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

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