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

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week 32 - Cabane à Sucre

Salut à tous! 

How's springtime? I only ask because we are still having snow storms so I'm not too positive Québec even has spring. Anyways this week we had a great lesson with our investigators Sarah and Noémie. They both opened up more and we helped answer their questions using the Book of Mormon. For example, they asked why God allows bad things to happen in the world so we turned to 2 Nephi 2:11 and talked about opposition in all things as well as agency and how agency is a gift from God given to everyone, but the problem with agency is the consequences that follow certain actions. They also asked about how to find the motivation/strength to change their entire lifestyles around to live in accordance to the Gospel. With that question, we left them with Alma 32 to read.  We will talk with them about that next time.

On Saturday we were invited by Mark and his family (he was back in town from Texas for Easter) to go with them to their cousin's Cabane Sucre. This was my first cabane sucre and I had no idea what to expect. I had heard rumors that it's a giant potluck where you drench what you eat in syrup, as well as it being an event where you see how syrup is made from the maple water from the trees through all the processes. My experience was neither. Basically what happened was they gave us these small wooden spatulas and we stood behind this long trough-like structure made of wood that was filled with snow. 

Fresh maple syrup is then poured onto the snow in front of us and as it cools you wrap your wooden spatula in it and eat it like taffy. For a solid 10-15 minutes they would come around and pour more and more and let me tell you it was rich! So good though! That was only stage 1. Stage 2 was a plate of maple butter the size of my palm. SO MUCH SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Inside the little store where you can buy maple products the air was thick with the smell of maple. I thought I was going to get a sugar high/diabetes just from being in there! Such a great experience though! 

How was everyone's Easter? We had an incredible talk and lesson on simplifying our discipleship (Elder Uchtdorf) and choosing liberty and Eternal Life (2 Nephi 1-2). We learned about simplifying our lives and focusing on basic truths as we move through more complicated times in our lives. What an incredible series of lessons for Easter as we reflected more on the Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. As we each spent time (introspection) considering things we need to change in our lives to be better and the mistakes we need forgiveness for I thought about how, at least for me in my life, the things I've struggled with have resulted from a lack of the simplifying. 

Busy days, late nights with homework and sports, left me in a condition where I never made time for scripture study and fervent prayer the way I should have. Without those two basic things in my daily life I became more stressed, less patient, more quickly angered, more selfish, judgmental and arrogant. Alma 37:6 "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple means are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." 

Even during my mission I've learned this lesson time and time again. Days are long, the work is at times hard and stressful, but we start everyday with a few hours of fervent dedicated study and prayer to start the day right. It brings the Spirit and puts you in a good mindset to go about the day in whatever lays before you. It brings a happiness and a feeling of love that is hard to lose. It puts the Savior and our Heavenly Father at the forefront of our minds where we constantly think of them and may say more silent prayers throughout our day. It teaches us things we may need that very day such as a message of charity, service, and kindness. 

By small and simple means, great things are brought to pass. Being in that mindset with the companionship of the Holy Ghost we are better able to be where the Lord needs us to lift another or to be an answer to a prayer. Never give up on the little things. They pave the way for miracles. 

I love you all and pray that you all had a safe and joyous Easter! I hope as we advance toward this General Conference weekend that we all do a bit of introspection and searching.  And I hope that as we listen to the words of our Prophet and his Apostles that we have open hearts and minds to find the things the Lord wants us to know. 

Stay safe, stay faithful!


Elder DiReda

Mark, Elder Perkes and I

Mark and his Family
Mark and I by the St. Lawrence 

Trough of snow and maple syrup
Don't even think about taking my
maple goodness
My wooden spoon

Elder Perkes loves maple syrup!!!
And so do I!!!!!!!

