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

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

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.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 6 - First Stop - Quebec City then on to RIMOUSKI - The Northern-most and Eastern-most part of the mission - September 30, 2015

Week 6 - Touchdown - I'm in Montreal - September 29, 2015

Hey family! I made it safe and sound with all my stuff. We are staying at the mission home with the President and his family. We had our first real meal in over a month and a half and it was amazing! Don't have a lot of time there's others that need to email. Just wanted to tell you I made it and I'm safe and I love you guys!!
My Senior Companion Elder Ben Shaw with President and Sister Patrick
Mount Royal Overlooking Montreal

We Made It!!!!!

Week 6 - Last Email from MTC - September 28, 2015 - Tomorrow it's off to Montreal

Hey every body!! I'll be back on for an hour or so around 4? We have class, and laundry, and packing, and hyperventilating to do today!

Week 5 - MTC - September 22, 2015

This world is so small. In my zone there is an Elder Bytheway who went to Alta High School and knows Brax and Cam as well as the singer Anna Ritchey who sings an EFY song called "Fragile". This song's music video is the mormon message about bullying that two of my high school friends are in. Weird. The devo speakers were Brother and Sister Wixom. She, Primary General President, talked about this being the Lord's work and that we are entitled to his help, but we must be obedient and worthy of it. She talked of three skills all missionaries need. 1) Prepare with purpose 2) Teach with testimony 3) Labor with love. The most powerful insight she gave in her talk was about Nephi and his elder brothers when they went to obtain the records of their ancestors. She talked about how when they returned they were all returned missionaries, but their experiences were completely different because of their attitudes and their work. "A mission is the beginning of a walk with Christ for the rest of our lives" -Sister Wixom. We had a TRC Skype teaching appointment with a gentleman living in France who's a member. Nothing has terrified me more than that, however it went extremely well I think. We taught about faith, exchanged favorite scriptures, and bore our testimonies frequently. The Spirit was so strong and although our french is far sub par we were able to get the message across that the Spirit needed us to share and that in and of itself is a testimony builder for me. This week I focused more on my nightly prayers. A few nights ago it had been a long day but I knelt down and prayed with more sincerity and more intent than I ever have. It was half in French then the rest in English. It was such a powerful experience. When you put away anything else you're doing and pray with everything you have the world slips away, time slips away and you find yourself giving thanks for things and asking for things you never would've thought of before. It was the longest prayer of my life but I fell asleep that night with the most powerful feeling of peace and clear mindedness than I ever have before. Prayer is so important! Today was interesting. We went to the temple this morning and half way through the session it hit me that it might be the last time for two years that I go to the temple. It made me sad and I focused on every detail that I could. The temple is a safehaven and I hope you all find comfort and go there for peace. The temple is such an amazing place were we can come closer to God than ever before if we take the time, give the reverence, and pray. I know that prayer is a key for us to receive revelation. I know that God answers our prayers and that He hears them. Through prayer I have received the most comfort in my live and I know everyone can if they take the time and sincerely pray to God. It's a communication, its not about placing our order and waiting for the blessings. I love you all be safe! When I write again I'll be in Canada-eh.
Elder DiReda

Week 4 - MTC - September 15, 2015

Well my Fossil watch broke...not sure how so I sent it home to be looked at. The stopwatch feature glitched out after 11 minutes and the whole watch stopped working. In other news Elder Caussé spoke to us and it was one of the most powerful talks I've ever listened to. He talked about being a bold missionary and how we need to always be the Missionary people think we are. He talked about when he was first called as a 70 and how he felt unprepared and inadequate. In a training with President Packer and two other General Authorities, President Packer taught out of 1 Corinthians 2. It talks about not being strong in the language of men and being weak, but that we teach with the power of God and He is with us in our trials and our weaknesses. I really needed that this week. Caussé said that to be a bold missionary we need to be 3 things. 1) Humble 2) Obedient and 3) Consecrated. To teach with the Spirit and to change lives we need to be humble and realize all things are from God and that we are a tool in assisting the Lord in Hastening His Work. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Christ we can do all things. One of our lessons with Hospice went extremely well. I didn't use my outline at all and I had the Spirit so strong I had a brief moment of the Gift of Tongues. I bore my testimony and promised him blessings that would come if he had faith to follow Christ in all things. It's the best feeling when you know the investigator understands you and you see they're engaged in what you're saying and you can notice something in their eyes I'm not sure how to explain it but you can feel the Spirit so strong and you know they can as well. He agreed to be baptised! Music is so strong in bringing the Spirit. Every devotional and every Sacrament meeting their is prelude music and a musical number and it is so incredibly strong I am overwhelmed with the Spirit I feel. The best yet has been Elder Huang's prelude music, he's in my district, before Sacrament meeting and for a devotional an Elder played "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" on the viola. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard and it helps that it's one of my favorite songs!! This past Sacrament meeting one of the Tahitian districts sang "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" In english, french and tahitian. It was so amazing!! I love music more than I ever have. I know that music can bring the Spirit to anyone who is listening so I encourage all of you to find songs that make you feel the Spirit strongly that you can listen to maybe once a day and for sure when things get rough in life. I know that music can bring you peace and comfort and can answer questions you may have without even realizing it. The MTC is amazing and it's sad that I leave in 2 weeks but I know that the Lord needs me in Montréal Canada teaching in hillbilly french. Love you guys!
Beaucoup d'amour,
Elder Di Reda

