August 26, 2013

Tylenol


Dear Mom and everyone,
That sounds like a pretty fun trip :) And yeah, it's a little weird to have fall without having back-to-school preparations going on. One of my friends emailed me and mentioned something about it and I was just like, woah, it's that time! Haha. I realized the other day that it's been like five months since I came to Halifax. That's weird.
On Monday, we had a pretty normal P-day. We just napped and did laundry. I think it was my first low-key P-day ever. Turns out your life is boring once you run out of money, haha. After P-day, we went to the YSA FHE that the Edis family puts on, which was pretty fun because they also served like a full-on dinner with pork chops, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and everything. It was awesome. Then we visited with Betty, who is technically the Elders' recent convert, but since we got here we've been visiting her since she's a single lady. She's awesome. I'm pretty sure she does scripture study better than most lifelong members!
Tuesday was district meeting, which went really well. There was a music camp being held at the chapel all week, so the only free room was a REALLY small one, and we were all kind of crammed in there. We did some group roleplays with most people observing and critiquing, which was different, but very fun. Then we decided to go to the moon. (Some of the towns in our area are WAY out there!) It was AWESOME. Sometimes as a missionary, you have these moments where the Spirit is totally guiding you and you know it and something cool happens. Well, that happened basically all day. It was fantastic. We met a GOLDEN potential family from the potentials sheets. The Elders had actually contacted the husband, but we were talking to his wife, and she's really open, and she says that he's NEVER interested in religion, but he was telling her all about the Elders and that just that morning, they drove past the church and the temple and he was like, look, that's where the Elders go to church! So we're going to go back and see them, and she specifically set up the appointment so her WHOLE family can be there. We're feel super good about them! And then we were impressed to knock this street, and the assistants told us that they actually have a less active/part member family on the street for us to visit. It turns out that he was totally ready to come back to church, and we had a great talk. He's going out of town for about a month, but he's completely prepared.

I was feeling pretty under the weather that day, and Sister Echols thought I should go home and rest, but I wanted to keep working. So we did. And THEN we went contacting some formers, and we got let into this one lady's house right away. So we were super excited, but once we stopped getting to know her and started getting into teaching, she was really closed and was just like, I've already given this a fair try, I'm not interested. And the Spirit was like, bring the Spirit! She just has to feel the Spirit! But the conversation just wasn't giving us the opportunity to really do that, so we started to leave. But then I stopped to take a picture of the BIGGEST spider I have EVER seen in my ENTIRE LIFE, and it became clear that she really didn't want us to leave. She kept thinking of things to keep us talking to her outside. So finally, Sister Echols asked if we could pray with her before we left. And as soon as the prayer was over she said, "Okay, fine, I'll have my door wide open. Bring your best ammo, I'll try to wrap my head around this one more time." So we set up a return appointment and walked away like, what just happened??? It was great.
And THEN we were going to go home for the evening, and we decided to check a referral really quick before we left. It was just one of those "yeah you can go knock on their door I guess" referrals, and we didn't think it would be super solid. But Courtney was SUPER INTERESTED, and wanted a Book of Mormon, and wanted us to come back and teach her and her boyfriend the next day! And then we went home and I went to bed. Haha.
On Wednesday, we did another musical concert at an old folks' home, which was pretty great, and then we went to our appointment with Courtney, and she totally didn't show up, which was a bummer. We haven't been able to contact them all week. But to be honest, we probably should have tried harder than we did. So we went to try to visit some less-actives, and nobody was home, so Sister Echols pretty much forced this old man to let us weed his garden. Haha. He was all like, "No, thanks for offering, I'm fine," and she just sat down and started weeding anyways. He said, "I'm the wrong religion for you, I'm Baptist" and I just said, "So?" Haha. He softened up to us by the end of it though. I think we did a good thing there and changed his opinion. And then we had another cool moment where we decided to stop in on someone, and she was having a bad day and we managed to share a quick thought and brighten her day a bit, which was great. After that, we had a lesson with one of the less-actives we were working with. It was a bit discouraging, because she had really been progressing, but this time she was just really defensive and didn't really want to admit she was doing anything wrong, so we're not quite sure where to go from there or what caused the change. Then we caught the tail end of the Relief Society activity, which was a "luau," which basically means my green skirt smells like smoke and we don't have enough quarters left to wash it this week. Haha. It was a really fun activity though, and the compassionate service leader gave us a card to deliver to one of the members who is in the hospital.
So on Thursday, we had the Sisters' Conference Call. There are SO MANY new sisters coming in next transfer and the transfer after that. Basically half of us are going to be training. It's exciting, but the odds of Sister Echols and I staying together for any length of time actually look kind of slim because of that, which is a bummer, because we have so much fun together. Seriously, our senses of humour match perfectly, except hers is a little more Utah-appropriate, which is probably a good influence on me, haha. And we also do a really good job of teaching in unity together and just being reasonable about concerns we have instead of bringing girl drama into it, so we REALLY want to actually serve together for a while, haha. So then we had call day, and then we went to the hospital to visit some people. We decided to go to the Walmart supercenter for lunch and get the maximum value out of the last of our grocery money, which was pretty great :) After that, we went into Lawrencetown and visited a REALLY awesome recent convert family. The husband has been a member his whole life, and he told us all these crazy stories about serving Hmong-speaking in California and these crazy encounters he had with their shaman and stuff. It made me glad to be serving in Canada, haha. After that, we were supposed to have a scripture study class, but nobody came. After that, the ward mission leader asked us to go and sit with a member of the ward, Ted, who was dying, so we went and did that and sang hymns and such. One of his non-member friends from Ontario came in and we had a really great conversation with him.
On Friday, we went back to the nursing home to sit with Ted some more, and his friend was still there. We ended up teaching him the Restoration and giving him some materials, and he was pretty interested, which was super cool because apparently he used to be pretty against the church. After that, we had weekly planning. We decided to do it with the Elders in the ward since our areas are combined, and those Elders are the APs, so I learned a LOT about weekly planning. It was great. Thennnnnnnnnnnn I don't remember what happened, but we got zero key indicators that day, so it must have been pretty boring. Haha.
Oh yeah, at some point in the week that awesome former from Tuesday called and dropped us. Lame.
And then my minor sinus infection went kind of crazy. So all week I'd had a sinus infection and some heat rash on my back. But on Friday night, it morphed into a fever, and I had the WORST NIGHTMARE ABOUT SPIDERS EVER. (I'm pretty sure that descibes every single one of my nightmares, actually. I'm pretty sure all but like two of them have been about spiders). Anyways, I woke up at 11:30 at night completely convinced that spiders were going to attack me, and the rational part of my brain was like, "It was just a nightmare. Also, you're 19." And the irrational part of my brain was like "SPIDERS!!!!!!". So I got up and turned the hall light on. But then my back was really sore from trying to twist around to put stuff on the heat rash all the time, so I couldn't sleep anyways. So between stress, neck tension, sleep deprivation, and sinuses, I woke up on Saturday with the mother of all headaches. It was great.

