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
MOVING TO A NEW AREA
end of February: Cleaning our apartment in Brampton and packing to move again
The night before we left Brampton we helped the sisters teach a lesson
THE DRIVE NORTH WAS SOOOO BEAUTIFUL. WE COULDN'T RESIST STOPPING FOR A FEW MINUTES TO SEE SOME WONDERFUL WATER FALLS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS 25 BELOW----UGGGG
High Falls just north of Bracebridge
Every bend and curve on the road brought new beauty to us!!
getting close to our new home. Tamagami is a resort area a half hour south of Temiskaming Shores and in our branch
some good roads
some side roads weren't
ARRIVING IN THE CITY OF TEMISKAMING SHORES, A 'CITY' OF ABOUT 11,000 PEOPLE SCATTERED ON FARMS, SMALL RURAL COMMUNITIES AND FOUR TOWNS THAT SEEM TO CONTINUE TO REFER TO THEMSELVES BY THEIR FORMER NAMES: HAILEYBURY, DYMOND, NEW LISKEARD AND NORTH COBALT.
OUR APARTMENT, ON THE RIGHT IN THE PICTURE BELOW, USED TO BE A CONVENT. WE LIVE IN THE FORMER TOWN OF HAILEYBURY CURRENTLY IN THE CITY OF TEMISKAMING SHORES AND THE COMMUNITY STILL REFERS TO ITSELF AS 'HAILEYBURY'
our apartment complex is formally named Place Sainte Marie but most people in the community refer to it as 'the convent'
in the past the convent was used for training and as a school
We like our new apartment
LAKE TIMISKAMING WITH SUN RISING. ON THE OPPOSITE SHORE IS QUEBEC
one of the first things we noticed: ice fishing huts
some look professionally made
some look home made and some have seen better days
looks like a little town of ice fishing huts
On our lake, Lake Temiskaming, ice fishing huts have to be removed from the ice surface by March 31, by law. Other lakes differ in the times the law requires removal. The girl at the service station told Steve that no matter what the law says, people would be smart to take ice fishing huts off the lake when the water starts coming through.
We host activity night Tuesday evening for members of the branch who want to come. There are no active youth and just a few children so participants in activity night are adult members or visitors. Barb's making cookies for activity night and the missionaries.
VAST DISTANCES FOR BRANCH, DISTRICT AND MISSION
sisters were recently placed in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. It is part of the Abitibi Branch and in our mission district. Branch attendance is around 10-12. Because of large geographical distances, the Sunday meetings alternate between Val-d'Or and Rouyn to alternately reduce travel for members some who travel hours to attend sacrament meeting. The French speaking sisters, Sister Allred and Sister Gariki, had an nine hour drive after their meetings in Brampton ended around noon so we had them stop by for supper and a break.
when we do apartment checks it goes down smoother with one of Barb's treats--these are the North Bay elders
the missionary district is run out of Temiskaming. Missionaries in our district are in Val-d'Or (about 3 hours away in Quebec to the east), Rouyn-Noranda (just under 2 hours away in Quebec to the east), North Bay (under 2 hours south), Timmins (about 2.5 hours north west) and us and the DLs in Temiskaming. Travel times are assuming the roads are clear and passable but during the winter travel times are increased significantly. Since the distances are so vast our weekly district meeting is held on Skype.
Barb is in the Branch RS Presidency. Because everyone travels so far either they meet right after Sunday meetings are over or they meet by telephone conference, usually late at night when we should be in bed
sometimes Steve counsels missionaries in person but mostly it is by phone. all counseling is done by the request of President Shields and under his direction
Zone conference is a long way away. Six missionaries stopping in at our 'half way house' for a break, a rest and lunch before they continue on their journey. We had other commitments so didn't go to Zone Conference. The French speaking missionaries, two elders and two sisters who serve in the small Abitibi Branch in Quebec, represent four countries: USA, Tahiti, Canada and England.
we see neat things in our travels
before the sisters arrived in Rouyn, Quebec, Elder Sabin, Elder Hunter, Barb and I worked with the elders from Val-d'Or to clean their apartment up and make it acceptable to women. Elders have more tolerance for dirt.
