"Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . ." Matthew 28:19

"Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . ." Matthew 28:19

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 19 - Cette semaine était fou...

This week was NUTS!!! We knew we had a mission wide devotional on Tuesday in Montréal so we were planning on driving to Québec City Monday and spending the night. However, for some reason the AP's told us not to drive down Monday which meant that we would have to drive straight through (7 hours) and leave by 4:00 am on Tuesday if we wanted to be there on time. So on Monday we were emailing in Rivière-du-Loup (RDL), which is halfway between Rimouski and Québec City, and since the AP's had instructed us not to drive down on Monday we didn't have any of our travel stuff with us or the suits that we needed. 

Halfway through emails around 4:00 pm we got a call from our Zone Leaders telling us that since it was snowing A LOT we needed to drive down to Québec City that night after all and spend the night. So needless to say we booked it back to our apartment to get our stuff then turned around and drove all the way back past RDL to Québec City and spent the night. 

Tuesday we drove to Montréal with the Ste. Foy Elders while also carrying 4 tires for the Québec Sisters who didn't have room for them and a big microphone stand for the Trois Rivière Elders. Needless to say we were pretty crammed for a good 3 hours. The devotional was great. I saw everyone from my MTC District as well as Elder Carr, Elder Bird, Elder Rouché, and Elder Rudolf (all from Kaysville UT, except E. Carr who grew up there until High School). 

There were a lot of musical numbers, scriptures read, and a really good lunch. We all received our packages, we dropped off the tires at the Mission Office then drove back to Ste. Foy. Once we arrived in Ste. Foy, we went caroling which was really fun! We sang for a member's family who directed us across the street to one of their friends whom they said would really love some Christmas music. So we went and sang a couple verses of "Venez tous, fidèles", "Les anges dans nos campagnes", and "Au loin, dans l'étable", which are "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", "Angels We Have Heard On High", and "Away in a Manger" for a super nice old woman and her son. 

Afterwards she hugged the sisters and when she came towards us the new Ste. Foy Elder extended his hand to shake hers, because we aren't allowed to hug, and she grabbed his hand and pulled him in for a hug. She then proceeded to hug each of us, including me, and gave the shorter Elders a kiss on the neck.  The Sisters were laughing hysterically and all of us Elders laughed because of how uncomfortable we felt haha. 

Afterwards we went with the Ste. Foy Elders and ate poutine at Planet Poutine. 

FYI, on Tuesday my older sister was married in the Salt Lake City Temple!! 

When we got back to Rimouski on Wednesday we ate dinner with a family in our branch and had a game night with them which was really fun. Christmas Eve we went to the Dupont's for dinner, exchanged some gifts and then came home.

Christmas was amazing!! We spent the day with Mark Parent, a recent convert who is from RDL.  Mark is home for the holidays and is working on his masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin.  Mark and his family invited us to their home in Rivière-du-Loup. We skyped/face-timed with our families which was awesome! It's so great to see and talk to my family after 4 months of not being able to see them and hear their voices. We ate dinner with Mark and his family, played board games (Life and Payday), then drove back to Rimouski.

We shared the new Mormon Message with Kathleen and her dad on Saturday and had a few lessons with some of our members on Sunday. It was a crazy busy week but it was incredible. One of the presents my family sent me was a small plaque with a quote from Winston Churchill that says, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts."

I love you all! Happy New Years!! Continue in faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the Glory of God. Continue with courage to face and overcome whatever comes your way! Stay safe!


Elder DiReda

FaceTime with the Family
Mark's Family - Christmas Dinner
Mark Parent and I - Christmas Day
Christmas Day

Christmas Day - The Game of Life
Branch Christmas Party

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week 18 - Joyeux Noël!!!

Salut à tous!! Joyeux Noël!!! C'est fou que c'est Noël déjà!! Comment va la vie? Man vous me manquez beaucoup!!! 
This week was really good. Mark, a recent convert, who attends school at the University of Texas, Austin, but is from here, introduced us to 2 more of his friends when we all went out to lunch together.  We had a really good lesson with them on who we are as missionaries and what we do. They expressed interest in learning more so after the holidays and finals they want to meet with us and hear more!

On Saturday night we had our branch Christmas party.  We had 2 part member families, 2 investigators and almost all of our members come!! It was so awesome to have them all together eating and talking and creating friendships!! Since it was the week before Christmas it was harder to meet with people.

In a BYU Devotional talk by Elder Holland that I listened to recently he talks about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. Elder Holland said, "...everyone, including (and perhaps especially) the righteous, will be called upon to face trying times. When that happens we can sometimes fear God has abandoned us, and we might be left, at least for a time, to wonder when our troubles will ever end. We identify with him when he cries from the depth and discouragement of his confinement:O God, where art thou? . . .
How long shall thy hand be stayed . . . ?
Yea, O Lord, how long shall [thy people] suffer . . . before . . . thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them? [D&C 121:1–3]
That is a painful, personal cry—a cry from the heart, a spiritual loneliness we may all have occasion to feel at some time in our lives."
When in these troubled times we must remember what Heavenly Father replied to Joseph,

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. [D&C 121:7–8]

We will all face trials and pains and times where we may even question the existence of God. I pray that when we face these times that we will rely completely and fully on the Lord. The Lord will not forsake us.