We drove Sister Echols to the mission office to leave for a musical fireside in Fredricton, and I got a blessing, and then we started contacting in Eastern Passage. We did a lot of street contacting on the Boardwalk (and it was gorgeous), and we met some pretty great potentials. I was actually feeling really happy and enjoying it, but I also kind of felt like I was dying. It was weird. Totally happy, worst headache ever. At some point during the day, we knocked on a door and the guy totally wasn't interested, but he wanted to give us ten bucks because of what the church did for his mother before she passed away. We tried REALLY hard to not take it, but somehow he ended up making Sister Dougherty (my temporary companion for the weekend) take it, so we felt pretty uncomfortable about that, haha. We did some contacting and had a couple of really great member visits, and then Sister Dougherty suggested that she could make calls and I could lie down. So went home, and I slept through dinner, and I woke up still not feeling any better. It turned out that Sister Leavey, who is still in my district, was not feeling well either, so we suggested that I go stay with her and Sister Dougherty and Sister Weaver could work together. So we did that. And on the way, we used the 10 bucks we'd been awkwardly given to buy Tylenol Ultra. It was totally weird to spend the evening with Sister Leavey, since she wasn't my companion anymore. Haha.
The next day I STILL woke up with a headache, but I took a bunch of Tylenol and it went away reasonably quickly after that, which was really good. We had Ward Council, and then I led the music in Sacrament meeting, which I've never done before. It was a really good church, so it was too bad that hardly anyone came. Haha. I guess a lot of people are trying to cram in vacations before the school year starts. After that, we went back to Eastern Passage and finished contacting the people we'd meant to contact on Saturday night. We got some potentials and referrals, which was pretty nice, and we had a really good conversation with this old lady about death and prayer and stuff. Then we had a spur-of-the-moment less-active visit that I felt really good about, and then a dinner appointment with a part-member family. We get fed so much here! It's awesome. It was also pretty cool because his kids were running around and being distracting during the spiritual thought, but I could tell he still felt the Spirit, which was great. Then we rushed to the mission office to pick up Sister Echols, and we were going to be late for our appointment with Marlène. So we called her and she was basically like, that's okay, I didn't want you to come over anyways. So we basically went from an amazing start of the week to having zero investigators by the end of it, haha. But we went and had an awesome member visit with the YSA branch president. He's SO on board with the new Work of Salvation thing! It was really great.

This morning, we cleaned the temple for a couple of hours, which was a really special experience. I remember reading in a old Ensign that we don't clean the temple because it's dirty; we clean it so it doesn't get dirty. And that's like how our lives should be; we should repent every day and always try to improve ourselves, so that we stay clean all the time.
I love you all! I probably described being sick this weekend really dramatically, but I promise I'm feeling better now and everything's going great again. So don't worry. Especially Dad, he worries too much.
Love,
Sister Jaclyn Olson

I don't remember if I already sent this. But I'm pretty sure I have the most beautiful area in the whole mission.

The spider started running away so it's at a weird angle and it looks smaller than it actually was. But it was HUGE. And no, that's not MY hand in the picture, I didn't want to get that close. Haha.


