July 7, 2014

Hello Sydney

Dear Mom,

Is Carmen wearing my Garage capris in that one picture with Avery? haha. That's funny. Sounds like you all had a great trip though!

I forgot my planner at home since it's a new transfer, so I'll have to go by memory for what I did each day, so I might forget stuff. On Monday I finished packing all my things so that we'd be able to work effectively for the rest of the week. You get no personal time after 9:30 as an STL so it had to happen then. It was SO hot in our apartment and Sister Lewis and I had to keep putting ice packs down our shirts because we have no air conditioning or fans or anything. Haha. I'm pretty sure Monday was just knocking since it's not a very good day for visiting members. It was SUPER hot even though it was the evening. We contacted the RLDS family again and made an appointment for Thursday evening, which was disappointing because I would have loved to be in that lesson.

Tuesday was Canada Day. We had a lunch appointment with the Secords and they had hamburgers and hot dogs, which was really fun. Except it was all outside and I was dying. Then we went to Centennial Park since apparently that's where everyone goes on Canada Day, but people were exclusively using the water park and it just felt really awkward to contact all these naked people so we went knocking instead. It was like 40 degrees and super humid. At the end of every street, I felt as overheated as if I'd just done the most intense workout of my life. So the pattern was knock a street, blast the AC, knock another street, blast the AC...it was brutal. In the evening we had a DA with the Demarchi family. They took us to Blue Olive, a Mediterranean restaurant. I got lamb kebabs, couscous, and two types of salad. It was SOOOO good. You know when you eat delicious food and you're just blissed out? That was the rest of the evening. They were also very impressed we shared a message, because apparently the ZLs didn't on Monday during their DA. *facepalm* *headdesk* *thatshouldbethebareminimum*. Then we had correlation all by ourselves, since we have no WML, and that was the end of the evening.

Wednesday was still hot. We went street contacting along the Riverfront and that was tolerable because of the breeze on the water, but nobody was out, so it was also ineffective. Then we went to see Sister Doiron and try to help strengthen her a bit -- she's active, but she just needs some extra support right now. She had AC and so when we got out I was STARVING. I just lose my appetite when it gets hot and all I can eat are fruits and vegetables and it's like accidentally dieting or something. We stopped at Wendy's and then we went knocking again, I think. Same deal as Tuesday except there was a breeze so it was nicer out. After dinner, we knocked a bit more. My last door in Dieppe was an English lady who refused to talk to us because she had a "no solicitors" sign. Haha. Then we had a lesson with Trish, a girl in the ward who got home from her mission and kind of went off the rails. It was a really good lesson and we set up a really good framework for the sisters to meet with her in the future.

Thursday we had studies and then went to the church for transfers. The transfer van was so full that Elder Torrie, the new AP, sat on the floor in between the two front seats, which was super funny. The van was full of elders going home and it was kind of weird. I heard a lot of great mission stories though. Then I got to the mission office and met Sister Hughes. Her previous companion, Sister Christiansen, says her spirit animal would be a puppy, and it's totally true. She's just happy and enthusiastic in almost a really innocent way, and she's super obedient and just wants to please everyone. She laughs at EVERYTHING. It's adorable. It's like tickling a baby every time you tell a joke. She just loses it. We had an enjoyable drive back to Sydney. It's a 5 hour drive and it's SUPER long. Crazy. We got back with about an hour left in the evening so we went to a park to contact people. We met some people on vacation from the Czech Republic and then we met this guy named Chris in his 20's. He's had a hard life but he's in school now and kind of getting on the right track. So it's a sweet spot where they're humbled but not off the rails. We set up an appointment for Saturday and committed him to come to church on Sunday. Then we went home...apparently they'd just moved apartments a few weeks previously. It was SO MESSY. I was LOSING my MIND. Aaaah. I can handle mess, but on Thursday I learned it has to be MY mess. Haha. So we planned for the next day and it was a bit frustrating because Sister Hughes is just not an organized or sense-of-direction person, but we got through it okay and then I unpacked some of my stuff before bed.

