March 3, 2014

BYU Advice and a new companion

Hey Mom,
You'll probably want to fix the whole BYU emailing you and Steven thing before he leaves, otherwise you'll have to keep being responsible for things all throughout his university. I found it hilarious that you found it easier to give in and get Carmen an iPhone than Fruit Rollups. Yay for Steven getting into BYU!!! If he's only going for one semester, tell him not to take American Heritage until after his mission. Try to get into Mission prep with Brother Bott, or Book of Mormon with Parker (I didn't like him for NT but apparently he's great for BoM). I don't even know what he's majoring in. What's he majoring in? If he has to take any science courses, tell him that the first biology course at BYU will be basically the same materials as Bio 30, so it's easy, and that Chem 105 is a killer class so don't take other heavy classes in the same semester. Tell him to sign up for one of the half-credit sports classes to keep himself sane. Or Social Dance. And aim for maybe 14 credit hours. If he wants a fun class, he can borrow my guitar and take beginning guitar (Music 117), it's pretty much impossible to not get an A as long as you go to 3 concerts, take the final, and show up. Plus it's worth 2 whole credit hours! Also, DON'T TAKE ECON OR POLY SCI UNLESS YOU HAVE TO OR YOUR GPA WILL BE DEAD. You'd think it would be a good way to get out of American Heritage as a Canadian, but both of those are killer weeder classes and everyone says they're really hard.
So not going to lie, the first part of the week was super lame because Sister Vera can be kind of frustrating to work with sometimes (not personality wise, just language barrier and being really slow) and so my brain kind of just wanted to procrastinate until she was gone. We tried to work on that though. On Monday we got our first HQ referral since Newfoundland, which was exciting, except for the fact that they live all the way in Shediac and we haven't been able to get ahold of them to make an appointment before driving all the way out there. We tried to pass by some people but they weren't available, and we ended up in visiting Sister Karen, a less-active, who basically wouldn't let us leave, so that kind of took up the whole evening. It was also kind of frustrating because she won't let you share a thought that isn't from Daughters in My Kingdom, and I haven't actually read that yet, so I have to kind of subtly flip through it and find something. (I got ahold of a copy on Sunday though so it should get better.)
On Tuesday we had an appointment with Ashley, which was cool because we were going to teach Revelation through the Book of Mormon and also commit her to stop looking things up on the Internet. And it turned out she'd had an experience that really showed her the contrast between seeking things God's way and arguing with people on the web, and she ALSO had been feeling really impressed to read the Book of Jacob, so it basically taught our lesson for us. Then we went to our appointment with the other Ashley, who "had company" (unshowered and in her PJs, so I don't think so), so we tried to go street contacting at the University campus, but it was freezing cold and everyone was busy and stressed out because of midterms, so not much happened there. Then we went to go see Veronique, because her son was sick, and we found out that neither her nor her sister Carol-Lin (who was also there) have ever had a spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon! We were like, THIS IS HUGE. So we know what to focus on from now on! Then we went knocking in Dieppe, and we ended up getting into a lesson with this guy who talked sooooooooooo fast. I could barely understand him at all, but Sister Vera didn't realize it, so our unity was a little off and we probably didn't teach exactly what he needed. He didn't end up becoming a new investigator, so we're going to send the Elders to "accidentally" knock into him in a couple of weeks and see how that goes. It was a really good lesson in a lot of ways though -- the problem is that at the end, he said he isn't "searching," so we just failed to help him see the urgency of the message, even though everything we taught helped him answer some questions and he really liked it. After that, President Leavitt had decided to have a skype meeting with the STLs at 5 pm, and we were running late. My GPS broke recently too, so we were trying to use maps, and Sister Vera said we should take the highway to avoid rush hour traffic, but we got off the wrong traffic circle exit and THEN after that she had me exit WAYYYY too early, so we actually got onto Mountain Road at the BEGINNING of where the rush hour traffic starts and it actually took longer instead of shorter. (Map reading is not conducive to companionship unity.) But we finally got there. Then after that we had an appointment fall through, and then dinner, and then we were supposed to have a meeting with our WML, but he cancelled, and I honestly don't remember what we did after that. We either went knocking or prepared for transfers, but I don't think it was very productive judging by our numbers.
Wednesday we went to the church to have a district correlation meeting, and Sister Vera and I brought Venezuelan food for everyone. I made the beans pretty much all by myself, so I can basically make awesome Hispanic food now. Then we went to our re-scheduled lesson with the other Ashley, who cancelled (dropped!) and tried street contacting at the University again (equally unsuccessful) before going to see a less-active, Sister Wareham. It was actually a really good lesson. She's been reading this book that's totally anti, but I don't think she realizes it's anti (it's one of those books that twists things to make it seem the like the Church is this huge creepy conspiracy), she just thinks it's an interesting story about one guy in the church. So we talked about using the Spirit to discern the truth of things and focusing our study on the Book of Mormon. Then I think we made some calls, and had dinner, and then went knocking. After that, we tried to stop by Tyler and Heidi, who we hadn't been able to get ahold of, and then we ended up getting into a lesson with Judith, the non-member mom of two semi-active teenagers. Her kids had Treehouse on, which was WAY more distracting than it needed to be, because I was really tired and they had all these programs on that they played when I was a kid, haha. Somehow the lesson got around to baptism without me, and then Judith was surprisingly interested and kept asking us to explain it more fully. She's difficult to teach because she's from Africa and there's a language barrier, so we were really surprised at how well it went. We FINALLY managed to get her to understand that baptism has to be done a specific way and by a specific authority, getting over the "I've already been baptized" thing. Now she's onto "But I feel like I already have a personal relationship with Christ," so we'll work on that next time.
Thursday morning we had another lesson with Ashley, which was pretty unfocused. She's almost too good of friends with her member fellowshipper now and it's hard to keep the lesson on track. After that, we came up to the church for transfers (transfers to/from NB always meet in Moncton). I got to see Sister Coleman again, which was super exciting. They get a TRUCK in Bathurst, which is totally not fair! She and Sister Vera left, and Sister Lewis and I got into the Moncton elders' Chevy Trax to go home. I caught her up on the progress of the area and all the sisters we're STLs over before dinner, and then the Moncton elders called and said they needed to borrow the car for a DA that lives out of town. So we drove to the blood donor clinic where they were doing volunteer work, and gave them the keys, and then took the bus home and had dinner while roleplaying French door approaches for Sister Lewis. After that, we were going to bus to Dieppe and knock, but the elders got back with the car, so we got to drive there. Sister Lewis is a little worse at French than I was when I got here, but she gets REALLY nervous and basically wants to be able to be fluent before she feels confident saying things, so it's interesting. I'd unconsciously been letting Sister Vera take over when we were together, so it was cool to realize, no, if I try I really CAN understand these people, and I can do door approaches saying basically the same things as I'd do in English! So I've been letting Sister Lewis start all the approaches and then when she gets stuck I take over. We've had some great conversations so far but no investigators yet.
On Friday we basically had a ridiculous amount of planning to do because Sister Broadhead, who is "senior STL" for the last transfer, wanted us to make all these STL plans in addition to weekly plans, so we only had about an hour and a half before games night at the church, so we tried to stop by some people and they weren't home, and then we swung by Pita Pitt for dinner. (If anyone loves me, you could send me Pita Pitt gift cards and make my life.) Sports night ended up being pretty great. Ashley came, as well as the Moncton elders' investigator, and one of the members brought a less-active. The Dieppe elders wanted to have a meeting afterwards, and I was like, "It's not going to be done in time," and they were like "yes it is." It wasn't.
Saturday started with a lot of meetings. President Leavitt wanted to have a skype call with all the STLs at 9, and then the Zone Leaders had a skype meeting with all the mission leaders at 10. After the meetings, we did some work related to those assignments, and then we had lunch. After lunch, I got a haircut, which isn't as blasphemous as it sounds. Ashley has a friend whose son has leukemia, and she decided to shave her head once $4000 was raised. Another friend, who's a hairdresser, volunteered to give haircuts and donate the cost to the kid, so she was having a haircut thing at her house. I figured it was a great way to build trust with her non-member friends, since I know they've been giving her a hard time some of the time, plus I got a cheap haircut. It ended up taking about twice as much time as we'd planned for, on top of the meetings taking an hour longer than we planned, but on the plus side, the hairdresser was SO PREPARED. He started asking us all these questions about missionary work and then started telling us how he doesn't believe in the Bible because everyone interprets it like we should just worship Jesus and not God, and how he can't figure out what's true because all the churches just seem like knockoffs of each other and/or the real thing, and "I'm going crazy trying to figure this out on my own." It was so cool! Then some of her other friends showed up and he stopped talking about it and I totally wimped out on getting his contact information because it seemed awkward, but we gave him a card with the Moncton elders' number. I basically got a blunt bob just above my shoulders, so kind of the same haircut I had two summers ago. After that, we went knocking again. I think that might have been the street with the crazy anti guy. He was one of those born agains who was all like, you need to read the Bible, then you'll find out your church is a cult! Haha. Usually it wouldn't have bugged me, but he just had this smug/fake-happy attitude. He was all like, "You're going to hell [big smile]" "Okay, what makes you say that?" "Anyone who isn't a born-again Christian is going to hell. It's in the Bible! [more smiles at the thought of so many people going to hell.]" "That's an awful lot of people going to hell." "Yeah, but it's not my fault. That's just how God wants it. [more smiling]" Seriously, I don't get how some people can smile while saying certain things. Then we went home and had dinner, checked on some referrals, and then stopped by a less-active member. It was really cool because I've looked over the ward list so many times without even realizing her name was on there, and Friday night it had seemed to just stand out from the page. It turns out she actually lives in Nova Scotia most of the time, and this weekends she happened to be in town and was leaving tomorrow morning! It sounds like she's started going back to church in NS, but her fiance lives in Moncton. She was really grateful to have us over, which was really cool to see how the Lord directs us. After that, we stopped by Tyler and Heidi, who had been hardcore ignoring us, and you could totally see the light was gone out of their eyes and they were just really subdued and closed off and not interested. It was so sad. We went home and other than trying to find a recent convert a ride who was in town from Fredericton, we didn't have to make ANY calls or arrange rides for ANYONE, which was AWESOME.
On Sunday we had church. In church one of the members started making one of those "Utah Mormons aren't real Mormons" comments, which I could tell was upsetting Sister Lewis, so I piped up and was like, "When I went to BYU, I met so many great members of the church from Utah..." haha. After church an 8-year-old was getting baptized and they asked me to play the piano. Ashley got to stay and see the baptism, which was awesome! Then we went straight to knocking pretty much all day since our contacts had been pretty low this week. It was only interrupted for dinner. And then at the end of the evening we had a less-active visit with Sister Porter. After that, we got to watch the CES devotional at the church, which wasn't nearly as uplifting as it could have been because we were also trying to get all the numbers reported over text message, which was just a total gong show, so I was kind of distracted. The Bathurst sisters kept not texting us back, so finally I sent a text that said, "Do you have your numbers? Can ah? Can ah have yo numbahs?" (10 points for the youtube reference), and Sister Lewis just about died trying not to laugh too loud. We're seriously best friends and it's only been since Thursday. It's really nice to serve with an experienced missionary for the first time since Sister Judd, so even though we're now in charge of 4x as many sisters this transfer, the advantage of only having half the responsibility in lessons, planning, etc., is SO NICE. Plus our personalities get along really well. It's funny because we've met before on exchanges, but serving full-time with me is apparently giving her "identity crisis" because her first impression of me was so off. (She liked me the first time as well, but apparently I'm quirkier but less socially awkward than she was expecting. Score!)
Sister Olson

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I think we learn more about your lives in Calgary by reading Jaclyn's responses to you than actually from you! Congratulations Steven!!! I second Jaclyn's Brother Bott advice. I had him for D&C, and he is one of the greatest teachers I've ever had.