August 19, 2013

So many names to keep straight


Dear Mom,

I really like Carmen's talk on Divine Nature. I'd never had the thought before that one of our divine qualities is to show other people God's love for them. I knew love was a divine quality, and that we can help people feel God's love through our words and deeds, but I'd never put them together like that :)
That picture totally looks like chest hair. That's hilarious. Also, is Carmen wearing my swimsuit??? Haha. She's not allowed to wear the plain black one though. That is my favourite swimsuit ever.
On Monday after P-day, we went to the Empty Nesters' FHE, which is for the seniors in the ward. A former investigator named Lillian was there too, but she basically told us she didn't think she could ever change and refused to let us teach her, which was a bit of a bummer. She has really great fellowship though - everyone was sharing their conversion stories and how they overcame similar concerns before their baptism. It was great. After that, we went knocking a bit, and we ended up giving a Book of Mormon to one girl, but we didn't get to really teach or make a return appointment. We'll follow up in a bit and see if she's read it though :) Then we had another technology skype meeting. President's taken to having them at 9 pm, which makes for some pretty long nights, haha.
Tuesday was district meeting, and then we had a lesson with Betty, a recent convert. During the lesson, Lillian called, so we suggested that she call back and ask if we could all come over. Well, she did, and she managed to convince Lillian to have a lesson with us! It was so great to have her there, since she kept chipping in with her own testimony and saying things like, "Have they given you a Word of Wisdom pamphlet? I think that would really help you" or "They should assign members to you to sit with you and answer your questions!" or "Well, I didn't believe in Joseph Smith at first either, but..." So, that was AWESOME. The only thing is, she's kind of fallen back off the face of the earth, so we'll see if it lasts. That evening, we had a dinner appointment with a young couple in the ward, and then we taught Sister Bishop with Sister Kearley again, which was pretty great. The lessons are always a bit scattered towards the beginning since they're such good friends and just want to talk, but they always seem to get to where we want them to be, which is great.
On Wednesday morning, we performed at an old folks' home. There is a LOT more musical talent among the missionaries in the Halifax/Dartmouth areas, so we managed to make a pretty legit performance out of it, which was pretty great. Then we went to go see a less-active member, and her boyfriend was there. He didn't want to commit to regular lessons, but we could tell that he really felt something, and he told us he's try to help her keep the commitments we left her and have her come to church, so that was GREAT. We're going to keep stopping by and hopefully pick the boyfriend up as an investigator after a while. Then we decided to go to the moon. Seriously. Some of these towns are so far away. We went to teach Dexter, our new investigator from last week, but when we came by, he wasn't home. So we went contacting for a bit and then came back, and he basically told us that he doesn't want to change or investigate the church at all. It was a total bummer, because he also said he's read half the Book of Mormon since last week and intends on finishing it! Who does that??? We're pretty sure his wife is the problem, since she's a strong Baptist. So we went contacting some more, ate dinner in the car, and then we went to visit a part member family. They were super welcoming and happy to talk, but you could tell they REALLY did not want to be pushed about the gospel. So we tried to be sensitive to that. They fed us chocolate cake and gave us a dozen fresh eggs! This ward takes such good care of us. Seriously, we feel like we're living off manna from heaven. (Since we spent our entire monthly allotment at the beginning of the month since the elders left NO cleaning supplies and a VERY messy apartment!)
On Thursday, we decided to really work with the members by dropping in on people who are home during the day and sharing a video from the Work of Salvation broadcast. It was awesome! The Spirit was SO strong, and the first thing out of peoples' mouths after the video was usually something like, "How can we help?" We were caught pretty off-guard, haha, it wasn't the most stellar moment in terms of our answer. But we had great visits! Then we went and had dinner at Sister Stuarts' house with another member, and then we had scripture study class. Nobody came, which was a bummer, but after that we saw the Thompsons leaving from doing baptisms at the temple. They can't always get to church since Sister Thompson has MS, but they are so great and it just made our night to see them attending the temple :) Then we met with the Elders and correlated a bit before having another technology meeting, wherein Elder Bullock and I discovered that we are both font snobs. It's always really fun when you randomly discover that someone else has the same obscure interest that you do :)
On Friday we did weekly planning, visited a member, and then had some kind of crazy exchanges. Sister Echols was going to go with Sister Drew to a wedding in Halifax of an RC and an LA that they taught in the YSA ward, and then Sister Drew's companion, Sister Broadhead, was going to Wolfville with Sister Weaver's temporary companion Sister Laxten (since Sister Leavey is staying at the mission home) because Sister Broadhead and Sister Laxten served in Wolfville last transfer and their investigator got baptized! So I was going to go with Sister Echols and Sister Drew to the wedding, and Sister Leavey and Sister Weaver were going to work together on Friday night. But it turned out that they were doing a service project by painting a daycare, and Sister Leavey really couldn't handle the paint fumes, so we ended up trading places, and I borrowed Sister Laxten's service clothes and painted for the evening. It was really fun :)
On Saturday, we went contacting in Eastern Passage like crazy, but it wasn't very fruitful. However, we felt really strongly that we needed to drive all the way to Lawrencetown and back to visit a less-active family, so we did. It was great! We shared a really strong spiritual thought and she came to church the next day. Also, she randomly asked Sister Echols her shoe size, and she was the same size! She had like 15 pairs of shoes she was going to donate to the Salvation Army and a bunch of coats and bags, so Sister Echols ended up getting ALL her winter stuff for free, AND new summer shoes, which was a total blessing, since Sister Echols' shoes were falling apart and she wasn't going to have money until October. It was great!
Then there was church on Sunday, which had really low attendance due to a number of activities and stuff going on in the area, but it was a good meeting. Then Sister Echols wasn't feeling well (I think I'm killing my companions) so we stayed home in the afternoon, but the Kearleys had us over for dinner last-minute, which was great! After that, we went across the street to a potential, and she let us right in and we taught her the Restoration! Marlène is from France, lived in Québec for a few years, and has now livied her for about two years. She's totally golden, but she just doesn't realize that she wants it or needs it in her life, so it was actually pretty difficult to get a return appointment. I'm not sure she'll turn into a solid investigator NOW, but I'm pretty sure she'll be totally ready someday. It was a bit weird in the lesson, because I've been working on my French, so most of the scriptures and How To Begin Teachings and stuff we used in the lesson had been more recently memorized in French than English, but it didn't really make sense to teach in French since she speaks English well and it would have left Sister Echols out. So I was following the French version in my head to make sure I didn't miss anything, but saying it in English, to a francophone. Haha. It was a really great evening though. The Spirit was so strong during the First Vision, and even though she was hesitant at the end, the aftereffects just kind of stayed with us for the rest of the evening, and we were so in tune when we were planning and stuff, it was great :)
I love you all,
Sister Olson

