February 24, 2014


The really, REALLY deep snow two Sundays ago

It was really warm in Mission Leadership  Council so Sister Broadhead and I flopped into the snow

The Christmas Tree Farm

This picture pretty much sums up the personalities of Elders Widdup and Tusa

Snowball fight after district planning

Acadian poutine

I bought some shoes. This is what the price tag said.

Sister Vera and Veronique Theriault

Sister Vera and Sister Arsenault

Sister Vera, Ashley, and Sister Penny

Us with the Leger family (missing the dad)

Us with Sister Porter

Wherein Acadian Food Ruins Everything

Hey Mom,
It really bothers me that Google doesn't let you change the subject lines, because I was going to title this week's letter, "Wherein Acadian food ruins everything." Duh duh duh...*foreshadowing*

That is awesome about giving your co-worker a Book of Mormon. That's the kind of thing we're trying to get all the members to do. What motivated you to do that?
That's funny about the gold medal hockey game at Centennial. We actually hear quite a bit about the Olympics just because EVERYONE is so enthusiastic about it, haha.
Sooooo on Monday...I can't remember what happened very well, but judging by the numbers, it looks like everything fell through and we went knocking. We knocked an older street in Dieppe, one of the new developments, so everyone was kind of older French Catholic families and were significantly less open than people in the new developments. I can't remember if this happened on Monday specifically, but at one of the houses on that street, we knocked into a really old guy who let us come inside and stand in the doorway to get out of the cold (which, by the way, happens WAY more in Dieppe than in English areas. Props to French people.) As soon as we mentioned a modern prophet, he just FLIPPED OUT. He was seriously so mad. It was bizarre. I think it bothered Sister Vera way more than it bothered me, because I think French sounds hilarious when people are mad. Especially here in Acadia. They roll their R's really intensely and it's pretty interesting. From what I gathered, he's really die-hard Catholic and thinks the Pope's a prophet and he associates the idea of any other prophet with all the false prophets that have misled people over the years.
On Tuesday we had district meeting, which was pretty good. I was supposed to give a discussion on the "Restoration" principle from the first lesson, so I basically had everyone take a few minutes to skim over it and find something that they usually didn't teach in the first lesson. We then talked about why those points are significant and why you might choose to include them. I think it went really well because everyone knows the First Vision so well that I think sometimes we do that and think we've taught the whole principle. After district meeting, we rushed over to Ashley's for a lesson. Not long-time-investigator Ashley, but another Ashley. Confusing, I know. I'll refer to them as "old Ashley" and "new Ashley." New Ashley is a young single mom who was a referral by one of the other members. Sister Teggie and I actually contacted her on exchanges last weekend, but when Sister Vera and I showed up for the appointment, she didn't want us to come in because of how messy her house was, so we taught her outside. We ended up teaching most of the Plan of Salvation, and went into depth on baptism for the dead because the idea that she could be baptized for her mom was really important to her. It was really cool because by the end you could tell she was really considering baptism because she started asking all these questions about church standards that she was aware of from the member who is her neighbour. Then at the end we taught her how to pray and recognize the Spirit, and we prayed before we left and she said, "I felt that warm feeling!!!!" She was so excited, it was adorable.
After that, we went to a lesson with Nancy, which was basically super frustrating because she kept asking us random questions about things like the Trinity just to try to find something to argue with. She tried to prove the Trinity using one of the scriptures I usually use to disprove the Trinity and I was just like, seriously, what are you doing? We ended up bearing a REALLY great testimony of the Book of Mormon at the end though, using 2 Ne 33 where it talks about how "these are the words of Christ," and it was really bold. The second we stopped talking, she was like, "Well I know you have to go so I'll pray to send you on your way" and jumped right into this prayer about how "we don't want to add to your word, as it says in Revelations..." Aaaaaaaaaaaand...dropped! It was kind of funny actually. After that, we went back to the apartment to help the Thatchers (the senior couple in charge of apartments) move a bunch of furniture that we were storing there temporarily.
After that, we had a very late lunch. Then we had a REALLY quick lesson with a less-active lady, Sister Samms, who is really old and recently lost her husband, before our dinner appointment with Sister Lutes. I felt so bad because we'd eaten a lot at lunch because we were SO hungry, so we weren't very hungry for her dinner. We were SO disgustingly full afterwards. After that, I think we went street contacting and knocking again, and then we had a lesson with Tyler and Heidi.
This lesson gets it own paragraph.
So Tyler is still married to another woman who went AWOL about 6 years ago, and needs to get a divorce to marry Heidi to get baptized. So we went in and talked about the baptismal covenant, and how it includes keeping ALL of God's commandments. He was totally enthusiastic and on board with it when it was all hypothetical. Then we explained the whole divorce thing and it was a COMPLETE 180 in his attitude and spirit. At one point he said, "The Church of Mormon is completely not for me." (Tyler, the Church of JESUS CHRIST is for everyone.) All of the sudden he insisted that he didn't believe at all in modern prophets, the necessity of authority, etc. But he also said, "This means I can't get baptized now!" in the most disappointed voice EVER. So I walked him through the logic a little bit -- "You yourself said that it's good that not just anyone can be baptized, that you should be trying to follow God. So obviously there needs to be some standards to that; a dividing line somewhere. [He agrees]. And only God can set that dividing line. [Agrees]. And prophets are how God lets us know what that is." He saw the point to that, but then tried to hide behind, "But I don't think I need to do what some prophet tells us to do, I think I just need to do what Jesus tells me to do." "But Tyler, if they're a true prophet, they're going to say what Jesus wants us to do." He saw the point in that too. And then I said, "Just yesterday, you said that you really feel like we were sent into your life for a reason. And I know that reason is because this is what God wants to you to. There's actually this thing we say as missionaries..." And then I recited the WHOLE Missionary Commission by Bruce R. McConkie to him, 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 personally were 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 marvelous Latter-day work.
How great is my calling!

