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

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