Elder Hunter, from England, requested 'toad in the hole' for his birthday so Barb got on line, figured out how to make it and after all of our hard work cleaning the Rouyan apartment for the sisters, we hosted his party.
President Jakob and his 3 foster daughters over at our place for dinner after church
We were hoping to go out to Pete's Dam for a walk and to see the sights but like many places (museums, craft shops, displays, tourist attractions, picnic tables at the side of the road, etc) it was closed for the winter due to being snowed in
we still found beauty close to Pete's Dam
we have a nice little church building
the view walking out of our church building, facing east. Quebec is in the distance.
Temiskaming elders and Barb
former Temiskaming elders transfered mid March, outside the church building, both from California and both feeling the cold in minus 25. Ever heard of coats? Our Mission President picked up an elder from Samoa at the airport in December. The missionary had sandals and no socks. President Shields said: where's your socks? The missionary said: I've never worn socks in my life. Next time President S saw the missionary it was 28 below and he had socks on. We wonder if Lake Temiskaming will ever really thaw and how long it might take into spring before we see water and not ice
April 9th. Snow (not ice) has mostly melted off the lake. Water pooling in small amounts. Still 18 inches of ice on the lake. Since Haileybury and New Liskeard are right on the lake, the air temperatures in town are kept cool due to the ice mass of the lake radiating that cold like a refrigerator.
Many local friends, business collegues and associates talk about when the ice on the lake will be fully melted. It differs from year to year. People get into 'pools' for bragging rights or money trying to get the exact date. Steve says May 13 will be the day when the lake is ice free. One community near a large lake, (not Lake Temiskaming) has an annual pool where everyone throws in ten dollars, they drive an old junk car on the lake, then everyone takes their best guess as to when the ice will melt enough for the car to sink. Closest guess wins the pool of money. We wonder how many old junky rusty cars are at the bottom of that lake?? Rumor has it that they are required to pull the car out once it has sunk. There it is on Lake Komogami, the yellow VW waiting to sink.
Most houses in the area we live are modest and some are run down. Its a depressed economy with the mines shut down. But people keep going, lots of stamina and determination.
a very few houses (maybe only one) are outlandishly extravagent. this house below is in Haileybury and on the market for 25 million. One of a kind here.
Barb's 'bunny bums' and flowers she made for Zone Council and 'tea' in our apartment complex.
Logging is an important part of the area. For lumber, pulp and home heating. Most people in the country and small communities burn wood for heat. Many people in the larger towns do the same.
CHANGING THE USE OF BUIDLINGS.
Like most places in Canada, many buildings are being transfored from originl purpose to fill a more pressing need
our apartment complex used to be a convent and a school and now is an apartment
below is a former train station in Cobalt which is now a craft store, closed for the winter
this public school was just closed and may be converted to a senior's resident. One time when we were in Quebec we saw a huge church and a large school for sale in the same community. We were told they are marketing them as potential senior's lodges or commercial outlets.
Pot luck on the second Sunday of the month for the Temiskaming Branch. Its high council day. High Councilors have to drive a long way to get to the Temiskaming Branch. On this particular day the visiting High Counselor and his wife were up at 5:30 am to get to his meetings which start around 9 then the branch meeting start at 10:00 am. We have a 2 1/2 hour block of time for church, usually one speaker a week. Pot luck brings the branch members together and ensures that the High Councilor and his wife are fed before they leave for home.
