January 6, 2014

This week

Dear Mom,

I don't have a reading schedule with me; he said 17 pages per day, so I just sat down and counted by 17 and wrote them all down in a row. I think the website ldsscripturetools.com should still be in existence, and you can print off a reading schedule there if you want. Sounds like you had a fun week in Whitefish. The sound of a whole week without working is filling my mind with phantom guilt, haha. I'm going to be so awkward when I come home. Just warning everybody now.

On Monday I still had a cold that I'd had since the beginning of the transfer, and Sister Leavitt called, so I mentioned to her that I was sick, so she sent me to the doctor. It was pretty much the fastest doctor visit ever, which is weird in Atlantic Canada. He prescribed me antibiotics, and then we pretty much just went home and chillaxed on P-day. After it was over, we had a lesson with Val and Tracy, where we taught the Plan of Salvation to follow up from Sunday School the day before. They really enjoyed it, but like many people out in the Maritimes, Val had what I call "hellphobia," so the doctrine is taking a while to sink in. After that we had a lesson with Charis, where we ended up deviating from the lesson plan and teaching about the Atonement. It was really powerful and the Spirit was super strong.

Then on Tuesday...hahaha. Tuesday was a gong show. We'd agreed to help Michelle, one of our investigators, move from uptown over to the east side. We figured it would take maybe 2 hours or so, and the Elders came along to help. Well, it turned out that neither of them have a car, so we ended up taking 5 trips EACH with our cars full of stuff to move them. Billy took a taxi to the new apartment and Michelle stayed in their old apartment. That's a total of 10 car/truckloads stuffed to the brim! It took from 9 am to like 4:30 pm. On one hand, we felt so bad for roping the elders into it, but on the other hand, we really needed them. I was SO tired afterwards. So then we tried to go contacting for about an hour, but it was pretty ineffective since it was New Years' Eve. We went back to our apartment and made calls for the last half hour, and then we were supposed to be back in by 6 pm anyways. The Cosmans had invited us over last-minute for seafood chowder/New Years' celebrations (since we ended up not having a New Year's Eve DA), and I really wanted to go for the seafood, but we were just so tired. We appreciated the time to get it together.

Wednesday was supposed to be correlation, but it got changed to Thursday at the last minute, so we had regular studies, which is nice. But it also means my planner doesn't accurately reflect what we did that day, so it's a bit hard to remember. It was a statutory holiday, and apparently in Saint John that means the city is like a ghost town. Tracting would have been the best idea, but it was REALLY cold and Sister Jarvis wasn't too keen on it, so we ended up trying to talk to people in the Pedway, putting up posters, having conversations in Tim Horton's, and trying to stop in on people. We got really creative with how to start conversations with people, but it wasn't the greatest day as far as the work goes. We had a DA with Sister Raeburn that night, which was really good, and then it went super long because she kept going out to collect the rent (she manages several apartment buildings), and we couldn't leave without sharing our spiritual thought, so that was a bit frustrating.

Thursday started to get more effective. We had correlation meeting, and then we went to Staples to pick up a large-print pedigree chart. It was SO cold. It was -28 without windchill, and something like -35 with the wind chill. We'd planned street contacting, which was stupid because nobody in their right mind was outside, so then we went inside to the pedway/Brunswick Square mall and tried talking to people in there. After that, we had a less-active visit with the Hurtados, who we hadn't seen in a while, and then tried stopping by several people before dinner. AFter dinner, we were supposed to have a lesson with Val, but she called and moved it to Saturday, so we wrote thank-you notes for everyone in the ward who gave us food, gifts, etc. over the holiday season. Then we went to our lesson with Charis, who had forgotten about it. But we had a really cool experience anyways – her neighbour was just going inside, and it's one of those old homes that's been split up into apartments, so there's a door you go inside and then two doors for each apartment. So we talked to him in the entryway, and he's been hearing a lot about our church from various media sources and has favourable impressions, so we got a pretty sweet potential. It was totally one of those moments where Heavenly Father's like, "Here, I'll make this work out for your good anyways." I can't remember what we did instead of teaching Charis. I think we called a bunch of formers.

On Friday we did weekly planning. It was Sister Jarvis' turn to lead it for the first time, as per the 12-week training program, and it turned out being really good and focused, so I might just let her lead it every time :) It's totally throwing me off to not be the better planning/organizing companion, but not in a bad way. Kind of this weird mix in my mind between "Hey that's my talent!" and "It is SUCH a relief to not feel like I have to be the only one worrying about this anymore," leaning more towards the latter. During weekly planning, the postman knocked on our door and had a package for both Sister Jarvis and I! Mine was Mason's Christmas present to me, which turned out to be a scarf he knitted himself. It made me really happy, it looks awesome and it was really thoughtful. I attached a picture to this email for you to see, since it's my only picture this week. After weekly planning, we went store contacting. We made specific plans of how many people to talk to in each store, and it turned out pretty effective. Then we stopped by Jackie and had a brief lesson with her, where we basically recommitted her to the reading we'd assigned her last time, since she'd forgotten about it in the holidays. Then we went to Pita Pit for dinner, which was delicious because I got falafel and enjoyed my Middle Eastern food. But then we went to a lesson with Courtney, and my digestive system was all like, "Remember how the antibiotic knocked out all your bacteria? Why did you eat ethnic food???" So fortunately we have a good relationship. It was a really good lesson though, and that was pretty much the end of the night. Courtney gave me some licorice root herbal tea to take home, which turned out to be the first and only herbal tea I've ever liked in my life. So I started drinking tea on my mission. Yep.

Saturday is a special day, it's the day we get ready for Sunday...just kidding. (That's a Primary song, for those of you who didn't catch it.) After studies and lunch, we called some more formers and then went to a lesson with Val and Tracy. It turns out daytime lessons are waaaay better for them; they're way more on track. We uncovered a couple of concerns about the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon, plus we watched the Restoration video, so it was pretty long and intense, but also really good. Then we went store contacting again because it was still super cold, and then we had a dinner appointment with the McKenney family, who are super awesome. Except they made sweet potatoes, so that part was not so awesome. (Don't worry, they couldn't even tell I abhor them.) After that, we had a lesson with Gabbie, one of the recent converts in the ward, which also turned out really well, so Saturday was pretty much a great day.

Sunday was Val's first fast Sunday, which I was a little nervous about, but she ended up going home after the sacrament anyways because she'd had surgery on Friday and wasn't feeling very good. Which was a shame, because church was super spiritual and it was one of the best Sundays in the ward so far. Brother Cosman told a really good story about opening his mouth on a work-related phone call and the guy being interested in meeting with the missionaries, and then Sister Cosman taught a great Relief Society lesson about becoming a "holy woman" – that each temple says "House of the Lord, Holiness to the Lord" on it, and what can we do in our lives to make that true of us personally? The thought struck me in church that we check transfer letters next Sunday, and what if I get transferred and I go away without putting all I have into this area? So then I was really pumped up to go find people to teach. After church, we had some 12-week stuff to do on the computer, and then we went to visit the McLaughlins, a less-active family we hadn't visited before. It was super awkward at the beginning, just because some people don't really communicate well whether or not they're okay with you being over, but then we settled into it and it ended up being a super powerful lesson and we also got a referral out of it. (I am so bad at getting referrals.) After that, we went knocking and got ANOTHER referral. Then we had a DA with the Hofmanns, which was awesome, because Sister Hofmann is a really good cook. She also goes to great lengths to try to get Brother Hofmann to eat his vegetables, because she's a doctor, and it's pretty cute. After the Hofmanns we went knocking some more. It was only -4 on Sunday and we were just like, LET'S DO ALL THE KNOCKING WHILE IT'S WARM OUT!

Today is a high of 10 degrees and raining. A few days ago was Saint John's record low EVER. Everybody's freaking out. It just feels kind of like a Chinook, which obviously they don't get, but I'm okay with it. (Oh hey, that explains my headache...*lightbulb moment*)

Sister Olson

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