Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meet Sister Amber Lewis!!

Hi from Sister G's mom - we just found Grace's DARLING companion's blog!  Here is the link for more pictures and stories from Canada! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Building doorstep at a time

Hello to my unbelievably amazing family...and friends :)

I can't believe another week has gone by and again I have SO much to say!!!! 

You are all probably very interested in how I am actually still alive in this weather - and that is a VERY good question. 
It has been about -18 degrees (C) which is COLD. 
Then the wind blows and the snow hits your is the cold that takes your breath away. But we still have to contact people so we walk from door to door or talk to people downtown until we get to the point where our faces are literally frozen and we can't talk anymore..our mouths no longer move and people have no idea what we're saying. It's a little bit funny..but mostly just embarrassing. But I AM surviving and am so happy to be here!!!

However, this week has been hard. I have learned a lot about Heavenly Father's timing and the importance of NEVER GIVING UP. 

We started the week hopeful, we knew we were going to find new investigators and that we would be able to teach several powerful lessons. BUT as the week progressed, the cold was somewhat unbearable and all of our lesson's fell through. We went from house to house trying to contact referrals and potential investigators but no one answered the door or our phone calls. We were quickly becoming discouraged. We couldn't spend every hour of every day knocking and street contacting - though they DO build character, the cold makes it impossible and no one wants to talk anyway. 

One night we returned to our little, stinky apartment and decided we needed to give everything to the Lord. We planned to fast the next day - we fasted for the faith to keep going. The faith to find just one new investigator. We fasted to understand what the Lord was trying to teach us. The next morning we read in preach my gospel - 
"Do not become discouraged, discouragement will weaken your faith." 

So we smiled a lot and came up with more ideas to find people (we are trying to get in the newspaper, volunteering at the hospital, museums, food bank, trying to set up a mall display, ETC ETC) . We decided that we would continue to work hard and that the Lord would meet us halfway. 

Throughout the rest of the week I felt a lot happier, people still didn't want to talk, we still hadn't found an investigator AND I still haven't actually taught a lesson to an investigator but I have gained a lot of confidence, it doesn't hurt my feelings when nobody wants to hear our message, I just feel sad for them...they really don't know what they are missing. I also began to recognize the Lord's hand in my life - he was helping me be happy, he made one of the nights 1 degree (1 positive degree :) ) and I can't tell you the world of difference that it made..I could have knocked FOR DAYS in that warmth (wink wink but seriously). 

I know I was put in this area for a reason. Halifax is a hard mission and Fredericton is a hard area but WE CAN DO HARD THINGS so I am not giving up. The Lord is preparing his children, I know that he is preparing someone for me to teach...I just have to find them and I know that I will. I am hopeful and I can't wait. 

I am sooooo happy that Adelide had her first baptism. I can't imagine the joy she must have felt. She is amazing and this work is amazing. It truly changes us all for the better.

I love thinking of all of my amazing friends and cousins who are out serving and finding and building people up. I feel so grateful to be one of them, we are the latter day army of Heleman - we must be brave and share what we KNOW is true. I love this gospel with all that I am and I KNOW it's true with my whole heart. As I learn more and more everyday - my gratitude and love for my Savior increases and my desire to share this message grows. We are so blessed to have the truth. To know the way back home.

We have been focusing a lot on member missionary work here in the ward and I know that you don't need to hear it from me but I'll tell you anyway!!! We must share what we know whenever we can because we don't know who the Lord has prepared. And if we don't open our mouths we don't give people the opportunity to choose. The Lord doesn't need us but he allows us to be part of his work because it blesses US!!! It makes us HAPPY. 

I am always hungry which is totally weird and a problem..but they do have the most amazing maple donuts here - TO DIE FOR!! DQ is totally back. And I realized that my birthday shoutout to dad was a little soon but I wanted him to be celebrated as much as possible!!! Love you DAD - HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK. I am going to try and send a package home soon :) 

Can't thank you enough for supporting and encouraging me. I love and miss you all SO much. Have an amazing week!!