And I just said it really slowly and deliberately and seriously, and he was just nodding the whole time. The Spirit was so strong. It was so awesome. Then we testified that because the Lord wants him to do this, he'd make a way for it to happen. So we read from 1 Ne 17 about the Lord preparing a way, and then I shared a story I'd read on lds.org recently by Elder Scott about a time when he had to do something difficult and the words of a hymn came to his mind, "Do what is right, let the consequence follow." And that really struck a chord with Tyler and his attitude completely changed and he committed to get a divorce! It was SO cool! It was one of those lessons where you're basically shaking as you walk out because it was so intense. Also, at the end, he said, "You know, I feel right guilty about saying that the church of Mormon isn't for me, eh? Like, I feel really bad about that." It was pretty funny.
Then we got home to a text from the Montague sisters, "The GPS says we'll be here at 10:40." Well, I didn't know they were coming that night, but okay, whatever. The reason they were coming is Sister Broadhead and I had Mission Leadership Council via skype on Wednesday. Man, skype meetings are SO HARD TO FOCUS IN. It was a cool meeting in theory -- each Zone was assigned one of the 8 Fundamental lessons from 12-week and we were supposed to do a training on it. The only thing is, some of the trainings were WAAAY longer than they were supposed to be. During our training, Sister Broadhead and I did a roleplay about resolving concerns with the Spirit. But the only thing is, we didn't do a good job of explaining the context to people at the beginning -- the roleplay starts at the end of the second lesson, the investigator is SUPPOSED to turn down the baptismal commitment so I resolve concerns, etc. So everyone kept criticizing all these aspects of the roleplay that weren't supposed to even be in the roleplay, like "You didn't do How To Begin Teaching." (...no...?) "Well clearly you didn't extend the commitment properly because she turned it down (she was supposed to turn it down) etc. It was kind of frustrating. It was kind of funny because Sister Leavitt was like, "You weren't smiling" and I was just thinking, "She just said no to baptism! Why would I be smiling?" haha. But the part I was SUPPOSED to do -- resolve the concern by the Spirit -- went really well and nobody had any problems with that, haha. After that, we ended up having to stay at the church for a while because the Zone Leaders were going to drive back to PEI with the Montague sisters but they'd forgotten their luggage at the Elders' apartment. So we finally left just in time to make it to our dinner appointment, which was really good. She did a pork roast with all the vegetables cooked in the same pan, but the vegetables were pretty hard, and she specifically singled out the yams as being too hard, so I got to not eat them. *score*. Then we ended up being REALLY late for our lesson with the Theriault family, but it was a good lesson anyways, and then we went to see Stephanie. We taught her the law of tithing, which went pretty well in general, she likes the idea, except she wants to just pay a bit at first and work up to 10%, so she didn't REALLY commit to live it. We'll have to follow up with a lesson on exact obedience.
Then we got home to find out from one of the members that old Ashley managed to look up a videotaped endowment session online while trying to find a video of someone being baptized. *double facepalm* *headdesk* On the plus side, the member had managed to resolve the concern on her own, so we didn't even really have to do anything. This is why member fellowship is important!!! It was pretty cool in that regard. Then the Zone Leaders had a conference call with our district, so we basically didn't get to start planning until 10:15, which was frustrating.
On Thursday we went to see old Ashley, which was actually a really funny lesson because she's all like, "When I get baptized for my mom" "When I go through the temple one day" "When Brody goes on a mission" etc., and it's like ASHLEY YOU'RE NOT EVEN ON DATE YET. (She doesn't want to pay tithing and she doesn't trust herself to "measure up" after she's baptized). Then we went home and had lunch, and then we were going to go street contacting, but Sister Vera was having a really hard time health-wise because she has knee problems that were really flaring up, so we stayed home and worked on making our giant wall map less confusing and more accurate. Then we went to a DA with the Secord family, who live pretty far out there. They have a Christmas tree farm, which was pretty cool. That took FOREVER because Brother Secord is one of those people out here who can just talk for 40 minutes straight. Then we shared the mormon message "We're Still A Family" to testify of how the gospel blesses families and commit them to help us in our goal to find a family to baptize. Unexpectedly, I started getting all choked up during the mormon message and so afterwards I was crying the whole time I shared the message, meanwhile thinking "OH MY GOSH THE MISSION IS TURNING ME INTO SUCH A GIRL." But it worked out because I think it really touched them and they want to help us find someone. Haha. Then our lesson fell through and Sister Vera still felt...malade...so I think we went home and kept working on the map. Then that night we had call night with the DL and I was still in this weird emotional mood and I think it freaked Elder Widdup out a bit haha.
On Friday we had weekly planning, which was a gong show because we were both SO tired, and then we had district planning, which was also a gong show because everyone was tired and there were some differences of opinion regarding setting goals of how many hours to knock. But then afterwards Elder Fortier gave Sister Vera a blessing of healing, which brought the Spirit back in. It was actually really interesting because he was really nervous and it was just silent for the longest time, and then he finally just said "I bless you to feel better" and ended it. He was really embarrassed, but Sister Vera really did start feeling better right away, and that was the whole point, right? So it was really cool, just to see how sometimes we may not feel good at things, but it doesn't mean the Lord can't use us. So then we tried to stop by Tyler and Heidi, but they weren't home, so we stopped by some other people and then had dinner and then came back to the church for Sports Night. We actually had a really good turnout for once and so that was really great. Then we came home and planned, and I had call night with the Amherst sisters, who were feeling pretty discouraged, so I talked to them about really loving the people, and having everything you do motivated by that love for them and wanting to do all you can to bring them back to their Father in Heaven. Then I read them the "patience" attribute from PMG, which is exactly what Elder Widdup did to me, which I had thought was annoying, but they appreciated it.
Then on Saturday we had a short skype meeting with the Zone Leaders in the morning, and then we took some time at the church to do 12 week and finish weekly planning. After that, we went and tried to stop by some less-actives, and then we stopped by the apartment to exchange our winter coats and boots for something lighter, since it was SOOOOOO warm! Then we contacted a referral and went knocking. After that, we were going home for dinner, but we'd been fasting and we were really hungry, and Sister Vera really wanted to try Acadian poutine. There's regular Acadian poutine, and then there's poutine rapĂ©. We didn't know which to get, and the girl at the counter was like, "Avez-vous les gros appetits ou les petits appetits?" Well, we were fasting, so obviously the big appetites. So she brought us portions of both. I'll send you a picture. Soooooooooooo gross. Actually, we were SO hungry that it tasted good and we wolfed it down, and then once I was done the realization of what I just ate kind of sunk in. I'd rather have cod tongues and scrunchions in Newfoundland. What they do is take a chunk of meat, stick it inside a potato, saturate it in pork fat, and boil it for hours. It gives it the weirdest texture EVER and it's just FULL of fat. The other version is pieces of meat, potatoes, and pork fat all mixed together like a casserole and then somehow also boiled while maintaining its square shape. Sooooo gross. We went knocking after that, but apparently Sister Vera has a family history of heart problems, etc., and she always feels sick after eating pork. So we ended up going home after knocking for about an hour because of how sick she felt. When we got home, we found we had a voicemail from some lady who basically just said, "I need your help call me back." We called back and it turns out she has an apartment for rent and wants to rent to someone in our church since we have good morals. It was pretty funny. She said we could stop by and teach her though, so it was alright.
Sunday we went and checked transfer letters. Sister Vera is going to open up Bathurst with Sister Coleman, and Sister Lewis is coming here to serve with me in French and be my co-STL. It's kind of funny because Sister Lewis served in this ward in the English area of Riverview before, and Sister Vera and Sister Coleman are both my missionary "daughters." So that's pretty exciting, even though we're sad to leave each other. Church was pretty good, except the member who was supposed to pick up Stephanie somehow failed to find her house, which is weird because it's right in between 49 and 45, where you'd expect to find 47. So she didn't make it to church. That was upsetting. On the plus side, Ashley came, and she even found her own ride. Also, her son Brody got asked to give a talk next week in Primary. (Ashley, seriously, you're already a member, just get baptized.) A less-active family came to get their baby blessed by Elder Widdup, and I was TOTALLY jealous that he got to hold a baby. But when I got to church, he said, "So I told her I'd help her two-year-old daughter stay quiet, but I think I'll delegate that to you." So I got to play with a two-year-old throughout Sacrament, which was basically the best thing ever. After church, we went home to have lunch and do 12-week, and then we stopped by Stephanie to try to partially make up for not making it to church. It was pretty cool because it was last minute and we didn't have a lesson planned, but we just followed the Spirit and talked about scripture study and it ended up being really strong. We had to move her baptismal date to the 15th since she didn't get to church and next Sunday she'll be out of town, and she has to come a certain number of times first, but otherwise all is good. Then we went knocking, and it was REALLY nice to see how much better my French door approaches have gotten, since my fluent companion is LEAVING. (Pretty sure I'm more fluent than Sister Lewis). Then we went home and had dinner, visited a recent convert, tried to contact a referral, knocked for a bit, and then had a last minute less-active lesson. That was cool too, because we only had a couple minutes to discuss the lesson and what to teach, but she totally received personal revelation on how to help her nonmember husband become more interested in the gospel. Then she gave us a TON of candy, so that was great too. Haha.
Love you all!
Sister Olson

