Monday, April 29, 2013

What a wonderful week

 This pic is me and Hna. Hansen in the park!

 These 2 pics are from Sol in the center of Madrid.

  Hola Familia y todos!

This has been a wonderful week!  Lets start with the big news.  I am still in Barrio 6 in Pavones.  And I am NOT training.  I am one of 2 or 3 hermanas not training.  I am companions with Hna. Munden (was with her for a week before getting emergency transferred to Pavones).  It was a crazy night, finding out this information.  I was so expecting to train, and I was honestly excited to train.  I was a little hurt, many hermanas with less time in the mission are training.  

Why not me?  Why did God help me feel ready and excited to train, making me feel that I really could do it with Him, and then not have me train?  But it is a very humbling experience.  I know I am not training, not because I am not capable, but because it is not my time.  Maybe next transfer.  I am very happy to stay in Barrio 6.

Hermana Hansen is also staying which means we had to divide our area.  It was so HARD.  Last night we prayed a ton and the Lord truly guided us to know who should continue teaching who.  It was really hard to have to say goodbye to teaching some of our investigators.  But I know they are in good hands (those of the Lord!).

I am excited for a new transfer and for everything that can happen.  This area is alive with people that need the gospel!  I pray that I can help them understand that and help them understand WHY they need it!

I LOVE THE MISSION!  I hit 9 MONTHS on Wednesday!  Yikes.  It makes me want to CRY.  I NEVER want to come home! Sorry, but it´s so true.  I am so alive with the Spirit of God.  It is INCREDIBLE.  This week was amazing.  We had some great lessons with investigators, we found more people to teach, and we are working with some solid recent converts, and some less actives.

We taught the ward Noche de Hogar (family home evening) and we taught about the armor of God Efesios (Ephesians?) 6.  SO FUN.  We made the armour of God out of cardboard and we bought ping pong balls.  We had a volunteer get hit with the balls and talked about how it hurt/ was scary or whatever.  Then we had him put on the armor of God and not one ball hit him.  It was fun.  I will have to vestirme (get dressed) with the armor and send a picture!

Highlight/funny story of the week:  We were teaching a recent convert and she left to go make us lunch, when her 4 year grandson walks in and asks if he can sing for us.  We say yes and he proceeds to sing Baby, Never say Never, and Boyfriend by none other than my boy Justin Bieber!  I haven´t heard those songs in ages.  He sang them in perfect English too!  Other than the fact that he is 4 and can´t pronounce everything.  He had a pretty good voice too!  It was sooo cute and funny!

For those of you who remember and if not, i will explain again, cause i am super stoked!  ADELLA got baptized!  She was someone who I taught in Logan, UT and had been investigating the church for 5 years!  She really got baptized, and this is what Hna. Marcum wrote about it: 

"Then Saturday was adella's baptism. It really happened. I could not believe it and when we walked in she was wearing a temple dress for her baptism  oh it gave me so much joy and I loved to hear her say. “It took me 5 years to get to this point and now I just want to go to the temple. that is my goal to go to the temple.” I asked after if it was everything she wanted and she said it was more. she got up and shared her testimony and I was so happy for it. It is amazing that in baptism that I never cry and I am a crier. But the feelings that I feel at baptisms are the same feelings I feel in the temple that undeniable peace.  I know that baptism is a convent just like the temple. It is amazing. I was happy for her and me and elder lew it sing and I was so grateful to elder because he really sang with the spirit. In the beginning I went on auto pilot and it was not bad. but when start his part I know that the way he was singing was the way the song should be song for a baptism. So I quick followed his lead and we sang it in the right spirit. I really was grateful to him. everything was wonderful and there was so many people that it was in the chapel. It was like a sacrament meeting. I do think it was a little over the top but it what adella wanted. it was long it was almost 2 hours. I felt bad for elder lew.  But i was just glad that adella did it. she is a member and on the way to the temple. miracles happen and I know that there are more on the way."

How amazing is that!  I am so happy for her!

I KNOW this church is true.  I am being perfected in Christ and I will forever be grateful for Him and what he is doing for me and to me.  He is changing me into who He wants me to be.  Someone more amazing and glorious than I could ever imagine or make myself.  He can do this for YOU too!  Come unto Him and be LIKE Him!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, April 22, 2013


Hola Familia y Amigos!

