Monday, October 29, 2012

 Saying good bye to Honeyhead and hello to Sister Lopez

 Applesauce party:) With Nadia and Pascale

 The last family photo:(

The apostate Sister and the White Handbook Sister

Hey little pumpkins!
Sorry for the uber downer email last week. But sometimes life is hard, even for servants of the Lord:)  Don't worry though. Everything worked out, because that's how the Lord works! It was a gorgeous fall week. And blessings were everywhere, sometimes it's easy to forget how blessed we are:)

This week was my little Honeyhead's last week on the mission. It was hard to see her go. I love that little chica so much! I haven't cried that much in a long time, but I know that the Lord allowed me to spend one more transfer with her as a huge tender mercy. I've been super lucky with the companions I've had! Sister Lopez is a doll. She has been helping me a ton with my Spanish/French/English:) Yeah. My English has gotten pretty bad the last few months. I don't know why but I speak like English is my second language or something. I'm a weirdy. Sister Lopez is also really funny and she thinks I'm funny...which is really good because I think I'm pretty funny too;) 

This week we did a lot of running around teaching. It was a really good week. We also spent a lot of time helping out with our ward Halloween party which was a lot of fun and we got three referrals so that was really good. Sister Lopez and I had about 3 dollars each for our costumes so we went to the dollar store(which weirdly enough in Canada are like super amazing) and we were looking for costumes and Sister Lopez had the idea that we could be a devil and an angel or rather a white handbook missionary and an apostate missionary. We thought it was really funny until after we bought everything and then Sister Lopez was like "Hermana why did you let me do this?" She was dying. But our ward thought it was funny and so did our there:) 

So, I'm like permanently exhausted. Yesterday I fell asleep in sacrament, gospel doctrine, and relief society. It was really bad. I have no idea when I turned into an 85year old man but for some reason the second I sit down I'm a goner. I even called Sister Cannon to see if she had any solutions. She said, "Yeah. Sleep in one morning." And I said, "Yeah no." I hate breaking the routine. I thrive on routine. We'll see. Mostly I'm hoping that my body will just keep up with the level of insanity I put it through every day:) 

This week Sister Lopez and I went to visit this old Haitian member in our ward and she talked forever about everything under the sun.....I actually fell asleep a couple of times. But I just kept saying "Oui, c'est vrai." And smiling. Then we decided to sing a song and she started singing really loud and off key. I forgot to prepare Sister Lopez for Haitian singing and Sister Lopez, bless her little heart started laughing super hard. And the member kind of looked at her like "are you okay?" So I just kept singing and then at the end Sister Lopez said, "Desole, I'm a really bad singer." So then we said good-bye and afterwards walked out and as soon as the door was shut behind us we both started laughing super hard and Sister Lopez said, "Is that normal?" And I just smiled and said "you have no idea". Another favorite thing of mine this week has been introducing Sister Lopez to everyone as the cousin of Jennifer Lopez. Everyone here believes me:) I'm so funny, 

So this week the big apple service project was still underway. Sister C and I made applesauce with the member for a couple of hours and all of the while I kept thinking about the parable of the vineyard in Jacob 5. Sometimes I can't believe how blind I was to the amazing love of heavenly Father. But peeling those apples was a reminder to me that he loves us so much. You can't deny that as you peel a big juicy yellow apple. There is nothing quite so lovely. But even more the words of Jacob kept echoing in my head. The Lord of the vineyard remarks 7 seven times "it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard." That phrase really hit me.  What also hit me was thinking about everything the Lord goes through to save His trees. He doesn't just give up after one season, but He keeps working on them. He keeps showing love and patience. Sometimes I find myself being so hard on people, hard on myself. But think of the beauty of that phrase. We are important. Each one of us is like a tree that has been cared for by  the Lord of the Vineyard. It would grieve him to lose one of us. I love the scriptures. Like I've said missions are not easy, but everyday I feel like the Lord is there telling me something that gives me that much more energy to keep working hard in His vineyard. 