February 17, 2014

Storm Surge

Dear Mom,

I really liked Carmen's talk. Tying it into the baptismal covenant was really cool. I kind of miss RDL midterms week, it was this weird combination of stress, diligence, and relaxation.
This week was pretty busy. On Monday we took a break from P-day to drop off a Livre de Mormon to a potential investigator. She's really busy, so we haven't been able to actually meet with her. Once P-day was over, we had an appointment with the Theriault family. We played a game where Sister Vera asked a bunch of questions like "What is your favourite dessert?" and we all wrote down our answers on slips of paper. (I felt like I was in French class again. So many random vocabulary words I had to come up with.) Then we drew them out at random and guessed who wrote what. The kids really loved it, and then we tied it into how God knows us perfectly, and how we need to come to know God, and shared Mosiah 5:13, which is one of my favourite scriptures. It was a really good lesson. After that, we took Sister Porter to our lesson with Stephanie. We'd been planning on reading the Book of Mormon with her, but it ended up being more of a general lesson of the importance of daily scripture reading. She decided to set an alarm on her phone to remind her to read every day.
Then on Tuesday we had a lesson with Ashley. Her fellowshipper, Sister Pitre, decided to organize a fellowshipping party, so an hour before our lesson, a couple of sisters went over to Ashley's and hung out with her. Then we showed up, finished off the delicious blue corn chips and black bean salsa, and taught the lesson. We showed the "Mountains to Climb" Mormon message and talked about the armies of Helaman, since she's been struggling recently and we felt like she just needed a boost. After that, we had lunch, and then I can't remember what we did, but I think we ended up going street contacting before dinner. After that, we had dinner, and then we went knocking into Dieppe. We knocked into this lady named Nancy, who is SUPER born-again, and also REALLY talkative, but we managed to teach a bit and she offered to have us back, so that was awesome. Then we were supposed to have correlation with our WML, but he cancelled, so we went contacting old referrals and potentials from the area book. None of them were interested, but on the last street, we ended up talking to this lady at like 8:45 at night. It turned out that she was Russian, and there was a major language barrier. But I got to use "privyet" and "kak skizatch par ruski?" (Probably spelled those terribly wrong) which are the only two Russian phrases I remember from Sister Coleman. It was pretty neat. Then that night we had call night with the Montague sisters.
Then on Wednesday we had a "district conference call" at 10 am, which is supposed to be for the purpose of coordinating member visits and also increasing district unity. In practice, conference calls on speaker phone are terribly staticky and I didn't really understand anything. After that, we went to go see Nancy. It was pretty funny because she's really just SOOOO talkative. But we managed to teach the Restoration, finally, and she had a lot of really good questions, but I have the feeling she already pre-decided that the Book of Mormon was false. She accepted to read it though. After that, we went street contacting, and then we had a member visit with Sister Doiron, where we basically just shared a short missionary thought. We get hardly any dinner appointments here, but we want to get to know the ward and help them do missionary work anyways, so we just visit them. Then we went home and had dinner, then we went knocking, and then we had a lesson with some recent converts. We taught the Restoration using the object lesson where you stack plastic cups and show how it's built on the foundation of apostles and prophets. Then we went home and called a bunch of potentials we got, and then we had call night with the Summerside sisters, which is always fun because they're just on fire, so they usually just have a lot of really good "how would you do this I want to learn and improve?" questions.
On Thursday we had "visits" with Elder Widdup, the district leader. The idea is that the elders come to all of our lessons and go finding with us for training purposes. Except they didn't confirm that it was happening until like 9:45 on Wednesday night, which was too late to call people and tell them extra missionaries were showing up, but fortunately everyone was accommodating. First we had a lesson with Jill, a less-active member, which went pretty well, and then we had a lesson with Ashley. We brought Sister Pitre again, and we ended up just being REALLY bold about baptism. We seriously busted out every single powerhouse scripture and analogy, and then when we tried to put her on date, there was a slim chance she might have said yet, but then Sister Pitre was like, "Would you like to be baptized then or do you still want to wait a while?" Aaaaaah. That's like saying to a child, "Do you want to eat your vegetables or would you rather have an ice cream sandwich?" Oh well. We'll get her eventually. After that we had to drive Sister Pitre home, and while we were doing that Elder Widdup called and was just like "Why isn't she on date yet?" in kind of this "What are you doing???" tone. Sister Vera replied, "Well, as you just saw, we have already invited her several times and she said no." It was so funny. (Seriously, though, if it would be so easy to put her on date, why didn't HE do it in the lesson he was just in?)
After that, we had lunch in the food court at the mall together, and then we were supposed to go street contacting, but then for some unexplained reason Elder Widdup had to go on an exchange with the Moncton elders, so we went street contacting by ourselves while we made the switch and then they met us at our next lesson, with Elder Tusa instead of Elder Fortier. It was another LA visit, Sister Boyce and her daughter, and we taught about the Book of Mormon being the keystone by actually making an arch out of playdough. Then we dug a little more into why she doesn't come to church and made a lot of progress there, so it was really good. Then we went to contact a referral, but she wasn't available, so we ended up roleplaying asking for referrals in the middle of the street since we only had like 10 minutes before dinner. Then we went back to our apartment, and the Elders sat in the community room while we made arrepas. But it was taking a REALLY long time, so the Elders ended up having their arrepas to go and then we met them at the next appointment late. This one was the Elders' LA appointment with a really nice couple, the Horns. Brother Horn was offended by someone a while ago, and he kept saying he'd forgiven them, but it was pretty obvious that he hadn't, so I ended up being pretty bold on that one, but I think it went well. Then we had a lesson with Stephanie. She'd read every day since our last lesson and took notes each time, which was awesome! So we talked about her reading and then helped her see that she needs to focus it a bit more on developing her faith and relationship with Christ. It was a really good lesson. Except for the FIRST TIME EVER, she was wearing a super immodest tank top, which of COURSE would be the only time we brought the Elders. And then we were making small talk before the lesson started, and Elder Widdup told one of those stories that nobody really has anything to say about at the end, so finally I said, "Cool story, bro," and he replied, "YOU'RE THE ONLY WHITE PERSON IN HERE!" Hahahahahaha.

We were supposed to get a HUGE storm, like 40 cm of snow, on Thursday, but we only got a few flakes. This becomes relevant later.
On Friday we had weekly planning, but the Sister Theriault texted us asking if we wanted to come over for Valentine's Day cookies. We decided it would be a good idea because she used to have a really social relationship with the Elders, which we're trying to get her away from, so we don't want to seem like we're unfriendly or anything. So we went and her LA sister was also there, and we shared a good thought. (She did tell us, "I invited the Elders too, but they said they're busy." You can't invite the Elders over for Valentine's cookies without your husband home. *facepalm*). Then we had a lunch appointment with the Taylors, who lived WAY further away than I thought they did, so that pretty much killed weekly planning. Then we had district planning, which was just a gong show because everyone was SO tired, and then we went to stop by Tyler and Heidi, since we hadn't been able to contact them for a while. On one hand, they've both been reading and Tyler especially is SUPER convinced the Book of Mormon is true, but on the other hand, Heidi doesn't want to quit smoking, somehow they misunderstood our Word of Wisdom lesson to say that weed is okay (*facepalm* *headdesk*) AND apparently not only are they not married, but Tyler had to get a DIVORCE from his wife who's been AWOL for about 6 years before they can get married! (On the plus side, they WANT to get married, and Tyler wants to get married *in our church*). So we'll have a lot to talk about next lesson. Thennnnn I think we had dinner, and then we had to run to the church to open it for the elders, then run to the other side of town to an appointment we had, but then she wasn't interested, so we ran BACK to the church for Sports Night, because it turned out that only Ashley and the missionaries showed up. But she seemed to be enjoying herself, so we played volleyball, and then we had to leave because Sister Vera had to pack for exchanges.

So we ended up leaving for exchanges late, and then I forgot that my GPS was on "Shortest distance," so it was taking us by these smaller roads instead of the main highway. But that turned out to be okay, because it was SO SNOWY. Once we DID get to the main highway, I could STILL only go 60 or so because there were all these moose crossing signs and I was just like, how about we DON'T die by hitting a moose? So finally we got to Sackville, and Sister Teggie came with me and Sister Vera went to Amherst. We drove REALLY slowly back home, too.
Saturday morning, we organized a last-minute ride for Heidi to go to the RS scrapbooking activity, and then we had an appointment with Amanda, who we met at the food court on Thursday. But that fell through, and I had somehow FORGOTTEN TO PLAN BACKUP PLANS because it was so late. So we had lunch a little earlier, and then we stopped by Nancy. Our last two lessons with Nancy had been in English because she speaks English better than I speak French, but this time her husband was there, and he only speaks French, so Sister Teggie was just kind of sitting there. I felt kind of bad. On the plus side, I managed to teach the whole lesson in French without help! I'm pretty sure THEY'RE trying to convert US, so we'll follow up really heavily on reading the Book of Mormon for a few lessons and then if they don't progress we'll have to let them go. They're all like, "You talk more about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith than you do about Christ" and I was all like, "But the whole point of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Christ, and the whole point of Joseph Smith restoring the Church is that Christ personally leads His own church!" I definitely think I had the gift of tongues in that lesson. It was really cool. I bore a really powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was great.
After that, we had an appointment with the referral we contacted on Thursday, but she ignored us. We'd brought Sister Pitre, so we stopped by a few formers and then Sister Pitre was all like, "Well, let's stop by my old neighbour!" So we went to the door and she basically did the whole door approach for us, because she's awesome. But he wasn't interested. Then we made some phone calls, went store contacting, and then stopped by Tyler and Heidi because somehow, we ended up with cat food in our car after the sisters stayed over for the concert last week, and they have a cat. Then we had dinner, went street contacting, and then went knocking. I felt so bad knocking in Dieppe in English, like I actually felt guilty every single time I could tell they were French-speaking, but the whole point of exchanges is training, and Sister Teggie wouldn't learn anything listening to me do it in French. Then we exchanged back, found our investigators rides to church, had an impromptu conference call with the ZLs about Mission Leadership Council next week, and went to bed. But not before checking the weather forecast, which had a winter storm warning and a storm surge warning. (What is a storm surge???? Seriously, can you look that up for me?). But I was unimpressed because "winter storm warnings" are usually anticlimactic. (Duh duh duh...)
HOLY MOTHER OF SNOWSTORMS BATMAN!!! Nobody came to church. Like, there were literally 0 people. We left really early to pick up a carseat from one member for Tyler and Heidi, and when we got there the members were like, "The police said to stay off the roads!!!" They were actually kind of mad at us for being out, but how were we supposed to find that out? So Tyler and Heidi's ride predictably cancelled, so we went to the church early. The entrance to the parking lot was plowed shut, literally thigh deep, so we parked on the road and then waded through the snow. The whole parking lot was knee deep, and as we got to the door it was seriously up to the middle of my thighs. We spent a couple minutes trying to get the doors open, but Sister Vera was all like, "We have to go, we'll just get snowed into the church with no food and worst case scenarios etc etc etc" so we turned around and left. At 10 am the Elders called like "Why aren't you at church?" and she asked, "Is the Bishop there? (no) Is ANYONE else there? (no) Okay we're not coming." Haha. So we ended up trapped in our apartment for most of the day. It was kind of weird because at the beginning of my mission I would have been happy to stay home and study, but I was SO fidgety. I just wanted to talk to people. So I kept taking breaks to organize the area book, make banana cake, etc. Haha. Then one of the members called like "Sisters, there is so much snow in front of my doorway!" "Yep, the storm is pretty crazy, isn't it?" [awkward pause] "Well, it's dangerous, I can't get out!" [pause] "...would you like us to come shovel your driveway for you?" "Oh, would you????" Haha. For Pete's sake, people, just ask us! So we went and did that, and then it had settled down some, so we tried to contact a few referrals and less-actives, and then we went knocking until the end of the evening, whereupon we had the ZL conference call, as usual.
Sister Olson

February 10, 2014

Late Nights

Dear Mom,
Monday was pretty good. We taught Sister Porter, a less-active who's recently returning, and then we had a lesson with Stephanie. We were supposed to teach the Gospel of Christ, but then she hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon. Sister Vera didn't realize we needed to stop and address that concern and jumped right into the pamphlet, which frustrated me for a second, but then I just decided to focus on the importance of the Book of Mormon the whole lesson. It was so cool. Did you know the whole third discussion is about reading the Book of Mormon? Neither did I, but apparently it is. It was a real testimony builder about how our focus affects our teaching. I'm going to try that with "baptism" from now on, haha. The best part was at the end, in her prayer she apologized for not reading the Book of Mormon and committed to do so, so she repented right in front of us! Which is the whole point of the Gospel of Christ lesson! Sweeeeeet! Then I came home and called the Amherst sisters' district leader to report on exchanges. It was kind of frustrating. I don't think they...s'entendre...very well, and his perspective on their problems was a little less understanding.
On Tuesday we had district meeting, which was pretty good. Then we went and taught Ashley, following up on tithing, which basically became a lesson on faith. Our member who was supposed to come with us cancelled at the last minute, which was a bit of a bummer. Then we had lunch, and then we went street contacting at the University. We apparently stumbled into this weird parallel universe where people wanted to have meaningful, in-depth conversations with us, which was awesome, except I was like, "I don't have the vocabulary for this! I've never gotten this far!" Hahaha. Then we went to stop by an old media referral, since President Leavitt wants us to re-contact all the old media referrals, under the logic that at one point they were interested enough to ask for us, so we should see what's up. Well, this lady basically thinks we're a cult and just wanted some pamphlets to read up on it. It was pretty funny. Then we had dinner, and then we were supposed to have correlation with our WML, but it got cancelled, so we went knocking some more. Also, by the way, at some point in the last week, we had homemade Venezuelan meat/rice/beans, which was basically Cuban Black Beans, which actually made me kind of homesick, haha. And then the next day we had homemade empanadas with the leftovers. It was awesome. Then on Tuesday evening we had call night with Sister Broadhead. (See if you can note a pattern of "not going to bed on time" throughout this week.)
Wednesday morning we actually got to have full studies, which was unusual, and then we went street contacting on Main Street. It was pretty great. We bumped into this one guy who's an Apostolic Christian, and we had a really great conversation with him about the Restoration, but what it really came down to was that he didn't want to change. He was all like, "If God wants me to be Mormon, He'll call me to it," and I was all like, "IT IS NOT MEET THAT WE SHOULD BE COMPELLED IN ALL THINGS AND ALSO THAT'S WHAT HE'S DOING RIGHT NOW AND ALSO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SEEK OUT HIS WILL IN YOUR LIFE????" (except more politely that that). But he still wasn't interested. Thennnnnn we stopped by some less-actives, none of whom were available to visit, and then we had a member visit set up, but she cancelled because her kids were sick, so I think we might have gone knocking for a bit before dinner. After dinner we taught Stephanie, where we read 3 Nephi 11 with her, and it was so cool because she's TOTALLY had awesome experiences with the Spirit her whole life, and now she gets to put a name to them and see how it all fits together and she really loves it. Then we were supposed to have the Zone Leaders come for "visits" where we go out as a group of 4 to find and teach for training purposes, but it turns out they cancelled their visits without telling me (#frustrating) so we went knocking without them. We found a great potential, Louise and Emery, and set up a return appointment, and then we had a lesson with Tyler and Heidi. Their son, Wyatt, was sick, so we basically ended up teaching the Gospel of Christ twice, separately, but it was really good because we got to really teach to their needs and strengthen their faith. I think they're getting more of a testimony of the importance of changing their lives, which will be GREAT for teaching the Word of Wisdom soon.
THEN on the way home we got a call from the Zone Leaders. We were having a zone leadership conference in Moncton the next day, but we were getting a wicked snowstorm, and they were worried the PEI missionaries would get stuck in PEI, since sometimes they close the bridge. So the Montague sisters had to drive from Montague to Moncton IN A BLIZZARD and stay the night with us, instead of coming the next morning. Which meant I had to stay up and wait for them until 1 am. And the whole time, the Montague sisters weren't answering their phone, which I knew was probably for some totally innocuous reason (it turned out to be bad reception), but the ZL's were freaking out. And I couldn't go to bed because I didn't want to sleep through the door buzzer and leave them stranded. So I used that time to make homemade shepherd's pie with some of the leftover meat from the Venezuelan food. It was awesome.
Thursday was the leadership meeting, which was AWESOME. In the morning, Sister Leavitt called and was like, "Sister Olson, can you please go to the grocery store before the meeting and buy 4 bottles of pop, ice cream sandwiches, cookies..." hahaha. So Sister Broadhead and I went store contacting, and then we had the best meeting ever! When I saw it was scheduled from 10 to 7 I was NOT excited, but it was awesome. We talked a lot about training, and how to effectively role play. President Leavitt did an object lesson where he called for volunteers who had never been taught anything about how to play the piano. He called the first one up, Elder Wolsey, and after playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" once, asked him to play it. Obviously, he couldn't do it. Then he called me up and got me to play the first couple bars of "Fantasie Impromptu" and said, "See, that's how it's done. Now, play Twinkle Twinkle." Haha. This went back and forth for a while, then he said, "Okay Elder, you've been trained. Now teach Elder Jensen to play it." He then had Elder Jensen "train" Elder Roberts on how to play it, and then talked about how "When the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch." Basically, if we don't know what we're doing as leaders, we can't help the people we're leading. Then he sent me to go teach them how to play Twinkle Twinkle while he repeated the object lesson with various other skills. Then we all came back and watched people play the piano, write with their left hand, juggle, etc., after only 10 minutes of good training. It was a really powerful lesson. Then we did some roleplays, which were actually about how to effectively roleplay and not about the things we were roleplaying themselves. It was so great. At one point we were roleplaying meeting with the Bishop about less-actives while President and Sister Leavitt observed, and
 when I asked "Bishop Evanson" about less-actives, he said, "Well, I'm really worried about the Leavitt family." He then proceeded to go on and describe their "struggles." It was so hard to keep a straight face.

After that, we discussed some more organizational principles of leadership, like getting numbers and doing call nights and exchanges, and then we were supposed to have a question and answer period about challenges we face as leaders. But nobody had any questions right off the top of their heads, so President Leavitt said, "While you're thinking, let me pose this question: why aren't we seeing an increase in baptisms?" Well, that resulted in a LOT of discussion, and while everyone had great insights, it became increasingly clear that we didn't know the answer. Things started getting a little out of hand. Then Elder Skinner suggested we pray. So we all knelt in prayer, and it was one of the most sincere and supplicating prayers I've ever heard. You could really feel that our faith was so unified and it was awesome. Then President Leavitt told us to all disperse throughout the chapel and ponder on it for about 10-15 minutes. When we came back, I thought it was so amazing to notice that every single missionary had brought their scriptures with them in order to seek revelation. We then continued to discuss, and the Spirit was so strong. We determined that we really need a focus on baptisms -- that often we do a lot of good things, and feel complacent with that even though we're not baptizing anybody. We also determined that the four factors that would influence baptisms were (1) Our skill (2) Our faith (3) the skill and faith of the members and (4) a change of heart in the people of Atlantic Canada. We really got a lot out of it. It was such an amazing experience and was clearly what needed to happen, even though it was completely unplanned. President Leavitt also noted that while many missionaries perceive this to be a low-baptizing mission, we're actually at the average for baptisms/missionary in the North America East area, and above the average for baptisms/member, so that was interesting.

After the training, I started feeling SO SICK from all the junk food we ate, and I decided I needed to be reasonably near a bathroom for the rest of the night, so Sister Vera and Sister Broadhead talked to people in our apartment building and actually got a few potentials, and Sister Sharp and I had a really good discussion about how faith related to her area and the potential for baptisms in it.
On Friday we had "visits" with the sisters. In the morning, Sister Vera and Sharp went together, and Sister Broadhead and I went store contacting, since Sister Broadhead is the master at store contacting. We managed to get a potential and a referral, and it was awesome. Then we were supposed to meet up with the other sisters to sing hymns on Main Street, but we talked to so many people on the way that we didn't actually have time to sing. One guy we talked to was totally nuts. The second I saw his fuschia nailpolish I knew it was going to be interesting. He was really into numerology and had all these crazy theories and basically wouldn't let us talk at all. (At one point he was talking about the number 7 and started talking about how there's only 7 musical notes and 7 colours and I had to work SO HARD to bite my tongue on the science he was missing out on there.) It was pretty funny. Then we switched companions and Sister Sharp and I went to our appointment with Louise and Emery, which fell through, but it was okay because still had to call people to get rides for our investigators to the concert. Then we came home and had lunch -- Sister Broadhead and I bought Sobey's sushi -- and then we went to the church to pick up Sister Jarvis, since Sister Echols was up for the concert and she was supposed to work with us for the afternoon. We went to Walmart and tried to sing and advertize for the concert, but we got kicked out, and then we tried to split up again, but we basically ended up running errands and it was pretty ineffective. (Concert days are such gong shows.) Finally, we went back to the church for the Children's Concert, which was AWESOME. Ashley and Stephanie both came, and they loved it, which was really great.
After the concert, we were supposed to bring 3 sisters back to our apartment to stay the night. Sister Davis had informed me that they would each have a small overnight bag and a blanket, which would totally have fit. Turned out, they each had a suitcase, multiple blankets and pillows, sleeping mats, and musical instruments. Haha. There was not a square inch of room left in the back of the car. It was hilarious. Then on the way home, while stopped at a red light, we saw a CRAZY car accident, and of course they were freaking out since they couldn't see it since their stuff was in the way. We made it the rest of the way home, got all the sisters settled in, and got to bed late. (We're 5 for 5 so far on the late nights.) We actually didn't get to do daily planning, which I felt really bad about.
On Saturday, Elder Widdup convened a district meeting to create a district vision for baptizing families, which was awesome. We decided we're going to fast for it on the first and third Sundays of the month, and in the next four months, each companionship will baptize a family. We were pretty pumped. It was the first good "district planning" meeting I've been to, which was good, since I was SO tired and I think if they'd been the way they usually are, I would have lost it. After that, we had weekly planning, since we were busy on Friday, and then games night at the church. Ashley came, which was awesome! And then we went and taught Stephanie. We taught the Sabbath Day and Law of Chastity in the context of the 10 Commandments. When we got to "Thou shalt not commit adultery," we just started by asking her opinion of it, and so she told us, ending with, "...and that's why I've decided to wait for marriage." SWEET. So we had a little more general discussion on all that it entails and on resisting temptation and then committed her to live it. I thought we were home free until she brought up the homosexuality concern, since her uncle is gay, but we resolved it surprisingly easily. Then we went to a less-active visit, Melodie. It was the first time we visited her, and we were still on a spiritual high from Stephanie's lesson. So we ended up being super bold -- basically doing How To Begin Teaching, where we learned that she feels confused about the church. But as we talked, it became clear that she thought her confusion was a lack of testimony, but she actually DID know it was true; the confusion was just the result of not having the Spirit. So we pointed that out, and then shared a thought about the verse in Isaiah where "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow," and then committing her to stop smoking. TOTALLY not the thought we'd planned, but it was TOTALLY AWESOME. Then we came home and had a call night to review exchanges with Sister Broadhead over the phone after planning. (6 for 6!)
Sunday Sister Vera and I had decided to fast about becoming more skilled in teaching together and speaking the language (she's still working on English too), plus both of our bodies completely crashed from the crazy week, plus we were sore from volleyball on Saturday, so we were SO TIRED. But church was really good. Tyler and Heidi had the flu, but Ashley and Stephanie came, as well as Sister Cormier, an excommunicated member that the sisters were apparently working with but who we haven't been able to visit yet. After church, we went street contacting. I was SO tired and I honestly didn't feel like I had the brainpower to think of things to say to people, but Sister Vera was like "We just have to do it!", so we did (Eventually). It turned out being really great and we had some great conversations, even though we talked to fewer people than usual, because apparently not being able to think of all the things I usually say means the Spirit can give me what I'm actually supposed to say. Then we stopped by a recently reactivated family whose boys are recent converts, since she'd made us a lasagna to take home, and had a really great visit. Then we had dinner, and then we went and stopped by formers and potentials, and one of the formers was interested! Then we went knocking. It was such a gong show. My filter gets slightly less filter-ey when I'm tired. Haha. We had the following conversation at a door:
"We're missionaries, etc."
"Not interested."
"Do you mind if I ask why not?" [big smile]
"Well, I'm Catholic."
[more smiling] "Well, that doesn't mean you can't be interested!"

Fortunately the guy managed to realize I was teasing, but Sister Vera was like, "I think you need to be more warm and friendly, and less genuine." Haha. (President Leavitt always talks about the need to be warmfriendlyandgenuine with people.)

Then we were supposed to have a visit with a less-active family (French people from France! I was so excited to understand everything) but they cancelled, so we stopped by some less-actives and then we called people. Then we came home and planned, and then I had the Zone Conference call for reporting numbers (7 for 7!) Pretty much every area in the Zone was having a hard time. So when it was just the ZLs and STLs discussing what message to email to the zone tomorrow, Elder Evanson was like, "A lot of these missionaries just need some encouragement because it was just a bad week, but others need to repent and work harder, but I don't know what to say to both without offending or making complacent!" and Elder Roberts was like, "It doesn't matter, everyone just needs to suck it up and try harder!" and Sister Broadhead was like, "You can't just say that though!" Haha. Finally I was like, "There's a scripture that expresses this concept in a kinder way..." and we managed to get to bed.
I love you all!
Sister Olson

February 3, 2014

Busy Week

Dear Mom,
Gaaaah why did you remind her about throat singing??? My main memory of her learning about the Inuit was "It's an IGLUVIGAK, not an igloo!!!!!!!" all the time. Pre-engineering would be fun. I kind of wish I'd taken something pre-eng/computer science-y in high school, I think it would have really given me a broader idea of what I wanted to do in university. Wait, does that mean she's in high school next year? /mindblown. Dad's non-stop trips made me laugh too.
So on Monday we had a pretty normal P-day. Pretty sure I slept for most of it. After that we had an appointment with a less-active member. Apparently she and Elder Houle are "best friends," which was kind of funny for both Sister Vera and I since we both know him. It was my first lesson in French, and I was pretty nervous, haha. Sister Vera made me do the spiritual thought, and for a moment before I started I just couldn't think of any way to start off and introduce the scripture. But I thought, well, I have to say something, so I just opened my mouth and started talking. HOLY COW THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS AWESOME. Seriously, I was suddenly talking so much better than I usually do; I could tell I was still making some mistakes and I couldn't really think of a way to end it well, but it was a really cool experience. After that, we went knocking for a bit, and then we went to teach Stephanie. She loved church and everything, so we followed up on that and on her reading, and then we started teaching the Plan of Salvation, so I decided to stop at the Atonement. I just had the inspiration that she'd probably accept the baptismal commitment, so I tied it into the Doctrine of Christ and how we follow him, and just like that, she's on date for March 8! Seriously, it was one of the most textbook baptismal commitments ever, she accepted it so easily. It was pretty cool.
Tuesday was pretty cool as well. We had a couple of appointments lined up during the day, but we couldn't get members to ANY of them. EVERYONE was busy. And then all the appointments cancelled, and we were just like, what is this??? But then one of the members called us back and said she could come after all, but we no longer had an appointment for her to come to, so she suggested a long list of people in the ward we could go visit. We called all of them and none of them were available, so we told her that, and then she suggested a couple more, one of whom was an active sister in the ward who is recovering from surgery. Turns out, she was the only one who could meet, so we made an appointment, but I was just thinking, "Seriously, we're going to visit an active member with another active member? Why are we doing this?" Well, we get there and it turns out she'd just recently made the decision to take a break from the church. There's a lot of stuff that happened surrounding her surgery and she's going through a really hard time right now, and she REALLY needed us to be there. It was kind of a sad visit because of all that was going on, but it was also SO cool to see how the Lord basically forced us into seeing her. After that, we went home for lunch, and then we went street contacting before dinner. After dinner we went knocking, and then we had correlation with the WML. He was still SO pumped about Tyler and Heidi's lesson from the previous week, it was pretty fun. Then we went home and planned, and then I had call night with my co-STL, Sister Broadhead, who is serving in Montague. So it was a full day.
On Wednesday, President Leavitt came up to interview us. He personally visits every missionary's apartment once every other transfer. So that was a good visit. I managed to not get chastised for anything this time ;) He said he's planning on opening up Bathurst as a French Sister's area as well and then transferring the 4 French-speaking sisters between them, so I'll probably be French speaking for the rest of my mission, which I'm totally okay with. The only thing about interviews is they were at 8 am, which pushed our studies back, and we basically had to study until a "district planning" meeting at 3. I love our district, but when we try to make plans together, it feels pretty ineffective. Which is how I discovered that when I'm in ineffective meetings, I get tense and end up with this weird back pain, which hasn't happened since Newfoundland (we had a lot of ineffective meetings there too.) If I were German, I'd make up a cool compound word for it. Ineffectivemeetingbackpain. (It would sound cooler in German, trust me.) It took SO LONG, but I insisted on driving to Riverview to knock for 15 minutes before dinner just so that I could feel like I did missionary work before 6 in the evening. So then we went and had dinner, and towards the end of dinner, I got a nosebleed. (Seriously, what was this day? I look back on it and it's just a gong show haha.) So we stayed in the apartment and tried phone contacting, and then it was getting time to go to Tyler and Heidi's lesson, so I just brought the Kleenex box and drove one-handed across Moncton and had the faith that it would stop by the time we got there, which it did. That was a really good lesson too. We were planning on teaching the Gospel of Christ, but we really just ended up outlining it and focusing on Through Christ We Can Be Cleansed From Sin and Repentance the whole time. We left with a promise to cover the whole thing during our next meeting. And then Brother Despres started talking about giving up smoking and coffee to join the church, right at the end of the lesson (!!!) so we left them a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and promised to follow up on that too. They'd already vaguely heard about it from Tyler's dad, so at least it wasn't really dropping a bomb on them. Then we went home and planned, and then I had call night with the Amherst sisters, which I was really impatient for because they've been struggling a lot. I mostly just tried to figure out what was going on and we made plans for exchanges to work on it.
Then on Thursday we had Ashley with Sister Pitre. Since she wants to get baptized next summer in Calgary, we've just adapted the philosophy that we're going to teach all the lessons, commit her to live all of them, and continue trying to figure out if there's any concerns or anything else we can do to get her to want to be baptized sooner. So we went with the plan of teaching the Law of Chastity, which was really easy because she's already living it. (Seriously, she keeps telling us stories of how she'll meet a guy and he wants to date her, and then she's like, "Okay, but just so you know, I'm following the Mormon religion, which means no sex before marriage." Before we even taught Law of Chastity.) We managed to unearth some more concerns about baptism though, namely that she knows she'd be really hard on herself if she even made a small mistake like saying a swear word after baptism. So we worked on resolving that. And then at the end she was talking about some financial stresses she's been having and Sister Pitre was just like, "Have you tried paying tithing?" GAAAAH. What is with members and just throwing out commandments before we're ready to teach them??? She's not totally convinced she wants to live it, so we'll have to follow up on that. Then we went home for lunch and language study before having a skype call about online proselyting. I'm not supposed to tell you the details of what we're doing though because President doesn't want family members flooding it and distracting investigators from the point of it all. Then we went street contacting and tried to stop by some formers and potentials before dinner, and then we went knocking in Riverview. Sister Vera has totally been buying into the whole "French people are less open" stereotype, but it's TOTALLY confirmation bias, because we've had even less success knocking in Riverview than Dieppe, haha. After that, we had a lesson with Stephanie, where we basically finished the Plan of Salvation by reading Alma 40 with her. She offered a great prayer at the end thanking Heavenly Father for giving her this opportunity to "get her butt in gear," so that was encouraging to hear that she realizes baptism means changing and that she really wants to change. Then we had call night with our District Leader after planning. SO MANY PHONE CALLS.
On Friday we had weekly planning, and then we had district planning. But we could only stay for half an hour because we had a lesson with a potential from street contacting. (I didn't do that on purpose, but I was okay with it working out that way.) We brought Sister Poirier, who is SUPER old, but she was available during the day and speaks French, and she ended up being really good. It was with Eric, who's from Congo. It was my first French-speaking lesson with an investigator, and I was SO nervous. It was totally like being a greenie again. I'm so glad I got to do missionary work in English first, because I think I'd be so lost if I'd started out in French. But even though I couldn't understand everything, I could get enough to see, "This is the 'All I need is a personal relationship with God'" concern or "This is the 'adding to the Bible'" concern. It actually went pretty well though. At one point, Sister Vera was teaching the Apostasy and mentioned Martin Luther, and he asked a question about it, and she doesn't actually know much about the Reformation. So then I surprised myself by summarizing a history of the Reformation in French, which I TOTALLY didn't study the vocabulary for. It was awesome. Then I got to teach the First Vision in French, which was really cool. 

After the lesson, we dropped Sister Poirier off and then we left for exchanges. We were actually SUPER late because the lesson went long, haha, but fortunately, the town we'd planned to meet up in is technically still part of the Amherst sisters' area, so they just went street contacting in the meantime. I went to Amherst with Sister Thompson, and Sister Teggie went back to Moncton with Sister Vera. We had dinner at McDonald's out of convenience and then we went knocking for a little bit before a branch activity they were having. They have art class on Friday nights, because one of the only active members is an artist. That night they did Pictionary, which was pretty fun, although I'm pretty sure everyone there was active so I'm not 100% sure how effective it was. Then we went back to the apartment and planned and got all ready for bed. I was SO tired, but Sister Thompson was like, "It's exchanges, we HAVE to stay up and talk!" Part of me was so not into that idea, but on the other hand, I knew there was no way I could be helpful if I didn't know what was going on, so we did end up having a long conversation. But I managed to quickly turn "catching up on everything since the MTC" (she was my MTC companion in case you don't remember) into "discussion about how goal setting and planning relates to the struggles in this area," so it felt pretty effective. /partypooperSTLmoment.
Then on Saturday we went store contacting at Walmart, stopped by some potentials, had lunch, and then had an appointment fall through. So we stopped by some more people and then we went knocking and ended up getting a return appointment out of it, which was great. Then we went to Sackville and went street contacting, getting some more potentials, and it ended up being a really effective exchange as far as being helpful goes, which was a relief, because it was the first one I've been "in charge" of. We then drove all the way back to Moncton, since she had a doctor's appointment that evening, and caught the end of a ward activity. Then it turned out Sister Teggie's stuff was back in the apartment on the other side of Moncton, so Sister Thompson and I went to Pita Pitt and then to her doctor's appointment while they went home to grab her stuff, and then we exchanged back. After that, we went knocking in Dieppe, which was a little more difficult than usual because I'd been in English mode all day and I had a huge sleep deprivation headache. But then at the last house on the street, we ended up getting in and teaching the Plan of Salvation to this one lady, who's a mom of 3. She had a HUGE Acadian accent. (I can finally hear different accents now! They used to just be divided into "accents I understand" and "accents I don't understand.") It was a really good lesson, but she ended up not becoming an investigator because she's so busy and also her husband already makes rude comments about the faith she does have. So we left her with a pamphlet and an invite to the concert this Friday.
Sunday was church, but only Ashley came, because Tyler and Heidi were sick and Stephanie was out of town. It was really good though. It managed to be a SPIRITUAL fast and testimony meeting, which is always a relief. After that, we went street contacting in Dieppe and managed to talk to 50 people in an hour, which is almost double our usual rate! Sunday afternoons at the mall are where the people are, apparently. After that, we went back to Riverview and knocked Wentworth, and ended up knocking into the ex-wife of one of the members, who a member in Saint John gave me as a referral way back when I left. He gave me the wrong address for her though, so we just never counted it. So that was pretty cool. She wasn't interested though, which was a bummer. After that, we stopped by Sister Boyce, one of the active members. It turns out she's SUPER missionary minded and gave us 2 referrals, and it was so cool. She was really into our spiritual thought, and you could just see the Spirit working with all of us to help think of these people. I just left thinking, "That's how working with members is supposed to be!"  Then we went home for dinner, and since it was fast Sunday, I basically walked in the door and wolfed down the rest of my pita from the night before, haha. Meanwhile, Sister Vera had the patience to actually cook, so I had some more awesome Venezuelan food. Then we went knocking for a bit, and it was a totally bizarre street because it was about 90% old people who refuse to open their door after dark, so we had a lot of conversations through windows. It was pretty funny. Then we went home and made some calls to get all organized for the coming week. After that, we had the Zone Leader conference call, and -- best part of Sunday -- it finished before 10:30 and I actually got to go to bed on time!!! Haha.
Random thought from this week: I really hope there's football on TV in the terrestrial kingdom, otherwise a lot people are going to be very unhappy.
Sister Olson

NBE Zone