Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dianna Update - 8/20/10

Random facts about my life - 18 August 2010

So, I told you that I had 2 more stories from last week. The first one happened just before 5 am on a thursday morning. We were awakened by a VERY LOUD beeping. We checked out our smoke detector and our kitchen and stuff, nothing there. Then we checked our carbon monoxide detector. The green light was still flashing saying that all was well, but we were scared because we were positive that was what went off. I don't know if you've heard, but 2 missionaries somewhere in Europe died from CO and 2 other missionaries are brain damaged from it. Because of these instances, every missionary apartment (I'm told, I know at least my whole mission has them now) has a CO detector. The missionaries who are brain damaged had woken up to the alarm, thought the sound was obnoxious, turned it off, and went back to sleep. So this story made us paranoid because CO is odorless. So we decided to be extra safe and called 911 for an extra opinion. They sent someone over, he drove up in his truck, wearing an official looking jacket. He came in, looked at everything, told us that there was nothing that could be emitting CO at the time, assured us we were fine, and he left. In the meantime, a firetruck had shown up. They had their lights on but no sirens, THANK GOODNESS! I think I would have DIED if they turned on their sirens! He just waved them away when he left. That was a scary experience but I'm glad that we decided to be safe rather than sorry.

The second story is that we had an 18 year old girl, Ali, come and be a missionary with us for a day. It was totally her idea, and we loved having her with us. She came at 6:45 am because her mom was going to work and that's the time she could drop her off, so she had studies with us in the morning, went to an appointment with us, she even went knocking for a couple hours with us!!! She said she'd do anything we were doing. We tried to make it an easy day because we figured she wouldn't want to knock all day, so we had 3 appointments, BUT she really got to experience a true day in the life of a missionary, 2 of those appointments cancelled! She was sad to find out that we were going to replace those appointments with more walking and knocking. She got really lucky though because we had a supper appointment with the coolest family in the ward! They had us stay for FHE too (our appointment for a different FHE had cancelled so we figured this was PERFECT) we taught the lesson and then we played some fun games with them. I wish I could be part of their family. Not that I don't like you guys, they just make a perfect substitute while I'm so far away.

We had 2 baptisms 2 sundays in a row! Don't get too excited they were both 8 year olds. The first one, Rebekah, was so sweet. She had stage fright just before she was going to be baptized, so they had the doors closed until she got in the font. The Branch President, who is also Rebekah's grandpa, went back to encourage her. When he came back he said that Rebekah had asked her parents "What's this warm feeling I have right here?" pointing to her chest. That was the sweetest thing ever! The second baptism was the coolest baptism I've ever been too. It was at the ocean! Yes, I got to go to an ocean baptism. What made it even cooler was that it was that family we had FHE with that I'm already in love with. :) We all just sat on the rocks (it's not a sandy beach) and had the program there. The music was played by his, Kimball's, 9 year old sister on her violin and his grandpa on the guitar. It was a very nice ceremony. The water was really cold, but was really worth it they said.

You guys are going to have to look up Canada's version of Extreme Home Makeover next month. I don't know what it's actually called but I hope you can find it online. I found out yesterday that Elders Park, Millar, and Clayton, are on it. They are a trio in Windsor. Elder Park was my district leader when I was in Wolfville. They were walking by when the house that was being renovated and they were looking for volunteers so they asked them to help out. AND they interviewed them while they were wearing their white shirts and ties AND name tags! That is the coolest thing I've ever heard of! I really hope that they air the interviews, but you should keep your eye out for them!

I don't remember if I told you or not, but we have a Native American talking stick. So when we have companionship inventory each week we take turns holding it and sharing any thoughts we have about the companionship. It's not very big or heavy, but when Sis. Ferrell went to pass it to me she decided to spear throw it at me. Being the chicken that I am, I flinched and covered my head, but the stick managed to beam me in the part of the forehead that wasn't covered! I couldn't believe it! And by the look that was on Sis. Ferrell's face, I don't think she could believe it either. It didn't hurt at all but we both were surprised and remembered that Sis. Ferrell had asked Sis. Rowe (she was the psychologist who gave it to us) if we could use it to hit each other when they weren't listening, and she said no. But Sis. Ferrell ended up doing it anyway and I WAS listening. We laughed that off, but things only got better. The next day we were walking by this house that creeps the missionaries out because it has a GIGANTIC white cross in the back yard. I'm not even exaggerating a little bit, it is taller than the house. We, without thinking, always stare at it with a weird expression on our face when we walk by. This particular day though, there was a man outside mowing the lawn. I decided that I was going to be friendly, so I lifted my hand to give him a wave and a smile but he turned right at the same time. Also at the same time, there was a horrid sound that came from the mower and a sharp pain on the side of my neck! A piece of bark had come SHOOTING out of the mower and nailed me right in the neck! Sis. Ferrell saw it and her face was shocked, I'm sure not as shocked as my face was! That hurt! There's no bruise or blood thought, that's good. What makes this story even worse, or better depending on how you look at it, is that he didn't even notice! We just kept walking. I couldn't believe my luck. I'm so grateful though that there hasn't been any more hitting accidents since.

So, I got to really TALK with a JW with week. She was REALLY nice and she "warned" us where all the other JW's live. (She was actually just telling us about different people from church and pointed out where they live, so now we know where the "higher ups" live, so we can either avoid them, or be prepared.) I'm surprised at how much we have in common. I'm glad she turned out to be nice because we were worried when we were greeted with "Is that your Bible? I'll go get mine." That's never a good sign. But we enjoyed a lovely 2 hour conversation with her in which I got to share about the Spirit World. I've never been able to share anything with a JW before, it was great!

Alright, I should go. I love you all!
Sister Nicholls

P.S. We actually had an investigator at sacrament meeting this week! The work IS moving forward here in Nova Scotia!

MOOOOOOO TWOOOOOO - 11 August 2010

6, That is the number of hamburgers that I ate this week. Only once did I have 2 at once (and I was forced to, no joke). That means that on 5 different occasions I was fed hamburgers. WHAT IS WITH THIS?! It's a good thing that I LOVE hamburgers. I think everyone is conspiring against us or something... Also, along with those hamburgers we are served ice cream, but, I'm not going to complain about that. :)

Knocking experience: We had 3 weird houses IN A ROW.
House #1: bees. Like most houses here in Nova Scotia, there is a front door that no one uses and is usually blocked off, in this case there was a flower pot on the front steps, and a side door. We walked over to the side door and noticed that it was surrounded by flower bushes and SWARMING with bees. We thought about it, and decided to try the front door. There was no way that was going to happen. So we trudged back over to the side door, said a prayer in our hearts and knocked on the door. A sweet German man opened the door. We ended up talking to him for 30-45 minutes and he even stepped outside! We were hoping he would invite us in instead, we even pointed out the bees and he just thought it was cool. Our conversation was amazing and no one was stung. I'm feeling so blessed.
Then we head over to house #2. We go to the side door (actually it was the back door) and we ring the door bell. While we're waiting for an answer, we hear this scratching sound coming from the thing that hangs over the door, roof thing (sorry, I can't think of a name for it at the moment.) I don't know how to describe the noise other than it sounded like a GIGANTIC spider crawling across the top. Sis. Ferrell and I looked at each other and walked away as fast as we could without looking back. We usually knock or ring twice, but we didn't at this door.
House #3. They had a long, gravel driveway with weeds growing in it, but that's common so we didn't think much of it. But as we were walking grasshoppers were hopping up EVERYWHERE! It was like a plague. I was hoping a bunch of seagulls would show up and eat them! It was funny and disgusting feeling at the same time. I just couldn't believe my eyes! There were way more grasshoppers than you can even imagine. I don't even know how to make it sound dramatic enough. Luckily, it was worth the trip. The guy at the house was really nice. :)

Random bit of information: Growing up I remember thinking, What would happen if I dialed 765-4321 on the phone? Who knew that if I had the right area code I would reach a member here in Kingston, NS!!!!!! (sadly, they just changed their number and everyone is mourning the loss).

Every monday we have FHE with a single mom (a recent convert) and her 3 young kids. A couple weeks ago we read the story of Samuel the Lamanite out of the Children's Book of Mormon and we had them act it out. It was HILARIOUS! We had Seth, 7, play Samuel. We tied a blanket around him like a cape and he chose a light saber to be his stick. As we narrated he acted it out and stood on a chair as the wall. Then we had Noah, 5, through waded up newspaper at him. I just have to say, Noah has never had so much fun reading a scripture story. The next week, we talked about Joseph Smith getting the plates. Seth is SO smart! He told the entire story, not missing ANY details. Then we had hidden our own scriptures. We had written on an index card "I know the Book of Mormon is true" in that code we used as kids during sacrament meeting. We gave them directions on how to find it and when they found it they couldn't translate it, but then we gave them the code to be able to read it. It was a fun correlation.

Transfers: Transfers are this week and guess what?!?!?!?!? NOTHING IS CHANGING FOR ME!! Woohoo! This is the first time in the history of my mission that I am not involved in transfers! I'm so excited, but I'm also kind of sad because it's over. I can no longer tell people that something for me has changed every 6 weeks. Oh well, I'm over it.

I have 2 more stories but no more time. I guess you'll have to wait. Here's a preview of one: calling 911.

Sister Nicholls

That's right, I whipped out the tights! - 4 August 2010

I can't believe it. It's cold. WHY?!?!?!??!!!!!! For the past 2 weeks I've been wearing a sweater. There have also been a few mornings where I didn't want to get out of my warm bed. I was sleeping with 2 blankets on!!! IT'S JULY!!! (well, I guess NOW it's August, but that doesn't make too big a difference.) I actually wore tights instead of nylons the other day because it was THAT cold. Of course, I'm the freak around here too. I'm the ONLY one who is cold and wearing a sweater. We had zone conference recently and Sis. Simpson commented on the fact that I was wearing a sweater and I told her (and Sis. Ferrell confirmed) that I'm ALWAYS cold. She FINALLY is showing sympathy for me. In the winter everyone complained of the cold and no one believed that I was colder, but now she believes me. I saw her again yesterday and I, again, was wearing a sweater and she just shook her head. My fingers are usually cold and I'm resisting the urge to break out the gloves again. This is getting ridiculous. When we knock on the hotter days people sarcastically ask us if we're enjoying the heat and I honestly answer with a resounding "Yes!" and Sis. Ferrell gives a moan. I don't think very many people actually believe my yes. Oh well, I'm an honest person. ;)

It's about time for more knocking stories. Dogs are the topic this week.

Dog #1: Mandy, an English Sheep dog. She lives in a HUGE yard and is bound only by an invisible fence. The first time we went to this house, she was inside so we only heard her bark. We had talked to the Mother of the house for awhile and she said we could come back. When we came back, Mandy was outside. We decided we would be okay because she was barking but backing away. So we slowly approached the door while she barked (she has a REALLY loud, deep bark). We were almost there when the man of the house, who we had yet to meet, came out and yelled at us to back up and called the dog in. By this time the dog had come right up to us, was baring her teeth and making small lunges at us. I was SCARED TO DEATH. This dog is BIG! The owner yelling wasn't very helpful either. He finally got her to go inside and we were scared he was going to tell us to get off his property. Lucky for us, he came out and was very pleasant and told us that Marilou, the mother, wasn't home and we should come back later. He also was kind enough to tell us where the invisible fence was and that if Mandy was outside that we should wait behind the line and he would come out when he heard the barking. This was comforting to know, but also, it scared us enough that we haven't gone back yet.

Dog(s) #2: I forgot their names, I'll call them Lulu and Bob, English Mastiffs!!!!! Again, another HUGE yard. This time with a steep driveway. We are about halfway up the driveway when we notice Lulu and Lulu notices us. She stands up, we FREEZE. (They must be called Mastiffs for a reason.) We notice she is on a leash and deem it okay to proceed. Lulu starts to bark. By the time we reach the top of the driveway Ross, the owner, comes out to see what all the hubbub is about. He, too, is a big, rather hairy man. Sis. Ferrell has a mini freak out on the inside and doesn't go any closer. I figure, well, we're here, it would be weird to just walk away. So, I say "Hi! How are you?" Introduce myself and ask his name. Turns out, He is the NICEST man on the face of the planet! He calmed down Lulu and went to pet her. We noticed that when he went to pet her, she cowered. It turns out that Ross rescued this 170 pound dog from an abusive owner. After some chit chat we discovered that Lulu is small next to her brother, Bob. Bob came to the glass door, thankfully he stayed inside. He is 200 pounds and his face is almost 3 times the size as mine, no joke. He too was rescued. I can't even describe to you the size of these dogs. I'm just so relieved to have walked away from that house safely.

Mom, I guess I should tell you that my mail has all caught up to me now and I'm back on schedule it seems. I got a letter yesterday and learned that you guys have finally put up a mister on the patio. Woohoo! Also, it sounds like Liam had a lot of fun with those water balloons. I wish I could have seen him! Sis. Ferrell is curious, what's the name of that movie about the teacher with Turrets? And what is Despicable Me about? People ask us all the time about recent movies and it's fun to hear their reactions when we tell them we haven't seen any movies or previews in a LONG time. About Carolyn's arm and the scar tissue. I understand, I think. When I cut my finger back in November, after it healed, it really hurt to bend it. They told me to rub it every once in a while to break up the scar tissue. I guess she just has a bigger version of that. If that's all it is though, she'll be fine eventually.

We met this super cool family last week and have been there a couple times now. They're fascinated with the fact that we're from the states. The mom asked me to send her something from AZ. I told her she'd have to wait awhile and she said that's fine. But then I realized I still had a bit of your toffee left so I brought that over and they ALL FELL IN LOVE!! Carson, the 11 year old boy said that you have to come here and teach them how to make it because it's the best toffee in the world. Chelsey, 19, also agrees. I'm so spoiled to have you as MY mom.

Well, I should go. I love you all too much.

Sister Nicholls

Lack of interesting title... - 28 July 2010

Well, today we hiked Cape Split again but this time it was just 4 of us girls. It was WAY fun and we didn't get lost. Sadly though, my camera died halfway through so I didn't get some pictures, but I did get some really good ones.

I have some REALLY happy and some REALLY sad news... I'll start with the happy. Daylen, an investigator I had in Wolfville is getting baptized on August 21st!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited for him! I've discovered that I'm definitely the missionary that does the sowing. I do a lot of finding and planting seeds and then people come behind me and finish off the job. I did do a bit of reaping in Montague though. That was just a short time though so it's hard to remember to count that. The sad news is that Sam, another investigator I had in Wolfville no longer is getting baptized and her boyfriend is going to have his name removed from the records.... None of us saw this coming and we still don't understand why that's happening. It's so sad.

Yesterday we had exchanges and Sis. Peaden came here to Kingston with me! It was fun to have her back, I missed her. We did a lot of knocking and received 5 potential investigators from it! We're so ecstatic! That rarely happens! It's funny because one of them actually came up to US! and another one we only had 15 minutes so we walked down a street and we only talked to one person, but it was the right person, we have an appointment with him on saturday! Missionary life is so exciting! (sometimes)

So, we had zone conference and my mission president announced that, worldwide, we will only be having zone conferences quarterly, so only 4 times a year! It's not just your mission Andrew. It's sad because this means we won't get mail here either. President said that he'll try to have mail distributed at transfers but he can't make any promises. I really hope that my package makes it to the office before transfers and that I actually get it, otherwise it WILL be snowing before I get it. The next zone conference isn't until NOVEMBER! Also, at zone conferences they sing happy birthday to the missionaries who will have a birthday before the next zone conference, so they ended up singing to me, along with about 10 other missionaries. They sang to Sis. Peaden too, her birthday is in October. It's going to be so different, and weird.

Hodge Podge. Have you ever heard of that? It's a soup/stew thingy. It's made with baby vegetables and potatoes(whole) in a cream sauce of your choice. I've had it twice now and it is REALLY good! You actually eat it on a plate with a fork so it's not really soup like but it looks like a soup and you ladle it out, but when you cut/mash the potatoes on your plate, they soak up the creamy liquid and it's really good.

I'm going to have to keep this email short because our hiking adventures pushed us WAY behind schedule, but I LOVE you all, and I'm glad Becca is now happily married and that there was a mini Swegle family reunion. I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the festivities over all the stress that I'm sure was involved.

Have a good week! Travel safe to Snowbird (that's your next stop right?!).

Sister Nicholls

MOOOOOOO!! - 21 July 2010

Steak anyone? This is the season for BBQing! No one in the Maritimes has AC, so they don't like to turn on the oven, or dryer. So clothes are always on the line (which is really cool actually) and they're always cooking outside. So 3 times this week we were fed steak. It's a good thing I like steak. I'm tired though of cutting so much, it's hard work to eat one of those things. I shouldn't complain though, that stuff's not cheap.

This week I got to pick raspberries! We were visiting this older couple and they were outside picking raspberries in their backyard and they TOLD us to pick and eat some. Let me tell you, they were SO good! I would have stood there eating them all night if I could! It was quite a fun experience. Nova Scotia is fun and lively in the summer, I'm sad that I'm only going to have 1 summer here.

We aren't teaching very much these days because our investigators are gone on vacation a lot. So we've been doing a lot of finding. For 2 weeks in a row we spent 21 hours finding! That's almost 1 entire day out of 7 spent knocking on people's doors! This, sadly, isn't bring the desired results either. I'm getting slightly discouraged because it's almost to the point where I can't even bear my testimony. The hearts and minds of the people here are closed and stuck in the traditions of their fathers. We're doing all we can though to help them learn about the restored gospel. I love finding those people who are willing to listen and even more ecstatic when we find someone willing to make changes!

This past Sunday and Monday were really exciting. Sister McQuivey, a missionary who went home in January, was here visiting with her mom. She served here in Kingston just before she went home and she really loves them and they REALLY love her. It was fun to visit with her, I had known her as well. What was really fun was that she came and taught someone with us on Monday. We are teaching someone who she had taught when she was here so we brought her along and she was SO surprised and happy to see Sis. McQuivey! The lesson went well and Sis. McQuivey told us that Peggy, the investigator, has really progressed so to keep up the good work. That was good to hear because we were debating dropping her because she has been taught for about a year now, but we have found renewed hope in her. :)

Mom, I got your talk. Good job! I like the things you mentioned about Sis. Lant's(?) talk. Also, you made me almost want to cry. You made me sound like a perfect child, which both you and I totally know is NOT true. I'm grateful though to know that you still see the good in me. I guess that's why (or because) you're the mom. Mom's are good at that.

Kristen and Carolyn, thanks so much for writing me! I loved hearing all about what you're up to this summer. I hope you had fun in Knott's Berry Farm. Also, I can't believe that you've shaved your legs! You're not allowed to be that grown up yet! You're still 10 to me, too. Carolyn, do you really think you'll have braces before I get home? That would be cool. I know you guys said something else that I wanted to comment on but I've forgotten, sorry. I just want you to know that I REALLY love when I get to hear from you too. I love you two!

Well, I wish I had a cool story for you this week, but my well is dry. I will tell you this though, we play games with a group of old ladies every other week. They live in a house that someone bought and takes care of them in, and the owner is gay. It's a fun time when we go there. 3-5 (depending on how they're feeling that day) old, hard of hearing women, 2 young Sister missionaries and 1 middle-aged gay man with a lot of energy and spunk. I love my life. :)

Well, until next week, LOVE YOU!

Sister Nicholls

Fun with Sister Ferrell - 14 July 2010

Good morning Family!

