Thursday, January 31, 2013

It Came!

HERMANA OLSEN GOT HER VISA!!!!  She will be going to the MTC on Friday, February 1st to meet with the Consul.  She gets to stay the weekend in the MTC and fly to Spain on Monday, February 4. 

Here is Hermana Olsen’s address in Spain.  You can also use DearElder, (Spain, Madrid, cost = $1.10).

Hermana Shelby Olsen
Misión España Madrid
Calle Fuerteventura 4, 2a, Oficina 8-B
28703 San Sebastián de los Reyes
Madrid, Spain

Thanks for loving and supporting Hermana Olsen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Going English

Maylee, our soon to be recent convert from the Marshal Islands.  She is on my right.  Also notice the flower and necklace she gave me.
 The Rayon/Mendoza family
 Jenny is holding the baby.
 Pictures of the ice.  Can you see all the ice?
Sis. Marcum and I with Adella and her husband.
Me and Hermana Maya.  She is from Michocan Mexico.  We have jokes that we are from the same puebla (town).
My Ogden Zone for a week.

Hola Familia y Amigos,

I hope everyone is doing well.  I sure I am.  This week I am going to start off with the big news.  We had transfer breakfast this morning, and I am going to be transferred to the English Program.  I was a little disappointed and worried that I am going to lose my Spanish, but like always I cannot shake the feeling that I am in God's hands and the only thing that really matters is that I can preach the Gospel.

A plus to this is that I can focus on my teaching skills and really improve those, then work on my Spanish when I am in Spain.  And it probably won't be a long change.  My visa is projected to come this week.  But then again, it was supposed to come before the New Year.  Who knows.  But who cares?  God is in charge and I will accept that.

But thank you all for the prayers and support.  I have really felt lifted up this week.  I haven't always felt great, there have been many times where I have wanted to not care, and not work.  Where I have wondered why things are happening this way, and when will all these issues be resolved.  It is an up and down emotional experience.  So much of me wants to stay here the rest of my mission, yet my heart yearns for Spain as well.  que cosas (what things...just a filler expression...).  But, my ability to handle my situation so well is not from me.  I know that it is a blessing from God.  Because, I would not have the strength to carry on and work hard without His help.  If He wasn't helping me, I would be a mess.  It is a true tender mercy and I can take no credit for it.

This week has been crazy.  But crazy awesome!  It started with some rain, that quickly froze and covered the whole city in a treacherous layer of ice.  Some of the walking missionaries took bets on who would fall the least.  I think an elder that fell 4 times won.  I was grateful for a car.  I never fell, but had some dang close calls.  The week ended with about another 5 inches of snow.  In between the rain and the snow, I have met some amazing people, taught some great lessons, and really learned that the Lord is on my side, and I can work hard and happily, wherever I am placed.  

I have felt really confident and able this week.  Although I did not know any of the people or what Hnas. Kreutzer and Maya worked like, I was contributing ideas and suggesting people we could visit, something I had a hard time doing even after 4 months in Logan.  I don't know where the change came from, and I still have many more improvements to make, but I seem to have found my confidence.  I know that with the Lord anything is possible.  I have really enjoyed serving with Hnas. Kreutzer and Maya.  They are excellent missionaries and I got along really well with them.

As of tomorrow, I will be serving with Sisters Wright and McMillan.  They will be companions 8 and 9!  Who wants to take a guess as to how many companions I will have on my mission?  Also, Febuary 1st will be my 6 month mark! What? Where did that come from?  I don't know, but it has been a great 6 months.  I am ready for another 12!  woot woot!  Bring it on.  hehe.  If I am still here, maybe I will burn something small.  Some sisters do that. And then they burn a skirt at their year mark.

I love you all, and I am doing great.  Advice for the week: take your problems to the Lord through prayer.  Access the atonement.  It can help you with ANYTHING.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Serving in Ogden

me and my landlord in Logan
Me and Hna. Marcum.  Note the necklace I am wearing.  It is the one given me by my friend from the Marshall Islands!  P.S. Friend means investigator....
Cleaning the sink ( a sink full of ice cream) for Hna Murillo's birthday.  She is right under the A in angies and holding the sink.

