Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Week 4: Stories that make the mission

Happy birthday mom and dad
 Fountain in Spain

it snowed today!!!! yeah it is cold!

Hola Familia y amigos,

What a  week!  I love this gospel and this work!  I love my Savior and the opportunidad to teach His gospel!

First off, before I forget P-day is changing to monday as of next week. So our next P-day is monday march 4. Also, my address is:

Hermana Shelby Olsen
Avenida Dr. Mendiguchia Carr 12 Planta 3, Puerta A
28913 Leganes

And if you want to send me a letter here, I would do it soon because I don´t know how quickly i will get it and  transfers are in like 2 1/2 weeks.

Okay, we had a great week.  Lets start with some miracles.  Some of our investigators really are progressing.  Paulino has changed the most.  Usually when we went over he would just want us to teach english and then we would share a scripture.  But in only 2 weeks, he has not cared as much for English class, and has been really insistent that we start with a prayer (something we always did, but usually after teaching some English or whatever--now it is the first thing we do).  

Paulino has really opened up and told us about his concerns and he asks us a lot of questions.  He knows it is important and good, but his biggest struggle is actually acting.  Especially to come to church.  This is our biggest problem with most of our investigators. Nobody came to church this sunday, and I was really disappointed...  If you all could pray that things can happen the way they need to so that our investigators can come to church that would be great!  Prayer really helps!

Another miracle was when we went to go visit someone that our ward mission leader wanted us to visit.  He wasn´t home so we walked back to the metro to think about where we wanted to go to do contacting. And who did we run into at the metro? The very man we were looking for!  He is less active and he didn´t sound too interested in coming back to church, but we had a good talk with him, and were able to do our part.  It is his choice if he acts or not.

Paco is a miracle too.  We taught him yesterday about Jesus Christ and he said if he came to know it is true he will be baptized.  He is an older man with parkinsons and very lonely, so I know this gospel can help him!  Im so excited for him!  He has so much potential!

The other sisters in our ward had a baptism this week.  I don´t know the girl very well, but the Spirit was very strong.  Her family has recently re-activated and she was 14 so she never got baptized when her family went less active.  She bore her testimony after being baptized, and the Spirit was so strong.  She couldn´t stop crying.

This week, we woke up at 7:50 one day. oops. Tender mercy from the Lord for 2 of his tired servants? I think so.

We went to a Relief Society activity and learned how to make Armanian Empanadas.  SO GOOD!

We had a really good district meeting and President and Hna. Jackson were there.  President interviewed all of us.  He told me I had a great attitude, and that made me feel good.  District meeting was good. we talked about persevering to the end.  I shared a scripture about following the Holy Ghost (D&C 68: 4- its AMAZING!)

We had a correlation with our ward mission leader.  He is really good at his calling.  VEry willing to help and make sure the baptism or whatever is a spiritual experience.  He said something like it needs to be spiritual before social.  I really liked that.  He also fed us fried bananas and hot dogs.  so good!  I like the food here!  no sea food yet.  which is good!

During lunch in the piso one day, i was looking through my folder of family history stuff that Grandma and Grandpa gave me.  I found a personal story that Grandpa had written, and read the whole thing.  I couldn´t put it down.  I learned some stories I didn´t know.  Love you Grandpa!

We actually had a really funny week.  Full of those crazy stories every missionary has.

First off, I am much better at doing contacts.  I set the personal goal to do 5 a day, to help me, but I usually do more.  I don´t have a hard time doing them, but I feel like I dont do them very effectively.  Con tiempo.  (with time).  We had some funny contacting stories.  We  (me and hna. coakwell) have the joke of ¨lets see how fast you can get rejected¨ because we had this lady that Hna. coakwell started walking towards and the lady just looked at her, said No. and sped off.  so funny.

My funny contact was when I walked up to this family and started telling the mom that we were missionaries, but before I could even say the word missionaries she stopped me and said, I know.  Oh freak, I thought.  The only reason she knows is if she is anti or something.  I had never met someone that was anti so I was preparing for the worst when she said, ¨We´re members.”  What?  Who contacts a family of members in the middle of Spain?  It was so funny!  We did besos and then went on our way.  But really, I contacted a family of members? so funny.

