September 23, 2013


Dear Mom,

I met the other Sister Olson when she came out. She's pretty nice. It's confusing to have two Sister Olsons from Calgary who play the piano, haha. I don't know who the Roberts' granddaughter is though.

On Monday, Sister Coleman and I spent a very busy P-day getting everything we needed for the apartment. It had been left empty for a few months and we had been eating some pretty weird food until we could go shopping, haha. We then went to a lesson with Phoebe, where we got a lot of concerns out about not being deceived and what her family would think. I think she's really getting her fears get to her and they're preventing her from progressing, which is totally sad because fear comes from Satan and not the Lord. After that, we tried to go contacting, which was unsuccessful and rather inefficient in terms of kilometres, but the Lord's hand was totally in it, because we figured out where to go street contacting over the course of driving all over the city, which was AWESOME for the rest of the week.

Tuesday was Zone Training in Fredericton, which was really good. Elder Evanson gave a great training on being motivated and talking to everyone, and he said something to the effect of "I don't care how many baptisms I have; I just want the Celestial Kingdom to be full when I get there." I think that's the best attitude for anyone to have, whether a full-time missionary or a member – we really just should be spending our lives trying to bring as many people along with us to the Celestial Kingdom as possible, and when we do that, we can have confidence that it will be full when we get there, even if we don't see any of the results. After Zone Training, we found out that President Leavitt bought EVERY AREA the book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" by Clayton M. Christensen, which was pretty much the most exciting thing ever, because (1) it's an awesome book and (2) I haven't had a new book in 6 months! I read the whole thing by Wednesday morning, and I love it. Not only does it really give a lot of insight into how to make missionary work a part of your life, but at the end it talks about being the kind of ward or person that the Lord can trust – that when the Lord knows we'll really just do what's required, like opening our mouths, inviting, and fellowshipping, the Lord sends us more prepared people. It's not about being a "natural" missionary – it's about the desire of our hearts, and the Lord sends people to us when he knows we'll take care of them.

After that, we had a lesson with Melissa, an investigator that the Elders passed over to us. She's awesome. We asked her why she doesn't feel ready to be baptized yet and she was basically like, I don't really know. We think her worries about her fiancé's opinion are holding her back from reading and praying, and that's preventing her testimony from being strong enough to motivate her to act. So we're going to work on that. Her fiancé should be at our lesson with her tonight and we're pretty excited. Then we had dinner and contacting, which was AWESOME! I've never gone street contacting before because my areas never really had busy streets, but we went uptown and it just felt so great to talk to everyone. President Leavitt wants us to keep track of how many pass-along cards we give out, and talk to at least 50 people per day. I'm pretty sure the only time I've talked to 50 people in a day before this was the YSA speed dating activity where I accidentally just told every single guy about Mason in under two minutes, hahaha. So this is definitely a new experience, and definitely not my personality, but I love it. It's clear that this is inspiration from our leaders and that being obedient to it will bless us, and it just makes Sister Coleman and I really happy to street contact now.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Holly, a less-active we're working with. Her desire is there, but she's basically just been less-active for so long that she excuses herself. She's really awesome, but she also tends to shield herself from impressions that would get her to change based on the fact that we're younger than her and therefore can't identify with her, etc. So we're going to start teaching her lessons with the basis of "this is the principle we felt impressed to teach you, and we know we can't understand you perfectly, so we're going to leave the Spirit to teach you the applications to your own life." Afterwards, we had lunch with the RS President to talk about the sisters in the ward we can work with. She made lasagna and it was awesome! Then we went to visit a less-active family. We think we're going to start focusing on teaching her children and giving them commitments to work on Faith in God, etc., with their family, since the dad won't meet with us and the mom won't really open up. We think the children will be the key. Then we went contacting a bit more, and went out to Grand Bay for dinner, which is basically on the moon. I've never had a big lunch appointment AND a big DA in the same day, and it was painful. Hahaha. We had a really great discussion about member missionary work with them, but I think we got a little too enthusiastic and spent too long teaching them, since that basically ate up our evening.

Thursday started out with service at the hospital, which is basically helping old people with the recreational therapy programs they have for long-term patients. It was pretty nice. After that, we had call day, which was pretty funny. Since it's a new area we weren't being as effective as we could, but I wasn't worried about it because it's a new area and I know we're following the Spirit and doing our best and success will come. But Elder Jensen told me so many times not to feel frustrated or discouraged or inadequate that it was just like, "What are you trying to say??" hahaha. I think he meant well, he just didn't realize I was already emotionally there. Then we went street contacting some more, and we had two contacts in French! One was a family from Belgium, and they were kind of staring at me blankly and then started talking to each other in French trying to figure out what I wanted, so I just started over in French. "Je suis une missionaire pour l'Église..." It was pretty awesome. They were nice about it and I explained the website and told them to check it out in French and that they could request missionaries in Belgium if they were interested. The other guy was not interested at all – I think he was using the "I don't speak English" as an excuse, since his accent seemed pretty good to me. So Sister Coleman and I started talking to him in French, and he kind of dithered a bit and said "Je ne suis pas croyant" and walked away really quickly, haha. Then we went to a lesson with Phoebe with a recently reactivated member, Sandra, which was a really awesome experience for Sandra. Phoebe was less committed than she had been in the previous lesson, and I think this week will be the one where we kind of make it or break it.

After the lesson with Phoebe, we travelled to Sister's Conference, which was a pretty fun drive. I may or may not have had candy for dinner. With five minutes to go, I got pulled over for speeding (apparently there's no "everyone drives 10 over rule"), which was super annoying. The rest of the drive was fun though. We took Sister Sandberg and Sister Riddle with us, which was great since Sister Sandberg came out with me and I hadn't really seen her since. At one point, Sister Coleman, Sister Rust and I started talking about Harry Potter, and apparently Sister Sandberg was looking at all of us like "What the heck is this?" hahahaha. It didn't even occur to me that the conversation was nerdy, actually, that's apparently how far gone I am. We got into Halifax really late and stayed at the Halifax Sister's apartment. Then we got up really early and went to Sister's Conference. We had some really great trainings on talking to everyone and setting inspired goals before we plan. It really gave us a lot of focus into how we can be more effective. We also talked about the dress code (again) and discussed call days and how the DLs and ZLs were going. The general consensus was that asking 20-year-old guys to check up on how we're doing is awkward and also ineffective, since most of them don't really know how to ask girls how they're doing. Haha. Then we all went out for dinner, and went street contacting. We rushed back in order to make it to the temple, which was a really great experience. There were SO many sisters! They basically just brought in some temple workers to go through the session so we could have a prayer circle, and virtually the whole rest of the endowment session was sisters. It was really cool to be in the Celestial Room and see us all walking around in white. It was like a little taste of the "how great will be your joy with them in the kingdom of my Father" promise. Then we got to bed really late AGAIN because everyone insisted on taking pictures outside the temple (I didn't have my camera, sorry). 

The next morning, we all met at the mission home at 6:30 in the morning for a testimony meeting before the Newfoundland sisters flew back. We then had breakfast, packed up, and drove back home. Amusingly, Sister Coleman got pulled over for the exact same accidental speeding offence, except she didn't get a ticket. We both thought that was hilarious. We had the greatest conversations on the way back – about the linguistic similarities between Elvish and Arabic, about our goals for the next three transfers, and also narrating our drive through spontaneous song. It was pretty funny. We've also been speaking French as much as possible whenever we're not studying, teaching, or planning (so our language skills don't hinder the work), which has been a really great experience. We did a musical number, Souviens-toi, at Sister's Conference, and President asked me after if he thought we could serve in a completely French area, like 95% French. I was just like, YES YES YES. So we'll see.

On Saturday night, we went knocking and found a new investigator, Carly, who was basically like, "Yeah I've been trying to decide which church to join" and we were all like, "Our church!" Haha. It was a quick lesson since we had a DA around the corner in a few minutes, but I'm excited to go back and see her next week. Then we went to the DA, where they served curry and naan bread and basically made my entire day, except then the best thing ever happened after that, so THAT was really what made my entire day. We went to go contact a potential we'd talked to a few times at the door. She let us in and we had a lesson and she's basically the most golden investigator ever! All her questions were like, "So what do you believe about X? Oh, that's what I've always thought. Why don't any other churches teach this?" and the whole situation was basically compelling us to teach the Restoration and commit her and her two children to baptism, which we did. So Heather, Cody, and Olivia are on date for October 26! Her husband sounds like he'll probably be interested and accepting as well; he was just at work. We were SO excited. 

They didn't come to church on Sunday since we taught them Saturday night and they couldn't rearrange their plans that quickly, but church was great anyways. Bishop Ross brought his friend Courtney, who is a college student, to church and we got to meet her. She works in the university library with him and we talked to her today and set up an appointment, which was awesome. After church, we went over the ward list with the Elders, since Elder Dubyk knows everyone, and then I asked Elder Jensen to give me a blessing. Afterwards, he said that when he was giving the blessing, he had this image in his mind of Heavenly Father talking to someone else and telling them, "Yeah, Sister Olson is my daughter and she does this and this and this..." It was really cool. The blessing also said that the place and timing of my mission were very deliberate and done for a wise purpose, which was really nice to hear because I never really received a confirmation one way or the other about whether or not to serve a mission, so I always felt like it was the right thing to do, but I never really knew if the Lord had needed me to serve here or not.

After church, we did weekly planning (since we couldn't on Friday because of Sister's Conference), and then we had a dinner appointment. The husband actually served most of his mission here because of health problems, and he had served in the Lake Echo/Porter's Lake area! I was glad to be able to talk to him because apparently when he was there, it was a really hard area and nobody wanted to hear the gospel. I could tell it made him feel really good to hear that it's now the Golden Land of our area, and that we found a new investigator every time we went out there. It was just really great to see. After that, we tried to go see their less-active sister at their request. She lives uptown in a three-story house that's been chopped up into apartments, and the light for the landing was broken, and it was pretty creepy. But nobody answered the door, so all was good, haha. We'll go back during the day sometime. Then we went home and did 12-week, and were pleased but surprised when we reviewed our week to find that despite all the time spent out of the area this week and the slow start to the week, we actually had a lot of success.

Sister Olson

 My zone
We stopped by the Elder's apartment one day when they were out to pick up more supplies, and we found a YW poster in their workout room.
Sisters Conference

Melissa asked us to deliver this Storm Trooper helmet to Elder West when we went to Sister's Conference. I had to get a photo first.

A funny picture I saw at the hospital on the Ethics bulletin board.

The Dr. Pepper pamphlet organizer. My influence on the apartment is becoming more and more obvious as time passes.

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