Sister Ng the RS President lives in Kirkland Lake over an hour and a half north
We home teach/visit teach Ann Margetson seen in the below picture. Steve's former secretary in Toronto years ago. She lives in Cobalt. Only a half hour away. We have a large number of people to visit/home teach. Most are far away. Our little Temiskaming Branch extends a couple of hours in some directions, and an hour and a half or so in other directions. About a half hour east is Quebec and that is where the Abatibi Branch is. They meet alternatively in Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d'Or with a small attending membership of a dozen or so. In a general sense our Temiskaming Branch is roughly 2-3 hours long or wide unless there is a blizzard and the roads are bad. There are just over 100 members of the branch and about 20-30 are what would be considered actively involved. They are solid and committed members, paying quite a price in time, effort, energy and resources to be involved in Church activities. Some of the small communities where there are members include Elk Lake, Kirkland Lake, Englehart, Tamagami, Cobalt, New Liskeard, North Cobalt, Dymond, Earlton, Thornloe and Haileybury where the chapel is. One home/visit teaching day we visited 4 people in three different locations and it took us about 8 hours.
Barb has been assigned to be the second counselor in the Relief Society Presidency and to play the piano from time to time in sacrament meeting. She recently played at the funeral of one of our members. Steve is assigned to be an advisor to the Elders Quorum President and also to provide mental health support for the missionaries on request from the Mission President. Our mission calling is to provide member leader support for the Temmiskaming Branch. We are also assigned by the Mission President to do apartment checks for the missionaries in our district/zone and to keep in touch with and support the young missionaries who are assigned so far away from the mission office. In addition he has asked us to visit missionaries throughout the mission, as the Spirit may direct, particularly those who are in isolated circumstances so that we can provide support. Below is a picture of Barb and the rest of the RS Presidency, l to r: Sister McCleod, Sister Ng and Sister Cambridge.
Some Tuesday evenings, we host an activity nite for young adults and older adults and old adults and real old adults at our apartment or in the common room in our apartment complex. Usually 4 to 10 people, but we will hold it for one person. We have a lot of fun!!
Except for weekends, there is a gathering of people in our apartment complex who want to come each day between 2 and 3. They call it 'tea'. Usually 8 to 10 are in attendance. We attend about once a week. We took this picture so we could take it to show Pastor Mike, in hospital for weeks due to an amputation, that his friends miss him. He lives in our apartment complex, has had both feet amputated, is on dialisis and has one of the most positive attitudes we have seen.
Timmins Elders. The apartment inherited the grandfather clock many companionships ago and current elders have no idea where it came from
A 74 year old sister in our ward just opened a used clothing store in Latchford and we get by to help her every now and then.
mining, rocks and minerals are important to our community so we decided to go to the gem show at Northern College just up the street from us. We saw beautiful geological items from all over the world as well as locally.
for the past few years Barb practiced and played the harp so much that her piano skills were neglected. Here she is 'cramming for the final', ie, sometimes playing in sacrament meetings and once at a funeral
It brought us a great deal of understanding and inner peace to hear Elder Bednar's recent General Priesthood presentation that, among other things, dealt with mission reassignements. We were called to the California San Fernando mission and end up in the Canada Toronto mission. Same with Steve in his first mission. He was called to serve in the Georgia-South Carolina mission and ended up in the North Carolina mission. Thanks Elder Bednar, it all makes a little more sense.
We went to Val-d'Or Quebec to attend the Abitibi Branch and didn't know beforehand but ended up going to their Branch Conference. Below are some of the stake reps in the front and missionaries in the back. They are a close and tight knit branch. Elder Sabin, full time missionary, is in the Branch Presidency. He came out as a mandarin speaking missionary but they needed him in Quebec so he is lerning French and does an excellent job. After Branch conference we stopped by the Elder's apartment to do an apartment check. When we do apartment checks, we find that in most cases the missionaries apartments are neat, tidy, orderly and well organized. But we often find that they may be missing important items, such as CO detectors, keys to their apartment, chest of drawers, etc or that things in their apartment aren't working as they should, ie, a fan hanging by a wire, plumbing leaks, stove elements, etc. So we are able to help them get their apartments up to code.
most members and non LDS who want to attend, drive for 1 and a half to 2 hours one way to attend the Abitibi Branch.
