Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One more week!!!

Hola Familia y amigos!

Thank you so much to the Huch Family for the Christmas newsletter. If anyone else has written, I haven't gotten the mail yet because of transfers.  Kate, sorry I didn't write you, letter coming today.

Okay, so the Tabernacle in Logan where we normally write our letters is closed and now I'm at a library where we are timed, so I don't know how long this email will be.

As for transfers, me and Hna. Marcum are staying in Hyde Park.  I do not know how this happened because the mission office told our landlord someone was leaving.  I am sooo happy to not be leaving though!

This week has been really good.  So last tuesday we had dinner with the kid who had just gotten back from the Spain Madrid Mission.  It was fun.  He loved his mission and it was nice to learn a bit more about the rules with the new mission president.  Interesting things:
they wake up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30.  I'm not sure I will like this, but we shall see.  Sisters can serve in the Canary Islands.  We are allowed to go to one soccer game or one bull fight.  Not one of each.  I think i will go to the soccer game Barcelona and Madrid have against each  other.

We had exchanges this week.  Hna. Marcum went to Ogden and Hna. Krutzer came up to Hyde Park.  It was a good exchange for me because we taught 2 lessons and I took the lead.  THey both went really well.

We taught the Flores Family the restoration.  It went pretty well. They felt tranquilidad (peace) during the first vision.  I also committed them to be baptized on January 5th.  They avoided answering the question, but i was proud of myself for having the guts to say anything. 

Then we had a lesson with Josue but we didn't have very much time so we just went over the Book of Mormon.  It went really well though because he read more than we asked him to and he said he really doesn't want to change and that he just wants to know for himself what our church believes, but if he feels something maybe he will change.

I really think God is preparing him.  He is really good at calling us when he can't make appointments and when we stop by to visit, he is the first to bring up that we need to make an appointment.   I'm really excited to see him progress.

We also had a really good lesson with the Rayon Family.  They are less active and have just hit their year mark meaning they can prepare for the temple.  So we taught about the temple and played a board game that we made about going to the temple.  It went really well and the Spirit was strong.  Now we just need them to come back to church.

We had a contact with a woman who at first was not interested.  Then Hna. Marcum shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon and after the lady asked us when we could come back!  So now we have an appointment with her!

Our branch had their Christmas party.  It was really fun to see everyone and they asked us to sing Christmas songs to help narrate the nativity program put on by the primary, so the 4 of us sang.  Then me and Hna. Marcum went to help participate in a Musical Fireside another Spanish branch was putting on.  As much as i hate singing, it was good to help out and bring joy to other people. 

At the Christmas party we met a nonmember husband and wife that are visiting their relatives and are from Guatemala.  We set up an appointment with them, and they went to church on Sunday.  They also went outside the temple.  The Hna. really liked the feeling.  They are visiting for a month and I hope we can give them a good foundation of the Gospel and get the missionaries in Guatemala ready to receive them.

With the end of a transfer we went down to Ogden for the testimony meeting where all the returning missionaries share their testimonies. It was sooo powerful.  It made me feel like I have so much potential, and one day I want to have a testimony that is so much stronger than the one I have now.  President Heirs talked about going home and how they were going to have to take their badge off.  That was so weird. I can't imagine having to take my nametag off. It is part of who I am. I am Hermana Olsen.  Shelby seems like such a different person. 

I love these testimony meetings because the Spirit is so strong, but I hate them becasue I never want to be in their place.  I don't want to go home.  I don't.  I don't want to lose what I have--who I have become.  I don't want to stop these experiences.  I'm falling in love with the missionary life.  I don't do it perfectly, but I am learning and growing so much.  I'm scared to come home.  Don't get me wrong, I love and miss you all VERY MUCH, but the mission is just incredible. I don't want it to end.  I won't know what to do with myself.

So this transfer 2 Spanish sisters went home.  Which means that a sister area became an elder area because the Spanish program isn't getting any sisters for a long time.  After the testimony meeting we took a lot of fun pictures.

Yesterday we had lunch with a member and she brought her non-member friend who we contacted and are going to try to teach.  We also had a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] with a member family.  We read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 and passed gifts to the left or right if you heard angel or shepherd.  Then we talked about the gift Jesus gave us.  It was good, and we invited them to give a gift to Jesus.  (thank you Johnson family for teaching me this tradition!!!!)

Today we had a breakfast as a zone to talk about transfers.  Then we ran some errands and then we went bowling.  Hence I am emailing a bit later.  Everyone is telling us we will be in Spain by the new year.  I am trying not to think about it.  I don't know how I feel.  I want to go, of course, but I love Logan sooooooo much.  My heart is breaking. It hurts.

To end on a happy note, I love my mission, and I do feel peace trusting the Lord that I will be okay.  I love what I am learning.  I know this church is true.  Oh, I started doing personal study in Spanish.  It isn't so bad.  I use my English scriptures occasionally to make sure i understand things, but yeah I think my Spanish has improved.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What a wonderful week!

