April 2, 2013

Top Shelf Bye

Dear Mom and everyone,

How are you guys? I'm top shelf bye! That's Newfie for "I'm good."

You're creepy, I can't believe you found my address on Google. Actually, I'm not sure that's my apartment, I'm in the basement suite of a yellow house, but that is my address. There aren't any apartment buildings in Mount Pearl, which is a city that's right next to St. John's; I can't even tell where one ends and the other begins. Kind of like Orem and Provo. My area takes in all of Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South, and part of St. John's. My area is in the St. John's branch, which also takes in the areas of two companionships of Elders and about 30 to 50 active members come to church. We have something like 300 inactives, it's a bit crazy. Our district also has a trio of sisters in Bay Roberts, which is around the bay. So we actually have more sisters than Elders in our district! Our Zone is all of Newfoundland, and they're about a 4 hour drive away.

So we got up at 1 am to catch the bus at 3 am to fly out, and then we didn't get in until 9:30 pm. It was kind of funny when we were driving out, because one of the APs, Elder Morin, tried to drive the transfer van through a booth that was too short for the car, and it took like 15 minutes to back out. It was pretty funny. Then President Leavitt kept us up until like 3 am doing interviews, because apparently he's ridiculously hard working and stays up that late pretty much every night working. Then the next day, we did some orientation and then in the evening we went out with some of the Halifax missionaries, so Sister Keeler and I went with Sister Hart to teach a less active guy named Matt. It was pretty funny because she looked pretty alarmed every time we started talking, and then gradually she'd look relieved when she realized we weren't going to ruin the lesson.

That evening at dinner, President Leavitt noticed that I seemed to have a random fact for everything, so he decided that he was going to test me by telling me a random story, and then I'd tell him a random fact that related to it. After about 5 or so tries, he gave up trying to stump me and said, "You win...you're kind of scary." It also came out that I spoke French, so Elder Morin, who's from Quebec and actually didn't learn English until his mission really, decided to test me, and he concluded that I spoke better French than his Utahn companion, Elder Baskin. He was partly teasing Elder Baskin, but I think there's some truth to that statement. I was pretty proud of myself. Except when Elder Morin realizes I'm listening to him and Elder Baskin practice French when he was driving us around or whatever, he'd start speaking hardcore Quebecois to try to mess with me. At first I was just like, holy cow, WHAT THE HECK IS THIS. But then I realized what was going on, because Elder Baskin couldn't understand it either, hahaha.

The next day, Sisters Thompson, Pizzey, and Sandberg got up super early to take the transfer van out to PEI and Saint John, and the rest of us stayed behind and met a bunch of people at the transfer lunch. Then we went out with the Halifax sisters again for the afternoon. I committed an investigator to read Alma 32. That totally wasn't in the lesson plan, but the Spirit was like "ALMA 32!!!" so I just went ahead and hijacked Sister Hart's lesson for her. On the way back, I taught a guy that Uzbekistan is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, and I also taught him about the necessity for the Atonement and that God loves him. Sister Drew was listening to me talk to him and she thought it was totally hilarious.

I was so excited when I found out I was going to Newfoundland! President Leavitt told us pretty much right as soon as we got in that two sisters were both going to Newfoundland, and both Sister Keeler and I just thought, I hope that's me! And it was! So on Thursday night, we went to the airport and boarded a plane to Newfoundland. We got in super late. Sister Judd, my trainer who is from Strathmore and who reminds me a lot of my cousin Marissa and who is awesome, told us a funny story on the way there. Elder Raymant and Elder Diodadi (two of the Elders in our district) were teaching this guy, and they extended the commitment to be baptized, and he went off on this long extended metaphor about not getting married right away. So he wants to get to know the Book of Mormon, then he wants to date the Book of Mormon, then he wants to get engaged to the Book of Mormon, and THEN he wants to marry it. So the Elders talked a bit about the importance of committing to baptism and stuff, and then Elder Diodadi said, "Would you at least be willing to give a promise ring to the Book of Mormon?"

On Friday we did weekly planning pretty much ALL DAY. I like planning, so it wasn't too bad, but I STILL haven't had an entire day where we actually go find and teach people and whatnot, and I was getting a bit impatient. Then on Saturday, we drove out to Grand Falls for Zone Conference, which ended up taking up the entire day since the trip to and from is so long. It was a really good Zone Conference though. My zone leader, Elder Houle, is apparently from the ward that Mason is serving in right now, which was pretty funny.

I went to church on Sunday and played the organ. Apparently Elder Thompson used to play the piano, and when Pres. Leavitt told President Reid (the branch president) that Elder Thompson was being transferred, Pres. Reid was pretty upset. But Pres. Leavitt said, don't worry, I'm sending you someone even BETTER. Haha. We had some less actives come to church, which was great. And then we were going to go contact people, but then Pres. Reid found out nobody signed up to feed the missionaries for Easter, so he had us all over for Easter dinner, which was delicious. It was pretty interesting, because one of his daughters is less active, and Elder Raymant totally connected with her and ended up committing her to read the Book of Mormon and come back to church. It was cool to watch, because I'd only seen the 19-year-old-boy side of him on the long drive to Grand Falls, and then all the sudden he was totally teaching with what can only be described as power and authority, just like it says in Preach My Gospel. It reminded me of what people always say, that the Church must be true, because 19-year-olds can teach it. Then we went to institute and taught a less-active and got a referral, so the day wasn't a total wash.

So NL is weird about holidays. Apparently, the library was closed on Monday for St. Patrick's day, which was on a Sunday, just for example. So instead, we drove out to Bay Roberts for P-day and went to the bay out there. It was uncharacteristically good weather.

Oh, have I mentioned the weather? I'm pretty sure I've seen more snow here than I did all last winter in Calgary.

And the snow is basically just this gigantic sponge. I've never been so wet in my life! But yesterday was a GREAT P-day. And then we came back and taught some people, got some potentials, and got some referrals. It was really nice to actually teach and go knocking and feel like a missionary finally!

Oh, on P-day, we also got "screeched in." It's basically like the NL version of hazing. We had to dance to traditional music while being whacked with oars, eat gross food (the whole dried fish was actually pretty tasty), repeat a phrase in Newfie without mispronouncing (or else we'd get whacked with the oar - oh, and in a Newfie accent, "oar" is said with an h. So it's a "hoar." Yes. Seriously.), and then we had to kiss a codfish.

Today we had district meeting, which was pretty great, and now we're just stopping by to email before we got and do even more SERVING THE LORD, which I am super excited for, because I have definitely had enough with lots of talking and not doing anything, even though I know it's important.

Oh, and for my missionary plaque, I think I'd like 2 Nephi 16:8.

Sister Jaclyn Olson

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