Monday, June 27, 2016

Hello my wonderful friends, 
This has been quite the challenging, exciting, frustrating, amazing week! 
But that's missionary work for ya! 

So last Monday night, Sister Blake and I were just finishing up some of our nightly planning when we got a call from Elder Thorley, one of the Senior missionaries that work at the mission office. When we answered the phone he started out by saying: "well sisters, could you stand some good news?" Sister Blake and I just looked at each other and started freaking out because we knew what was going to happen next. Elder Thorley is in charge of all of the cars in our mission.
A car just for US! Not sharing it with anyone!! Can you believe it??
I still can't!
It just goes to show you that Sister Blake gets things done. I mean, she was in Calgary without a car for 10 days, and then BAM! We get a car! She brought it up a few times to some people, and they decided that they would give us the extra car that no one was using! :D So it's been a pretty exciting week! 
We got to pick up the car the next day when we had interviews with our mission president! Needless to say, I didn't have anything to complain about in my interview haha:) 
It was really funny because the SECOND we got off the phone, we immediately jumped up and started putting cookies in the oven to take to president the next day! We were just so pumped we didn't know what to do with ourselves! 

We had a great, busy week for the most part! The first few days with the car, we didn't know what to do with ourselves because we had so much extra time! I never fully realized just how much time we spent traveling places until we got the car! :) 
Because of that extra time, we've spent a lot of time doing even more drop by's than ever before! And also doing quite a bit of tracting! (see pictures below)

We spent a lot of time visiting with Less Actives, and doing service for some ward members. 
One day we got to go visit the YSA ward's 1st councilor because he served an asl mission, so he was able to teach us a lot of the gospel signs we needed!
We've seen Tyler a few more times, and I'm teaching Sister Blake sign language so she can communicate with him too! It's been really fun, and she's picking it up SO quickly! :) 

On Saturday the YSA ward had a baptism, so we took Andy to help him remember his baptism again. It was a really great experience! It was also really funny because we ran into almost every missionary in our zone in the process!
So each month we have a set number of kilometers we are allowed to drive, and you can't go over that number or else you loose your car for a month or something. And because we had to drive all the way down to lethbridge and back this month EVERYONE is out of kilometers(clicks)! So everyone has had to use their bikes, and the bus/train to get around. So there have been missionaries everywhere! :) We were with Andy, so we didn't take our car, we took the train with him. On the train ride down we ran into Elders Jewkes and Ellison, our zone leaders. Then at the baptism, there was Sisters Sears, and Lane, who taught the one getting baptized. There was also Sisters Blaser and Earnheart because they were helping out with the service by playing the piano. Then the Mandarin Elders were there because they helped fill the font? Then after the service we ran into Elders Jones and Hull at the train station and when we went to grab dinner with Andy Sister Earnheart and Blaser were having dinner at the same place!
It was a little crazy! Haha:) 

Yesterday there was an open house for a sister in our ward who is leaving on a mission, so we went to that which was super fun! I love farewells because they help remind you how exciting being on a mission really is! :) 
After that we had a lesson with one of our new investigators! Our first new investigator in several months... And get this, he and his wife live in the same apartment complex as us! But we had no idea until he text us their address! We met them a week ago when we were riding our bikes home from a less actives house, and we stopped to talk to them for a little bit. But that was a couple streets away from where we both live! 
Anyway, the lesson went well, and we set up another appointment with him, so hopefully we will be able to keep seeing him and  help him answer all of the questions he has as we teach him:) 

So that's it! Lots and lots of ups and downs! The days seem to be longer than ever now, and yet the weeks are still flying by. Not sure how that works, but we're trying to make them count! 
Thanks to everyone for all your love and support and prayers. 
They truly do make all the difference! 
I love you all and hope your week is full of fun! 

Sister Dobyns

 A day in the life of Sister Dobyns. Tracting like crazy, yet no one ever seems to be home! You can imagine Sister Blake and I singing "Hello from the Outsiiiiide! We must of knocked a thousand tiiiiimes!" 


Another Zone Olympics! Super fun! 

