As full time missionaries we represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on our mission. Our blog represents our own personal experiences. The official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is: https://www.lds.org/?lang=eng
WHAT WE'RE DOIN'
After we were set apart, we asked our Stake President, President Atwood, for some last minute advice. He said: Have fun doing the Lord's work!
It didn't take us long to discover that President and Sister Shields work hard, are totally dedicated, put in long hours but they clearly have fun doing the Lord's work.
Elder and Sister Knight have fun doing the Lord's work in the challenging task of managing the Toronto Bishop's Storehouse
We decided that we would have fun doing the Lord's work while serving our mission, no matter what we were asked to do and no matter how challenging or difficult those tasks might be.
PART OF OUR ASSIGNMENT HAS BEEN TO WORK WITH ELDER AND SISTER KNIGHT
AT THE TORONTO BISHOPS STOREHOUSE WHILE WE ARE WAITING TO 'GO NORTH' AND WORK WITH A COUPLE OF SMALL BRANCHES IN QUEBEC AND A LARGER ONE IN ONTARIO.
THE TORONTO BISHOP'S STOREHOUSE IS A HUGE PROCESS THAT SPANS OVER A LARGE GEOGRAPHY. AND THE PROCESS MUST GO ON DAY AFTER DAY WEEK AFTER WEEK MONTH AFTER MONTH TO ENSURE THAT THOSE IN THE CHURCH, REFERRED BY THEIR BISHIPS WHO ARE IN NEED OF BASIC FOOD AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS ARE LOOKED AFTER.
SO MANY VOLUNTEERS ARE INVOLVED. ALONG WITH OTHERS, WE HELP TO UNLOAD TRUCKS AND PUT FOOD AND ITEMS IN THE WAREHOUSE. THEN WE HELP ENSURE THAT THE SHELVES IN THE STORE ARE FULL. WHEN PATRONS COME WE HELP THEM FILL THEIR ORDERS.
WE ALSO HELP FILL THE TRUCK SO FOOD CAN BE TAKEN TO THE NEEDY IN FAR DISTANT STAKES. DURING THE CHRISTMAS RUSH ANOTHER 26 FOOT TRUCK HAD TO BE RENTED BECAUSE THE TRUCK BELONGING TO THE CHURCH COULDN'T HANDLE ALL THE ORDERS.
IN THE DISTANT STAKES WE UNLOAD THE TRUCKS THEN A LARGE VOLUNTEER
FORCE SETS IT UP ON TABLES IN THE GYM SO THAT THE PATRONS CAN RECIEVE
THE FOOD THAT THEIR BISHOP HAD REQUISITIONED FOR THEM.
DOZENS OF VOLUNTEERS ARE REQUIRED TO KEEP THIS PROCESS GOING. WE ENJOY
PARTICIPATING AND SEEING HOW THE CHURCH PROVIDES FOOD FOR THE POOR AND
NEEDY. EVERY NOW AND THEN WE HELP WITH PAPER WORK AND KEEPING THINGS
Christmas party for volunteers of the Toronto Bishop's Storehouse. These volunteers are from all over the world: Russia, El Salvador, Argentina, Jamaica, USA, Ukraine, Yugoslavia. Oh ya, there's some Canadians too.
BECAUSE WE LIVED IN EASTERN CANADA OVER 30 YEARS AGO, WE KNEW MANY PEOPLE FROM ONTARIO. ON OUR MISSION IT HAS BEEN FUN TO CROSS PATHS WITH PEOPLE WE KNEW SO LONG AGO AND TO SHARE STORIES OF WHERE WE/THEY HAVE BEEN AND WHAT THEY/WE HAVE DONE OVER THE YEARS
three decades ago Steve trained a man and his wife to teach the parenting course, which they did for years. We ran into him at a Zone Conference, he is in the Mission Presidency. A joyous reunion.
We were delivering food orders in Kitchener and ran into Grace, who, 35 years ago was our first babysitter. A joyous reunion.
One day we were working to prepare food deliveries, we visited with a family who came to volunteer their time: the father was from Stirling, the mother knew Rhonda Steed now living in Raymond.
We were working at the Bishop's Storehouse stocking shelves and the truck drivers came in from delivering a load. One of them was Alex. Steve used to home teach Alex and his family over 30 years ago. Tears. And a joyous reunion.
We have been asked to spend some of our Sundays with the Mississauga ward. A couple of weeks ago, we ran into the first secretary ever hired by LDS Family Services when Steve set up the agency in 1980. She used to live in the Mississauga ward but two weeks ago was just visiting. It turns out that she lives in the Timiskaming branch, where we will soon be living, so we look forward to many interactions with her.
Where we work at in the Bishop's Storehouse is in the same building as LDS Family Services. So one day we went over to visit with the staff who we both know well and have known for years. More joyous reunions.
We were helping set up food orders and ran into Donna who was on the Indian Placement Program many years ago, placed in the Chalmer's home: Dave's (our brother in law) foster sister.
At a Zone Conference, we met a Sister missionary from Finland and had good visits about her home country, Helsinki, the temple in Finland. The stake president's wife was at the same Zone Conference. Her husband, the stake president, is also from Finland, so we had another opportunity to discuss Finland, Aland, etc. We were at a Christmas social for couples and met an older woman who years ago had served her full time mission as a young woman in Finland. It seemed like
that week was our 'meet people from Finland' week.
There is a missionary couple we have met whose daughter visit teaches Michelle Z (or vice versa, we can't remember).
Dian (Wilde) and Wes Olsen are coming to our mission soon. They are from the Welling Ward. Dian was a good friend of Barb's during High school.
We met Grandma Davies cousin at the MTC and spent good time visiting with them.
We went to the Brampton ward one week and were reunited with two stake presidents who Steve used to work with 30+ years ago. Lots of talking about old times and catching up on personal news.
When we lived in Milton years ago our stake president was President Shoesmith. Decades later we now interact with him as an 82 year old Bishop, among other things, providing food for the poor and needy. 82 and a Bishop!
We went to Milton to have dinner with our dear long term friends, Brad and Nancy Miller. Their oldest son Carl was there and it was so good to visit with them. Karl remembers all of our children when they were young.
Brad told us that when he was stake president they did a count to see how many nations were represented in their stake who were born in another country and immigrated to Canada. The answer they came up with was 83
While in Milton we went to look at the school where some of our kids attended over 30 years ago. Brought back a lot of memories!
We also stopped by to see the house we bought brand new almost 35 years ago. We knocked on the door and had a good visit with the Philipino lady who lives there with her husband and child. She told us they have lived there for 12 years and a few years ago they totally renovated the outside. We talked about the bonus of having the big yard, which was there because the developer just couldn't quite squeeze another house in. So we got the benefit of the extra space, and so do the new owners. She said the kids in the neighborhood collect there often due to the large yard.
Barb knocked on the door two houses west where her dear friend Lorna May used to live---and---she still lives there. Another joyous reunion.
MOST OF OUR WORK IS TO PROVIDE SUPPORT AT THE BISHOPS STOREHOUSE
MOVING THINGS IN AND OUT AND THROUGHOUT THE BISHOPS STOREHOUSE IS LIKE A LARGER VERSION OF ROKENBOK!
Barb in the warehouse getting ready to set up orders for far away deliveries
Steve with Elder and Sister Knight who are from Utah on a two year mission to manage the Bishop's Storehouse in Toronto
Barb helping volunteers prepare boxes of food to be shipped to far away stakes
During our delivery in Kitchener we met a RS President, Grace, who decades ago was our first babysitter in Milton
The truck gets offloaded in far away Stakes and set up by volunteers in an orderly way in the gym of a church building
Lots of work to empty this truck load, 26 foot van full of food finished
LOTS OF WORK TO DO AND MOVE AROUND IN THE WAREHOUSE
Donna with Steve and Barb. Donna came to help at the Storehouse. We found out that years ago she had been on the Indian Placement Program with Dave Chalmers parents. What an exciting moment for us to have that connection!
OUR MISSION PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE, PRESIDENT AND SISTER SHIELDS, HOSTED A NICE PARTY FOR THE SENIOR COUPLES WHO WERE AVAILABLE TO COME. THIS WAS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO MEET OTHER COUPLES. SOME ARE ON MISSIONS TO THE TEMPLE, OTHERS ON MISSIONS TO SERVE IN THE MISSION OFFICE, SOME SERVE MISSIONS WORKING WITH YOUNG ADULTS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS OR ASSIGNED TO SPECIFIC WARDS OR BRANCHES NEEDING EXTRA SUPPORT.
Barb with Sister Shields in the Mission Home.
Barb helping other Senior sisters preparing Christmas treats for the full time young missionaries. There are over 200 in this mission.
Barb presenting a small treat for Sister Knight to celebrate her birthday.
Barb and Steve with President and Sister Sheilds. They are so dedicated, positive and energetic. They reminded us that, in the past, President Monson and Elder Ballard were both Mission Presidents in the Canada Toronto Mission
THE MISSIONARIES' CARS NEED TO BE LOOKED AFTER. WE WERE ASSIGNEED TO SPEND 4 DAYS TO WORK WITH ELDER AND SISTER YOUNGBERG TO GO OVER THE MISSION CARS FOR LEVELS, TIRES, PAPERWORK ETC. TO DO SO WE WENT TO FOUR ZONE CONFERENCES WHICH WERE HELD THROUGHOUT THE MISSION FOUR DAYS IN A ROW, JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS. DURING THE 4 ZONE CONFERENCES MISSIONARIES FROM ALL 10 ZONES IN THE MISSION CAME FOR INSTRUCTIONS. SINCE THE CARS WERE IN A CENTRAL PLACE IT WAS EASIER TO WORK ON THEM AND KEEP THEIR PAPER WORK, REGISTRATION, INSURANCE AND MECHANICAL/FLUID ASPECTS UP TO DATE.
Barb and Elder Youngberg preparing to review and do upkeep on mission cars. About 20 cars came in to each of the 4 Zone Conferences, so there was lots of standing in the cold doing our work.
Nice to come in from the cold and join the missionaries for lunch.
Lunch provided by various wards. In this Zone Conference it was Bishop Lim and his ward who provided the meal. We knew him from meeting him at the Bishop's Storehouse.
We met a sister missionary from Finland. She was fairly new and so glad to meet some people who had been to Finland and knew a bit about her home country.
After each lunch, the missionaries sang Called to Serve and a Christmas carol to those hosting the lunch. Very invigorating and rousing to the spirit to hear them sing with such energy and enthusiasm.
And of course the full time missionaries, being so close to Christmas, wanted a zone picture with their Mission President and his wife so memories can linger in a picture
Steve has been willing to assist with missionary mental health issues when the Mission President requests. Usually this work includes assessments to set up a treatment plan, a bit of counseling, and some brief consultations about preventing depression or anxiety or dealing with SAD. Steve and the mission health officer will visit all of the missionaries in the Sudbury Zone, one companionship at a time, to provide information on how to prevent or deal with medical and mental health issues. It takes close to 9 hours on good roads to drive from one end of the Sudbury Zone to the other and there are lots of stops driving across the zone to meet with the missionaries. Then there will be some work to be done in the Barrie Zone. There are 10 mission zones in the Canada Toronto mission and the Sudbury Zone is just one of them. When we were initially going to serve in the California San Fernando mission, President Henrie told us that even in rush hour in busy Southern California, it would take only about an hour to drive from one end of his MISSION to the other. Our trip in the Sudbury Zone will take us to Bracebridge, North Bay, Timiskeming Shores, Ruoyn Noranda and Val-d'Or both in Quebec, then back to Ontario to visit missionaries in Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and finally Sudbury, then on to make presentations in the Barrie Zone. We have a lot of geographic territory in the Canada Toronto mission.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS WE TEACH IN THE MISSISSAUGA WARD
One evening we helped with the youth group temple trip at the temple