Sister Echols and I were cleaning the apartment, and we randomly found fake mustaches. 

The Halifax Temple at night

These pictures are all of something I've started calling, "The Dork Board." 

It started out as our goals whiteboard, 

but then I got ahold of it.

Someone's GIANT Newfie dog! Standing, it came up to my elbow!

August 13, 2013

That's a lotta church


Dear Mom,

It's been a pretty great week. On Monday after P-day, we decided to go to Lawrencetown to contact formers, potentials, and referrals. Oh yeah, so our area basically used to be all the small towns outside of Cole Harbour, so it's SUPER spread out. Sometimes we're in the car for like half an hour at a time just to get somewere! It's totally crazy. Anyways, so yeah, we went to Lawrencetown. We ended up contacting a former named Neil, who came out with a huge grin on his face and was just like, "HI! It's good to see you guys again!" So, that was pretty great. We picked him up as a new investigator pretty easily :) He was involved in a car accident when he was 21, and for the last 29 years he's been operating off 2% of his brain, which gives him severe memory problems, but he's otherwise pretty normal. It made teaching him a bit of a challenge. I don't think I've EVER met someone with as much faith in Christ as he has. He's super cool.
Then on Tuesday we had district meeting. The focus was on resolving doctrinal concerns with the scriptures, which is pretty much my favourite thing ever. After that, we went to Pizza Hut as a district, and then we taught a recent convert, Betty. She's great. She's this totally adorable old lady who the Assistants met knocking a couple of months ago. After that, we did some contacting in Eastern Passage and met the Kearleys, who are a SUPER missionary-minded family, but who are also less active. We visited a member couple in the ward, who came up to Sister Echols on Sunday and said, "I have someone for you to go visit!" It was great. So we shared a message, and then contacted their referral, who made an appointment with us. (They ended up dropping us over the phone a few hours before the appointment, but it was still a cool experience to have a member just HAND you a referral.) We also stopped by a less-active couple, who told us all about how the Elders were so in tune with the Spirit, and they always showed up with EXACTLY what they needed to hear at EXACTLY the time they needed it, and then asked, "So, what's your spiritual thought?" Haha, no pressure, right? The Elders were definitely really great and really built up the ward. And then we ended up going to the mission home. Sister Leavey was really sick, so President Leavitt decided she would spend the day at the mission home, and Sister Weaver would come with us.
On Wednesday, we had a bit of a hard time getting the technology committee meeting started, since President Leavitt was driving to some other little town, and everything was a bit crazy. We finally had another meeting, and it was really enjoyable. I'm super excited about it. After that, Sister Echols practiced the violin for a bit since she's in the musical fireside series that the missionaries are doing (I'm not since I was in Newfoundland during tryouts), and then we had "call day" with the Elders. They have in-person call days here in the Metro instead of over the phone, which is a bit weird. Then we had a meeting with the Relief Society president's family. As usual, the members are AWESOME. Then we had another lesson with Neil, wherein we discussed some of his concerns (his family had shown him anti, but he couldn't remember what it was, so we couldn't really resolve it) and we committed him to pray about some specific things regarding meeting with us and whether the church was true. We then rushed over to the Thompsons, an older couple in the ward who are technically less-active, because she has MS and it's pretty advanced. They are the CUTEST couple EVER. She can barely talk, and she can't move at all, but he is just so kind and loving and you can just feel their love. He's also one of those really dynamic, charistmatic people, and it was a really great visit. After we left, Sister Echols said, "If ANYONE deserves to be sealed in the temple, those two do!" They're really great. Then, we made it to the Liddy's for a short get-to-know-you visit. They're a less-active family in the ward, and apparently it's a miracle we made it in, which is weird because they were really welcoming, and fed us homemade doughnuts and chocolate covered strawberries. We had a great, but short lesson with them, and then rushed to the mission home at like 10 at night to get Sister Weaver's temporary companion. (We would have been okay for curfew, but the drive from Lawrencetown to Dartmouth is pretty long). It was totally a day of rushing around to everything, which was a bit stressful, but it was super productive and it was great.
Then on Thursday, President Leavitt had interviews with us in the morning, and then we taught Betty again. We also had a meeting with the WML, and then we taught Sister Bishop with Sister Kearley. It was awesome, because Sister Kearley ended up bearing her testimony of coming to church, which was great. Hopefully, it will be one of those things where she strengthens her testimony by bearing it.
Gaah only 12 minutes left on the library computer!
On Friday, we found a GREAT new investigator! We contacted a former investigator, who turned out to be super old and a bit senile. But her son-in-law was there. He grew up in a mixed Catholic/Protestant home, then he went atheist because of the contradictions. But in college, his friend challenged him to read the Bible, so he read the whole KJV in a day and became converted, but realized that all the churches are wrong. Only thing is, he didn't realize there would be a restoration, so he thought ours was wrong too. So we showed him in the Bible where it predicts a restoration, and he said, "Well...it HAS been 30 years since I last looked into your church." Haha. So we challenged him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We're super excited. He's totally solid and has a HUGE knowledge of the Bible. The only thing is, it's a 20-minute drive on the highway one way just to get to him. After that, we had a dinner appointment with a member, and her less-active children were there, which was cool. One of them had had a really cool experience with prayer recently, and it was neat to be in the right place at the right time to really solidify that in their testimony.
On Saturday, we had another technology meeting, and then Sister Echols left for a musical fireside in Moncton. I ended up with Sister Weaver and Sister Dougherty from Halifax, and we all worked in Cole Harbour. We made some member visits, and basically ended up using ALL THE KILOMETERS EVER going back and forth between the Dartmouth area and the Cole Harbour area all day. We had a lesson with Neil, wherein we ended up getting dropped. He apparently had a huge spiritual battle when he prayed about it, which really affected him emotionally/mentally, and his family decided we can't see him any more. It was sad, but we did everything we could to resolve it, and at the end of the day, I'm not convinced he's completely accountable at this time. But I feel like in the Spirit World, he'll be able to remember the answer he got (since he can't remember the answer to his prayer right now, which is part of the problem) and then he'll be converted. After that, we had a DA with the Kearleys, who back right onto the ocean. Their house is AMAZING. We went contacting for the rest of the evening, but nothing really happened.
Sunday was CRAZY. We went to ward council at 7:45, wherein I tried to do the work of four missionaries, since the AP's and Sister Echols were in Moncton. Then I continued to do the work of 4 missionaries in talking to all of the ward members, setting up skype for members who live 2 hours away, etc. Then, we taught youth Sunday School, before going to Dartmouth ward. Elder Edwards was like, hey, you're musical! You're singing alto in the choir performance today! Well, I practiced during the first few hymns and got pretty good at singing alto (which I've NEVER done before), but he played the song really fast, so I was pretty much useless. Then, I gave a talk in Dartmouth ward (which I wrote during sacrament meeting in Cole Harbour ward). Everyone really loved it, and Elder Thatcher, one of the senior missionaries, told me I have "a bright future in the leadership of the Church," which made me feel really good. I just wish I could have given the talk in my own ward, haha. Then, I ended up playing the piano in RS, so basically I did more in Dartmouth ward than Cole Harbour ward, haha. Then, after SEVEN AND A HALF hours of church, we went home and had lunch, before coming back for the baptism of one of the kids in the ward, which a lot of nonmembers and LA's attended. Then we went to the mission office to get Sister Echols, had a dinner appointment with the Liddys, wherein we got a lot of their concerns out, but didn't really make any progress due to a not-very-spiritual lesson (partly their fault and partly our fault), and did some contacting. This one house was COMPLETELY covered in spiders. Like, most houses have about 8 or so around the door, but this one looked like something from a Halloween store.


