Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The World Turned Upside Down (for lethbridge)

Hi fans. 

We're keeping busy busy busy here in the good ol' Lethbridge! 
We've seen a lot of miracles this week as we have been able to get a hold of a few more less actives that have been MIA for a few months! 

We also had our ward BBQ this week, and lots of people brought their nonmember friends, relatives, and neighbors! So we really loved that!! 

We met with Wassem and Nathaniel again this week- they are the 2 french investigators we picked up last week! And it was the neatest thing! We got there and they had invited 2 more of their friends to join our discussion!!
We had an awesome lesson and talked about the Plan of Salvation and God's plan for each of us. Nathaniel was just eating it up! He has the most sincere desire to do everything he can to be close to God! I live to teach people like him on my mission. It makes me sad to know they will only be here until August 10th before going back to Quebec! So our goal with them is to help them want to meet with missionaries in Quebec! And it's going well so far!! 

On Sunday the world turned upside down!! 
We had a multi-stake conference where they announced "substantial boundary changes" for all 4 stakes involved! And pretty much... every ward boundary changed in lethbridge and now all of the missionaries here don't know what to do with our lives! haha! They created 3 more wards, and completely flip-flopped everyone's boundaries! Thankfully, our wards changed the least of everyone's! But seriously, missionary work in lethbridge is a gong show right now, and will be until transfers when President can reorganize everything... SO that's Super fun!! 

I also had my departing interview with my mission president on Sunday
That was super terribly weird. But good:) He gave me lots of dating advice of all things.... haha But yeah. I am feeling a little bit better about going home each day:) Not really any better about leaving my mission though... I don't know if that even makes sense... but there it is! 

So I know I've talked a lot about this already, but guys-
Do you know how important studying the scriptures is??? 
I have seen serious study of the scriptures change lives completely, and positively. I have no doubt that regular scripture study will help us stay a float in this sinking world. The scriptures will never take away our struggles- but they will help us understand our struggles. The testimony President Monson shared in conference is a testimony I have for myself.  We must be in the scriptures every day. I know it is difficult to find the time, and keep the interest- but it is so crucial that we do! Yes, reading a little but each day is good. But we are meant to meaningfully study and apply the scriptures daily. PLEASE remember this! pray for a greater desire to study, and then prioritize your life. I've said it before but we are not meant to weave the gospel in and out of our lives. We are meant to weave our lives in and out of the gospel. We cannot spiritually mult-task our lives. This is so important. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." When we put Christ and His gospel at the center of our lives, all other things will fall into their rightful place. Do not become causal in your discipleship of the Savior. Make the choice now to follow Him diligently the rest of your life. 
Be humble. Keep praying. Trust in God. Put Christ as the center of your life. 

Love you all so so much!
Sister Dobyns:) 

Selfie with Sister Miles<3

Waiting at the park for our investigator that never showed.... #missionlife 
Don't worry... it's only 98 degrees outside... 

We found a yellow wall...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fire Fighters For a Day

It has been an extremely eventful week! So eventful, we even made the news!!! 

This week was my last zone conference! I still can't believe it! But it was definitely one for the books... We had an amazing conference, and then at the end, all the departing missionaries were bearing their testimonies. And about 3 minutes after I sat down, the brother who was installing our new Tiwi's ran in and told us the neighboring building was on fire, and they needed help getting people out!!! Immediately all 80 of us raced out of the church to help- but as soon as we got out and looked at the 4-story senior center blazing on fire we all had to take a second to catch out breath! I have never seen anything like it. We started running towards the building, the elders were flinging their suit coats off, and sisters were kicking off their shoes- we were all ready to go straight into the flames! But thankfully, a responsible policeman wrangled us in a little and gave us some jobs to do that would actually be beneficial... So some of us started escorting seniors out of the building, while others set up chairs in the church gym and passed out water bottles, and left over food from our lunch a few hours earlier. There were many elderly people who had pets with them, so me and another sister got bowls of water for them too. 
Needless to say we quickly cancelled all our appointments, and the 80 missionaries there all just went around and visit with those who were evacuated, and made sure they were taken care of. We let them borrow our phones to call loved ones, and helped them get to the washroom, and find their friends and family members. 
Anyway, here are a few little excerpts from news reports of that day:
“It’s nothing short of a miracle that there wasn’t a single person hurt in this fire," Richard Hildebrand, Lethbridge Fire Chief stated, “This sort of fire is a fire chief’s and a firefighter’s worst nightmare,”
It was a terrifying afternoon for almost 150 Lethbridge seniors who were forced to flee their burning retirement home on Tuesday.
As for the evacuation effort, the neighboring Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints played a crucial role in helping get residents to safety.
Evacuated residents were sheltered at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints next door and were provided with food, water and conversation.
“When these old people get displaced like that, they’re confused and really upset. So, our missionaries are just kind of settling them down, making them feel a little bit better; that things will be okay,” said Steve Miles, a mission president with the LDS Church.
But they didn’t just provide shelter.
“We have about 80 missionaries that are here and all 80 of them left and went over and helped the older folks as they came out of the building,” Miles said.
“Normally we don’t have this many missionaries here. Today happened to be one of those days that we did. All these missionaries are just young people and they’re here to help.”

