June 24, 2013

More rain back home than in the maritimes

Dear Mom and everybody,
First of all, yes I would still like my flute shipped out, but you should definitely ship it to the mission office and not to my apartment. As for a wall colour for my room, I really liked how our house was all one colour, so it kind of bothers me inside my mind that it will be different colours. But I think I'd like a light neutral colour...a warm light neutral colour...like a warm beige or something. So then it still goes with the green of the rest of the house and all the other colours. Instead of all this clashing every time you walk into a different room. But you can do whatever you want. [Insert comment about how often I plan to live at home after my mission ;)]. Maybe you could mail me paint swatches, hahaha.
I heard about the flooding! That's totally crazy! I heard the Saddledome was under water up to row 10! Everyone was like, how is your family? And I was like, I DON'T KNOW, IT HASN'T BEEN P-DAY YET. Haha. But I wasn't actually worried, seeing as you live on a hill and whatnot. I also heard houses in Cranbrook or Canmore or something were floating down the river. CRAZY.
I can't believe diplomas are OPTIONAL. That's so nuts! Just in Calgary, or everywhere? That's NEARLY as crazy as Chloe asking for nailpolish. Nearly. On a related but somewhat irrelevant note, I've been doing my nails on a regular basis for some reason. Companionship unity?
So on Monday night we went to teach Christine, the former we picked up on Sunday. It was a really amazing lesson. The entire time the Spirit was just so strong, like it was saying, "Yes, this is where you two need to be right now." It was so cool!
On Tuesday we put on the helping hands t-shirts again and cleaned up a park near Mount Pearl, which was great. Elder Amaya talked to a bunch of people and gave away a Book of Mormon. The rest of us were like, "...we need to be better missionaries." Haha. Then we had a lesson with Bernice again, and she found her large print Book of Mormon and read from it! Progress, yay! We also got to work in the new part of our area, which was really fun. It has a lot of the more downtown, old-school St. John's stuff, which is BEAUTIFUL.
On Wednesday morning we had another lesson with Christine. When we got there, she was cleaning her car, so we helped her with that for a while. Then we tried to teach her, but she kept doing other stuff while we were teaching and part of me was getting kind of frustrated with the fact that it seemed to be going nowhere and how much time we were spending. But the Spirit was just like, "No, Sister Olson, chill out." So I decided to be patient. (By the way, Sister Leavey said in companionship inventory that she appreciates how patient I am. I just thought I'd point out that someone called me patient and was not being sarcastic about it.) Finally, she said, "So this is a little off-topic, but do you know what popped into my head at church right after my epiphany?" "No, what?" "I thought to myself, I could get a divorce from my wife." I was like, WOAH. DID NOT SEE THAT COMING ANYTIME SOON. They're totally separated, but she hasn't gotten a divorce yet because she has expensive medical bills and needs to be on her wife's health plan. But she said that she wanted to be obedient to Heavenly Father and that she had faith that it would all work out. WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT. She still doesn't think same-gender relationships are wrong, which is pretty much her last major concern, so we've been researching that. It was a crazy moment though.
On Thursday we went to MUN to do the booth again, which was fun but not particularly noteworthy. After that, we went and saw Regina again, the blind less-active who asked us to come last week. It was a good lesson, and she prayed at the end, which she was totally against doing last time! It was a super beautiful prayer and I think we managed to bring her some peace. Then we saw another less-active, Jaxcine, who also has a lot of issues. She's also illiterate. At one point she was telling us about how her psychologist gave her a booklet about her disorder, but she can't read, so she doesn't know anything about it. I offered to read it to her, so I opened it up and said, "It says you have Borderline Personality Disorder." "Yeah, I don't know what that is!" And I said, "Well, I do!" Her demeanor completely changed. It was so cool. I think she just really appreciated having someone who understood and could help her understand, and also that Sister Leavey and I are just patient with her. It was cool to see how my random facts helped someone open up :) After that, Sister Leavey was feeling super sick again, so we went home and I worked on a giant wall map that we've been making in our spare time. It looks awesome.

This is the map I made while Sister Leavey was sick. We're going to use those colour-coding dots to correlate it with our area book, so we can see where all the members, investigators, formers, and less-actives live. (It's not done yet, but this is how far we've gotten so far.)