I love you all! Have a great week!

Love
Sister Jaclyn Olson
Sister Echols has a label maker, and we've been getting along well together.

If you can see behind the deck, we are sitting RIGHT by the ocean and it was AWESOME.

The Kearleys have the same Seinfeld picture that Steven/Uncle Mark does.
Brother Thompson does WWI re-enactments, and some of his stuff was lying on the table. It was pretty cool.



August 11, 2013

Pictures

We took Jaxcine's coffee and cigarettes away, and then kept forgetting to get rid of it, so we drove around for a few days with a big grocery bag of substances in our car by accident. We thought it was pretty funny.
 We were contacting last Sunday in Eastern Passage, and I turned around and looked at the ocean and suddenly realized, woah, this is my area!
Sister Leavey and I with Sister Wilkinson, the new missionary, at the airport.
Myself using a hammer.
A funny list the Elders made that we found in our apartment.
The sisters in our Zone. I totally forgot to write about Zone Training! It was pretty uneventful, except for the drive there. Elder Bullock is now the district leader over two companionships of sisters, and he was really nervous. We all drove to Kentville, over an hour away, in a Dodge Caravan, which sounds like the Millenium Falcon coming out of hyperspace whenever you slow down quickly. So I kept making Star Wars jokes, and after a couple he said, "Serving with sisters just went from normal to cool." hahaha. So the sisters in the picture are Sister Weaver, Sister Leavey, Sister Laxtin, Sister Pizzey, Sister Thompson, me, and Sister Echols.
 Also, we call Elder Bullock "The Relief Society President." Hahahaha
Sister Thompson and I
Sister Pizzey, Sister Thompson, and I - MTC buddies!

Sister Echols and I


We were tracting, and this Asian family was taking a picture in front of this random moose statue, so we took a picture for them, and then they offered to take one of us. Haha.

All the sisters who got transferred this transfer - Sister Davis, Sister Pizzey, Sister Weaver, Sister Echols, Sister Drew, me, Sister Thompson, Sister Broadhead, and Sister Laxtin, whose name I may have misspelled.

FHE lesson conclusion

video

August 6, 2013

Nova Scotia is a Whole New World


Dear Mom,
 
I'm glad everyone enjoyed my FHE lesson :D Grandpa overnighted me a letter about doing it, hahaha. Funny that that's now a faster way to communicate with me than emailing. And yeah, it turned out way longer than I thought I'd be...I kept running out of space on my memory card, haha. I also cut out a lot of it as I was talking and realized how long it was getting. I'M JUST REALLY ENTHUSIATIC ABOUT THIS PORTION OF THE GOSPEL AND I'M NOT SURE WHY, OKAY? ;)
 
On a somewhat related note, I was thinking recently about the whole Hastening the Work thing, since President Leavitt has really been stressing it, and it totally blows me away to realize how disconnected members feel from missionary work. I know I definitely felt that way for a really long time. But really, can you think of a single other thing where the PROPHET could speak in a special broadcast, the church would make a whole new website, and a large plurality of the members would shrug their shoulders and basically say, "Meh, that doesn't apply to me"? No way! But missionary work really is the responsibility of every member. I never realized that before I came on a mission. By the way, I think you'd enjoy some really great websites, everydaymissionaries.org and missionaryleaders.org by Clayton Christensen. He came to speak in Halifax and he's awesome. I was still in Newfoundland, so I didn't actually hear him, but everything I've heard about it sounds fantastic.
 
Family reunion sounds awesome :)
 
So on Monday Sister Leavey and I emailed, then we went to a souvenir store downtown before catching our flight back to Nova Scotia. I put ALL my books and stuff in my carry-on, and it was SO HEAVY, haha. Once we got there, President Leavitt put us to work binding some books full of training materials for all the missionaries, and making him a gigantic wall map. The assistants were totally blown away by how fast we were at doing all of it, haha :) If there was a mission where I could just go from area to area, getting all their paperwork and planning in order, I'd totally sign up for that. But spreading the gospel is pretty nice too, you know, I guess ;)
 
On Tuesday we did more of that stuff, and since we were staying at the mission home for a few days (since the Cole Harbour elders wouldn't get flown to Newfoundland until Thursday), we got to go with President and Sister Leavitt to pick up a new sister missionary at the airport, which was super fun.
 
I don't remember exactly what day everything else happened, but I'll pretend that it was Wednesday when I found out that President asked me to be on the new Technology Committee! We had a skype meeting to talk about how we could incorporate Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, iPads, etc., once we get the okay from the First Presidency. So, that was super awesome :) I feel like usually, missionary work takes a lot of skills that I've worked hard out here to develop, which is really great that I get to do so, but it was like a week straight of just using my natural talents I brought with me, which feels really nice too :)
 
We also went to the temple I think on Wednesday, which was just wonderful. It really just felt amazing to go after it being so long, and to just spiritually feel all of the stress and worry from the last 3 transfers just be washed away and replaced with total peace :) The temple actually shares a parking lot with the building we meet in every Sunday. Living so close is DEFINITELY a blessing of being in this area :)
 
Then on Wednesday night most of the mainland missionaries arrived for transfers, and I got to see Sister Thompson from the MTC, which is awesome :) Sister Echols also arrived, and she's fantastic. She's just on fire, and she has a ton of ideas and is really on top of things. She's also the most organized person I've ever met. It actually really threw me off for about a day because she kept taking charge, haha. But then we worked out that we're both really equally capable of everything, and now serving with her is just fantastic.
 
So Thursday was our first day in the area. The Elders' old apartment seemed really nice at first...and then we noticed how gross it was. Haha. Especially the mouse poop all over EVERYTHING. I'll send yo ua picture. We spent a lot of Thursday cleaning. We also got permission to go grocery shopping, since the Elders left a bag of corn dogs, two pizza pops, a ton of candy, and a year's supply of instant oatmeal. Haha.
 
It turns out that we share the ward with the Assistants. Technically, our area is Eastern Passage and they're Cole Harbour, but because they're gone so much, and also because they have unlimited k's to go out to the smaller towns in our area, we're basically just combining areas and working as a team, which should be really great. They're gone a lot, but it definitely makes whitewashing an area easier when the assistants are in your ward :) They keep setting up appointments for us and stuff, it's fantastic. We also did weekly planning together, which was a really good experience.
 
The members here are AWESOME. Sister Judd would always complain about how hard it was in Newfoundland, how you never got fed and members never gave referrals or wanted to help you, and how the people weren't receptive to missionaries, and I was just like, what are you talking about? This is totally fine. But now I'm just here like, holy cow! This is great! Haha. I'm pretty sure I'll never have to buy food again, for one thing. We get SO MANY dinner appointments, and most of the member visits we do result in us being sent home with groceries. Haha. They're wonderful.
 
The first night in our area, we had a dinner appointment and the people live in a straw house. Seriously. They have framing, and then the walls are made of straw bales that are plastered over. So the walls are like 3 feet thick, with rounded edges to the doors and windows, but it's actually super neat looking.
 
Our first Sunday in the ward was pretty great too. There are SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH BUILDING. Coming from a little branch in Newfoundland, it was a really weird experience. And they have youth! Gaaah!
 
I didn't realize how different Newfoundland is until we got back to Nova Scotia. And then it was like, woah! I'm back in Canada! Haha. They have a Winners! And a Superstore! And a mall! :) I keep using Newfie expressions by accident and everyone's getting confused, haha.
 
Love,
Sister Jaclyn Olson