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