Also this week, I was doing my laundry and we don´t have a dryer (i don´t think anyone does) so we just use a drying rack.  I started a load right in the morning and we had all our studies, weekly planning, and lunch.  Plenty of time for my winter tights (it is cold here!) to dry, right?  Not quite.  I went to put them on and they were still wet.  Just damp.  Knowing it would be better to wear them than not, I tried to think of how I could dry them faster.  My blow dryer of course!  Picture a missionary blow drying her tights so that she doesn´t freeze in the cold.  Yup.  Classic me.

Our last, and funniest adventure happened on sunday.  We were trying to visit a less active that Bishop has asked us to see, but she lives really far from any metro.  So we decided to take a bus.  Only we missed our stop and the next stop was really far and on the side of the highway.  It also didnt have any buses going back to where we wanted to be.  So we tried to find a cross walk to the other  side of the highway to find a bus going the right way.  The only cross walk around put us in the median on the highway.  So we treked a bit on the shoulder of the highway, at night in the dark.  

We finally found a sidewalk, but only got to it as we dashed across the highway when there were no cars.  This sidewalk led to the mall, and we knew there was a metro on the other side of the mall.  It is a huge mall with lots of stuff, and we were worried about trying to navigate our way around the mall, so we decided to go through the mall. I can´t imagine how weird it would be to be in the mall on a sunday, but to make it worse, I´m a missionary!  Oh it was the weirdest feeling ever.  I was glad to be out.  So funny though.

Oh, we also had a FHE with a member family.  After the lesson and game, we were just being silly with the 8 year old daughter and she was trying to stuff  a toy down Hna. Coakwell´s shirt.  To get Hna. Cockwell to look away so she could put it in her shirt, she pointed down the hallway and shouted, ¨Look Jesus Christ over there!"  SO FUNNY!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This is crazy!

London's tower bridge (dad´s mission)

Dutch windmills (mom´s mission)
And it was all in Spain (my mission!)
The Eiffel tower

Hola Familia y Amigos.

What a great week!  First off, Happy Birthday Mom and Dad!  Second, thank you to Mom, Pres. Medley, Sis. Mlynar, and KATE!!!!!! for sending me letters!  It was so great to hear from everyone!  I don´t have my Piso address with me, but I can send that out next week.

This week has been really good.  We have 6 investigators, but I don´t know if all of them are really interested.  Apparently it is a thing here for men to like to talk to women, just to talk to them.  But we will get to that later.  

We are teaching Paulino from Peru. He really wants to learn English so we teach him a little English and then we share our message with him.  He wants to go to church if we can find him a ride and he told us last night he will get baptized if he knows it is true.  He was already baptized and doesn´t want to be baptized again unless he KNOWS because he doesn´t want to feel like he is playing with God and taking things lightly.  I have full faith in him though.

Julian is our other investigator with the most potential.  He has also accepted to be baptized when he knows that it is true.  We have our 2nd appointment with him tonight, hopefully we can give him an actual date.  He was found by the other sisters as they sang in the street.  He is Cuban and he said the music reminded him of his church in Cuba.  He works on Sunday, but hopefully he can get it off to come to church!  He has so much potential!

Dayana we have only had one lesson with and we really just shared a scripture, so we don´t know much about her, but she seemed interested.

Floria is from Bulgaria but has lived here a while.  She had a baptism date but things happened and it fell through.  She told us though that she believes the Book of Mormon is true.

Paco is an older gentleman that we haven´t actually taught yet.  He took us out to a cafe and talked to us for 40 minutes about his life.  He might not be interested in our message--just a lonely man looking for someone to talk to.  But if we can teach, I think we can help him want to learn more.

Osvaldo is interesting.  We taught him the Restoration and he accepted to be baptized on March 16th.  But I don´t know if he is sincere.  Many times during the lesson he would interrupt and call us guapa (beautiful) especially my companion.  He would shake our hands and beso (kiss) my companion´s hand.  At the end of the lesson, he walked us back to the metro and tried to full on kiss my companion.  That was really awkward, but we both had a good laugh about it.  We were waiting for the metro and I said, ¨That was so funny I´m going to pee my pants...oh wait....I'm not wearing pants!¨  

The bad thing is, I made a return appointment for our next lesson.  Before I knew he was going to try and kiss her.  But we don´t know if he is really interested in the Gospel or just 2 young guapa girls.  He is 32.  But he said he was going to come to church.  SO, if he comes to church, we are going to consider that he is serious about learning about the gospel and try to get elders to teach him.  If he doesn´t come to church, we will probably drop him.  

