June 23, 2014

Transfer Foreshadowing

Dear Mom,

I did get the skirt on Friday, and it's great. I may or may not have worn it several days in a row because I've fallen behind on ironing my other skirts...

So on Monday, as I said last week, we went to Hopewell Rocks and it was great. It was a definite stress relief. The only problem is it took up like the whole day and we were really tired by the end of P-day, which resulted in Sister Lewis basically having a stress crisis, which took up a lot of the evening to resolve. We finished the day by contacting a couple of referrals by mail, since one lives super far away and the other has social anxiety, but both wanted some scriptures. We also had to mail Sister Leavitt's jacket for her that she left at the last Zone Conference.

Tuesday was a lot better. We had district meeting and practiced using the Spirit to resolve "tip of the iceberg" concerns, which was really fun. Elder Widdup unexpectedly brought pizza, juice, and ice cream bars for the whole district to have lunch together afterwards, which was really nice of him. After lunch, we basically went knocking for two hours or so until our dinner appointment with Sister Lutes, which was really good. We followed up on our commitment to pray for missionary opportunities using the Pray/Look/Speak/Invite message President wants us to focus on with the members, and we were able to discern what she still needs to do missionary work and teach her about how to discover people's questions and teach to needs, which was great because it was one of my more successful experiences in working with members. (It helps that she actually wants to do it, haha.) After that we went knocking for a bit and got a couple of family history potentials for the elders. We've been working on a door approach that starts off with family history and then transitions to the gospel, which works SUPER well in English but not nearly so well in French because we're really new at it, haha. It didn't help that all week, people randomly stopped being able to understand me. Seriously, I've been saying, "Je m'appelle Soeur Olson, je suis missionaire..." since January and this is the first week nobody could understand it. It was so weird. The evening finished by having correlation with our WML, which was a pretty average meeting.

On Wednesday, we were supposed to have a lesson with someone from kijiji, but she cancelled at the last minute, so we went knocking for a bit, and then we taught Stephanie a short lesson (since she had to leave for work). We taught the last half of the gospel of Christ and it really seemed to make sense to her, which was great. Then we just went back to Dieppe and did more knocking until dinner, and then we taught Kevin and Mandy. It was a really challenging lesson because we were trying to make a definite transition from Family History to the actual missionary lessons, but we weren't sure how they'd take it. Also we were super tired and that makes new things harder, haha. But it actually went really well. They are SO prepared and they just don't know it! I think Kevin would have accepted to read the Book of Mormon if Mandy hadn't turned it down first...the missionaries she met with in St. Stephen sound like they were kind of contentious and she's basically decided from that that she's already given our church a shot. But even though they don't want to read the Book of Mormon right now, they agree with a ton of church standards and they still want to do family history and have us over for a barbecque after their family vacation to Ontario (where they plan to gather some family history information), so we still think that if we can get them a great fellowshipper and get them into the church through activities and using the family history center, they'll be open to "trying out" our church and then we'll get them. It was also cool to see just how many ways you can transition family history into the gospel. After that, we went knocking for the rest of the evening, and we met an RLDS family! In the middle of New Brunswick! It was super unexpected. It was also super bizarre because bascially the guy didn't really understand the point of the Restoration and thought both of our churches were equally valid. He invited us to come back and talk to his wife "who would know more about this than I would, since she's a minister in our church." Um, what? Sister Lewis said later, "That's going to be a hard sell, she'd have to give up the Priesthood to join our church," to which I replied, "Well it's not like she has the Priesthood anyways." It was really cool to knock into them though because they actually kind of had the "Mormon look" and they read the Book of Mormon all the time and stuff, and it was actually just like talking to someone from back home, almost.

We had our last lesson with Ashley on Thursday before she moves out to Chestermere, which was pretty good. She'll definitely be missed here. I think I'm only okay with it since she'll be a whole lot closer to me once I actually get home, haha. After that, we met up with the Dieppe elders to discuss how to work with the library to put on a family history workshop, and then we volunteered at the library by cutting out pieces of cardstock to make craft kits for kids, which was pretty nice. The library looks like a good place to volunteer because everyone who works there is French and hopefully we'll get to practice speaking French in more "normal" settings. Then we went knocking, and in the middle of knocking this HUGE thunderstorm started really quickly and we got soaked to the skin. One guy let us in to chat while it was hailing, so that was nice, even though he wasn't interested. We got back in the car and tried to get ahold of our dinner appointment, but she wasn't answering any of her phones and based on the situation, we guessed (correctly) that she probably forgot, so we just went home and had dinner. We knocked for the rest of the evening again, which was good, but knocking was just starting to get boring. We know that using family history is inspired, but it's also a lot more indirect and there's something more exciting about just directly testifying of the gospel that makes knocking ALL THE TIME a lot more fun. (Also, Sister Lewis didn't talk to me all day on Thursday, so finally that night she told me a long list of things that were bugging her. Which were actually pretty easy to solve once she actually mentioned them.)

Friday was weekly planning. At the end of weekly planning, Kayla texted us out of the blue, apologized that she'd been so busy, and asked if we could come over tomorrow morning! It was a small miracle. Then we had district planning, then the ZLs wanted to talk to us about how to help the Zone work with members better, and we did Facebook. Sister Lewis had to go through all her Facebook photos and hide anything that wasn't in keeping with a missionary image, so I had a lot of spare time. It really just made me realize how shallow and worldly 95% of the things are on Facebook, so hopefully I find better things to do with the rest of my life. After that, we had a choice between eating dinner and going knocking, so we went knocking since we otherwise wouldn't get to proselyte at all during the day. We just finished off a little cul-de-sac and went back to the church for Games Night. It will probably be the last one since nobody really comes other than Ashley and some of her fellowshippers, and Ashley's moving. It was a fun time though. We played chair soccer. I mostly watched because we forgot to bring sports clothes and my shoes were falling off my feet, but the soccer ball was pumped way too full of air to play with bare feet.

Saturday we had French companionship study, and I had to lead a discussion on Elder Cook's talk "Roots and Branches" from last Conference, which was pretty stressful since I only know how to teach the Restoration in French. Haha. Then we had a skype call with the ZLs, which ended up going way over time and we ended up having to reschedule with Kayla. The only time she could do was Sunday morning, so we ended up committing her to come to church instead. (Fine by me ;) ). Then we drove to Amherst because we decided to give those sisters some extra help. When we got there, we still hadn't had lunch and Sister Lewis was super tired, so we had an antisocial moment and went to Tim Horton's for lunch instead of joining the sisters. Haha. Then I worked with Sister Spencer in Amherst for the rest of the day, which was great, because I got to apply all the things we've been working on in English for once, and it turns out our ideas are awesome. Stupid language barrier, haha. It was encouraging though to see that we're on the right track and as we keep working on our French, we'll start seeing a lot of success. The Elders had a baptism that night so we went back to Dieppe to hopefully work at the end of the evening, but by the time we parked on the street we were going to knock, and walked to the next houses we hadn't knocked yet, it was so late that we had to just turn around and go home, so that was a bit frustrating.
We had ward council on Sunday, which is gradually becoming more and more missionary-oriented (or at least "help the LA's" oriented) which was encouraging. Kayla didn't show up to church, which was a bummer. It was a really good church service though. The High Councellor was there and gave a great talk on fasting, and then since the RS teacher didn't show up, the first counselor in RS expounded on that talk and the sisters ended up being inspired to fast as a Relief Society in July for the sisters who are LA. We also had a few less-actives come to gospel principles, and I was teaching on baptism, so I basically focused it on the blessings of renewing your baptismal covenant, which was really good. Stephanie didn't come to church either, which was weird, so we're trying to get a hold of her. After church, we basically spent forever coordinating knocking records with the Dieppe elders because it's started to get to the point where a lot of them have been knocked, and then we had kind of a lunch/dinner combo meal before going out finding for the rest of the evening.
THEN during the ZL conference call, Elder Layton, one of the APs, called and asked if I'd bear my testimony in the upcoming Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday. Which is basically code for "you're getting released from STL-ship next transfer." So we're pretty sure I'm getting transferred to Bathurst, which would be great in a lot of ways, like getting to work on my French more and spending the end of my mission devoting all my attention to proselyting and not just leadership stuff, but I'm also sad to leave Dieppe and not be an STL, because I really felt a lot of fulfillment in helping the sisters. Plus Sister Lewis is the best companion ever. I'm mostly just worried he'll send me somewhere English though, because I think I'd be a bit disappointed by that. Although, again, it just comes with the advantage of fewer obstacles to just inviting as many people to Christ as possible at the end of my mission, so I guess the Lord will know what He's doing regardless.


Sister Olson

Sister Lewis and I being sad that Ashley's selling all her stuff to leave us.

The Elders found this HUUUUUUGE spider while cleaning the font in Amherst and left it on the programs as a prank for us. It mostly just disturbs me to know that these things exist where I live.

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