I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. [D&C 84:88]

I love you all so much and am so grateful for everything each one of you has done for me!

Merry Christmas!! 


Elder DiReda

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 17 - Blessings!!!!!

So there is a recent convert who lives in Texas but grew up in Québec and he's visiting for the holidays so after emails last week we met him in Trois Pistoles which is a city about 40 minutes away, because he lives an hour and a half away. So anyways he's 25 and speaks perfect English because he has lived in the U.S. going to school for the past 4 ish years. It was so nice to talk to someone near our age, who is a member of the church, in English. Love the Québecois but English is great. English class in LR was great. One of our members who lives in La Rédemption planned the activity which was a fill in the blank for a song off of Michael Bublé's Christmas CD. It was so nice to listen to Michael Bublé Christmas songs because French hymns and French versions of Christmas songs aren't the same. Haha.
We had a good week of lessons. We met with several of our members and with our investigator Kathleen and shared the Christmas video and talked about the birth of Christ. There is a powerful Spirit that is present when talking about the birth of Christ. It's amazing!! Our member André, Kathleen's father, is hilarious!! So as a joke he hacked into Kathleen's laptop and changed the desktop picture to this picture.

While laughing at the picture, he said to Kathleen, "You look so much like your mother." Now, ordinarily this wouldn't be funny, but because Kathleen's parents are divorced I thought it was pretty funny. Haha. 
Chantale needed another blessing this week because she has an ear infection and she can't hear at all because she's completely deaf in her other ear. In any event, it was giving her a lot of pain so she called us. Giving blessings is fantastic. It's stressful in another language but it's worth it to see people being blessed almost immediately. On Friday we went back to La Rédemption because one of our members needed help finishing the framing around his patio door. It took us a good 4 hours but it was so fun to learn things about carpentry and they fed us lunch and dinner which is always a bonus! Saturday we went back to Trois Pistoles to meet with Marc again and he brought one of his friends. In the space of a few hours talking together we taught his friend the first two lessons and had a scriptural based lesson with Marc. Marc could not have come at a better time. It took so much stress off of me to be able to talk to people my age who are open to the Gospel.
Preparing for a talk in French
Sunday was great too. Elder Shaw and I had the privilege of speaking in church. I spoke on "The Parable of the Sower" by Dallin H. Oaks from General Conference in April. Elder Oaks taught about 3 of the types of ground. The stony ground, thorny ground, and the good ground that brought forth fruit. For the stony ground he talked about how important it is for us as members to help recent converts, investigators, and even members because the stony ground is they who accept the Gospel readily and excitedly but when trials arise they lose their faith and fall away. Elder Oaks talked about how we as members need to do everything we can to strengthen one another and to support one another. The thorny ground represent those who are caught up in the pleasures and distractions of the world. He talked about how we need to focus less on the worldly things like games on our phones, sports games, and things like that and spend more time with our families, serving others, and doing the simple things to increase our faith. He ended by talking about how our goal should be to be the good ground bringing forth good fruit.
I love you all and hope you all have a great and safe week, that you remember the Savior as Christmas quickly approaches and that you seek for ways to serve others. I know that if we sincerely have a desire to help someone, Heavenly Father will place people in our paths.
Love you all! Stay safe, stay faithful!

Love you guys!


Elder DiReda

Monday, December 7, 2015


I thought my email heading would give you a laugh ma ;)

Winter is here hooray!! (said no one in Québec ever!)
Snow has begun to fall and temperatures have been dropping to -10 or so and it will get around -40 before winter is through. Pray I don't freeze! 

On Tuesday this week we went to Dora and Ruud's and helped them clean the tops of their cupboards. So much dust!! I love going over there though because they always feed us and we always have funny conversations with them. 

We also had our biggest turnout to English Class in La Rédemption which was awesome!! The rest of the week was slow because hardly anyone was around so we went contacting around nearby outlets. Since the temple is reopened we were allowed to go with our stake because Elder Shaw was going through with one of his recent converts for the first time so Friday we drove to Québec and for the 3 hour drive we listened to talks that our former Branch President put on a flash-drive for us. 

Let me tell you that is now my new favorite thing to do during long car rides. Nothing is better than arriving at your destination spiritually edified and feeling the Spirit so strongly. I encourage you all to try that during your next long car ride because it's amazing. 

The temple was an incredible experience. To be with someone receiving their own endowment brings the Spirit so strongly.  There is no better word to describe it besides captivating. It was so great to be back in the Lord's house away from the evil of the world and the temptations from Satan. To be able to sit in the Celestial Room and feel nothing but pure peace and love, there is no better feeling in the world! 

I have 2 spiritual thoughts for you all today. 

The first of which is to GO TO THE TEMPLE!! There is truly no greater place on earth to be closer to our Heavenly Father and to receive personal revelation. To have a temple so close is a blessing I took for granted before I left. Although Rimouski is 7 hours away, the trip is so worth it.  So don't take for granted having one within 15 minutes to an hour away. There are so many blessings awaiting us if we will take the time to go. 