we don't think its even trying to be spring!!: May 1
STORIES FROM HISTORY
As we have focused a bit on the history of Temiskaming Shores, we have learned of hardy, hard working people of faith and commitment. The harsh winters and hot summers make people 'step up' and learn to endure. Similar to most places, the history is full of hardship, heroism and effort. We have read or heard many stories of explorers, fur traders, miners, religious advocates, loggers, adventurers, business men/women and more recently, those involved in tourism. We have also heard many verbal reports and read the written history of the how/when/who regarding the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the area.
a tender story tying into the great fire of 1922. the statue is right on the shores of Lake Temiskaming in the town of Haileybury
a statue in commemoration of the Great Fire which is two blocks from our apartment
a statue in commemoration of the Great Fire which is two blocks from our apartment
a poem near the statue
and a plaque
Below is a story we liked. Made us think, comparatively, about the meagre price and effort we have to pay to get a gallon, or 4 litres, of milk. It shows sacrifice and faith needed to bring about the simple necessities and even hopeful enjoyments of life:
taken from Kipawa River Chronicles: Adventures in the North Woods by Scott Sorensen
DURING THE WINTER OF 1873 FRERE MOFFETTE, A CATHOLIC PRIEST FROM A MISSION IN MATTAWA, ONTARIO, BEGAN A ONE-HUNDRED-MILE TREK OVER THE ICE OF THE OTTAWA RIVER WITH A CHARGE TO DELIVER FOUR MILK COWS TO THE PEOPLE COMMANDING THE POST AND MISSION AT FORT TEMISCAMINGUE ON THE QUEBEC SIDE OF LAKE TEMISCAMING. HE HAD AT HIS DISPOSAL A SLED AND TWO STRONG HORSES, BUT THEY WERE OF LITTLE SIGNIFICANCE COMPARED TO THE VALUABLE BOVINES THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE FORT WITH THE LUXURY OF FRESH MILK. THE HORSES AND SLED WERE MERELY SENT ON THE TRIP SO THE MILK COWS COULD TAKE TURNS RIDING OVER THE ICE AND SNOW WITHOUT THE RISK OF OVEREXERTING THEMSELVES.
THE FIRST TWO DAYS OF THE JOURNEY WENT WELL, AND AFTER TRAVELING TWENTY MILES, FRERE MOFFETTE SPENT THE NIGHT AT A CAMP IN SOUTH TEMISKAMING. ON THE THIRD MORNING HE SET OFF UNDER SUNNY SKIES, BUT AT MIDDAY A FREEZING NORTH WIND CAME ROARING DOWN FROM HUDSON BAY AND THE TEMPERATURE PLUMMETED TO WELL BELOW ZERO. BY NIGHTFALL HE HAD MADE JUST SIX MILES AND WAS FORCED TO MAKE CAMP ON THE ICY, WINDSWEPT SURFACE OF LAKE TEMISKAMING.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING HE PRESSED ON TOWARD THE KIPAWA RIVER IN THE FACE OF HOWLING WINDS THAT DROVE ICE AND SNOW THROUGH THE SEAMS OF HIS CLOTHING. THE MILK COWS BEGAN TO BALK AND SHOWED SIGNS OF WEAKENING, BUT MUCH TO THE RELIEF OF FRERE MOFFETTE, THE STURDY HORSES KEPT PLODDING INTO THE EYE OF THE STORM. HE COVERED TEN MILES THAT DAY IN SPITE OF THE HARSH WEATHER BUT WAS STILL EIGHT MILES SHORT OF THE CAMP ON THE KIPAWA RIVER WHERE HE HAD BEEN TOLD HE COULD DEPEND ON THE HOSPITALITY OF BILL BURNS FOR SOME FOOD, SHELTER, AND FRIENDLY CONVERSATION. AS HE MADE CAMP AGAIN ON THE ICE, FRERE MOFFETTE FED THE LAST OF THE HAY TO THE WORN-OUT MILK COWS WHILE THE TWO HUNGRY HORSES WATCHED FROM A DISTANCE. ALL THEY GOT FOR THEIR LABORS WERE SOME KIND OF APOLOGETIC WORDS FROM THE PRIEST.
