July 31, 2013

Pictures from Mount Pearl

Sister Miehe and I

Elder Amaya and I without Sister Leavey
Jaxcine and Sister Leavey
Jaxcine and Sister Leavey

Jaxcine and I
The district: Sister Leavey and I, Elder Tait and Elder Amaya, Sister Miehe and Sister Christensen, Elder and Sister Noftle.

Myself and Elder Tait

Myself and Sister Christensen

Myself and the Muyanga sisters, Juliet and Victoria, who are like our honorary companions whenever we need a third sister.

Myself and Sister Short
Myself and Sister Noftle
Us with Mostafa

All the sisters with Mostafa

Elder Amaya and I, with Sister Leavey photobombing.

July 29, 2013


Dear Mom,
That all sounds pretty fun. I think it's really funny that Steven, Carmen, and Chloe all seem to come up with things to save up for, since I don't really remember doing that past the doll house when I was like 5 or so. It sounds like your billets were super nice, and that's funny that it felt like having missionaries, hahaha.
So the big news...I GOT TRANSFERRED!!! I'm going to Cole Harbour, which is part of the Halifax Metro, and used to be an elders' area. It's a huge shock, actually, because we were like 95% sure Sister Leavey would get transferred to Halifax because of health problems, so we assumed that meant I was guaranteed to stay here. But they decided to make Mount Pearl an Elders' area and make Dartmouth and Cole Harbour sisters' areas, so Sister Leavey will be in Dartmouth, which has the mission home in the area, and I'll be in Cole Harbour, which has the temple in its area, which is super exciting, since I can go once per transfer on P-days now!!! Since I'll be right by the mission home, everyone should send my mail and stuff there. The address is:
202 Brownlow Ave, Unit F Bldg F
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1T5
And now to describe my week.
We had a "sister's P-day" last Monday, wherein us and the East sisters drove out to Bay Roberts, and one of the members taught us how to make nail wraps, do our nails, and wax. It was really fun to see the sisters, but I may or may not have been sitting there bored out of my mind at some points, hahaha. It was really glad we did it though, because we found out that Sister Nelson was getting transferred early, since she's the STL and had to fly down for the leadership training anyways! It was a huge shock to all of us, so we were glad to spend some time together. After that, we taught Christine, but it wasn't really a noteworthy lesson or anything, we just followed up on some of the commandments. We wanted to teach the Word of Wisdom, but she wasn't feeling well and it didn't really happen.
On Tuesday, we had district meeting, and Sister Nelson went crazy trying to write in everyone's goodbye books before we left. After district meeting, our appointments with Tina, Jeremy, and Leonard cancelled, which set a trend for the entire week. But the Lord's hand really is in all things, since Sister Leavey was feeling super unwell this week and we probably would have had to cancel half of them ourselves anyways. So after district meeting, we went with Sister Nelson and Sister Keeler to see Brother Moores, a member from Bay Roberts who is in the hospital, and then we dropped Sister Nelson off at the airport for an emotional goodbye. Sister Keeler stayed with us for the day. Then we went to Swiss Chalet for dinner, since Sister Leavey LOVES Swiss Chalet and we discovered one in our area. After that, we went to teach Jaxcine. She has BPD, so she tends to flip out fairly easily, but it hadn't happened to us...until that lesson. We were teaching the Word of Wisdom, and after we explained that prescription drugs were okay but illegal drugs were not, she asked if pop was against the Word of Wisdom. Now, she has a speech impediment, and marijuana is HUGE out here, so about 75% of our investigators ask about medicinal marijuana. So I thought she said "pot." She was SO mad. "You can come back...and you can come back...
but I NEVER want to see you AGAIN!!!!" She was actually more offended that I didn't understand her speech impediment than she was about the pot. Sister Leavey was so mad at her for flipping out at me, but I actually didn't really mind it, since I knew it was just a product of her mental illness. The next day, she called us and didn't even seem to remember she got mad.
On Wednesday, Sister Keeler and I continued to work on our giant wall map, and then we went to do the MUN booth. It was pretty slow at first, but finally it started to pick up just as we were beginning to leave. And then this atheist came up and we were chatting a bit, and I asked why he didn't believe in God. He replied, "Are you familiar with the concept of the burden of proof?" I was just like, "Yes b'y." So we had a fairly long conversation. It became pretty obvious early on that he wasn't willing to be convinced, but it just felt like a philosophical discussion and not contentious (at least on my end), so I basically just decided that I wanted to talk to him long enough so that he could see that a person could be smart, think about these kinds of things, and still have faith. Most of it was pretty intellectual (Well, if you take the existence of a perfect, omnipotent God as axiomatic...), so Sister Keeler and Sister Leavey were mostly just listening, but at one point he said, "If I threw a baseball at God, would it hit him or go through him?" and Sister Keeler replied, "I think he'd catch it." It was hilarious. But it made us late to drop Sister Keeler off for an appointment with the East sisters, who needed a third sister, so I felt bad about that. On the other hand, on the way out we got to have a really nice chat with a sweet lady who is TOTALLY prepared, but still didn't let us set up an appointment, and we wouldn't have done that if our discussion hadn't gone so long. Then that evening, we taught Jay, one of our on-date investigators. It was a really great lesson, and he's becoming so much more spiritually solid. It was really great to see.
Oh yeah, we had a bit of a fiasco on Wednesday with picking Sister Hart up from the airport. Sister Keeler thought she got in at 6:30, but she actually LEFT at 6:30 and got in at 8:30, so we cancelled our lesson with Jay, and then un-cancelled it, and ran around all over town to the airport and back. Haha. So yeah, Sister Hart flew in with the Zone Leaders from leadership training. Elder Wolsey was bringing a wheelchair back for the Moores, and he was popping wheelies and stuff in the parking lot. It was hilarious. With all the missionaries at the airport, one guy said, "It's like a Jesus convention around here!"
On Thursday, we had an appointment scheduled with Lisa, who cancelled on us, and Patrina, a really awesome potential with a FAMILY, who also cancelled because her kids had chicken pox. Sad face. Then we went to the hospital to give the Moores their wheelchair, and then we taught Bible Study. We weren't supposed to teach Bible Study, but the Elders called us like an hour before to say they weren't going to make it. Fortunately, we knew enough to pull together a fairly good lesson. After that, we had a dinner appointment, and then we went to this home for mentally ill women that one of the members owns, and all of us missionaries sung hymns. It was fun, but it was over 30 degrees all day, and there was no air conditioning, so we were all dying a little bit, haha.
On Friday, we had a marathon meeting since our district decided to create a long-term district plan. Elder Amaya put me in charge of it, since apparently I'm good at planning, but we have a LOT of people in our district who are like me, in that they have a lot of good opinions and insist on sharing all of them. Haha. So that took FOREVER. My brain was totally fried. Then, we got a call from Elder Thatcher, the senior missionary in charge of cars, to inform us that were were going to trade the Zone Leaders our Subaru and get their van, since they were running it into the ground. So we did that, and for the weekend we got to drive Big Bev the Adventure Van, also known as the Loser Cruiser. Haha. We then had a REALLY good lesson with Christine, wherein she really recognized a desire to do everything she could to draw closer to God, and then a REALLY good lesson with Jay, where we taught him how to recognize the Spirit better. We asked how he's felt since taking the discussions and making changes, and he said, "I just feel really happy, and I just have a sense of peace with me." I was so excited, I had a hard time not interrupting him before I whipped out "Did I not speak peace unto your mind?" etc. Then we had call night with the DL, which was pretty good. Sister Leavey said, "I'm sorry we just have all these emotions," to which Elder Amaya replied, "Don't be sorry! Emotion is why we CAME to Earth!" She said, "You will do well here." Hahaha.
Transfer letters were SUPPOSED to come on Saturday morning, but instead President decided he'd just personally call whoever he was deciding to transfer at some point throughout the day, so everyone spent the day in a state of anticipation and freaking out every time their phone rang. Haha. Our lesson with Tina cancelled on us (again), so we had a pretty unproductive morning until Brother Hobbs' funeral. The other sisters sang "More Holiness Give Me," his favourite hymn, and I accompanied them. I was also the organist. After that, we did weekly planning, since we didn't get to it on Friday, and then we had a lesson with Lisa. We taught the Restoration using the pamphlets, which has been the focus of all the training for the last transfer or so, but it was our first time, so I'm glad we finally got to do that.

And THEN President Leavitt called, and told us about transfers. So we then went frantic packing all our things and calling people. I think the most gratifying part of the evening was when we called the Zone Leaders to discuss the logistics of it, and at one point it came up that I'd spent my entire mission here. Apparently this surprised Elder Wolsey, because I could just barely hear them say to each other, "Wait, she's only been out 3 transfers?" "Yeah." "She's a fantastic missionary for only being out three transfers." "I know, right?!" That made me happy. I'm really sorry to leave Newfoundland, since I love it here, but on the other hand, 3 transfers is a quarter of my mission, and there are 4 provinces in the mission, so I guess I couldn't really ask for more. I just feel kind of like I could have given more to the area in that time, I guess. On the other hand, I'm pretty proud of the fact that when I came out, Mount Pearl was one of the lowest-performing areas in the mission, and now we're leaving it with three people on date, solid potentials, an organized area book, a knocking record, and a giant map. (Although the area book was nice when I got here too.) Sister Leavey and I feel like we did a pretty good job.
And then came church on Sunday. We had planned to get there at 9 because we had stuff to do, but we didn't realize that the Telly Ten, a 10-k race, was being run on Topsail Road. So we tried to get to church, and every. single. access. point. was. blocked. We ended up all the way on Portugal Cove Road on the East end of the city before we could drive around it! So it took us an hour to get to church, and we were late, haha. But it was kind of a blessing in disguise, because we basically got to tour all of St. John's before we left, haha. When we got to church, Mostafa was passing the sacrament for the first time, which made me super happy. I still remember meeting him at MUN, handing him a card with the church address, and then being a new missionary and totally failing to set up an appointment, and thinking, "Well, there goes that." And now he's the epitome of a golden convert. So we basically spent Sunday saying goodbye and running around to everyone. We went to see Jaxcine, and she let us take away her coffee and cigarettes, and she also said the closing prayer for the first time! The elders and us met with Jay, who was scheduled to be baptized this Saturday! But they're going to be at Zone Training in Grand Falls, so his date was pushed back to August 10 so that someone could actually fill the font. It's a bit of a pity to have to leave before he's baptized, but as long as he GETS baptized, I'm okay with it. Christine was super heartbroken that we were both leaving, but fortunately, she seems to be prepared to continue to work towards baptism, which is great. And Jeremy was mostly just excited we'd get to say hi to Elder Hadley for him. We also showed Elder Amaya around our apartment, explained how to work the archaic washing machine, and walked him through the area book and map, which he was super happy about. He said, "Sister Olson, what are you going to do when you go to Cole Harbour and don't have all this stuff?" and I said, "Make a new one." Haha.
Which brings us up to today, where we are emailing at the church before catching a plane to Halifax. Brother Cartier's going to be in my ward, which is super exciting. Actually, Sister Leavey is also going to be in my ward, just with a different companion. Also, it will be a ward, which will be a totally different experience. Halifax is seriously a completely different world from Newfoundland. I'm excited to go call everyone "me duckie" and say "Yes b'y" to them, haha.
Sister Jaclyn Olson

