Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday too!

Well... This may have been one of the busiest weeks of my whole life!! 
Having a birthday 2 days before Christmas has never been convenient, but this year I think it was a little crazier than every other year of my life haha:) But it has been a really amazing week! We have truly seen many Christmas miracles! 

On Monday we got to go to a live nativity put on by the church every year. We met our investigator Alyssa there, and she had a really great time! And it was actually pretty warm out too! Afterwards we went to the church and got some hot chocolate, but there were a ton of ysa wards there for their fhe's too, so I got to see a lot of members from my last ward and that is always a blast:) 

This week we also drove out to a city in our area called Turner Valley, which I had never been too before! But turns out that it was way further away than I thought and it was a miracle we were able to find it since the sun had long gone down by the time we started leaving familiar territory! We met with a less active out there who was really sweet, and had the longest beard I have ever seen in person! He stroked it the whole time we were visiting with him! I thought it was a little funny:) But he was really nice and said we could come back whenever we were in turner valley again:) 

THEN! We had another miracle with a less active who we had been trying to contact for months! He was always just really flaky with setting up appointments, but then HE TEXT US! And asked if there was a time we could meet up! So we met up with him and brought 2 members of our elders quorum presidency Austin and Bryce, and it went SO great! He said he really wants to start coming back to church, and he really connected with the brothers we brought, and then he said that he would be at church on Sunday! AND THEN HE ACTUALLY CAME! Even though it was blizzarding outside and he lives 30 minutes away! It was an amazing miracle! And now we have an appointment to see him this week as well!:)

We met with another less active we have been trying to contact for a really long time this week too! We brought a sister in the ward who is preparing for a mission right now and again, we had an amazing lesson! He realized that he knew the brother of the member that we brought with us to the lesson and then went to church with them to the family ward this week since it was Christmas! And we are going to see him next week again when he gets home from his cabin:) 

AND! (The miracles just kept on rolling this week!!) 
We met with Sam, our recent convert, and invited him to bring his friend Henry to our lesson because he had brought him to church with him a few weeks ago and said he had really enjoyed it. So Sam agreed, and then showed up to the lesson with Henry AND another friend named Edi! So we got to teach all 3 of them! They had some great questions and it was even cooler to see Sam answer some of his friends concern by bearing his testimony. And both his friends agreed to meet with us and take the discussions! 

And just for good measure, one last miracle I'll share: 
We had a great day full of miracles and when we came home to plan for the next day we decided to call a random number in our phone that said Potential investigator next to it. Long story short, he answered, and agreed to meet with the sisters that are in his area up in the NW of Calgary. 

So just incase anyone is wondering if there really are people out there who are ready to be taught, and accept the gospel, the answer is YES! But I do know that it all happens in God's timing. And I am so grateful for an amazing companion who is so in tune with the spirit, and is so dedicated to the Lord. I know we have seen many miracles because of her amazing faith. 

Alright. So that was really just the beginning. . .

On Friday I turned 20 years old! Holy cow... I really can't believe it! But, it is true nonetheless. I woke up to all the sister in my apartment singing to me, and bringing me all my birthday packages and gifts! I opened them, and then they all ran and decorated our apartment with all the decorations my mom had included in my packages:) Then after our regular morning routine we had a lesson with Shaun who brought us Donairs to try for the first time! I thought it was pretty good, and they assured me that they are actually usually even better than the one I had gotten. 
Then we had a really sweet lesson with a less active we have met with pretty frequently over the phone! He had called because he was dealing with some really frustrating things. We talked him through some things and then bore our testimonies of our Savior and of His literal enabling power and how it can help him right now if he will choose to accept it. By the end of the lesson he read us some texts from the person that was causing some of the trauma and they had resolved things. It was so cool to realize that you can really "have a lesson" anywhere and any time. It didn't matter that it wasn't a traditional lesson setting. The spirit was there, and we were able to pray with him, and bear testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. It was one of my favorite lessons I've ever had! :) 

Next we went to Costa Vida with a few of my absolute favorite sisters, and then we spent the rest of the evening making cookies, and writing christmas cards to some of our favorite members, and then we went NOEL CAROLING with some of the missionaries in our district:) (Yeah... That pun has been used a few too many times this season haha) One elder even beat boxed while we sang and it ended up sounds really really cool! :) 

Okay, Birthday check!
So Christmas Eve was a ridiculously crazy day!! We got to go to the baptism of one of the members in Sister Frandsen's last area. (Fun Fact: her last name was Mooreman haha) Sister Frandsen and Sister Blake sang an arrangement of He Sent His Son, and I accompanied them on the piano! 😬 But thankfully my lack of skills was made up for by their beautiful voices and it went really well:)
But Wait there's more!
After the baptism there was another family getting baptized from my old Shepard ward in that same stake! But before the baptisms, the parents had to get lawfully married! (They had been traditionally married back in Zimbabwe years ago) So they asked sister Blake and Sister Frandsen and I to perform some musical numbers in between the wedding and their baptisms while they were all changing into their suits!  SO! I got to play that same song for a second time with an additional song for sister Frandsen to sing, and Another song for Sister Blake to sing! I honestly thought I was going to die. But thankfully, Heavenly Father is so loving, and helped me to not detract from the spirit their voices brought too much. 
Then we spent the rest of the night at a members house with the family ward sisters as well and got to watch almost every missionary allowed movie they had! haha (because it wasn't a prosylting day). 

We woke up at 5:30 and opened all of our presents with the Hermanas we live with, and then drove straight out to Okotoks to have breakfast with a member and the family ward elders:) That was great, and then we left to go to church where 5 less actives came, AND one of our Potential Investigators!! 
After church we got to Skype our families! :) Which of course is the best Christmas present of all:) I was really happy to see eveyone and get to talk to them for a little bit. But I was even more grateful when afterwards I didn't feel homesick, but rather felt excited for the things that are going on in my mission, and knowing how much it blesses my family at home:) 
Then we had dinner with our bishop and his family, and they invited our 2 recent converts Tagen and Sam to join as well! So it turned out to be a really wonderful night! :) And we finished it off by going to bed early to make up a little bit for waking up so early:) 

Okay, and final story: Yesterday President Miles gave all the missionaries permission to watch an approved movie!! Hooray! So our whole zone got together and watched Finding Dory! And oh my goodness I LOVED IT! I miss movies and tv a lot haha so it was really fun to get all together and watch a really cute, funny movie together:) 

Okay, sorry I wrote a novel this week! But there is still so much I didn't even have time to include! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! And know that I love and miss you SO Much!   
Have a wonderful week! And thank you for all your letters, emails, and birthday & Christmas wishes!
Love, Sister Dobyns:) 

Birthday fun 

Noel Caroling out in the snow:) 

Traditional Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve! 

Merry Christmas! 

Skyping home to the Family:) <3 

Here are just a few more pictures from this week! :) 

Monday, December 19, 2016

How Can I Keep From Singing

Hey everyone!
What an exciting week! We have seen so many miracles and had so much fun! 

It was a week of Christmas Celebrations! 
On Friday we got to have our missionary Christmas devotional and lunch with a few of the zones in the city:) Which is always perfect for me, because that's where all the people I love are serving!! :) The devotional was amazing:) There were some musical numbers, and readings of the nativity in our mission languages (so Spanish, English, and Mandarin). And I got to participate in one the musical numbers!! :) That was such a tender mercy for me. I have felt a little sad the the lack of opportunities to share my testimony through song this year. Especially because I have been pampered for so many years to be in an amazing choir where we got to spend hours and hours and hours singing of christmas:) Anyway, we sang a beautiful arrangement of O Holy Night and I loved it so much (even though... of course my voice was ridiculously out of shape.... I'm trying to not dwell on how the actual performance went haha) 

THEN! There was a baptism in our stake on saturday, and the elder from that area asked me to sing an arrangement of I Stand All Amazed with him:) It was a really really cool arrangement, and again, I was SOOO Grateful for the opportunity to bear my testimony thought song:) 

I turned 10 months last week.. and will turn 20 years old this week.. That's pretty as hard to accept as it seems like it'd be... 

