May 13, 2013

Mother's Day and Missionary Work

Dear Mom,

I find it funny that one of the longest emails you've sent me is right after you got to talk to me for an hour, haha :) It's good that your eye surgery was a perfect recovery, and working at a different office sounds pretty fun. It reminded me a lot of exchanges, where you learn new things, but it feels a bit weird because you don't know the area. That's so weird that Justin Comfort is a dentist now. I don't know what King Football is, but it sounds like Steven's doing really awesome! Top 20 in the province is amazing! I don't remember who Jensen Campbell married, but I feel like you told me about it when I called you at the airport, so maybe I should.

That's funny about Carter challenging everyone to races. He's such a great kid. Canada Wide Science Fair sounds fun. I'm pretty sure I somehow convinced myself that it wasn't important, because I never made it :) Haha. I could never think of science fair projects that were actually interesting.

It sounds like your Mother's Day was great. Since when are you all about flax seeds? Mother's Day was pretty great here too, although I'll admit that after the talks were over Sister Leavey said, "Didn't that talk have so many great applications to missionary work?" and I replied, "Honestly, it just made me think about how much I want to be a mom." Haha. But I was thinking about it, and it's really true. Sister Cooper gave an amazing talk, and at one point she was talking about how it doesn't make sense that people don't see motherhood as being as important as a career, and she said, "What career has the exaltation of a soul as its object?" And it occurred to me that in Preach My Gospel, it says, "As a missionary, you desire the salvation of souls." (Pg. 195). So really, missionary work and raising children are the only two endeavors with the exaltation of a soul as the goal. It's amazing! I really do have such a strong testimony of the importance of motherhood though, so I always love Mother's Day talks.

We didn't have a very successful week this week. It was basically just a lot of little things that added up to not doing well, some of which were our fault and some of which weren't. It reminded me of something Elder Walker said in Zone Conference. He was talking about batting averages and he broke down the numbers of how many actual hits a great player gets as opposed to a good player, and it was only like 1 more per game or something like that. And he said, the difference between good and great, or average and good, is only a little bit. And I think that's really true. So stuff happened like having exchanges with the District Leaders for a day (where we went and worked in their area with them; obviously they didn't split us up together) and having Zone Training, which took away time to work; Sister Leavey felt really sick for the beginning of the week, so we couldn't work as effectively; we were a bit burnt out from working ridiculously hard during our first week together because we were so excited and also so nervous; we spent time doing things that were important, like doing member service, but that didn't contribute to our goals; and then just not doing our best for whatever dumb reasons there were that day. But we had very constructive conversations about everything, and it's really nice to be able to start again every Monday with a new plan and new goals, so you can just have a fresh start and feel ready to work hard and do a good job again. It's kind of like the Sacrament that way.

So on Monday Sister Leavey and I had to drive all the way back to Bay Roberts, because President Leavitt told her to only pack for two weeks when she got transferred in early. So that took up all of P-day, which led to not being very temporally prepared for the rest of the week (another problem). Bay Roberts was really fun though. I finally got an authentic cod dinner, which was AMAZING. Sister Leavey got the cod tongue dinner, which was surprisingly non-gross, but the actual cod was still better. When we got home, we stopped by a referral from the Elders. We had a very long, interesting, and enjoyable conversation, but I'm not sure if it will turn into anything. He might just be the kind of guy who likes to sit around and talk, and not be sincerely interested in learning. But it was great. He and I think about things the same way, and it felt really nice to use some of my knowledge and opinions that are rarely needed. Then we had a district conference call to go over some new instructions from President Leavitt about key indicators and such, so we didn't get to do much work on Monday.

Then on Tuesday we had exchanges with the District Leaders, which was interesting. We worked in their area. I definitely learned a lot about door approaches and different ways to do things, which I really appreciate, because Sister Leavey and I have definitely been noticing we have no skills! And guess what? Investigators only like missionaries with skills. Nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... hahaha. The good thing that happened on Tuesday is we found new investigators! Yaaaaaay! We were knocking, and Jessica let us in, but it was a bit awkward because we just ended up standing in the entryway and talking. She and her roommate both have a belief in God and in prayer, but don't really go to church. We mentioned the Book of Mormon, and she realized that she'd actually talked to Elder Diodati at MUN, but she admitted that she only talked to him "because he's hot." So it was this awkward moment where I tried to figure out how to not have a conversation about the attractiveness of the other Elders. But as we kept talking, she eventually said that she really did want to learn more about this. It was a cool moment because she said she could recognize the strength and confidence we had, and she wanted to feel that way. It really made me appreciate the blessings of growing up in the church and having that assurance from God. It also made me appreciate how the church really does give you more confidence as a woman than the world does, even though the world tends to think it's the opposite.