Hola Familia y amigos.
Welp.  It has been quite the crazy week.  I haven't been up to much.  A lot of packing and saying good byes and taking pictures.  But it has been an interesting week.
Wednesday we had a zone conference.  At the end my Mission President came up and said, "You will be going to Provo next Tuesday to sign your Visa" then he walked off.  That was the first time I cried.
Thursday, I found out that I would go to Provo, but they were not sure if my Visa had actually come or not.  They were sending me to Provo and just having faith that my Visa would show up.  I had faith too.
Friday-Monday was a lot of packing and saying goodbye and running errands.  Throughout the week we got more information on when we had to be ready and that my Visa had not come, and there was a chance that I would be coming back to serve in Ogden.  That was the 2nd time I cried.  Monday we went down to the Mission Home for dinner with the Mission President and his wife. Also on Monday I got to have my last lesson with my friend from the Marshall Islands.  She is still ready to be baptized on February 2nd.  It was really hard to say good bye to her.  She cried when I told her I was going to Spain.  But she gave me a beautiful necklace and a flower for my hair and we took some great pictures.
Monday evening we headed down to Ogden to the Mission Home.  We had a great dinner and President interviewed all of us.  I said goodbye to my companions.  That was the 3rd time I cried.  I don't like goodbyes.  Then we went to Clearfield to stay the night with some Senior Missionaries that live there.  In the morning (today) they drove us all to Provo.  I was in the MTC this morning. Weird.
I guess now would be a good time to mention that I still do not have my Visa.  So I am back in Ogden.  They are keeping me close to the mission home because they are pretty sure my Visa will come next week or the week after.
But back to being in the MTC.  It was so weird to go back.  It was funny too.  We were lugging our luggage around because we couldn't check into rooms or anything until our Visa information was cleared.  So here we are (5 of us) missionaries, that have been serving in the field for 4 months, walking around the MTC with luggage.  EVERYBODY THOUGHT WE WERE NEW.  I can't count how many people welcomed me to the MTC.  I just went along with it.  It was pretty funny.  The whole time I was there, they still weren't sure if I had my Visa.  It wasn't until the end of the meeting with the Consulate that the travel office worker came up and told me I had to go back to Ogden to wait because my visa was not here.
But, I feel good about this.  I know that the Lord has a plan for me.  There must be something I need to do in Ogden.  Why it had to be such a journey of "you have your visa, no you don't, yes you do, no you don't"  I do not know.  But I do know that I learned to have more Faith in my God.
It was amazing the peace I felt.  It was hard to say goodbye to Logan, but as we were driving to Provo, I could feel my heart again yearning for Spain and I could feel my dreams of going there return.  So coming back to Ogden was a shock, but the Lord blessed me and I could feel His support knowing that I wasn't ready to go to Spain yet.  Driving back to Ogden, I became really excited to meet my new companions and see what was in store for me until my visa comes.  Don't think I am so good, and have a great attitude about my situation.  It is a blessing from the Lord that I feel this way. It is not my doing.
I met my companions (Hermana's Kruetzer and Maya) at the mission office.  The office staff, and especially Sister Tibola and President Hiers, were very sorry for me.  But I was able to tease and say, "you just can't get rid of me" and laugh.  I was able to look them straight in the eye and tell them it wasn't my time; I had something more to do here.  I don't know what that is.  It might be just to learn that I can work hard and give of my all in a new area for a week.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that I have been called to preach the true gospel for 18 months.  That is what I am going to do, wherever it may be.  "I'll go where you want me to go Dear Lord"
Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What a Week!

 Last night with the Monzons.
 The Spirit World in the Plan of Salvation activity.
The Pre-Mortal life.

Hola Familia y Amigos,

This week was a great week!  Let me tell you about it!