We had our Christmas Ward Party which was a great success! :) We got so many Less Actives to come out and mingle with the ward, so we were really really happy about that:) 

We had 2 exchanges back to back this week too! :P That was pretty rough. I was running around like a crazy person by the end, but we had a good time:) I went with SIster Griffiths from Pinecreek, and Hermana Call from the spanish branch:) They are both really really sweet sisters, so I had a great time learning from them:) 

It's pretty much been FREEZING lately! But then we woke up this morning to it being 30 degrees warmer than it's been... so I can't complain today! :) 

I hope you all have the most wonderful Christmas this week! And enjoy talking to your families/missionaries if that's applicable to you:) 
Stay safe!
Stay Warm!
And always remember the true reason for the season🌟🎄

This is the cutest little ice rink just right outside the library window! #Canadaperks

Missionary Christmas Devotional Lunch with all my favorite sisters!!! :D

My sweet sweet mission president and wife <3 President and Sister Miles #relationshipgoals 

Ward Christmas Party! Turned out so cute!! :) 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Lord is Pleased but not Satisfied

What a wonderful time to be a missionary!

For starters, I'm happy to announce that Jimmy is DEAD! HOORAY! :D 
We have been stressing about that annoying little things for far too long!
But this morning we woke up to the greatest Christmas gift ever- Jimmy stuck in a trap. We are so happy that it is finally over!! :) 

So this week we had the awesome opportunity of having Elder Clayton of the 70 come and visit our mission:) He came to our MLC meeting, and then to our Zone conference as well! :) My favorite thing that he taught us was that the Lord is pleased, but not satisfied. I think that really sums up what I was trying to say last week! :) I have pondered on that sentence a lot this week, and talked with Sister Frandsen about what we can be doing to continue growing and getting better and doing even more to please the Lord. We are going to really give it everything we've got this week, and I know we are going to see amazing miracles as we do:) 

Being a missionary around Christmas time is my absolute favorite! :D Everyone is so kind and happy to talk to you even if they're not particularly interested. Even though we have been chilled to the bone as we've hit -35 degrees with wind chill this week, we keep trucking along! :) i have loved being able to share the Christmas initiative with everyone, and well as participate in it myself.
I have loved all the awesome service opportunities that we've been able to participate in! :) The other day we went to help out at a community center set up for a craft fair they were having over the weekend, and when we showed up they asked us to help people carry their boxes of stuff from their cars to their stations. We started helping immediately, but it was pretty obvious to everyone we weren't anticipating standing out in the 20 below all night. We got some of the best opportunities i've ever had during service to bring up the gospel and our christmas message! :) we even had a cute older lady give us free hand made scrunchies! haha!:D We wear them every night now:) 

This week we also got to go to the temple!!! :D Hooray! :D 
The Temple is always such a blessing. Wow. I got so much out of it this time around! Fun fact. This was only my 6th time going to the temple, and I have attended the Calgary Temple more than any other temple for endowments! I've been 3 times in Calgary, 2 times in the MTC, and 1 time at Timpanogas for my own endowment!  Kinda crazy to think about! I wish we could go more often than we do. it is always an amazing pump up for the next few weeks after attending:)
After the session was over Sister Frandsen and I were the last 2 people in the Celestial Room, and it was such a neat experience. We both felt like we received the answered to all our questions, and even more direction of what we can be doing in our area. 
I love my mission. I love Sister Frandsen, and I love the Lord. It has been a wonderful week , and I know the next 2 are going to be amazing as well as we prepare for Christmas! :)

