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.

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