Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 13th, 2013

Hey family,
Everything is going great here in Calgary!  I'm so sorry to hear about what is going on in the Philippines.  I'll keep Chris in my prayers and also his future wife too.  Me and Brother Deranciang (one of our ward missionaries) have been praying for each other at the moment because we both have people we know in the Philippines, even though I don't really know Minerva, I still think of them a lot, so that's one more thing I will keep in my prayers.

That's so exciting that Jay got called to be the stake president.  I knew he'd get called to that calling. Too bad no one is serving in Champion anymore, I would have somehow got a hold of the missionaries there and told them to tell the people there about that.  It's funny, so far every Mormon I've seen from Champion knows about Jay.   I'll see if I can get a hold of the Shultz family from Magrath and tell them about that.  Oh and was Brother Shultz at the funeral for Jay's dad?   Just curious.

The weeks have gone a bit slow the past little while because we've had quite a bit of investigators falling through with their appointments but we still try to be patient with them because patience is pretty key in missionary work.  Chee Wee also got the priesthood a couple weeks ago but I'm not sure if I told you that at all.  We also picked up an investigator we had to hand off too East Calgary who actually found us because he took our parking spot at our apartment complex and so I left him a pass along card saying this is the missionaries spot and if you're ever interested in LDS teachings call our #.   But that was like 2 months ago and he called back this past week and we taught him the 1st lesson.  He said he'd love to attend church so we got him hooked up with the East Stake YSA.  We still haven't heard anything from Marima in a while but we're hoping to start teaching her soon again. We've also been trying a new finding tactic where we're posting stop smoking flyers in our area and so far just by posting them we've managed to find a couple people intrigued at what we were doing so we managed to get some people's contact info, so hopefully we'll be picking up a couple new investigators.

As far as Christmas goes,  I heard that the new scriptures came out a while ago and I've been reading my companion's for awhile and I would like a set, if that's ok.  I would just like the triple combination and the Bible to be separate and in blue if that's possible.  But if it's not, then the black is good and if I can get them in miniature size that would be good as well.  I think that's the size just smaller than your quad combo.  But if you can't find them separate in that size then the regular size is good.   So.... first choice: mini, separate, and blue. Second: mini separate and black,  and last:  separate regular size lue or black (blue is better though).  If you can find them in blue get them, but only in regular and small sizes.

Well can't wait to here from you guys next week.

 Love you guys!

 Elder Justin Gagnon

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4th, 2013

Hey family!
Everything in Calgary is doing well.  We got a new ward mission leader because our old one moved out to the Panorama ward, but our new one seems like he'll bring some new things to the table.  We also developed a new ward mission plan where we give all the ward missionaries assignments to visit families of the ward and help them develop a family mission plan.   Instead of just us doing all that stuff we also got ward missionaries out there as well and so far we got one family who we're going to meet with their friend this Friday.  We also got another guy who we're meeting with this Tuesday. His name is Terry and he's a referral from one of the less actives we're working with.  He seems super open and hopefully we can get him progressing as soon as possible.  Our investigator Marima also just out of no where went to Edmonton for 2 weeks, so that was a bit of a downer, but hopefully we'll pick her back up soon because she's a solid investigator.
So the next little bit we need to focus on finding because that's something we've been really struggling with. We still haven't been able to get in contact with the man who scanned our flyer but we keep trying. We've also been trying to talk to more people every day and working with families and their missionary work.
That's cool that youth conference was in Quebec City. I know the church is even smaller there than in Montreal, I think all they have is one ward and one branch out there.  In Calgary the church is really big.  I was suprised that Montreal got a temple first though.
Oh and speaking of temples, just this past Saturday we went to the Calgary temple to do some temple cleaning and it was super cool.  The celestial room looks like the one from back home and it's nothing like the Cardston temple.  But it was still really cool cleaning it though. There are a lot of pictures in the rooms of Waterton and Chief Mountain down in the south, which was pretty cool.  I would still like to go there for a session though because I heard that there's a new temple video and I haven't seen it yet.  Have you seen it yet?  I heard it's pretty cool.
Well that's all for this week and can't wait to hear from you next week.
Love Elder Justin Gagnon.

October 28th, 2013 - Happy Halloween!