I love you all, and hope you enjoy this random list of things that have been freezing this week!
Love, Sister Dobyns 

Fun List of my Frozen Life:
~ Leave your water bottle in the car during an appointment? Enjoy a the perfectly formed ice cubes formed while you were away...
~Have a runny nose? Just walk outside and it, and your nose hairs freeze on impact of the bitter cold.
~Need to write someone's information down to contact another time? I hope you brought a pencil, because all our ink is frozen!
~Everything is always tingling with pain as you walk out to the car
~You can still see your breath in the car for the first 10 minutes of driving
~When you breath in you have a perfect knowledge of where your lungs are located inside of your body because you can feel them freezing from the inside out 

Just some frantic selfies this week! 

Bumped into Sister Blake<3

TEMPLE DAY! -20 degrees! No patience for pictures:P

Monday, December 5, 2016

There's a mouse in my house.

Hello Hello! 
Yet another wonderful week in the Canada Calgary Mission! 

It's been getting pretty cold this week! I think tomorrow we are suppose to have a high of -19 degrees... so that's gunna be pretty fun!  The snow if finally sticking around, and I'm starting to feel like i'm actually in canada! :) 

On Monday some members of our ward brought one of their friends to fhe, and she had a really good time! She said that she is trying to make some new friends and hang out with a different crowd so Tagen and Spencer invited her out:) She kept saying how nice everyone was, and how things just felt different in our church! THEN! She when we were talking to her some more afterwards we were able to answer some of her questions about the church, and invited her to take the discussions and she said yes!! Hooray!! So we are Super excited about that! 
Sister Frandsen and I have made it a goal to pray to find those in this area who are prepared to hear the gospel in every prayer we say, and we are already seeing the blessings! :) 

We got a new Ward Mission Leader this week (Ben Smith). He's a really recently returned missionary and we're really excited to start working with him:) 
Both of the recent converts in our ward bore their testimonies yesterday!! And we are SOO happy about that:) One has been having some struggles lately with his testimony, but has been doing much better lately- and then the other gets really nervous in front of a lot of people, but she just really felt like it was time for her to share her testimony with everyone:) 

In our district meeting on Tuesday we talked about it means to be a successful missionary and how we can recognize that success in ourselves. My favorite thought was you can know that God is pleased with you when you can feel the spirit working within you. There have been moments when I really wonder if Heavenly Father is proud of me, or even just content with my service as His missionary- But I love that we can know God is pleased with us when we feel the spirit working within us:) I have really been able to notice that lately. And I want to work hard to keep that with me each day. When it comes to my mission right now, I just love it!! :) And I don't ever want it to end!!! I know this is the prime time of my mission, so I'm really focusing on giving it all that I can every day:) I want to give God all that I am and just have total trust in His support and timing. And I know as we do this, God will bless us for our efforts and intent:) 
But I also know that this applies to everyone! Not just missionaries! :)
We can know that our efforts are enough, and that our lives are in order with God's will as we have the spirit with us more consistently. I know that God loves each one of us, and wants us to be happy. That happiness comes as we learn about and apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our daily lives.

I hope everyone got the chance to watch the Christmas devotional last night! And if you didn't, I would strongly encourage you to find the time to watch it online in the upcoming week :) I loved the messages that were shared and hope we can all focus on their invitations to us all to remember the Christ is the reason for the season:) 

Over all it's been a great week!!! I love the Christmas season and the kindness that comes along with it:) 
I love you all, 
I am thinking about and praying for you this Christmas season! :)
Please stay safe and warm!! :)
Sister Dobyns:) 

Just some more weekly planning pictures... 

Exchanges with Sister Shaffer:) 

If you look freakishly closely you can see Jimmy. The mouse that is currently surviving off my food and warm home.
I really want to kill Jimmy this week. 

Trying not to freeze to death! :)