to see Andy outside of our lessons like dinner, have really helped us to build a friendship with him, rather than having that "teacher-student" relationship. It has really helped us to be able to show Andy that we don't care about his statistic (If he is a number under 'investigator' or 'baptism' or things like that), we just care about Andy. I feel like it has helped him take to heart the things we teach him because he understands we want to help him be happy, and that's it. 
Last night we taught Andy about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He took everything really well has he thought about what we said and what that meant for his life. When we were reaching the end of the lesson he asked us if you could be baptized more than once in your life. We explained it was a one time event, and then all the reasons you would want to be baptized again are the same blessings that come with taking the Sacrament. He nodded, and then said "I wasn't baptized when I was 8. So is it too late now?" As you can imagine my heart was just about pounding out of my chest at that point as we explained again the purpose of our missionary service. He got a big smile on his face, and then I extended the invitation for him to be baptized. He looked at us with a big grin on his face and said Yes!! I could barely contain my excitement! I told him we would be having a baptismal service on April 23rd, and he agreed to be baptized on that date!!! 
Thankfully, Heavenly Father blessed me to be able to keep my cool at least until I made it back home in our apartment. Once that door was shut behind me though, I will admit there was a lot of triumphant dancing... 
Since our lesson with Andy all I have been able to think about is the scripture about how great shall be your joy if you shall bring save one soul unto me. I can testify of the truthfulness of that statement. I have never felt so excited in my life! 
I love this gospel. It has changed my life. And I know that it will change each person's life that will let it. That is why I am so excited about Andy's commitment to be baptized and follow the Savior. 

Okay I have to run! Everyone is waiting on me!! :P 
I love you all and hope you have an absolutely beautiful week!
I miss you leaps and bounds, but I love every single day that I am out here!
Keep Andy in your prayers if you can, and have a great spring break if you're in Utah! 
With tons of love, 
Sister Dobyns

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Late Happy Easter!

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Picnic in our apartment while our clothes dry everywhere...

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Random Photo-shoot at the church with the Canadian flag:) 

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There are bunnies outside the window of the library right now... I just can't get used to it! 

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