I hope you have a beautiful and Happy Halloween! Eat lots of treats! Have lots of fun! And be oh so safe!

I love you!
Bisous Bisous!

Soeur Perkins

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tea time with the District. Love their guts.

  Haitian Dinner Appointment. Look at the excitement on my little round face.

We picked apples last week for a service project. It was a lot of fun, except for all of the bugs. Tomorrow we'll be going back to help make a ton of applesauce:) I love Fall!!!!!

  We were able to go to the Chinese Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens with one of our members and a potential investigator. It was so beautiful!!!
  So pretty!
Gangster Chinese Girl

Hello my little pumpkins!
I cannot believe that another transfer is over. How does this keep happening? It's going by too quickly. Especially this transfer. I'm not ready to say good-bye to two of my best friends. I've decided that I'm only going to make friends with missionaries who are staying longer than me. No more of this heart wrenching sadness every transfer. As for transfer calls, I will be staying in Hochelaga and I will be receiving a companion named Sister Lopez, who is from Mexico and who is majoring in French teaching. I'm pretty excited about the whole speaking French and Spanish thing, but we will have to make sure to speak in English too since she's learning English. It's going to be a pretty interesting transfer. I'm excited, but really sad to see the Honeyhead go home. Boo!

This week was all kinds of crazy. We ran, ran, ran, and boom it was the end of the week. We had a lot of really cool experiences as you've seen from the pictures. We picked apples, we went to a Chinese lantern festival, we ate Haitian food (which makes my arteries cry), we also cried a lot, and laughed a lot. Saying good-bye is hard. 

I would really like to write more but I'm just feeling really tired. Maybe one day I'll explain the details, but by then the problems will be so removed it won't really matter. But your prayers would be appreciated. I need them. 

Speaking of prayer...this week I spent a lot of time praying. Lots of time really supplicating with my Heavenly Father. And he answered my prayers in a number of ways. A phone call from my favorite little Elder Leon, a surprise visit from the lovely Kat, lunch with the kindest Pascale, jokes from the Honeyhead. So many ways to remind me that he loves me. I guess even though this seems like a downer letter I would want you to know that He hears you too. I love you so much. Next week will be better.

Bisous Bisous
Sister Perkins

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hello little pumpkins!

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACLYN! Holy smokes! I'm so grateful that you are my sister. I hope that one day I can be just as funny, smart, and amazing as you are. Plus I think your one cute mama! Thanks for your love and for just being incredible. I love you!

Today is one lovely fall day. Incredible. I walked outside and just had this giddy feeling. It's fall. I'm in Canada. I'm a missionary. And I'm serving with my best buddy right now. The Elders took us to the most beautiful farmer's market in the world and we got a whole bag full of beautiful fruits, veggies, and raw honey.  Life could not be sweeter. 

This was a very silly week. We had a dinner appointment this Tuesday with the Athanassi Family. It's two sisters and a brother who all live together from Lebanon. It should also be noted that they are in their 60-70's. The dinner was very formal. We had a big fancy place setting, 3 courses, fancy elevator music while we ate. The works. It was a very normal, very fancy, very quiet D.A. We were getting ready to leave after we finished our spiritual thought when brother Athanassi asked in his beautiful Lebanese English "Do you want to get to know the house?" So we said sure and went on a tour of every single knook and cranny of their home. We saw all three bedrooms, the bathrooms, the living room, the food storage room, the water storage room, the office, the sewing room, and then the D.J/Dance room. Yeah. D.J. room. complete with lights and loud speakers. So brother Athanassi puts on some ballroom music and turns off the normal lights and puts on his sweet Christmas lights. Then he says, "Do you want to hear some Quebecois music?" And do you know what he turned on? Club music. And he started dancing like a crazy. Then he turned on some Lebanese music and more Quebecois  club music. The whole time Sister C and I were on the verge of dying from laughter. It was the funniest thing to see. When we left our stomachs hurt so bad. And that is how the most normal D.A. became the best D.A. 

So, apparently there was an earthquake this week. Guess who slept right through it? Yep. Me and the Honeyhead. We got a phone call the next day from a member asking us if we were scared and we were both like "" And then we heard from like a hundred people that there was an earthquake in the middle of the night. Good thing we were like zombies and didn't even notice. I'm pretty sure if we had, we both would've been like scaredy little chickens.

Let's see...So mother you were right. I was sick this week. Nothing fatal, but on Saturday at about 6 I turned in the towel. Once I got home I crashed and Honeyhead went to cleaning our disgusting bathroom that probably hasn't really been cleaned since 1924. So, I'm dead to the world for about an hour and then I woke up and found our living room covered in bags of trash. So, we load up with trash and go out the back door of our apartment. Our apartment is about 500 square feet and it has two doors. One in the front and one that goes out a back way to the trash. Well, I accidentally let that door shut and it locks automatically. And then we keys. So we walk to our concierge's house. Let me paint the picture for you: I look like death no make-up, sweats and Honeyhead has a Tyson Chicken shirt on it that says Power full and yoga pants and big pink fluffy socks. Pretty sweet combo. So we knock on our concierge's door, who is the nicest person by the way, and he kindly gives us keys and so we walk over to our apartment only to realize that this key doesn't unlock the back door to our house. So we try the front door and Viola! However, we locked ALL THREE locks on our door. Including the little chain one that keeps the door from opening all of the way. So after about 15 minutes of me sticking all of my appendages into the house trying to get the chain unlocked, we decide to go back to the concierge and ask for a screwdriver. He looks at us like we're absolutely as bonkers as we look as says, "Why? I gave you the keys." And we say, "Well, the problem is the little chain at the top." And he says, "That's impossible unless you went out the emergency back door." Oops. Big no no. So, he kindly gave us a screwdriver to  take off the chain lock and off we go. The only other problem is that we have to buzz to get back into our building because our concierge lives in another building. I'm a missionary so I'm pretty much a professional at getting into buildings so I buzz about a million of them and in we go. Bad idea. So, two of our neighbors come out while Honeyhead is unscrewing our lock and they look at us like we're delinquent robbers so in my delusional French I explain that we're locked out. Yeah. They were not happy. Finally we got in and that is how a five minute run to the dumpster took a half an hour. Gotta love the "within sight and sound rule". 

Yesterday we had one of those experiences that really struck me hard. We were visiting this family and we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation. We started out talking about how we are all children of God. And they argued that it's not true, this family was certain that only Christians were children of God. My heart was so struck by it. I tried explaining that we were all created by this same God who gave us all life therefore we are all His children. But they argued that it couldn't be true. It made me so sad and the words "the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God" kept ringing in my head. I know that we are children of God. Every single one of us. He loves us no matter how good or bad, how "christian" or agnostic, He loves us all the same. I know that's not really groundbreaking, but for me it was. I'm a daughter of God. I'm His little girl. The apple of His eye. And there isn't anything or anyone who can make me believe otherwise. 

I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall season! I hope you are healthy! I hope you are wise! I hope if your name is Jaclyn Sue you eat a lot of cake and ice cream today:) 

Je vous aime beaucoup!

Bisous Bisous!

Soeur Perkins

Monday, October 8, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving Day!
Today is indeed Canadian Thanksgiving and we are going to be having a big feast in about two hours. We're super excited! More than even most Quebec-ers. They don't really celebrate they just take work off. But Sister C and I decided that this was an excellent opportunity to make a big meal with all of the missionaries we love. Elder Blank and a few other Elders bought a 28lbs turkey! The poor Elders woke up at 5 this morning to go cook the turkey at the mission home. Sister C turned into Martha Stewart and made two different kinds of sweet potatoes. When we just got to the mission office we found out that the Elders in charge of the stuffing burnt it. So that will be interesting. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a great meal though! We even made fancy Indian hats, we didn't want to spare any measure of effort for our Canadian Thanksgiving.

This week was as usual insane! We ran around like crazies here there and everywhere. There is no time to rest here. But it's good and makes me feel like a real  missionary. I think when people are preparing to go on a mission they always think they're going to turn into this superhuman version of themselves, full of charity, patience, love, deep doctrinal answers. But the truth is your just the same. But the good news is that the Lord makes up for your weaknesses. He's helped me be better in ways that I didn't know I could be better. It's pretty incredible!

So, obviously conference was amazing! I couldn't write notes fast enough and I just kept thinking I can't believe I have to wait a whole month before the Ensign comes out. It's ridiculous. I need it now!!! But I'm so happy that we were able to be so spiritually edified by the leaders of this amazing church. However, we were dying by session four. It's been a very, very, very long time (okay, 6 months) since I've sat and watched something. I felt like I had a mild form of ADHD. It was soooo hard to sit there. But it was well worth it:)

On Friday we visited Carline and Gregory. We taught them the entire plan of Salvation and the spirit was really strong so we decided it was time to try to commit them. They were so excited and nervous, but they accepted. We were so happy and my heart just felt to bursting! There are days when I think "Why is this sooooo hard!?". Sometimes being a missionary is really discouraging, but the moments that are rewarding are incredibly rewarding. More than anything else I've ever been a part of. And when those moments happen I can help but happen to feel incredibly grateful for all that I've been given. And seeing that it's Canadian Thanksgiving I want to name a few things that I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for the past year. My life has changed. I've changed. I'm grateful for my companions and the other missionaries I've been able to serve around. I know the Lord sent them to me to help me be better. I'm grateful for my family. They're incredible and my best buddies. I love you all! I'm grateful for my friends who have been there for the past year. Thank you for being patient with my inability to write back:) I'm super grateful for my healthy body, for my curly hair (finally learned to love it), for the fact that I've grown 1/2 inch:) I'm grateful for the ability to pray each night, and even more for the ability to let go of my imperfections as I pray to my Father in Heaven for Forgiveness. I'm grateful for the leaves in Canada that are so beautifully changing. I'm grateful for my Honeyhead. I'm grateful for my District. I'm grateful for my faith, my membership in the church, and my scriptures. I'm just so thankful for all that the Lord has given me and don't really have the words to express my gratitude for all that I have, but as Ammon stated in Alma 26 "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." Have we not reason to rejoice? Take time this week to count your blessings and name them one by one. 

Thank you for your love and your prayers. Please never cease to pray for the missionaries. We need them! More than letters and packages, and thanksgiving dinner we need prayers! Have a beautiful week! Eat pie! Drink Apple Cider! Count your blessings! Remember that I love you!

Bisous! Bisous! 

Soeur Perkins

Monday, October 1, 2012

Picture of the Week. Yeah. It's random. So this is Elder Riviera he's the AP. And we have this running joke about this crazy Ward Mission Leader from Zarahemla who once drew the Ward mission plan on an orange. So Elder Riviera drew it for me again on a watermelon. So classy:) Or in the words of President Cannon, "So Gangster!"

Hey there!
I'm getting spooked! Ever since I hit my year mark I feel like my life is going by at a rapid rate! Where is time going?! I've been trying to figure out a way to make time slow down, because let's be honest I need more than six months. Oh dear!

This week was actually pretty good. We ran around like crazies, which is pretty much normal. We had Sister's Conference at the mission home and it was soooo much fun! I love being at the Cannon's house and even better...with all of my sista's. We got to sleep over so the night before the actual conference we played games and painted nails. It was so actually felt weird. I'm turning into that missionary. However, we went to go visit Sister Delgado before Sister's Conference and she painted my nails in this fancy shmancy way that we started calling the Delgado nails. She's too cute. So all week I kept staring at my nails. They were too pretty. I feel like nothing about me is presentable anymore. But last week I had rocking nails. Beautiful back to sister's conference. President and Sister Cannon really wanted to drive home the fact that we are just as important and influential as the Elders. There were also good trainings on stress management (a must), and language study plans. It was a really great conference. But I would have to say my favorite part was listening to President talk about how fascinated he was by the way gangsters talk over lunch.  "Let's take the phrase 'Get outtta my face'. Can someone literally be in your face? And Bra. I'm not sure that's appropriate to call another person." And in the back Sister Cannon said, "I find this conversation inappropriate." I was laughing super hard. Maybe it's just funny to me because I'm a missionary. 

Can I just say how excited I am for General Conference? It's like the spiritual superbowl. Speaking of sounding like a missionary.... We went to the women's broadcast this last Saturday in French, and it was absolutely incredible. I just love conference! When we were at the stake center I actually met a sister who just returned from serving in STG. It made me so happy! She told me that she absolutely adored her mission there. Really, who can blame her? I'm so excited for GC! Best time of the whole year!!!

So yesterday at church there was a random lady who came to Gospel Doctrine she was clearly not a member so Sister C and I went and sat by her. The situation seemed pretty normal (for us) until during the prayer I noticed that her bag was ticking. Yeah. Like a timebomb. Or the crocodile in Peter Pan. So I look at Sister C to see if she is hearing what I'm hearing and she seemed to be fine. So then I look across the room at the Elders to see if they can hear it and they are also fine. So then I'm like maybe it's my watch. So I casually lift my watch to my ear to see. Nope. Meanwhile the teacher is asking everyone to share a talent they have developed. For some reason  HoneyHead thought she said share a talent you would like to have, so it gets to HoneyHead and she says, "Charity." And I thought "Well, look at you Miss Christ-like attributes." Because Sister C just barely told me like two days earlier that she was working on Charity, and so I thought "oooh-la-la-la you figured that out quick." As you can imagine my brain was reeling. Timebomb. Charity. Crocodile.I knew the Elders would be leaving the class soon to go to the other ward they cover so I wrote them a quick note just in case. I basically told them not to deep fry the turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving (Next week). Yeah. For some reason that was my dying wish. The end of this story is pretty anti-climatic, after class ended she just got up and left. I'm not going to lie a was pretty relieved. And then I told Sister C about the crocodile/timebomb and she started laughing and said, " This is the second time you've thought somebody had a bomb." This is true. If you remember my experience at the court house in maybe I'm a little paranoid. 

During sacrament yesterday I was reading in D&C 25 where the Lord speaks to Emma Smith. It's such a powerful section for the sisters in the church. I love it! But I was really struck by verse 4, that says, "Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come." It really hit me because....I murmur. A lot. Sometimes I err more on the Laman and Lemuel side and less on the Nephi side. Sometimes I murmur because I'm not sure how things are going to work out. Sometimes I murmur because people are mean. Sometimes I murmur because getting up at 6:30 everyday is not fun. Sometimes I murmur because I miss my old clothes. Sometimes I murmur because I don't recognize my body or hair anymore. Sometimes I murmur because of this or that little detail. I murmur a lot. It's annoying, I'm sure. I bet there are days when the Lord wants to say, "Hey you! Knock it off!" But the Lord has promised us that as long as we listen to Him, He will take care of everything. We've been given so much, but for one reason or another we allow ourselves to forget. The three most beautiful words I've heard in the French language are "Je me souviens" (I remember). Don't forget. Don't forget what you've been given. Don't forget who you are. And most importantly don't forget that He has a plan for us all. 

I really hope this email makes sense. I feel like the longer I'm on my mission the more my brain turns into a pinball machine. It's pretty ridiculous. But please know that I love you and thank the Lord every time I think about all of the beautiful people back home supporting me here. I love you!

Bisous Bisous!

Soeur Perkins