Love, Sister G

Monday, January 20, 2014


self timer photo

HIIII everyone!!!! I can't thank you enough for being my family... Honestly, that might sound weird but I just love you all so much! 

Take a step back today and think about how blessed we are to be together. Then thank Heavenly Father for families! I LOVE telling everyone about you - I am so proud and thankful for my support back home.

Yes President is great! He is so funny and thoughtful. We were taking a picture together (President, Sister Leavitt and I) and I accidentally started putting my arm around him......he kindly corrected me and I was laughing inside. Bless my heart.  

So I've been assigned to the Fredericton, New Brunswick area as you know. It is beautiful but the towers of dirty snow make it a little hard to recognize right now..the river is beautiful though! Soo send all the letters and packages you want to my apartment here :) my address is: 

240 Parkside Drive #3 
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5V7 

THANK YOU - I would love that but no pressure.
My apartment is a little scary, it reminds me of the place where the missionaries were abducted in the movie, The Saratov Approach, it smells like drugs and is not very cute. My bed is totally slanted but it's close to the church and I can't complain!! It's 

My trainer is Sister Lewis, she is from Sandy, Utah and she is the Sister Training Leader (the girl version of a zone leader) and I LOVE her!! (and that is awesome for emma,being made sister trainer!! she inspires me and helps me be happy!!!)  

Sister Lewis has been out about 9 months and is such a hard worker. We get along really well which is nice because instead of working through problems in our companionship we get to focus on others and the work here in Fredericton - which is crucial right now. There are two elders here with us and a senior couple. The elders are also the Zone Leaders and the Hendrickson's are great. Just in case you wanted to know...;) 

The ward is wonderful, most of the members are converts and it's very different from anything I have grown up around but it's good for me to see and be a part of. I got to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting. I talked about D&C 84:88 LOOK IT UP - the Lord is with me every step of the way and that gives me strength and hope. 

We spend a lot of our time street contacting and knocking which is a little discouraging. 

First because it's cold outside (and this week was supposedly a warm spell..) 

Second, because it gets very dark outside around 6 and the town totally shuts down. People either don't answer or don't want to talk to us. It is a little discouraging when you're tired but trying to put your biggest smile on..

THIRD -  the ultimate rejections come. People will turn their porch lights on, stare at us, then look at our tags, shake their heads and turn the light off...all without even saying a word. We stand their smiling, then look at each other and walk away - a little more humbled each time. 

I wish there was a better way of finding people but Sister Lewis told me that this is a tracting mission.. The ward tries to help but we are just getting the area on its feet so things are progressing slowly but surely..we won't forget that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. We have a lot of plans for getting our names out there and actually finding people to teach so I have hope and faith in the future. 

This month I am working on the challenge that Adelide begun which is developing a Christlike attribute each month I'm here. 
I am starting with faith. 
What a wonderful thing to work on, even though Fredericton is a hard area - I have faith that Heavenly Father sent me here for a reason and I have faith to learn what he wants me to learn. I have faith that we will find investigators and that we will reach our goals. 

In this mission we memorize a lot of things, we have a strict schedule and President is very organized - sounds like things I love right? I am enjoying it. 

I am trying to send Dad something for his birthday but DAD - thank you for having such a strong testimony and love for our Savior. Thank you for being so responsible and thoughtful;. Thank you for teaching me that I can never give up and that I must always find the courage to try. Thank you fro teaching me to love life and to be grateful for our countless blessings. Thank you for giving me your eyes and inspiring me to be better. Thank you for the reminder that I must forget myself and serve serve serve. I love you with all my heart and can't thank you enough for being my dad. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Oh and I'm sure stake conference was incredible - you are amazing. 

