February 24, 2014

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

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