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.

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