September 15, 2014

Losing your life to find it

Dear Mom,

That's pretty cool about Steve and his friends at the football game. And yes, everyone was telling me ALL WEEK about the snow in Calgary. Haha. I think my favourite thing I heard was "Calgary decided to nominate itself for the ALS ice bucket challenge...we'd like to nominate Edmonton and Toronto."

Okay, so this week...on Monday we went to the Fortress of Louisbourg, which was awesome. Half the people working there had Acadien accents in English and it really made me miss serving in Acadie. Sister Curtis and I kept joking around by pretending to give an "official tour" where she would say typical tour guide things like "And on your left, we see..." and then I'd repeat it in French. The American elders didn't get why it was so funny. It was really cool though. Basically like Heritage Park except 1700s instead of late 1800s/early 1900s. After that, we did some grocery shopping really quick and then went to a DA with Sister Betts. She's an old lady in the ward who joined a REALLY long time ago and she's a sweetheart. After that, we ended up going to Sportchek to see if we could get some lights for our bikes, since it's hard to bike around at 8 pm now, and then we ended up getting our investigator Amy a card and some earplugs in order to make effective contact with her. She was really touched and we found out her sister's in town and she doesn't really want to talk about it with her sister, which is why she's been avoiding us, but she's still interested. Yay! Then we ended up calling all of our other investigators and trying to touch base with them because everyone was being flaky, and we stopped by some less-actives and also had a really good phone conversation with a less-active family where we taught Sister Dalton about prayer, but we didn't really get in to teach anyone.

On Tuesday we had district meeting, and then we had a lunch appointment with Sister Oliver. She made French toast and scrambled eggs, which was surprisingly awesome feeling because NOBODY makes that for you on your mission. The only time you eat it, you made it yourself. After that we went street contacting for a bit and then we had a DA with the Boutiliers. They're a really strong family in the ward and to our surprise, their less-active daughter and her boyfriend were there. Her boyfriend is from India but he's Syrian Catholic. At one point he said he didn't know the difference between Roman and Syrian Catholics and I was all like, "Oh, I do!" So we basically got to review the Saviour's Earthly Ministry, teach a really in-depth Apostasy, and touched on the Restoration. We would have gotten more into the Resto but their daughter didn't really want to hear it. So that was cool. After dinner we checked some referrals and biked around and knocked, and we ended up getting to see a less-active, Sister Parris, that I've never met before. She knew she'd felt something special at our church that she'd never felt before, but it had been so long since she'd come to church that she'd kind of forgotten the significance of the Resto and had fallen into the feeling everyone has here, that you just have to keep the 10 commandments and you're good. (Everyone seems to forget about the sabbath day one though...). We shared a thought from 3 Ne 18 about how taking the sacrament weekly is a commandment, and the Spirit was so strong and she said she wants to come back to church. So that was sweet.

We were supposed to skype the STLs for companionship study on Wednesday, but it completely slipped our minds until halfway through comp study, so we rescheduled for next week. OOPS. After that, we went street contacting downtown and ended up running into some members from Wyoming. They insisted on buying each a footlong subway combo. It was pretty sweet. We spent some time at the library trying to look up service opportunities and then went home to work on our maps, which is supposed to happen every Wednesday afternoon. #fiasco. We decided to try to take the giant wall map down and relocate it to our study, where we could actually use it for planning, since it was in a hallway and it was super ineffective. Well, the previous sisters had stuck it to the wall using carpet tape, and it was impossible to take down without ripping up the drywall. As Sister Curtis found out too late. We called the office and they were pretty chill about it, but told us not to take the map down unless we could figure out a better way to do it. I eventually grabbed a steak knife and used it to saw off the carpet tape. Worked like a charm. I guess knives can be added to duct tape on the list of "things that fix everything." But yeah, that basically took the afternoon. We drove downtown for our DA but she wasn't home, so we went to the mall food court before heading to the church for correlation with our new Branch Mission Leader. He's a genuine Cape Bretoner so we end up talking a lot, haha. After that we were supposed to correlate with the Elders, since we've been contacting all the same people over and over. It ended up taking the rest of the evening, mostly because Elder Henderson is pretty stressed out trying to train 2 new missionaries. And it turns out he and his previous companion had whitewashed the area from some pretty disobedient missionaries and so he has some pretty strained relationships with ward members who were used to missionaries just hanging out or breaking rules with them. I think it was good for him though.

Thursday was more street contacting. One of the first people we met set up an appointment for 1 pm that day! It was pouring rain so we went to the indoor market that sells stuff to the cruise ship people. We have a few members who work there and they were used to the sisters coming and talking to them all the time (more hanging out and not doing work), but since it was pouring we decided this would be the best time to appease them. We ended up getting some cool souvenirs. After that we had lunch and then we went to our 1 o'clock appointment with Dani. She turned out to be SUPER golden. She'd met with senior missionaries before, I think in Ontario, but at the time she was just trying to get an overview of what all religions believe. Since she'd already heard the Resto we ended up going more into pray to know, the nature of truth, priesthood authority, Isaiah 29, the Book of Mormon as a touchstone for truth, and then church organization in Ephesians 4, in that order. It was a pretty cool lesson. Then her mom called and she said, "Okay. I have to go, but I just have one more question for you...what's the importance of baptism in your church?" Awesome. The only thing is, she was moving to Vancouver 2 days later! Gaaah. I guess she'll just get baptized there. (This week was full of stuff like this, where we did really good things that will never get reported. It kind of stressed me out because I didn't want anyone to look at our numbers and the end of the week and think I was dying.) After that we stopped by the Jacksons. Sister Jackson just stopped working to stay home with her daughter and is missing adult conversation, so hopefully we'll really get to work with her now :) Mulan was on for her daughter and it was super distracting. Then we went out to Glace Bay and followed up on some people and had dinner before our lesson with Ariel. We brought a YW, Sariah, and we weren't sure how it was going to go since she'd been in Utah all summer and we didn't know her, and her mom's a bit less-active. But she turned out to be awesome and really participated in the lesson. Ariel said she'd been thinking a lot about finding out which church was true and that she'd probably end up Mormon, but she didn't want to prematurely discount the Catholic faith. So she basically told us what kind of member present to have the next time -- someone who was REALLY Catholic, and who'd been Mormon for a long time. Sariah's grandma fits the bill perfectly, so we'll do that next time. After that, we went back into town and ended up stopping by Sister Fennel, an active member, and shared a thought before we went home.