I am getting better at contacting.  I can do it now.  It takes me a while to work up the nerves, but I am talking to more people than before.  poco a poco (little by little).  Other than contacting, and when we don´t have lessons to teach, we will try to visit less actives, or we are trying to find some old investigators to see if they are ready to maybe learn again.  That is actually how we found Dayana.  She is the sister of Adora someone who was meeting with the missionaries a few months ago.  So technically we are trying to teach Adora as well.  

Our area is pretty big.  Sometimes we have to travel 30 minutes from one place to the next.

Today, we went to Parque Europa. It is a really fun park with all these monuments of famous sitios (places) in Europe.  We got to see the Eiffel tower and London Bridge, and more.  I will attach pictures.  We have 2 lessons tonight as well.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spain Week 2

 Me eating a chocolate covered churro.  So yummy!  I love Spain!
 A picture of me with President and Sis. Hiers. (Utah Ogden mission)

Me leaving the Utah Ogden Mission.  My companions, and 2 other sisters.

Hola Familia y Amigos,

I have officially been in Spain for one week and am now starting my second week.  It seems so crazy. Part of me feels like I just got here, that is crazy.  But I feel like I have been here FOREVER.  I think I feel that way because I feel home.  I really feel like I am where I am supposed to be.  I love Spain so much!

Things about Spain.  We use the metro all the time.  They have the best bread ever!  They don´t use dryers.  They either dry their clothes with a drying rack or they hang them out the window.  I love seeing clothes hang out the window.  I think it is beautiful because it reminds me that I am in Spain. The sidewalks are beautiful.  Not clean and fancy, but they are usually little tiles and they often have patterns.  THey are beautiful compared to sidewalks in the States.  The streets are usually really narrow.  

The shops are so cute.  You can always tell just what it is by what it is called.  A bakery is a Panderia because pan means bread.  A barber shop is a peluqueria. Pelu is like pelo which means hair.  There are a bunch of little parks everywhere with colorful painted fences.  Nobody lives in houses really. Almost everyone lives in a Piso or apartment.  The shops are integrated into piso areas.  Shops can be on the bottom level with pisos above.  The shops are really colorful.  There is a lot of grafiti.  I´m not sure if all of it is vandalism or some of it is art?

This week has been really good!  We have worked really hard.  I have been pretty tired all week, but a lot better the last few days.  So, we wake up at 7 and go to bed at 11.  It is a schedule I am still adjusting to.  We live in Leganes a suburb of Madrid, but our area is mostly in Getafe.  The Leganes area just got split.  That is why we live with another companionship.  But our piso has 2 floors and is practically 2 apartments.  We only share the kitchen and laundry and living room.  So we don´t ever really see the other sisters.  

I really like my companion, Hna. Coakwell.  She is from everywhere because her dad is medial in the military.  She was born in Toledo Ohio, but her family is currently in Germany.  She finishes her mission this transfer so she has like 4 1/2 weeks left.  I am so glad she wants to work hard to the end. She is not trunky.  One of the other sisters is on her last transfer as well, but she is not working as hard.  We hear them get up late, and she was companions with Hna. Coakwell before me, and she tells me that the other sister is not all that obedient.  But me and Hna. Coakwell work well together. We get along well, and have fun talking.  She isn´t exactly training me, but she is helping me learn the ways of Spain.  Sometimes she will make me navigate the metro and find the persons house.

Because the area split, it is actually just like when Logan and Hyde Park Split, we don´t have much work.  The other sisters got the area with all the investigators.  But they gave us a few, and we have found more.  So we have more work than when I was in Hyde park.  And we are continually finding. But we are teaching a good amount too.  The people are really nice and we don´t get fed as much as when I was in Logan, but often enough.  We have been fed about 5 times.  And we don´t ask for dinners.  People either volunteer or just start cooking.

I want to talk about contacting.  In Utah, we would knock doors, and I was actually starting to get comfortable with that.  Here we street contact, because we can´t knock doors.  Every piso has a door that you have to enter to get in to the actual door of somebody´s piso.  And you can only get in if a resident unlocks the door.  Outside of every building is a little intercom for each piso, labeled with the floor they live on and the letter of their apartment.  You can talk to people and ask them to get in or share a message with them, but we never do it, because Hna. Coakwell says it is not effective.

So we street contact.  We go to a busy corner or plaza and try to stop people and talk to them.  It is soooo scary! I am not very good at it.  Sometimes I just stand around and watch Hna. Coakwell contact.  But I have done it.  It is better when we creatively contact.  Once, we went and sang hymns and we brought some members so that we could contact and keep the music going.  This was really fun.  All 4 of us had pass along cards, tarjitas, and we all gave them to people.  We found a less active that lost the church when she moved to Spain.  That happens a lot.  They get converted in a different country and then when they move here they can´t find the church.  Especially if they move to a really small town in Spain where the church doesn´t really exist.  So when they move to the city, they re-activate.

Spain is pretty diverse.  There are a lot of Latinos. Mostly from Peru and Ecuador.  But we have also met people from Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Romania.  My Spanish is definitely improving.  I still speak English with my companion a bit, but we are working on that one. But grocery shopping and all around is Spanish.  I´m learning how to talk like a Spaniard too. I love it!  Once a week, we teach English class.  Last week we only had 1 student, but we just started doing it, and we told a lot of people about it, so hopefully this Friday will be better.

Tomorrow we have a mission tour.  A member of the 70 is coming, so the whole mission, except the canary islands (he is visiting them today) is getting together.  I´m excited to meet everyone!

I really have had a great week.  It has been a transition.  Sometimes I really miss the Utah Ogden Mission, but I know I am where I supposed to be!  I also miss milk. THey have it here, but it is different.  NOt bad, just different :)

Con Amor, 
Hermana Olsen

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


 Me pointing to both of my missions
 Me and the hermanas in the advanced district
 Funny with Elder Gines. We switched glasses :)
 All the visa waiters at the temple

Me  and Hna. Camacho.  
Hola Familia y Amigos,

ESTOY EN ESPANA Y ME ENCANTA! I AM IN SPAIN AND I LOVE IT!!!!  I can´t remember exactly when i last wrote so let me catch you up!  I was transferred English and the next day I found out that I really had my visa, and I really was going to the MTC and I really was going to Spain.  Again the sad feeling of leaving the Utah Ogden Mission came back, but because I had just barely arrived in Ogden and didn´t really know anyone, it wasn´t too hard to leave.  And I was still really feeling the excitement of Spain from my first trip to the MTC.  

So I only served English for a few days.  It was a good few days though.  We visited some really sweet people, and I began to feel love for them and really want to help them.  I have full confidence that Sisters Macmillan and Wright will do a good job.  It was so fun to serve with them.

On Friday, Febuary 1st I made the trek once more to Provo to enter the MTC and recieve my Visa.  I didn´t fly to Spain until monday, because for whatever reason, they do not fly missionaries on the weekends.  

It was a little weird to be in the MTC again.  It was hard to sit in class all day.  I wanted to go talk to people and preach, not sit still.  But I still had things to learn, and it was a good refresher to relearn some things.  It was so fun to visit with some of my old teachers.  Hna Camacho, it was WONDERFUL to see you.  Hno. Tonson, I am sorry we did not have the chance to see each other, but know that I am praying very hard for you and your Mom.  

I also got to see Elder Gines.  My brother in every way except blood relation.  He is such a great kid and it was so fun to see him one night at dinner and watch the Testaments with him.  However, the best part was hearing him bear his testimony in Danish.  I did not understand a word, but I felt the spirit very powerfully.

I also had a really cool experience in the MTC.  We were in class with an advanced district (I am not sure if I would say my Spanish is that good, but I guess it is better than intermediate!) and our teacher was talking about the importance of talking to everyone.  So he put me and my ¨companion¨ another visa waiter who had been serving in Mesa AZ as companions with Hermanas in the MTC to split up the companionships.  