Maple butter - yum!!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 31 - Easter

Well this week was chaotic to say the least. Since Elder Shaw was leaving after serving here for 9 months every one wanted us over for a last visit. On Monday we had dinner with the Puglisis and the Worners. The Puglisis made real Italian lasagna. It was so good! I'm not sure how they made it, but I know it involved eggs, ham, noodles, sauce and other ingredients that made it amazing!!! It was one of the best meals I've had since being out here! On 

Tuesday we visited Sœur Lafourtune, Chantale and Yvan and had one last English class. It was a lot of fun. It was cool to see the impact Elder Shaw had on the people we visited. It reassured me that we are making difference in people's lives and in the importance of the relationships we are establishing with these amazing children of God. 

On Wednesday we drove to Québec City and Elder Shaw got on his bus and left for Montréal. A few hours later my new companion Elder Perkes rolled in on another bus. Elder Perkes is from Logan, Utah, loves improv., doodling, and quoting movies/tv shows/comedians back and forth with me (similar to what my brother and I would do with the comedian John Pinette). 

While in Québec we went on splits with the Elders of St. Foy. Elder Noorda and I visited a member and shared with him the Easter video and gave him some pass along cards (if you haven't already I encourage you to watch it and share it). 

We also visited a member and had a discussion about General Conference. His name is Max and Max is amazing. He always has gospel questions that take us off on some tangents but we were able to help him answer his questions and we had a strong Spiritual lesson that ended with him committing to come to the institute to watch the Priesthood Session of General Conference. 

On Thursday we went to District Meeting!!! That doesn't seem like a big deal but when you spend 6 months hearing half of the meeting through the telephone it's a huge deal to be there in person! We talked about the Easter Initiative and how to best use the video and the cards. 

After District Meeting we went with the Ste. Foy Elders and got ice cream at Chocolat Favori. Now what they do is take a cone with vanilla ice cream and they dip it in hardening chocolate of your choice. Holy Cow it's incredible!!!!! Elder Perkes and I drove back to good 'ole Rimouski after that and I introduced him to Yvan, Ruud, Sœur Lafourtune, Michael (over the phone), André and Kathleen, and everyone else he met at church. 

I love this time of year and the power and Spirit that comes with the time of the Glorious Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. The Spirit has been so strong as we've shared the video and talked of Christ with our members and our investigators. Why wouldn't it be? It's centralized on the single most important event in history. Through Jesus Christ and His Atonement we can find new life. We can be cleansed from our imperfections and start again. The Church has a 12 step program for addiction recovery and with each step there is a video and a story of someone's journey to recovery. One story that has really struck me powerfully is Step 6: Change of Heart: Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses. With this step and video this man has gone through the steps but doesn't feel better. He was still pained by everything he went through. At one point he recounts reading back through all the steps to see what he missed and on step 6 he could't remember truly praying and asking Heavenly Father to remove his character defects so he decided to do it.

"I didn't know what I was expecting to happen so I just thought to myself, if He was here, in front of me right now what would I want Him to say? And I thought well I just want Him to take it and say thanks I got this. But instead at that moment I heard a question and it was, will you let me take this? I realized I had done all this work to be relieved of this misery and that question, will you let me take this completely changed the trajectory of my recovery in my life. I had a good friend tell me recently of an African proverb that says, If there is no demon within, the demon outside can do you no harm."

We are all on a road to recovery from a state of imperfection and pain to incomprehensible happiness and perfection and that road is entirely dependent on our acceptance and faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. We have to be willing to let Him take our pains, sorrows, trials, and sins from us. When we allow Christ to enter our lives and to take our burdens we feel a giant weight be taken off our backs and we find the light in the dark times. I testify that is true. I have experienced it in my own life and my life has been changed because of it. I testify that Jesus is the Christ and He is our Savior and Redeemer and He will heal us if we let him. Three of the most meaningful words, in my opinion, that someone can say to us is, "I love you". How much more powerful are those words when we feel Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ saying them to us. Answers to our prayers are all around us, we just have to know where to look. 

I love you all and hope you have great weeks and as always stay safe and stay faithful! 

Happy Easter!!!!!


Elder DiReda

Service with Elder Perkes

Chocolat Favori with the St. Foy Elders

No explanation necessary

Elder Shaw and I with Soeur Lafourtune