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

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