The second I want to share is some advice a great friend gave me this week. To be honest, I have been struggling recently. It's been hard for me to be patient and feel like I'm being successful when the people we visit don't seem to be progressing. I realized this week that my problem is that 1) I am fighting for and expecting people to be converted within such a short period of time because I feel it as my responsibility to convert them before I leave and 2) I'm not focusing on loving them and just being friend. This great friend of mine lovingly put me in my place and I'm so grateful for it because it helped me realize things that I should've been focusing on the whole time. 

The email/letter read,

"You're out there to convert people, and that should take a lifetime! So don't worry if they're not ready yet. I promise that by being their friend, you are pulling back the veil bit by bit to let God's love shine through on them, even if they don't realize it yet. Your job is to spread the gospel, and that's love. There's few words I can think of that describe Christ better than "friend.""

I know that in each of your lives there are people you are helping through hard times or sharing important truths of the gospel with. I hope in so doing you are all smarter than I have been and recognize that the Lord has a plan and everything happens according to His timetable.  So for us it is important to focus on love and friendship. Thank you all for your love and friendship towards me and I hope and pray you share that same love with others. 

I love you all! Have a great week! Stay safe, stay faithful!


Elder DiReda

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week 15 - Thanksgiving and Fondue

Happy Late Thanksgiving Everyone!!

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and stayed safe during the always chaotic Black Friday. It was a slower week this week, but still a lot of good things happened. Elder Shaw and I gave two more priesthood blessings this week to one of our members and her non-member husband.  It was cool because that was the first time he asked the missionaries directly for a blessing. It's so amazing to be able to give a blessing, to feel the Spirit so strongly, and to be led by the Spirit to say what our Heavenly Father would want us say on His behalf. 

We called a few former investigators this week one of whom is an older lady named Raymond. Here is how the beginning of the conversation went:

Raymond: "Oui" (hello)
Me: "Bonjour c'est les missionnaires ça va bien? (hello it's the missionaries how are you)

For the next 5 minutes she spews french at me and from what I was able to understand she had been in and out of the hospital. However, after a few minutes of me just listening, she asked, 

"Est-ce que tu comprends le français?" (Do you understand french)
Me: "Un petit peu." (a little bit)

The rest of the conversation was her speaking to me in broken English which was leaps and bounds better than my french. She spoke to me about her health problems, her family, her trip to the United States with her son, and about the many problems of the world.  Sadly, all of this lead up to her telling me that due to her being in the hospital she wasn't sure when she would meet with us. Nonetheless, it was the most interesting and funniest 33 minutes of my mission. 

I also learned an important lesson. Even if we don't have the opportunity to teach every person we come in contact with about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just being there to listen and to be a friend brings them closer to Christ. 

One of the families in our branch is going to Utah for a few months so we made them a little collage quote book. Our investigators were busy this week so we weren't able to meet with them which was sad, but we were able to meet with one of our members who is the father of one our investigators. We taught a great lesson about temples using a really cool video that explains what temples are and why they are important and sacred to us as members of the church. 

I know I talk a lot about food, but this week I had one of the best meals ever! Since the Worners (my former branch president and his family) are leaving for Utah, they invited us over for a Thanksgiving/Christmas/going away dinner with them and two other families.  We fondued! Have any of you ever fondued moose and partridge? Cause I have and it was sooo amazing!! 

Fun with Fondue


More Fondue Fun

No More Partridge in a Pear Tree
As we were making the book of quotes for them I came across one I really liked in the memoir to Boyd K. Packer.  Elder Packer said that from a young age he decided to give back to God the gift we all have possessed since before our earthly life which is agency. That struck me because he didn't say that he would use his agency to follow Heavenly Father's commandments, but rather he said he would give his agency back to Him. When we come to a point where we humble ourselves and give our agency back to God and submit to His will, we truly begin to be better built line upon line, precept by precept, and grace upon grace. 

To be so familiar with the Spirit that we can receive, recognize, and act on a prompting immediately is where I hope we can all aspire to be and what we can all work towards achieving. 

I love you all and hope you had a great holiday and enjoy the Christmas season which is just now beginning. I encourage you all to go to lds.org and follow the main link to the Christmas videos. They are amazing and I hope you can all find opportunities to share a message about Christ this Christmas season with someone. 

I love you all. Stay safe and stay faithful!


Elder DiReda

Here is another pic!!!

Pumpkin Pancakes (thanks grandma for the mix)!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 14 - Training in Quebec

So this week we went to Quebec for Zone training and for the Montreal Quebec Temple re-dedication. Before we left Rimouski for Quebec, we taught a few lessons with some of our members about taking upon ourselves the name of Christ and about the importance of making and keeping covenants. 

While we were in Quebec we taught several lessons and participated in 2 priesthood blessings for the sick and afflicted. There is a special spirit present during those blessings! 

Zone training was really good. President Patrick taught us about the importance of temple work and family history work for our members and recent converts. Our zone leaders reminded us about the things Elder Golden taught us and encouraged us to do such as finding a family a day and setting goals and plans to baptize at least 1 family per month. The sister missionaries who were responsible to train us taught us on planning and how we need to be more specific in terms of aligning our plans and goals more closely with God's will. 

In Quebec, we went contacting in Old Quebec, which is a beautiful part of the city that has the architecture, set up, and feel of old France. I'm so grateful to have a temple now in the mission again. It is such an amazing place where I feel closer to the Lord than in any other place. This week I read a talk by Elder Caussé entitled "For When I Am Weak, Then Am I Strong". He talked about 4 points that can help us receive strength to overcome the challenges of life. 

1) Build Upon Our Strengths

  "Our problem is never that we have no strengths; the problem comes when we do not recognize our strengths and build upon them. 
  "With a humble and honest heart, seek to identify, develop, and apply for good those gifts that the Lord has given you."

2) Recognize Your Personal Limitations

  "God is not the God of superheroes, nor of people without weaknesses. Such beings do not exist! God helps people like you and me, those who recognize their limits and the weakness of their condition and seek for His help and guidance. Failing to recognize our limitations will block our progression. On the other hand, accepting them humbly lays the foundation for eternal progression."

3) Rely on the Lord
  "True wisdom includes recognizing our dependence on our Creator and His son, Jesus Christ, to reach our full potential...Where pride says, "I am the one who did it," wisdom prefers to recognize, "God empowered me to be able to do it.""
  "Recognizing our personal limitations does not mean that we should put ourselves down and wallow in our weaknesses. Accepting our limitations is not an excuse to limit ourselves. On the contrary, as disciples of Jesus Christ we aspire to that which is better and more elevated. The goal of our existence is to be raised to a level of perfection that will allow us to return to live in the presence of our heavenly Father."

  "The Lord often places His servants in situations with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In this manner he pushes us to humble ourselves and to rely solely on His strength. He makes us instruments of His miracles and the manifestations of His power and compassion."
  "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ."

4) Qualify Yourselves to Receive the Grace of the Savior

  "Grace is spiritual knowledge and power that changes how someone sees himself, increases his capacities, and magnifies his ability to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord."

I know that this church is true and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that through His grace and mercy, if we humble ourselves, He will make our weaknesses strengths. 

I love you all! Stay safe, stay faithful!


Elder DiReda

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 13 - Semaine 7 à Rimouski

So this transfer is already 1/5 over...where on earth does the time go? As winter is quickly approaching we have more and more service pop up. This week we spent 8 hours helping a family move apartments. Needless to say we are pretty exhausted. 

Also, I've almost mastered the refined chocolate chip cookie recipe! We've made them three times to take to other people and we are taking a break from them for a while because we end up eating too many. 

We visited Dora and Ruud again this week and she knitted me a scarf! We had a lot of good lessons with members this week. Some of which were from Liahona articles, from the 5 lessons, and some were from Preach My Gospel. It's really frustrating when you teach great lessons with a really strong spirit to some of the less-active members and they still don't come back to church. 

We do however have a really amazing member who is working several hours from Rimouski so he isn't able to come to church but we call him three times a week and read the scriptures with him. He is such an amazing member. Every time we read with him I find myself learning more and thinking more deeply because he will occasionally have deeper questions for us to answer. He has such amazing faith. I hope I get to meet him one day. 

We taught our investigator Kathleen about the Plan of Salvation and she was involved and understood what we were teaching her. She is making great progress! It's incredible because she has known the missionaries for 3+ years, but now because she's older she's listening to the lessons for herself and is keeping commitments. We can see her faith greatly increasing! 

We had our Branch's Primary Program yesterday which was really good, but since we only have 2 primary children, it was a shorter program. Also, since we only have 2 primary children they needed help filling some of the time. So, President Worner and Sister Worner asked us to sing.  Now for those who have heard me sing you understand why this was a bad idea.  For those who haven't heard me sing, count yourselves lucky. We did it nonetheless and it was a good program. 

This week I found myself reading and listening to more talks from BYU Devotionals and General Conference talks. One of which was by Elder Eyring in a BYU Devotional where he spoke on "A Law of Increasing Returns". He talked about being examples of Christ and the trouble we have in our lives is that we can't see the seeds we are planting so it's difficult for us to know if the seed has yielded all it will yield or if we should continue working and waiting. 

He shared 2 Peter 3:3-4 and posed questions that I really needed to ponder this week because it was a harder week for me. Elder Eyring said,

"You are believers, not scoffers. Yet the scoffers can be helpful, because they encourage you to get an answer to this question: What am I willing to keep giving heart and soul for, when neither I nor the scoffers may see returns for a long, long time? And when we decide there are potential rewards worth that commitment, you'll want answers to another question: How can I keep myself working and waiting if the scoffers are loud and the delay long? There are spiritual crops that require months, years, and sometimes a lifetime of cultivation before the harvest. Among them are spiritual rewards you want most." 

For me this was powerful because the people in Québec, for the most part, despise the idea of Christ and God.  It's demoralizing to see them shut the doors so quickly on the thing that will bless them the most in their lives and in the life to come. It's heartbreaking to realize that with each door slam or swear word or dropped appointment/commitment that people are rejecting Him.  To think that if Christ were here Himself they would do the same thing to Him destroys me inside.  Yet, I realize that as it says in Ether 12:6, "...I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." 

Elder Eyring goes on to say that, "The prettiest flowers I've ever seen were among rocks near the tops of mountains. That must have been partly because I worked so hard to get there, for something else. And then, suddenly, there they were. By looking at them and at the blessings around you, it will be easy to do what King Benjamin suggested: O how you ought to thank your heavenly King." 

It's hard for me and will continue to be hard for me to witness the hardness of hearts and the hatred towards God and Christ, but I have a stronger testimony now than ever and I know that if I keep working hard with all my heart, might, mind and strength that I will find those prepared who are searching for something more in their lives, who are searching for the truth. 

I hope you all continue working hard in everything you do and never give up your faith because some of the blessings we desire most and seek after the most are the ones that take the longest to achieve. D&C 58:3-4 

Love you all! Stay safe, stay faithful, stay strong!


Elder DiReda
We Have Snow!!!!
What Else but SNOW ANGELS!!

Cheese! Glorious Cheese!!!  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 12 - Staying in Rimouski

First transfer in the mission is already over!! Wow time flies! We are staying in Rimouski for at least another transfer so that's good because I'm good friends now with the people we visit and I'm getting a lot better at understanding them. 

This week was up and down. It started off really slow as far as appointments and lessons, but it picked up towards the end. We made some cookies, mom's recipe, and took them to some families we haven't seen for a while. 

Mom's cookies made by Me
One of our visits turned into a dinner appointment with an Italian family which was awesome! I've been doing salad dressing all wrong. Olive oil and salt is the way to go. Anyways, I think you'll enjoy this story. So we took some cookies to Ruud and Dora and it was a bit chilly so I was wearing my dad's long, wool, dressy overcoat and Ruud let us in, looked at me and said, "That is a sharp look!!! Dang man you look like stuff's about to go down." (He didn't say stuff though.  Use your imagination.  Another word that begins with S). Haha it was hilarious! 

Elder Shaw has been having me take the lead on the lessons and spiritual thoughts in order to help me work on my french and it has helped a lot. It's still choppy, but I can really feel the support and strength of the Spirit. 

Recently, I shared about the Sons of Mosiah and Alma the Younger being the vilest of sinner's and then turning into powerhouse missionaries because of their conversion.  It is a testimony to me of how our trials prepare us to help others who are going through the same challenges and difficulties. 

I also shared Jacob 3:1-2 about how praying with all of the energy and effort we have will bless us as God helps us get through our afflictions and trials. 

We had an amazing lesson with Mélanie on Friday!! Mélanie is the referral we received from the Sister Missionaries in Saint Jean and she's the one who wants to be baptized. We met with her along with our Branch President and she has 5 kids, 3 of whom are over the age of 8!!! She was raised Catholic, but has had some issues with its teachings, mainly the baptism of infants. She expressed concerns about that practice because, as she explained it, infants don't make the choice to be baptized. We taught her about the Restoration and she was attentive and focused and asked good questions. We helped her understand what we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches about baptism and other topics and she's super excited. 

She was going to come to church and bring her 5 kids, but she lives an hour and a half away and she looked at her budget and realized she couldn't afford it this week :( 

She's still super excited and so are we so we'll see what happens!! Church was great especially since our investigator Kathleen came to our meetings. 

Kathleen is the daughter of a less-active member and is 14 years old. Anyways, she loved church and especially loved class because it was interactive, open to comments, thoughts, and feelings as opposed to her current church where it's more of a lecture the entire time. 

Afterwards we taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and she told us that prior to coming to church she wasn't sure if there even was a God, but now she has renewed faith that God lives. She's progressing so much, but I guess her parents talked with her and said they want her to wait until she's 18 to make the decision to be baptized. That's a huge step because initially her mom was completely against her being baptized at all. 

I love reading the testimonies of Ammon and Alma. It truly opens my eyes and teaches me what my attitude should be.  In Alma 28:9-10 it reads, "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."

When I see the wonderful people we visit becoming stronger in their faith and making progress and when I read from home the strengthening testimonies of my family and friends, I am truly filled with joy and overwhelming peace.  More importantly, I remember all the tender mercies the Lord has shown me and how He hears and answers my prayers. Oh how wonderful it is that we can all be instruments in the Lord's hand by following promptings of the Spirit and being Christlike.

I love you all! 

Elder DiReda

Here are some more pics!!!

My Birthday - Thank you Sis. Worner for 
the moose burgers & my birthday cake!!!
Called to "Serve" (Before)


Beautiful Rimouski

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 11 - Time Flies, Transfers, and Tender Mercies

Bonjour à tous!

Time is flying! Already my first assignment in the mission field is scheduled for review for a possible transfer and new assignment! We get our transfer call this upcoming Saturday but I'm thinking the Lord is going to leave us out here in this remote region of the His vineyard for a little while longer.  

On Tuesday of this past week we traveled to Montréal for a training meeting with President Patrick.  I was joined by the 13 missionaries who came with me from the MTC. It was so nice to see them again. That district in the MTC became my family.  When you spend all day everyday with others for 6 weeks how can they not feel like family? 

President Patrick instructed us on being consecrated missionaries 24/7 and having our full focus be on others. He spoke on this topic to make sure that we know that everything we do should be entirely for others including our gospel studies. 

As I thought about it I realized that for me my personal studies are usually focused on me and are for my own personal spiritual edification. I understand now that I should be thinking about all of the people I might see that day, whether planned or unplanned, and seek to know their needs so that my studies might be focused on their needs and not mine.  In this way, I would be able to know how to better teach them and help them and through this process be spiritually edified myself. 

Before returning to Quebec for district meeting on Wednesday morning, Elder Shaw and I went with some other missionaries to get some poutine.  The poutine prepared in Montreal was a little different than the poutine I had in Rimouski.  Both were good in different ways, but this poutine was incredible!! 

This time I got poutine with hamburger meat, jalapenos, other things I can't recall, and onion rings. Wow was it good!!!! And worth every bite, even though it probably took 5 years off my life.  

On the bus ride back to Quebec, a man stopped us, told us he was traveling from Nova Scotia to Massachusetts for surgery, that things had happened to him, and that he needed $26.00 or so for medicine. He told us that if he didn't get his medicine within a few hours he would go into shock. He then lifted up his jacket and it looked like he had a football sticking out of him.  Elder Shaw thinks that it was probably a hernia. 

In any event, we were late for our bus and I didn't have a lot of money but I said to him "I don't have a lot but I'll give you all I have" then I gave him the $5.60 or so that I had and we took off for our bus so we wouldn't miss it. During the bus ride back, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because I wanted to help this man and if I had time to stop at an ATM I could've gotten him the money he needed. I struggled with that for a while and later during my studies I read in Mosiah 4 where King Benjamin is talking about giving to the poor.  In verse 24 it says, "I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give." I know in my heart that if we had not been running late for the bus that day I would have given him the money.  Sadly, a recent convert came to visit us and told us that he's seen that man before with the same story. Oh well, I feel badly that people can be so dishonest and manipulative, but I know I'm not to judge them, but rather to give to them what I have and am able to. 

On an exciting note, we got a baptismal date set up with Kathleen!!! She will start reading and praying and will prepare to be baptized on the 9th of January!! 

Also, this past week we had a recent convert visit us and does that man know how to make a meal!! He invited us over several times, but the main meal he prepared for us was dinner last night. He served steak wrapped in bacon, boiled vegetables and the best baked potato I've ever had.  We had cheesecake for dessert! It was amazing!!

As a final thought, in Alma 26:35-37, it is clear that Heavenly Father is mindful of each and every one of us and "he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name". May we all boast of God and His goodness to help others come unto Him. I love you all! Stay safe and stay faithful!


Elder DiReda

Halloween in La Redemption with
President Worner's family. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 10 - Miracles in Rimouski

Bonjour à tous!

This week was really good! We had an interesting event that happened this week. So last P-day we were at the Branch President's home and we were discussing the needs of the branch and how we could best help the people in Rimouski and we talked about how we wished we could get a progressing investigator and someone to be baptized because the branch is struggling a bit. Anyways that same night we got a call from the Sister Missionaries, who are serving in a nearby area. They said they received a call from a young woman who is in our area inquiring about the church.  She had heard about the church from her friend who recently joined the church. 

She really wants to follow Jesus Christ and wants to be baptized! Miracle #1. Unfortunately, she had a super busy week so we weren't able to meet with her, but we are going to meet with her this week! 

Also, we taught a lesson about the Restoration to the daughter of one of our members. She was really interested and involved in the lesson and afterwards we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to be baptized. She said she would be baptized after she reads the Book of Mormon, prays, and comes to know that the church is true! It is so incredible to see people progress spiritually! Miracle #2.

Additionally, yesterday we had a visit with one of our members named Chantale, who was the last person to be baptized in Rimouski about 3 years ago.  We met with her and her husband Yvan, who is not a member of the church. Elder Shaw spoke about Elder Neil Marriott's general conference talk, because that was the basis for his talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday. 

Afterwards, without any suggestion by us, Chantale asked Yvan if he would start going to church with her.  Without hesitation he said yes. Miracles really do happen! Miracle #3.

It is such a blessing to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help people feel the Spirit and come unto Christ. Something I feel I should share with you all comes from General Conference and specifically from the testimony of our new apostle Elder Renlund who said:
         "I now realize that in the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes. This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others. But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us, We need to have     eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue...Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ.” Every day we should plead with God for this love. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.”

I know this to be true. As I strive to see the people I meet and to serve them through the eyes of Heavenly Father, my love and concern for them increases exponentially. I am more aware of their needs and I understand better how I can help them. It is another testimony to me of charity - the pure love of Christ and how blessed we will be if we should be found possessed of it at the last day. 

I love you all and I hope and pray that we will find opportunities during our earthly days to serve others with Christ-like love and that while helping them in whatever way it may be, I pray that we will be able to see them as our Heavenly Father sees them. I love you all! Stay safe, stay faithful! Happy Halloween!


Elder DiReda

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week 9 - Canadian Thanksgiving, Zone Conference in Quebec City, Knocking on doors, and Sweeeeeeets!!!!

Bonjour à tous comment va la vie?

Thanksgiving was amazing last week. We went to a less-active member's home for dinner. He made duck with sautéd mushrooms, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, aged cheese, and sparkling cider. It was an amazing meal! The best part about dinner appointments is when we share a spiritual thought just before we leave. As I learned this weekend in zone conference, it is important that we share the message after the meal so they remember it the most. It astounds me how simple, humble testimonies can bring the Spirit so strongly. 

Elder Shaw got sick this week so I had a lot of study time which was nice. I liked being able to have more time to focus and study more in depth, but it was weird because it was incredibly quiet in our apartment while he rested. Since he was sick I made soup and it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. We had cream of mushroom with ricotta noodles, imitation crab, and carrots.
My "really good if I do say so myself" soup.
We helped Dora this week with repainting parts of her home. She is struggling right now because her husband is in the Netherlands visiting his mother and her daughter is going through a rough time right now with depression and self injury. Dora's daughter also left home and won't come back so we are helping her through that the best we can. It's really sad.

Lessons were fewer this week even with those we scheduled appointments with because no one was home. So, more service this week. One of our less-actives and her family is moving to a different apartment so we helped wash the walls and ceiling so they can paint. Gotta love service!! It's amazing, but exhausting! We went down to Quebec this past weekend for stake and zone conference with Elder Golden of the 70. We got there and I went on a split with our district leader. We taught an investigator who has known the missionaries for 30 years. He has such amazing faith and an amazing testimony, but he just has some things to work through and the need to develop greater faith before baptism. 

The rest of the split we went door contacting.  It's an interesting experience. In a trio we went knocking and that is a humbling experience for sure. Everyone shut their doors on us. It really made me sad because I don't care if they shut their doors on me, but it bothers me that they are shutting their doors on Christ and on everything He did for them. It's incredibly sad. Stake and zone conferences were awesome! Elder Golden taught us about the Holy Ghost being central to everything we do as missionaries. He taught us so much more, but there's too much to type in this email. What is important is that the Spirit was so strong in our meeting with him. 

Last few things: I saw Elder Bird and he's doing well. I was grateful that I was able to see him. As far as sweets go, Chocolat-favori is AMAZING!! They take ice cream and dip it in hardening chocolate of your choice. I had cookies and cream and oh man was it good!!! Love you guys!! Be safe, be faithful!


Elder DiReda

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 8 - Poutine, President Worner, and Perseverance - October 12

I had my first poutine this week. It was interesting. Basically it's french fries covered in a gravy sauce of some sort with cheese curds and mine had chicken on it. It was really good! However, I could feel my arteries clogging up slightly ;)

I love our branch president and his family so much!!! He has helped me out so much it's incredible!! He has us over in the mornings 2-3 times a week for language study and he helps us on pronunciation, intonation, grammar and basically anything we need help with or anything he thinks will help us. He is so amazing!! Our lessons are continuously getting better. We had a few lessons with Philippe, a less-active, and we shared a scripture in Alma where Alma is talking and promising blessings to his son Helaman before he dies. Alma 36:3 "And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." I then asked him if he had seen this promise in his life and he talked for a good 20 minutes on blessings from the Lord in his life and he talked about his family, it was incredible. Such a testimony builder on the power of inspired questions.

Lessons were hard to come by during the bulk of the week. People "smurfed" us several times which was rough ("smurf" apparently is a term used for stood up).

What has helped me a lot is taking a bit of study time or time after all our lessons to stop by the church and re-listen to conference talks. So powerful each time you listen to them. I absolutely love the talks by Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf from the General Young Women's Meeting. (no we didn't watch or listen to all of the women's session we were just advised to listen to those talks in particular) Anyways they are such testimony builders and fill you with the Spirit so strongly! We had a lesson with the former investigator on Friday. Well it was more or less a lesson. It was a conversation mainly about her story and where she came from and about her culture. (she's from Mali and Pres. Worner was with us) At the end of our meeting, she told us that she wasn't going to change religions so we simply shared Alma 36:3 with her and left. She was super nice and has such strong faith as a Muslim!

We had 3 good lessons about the Sabbath with 3 different less-active members and they all said they would come to church.  Unfortunately, none of them came...Understanding that this is the Lord's work and it's done in His time and in His way, it's still sad to see them feel the Spirit but never act upon it or progress.

Church this week was still pretty good. President Worner asked me to conduct sacrament meeting which included 15 people made up, in part, of the two of us missionaries and 5 infants. That was an interesting experience. I'm understanding and I am able to communicate better in French!! The gift of tongues is real, but only after we've been working as hard as we can.