Hola Familia Y amigos,

Thanks all who wrote me letters.  I always appreciate the mail.  This week was really great, let me tell you all about it:

I got to decorate a Christmas Tree!  We went to visit one of our investigators and she was working on her Christmas decorations.  So we helped her.  We got talking and our family tradition of eating donuts after decorating the tree came up so she gave us fudge and ice cream.  It was really nice of her.  The fudge was really good (really close to your recipe mom!).  I almost felt at home :)

Ok.  So this week was my week to "play" senior companion.  it was HARD.  But I learned a lot.  My faith increased as I learned that I was capable to plan and take lead.  I won't say it was a perfect week, because it wasn't.  But I worked hard and am proud of my week as Senior Companion.  I took charge on phone calls and had to make several in both English and Spanish.  It was hard to know who to visit and when.  It was scary to initiate contacts and other things.  

Wednesday was the worst day.  I was tired and stressed.  I had no energy and hardly a desire to try.  Then our only lesson cancelled and we had to run some errands for the Christmas party the following day.  We should have done them on P-day but sometimes these things happen.  But by the time we could go out and visit people, we only had 2 hours left and we hadn't done language study and we were behind on companion study.  It was really stressful to decide what we should do.  I felt like I had to go out, we hadn't really done much all day.  But I prayed and felt like the Lord was okay with either.  Feeling so tired and emotionally low, we stayed in and studied.  

Looking back, I don't regret this decision.  I am learning a lot about how merciful and forgiving and understanding the Lord is.  He expects us to give our all, but he knows our all is not the same every day.  That night, I could muster the energy to study, but not to go out.  Overall, the week went really well.  It was hard and stressful, and I was glad when it was over.  But I learned a lot about myself.  I learned about my fears.  

One thing I noticed, that would probably be my biggest mistake of the week, is that if we got behind schedule or had to run an errand or weren't working as hard as we could, taking our time to get ready to leave etc.  I was more okay with these moments than normal and didn't try to change them, because it meant I didn't have to figure out what to do.  I didn't have to feel that stress and fear of what was going to happen, could I do what was expected of me.  But if nothing else, this week helped me realize my fear, and now I can work to overcome it!

The Christmas Party for the mission was FANTASTIC!  We had some really good training in the morning and all the spiritual talents.  Then we had a delicious lunch.  After lunch we took a mission picture.  One serious and good, the other SILLY!  Then we had a talent show for the silly acts.  I was in the talent show.  We performed our old people dance that I had performed for the talent show with the elders.  It was such a fun talent show and I felt so much love for my mission and so blessed to be part of the Utah Ogden Mission.  I felt again that I am where I am supposed to be and that the Lord is in charge, so I have NO need to fear!!! 

Having to make a lot of phone calls this week really helped me improve my Spanish. For example, I was confirming dinner and I really could not understand what she was saying but I heard the words pay and Chispitas.  Chispitas is a restaurant owned by a member that we get sent to sometimes. So I asked her if she wanted us to go to Chispitas, and then she said yes.  I learned from this that I do not need to understand every word but I really can communicate by picking up key words and then asking questions to make sure I understand.  I think my Spanish is improving in general though.  I really am talking more and more. 

Saturday was Kate's Birthday!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry I didn't send you anything.  Expect an awesome letter from your biggest fan this week!  

Saturday was a really good day!  Lola (the one we found because she was going to church) and her 11 year old son Eladio got baptized.  I taught Lola a little bit, but not Eladio.  His was really unexpected.  The other sisters told us that Lola said she wanted to get baptized and a few days later, Eladio said he did too.  She has two other children (17, and 14?) that the other sisters are working with.  But i was soooo happy for Lola.  She is an incredible woman.  She is struggling a bit financially, yet she has signed up to feed us 3 times this month.  And she feeds us a lot.  It is so sweet of her, but I will probably skip lunch when we have dinner with her because I would feel TERRIBLE if I didn't finish my food.  At least she is a really good cook!  

Saturday we also had a Sociedad de Socorro (relief society) Cena (dinner).  We helped prepare and clean up.  It was a really fun night.  I felt bad for the President though.  She is an incredible woman and works really hard.  She told us that 35 people signed up to come.  8 showed up.  We actually went to her house after to get some of the food so we could have it.  We ended up staying the rest of the night and talking to her.  

She was able to vent and just have someone to talk to.  She talked about the love she has for her sisters and how she wants them to progress.  She said a lot of them are comfortable and they have achieved their dream of making it to the United States to raise their children in a better place so they feel like they are done.  She wishes she could show them that there is so much more.  She talked about her conversion and her period of inactivity and says she wishes she could help her sisters know what she knows.  She does a really good job, and we were able to just be a listening ear.  It was a really good experience for me.  I love that we can help so many people.  Even the strong, amazing, active, Relief Society President needs help sometimes.  

Saturday, we also went to visit Hermana Santiago.  It was a really good visit and we got to share a scripture with her and finally with her husband as well.  Hopefully we can continue to work with both of them and get them back to church.  They have 4 beautiful children, and are such a wonderful family.

Also this week, we got to go Christmas Caroling.  All the branch missionaries and our mission leader and us made a list of less actives and people we wanted to carol to.  We practiced some songs a few times and then on Sunday night we went caroling.  It was such a fun experience.  It really brought the Spirit and it was fun to see people’s faces as they opened the door and saw 15 or so people who love and care about them singing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We would give cookies to them as well.

Yesterday was a really good day.  We visited a lot of people and had some really good contacts.  One we visited just as she was pulling up in her driveway.  We talked to her for a really long time and at first she was not interested but we gave her a Book of Mormon and then promised that if she came to our church we would go to hers.  So I might be going to a Catholic church on Sunday as well.  Which I would be fine with, it will just be interesting.

We still have not been able to meet with Josue.  But we went to visit him yesterday, and had a pretty cool experience.  We knock on the door and we are talking with him and after a while he says, hey we need to set up a time for an appointment, don't we?  I love that he brought it up, not us.  I don't know exactly why he wants to meet with us, and I don't know what will be the end result, but sometimes it really feels like there is something in him and that the Lord is preparing him.  We have an appointment with him on Wednesday.  Pray for Josue that he can be touched by the Spirit.

Also, we went to the Temple this morning and ran into our landlord.  She told us she got a letter from the mission that one of us is being transferred   This is not my visa, just a note saying she needs to check our apartment because one of us is being transferred.  She did not know which one of us it was.  I was so grateful to learn of this news in the Temple.  I was then able to pray in the best place to receive comfort.  I was not pleased with the news because I don't want a new companion, and I don't want to leave Logan/Hyde Park.  But I feel at peace.  The Lord has helped me to know that everything will be okay.

Also cool this week, is that I ran into this lady and we got talking and she told us that her son got off his mission 2 weeks ago.  Their family lives in Hyde Park and he served in the........Spain, Madrid mission!  The Lord truly loves me.  She is having us over for dinner tonight.  I am so excited to meet with him and ask questions.  His name is Elder Jeppson and I am pretty sure he will know you, April, and he will definitely know more about the new mission president.  But while i was talking to his mom, she told me that Sisters are being sent to the Canary Islands, so maybe I can serve there in the future.

I forgot my camera, so no pictures.  Next week for sure!

I love my mission, and I love the things that I am learning.  I love my Savior and am so excited for this Christmas season!  I love you all and hope you can remember Christ and think about what He has done for you and what that means.  Because that is what Christmas is all about!  Have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Hola Familia y Amigos,

Thanks for all the letters this week.  I did not have any time to write letters last week, but I will be working on that today.

This week has been SO good!  Slowly but surely the work is progressing!

I want to start off by talking about how I know the Lord puts us where we need to be and allows us to talk with the people we need to talk to.  We were having problems with one of our tires (it kept having low air pressure) so we took it in to see what the problem was.  At first I was a little frustrated about the time that we would waste.  But, while there we had a wonderful conversation with this member who is a cancer survivor.  She told us about how she learned so much from having cancer and that she now works with a charity to raise money for people that have cancer and can't afford the bills.  While she was talking to us, I could see in her eyes that she was so happy to have someone to talk to about this.  She wasn't bragging, but you could tell she enjoyed talking about it and I think as missionaries we were able to really enjoy the conversation because we know a lot about overcoming trials and the joy in working to benefit others.  I don't think we changed her life or did anything grand, but I know God wanted us to talk to her.

We have had some progress with Josue.  He is the one we contacted into but could never do much because nobody was home except him.  We finally met his wife and got to enter the house for a while.  She told us that she was really catholic and not interested and the only reason Josue went to church was because of her so he really wasn't interested either.  She said she grew up going to the Mormon Church (never baptized) and appreciated what we did as missionaries and didn't want us to waste our time coming over when nobody was interested.  But she was speaking for her husband, and I wasn't going to leave the house until we asked him what he thought.  My companion was on the same page.  He said he was interested in learning more.  So we set up an appointment, but it fell through because there wasn't a woman in the house.  He called and cancelled though, which was really nice of him.  Hopefully we can find someone to take with us and actually get a lesson with him.  He has an adorable 3 year old girl and a baby boy.

We also had a lesson with a family we found.  It is the Flores Family.  We only taught the parents but we have an appointment tomorrow and will hopefully teach the whole family.  But our lesson with the parents went really well.  We encouraged the wife to say the opening prayer and she finally agreed.  She said a simple but heartfelt prayer.  She started asking for help with her youngest daughter who is a little hard to handle sometimes and then she stopped.  After a long pause, loooong pause, she choked out an Amen.  She had started crying!  We asked her how she felt and she said something like, "Good, I knew God was listening to me."  Heck yeah!  She felt the Spirit.  So then we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and committed them to read and pray as a family.  We also kind of committed them to baptism, they didn't really answer the question but they didn't say no.  We also followed up with them on Saturday and they are reading and praying!  Heck yeah!  They told us that they have questions.  I am SO EXCITED for our appointment tomorrow!

Wednesday was Hna. Marcum's birthday.  There is a tradition in Mexico that the birthday person has to take a bite out of the cake while it is sitting on the table before anyone else can eat any.  However, as they do this, everyone else tries to slam their head in the cake.  Since we are Spanish speaking missionaries, this is a tradition in the mission.  So Hna Marcum got some cake in her face.  She did pretty good though.  For her birthday we went to a fancy restaurant that was actually reasonably priced.  We start ordering and our waiter tells us this place is free for missionaries.  WOW!  Utah is a weird place to serve sometimes.

We were trying to find a referral but we didn't have much information.  All we had was blue house and the general intersection.  So we find the intersection and there are 4 blue houses.  But it was cool because one of the ones we knocked is the Dickson family.  They have about 6 kids, ages 4 to married-with-kids.  They love us though.  They are an American family and we have visited them twice.  The first time they told us that their son knew a lot of Hispanic families and could we come back when he was home.  So we came back and they gave us some names and general addresses.  