Week 3 - MTC - September 8, 2015

Elder Oaks gave the devotional on tuesday night! It was so amazing! He talked about teaching by the Spirit and the importance of the Sacrament and the renewal of covenants, as well as teaching people not lessons. For me that has been one that takes a bit longer to become good at because of the language. However, now I'm able to ask questions and change subjects if necessary in order to teach to the investigators needs. New Elders joined our zone this week. Those I know are Elder Rackham, Tibbits, and Eberhard. Two of our Elders flew out to the Ghana MTC once their Visas came in and that was hard because we all had become so close, but we know they'll be amazing and that we'll all keep in touch. It was a great week for Elder Seelos and I when it came to teaching investigators. Hospice is thinking about baptism, also we got him to pray with us! Nathan is understanding and starting to develop belief in the Plan of Salvation. It's so amazing to see the change in their Spirits when we teach them something they had questions about. You see them light up and you know they're starting to believe. Sunday's are the best because the Spirit is so strong! Elder Seelos and I taught the Priesthood lesson with our district and the Haitian district on Faith and we read and discussed Ether 12. It's amazing how much more powerful scriptures are when you read and discuss them with others because you hear testimonies and how they have impacted their lives and it really builds your own testimony in Christ and on the scriptures. French is coming slowly but it's coming! I'm so grateful I took five years, however I still have so much to learn, but I've got 2 past tenses down, two future tenses down, and sorta understand the conditional tense! I'm learning so quickly and so is my district. The gift of tongues is so impactful and so influential.
Je sais que Jésus-Christ est notre Sauveur. Je sais que Jésus-Christ a été tués pour nous et que il a pris nos péchés. Je sais que Père Céleste est notre Père et il nous aime. Je sais que Le Livre de Mormon est la parole de Dieu et que il est vrai. Je sais que l'Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours est vrai. Je vous aime et je vous manque. Étre sécurité!

Elder DiReda

Week 2 - MTC - September 1, 2015

Our lessons with Celine went well. We invited her to be baptised and she expressed concern about her husband not taking the steps with her and that she had already been baptized. We gave her a scripture in Alma 7:15-16 and 3 Nephi 11 that talks about becoming like a child and we taught her that infants are perfect and innocent so they have no need to be baptized but once we know the difference between right and wrong we need to be baptized so we can become like infants again as far as being perfect and innocent. Celine, aka Sister Hafen, is no longer our investigator but she taught a few of our lessons in my district. She taught about the Restoration and how to teach it in 5 min or less as if we were on a bus or train and only had a short time to talk. She's going on a study abroad trip to Jerusalem and before she left she bore her testimony to us and showed us a video and it brought the Spirit so strongly everyone in my district cried a bit. It was powerful. So yesterday half our zone left to France so on Sunday Elder Seelos and I were asked to take an assignment and to be the new zone leaders! Yeah it's only our third week technically and we are now the oldest district in our zone. It's crazy! The Devotional on Sunday was from Elder and Sister Dahlquist. She asked us to look at each day and ponder what the Lord has done or given just for us. Elder Dahlquist taught about how to pray sincerely and read the Book of Mormon always through any struggle, trial, or question. Our 2 new investigators are Nathan and Hospice. In reality they are my two teachers but they play the part of the investigator when it comes to lessons. Our first lesson with Hospice was yesterday and it went really well. We learned that he likes soccer and wants to learn more about the Gospel and about our beliefs on Heavenly Father and Jesus-Christ because he wasn't active in his Catholic faith growing up and he wants to learn. We invited him to follow the example of Jesus-Christ after he knows for himself what we are teaching him is true. He is open to the idea once Heavenly Father tells him it's the right thing to do so we invited him to pray about it with a sincere heart and an open mind. I love Dear Elders!!! Even though I can't respond immediately it lets me know you're thinking of me! Mom I loved the donuts haha I ate like 3. I just meant in the future send a lesser amount of treats so I don't gain any weight. Mints are good, maybe a box of Mike and Ike's every once in a while and maybe 2-3 short sleeve white dress shirts its pretty hot up here haha. I'm sending home some clothes and I'll be mailing off several letters today all in the same envelope. I have too much rec stuff so it's coming home in a box. I haven't gotten a chance to write a letter by hand to you three yet but I'm working on them. I love you guys!!