Then on Wednesday, Sister Leavey felt really sick, so I worked on updating the missionary bulletin board in the church building while she suffered. We had planned to go up to CBS and Paradise, which is a pretty long drive so we prefer to make it an all-day event to use our kilometres efficiently, but we just ended up going for the evening. We were knocking a certain street because we got a referral but the person who gave it to us didn't know the house number. Everyone was super uninterested, but eventually one lady said we could come back. Before we left, we said, "Oh by the way, do you know so-and-so who lives on this road?" And it was her! It was great.

Then on Thursday we finished the missionary bulletin board (which looks AMAZING, if I do say so myself), and then we went to MUN again. We ended up talking to this guy who seemed sincerely interested on one hand, but who also was giving us weird vibes, so we told the Elders to go visit him even though he's in the new sisters' area. So we'll see how that pans out. Then we visited a less-active, Tina. We were having a pretty good lesson, but we couldn't really manage to commit her to coming to church. Then her 19-year-old son interrupted. He was baptized with her when he was 10, but since they went less active pretty quickly, he doesn't know ANYTHING about what we teach. But he had really sincere questions, so we ended up teaching him the Plan of Salvation and committing him to read 2 Nephi 2. When she saw her son was really interested, her whole attitude changed, and she started making plans of who they could get rides from to go to church, and saying, "Or we could even just walk there!" She was totally into it. Family is definitely a great way to bring people back. It was great. She was out of town this weekend, so we'll see them again this week and hopefully get them to come out again. After that, we went to the Sundbergs' house and they gave us a TON of food, since they're going on vacation for 3 weeks and they had all these perishables. And she's a really great cook, so it's all stuff like hummus, feta cheese, gnocci, etc. The food snob in me was very pleased. Then we went and taught Lisa, and we found out that Louis is moving out! Woohoo! We've been working on that for months!

On Friday we had correlation with the Elders, and we went to see Elizabeth. It didn't seem like a very special lesson, but she came to church WITH HER DAUGHTER this week, and it's the first time I've seen Avril at church! It was so great! It was probably the best part of my week! Then on Friday night we had dinner at Sister Cooper's and then taught Annie there. We watched "The John Tanner story" and talked about making sacrifices for the Lord (like moving out of your boyfriend's apartment *cough*). It was a really spiritual lesson and everyone was crying, even Sister Cooper's 5-year-old-son. And then Annie didn't come to church. It was frustrating. 

Then on Saturday we had Zone Training with our new Zone Leader, Elder Wolsey. Elder Hadley was transferred out and Elder Houle stayed here for his last transfer. It was really great and we learned a lot. Then we went and met with Sister Lane to organize a musical fireside. We're going to have songs about Christ and play the Life of Christ Bible videos in the background on silent, interspersed with classical pieces that will hopefully be performed by non-members we're trying to bring in. And also performed by me. Haha. It's going to be fantastic. Then we went and helped Sister Larsen clean her old house, since she's moving from the Elders' area into our area. She was extremely impressed by the OCPD job I did on the fridge, haha. My neuroses are totally getting me into the hearts of the members. Then we went and knocked for a bit, but it was strangely unproductive that evening.

On Sunday was Mother's Day, as we all know, and as I already talked about a bit. Then we went knocking for a bit and got a great potential, but we wasted a lot of time going back and forth between Institute and Annie's house and trying to figure out what's going on with her. 

I don't remember which day this was, but Michael dropped us, which was sad. The Friday before last, he called us to cancel an appointment because of a work meeting that came up, but he said, "I'll be at church on Sunday and you can teach me after church, etc.", and he still seemed really into it. But sometime shortly thereafter, he stopped answering our calls and texts, and nobody would answer when he went by. Finally we went by and his roommate's five-year-old son went to the door and we asked him if Michael was there and to go get him. He ran back into the house and we could hear him say, "Micheal, it's your friends! It's those girls!" Then he came back and said, "He won't come. Why won't he come?" It was adorable but heartbreaking at the same time. I had finally remembered the Spanish Book of Mormon for his dad, and I even remembered enough Spanish to write a basic testimony in the front, so I gave that to him. It was really hard to convince him to accept it, since he was worried that it was mine and that I wouldn't have one any more. Haha. It was adorable.

That's pretty much all for this week. I love you all!

Sister Jaclyn Olson

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