Me and a Hna. from Chile (but grew up in the U.S.) were companions and our teacher old us to go around the MTC and talk to everyone.  To share a message with everyone.  It was great because i got to go share the gospel which is what I was missing doing.  Also, we had the most incredible experience.  We went to visit some office workers in the main building.  We walked into an office and had a nice conversation with a lady working there.  At the end, I felt inspired to ask her if she knew anyone we could visit.  I know how important it can be to ask for references in the field and figured it wasn´t that different.  There could be someone feeling down or whatever.  

She directed us to her friend and we shared a message with him and his coworkers.  After, we made a few other visits but we went back and told the lady that we visited her friend and she told us that she already knew.  She said he had called her and thanked her because it was exactly what he needed and he was very grateful that we had come over.  I really felt like I had fulfilled my purpose of a missionary, ¨Invite others to come unto Christ¨  it doesnt say non members or people with problems, it just says others.  Which means EVERYBODY.  

As for my travel to Spain.  It was quite the day :)  I woke up 6:30 monday morning and did some good ol´ MTC stuff. At 1:30 we left for SLC.  It was me and one other elder also going to Madrid.  

Our flight did not leave until 5 so we got to call home for almost an hour.  It was SO good to talk to everyone.  Corinne, I hope you enjoyed my message!  

The flight to Paris France was about 9.5 hours then we had a 4 hour layover.  We were taken care of though.  Our flight from SLC to France we met a member who served in France and was going back for business.  He helped us find our gate and even bought us lunch!  

The flight from Paris to Madrid was only 2 hours.  After getting off the plane we found our baggage. We were also with a Senior couple who are serving in the Madrid Temple.  While getting our baggage our concern, that we had realized earlier, became a bit important.  Nobody told us who was picking us up or where.  But, it did not take long for us to get our bags, and then we cleared customs and found President and Hermana Jackson waiting for us.  

They took us to the mission home (by now it is about 5:30 Spain time, 8 hours ahead of Utah time and I had only had 2 or 3 hours of on and off sleep).  They fed us dinner, trained us on a few things and then took us to the Mission office where we were trained a bit more.  

I got your 6 month package mom.  Thanks!  I liked the prayers I said.  Cute.  

After we left the mission office we headed to our assigned areas.  I am in Leganes Spain, just south of Madrid.  My companion is Hna. Cockwell and it is her last transfer, so my list of companions will continue to grow.  

But to get to Leganes, they helped me buy a metro ticket, then they put me on the metro and said “it´s about a 30 minute ride, be sure to get off at Leganes.  Good luck.”  I WAS TERRIFIED.  I don´t like traveling alone.  I was beyond tired.  What if I fell asleep and missed my stop.  What if my companion wasn´t there?  But everything worked out just fine.  A lady was even nice to carry one of my suitcases off so I only had to carry the other.  She walked up to me as I was struggling to lift both of them.  She asked if she could help me.  I just looked up at her and said, “puede?” (can you?).  Then I told her it was my first day in Spain and my first time riding the metro.  I thanked her as I got off the train.  

Then I heard screaming, “she is here shes here!”  Three hermanas came running toward me to hug me and help me.  We 4 live together and go to the same ward, it is a ward, but our area is split/being split.  I don´t know a whole lot yet.  So, I didn´t go to bed until midnight Spain time.  Then I got woken up at 7:10 by my companion.  I had slept through her alarm.  I was tired.  We do stay up until 11 and get up at 7:00 though.  So I didn´t oversleep that bad.  Plus i took a 2 hour nap today.  So I am feeling a lot better.

Today we have hung out around the apartment, and gone shopping.  The food here is different, but not completely foreign.  Shopping was different though, many people don´t push the big carts that we do in America.  Some, but not many.  They mostly use the little baskets, but here they have wheels and you pull them behind you, rather than carrying them.  So funny.  Spain is beautiful, and our apartment is really nice!  Nicer than any of my Utah apartments.  We get an hour and a half to email.  The door knobs are directly center on the doors.  The sidewalks are really wide, and the streets more narrow.  The buildings are beautiful!  The city is beautiful!

Con Amor Hna. Olsen