September 16, 2013

New Brunswick

Dear Mom,

I still think it's genetically unfair that Carmen gets to be so tan.

Yep, we memorize D&C 4. Every morning we recite our missionary purpose, which is "My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." We also recite "My Missionary Commission" by Bruce R. McConkie, which reads, "I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation, I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master, and He has chosen me to represent Him – to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He were personally ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is to do what He wants done, to say what He wants said, to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvellous latter day work. How great is my calling!"

Then at night we recite the Standard of Truth by Joseph Smith and D&C 4. The Standard of Truth reads: "The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say, the work is done."

I think just the missionary purpose and D&C 4 are church-wide, and the other two are just something our mission asks us to memorize.

This week was sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

So Monday was our last P-day. We all went out for sushi as a district, which was pretty much the greatest thing ever. It was so funny because it's an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the APs weren't with us last time we went out for sushi, so they were super worried we were ordering too much and wouldn't be able to finish it. I personally promised them that I would make sure it all got finished, haha. Which resulted in me being forced to eat some pretty nasty stuff they foolishly ordered. But it was really fun. It's really funny because all the Elders in our mission are super worried about gaining weight, so they're always talking about their diet shakes and their diet pills and calories and whatnot. Elder Nzojibwami asked me at lunch, "Sister Olson, if I got a sub that weighed 78 g and was 210 calories, and Elder Penitch got a sub that was 71 g and 200 calories, who ordered the healthier sub?" I was just like, are you serious???? And he was. Meanwhile I'm over here like, "My goal is to try every flavour of Dairy Queen blizzard before I go home." Hahaha.

After P-day on Monday we went to go teach Lindsay and Steve, and found that it was just Lindsay. Steve moved out for some fairly intense personal reasons. However, they were both still interested in learning, so we taught Lindsay, and then we went and taught Steve at his parent's house where he is currently staying. It was actually really awesome, because they are SO different when they're apart. We feel like even though the reasons for it were bad, the Lord is able to turn it for good because they both really needed to be taught separately. It turns out Lindsay is actually SUPER solid, whereas before we thought she was the less interested one. We taught to her concerns with Steve moving out for a bit, then we answered questions from church about men and the priesthood, which was one of those times where the teaching is super inspired and the concern gets totally resolved. Those are always awesome. Then we taught the Law of Chastity AND the Word of Wisdom in the same lesson. I had been super nervous about that, but with Steve moving out she was just like, chastity? Sure thing! Haha. The Word of Wisdom also went super well. She needs to quit smoking, but she accepted it really easily. Then we went and taught Steve. Turns out he's not nearly as solid as we thought he was, but we were able to really uncover some concerns and see what he needs for his progression, so that was really great.

I don't really remember what we did on Tuesday because I forgot last transfer's planner at home. But I know that we taught Lorraine, who we'd picked up weeks ago but then had some health problems that delayed our lesson. We had a really great lesson with her about the Book of Mormon, which was totally not our lesson plan, but we really helped her see that it was true. Then she asked, well, even if I know this is true, why do I have to join your church? We ended up leaving that question for Sister Echols to resolve next week, because we didn't really have time and it basically would have required re-teaching the entire restoration, but she's becoming a more solid investigator and that's great. Then we went finding for a bit, I think, and visited a few less-actives to say goodbye, and we kind of ran out of plans and were really tired and Sister Echols thought we should go home and let me pack. But I didn't feel good about that. So we decided to make a last-minute visit to a less-active we'd been working with before, but who wasn't progressing and who we'd been visiting less often. We had a GREAT lesson with her and really helped her to see that she wants to regain her testimony and come back to church, and that she'd been upset by the culture in the church but that she still believed the doctrine and wanted to work towards overcoming what's holding her back. It was definitely the best lesson we'd had with her, so I was really glad we visited her!

And then on Wednesday we went to the temple since it was the end of the transfer. The new video is amazing. At first I didn't like it just because I wasn't used to it (obviously all the words and stuff are the same though), but then I realized how much I was learning from it and how inspired it was and I was just in awe. I seriously learned SO much from it. After that, we had coordination with our ward mission leader's wife (since we weren't able to see him before transfers and we wanted to make sure the transition was smooth, since Sister Echols is in Newfoundland for a musical concert all weekend and the APs are moving out of the ward too) and we had lunch with her. Then we went to Dairy Queen because we were still hungry. After that, we went to teach Steve again. It was cool because he said that some things we said in earlier lessons stuck with him, and I was just thinking, "I don't even remember trying to teach ____." It's cool to see how the Spirit teaches for us. He's still not as solid, but he's getting there and he sees what he needs to do to gain a testimony. After that, we had a dinner appointment with the Renzettis in the ward, who fed us a lobster dinner for my last day in Nova Scotia. It was awesome! Cruz, their son, is a recent convert, so we taught him the first half of the Restoration. Brother Renzetti said we're much better teachers than the elders, haha. Then we rushed to ANOTHER dinner appointment. For future reference, that is a BAD idea. What happened is the WML's wife sets up our DA's for us. But we forgot to tell her the Renzettis were having us, so she scheduled us with a family that's usually really busy and we felt bad cancelling. So we were like, it's okay, we'll just leave room. Nope. We were SO FULL afterwards. It turns out the other family is one of those families that just likes to stuff you. Grossss. Haha. 

Then we went up to the moon to teach Lindsay and her kids again. We followed up on the Word of Wisdom and taught it more in detail, and also committed her kids to live it. And it was a totally awesome lesson because she got a specific answer to prayer about the Book of Mormon!!! She said she'd been praying on the way to work. She ramps cars at work, and there's this one model of car that she really really doesn't like ramping and usually avoids, but that day she ramped them and just felt totally peaceful and not worried at all. And the whole time, she was apparently just thinking about how she prayed that morning and how the Book of Mormon is true. She was so excited to tell us all about it. It made me really happy :)

Then we went home and I packed. The next day, we went to the mission office and loaded everyone into the transfer van and drove to Fredericton...or maybe Moncton...for transfers. I got to see Sister Nelson again, my STL from Newfoundland who is also my STL here in New Brunswick, and I met Sister Lewis, who greeted me with, "hey future companion!" She's the other sister who speaks French really well. I also saw Elder Jensen, who is the Zone Leader over the other New Brunswick zone, which was SUPER weird, and Elder Widdup was there too. Then they put us in a truck with a couple of Elders and said, "Go find the Hampton Elder's apartment." Haha. Good thing I had a GPS. From there, we picked up our car and drove to our apartment, which is right by the university and is really nice. The address is:

9 Sproul Ct. #4
Saint John, NB
E2K 2K8

My new companion, Sister Coleman, is from Chiliwack BC. She's 22 and is basically the most legit missionary ever. She really doesn't even need to be trained, and she is SO dedicated and just wants to do the work for the purest reasons. She lived in Spain for 10 months, so she speaks Spanish (which has already been helpful, and I found I can understand a few things still) and she speaks French a bit too, although not as well as Sister Lewis or I. She's awesome. She's also the only other missionary I've met so far who graphs things as part of personal study, haha. We get along great. Once we got to the area, we had a coordination meeting with Elder Dubyk from Edmonton and Elder Jensen from Raymond, who is the DL, in order to get oriented to the area. Then we met with the Relief Society President and visited a few less actives in the ward.

On Friday, we had breakfast/correlation with the WML, Brother Cosman, who is a pretty cool guy. His wife's parents, the Hilchies, lived in Parkland Ward and know Grandpa and Grandma Olson, which was cool. Then we visited another less-active, Holly, who we are really hopeful about, and then we had weekly planning together. It was SO inefficient together, plus the Elders totally forgot Sister Coleman is BRAND NEW and I really wanted to orient her to weekly planning. So that was a bit frustrating. But we finally managed to plan pretty effectively. Then we went and contacted some people in the North End, which is totally ghetto, haha. (Seriously though, we're not going to go finding there after dark.) We had an AWESOME experience where we went to contact a former, and it turns out she's moved out, but the lady living there now is GOLDEN. She had a bunch of questions, and every answer we gave totally made sense to her. She's really open to the Spirit, and she says she's investigating different religions right now. She wasn't able to let us in at the time to have a lesson, but we're really excited about her. Then we had a games night at the Church, and one of the less-active families we'd visited the previous day came! It was so great.

On Saturday, we had a lesson with a potential the Elders had been working with, and she became a new investigator for us! Her name is Phoebe, and she's been through a lot, but she's very strong in the Bible and in how it can help her. It was a little hard to get her to talk about anything else, actually. But we really managed to testify and the Spirit was really strong. Sister Coleman is a GREAT teacher for being brand new. Then we finished studying, and went out finding. We tried to go street contacting, but we don't know the city very well and we ended up not being able to find a street that was really busy enough to be productive. But Sister Coleman really took "Talk to everyone" to heart and talked to EVERYONE. It was awesome! After that, we had a DA with the Bishop. He majored in history and classics and is now a librarian at the university. Sister Coleman is a modern language and linguistics major, and then there's me. So we had a great conversation about literature and grammar. He really enjoyed it. We also were able to really coordinate and figure out how we can work with him. He's an awesome bishop and it's a really strong ward, even though it's a little small, so I'm excited about that.

Yesterday we had church, which was great as usual, and then we went to contact Holly, to follow up on her not coming to church, and we contacted referrals. We didn't really have much success finding that afternoon. It was a beautiful day with great weather, so we went park contacting, but ALL THE PARKS WERE EMPTY. It was so weird. I don't understand this city yet, haha. Then we went knocking, and we got some great potentials before going to Ward Council. It's probably the best-run ward council I've seen so far. A lot of specific and useful assignments are made, and it was awesome. Then we went to a DA with a less-active, which was delicious, and then we went home and did 12-week, since we didn't have time before church. I'm enjoying 12-week SO much more the second time around.

So basically, every area and companion gets better than the last. I like this trend.

Sister Olson

Lindsey, Grace, and I

Elder Jensen and I

Sister Stewart (the WML's wife) and I

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