We had a Family Home Evening with an active, English-speaking family.  We took the time to meet with them because they have 6 kids ages 4-15ish.  We met the family, thinking it was a Spanish house, and they really enjoy our company.  The kids adore us.  The mom told us that her teenage daughter went to school the next day, after we first visited, and was ranting about how the sister missionaries had come over.  Their 9 year old son made us sandwiches one time.  

So we wanted to teach them a lesson to keep the kids excited about missions.  I really hope some of their daughters go on missions.  They are a great family!  The lesson went really well.  We talked about doing good actions and how that is following the example of Jesus Christ and people will notice our good actions.  For the younger kids we compared it to giving away “warm fuzzies” (we gave them cotton balls) or doing bad actions "cold prickles" (we gave them a branch from our Christmas tree).  When talking about how people notice and appreciate our good actions, we talked about how that opened a way for missionary work.  It was a good lesson.

We went to Ogden twice this week.  We drove down early in the week because our phone broke and we had to go to the office and get a new one.  Funny story about the phones here.  I don't think I have ever mentioned this.  The phone we had which broke is the same exact phone Keith used to have (the one that cracked) and the phone we have now, is the same phone I had before my mission.  Although it is a grey color and not bright blue.  But same exact phone.  So I know how to use it really well.

Our second trip to Ogden was last night.  We went down to the Mission Home for a Sisters sleepover.  It was a really fun night!  We played the Yes or No game where you have to figure out what you are and I played some Uno.

Thursday night after dinner, we received a text from our ZL's telling us to get inside for the night because of the weather.  Our Mission President decided because of all the snow and cold, we had better stay in for the night. Who knew you could have a snow night on the mission?  It was a little hard for me because I wanted to go out and work!  This was the same day we went to fix the phone so we hadn't really worked much that day.  But we read our scriptures and it was a nice night.

This week was kind of hard.  The Monzons returned to Guatemala.  It was hard to say good bye!  You are supposed to baptize people and then see them at church and stuff!  But they are in Guatemala.  We had a really good last night with them though.  They had printed pictures of the 4 of us standing in front of the baptismal font and given me and Hna. Marcum a framed picture.  They said they were going to print one for themselves and hang it in their house.  

I am so grateful for them!  I really miss them though.  It was amazing to see how much they cared for us.  They were always thanking us for teaching them and helping them find the truth.  And while I was there every step of the way, I don't really feel like I did much/anything.  It was the Holy Ghost.   I was just there to bring the Holy Ghost in.  The Monzons were so prepared, it really wasn't me who did anything.  But I'm grateful for the experience and for their friendship.

Another cool thing that occurred this week was that our Spanish Branch put on a Plan of Salvation activity. We had different rooms decorated in the Chapel representing the major phases in the Plan of Salvation. We started with the pre-mortal life, went on and talked about Christ's life on the earth and then we gave everyone a plane ticket to Cancun Mexico. During the flight the plane crashed and everyone "died." We then went through the world of spirits and all the kingdoms of glory explaining the blessings of each. It was a great activity and I think those that came for the tour and those that participated really enjoyed the experience.

This week we had a missionary meeting with all the auxiliary leaders in the branch.  Me and Hna. Marcum want to improve our relationship with the members and I came up with a good idea that we are going to use.  We are going to invite every member in the ward 12 and up to pray for a missionary experience and give a pamphlet, pass-along-card, Book of Mormon or whatever away.  We are also going to ask the ward each week to start each class with time for people to share missionary experiences they have had.  We are going to make it clear that every person should take something and that we as missionaries will always have these things available to members who want to share the gospel.  I hope people take the challenge.  I invite all of you to do the same.  Pray for missionary experiences and think of something you can give away.

We had a lesson with someone we ran into during the Holidays and told us he would meet with us after the Holidays.  He told us we would have to meet him at his office and we thought it was because his wife wouldnt approve, but she works at his office too.  So thinking we had found one person to teach and it turning to 2 was a happy surprise!  We taught the restoration and it went well.  I don't think they completely understand.  They think our message is interesting and I feel like they just want to learn, not act.  Hopefully that will change.  They definitely have potential.  They are SO NICE!

I love you all, and hope all is well.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Week of Miracles

Baptism of Armando and Denis Monzon

Hola Familia y Amigos,

So, I have just had an incredible week!  The Monzons got baptized on Saturday.  We really spent most of this week preparing them for baptism and for their return to Guatemala.  They have been so incredible to work with.  They have so much faith.  I cannot properly express the love I have for them and the joy I have had these weeks in preparing them to be baptized and watching them enter the waters of baptism and receive the Holy Ghost.  

We have known them for less than a month and we taught them in just over 2 weeks.  I know God prepared them very well to accept the Gospel.  Whenever we taught something, they would immediately accept and if they had a problem, they would solve it themselves.  They are incredible and so eager to learn about when he can get the priesthood and when they can enter the temple.  This experience has also helped me learn a lot about being a good missionary.  We were a little concerned about them going to Guatemala and not being able to find their church and getting lost.  So we are getting in touch with the ward and missionaries in Guatemala to tell them that the Monzons are coming.  I learned about how hard it is to plan a baptism and how special it can be for them.

Since their baptism we have talked about patriarchal blessings, the priesthood, and entering the temple.  They are so excited for all of these things.  It is incredible how much faith they have and how much they know now.  They really don't need us.  One thing our mission focuses on is the importance of teaching about the Holy Ghost.  So we teach this in almost every lesson.  While teaching the Monzons, there were many times when we would say, I know that the spirit is here right now.  I can feel peace and happiness. It made me so happy yesterday when Armando said to us as we were talking about their experience being baptized and all, "I know that the spirit is here right now."  He learned!  He really knows what the spirit is.  IT was so funny to hear him say exactly what we had told him so many times.

This week we also found a member family from the Marshall Islands.  They speak Marshalese.  The Grandmother (quite old) is not a member so we have been teaching her and her daughter who does know English, is translating for us.  Maylee, the Grandmother, has accepted to be baptized on February 2nd!  At the end of our first lesson, yesterday, we asked her daughter how to say things like “thank you” and “until later” in Marshalese because we wanted to communicate with her a little bit.  She lit up when we tried to speak her language.  She grabbed our hands and said in perfect English, "my sisters."  We had also taught her our names, Sister Olsen and Sister Marcum.  Then she would say a phrase in Marshalese and her daughter told us that she was saying my sisters but that it was like a family term.  I am very excited to continue working with Maylee! 

Also this week, we had interviews with President.  It was nice to talk to him and see that he cares about us.  No news on the Visa, maybe a few weeks. Nobody really knows.  Although we had a visa scare.  This is a good story.  

We were at dinner (the 4 of us Hermanas- 2 visa waiters and 2 senior companions) and both of our phones kept going off. We didn't want to be rude and check, but dinner was kind of winding down so I ran and grabbed both the phones.  Our phone had 2 missed calls from the APs (Assistants to the President) and the other sisters one missed call from them. I come back to the table with the news.  The 2 senior companions just look at each other and Hna. Marcum (my companion) just mouths "visa."  The APs don't call for very many things and the fact that they had called both of us was pretty scary.

I started having a PANIC ATTACK.  Kind of.  I was scared.  I almost started crying.  Definitely teared up. But I calmed down real quick (we were still at dinner) and then we said a prayer with the family we were eating with and left.  Hermana Marin then called the APs.  Turns out our mission only has so many miles for all the cars and they were trying to see if our areas could share a car to cut down on miles.  No Visas. What a relief.  I was a wreck the rest of the night.(we didn't have much time left so we just went home and did Language Study because we hadn't had time earlier so it was okay that I was emotional....)  It was a scary experience.  When I thought my visa was here, I just didn't feel ready to go.  But I probably never will.  Maybe it was good prep for when it really comes.  I guess it’s kind of a funny story.

Well, I love you all and am so grateful for my mission.  I know the Lord blesses us for his obedience to the commandments.  Love the Lord and see Miracles in YOUR LIFE!!!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen