May 6, 2013

Sidewalk Chalk

Dear Mom,

So we've been talking about skyping amongst us but we haven't come to any clear consensus yet. We have church from 10-1 pm our time and mission correlation until usually about 3 pm our time, and then we can't do it from 4-8 pm NL time because of your church. So I guess you can all wake up really early and we can do it in the morning, or we could plan on doing it at 8 pm. I'll talk to the others more and get back to you later.

That's pretty exciting that Chloe's going to YW activities, and I'm sure everyone is glad that Carmen is done preparing for science fair. I'm totally envious of Steven for Damon's cooking, that sounds great. And it's crazy that he's playing D-line. I thought he already played defence though. I guess there are probably other defensive positions than lineman? I don't know.

Sister Leavy, my new companion, and I said "May the fourth be with you" the other day when we were doing a door approach, since the guy was wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. Haha.

It's probably good for you to be phased out of RDL council so that they're prepared for when all the kids leave the school and you have no more reason to be there :)

No, I haven't seen Elder Widdup. I don't even know where he's serving right now. That's too bad about Elder Jensen's companion, we didn't hear about that. That makes me feel better though because I'd noticed that his area had a huge drop in key indicators recently and I was a bit worried about what was going on with him, so I'm glad it wasn't a problem on his end.

So this week, on Monday Sister Leavey, Sister Keeler, and Sister Nelson came up from Bay Roberts, and Sister Judd and Sister Nelson left for the training meeting. Sister Leavey is one transfer older than me, and Sister Keeler came out with me, so we were all brand new and I was the only one who knew the area. It was pretty great. We went and had a lesson with a less-active, which went really well, and then her friend was over, who is a former investigator, and she set herself up an appointment with us for the next day.

We went out to Cape Spear again since Sister Leavey and Sister Keeler had never been.

Then on Tuesday, we went to visit another less active family. It was very clear that she had absolutely no interest in the church whatsoever, but from what she said, it sounded like she's let lots of missionaries in before just to be nice. Her family fell away from the church when she was very young, and it was sad to see how the choices of other people turned her so completely away from the church. Oh well. After that, we took advantage of the fact that we had a trio to go and see Michael, since we need a third sister to see him since he's a single guy. He'd cancelled on our appointment with him last week. But we came in this week and watched the Restoration DVD, and he said he believed the Book of Mormon was true and he believed in the Restoration, so I committed him to baptism and put him on date for June 15! When we got outside, Sister Leavey started screaming when we got in the car. It was really funny. Later that night Elder Beckert called us and he was like, "Why didn't you do this and this and this?" and I said, "Because I can count on one hand the number of people to whom I've taught the Restoration; I don't know anything about having someone on date!" Haha. You know the part in The Best Two Years when the investigator agrees to be baptized, and then he says "What now?" and Elder Rogers says, "I don't know; I've never gotten this far."? It's exactly like that. Haha.

We did some more less active visits, and we tried to go visit potentials and formers, but nobody was interested. We also did some knocking. I really liked getting to see different ways of doing door approaches. The whole trio thing was a great learning experience for all of us. Then on Wednesday evening, we went to go visit the former from Monday. She said she absolutely knew the church was true, and that the Atonement could help her overcome her addictions and make changes in her life, but that she wasn't going to do it yet because she wasn't ready to change. And I asked if she had a desire to be ready, and she said no. So I asked if she would pray for that desire, and she said no. She just wasn't willing to make or keep any commitments, or do anything to progress, which was really sad, because we knew how much the Gospel could help her, but we also knew that she wasn't ready to be taught. And then when I was there, her 8-year-old daughter brought out a guitar someone gave her, and I offered to tune it, and since it was really old, I broke one of the strings! I felt SO bad, and of course I promised to replace it. But it worked out okay, because a few days later we walked by a house and some guy was playing the guitar with his back door open, so I stopped and asked him where to buy guitar strings, and he just gave me the one I needed, and we gave him a card.

On Wednesday night we picked Sister Nelson up at the airport at 11:30 pm, and I can't believe how difficult it is to adjust my sleep schedule now. Their flight was delayed and we got home at 1 am, and Sister Leavey and I have been totally exhausted for the rest of the week.

So on Thursday it was Sister Leavey and I's first day with just the two of us. We're both so ready to work hard and we work REALLY well together, so it was an awesome weekend. We went to MUN with the Elders again, and then we contacted some referrals and taught Elizabeth about patience. She said it was exactly what she needed to hear, which was pretty cool, since we had modified the lesson plan just that morning in response to some promptings. It's such an amazing feeling to diligently seek for the Spirit, and then to clearly see the direct blessings in people's lives. It's also great when you follow promptings and just trust that it was for a reason even though you don't understand, but it's nice to see the direct result once in a while :)

After that we went to go check out a Headquarters referral. She wasn't home, so we knocked her street. Everyone was so grumpy. The Baptist lady we knocked into was the nicest person on the street. We also learned that Sister Leavey shouldn't go knocking when she's tired, because she said some pretty funny things. It was so great. We both had great senses of humour about it - the bigger problem was keeping a straight face at the door. We have so much fun together.