Hey Family,
I had a feeling that President Jarvis would get released pretty soon because he's been in that calling for a long time. We're still trying to get to see his mother and law but she's super busy and it's hard to catch her.  But we'll keep working with her because she's super nice so we'll see what we can do when we start inviting her to keep commitments.  We actually just picked up a family the other day and they seem super solid.  The mother is super nice.  She's a non-practicing Muslim from Africa and she speaks a bit of french because she lived in Quebec City for a little while. She has one 15 year old son and I can see them both joining the church in the near future.
We also got a huge dump of snow the other day...It was crazy!  In the morning it was super nice out and it was actually raining a bit and then it started snowing and didn't stop all day. We walked though that day and it's always nice to be out of the car and meeting all kinds of people throughout the day. That's how we met Chee Wee actually, we just street contacted into him.  It's funny because I always remind him of that day and he always tells me how crazy it was.
Oh and the members are feeding us really well in this area, we actually have a member that calls members of the ward to feed us and fills our calenders with meeting members of the ward and helping them with their missionary work. Of course there are the occasional few who don't want anything to do with missionary work but we just keep inviteing them. So far we have one solid family that help the whole stake out with missionary work.  Arbour Lake ward actually baptized a family because of this family in our ward which was exciting to hear.   But overall the work here is moving along and this other member helped us out with this cool finding tool that we actually found one man with it but we just need to get back to him.  The tool we used though was a flyer that we placed all over our area and it has a scanning code on it and when they scan it it brings them straight to our phone number and calls us.  So we got a call from a man named Matthew and he told us he'd be interested in our message.  We're also going to start making another flyer that has our stop smoking program on it so we can help people and maybe find some new investigators.
Well that's about it for this week!
Love you guys!
Elder Justin Gagnon

October 21st, 2013 - Almost one year in the mission!

Hey family,
Well I haven't hit a year yet, in three days I will though. Me and my companion (Elder Renshaw) plan on burning a shirt though since I'm hitting a year. There are a couple of shirts that the past missionaries left here, so we'll burn one of those. I'll see if I can get a video of it and get one of the members of the ward to send it to you guys. Elder Renshaw is great though, we have a lot of fun together but we still work hard.  Oh we were also told to go to down town Calgary to teach a French man the other day but I found out that his English was super good so we handed him off to the Calgary 5th ward Elders. He is so ready to be a member though and this is the second time we had to hand off a super solid investigator. Oh well, he's in good hands though and I'm sure he'll be baptized  pretty soon I think.  Catherine sent us a message on the phone and told us she didn't want anything to do with the church anymore and that she'll be saved by grace.  That's too bad, but I hope she'll find her way back some day.  Georgina is doing well, but I'm not sure how far she'll go because she hasn't been very good about keeping appointments lately.  But we are picking up a new investigator tomorrow,  his name is Terry and he seems to be very open minded which is good.  So hopefully we'll see some progress with him.  The district leader calling though is nothing too special, I just have a bit more responsibilities like gathering numbers and sending them to the Zone leaders and preparing weekly trainings. Oh and for your talk, one thing I like doing when I teach about sacrament is going over the sacrament prayer. One thing I found out in personal study one time was trying to read the sacrament prayer in the first person. It makes it really personal when you read it that way and I get more out of it when I think of it that way. Try it out and tell me how it goes. That's something cool you can add in your talk. Oh and our apartment is nothing special.  It's just like any old apartment but I'll send some pics next week of it. Oh and have I told you that it's right across the street from the McMann stadium and so some nights are a little crazy when there are football games and stuff happening. That's about it for this week. Can't wait too hear from you next week!
Love you guys
Elder Justin Gagnon

October 15th, 2013

Elder Gagnon's district before they split off

                                                    With Elder Mooney on transfer day

                                                 With his new companion, Elder Renshaw

Hey Family,
It's nice to hear that Chris is back home now and that he's got some church callings.  Yea, that must have been weird for him seeing leaves again after not seeing them in almost 3 years!   He sent me an email before so sorry if mine is a little short this week.
Well for transfers I didn't end up getting transferred but I did end up getting a new companion.  His name is Elder Renshaw from Turlock California.   He's actually my first kill in the mission so he's going home this transfer.   He just came from High River as well and said that the work had been picking up quite a bit in the past while. I can definetly see how a lot of the hearts in High River have been softened.  He's also really open to talk to which is good.
We also managed to pick up a new investigator this week.  Her name is Catherine and she told us that she was looking for a good church to go to and regain her faith in Christ.  Hopefully the Lord has prepared her to receive our message.
We also went to Sonia Nicholas' place for dinner on Thanksgiving so we had a good Thanksgiving this year.   She also gave me some pictures to sent home so you should expect to see some pictures in the mail soon.
Well nothing much else has happened this week...
Love you guys
Elder Gagnon


October 8th, 2013

Hey Family,
Sorry about that speeding ticket, I tried paying them in cash but it didn't work out, so if you pay for it I'll just put the money in my card and you can take it out. 
Well this week has been pretty good, we picked up a new investigator, her name is Georgia and we're going to show her how the gospel can help her in her life.  We've also been working with a lot of less active members because there are a lot of them in the ward.  It also looks like I'm not getting transferred, but I will be getting a new companion and not training.  So I'll probably just be senoir comp for the next transfer.  I also got a message from President saying that the mission is getting 35 new missionaries!  We also had dinner at a member's place and President was there and we were just talking about mission business and he told me that Magrath will be split into two areas this transfer, so there'll probably be a Magrath North and South areas which is crazy because just a little bit before I came out Magrath and Raymond were one area, now there are four areas between the two!
I also loved conference this week, a lot of the talks were really inspiring.  I left my note book at the apartment but I did love a lot of what was said though I took notes mainly on the sctrptures that were used and now I'm just trying to find them because they mention them but not where they are so I'll be doing quite a bit of searching this week.  I've also been reading the Ensign quite a bit this week and I love the stuff they post about missionary work.  It's really inspiring.  I love the whole article about being a successful missionary.   It made me think a bit differently about what I did in my past areas because I felt a little unsuccessful coming out of Cardston, but then I thought of how small our teaching pool was when I got in there and that seemed to be good when I saw that our planners started beginning to be full every day with meaningful activities.  So even if I left with no baptisms or reactivations, I feel like I left the future missionaries something to work with. But overall this week was a good week and I can't wait for the changes this coming week.
Love you guys
Elder Gagnon

September 30th, 2013 - Che Wee's baptism!

Elder Bennion, Chee Wee and Elder Gagnon at Chee Wee's baptism

Hey Family,
The baptism this week was great!  Chee Wee is super excited to start doing his family history and we're also getting a snowball effect from our efforts. Chee Wee has also been working really close with us and working on all of his friends, so were going to start working with some of them soon.
Well it looks like I'm getting transferred pretty soon because Elder Bennion is almost done with his training, so I'll have to hand off the area to him and they'll move me wherever the Lord needs me.  I just hope the area keeps the momentum it has because right now it's picking up like crazy. We actually picked up a Muslim family this past week and at first they were a little scared and hesitant to learn about us.  They told us the story about Mohammed and how he was the last prophet and so we ended up teaching about the restoration and the father felt something because he said it would make him happy if there was a prophet today.  He told us that whatever Mohammed left was the last revelations by prophets and we told him how much God loves us that he'd send more.  So we invited them to attend general conference and they said yes.  So I know the prophet will soften their hearts in letting them know that there is a prophet because right now they believe that Christ was a prophet and nothing else so we try teaching them keeping it very prophets based.  Then we will probably get into the atonement and how we don't do sacrifices any more. They're a really nice family though :)
This week has been good, and I'm happy that Andrew's been doing well in seminary.  Tell him to keep up the good work and to keep Moroni's promise in his heart because it's the best way to get the most out of the Book of Mormon.
Well I g2g so I'll talk to ya next week!
Love Elder Justin Gagnon

September 23rd, 2013 Justin didn't receive our email on time for some reason this week, so he didn't have much to say :(

Hey Fam,
I didn't hear from you this week.  I hope I have the chance to hear from you the coming week though. Oh and we are so far set for Chee Wee's baptism this week.  We've been discussing family history work with him the last little while and him going to the temple and he's so ecxited to go to the temple and do the work for his ancestors.
Well hope to hear from you next week!
Love Elder Gagnon

September 16th, 2013

Meeting up with Tyler Paxman (an ex-LaSalle ward missionary) at Stake Conference
Hey Family
Everything is going well here in Calgary and Chee Wee is getting baptised on the 28th!   I will also be baptizing him so expect a picture of me and Chee Wee dressed white in about two weeks :)   I'm super happy for him!  He's made great changes in his life and really humbled himself before the Lord. He's also been sharing the gospel with others which is really good. My companion and I also got him a triple combination and a bible with a case and we're also planning on ordering a preach my gospel as well because I lend him my big one once and a while and he really likes it.  He says it's very well written and the principles are very well taught and the sciptures at the bottom of each section complemented it well, so we're going to get him one because he likes it so much.  He'll probably be someone I'll be visiting after the mission.
This week was also stake conference and it was really good to hear all the people talk about their experiences with service since the flood.  I remember helping out that one day at High River and just seeing the people there softening there hearts towards us and them knowing that we are normal people that love helping out our fellow man was so great.   I can definitely see good things happening in High River the next little while because the people there now love the church and the service it provides for everyone.  They also of course talked about member missionary work and so far we've been doing pretty good with keeping members on top of missionary work.  We've been giving out family mission plans to each member family that we visit and they so far seem open to do missionary work.   Some families have been doing well with it and asked us to set a date with them to follow up to see how they're doing.
That's good that Andrew is studying the Book of Mormon this year. You can tell him it's my favorite book and that before he studies it each day to take the promise in Moroni 10: 3-5 into account and pray about it every day.  He'll get a more clear understanding of the message it contains.  I always try to do that every day when I do my personal study and it does make quite a difference. But yea, it's crazy that I'm almost a year out and that I'm one of the old guys out in the mission because everyone is just super young now.
Well I can't wait to hear from you next week!
Love you
Elder Justin Gagnon

September 9th, 2013

Elder Gagnon and Elder Sorenson
                                                 Elder Gagnon and Elder Cole
                                          New personalized scriptures :)

Hey Family!
I had a funny feeling Chris was going to get married soon, it sounded like she was on Chris's mind for a while.  So am I going to be home for the sealing or is that coming up pretty soon?  O well if I don't come home for the time of the sealing at least there will be pics of them coming out of the temple. I'll probably get sealed in the Cardston temple if anything just because it's my favorite temple and I don't think anything else will beat it,  just because it's so unique compared to every other temple I've seen. ( I haven't been in the Calgary Temple but I doubt it stands a chance)  But the week has been good.  We street contacted into someone the other day and said he has a problem with smoking, so we told him we'd love to share this stop smoking program we have with him and he accepted and gave us his number. Oh and you wouldn't believe who I saw last night.  I saw Taylor Hudson when we went to a dinner appointment with one of the less actives were working with.  They're preparing to enter the temple some time soon so we shared how going to church is one of the first steps you need to do before you enter the temple. We also challenged them to read the Pearl of Great Price because everything will make sense when they go to the temple if they read it.   We're also working on finding a lot this week because our teaching pool is a little low.  We're also working with this less active man who's looking to get back and we've been working with the members a lot as well.   Overall this week was a good week.

Love you guys

 Elder Gagnon

September 3rd, 2013

                                          With Owen Stanford
                                         With his new companion, Elder Bennion
With Sister Gonzales who used to attend the Montreal YSA and is now serving a mission in Calgary.
                                                 The zone in Banff National Park for Pday

Hey Family,
Well I finally stopped by Best Buy and picked up some device that can read the memory card, so now I can start sending the pics. So Chee Wee has been doing good, he pretty much completely stopped smoking and he gave up coffee, but now he just has to wait till the end of the month for his baptism. This week we're probably going to do a lot of finding because our teaching pool is a little low, but that's ok because we have lots of potential investigators.  We're also working with a lot of less actives because that seems to be a big thing around here.  We're also working with a man who got baptized a long time ago but never got the priesthood, but he's a faithful church attender.  We're also working a lot with recent converts that we need to get ready to enter the temple.
Oh, cool story this week!  We went to a dinner this week and their name was the Stanfords and they had a big family party this week and one of the members of the family came up to me and said that he had worked with a Gagnon in the past. So I asked him what her name was and he said Theresa, and I was like "Oh my! That's my Auntie Theresa and he described her so well and her personality was spot on. I laughed and took a picture with him, so I need you to send some pics to Theresa.
We also met a couple of less actives that are preparing to go to the temple this week, and they know Elder Hudson.  They said that he is like best friends with them and was the best man at their wedding. I might be seeing him soon because they're going to bring him to the ward some time.
But yea that was the week this week and not too much else happened, but we set some good goals for the coming week and are looking to pick up some new people to teach. 
Have a great week!
Love Elder Justin Gagnon