April 7, 2014

Staying in Dieppe and Conference

Dear Mom,
I seem to remember that there used to be a lot of female teachers on Staff Stompers, so I guess just none signed up this year? That's awesome that Chloe got second at regionals! My whole family is just so talented, seriously, Steven getting nominated for the all-star team and everything. The picture of you sleeping made me laugh, that's me in the car all the time.
So transfers came and Sister Lewis and I are staying in Dieppe! We're pretty excited because on Saturday STEPHENIE IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! We're so happy! We were REALLY stressed that one of us was going to get transferred though, haha.
So, I have to apologize for spending your money on Monday. We were getting ready to go to Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday and I was getting stressed about it, which manifested as I have nothing to wear all my clothes are terrible and I have no nice shoes what am I going to do...etc. And then we were still getting the ice pellet storm from that Sunday and most of the city was out of power, so the only places open were Walmart, Target, and Reitman's. I bought a black shirt at Reitman's and a pair of black high heels, and then I bought a maxi skirt at Target, which I hemmed to be a shorter skirt. Looking back, it was a total overreaction, but I was just really stressed out. It was kind of crazy because our side of our street was the ONLY street in our whole neighbourhood that had power. We were really worried we were going to lose power and not be able to shower before MLC the next day, but the Lord was merciful to us. But yeah, not much got accomplished on Monday.
On Tuesday, we met the New Brunswick West STLs at the church, and us and the Zone leaders drove to Halifax. We somehow forgot our phone, too, so we had to use the other STL's phone the whole time whenever we wanted to talk to anyone. (The ZLs were in Charlottetown's car and the STL's were in St. Stephen's car.) It was CRAZY. We were getting a HUGE snowstorm. Everyone was supposed to fast that all the missionaries would make it there safe, but somehow Sister Sandberg and Sister Echols didn't get the memo, so we got in two spinouts, one for each of them that didn't fast ;) The first one was pretty minor. Sister Sandberg was being kind of cocky about being from a small town deep in the mountains of BC and was driving a little fast. We hit a patch of snow and started fishtailing and nearly hit the rail before we stopped. We were only going 60 though, so each of us just looked at the spedometer as soon as it happened and remained completely calm. So I got out in my new high heels and helped push the car out of the snow, haha. We'd moved it about 3 feet but then the ZLs pulled over and insisted on doing the rest of it. After that, the ZLs insisted on driving in front to control the speed. After a while though, their caution wore off and we started going pretty fast again. At one point, we were both passing this semi truck when the ZLs hit a huge patch of snow and disappeared in a puff of snow. Unbeknownst to us, they spun out and hit the rail at 90 km/h. Miraculously, the car was somehow undamaged. We had just gotten past the semi and came through the snow pile to see the ZLs at a dead stop about 20 feet from us, and we were also going about 90. At the same moment, we hit the same patch of snow and lost control of our car. Somehow, Sister Sandberg managed to fishtail the car between the semi, the ZL's car, and the barricade on the side of the road. I think we would have flipped if we hit anything. It was a total miracle. Meanwhile, Sister Lewis was on the phone with a conference call with all the sisters in the Zone that we were holding for training purposes. She had us on mute while one sister was bearing her testimony through the whole thing. She closed her testimony just as we got the car back under control and Sister Lewis took it off mute and said, "Yeah, so the Spirit..." like nothing had even happened. The sisters still don't know. Haha.
Lest any of you worry too much, I actually felt completely safe through the whole thing because I knew the Lord was protecting us.
After we got into Nova Scotia, the weather calmed down and we arrived safely in Halifax. It was a really good leadership meeting. We talked a lot about being more accountable to the Lord than to the mission president, and what makes a good leader. Just before dinner, President Leavitt started shaking uncontrollably. We all went to Boston Pizza without him and got back to find out that he was in the hospital with a blood infection. The Assistants finished the leadership training and Sister Lewis and I went to the Cole Harbour apartment to stay with Sister Keeler and Sister Pizzey, which was SUPER fun because it's my old area AND they were in my MTC district. We came back to the mission home the next morning and President Leavitt still wasn't feeling well, so we continued the meeting without him. At the end, he came down and gave a shortened version of his training about speaking the truth with love to the people we lead, and then we all went to the temple. It was SO nice to go to the temple again! It was just a really good spirit. And it was really cool because the session was mostly missionaries. Then we got lunch and drove back home, which was a much more uneventful ride. It was kind of crazy to see all the cars in the ditch from the previous day though. We got back at a little after 7 pm at night and didn't have time to do much before our appointment with a LA, but then that fell through, so we stopped by a bunch of less-actives to invite them to the pancake breakfast before conference. We managed to get in to see Melodie, who Sister Vera and I saw once last transfer, and it was a really good lesson, so that was great.
On Thursday we had a district meeting, which was also good. We roleplayed inviting people to be baptized. After that, we had a lesson with Angie, but it fell through, so we took Sister Pitre to stop by our other investigator, Denise. She had all these crazy concerns about women and race and stuff, but not even the normal concerns people come up with. She actually reminds me a lot of Miss Kim from high school, which was funny to see how many random life experiences prepared me for my mission. It was a decent lesson though, and then we drove Sister Pitre home. We only had about an hour and a half to go finding all day, so we walked around delivering more invitations to less-actives and street contacted on the way. We met a guy who had met Mormon missionaries all over the world (he likes traveling), including in Japan, so that was cool. Then we drove WAAAY south to Hillsbourough for our dinner appointment. After that, we picked up a member, Sister Despres, to come with us to Stephenie's lesson. It was so cool because Sister Despres had never come to a lesson with us before, but she had a GREAT personal experience about tithing, and Stephenie committed to live it! (Previously, she liked the idea of tithing, but she wanted to only pay 2% at first and work up to 10%). We walked out of the lesson and I realized, THAT'S ALL THE COMMANDMENTS!!! Her baptism really started seeming real to me in that moment and it was really exciting. After that, we had a lesson with Ashley, which was okay. She's still just facing a lot of spiritual opposition. What it comes down to is she just needed to get baptized sooner, but wouldn't commit to any earlier date.
Friday was weekly planning, and then district planning, which was just WAY too much talking about the work and not enough actually doing the work. We only had a bit of time to knock in Dieppe before our DA, which was frustrating. Then we had a DA with our investigator Jayne, which was great. I'd been really craving fried chicken and she had chicken wings for dinner. After that, we had Sports Night, but since they were setting up for the pancake breakfast, we ended up playing Jenga in the Relief Society room. It was the craziest game of Jenga ever! Somehow it just DIDN'T FALL. The Elders started commentating like sports announcers and everyone had a lot of fun. We started building the base in unusual ways every round, but we still lasted for FOREVER.
Saturday started out with French companionship study via skype, which was just REALLY good, and then we had the pancake breakfast with the ward. We had a pretty poor turnout, but all 3 of our really solid investigators came, which was awesome. And Jayne gave Stephenie a ride, which I loved. Conference was so great! Even if the WHOLE THING was about marriage and families. Well, if I had to pick one theme from Conference, it would probably be about pointing everything in our life back to Christ, but it just felt like a lot of families and not very much missionary work. The only talk from Saturday that even touched on missionary work was Elder Scott's, and his talk was the most distracting of all! "I met Jenny and then I served a mission and then she served a mission and then we got married." And we all know from previous conferences that they had the cutest marriage EVER. Haha. In between sessions of Conference, we stopped by the Umahoza family, who are LA, to make sure they watched the Saturday afternoon session, and then I think we had dinner. (The afternoon session starts at 5 pm here.) After conference was over, we went knocking in Dieppe. We had two super awkward doors in a row. One guy was sitting in his car outside his house, so we came up to him, but he wouldn't roll down the window for the longest time. The next lady had just gotten out of the shower and answered the door in just a towel. It was pretty funny.
On Sunday, transfer letters were coming, so we went to the church to check them after companionship study. But they weren't there! So we had language study at the church so we could listen to French on the computer, and then we went knocking for an hour before conference. Finally, Elder Ballard gave a talk on missionary work, but he still started it with "3 days after we got home I met my wife." It was just funny at that point. We were also having some technical difficulties, so it was a pretty amusing session for us. After that, we didn't have a lot of time before our DA, so we basically just went to that. It was with a part-member/recent-convert/less-active family, but we didn't get to share a message because of the non-member husband, so that was disappointing. We then came back to General Conference, and also checked our emails again, but STILL no transfers! We were both so stressed out because we did NOT want to get transferred before Stephenie's baptism! The Sunday afternoon session was probably my favourite. I've been thinking a lot recently about how on missions, it's really such a blessing to be able to spend all your time serving other people. And it had been kind of making me sad to realize how many things when I got home would just be about me again, and I also don't want to get caught up in trivial mundane things again. But something about Elder Corbridge and Elder Teh's talks really gave me some personal revelation about that and it reminded me of Jacob 2:18-19 where it talks about seeking for the kingdom of God before seeking riches. And that's like our missions, where we seek the kingdom of God first. And then when we come home, we'll obtain "riches," which can also mean education, relationships, etc., if we seek it, because we'll have the maturity and life skills and partnership with the Lord to do so. But it says, "when you seek for riches, you will seek them with the intent to do good." Not if, but when. Basically, missions should produce the change of heart so that when you do all the same old things you wanted to do, it will now be pointed back towards Christ and helping other people, instead of just wanting it for selfish reasons.
After conference, we went knocking and had our conference call with the Zone Leaders. We checked our emails this morning and transfers were finally here, and as I said, we're staying! Which I'm totally happy about. I'd serve here for the rest of my mission, I love it!
Love you all!
Sister Olson

The most ridiculous game of Jenga at games night on Friday.

This is how we watched the first half of the Sunday morning session of General Conference. The satellite wasn't working, so finally Ashley pulled it up on her tablet and we put a microphone behind it to connect the sound to the speaker system.

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