Our little Rimouski Branch Chapel

Last thing, during personal study, I was reading the first few pages of Preach My Gospel (the introductory pages are so power packed!) and I read about charity.  Moroni 7:47 says "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." Did you catch it? Every time I've read it I've read it as "...he who is found possessing it..." what does it say though? "He who is found possessed of it". What I learned is that charity isn't something we can obtain or have possession of, it's a gift from God that if we ask for it and are worthy of it, it will consume us and become us. It will be who we are. I pray that we all can be worthy of such a gift, for it is the "pure love of Christ" and it comes from, as Elder Bednar explained, turning outward towards others when the natural man would turn inwards. I pray that we all become more Christ-like and try to focus on others, for as we do this, we become like Christ and will be given the gift of charity. Love you all! Stay safe, stay faithful!! Read and pray daily!!

Love you all,
Elder DiReda

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 7 - First Email - Rimouski - October 5, 2015

Flight Re-Cap, Customs, and Quebecois 

I'm alive and well and somehow survived the culture shock. Here's the rundown of my week. On Tuesday, my district had to wake up at 2:50 a.m. to get dressed and clean our room of sheets and such in order to be at the travel office by 3:30. From there we loaded our luggage and drove to the airport. It felt weird being in a car, and especially leaving the MTC. So many friends and amazing missionaries that I got to know while I was there. Anyways, we flew out of SLC to Detroit and it was around a 4 hour flight. I sat on a row of missionaries from my district so I didn't get the chance to talk to anyone new. Flew out of the Detroit airport to Montréal and I sat next to a member who is a returned missionary from about 12 years ago. He gave me some great advice about church attendance being vital for conversion and for strong membership. Customs and immigration was a nightmare because I understood absolutely nothing that was said. I still don't believe they were speaking French. Got through all that in about one and a half hours, met the President and the Assistants to the President and we went to the Mission Home. 

Home-cooked meal and the Mission Home

It was SOOOOO nice to eat a real meal!! Especially after not eating all day!! Next day we drove to a lookout point and listened to D&C 4 by our President as we looked out over Montréal. Then we sang "Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise". It was amazing! The Spirit was so strong and it made me so ready to get out and start teaching. We then went to a meeting in which we had a bit of training/advice on the first few weeks of the mission and about things we would be doing our whole missions, like shopping. From there we received our trainers and headed out to our areas. My trainer is Elder Shaw from Michigan, he's been here about 15 months. 

On Top of Mount Royal

City Overlook

My First Area - Rimouski

Our area is Rimouski which in our mission is the farthest north and east we can go in the Montréal mission. However, it's only 5 hours from Montréal, 2 by bus 3 by car. We spent the night in Quebec city because we had district meeting the next morning. We stayed with couple missionaries the Westovers. They were so nice! We ate an amazing clam chowderish soup and the next morning we had french toast! So good!!! It was a long scenic drive to Rimouski! It's a small town where we are staying. Parts of it remind me of Main Street Kaysville. Our branch is 15 members...we have a lot of work to do here! I met a few members, friends, and less-actives. One of which was an amazing couple in their 50's I think. Their names are Rudolph and Dora and they speak English!! I was so grateful for that because Quebecois is NOT FRENCH!!!!!! It is so difficult to understand. Anyways it's all good I've already started to understand it. Back to the story of Dora and Rudolph, they're non-members and they've had the missionaries over since 2002. They are basically the mom and dad of Rimouski for the missionaries. She fed us cinnamon buns and milk and talked with us and are super nice and basically if we ever have any problems we can go to them if the Branch President is unavailable. They are the nicest people ever! I'd tell you about all the other people I've met but I don't want this email to go on forever. So as tender mercies from the Lord come to these people I'll write about them. 

General Conference at Our Branch Building

We watched Conference from a laptop that streamed it live and projected it onto the wall in our tiny branch/church building. Almost every session we watched in English because it was just Elder Shaw and I. However, the last half of Sunday morning and all of Sunday afternoon was in French because the Branch Presidents In-Laws came to watch it with us and with the Branch Presidents Family. I understood bits and pieces but for the full impact of the messages I'll have to listen to them online during a study time or read them from the Ensign. What a powerful set of speakers!! Elder Holland's, Elder Nelson's, Elder Foster's, and Elder Rendlund's talks were so powerful!! I loved the emphasis that was placed on the role of parents and women in particular. It made me so much more grateful for my parents and for all the influential/spiritually powerful women in my life. I hope you all got a chance to hear all the talks. If not, I invite you to turn them on while your doing chores or just hanging at home or in your apartment. They are so powerful and they answer so many questions we have. Life is good, weather is a bit cold but I'm blessed that my dad insisted on sending me with his dress coat from his mission. It is so warm! Love you all. Stay safe, stay faithful! Know that I love you and I am praying everyday for you and that I know that this is the true church and that we have an Eternal loving Heavenly Father who sent His son Jesus Christ to save us all and to teach us. I know that by faith, we can make it through this difficult life. It won't be easy, but faith makes it possible. Hope you're all doing well and you're persevering through all of life's challenging times. Love you all!!

Elder DiReda

October General Conference 2015 in
the Rimouski Branch.  Sister Worner 
in the foreground 

Branch President's wife Sister Worner
and their daughter Salome

Dinner - Fajitas in Canada? Not Poutine!!!!?

Elder Shaw giving President Worner a trim.
Stay tuned. Elder DiReda is next up.