Our second visit was cool because the Mom was talking about how her 13 year old daughter had been telling all her friends about how the sister missionaries came over.  They know we are called Spanish but told us we could visit anytime and if we could they would love us to do a Family Home Evening with them.  We might, because their kids LOVE us.  Their 8 year old boy made us PB&J.  I think if we can have such a big impact on these kids, we should do a FHE with them.

We have been doing a lot of Contacts.  I love the practice I am getting making contacts for when I am in Spain.  They can be really awkward and hard, but I think I am getting better.  Less fear at least.  And it really can be an effective way to find people.  We don't normally get appointments but at least we make contact and can tell them we are going to come back.

We had a lesson with Adella and it went really well.  We had a rough start and talked about everything except for what we wanted to talk to her about.  But with the Spirit's help we finally got to talk to her about why we are here and why she wants us to come over.  Because she has been investigating for years and isn't thinking about baptism we began to tell her that we might not be able to visit anymore.  We told her that we loved her and wanted to help her understand baptism.  We were pretty bold, but very loving.  She committed to pray about a time (she wouldn't let us use the word date) for baptism.  I hope she actually does.  We fasted for her on Sunday. We will meet with her on Thursday I think.

On Saturday we helped out at a Funeral.  The Branch President's wife's mother passed away.  She was really old, but it was really sad.  We helped serve food and prepare and clean up.   Kate, I felt like you catering to people!  I was grateful for the chance to do the service and the branch president and his wife were really grateful that we came to help.  We might try to visit them this week and bring cookies or something.

Yesterday, we were making some contacts and we saw one of our member families carrying in groceries so we offered to help.  We got to talk to their daughter for a long time.  She is in the process of submitting her papers and she told us about all the missionary experiences she is having.  She is a manager at Wendy's and has two of her co-workers reading the Book of Mormon and asking questions.  She is hopefully going to get them to meet with us soon.  Again, I know God put us on that street at the exact moment they got home from the store so that we could help her know how to help her friends and encourage her to ask them if they will meet with the missionaries.  She also wants to go out with us sometime.  We might take her contacting and hopefully to a lesson.

Last thing worth mentioning.  Starting yesterday, I am basically Senior Companion.  It is part of the 12 week training program, but this is my week.  I plan who we visit, when we visit, and I take the lead in contacts and lessons.  So yesterday was my first day doing all of this.  It was HARD.  It was hard to know when to visit who and then we got a little off schedule and we didn't have time to visit everyone, so I had to decide who not to visit.  Man that was scary.  I think this week will be hard, as I have to lead and make all the decisions.  I might make some bad decisions, and I am scared, but I think it will help me increase my faith and teach me to rely on the Lord.  But if you could pray for me this week, that I can lead and follow the Spirit that would be super duper!  Especially that I can lead our lesson with the Flores family tomorrow.

Also interesting.  I have started to think a little about how things will be different after the mission.  Not in a trunky way, but for example Tacos.  I don't think I can enjoy tacobell anymore.  Those are NOT tacos. A real taco should not have cheese, and it needs to have lime juice squeezed on it.  Yes family, NO CHEESE on tacos.  For anyone who knows how much I love cheese, who thought I would ever say that?  

I was also thinking about just sitting down and watching a movie. Weird.  I don't know if I can.  Or at least that  I don't want to.  I really don't miss T.V.  Except maybe football.  There was a football game on when we were getting the car fixed.  So that was kind of hard.  But really it is going to be weird to listen to music and watch T.V.  I was also thinking about the music I'm going to want to listen too.  When I left Call me Maybe and Payphone and whatever One Direction, were really popular.  I will come back wanting to hear those songs again, but they will be so old. And I don't care.  I am glad that I feel like listening to music and watching TV is weird, because it shows that I don't miss it, and I don't need it.

That is my life right now.  I hope everyone is having a good Christmas season.  Oh Christmas!  The Christmas lights are awesome here. I love nighttime when we drive and can see all the pretty lights.  We have some Christmas music but not much. So we don't always listen to it.

P.S. Kaylie Moon: The header of this email is for you.  Is your chalk drawing still outside the apartment?

Enjoy this Christmas Season.  Think of Jesus.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Sis. Shelby Olsen
4380 South Orchard Ave.
South Ogden, UT 84403

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I love being a missionary!

 Dariana's baptism
 Dariana's baptism


Janie's baptism

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Thank you to everyone that wrote me this week: Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Jennifer, Corinne (I got your letter this week-definitely a kickin letter!), Mom (I got the jump rope and all else), Kate, Allie G, and anyone else (sorry if I forgot someone. I dont have my list!) Oh thanks to all my B306 girls for the letter, chocolate, and window clings. I loved it all!

This week was pretty uneventful. We had 2 Noches de Hogar [Family Home Evenings]. We did one with the Lopez family about being grateful because it was right before thanksgiving and we had another one last night with the Garcia family and we talked about the Restoration and focused on Prophets.

We also had a pretty cool meeting with a man on our ward list. We thought he was inactive but then found out he was going to the English ward although not every Sunday. It was a miracle that we found him too. He works all the time at his job or just doing service for people. But we met him once and set up an appointment. Here comes another miracle. He was late coming home from work and we almost left before he came home. But he got home just as we were leaving. But you may be wondering why it is so important that we met with him. Well, he told us that it has been YEARS since missionaries have knocked on his door, and even longer since Spanish speaking missionaries have knocked on his door. He told us that he was praying for direction in his life. He was glad we came over because of the sweet Spirit all missionaries bring. He is a really cool guy and was inactive for a while but is starting to come back. It was fun to talk to him and I think he is a great guy and can really help the Buenavista Branch a lot. He is considering coming to the Spanish Branch.

This week we did a lot of door knocking and visiting referrals. But we are starting to find some people! We contacted into the Flores family and they had been meeting with the missionaries for a while and seemed fine having us come back. They actually remembered my companion (Hna. Marcum served her first transfer in Logan/Hyde Park 8 months ago). We have also been able to get some referrals by knocking on houses. Most of the time we run into English Speaking people that are members and more than willing to tell us where non-member Spanish people live. One lady even gave us a phone book that we can go through and look for Spanish names. I feel like we have become ultimate creepers, but that is a price I am willing to pay to help someone come unto Christ and receive the gift of Eternal Life and Salvation.

We found another family and she said she would call us because she had no idea when would be a good time and she wanted her whole family to be able to listen. She took a folleto (pamphlet) and said she would read it before we asked her to read it. So hopefully she will call.

Thanksgiving was lots of fun. Admittedly I was a little homesick, but it was one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had. We spent Wed. night at the other Hermanas place and made construction paper hand traced turkeys. Then we wrote a gratitude scripture on them, thanked them for all that they do and signed them, Love the Sister Missionaries. We spent the whole day delivering them. We would tape them to the door and drive to the next house. We got caught once and had a few close calls. It was fun being sneaky and doing service. We delivered about 40 turkeys. For dinner 6 of us sister missionaries got together and had a FEAST. There were few things we did not have. We had turkey, ham, vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie, rolls, etc. It was a good dinner and fun to cook with all the sisters.

On Saturday, the Lord showed me just how much he loves me. He let me sleep in until 8:15. Oops. I forgot to set my alarm! That was a weird morning. I woke up and I felt refreshed. I remember lying in bed thinking, I feel good, wait, that is weird. I usually can't open my eyes. Why is it so light out? What time is it? "Oh FREAK" I said out loud. "Hermana. It's 8:15" I said to my companion. She bolts up. "What. Freak. Oh. well, we can't do anything about it." And the best part was, I thought I was going to be really mad at myself. But I didn't care. I decided that the Lord wanted us to sleep in. We had been really tired and there have been times when I haven't set the alarm (in the MTC) but we still got up on time or just a few minutes late because I woke up feeling like I needed to check the time. Hna. Marcum told me she has had similar experiences where she wakes up needing to check the time. I guess Heavenly Father just decided to give us a break. 9 1/2 hours of sleep. It felt so good!

Janie got baptized on Saturday! She is the 10 year old that says the sweetest most heartfelt prayers. I did teach her a few lessons, but missionaries had been teaching her before so I wouldn't really count this as one of my baptisms. But that did not stop me from feeling such immense joy when she entered the waters of baptism.

On sunday me and Hna Marcum had to go on splits. We had a church meeting and an appointment at the same time. The Logan Hermanas were not doing anything so we did the splits with them. Hermana Marcum and Marin went to the appointment which fell through so they visited people while me and Hna. Judy (also waiting for Visa for the Spain Madrid Mission) went to the church meeting. It was a missionary meeting to see how we were doing and it is a meeting we go to to get referrals. It was with the English wards but they know their Spanish neighbors. It was my first time being the missionary in charge of reporting on people we visited and any help we needed. It was a good opportunity though.

On sunday, we had two dinners. Luckily for me though, we only picked the first one up. Her husband was really sick and she didn't want us to get sick. So I didn't eat any of that one. This was good, because our second dinner fed us a ton! We started with bread and really good, filling chicken noodle soup. Then she brought out a big plate of salad and a whole chicken. She made it clear she wanted us to eat it all. So the four of us Sisters ate a whole chicken and most of the salad. Then we had popsicles for dessert. See why I need the jump rope mom?

I am learning how to conduct music. The Hermanas found out i don't know how, and Hna Marcum is teaching me. She said I am going to be conducting on sunday. Please pray for me, I am not musically coordinated or talented in any way! But I am told I will need this skill in Spain.

Also, Lola is getting baptized. She is the investigator that we found because she started coming to church. I am not teaching her anymore, but I have such love for her I am really happy. The Logan Hermanas told us last night.

Yesterday we had a specialty training for all sister missionaries and district leaders. We talked a lot about being bold but doing it with love. Pray for me to be bold, it is not easy.

We also visited a less active Hermana last night. I have so much love for her. She has been inactive for about 7 months and this is the Hermana that we had the Noche de Hogar [FHE] with and she started crying as she bore testimony about her conversion. But last night we went to visit and she told us "Thank you for coming to save the one lost sheep." She is so sweet, and I am so happy for her desire to want to come back.

I love being a missionary. I love changing peoples lives. I LOVE IT!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What a week

 Me and Hna. Pena (she came up for Darina's baptism.  it was SOOOO good to see her again)

Beautiful Logan Mountains!

Hola Familia y amigos,

I hope every one is well.  It has been an up and down week for me, but a really good end.  Thanks Mom for the package and the blog posts / emails.

Okay, this week really was an emotional up and down, but overall good.  Really, not much happened because we have no investigators and we are still sharing a car with the Logan Hermanas.

It was a hard week for me because I was just really frustrated all week.  It is REALLY hard to share a car.  They should be getting a car soon, and I hope so because I want to be able to focus on my area and my work rather than wasting time driving the other Hermanas around.  I know it has to be done, because they have investigators and we don't.  But I can't help but think, we don't have investigators because we are not spending enough time looking for them.  

It is really hard to be in an area with so little.  It is hard to start from scratch.  I was also frustrated this week because the other Hermanas are having so much success.  I think I was feeling a little jealous. It is deeper though, I was not jealous that they are having success, I was jealous that they were having success with investigators that used to be mine.  They visit people that I helped find and I started teaching.  They are teaching people that I know and love.  These investigators, these dear people that I LOVE, are progressing and will likely get baptized this transfer or next.  I think I was feeling jealous because it is all happening without me.  Something that used to be mine isn't anymore, but I am still close enough to see it.  Which is a blessing because I can go to their baptisms and see them when they come to church, but it is really hard to drop the Hermanas off at a lesson with someone I love so much and not be able to go in and teach/ talk with them too. 

I have also been frustrated this week, because what I want more than ANYTHING is to change someone's life. I want to bring someone unto Christ.  I want to help someone enter the waters of Baptism so that they can have eternal life and Salvation.  I want to see miracles.  I want to have the spirit work through me more fully.  I miss teaching.  I think we taught 3 times this week.  I want these things so badly, and I am trying to work hard and have faith.  I guess I just need patience now.

It has also been a hard week because my Companion has expected a lot of me.  She makes me do phone calls to the English people, sometimes Spanish, take the lead in doing more contacts, and she even let me plan a whole day of who to visit and when, and what numbers to set as goals.  She also let me take the lead in planning some lessons.  This has turned out to be a huge blessing in the end because I have learned so much and it has given me more confidence in myself.  But it was really stressful at first because I didn't know what I was doing or if I was capable of what she thought I could do.  

It was scary to plan a lesson and really hope that the spirit was guiding me.  What if I did not give the lesson they needed?  It was scary to get up to a door and have my companion say, okay this one is all yours.  Or to get home one night and have my companion say, okay what should we do tomorrow?  As stressful as it made the week, I am beyond grateful that she is making me do these things because I actually feel like i am being trained and learning and that I can be a part of my companionship.  I don't have to sit back and not do anything.  I do have power.  I do know what to say/do.  I do know how to help.  I do have good ideas.

We had a lesson this week, and I was so excited because one of the investigator’s good friends was going to come and we were going to have a member present.  It was just like the district video too.  The member is a neighbor to our investigator Adella.  And we met with her before the lesson to tell her what we had planned and what we wanted her to do.  I was so excited for this lesson.  We had studied really hard in the morning and the Spirit had guided us with such a great lesson plan about the Atonement and how we can access it more fully only after baptism.  I was a little worried that the lesson would not go well or that I would ruin something by not following the Spirit or something.  

I shouldn't have worried about it at all though.  Our member talked the whole lesson.  She took control and hardly let anyone get a word in.  It was awful and we could tell Adella didn't really like that we had brought her.  But we have a lesson with her tomorrow, pray for me that this one will go better.  One more thing to say about Adella.  She knows she needs to get baptized (She has a really strong testimony), and she would do it in a heartbeat if a certain person would baptize her.  President Uchtdorf.  She loves him, and really wants him to baptize her.  I had to try so hard not to laugh when she first told us this.  She is so serious about it.  I hope we can make her understand that she doesn't need him to do it.  (her son is a member and we want him to baptize her!)

This week we did find a few people, and have not had the chance to go back so we don't know if there will be any success.  But we met Josue knocking on doors and we gave him a book of Mormon and one for his Wife.  He opened the door and told us he was watching a soccer game.  I thought he was going to ask us to leave or be quick.  But when we asked him if we could give him the Book of Mormons he said yes even though he is Catholic.  We even had to run back to the car to get them.  I thought he would go inside and shut the door, but we got back and he was still there.  He has a cute little girl, and I REALLY hope we can find him this week.  We also met a 15 year old boy who we gave some plan of salvation folletos (pamphlets) to.  Hopefully we can find his whole family.

This week we did a service project.  We raked leaves for a member.  It took us 3 hours.  I was soooo sore the next few days.  But it was fun to do service.

We went to a public library this week to make copies of something.  I didn't realize how bad I missed books until I saw all those books that I can't read right now. I almost picked one up and started reading but realized that I can't.  It was so hard to be there, but I keep busy so  I don't think about it much. Amanda, you should be able to take pitty on me for this.  Since we are both English Majors and the same person.

We fasted for Lavinia this Sunday to help her be able to stop smoking and get baptized. She should be picking a date soon.  She went to church on Sunday!

Highlight of the week:  Are you all ready for this.... DARIANA GOT BAPTIZED!  Dariana is the 12 year old that just came about a month ago from El Salvador.  I taught her some of the lessons and she is someone I have great love for.  I don't know if I would call this my first Baptism, but I did teach her and I felt the spirit sooooo strongly at her baptism.  Highlight of my mission.

