June 16, 2014

Rough Week, Fun P-Day

Dear Mom,

Aah, no, you should totally send me the skirt. I have clothes, but I've been wearing a lot of the same clothes for 15 months and I just wake up every morning and look at my closet like "What is this I don't even." Haha.
So this week...on Monday we did all our P-day stuff pretty fast because a member offered to teach Sister Lewis and I how to play the ukelele. So we got 1 hour of ukelele lessons and by the end I could play a few simple songs. It was pretty fun and I'm totally buying a ukelele when I get home. Then we left for Charlottetown for visits, which was a good time. I didn't realize how much I missed street contacting in ENGLISH on streets with significant amounts of people. Sister Thompson and I got to work together, which is fun since we were MTC companions. We went street contacting in the evening and then we were going to stop by LA's, but since we were walking instead of biking it took longer than she thought to get from person to person, and the only people we passed by weren't home, so we basically ended up just walking around, but it was okay.
On Tuesday Sister Thompson and I did service at a library, which wasn't terribly effective for finding since we were just sorting library books for a book sale in a basement all alone, but on the plus side, I love alone time and organizing things ;) The only problem was the temptation to read the books! After that, we checked our replies to President's letter and then we walked home for lunch. We were supposed to have the bikes, but she couldn't remember the code to the bike lock since usually Sister Burton does that, so we ended up walking. After lunch, we switched companions and I was biking with Sister Burton. It's my first time biking on the mission and I loved it. Although I haven't mastered the art of biking in a skirt, so it was a good thing I had shorts on underneath haha. We stopped by their investigator and ended up getting her on date, which was awesome, and then we stopped by a LA and had a really bold lesson. It was supposed to just be Plan of Salvation, but we ended up talking about why God gives us commandments and how she needs to repent to see her son again. (She went LA because he died as a baby.) It was super bold but still loving and that always brings a good spirit. Then we went knocking for a bit and I taught her how to get more referrals at doors, and then we had supper before going home. We were seriously dying to go home, they're lovely sisters and it was a great exchange but the apartment was so messy. I was sure I was going to get some weird disease before we escaped. We drove to Moncton and pulled right off the highway into the church parking lot right on time for WML correlation.
Wednesday was Zone Conference. We had Elder Snow come and it was a really good one. He did something interesting where he asked all the missionaries to prepare a 5-minute talk on faith, and then he asked a few of us to give it. We then offered feedback on their public speaking skills, both so that we'd give better sacrament talks and because many of the same things apply to teaching. So it was like roleplaying but also a doctrinal discussion at the same time. After Zone Conference, we had exchanges with the Amherst sisters. Sister Smith and I were in Moncton and I took advantage of having an English missionary to train with me to go street contacting in Moncton, which wasn't our usual proselyting area. Seriously, I just love street contacting in downtown areas. Then we were supposed to have a lesson with Nick, but as we were driving to it we saw her walking, so we yelled out our car window and rescheduled for later in the evening. Haha. So we went knocking and THEN we taught nick the first half of the gospel of Christ, which was really good. She always just has such a light in her eyes and is the most golden person I've ever met in my life.
On Thursday we went to see Ashley, who's actually moving out to Chestermere in a few weeks! Then we went contacting along the riverfront, followed by lunch, and then more street contacting on Main Street, where we got hardcore yelled at by some totally normal-looking person, but it was okay because we got good potentials too. After that, we went knocking for a bit and contacted some referrals, and then we were supposed to have a lesson with Rhonda, a potential, but it fell through, so we knocked for a bit before going back to Amherst. It was basically a lot of contacting since we're low on investigators right now. We got Harvey's on the way, but then when we met in Sackville to exchange back, Sister Lewis was still starving from dinner, because apparently we eat a lot more than any of the other sisters we go on exchanges with. So we had to get her food, plus Sister Leavitt made us go to the hotel to pick up her jacket she left there at Zone Conference, so we only had a bit of time to knock and try to stop by some of our flaky non-progressing people to try to either teach them or drop them.
On Friday we had a sisters' conference call with the mission in the morning, and then we were supposed to have an appointment with Arlene, but it turns out it was her anniversary and her husband passed away recently and she wasn't handling it well, so we rescheduled and then we went home to do weekly planning and figure out how to de-stress a bit from all the exchanges. After that we had district planning, which was just more stressful because everyone in our district has a lot of ideas, so on the way home we were basically super stressed. Then Nick's dad called to tell us we couldn't meet with her anymore. It was so upsetting. I don't think I've ever been that upset by someone dropping us before. So we went home for dinner and it was really, really hard to get back out to work again. But eventually we did, and actually had some small miracles happen because of it -- we contacted a referral for family history who set up an appointment, and had a friend in Utah who is Mormon, everyone was SO nice to us despite our French being way worse than usual, and best of all, a less-active in the ward who's refused to work with us really opened up to us over the phone and we made a ton of progress there. We felt better after just going out to work after it seemed impossible, which I think is an eternal principle. Partly because we had fun reverse-translating our door approaches to each other between the doors in ungrammatical, highly-accented English. It was pretty funny.
Saturday was still pretty depressing in the morning. We went to French skype study and the ZL skype call and I just didn't have my heart in it. Sister Lewis and I had a good talk at lunch though and that really turned it around for me and I started feeling better. We were going to street contact outside the Dieppe market, but it was closed when we got there, so we just ended up going knocking and trying to stop by a former who wasn't home. So we did some knocking until we went to see Stephanie, which was a great appointment since we were able to really refocus her on consistent scripture study, prayer, and making it a priority with her new job to establish never working on Sundays (or in the very least, not working during church), and she's really progressing, which was a relief. She's really malleable, so we just have to follow up constantly. Then we had supper, and after supper was supposed to be knocking, but judging by the contacts, I'm pretty sure some time was spent talking in the car, since Sister Lewis always has kind of a delayed-reaction to emotional events. Which works out okay because usually I can be upset and then after I get over it she can be upset and the other person can help out.
Sunday morning I wrote my talk for church that day, which was pretty enjoyable. I also ended up playing the organ. I spoke on the Restoration, starting by giving a summarized version of the Savior's Earthly Ministry through the First Vision. The chapel just went completely still when I recited the First Vision and it was really cool. Then I went to President Uchtdorf's talk "Are you Sleeping through the Restoration?" mixed in with stories of miraculous growth of the church in the latter days throughout the world, and talked about the need for member missionary work to let the miracle of the Restoration unfold here. It was really good. I love speaking in church because I always end up getting really intense spiritually. After that, we had Gospel Principles, which was great because it was on repentance and a couple LA's who we've been meaning to talk to about that were there, so we just directed our comments at them and it was awesome. But then we had RS, and the lesson was on the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. I don't know if it's an everywhere thing or just a Maritimes thing, but every RS lesson on the Priesthood gets REALLY contentious. There aren't even people arguing, everyone just starts going off about how they're not oppressed just because they don't have the priesthood and people shouldn't be trying to get women the priesthood...even though nobody said anything about it! Seriously, EVERY time an investigator is in one of those lessons, they just come away feeling really confused and like something must be wrong. Why can't we just have a lesson ON THE PRIESTHOOD and learn the DOCTRINE without getting sidetracked? I actually think that's what would be needed to just resolve these concerns...study simple doctrine and let the Spirit testify of its truth. So I kept making comments to try to bring it back and bring the Spirit, but it didn't really work. Aaaah. After that we had a Linger Longer, which was good.

Then we went to our lesson with the family we met on Friday who was interested in family history. It was really cool because they're both SO prepared spiritually, but we could also tell they'd totally never let us in any other way. We've never actually taught about how to do family history before, but we just decided to follow the Spirit and it worked out really well and we picked them up as new investigators! We're working on figuring out how to more fully transition to the gospel and get them a testimony of that, but it's been really cool so far and we're having a great time with it because it softens people's hearts SO much, plus it really drives us out of our comfort zone and it kind of feels like being a new missionary again and having to rely so much more on faith and the Spirit. The rest of Sunday was pretty hard, just because it was POURING rain and nobody wanted to have their Father's Day interrupted and we were still pretty emotionally exhausted anyways, so we kind of alternated between knocking and calling various sister missionaries and members to uplift them or coordinate things, since we figured it was a good day to get those kinds of things out of the way. And apparently hard days are contagious, because a bunch of the members have been having a hard time recently.

This morning we went to Hopewell Rocks and it was AWESOME. We went with the other missionaries and a member family drove us out. But they're older so they didn't come down to the rocks with us. Then afterwards they fed us lunch and such, which is why we're emailing late.

Love you!
Sister Jaclyn Olson

The Hopewell Rocks

Sister Lewis being a weirdo

The mud

The elders demonstrating their lack of common sense

The "flowerpot" rocks

Sister Lewis and I by the ocean

 The best part was the interpretive centre! With fossils and things about Pangea and continental drift!

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