March 10, 2014

6 Months To Go!

Dear Mom,
I like the Green Eggs & Ham, that's hilarious.
So this week was pretty great. On Monday, Sister Lewis and I ate fried chicken from Walmart, did NOT clean the apartment, prepared a musical number, and basically had a blast. After P-day, we had an appointment with a potential who wanted to meet at the Tim Horton's that happened to be near our apartment. So we walked downtown, but the Tim Horton's closes at 6, and even though we hung around for a bit (right beside the "no loitering" sign), nobody showed up. So I said, "Do you want to just WALK to the Dieppe bus terminal and street contact on the way there?" She was totally okay with that, so we walked to Champlain Mall, took the bus to Pascal Street, and finished knocking Pascal (which is a HUGE street)! Then we realized that we couldn't find a bus to take us home, so we walked ALL THE WAY from Pascal to the mall, and then took a bus the rest of the way home. It took like an hour, but it was so fun! Sister Lewis and I are really enjoying the fact that we're both experienced and just willing to work hard and accept things, so when we have to walk for an hour, it's actually just exciting that we don't have to worry about if our companion is now having the WORST day EVER. On the way home, we were really trying hard to talk to everyone, so I flagged down a guy riding his bike. Turns out he was completely insane. He thinks you need to literally die and come back to life in order to be "born again" and saved. Then he was like, "Do you need a teacher? Do you need a prophet?" "Well, actually, I already have a prophet." It ended in him cussing us out and us walking away really quickly so he wouldn't hear us laughing.
Tuesday was Zone Conference, which was really good. President Leavitt has been having the whole mission re-focus on the 8 fundamental lessons from 12-week, so we did a few of those in the morning and had some good roleplays, and then in the afternoon it focused more on faith and motivation. I was freaking out the whole time because the APs kept saying things like, "This is geared towards those of you in the twilight of your missions -- those who have 6 months or less" and I was like, WHEN DID I FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY?!?! But it actually turned out to be really good for me. I realized that if I get to the end of my mission without trying to step it up and really have a baptism, I'm probably going to be disappointed when it's over and I never get to do this again. And probably in the last transfer I'd start just trying to cram everything in, but that's totally the wrong way to fix the problem. Really, you should spend your WHOLE mission doing literally every single thing possible. Elder Morin, the AP when I came out, used to say "If it were the last week of my mission, I'd talk to everyone and do everything. Well, this is the last mission of my life. Why should it be any different?" I'm kind of sad that it took a whole year to really have that sink in -- not that I was super lazy or disobedient before or anything -- but I guess I needed that whole year to figure it out. I'm going to have an awesome 6 months left though.
After Zone Conference, Sister Lewis went with Sister Vera to Bathurst for exchanges and I stayed in Dieppe with Sister Coleman, which was SO MUCH FUN. She's now been out as long as I'd been when I started training her, which was weird. She's struggling a bit with learning the language AND being senior companion AND opening a new area (kind of like when I was training her for the first time AND re-opening an area, haha) so it was good for her to just spend the exchange working hard and feeling effective without feeling responsible for what happened. We talked a lot about time management and prioritizing so hopefully that helped. Because Zone Conference ended up going late, we basically only had time for dinner and then correlation meeting with the WML that evening, but it was good.
Wednesday morning we went to visit Veronique, a LA who speaks French, to practice teaching her the Restoration. When we showed up, it turned out she had a bunch of family in town, and there were ELEVEN kids in the house! And she was the only one home with them. So it was pretty crazy. Total gong show of a lesson. But Sister Coleman got to teach the Restoration in French and towards the end more adults came home so it got calmer and more Spirit-filled when we were teaching the Book of Mormon and Pray to Know part, which is what Veronique actually needed anyways, so that was good. Then we came home and had language study and lunch, followed by stopping by some people who had responded to our kijiji ads for various church materials. Then we went to the library to get some Google Maps directions, since my GPS broke a few weeks ago, and tried street contacting on Champlain Street, but there wasn't really anyone out, so we went to the City Hall to look up service opportunities. After that, we went knocking before dinner. At this one house, the window in the door was frosted glass. We watched the outline of a man run down the stairs to answer us, trip, and fall. He didn't come to the door. It was soooo funny but soooo awkward and concerning at the same time. After that, we had a DA with an excommunicated member that the bishop asked us to work with. She made Acadian meat pie, which was much more delicious than the last Acadian food I had. We found out that she didn't know that the Atonement helps you change, or that repentance involves a change of heart. And she'd been a member since 1979! So we taught about that. Then we went to an appointment with a potential, which fell through, and then we drove out to Shediac. We'd received a media referral, and it turned out that she was a less-active member from the Philippines, Elaine, who moved here for work and couldn't find the church once she got here. So that was a really cool experience to see how the Lord can use us in so many ways. It was kind of funny when we were trying to find her though because #17 on the road had a house out front and apartments in the back. So we just knocked on the front door, and there were like 20 Filipinos in the house. Instead of just telling us which apartment number, they walked us through their whole house to the back door to show us, which was kind of unexpected and bizarre. Also, Sister Coleman and I got asked if we were twins, which used to happen to us ALL the time in Saint John, so that just made the exchange complete. Then we stopped at a gas station to get directions home, since I forgot to print those off, but they were really vague, so I ended up just buying a Kitkat hazelnut bar (which was AWESOME) and figuring it out myself. We got home safe, but it was on faith.
Because our appointment with Elaine was so late and nothing really got done Tuesday night in either area, we decided to exchange on Thursday morning. So Sister Coleman and I woke up early and took a road trip to Miramichi to exchange back. Sister Lewis and I rushed home, she got some clean clothes, and then we went to an appointment with Ashley. We focused on baptism again, and it turned out she'd already been praying about a date! But she wasn't sure yet. So we committed her to pick one, preferably in the near future. Then we tried street contacting in Dieppe again, but there's really nowhere good for that, so we went knocking instead. After dinner, we went to visit a less-active, Sister Karen, who was really excited to see Sister Lewis again (Sister Lewis had served here before). It was really sweet. Then we had a lesson with the Umahoza family. The two teenage kids are baptized, but the mom isn't, and they're all LA. It was funny because this 10-year-old boy was over who's 7th day adventist, and he was getting right into it and answering all the questions, which helped them see that it's not weird to be religious or anything. Then when we committed them to church he called to his mom in the other room to find out if they were going to church on Saturday, and then he said, "Yes! I'm going!" Haha. It was pretty cute. After that I think we tried to stop in on some referrals or potentials, but nothing really happened.
Friday was weekly planning, followed by district planning. The elders had a doctrinal question for me about the stick of Ephraim that one of their investigators brought up, and it was pretty funny because as soon as they said the scripture reference, I just knew what the question would be, so I answered it before they asked it, haha. After that, we took the Moncton elders to a lesson with a potential we were going to pass off to them, so we dropped them off at the library. The Zone Leaders texted everyone and challenged each companionship to talk to 20 people that day, and since the only way to talk to lots of people in Dieppe is knocking, we went and did that for an hour an a half. Usually we can only talk to 10 people an hour with knocking, but we managed to get 21 in an hour and half, which felt like a miracle. It was pretty great. Then we came home and had a quick dinner before Sports Night, which was pretty poorly attended. It was disappointing, especially because we TOTALLY made plans to put Ashely on date at Sports Night, but oh well.
On Saturday we had a conference call with the Zone Leaders in the morning, followed by lunch and then a Skype meeting with Sister Broadhead, our "senior STL." Then we updated our kijiji ads, checked on a former (who no longer lived there), and got on the bus for some bus-time adventures. (Exchanges killed our k's). We basically tried to stop in on some formers and bus contact all afternoon. Thanks to my new "do everything in the mission" philosophy, we talked to probably literally every single person we could see, even the ones that were really out of the way. It was SO fun, but we had to work SO hard all day just to talk to 36 people! Then we went home and had dinner, and then we took the bus back out to the last former to follow up on and the street we were going to knock. We got a return appointment with one guy (who had 2 GIANT Great Danes!) and then at the last house, we taught this guy Mario in his doorway (yes, that's his real name). It was getting really late, but I asked him, "Have you ever wondered why there are so many different churches when they all teach from the same Bible" and he replied, "Yeah, actually, I've wondered that my whole life and still haven't figured it out!" So we REALLY quickly taught the Restoration from the Saviour's Earthly Ministry on, because we were going to miss our bus. I even considered skipping the prayer and return appointment and not picking him up as an investigator until later, but the Spirit was like, "No, you set that goal and it's right in front of you!" So we did the whole thing, which it turns out was good because he's SUPER busy and won't be able to meet until the 29th because his kids have hockey tournaments out of town all month. Then after the lesson, we SPRINTED down the entire street -- it was a REALLY long street -- and missed out bus anyways. It turns out there's a really special kind of running you do when you're carrying a purse, wearing boots, and trying not to slip on ice, and it's a kind that gives you shin splints for days. Haha. So we realized the next bus wasn't coming until 10 pm, so we called the elders to pick us up, but it took them 40 minutes to get here, so it really wasn't that much faster than taking the bus. Ha.
Sunday was ward council and church, followed by lunch. After that, we took the bus out to Dieppe to go knocking again and had some really good conversations. This one guy in a wheelchair wasn't all there, but I was talking to him anyways, and he said, "Next time you see Jesus, can you tell him I got hit by a car when I was 4?" with just this total childlike trust. It was so sad. Then we made it out to the street we were going to knock, went knocking, and then on the way back, we were walking past Ashley's house and noticed her light was on. We hadn't been able to get ahold of her all weekend, so we decided last-minute to stop in. Turns out she'd been in Fredericton, went to church there, was praying about a date, and wanted to get baptized sometime in April! She'd been thinking of the 17th, but we committed her to the 6th because it's Christ's birthday, the day the church was organized, and she REALLY doesn't need to wait that long. It was SO awesome because we literally just stopped in like, "What the heck, let's see her since we're here," and then we got her on DATE, FINALLY!!!!! It made us miss the last bus (since they stop running at 6 pm in Dieppe), so we had to walk for an hour and a half to get home, but we were just so pumped up and had a long conversation about all the ways the Lord blesses us on our missions the whole time, so it was awesome. We FINALLY got home, had a really quick dinner (I was so glad I decided to put homemade chicken soup in the crock pot at lunch), and then we went to see Stephanie, who we hadn't been able to get ahold of for ages either. We were really concerned because she was supposed to get baptized this Saturday and she clearly wasn't going to make it, but we taught a great lesson and managed to reschedule for April 12. It was really cool because we needed to put 2 on date and talk to 40 people in order to meet our weekly goals, and we managed to talk to EXACTLY 40 people AND get 2 on date in like 3 hours! We'd thought we'd have to find a family, but the Lord had other plans. It was a really great day.
Sister Olson

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