On Friday we had weekly planning, which was kind of weird since it was the last full week I'd be in the area. It was good though because I just felt motivated through it to make it the best week EVER. Then we went to do service at a rest home, The Cove, for the Day of Service. I'm not sure if that's just our stake or a Canada-wide thing. Anyways, we had fun helping old people play bingo. The old women were flirting with the Elders and they felt super awkward. I got to play the piano for a bit. After that, we drove into Glace Bay again and visited a less-active, Sister Toomey, and committed her to work towards sealing her family in the temple. We decided we'd re-teach her the lessons to help. After that, we got a phone call from a member family inviting us to dinner in an hour "because I made too much food." So we had some time before that, so we stopped by Sister Demeyere's to invite her to Ariel's lesson the next week and prep her, which was great. Then we went to the Smith's for dinner. It ended up taking SUPER long because Brother Smith was still bringing the Lu's in from Sydney, who they'd also invited, and then they just wanted to sit and chat, and then we had dinner and there were like 3 courses plus dessert and they had to do prep in between each course...Brother Smith is a was awesome, this Asian soup with cilantro in it, and then some really good mussels, and then curry (which was actually surprisingly blah, but the rest was awesome), and then angel food cake. We managed to hopefully both strengthen them personally and in their missionary endeavours, and it was good that they're fellowshipping our recent converts, but seriously, it took forever. We went back in to Sydney and tried to knock for the rest of the evening but the Aerosmith concert was going on and just because it was happening, nobody wanted to open their doors.

Saturday was basically talking to ALL THE PEOPLE because we'd had a good week for visiting RCLA's and members, but not a very good one for contacts. It was actually awesome. The standard is 30/day and we talked to 60, and best of all, we really focused on testifying and inviting people boldly and we found lots of great potentials and it just felt really good. In the morning we went street contacting and ran into a bunch of JW's going knocking at 10 am. It was pretty funny. Then we came to the church for street hockey, but nobody showed, so we did some online stuff and ate lunch while we waited for Donald, since we were going to teach him at the church with the elders. But even though we'd confirmed like an hour before, he was a no-show, so we went to Dominion and knocked for a bit, which was pretty great. Although there was this one guy who was JUST in the middle of reading the story of Cornelius' conversion and him sending for the Apostles, and we were like, "Well our church has modern apostles, God is telling you to follow Cornelius' example," and he rejected it. People can be so blind to even the most obvious guidance from God. One of the last doors we ended up being greeted by two huge dogs and then a lady came out with a knife, but it turned out they were all nicer than initial appearances suggested. Hahaha. The Elders in Houlton, Maine, apparently had a gun pulled on them at a door, but the guy ended up getting baptized. Just a little tidbit that popped into my head. Anyways, eventually we went to Whitney Pier to contact some referrals and keep knocking until dinner. Sister Curtis went and had a nap during dinner, and she had the phone for an alarm clock. Ariel called in the middle of dinner with a moral dilemma she wanted advice on, so Sister Curtis answered but immediately handed the phone to me since she was still pretty groggy. I talked her through it and at the end she said, "Thanks for the advice, Sister Curtis." Hahaha. After that, we were going to go park contacting, but then I figured out that Sister Curtis is anemic and that's why she's been exhausted, so we walked to Lawtons instead and bought some iron pills. Then we went knocking for the rest of the night and it was great.

Church on Sunday was super good for some reason. We ended up teaching youth Sunday School last minute and we did some roleplays of how to respond when friends ask questions about our standards. Then we stayed for YW since a lot of the leaders and YW were away, and it was just really uplifting. We had correlation after church again and then we made lunch at the church and practiced our musical number for next week before going out to Dominion to continue knocking. We followed up on a former, but she wasn't interested, and another one who said to come back later, and then we had a DA with the Porters, our BML and his wife. It was kind of a last-minute thing when they found out we just planned to eat snacks out in Dominion instead of go home for dinner, but I'd already had a HUGE breakfast and lunch to prepare for that, so I ended up being super full. After that we went knocking again, but it turns out we hit a street full of pious old people after dark. Hahaha. We took some time to call Sister Dalton again and ended up teaching her about repentance and having a prayer over the phone, which was pretty cool. Then we went back to the church, which is conveniently on the way home, and watched the CES fireside. It was awesome. Seriously, everyone should watch it, it was good for all ages, not just YSAs. It was about losing your life to find it, which basically summed up all my thoughts about how I want to be as I finish my mission and also after I get home. 

Sister Olson


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