On Thursday evening we had a Sports Night to bring less actives and investigators to. We played volleyball. I've noticed that there have been multiple times on my mission where I'm really glad that I always tried as hard as I could to learn things in gym in Junior High, even though I was terrible at it, because now when we want to play basketball or volleyball or whatever, I can really just enjoy myself and have a good time and not feel dumb about it. I definitely did some uncoordinated things that night, but I had a surprising number of strangely athletic moments as well. It was really funny to see how competitive Elder Diodati and Brother Lindsay got about it. Sister Leavey didn't bring any sports clothes up from Bay Roberts, since they didn't tell her if she was permanently staying with me and advised her to only pack for two weeks, so she played in a skirt, haha.

Then on Friday we did a lot of weekly planning. And then we were supposed to have an appointment with Michael, but he cancelled because he had a work meeting come up. I was really disappointed because we did a LOT of preparation for that lesson. I don't think I've ever studied for something that earnestly in my life. We were going to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with an emphasis on the things he needs to do to prepare for Baptism, and also the Holy Ghost and why we need to pray for answers, since he's been having trouble understanding that. Preparing for the lesson was definitely the most sincerely I've prayed on my mission, and basically all I said was, "I have NO IDEA what I'm doing here, you have to help me with this." And then I totally felt the enabling power of the Atonement helping me to prepare the lesson and get ready, and then he cancelled so I didn't get to teach it anyways. It was still a cool experience though.

Then on Saturday, transfer letters came, and Sister Leavey is staying with me! I was so happy because we both work so well together and I love her so much! Elder Diodati and Elder Raymant are moving out to Carbonear to open a sub-district there with the Bay Roberts sisters, and they're being replaced with a set of sisters, which is exciting. Then we taught Annie, and I committed her to move out of her boyfriend's apartment and back to the states by the end of May, which was awesome! It seemed like a ridiculously early date in my head, but I just followed the Spirit and said it totally seriously with all the faith I could muster. Sister Leavey blurted out, "MAY, are you serious?!", but Annie took it seriously and then she said yes! It was great!

After we taught Annie, we decided we were going to walk all day to save k's, so we went to Cowan Heights park and did "chalk finding."

We drew Plans of Salvation on the pavement and wrote questions of the soul with the website and stuff. It was great.

People talked to us and asked us questions, and one lady came up and said, "I can tell you're missionaries by your face. You should go visit my son. Here's his address." It turned out to be a referral for Central's area, and a wrong address, but it was still a cool moment. Then we went back to the church and watched a baptism in Grand Falls via Skype. After that, we knocked a street, and everyone was SO NICE. It was weird. I was exhausted from the end of the day from all the walking though. Having a car in our area is totally spoiling me.

And then on Sunday...haha. That was an interesting day. Michael had called us and said he would come to church and we could meet with him afterwards, but then he didn't show up and we couldn't get ahold of him afterwards, which was really sad. But I was honestly a bit relieved that he didn't come, because we had a very interesting testimony meeting. There's this former investigator in the area who was taught by sisters for a while, and it was kind of one of those situations where she became really good friends with the sisters and it was more about them being her therapist than her progressing towards baptism. Eventually, she was dropped, because she wasn't prepared to make some fairly significant changes and she still isn't, but she still comes to church once in a while (sometimes with coffee in her hand). She's a huge drama queen and likes attention, and she likes to tell people things like, "I'm the non-member member. I want to be a member, but the Sisters don't love me anymore so they won't teach me." So she gets up to bear her testimony, and I think to myself, "Oh, this is going to be good." Her testimony opened with, "I was married to another woman for 10 years." Yep. It didn't get any less weird from there. The other missionaries were pretty ticked off about the whole thing, since it was one of those hilariously insane testimonies and she used it to try to guilt trip us into teaching her again and/or look bad, but I was just way too amused by the situation to be mad. I think it's a real blessing to be able to see the humour in everything, but once again, I had trouble keeping a straight face. It was great.

Sister Leavey and I were really happy yesterday because we more than doubled our key indicators from last week to this week! It was amazing! The funny thing is, most of our success didn't come from us at all. We just worked ridiculously hard, and the Lord just handed us referrals right and left from every source.

We watched the CES fireside with Elder Walker last night. It started at 9:30 because of the time difference! He said some pretty great stuff. He told about one time President Monson was late to a really important meeting of all the General Authorities, and that when he came in he said, "Brethren, I'm sorry to be late, but my wife needed me this morning." I thought that was a really sweet story about how important the marriage relationship is to the Lord. Elder Walker also gave us 5 ways to follow President Monson's example:

(1) Be positive
(2) Be kind and loving towards children
(3) Follow the promptings of the Spirit
(4) Love the temple
(5) Be kind, considerate, and love others.

That's all for this week! I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson

PS - I forgot the best part of putting Michael on date! I gave him the standard commitment, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?" He was quiet and thought about it, and I thought, "Dang it, there's going to be concerns, and I'm going to have to resolve them, and this is going to be hard, blah blah blah..." Then he smiled and said, "When?" Not "Yes" or "no" - just "when?" It was amazing!

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