June 9, 2014

The work goes on

Dear Mom,

Man, I don't even have to tell you anything, you already know everything that happened!

On Monday Sister Lewis and I were going to go finding all evening (since Chancelin cancelled), but she was dealing with some personal things and we ended up having to take time to talk about that, and then we ended up going to see a less-active YSA girl who just had surgery. It was a pretty good visit as far as helping her become more open with us, but she still doesn't really want to make life changes, which is sad. I find that visiting with less-actives really helps me be more anxious to do Heavenly Father's will myself, even when it's hard, because it's just sad to see the results of not doing so when carried out to greater extremes.

On Tuesday we had district meeting, which was pretty quiet because the ZLs were out of town, so it was just us and the Dieppe elders. After that, we drove to PEI for exchanges with the Summerside sisters. President asked us to do multi-day exchanges with them, through Thursday evening, because one of the sisters was struggling with attitude problems and the other one just wasn't very skilled because she's pretty new and all her companions so far have had some personal issues getting in the way of the work. So Sister Lewis went to Summerside with the skill-needing missionary, and I got to spend a lot of time with Sister L. Longest, silentest car ride home EVER. We got home earlier than we'd planned (Sister Lewis didn't believe me that it's not a long drive), so we stopped by Nick. We'd gotten a phone call earlier in the day saying that she changed her mind about coming to church, so we were worried, but it turns out it really was just because she was nervous, so we resolved that concern (Sister L's background as a convert came in handy) and ended up putting her on date! It was so awesome. After that, we stopped by a bunch more of our investigators, and ended up seeing Ines. Sister L speaks Spanish, so the whole lesson was in Spanish, and I could actually follow along better than I expected! We decided to let that situation slide until Ines' life gets less crazy. So then we had dinner, and after dinner we went knocking for a while. I felt kind of weird doing so much English in Dieppe...basically, we started out in English unless they actually only spoke French. It was SUPER warm and Sister L was dressed for Summerside weather. Then we went to correlation with our WML, which was really good.

On Wednesday, we actually had one of the best days I've had in a while. I think the Lord was blessing us in preparation for the fiascos of the weekend. We had studies and then we stopped by a few members, finally getting in to see Sister Boyce. We actually managed to share a really nice, short thought and got a referral from her! Except I think the lady has dementia. Haha. But it was our first member referral in WEEKS so that was good. After that, we brought Sister Pitre to Arlene, a former of Sister Lewis', and picked her up as a new investigator. We think she could actually progress quite well, and that a lot of the problems were just from inexperience the last time she was taught. It was kind of weird since Sister Lewis wasn't there, so we just got to know her and answered some of her questions about the Book of Mormon. After that, we brought lunch in the car, and Sister L finally started talking to me. (My strategy had been "ignore the emotional stuff and just do missionary work until she actually talks to me, and it worked!) So that was good and then we just had normal conversations through the rest of the exchange. We went to teach Nick the Restoration after lunch, which was super easy since she already read about it online and believed all of it, and then we went street contacting, contacted a referral, and went knocking until dinner. After dinner, an appointment with a potential fell through, so we went knocking until it was time to pick Sister Despres up for Koumba's lesson. It was all in French, which Sister L was super grumpy about, but there was really nothing else we could do. I taught the Restoration basically on my own, with Sister Despres for personal experience and language support, haha. She did a really good job, actually. We actually managed to get Koumba to accept the soft commitment to baptism, which has NEVER happened with a Muslim I've taught before...BUT she's moving to Africa right away! Dang it! But she promised to read and pray anyways and we told her how to look up missionaries in Africa. And she's on Facebook :)

We drove Sister Despres home and on the way, we saw an ambulance, but thought nothing of it. We were planning and all the member started texting us about what was going on to make sure we were home (of course we were, it was 9:45). It was really interesting to me because since we followed the rules, we were 100% safe. We were home anyways and nowhere near it (by Moncton standards, it was across town, but that's about 4 km away). But if we'd been out late, or if we'd been lazy and at the church to do "online proselying" during less-effective hours, we could totally have driven through that point of town at that time of night...we drove right through there around 9:15 the previous night because correlation went late. It was an interesting testimony to me of the protection of obedience.

Thursday morning, the members were telling us about the lockdown (I had to remind the WML to tell the elders too, haha) and President called us and told us to stay inside. But I knew which companion I wanted to be trapped in the apartment with. Plus, I didn't want to be on lockdown all morning, exchange that evening, only to possibly find out that by evening the lockdown was ended and have to drive during that time instead. Plus, I figured the safest thing to do would be to NOT be in the city with the crazy guy with a gun. So, we drove to Summerside early and did a bit of street contacting there before meeting up with Sister Lewis and her companion. We all went for lunch at the senior couple's apartment and had delicious seafood chowder, and then Sister Lewis and I drove home, stopped by DQ, and spent the rest of the day trapped in the apartment. It was SOOOO boring. I eventually took a nap just because there was nothing to do. Then we did weekly planning early. Then we went to bed, but since we'd done nothing all day and taken a nap, we were wide awake.
On Friday, we met up with the Bathurst sisters and drove them in to Halifax for the French temple trip. President wanted us to leave first thing in the morning because of the shooting, so we ended up in Halifax super early with nothing much to do, because all of the Metro sisters were busy. We went to the mission office and did some Facebook proselyting and President called us several times about the multi-day exchange. It was pretty funny because one time we were rushing to find a private room and I slipped on a wet floor and had pretty much the most ungraceful fall EVER. After that, we went for dinner at a restaurant in Dartmouth's area that I'd always wanted to go to, and then we just went to Cole Harbour, my old area, and tried to do missionary work. We stopped by Betty, who was just baptized when I was there a year ago, and had a nice lesson with her (I'm not sure if she relapsed with smoking or not, so we just taught something that would be helpful if she did) and then we went down to Eastern Passage to street contact on the boardwalk. But I forgot how much I dislike proselyting in Eastern Passage because the people just feel hardhearted. So we left Sister Lewis and Sister Coleman, who wanted to sing hymns on the boardwalk, and Sister Vera and I stopped by another less-active, but it wasn't a good time so we just chatted a bit and came back. Then we started driving to the temple, but we got lost on the way because I tried to take a scenic route, and Sister Lewis was really stressed because she'd forgotten her recommend and had to talk to President before the session started haha.

We got to the temple and it was really great. I really enjoyed the time we were able to spend reflecting. The experience with Sister Lewis' recommend really just drove home to me what a blessing it is to have a recommend, and how sad it would be if I didn't have one. It was a really great experience to go through in French. I found I visualized things much more vividly and it really helped me ponder and reflect on things that usually just pass through my mind. I think the biggest thing I got from it was right at the beginning. It suddenly just really hit me that Heavenly Father is a real, physical person. Obviously I've always believed in God and the church's doctrine that he has a body, etc., but I think in a lot of ways it was more an intellectual belief about God. Until you learn a doctrine by the Spirit, it doesn't really change things for you. All the sudden, I just knew that there was a real, loving, physical Heavenly Father who was actually living somewhere, watching over me and waiting for me to come back to Him. I knew it just as surely as I knew that you lived in Calgary and loved me, even though I can't see you right now either. It was really cool and I just spent the whole session reflecting on the love Heavenly Father has for us and the relationship we'd had with Him and have now forgotten, and how to develop that relationship. It made me see more clearly how Jesus Christ helps us learn about Heavenly Father and what His role is there. And it also helped me realize how having a love of Heavenly Father and a desire to please Him motivates us to keep the commandments. It also occurred to me that in a way, forgetting our pre-Earth life is such a blessing, because if we had a perfect memory of Heavenly Father, I think we'd just miss Him so much and be so sad about it our whole lives. It made me think of how hard it must have been for Adam and Eve to be cast out of His presence, and how it would have made them so anxious to just be exactly obedient in order to return to Him again.

The session started at 8 so we got back to the mission home at 10, and Sister Leavitt had milk and cookies for all the missionaries and members staying there, so we got to bed super late. The next morning was interesting with all the people trying to shower too, haha. We had a second session at 9 and it was really good too. Except towards the end, I started getting really bad cramps and I was like, nooooooo! So I didn't get to spend as much time pondering in the Celestial Room as I would have like to, haha. Afterwards, we had a French fireside with Elder Allaird over the phone, which was really good. Then we drove back. We were SO tired. The three other sisters in the car ended up falling asleep, and armed with Advil, Mountain Dew, and M&Ms, I tried to drive back to Moncton. I managed to stay awake, but it was pretty hard. It was nice to have some quiet time to reflect, even if my mind wasn't quite up to all the reflecting I would have liked to do.

We got home and had dinner and planned the rest of the day. We had a lesson with Nick and taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation, and she'd already read through to 2 Nephi since last Saturday! She's seriously just so golden. After that, we went knocking for a bit, but we were just SO tired and it wasn't super effective.

Sunday morning, we drove to Sister Gauvin's house so she could follow us to Nick's, because we weren't taking any chances on her ride falling through. We had church, which was great. It was a good fast and testimony meeting and Nick loved everything. We ended up having to teach Primary and couldn't spend the last two hours with her, but afterwards, she had ALL the YW materials EVER and the YW leader told us Nick told her she wants to serve a mission someday. Awwwwww! Then we tried to go park contacting, but there was this weird bike thing, and it made it awkward to contact since it felt like we were crashing an event. Then we went knocking, I think, and then we had another short lesson with Nick to finish the Plan of Salvation and follow up on church. She's seriously just the best part of my life right now. Then we knocked a bit, had dinner, and then went knocking for a lot of the evening. We were SOOO tired and I could barely form coherent sentences at the English doors, let alone the French ones, haha. We ended off by stopping by Sister Crossman, a less-active member. It was really sad because she told us she decided to leave the church, and even though I feel like we did our best to testify boldly and resolve her concerns, she wouldn't really let us talk and we couldn't change her mind. Then we came home and had our Sunday conference call with the Zone.

Sister Olson

Nick and I...don't remember if I emailed this last week.

This super weird front porch that felt like it was going to collapse under us. We dubbed it "The missionary trap."
One day I was wearing Acadian flag colours.
Some pictures by the ocean at Eastern Passage:

Us acting scared to drive back into Moncton on Thursday.

Us being super bored on Thursday.

Us being super bored on Thursday.

The flag at half mast.

The French Temple Trip:

So Sister Lewis emailed me a few pictures and myldsmail offered to translate it from Afrikaans into English. #racistmyldsmail ? (She's half black). Hahaha.

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