On Friday, we had correlation and weekly planning, and then Christine texted us saying that she was really sick and she wanted a blessing. So we went with the Elders to give her a blessing. Before the blessing, Elder Amaya shared a scripture from the same chapter in the Book of Mormon that we'd planned to open our next lesson with! And then she jumped on it, of course, and he went to the next scripture we'd planned to use! It was SO COOL! Then we taught the lesson we'd planned, and then he gave her a really powerful blessing. It was great.
On Saturday we had Zone Training, which was really fun. They decided that all of us would ride down in the Elder's truck, which has a middle front seat kind of like the one in our Chevy avalanche, except smaller. I'm the smallest, so I ended up sitting between two Elders. Awkward...haha. I gave the doctrinal discussion on faith preceding the miracle, and everyone really liked it, which was good, because Elder Beckert forgot to assign someone and he called me on Friday and asked me to do it. He felt bad, but I told him not to worry about it, because I probably wouldn't have started it until then even if he'd asked me a week ago. Haha. Apparently at the last leadership meeting, President Leavitt told all the ZL's to tell their missionaries that if they speak any French, they should be working on it, because they're going to expand the French part of the mission, and he specifically mentioned me as an example. So that definitely motivated me to study more! They gave out a study schedule that President Leavitt wants us all to follow for the next transfer, so I decided to follow it in English and French. I've already memorized all the How to Begin Teachings, the First Vision, and a couple of scriptures. After the Zone Training, we had a barbeque with the Bay Roberts branch, which was delicious. We got back that evening and went finding, but didn't really have any success.

On Sunday, we pretty much had a regular day, but nothing particularly noteworthy happened. We went to the broadcast, obviously, and it was super great. It made Sister Leavey and I realize that we really needed to step it up in a few areas, so we made some great goals last night of how to do so, and I already just feel so much better!
Today is "Discovery Day" in NL, so we're all emailing at the church. While we were waiting to email, Sister Miehe and Sister Christensen got a call from President Leavitt saying that Mostafa could be baptized!!!!!! I don't know if I filled you in on this, but he's the guy I had the conversation in French with at MUN, and the East sisters were teaching him, but he's from Iran and so at first it looked like he wouldn't be able to be baptized. But he is!!! We are SO excited!!!
I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson

June 17, 2013

3 Months

Dear Mom,

That photo is hilarious. It made me laugh so hard. The expression on Mark's face is priceless. That's seriously the funniest thing I've ever seen.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed my Father's Day cards. I just seriously couldn't decide between a funny card and a serious card, and once I decided to send both, I decided I might as well send both funny cards. I love Greek food. I think we might have to go to Extreme Pita now so I can get some souvlaki. That's really funny that President Reed forgot to mention all the missionaries from his own ward. The Reeds sent me a present - a scarf and some candy - which was totally unexpected and highly appreciated, so I guess I can forgive them for forgetting me.

That's so cool about the guy getting baptized! I think the really great thing about Calgary is there is really great fellowship support. Sister Leavey is a convert and she said that it really meant a lot to her and was really helpful for her. So everybody go be member missionaries. Yep.

Aw, that's too bad about selling the ranch. That place was fantastic. Ask Marissa if she remembers the song "The Evil Killer Tree of Doom and Death," sung to the tune of "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain." Hahaha.

So based on the fact that Grandma and Grandpa packed up their Lethbridge house, does that mean they found a buyer? It was probably pretty cool to go through all of their stuff. I saw in Marie's email that they got the buffalo drum, which is cool. I find it so weird to think that they moved. I still have all these memories of the house they used to live in when I was little, and it feels like their last house was always their "new house" in my mind.

I really liked hearing all the advice again. Grandpa Olson's advice was great. I can definitely see the difference in my mission between times when I'm living the Lord's will and times when I'm not completely doing so. I can totally remember Steven saying "kill it in general," haha. I remember really appreciating his advice, because it seemed to be so exactly what I needed to hear and also so mature. It was this moment like, my little brother's all grown up! And I also felt like how much it meant to me reflected the fact that we had a good relationship, since he knew me well enough to say something so perfect. I really like Dad's advice because Dad is like the king of common sense, and I like seeing that unconditional love for people and common sense don't have to be mutually exclusive. So many people get cynical or focused on "results" and act like just serving and loving people unconditionally leads to naively wasting time with people who can't progress, and it's just not the Christlike spirit we're supposed to have. I love Grandma Olson's quote. It's so true. I feel like there are no problems on a mission that can't be fixed by working harder, studying more sincerely, and praying more often. Carmen's advice made Sister Leavey and I laugh a lot. It's so true that you can definitely see a difference in everything when you're getting along well with your companion, because when there's contention, the Spirit doesn't let you work in unity, because the Spirit departs.