This week was INCREDIBLE.  If you thought I was happy last week, this week blew it out of the waters!  I would like to share some of our numbers for this week. We taught 17 lessons, received 21 phone numbers, and had 7 new investigators!  It was a week full of teaching and contacting! It was beautiful!

This has been a very spiritual week for me!  I have received a lot of revelation about the importance of just working hard and not worrying so much.  There were several afternoons that were just killer.  Nobody would listen to us, they wouldn´t accept a card, nothing.  We had 2 contacts in a row where they didn´t even acknowledge our presence.  It was really hard to keep going.  I just wanted to go home, and give up.  

But of course I didn´t.  And each time this happened, the rest of the day would be full of miracles.  A night full of teaching and receptive people.  Para que sepan (so you know) we are not teaching many Spaniards.  But we are teaching 3 Nigerians, a Bulgarian, someone from Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Peru, etc. I love the diversity here and how many people God has put into our path, or put us right where we need to be!  

I wish I had time to describe it all, so many of these people I was not planning to talk to, but in the end I found the courage.  We even had one received because he started talking to me.  Or we would pass the person, and then walk up the street, contact, and come back and talk to them.  God has guided me and Hna. Hansen sooooo much to talk to the people that want to learn more!

I want to focus on our friend from Morocco.  He is Muslim but has so much potential.  I have never met a Muslim like him.  We had a lesson 0 (get to know, learn his expectations, briefly describe what we like to talk about and what we will invite you to do) with him and it was incredible.  He told us he wanted to learn more about Jesus.  He wanted to know if he really died on the cross (they believe it was someone that looked like but was not Him and that Jesus did not suffer at all).  He also wanted to know where it was written that Jesus is the Son of God.  He committed to pray about Jesus being the Son of God.  

We talked about prayer and he state that he knows God will answer his prayer.  We also asked him if when he came to know these things were true, would he be baptized.  He said, por supuesto (of course).  OH my GOSH!  I was so excited.  It was a spiritual lesson!  I felt the whole time like I  knew what I wanted to say and I was bold.  I told him I knew our message was true and that it could bless his life!  I know it can!  I am so excited to continue teaching him!

It is very likely that I will be training starting next week.  I am very nervous.  There is sooo much I still feel that I need to learn.  Sometimes I am down on myself because I almost have 9 months in the mission, and I think how is it that I still don´t ask inspired questions. Or how is it that I forget to leave a commitment?  But I´m not perfect.  I know with God, I can train.  I cannot be a perfect trainer or a perfect missionary.  But I can be the trainer and the missionary God needs me to be.  I am glad I know this, now I just need to accept it more.  And really believe it.

I have a lot to learn, but i have come a long way.  For example, the phone does not scare me anymore.  Sometime I cannot understand much, but I get enough to carry the conversation.  God helps me.  I love it!  Before the mission, I was terrified to call people, offices, stores, if I did not know the person.  That was when I was speaking my native tongue.  Now, I can call whoever I want, in SPANISH! No problem.  Who is this girl?!!!  Wow.  

Please don´t think this is prideful.  I am only this way because I have HUMBLED myself and sought the power of God through faith.  And I am still working on this EVERY day. Sometimes I have little faith.  But I KNOW God is molding me into the person I need to be.  Never have I felt so close to Him and never have I felt like I was fulfilling my purpose and changing for the better.  How grateful I am for the chance to do this, and to help others do it too!

I wish I could express how much I have changed!  For the better.  I cannot explain it, but God is refining me!  It is not easy, but how great it is!  Forever I will remember my praise for Him! I feel like Alma 26:12 and that whole chapter in general!

Okay, those are my random thoughts. I had no plan to write about that, but I hope you enjoyed it!  And prayers that I can remember God and be the trainer and missionary he wants me to be would be great!  I am nervous :)

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, April 15, 2013

What a great week!

Hola Familia y todos,

The weather has improved wonderfully!  I am no longer wearing tights, and walking around is so nice.  Usually it is just perfect, but around 3-4 it can be unbearably hot!  And it is only going to get hotter!  But it is good now.  I love it!

I don´t think I ever really explained much about my new area, as far as who we are teaching and all.

I have explained a bit about Julieta.  We still have not seen her.  We talked to her on the phone one time, but were not able to visit.  Most of the time she does not answer the phone.  We WILL NOT give up on her though.

Mariangela wants to be baptized.  She has a date for May 4, but we will have to change it because she did not go to church.  She wants to be baptized, but we do not know how well she understands everything, so we have to teach her a little at a time and review.  Other than not going to church, which she is working on, she is progressing well.

Edmundo, wants to be baptized but does not feel ready.  Because we are both new to the area we dont know him very well (we only met him once).  We are meeting him tonight and are going to see why he does not feel ready and what we can do to help him.  He has been meeting missionaries for a while and we think he is ready.

Other than that we have found a lot of new people.  Anita and Vicente are also investigators but we haven´t really taught much.  Mostly getting to know them.  Well, with Vicente we did teach the restoration.  When we contacted Anita she wouldn´t accept our Book of Mormon, but after teaching the restoration she asked if she could borrow one and she said she would read it when she had free time!  God is working on her!

But yeah, we have found a lot of new people.  We got 23 recibidas this week.  In other words, we received 23 phone numbers.  Some people lived out of our area and others were not really interested, but we are finding a lot!  I am excited to see how the last 2 weeks of the transfer go and I have faith that as we keep finding and keep teaching, we will have more investigators like Mariangela and Edmundo.

This week we had Zone Conference.  I learned a lot about faith.  We also got new cards.  They have the smart phone code.  This means when we are contacting we can take people on the street to and show them a video or they can see the questions that REAL Mormons have answered.  What a great tool to use.  It was a website we had been giving people and telling them to go check out, but now we can take them there while we are contacting on the street!  Technology is amazing!  If anyone cannot tell, I am STOKED about this.

It has been a great week.  I love being a missionary, and learning every day.  Every day is an adventure on the mission.  Every day is hard, but I would not change a thing about the mission!  I LOVE IT ALL!

I think about all of you often.  I hope you are all doing well and doing everything you can to improve your relationship with your Savior Jesus Christ.  Anything is possible if you have faith!  I LOVE you all!

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, April 8, 2013


Me and my teddy bear.  His name is Sol (Sun) because i bought him in Sol.  He only has 1 ear, but I love him. 

And my beige jacket!  I LOVE it

Also the picture with all the hermanas is from General Conference

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Well, let’s start with General Conference.  That was by far the highlight of my week.  We watched one session on saturday at 6 Spain time and it was live.  Then on sunday they rebroadcasted the second saturday session at 2 Spain time and then watched the first sunday session live at 6 Spain time.  The last sunday session was shown from 10-midnight Spain time, so we did not see that one.  My favorite talks were President Packer (his poem mostly!) and Sis. Dalton. 

I received a lot of revelation, and have never enjoyed conference so much.  There is just something about conference as a missionary!  Also, I heard them call Daniel F. Dunnigan.  I had my suspicions if that was our President Dunnigan.  I am not the least bit surprised.  I give him a few years before he is called as an apostle. :)  What area will he reside in?

This week has been a rollercoaster.  But all is well now.  We mostly contacted a lot, and taught a few lessons.  However, we were supposed to have a baptism, but it fell through.  Here is the story:  She was supposed to be baptized on Friday.  We went to visit her thursday night to do the baptismal inverview and give her a blessing.  She has cancer and is in and out of the hospital all the time.  So we wanted to have her recieve a blessing of strength.  However on thursday we went by and her cousin and uncle said she wasnt home.  They wouldn´t let us in either. 

However, they are against the church and so we thought they were just lying.  They said she was in the hospital, but they wouldn´t give us any information.  So we didn´t believe them.  We also did not feel like cancelling the baptism.  We had faith that everything would work out. 

We spent the next morning trying to find her.  She hadn´t been answering her phone for a few days.  We went back to her piso and her cousin finally gave us the hospital.  But we didnt get the room number and so the hospital couldn´t help us.  We kept calling and finally a few hours before the baptism, she answered and told us she was in the hospital and hung up. 

Long story short it was an emotional roller coaster of are we having a baptism or not?  We were really sad to cancel it in the end, and I was a little confused because I had felt so strongly that we shouldn´t cancel it.  But reflecting on this experience, I learned to have faith in God a lot more.  And to really trust in His timing. 

We can´t get a hold of her again, but we are not giving up.  If I know one thing, I know God wants her to be baptized. I may not know when, but I do know it will happen.  Her name is Julieta by the way.  If you could pray that we can find her and work hard to get her baptized that would be great!

Sorry this is so short, but really not much happened this week.  General Conference helped me resolve a lot of doubts.  Just in finding more confidence!  I swear conference was directed right at me!  I love the personal revelation I received.  I went with 2 questions and wrote a lot of notes that answered those questions.  I think it was the most inspirational conference I have ever been to.  We were blessed to watch it in English too.  They have a room for missionaries :).

Also, as of right now I am scheduled to finish my mission Febuary 19th.  Happy birthday mom and dad. almost.  Since my 18 months falls in the middle of the transfer I am "extending."  I´m sure it comes as no surprise, but I am beyond excited that I can serve the Lord for almost 19 months.  I still have a lot to learn, but I have learned a lot.

Con Amor,
Hermana Olsen 

Monday, April 1, 2013

8 months already!

Mom: the pic of Federer is for you, but you can send it out to everyone if you want.
Me and Hna. Hansen (because my name is Norwegian people think we are both Norwegian.  I love it! And I get along with her SO WELL)
The view of the temple from my BEDROOM.  Heck Yeah!
Us on the roof, and the view from the roof.  We had a picnic with tons of awesome food to celebrate our 8 month cumple mes.  3 of us turned 8 months old today!  They sang happy birthday to us! 

Hola Familia y Amigos,

Today is my “cumple mes” or my month anniversary.  I officially have 8 months in the mission!  CRAZY!  I hate it.  I wish I had 4.  I never want this mission-life to end.  

Big news.  Remember how I was talking about the possibility of a visa waiter.  Well I got one.  And yeah, she had been visa waiting, but only for 2 weeks.  And she is Norwegian, so she was visa-waiting in Norway.  Her English is better than her Spanish, but she is really learning both.  So it is kind of hard to communicate with her.  Also, I am now serving in Pavones.  So I am white washing an area with her.  I moved my stuff to Pavones on Wednesday, so it has been a long week.  I´m surviving though.  But I will say, training and white washing with only 2 months in Spain is HARD.  Good thing I have the Lord´s help!

SO, before the emergency transfer when I was still in Leganes, we had the coolest lesson with Vlad.  He is Russian and has been investigating the church for 3.5 years! Crazy.  But, he is getting baptized on April 20th!  He wouldnt get baptized because he is living with his "wife" who hates Mormons.  So she wont marry him because he would then get baptized.  He has no money so he cant move out.  

We had a great lesson about faith and putting God first so that He will provide the way.   We told Vlad that we wanted to help him put God first.  He said he wanted to but didnt see how.  We told him he had to make the decision and act, and that we would like to give him a baptism date.  He said okay.  We said we had been praying and thinking about him every day and we were about to give him the date when he stopped us.  He looked at us and asked, so humbly and sincerely, "Que dijo, Dios?" "What did God say?"  We asked him to be baptized on April 20 and he said yes.  He was soooo happy.  He kept saying no problem, and that it was so simple.

That was about all that happened before I left Leganes.  Leaving was crazy.  I had just gotten out of the shower and President called with the news.  He asked me to take all my stuff to the zone meeting, which started in 2 1/2 hours and we lived an hour away.  If you do the math correctly I had an hour and a half to finish getting ready, and pack my whole life up.  So, I DID.  I packed and got read in an hour and a half!  What´s up!

This week we taught 2 lessons with a new investigator.  Other than that, we have contacted.  But we received 12 references. That is what I call working hard!  Especially these past few nights.  Last night, I had a really bad stomach ache all night (we contacted for about 4 hours) but I kept going.  I was able to find joy in talking to people and finding even though I was in pain.  And the night before we contacted for hours, and I was more tired than I had ever been, every footstep hurt. I have never felt like that before, but again, I persevered. I kept walking.  I kept contacting.  I felt good at the end of the day.

Dad, you wanted to hear about some Spain Culture and a bit about the economy.  Nobody has work.  You see people sitting on street corners or in ally ways living in boxes, or nothing.  People stand outside of grocery stores and beg for food.  People beg on the Metro a lot too.  They will tell their sob story and ask for money, try to sell something, or perform.  I like the performances the best.  Some people sing really well and the songs are super beautiful.  It is sad to see the people suffering though.  My heart goes out to them every time.  I realized the other day though, that although i cannot give them food or money, I can give the people something better.  I can give them God´s true church and SALVATION!  What’s a life of trials and difficulties when you can have eternal life IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD!

As for the culture of Spain, they buy daily bread to eat with their meals (its like a small loaf of french bread and it goes rock hard if you don´t eat it that day).  We use the metro a lot to travel.  They dont really have peanut butter (they do, but it is super expensive)   Lunch is around 2 or 3 and dinner 8ish.  Lunch is huge and dinner is small (but still pretty big).  We take medio dia from 2-4 normaly.  

I dont really know what time they wake up and go to bed.  I just follow the missionary schedule.  Which changed by the way.  We are on the summer schedule so we wake up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30.   I don´t really like it, but oh well.  We go home at 10 or 10:30 if we are in a lesson.  

As for me and the culture of Spain, I LOVE IT.  I feel myself wanting to be a Spaniard.  I love buying the daily bread and I really dont miss american things (except milk) but that is okay.  Im getting used to the milk here. They have really good hot chocolate mix, the worlds best ham, and I really dont miss anything american.

This week, we had a really funny experience!  We were helping some elders by filling the baptism font for one of their baptisms because they weren´t going to have time before.  Our district leader was teaching us how to fill the font and all the faucets to fill the font are in the mens bathroom.  So here we are 2 hermanas in the mens bathroom.  This boy opens the door, sees us, freaks out, and leaves.  oops.  

Then a minute or so passes and we continue figuring out the font. We hear a knock on the door, tell them to enter, but nothing happens.  When we leave we open the door and see 7 or 8 men standing outside waiting.  When they saw us, they were shocked!  Girls in the Mens bathroom, ahhhhh!  I was embarrassed so I muttered something about a baptism.  But now I just think it is funny!

Saturday night me and Hna. Hansen (my new companion) bought candy for easter.  Sunday, we got back from church first, and I hid it throughout the apartment for the other Hermanas to find.  There are 6 of us that live in Pavones.  They had so much fun looking for the candy!  I felt good to do this service.  2 of them are native spanish speakers so they really enjoyed the "americanized" celebration of easter.

So I was super sad to leave Leganes but i LOVE Pavones.  The Temple is right there; I can see it from my bedroom window!  And we are working hard to build up the area.  Friday there was a huge Easter concert in Pavones and i got to see some of my Leganes people.  And I should get to see more next weekend for General Conference.

For P-day today, we came to Leganes so that I could get my package (they ask for identification).  So I got that today.  Mom, it is PERFECT.  I LOVED the cookies.  They almost made me cry.  And you sent the perfect amount of easter candy!   I looked in several stores for some cadbury but could not find it!  So I was really glad to see some of that.  7 of us hung out in leganes all day today.  So I got to share my cookies and the little pack of cadbury mini eggs.  I made 5 American girls very happy!  Homemade cookies and cadbury.  Everyone loved it, so thanks! I´m so excited to dye easter eggs!  The package is perfect! And the plan of Salvation map is PERFECT. I LOVE it.  But spirits that are not colored would be better.  I LOVe the world and the tomb and everything though.  It is sooo beautiful.

APRIL FOOLS!  My companion is not brand new.  She IS from Norway, but speaks perfect English.  She has 5 months in the mission too, so her Spanish is just as good as mine, even a little better I think.  I did get emergency transferred, and we are pretty much white washing (Hna Hansen has 2 weeks in Pavones).  But I am not training.  Her companion went home sick, so that is why I got transferred.  Good joke, right. hehe.

Con Amor, 
Hermana Olsen