The real miracle of it all is that we weren't even supposed to have our meeting that day, or at that building! Originally our conference was scheduled to be in Taber (another city about 40 minutes out) the following day! And all I really have to say about that is God knows His children, and He knows their needs before they even happen! I am so grateful for Heavenly Father's evident hand in this miraculous event, and for my mission president who followed the spirit and gathered all 80 of us in that building that day. 

And just as a side note of the other great things that happened this week:
~we picked up 4 new investigators...nbd
~1 of our ysa investigators is on date for July 29th
~we met with 2 Less actives that had completely fallen off the face of the earth for over a month
~and we got to sing 'If the Savior Stood Beside Me" at the edith cavell (a different seniors center) sacrament service, and it was hands down the most spiritual musical number I have ever been a part of in my life! 
~We played quidditch for fhe... haha 
~aaaand we made Canadian cookies:) 

Anyway, i don't have as much time as i'd like this week to write my e-mail, but here is a quote i found this week I really loved:) 
"All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God." -Orsen F Whitney
Put simply, I know this is true. 
God has great expectations of us all because He knows the great potential that is in each of us. He put it there. So please- follow that path, and do it His way. there is unimaginable happiness that comes when we do:) 

love you all so so much! 
have a good and safe week! 
Sister Dobyns

zone conference fire-


(Mine is the OCD one of the right...) 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Who Am I to Judge Another?

Hello All! 
It's been a hot week! But we survived! :) 
We have great news!!! MIKE GOT THE JOB!
Mike has been looking for work for quite some time, and last week he had an amazing experience where he felt the spirit prompt him to apply for this job, and then HE GOT IT! and he is SO excited about it! and we are SO excited for him too!!! Prayer works you guys!!! It really does!!! 

So this week we did a cool thing where we, as a mission, began a fast together on Thursday evening.  Throughout the fast we sought the Lord's direction on where to go to find people to teach. On Friday, between the hours of 2:00-5:00 each companionship in our mission was out talking with the people. It was a time for us to exercise our faith as a mission in talking to those the Lord puts into our path. We didn't find anyone new for us to start teaching right away, but it was an amazing experience overall! We got to talk to so many people, and we even offered a prayer with 5 of them! each time we were touched by the spirit and felt of God's love for them. We have heard about so many miracles throughout our mission that have come from this fast and find! 

This week I also went on my very last exchange ever! That was a super weird realization... 
We had a fun 4th of July dinner with some members, and had interviews with President and Sister Miles! As always, meeting with them was the highlight of my week:) 

When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation. Jesus Christ is out example of kindness. Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. He not only taught, but also showed us how to live the gospel.
During Christ's mortal life, He could have done what was logical and stuck with those who loved Him and were most like Him. But He didn't. Christ was interested in three kinds of people: the least, the last and the lost. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we commit to follow Him and His example. The divine nature within each of us is supposed to love, forgive, and give people a chance; however, the natural man within us is more inclined to judge, condemn, and be contentious. 
I'm sure we all remember President Uchtdorf's talk from 2012 where he said that the topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the Following: STOP IT! It's that simple. We simple have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thought and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. 
Miracles can happen, and will happen when there is kindness, respect, and love. Bitterness and animosity is not a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Ultimately we judge others because they are different than us in one regard or another. It is important to recognize that living with differences is a part of God's plan for us. We're never going to be the same. We're not always going to agree. And that's okay! there will always be different circumstances we can't control. But we can always choose how we respond. Jesus Christ is our teacher and helper in that regard. He, more that anyone else, understands what it's like to be opposed and oppressed, to love among opposites, and to respond to differing opinions of the day.  
So why is it that we are not supposed to judge? 
In Matthew 7 it explains "judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged." If the Lord uses His own criteria for judging, we are assured of a just, and merciful judgement. Are we confident enough with the criteria we use in judging others that we are willing to have the Lord judge us by our criteria rather than His? Do we want Him to judge us in the same way we judge others? If not, then perhaps we should be hesitant to criticize and condemn others. Seldom do we ever really see the true picture. We look at situations, at people, and see the topmost layer, an oversimplified, often deceiving layer. And we judge. On my mission I have had a chance to look behind the curtain of many struggling, and hurt children of God. It has hurt me to see the best efforts they put in completely looked over by those around them, and be judged for their uncontrollable and unfortunate circumstances. We always hear about this unseen "bigger picture" and yet, we think this is different. I do know, I do understand everything. But we are not the ones who took upon ourselves every sin, sorrow and pain in order to have the privilege of perfect empathy and perfect understanding. No, only the Savior truly knows. Only He understands. Only He see's the whole picture. 
We can never fully know the circumstances of someone else's life, their motives, or the state of their heart. The Lord's way will be to apply His perfect knowledge of each person's circumstances, motives, and actions thought their entire lives. 
We need to love as the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us. We need to love, be kind, avoid contention, be patient, reserve judgement for God, and forgive-- over and over again. As we pray in faith, he will help us to become more than we are, to see others as more than what they may appear to be, and to respect those who are different than we are and trust that maybe we can learn something from our fellow travelers in this world. Perhaps in knowing them we learn tolerance, empathy, compassion, patience, and ultimately how to love like God. 
I know that Jesus Christ is our perfect example. And I pray we can all strive to follow Him by choosing the higher road, choosing to love, to be kind, and to seek understanding. I know that as we pray for this help sincerely, we will receive it. 

Love you all so much! 
Be safe this week, and enjoy the heat! 
Sister Dobyns:) 

So sorry, but I kinda totally spaced on taking pictures this week:P 
Forgive me! 
(That's 104 degrees Fahrenheit!) I heard it even got to 45! Which is 113!!! Where's the lake when you need it?!?!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Faith to Never Leave Him

Happy Canada Day & Happy 4th of July Everyone! 

It has been a super fun and eventful week!! 

Last Tuesday Sister Melville and I were able to go to Waterton with our wonderful housing inspectors the Parkinson's! We hiked bear's hump, and oh my goodness it was so beautiful!
I was so excited a practically ran to the top! (Taking many many breaks to let the others catch up haha) But it was honestly so breath taking! And once we made it up to the top there were tons of little chipmunks that just crawled onto your lap, and would eat out of your hand! It was so precious! Then we got hot dogs, and ice cream, and went by a waterfall, and headed home again! We got home and raced to our evening appointments, and were super tired by the end of the night! 

We also had an awesome youth activity this week where we played missionary jeopardy, and asked the youth what some questions were that their friends have asked them and would like help answering. After discussing a few of their questions and how to respond to their friends, we grabbed some snacks, and just had an open Q&A for anything they think we could help with or answer for them:) It was honestly so awesome! The youth were so responsive, and excited as they were able to practice answering the real questions they face every day. I really admire them and their desires to share the gospel, and help their friends understand more about what we believe! 

And of course Saturday was a blast! Canada turned 150 this year!! 
We spent all day on our feet pretty much! We helped out with the food bank and served hamburgers for 5 hours! and then we went over to another park and met up with Maegan! We looked for little service opportunities all throughout our day, and just had a good time! it was super hot all day but was really fun:) and today we are celebrating the 4th of July with our zone!
So this week I have been thinking a lot about enduring to the end. Go figure right? 
But as I studied I came across the story in John 6 where Christ is teaching his disciples, and many of them find the things that Christ is asking of them to be too difficult, and make the most heart-breaking decision of their lives. It says:
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
As we follow the Savior we will, without a doubt, face challenges, adversity, and be asked to give up many things. None of us are exempt from the necessity of facing these trials. We will all at one time or another come to place where we must ask ourselves "will [I] go also away?" In fact, many of us face that question every day. 
But I know that is is enormously important for us to respond the same way Peter did when he said:
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Christ is the only with answers. We must choose to face our individual challenges with faith in Him, and in our Father's plan. When we do, our afflictions become that of a refiners fire, and we find our conversion deepened, and have drawn nearer to our Savior than before. But when we approach our hardship without faith, and without the aid of our Savior, those same trials can cloud of view, weaken our resolve, and drive us in the opposite direction of where true peace and happiness can be found. And from the only One who is able to save, and help us. 
Throughout my mission I have seen and felt the heartbreak that comes when one slips away from that straight and narrow path. I'm sure many of us have. There may even be some of us that are slipping away right now without even realizing it. I invite every single one us to evaluate where we are on that path, and which direction we tend to be moving in. 
So how do we remain true to the Savior and His gospel? How do we develop this faith and strength to never leave Him? True and fervent prayer, diligent study of the scriptures, faithful church attendance, regular temple attendance, and compassionate service. You know the answers. You have probably been taught them your whole life. So what will you decide to do the next time you are faced with a difficult challenge and the question arises "will ye also go away?" 
I know it is not easy. Trust me... I know. I have learned that lesson many many times in the 17 months alone. But I know that there is no better path to walk, or road to weather than that of the discipleship of Jesus Christ. So make that choice. Decide today to trust the Savior with your full heart, and mind, and energy and strength no matter what comes. 

I love my Savior and Father more than anything else in this life. 
I know our Father's plan is perfect. 
And I know it is only because of our Savior that we can continue on this plan even when we fall short 100x a day. 
The gospel is true. It is the only thing that will bring true happiness and change into our lives. 
I've seen in myself, and in many people that I love on my mission, and I can not deny the power that has come into my life as I have done all I can to serve and follow my Savior. 
Please choose to stay with Him. 
I love you all dearly and wish you wonderful week! 
~Sister Dobyns:)
Lunch break from serving hamburgers for hours! 

Cute Backyard

Beautiful Waterton! 

Canadian Pride!