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.
Sister Jaclyn Olson