Gretchen's mother asked her some practical kinds of questions about her mission. The following are some of those questions followed by Gretchen's answers. At the bottom of this entry are two pictures. The first is a picture of Gretchen not long after her arrival in Canada sandwiched between country and provincial flags and President and Sister Nelson. The second picture is a scan of a very old hand-colored postcard of the Provincial Parliament Building not too far from where Gretchen lives that Gretchen's Dad recently picked up at Ken Sander's Rare Book Store in Salt Lake City.
How big is your district?
I think there are about twelve of us. We make up the lower half of the Island.
How big is your zone?
Two districts make up our zone. The other district is the Northern Island. (Duncan, Nanaimo, etc.)
How many missionaries are in your mission?
Last I heard, there were about 110ish.
How many sister missionaries are in your mission?
Fourteen of us, loud and proud! Two of those are specifically language missionaries, so they serve in Richmond/Vancouver. I can't remember all of the areas where sisters currently serve. As far as I know, we're in Victoria, Courtney, Kelona, Surrey, Penticton, Vancouver Language, and there's one I'm forgetting.
Do you eat at member's homes?
We have eaten at member's homes and they're always more than willing to feed us, but in the past week we've decided to tract between the hours of five and seven. I guess the Tacoma Washington Mission (word to Emily!) started doing that as a mission and their baptisms skyrocketed and about 80% of those baptisms came from tracting. So even though it's not a mission rule, we've decided to try it out and see what comes of it. Anyhow, that's going to change how we eat because then we'd only be able to make dinner appointments at four or at seven and nobody really eats during that time. At the very least, though, we'll be getting more lunch appointments and we'll probably start a grocery list to help us out with that.
Are people letting you in the door?
Hahaha. Um. Not really. We have gotten a couple of return appointments and we taught one guy in his backyard (more on that later) but I don't think we've actually gotten in the official door YET. But soon, I'm sure.
What stands out as a major event for the week?
I'd say that our best tracting experience so far is that guy we taught in his backyard. Sister Weber was trying to decide if she had knocked on that door before and I said that we should just go for it. No one answered and so we were in the process of sticking a pass-along card in his door when he walked around the corner. We gave him our typical introduction and he said that anyone who had the guts to come door-to-door talking about religion deserved to be heard out. He was doing paperwork from home and on his lunch break, so we had to be quick, but we (and when I say we, I really mean Sister Weber) taught him the condensed version of the first lesson and then told him about the Book of Mormon. He asked for a copy (!) and then we had him read Moroni 10:3-5 and when he read it, he made some comment among the lines of, "wow, that's really powerful stuff." Sister Weber asked him how he felt and when he told us "peaceful," she told him that was God telling him that it was true. It was INCREDIBLE. Long story slightly shorter, we got his number and when we called him back, he said he'd been reading, but not as much as he'd like because he's working something like 12-14 hour days for the next week or so. So we're calling him back next week and hoping for the best.
What has surprised you the most so far (with just over a week of experience) since arriving in Canada?
Hmmm...I can't really think of anything super surprising. I'm still at that stage where I learn something new every hour, it seems. I guess it's surprising to see people's reactions to us and what we're doing. It's not always positive, but you learn to laugh those off and move on.
Mom, here's a story that you'll like. We got a referral from the elders for this older couple. We dropped by after an appointment last Saturday and Mom, you would have loved their house. They have at least 5,000 daffodils in their yard and they've been featured in at least five magazines. In the mid-summer, they grow peonies and the whole yard was absolutely stunning. I got some great pictures. I'm not sure how useful it was for us to talk to the lady about religion, because the majority of Islanders tend to think along the lines that "why can't everyone be right?" So we did our best and she gave us lavender soap that her daughter makes and at the very least, it's a seed planted. (Ha--pun.)