I have so much to tell you, I feel like I'm going to explode! haha So many wonderful things happened this week! I hope I can write something that will help each of you.
I'll start with our trip to Edmonton! It's a 3 1/2 hour drive from here, and the drive was beautiful! Everything is so green up here, and I love road trips, so I loved going on a mini one! We had a temple session at 5:30, and we left here at 1 just to give ourselves plenty of time. When we were 30 minutes outside of Edmonton, all of sudden, all traffic was stopped, and you couldn't see far enough ahead to know what was going on. We sat there for about 20 minutes before we decided to take the back roads! The Canadian road system is made up of highways, range roads, and township roads. So we drove on dirt roads for about 20 minutes to get past the delay! #canada By the time we made it to the main highway, we had another 20 minutes to go, and it was 5:15! I was starting to really panic, I hadn't been to the temple since December, and I wouldn't get another chance for a few months! So I started praying my little heart out! We called the temple, and let them know we were really close but running behind. We pulled into the parking lot at 5:35, and as soon as we walked into the door, I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and peace. I had made it to the temple, and the temple had anxiously awaited our arrival. They held the session for us, and had everything ready for us to have an incredible experience. And just to add to this amazing experience, I got to see two women from Lacombe! I just can't express the joy and gratitude I feel for that experience. The temple brings us feelings that go beyond this world. I know that it's the Lord's house, and what a privilege it was to be there that day.
That night, we had our last interviews with President Manion at the mission home. They are going home at the beginning of July, and it was a blast to spend one more night with them. They have served so faithfully, and I love them so much! President Manion and I have had a very interesting relationship. He's always been very tough love with me, and it's been a bit difficult at times, but I am so grateful that he has stretched me to reach my potential. He knew exactly what I needed, and when I needed it.I believe that you get called to serve in a certain area because of the people as well as the mission president. And I'm so glad that I have had the privilege of serving under the direction of President and Sister Manion.
On Thursday and Friday, Sister B came up from Edmonton for exchanges! I love her so much, she's from California and goes home next transfer! I had everything planned perfectly for our exchange, and I was sure no plans would fall through.... I should know better! haha our investigator lesson fell through, so I decided we should go down to the beach and invite people to our "Why I Believe" fireside on Sunday. The first person we meet starts talking to us, and she was really friendly! So we start talking to her about her life, and she mentioned how she's quitting smoking. I asked her what program she was using, and she said, "the program the missionaries gave me!!" WHAT?? It was such a shock for the both of us, and she proceeded to tell us that she had been baptized 12 years ago, moved away for 10 years, and hasn't been to church since! We have no record of her anywhere! WHAT A MIRACLE! I have no doubt that Heavenly Father planned that out perfectly, and I'm so grateful I got to be a part of that plan! Her name is T, and she's so ready to come back to church. Heavenly Father is so aware of each of us, and sometimes what we may see as an inconvenience can turn out to be someone else's miracle! We're going to see her tonight, so I'll keep you posted on where her story goes!
Another really cool miracle happened at the Cold Lake Stampede! D, our recent convert, and her grandmother, M, invited us to go with them to the chuckwagon races! I've been to many rodeos in my day, but this was my first chuckwagon race! They had mini horse chuckwagons, chariot races, and the big chuckwagons, they go all out here! haha it was a blast! One of the ward members came up to us during the races and informed us that there was a less active member sitting behind us who hadn't been to church in 15+ years! We had no clue! haha it's amazing how these people can fly under the radar! We went and chatted with her after the races, and she was open to having us come over! People, Heavenly Father is the greatest! He knows each of us, and he will always find ways to bring us back to Him. If you haven't noticed, I totally have a testimony of this principle! haha it's so true!
Saturday, we went over to our investigator, C's house, for supper. She's met with missionaries for quite a few years, but it's usually just to chat. However, we were able to have a great conversation about the Plan of Salvation! Her husband, Ch, is a very deep thinker. He was a pilot in the military, and he's very even-keeled and conversational. It was awesome because we were able to transition a political conversation into a philosophical conversation into a gospel conversation! He was very open to the idea of life after death, and you could tell he was really soaking it all in. It's amazing how easy it is to tie the gospel into any conversation. All you have to do is try, and it will come up every time!
Sunday, we had our "Why I Believe" Fireside! We have been trying so hard to invite people, and by Sunday, I knew I had tried all I could to get people there. Well, we had over 30 ward members! Which was awesome! And 1 investigator, Will! haha So not totally as we had hoped for, but it was what he needed! We had a panel of 4 converts answering common questions people have about the church. It was so cool! And Will even asked some questions of his own, and it was so cool to see these converts and ward members answer his questions! It was like 35 people teaching one discussion! haha it was super fun, and the spirit was so strong! Will's favorite part were the testimonies shared at the end. He kept saying how much he wanted that. I can't wait for this man to gain faith! I know that once he does, there will be no stopping him, so please pray for him!
Whew! That was a lot, I know! It was an incredible week, and my testimony has grown so much! I feel so blessed to be serving the Lord in such an incredible place. I have never doubted that the Lord sent me to the right place, but it gets proven to me every week! He has a plan for every single person, and I love that I get to play a role in some of His children's lives.
I know this gospel is the truth! I love it!
Have an amazing week! I love you all!
Sister Bethany Christensen
PS I forgot something!
We had the coolest experience on our way home from Edmonton! We stopped in Vilna to use the washroom, and on our way back, we noticed a lady smoking outside of her liquor store. She said hi, so of course, we went and talked to her! She was super friendly, and noticed my last name, which happened to be her maiden name! We started talking about family history, and we told her about familysearch. She loved the idea! The more we were talking, the more I kept feeling prompted to give her a Book of Mormon, but I didn't have my bag with me! Rookie mistake... so I told her I had something I wanted to give her, and I basically sprinted to the car and brought one back. I told her how much this book has brought me peace, and how it has blessed my family. She said she was open to reading it, and she accepted it! I can't tell you how amazing I felt after that! It was an incredible feeling to act on a prompting, and change someone's life at the same time. She's in St. Paul's area, so I can't wait to hear how she will progress.