Glad luce had fun at her dance. I miss her soooooo much. I miss the way she told me her long, drawn out but amazing stories as we laid in bed and I tried really hard to stay awake. GOOD JOB ON THE WIN!! Wish I could be there playing right by your side. You are incredible. 

Tell jake I love him and miss him. Hope he is happy.

And tell the married people that they are the best. I loved hearing their voices the other week. And if the boys have mission advice - LET ME HEAR IT!!!!

Just want you to know that when times are tough I remember that I am not alone. My Savior needs me here and he is blessing me for my efforts. So many people are working together to build up his kingdom and I am thankful that he is allowing me to be part of his army. With him - we cannot fall. Reach out and be an example to everyone you see. AND ALWAYS SMILE EVEN WHEN YOUR FACE IS FROZEN. I love you all. 

Bye bye,love Sister G
PS I do want to build a snowman!
MTC pictures - Grace's  Companions

Grace's zone at the MTC

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Your daughters have arrived safely. They are now in bed after a long day. They are happy and in good spirits. We picked them up at 9:30pm our time, brought them to the mission home, fed them, gave them their assignments, answered a few questions and sent them off to bed. They will be up at 6:30am doing their exercise program at 6:45am and will have a full day of orientation, food, some tracting and some rest. They will head out for their assigned areas on Thursday morning. Their assignments are

Sister Gochnor Fredericton NB
Sister Tegge Amherst NS
Sister Drew Presque Isle Maine
Sister Curtis New Glasgow NS
Sister Spender Summerside PEI

I have attached two pictures for your interest. 

Best Regards

Brian Leavitt
Canada Halifax Mission

mission facebook page

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

HI from this MTC veteran (winking emoji) jk, but one week down - CRAZY!!!!

WOW what an adventure, a HARD adventure! I think I have learned more this past week than in my whole life combined. Mom I am so thankful that you gave me that quote on purpose because that is a very important part of my life as a missionary. I am finding out my purpose and it is wonderful. 

WILL guess what!? Navajo tacos for lunch today!!!!!!!!! WOOT WOOT - I ate one just for you. The food has actually been really yummy. I'm not always very hungry but there is a good variety and it definitely beats out the market place at Utah State.....GO AGGIES THOUGH

We have our flight plans. We leave the MTC Tuesday morning at 4:30AM. We take 3 different planes to get to Halifax!! So our flight leaves from Salt Lake around 8:30 in the morning - I will probably call between 6:30 and 8 so be ready!!!!!!! Can't wait to hear your voices :) I know the kids have school but hopefully I can catch them (hope going back to school wasn't too guys are awesome!)
Ok let me tell you a few things.. we play basketball during gym there's that, YES my companions are totally into it and I just laugh at myself and everyone else (in a nice way - bless their hearts) our district is great though, maybe not athletic but they are so nice and fun to be with. 

Our teachers are phenomenal - seriously it is amazing how much I can learn from them, I really look up to them. They are so kind and understanding..they encourage us and help us remember why we are here and who we are representing. We sang in the devotional night and afterward I saw Taylor Thomas and JONATHAN ANDERTON - they both saw me on the screen and then came up and found me after. It was cool. I have also seen True a few times so yeppp those are my people! We went to the temple this morning which was amazing - I feel like I see and understand everything so differently since being here and it was such a powerful experience.

Sorry I'm running through all of this sooooo fast but seriously time doesn't exist here hahahaha that makes no sense. Ok I just want to share the three most powerful lessons I have learned so far..they haven't been easy to learn them but they have been worth it.

#1 I thought I knew a lot before I came here, I had a testimony and I was confident. And then I got here and I missed my family, I was tired all the time and nights were sad. One night after teaching a lesson that did not go very well and doing a lot of role plays, I reached my breaking point. I couldn't hold in the tears no matter how hard I tried - at this point we were with the other zone (they left this week for Reno - they were amazing) and Sister Purcell, who I look up to so much (she is 30 and from Hawaii) shared this with me -- 

She told me that she felt the same way when she got here but Heavenly Father quickly showed her that even though she has strengths, he didn't need to use those right now. He was showing her all her weaknesses so that she could truly learn and grow (ether 12:27) she was humbled and so was I. 

#2 This one goes along with the first but I've learned that this work is not about me! This is the Lord's work, it is his gospel and we are teaching his children. In order to be successful and happy I must entirely forger about myself and dedicate my life to serving others. This might seem obvious but I promise it is WAY harder to learn than you would think - or at least than I ever thought!

#3 Finally the third and most important lesson - (inspired by Elder Bender's talk - The Character of Christ) Each of us must be truly converted to Christ, we must take upon ourselves his character. We must experience a full change of heart.  Christ turned out when the natural man, all of us, would have the tendency to turn in and be selfish. Christ never thought of himself no matter the pain he was enduring..he saved us all and can continually save us if we just have the faith that he will. The Atonement provides us with strength beyond our own. This gospel is not about what you know but rather who you are!! And it is a process - step by step we     can accomplish true conversion,. And that is what I am working toward!!  I am heading in the right direction and I am happy :)

Sooo what an amazing experience this has been and I know it will only get better. I thank my Heavenly Father every chance I get for giving us a Savior so we can overcome the impossible. Don't think for a second that this is not the hardest thing I have ever done in my life because it is 

BUT how awesome - WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!!!

 I am so thankful for you, I love you all and miss you like crazy!!!! Thanks for everything. Talk to you soon!
Love, Sister G

PS: Tell Duke hi and tell my awesome Aunt Sara that I am so thankful for her letters and that she is so kind to think of me ALL THE TIME. Love you Sara. BYE BYE

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

WE got a LETTER...Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Ok people (missionaries) are NOT kidding when they say they have no extra time here!! I always thought they were just exaggerating? BUT NO - there are literally zero extra minutes!  It is unbelievable and tiring and AWESOME!

Anyway, I made it through the first 2 days! Can you believe it? 

My Companions - YES  - I have 2 (we are a threesome)!  Their names are Sister Curtis and Sister Tegge.  They are very nice and we get along wonderfully. They are both from Canada (Edmonton and Southern Alberta) and we will all be going to Halifax together.  Oh and they do say 'eh' and 'aboot' and they call the bathroom the 'washroom'  

WE are the only three sister in our district and they only three in our room , we each get our own bunk YAY! We met with the Branch Presidency tonight and got assigned the be the new sister training leaders for our zone - WE are also in the MTC choir - my companions like to sing...

The English speaking missionaries are always scheduled first for everything so we have to be at breakfast at 6:30am and dinner at 4pm so we are pretty hungry by breakfast the next morning - 

Tomorrow we get to teach our first investigator!  WE prepared A LOT today and I am so excited to share our message with him. It is crazy how much love you can feel for a "fake" investigator when you pray to see them as God would and when you pray for the spirit to guide your lesson. It is powerful and I can't wait to do it for real in Canada!

The food has been great.  Haven't seen or heard of (nor do I want to) any of the things Will described to me....

Thank you for supporting me and loving me.  It is still hard but I am so thankful to have such amazing family and friends rooting for me at home!  I know that I am here for a reason.  I know that my Savior needs me to be his hands and serve and love the people I teach.  The spirit is strong here and I am honored to be a part of this great work!

Love you all - Sister G

ps we are supposed to be leaving on January you

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Saying Goodbye...

Happy New Year

 Starting off the NEW YEAR right...MTC style

Matt. 5:16 Let your alight so shine before men, that they may see your good bworks, and cglorify your Father which is in heaven.

Friends, Family and Farewell's

Cute Gardner Family

Paul and Laura Brinton Family

Thank you....Jordyn, James and Katie
and thank you Nana and Papa for all you did for Grace...

Grace's second family
Friends forever...
OUR other son....Jaren