Sunday, September 30, 2012

First Day in the Mission Field

 Sister Olsen with President and Sister Hiers, Utah Ogden Mission.
Seven "visa waiters" with President and Sister Hiers.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Friends and Family,
This is Denise, Hermana Olsen’s mom.  Hermana Olsen called us yesterday to let us know she has been reassigned to the Utah Ogden mission until her visa arrives.*  She leaves for her mission field tomorrow (Sept 29), and she feels peace and excitement.

Hermana Olsen does not have a P-day today, and we don’t know when her P-day will be in the mission field.

The Utah Ogden mission covers Northern Utah and small parts of Idaho and Wyoming.  The mission has 23 Spanish wards and branches!

You can still write Hermana Olsen at; select “Utah Ogden” mission.  It costs 45 cents. 

Or use her new mission home address:

Sister Shelby Olsen
Utah Ogden Mission
4380 South Orchard Ave.
South Ogden, Utah  84403

Thanks for all the love and support you have already given her!

*The missionary travel office told me that her visa will arrive near the end of December, at which time Hermana Olsen will travel to Spain (with the 65 other missionaries going to Spain who are also delayed).  The holdup happened at the U.S. Consulate in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 8!

Hola Family and Friends,

I hope all is well with everyone, all is SO GOOD here!  I had such a fantastic week!   A special thanks to Spencer Gines, Sis. Huch, LANDON!, Grandma and Grandpa, Kate, Kaylie, Amanda, Corinne, Sydney, and Mom for the letters.  Thanks mom and Corinne for the package!  I LOVE the pen! hehe.  And I had a pretty similar reaction like Corinne when I saw the donuts...  Thanks Aunt Jennifer for the package, card, and pictures.  I LOVE your caramel!

So this week, I was able to see a lot of people which was cool.  I saw Elder Blake Lindner a few times before he left (best of luck in Fresno!)  I saw Sister Jenna Higgins, Karalee :), and Sister Kelsey Bullock!  I did not even know she was serving a mission!  SO happy for her!

I have just been happy lately.  I know why too!  I am on a mission!  I was sitting in class sometime this week and it just hit me.  I AM ON A MISSION!  What a great feeling.  I never want it to end!  What a great week I had too!

So I had interviewes with both of my teachers.  They are so easy to talk to I was able to open up and tell them my few troubles and they were able to give me so much praise and love.  It was so good to have an interview with Hna Camacho, because she understands what it is like to be a sister missionary.  She told me that God was proud of me, she could see my progress, and she said I was a great influence and that I was working hard and though not perfect I was where i needed to be! 

Hno. Ton-son told me that I was a great example of diligence and speaking spanish and that this was having an influence on the whole district.  He told me my spanish was improving, and he told me that I had a great attitude about my visa and that I was just positive about everything which was also helping the members of my district waiting for Spain visas (there are 4 of us).  But the best part was when he told me that one of my companions, Hna. Minert told him and I quote, "Sometimes Hna. Olsen is the glue that holds our companionship together."  I had NO IDEA I was making an impact like that.  I don't know exactly what I am doing, but I guess I will keep it up.  Our companionship is definitely good and slowly improving.

Mom, thanks for sending the chocolate hugs, it has been fun to "hug" my elders!

So we are not teaching Daniel any more, only because we have other people to teach.  But Hno. Ton-son told us all about the real story, because our teacher was pretending to be someone he had converted on his mission.  THe real story is about Daisey.  Basically she was in a really bad spot in life and she gave up her boyfriend and most of her family because she knew the gospel was true.  Hno. Ton-son cried a bit when he told the story about the things she went through and the faith she had.  I cried a bit too, especially when he bore testimony that there are people out there who are prepared for our message and our prepared for US!  I know this is true!

So now we are teaching each other.  Each missionary in our district is pretending to be someone they know who is less active or not a member.  It is sooo fun to pretend to be an investigator and to feel what it is like to be learning about the gospel.  It is helping my teaching a ton!  We are teaching 2 of the elders who are pretending to be friends from High School or whatever.  Our lessons are going pretty well.  I am learning to teach simply and go at the pace of the investigator.

Sunday was INCREDIBLE.  Corinne, this is going to make you jealous :), for RS we got to hear a speach from Sis. Sherri Dew and after, I got to meet with her for a bit and she hugged me! That night we had an incredible devotional about the Book of Mormon.  We got to watch a  scene from the Brodway play in New York.  It was insulting and i was really confused but the speaker talked about how they counteracted the play and how we should teach the Book of Mormon and how important it is.  It turned out to be a really inspiring devotional.

On Wednesday, I got to be a new missionary host.  I hosted 2 new missionaries.  I got to take these wonderful sisters to their dorms, the bookstore to get all their books and to their classrooms.  It was such a fun experience and I hope i was able to make the sisters feel welcome.  One of them is spanish speaking (going to Portland, OR!!!!!) and she has class on my floor so I actually see her a lot and say hi when I can.  It was such a good experience though to be able to make a difference and try to give love to these wonderful sisters that jsut said good bye!  I remember my first day and I tried to say what I would have wanted to hear.

I am so excited for this Sunday!  We get to watch the Brigham City Temple dedication!  The last temple dedication I went to was Detroit, and I was so young I do not remember a thing.  I am very excited for this opportunity.  We are not going to Brigham City but will watch it via broadcast.  Our teacher Hno. Ton-son was so excited for us that he bought our whole district (still 13 in number) white Handkerchiefs.  So nice of him!

Okay, the great question you all probably have.  I am supposed to leave the MTC in a week and a half but I don't have my Visa, so what is going to happen!?  I'm not exactly sure, but it is VERY LIKELY that I will be getting re-assigned.  I might get travel plans today or next friday.  It all depends on the travel office and probably other things.  i don't really know. But, you probably want to know how this makes me feel. 

Let me tell you, because I think this has been the highlight of my week.  In one word, I feel peace.  Obviously I have moments where I am frustrated or a little upset because in all honesty, I just want to go to Spain.  But, whenever I feel down or any bad feeling, I am immediately encompassed with the deepest feeling of peace I have ever felt.  i can't describe it--go on a mission if you want to feel this.  I just have such peace knowing that I am in God's hands and he would never let anything happen that wasn't supposed to happen.  I KNOW i will be taken care of!  So I will likely get reassigned for a month or two or whatever.  This makes me SO EXCITED!  I get to serve TWO MISSIONS!  And i am beyond stoked to find out where the Lord needs me now.  I know wherever i go will be where I need to be.  Such peace, have I stressed that enough!??

I love you all, and if you want to read a great scripture, 2 Nephi 22:2 is gold.  SO BEAUTIFUL!

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Week 7

Smelling the "creme soda" tree.

Hola Todos, [Hello all]

Como estan?  [How are you?] I love Spanish!  hehe.  I am in a really good mood.  i have had a great week, and I am beyond excited that I was able to send pictures home.  Hopefully you all get to see them!  Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for the card, i loved it.  THanks mom for all the letters and package. THanks to Kate, Sarah, Preston, Jeff, Lori/Troy, and Linda for the letters!  i love hearing from everyone!  Dearelder works great and it is free!

This week has just been fantastic!  First off, our zone is so close it is incredible.  Every day at gym we get a big group and play four square.  We have so many inside jokes and it is just great to bond over 4 squares and a yellow bouncy ball.

Teaching Daniel this week has been FANTASTIC.  HE is so prepared for the gospel whatever we throw at him or whatever happens he is like okay, i want to be baptized.  We taught him this week and he told us that his girlfriend was ready to marry him until she found out about his talking to us and his desire to be baptized. She gave him an ultimatum: her or the Church.  While telling us this, daniel was on the verge of tears because he loves this girl, but he chose to still want to be baptized!  I was so happy for him but so sad because he has such a hard life and doesn't deserve any of this.  I am really learning to love people!  I was able to testify that he had found something so good and true and that sometimes satan liked to tempt people who had found the truth.  I think that helped him. 

THis week we also got to teach Esmerelda.  Our teacher Hna. Camacho pretended to be a 7 year old and we had to teach her.  It was an exercise to help us learn how to teach simply and how to involve our investigators.  We made a game board of the plan of salvation and had her jump from place to place as we explained it.  At the end we had the 3 kingdoms of glory and we put skittles on all of them.  THe celestial kingdom had TONS of skittles and less for the other 2 according to their glory.  We asked Esmeralda which one she wanted and of course she said celestial.  This helped us teach the importance of living a righteous life and the blessings we can receive.  THen we helped her pray and told her she could pray by herself whenever she wanted to.

Kate, you asked me what church was like and i thought I should describe it for all.  We have relief society every sunday except fast sunday.  Only for our relief society we have someone come and speak to us.  Usually a member of the General YW, RS, or Primary presidency.  We can talk with them afterwards too.  IT is GREAT.  On fast sunday we have a special mission conference.  We never have sunday school but we have district meetings where one or 2 companionships are assinged a topic to teach so that is kind of like sunday school.  We have sacrament meeting every sunday and that is pretty normal to any other ward.  2 missionaries are randomly selected to give a talk in Spanish for 3-5 minutes.  We all write a talk cada semana (every week) and find out IN SACRAMENT if we will be talking or not.  The sacrament prayers are said in Spanish as are all the hymns.  After the 2 missionaries speak in spanish a member of our branch presideny and his wife will speak (in English).  ON fast Sundays it is just testimony and you can bear in Spanish or English.  But I always bear in Spanish.

Some cool things:
  •          We got to watch the Testaments in Spanish.  I understood most of it without subtitles and it is so much better than English!  Much more passion!  
  •          I am getting less nervous to teach.  i think i am trusting the spirit more and having more faith!
  •          I am trying to memorize one scripture in Spanish every day!  It is fun.  I started with D&C 6:36.  It made me think if all Kate and Kaylie.  Love you guys!

Our room had a solo sister, Hna Crumpton.  Well, now there is a sister who moved from beginner to intermediate so Hna. Crumpton has a companion and we have a new roommate. Hna Vanhalden or something.  Her name is norwegian!  We also got a new district in our zone on Wed.  They are all advanced and there are 3 hermanas.  One is going to Madrid!  she is super awesome.

Okay, story of the week.  Visas to spain are CRAZY.  So on Friday an elder in my district was called to the traveling office to get his visa!  HE was so excited.  Then he found out that the rest of the visas should be coming in a month or 2.  So mine might come right on time or i might get reassigned for a few weeks.  worst case scenario i could be extended and stay in the MTC longer.  I kind of hope not but i have a continual feeling of peace knowing it is in the Lord's hands.  so a few days later, the day before he was supposed to leave, he went to talk with the Spain Consolate and it turns out the MTC messed up.  The visa was for Elder Jack Shumway not Spencer Shumway.  Both going to Spain.  What are the odds!  It was really sad for our elder.  So i don't know if that will change the information about the visas coming in a month or 2.  I don't think it will.  i hope to get it soon, but we shall see!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 6

Hola Todos, [Hey Everybody]

IS THIS REAL LIFE?!  I have been in the MTC for over a month.  Wow.  Love it!  I am doing really well!  Let me tell you all about it!  First off, thanks to Mom for the letters and package, and to Sis. Huch, Aunt Jennifer (thank Forrest for the pictures and note!), Lauren Lindner, Kate, Heidi, and Aunt Deborah for the letters! Jeff, I forgot to tell you that my companion Hmna. Minert is the cousin of the Hmna. Minert you served with!

Okay, so I have spoken so much spanish this week.  It is great.  I even write in my journal in Spanish.  A little english...Espanglish? 

This week I had some of the best experiences of my life.  I have CHANGED PEOPLES LIVES this week!  On Friday, we got to teach a member girl about the Book of Mormon.  We asked her how she used the Book of Mormon in her life and she was so open with us she said she was so busy with school that she did not read it everyday. we were able to testify of the blessings of reading every day and how it helped our lives.  We committed her to read it every day the following week.  I then felt prompted so strongly (using the gift of tongues--I used words I don't think I knew or knew how to put together) and PROMISED her that she would be able to have the time to get everything done IF she read every day.

We also changed our investigator Daniels life.  We committed him to be baptized on Oct. 1. and he said YES!  He is very excited.  He said he knows this is what God wants him to do.  He has a rough boss, so is trying to get work off, but he told us he would just skip work if he had too!  I love Daniel soooo much!

Sunday was probably the highlight of the week.  Such a wonderful day.  It was fast sunday, so I bore my testimony again, yup in SPANISH!  I don't know how I do it!  Sunday evening we got to have our devotional and we got to watch the 85th Birthday Celebration of Pres. Monson.  The Mo-tab sang a bunch of songs. Highlights include one from Phantom of the opera, “76 trombones” and the best by far "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.  THe guy who sang it did so well that all the missionaries gave him a standing ovation even though it was just a movie! Steve Young narrated the celebration and they showed tons of pictures of President Monson growing up (jealous mom? You should try to watch it!) The atmosphere in the room was so fun, missionaries were swaying and clapping and just having fun listening to NOT CHURCH MUSIC!  After, we got to watch “Labor of Love”--a cheesy, but sentimental movie about missionary work.

This week we were committed by Hmna Camacho (our teacher) to practice contacting and knocking on doors.  We pretended to do it with each other in our classroom.  Then Me, Hmna Minert, and Hmna Greenwood decided to go to different spanish classes on our floor and contact.  So we went tracting down our hallway and contacted like 4 different classes!  It was such good practice and a lot of fun! 

This week we had a workshop about feeling the Spirit.  Our teacher was Brother Christianson (he is in the district movies in California. Mom, he is the blond missionary that teaches Jynx (no coffee!).  I don't know if anyone has seen these, but my mom has!  It was cool to be taught by him.  i talked to him afterward about the district movies.

We found bubbles that were being given away so we went outside one day during gym and sat and blew bubbles.  It was fun.  And the elders were playing soccer nearby and one time Hmna. Greenwood was blowing bubbles and we cheered for one of our Elders.  He looked up and later told us that he thought we were cheering for him and that he thought hmna. Greenwood was blowing him a kiss cause he couldn't see the bubbles!

Yesterday, we were supposed to be taught by Hmna Camacho, but she has pink eye!  So we had a sub and we were supposed to teach Maria (played by Hman Camacho) but we taught the sub who pretended to be the husband of Maria.  His role is that he is okay with his wife meeting with missionaries but not interested himself really.  SO it was a little hard to get in the door, we came by and he told us Maria wasn't home so we could just come back later.  But I got us in, and we taught a pretty good lesson.  i asked more questions than I ever have and tried to relate to him.  We learned this week the importance of ALWAYS asking people if they know others that might be interested in the gospel, and I put that into practice last night.  I asked him and he said his neighbors might be interested.  It isn't real, but good practice!

Not much seemed to have happened this week.  Things are well with my companionship so far.  I feel like my biggest problem is they spend a bit much time talking about music and movies and talking to one of our Elders who is kind of a flirt.  Our whole district talks a bit too much about "babalonia" things.  Or worldly things.  It isn't bad, and I understand that it is hard.  But it is a little hard for me, because for whatever reason, I have NO DESIRE to quote movies or talk about those things.  I just want to focus on the work!  It can be hard to concentrate when the room is really loud and full of babalonia. I think it is babalon in English.  No recuerdo...[I don’t remember]  I also still speak more Spanish than anyone else, but i just speak it even though it is hard.  I still LOVE my district, there are just moments that are hard!

There were 2 nights this week where I was kind of sad.  I felt like I was working SO HARD and speaking SO MUCH spanish, but I felt like such a terrible missionary.  I know that isn't true, I just felt kind of down.  But, I am doing much better!  I have just had so many great experiences this week.  I have been kind of homesick (just a LITTLE) but I wouldn't go home for anything!  i can't.  I don't want to. 

Aunt Deborah, if I don't have time to write you a hand written letter, thank you SO MUCH.  Especially what you said about Grandma Olsen being happy and excited.  I have felt not neccessarily her presence but the fact that she is aware of what I am doing and that she is proud of me on several occasions!  I LOVE YOU and everyone else in KANAB!

Oh!  I got my hair thinned.  Not shorter or anything--just thinned.  I LOVE IT!  The little things that make you happy in the MTC!  I also got a note from Dayna errr. Hmna Rawson.  She cleans my bathroom for her weekly service and wrote me a note!

Con Amor,
Hmna. Olsen