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