Other highlights of this week include the 2 Family Home Evening's we taught yesterday.

The first one was actually in the Morning and I planned the activity.  I felt like we needed to do it on the book of Mormon.  It was with a family that has a 2 and 4 year old, both boys.  They are a really active family and so I was a little concerned about committing them to read their scriptures every week because I figured they already did.  But we did a little scavenger hunt as we read a story from the Book of Mormon picture book.  The little boys loved it.  (thanks for doing scavenger hunts for birthdays mom, thats where I got the idea).  We committed the family to read their scriptures every night and the parents told us that they were really good about praying as a family but didn't read their scriptures often because it was hard to keep the boys interested.  I know that I was inspired and directed in planning this lesson.

The one we had last night was even better.  It was with a family that has been inactive for about 10 months.  We got there late and were really worried about it, but they let us in and the whole family (except the dad) was gathered around the table with their scriptures and their hymn books.  We had such a good lesson about how we can get answers to questions.  We had each person close their eyes and imagine that they were in their room doing homework or something.  We told them to imagine that someone walked into their room, and that it was Jesus Christ.  We asked them to think of a question they would ask him and to write the question on a paper and then we went around answering the questions with the scriptures and what not.  Some of the best parts were when the Mom marked a scripture that I shared and then her little son copied her and marked the scripture too.  Also amazing was when we were answering one of the kids questions about how the church was true and the Mom told her story of how she knew.  She started crying and the spirit filled the room.  We committed the family to pray, read the scriptures, and come to church.  They said yes, and I really hope they will.  Please pray for this family!

I LOVE MY MISSION.  The church is true!  The spirit that I feel and the opportunity to help people realize what is important is amazing.  I love that as I help these wonderful people that I love so much, I help myself.  By bringing others unto Christ I bring myself unto Christ.  I get the chance to help others and help myself.

For Thanksgiving, we actually didn't get a solid invite for dinner, so six of us sisters are getting together and cooking our own thanksgiving dinner.  I am really excited.  We bought a lot of good stuff.  

 Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buenavista 2

 me and a departing Sister
My end of Alma Party (my family has a tradition to normally eat a cake or have some sort of celebration when we finish Alma since it is the longest book in the Book of Mormon.  Just because I am on my mission doesn't mean I will let that tradition die!)

My hair cut


I hope everyone has had a fantastic week.  Thanks for the letters, Kate, and Mom.  My address for mail has not changed....

So, this has been a CRAZY week.  But definitely an awesome one.  On P-day after writing emails we ran lots of errands to get ready for the transfers.  We went shopping, I printed pictures finally,  I bought some food, and....I GOT A HAIR CUT!  Mostly I just got my hair thinned, but I also cut 2 inches off!  See the attached pictures.

Okay, this week has been a lot of planning and we haven't been able to do as much work as I would like, but it takes time to open a new area.  So after transfers we spent a lot of time figuring out how to divide our area and we divided our area book ( a list of all the people that have had interaction with the missionaries over the years and what experiences they had).  The Assistants to the Mission President (AP'S) finally split our area for us.  Me and my new Companion Hna. Marcum now cover Hyde Park and the other Hnas. cover Logan.  

Before the area split we didn't have any investigators in Hyde Park, so that is why it is basically like opening a new area.  Our area is a lot of farm land too, and Logan has a lot of investigators/referrals.  The hardest part has been the car.  We need the car because the people are so spread out and we need to find people, but the other Hnas. need the car to visit the many people they have begun to establish relationships with.  However, the AP's gave us the car.  We have been trying to share it, and we are hoping the other sisters will get a car soon, because they really do need one.

First day of transfer was a lot of planning and unpacking.  Then in the evening we traveled down to Ogden for a farewell devotional for the three missionaries leaving.  They bore such powerful testimonies.  I got kind of emotional and really scared to go home.  As much as I miss everyone, that fireside really made me feel like I never want to go home.

One day, we were trying to visit members and talk with them, and gain their trust and begin to develop relationships with them, when we ran into this really nice English family.  We spent a long time talking to them and their 4 kids who all want to go on missions.  They invited us over for Christmas dinner, gave us bread, and gave us some Spanish speaker referrals.  I love how nice people are to the missionaries here.  I am fully aware that I am spoiled and I am very grateful to be serving in the Utah Ogden Mission!

We taught a couple of lessons.  We have 2 investigators that have been taught over the years.  They both basically know that it is true, they are just scared.  Jenny has such a strong testimony of everything, except Joseph Smith.  She can't make the connection that if the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet.  But we had a really good lesson with her and we are hopefully going to meet with her again soon, because we have a really good plan for our next lesson.  We are confident and it is our goal to really help her make the decision to enter the waters of Baptism.  Her family are members, and her Husband is so sweet and patient with her.  I think she has been investigating for 13 years.

Adella is our other investigator who has been investigating for a while.  She know it is true but is scared and a little doubtful as to why God lets good things happen to bad people.  We are going to work with her too, and hope that we can help her enter the waters of Baptism. 

Please pray for me and my companion, and these 2 wonderful ladies.

We went to jail this week.  We got a referral for a 17 year old boy in a Juvenile center.  We visited with him and talked a lot about how we can change (he really wants to change) and how God and Jesus Christ can help us do that.  I think he really wants to change his life, I just don't know if he wants to do that with religion.

I should not have bore my testimony last week, because they realized just how much Spanish I know and all 4 of us Hnas. gave talks on Sunday.  It was weird though, because giving that talk was not as scary as giving my farewell talk.  Weird because my farewell talk was in my native language and the talk I gave on Sunday was in Spanish.  Don't get me wrong, I was still scared, and I read it word for word, but it was okay.  I even could have spoke longer, but time was running out and my companion still had to speak.

I am truly being changed on my mission. Probably one of the best experiences this week was Sunday night.  We returned a little early because we hadn't done any of our studying (we had correlation meetings all day!) and our car was running low on gas and our tire was low on pressure.  But I had the very subtlest thought that we should go visit one of our referrals for an inactive family.  I voiced my concern that we should maybe visit them but that I was worried this was not a prompting because it was late and they were probably in bed.  We went to visit and as we pulled up, all the lights were off.  This confirmed my thought that they were asleep.  But, we knocked and to my great surprise they answered the door.  We set up a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with them for Monday.  It fell through because the Mom was not feeling well, but at least we have contact with the family and they know we care.

I should describe my apartment now.  We live in an apartment under members houses.  It is really nice.  We have our own kitchen, laundry room, bedroom, study room, and even a little sitting room with 2 soft couches.  The only downside is the spiders.  It is right under/next to the garage, so there are always spiders in the apartment.  I have killed one every day (except Sunday-Lords day of rest in all respects, I guess).  Any suggestions on how to get rid of Spiders, please tell me!  It is okay, but I really am not a fan of spiders....

We have a door to our apartment and then we have a stair case and there is another door that goes to the outside of the house.  This second door, is almost impossible to open.  The other day we were trying to leave to go visit someone and we could not open the door.  I finally offered up a prayer telling God that we really wanted to leave our apartment so we could go visit his Children.  I felt so silly, but after I closed the prayer, we finally got the door open!

This week, we also visited the Relief Society President and asked her if we could help with anything.  She gave us a list of people she wanted to visit but just did not have time for.  We are going to visit them for her, because missionaries are really good at visiting people!  We also told her that we want to have less active or investigators at our dinner appointments and so we want to do an activity with the Relief Society sisters to help them feel more comfortable sharing the gospel and inviting their friends to meet with us.

Also, yesterday we had a cool experience when we were knocking a referral and then we decided to go visit a member that lived down the street.  She is from Guatemala and was going through a hard time because I guess there are a lot of earthquakes in Guatemala right now.  She said that her home town was hit really hard and she is scared for her family and friends.  We talked a little bit about the end of the world, and what a blessing it was to have the Gospel in our lives.  She was extremely grateful that we stopped by and could listen to her.  She asked us to pray for the people of Guatemala and seemed really happy that she could ask someone else to pray for these people.  These experiences were a testimony that the Lord knows who we need to visit and that everyone needs strength sometimes.  We were able to help the Relief Society President who is a strong active member, and the Hna. from Guatemala.

So, I LOVE Hna. Marcum my new companion.  She definitely is on the same page with me as to working hard.  I think we will see a lot of success this transfer, and if not, we will get Hyde Park ready to be a successful area, because right now we don't have much.  The only downside is that she does not know as much Spanish as my former companions.  But she has been out for 9 months, and is a really good companion.  She is also finishing my training in the 12 week program, and I am really starting to feel like I am being trained.  Hna Marcum has a lot of confidence in me and trusts my promptings and lets me take the lead in some situations.  I think I will learn a lot with her and am very excited for this transfer.

I have been feeling pretty good this week about everything.  I think the hardest thing for me is still Spanish.  I am a little frustrated that we find so many English speakers, because when we teach so many lessons in English I feel like my Spanish is not going to improve.  But I am trying  to tell myself that they are all God's children and it doesn't matter if my Spanish improves right now, I will have plenty of time for that later.  But, I have gotten better at speaking more.  I wish I could write more about my feelings, but things are going well, and I don't know what else I feel. haha.

I have such a testimony of this Gospel.  I LOVE talking to people.  I am still terrified to do it sometimes, but man is it fun to talk to people and hope to improve their lives.  I am really excited to see what this transfer brings.  I know that this church is true.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.  I know that he has a great plan for me and that he sees my potential.  I know that through Him I can reach my potential.  I look back on who I used to be, and see that He has already helped me start the journey.  I know the Book of Mormon is true with all my heart.  I have read and prayed about it.  The Holy Ghost has confirmed to me that it is true.  The Holy Ghost can do the same for you, if you read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  If you want to know, you can.

I love my mission.  I love how I have the chance to change the lives of people, and how I am changing my life as well.  I love waking up at 6:30.  I love studying for hours on end.  I love talking to random people I have never met.  I love driving around all day.  I love knowing that God will guide us to people in need because he has done it before.  I love praying.  I love being a missionary!  I love knowing that I am not the best missionary, but that I have time and the ability to improve.

I love you all, and I hope you are all making the most of your lives!

As for my Visa I have heard Mid to End December.  So don't worry about sending letters.  I probably have at least a month left here.  Also, to the few of you who it may concern (tI really hope few of you were thinking about this) I do not want anything for Christmas.  My suitcases are already pushing the weight limit for when I fly to Spain. If you have to do something, write me a nice letter.  But yeah, I am fine, and I don't need anything.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen