June 30, 2014

Good Bye Dieppe

Dear Mom,
Sounds like summer's going to be pretty fun for everyone. It's exciting to hear about Steve's mission prep and the awards the girls got :)
So this week on Monday we got to do a little bit of service for a member during P-day, and then in the evening we went knocking, which was a pretty average experience, except it was super hot. We finished off a really long street and decided to go to Tim Horton's and call all the DLs about a sister's skype training we wanted to hold, which probably wasn't the most effective thing to do for the evening hours, but it was still a pretty good day overall.
On Tuesday we had Mission Leadership Council, which was a really good one. They tried a new format where they had 3 meetings linked together by skype, whereas previously either we'd ALL travel to Halifax, or we'd all just skype from our individual locations and be lonely. One of the APs, Elder Layton, travelled out, and we would discuss things as a group over skype, and then break out into focus groups to develop trainings for the upcoming transfer on working with members. He assigned me to take notes on a laptop, which was a SUPER nice Macbook Air, and it made me remember how much I like computers. It was a really uplifting training and I felt impressed that I needed to stop focusing on myself so much and focus on the people more. We left really pumped up about the Doctrine of Christ and the importance of missionary work, and then we had dinner and went knocking for a bit before correlation with our WML. It was a sad meeting because he's been struggling with his testimony for the last few months, and today he told us he asked to be released because he doesn't feel like he can help promote the church when he doesn't know if it's true. Of course, when you tell 6 missionaries you don't know the church is true, they all start missionary-ing you, so hopefully we were able to help him out a bit.
On Wednesday we had a skype training with all the sisters in the Zone. We talked about planning effectively, prioritizing our efforts, getting referrals, and using roleplays to innovate and improve your skill. Then we had a meeting with all the Moncton missionaries to organize the 3rd hour fireside on Sunday, since our WML delegated that to us. After that, we had lunch, and then we went with the Dieppe elders to UdM to see what they have to offer for family history. Then we'd noticed a part of Dieppe we'd never really explored before when we took a different highway exit into town after Amherst last week, so we drove over there to figure out if it would be a good place to knock. After supper, we went knocking again. That evening we realized that one of our problems with using our time effectively is we plan knocking ALL THE TIME because we don't get enough contacts, but then we have so much extra planned that it makes it really easy to be uncommitted to it and come up with something to do in the moment. So we decided to start planning other good stuff during the day and then just be really committed to knocking in the evening. (Which I suggested weeks ago, but Sister Lewis really has to internalize things herself before she can start doing it.)
On Thursday we had district meeting, then we had lunch and went to Sister Pitre's house to say goodbye to Ashley before she flew out to Calgary. We were SO tired and we had planned to share a thought with her about missionary work and commit her to hand out pass-along cards on the way, but we got there and everyone else was exhausted too, so we basically all sat around in an exhausted thoughtless stupor for probably way longer than was effective, so eventually we just left so that we could go get stuff done. Then we went to the Moncton library to tour their family history facilities, which was cool, and then we delivered a Bible to a kijiji referral and might have done some knocking before dinner. After dinner we just went knocking the whole time and we were definitely a lot more successful in meeting our goals that day, plus we caught up on some other intangible things we've been meaning to do for a while, so that was great.

Friday we had visits in Tracadie scheduled with our FTLs, and on the way we had a lunch appointment with a part-member family that lives about an hour away. When we got there, she still had a LOT of cooking left to do, so it basically turned out super long and made us really late, but she's also a really nice member who never gets missionaries out and her husband's a non-member, so we didn't feel like we could leave. So we just talked and then shared the message we planned and tried to be as efficient as possible. It was worth it though because she told me on Sunday that her husband was very impressed by us and didn't feel pressured, but he was pensive all evening and might have felt "that" Spirit for the first time. So that made me feel really good. But we got out at the same time we were supposed to be IN Tracadie, and it was still a LONG ways away. And then there was construction in Miramichi. So we were super late and felt really bad. But we had a really good time -- we set up a lemonade stand and gave away family history cards, and got to practice having more everyday conversations, which is what we told them we wanted to work on. We skipped dinner since the stand was so successful and we were late anyways, so we got dinner on the way home and were pretty late getting back. We were SO tired on the way there too! Now that I think about it, we were pretty exhausted the whole week and I don't even know why. Eventually Sister Lewis let me drive the rest of the way home since I was more awake than her. It was pretty funny to come into our neighborhood at 10 on Friday night because it's quite different than how we usually see it.
On Saturday we had the usual French skype call and ZL call, and then we practiced our fireside. We did it on mormon.org and sharing the gospel online. After that, we got lunch and went to the Dieppe market during part of our lunch hour so I could buy some souvenirs. I think my choice was probably very influenced by the fact that when I told this one vendor I wanted to practice my French, she was very warm and friendly and had big long conversations with me about it, and the other one barely said anything and then spoke to me in English the next time I came around. Ha. After that, we tried going street contacting at the riverfront, which you'd think would be great because it was 30 degrees on a Saturday, but NOBODY was out. So we went to Staples and bought some supplies to print little labels to put on our pass-along cards with our number and facebook page. Then we went knocking, and it was SO hot and nobody was answering still! Seriously, the whole city of Moncton just packed up and left this weekend. Sister Lewis didn't really dress for the weather and she was dying. We came home for dinner and she changed, and then we had a lesson with Stephanie. It turns out she has to work the next few Sundays before they'll let her switch her schedule around, but she's super excited to pay tithing and said she's "adamant in making it to the end," so that was really encouraging. After that, we went knocking again. We went finding for 2 hours and 35 minutes that day and only talked to 15 people! Usually we can get about 12-15 an hour.
I felt really good all week but then on Saturday I randomly got super emotional which carried into Sunday, which made checking transfer letters way more difficult than it needed to be. I'm getting transferred to Sydney, which is in Cape Breton, and I'm going to be companions with Sister Hughes, a relatively new missionary. So at first I was just really sad to leave French and being an STL and Dieppe, because it just felt like I failed in the area since we haven't been seeing much success recently and in the ward a lot of people have suddenly started struggling that I wish I could have been more on top of somehow. But by the end of church I was feeling better about it and now I'm pretty excited to go to Sydney because I'm going to have so much TIME to do all the things that I could never seem to keep up on before. It's going to be good to be able to really focus on the work without any other distractions at the end of my mission. (I still with Sydney was French though.) After church, we had lunch and then we went knocking, which again was pretty empty as far as people at home goes. Then we had a lesson with Veronique, a less-active I really love. We came in talking about how this life is a time to prepare to meet God, and the best way we can prepare is to make a vision of where we want to be in the church and work towards it. She said she wants a temple marriage, but she can't because of her non-member boyfriend. So we talked about how the Lord had a plan for her life and wasn't going to let one mistake in the past trap her from these blessings forever, and that if she did all she could on HER end to be temple-worthy, she could trust that the Lord would help her. We were really surprised by how little she knew about what that meant or required. I think we underestimate how much LA's need doctrine sometimes. We went over the baptismal interview questions with her, since it's basically the same, and made a plan that Sister Lewis and Sister Coleman would come by weekly to teach those things more in depth. And we committed her to pray and ask God for his help, and she said she prays for that every day, and then she asked, "How do you fast?" Last Sunday when she was at church, a talk and the RS lesson were on fasting, and it was cool to see that made an impression on her. So we talked about that and basically it was one of the most productive LA visits I've had, which was awesome. After that, we had supper, and then Sister Lewis got a blessing because she's SUPER stressed out about being the senior companion when things have been really stressful recently for her even without that responsibility. Then we went knocking for the rest of the evening and checked some referrals. Sunday night was my last conference call with the Zone, which was pretty good.
This morning we did weekly planning in comp study because Friday was so crazy. /confessions. It was good though because it really motivated us to be efficient.
Sister Olson

Me with Ashley and Sister Pitre's kids.
The limonade stand.

Institutionalized chiak: "Un question de feeling..." What???

The district: Elder Widdup, Elder Collett, Elder Jason, Me, Sister Lewis, Elder Roberts.

The city of Moncton.

Stephanie and I.

Sharon and I. (YW in the ward.)

Sister Secord, Sister Drayson, me, Sister Robichaud, Sister Despres.

Veronique, Marie-Michelle, and I.

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