I remember feeling a bit freaked out when you sat me down and talked about obedience, because I was like "I plan on being obedient! Why is this so important to you? What major challenge is coming my way that's making the Spirit impress this so strongly???" haha. But now I see that it's just because even the small and simple things, that don't seem like they'd be important, are so important. When you have an attitude of being exactly obedient, you have an attitude of serving the Lord and surrendering your will to His, and that's what makes you a good missionary. I also really liked your advice about trusting that all that follows the mission will fall into place. It was definitely important during the first few weeks when you're just thinking "Holy cow what did I get myself into???" But I feel like I had an easier time than I expected of getting into that place where you're just not worried about what comes next. Like when I found out I wouldn't be able to take the early transfer to go to fall semester it was just like, "Meh, whatever," even though that was really important to me when I put my availability date down and stuff.

I really like Chloe's advice as well. I love how she remembered something from sacrament meeting. I find it interesting that all of the advice seems to have the common theme of allowing yourself to work with the Spirit. Because that's really how missionary work works - it's the Spirit that does everything; everything we do is just there to give the Spirit the opportunity to work through us as completely as possible.

So this week was full of unexpected things. Monday was pretty normal, actually, but then on Monday night we found out that we'd have skype interviews with President Leavitt on Tuesday morning, so we reshuffled all of our plans to get it to work. It was a pretty amusing interview. First he talked about how hilarious my weekly letters apparently are. He thinks I should be a movie critic or something. Then he said, "So how is the French going?", to which I responded, "Well, I'm in Newfoundland, so...", all while thinking "Was I supposed to be working on that somehow???" Then he told me all about the plans to phase in French-speaking sisters, and said, "And you're at the top of the list! Well, at least language-wise." I had a moment where I was just thinking, "What is THAT supposed to mean?" haha. So the way he was talking about it totally made it sound like it's more a matter of when I'll go French-speaking, not if. Which is really cool. We just got transfer letters last Saturday and I'm staying here, which made me happy because I definitely don't feel like I'm done with Newfoundland yet, but I'm excited by the idea of going French someday.

On Tuesday afternoon we taught Bernice, and even though she still hadn't read yet, she really opened up to us and we managed to resolve a lot of her concerns and have her feel more trusting towards us, which culminated in her committing herself to read before the next time we came, which was cool. We feel like she's spiritually progressing, even though she hasn't kept any commitments yet so she's technically not a "progressing investigator." So that was cool. 

Tuesday evening we went back to see someone who seemed like a really strong potential - we knocked into her on Monday - and when we went by, we heard her daughter say "Mom, those girls are here!" and she replied, "Don't open the door!!!!!" Hahaha. On that same street, we also knocked into someone who opened the door, shuddered and went "Uuuuueeeeeeeeggghhh!" like she was looking at a spider or a dead snake or something, and slammed the door. I actually like totally weird reactions like that, because it's hysterical and then knocking the whole rest of the street just feels fun. At other points this week, we also knocked into a guy who opened the door in only a towel, and a girl who opened the door without wearing pants. I don't know what is with Newfoundland and being a liiiiiiiiiiittle too comfortable with how or when you answer the door, but I thought it was funny.

Elder Beckert, the DL, went down to Halifax for leadership training on Tuesday and Wednesday because he's the new Zone Leader since Elder Houle is going home on Friday. So we had a joint district meeting with Bay Roberts, which is always super fun. Then we went to sing at a retirement home before picking up Elder Beckert, Elder Wolsey, and Sister Nelson at the airport. President decided to have Elder Beckert and Elder Wolsey start serving together immediately, and Elder Houle came out here and served with Elder Tait for a couple of days until our new district leader got here, which was super fun because...

...on Thursday we had our usual "District Leader exchanges," even though it was Elder Houle and Elder Tait. First of all, Elder Houle is HILARIOUS. It was also really cool because he has a lot of experience, so we got to learn some wisdom. Specifically, we worked on street contacting. We went street contacting downtown in the middle of a pouring rainstorm. It was pretty epic. The other really fun thing is Elder Houle is from Laval and is French! Apparently he calls the French missionaries and trains them over the phone, so I got to sit in on that. It definitely buoyed my confidence to hear the skills of a new French missionary, haha. He made me say the opening prayer over the phone. And then he kept randomly speaking French with me all day to help me. It was awesome. And THEN we went to the Bible Study class we hold at MUN, and literally everyone who showed up learned French before they learned English. We still taught the class in English because we were NOT prepared to teach in French, but we had a lot of French conversations before and after. And I understood EVERYTHING. I'm pretty sure I'm being blessed with the gift of tongues, because I did NOT speak French this well before my mission.

On Friday we had correlation and weekly planning, and then that evening we went with the Elders because they were giving a less-active woman in the branch a blessing. She was hilarious. She and Elder Houle just fed off each other and it was probably the funniest 45 minutes of my mission so far. All this stuff kind of ate up Friday, but we did manage to teach Elizabeth, which was a really good lesson.

On Saturday we had apartment/car inspections and we checked transfer emails in the morning, which was exciting, but not really THAT exciting, since we were pretty sure we'd both stay in Mount Pearl, and we did. The Elders were moved out from St. John's Central to Conception Bay South, so they took that and Paradise from our area, and then we split up their old area with the St. John's East sisters. So we worked in our new area a bit, and we're really looking forward to some of the areas we're getting. We also went and visited a less-active, Regina, who actually asked her friend to ask us to come see her. It was a really good lesson and she seems really open to coming back, but there is also some INTENSE stuff going on in her life and it's a bit intimidating.

Sunday was also a good day. Tina came to church for the first time! It was really exciting. And also a former investigator, Christine, came to church, as she does on occasion, and during Sunday school she had this huge epiphany and totally resolved her 25-year-old concern about women and the priesthood, which was just really cool to see. I think one of my favorite things about the mission is seeing the Holy Ghost teach people. They always say the exact same thing you'd tried to explain to them before, but when they know by the Spirit and not just intellectually, it just makes such a huge difference for them. So we're going to go teach her tonight, so we'll see how that goes. We also tried to see Michael on Sunday, but he wasn't home. His roommate also told us he's going back to Africa in two weeks, and he'll be there for about two months. This, plus the fact that he hasn't been calling or texting us back, would seem to indicate sad things, but hopefully we can see him again before he goes and continue planting seeds.

That's about all I have this week. The Church is true and missionary work is the most awesome thing ever!

Sister Olson

Elder Tait, me, Sister Leavey, Sister Miehe, Sister Christensen, and Elder Beckert, before he left.

June 10, 2013

Hurricane Andrea - Meh

Dear Mom,

That's super cool about Divisionals! And it's great that you sent me packages :D Hopefully I don't get transferred next week, hahaha. Transfer letters come on Saturday. I don't think I'll get transferred though.

So apparently Hurricane Andrea hit on Saturday/Sunday. I say "apparently" because I've seen worse rainstorms that were just plain old rainstorms, but I guess I can now say I've knocked on doors in a hurricane, which is cool. We were contacting referrals, so we were just knocking discrete doors and driving in between instead of actually going door-to-door, but still.

Monday was pretty boring. I honestly don't remember what happened, other than the fact that for some reason we ended up making perogies at the church for dinner instead of making them at home. Then on Tuesday, Elder Tait was really sick, so Elder Beckert couldn't have our district meeting. We all had appointments scheduled for Wednesday, so he decided to have us skype into the Bay Roberts district meeting. They're technically a sub-district of us, so sometimes we have district meetings together and sometimes we have them separately. It was pretty good, except it went late for them, and the East sisters had to leave early, so we ended up getting together on Wednesday to do some training anyways. At the meeting, they really emphasized completing these giant wall maps President Leavitt wants us to make. The theory is that we can use those color-coding dots (the same ones Mrs. Bold used to use in piano lessons) to mark where the members, less-actives, formers, and investigators live, number the dots, and coordinate it with our area book. It sounds like a great idea, but there are some unique challenges for the Bay Roberts district, namely that there aren't any maps of some of the places they work in. One of their maps is hand-drawn in pen on the back of a random piece of paper. We don't have quite the same problems, but we were still trying to figure out how to project it - Google Maps and a projector gets complicated really fast. Sister Leavey and I decided to draw a grid on the plastic sheeting we'd tacked onto the wall, and then use the corresponding grid on our road map to sketch it by hand. I'm sure you can imagine how well that's going with my artistic abilities. On the plus side, I found a level in our toolkit, and the gridlines are really, REALLY straight. Hahaha. We also went to Branch Council on Tuesday night for the first time. The Zone leaders want us to send the same companionship every time for the sake of consistency, and since the Central elders are getting moved out to Conception Bay South, we'll be the closest to the church, so now it's our job. It was pretty uneventful though.

Wednesday was the day of ALL THE PLANS FALLING THROUGH EVER. Our investigator Bernice had stomach flu and couldn't meet with us, and then everybody else we'd planned to contact was either not home or busy. It was kind of a bizarre day. That evening, President Reid's son took all of us sisters out for dinner to thank us for doing service for his sister a couple of weeks ago. Chinese food here is really weird. It's SO deep-fried. We got him to tell us all about what the mission was like in the past, and a lot of things about the branch make a whole lot more sense now. Apparently disobedience among the missionaries used to be extreme. We also got some good suggestions about what he'd seen work in the past, and what he thought we should do that we haven't been doing. It was good to get a long-term perspective on things. I think that's a major challenge that a lot of missionaries don't even realize is there - it's hard to tell what the missionaries before you were doing, let alone the missionaries a year ago or five years ago. But the people in the area still remember.

On Thursday Doug cancelled our appointment with us, but he said to call him early next week to reschedule. It was a fun phone conversation though. "Yeah, I'm halfway through the first book, and I'm just getting so frustrated with his brothers! I mean, they saw a freaking angel, and the next thing you know, they're tying him up on a boat!!!" I nearly died trying to keep from laughing. Then we went to visit a member, Raven, which was a pretty good visit. When Elder Morin came up, he said that we should put on an activity every week, which has been met with some opposition from leaders who think that would be too much. Raven's probably the most recent convert who is still active (which is sad because it was like 7 years ago), and we asked what worked for her. She said, "Well, when I was investigating and a new convert, I think the biggest thing that helped me is they had an activity every week." Hahaha. Then we went and saw Nicole, who's a less-active member. We're still trying to build up a relationship with her, so it was great to find out that she's having some serious health problems and we managed to convince her to let us help clean her house. Well, that sounds bad - the health problems weren't great, but the opportunity for service was. Kind of like when Ammon says his heart was swollen with joy when he saw the Lamanite's flocks being scattered. So yeah, that was great. Then we had a great lesson with Tina. It was kind of all over the place in terms of jumping from topic to topic, but I think we really hit on what she needed to hear. We decided to start a Bible Study class at MUN, so we had our first class. Only one person came, which was a bit awkward, but apparently he enjoyed it. Right after Bible Study, we had Sports night at the church. We played soccer outside. I had a ton of moments of the sort that you might expect, like tripping over the soccer ball, but I also scored 3/9 of my team's goals. I'm not sure what that says about my team or my opponents. Hahaha.

On Friday Sister Leavey and I decided to go running. It was great. We're going to do it every day. Brother Lindsay, the branch mission leader, got wind of it, and he's decided to make us this huge training plan, haha, so we'll see how that goes. Later we had correlation, as usual, and then our appointment fell through, so we went home and did weekly planning. Then we had a dinner appointment with Sister Cooper, who is a member from Calgary, and her husband works for Exxon. She has the most adorable little kids, a 5-year-old boy and a 1 or 2 year old girl. I think not holding babies is the hardest mission rule. Her daughter just loves me and kept wanting me to pick her up. After our dinner appointment, we drove out to Holyrood for exchanges. I went to Bay Roberts with Sister Keeler, who came out with me, and Sister Leavey stayed in Mount Pearl with Sister Nelson, the STL. 

On Saturday morning, I pulled at a loose thread on my black skirt with the pink flowers, and the entire hem came undone just like that! Hahahaha. So while Sister Keeler made the program for sacrament meeting on the church computer, I was sitting there hemming my skirt by hand while still wearing it. Surprisingly, I think I did a good enough job that I won't have to go back and re-do it. After that we went to the mall, since they do a mall display on Saturdays. It was really great, and we managed to contact some people they've been having trouble getting in touch with. Then we were going to go knocking, but one of the first ladies we talked to told us that everyone was to a grand opening of some playground, so nobody was home. So we were like, that sounds like a great street contacting opportunity! So we drove there, but then it was awkward because they were having the opening ceremony still, and it was in memory of someone who died in Afghanistan, and it felt kind of inappropriate to try to street contact after the ceremony, especially since neither of us are very good at it. So then we went back and finished knocking. That evening, we contacted some referrals, and one of the women we talked to later became a new investigator. Then we taught the less-active mother of a girl who's getting baptized, and it was a great lesson.

While I was away, Sister Leavey and Sister Nelson apparently had a great lesson with Michael, and they really got to know him and understand his concerns. It seems like he's settling into more of a slow and steady pace of progression, instead of these huge swings from "Yes I want to be baptized!!!" to "I read anti on the Internet!!!", which is good. He gave a really solid commitment to come to church, so we worked really hard to find him a ride, and then he didn't show up for the ride. It was a bit disappointing. But Elizabeth came to church even though we weren't able to meet with her on Friday, which was fantastic! After church, there was a potluck for the Sundbergs, who are moving back to Houston since their time with Exxon is up, which is too bad because they're a really strong family in the branch. I love potlucks. Mostafa, East's investigator, stayed for the whole thing, which was great. He's on date, and it seems like he's integrating well into the branch. Even though people keep saying things like, "So are you related to any of the Mexican families in the branch?" "No...I'm from Iran..." hahaha. Then one of the older sisters asked me if I was good with computers, and I said I was pretty good, and she said, "Can you install Facebook on my daughter's computer for me?" Haha. It was great. She had a number of similar questions. I actually really enjoyed it. After church, we contacted some referrals and such (in the hurricane), but it wasn't really a productive day.

Sister Olson

June 3, 2013

Yes B'y!

Dear Mom,

That sounds like a pretty fun week for sure. I'm glad everyone got to do cool stuff, and I bet Grandma and Grandpa were really happy to see everyone again.

We had a pretty good week. On Monday Sister Leavey and I went shopping, because she had bought all her clothes in January and they were all very dreary and depressing looking. After we got home, Sister Leavey put her debit card in a Tupperware, filled it with water, and placed it in our tiny freezer. Hahaha. 

On Tuesday we had a joint district meeting in Bay Roberts. Bay Roberts used to be a part of our district, but then the St. John's East elders got transferred out to Carbonear and they made a sub-district. It was really fun. Elder Wolsey and Elder Houle, the ZL's, were there, and at one point Elder Houle was doing a part of the training. He was having trouble explaining himself and he said, "I 'ave ze word in French," so I said, "Well, what's the word in French?" He hesitated, then said, "...okay, so I do not 'ave ze word in French either." Hahaha. Elder Wolsey thought it was really funny - apparently Elder Houle uses that excuse all the time. After district meeting, we all went and sang hymns at the old folks' home in Bay Roberts. It was a pretty legit setup, with microphones and everything. At one point Elder Houle and I ended up singing "Souviens-toi" together, which is a French hymn. According to Sister Leavey, it was "nice, but a bit off-key." Hahaha. Neither Elder Houle or I are really a-capella-duet-material, I guess. It was hard to sing well because I'm not overly familiar with the words OR the lyrics. But I enjoyed myself.

After we got back to St. John's, our appointment with Kim fell through, but we picked up a new investigator, Bernice, who's a former. She's the mother of one of the less-actives the Elders are working with. She has MS, and she's a really nice lady, but if she does progress, I can tell it will be slow. But in between when the missionaries taught her before and now, she HAS made progression; I think they just got impatient and gave up on her too quickly. We committed her to baptism at the end of the lesson and she said, "Well, I was already baptized as a baby." Sister Leavey's a convert, so she just replied, "Me too," with this smile on her face like she was saying, "So what's your point?" It was great. I was just sitting there thinking, "YES B'Y!" And then afterwards she apologized to me for trying to commit Bernice to baptism when it wasn't in the lesson plan, haha. What a terrible companion I have, who follows the Spirit in extending baptismal commitments. So Bernice has persistently refused to say yes to baptism, but she doesn't get upset by us committing her either, and I feel like it's been a good experience.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Michael. We couldn't find a third sister, so we brought his kitchen chairs outside and sat in the backyard. It was a rather sad lesson. He saw some anti on the Internet, and it's totally back to square one. The last few lessons, there was just this light in him and he'd totally accept everything we said, and he'd have tough questions, but they were along the lines of "I already believe it without understanding it; now help me understand it." Now he's back to his original concerns from the first lesson about how the Spirit works and how to recognize answers, except more so. His previous experience has all been very Pentecostal, speaking-in-tongues type of thing, and even though he's sincerely seeking for truth, he's totally looking beyond the mark. I think he has an answer, but he's not willing to accept that that's how the answer will come. And then we've had trouble contacting him for the rest of the week.

On Thursday we had "exchanges" with Elder Beckert and Elder Tait again, where we went and worked in their area. They also came with us to another lesson with Bernice, and her home care worker, Nicole, was there, so we picked her up as a new investigator. Now we just have to see if she's genuinely interested, or if she was just being polite because she was paid to be there. Haha. Elder Beckert kind of took over Sister Leavey's part of the lesson, but she didn't mind because we both learned a lot from seeing him teach. Then we went to contact a few people in their area and taught a lesson. After that, we had a dinner appointment with a family in our branch, and they're awesome! Plus they're American, and they made taco salad with homemade tortilla bowls, and it was SO GOOD. There isn't even a Taco Bell here in Newfoundland, so any chance for Mexican food is much appreciated! After that, we had our monthly "blitz night," where we go on splits with the members and visit less-active members. Except hardly any members showed up, so we decided to go on mini exchanges with the St. John's East sisters to make it more fun. Sister Christensen and I visited someone named Jeff, who said that he's been thinking about coming to church for a couple of weeks, "And every time I do that, the missionaries knock on my door!" Haha, funny how that works eh? So we had a GREAT lesson with him. Sister Christensen is even newer than I am, so I took the lead in everything, and it was nice to see that my skills have improved. I've learned a lot from Sister Leavey about getting to know people and getting their concerns out, which is always the more difficult part of the lesson for me - teaching the doctrine is really easy in comparison.

Then on Friday we had another lesson with Elizabeth, which was good, and then we did weekly planning, and then we had a dinner appointment ALL THE WAY in Conception Bay South, on the LAST DAY OF THE MONTH when we had no kilometers! We managed to stay under, but it feels like a huge waste to go up to CBS just for an evening.

On Saturday we did another community park cleanup. It was pretty cold, and hardly anyone came, but on the plus side, there was TONS of food at the BBQ afterwards. I may or may not have eaten 4 hotdogs, 2 cans of diet coke, and a donut. I was pretty surprised. Then we had an appointment fall through, so we visited some members who live on the same street. I was a bit frustrated because it's REALLY hard to get out of these particular members' house quickly, but then at the end I used a scripture Elder Morin taught us in 3 Nephi 11 where the Nephites have to hear the Savior's voice 3 times before they understand it. So I asked, "Who have you referred the missionaries to in the past who could benefit from another contact?" and  we got 6 referrals!!!!! It was awesome! Then that evening, we visited Tina, one of the less-actives we work with, and we FINALLY visited Annie. We hadn't been able to contact her all week and we were getting worried about her. She's really stressed out about moving back to Tennessee on Tuesday, so we were able to help her with that.

Yesterday we had church, and we managed to get Annie to come, which was good, but nobody else came again. But the East Sisters got Mostafa to come again! It was fantastic! He's not my investigator, but he just makes me so happy. He's totally golden. Then we had a practice for a musical fireside we're putting on in July, and then mission correlation after that. It was a long time at the church. Sister Leavey started feeling really sick again during mission correlation, so we ended up cancelling our appointments for the evening and I worked on the long-term plan and creating a comprehensive list of what we know about all the less active members that the branch mission leader requested while she slept.

Today looks like it will be a pretty quiet P-day, just cleaning our apartment and stuff. Hopefully it actually happens - we plan to have a relaxing P-day every time, and then we end up doing something all day. Haha.

At one point last week, I was reading President Uchtdorf's talk "Your Wonderful Journey Home" from the most recent YW's broadcast, and it totally changed my perspective on missionary work. It occurred to me that at one point in the pre-existence, every single person on Earth decided that they wanted to follow God's plan. They ALL came here wanting to have the gospel and live it so that they could receive the blessings, which means that everyone, whether they seem receptive or not, wants it deep down inside. And then I had this moment where I just felt like, oh my gosh, all these people who don't have the gospel and are failing a test they don't even know they're taking!!! What do we do???? And then I remembered, Hey, Sister Olson, you're a missionary! Hahaha.

I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson