May 26, 2014

The work this week

Dear Mom,
I had a lot of emails to write this week so I'll try to cover everything that happened.
On Monday I made bread during P-day, which was pretty much the greatest thing ever. Then we went knocking and just had incredible success in finding potentials. We had a lesson set up for 7 that the Elders got for us, but she rescheduled, so we went to stop by some other investigators and such who were hard to get ahold of. We got in to teach Bella, our French investigator. We managed to bring it around to baptism and she said, "Oh, so Mormon is a religion? I thought you were Catholic!" Hahaha. Facepalm. Language barrier? We told her like 5 times we weren't Catholic though, and told her we didn't believe in the Trinity, Original Sin, or Infant Baptism, so I have no idea how that one slipped through the cracks. They always say extending the baptismal commitment helps you find concerns...yep. She said, "Do you believe in the Pope?" "No." "What? Come on! You have to believe in the Pope! He's the most powerful person in the world!" "Do you believe a Pope or a prophet is better?" "The Pope, duh! The Pope calls prophets." Then Sister Lewis says, "Well, in our church, we believe Jesus calls prophets." That totally clicked for her, and the next thing she said was, "I want to go to your church on Sunday." Um, okay, I guess if you want... ;) So then we went over it a bit and read through the end of the Intro to the Book of Mormon and said, "If you knew these things were true, would you be baptized?" She responded like we were basically the dumbest people ever: "Uh, yeah. Duh! Obviously!" We just started cracking up. We eventually managed to explain that most people didn't react like that. She didn't believe us, "What, they know it's true and they just want to live in their lies?!" All with this sassy black girl attitude. Soooooooo funny. Great lesson.
Tuesday we had a conference call with the sisters in the morning. We talked about accountability to the Lord and to leaders, since there's a serious attitude of excuse-making and don't-tell-me-I'm-doing-anything-wrong going around. Of course, the issue is that all the sisters who were already accountable actually paid attention, and the ones who aren't didn't listen to this either haha. Then we went to get a criminal record check for a volunteer opportunity, and then we had a lesson with Kayla, a single mom. She used to be Catholic but switched to Pentecostal for her boyfriend. It was cool because we were just doing HTBT and then ended up teaching the first three principles without even planning on transitioning. It was the first time teaching about "prophets" really just felt like the logical followup to "The gospel blesses families." We ended up talking a lot about modern prophets and she was super interested, which was awesome! Then I think we probably went contacting along the riverfront or something, and then we had a lesson with Stephanie. We taught the Plan of Salvation, which was good. Then we went to the church to have a skype call with the other STLs in the mission in preparation for the upcoming transfer. Following that, we tried to contact a referral who wasn't home, and then we went knocking, followed by following up on our rescheduled appointment from Monday. She wasn't home, so we left a note on the door and were driving away when we saw her family walking home. We'd been a bit early, so we were like, "What do we do? If she sees the note, it's going to be weird if we come back 10 minutes later. But maybe she really meant to be home in time for our lesson?" We drove past her house and the note was still there -- most Maritimers don't use the front door -- so we just went up to the door, removed the note, and knocked. Haha. She rescheduled AGAIN, but we had a good feeling about it. After that, we did more knocking, and at literally the LAST house, we did a door approach, all in French, that ended up getting us a return appointment for the next day. It was super exciting!
On Wednesday we did a few dropping-things-off-to-people related errands, and then we started riverfront contacting. Then we had an appointment with Natalie, who seemed super golden but has flaked a trillion times. We showed up and she said, "I thought it was tomorrow!" so we rescheduled one last time. Then we went knocking. After that, we had a DA with the Legers, who are a super awesome family, but for whatever reason, the progression of the DA went really slow (food not being ready, having to change her kid's diaper before the thought, etc) so we got out late, which was frustrating because we didn't have enough time to go work in our area before another appointment we had in Moncton. So we went to the church and updated our kijiji ads and such. Then we went to our WML's house to practice teaching the Restoration in French. It actually went super well, they had no suggestions for improving the French, just a few about how to teach it better in general. So that got us all pumped up, and then we went for our lesson with Koumba that we'd set up Tuesday evening. She's Muslim and from Africa. They seem to be much more liberal than Muslims from the Middle East. It was really cool because I could understand pretty much EVERYTHING she said and I just felt totally comfortable and just said basically the same things I would have in English. It was totally a blessing though because I was SOOO nervous before we went in. Sister Lewis still doesn't talk much in French lessons so it feels a little more on me, but I just have to remember that it's really all on the Lord. Like everything we do.
Thursday was super fun. We went to 9 am mass at one of the two Catholic churches in Dieppe. It was so confusing! It was all in French and hard to understand, and we had no idea what was going on. It made me appreciate why people would be nervous to come to church for the first time though, and the importance of fellowshippers. I noticed that I didn't really feel the Spirit from the church or the service, but I did feel the Spirit from the individual people who attended -- good Christians who come to mass even on Thursdays. It was neat. After that, we went to the hospital to deliver some Book of Mormons to people, and then we went to stop by a potential, following which we dropped off our criminal record check at the library and went riverfront contacting. We walked ALL THE WAY to Natalie's house and she wasn't even home! So then we walked ALL THE WAY back. Probably not the most effective, but it was uplifting somehow anyways. (I actually can't remember if the walking happened on Wednesday or Thursday.) It was probably Wednesday actually because on Thursday Sister Lewis' feet really hurt and we ended up getting a snack in the mall food court so we could sit down. We were basically super lazy and probably spent way longer there than we should have. Good thing there's always repentance. That evening we had a DA with Jayne and she agreed to help us learn how to teach family history to people, which was awesome, and then I think we were supposed to go knocking or something, and then we finally had our lesson with Cassandra, the lady who kept rescheduling. It actually went through and she's super golden! She thinks all religion is manmade so she has a habit of checking different ones out. Then she said, "And after I go, I always pray to know if the things they taught were true." We were basically just like, "Great, you should do that about our church!" haha.
Friday ended up being a total bust. We had weekly planning, then district planning, and that took forever because we had 3 new members, 2 of whom were ZLs, so there were lots of opinions and talking. Then we went to the hospital because they also wanted French Book of Mormons, and then we tried an investigator, but she wasn't home, so we had supper, and then we had games night, and hardly anyone came to games night, so basciallyyyyyyyyyyy it was a super long day of "not real missionary work" which is always frustrating.

Then on Saturday we had our usual skype calls in French and with the ZLs, and then we had lunch, then we tried to find somewhere to knock. The first street we picked was a trailer park, plus nobody was home, so we went to a different street, but there were still only about 1/10 people home. After that, I think it was raining, so we couldn't go street contacting since nobody was out, so we were going to go knocking, but then basically Sister Lewis was super discouraged about speaking French and stuff, and we were both noticing that we weren't finding as much joy from missionary work or the Spirit as much. So we talked about different things we could do to refocus on our purpose and make the Spirit a part of the work again, and then we went to Chapters to buy some French materials to help us out. We bought an audio book of "French for Dummies" and listened to it in the car, which has been fun. We went to a lesson with Judith and it was really great -- she and her girls opened up a lot more than usual. Then we had supper, followed by knocking and trying to stop by less actives, but nobody was home. It was kind of hard to put our hearts into finding all weekend since we got 3 new investigators by Thursday, and the standard is 2. (They raised it to 3 on Saturday in the skype call, but we had that also!). Probably not our best job being motivated. Saturday night we came home to try to find people rides to church, but all of our investigators cancelled before Sunday anyways. In the process, we ended up calling a sister who had been sick several weeks ago, and she was still sick when she answered the phone. It was obvious that it would be rude to ask her to drive someone, so instead we said we just called to see how she was doing and if we could do anything for her. "Oh yes," she says, "I still haven't found someone to teach RS for me tomorrow! I don't remember what the lesson is on though." So we called for a ride and ended up with an assignment haha.
On Sunday we went to Ward Council, and then we had church. Sister Lewis and I each read the talk for RS during church, and basically didn't have time to coordinate our lesson. Everyone says it was really good though, and one member said, "I could tell you really practiced." Yay for companionship unity! Then we had a district planning meeting AGAIN after church, and then we went and knocked a super long road, which is always really fun because you don't have to worry about what you have planned next or anything. We ended up knocking for forever, just because we felt good about it and it was finding all day, so we had a late supper. Neither of us were really hungry though, and somehow instead of eating, we ended up using that hour to both give ourselves self-haircuts. Haha. It actually looks pretty great. Again, probably not what we should have been doing. Then we did some referral contacting and knocking again, and then we had the call with the ZLs about the KI's. It became clear that all the sisters (including us) need to work harder, and the ZLs said, "Well, just tell them, 'We work as hard as the ZLs, you can work as hard as the elders." That really hit us and we re-committed ourselves to work hard this week -- as hard as the ZLs!

Sister Olson

The bread I made. We didn't have enough loaf pans, so I made a baguette too.

This super weird staircase where a referral lived.

We walked past a house with this stuff in the yard.

More of the bizarrely decked out yard. It was kind of cool.

Us outside Catholic church (St Anselme's)

License plate we saw

Looking up stuff in my dictionary when I saw this -- "July. See "September." Um, what?

May 19, 2014


Dear Mom,

I think the picture of Steven is weird, because as part of using our personal facebook, we had to go back through all our old pictures and such and hide any that weren't in keeping with being a representative of Christ, so I saw all my old grad photos. It didn't seem that long ago, but I look so different. It's weird to remember where I was and realize Steve's already there.
I'm not sure how much I'll use the Facebook, but there have been situations where it seriously would have been so effective and so helpful to be able to use Facebook in the past, so I wanted to go through the whole rigamarole of setting up their security things so that I could if I needed to. They have a cool thing called "FB Purity," an add-on for most web browsers, and Elder Hadley wrote a CSS code to put into it to hide the entire newsfeed. It's awesome, I might use it when I go home too. And then they also had us add an email address they created and select that we want ALL the notifications emailed to it, so they basically get an email of every single thing we do. So I feel like that will keep it pretty accountable.
So this week...on Monday we had a skype study with the Bathurst sisters, then P-day. We made tacos, which was pretty much the greatest, and then we basically just went knocking all evening since the potentials and referrals we tried weren't interested. I feel like we unlocked the cheat code on referrals this week though, like seriously we got about twice as many as we usually do, even just at doors. (They were pretty much the ONLY numbers we got this week...haha.)
Tuesday we had a skype companionship study with the Summerside sisters, and then we went home for lunch and language study. After that, we walked around the more commercial part of Dieppe and the riverfront and tried to contact, and then we got Sister Pitre to come to a lesson with a potential from Monday night, but it fell through. So we took her to pass by a few others who weren't home, and then we drove her home. After that, we did more contacting, and but it wasn't very effective since nobody was out, and then we went knocking. After that we had dinner, and thennnnn more knocking and referral contacting!!! Finally, we headed up to Moncton for our WML coordination meeting, only to get the text that he was cancelling the meetings until further notice. So we were like half an hour away from our area with nothing to do, so we stopped by a few LAs who weren't home, then we eventually just came back to Dieppe to knock for 15 minutes because seriously, if there's nothing effective to do, I guess you just have to do the least ineffective thing possible.
Wednesday we had a skype study with the Montague sisters before Mission Leadership Council over skype. 5-hour skype meetings are pretty much the hardest thing ever to pay attention through, but it was pretty great. We got a lot out of it about how to work with the members. President Leavitt has this thing he calls "Pray, Look, Speak, Invite," and we did a lot of roleplays about how we could follow up with it and build on it in very natural ways in each subsequent dinner appointment to build them as member missionaries. He said that the thing that would lift the tide the most in this mission is if every member would pray daily for missionary opportunities. Sister Leavitt talked about how our missions are like a "Mount of Transfiguration" for us -- we see our potential and how we can become, and then we go back home and we know what we're working towards. After MLC, we did some riverfront contacting and then had dinner. After that we did some knocking, and then we went and taught Stephanie a RC lesson, which basically confirmed to us that she's growing and progressing, but REALLY spiritually young still. So we'll have to work on that.
Thursday was district meeting, which was really good. Elder Widdup gave a training on "Listening" from Chapter 10 of PMG, and then after district meeting we had a lesson with Ashley and committed her to have FHE and daily family prayer and scripture study. She's doing great :) Then the Elders had the car for the rest of the day, but we'd forgotten to plan for that, so we basically did a lot of walking and it was like 25 degrees and I was soooooo tired haha. Our lesson with Brandi fell through, so we just street contacted and knocked until it was time to catch the bus to our DA. It was with Jayne, our ex'd member we're working with, and she made this shrimp pasta that was super spicy. It was so great! (Sister Lewis hates shrimp and has a low spice tolerance. Haha.) After that, we took the bus into Dieppe, but it took pretty much the whole entire time to get there, so we only got to knock for an hour. Nobody takes the buses in Dieppe either, since they're totally inefficient, so we couldn't talk to anybody. While taking the bus, we decided to write a goodbye song for Elder Sloan and Elder Wolsey, who are going home this week:

(to the tune of "Hey Soul Sista")

Hey, hey, hey hey
Our Jenga games
Because of you they never were so lame
We know we'll never forget you
And we never let you drive our car...too...faaaaar
Your sweet referrals
All of them were young and single pretty girls
You're really good at finding
But now your time is winding to its end.

Dieppe Sistas
Are just gonna miss ya
Awkward roleplays
Those were the days
Hard to believe they've gone away
Moncton Elders
Nothing rhymes with Elder
But we wrote a song for your...goodbye!
Goodbye! Gooooodbye! Goooodbye!

You're out of time!
I'm so glad you have a box mind just like me.
We'll tell you after your missions
Which investigators were wishin you would stay.
Oh when you're flying home
Think of us getting angry out on the road
Ex-Zone Leaders and STLs
It's the district we'd been dreaming of you see
You can wear some jeans now finally
While we're contacting on the streets
We want the world to know the feasts you eat


We also had kind of a funny experience knocking where there was this worm on the sidewalk getting eaten alive by ants. Sister Lewis thought it was super sad and found a stick to move it into the grass so it could escape. Then the door opened and it turned out the guy living there was watching the whole things through the window and basically thought we were super dumb and didn't take it seriously. (This is why missionaries need to respect the dignity of their calling.) After that, we took the bus home, which got us home a bit late, but it wasn't too bad.
On Friday, we had studies and then drove to Tracadie-Sheila! It's a super French town where the FTLs are, and us and the Bathurst sisters went up to work their area and have more of an immersion experience. The ride up was really interesting. First of all, we got lunch at Burger King. It was gross. Then, all the sisters were texting in their goals for weekly planning and it was just like, "Whaaaaaat?" all the time. Like a companionship had a goal to challenge 2 people to baptism, but a goal of 0 on date. (You have a goal to challenge them and they'll say no??) So we had some calls with the district leaders about it. Then we got to Tracadie. We needed to use the washroom, so we stopped at an ice cream shop, because might as well buy ice cream while you're at it, right? She served up my soft-serve, but then they didn't take Visa, and my Canadian debit card is completely out, so I had no way to pay! I was so embarrassed! And I had to have the whole conversation in French! She was really nice and let me just have the ice cream for free. Most embarrassing moment of my mission, seriously.
We did some roleplays together, then we went to this museum. It used to be a lazaret, or a hospital for lepers. It was super interesting and a nice way to just learn talking-about-normal-things French (which is hard since all of my French vocab is gospel-related). After that, we went street contacting and knocking. I was with Sister Coleman, which was super fun. We got told we look alike, which happens to us EVERY TIME. Haha. I managed to place a Book of Mormon and get the elders a potential to follow up on. (It was a single guy so we couldn't go in.) It really made me want to work on my French more, because I realized that if I were in a more immersion-y area, I'd totally speak WAY better French. It was a good time though. But it was like 28 degrees and we were outside all day! I was DYING. Then we went to this open mic night, which was basically Acadien hillbilly music. It was hilarious. We were going to sing an upbeat version of Called to Serve with Sister Coleman playing the ukelele, but we had some technical difficulties with the mikes and basically it was super bad. Haha. Then we headed home, super late, and we were SO tired and trapped behind a super slow car. Turned out okay though, because we saw a moose! It didn't some onto the road, but it was right on the edge and I was glad we were going 80. The whole freaking way home. Haha. We got home at like 11. I was so tired. We had a really great contact at a gas station in Miramichi though, but I didn't bring a pass-along card in because I was too lazy, so I had to go out to the car and get one. It was probably the first effective gas-station-attendant-contact I've ever had.
On Saturday, we had the French skype call and then the call with the ZLs about the goals for the week. Then we had lunch, and decided to do weekly planning since we still hadn't gotten to it. We got through most of the planning fast, but ended up having a super long companionship inventory because basically Sister Lewis hates talking about her feelings and also doesn't know how to react when I'm experiencing any kind of emotion, so sometimes things build up. So she made me a t-table to recognize her emotions and I made her a flow chart to know how to react to mine. Haha. After that, we went street contacting, I think, and then we had a lesson with Bella, but it fell through, so we tried to see Judith, but she was busy, so we had dinner, and then we went back out and knocked for a while, then tried Bella again, but she was still busy. Then we went to go see the Robichaud family, who used to be super active in Saint John but are now LA even though he's still the high priests group leader. Only Sister Robichaud was home, but we basically had the best LA visit EVER where we got to know her, were super warm and friendly, and then got her concern and it was the perfect balance of boldness and following the Spirit without offending them, and then we committed her to things and she wants to have us back. She recognized that she kind of lost perspective. It just felt really nice and we were really pumped up from it.
On Sunday we checked transfer emails, and we were both staying, as we hoped. Sister Lewis always gets nervous for transfers so she was getting super impatient on the drive to the church. "I wish brakes weren't invented." Hahaha. Then we had church, which was great. We got to hear about Ashley and Stephanie's first temple trip to do baptisms, which was awesome, and it was so cool to see how much they both grew spiritually from just that one little thing. Then we had an appointment set up with a male potential, so we brought the Elders to pass him off to them, but it fell through. Then we had planned some streets to knock, but it turned out to be an industrial park, so we picked another, and it was a trailer park. We were tired of driving around though so we just knocked the trailer park. I had a huge fasting headache (we were having a district fast for families) and it was SUPER hot so I was trying really really hard to have a good attitude, haha. Finally we went riverfront contacting instead since nobody was home for the long weekend, and we had our first really effective French street contacts ever, which was great. Then we had dinner, then we went to the church to skype the office elders to get my Facebook account set up, which was basically super weird. Then we went knocking for about an hour and it was a lot more effective than it usually was -- Sister Lewis made a lot more progress in saying things in French that she hasn't before, and we had great conversations. (Attitude is everything, I guess) Then we came home and got all the numbers in, and all the sisters had a super low week, so Sister Lewis was discouraged, so we ended up having a really late-night conversation. I found Sunday evening really uplifting though, so now I just feel good and super motivated.
Then this morning we had studies and such and then came to the church. We emailed late because the library was closed for Victoria day and the Elders had to email first before going to Hopewell Rocks for the Moncton Elders' last P-day.
Love you
Sister Olson

Touring the Lazaret. The lady giving the tour is actually a Catholic nun, so she was Sister So-and-So too. It was kind of funny:

The Acadien open mike night. I have some great videos for once we're home. Think super, SUPER nasaly country music with old people dancing.

It was so warm!

The drive home

Sad pictures with food has become a companionship joke by now. I think we remembered the Elders were going home or something. We didn't even buy food for that, it was just sitting in the car haha.
 More of the drive home:

I think these are hilarious:

We bought dilly bars to share with the elders since half our district is getting transferred out. We had to make the joke again.

May 12, 2014

Starting from Scratch

Dear Mom,
It was really great to talk to you last night. It's interesting because a lot of the other missionaries found it kind of distracting/emotionally difficult, but for me it just felt nice and it was really refreshing but I don't feel particularly distracted by it at all, which is perfect :) I feel bad for the two elders in our district who are going home in two weeks, I think that would be BRUTAL to try to re-focus afterwards.
So this week seriously just felt like Heavenly Father pressed the "smite" button on our area. I'm sure we were responsible for a lot of it, but seriously, it was kind of surprising. President Leavitt has really been focusing on "giving the work more throttle," and so with that, we were definitely both more obedient and focused and cut out a lot of dead time that happens in missionary work. But I think we were doing it too much to show everyone we were giving more throttle, and not because we had a proportionate increase of faith and desire to invite people to come to Christ, and that's what caused the problems.
So on Monday we had a good P-day, and then we stopped by Natalie, a really awesome potential the Elders met the previous week. She was so excited to see us and set up an appointment right away to teach her and her son. (Her husband is really busy with work, but wants to find a church to go to.) So, that was awesome. We then spent the rest of the evening knocking. Dieppe seriously looks so much like Shawnessy and Evergreen compared to the rest of the Maritimes. It was weird. I guess the only other notable thing about Monday is that Sister Lewis spent pretty much the entire day not talking, which turned out later to be for benign reasons, but it stressed me out. Which leads us to Tuesday.
On Tuesday we had a conference call during companionship study with the sisters, which was a pretty bold call. We talked about being more committed to baptism, having real key indicators, and being more obedient. There were seriously so many things on exchanges where we were just like, "...whaaaaaaat???" After studies and lunch, we taught Ashley some of the new member lessons with Sister Pitre, which was pretty good. It's kind of hard because Sister Pitre is such a good fellowshipper that it makes it hard to actually teach, but she expects to be brought along at this point. After that, we tried to go street contacting by walking around the mall and the Riverfront, but NOBODY was out. And Sister Lewis was starving and I was stressed out still, so we went to McDonald's and I got ice cream, and then we toured Ste Therèse, one of the Catholic churches in Dieppe. It was a pretty interesting experience. There's only two in Dieppe, so we figure if we can be familiar with them, we can be more personable with the people here. After that, we went park contacting in Saint Anselme park because it was actually WARM for once, and then we came home and had dinner. During dinner, I finally managed to communicate to Sister Lewis that I was stressed and why (she's even worse about talking about her feelings than I am), so we had to have companionship inventory for a while. Ha. After that, we felt kind of stuck because the Moncton elders were borrowing our car, and we didn't really have time to go DO things in Dieppe before we'd have to bus home. Fortunately, the Dieppe elders were willing to pick us up and drive us in, so we went knocking for the rest of the evening, but it was definitely a less productive day.
On Wednesday we had studies, then taught Stephanie a recent convert lesson. We went over eternal marriage and she brought up this guy in the ward she's dating, which makes us feel awkward every time, haha. Then we went contacting by the riverfront, and managed to walk to the ends of the earth and back, and then we went to teach Joshua his last lesson about tithing before his baptism. We got there and ended up planning the baptism with his mom. After that, we were crunched for time because the Moncton elders had a DA with these members that live on the other end of the earth, so we had to pick them up, drive them to Hillsborough, drive back in to Riverview for our DA, drive back into Hillsborough to pick them up, and then drive them back in to Moncton. And the members we had a DA with are the type that are impossible to get out on time. And Sister Lewis REALLY had to use the washroom. Haha. It was a total gong show. We got back with not very much time left, but we went knocking in Dieppe for the rest of the evening.
On Thursday we had skype interviews with President in the morning, which were really good. I asked him about how to not get burnt out, because I find that on my mission, I'll just do EVERYTHING for a few weeks and then be EXHAUSTED for a few weeks, and he was like, "I can totally relate to that. You have to learn to pace yourself." Which was cool because the blessing a few weeks ago specifically said to ask him for advice because he could relate to me. It was also nice to hear directly from him that "pace yourself" and "more throttle" can actually work together. The only thing is that Sister Lewis really CAN'T pace herself --she's either at 150% or 0% -- and since she was motivated, she was at 150% this week, so we've been working on that. After the skype interview, we went home for lunch and language study, and then we did tons of finding. We just did the usual riverfront contacting, but it was great. The only downside was that our lesson with Natalie fell through. We ended up going to see Judith though, and she committed to come to church, which was awesome! That marked the beginning of "everyone dropping us ever" though. After that, we went knocking for a while, and then had supper. After that, we had a lesson with a less-active, where we feel we really started to get to the root of some concerns. She's kind of using "I haven't received an answer about the Book of Mormon yet" as an excuse to not make life changes, which obviously is going to make it hard to have the real intent to get the answer. So we felt good about that lesson. After that, we contacted a referral, who closed the door without even letting us talk, haha, so we just went knocking for the rest of the evening. During the knocking, Sister Lewis started feeling SUPER sick, but she pushed through it and we knocked out the evening anyways, which was really impressive of her.
Friday was weekly planning. Sister Lewis still felt super sick, so towards the end I finished the more paperwork-y sections on my own while she rested, and then I basically called everyone in the area book ever. I actually enjoy phone contacting though, so that was okay. After that, we had a lesson with Brandi, which was really great. She's English, but we left her with a French Book of Mormon to read because we were out of English ones, and we came and she was like, "I didn't read a lot because the French was hard," and we were like, "That's okay, we brought you an English one, how much did you read?" "I'm on page 56." WHAAAAAAT???!!! :) That was a great moment. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went over pretty well, but she wasn't really feeling prepared to be baptized by May 31. She just has a lot of concerns with committing herself to such a big change and worrying about how it will affect her socially, like finding someone to date within the church or how being part of a church community would feel. So it ended up being a super long lesson since she brought up all those concerns at the end. So afterwards, we didn't have our car because the Moncton elders had it AGAIN, and we realized that we'd forgotten to remove our apartment keys from the key ring. So we couldn't go home and have beef dip sandwiches. We ended up walking all the way to Champlain mall to eat, and we didn't even talk to anyone! Totally lame moment. The elders picked us up from the mall to go to Sports Night, so all in all, it was a very "not real missionary work" day.
Saturday started off with the French skype call and the ZL skype call, which was great, and then the elders wanted to film a "virtual church tour." Their theory is that we'd film each room, put it on Facebook, and use it to introduce people to the church building. It's a great idea, it just took sooooo long and it was frustrating because we still had nothing going on in our area for the whole week. We finally got out to contact after a late lunch, and I believe it was raining, so we went knocking because nobody was on the streets. It was a good time though because Sister Lewis and I figured out a lot of stuff about the difference between her motivation and mine (I need President Hinckley saying "Try a little harder to be a little better" and she needs Elder Holland saying, "We want an ambulance to meet you at the airport!!!!!" haha) and also about why we weren't having success. We concluded that we were focusing too much on the key indicators and doing it to please our leaders instead of giving more throttle by raising our faith and commitment to invite people to Christ. Then we went up to get Stephanie to come to a lesson with Bella, which fell through, but on the plus side, she did text us and in the process say she's been reading the Book of Mormon and still wants to meet. So we stopped by Natalie, who still wasn't home, and tried to see Ines in the hospital, but it turned out she'd been discharged, so we had supper and then went back to knock for the rest of the evening. We had a really great conversation with this one guy where I followed along with all of his super long-winded monologues in French and managed to still really help him understand our message, but he wasn't interested in the end.
On Sunday we had church, and we had to come early to fill the baptismal font for Joshua. It was really nice to have a hand in helping him get baptized, even though he's only 7 and probably would have been baptized anyways without our help. In the very least, his mom is super, SUPER busy and does a lot for the ward, so it was nice to take a lot of the planning off her. So we had church, which was basically like, "Mothers are so great! Motherhood is wonderful!" "I'm all alone and can't even hold children!" haha. We then had Joshua's baptism and confirmation after church, and a lot of their non-member family and friends came and we showed the Restoration while he was getting changed, so that was awesome. After that, the Elders wanted to finish the church tour, and then we stopped by Joshua's for the get-together they were having to meet their non-member family and friends, and also to get the only food we'd get that day. After that, we had to speed all the way to Salisbury for a less-active visit. Sister Lewis' recent convert seems to move to and from Moncton and Fredericton along with Sister Lewis, and she's kind of off-and-on with the church. Recently she's been off, but she messaged Sister Lewis on Facebook seeing we should come see her some time, so of course we went. So that was a good visit. We didn't get to teach much because she's felt really pressured in the past and so we needed to just kind of re-build some trust and friendship there. Then we drove back, and had enough time to check on a couple of referrals before skyping, which was awesome.
Sister Olson

A really cool sunset we saw while knocking on Tuesday:

Sister Lewis and I both have the same self-aware sense of humour about being emotional, so this is us getting hot chocolate and a picture she drew while she felt sick weekly planning:

Also a picture of Joshua Leger's baptism :)

More pictures from Sister Vera this time:

May 5, 2014

More Throttle

Dear Mom,
So this week was kind of up and down. I don't remember what we did during P-Day, other than grocery shopping. After P-Day, we checked on some potentials and went knocking. We managed to talk to 31 people on a Monday and get two referrals, which was pretty awesome. We had a pretty funny moment where it was my turn to contact a potential, and this girl opened the door who I SWEAR was her, and after we walked away Sister Lewis was like, "Sister Olson, that wasn't her!" Hahahaha. Fortunately, the way I did it could also have sounded like a door approach, so it wasn't that bad. It was pretty funny though. Yay for being bad at recognizing people!
On Tuesday we had studies and such and then drove to PEI to exchange with the Montague sisters. I went to Montague with Sister Sharp. First we went knocking, and the road we were knocking was basically just a really minor highway, so the houses were really far apart. We got to have a good talk about faith though and hopefully do some training. On our way back, we had a cool experience where she felt impressed to knock this one house, and a lady was just leaving. Turns out she didn't actually live there, but she was interested and we got a really sweet potential! After dinner, we taught a lesson to this one potential, but she didn't end up accepting a return appointment. It was a good lesson though because Sister Sharp struggles with transitioning to the gospel and being bold, so she got to see me do that and she said she learned a lot. After that, we went street contacting, which in Montague means "walk up and down Main Street and hope people are actually out." It was SOOOO cold. I stopped at a gas station and bought hot chocolate. On your credit card. Because it was the end of the month.
On Wednesday, we did studies and then tried an idea of Elder Nzojibwami, our FTL. He's in a small town kind of area too, so we went around to small businesses asking to take their picture to put on the Montague facebook page, in an album called "People in Montague." Then there was a little blurb about what they did and what they liked about being an Islander. That worked out pretty well, and then we had an exit interview before driving back to the Confederation Bridge. We met up with Sister Lewis and Sister Smith and the Montague sisters went home, and then we exchanged with the Summerside sisters. So I went on exchanges with Sister Tegge. That poor girl has only ever been on exchanges with me in 3 transfers. Haha. We had a really good time though, I got to follow up on some things and we really trained on being bold and talking to everyone. We got home with about 15 or so spare minutes, so we parked at the mall to talk to a few people at the bus stop. The first lady Sister Tegge approached snapped, "What do you want?" We managed to keep talking and it turned out she's a former investigator and would actually like to come to church. Ha. Then we went and taught Joshua, the 7-year-ol d, a couple of commandments and had a DA with the Legers, which was really good. Sister Leger and I were talking about how we handle having lots of responsibilities, since she has a lot on her plate and so do we. She told me about a time where she really recognized that any thoughts coming from God are going to inspire you to do better, whereas any thoughts that come from Satan are just going to make you feel bad. After the DA, I just had this impression to stop by Sister Theriault and sing her daughter happy birthday, which was weird because she lived SO FAR AWAY, but we did it. It totally felt awkward. After that we went knocking, and we went in Moncton to do it in English for Sister Tegge. Knocking in English feels so weird now. We managed to get a good referral, but other than that, nobody was interested and a couple people were kind of high. (This is why we don't knock in Moncton.) Then we saw Sister Chappell. Usually she has crazy life stories and we don't actually get to teach anything, but this time there was a really different spirit there. She'd actually kept her commitment to read her scriptures and we got to teach a really good lesson. It was pretty cool. That night, Sister Theriault texted us to thank us and invited us over for leftover cake the next day, which was sweet because we haven't been able to get in to see her for a while.
On Thursday, we had a mission-wide sisters' conference call, and then we went to teach Ashley the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that Sister Tegge could practice. Ashley's been having kind of the usual new member struggles, so it was really good to see her and hopefully uplift her a bit. Then Sister Tegge and I did some contacting outside the mall before grabbing some food at the food court, finished off by going to a frozen yogurt place for dessert since she had a gift card. During lunch, we had our exit interview, and then we drove to PEI AGAIN. Sister Lewis and I exchanged back and were SO HAPPY TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN. I seriously missed her so much. We definitely came away from our exchanges like, "Oh my gosh so many problems to fix!" haha. The Summerside Sisters insisted on lending us their Mac Pass for the bridge, but then we had to walk it back to them, and due to some miscommunication it was a total gong show, so we ended up having to reschedule Sister Theriault's appointment. We had so much information to coordinate that we basically just ended up talking about the sisters until the appointment, which was GREAT. She opened up a lot and we really got a lot of insight on how to help her. We also gained a lot of respect for her -- she comes to church fairly consistently despite the fact that her common-law husband isn't supportive, and she does a GREAT job taking care of her kids and still having her and her house perfectly put together. After that, we had supper, and then we were supposed to teach Marie, but that fell through, so we went to see Judith instead. We asked if we could re-teach her the lessons in French, since it's her first language, and she said, "Okay, but I'm kind of losing my French. I understand it better than English, but when I'm trying to speak it, I mix English words in!" I said, "That's okay, that's how everyone speaks French here." Hahaha. Honestly, we were so tired on Thursday from all the exchanges, we were really having a hard time doing "real missionary work."
Door approach in Acadie:
[the usual stuff]
"Est-ce qu'on peut partager ce message avec vous?"
"Baaah, pas right now, pis, j'suis right good."
(Acadien for "um" is basically this really nasal sound that sounds like you're trying to imitate a foghorn)
On Friday we had studies, and then PL skyped with our district to talk about this new initiative he calls "more throttle" -- basically, we have all the skills, we just have to step it up and work harder and more efficiently, talk to more people, etc. About half of it was super inspiring and the other half was stressful. Then Elder Widdup gave a really great district training about God's love that made it much less stressful. After that, we were supposed to weekly plan, and we ended up identifying a lot of ways where we spend time doing things other than not talking to people (like driving around chasing down flaky investigators or potentials) and thought of some ways to cut it out. After that, we had a lesson with Brandi, the girl from Sports Night last week. We brought Thomas, one of the members, and it was such a great lesson! I told her last week to pray about it and ask God if this was the direction He wanted her to take, and she got such great answers and even started making some life changes! We taught the Restoration and ended up getting sidetracked by the women-and-the-priesthood concern, but we resolved it really well and it actually ended up really helping her understand the necessity of authority, so that when we challenged her to baptism, she accepted! She's on date for May 31. After that, we had a DA with Jayne, and then we went to Sports Night, which was good as usual. Since we were in back-to-back appointments all day though, we only got to talk to 1 person, which was really disappointing.
Saturday was the French skype and ZL call, as usual, and then we had to finish weekly planning from the day before since it got cut short. After that, we went to the Dieppe market to try contacting there, and it was really cool. It's one of those places with produce, restaurants, and local artisans. We had some great conversations and it was really successful. Then we went contacting along the riverfront path, where nobody was interested and some people were homeless. Then we went to Shoppers' to buy hand sanitizer...after an encounter with a homeless guy...yeah...and then we had a lesson with Bella. We started out in French, and the lesson gradually drifted to English by the end of the Resto since Sister Lewis was struggling a bit. But it went super well! I think she really gets all of it and without even challenging her to baptism, she said she can't make a decision yet since she has to read and pray first. Sister Lewis and I have really done a great job in our companionship of doing a good HTBT and teaching the Resto clearly enough that our investigators understand by the end of the lesson that they need to get baptized if our message is true, and that they can know if our message is true. We never have to resolve the "I've already been baptized" concern. It's awesome. So after that, we had a quick supper, and then we went knocking because we'd set a goal to talk to 50 people that day. We only got 45 before our last appointment, which was kind of disappointing. We brought Stephanie to go see a former investigator of Sister Lewis', but she bailed, and nobody else was home. I really want Stephanie to come to a lesson that goes through!!!
On Sunday we had church. Stephanie bore her testimony, which was basically, "I can't say I KNOW It's true, but I really want to believe it's true," and then Sister Leger bore a testimony in response that made Stephanie feel really good, and we found out later that it really helped Ashley as well. Stephanie got her first Visiting Teaching assignment today and Ashley is one of her teach-ees! It was so cute to see her going around talking to the people she's teaching and setting up appointments. After church, we helped Thomas work on some goals for his vision of increasing the YSA in the ward, and then we had a skype with the office elders. Because we'd gotten a call on Saturday saying, "President's approved you to have your own personal FB profile!" Which was super weird, because you're supposed to take a quiz and whatnot to apply, and we hadn't done that. But we went with it! So, yeah. (Nobody from home is allowed to friend us or like our area facebook pages, by the way.) That was pretty cool. I'm not sure how I feel about having facebook though. After that, we basically went knocking ALL DAY because we still needed 50 contacts to reach our goal. We ended up getting to 40 and then seeing a less-active, Sister Porter, since she said she wanted to see us that day and we haven't been able to see her since her husband got back from his business trip a month or two ago. We met her husband, which was good, and then just shared an uplifting but kind of generic message since he's a non-member and we wanted to build his trust. (He left the room when we shared the message, but you could tell he was probably listening).

Then we went to the church to watch the CES broadcast, which was pretty good. When Elder Ballard read about the stripling warriors, it really stuck out to me that they were valiant for strength, courage, and activity. President Leavitt has been talking a lot recently about "Things that look like missionary work but actually aren't," like organizing activities, leadership responsibilities, driving from place to place to contact people, spending time with people who aren't progressing, excessively long lessons or DAs, etc. He's trying to get everyone to really cut those things to a minimum (obviously we still have to put on activities, fulfill responsibilities, teach people, etc.) so that we're spending as much time as possible "on the front lines," that is, talking to non-members and inviting them to learn about the gospel. Sister Lewis and I really have found that the more time we spend doing that, the more motivated we feel and the more we love it. It's funny, because before going knocking or street contacting it somehow just feels like the last thing in the world you want to do, but after about 10 minutes of doing it and being positive, the Spirit is just so great.
I checked my Facebook today and I had the following notification:

"[totally active member] invited you to play Pet Rescue Saga"
Sister Olson

On Monday, Sister Lewis wanted to have a slumber party. (Sometimes my companions have important bonding moments I don't understand.) So between 9:30 and 10:30, we made a fort, ate ice cream, and watched Finding Faith in Christ. Then we went to bed.

Chiak at it's finest. "Mon homesick heart." Seriously?? (My favourite chiak phrases are "Je vais te back-caller" and "J'ai out-zoné")

A MEXICAN FOOD PLACE OPENED NEAR OUR APARTMENT!!!!!!!! Most expensive burrito ever.

I opened our freezer on Sunday and I thought it was hilarious. This is what happens at the end of the month. Ice cream and perogies.