I guess I have to thank you for buying those stupid dogs and making me learn to accept dogs. This one inactive lady we've visited a few times has THREE dogs, and they climb up on the couches and sit on our laps, and they shed EVERYWHERE and they SMELL LIKE DOG. But they don't actually bother me too much, whereas Sister Judd is just going crazy.
Happy birthday to Dad! And that's cool that Chloe's getting so fast at running, I always forget that you guys go running together since it started after I left for university.
That's super great that Carmen loves music theory, I also really liked it. It's just so neat to see how everything works together and stuff like that. I think she'd really enjoy taking harmony someday, I know that was one of my favorite theory classes I took. That's awesome that you're going to Maui! Hahahaha, I can just imagine how Carmen feels about that. Hopefully Steven remembers to vacuum at some point during those 10 days...um...yeah...
Conference was really great. All of us missionaries loved how much they talk about member missionary work, because the branch has been less than enthusiastic about that, which is kind of understandable because we only have like one recent convert in the last 10 years who's stayed active, and they find it pretty discouraging. But the branch president actually asked President Leavitt to tell us to stop asking for dinner referrals when we went to dinner appointments, and President was just like, um, no. So now people don't feed us dinner, haha.
Well, that's not true. We had a dinner appointment on Tuesday. And we don't have our car, because Sister Huppe was driving downtown in St. John's in January and it was super icy, and the hills are SO steep, and the car slid down a hill and hit a snowbank and it's still getting fixed. So they said they'd pick us up, but then they were several HOURS late, but they kept saying they'd be there right away, so we kind of got strung along into not ditching. And then his wife called and asked us to tell him to stop at the grocery store on the way, and he bought a ton of groceries but not the one thing his wife asked for, and then we got to their house and they hadn't even started making dinner, and all told it ate up literally five hours. I was so frustrated.
Oh hey, did you notice how much President Monson rolled his eyes during his talk? Just thought I'd point out that the prophet rolls his eyes too.
We had a funny experience where we had a headquarters referral, and so we called her, and one time we left a message, and then we tried to call her a couple times after that and it mysteriously kept cutting off. So finally we just went up to her house, and she wouldn't even come to the door. Her husband said she wasn't interested. We were just like, so whyyyyyyyy did you refer yourself? It was kind of funny, but we had to borrow the car from the Elders to go see her since she lives way up in this town called Paradise, and then we didn't even get to see her.
Actually, most of our experiences have been pretty much like that. Apparently Newfoundland is just weird - they send missionaries up here who have huge success in other areas, and they just can't make any headway. But the good thing about that is, everyone in my district and even my zone is a really GOOD missionary, because the province is so challenging that they just don't send slackers up here, so I get to learn from the best. And this week we had our best week in terms of key indicators EVER in the area, and even though it was pretty lame by the standards of the rest of the mission, we feel like we're ready to work hard and so the Lord is blessing us by beginning to turn this area around.
The new training program for missionaries in the field is kind of interesting, because the training program assumes there are investigators to teach, and we don't really have any. We have two children who were taught before, but we just picked them up and we're not sure if we'll be able to keep teaching them because last time their dad was super against it. So I haven't actually taught a lesson to any new investigators yet, it's all been finding and less actives. Teaching less actives is also really great, though. We're teaching this one girl named Annie, and basically she wants to change, but she's here from America and is living with her boyfriend, and because of her immigration status she can't work, so she can't move out unless she moves back home, so we've been working on that. And then there's this woman named Lisa who is mentally handicapped, and she's so sweet. I really enjoy teaching her because it REALLY forces me to learn how to teach the messages simply.
Because of how the area's set up, we're not super strict on staying within our boundaries - for example, the elders have to leave their area every single time they want to go to the church, and some really good contacting places like the mall and the university are outside our area, so we're allowed to go there all the time. The East Elders have a booth set up at MUN (the university) a couple times per week and we go there to help out. It's been funny, because everyone else gets people walking up to them and saying things like "Can you teach me about Jesus Christ?" or "I want to know about prophets and the Book of Mormon," and the people who walk up to me have opened with lines like, "Did you know Pluto isn't a planet anymore? I've always wondered what that meant for Sailor Pluto. Although I guess she's also the Keeper of Time; she's the daughter of Cronus. Do you know much about the Greek Gods?" or "You know, it's a pity the Mormon church is so unaccepting of queers." And I'm just standing there like, "Um...what?" Haha. I've actually enjoyed it though, people are just so funny.
Missions are just so great. It's funny because we'll have a day where everybody's slamming doors in our faces and cancelling appointments, and it's totally lame even though we're working hard, and we'll come home and plan for the next day and I'm just SO EXCITED, even though I know it will probably go the same way tomorrow. I'm not sure I've ever been this consistently excited for the next day before. It's awesome.
So the pictures I'm sending - one time it was a beautiful day all day, then we went inside for like 10 minutes, and when we came out it was just a TOTAL WHITEOUT. It was crazy!
And since it was such a nice day I didn't have my toque, so I took a cue from 80-year-old ladies and wrapped my head in my scarf. It was actually super comfortable, I can't wait to be old and do that all the time. I made Sister Judd take a picture, but it totally doesn't capture how snowy it was, since the distinguishing feature of the snow is that it was snowing completely sideways, and you can't get that in a still frame, so it doesn't look very snowy. Also, it was too warm for the snow to stick, so you don't see that either. But within about 10 seconds, the side of us facing the wind was just completely white.
The other pictures are of downtown, because it's really pretty. I took them when we went for a dinner appointment there.
I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson