January 20, 2014

Sister Training Leader?

Bonjour ma famille!
Sounds like Hawaii is pretty sweet.
Last Monday we did our laundry and then we drove out to Rowley to teach Kiera and her family. We planned a lot of fun object lessons to re-teach the Restoration, and it went over really well. We also contacted two referrals a member gave us that lived way out there, and one of them became a potential, so that was really exciting. Because travel time took so long, that was basically all of Monday.
On Tuesday we were supposed to have a trainer's skype call, so we went to the church only to discover the Internet didn't work. I spent a stressful half-hour trying to fix it, only to find out that I wasn't supposed to attend after all, which was a last-minute change that nobody told me about. So then we did studies at the church before going to visit with Val and Tracy. When we got there, she unexpectedly wanted to talk about quitting smoking, so we kind of dropped our lesson plan and talked about that. We went on the Addiction Recovery website and she realized that her problem is that she wants to be baptized, stop sinning, and be healthy, so she wants to quit smoking, but she doesn't have that desire just for quitting smoking. So she offered a REALLY powerful prayer during the lesson asking to have her heart changed and have that desire to quit. It was AWESOME. Then we went to a lesson with the people who phoned us last Sunday at the church. It turns out he used to be a member, and was a temple worker in Idaho and everything, and then he got offended and had his name removed. He's on his second marriage, and his wife isn't a member, but was investigating in Moncton. So we taught about forgiveness and committed both of them to read Alma 5 together and pray about it. Then we went to see Courtney one last time, and that was a really great lesson too. She's been receiving personal revelation from the Book of Mormon recently, so I was pretty excited about that. She made homemade chocolate cream puffs, which was pretty much fantastic. Then we were supposed to have a DA with the Crilleys, but Sister Crilley got called into work, so we met her at the hospital and she bought us Tim Horton's. Then we were going to go contact a referral, but Sister Jarvis was trying to micromanage my packing in advance, because she gets really stressed out by packing, so that was stressing me out, so I decided we just needed to go home and get everything packed so she'd stop worrying. Then we had a lesson with Sister Atwin. I let Sister Jarvis drive because she's going to be the designated driver with Sister Echols, and I thought it would be good for her to practice before I left. Plus it was raining, and she doesn't like the way I drive in rain, so that was more stress management right there. Haha. We showed up and Sister Atwin had like 18 boxes of used books all around her living room, which she'd gotten off kijii. It was pretty funny.
Wednesday was correlation, and then studies, and then we ran some errands like getting my prescription filled and stuff. Then we had a lesson with Sandra, which was pretty much the most personally cool lesson I've had so far. Sandra's one of my favourites, and I was sharing a thought with her from D&C 18. When I got to verse 15 about "and if it so be that you should labour all your days..." I unexpectedly got really choked up and basically couldn't read the scripture anymore and Sister Jarvis had to finish it. Finally I just told Sandra, "I want to see you there!" I don't know, it was really cool. I just love the people of Saint John so much and I can't imagine anything happier than having a Saint John reunion in the Celestial Kingdom. After that, the Elders asked us to come to a lesson. She lived SOOOOO far away but it was totally worth it! Her name is June and she's in her 70's. The Elders got a call from a member in Ontario referring her. Turns out, this member is one of her good friends, and she's been having a hard time recently, and the member bore his testimony to her over the phone of how the church would help, and she was SO prepared. She's super talkative, so at first the How To Begin Teaching was getting really off track and Elder Torrie kept catching my eye and almost laughing. But then we settled into teaching the Restoration and it was awesome. I got to teach the First Vision and she was just nodding the whole time, and when Sister Jarvis committed her to read the Book of Mormon and pray, she said, "Oh, I already know it's true!" Then Elder Jensen gave her the church address and she said, "I would have come last week, but I didn't know where it was yet." And then the Elders started wrapping up the lesson without even challenging her to baptism! I was just like, whaaaaaaaat? So I brought it back and obviously she accepted it no problem, so now she's on date for February 15th. It was so cool. After that, we went and stopped in on Jackie, which was nice because I got to see her one last time, but she's still stuck on authority and I don't know how much longer she'll be taught. Then we had a DA with the Walkers, an awesome member couple, and then we had a lesson with Muzammil. We had to play catch-up since he'd been in Ottawa and then he'd been sick, and it was a bit frustrating because I think he regressed a lot back into thinking Islam is true, which was a bit disappointing.
Thursday morning Sister Sandberg dropped off Sister Echols and drove with me to Moncton to drop me off and get her new companion. So we went up to Moncton, arrived super early, went to Tim Horton's, and then the other missionaries started showing up for transfers. All the sister missionaries in the New Brunswick East zone started coming up to me like, "Hey, you're my new STL!" and I was like, "Um...no I'm not?" We talked about it and guessed that President probably changed his mind before he told me, but after he told them, so we decided I should just ask him about it in my email on Monday to double-check. So I met Sister Vera and then we went back to our apartment building. The Call's, the senior couple who used to be in this ward, lived in the same apartment building and all their stuff needed to be moved to Saint Stephen, so a lot of the elders came along to help out with that, and then we moved in and unpacked. Then we sat down and made some long-term goals for the area, using the Vision/Goal/Plan/Monitor cycle that President Leavitt is a big fan of, and then we started calling various ward leaders and asking if there were any less-active members we should go visit. Well, instead of LA's, they just told us about a lot of active members who are going through one thing or another, but we decided to visit some anyways, so we went and saw Sister Poirier, whose husband just passed away. Her daughter Diane Poirier was there visiting, and it turns out she was in Grandma and Grandpa's old ward in Lethbridge! So that was pretty cool. Then we went to Walmart to pick up some essential things the apartment was missing (like pillows...?) and that was Thursday.
Friday was weekly planning, aka "trying to make sense of the area book since we're both new," and then we had a meeting with the Elders in the ward to correlate some things and try to get a little more settled in. That basically took FOREVER, so then we went home and had dinner. During dinner, Sister Broadhead called like, "Hey, you're my co-STL!" So I told her I hadn't heard anything about it, so she offered to call some people for me, and eventually she called back and it turns out I'm an STL. Not gonna lie, my first thought was "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy????" Haha. Whitewashing, new language, and STL with no idea how to be one. But I quickly just decided I was going to just do it and not waste time worrying about if I could do it. After dinner, the Dieppe elders called and asked if we wanted to go street contacting by the mall. Street contacting was pretty much the last thing I wanted to try in French, but Sister Vera was all like, "Sure!" so we went to that. It was probably good because I got to kind of jump in head first. Turns out I know enough French to do a street contact. I love serving in French, every time I have a conversation with someone I'm just really excited afterwards because I actually MADE IT THROUGH THE CONVERSATION, even if they rejected us in the end. Haha. So that was really fun. After that, we tried to stop by another investigator, but it turns out the Sisters didn't tell her they were getting transferred and she was pretty upset, so we'll see how that goes.Then we went around delivering some cards from Sister Lewis, who previously served in the Moncton ward and was Sister Vera's last companion. This one lady invited us in to talk, and as we were chatting, I mentioned that we were French-speaking missionaries. Her eyes lit right up and she said, "You're French-speaking?! Your English is so good!!!" Hahahahahahahahahaha. It was SO funny. She kept going on about how poorly most of the French missionaries speak English. I just smiled graciously and said "Thank you!", and managed to contain my laughter until we got back out to the car. I think that was my favourite moment all week.
On Saturday morning the ZLs called a skype meeting with the STLs and DLs, so that was pretty interesting, and then we went home to finish studying and have lunch. After that, we went street contacting for a bit while we waited for the bus. (We have a car and also bus passes.) We took the bus out to Riverview, which was the English sisters' area. Elder Widdup -- by the way, Elder Widdup who used to be in my ward is serving in Dieppe and is my DL, he says hi -- didn't want the area to just be empty, so we decided we'd split Dieppe and Riverview between the elders and sisters. So we tried to stop in on some LA's in Riverview, but nobody was home, so we basically just walked around for FOREVER, and then took the bus back. Then we had dinner, and then we went by a RC/investigator family. They're from Rwanda, and the two daughters, who are 15 and 11, got baptized, but the mom did not. We had a really great lesson with her, and we went from "I don't see why I need to be baptized again" to "I think I will be baptized, but I don't know when." It was awesome. Sister Vera's worked with a lot of African investigators in Fredericton, so she and Sister Lewis had figured out that explaining the baptismal covenant to them in such a way that they understand that it's a lifelong thing makes a big difference to them. So we explained the sacrament, and she exclaimed, "That's what that means?! I thought it was just to teach us to share." Hahaha. After that, we went to a lesson with Ashley, who is far and away our top investigator right now. Most of her family are members in Alberta, but her dad married a nonmember and then went LA when they got divorced, so she didn't get baptized or really grow up in the church. She grew up in the Pentecostal church and basically found it super freaky. So we had a pretty good get-to-know-you lesson with her. She's SUPER interested, but we realized she's basing a lot of her conversion off of the Internet and talking to family members, which is okay, but the missing step is reading the Book of Mormon daily and praying about it. So we covered that, and it went surprisingly well considering the crazy environment. She has two young kids, and this big black dog about the size of Flex, but a different breed. The dog was going CRAZY and jumping on us and basically licking us to death the entire time. At one point I thought it ate my earring, but I found it on the couch afterwards. It was pretty funny. Afterwards, we tried to do some more stopbys, and we knocked on one house that turned out to be a wrong address. But the lady there, who was French, was super interested and it was totally meant to be. It was a pretty cool experience for my first door approach in French. Then we went home and arranged a ride for Ashley to go to church.
Sunday was church. It's a bilingual ward, so how it works is they have a French translation for Sacrament meeting, and then separate Gospel Doctrine classes. It's kind of a small-ish ward as far as active members go, but not really that much smaller than any other ward in the Maritimes. Ashley came, which was really exciting, but also a bit stressful because it was only her 2nd time, but we didn't really know where to go or introduce her to either, since it was our first time. Fortunately, it was Elder Widdup who found her originally, so he came up and talked to her. I overheard him ask about her Book of Mormon reading, and she explained she'd just been reading the chapters the sisters assigned previously, but that she'd started 1st Nephi last night, which was basically AWESOME because that basically means she started keeping her commitment right after we left. Probably the most noteworthy thing about church is that my piano skills were in high demand, and Sister Vera and I basically spent all of third hour going back and forth from RS to Primary. I literally didn't get to hear any of the RS lesson or Primary sharing time. Haha. After church, some of the members were having homemade chicken noodle soup at the church, and they invited us to join in, so that was really nice. After that, we went home to get some warmer clothes, since it started snowing, and then we went street contacting and talked to SO MANY PEOPLE. I love serving in a city. Then we went knocking in Dieppe, and I got to practice my French door approaches. I can do it, but only just barely, so it kind of feels like being a greenie again. Then Sister Vera's foot started hurting really bad, so we went home for dinner and then we made a bunch of calls and tried to set up appointments. We got a LA appointment for 8 that night, and also some appointments with formers, so that was really great. We went to the LA appointment with Sister Wood, who basically loves cross-stitching, needlepoint, and quilting even more than Grandma Olson does. After that, we went home and tried to cram daily planning in between all the calls I had to make. They decided that STLs would report the numbers for the sisters, so I had to call them, and then we had a conference call at night with the ZLs and DLs, which I really enjoyed, but I think I'm going to have to go buy some Dr. Pepper if I'm going to be an STL. But I wouldn't trade all that's going on for anything. Having to rely on the Lord makes the work go so much better.
Love you all!
Sister Olson
Val, Tracy, and I
Courtney and I

Sister Atwin and I

Sandra and I

Jackie and I

The Walkers and I

I was drinking herbal tea on Thursday morning, and this is what the teabag said.

Sister Jarvis and I

Sister Vera and I (the map of Dieppe in the background was unintentional, but I like it)

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