DURING THE LONG, COLD NIGHT, THE STORM FINALLY BLEW ITSELF OUT. THE FOLLOWING MORNING DAWNED CLEAR BUT FREEZING COLD, AND THE MILK COWS REFUSED TO WALK OR EVEN RISE TO THEIR FEET. THE RUNNERS OF THE SLEIGH WERE FROZEN FAST TO THE ICE, BUT AT THE SOUND OF THE GOOD BROTHER'S VOICE, THE FAITHFUL HORSES LEANED INTO THEIR TRACES UNTIL THE SLED BROKE FREE. THE RELUCTANT COWS, HAVING BEEN TIED TO THE BACK OF THE SLED, HAD LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO STAND AND FOLLOW OR BE DREAGGED BY THEIR NECKS OVER THE FROZEN LAKE.
LATE THAT AFTERNOON FRERE MOFFETTE WAS PLEASED TO HEAR THE ROAR OF THE RAPIDS, WHICH SIGNALED HIS ARRIVAL AT THE KIPAWA RIVER. DISAPPOINTMENT PREVAILED, HOWEVER, WHEN HE REACHED THE CAMP AND FOUND IT HAD BEEN ABANDONED FOR THE WINTER. WITH THE REALIZATION THAT OVER TWENTY-FIVE MILES OF ICE AND SNOW LAY BETWEEN HIM AND FORT TEMISKAMINGUE AND WITH NO FOOD FOR HIS WEARY ANIMALS, FRERE MOFFATTE FELT DESTITUTE. HE SEARCHED THROUGH THE EMPTY CAMP, THEN OFFERED A FERVENT PRAYER THAT HIS MISSION MIGHT NOT END IN FAILURE.
SHORTLY THEREAFTER HE FELT INSPIRED TO CLIMB THE HILL JUST NORTH OF THE RIVER. FLOUNDERING THROUGH WASTE-DEEP SNOW, HE PULLED HIMSELF ALONG BY GRABBING BRANCHES AND LIMBS UNTIL HE ARRIVED AT A CLEARING HALF A MILE FROM THE LAKE. ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE CLEARING STOOD A SMALL LOG BARN. HE TRIED TO ENTER, BUT THE DOOR WAS BLOCKED AND NEARLY BURIED BY HEAVY DRIFTS OF SNOW. WITH THE AID OF A ROPE HANGING FROM THE ROOF, HE SCALED THE FRONT OF THE BARN AND ENTERED THROUGH AN OPENING IN THE LOFT. THERE HE FOUND THE ANSWER TO HIS PRAYER. SEVERAL SMALL PILES OF HAY HAD BEEN LEFT BEHIND BY BILL BURNS, WHO HAD DEPARTED A COUPLE OF MONTHS EARLIER. AFTER MOVING THE SNOW AWAY FROM THE BARN DOOR, FRERE MOFFETTE GATHERED UP JUST ENOUGH HAY IN HIS ARMS TO ENTICE THE ANIMALS UP THE HILL AND INTO THE SHELTER FOR THE NIGHT. IT WAS NOT THE INDOLENT MILK COWS WHO RECEIVED THE FIRST BITE BUT RATHER THE TWO FAITHFUL HORSES, WHO HAD WORKED SO HARD TO BRING HIM TO A SAFE HAVEN.
THE NEXT DAY HE RESUMED HIS JOURNEY OVER THE FROZEN LAKE, COVERNING THE FINAL TWENTY MILES BY NIGHTFALL. THAT EVENING WHEN THE MEN AT THE FORT SAW FRERE MOFFETTE APPROACHING FROM THE SOUTH, THEY FIRED A SALUTE AND GAVE HIM A WELCOME CHEER. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 185 YEARS, THERE WAS FRESH MILK AT FORT TEMISKAMING.