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!

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