This is our trophy for winning our zone's challenge of the most people street contacted! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hey everyone! :) 
This was a really great and looong week! Haha:) 

Last Monday we had a really fun p-day. We went down to the mall with our STL's and I was able to buy some short sleeve shirts! THANK GOODNESS! It's been getting pretty warm up here lately and I didn't really pack any "summer outfits" when I thought the "Highs" in Canada were mid 70's. How wrong I was.... 
But now I'm excited for the heat! :) It's been really great biking weather, so I can't complain too much;) 

Speaking of biking.. We biked our guts out this week! Oh man! I will tell you this! The Lord answers your prayers, and He also has quite the sense of humor! Before my mission I was really excited about the 30 minutes of scheduled exercise each day. But once I got to Canada and took a good look around my 3rd story apartment, I realized there aren't TOO many exercises you can do in the mornings, so it becomes pretty tedious, and feels pretty useless some days. But, like I said, Heavenly Father answers prayers, and so I was sent to an area that shared a car for a month, and then turned into full time walking/busing/biking! And since then, I've had a few good days of feeling pretty sore from biking so much! 
And as it turns out, Sister Blake prayed to be called to a walking area so she could get some more exercise too, and wallah! We have biked more this week than ever before!:)   

Our Investigator Nadia and her kids are officially moving this week! So that's a little sad, but it's been so amazing to work with her! We went over to her house a couple of times to help her clean, and get it ready to leave in good shape. And she even gave us her new address so we can send the missionaries to her there! :) She has told us that she is so grateful for everything we had done for her, and she will never forget us. That was really sweet to hear, and I hope that she always associates those positive experiences with the church:) 

This week Sister Blake and I street contacted 37 people! (that we can remember...) It has been so amazing to watch her approach people and work so genuinely with them just right there on the street! I have been learning SO much from her! She is a truly amazing missionary! :) I feel so much more comfortable with stopping someone on the street now, and we even have a handle of possible investigators now because of it! So hopefully we can set up some times to see them this week and have lessons with them:) 

On Friday we did some community service pulling weeds at this beautiful park/garden. We had a bunch of missionaries there, so we were able to get a lot done! I absolutely LOVED it though! I never EVER thought I would say it, but I realized I missed pulling weeds... When you're in the right mood it can actually be quite therapeutic:) (Sorry I never seemed to be in that kind of a mood at home mom & dad) So I really went to town haha:) 

Happy Father's day everyone!:) Special shout out to my dad: I love you! And am sorry we don't get to skype home on your day of the year.... 
This week we had a great sacrament on Father's, and it really made me reflect on all the men (and boys..) in my life that have helped make me into the person I am today. I am so incredibly thankful for my own dad, and for my grandfather's who have always been an incredible source of support in my life. And I'm grateful for my brothers, and friends who I know will grow up to make wonderful father's some day:) And most of all, I am eternally grateful for my Heavenly Father and for His perfect, all-encompassing love for me. I know I owe everything I am and everything I have and everything I could ever dream of becoming to Him and to my Savior Jesus Christ. 

Alright! Well that's it for the exciting update of SIster Dobyns! :) 
I hope you are all having a stupendous summer, and are absolutely loving life! 
If you're not, I would simply encourage you to slow down, laugh more, and keep eternal perspective! As Joseph B Wirthlin said: "Come What May, and Love It." 
Have a terrific week! :) 

Sister Dobyns

Weeding Party! :) 

4 Months Old Already! It's blowing my mind how quick times passes! 

Some good times on the bike trails in Dalhousie

Oops... Barely caught Sister Blake! haha:) 

Having a great time with Sister Blake. I'm so grateful to have her as my companion:) 

Monday, June 13, 2016

WOW! I cannot believe how many thing I could write an entire e-mail about this week! Needless to say our days have been pretty jammed packed with every single possible emotion known to mankind. 

This week was transfers. The first transfer I knew I'd be effected. 
      On Tuesday we had dinner with our bishop's family and Andy. As we were busing to a park in between ours and Andy's houses to read scriptures we got the long awaited, mostly dreaded, transfers call from our zone leaders. But because we were on the bus we couldn't put the phone on speaker so Sister Allard had them just tell her everything. She was still talking when we got off the bus and Andy and I just had to wait to find out what was happening. I wasn't a fan of how the whole situation went down because it took a solid 10 minutes to find out everything they had told her... But finally she informed she was being transferred down to lethbridge to be in a YSA ward, and her new companion is Sister Paige. We were all kind of messes after that, as we all took in the news in totally different ways. So finally we said goodbye and walked back to our apartment. In all honestly, I lived quite comfortably in denial for several days after hearing the news.
     But on Wednesday, in preparation for the dreaded change Sister Allard and I made sure we crossed off a few things from our bucket list of things we wanted to do together. One of those was we finally went out for Sushi! :D We may or may not have ordered WAAY too much sushi for the 2 of us... but you know me! I ate it all anyway. We also took an obsessive amount of pictures together of literally anything and everything. At one point we just sat in front of the camera and made weird faces for a solid 5 minutes... 

Thursday morning came all too quickly it seemed. I was really nervous about the change. I thought back to when I first met Sister Allard and how honest to goodness awkward things were for the first several days... And I really didn't want to go back to that. But I knew that these transfers were inspired and whatever was going to happen next would be a great opportunity for me to learn what the Lord would have me learn. We took some more pictures, and then said goodbye. I felt like it was a scene out a movie as we got into different cars and drove off in opposite directions.
     At that point I was with my STL Sister Blaser. Our new companions were coming up from the South of the mission, so it was going to be a few hours before we would be picking them up. We went back to her apartment for a few hours to clean up, and drop off some things Sister McDonald had left there, and then we went to my apartment to 
do our studies we couldn't do in the morning. Then it was time to head back to the church to pick up our new companions. We were both a little nervous, but once we got to the church and met them some of those nerves started to slowly settle. 
     My new companions name is Sister Blake. She moved around a lot growing up but is mostly from Bountiful Utah/ Alpine Utah/ California. She was also into choir and theatre in high school, and we even figured out we were both at the same competitions several times! Small world eh? I have actually really enjoyed being with her so far! It seemed like the awkward first few days were cut down to just a few hours because we have so much in common it has been so easy to really connect with each other:) 

Saturday was the most intense day ever! 
We started off by waking up at 5am to get ready to drive 2 1/2 hours down to Lethbridge to see President Nelson! We also got to see Ulisses Soares, W. Mark Basset, and one more from the seventy that I forgot :P It was a really amazing meeting. I was amazing at how simple it was. Now that we have seen Elder Christofferson & President Nelson, I have been able to see an over riding theme with the Apostles. When they come to talk to us they could talk about any single thing in the whole world, and yet both apostles chose to talk about their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It was really neat to be able to hear how much the Book of Mormon means to each of them, and how much it should mean to each of us. I love the Book of Mormon so much, and am so grateful for all of the sacrifices that took place so we could have it in our lives today. I hope that this week everyone will take a little extra time to really ponder on how different your life would be without the Book of Mormon. It's a pretty overwhelming list of things that would be fundamentally different in my life without it. The biggest thing is the knowledge of the Atonement. The reason why the Book of Mormon "contains the fullness of the gospel" is because it explains to us exactly what the Atonement is, and what is does for us. So many people have no idea that Christ suffered for our sins and afflictions in the garden of Gethsemane. Many people in the world simple believe that he went there to pray to our Father in Heaven, and don't understand much else. But because of the Book of Mormon, we have it explained simply to us over and over and over. I am so grateful for that as I reflect on the many times in my life when I relied on my knowledge of the Atonement to lift me up and help me to keep going when I know it would have been impossible for me to do on my own. I love my Savior, and I love the Book of Mormon. I promise you as you truly study it's pages each day, you will grow closer to Him that has suffered all, and in turn, you will gain a greater appreciation for what He has done for you, and receive a renewed motivation to serve Him more fully every single day. 

Once we got back to Calgary Sister Blake and I went to this little Vietnamese place. After we ate, we were walking through the parking lot, and we saw this couple a ways away helping their baby in a stroller. We both awkwardly struggled to decide if we should go over and talk to them, but then sadly enough we chickened out and kept walking. We both felt SO guilty for walking away that we promised we would talk to the next person we saw. Just as we said that, a guy came walking up the street. So we both walked over to him and asked him if he had ever seen missionaries before. After talking to him for a little while we came to find out that he grew up very lutheran, but was currently in between churches right now because when he was a teenager he stopped going to church. We asked if he would be interested in hearing what we believe, and he said "Yeah, for sure!" I almost fell over when he said that. I have been trying so hard lately to talk to people on the street and every time it's been a less than awesome experience. So when he took our card and gave us his number I was blown away! We walked away so happy, and so confident we decided we were going to talk to everyone we saw after that! 
So as we walked over to our investigators house to drop by, we stopped and talked to everyone we saw. Nobody else was really interested, so by the time we were almost to Nadia's house I was feeling a little discouraged again. We were almost to her apartment when we saw a man across the street with his 2 kids getting groceries out of the car. When we saw him Sister Blake asked if we should offer to help him. I told her I am a total chicken and will never initiate a street contact where we have to cross the street. At the moment he looked up and saw us, and Sister Blake yelled over to him asking if he needed any help. With his arms full he stated to sign to us that he was good. So we started to walk away, but then Sister Blake started freaking out telling me that I had to go talk to him! I was freaking out then because I haven't signed in over a year now, and was worried I wouldn't be able to say anything and I would just look like an idiot! But after my dear companion literally shoved me over to him I walked over and started signing with him!
I asked if he was sure he didn't want some help, and he said he was good. Then I asked if he had ever met missionaries before and he told me that he had when he was really little. I asked what he knew about the church, and he said not much, but he knew about it when he was a kid. Then he asked our names, and I told him, and he told me his name is Tyler. When I asked if he would be interested in having us come over and teach his family sometime he ran over to his car and grabbed a business card with his number on it and told me they were going inside to eat dinner right now, but we could text him and set up another time to come by! I thanked him, and then said goodbye. 
I could barely contain my excitement as we walked away, and Sister Blake kept asking me what happened, and what he said! After I told her she got super excited too!
But now I don't know what to do! I don't know enough Sign Language to actually teach the discussions! But today I will be spending all day on learning how to sign gospel words. Honestly my mind is still blown at how it all went! 

So yeah! That's how my week went! I love Sister Blake and am SO excited to learn from her! I can tell we are going to get so much done in our area, and I can't wait!
I love you all and hope you are all getting beautiful tans this summer! I will not be because even though it's been 30C, All my shirts are long sleeves... haha:)

Have a wonderful wonderful week! 
And please enjoy the following ridiculous photos... 

Love, Sister Dobyns

My Cute Zone saying goodbye once again!


Last picture in our apartment! 

Andy came to say goodbye one more time before we headed off! 


Moving in the new sister! #3flightsofstairs #prettybuffsisters

MTC Reunion thanks to President Nelson! You know you are best friends when your outfits coordinate even though you got dressed hundreds of miles apart...

Reunited at last! (2 days later...)

My New Companion Sister Blake!

Day 1: Biking in the Rain! Welcome to the life Sister Blake! 😅

Monday, June 6, 2016

This week was really exciting, and full of many ups and downs for me. 

On Tuesday we had a zone training meeting instead of our usual district meeting, and it sort of went horribly.
The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders started the meeting off by telling us our zone had the least amount of new investigators in the mission this transfer, and that was unacceptable. And I'll be totally honest, after they said that there was no coming back. Everybody kinda checked out and didn't really care what else was being said because the whole meeting seemed to be focused on our key indicator numbers (which is the number of new investigators, lessons taught to investigators, or referrals received and contacted). It became a very frustrating meeting for everyone as we continually listened to how we need to be getting higher numbers, etc. 
When one sister expressed that she sometimes felt frustrated when they come home after working hard all day and they count their numbers and have all 0's. Even though they talked to lots of people, had lessons with less actives, did service for members or the community, it seems like nothing was accomplished with their day. 
This is something I think all missionaries have experienced before. The unfortunate answer our leaders gave this sister was to try and count other things that happen in the day, like the number of people contacted on the street, or how many pass along card they are able to pass out. At this point in the meeting I just wanted to scream STOP COUNTING! I so strongly believe that as missionaries, our job isn't about getting numbers. Yes, we have key indicators for a great and inspired purpose- BUT I believe they should never cause us to lose sight of the bigger picture. Our job as missionaries is to invite and help people come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father. And there are so many ways that we were able to do that that will never count as a number at the end of the day. 
Needless to say, we all left the meeting pretty upset and irritated. But after Sister Allard and I got home to have lunch we were able to talk about how we feel we are doing as servants of the Lord, and where we want our focus to be on. We set goals for placed to improve, and also swore we would never get to caught up in our numbers that we forget about the people they represent. I love missionary work. I love having this opportunity to help people find greater happiness in their lives. Helping and serving them in the way they need with always be a bigger priority to me than "helping and serving" them in the way that "counts."
While the meeting started out as a huge struggle for our zone it has been neat to be able to talk to most of them throughout the week in some way about how they feel about it, and all coming to the consensus that our job is to love the people we serve in the ways they stand in need of, and in the way the Savior would have loved and served them if He were here. So the moral of this rant is not that I am mad at my zone, or leaders- so try not to walk away thinking that- but rather, it is that I am here to teach, serve, and love people. Not numbers. And I am grateful to have really discovered that so early in my mission. 

On thursday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in the North about Ward Councils. It was an interesting meeting, and hopefully helpful to some missionaries, but all it really seemed to cover was what they were, and how we should be helping them. It was a great refresher, but was really basic information that I was able to figure out really quickly as we attended those meetings every other week. 

On Friday we had a really cool activity with the ward. It was called "Bring an Ancestor to Dinner." We had people sign up to attend, and then everyone was assigned to a different member's house to go to and have a nice meal, and basically talk about our ancestors and get people excited about doing family history! My parents sent me a lot of amazing stories I was able to share with everyone, and it was amazing to see how excited people got when they were telling about their families. 
After the dinner we were picked up by our Sister Training Leaders and went on exchanges again. I went to the Bow Valley ward with Sister Blaser, and Sister Allard stayed in 17th with Sister Trimble. But I was actually also with one more sister from the Arbor Lake ward. Her companion went home a week early for a friend's wedding, so she was assigned to be in a trio with the Bow Valley sisters until transfers this Thursday! So that was a SUPER different experience! It was really fun being with both sisters, they're both really cute and sweet girls I got along with really well, but just being in a group of 3 was pretty wonky. Whenever we were in a lesson I never really said much because the other sisters were really on the ball, and kinda fighting over who was going to talk next, and the direction the lesson would take. So I sat pretty quietly when we were with investigators or less actives. But I was able to really learn a lot from each of them. I think everyone teaches in such different styles so it's always neat to be able to see what works for other missionaries. 

On Sunday we had our regular fast and testimony meeting, and Andy bore his testimony for the first time!
It was a really exciting moment, but you could tell he was really unhappy with how it went because, like everyone else, he couldn't remember what he had planned to say until he sat back down. But we assured him of how well it went, and then after church Andy was able to take the sacrament to a brother who is home-bound right now.
After that we met up with Tina and her daughter Marina and went for the longest walk she has been able to go on since her crash! Every time we see her we go a little farther than before. It's' been nothing less than a miracle to watch her recovery come along so well. 

This week we took lots of pictures with the people we are teaching because transfers are this Thursday! 
We don't know what is going to happen with Sister Allard and I yet, but the odds are pretty high that she will be transferred somewhere else, and I will stay here and get a new companion. I am really devastated that she is probably leaving me. It's crazy how close you can get with someone after being around them literally 24/7 for 14 weeks. If she is transferred, we will have served together for 99 days. How incomplete is that! Gah! You all know how OCD I can be, and I am pretty upset we don't get one extra day... 
Anyway! Not the important part obviously. 
So I'll let you know how things end up next week!
We will be getting a call on Tuesday night and then if one of us is leaving that will be Thursday morning. I seriously wish we had more time than that, but it is what it is right?
President sent out an e-mail this week that talked all about charity and loving our companions no matter what- and that only makes me a little nervous for what's in store for me this week... 
But whatever happens I know it will be for the best! I love the Lord and I know He will always be my companion even as my companions here come and go. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and are enjoying the beautiful summer vacation!
I love you!
Sister Dobyns

Gorgeous Hike with Tina Yesterday! 

The Michelsen's

Our humble Gospel Principles class

Sister Radwan (She's moving to Orem this month!)

George & Marnie

The Karnas Family

...When the camera fell off the railing

Kathryn and her daughter Emma Lee!