Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well Hello there everyone!

Today, I shall tell you about how my week went!

It started out very disjointed and jumbled. None of the plans we made for lessons ended up working out, we felt like our whole week was just a pile of failed plans. And on top of that, we headed down to Quebec on Wednesday for Zone Study. But that was good, not bad. Except it didn't help for our plans that didn't work. We had a great time in Quebec, learnt a TON and had some great time spent with the other missionaries. That is something I have really learnt to appreciate being up here in Alma is to take advantage of every moment you are with other missionaries, because it doens't happen very often. But I got to talk to an Elder who came out of the MTC who was actually in my class on the first day before I got transfered into the 3 week Program. Trust me, it was super weird to see and think that I could have been coming out only just right then, and I wouldn't of had this baptism! And have learnt so much about the mission and about myself either! So anyways, we had a rough week and we felt like we had tried our hardest, but nothing was working out, then yesterday at church, we had one investigator there, and the meeting was about to start, and the door opened and another one of our investigators named Helen showed up, and behind here was her Daughter Richelle and her Grandchildren Dannique and Amalia! We had 5 investigators at church! And we had children!! First time in I have no idea how long since there have been children in Alma!! Elder Heder and I were super happy! 5!! That is a miracle my friend! And then, after Sacrament, The door dinged again, and our investigator Bertrand came in!! He is 80ish years old and said he wouldn't come to chuch, but apparently changed his mind, because he showed up! He had a great time and bonded so well with the members here. We hope to see him again regularly! Ah! Ether 12:6 "...You recieve no witness until after the trial of your faith." Well, we received that witness! Thank you Lord for blessing us so much!

Lets see, on to not so miraculous stuff. I guess I had athletes foot! And not only that, I guess I had it for like 6 months... 8] I was telling Elder here about this weird thing on my foot that was making my foot feel weird, like, thick and callousy, but only in a certain spot, and how I had had it since before my mission and just never really thought anything of it, and how it's never really been itchy or anything, but I know that it was there, and he said it was probably athletes foot, and luckily he had some fungicide with him, and I put it on, and in like 3 days, it was completely gone! Haha, Maybe I should start taking better care of myself, hey?

Last night we had a Dinner Appointment at our branch presidents house, and it was raining for like 4 hours straight! And on the drive home there were frogs all over the road (he lives 40 minutes away from us out in the boonies. Well, the boonies of the boonies, because Alma itself is in the boonies) So Elder Heder stopped the car and I ran out and caught a frog and we took him home with us. We didn't keep him because we aren't allowed pets, but all I can say is Kaden, you have to catch up to me again!

Things have been hard here in Alma for the past few weeks, teaching wise because it is summer vacations and EVERYONE is out of town. Litterally, we had a period of 4 days were there was not a single one of our actual investigators who was in town. Not one. We spent alot of time hitting the roads and knocking doors those days. But things should be starting to slow down now, holiday wise, so hopefully we can get back in the swing of things, but who knows, right?

Anyways, I don't have much time left today... Oh! But all the little towns around here have festivals! Super cool! And it's great for all the people to come out and bond together and stuff, but a bunch of years back, the whole Lac-St.-Jean area got together and planned for each town to have their festival on a different week, and to have themes for each festival, so that if someone wanted, they could attend each festival! We got a few pictures of some of the signs for the festivals. My dad should like them.

Mosiah 2:17

Et voici, je vous dis ces choses afin que vous appreniez la sagesse; afin que vous appreniez que lorsque vous êtes au service de vos semblables, vous êtes simplement au service de votre Dieu.

Mosiah 2:17

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.

Have you ever wondered why it feels so good to go out and help out at a soup kitchen, or so do volunteer work at an old folks home, or even to just shovel your neighbors driveway when it snows if he doesn't ask you too? It is because when you are serving anyone around you, you are serving God, and God loves when we do good things, so he helps us to feel good be sending the Holy Ghost to testify that we are doing the right thing. As you pay attention in your life to times when you feel that same peace and joy as when you are serving others, you will live an amazing life, and will draw yourself closer to the Savior Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father every single day. The Lord loves us and wants us to return to live with him, and to help us do that, he sends us feelings that help us to know how we can do just that.

I love you all, and I hope you have an amazing week. Love yourselves, Love your life, and Love all those around you.

Elder Austen Ovaitt
You remember how I was talking about all the people with Trikes here? Well, these people have the most pimpin' trike. It has a roof. OK? I don't think you understand the sheer awesomeness of these people... And it was really awkward to take that picture. They kept looking at us, so we had to be really quick.

Howdy Pardner. Festival Du Cowboy. Apparently they even have a little Rodeo. I'd like to see that...

It is absolutely gorgeous out here. Just, such a completely different kind of country than out in Alberta.

Our Froggie Friend!

Drink up! It's protein ya know! HCP friends, I have no idea if you are reading this or not, but I bet that brings back good memories, hey?

OK!! I'm Back! Man, time is just flying by! Mom said that Jeremy Colling is back from his mission, and Courtney said that Theo should be back here in a few weeks... I remember their farewells! Well, maybe not Jeremys, I don't know if I went to that one, but I do remember when he left though! So crazy!

Anyways, Big news in my life here in the past few weeks! Wait, no, I guess it's only been a week...

I'll start with the smell. My dad grew up on a farm, and so often we would go down for summer holidays to the farm to hang out with my Uncle Verl and Aunt Linda. But my dad had this saying, whenever he smelt cow poop, he would say "Smell like Money!" Because if there was cow poop, there were cows, and for a farmer/rancher, cows meant money. Well, every once and a while, if the wind is blowing just right, or we are in the right town, MAN! It smells like money. And its such a great smell actually... My companion must think I'm a nut ball because every time I take a big deep inhale and smile, because it reminds me of the farm, and swimming in the creek...

Everyone here is kinda old though, and with that comes a sense of youthfulness, that at certain levels is healthy and good for you, but with everyone here, everyone decided that they want to have a motorcycle. Well, old people don't have the best balance... So motorcycles aren't the safest choice. I know there is a house not far from my house where the people have a motor-trike. It's a 3 wheeled motorcycle, and that was the only one I had ever seen in my life. But here... Oh man, EVERYONE has a trike. It's hilarious actually. I mean, good for you for staying young, but you look like a fool riding with your motorcycle gang with 5 senior citizens all doubled up on tricycles.

We met this super awesome dude the other day in a town called Hebertville-Stationne. We were talking to him and he told us that he didn't believe in God. So, Elder Heder asked him "What brings you joy in this life?" And what he said to answer was not anything that anyone would EVER have expected. He said "Let me show you, come inside". He then proceeded to show us his Lock collection. He had thousands of locks! it was crazy!!! He said he had a lock from almost every single country in the world, and some of them were hundreds and hundreds of years old! I took pictures, don't worry. But Elder Heder asked if we could have a souvenir and he let us each pick a little lock, nothing special from his cheap pile. He said he had three to four hundred thousand dollars worth of locks in his house. It was insane. Elder Heder and I now refer to him as the Lock Master, but I personally think he should get a ghostbusters title. I don't remember the name of the two, there is the gate keeper and then the other one. They have to come together to unleash Zool? Zod? Maybe I'm just crazy though and none of that makes sense...

We had a baptism this weekend!! Our Good Friend Roger got baptized!! It was such an awesome moment! We had 19 people at the baptism, and 6 of them were investigators! Roger invited his mother and 3 of his freinds, and they all want to talk to us more about the things they felt at the baptism. Alma is a new area in the mission, it has only been open since January, and now, after months of hard work, the results are starting to show. The work is about to explode with good, solid contacts and converts and baptisms. I am so blessed to be able to work in the area and to start my mission in a place as blessed as Alma is. With that, Roger was confirmed on Sunday and received the Holy Ghost too, and that was an incredible moment too! Frère Martel did that and I don't think I have heard anything quite so beautiful in my life, his blessing was amazing! It was basically a patriarchal blessing. Roger will be a great strength to this ward and to the missionary work here in Alma and all of Lac-St.-Jean.

With that we also received transfer calls this weekend! Very exciting news, I am staying with Elder Heder in Alma! Not that we were expecting anything different, it's kind of the way things work, trainers and trainees stay together for at least 2 transfers. But the mission is being turned upside down! We had 16 missionaries leave this transfer and 15 new ones show up, so there are tons of greenies out here. President said that almost every single district in the mission will be training by next transfer, because the same thing will be happening next time too, a whole bunch of missionaries leaving and a whole bunch coming in too. it's nice to have that "Greenie Fire" driving everyone to work hard and to do their best to serve the Lord with all their Heart, Might, Mind and Strength.

With The baptism this weekend, we actually had a few others in our District. Our district consists of three of the most distant areas in all the mission. Alma, Chicoutimi and Rimouski. All three of them are small in regards to church members. Infact, the last baptism we had in our area was almost 9 years ago! But, all three of us had baptisms this weekend! This is the first time in recorded history (and recorded history starts about 2 years ago when President and Sister Cannon started here) That all the areas in our district have had a baptism on the same weekend! It was great, we got to go out to Chicoutimi and see their baptism and they came to ours because ours was Saturday, and theirs was Sunday. And Rimouski got to do thier baptism in the river because they don't have a baptismal Font!! So cool, right!?!?!

Anyways, we are always working hard here in Alma, always looking for ways we can improve ourselves and be better missionaries. We take all our problems to the Lord, and we see the Lords hand in helping us with everything that we ask for help with. We spend lots of time going door to door, but there are also many hours spent in lessons, teaching people about the blessings that come from the gospel. It is such a blessing to be here with my life dedicated to serving the lord, forgetting myself and focusing entirely on the people. I love this work, and I love the Lord so much!

Spiritual Thought:

1 Rois 1:1

Le roi David était vieux, avancé en âge; on le couvrait de vêtements, et il ne pouvait se réchauffer.

1 Kinds 1:1

Now King David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat.

My Spiritual thought this week is this. Next time you see a "Gangsta" walking around with his pants halfway to the ground, just remember, this problem we have isn't something new that we have to deal with, but even in the Bible, they had problems with this! King David obviously wore his pants so low that they fell off completely! So they had to cover him with clothes and COVERED him with clothes. They took matters into their own hands and put some pants on him and made sure he was covered. Modest is Hottest... And of course, he Gat no heat, so he obviously wasn't packing a gun, which is good, because that really would have scared the people back in that day and they probably would have killed him for being a witch or something! There were G's back in the day. So next time you see a "gangster" don't be hatin', dems juss followin' d'example of dems in da bible. How many of you have absolutely dedicated your life to following the example of someone in the scriptures? Granted they picked the wrong person to copy... But details!

Anyways, back to the point on the story! When you think you are dealing with a problem that is new and never been seen before, remember that Jesus Christ suffered for us. He felt everything that we have felt, he knows exactly what we are feeling, and he knows how to help us. And the best way to get help with problems like that is through the scriptures and prayer. You will be surprised to see that there are people in the scriptures, whether ancient or modern, that may not have dealt with exactly the same thing that you are dealing with, but they may have the exact answer you are looking for. And the best way to try and find that answer is through humble supplication of the Lord by prayer. He is there for you. He is listening when you speak to him. And he wants to help you, and he CAN help you, all you have to do is have faith that through his atonement you can have those feelings taken from you and find relief in our Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all so very much!! And I hope that life is treating you well.
Much love,
Elder Austen Oviatt

This is one wall of the Lock Masters house. It was crazy!!

I had to throw this one in too. This is a picture of his keys. He knows which key goes to which lock. for all of them. =/

Every now and again, we wake up with a thick fog blanketing the town.

BAPTISM! Elder Heder, Roger Hudon, Elder Oviatt!

Someone poured some fertilizer in a big smiley face on the side of this overpass. We drive past it almost every single day. It's awesome.

It's a good thing I don't take signs anymore. I mean, It's a good thing I never took signs before... Otherwise I might really want to take that one...

We took a road trip the other day to Lac-St.-Jean and I took this cool panorama shot where the sun was going behind the clouds so it got darker.

Bonjour mes amis!

How has everyone's week been? Awesome I hope!
My week has been great! It's so weird to see how time moves on your mission. I still feel like I just got off the airplane, and I remember my first few days of being in Alma like they happened just this morning, and then I try and remember what I did this morning, and it feels like it happened 10 years ago... But, this weekend we get our transfer calls. Not that I will be getting switched or anything, Elder Heder and I will be staying here in Good Ol' Alma for at least one more transfer together to finish the training program. But transfer calls are just important/exciting because it means I have been here in Alma for 6 weeks already. I don't know if I totally believe that, but the calender says so, and so does President Cannon, so I guess it's been 6 weeks! I love it out here in Alma. I'm sure I've said that like 10 times already, but it's seriously so beautiful! I already can't wait to come back and visit with Mom and Dad and show them all the people I've met and show them all the beautiful places I've seen. But that doesn't pop up too often, I'm to engrossed in the work to plan things like that. But the key word is "too". It happens, just not "too" often.