On Friday we had weekly planning, which was helpful for getting oriented to the area, and I also used every spare second to unpack and clean the apartment, because SERIOUSLY. After that, I don't remember exactly how everything went down, but basically we checked on uncontacted referrals and went knocking a lot. We found a new investigator, Joline, who was a potential from before I got here, and she seems pretty good. She used to be very Catholic, like most people here, but a combination of getting busy and the whole things with the priests turned her off, but she wants to raise her kids in a church. We mostly did HTBT and committed her to come to church, but I could tell she wasn't super committed and even though she said yes to baptism, I didn't feel good about extending a date until she showed a little more commitment to other things. We got a call from a member asking what time we were coming over for our DA, which Sister Hughes forgot, so we said 5 and then we went to the library to get directions and then we went to the DA. It was taco salad and I was super happy about that. Except she was still cooking when we got there, so it started 40 minutes late. Aaargh. We got a great referral though, which was super weird for me after being in Moncton where we don't get member referrals, and then we came back into town and went knocking. We were checking a referral, who lived on such-and-such street in a house with green shutters. #seemslegit. So we went knocking all the houses with green shutters. This one house belonged to a 90-year-old woman who thought we were JW's, and let us in because SHE's a JW! It was so funny and so awkward!!! Haha. So we got out of there and eventually found the referral, who wasn't interested, so we just kept knocking the street.

Saturday was supposed to be a "hurricane," but really it was just super windy and it rained once in a while. We spent the morning making necessary calls and then took the bikes out to knock a bit before lunch since we figured nobody would be in the parks or streets for contacting. So I guess I can say I've ridden a bike in a hurricane, haha. It was basically super ineffective because on the way home, we were trying to go uphill against super strong winds and basically standing still. Sydney is FULL of hills so basically by the time I come home I'll either have super attractive legs or super overdeveloped, gross thigh muscles. Haha. We had lunch and then took the car out for the rest of the day, which was basically knocking and checking referrals again. We couldn't get a member to come with us to Chris so we had to cancel, but we did get a ride for him to come to church anyways. The members here are super helpful and the people are super open and it's like key indicators just fall out of the sky or something. I didn't feel like Dieppe was a hard area until I got here and saw the difference! In the evening we went to visit a RC who got baptized in Cole Harbour (after I left, so I didn't know her) who's living here for a month before she goes out to Calgary. She's super solid and it was so cool to see the joy in her face. It really made me want to get more baptisms so I could bring that joy for someone else. It was the first time where that's really the ONLY reason I wanted a baptism -- usually I've been motivated more by a sense of wanting to please Heavenly Father and do what he called me to do, because it's hard to have this vague love for someone you haven't met yet. So that was a cool experience.

We had church on Sunday. Joline didn't come but Chris did. He was super nervous. I got the elders to sit by him and they got along great with him. The branch president talked to us after and said he seems super prepared and was participating in Priesthood and said it all made sense to him, and he volunteered to come to the branch service project! The only thing is, he also found out that Chris has some charges against him right now (which he claims to be innocent of), so we'll see if we're allowed to keep working with him. Major bummer. Chris texted us after church and thanked us for bringing him to such a great place where people all want to help each other. He seemed to really connect with the lessons on sacrifice, service, and tithing, which happened to be the theme that Sunday, so that was cool. After church we went knocking again, and we met a guy who told us a pretty cool story. He was in the army in Hawaii in the 60's and there was this guy in his barracks, John Taylor, who came up to about his shoulder (and this guy wasn't tall either) and was pretty quiet. He used to spend all his time reading a book and just didn't fit in to army life. The book was -- surprise surprise -- the Book of Mormon. But despite how quiet and small and bookish he was, John Taylor commanded a certain kind of respect. There was less cussing in the barracks when he was around and when they'd go out on Saturday night, they'd send John home on the bus before they got too rough, around 9 or 11 at night. They found out later that he was actually a champion boxer and could have taken any of them in a fight, but he never needed to because he was so respected. He signed up for the Regimental Boxing league, and was against a black soldier in another regiment. Usually all the black soldiers at the time, regardless of regiment, cheered for the black soldiers, but this time ALL the soldiers in their regiment cheered for John Taylor, because he was that respected. The guy who told us this story wasn't interested himself, but he said, "So you keep going, because maybe you'll find someone and make another John Taylor." It was a really great experience.

Sister Olson

It was SO. HOT. Sydney's much nicer :) Even if the weather was the only reason I got transferred, it was totally worth it.
I tried to start packing, but Sister Lewis got in my suitcase and started fake-sobbing (which she does a lot when she's actually upset but doesn't want to admit it.)

French White Handbook. There's a lot of English words in there and we think it's funny that the handbook is really written in Chiak.

I knocked about 100 streets in Dieppe. It was 76 a couple Sundays ago, but we knocked a TON since then.
Sydney is really pretty, but like the rest of the Maritimes, it's "water and trees" pretty and I'm actually getting kind of tired of taking pictures of it. Haha.

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