July 22, 2013


Dear Mom,

So last P-day was some random holiday, Orangeman's Day or something, so the library was closed. We were all emailing at the church, when the power went out! We weren't able to email or anything, so we decided to drive beyond the limits of the power outage to get some lunch, which gave me the opportunity to convince everyone to go to Wok Box so I could get some butter chicken and samosas. It was great. After that, the power went back on, so we finished emailing. Then, we found out that the other sisters' car, which was in for repairs, was going to take several DAYS, not several hours, which was a problem since they had lessons all over the city that evening. We called the Zone Leaders and decided that they would drive our car, and we would walk, since we were just going to be finding that evening anyways. It was pretty fun though.

And then Tuesday happened. It was great. Sister Leavey and I had been talking, and we realized, we're doing a super lame job of being bold. We haven't extended the baptismal invitation to anyone in WEEKS. So we decided to challenge all of our investigators to baptism this week. And it turns out, when you challenge people to baptism, sometimes they say yes! We taught Christine about the roles of men and women, and about the Atonement, and then Sister Leavey just went for it. She admitted that all of her real concerns had been resolved, and that everything else was just an excuse. So she's on date for October 5! Then we went to a lesson with Jeremy. We challenged him to baptism as well, and he's on date for September 7! TWO PEOPLE IN THE SAME DAY. It was TOTALLY crazy! (We later decided to let the Elders teach Jeremy since we have so many investigators, and since he's a single guy it's really more convenient.) So yeah, that was pretty much the best day EVER. Right after that, we had a lesson with Jaxcine, a less-active, and then we taught Jay (our investigator who was already on date) without his girlfriend, and with the senior couple. Elder and Sister Noftle are really great, and the Spirit was super strong during the lesson. Following that, we taught Lisa again. We had so many teaching appointments that we didn't even have time to eat! We went through a drive-through, but then we ended up eating it cold after our lessons because we had NO TIME, haha. And then that evening we checked the mail, and Mason surprised me by sending me his French grammar book from the MTC, which was just like the perfect capstone to my day. It was SUCH A GREAT DAY.

Wednesday was a lot more chill. We taught another less-active who used to be totally stalwart, but who has now been less-active for about 14 years. We felt like we were really getting through to her, and even though she didn't come to church, we hope that we're actually making progress. After that, we did a bit of knocking, but it was extremely unproductive. Also, we nearly got chased by an angry nest of wasps, so I wasn't particularly keen on that street, haha. Then...I don't really remember, but I think we must have stopped in on another less-active, since we have two RCLA visits for that day. After that, we "taught" Angela, our Catholic nun investigator. We ended up doing some service helping her get rid of some old books and stuff in her basement, which took a pretty long time, and then she wasn't really in "lesson mode" after that, and she kept going off on these really long tangents. She's one of the most brilliant people I've ever met, and it was interesting to listen to, but we didn't really get to teach anything, which was super frustrating. I guess we learned that we have to come in with a really solid lesson plan and start the lesson FIRST, haha. She also insisted on serving us snacks, so she gave us these SUPER old potato straws that were really soggy because it's so humid here...it was pretty much the grossest thing ever. It was great, in one of those "that was a total gong show" funny moment ways.

On Thursday, we found out that one of the members from Bay Roberts, Sister Leavey's previous area, was in the hospital because he'd fallen off a ladder and was in the ER, so we went to go visit him. They were super vague about whether or not he was in Orthopedics or in the ER, so we ended up wandering the entire hospital. Half the time I totally felt like, "I should be a doctor when I grow up, this is fascinating!" and the other half the time I was like, "...ew..." haha. After that, we visited Tina, which was really nice since she's been working a lot so we weren't able to see her for a couple of weeks. Then we had Bible Study at MUN, followed by a dinner appointment with the Coopers. We've been trying to make our messages more kid-friendly since they're one of the young families in our ward, so we did an object lesson that involved wrapping their 5-year-old in Saran Wrap. Sister Cooper totally loved it and insisted on taking pictures and everything, haha.

We taught a lesson about the flaxen cords

Friday was Zone Conference. President Leavitt and the AP's came up, which was really fun. He talked about how many are called, but few are chosen, and that we all received a mission CALL, but we have to become CHOSEN by giving our hearts to the Lord. It was awesome. He also talked about the difference between "window people" and "mirror people." We read in Moses where the Plan of Salvation is revealed in the pre-mortal existence, and Satan uses "me" or "I" 6 times in one verse. But when the Savior speaks, he only ever says "thee" and "thy" and whatnot. It was really cool. We did a lot of roleplays, and they videotaped us and then played it back in front of everyone. It was really funny and very instructive. Although I think my biggest takeaways were, "I need to have better posture," and "Does my voice REALLY sound like that?" haha. Also, I need to smile more. So I worked on that all weekend, and Sister Leavey said yesterday, "You've been so happy today, it's been great!" I was like, "I feel this way every day, I'm just trying to make my outsides match my insides." Hahaha. Right after Zone Conference, we had a lesson with Jay and Kerianne, but it wasn't so great because the APs sat in for a bit, but then they left halfway through, and then President Leavitt popped in to say hi right at a crucial moment, so we'll have to reteach it. Then we had a branch activity that we planned, which was a fire on Topsail Beach. We just roasted marshmallows and fellowshipped - we want the people here to see that church activities can be a good thing, instead of just feeling like they're a burden. It was the only evening of nice weather, which was a HUGE blessing, and lots of people came! Christine came too, and her son made some friends, which was great.


On Saturday we had "exchanges" with the Elders, where we work with them for the day. President Leavitt interrupted our companionship study, and he talked to us about how if we do the same things we've always done, we'll get what we've always gotten. This really inspired us, so we changed our plans on the fly. We recently received a whole bunch of membership records from Salt Lake that nobody knows anything about, and we decided to track these people down. We actually found two of them, which was awesome! Then we went and gave Jaxcine a blessing (well, the Elders did), and her home care worker was there, who happens to be a former investigator of the other sisters. She asked for a blessing as well, and we're really hopeful that East will be able to pick her back up.

On Sunday, President Leavitt rearranged the branch presidency, which was a huge surprise, and called Elder Noftle to be the branch president! It was really exciting. Then in correlation, we decided to make a long-term plan as a district, which I am SUPER excited about because planning is probably the part of missionary work that I'm the best at, haha. But then correlation took a really long time, and we were all starving. That evening, Sister Leavey was sick so we just stayed in the apartment, which was a bit of a quiet end to the week, but overall it's been GREAT. The Lord has definitely been blessing us with so much. It's crazy to me that when I first came to Mount Pearl, it was one of the lowest areas in the mission and we didn't have investigators for months. And now it's totally solid! I don't feel like I did anything to deserve these blessings, but that just makes me even more grateful for them.

I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson

July 15, 2013

Good Week

Dear Mom,

First of all, I'm really glad Carmen's surgery went perfectly and that everything was good there. The sharpie on her arm looks really cool; it's a bit like  the yin/yang symbol. I'm super proud of how confident she seemed about it and how cheerful she's being.

Chloe's birthday sounds SUPER awesome! It's so weird that she's in Young Women's. Seriously. Weird. And Carmen looks super tall and grown up in the pictures of the Stampede. She looks like 16. What is this???

That shirt is hilarious. I love it. I'm surprised that the Stampede managed to get going. Was it different at all because of the flooding?

We had a really great week! It was our best week in a while, actually. 

Monday: Sister Leavey and I decided to go get haircuts. And we decided to save money and get real haircuts and go somewhere where they would know what they were doing. It was really great. It's pretty funny how wearing a nametag totally changes how people react to you. Usually when I get my hair cut, the stylist tries like a billion times to start a conversation, and then I fail at continuing it, and finally we give up and it's awkwardly silent. This time, I tried a billion times to start a conversation, and she didn't want to talk. Haha. Sister Leavey and her stylist got along great though, because it's impossible to not have a conversation with Sister Leavey when she wants to have one. Then we went up to go pay, and their card reader was broken, so they told us to go around the corner and get some money out of the ATM. We came back, and they were on the phone with the help desk. The lady at the front desk was explaining the situation and said, "Yeah, we're trusting nuns over here!" Hahahaha. After that, we went to the Pentecostal Bible Store, which was totally weird. It was like Deseret Book, except...not. Then we had a dinner appointment, which was really nice, and then I don't actually remember what happened, but apparently all of our plans fell through, because we'd planned lessons all evening, but our numbers for that day don't include any lessons. I think we went knocking. We enjoyed ourselves, but it didn't really yield anything solid, but that's okay.

On Tuesday we had a joint district meeting with the Bay Roberts district, which was really fun. I ordered a French Bible and the Bay Roberts senior couple brought it back from their last trip to Halifax, which was super awesome! After district meeting, we went with the East Sisters to a lesson with a guy named Jeremy, since we couldn't find a third female to go with us. It was an AWESOME lesson. He was being taught in Halifax, but then he moved to Newfoundland, so they transferred him to us. He's a totally solid investigator and he knows the Bible better than I do, which is really fun. Personality-wise, if Mason were half Quebecois, half Newfie, and were raised by a Baptist pastor, he'd be exactly like Jeremy. That's really the best way to describe it. After that, we went and saw Jaxcine, one of the less-actives we're working with, and then we had a lesson with Jay, who is on date! After that, we went to see Christine, which was also a really good lesson. It was just a bizarrely full day. I loved it.

Wednesday, we had a lesson with Angela, who is the lady we're teaching who used to be a Catholic nun. She understands the apostasy and restoration, but then she goes right back to talking like the Catholics have the priesthood authority. She's pretty old and she spent a LOT of time very involved in that religion, so I think it's just hard for her to change her perspective quickly. But she's great. She's really smart and she's EXTREMELY well-read, and she says that the more she learns, the more interested she is. We're excited to see how things go. Then we went singing at an old folks home with the other missionaries, which is always really enjoyable. Then we had a dinner appointment with Debbie, another less-active we work with. Sometimes I feel like we get fed more by the less-active members than by the active members, haha. We also had a lesson with Lisa and contacted some referrals, but they weren't interested.

On Thursday, we had the Sister's Conference Call, which was really fun to hear from everyone else in the mission. We found out we're getting one new sister in August, and then 4 in September and 4 in October!!! Speculation is rampant about who will be training, haha. Sister Leavey and I think one of us will be transferred in September, since it's the Sister's Conference in Halifax, and President Leavitt likes to transfer people to/from Newfoundland when they'd be flying anyways, since plane tickets are expensive. (But this is all idle speculation and you shouldn't pay any attention to it.) We also had bible study again, which is still kind of lame because only one person comes to it. But that one person is Mostafa, so that's great! Then we had another dinner appointment with the Jardons, which was great, and then another lesson with Jay. He really wants to be baptized, but his understanding is really weak right now, which isn't so great.

Friday turned into a bit of an unexpected gong show. We had to get our car taken in for an oil change and to repair some brake lights, so we decided that we'd drop our car off at like 7:30, the CBS Elders would pick us up, and we'd study at the church before our meeting. But then the Elders were super late, so we had personal study inside McDonald's, since it was raining. And then we had a REALLY long correlation meeting, since the new senior couple needs to get brought up to speed. After that, the senior couple and the Elders had to go give someone a blessing at the hospital by MUN, but right after that, the senior couple and the East sisters were going to teach Mostafa one of the new member lessons at MUN, and the long and short of it is, we ended up being stranded at the church for a couple of hours. It was fine, because we were just going to do weekly planning anyways and we could do that at the church just as well as at home, but the Elders felt super bad, so they insisted on buying us lunch. Well, Elder Amaya had his heart set on Mexican food, which is hard to find in Newfoundland, so we were trying to drive a pickup truck through downtown St. John's forEVER (it's about as confusing as those Welsh towns we visited last summer, just without roundabouts). We finally found a restaurant, and it was super delicious. Except I was dying by the end, because I ordered the spiciest thing on the menu, haha. I enjoyed myself though. After that, we had a lesson fall through, but we weren't super confident about this investigator anyways, so it wasn't really heartbreaking. Then we had a lesson with Christine. Her son was having a party, and it was totally hectic and really frustrating, because we couldn't teach, but we couldn't leave without hurting her feelings. Finally, we went outside and managed to teach a really good lesson. She feels the blessings that are coming with changing her lifestyle, and she knows she wants this. We managed to commit her to read and come to church, and it was great! The only downside is, it was one of those lessons you're kind of just trapped in for a long time, and we ended up missing our call day with the Elders, which we felt bad about. Except they did the exact same thing to us last week, haha.

On Saturday, we had call day in the morning instead, which was fun. Elder Amaya really, REALLY likes to give advice. It's really good advice, and so we actually appreciate it a lot, but it makes for a pretty long call day, haha. Saturday was the first day where Sister Leavey felt too sick to work all week, so we worked on the map until the evening, when we went and saw a less-active family. It was a REALLY great lesson. At first, the husband was pretty cold and closed-off, but then Sister Leavey asked him how he felt when he was baptized, and his countenance totally changed! It was amazing! We talked about church and the importance of the sacrament and how we can receive revelation at church, and we committed them to come. Then we had a lesson with Lisa, which was a bit frustrating. She's definitely been going downhill recently, and it's a hard situation, because she's mentally handicapped and we aren't sure how accountable she is, but on the other hand, she's been reading the scriptures and coming to church in the past, so we're having trouble figuring out what's going on with her and how we can help.

Sunday was AWESOME! First of all, a few weeks ago one of the members gave me a pair of high heels. Well, actually she left them at church with a sign that said anyone who wanted them could have them, and they were my size. I woke up and saw them on my closet shelf and was like, yep, that's happening today. Haha. They're not quite as...dignified?...as black pumps or something like that, and people were a bit thrown off, but it was more in an "That's unexpectedly cute. It's been a while since I've seen a sister in high heels!" kind of way than a "I can't believe a sister missionary would wear something like that!" kind of way. Haha. Anyways. Back to the "saving souls" part of why it was a good day. First of all, the less-active family we taught on Saturday came to church! And so did Jay and Christine! And so did East's investigators! And a part-member family had their son ordained a deacon, and a TON of their non-member family came out! It was AWESOME! 

After church, we had a dress rehearsal for a musical fireside we put on. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in previous emails, because it was really stressful. Basically what happened is, Elder Raymant came up with an idea. Then he got transferred, but not before he told the ward music chairperson that we wanted to do it and that I was now in charge. (Without telling me I was in charge.) And then it turned into a very big and stressful thing that was cutting into our proselyting time and also really pushed my limits on the whole "works well with others" thing. But, it turned out really great! Some of the musical numbers were a little...very off-key...but we also had a lot of really great ones. And we put up a projector, and had Life of Christ bible videos playing on silent in the background. A couple of numbers were pretty powerful, like the one where we had the Gethsemane video on. We also had a much better turnout than we were expecting. It was GREAT. And now it's over, and that's also great.

I love you all!
Sister Jaclyn Olson

July 8, 2013


Dear Mom,
The triathalon pictures either didn't attach, or they aren't showing up on this super old computer I'm on. It sounds pretty awesome though, and I like the "feats of strength" comparison. Did you get to have an airing of grievances too? :P
That sounds like a fantastic science fair project! Chloe WOULD start on science fair like eight months in advance. That's practically enough time to have a baby. (Speaking of which, if any of our extended family is planning on expanding their family, they should try to time it so I can come home to a new baby. Just sayin'.) Anyways, yeah, gathering data for science can be super tedious. Tell her to get used to it ;)
"Grandma Camp" sounds like a lot of fun :) I think you should do Camp Kenara partly just because I like the name. High river cleanup sounds pretty gross. Did you guys see the picture of Marissa and Ross on mormon newsroom? It's picture #10 in this article
I also like the beehive cake.
That fireside sounds really great. It's like everything I always want to tell people ever. There's a lot of anti-mormon stuff out here and a lot of members have fallen away because of that. It's not even somewhat credible anti stuff half the time; it's just completely ridiculous. The good thing is, there are also people who can see it for what it really is. Sister Leavey's a convert and she says that when she was taking the discussions people kept telling her all kinds of weird stuff and she was just like, well, I prayed about it and I know it's true. I like serving with her because she's the perfect example of how missionaries totally CAN find a golden investigator who stays faithful :)

Speaking of golden investigators, MOSTAFA GOT BAPTIZED!!! IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!! I can still hardly believe it. I'll quickly summarize the story for anyone who doesn't remember: So a few months ago, when I was like a brand-new missionary, I met Mostafa at MUN, the university. We had a conversation in French, I handed him a restoration pamphlet and a pass-along card with the church address, and got his phone number, but no other contact information. And then I may or may not have been a bad missionary and procrastinated calling him, because I still felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but Sister Judd couldn't really call him because she hadn't met him. And then a month or so later, he just SHOWED UP TO CHURCH. That felt like a miracle in and of itself, because it had just been the worst Sunday ever for all of our companionships - NOBODY came to church. We were all so disappointed. And then he just CAME. WHO DOES THAT??? So the East sisters started teaching him, since he's in their area, and he's just been totally golden. He hasn't missed a single Sunday - or even a single activity, for that matter - and he's just totally accepted EVERY. SINGLE. THING. So obviously, the East sisters put him on date, but then they found out that since he's from Iran, he might not be allowed to get baptized, and then there was about a month where it was totally in limbo and nobody knew if they were even allowed to teach him, and everyone was stressing out. Finally, President Leavitt talked to him a few times, found out he plans to stay in Canada, and gave permission for him to be baptized! The whole thing just seems like a total miracle. And I know any missionary could have given him the church address, and a better missionary probably would have actually set up an appointment or something, but I just feel really happy that in some small way, I managed to help him get here :)
As for the rest of the week, it was actually pretty busy. On Monday, Sister Leavey felt sick and so we stayed home and I worked on the area book and stuff. Then on Tuesday we had district meeting, as usual, and then we went to teach Christine the Law of Chastity. It was INTENSE. I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit guiding my words as completely as it did during that lesson. And the whole time she kept saying in this tone of amazement, "I totally buy that!" It was pretty cool. After that, we met with Jay, who is on date for August 3! He's the boyfriend of a girl in the branch, and he used to be the Elders' investigator, but then they moved out to CBS, so we get to teach him now. He was in Ottawa for a while, and nobody was really sure where he'd be spiritually when he came back, but he had totally progressed from before his trip and is still solid for August, which is awesome! Then that evening, we drove out to Holeyrood for exchanges. I went with Sister Nelson, the STL, to Bay Roberts.
Bay Roberts is a cute little town on the other side of the bay. It's where you find the most genuine Newfies, with their accent and all that. It's great. In the morning, we did some service by weeding their neighbour's lawn, and then for lunch we made peanut butter sandwiches really quick and then we went to Reitmans, since Sister Keeler doesn't like shopping, so Sister Nelson had to take her chance. Haha. After that, we visited a potential who became a new investigator! I had this total blanking moment on teaching prophets/dispensations, though, since we've been trying to teach with the pamphlets more, but I hadn't actually taught that part with the pamphlets yet. It was pretty great. She seemed to follow the lesson anyways, despite my epic fail, so that was good. After that, basically a lot of stuff fell through, and we visited some members before we exchanged back.
On Thursday, Sister Leavey and I got a new investigator! She's a former nun, and she really knows her Bible and her history, which was super cool. We had a great time teaching her. She's more the kind of person who's "open to hearing about anything," and she still doesn't believe the Catholic church lost the priesthood authority, so we'll see where it goes. Then we went and taught Christine again, because she wasn't convinced about certain details of the Law of Chastity. She kept trying to disagree with us for the entire lesson, but then during the closing prayer she basically said," "Okay, I know you're telling me this, and I don't like it, but I'll do it." It was surprising, but definitely something that made us happy. It's nice to have the Spirit to fill in all the gaps in our teaching :) Then we taught the Bible Study class we hold at MUN, with the Sermon on the Mount, and we went to see Jaxcine, a less-active. After that, we came back to the church for Sports Night. We played chair soccer, and it was actually really fun.
Friday was district correlation, weekly planning, AND our call day, which took up a lot of time, so nothing much happened that day other than a lot of talking. Then on Saturday we went on "exchanges" with the Elders, where the four of us work together, and even though we'd planned to work in their area, they ended up getting US two new investigators! One of them was being taught in Halifax and just moved here, and the other one is the sister of a member. So, that was awesome! Then we tried to go knocking, but it was like 30 degrees out AND nobody was home, so it wasn't exactly the most enjoyable experience, haha. So we went our separate ways, and Sister Leavey and I went to a dinner appointment with a less-active. We finally managed to unearth a lot of her concerns, but she's clinging pretty stubbornly to them, so we didn't really manage to resolve it. She just had a spirit of contention that wasn't really letting anything we said past it. Then we went to the church for the BAPTISM!!!!!!!!, as I already talked about above. It was so great. He kept saying, "I just feel perfect!" After the baptism, we taught Lisa a lesson, and we also fixed her drapes, which her son had pulled down. I successfully operated a screwdriver. Just thought I'd mention that.
Church was pretty normal, except I've had a sore throat and I was REALLY tired, so I kept falling asleep in testimony meeting. Fortunately, it was somewhat discreet (hopefully). Sister Leavey thought it was pretty funny. After church, we practiced for the musical fireside and had branch correlation, but we had to leave early since we had a lesson. Sister Leavey and Sister Keeler met her at MUN on exchanges, and even though she's technically in East's area, we decided that it would be best if we taught her the first lesson since she knows us, and then we'd hand her over to East if she wanted to learn more. So we did, and it was a GREAT lesson! She's a biochemistry student, so I ended up explaining apostasy and restoration using a quantum mechanics metaphor, which was really fun. She was pretty excited to read the Book of Mormon, which was great! Then we went around trying to contact people all day, but NOBODY was home. I guess it's one of the only warm weekends all year, so everyone was making the most of it. Overall though, it was a pretty fantastic week.
Sister Jaclyn Olson

July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day

Dear Mom and everyone,

Sure, I move out and now you start considering installing air conditioning ;P

Where is Steven's summer job?

That's super awesome about Carmen's awards!!! I feel like she got more awards than I did! I definitely remember being a little freaked out on the drive home after ALL the awards being "in memory of so-and-so who died in a car accident on 22X."

I'm sure Carmen is happy to be getting her surgery over and done with finally, and I will definitely join in the fasting on Sunday. Is she nervous about it at all or just happy it's getting done?

I'm glad you and Dad are really enjoying the temple in Calgary. That's one thing I've definitely missed here on my mission is the opportunity to ponder in the temple. Even before I was endowed, I used to do baptisms once a week in Provo. It's a huge blessing.

So today is Canada Day and last Monday was "Discovery Day," so we're trying to get all 6 of us to finish emailing at the church with two computers for the second Monday in a row. The only notable thing that happened last Monday is we went to contact a former, and she called out from her bathroom window that she was in the bathtub, but to come back later. Haha. So Sister Keeler and I went by the next day on exchanges and met her. She was pretty neat. She's been reading the Book of Mormon! But she's at her summer cabin all summer, so we'll have to get in touch with her later. Also, her teaching record has like 4 entries like "Busy right now, but super sweet and said to call later," so I'm not sure how genuine that line was when she used it on us, haha.

At 10:25 pm on Monday evening, Elder Diodati called Sister Leavey and asked her to give the doctrinal discussion the next day in district meeting. She was freaking out! But it was the most powerful doctrinal discussion I've ever seen. She started out by asking each of us how we came to know Christ, and the Spirit was just like, BOOM! (That's my explosion sound effect). After district meeting, we had exchanges with Bay Roberts. Sister Leavey went around the bay with Sister Nelson, and Sister Keeler stayed with me, which was really fun since we were in the MTC together. She's really bold, and it's so great to serve with her and have that example. We taught Bernice, who has been de-progressing from the last time we saw her, but by the end she was really motivated to make a serious study for the Book of Mormon, so we have high hopes for our next lesson. That evening, we had a dinner appointment with the Coopers, which is always one of my favorite things because (1) They make awesome food and (2) Their 1-year-old daughter is ADORABLE. She always comes up and sits on the piano bench beside me at church, and it just makes my heart melt. We had to leave pretty fast though, since we all sang at an old folks home as a district, which was really nice.

On Wednesday we had mission correlation early since the branch mission leader went out of town. I don't remember if anything else interesting happened.

On Thursday we taught Christine. We'd planned to resolve some concerns she had about the validity of the Book of Mormon, but instead we ended up talking about baptism. We nearly committed her to it! Did not see that coming! She knows that it's necessary and she wants to have an eternal family with her son, but she's just scared that she won't be strong enough to make the changes in her life that are necessary. Sister Leavey bore a really powerful testimony and it was great. We've been working on balancing each other more in lessons, because when we first started serving together she would do all the talking during the get-to-know-you/connect-personally part, and then I would do all the talking during the teaching-the-doctrine part. (Or more bluntly, I need to learn to shut up, haha). So I made a goal to really seek the direction of the Spirit before I said anything, which made me talk less and think more. It was an amazing lesson. She said that we were sent to her by God because I'm smart enough to cut through all her excuses, and Sister Leavey is the person she was supposed to be if she'd accepted the missionaries as a teenager. I said, "Why do you think Heavenly Father would send you the perfect missionaries if he didn't want you to be converted?" Haha. Then later on she said that I was her mind and Sister Leavey was her heart, and I said, "You know, the Holy Ghost tells you the truth in your mind and in your heart."

After that LONG lesson with Christine, we went with the East sisters to a lesson on the north end of the city since they couldn't find a third sister to come with them. It ended up being this huge marathon lesson where they essentially ended up getting dropped, which was a bummer. After that, we rushed over to see the Noftles, the new senior couple who just arrived. THEN we had to rush to a dinner appointment all the way out in CBS, which is south of the city. THEN we had to rush back to the church for blitz night. I ended up going with Sister Miehe, and we drove all the way out to Portugal Cove to meet some less active members that have been less active for so long that nobody in the branch remembers who they are.

On Friday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in the district to get some planning done, and then we had weekly planning. Following that, we went to see Jaxcine, one of the less-actives we visit. I love her so much; she's just hilarious. She has this wickedly sharp, deadpan sense of sarcasm, which is completely unexpected because she's illiterate and she has a speech impediment, so a lot of people don't realize how smart she really is. She's completely hilarious. Apparently I have "a cute little baby face" and I look like I'm 12. She would not believe that I was 19, haha. She has Borderline Personality Disorder, so she's pretty hot-and-cold with meeting with us. A few days earlier, she called to cancel our appointment and said that she didn't want to hear about Jesus now, and didn't want to hear about him ever. Then a few days later she called saying she needed us to come talk to her about Jesus. On the way to her appointment, she called us and tried to cancel, but Sister Leavey had felt impressed to get her flowers, so we told her we had a surprise for her and convinced her to let us come. I feel like we really help her a lot though. We called her on Saturday and she told us that she prays for us every day and thanks God for sending us to her. Moments like that just warm my heart.

Friday night, Sister Leavey got a really terrible migraine that lasted all Friday and throughout Saturday, so we just stayed in the apartment. I got a lot of work done on the area book and the maps, which was good, and I overcame my dislike of phone calls to call a bunch of formers for whom we have a phone number but no address. I got hung up on a lot, haha. In the afternoon, the Elders came by with some headache medication, which had caffeine in it. So Sister Leavey took some, and she was COMPLETELY WIRED yesterday. It would have been funny any other day, but I was really tired for some reason, so I was just struggling to keep up with what was going on. She took some more today and it's been quite enjoyable though.

I love you all! Missionary work is awesome!
Sister Jaclyn Olson