Wednesday was a good day! We went out to pick Raspberries like I said we were going to. Pfh, we have SO many raspberries. Like, just so many. And I really really dislike raspberries. I truly do. People often look at me funny when I say that, but I can't hide the truth! I don't even know why, but they just don't taste that good to me, and the little seeds drive me crazy, and... Yeah, not good. But these raspberries have become kind of delicious I guess. We literally have raspberries with at least 2 meals a day, some times 3. And we have a snack before bed with something Raspberry. There are two main snacks right now, one is we put a bunch or raspberries in a cup, fill the cup with water, stir it up a bit, leave the spoon/knife/fork in the cup and stick it in the freezer and have a popsicle! The second, and my personal favorite is to put in a few raspberries, full the cup mostly full of oats, then pour in milk. And add a pinch of sugar. It's delicious! And it's quite healthy (I hope. Not that I honestly care though, I mean, come on, I walk for like 3-5 hours a day).

The other day while we were out tracting, Elder Heder totally got clothes-lined by a clothes-line. It was awesome! He talked a few times about how he used to plat a lot of football, and he has all these injuries from football, and at first I thought it must have been because he was good and got in the thick of things, but now I know it's just because he actually is just really clumsy. 8] Elder Heder is Actually really awesome though, and there is a whole lot more to him than his devilishly good looks and his love of the gospel.

Saturday Elder Heder cut his hair, and I had to help trim up the back, and that was kinda cool. A lot less stressful than I was expecting, because as Missionaries, we really don't care what our hair looks like, it's great! I will be cutting my hair today, so I will post so before and after pictures next week. Hopefully it isn't too bad...

Our investigator Roger is still good for his baptismal date! We are so excited to get a baptism here in Alma, it has been a loooong time since they last had a baptism. But more exciting then that actually is the whole Canada Montreal Mission! These next two weeks there are 40+ people with baptismal dates. That is incredible! The most this mission has seen for baptism in a month is 32, and now for us to have 40 in just two weeks!! So awesome! Of course, there will be people who have to drop the date because they aren't ready, but hopefully there are a lot more who keep it than drop it.

Oh, this is kind of included with the haircuts and stuff, but when I was in the MTC, I found this one neck hair that I have. And it's like 2 inches long! Maybe even longer than that now! And it's under my collar so I don't have to shave it! I plan on keeping it for as long as I can!

And also on that note, all those who know me know that the last 3 years I have been a strong supporter of No Shave November. So it was hard for me to know that for two Novembers, I was going to have to opt out of that. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel Ladies and Gentlemen! Well, actually, yeah, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the lights that I'm more excited about right now are the two lights that are shining down in the tunnel about where both my Novembers are. In the missionary handbook it says that Elders must shave every day (For all those who aren't Mormon, I'm an Elder. At this point in my life, it's a title in the church that means Missionary). But! It also says that sideburns should not extend below the middle of the ear. Now, I have never been a big sideburns guy, so I have always shaved all mine off. But, what these rules mean is this: For one whole month, I will have about 1 and a half centimeters on each side of my face that I don't have to shave! Ladies and Gentleman, Elder Austen Oviatt will still be participating in No Shave November this year! Be excited. Be VERY excited.

Anyways, I love you all, and I want you to know that I love the work that I am doing here, and I love the people, and I know that I am being blessed already for my decision to give two years to the lord, and I know that as I give myself more fully to this work, I will be blessed in so many ways I can't even count them.

Elder Austen Oviatt

Ce que moi, le Seigneur, ai dit, je l'ai dit, et je ne m'en excuse pas; et même si les cieux et la terre passent, ma parole ne passera pas, mais s'accomplira entièrement, que ce soit par ma voix or par la voix de mes serviteurs, c'est la même chose. Doctrine et Alliances 1:38

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants [prophets], it is the same. Doctrine and Covenants 1:38

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the prettiest raspberry picker of them all?
Yeah... We picked a whole bunch of Raspberries...

It was a good looking crew we had of berry pickers! Elder Heder, Soeur Bouchard, Elder Oviatt, Soeur Estelle Gagnon. And the finger in the picture is Frère Bouchard.

This is a little garden thinggy that we see every time we walk out of our apartment, and we have wanted to take pictures of it forever! And so we finally did!

Also, sometimes the phone rings while we are here sending our emails, so we have to answer the phones and talk to the people. But the last two times that I have answered the phones, my Famoso brain kicks in and I say "Bonjour, L'Église de Jésus-Christ des Saints des derniers jours, Elder Oviatt Speaking!" Because at Famoso, whenever I had to answer the phone, I always had to finish with "Austen Speaking" and now I can't get rid of "Speaking"! Elder Heder keeps on laughing at me when I do it, which I don't blame him for, I'd laugh at me too. Famoso friends, I thought you would enjoy that. Just so you know, apparently Famoso is in my blood now!