Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Sometimes I can't see past what's on the surface..."

This past week nothing huge happened, no game changing life lesson was discovered, and no angels ministered to the people as we taught of Jesus Christ. This week was made up of little things, the kind of things we refer to in the Church as the basics.
My companion learned to study the scriptures a little more carefully, to read a little more earnestly.
I learned to love a little more easily, to judge a little less frequently.
And we learned together how to serve more willingly.
This is what my week has been made up of and I'm grateful for those little lessons. It seems like as a missionary you hit a point where you become a little more hardhearted, a little more cyncical as you've been out longer, and seen very similar stories in multiple places.
You can't judge the one by the other, and honestly it's just not very Christlike. So I've been working extra hard with the Lord in softening my heart. It helps knowing that Nephi prayed for this very thing too. Apparently I'm in good company. :)
That's pretty much it from the The Icebox of the Nation. Other than that I am just being Sisterly, helping in parades, coaxing small children to be friends with me, and trying to stand as a witness.
It takes effort to do that. I'm not always the best, but I try. The Lord knows that.
Anyways, I love you all!!!! Be good!
Shout out to the London ward, I miss you!!!!!! Mucho. :))
With Love from Can-Win.
"..but He helps me understand the depth of my purpose."

There are days I feel like I'm playing chess with God

There are days I feel like I'm playing chess with God.
Except I'm one of the pieces. (It's like wizards chess in the first Harry Potter movie, where they have to play across the board. Anybody? No? Just me then? Ok...)
It's not that I'm playing against God, rather He's using this game to test me, to see how I react when pieces don't move the way I thought they would. So there I am, skipping across the board, ready to reclaim one of my fallen pawns, and the Lord completely blocks my path and says to me, "What will you do? Now that the way doesn't seem clear and easy, what will you do now?"
That's where I am right now. I was in a ward where I was loved, and things were somewhat easy. I knew people. I had a brilliant companion. The work was going fairly well, and I was getting complacent. So the Lord started moving pieces, and now I'm at a point in time where it seems like things have popped up blocking my way. My ward now isn't a ward but a branch, and we struggle. We don't have the luxury of numbers here, we are 28 to Sacrament meeting on a good week. It's hard here.
So what's a girl to do?
I pray. Not always well, and sometimes I ramble and don't really make sense but I pray. I read my scriptures and look for words of comfort from Heavenly Father. I won't lie, I whine a little too, mostly to my companion at night as we're getting ready for bed. But I struggle to put all that I have in the Lord's hands and let Him do the heavy lifting.
I wouldn't trade this. This experience is hard, and stretching, and frustrating. But it's mine to make and do with it what I will.
I choose to roll with it. :)
To those reading, I hope you're having a beautiful day. If it doesn't feel beautiful, find something to make it so. I love you all.
Be good. Stay excellent.
With love , from Can-Win

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yay! Pictures!

Back yard in International Falls, MN

Tiny Branch Building


Old District

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oh, Hey There America!


So transfer calls came and I've been moved to International Falls, Minnesota. WEIRD! (Not the place, but the fact that I'm serving a Canadian mission in the states.) My companion and I are really excited!

Thursday was Transfer Day.

Friday was Sisters Conference.

Saturday, Sister Christensen and I drove 5 and a half hours from Winterpeg to I Falls. And the best part of that trip?


Apparently, two young females wearing badges that say "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and a backseat full of luggage is very shifty. :) So they stopped us, made us get out, and searched our car. Haha. It was the best!
Anyways, a half hour later we finally are stateside and make our way over to I Falls.
So here I am! Stateside! Talking to people about Jesus and trying not to freeze to death. :)

Shout out to my little sister who turned 15 today. Congrats Contessa, you're OLD!

Alright I'm outta time. Love you all, mucho!!!
With love, from Can-Win

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"And he left...and took nothing with him." -1 Nephi 2:4

What would you do if the Lord told you to leave your house, that you weren't safe, and you might not come back? What would you take with you?
My lovely companion and I had an experience like this earlier this week. Thursday night we stayed up talking past curfew, and finally decided to wind down and prepare for bed at around midnight. I said prayers and brushed my teeth, she did her teeth and said her prayers. After she finished she looks up and me and starts to ask me a question when suddenly our apartment starts smelling like burning plastic. It smells like those times a piece of tupperware fell on the heating element of the dishwasher. Except...we don't have a dishwasher.
So we start to look around the house, turning things off as we go, checking the heaters on the floor, and we cannot find the source of this burning smell, but it's getting stronger. I look to my companion who just nods at me, looking as uneasy as I feel, and I say, "We need to get out of the apartment." And just like that we leave, taking only our scriptures, wallets, and a blanket each.
"The Lord hath commanded that thou...shall return." -1 Nephi 3:2
As we are walking to our car I get another very distinct impression. I stop in my tracks and turn to Sis B and said we needed to go back. When asked why I told her that I felt the need to prepare in the case that we came back to nothing, ie passports and important documents would be needed. So we pulled the car around and ran back in. By this time the smell was overwhelming and I felt very uneasy being in the apartment. 1 minute. That was it. We would only grab what was needed, and when that minute was up we would leave.
I walked through each room and grabbed only a few things as I went: My passport and travel documents, a change of clothes, my current journal (with the pictures on top), and my small notebook that I used to take notes while I studied. On a second faster sweep I grabbed deoderant and the ring my parents gave me for my 18th birthday. That was it. She grabbed documents, our coats, a change of clothes, and few sentimental things her mother had given her.
Then we were out.
"And they that have farms that cannot be sold, let them be left.." -Doctrine and Covenants
First lesson: When the Lord calls you out, or warns you to leave, there will be things that will be left behind. Nice things. Things you love. Things of value. There will always be sacrifices made when the Lord calls you.
So where did we go? To the church, the only place we knew where we could sit and think, be safe, and find peace. And we did. Sister Bronson and I both wondered if we would go back to a whole apartment, or just bits and pieces that had been scorched and burned. But as I sat there thinking I just felt calm. I looked at her, and she said, "I'm not worried." I smiled. "Me either."
Second Lesson: The church is a place of refuge no matter what the circumstances may be. ALWAYS.
From there we went through the proper channels, got a hold of somebody to let them know our concerns, found a wonderful member family who let us crash at their place for the night. (Woohoo London!) We were safe, and we were happy.
"Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on...For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." -3 Nephi 13;25, 32
The rest of the story doesn't matter, (that and it's very anticlimactic), the point is, I had a spiritual experience in the midst of being prompted to up and leave in the middle of the night.
"Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.." -2 Nephi 4:18
The best and third lesson is this: Trust in God. He will never lead you astray. If He asks you to do something, and you don't know why, trust He has a reason.
I will never know why we were prompted to leave the apartment that night. Sister Bronson and I talk about it, and we still can't pinpoint a reason. But I had personal revelation the night, and we did  something I had been struggling with for so long: I trusted in God. He would provide for me.
And maybe that was the reason all along
With love, from Can-Win.

"Chasten my soul til I shall be in perfect harmony with Thee..."

Happy awkward October Thanksgiving!!!! (If any Canadians are reading this, don't be offended. It's just because I'm American.)
Well life is weird here. Thanksgiving is over and it's on to Halloween!!!! We're also on the tail end of a transfer. It's the 4th week here, which mean next week is transfer calls, and the week after transfers. Crazy, right?
So yesterday was the 12 year mark since my parents and I were baptized. It was very weird to think about how I went from a girl stepping into the water to a soldier in God's army. But it's really neat at the same time. :))
I love God, and Jesus. I am grateful for the things I have been blessed with in this life, especially the gospel. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who chastens me, tries me, tests me, and molds me so that I can be better. I am grateful for the trials I have, even though I wouldn't wish them on anyone else. I'm grateful for the way they refine me and push me to pick a side. In this life it's one or the other. Good or evil. Obedience or disobedience. Happiness or wickedness. God or the world.
You can't have both.
I'm grateful for Preach My Gospel. That book is inspired. It helps in so many aspect of my life, not just missionary work. Right now my favorite section is Christlike attributes. I'm studying Faith and Virtue. If you haven't flipped through that section and studied those attributes, I invite you to do so. It's amazing what the Lord witll reveal to you when you are partaking of things that bring His spirit, especially if you are looking for ways you can improve.
I am grateful for my familiy that supports and loves me. That includes the one I've made for myself here. I love you all. You're kind of the best.
I know that Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know God loves us because we are His children. I am grateful to be one of His missionaries.
Life is good.
Love you all! Be good! Be faithful! Stay steady. :))
With Love from Can-Win

Monday, September 30, 2013

"He lives, and while He lives I'll sing..."

I love my mission. It's hard. There are some days I just want to pull the covers over my head and tell God "No! I won't do it! I'm tired! I have problems too!"
And yet...I get out of bed, shower, get dressed, put my tag on, and turn it over to Him as I walk out the door.
Now I'm not saying that that's not a process, and that sometimes it doesn't take me half the day to let things go, but eventually I do let it go.
God is just too loving and merciful to let me have my way. I often hear a little voice in my head that says things like this: "No, no, no, put that down. I have something much better for you over here." Or "There you are, my girl. I've been waiting for you to come to me. Let's try it this way..."
He's kind of the best. And He loves me very, very much.
Last night we had a fireside in the city, and my wonderful, lovely, and talented companion sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." It was beautiful. Then as we were sitting in bed getting ready for lights out I remembered about 12 years back when I sat on my kitchen counter listening to a recording of one Sister Kylee Shields, singing that very same hymn. She was one of MY missionaries, who found my family and brought us into the fold of God. I sat and kind of chuckled to myself last night, thinking about how that moment had come full circle. I'm so grateful for those missionaries who came out and served my family.
This transfer, my companion and I are each coming up with a list of 1,000 things to be grateful for. I've discovered that gratitude and acknowledgement that everything I have comes from God keeps me humble and teachable. It keeps me from being self involved. So here goes nothing. :) If you have something you'd like to add send it in! I'll put it on my wall of gratitude.
I love you, all. Stay excellent! Stay steady!
With love, from Can-Win

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Plan of Salvation Can-Win style

A Missionary's ABCs

Every missionary has there own set of ABC's whether they know it or not. These are mine, letters A-M. :)
A is for Attitude. Your attitude is what makes or breaks your day. If you get up grumpy, mad, whiney, you can bet your bottom dollar that's all you're gonna find for the rest of your day. It's not always easy to have a great attitude because life is hard, and things get in the way. But it definitely helps to stop, take a step back, and say "What am I grateful for?" It's a guaranteed gmae changer.
B is for Bedtime, and bedtime is the best time. I can't remember ever going to bed so exhausted and waking up feeling like I've been hit with a bus. It's true! Mornings hurt so much, but bedtime is like Christmas, my birthday, and thanksgiving all wrapped up in one neat little box. just peachy keen.
C is for Call. You get called a lot on your mission. Investigators call you to reschedule, to cancel, or to talk. Your leaders call you to relay information, to check and see how you're doing, to get indicators, to ask for a favor. Sometimes people call you names, and not nice ones at that. But the most important call I got was the one I recieved in the mail telling me that the Lord was calling me to work.
D is for Dog. You know how it's a running joke that you haven't gotten the full missionary experience unless you've been chased by a dog? Well, I can mark that one off my missionary bucket list...
E is for Elders. I love my Elders. I work with the greatest Elders ever, let me tell you. I can't count the number of times I've cried in front of them and they've talked me through my frustration, or they've brought me random things (like chocolate milk) to brighten my day. And they just keep on trucking, being wonderful men of God, like it's no big deal. I've also fixed a lot of Elders clothes. I'm up to one suit coat, one white shirt, one tie, and five pairs of pants.
F is for Faith. Oh faith..I feel like faith is something I take for granted. "Oh yeah, I have faith, I believe. Mhm." Except it's not just believing in God and Christ, or that Joseph Smith was a prophet, or that the Book of Mormon is true. Faith is a word of action. It you have faith it leads you to act on it. It becomes bigger things like trust in the Lord, hope in the promises you've been given, taking a step into the darkness without that surety that a light will flick on somewhere. It's going and doing.
G is for God. I love God. He's kind of the best. That's it. That's all.
H is for Hope. This past week I learned a little bit about hope. It's not uncertain, or iffy. True to the Faith defines Hope as a word of surety and steadfastness in Gospel context. It's not wishy washy, or fleeting. It's firm and durable. I like that. it gives you someting to think about, no?
I is for Igloo. I'm determined to make an igloo up here. They day it can't be done. But it will!!!
J is for Jesus. There's something funny about the way people naturally shy away from me as soon as they see the words 'Jesus Christ' on my badge. I'm not sure what it is. Is it a memo everyone in the city got that I just didn't know about? Or does it make them uncomfortable? If so, why? Why is it when I say His name people immediately shut down? Even those that say they have faith, religion, and God. This is something I'm determined to get to the bottom of.
Also a great quote was given to me by the Bishop. I can't remember how it goes exactly but the gist of it is: The Gospel is there to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. Go Bishop.
K is for Knocking. "Knockin on, rocking on a billion doors...cause this Work is gonna fix what don't work anymore." Knocking doors is hard. People slam, people are rude, it's really not fun! But you do what ya gotta.
L is for Laugh. There are days I swear I've never laughed so hard. My current companion and I break out into random bouts of laughter that doesn't ever seem to stop. I love that. I love laughing over the hard things, the bad things, the fun things, the sad things, things that hurt us or get us down, we just...we laugh. "And when you laugh be sure to laugh out loud cause it will carry..all your cares away." It was the Lord's tender mercy to us, finding joy in the everyday things.
M is for Missionary. A missionary is a weird kind of creature. It loves getting dirty, wearing out shoes and clothes, and eating food. Its heart hurts when people say things like "no" "cult" "atheist" and "I changed my mind." It likes mail, pictures, phone calls, and surprise packages that show up in the office. It doesn't matter whether it's the male or female variety, a missionary can rattle of the purpose they ingrain in their hearts before they even step foot in the new place they call home. A missionary learns to like words like "diligence" "faith" "repentance" and "work". :) Missionaries like wearing a little black piece of plastic with the name of their family and their Lord on their chests, and this girl couldn't be prouder of hers. :))
With love from Can-Win

A Heart was made to Share

It's been a rough one, but I feel the need to show some serious love since I recieved a lot this week. So todays post is allll love notes to the various people in my life who have made this week one to show gratitude for. :)
To the Ladd Family: You have been positively spectacular. I love and appreciate the fact that not only do you allow my companion and I to come into your home weekly, eat your food, and teach you, but you show genuine love and concern for my well being. You know and understand that mission life isn't all rainbows and roses, and you allow me to express that while simultaneously telling me to dust myself off and keep on trucking. You are THE BEST!!! Monday nights have become a personal favorite thanks to you.
To my wonderful Relief Society Presidents: Sister Monchamp and Sister Varey, you are the best!! I love the fact that you treat me as if I were your own. You ask if I'm eating well, if I'm wearing my sweater when it's cold, how my week has been, and you're always so happy to see me! I LOVE it. It's pretty much the best feeling in the world a girl could have out here. :)
To my District: Oh you wonderful missionaries, you. It never ceases to amaze me the love, support, encouragement, bad jokes, and baked goods you supply me with. I love you all. Each one of you make our district wonderful, and I am more than delighted to be serving with you.
To my companions: All of you. That's right, all 4 of you!!! You are simply sensational. I cannot tell you how many times bad hair days, sad days, angry days, agitated days, homesick days have been made infintely better because you were there. You are examples to me. You are the best women I could ever hope to serve with. Sis R you taught me what a good missionary was life. Sis H you taugh me that it was ok to have bad days, you just gotta pick yourself up and keep going. Sis B you taught me that a little bit of crazy isn't neccessarily a bad thing. Sis F you taught me what it really means to be diligent and to trust the Lord. I love, love, love you all!!!!!!
To those faithful few that write me about as consistently as one can get: You make my life. You have no idea just how special/magical/sacred mail is. Even emails. It's almost ridiculous how excited I get when I have mail. So to those who tell tales of home, who encourage, who bless, who inspire me through the wonderful workings of the web, or the exciting excursions of the envelope from you to me...I love you. You have no idea what those few silly words mean to me.
To my fantastic family back home: I love you. I miss you. Terribly. Some days I want to come home to you, but I know I have things to do here. Keep writing me, (Erin and Sean!!!!) and I'll keep writing you. Hugs and kisses all around. You make me happy.
To my little brother: You're such a champion. I have such a great love and respect for you, little brother. I read your emails and look for ways to be more like you. Such a valiant spirit. :) I love you so much. Keep smilin', keep truckin....keep praying. God be with you til we meet, Elder Hutchinson. :) And what a glorious reunion it shall be.
Alright. I'm off to play in the great wilds of Canada. :) I love you all, friends.
Be good. Be safe. Be faithful.
With love, from Can-Win

Friday, August 23, 2013

"So what if I was just a painter, painting houses on the rich blue coast.."

So the reason for this particular title is that this line stuck in my head this week.
All week.
It never went away.
Then when I really got to thinking about it my mind started wandering to what I would be doing if I were home right now. I'd probably be working for minimum wage, enjoying beach life, my family, and talking with friends. I'd be gearing up to go back to school to finish my Senior year and figure out what to do next. I'd be in my own little realm where I know who I am, where I fit, and what my role is.
But here, it's a whole different ball game.
In Canada I'm just part of a larger army that gets shuffled around every 6 weeks or so. (Not that that's really happened yet.) As a missionary I come and go in a flash. With every person/family I play a different role. I don't really know where I fit in other than the fact that I wear a badge the bears the name of Christ, and do my best to follow Him. There are days I work on the fly, I just go with it and pray the Lord is guiding my feet. So far so good. :)
But the point is if I was back home doing my own thing I never would have been here. I never would have met the woman who told me she sees God when she looks at my face. I never would have met the little boy whose face lights up when I walk into church on Sunday. I never would have met the women who are my Sisters in arms so to speak, and helped lift them as they lift me. I never would have met the Elders who have showed me what kind of men I want to surround myself with.
I would have surrounded myself with my phone/friends, my homework, my family, books, and movies. Here I surround myself with children of God, some who know of their heritage, some who don't. I surround myself with the scriptures, and hymns, and prayers.
Here I surround myself with the best of things.
And I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
So here's to all you who've stayed with me. I love and miss you all.
Stay excellent.
With Love from Can-Win

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"..A more faithful soldier to the end.."

This week's lesson has been on diligence! Woooo!

We had Zone Conference this past week which was fantastic! There was lots of great training, practicing, reminders, and just all around goodness. My Zone Leaders presented a portion of training on diligence and what it means for us as missionaries to show it. They gave an analogy of a fireman, a police officer, and a doctor. A fireman saves lives from burning buildings, a police officer upholds the law, and a doctor saves lives in the operating room. All three are jobs of authority, leadership, and weigh heavy at times on those who do them.

But what happens if the fireman doesn't sharpen his axe or take care of his truck? What happens if the doctor tells someone he won't operate on them because the last patient he tried to save died? What if the polic officer was just too tired and didn't respond to an emergency call?

In short: people die.

As missionaries we don't save lives, we save souls. So what happens when we don't practice our skills in the mornings to keep them sharp and honed? What happens if we refuse to work with someone because the last person we taught didn't want to be baptized? What if on a long day I'm just too tired to go tracting for the last fifteen minutes of my night?

People are lost or stay lost.

So I've been called to a new standard of diligence. To work like everything depends on me, and then allow the Lord to do the heavy lifting.

I love you all. Be good. Stay excellent.

With Love from Can-Win

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Life's Tough! Get a Helmet.

    So this week has been kind of a rough one, but so good at the same time. My new companion Sister Bennett and I are hard at work and loving life. But, you know, I have blisters and a pair of busted flats. My shirts are starting to look worn, and keeping track of mileage/money WHILE being concerned about the eternal welfare of souls placed in your care can be a little stressful.

But I'm growing.

    My last companion, Sister Harrison, loved reading the book of Isaiah, because there were so many plant analogies. There was almost always something that could be compared to our faith, our hope, our strength, and the way we grow when we're under pressure.

    There are days I spend 15 minutes on my knees just begging for patience and mercy, because this work is hard. I come home exhausted. I wake up exhausted. There is continual room for improvement, there is continual upheaval, dismissal, rejection, and disappointment.

And there is so much joy.

    Someone here told me that when life hits you hard and knocks you over, you pick yourself up by your bootstraps, dust your skirt off, and keep on truckin'. So that's what I do.

    This is the hardest, toughest, best, and most miraculous thing I've ever done in my life. This is an experience that leaves a person changed. I love Canada. I love the people that tell me no, not now, or not ever. I love those that allow me into their homes. I love the missionaries that bolster me up, that lock horns with me, and those that help me just take life as it comes.

    Life is good. I got a helmet. :))

With love from Can-WIn

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage.."

Alright friends, so I know I've been a little MIA, but there's been a lot going on. My companion is transfering to a new ward and I will be training a new missionary fresh from the MTC. Can you say "Ahhh!"? :) It's been really hard watching SIster Harrison say goodbye to everyone, especially knowing I'll be her last one in this area. Ew.

Other than that life is pretty grand. The weather has been beautiful, our investigators haven't been ditching our appointments nearly as much, and the work is just mocing along quite nicely. If any of you haven't had the chance to watch the "Work of Salvation" broadcast, I highly recommend it. It's not just for the missionaries, but for the members and ward leaders. So good!

M.J., our baptismal date is progressing beautifully, and she's so excited to be baptized! I'll send pictures of that home for all of you to see. :)) We have two other investigators we're working with, and more on the way. (Hopefully)

This week's topic has been trust/patience with the Lord. There are days it's so hard for me to realize that everything happens in the Lord's time. His timetable is the only one that matters, regardless of how I think or feel. I have investigators or people I know and I just want to run up to them and shout "BE BAPTIZED! THE GOSPEL IS GOOD! YOU'LL LOVE IT!" But you know, that's probably not the greatest idea. I just want so badly for everyone to feel the joy I do, to know the things that I know, because when you do life becomes a lot less scary. There's nothing quite like the love of the Savior.

But really.

So go and study the Atonement sometime this week. I promise that as you do so, you feel feel the love of your God and Savior, and oh! is it a wonderful feeling.

 I love you all. Be safe. Be happy.

 With love from Can-Win

"Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea..." -Ether 2:24

Life has been...weird this week. Good, but weird. My leaders (District and Zone) have been giving Sister Harrison and I some extra things to study and read since we're kind of on our own, and it's been so helpful. So here we are, just truckin' along...meeting new people...teaching investigators..then BAM!

I get sick.


It was really rough. Sister Harrison and I were not pleased. One thing we learned from this little escapade is that sometimes the things you think you want, aren't what you really want, (like extra study/sleep time), and that this is not an idle work.

We struggled this weekend. Being locked in a house is not a fun thing, espeially when you're used to being out and about more often than you are inside. But luckily we had wonderful Elders who took extremely good care of us, as well as a few members, and couples. The highlight was when our Zone and District Leader came and gave us the sacrament because neither of us could attend either meeting. So. Good.

This week I've finished the Book of Mormon again. This book of such a game changer, I don't understand how anyone can live without it. (I guess that's why I'm here, eh?)

So I've been reading in the book of Ether, the story of the brother of Jared. For those of you who don't know, this story is very near and dear to me, as it is part of the reason I'm here in Canada. (For more info check out : The Title. The Mission. The Dream.)

In chapter 6 it talks about how the barges that the Jaredites built were "many times buried in the depths of the sea.." (vs. 6) but that as they cried unto the Lord, He did bring them up again. In verse 8 it says "And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land.."

There are times where we are buried in the sea, when the waves never cease to crash in around us, and it seems like we will never see the surface again. But the Lord will always bring us back to the surface, and He never ceases in driving us onward to our own promised lands.

Even if we can't quite see that far.

On that note, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and enjoying life wherever you are. XO

With Love from Can-Win

p.s. This weeks people to find are Justin Trapp, and Jessica Casper. If anyone can get me in touch with them I'd be grateful. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"To every land and people we'll go..."

Alright, this will be a short one because I"m running out of time. But that's ok.

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. I know that we are being led by a true Prohpet, Thomas S. Monson, and that his councelors and the quorum of the 12 lead the Church in righteousness today.

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that he was called to restore the church, restore the priesthood, and start the work again. I know that through him and the power of God, the Book of Mormon was translated.

I know the Book Of Mormon is the word of God. I know that it's teachings and principles are applicable to me today, despite the fact that it's the history of a people who lived anciently.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He lives!

I know that I have been called by God and a prophet to serve as a missionary for this church.

The work is moving. The future is bright. God is good.

That's my testimony. That is what I know, and I'm learning more each day. And life...

Life is just peachy keen.

I hope all of you are hangin' in there. I love and miss you all.

With love from Can-Win

"This is my work and glory...if ye love me feed my sheep.."

Just another day in the life of a Sister misisonary. It's been slightly stressful due to our, (Sister Harrison and I), trainer leaving us to go train a new sister while we train each other. o.O Urch! It's amazing how many tiny details go into missionary work that you don't know about until you suddenly have to do them yourself. (Sorpresa!)

But other than that life is good.

Sister Harrison and I are a companionship now. We've been together since the MTC, two months yesterday. She's probably ther biggest blessing in my life right now. The next weeks would be so much harder without her steadiness. She reminds me to breathe and "consider the lillies" when I start getting tense...or worrying...or getting frustrated. Ah, companionships. There's a reason we go in two's. :)

The best experience of this week was this past friday night. Sister Harrison and I went to a dinner appointment at a less active members house that we had almost considered cancelling. The couple in particular doesn't have much food, and we didn't want to make things harder for them. Nevertheless, we went anyways and brought a small side dish to share. When we walked in the door the first thing we noticed was Brother St. G in his white shirt and tie, grinning proudly from ear to ear. The second thing we noticed was that Sister St. G had tried her very hardest to clean up the living room, and set the table with a cloth, napkins, and ceramic plates. The plates were mismatched, and the meal was simple, but it was one of the most humbling experiences I've had to date. Sister Harrison and I talked about it afterwards, and we both said we felt the Spirit so strongly we knew the Lord was pleased with their efforts.

Uh! Life is just so good as a missionary. It really is. We're working with an eight year old boy and his mother right now. She's less active, but he wants to be baptized so badly he asked Sister Harrison and I to come teach him. It's so good.

 I can't think of anything else to say. But I hope everyone reading this is having as great a day as I am.
Keep on keepin' on, friends.

With love, from Can-Win.

You Know You're a Can-Win Missionary When...

1. You get anxious if you find yourself alone for more than 5 seconds.

2. You start skipping songs on your LDS cd's because you think they might be inappropriate/ against the white handbook.

3. Your slang consists of words like "Pros", "Apostate", "Dramastic", and "Urch!"

4. Mondays become your favorite day.

5. You spend two hours walking in the rain to get to an appointment who cancelled and didn't tell you.

6. 9:30pm feels like midnight.

7. You don't dive for the vollyball during p-day activity because you might bump into an Elder.

8.That ten minute nap you took felt like a four hour coma.

9. You forget your planner at home and all of a sudden you have no idea what's going on.

10. If you aren't wearing your name badge you forget what your name is.

11. In response to being asked out on a date you ask if they want to learn about Jesus.

12. You hear the word "awesome" or "cool" and you feel like someone just swore in front of you.

Ah, life is so funny these days. :) Miss you all. Stay safe, and stay happy.

With love from Can-Win

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Stand and Be Not Moved"

Moroni 1:2-3

This week has been a glorious one. I have received so much spiritual enlightenment it makes my head spin a little bit. Elder Foster came and addressed us for Zone Conference and it was absolutely marvelous. The whole mission is really pushng now to get every single ward fired up and burning with the Spirit of God.

 There's a song called "Work" on the Cd "The Work: a national tribute to missionary work" and it is so good. It talks about how if we wanna get things done it's gonna take work. My favorite line is "Bringin' in the harvest for the Lord.." Uh! Life is good here in the field.

 Lately I've been studying the concept of being faithful and steadfast. (Hence the title.) I am so in love with this concept, of being so grounded in the Gospel that nothing can shake you. If you haven't watched the Strength of Youth 2013 video on I encourage you to do so. Right now. Go watch.

Alma 56:47

 Life is hard here in the field, and so very different from everything I ever thought it would be. But it's so good.

Side story: this week we as a companionship had an adventure on the bus for the very first time. It was so funny. We took three investigators on the bus with us to Church and then walked another mile to get there, showing them how they could do it themselves. Well since we left our car at their house we had to take a bus back to get it just after the London ward meetings started and Gateways' had finished. SO I don't want to walk the mile back to where the bus stop is, and Sister Rush says "We'll wait for 15 minutes to see if the 90 comes, if not we walk." Well just then the 85 came around the corner and we look at each other and she says "Or we could just take that one and pray it stops near where we need to go." And that, my friends, is exactly what we did. :) Moral of the story: the bus is way fun.

 In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well, and learning to "be not moved". I am definitely learning this lesson. There are days I look down at my badge and wonder "How did I get here?" And then Sister Rush`s voice comes to mind and I hear ``God sure must love you.``

 And you know what...

 He surely, surely does.

Doctrine and Covenants 87:8

With love from Can-Win

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Don't Give Up!! (It's just the weight of the world.)

So I've been trying to figure out what I wanna post about, and plan it out and make it all lovely and smooth sounding. I even wrote out a rough draft!...and then forgot it at home. Oh well. Basically what you're gonna get is a list of 10 things I've learned so far here in the field:

1. The field is white already to harvest, but don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much.

2. Even a 15 minute nap can work wonders, (even if it's face down on your scriptures. Ooops.)

3. Make sure you delete notes to specific people if you decide to forward it as a mass message. (Haha, Sister Harrison)

4. Companionship Inventory is vital to the health of your relationship with your companion(s).

5. Freedom comes at a price. (Or in our case a parking ticket.)

6. Be prompt. (Or the Jehovah's witnesses will steal your appointment while you're parking).

7. Missions are weird. It's best to just accept that now. They're great, but weird.

8. Stickers will always make friends! (That's why I know all of the primary kids names, and none of the adults.)

9. Always, always be faithful. Even when your faith feels barely there.

10. Nothing could ever prepare you enough for this. Ever. But it's one wild ride. :))

That's pretty much it. My going's on in a nutshell. Someday you all will get a longer post with more details, but for now this will have to do. :) Keep on keepin on, friends.

With love from Can-Win.

`Winnipeg to Saskatoon, with a vineyard still to prune..`

First order of business. I would greatly love to be put into contact with the following people:

Douglas Benjamin Speck
Tyler James Froelich

Could one of you who reads this be a dear and get me their emails....please. Thanks! You`re a peach.

So today's topic of conversation is missionary work!! (Big surprise there..)

But more importantly, in the ideal missionary situation, missionaries are helping MEMBERS do missionary work. Missionaries are called to teach. That is our calling. We are to teach, and guide. It is the member responsibility to fellowship and retain the fruits of our labors. Missionaries are temporary, we come and go in a snap. That, and we cannot carry the weight of missionary work ourselves. Members should be looking for people to share the gospel with, and talking with everyone. It is in their homes that investigators should be taught, that way investigators have that extra person to latch on to, another way they can find answers to their questions. It is SO HARD as a missionary to try and teach investigators when the ward is not willing to help.

Please, oh please, if you`re a member help your missionaries with the work. Make sure that they are doing what they`re supposed to. Encourage them to WORK! I also invite you to read through Preach My Gospel, especially chapter 13 about the ward and missionaries. It`s so wonderful.

Also, for all those reading who are family members that are NOT LDS, I encourage you to find missionaries in your own area and just talk to them about what it is I`m our here doing. If that thought doesn`t sit too well with you, then I invite you to go to or and read some of the articles from General Conference. Find out why I`m out here. Discover what it is I`m teaching. Learn about what I`ll be doing for the next 18 months of my life, and why I`m doing it. :)

I hope you`re all doing marvelously. Keep fighting the good fight!

With love from Can-Win

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"But if the Lord can make a blind man see, He can make a change in me.."

Greetings from the Great White North. It's a wee bit cold up here, in fact we just had another dousing of snow. In April. It's soooo fun. I've had some requests about a day in the life of Sister Hutchinson, so here goes: My companions and I wake up every morning at 6:30am. It hurts. But we do it. We say prayers and then work out for 30 minutes. After that it's juggling the shower, mirror, and changing room with three girls. Always fun. Personal study starts at 8 and then companionship study starts at 9. Sometimes it goes til 11, sometimes only 10. It depends on whether we have meetings or not. Lunch is somewhere around noon, and 1pm is when the appointments start. We're pretty much out of the house all day, with maybe a quick stop by for dinner. I pros. in the city so it's a lot of travel time and knocking on doors when appointments fall through. Then at about 8:30-9 we start to make our way back home. We do daily planning for a half hour, discussing daily goals, lesson plans, and study material. Then it's time to get ready for bed and lights out at 10:30! I love my bed. My bed is my best friend, and as soon as my head hits the pillow I am down for the count. My wonderful tri-pan and I get along great, and the only problems we have is that my trainer loves the work so much, she sometimes forgets to schedule meal times. :) It's hard though. Oh my days is it hard. I came out here expecting the work to be hard, and to have to really push myself to make it through. There are days it's hard, but not as hard as I thought. The hard is the personal refinement, the refiners fire pressing in from all sides so the Lord can reshape and remake you. It's something He has promised us, especially if we put ourselves in His hands. But it doesn't come easy, and you will definitely pay the tokens to do so. My biggest challenge right now is my dignified language and personal study. As a missionary you are supposed to choose words and language that identifies you as a missionary and a represntative of Christ. My mission takes this to the next level. There is no "cool" or "awesome" or anything that even resembles slang. It's frustrating, I won't lie. But I'm getting better at it. Personal study also hurts, it's just so early and I'm so tired. But that will happen. Some days I have really good study,and some days I don't. I spend a lot of time on my knees, moreso than I ever have in my life. I actually have bruises from kneeling on the kitchen floor before and after companionship study and planing. That is a true story. The work is good. The hard is great. There are days all I really want is a nap, but I push through. I miss you all, and wish I could give big hugs. But I can't. So this letter from Canada wil have to do. :) With love from Can-Win

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Onward and Upward!

This week has gone by crazy fast, and horrificly slow all at the same time. I'm now stationed in Winnipeg right now. My tripan is known as the Winnipeg East Sisters. That's right, there are three of us. Life is pretty crazy, We're opening a new area so there's a lot of work to be done before we really start looking for new people to teach. My wonderful companions and I are working hard, and praying harder. I do have a fun story this week. My tripan went to a Ward Correlation for the Gateway ward and Brother D (who was hosting) is Filipino. Apparently it's tradition to feed the new missionaries a dish known as Balute. (I'm pretty sure that's how you spell it.) Anyways, it is a not quite fully formed, fertilized, but very much dead duckling. And so you have to peel the egg, drink the juice, and then enjoy your lovely ducky on yoke. True story. So the Elders down it faster than you please, and Sister Harrison shortly follows, and I'm stuck looking at this bowl of eggs wondering just what I have gotten myself into. Sister Rush tries, but only gets it in her mouth before she spits it back out. I wasn't going to do it until Sister Harrison said "Oh, I knew you wouldn't." Challenge Accepted. So I ate the duck. Ok, actually I swallowed the duck. There will be a video shortly to follow. Anyways, long random post short: the book is blue, the church is true. :) I invite you all to (if you didn't watch General Conference) to read the wonderful and inspiring talks given this past weekend. With love from Can-Win

Monday, April 1, 2013

"God Our Strength Will Be..."

    This past week at the MTC has been a blur. Our old leaders told us that if we could make it to Sunday, we'd be fine. Truer words. Well it's been two Sundays now. Sister Bronson and I are those same leaders, and we had the privilege of welcoming in two brand new districts. It was amazing, and our new Elders and Sisters are nervous, excited, and as wonderful as can be. It's hard to think that just a week ago that was me. I was unsure of what I was supposed to be doing or if I was actually able to do this.

    I leave for Canada the day after tomorrow and I couldn't be more ready. Certainly there are days that I wish I could have more time to learn, more time to pick my teacher's brains, more time to really soak up this drenching from the fire hose. But I don't have that luxury and I'm oddly OK with it.

    This mission is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it's hard in a different way than I was expecting. I was expecting to miss home, or to not be able to adjust to the life of a missionary, or to just be too weak to finish what I'd started. In reality, the schedule is long, yes, but manageable. I miss the people I left behind, but I don't wish I was home. Last but not least, there's no way I'm coming home before my time is up. : ) This mission is hard because of the gravity of the message we carry; the weight of the name we bear. Everyone needs our message. Everyone needs the Savior, and it's hard to think about all the people I'll meet who will tell me "no." I know my Savior was sent to save the world -- not just the Jews, Mormons, or the people who live in God's country. Everyone.

    A teacher told me this week that the Savior walked a mile in my shoes to bear me up when I couldn't make it on my own. Now I am called to walk a mile in His, or at least try to. I am called to seek after His lost sheep and bring them home. Lucky for me Christ will continue to bear me up on the good and bad days. He'll even go before me and prepare my way.

    I couldn't be happier about the next 18 months of my life.

    The past two weeks here in the MTC taught me that the Atonement is so much more than I gave it credit for. It's for my tears, my inadequacies; for that moment I struggle to love my leaders and the people I serve. It is to fill me when I am weak, so I am strong. Uh! It's so good!!! I just love it. It's been such a good experience here in the MTC. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    So for all of you reading, I invite you to do some studying of your own and see what the Atonement means to you and what it can help you become.

    "God our strength will be, press forward ever, called to serve our King!"

With Love from Can-Win.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It was the very first time I lost my mind for a week...

    The thing about leaving is: it's hard. No one really prepares you for it. "Good-byes are hard, but you'll be so excited it won't matter!" or "it will be so hard to leave your family." None of the things people told me helped, because it wasn't what or who I was leaving, it was why. The "Why" scared me so badly as I sat in the airport that I wanted so badly to call my parents and have them come and get me and call it good.

    But I didn't. Satan kept working on me.

    My flight was supposed to leave at 1:20 didn't leave until 5:30 pm. I then had five minutes between flights to make my next one. It was kind of a rush, but I made it. Then I arrived in Salt Lake City. Awesome, right?


    I was in Salt Lake bags were in New York. True Story. I finally made it to the MTC at 1 a.m. and all I had with me were the clothes on my back, my passport, and my scriptures. My luggage was supposed to be delivered that morning, at 10:30 a.m. It actually arrived at 10 o'clock that night. SO, I spent 48 hours in the same clothes. That was rough.

    But, I had my companion (Sister Bronson), and I had a name tag that identified me as a representative of Jesus Christ. I also had (have) a wonderful district full of Elders and Sisters to support and sustain me while I was floundering. But the fun doesn't stop there...

    My bag broke. I carry so many books and things that the strap actually broke on me. I still haven't fixed it yet; I'm working on it. We'll see how that goes. :) Every minute of our day is accounted for; we have classes, and it's wonderful, but it's kind of like drinking from a fire hose. I have marvelous teachers and I have grown so much in the past few days -- it's ridiculous, but it's hard.

    Missionary time runs differently. You have the longest hours and the shortest days. It doesn't seem humanly possible and yet it's true.

    My companion and I were called to be Coordinating Sisters, which is kind of like the female equivalent of a Zone Leader. It is a lot of responsibility on top of what we already do. One of my teachers summarized missionary work best -- God requires his missionaries run faster than they have strength, but He will make up the difference.

    My district leaves for the Great White North on April 3rd and we are chomping at the bit to be out in the field. :) God is good. The Atonement is great. Missionaries are AWESOME!

    So, life is hard. I wouldn't have it any other way.

With love from Can-Win.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Missionaries Away!

    Taegan and Patrick left yesterday for their missions. Taegan arrived in SLC late last night (sans luggage), but happy to get there. No word otherwise from her.  Patrick is still travelling due to flight delays and missed connections. Yesterday was a painful experience for everyone I think -- so very happy/proud and yet so very sad.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I can't think of a proper title, this will have to do.

"...Ye are eternally indebted to your Heavenly Father, to render to Him all that you have and are.." -Mosiah 2:34

My brother and I were set apart tonight. It was wonderful and very surreal at the same time. The one thing I really loved was how different our blessings were. My brother was blessed that he would be able to stoop and bend and reach out with the gospel. He was blessed with strength, health, and love for his companions. I was blessed to have a sensitive heart and a soul in tune with the spirit.

We leave tomorrow. I leave in a little over twelve hours. It's freakin' me out man! But I'm very excited. Last night we had dinner with one our favorite families, the Brimhalls. Sister Brimhall mentioned a scripture, and the particular order in which certain words were listed. Doctrine and Covenants section 4 focuses primarily on missionary work, and in that section is the verse she spoke of.

"Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." (verse 2)

The order in which those four words are written is the order in which we should aim to serve. First with heart. We need to serve with our whole hearts, having love of God and all those we come in contact with. Second with might, with all our enthusiasm and joy. Third with knowledge. What we know comes third in the list, because it's not as important, but that doesn't mean we don't need to prepare ourselves to the best of our abilities. Fourth comes strength. Physical, mental, emotional, all of it.

I love it. It makes so much sense. I just felt like sharing.

I would write longer but I'm tired. It's after midnight now, and I have a plane to catch tomorrow.

Go. Fight. Win. :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pride goeth before the fall...eth.

The Lord said:

"Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" -3 Nephi 13:25-26
This scripture was one of the reasons I decided to go ahead and start working on my papers. This was a confirmation to me that if I put the Lord first, and accepted His call, He would prepare my way. In this time of my life I don't need to panic or worry about money, or food, or whether or not I can afford to live in a specific manner. The Lord will provide for His servants, just as He provides for the fowls of the air. 
This brings me to my next thought. My home ward has been positively stellar in providing for both my brother and I. They will be funding the majority of our missions, and various members have given gifts of money, talents, and time. My brother and I have been terribly blessed by them, especially our wonderful Bishop and his wife. That's not to say that we have laid back and let ourselves be pampered. We have worked as much as we can, and the ward has been kind enough to fill in the difference.
But today I went out to lunch with a wonderful Sister, the mother of one of my dear friends at school. We sat and traded stories of our families, talked missions, life, and had a wonderful little outing. When she asked me what I wanted/needed for my mission, I brushed her aside and assured her I was fine, that I didn't need anything. She persisted. I again, told her not to worry, I needed nor wanted for anything. She looked me in the eyes, and sat quietly for a moment before she said,
"Stop being so stiff necked. Please do not deny me these blessings. Let me help you. What do you need?"
Finally cowed by both look and tone, I explained that I only really needed for one thing: money for travel. She happily gave me a lovely little sum that eased my mind greatly. My pride did not allow me to accept her help at first, and I'm sorry to say that it gets in the way very often in situations like this. It's something I need to work on.
The reason I even brought this story up is this: when someone offers the help you need, take it. Whether it be service, money, time, or effort. Take it. Especially if you are a missionary. Do not deny the people around you the blessings they will receive in giving you these things. Do not let your pride get in the way of accepting help. Allow the Lord to provide for you through His other children. Allow Him to bless you and them! If you do that...
..everybody wins. 

Leaving Jerusalem

So, it seems I started my own blog in January of 2008, which has as many entries as my journal: One! I know that Taeg will be sending entries to me (the fabulously intelligent behind the scenes editor) and that will keep all of you filled with wonder and awe, but perhaps I might add my own musings about mission life here and there as the Spirit dictates (my own brass plates so to speak). Stay tuned; 4 days and a wake up until our missionaries depart.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"The hard is what makes it great."

I've been wondering on and off about what the topic of my post would be. Life has been a whirl of appointments, mission prep, and packing up my life to be stowed away for a year and a half. The closer I get to my report date, the more I begin to have tiny revelations about what it is I'm doing.

The first is that the Lord will confirm your call. My brother's story is amazing. He knew where he was going before our papers were even sent. He knew the exact mission. I on the other hand had no idea. Not even an inkling. When I read the words Winnipeg Canada it was like a light went on inside me and I thought "Oh! Of course! Canada!" It was perfect, and I'm grateful for the confirmation.

The second revelation is once you have your call, once you formally enlist yourself in God's army, the adversary works on you nonstop. It's obnoxious, and draining, and sometimes downright disheartening. A lot of missionaries I know tend to gloss over this part of preparing, but I'm pretty sure every one of us have felt it in one way or another. For one close friend and I, it's the fear of inadequacy, the fear that we can't do this. (Just for the record, she's serving in Argentina now.) I struggle daily with trying to keep myself from backing out of going. It's not that I don't want to, because I do! But I'm so afraid that I won't be strong enough to do it, that I feel I shouldn't even try. It's totally bogus, but the adversary is a crafty fella.

For any of you movie junkies out there, at least one of you will have recognized the title of this post. It comes from the movie "A League of Their Own" starring Tom Hanks. Yes, it's a baseball movie, but the quote was totally apropos. As I've been inwardly panicking about going on my mission, this quote just keeps coming back. And it's so good. When one of the main characters quits playing baseball in the movie, Tom Hanks asks her why. She replies, "It just got too hard." His reply is beautiful.

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."

So that's the attitude I've taken and applied here. A mission is hard. There's no way it could or would be easy. I  didn't decide to do this on a whim. I decided to do this because that's what a set of Sisters and Elder did for me and my family. So I'm paying it forward. It will be hard. There will be days where I don't think I can do it, when I want to go home, or just stay in bed all day. But here's a reason it's called the best two years. :)

So Canada better be ready for me.

Cause I'm bringing it.