So, we haven't been teaching much of anyone these days. Our investigators are all on vacation and we're having trouble finding new investigators. But we're dedicated and we spend every minute we can knocking on doors and walking the streets. This week we spend 4 1/2 hours knocking on this one street. It's a country road so we had a lot of time to walk between doors but they were being especially friendly that morning (we knocked from 10 am to 2:30 pm, we didn't break for lunch because we didn't want to lose the good streak we were having). At one house the man who opened the door told us immediately to come in and we did and met his wife and niece and nephew who were visiting for the summer. We talked for over an hour. The woman had met missionaries recently and had a lot of questions about what the others had shared so we got to answer those and after about 30 minutes the niece, who's 7, went and got a box of string and beads and started working away at something. I eventually asked what she was doing and she said she was making a bracelet for Sis. Ferrell. She made this cute bracelet that said FERRELL on it and beads with butterflies and hearts. When she finished and had tied it on her wrist and everything she wanted to make me one too, but there wasn't enough string and not enough letters. She contemplated just spelling my name NICHQLS but we convinced her to just make a key chain that said SISTER. So, we're sporting the latest Taylor creations and are proud of it. She's so cute. We left the woman, Karen, with a pamphlet about the restoration and Taylor goes and takes it and starts reading it! We're so excited to go back and share more with them! We're thinking of something to give to Taylor, if you have any ideas, please share.

That same "morning", we met this older couple that welcomed us right in as well and at first they weren't willing to talk about religion, they just wanted us out of the heat, but when they told us what church they went to, we recognized it as one that a member of our church's husband goes to. We told them that relation and they, for some reason, were more willing to talk about the gospel. I guess when people notice how UN-close minded we are they are more willing to talk. I bet a lot of the reason why people avoid talking religion with us is because they think we're going to shoot them down and tell them their wrong, which isn't how we work. That's the way another religion goes about it, but not us. That's not Christ-like.

We had the opportunity to help out with a Branch service project this week. We painted the exterior of a members house. We, amazingly, were able to do the entire house, including scraping, in 4 1/2 hours! (We only stayed for 3 of the hours) The members of this Branch are amazing! They are SO dedicated in serving one another, it's not even funny. It's their life.

While knocking one day last week we had gotten really far from our car and when were walking up to our last house before we headed back and it started to sprinkle (we had our umbrellas so we were prepared) but as we were talking to the uninterested lady at the door it started to POUR! She had us step inside to wait and see if it would lighten up. Maritimers are SO nice. This woman, totally uninterested in our message still saw us as human beings who needed someone to look out for them. After a few minutes of small talk and even heavier rain, she offered to give us a lift back to our car. We accepted and this woman ran out to her van, took our the stroller in the back so she could put up the back seat, waved us to come, and she drove us. She got soaking wet just to help us out. We are eternally grateful for her kindness. We feel so blessed to have met her at the exact moment we needed her. She has earned extra brownie points for the next life. :)

I was reading the June Ensign the other day and guess what! I know someone in it! She was in my cast team at Pageant! She opened her mission call on the Hill Cumorah too. She, her mom, and her grandma are on page 39 (or somewhere there). That was a funny experience to see. :)

Andrew, I'm in my 4th house. My mission has transfers every 6 weeks, so every 6 weeks there is a chance you or your companion might change. And so far, EVERY transfer, me or my companion has changed! Transfer 1-Halifax with Sis. Moss, 2-Halifax with Sis. Olsen AND Sis Moss, 3-Halifax with Sis. Olsen, 4-Montague with Sis. Ferrell, 5-Wolfville with Sis. Hamblin, 6-Wolfville with Sis. Hamblin AND Sis. Peaden, 7-Kingston with Sis. Ferrell (again). I'm half way done with my mission and haven't had 2 transfers that were the same. I'm hoping that it will happen sometime soon. We also have Zone conference every transfer, so that must be about 9 times a year, same as you.

Well family, I still haven't heard from you, but I did hear that I got a letter and a package in Wolfville, I probably won't get that until the 23rd or so. I know you still care, and guess what?! I still care too! I love you all lots! Have a good week!

LOVE Sister Nicholls

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