January 13, 2014

French Speaking!

Dear Mom,

I'll just get the big news out of the way...I'm getting transferred to the Moncton ward! The ward covers Riverview, Moncton, and Dieppe, and I'm supposed to focus on Dieppe, because I'm going French speaking!!! My companion, Sister Vera, has been out for one transfer. She's Latina and moved to Montréal when she was 5, so she's fluent in French, which is a really good thing. Part of me is really excited, and part of me is like, "...crap, why did I tell him I speak French?" haha.

So on Monday we picked up Andrea, one of the Laurels in the ward, to come with us to a lesson, but when we got there, her mom said she was in the bathtub. So we went to try to check on some other potentials, none of whom were home or available, so we drove back to Charis' house, sat outside for a bit, and then went to the door to see if she was now available. She was, which was awesome. We read Mosiah 4 with her, and it led to her sharing about how she likes doing nice things for people because it gives her a warm feeling inside, which we of course pounced on like, "THAT'S WHAT THE SPIRIT FEELS LIKE!!!!" (Seriously, I love it when investigators have already had experiences with the Spirit. It makes things so much easier.) So then we explained about how the gift of the Holy Ghost allows us to have those feelings all the time, and how when we try to do what God wants instead of what we want, we feel the Spirit more, and also how reading the Book of Mormon can bring the Spirit. She hadn't been keeping her commitments to read the Book of Mormon, but she really liked the chapter we read and understanding that there are more ways to feel the Spirit seemed to really interest her, so that was a really exciting lesson.

Tuesday was district meeting, which was awesome as usual. Elder Jensen asked us to come with questions real investigators had asked us, which we could then use in roleplays about resolving concerns with the Book of Mormon. I came with, "I don't believe the Holy Ghost is a person, I believe it's an energy of love and knowledge. I am totally not okay with believing he is a person." Elder McMullin just looked at me and finally said, "Seriously?!?!" hahaha. (That's pretty much how I reacted inside when Val asked me that too.) It was pretty funny. But he went to the Topical Guide, like I did, and managed to find a good scripture about it. After district meeting, Sister Jarvis took a really bad fall on the ice (it was 10 degrees on Monday and then everything re-froze on Tuesday, so the entire town was basically thick, smooth-but-also-uneven ice). She was laughing and upset at the same time. (I only mention it because it becomes relevant in later stories.) Then we went to Val and Tracy's lesson, which was kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, they really enjoy the Book of Mormon and we've been focusing on reading with them, but on the other hand, Val doesn't feel like she'll be ready to quit smoking by her baptismal date, and she doesn't want to work towards a new date. She still wants to meet with us and work towards quitting smoking eventually, but it was a bit discouraging. After Val, we went to see Sandra, which was a good visit, and then we stopped by Shauna really briefly before her dinner appointment. She was drunk when we showed up, and it basically confirmed the impression we'd been getting that she's not really in a stable enough place to meet with us right now. Which is really too bad, because she was really excited when we first started meeting with her, and I know she'll be really great someday. After that, we had a DA with the Woodruffs, who are totally awesome. She always teases me because she makes a lot of sugar-free food, and obviously I have a huge sweet tooth, but I actually like her healthy DA's. Then we went to check on some potentials and do some finding, but nothing really exciting happened.

Sister Jarvis woke up SUPER sore on Wednesday and basically had the mobility of a 90-year-old woman, so I had to tie and untie her boots every single time we entered or left someone's home. It was pretty funny. We had correlation, as usual, and studies, and then we went street contacting. I think it was actually above zero, which means people were actually on the streets, which meant we actually got to talk to a large amount of people for the first time ever, which really set the tone for the whole day to feel super productive, which was a pleasant surprise, since the way correlation disrupts studies tends to make it feel like kind of a blah day for me a lot of the time. After street contacting, we re-taught Kiera the Restoration at her grandma's house (since Sister Coleman and I did a pretty non-9-year-old-appropriate job of it the first time). We bought a puzzle and put it together, and then took pieces away to visually demonstrate the analogy for her. It went over pretty well. We also gave her a "prayer rock" – which you put on your pillow and on the floor to remind you to do night and morning prayers – which she really liked. I forgot how much 9-year-olds tend to like rocks. After that, we went knocking. We made the strategic error of picking a street on a hill, with steep driveways, when it was still RIDICULOUSLY icy, so it probably took at least 2 or 3 times longer to knock than it should have. (I'm proud to report that I haven't fallen once on the ice. I think it's because walking without tripping takes enough concentration for me normally that it's not difficult for me to remember to pay attention to the ice.) Then we had a DA with the Walkers, who are pretty much the awesomest family that doesn't realize how awesome they are. Seriously, they told us about one time when their branch president about 20 years ago asked the members to all go knocking, and they went knocking for like a month! Who does that??? They're awesome. Then we tried to do more finding in the evening, but nobody really let us in.

Also, at some point on Wednesday Muzammil texted to cancel our lesson because he was sick. Then he texted, "So I just Googled my symptoms and it turns out I'm pregnant." Then he followed up with, "It's probably a food baby," and "With the way I eat, it's probably triplets." It was hilarious.

We were supposed to do service at the hospital on Thursday, but I was feeling kind of feverish and I didn't want to infect all the old people with whatever mysterious microorganism makes you moderately sick for pretty much a whole transfer (I feel better today now that the transfer's almost over, so don't worry). So we got the Elders to go instead, and we stayed home and did 12-week, which turned out to be totally inspired. It was the week to focus on the "Revelation through Prayer" fundamental, which came in handy later. After that, we went street contacting again (I love street contacting. Never thought I'd say that.) Then we had another lesson with Val and Tracy, and then we only had about 15 minutes, so we went to the post office to mail a package of stuff I want, but not until after my mission, home. (Pres. Leavitt says doing small errands when you only have little pockets of time in order to give a pass-along card to the cashier is acceptable, so I'm not being disobedient, don't worry.) Then we had a visit with Sister Martin, a less-active member. We've been focusing on what Elder Davidson calls "CPR" (Church, Prayer, Reading) with the LA's, so our Ward Mission Leader has asked us to read the Book of Mormon with them in appointments. So we read Ether 12 with her, and discussed it, and it was really cool to see her receive personal revelation for why she has to make more of an effort to come to church. I love it when that happens because it's so much more meaningful when the Spirit says it than when we say it. After that, we had a lesson with Michelle. We decided to re-teach part of the Restoration lesson, from the Saviour's Earthly Ministry to the Restoration, and be super bold about how EVERYONE needs to join the church. We started out with a Book of Mormon scripture, ended up going back a little more than we planned into Prophets and Dispensations, and then taught a simple, but powerful lesson. We ended up going more into the need for a modern prophet than into the First Vision again, which was awesome, and we showed her videos of President Monson and committed her to watch parts of last General Conference. It was awesome. At the end, we'd been talking that morning in 12-week about how we need to get her to pray with us, and Sister Jarvis totally nailed it and after some initial resistance, Michelle prayed to know that President Monson was a prophet. It was awesome. And then she committed to come to church. Awesome. Once in a while, you have a lesson that just makes you think, "That could have been on the District!" and it's awesome. So after that, we basically slayed our k's by speeding the longer-distance-but-significantly-faster-time route to the opposite end of our area for a dinner appointment, but it was totally worth it. After dinner and during the spiritual thought, I started feeling SO bloated for no particular reason (I'm beginning to suspect the Saint John water significantly disagrees with me), so that was uncomfortable, but also completely hilarious once we escaped to the car and I unzipped my skirt. Many laughs were shared. 

Friday was weekly planning, and Sister Jarvis felt really sick. I also felt more feverish than Thursday, but not as bad as her. So we tried to go to Charis' lesson, but she wasn't home, so we came home and Sister Jarvis just went to bed. I ended up having a lengthy text conversation with Charis later – her boyfriend is getting arrested on false charges and the whole "why does God let bad things happen to good people?" question was causing a serious crisis of faith. It didn't really get resolved, which is discouraging. I also watched "Together Forever" and "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" on our mini DVD player for the first time. They're both REALLY cheesy 80's church videos. The first one was cheesy in a way that made me cry, and the second one was cheesy in a way that made me laugh at a lot of parts that weren't supposed to be funny. (Why is he on a horse???) I told Sister Jarvis about it the next day and she was like, "Wait, you cried???" hahaha.

Saturday was pretty busy. We taught Sister Orford pretty early in the morning (since she works nights), and then we had a lunch appointment with Sandra. She made us pizza and fries, which was basically the last thing I wanted in my stomach after being sick, so I felt pretty gross for the rest of the day. After that, we went by Val and Tracy's to read in the Book of Mormon with them, which was a pretty short appointment. We were supposed to go street contacting, but it was SO rainy. Seriously. I think Saint John got about 50 mm of rain. The mall and the Walmart on the east side were totally flooded. So instead we sat in the car and texted Michelle, who must have read something on the Internet that upset her or something, because she ended up dropping us without ever explaining why, despite our best efforts to resolve it. So that was pretty much the most depressing thing that's happened all transfer. Then we tried to go contacting inside the Pedway, but apparently the inhabitants of Saint John were afraid the rain would melt them, because basically nobody was outside or in the Pedway. So we went to stop by some potentials, had dinner, and then we went knocking in the pouring rain, in the dark, trying not to slip on the ice. It ended up being really fun, actually.

Sunday morning we got transfer letters, which was exciting. It turned out the Elders drove to the Metro early for transfers and weren't there on Sunday, which was a surprise, so the whole time at church was basically really weird. We printed off a ward list and spent some time going through it together so I could impart all of my knowledge about the area to Sister Jarvis and she could make notes. While we were there, someone called the church asking to meet with the missionaries, and I picked up, so it was basically AWESOME. We set up an appointment for Tuesday. We're really excited about that. I didn't have my planner when I sprinted to the phone, but there happened to be a piece of chalk nearby, so I wrote their info in chalk on the wall temporarily, haha. Then we tried to contact a referral, but she wasn't home, and then we went to a DA with the Bishop's family. They showed us their family mission plan, which is fantastic. All of their goals are specific, and then they have blanks like "Friend's name ______ Date ______" or "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" so they can check off their progress as they go and monitor it. It was great. Bishop Ross also gave us some pretty bizarre tasting herbal teas (piña colada???), which was amusing. Then we tried to contact a few old potentials from when the previous sisters were here, in our efforts to clean up the area book, but they weren't home, so we went knocking. We knocked into a JW for the first time, and I ended up having a half-hour conversation with him at the door. I really enjoyed it, but I think Sister Jarvis got pretty bored of standing there in the cold. Finally, we went to visit Sister Neilsen, one of the less-active members, before going home. The transfer news stressed Sister Jarvis and I both out, which manifested in me as "foot in the mouth syndrome" all day and manifested in her as "especially sensitive even without me being stupid" all day, so today's been fun. But I guess it's going to be a good learning experience.

Sister Olson

(Everyone in the maritimes is so short and it makes me feel like a giant every time I get my picture with people, haha.)

Myself and Sister Orford

Sister Raeburn and I

Myself and Gabbie
Sister Findlay and I

Sister Woodruff and I

Me and Bishop Ross' family. The kids, from oldest to youngest: Eleyna, Duncan, Julianna. You will notice that Julianna held my hand in all the pictures without me even asking her to, because she's adorable.

Myself and Sister Hofmann

1 comment:

  1. We know you're in Hawaii, but Emerson is beside herself waiting for the next installments!