Monday, August 26, 2013

We just keep going

Hola familia y amigos,

This week was pretty rough as well. We taught about 3 lessons, and were not able to find very many. But we have been trying to focus on what did happen, and I have found great joy in this.

One of the lessons we taught was to a man named Carlosa. We had found him a few days before sitting on a bench reading the bible. We asked if we could share a message with him, and right then and there, we taught the Restoration. He had doubts about prophets and everything, but it went pretty well. We met him this week, again at the bench, and taught a powerful lesson about the Book of Mormon. He rejected it all. I was amazed! I thought surely, this was not the same person we met the first time. No matter how much testimony, personal experience, or whatever we did, he could not accept that there was another book. He did not want to take the Book of Mormon but we marked 3 Nefi 11 and insisted that he kept it just in case he wanted to read it one day. We asked him if we could leave him with a prayer. He said no. So we got up and told him to call if he read the chapter.

I left the lesson heart broken. Another dropped investigator. Why do first lessons go so well, then in the second everything falls apart? Then I had the thought, and I guarantee it was pure inspiration,"That lesson was very successful. You were able to give him a Book of Mormon. If he ever reads it he will have a high chance of knowing it is true and finding the missionaries and he could very likely get baptized in later years. That lesson was successful." These thoughts were a BLESSING from God. I shared them with Hna. O´keeffe and we both felt much better.

We also had some funny experiences this week. I had one of the funniest contacts of my life. If it wasn´t so ridiculous it actually would have been kind of painful. I walk up to this couple on a bench watching their two young boys play close by. I tell them we a representatives of Jesus Christ and we share a message about Him and the importance of families. The father looks at me and says flat out, "Well, don´t share it with us." I actually had to try hard not to laugh. I have never recieved such a flat out rejection. I gave the wife a card and we left.

We also tried to help some beggars. Mission rule is that we cannot give them money (which is smart, because they won´t always use it for food. Even though they have starving children, sometimes cigaretes and things seem more important to them).

This woman asked me for some money and she had about 3 children with her. She had stopped us several days before, and we had politely said no. I tried to say no again, but she made some comment about Americans having money. I knew she was right. And I felt soooo bad, I told her we could go to a store and buy her some bread.

So we go to a store, and she starts putting stuff in a cart. I tell her we only have a euro, maybe 2. So she gets milk, yogurt, and something else. It comes up to just over 3 euros. I pull out all my change, and so does Hna. O´keefe, and we only have about 2. I had a 10, but I wasn´t going to let her know, she had already asked if I could spend 5 on some diapers for her daughters baby. So they started trying to figure out what to buy and what not. It was taking a while, so I left the money on the cash register and told her to buy what she could, and then we left.

That was my first and last time helping beggars. She really tried to get us to spend the most possible.

This week, on thursday, we traveled an hour to almost the end of area. We visited a member family and asked them for references. They are working with a couple of people and love to share the gospel. But it will be hard to travel there frequently, so we are hoping that president puts missionaries in this part of our area. We are receiving 43 new missionaries, and not one goes home, so that is exciting. 16 are Hermanas.

Hermana O´keeffe is amazing. She is quiet and timid, and reminds me a lot of myself when I started my mission. She has progressed so much though, and it is sooo fun to see that happen. She has begun to make phone calls all by herself and is really trying to improve. Remember when my trainer made me in charge for a whole week? Well, I am doing that with her, so if you could pray for her extra hard this week that would be wonderful. I KNOW she will be fine and able to do everything, but I think she may have a bit more stress with being in charge all week.

 I forgot AGAIN, my camera cord, so pictures will come someday. hehe.

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, August 19, 2013

a hard week

hola famila y amigos,
this computer does not have a shift key, so please excuse my poor capitilization.
following, in grey, is part of my letter to president, it saves time so i dont have to write things twice

This week was hard. But very rewarding. At least I learned a lot. A lot about patience and perserverance. We lost some investigators this week. I called to set up some appointments and I talked to the husband of one of our investigators and he said he never wants to see mormons in his house again. I talked to her to see if we could meet her outside the house, he said she was allowed to do that, but she doesn´t seem interested anymore. Not that I really blame her.
  he was pretty rude. it hurt to talk to someone that dislikes you that much. he told me that we could meet her outside but we were not welcome in his house.

We had another really good lesson that was a first lesson. We taught the Restoration and it went really well. She had doubts, but that is normal. She also told us that she ALWAYS rejects people that try to contact her, but she didn´t reject us, and she didn´t know why. She was really excited to come to church, but a few days later, when we called to confirm our next appointment, she said she couldn´t because she was too busy. I called a few days later to see if she had more time, and she asked us not to call anymore-she wasn´t interested.
i don´t know what happened here.  i guess it is just not her time.  i know God is just and has a perfect plan for her, but it just hurts, because after one 40 minute lesson with her, i felt so much love for her.  i felt so much joy in knowing that we could be eternal friends and be together in the presence of our heavenly father together. now i don´t know if this will ever happen. i hope that it will later on in her life, but i may not ever know of it, which is hard.  it makes me sad.

So I got a blessing, which really helped. I love that the Lord can communicate to us in this way. It talked a lot about my goals and plans are not always His desires. I need to align my will to His. It made me feel a lot better, and I am trying to just keep going. We in the last 2 weeks of the transfer are going to start working a lot more with less actives and active ward members to ask for references. I know that this will be more effective and I am excited to try missionary work in a new way.

I had a crazy dream a few nights ago. It was the beginning of week 6 or the end of week 5 and I was emergency transfered to go open an area in the south. It was super random. I think I had the dream because in my year as a missionary I have never been in the same area for a full 2 transfers, nor have I ever had the same companion for a full 2 transfers. This includes Utah, and Spain. The longest I have had with either is 11 weeks. If I make it through this whole transfer I will have had a full 12 weeks in Barrio 8.

i hope i dont get emergency transfered anytime soon.  i had another crazy dream the same night.  this one is just weird and probably a result of lack of sleep, stress, and heat exhaustion, this country is beyond hot.  it was a movie trailer, and i was a dog. in this dream i didn´t like the human family i lived with so the whole plot of the movie was how i pretended i was dead but i felt bad because the family loved me so i would come and eat the food or do something so i was like a dog pretending to be dead and being a phantom in the house of this family.  where this came from, i have no idea. but i think i woke up thinking, why can´t i have an awesome dream about the atonement, like Hna. Bitter.

Training goes well. I think one of the hardest parts is when the work is hard, when people fail us, or don´t want to meet us anymore. Like this week, it was a bit hard. If I was junior companion I might have started to cry or demonstrated a bit more, my dissapointment. But as a trainer, I don´t want to be like that in front of my trainee. I feel like I have to be strong, even when I want to be weak. Hna. O´keeffe is doing well, she has improved a lot over these past 4 weeks.
after i got off the phone with the lady that no longer was interested, and this happened the day after the guy told me we were not welcome in his home, i seriously just wanted to start crying.  had i been junior companion, or with someone a little bit older in the mission, i probably would have.  but i couldn´t in front of my hija.  i feel like i always have to be strong, and i cant show disappointment, because i want to give her a good impression, that bad things happen but we keep going and miracles happen.  and i know they will, i just dont know when. 
so i keep going. i just got to do the best i can. i was struggling that day wishing there was someone that i could talk to to dump my problems on.  i wasn´t going to do that to my hija, and so i was feeling kind of alone.  like i had nobody to talk to. i went into our bedroom, this all happened during mediodia or 2 hour break, and  i really wanted one of the other hermanas to talk to me, but they didnt come.  so i felt alone.  but i never was alone.  and i soon realized that i had someone to talk too.  i quickly got on my knees and began to pray, and cry and pour out my heart to the one that hears me perfectly.  after that i felt better and was able to keep going.  i KNOW God always listens and hears us.  we can TALK to Him about anything.
to end on a happy note, a VERY VERY VERY happy note- i got an email from Armando and Denis, my recent converts in guatemala.  they are doing SO well. she is YW president and he is Elders quorum president.  they have been members for about 7 months.  they are amazing. they are amazed that i have a yaer in the mission, and love me very much.  they said i always have a home in guatemala, because we are family. i will probably smile all day thinking about that email.
i forgot my camera cord, so no pictures, SORRY.
con amor,
hermana olsen

Monday, August 12, 2013

The invitation to be baptized

Mission Leader Council

Hola Familia y todos,

This week has been absolutely insane, but WONDERFUL!!

This week has been really good!  It has been hard, but good.  We had a lot of lessons set up with potential new investigators.  About half of them fell through.  But those that we had were AMAZING!  We have 3 new investigators this week and I think they are solid.  We have a lot of investigators with a lot of potential.

And we are focusing more on baptism.  NOT for numbers, but because that is our invitation for those that we teach and because it is an essential ordinance for Salvation!  Elder Barragan invited us in District meeting this week to invite all of our investigators that we meet with this week to be baptized on a specific date.  We have invited about 5 people to be baptized in this upcoming month (september).  Nobody has said yes, but nobody has said no.  I think at least they understand how important it is.  We will continue to work with them to help them understand the importance of baptism, and to help them prepare for a specific date.

In doing this, I think it has really helped specify the importance, but I have come across a few challenges.  How do you know how long a person is going to take to be baptized?  I have been giving people baptismal dates, but I don´t know if they are the right ones.  I don´t know if a person needs 10 weeks or 15 or 3 to feel ready for baptism. So technically these people know that baptism is important and have been invited to be baptized a certain day, but I feel no closer to knowing if this day is right, or if they will actually reach this date. I´m sure the Lord will help me though. 

It is hard to know how to prepare them for baptism, because so many people work and can´t come to church, or they don´t work but they seriously have no money and can´t afford the bus ticket or whatever.  And we are teaching a lot of men, that we can´t visit and it is really hard to find members to come so they are hard to visit.  But I am trying to work with the ward!

Last week, I forgot to tell a funny story.  I was teaching english class and they wanted to know what sarten means.   It means frying pan but when I told them, instead of saying sarten means frying pan, I said sosten means frying pan.  They all start laughing their heads off.  Sidenote, most of the English students are men.  Elder Barragan was there and he speaks almost perfect English.  I asked him what I said and what was so funny.  He looks at me, laughing, and says, ¨Sosten means bra¨.  OH man, I was embarrassed!  But it was super funny.  A year in the mission and I still goof the language.  But whatever.

On the other hand, 2 people thought I was Spanish.  One guy from India, so I don´t know if he is the best judge.  But the other was a Spaniard.  She was a reference from a member and so we just set up an appointment by phone.  When we got there she went on about how the person that called spoke really good Castellano (Spain Spanish) and was super surprised to find out that that person was me.  I felt good, I do think my Spanish is pretty good!  I have definitely grown in the language the past 2 transfers.

I´m excited to see what this next week brings.  The mission is hard, but it is so amazing.  My passion grows every day, and I continue to dread the day I go home. 

Con Amor, 
Hermana Olsen

Monday, August 5, 2013

The miracles of finding

 Hanging out one day after the temple!

Pictures of Sol (the center of Madrid)

The 2 other hermanas we live with were having a really hard day, and so our district leader asked what he could do.  They didn´t want to ask for something and they weren´t going to make him go out of his way to do anything.  So they said they were fine, and the rest of their week was much better.  But the day after their hard day, we heard our doorbell ring at about 9am and found this on our door step!  Pancakes and syrups-blueberry and maple!!  I´ve said it before, but my district leader now is seriously the BEST district leader  I have ever had on my mission! 

Hola familia y amigos,

This week has been really well.  We are working hard, and finding a ton.  We have been doing a lot of contacting, but we have had many great experiences doing so.

First we were contacting and receiving nothing but rejection after rejection.  It was hard and I didn´t feel like I could keep going. It felt like a waist of time and I didn´t want to do it anymore.  There had to be a better way. 

I felt prompted to go to an empty bench and say a prayer.  We prayed that we could be guided to find the people that were ready to accept the truth and that we could have the strength to continue on. 

Never have I enjoyed contacting so much than I did after that prayer.  And never has it been so successful.  We recieved about 8 numbers and all of them have been contacted and most of them have set up appointments to meet with us.  Only one was a fake number.  Since that day we have prayed a lot more before we go out and contact and we continue to reach our goals and find people willing to learn about the truth!

With all this finding, we already have 15 appointments set up for the week!  And I am sure we will set up more.  We are going to be busy!  We have also focused on families like never before!  If we see a family we feel an urge to talk to them.  We are trying to start teaching more families. I think it will be successful and good, because the gospel is central to the family.

MONTES is getting BAPTIZED!  September 7th. 

The month of August, is the WORST to be a missionary in Spain.  Everyone is on vacation or working more hours because they can get more work because of those on vacation.  So nobody has much time to meet with us. 

This is the case with Montes.  He is working more than he has ever worked before and his schedule is always changing.  But he told us yesterday, that he has all of september off.  So he can start coming to church again, and get baptized!  We are very excited for him!  He has time on Sundays so we will be visiting with him on Sundays to keep him feeling the Spirit, but I really think it is going to happen this time!

I also had a cool experience on the Metro.  Me and Hna. O´keeffe were on the way to a lesson and the ONLY ones on our metro car.  Yet I decided to leave a card on the metro.  I left it on my seat as we got off, and thought nothing more of it. 

About 2 or so hours later, I get a call from a number I do not recognize. I answer and a woman tells me that she found a card on the metro and that it talks about free English classes.  She was super interested in learning English and I had a really nice conversation with her and told her she was more than welcome to come.  She said she would come to the next one, which is Wednesday for us, and I am super excited to meet her.  I know right now, she might not have interest in the Gospel, but I certainly have faith that that can change.  I am excited to see what happens with her.

I look forward to another week as a Representative of Jesus Christ.  It has been the best time of my life, and it goes by too fast!  I hit my year mark this week!  President, I don´t want it to end!  I don´t want to go home!  I´m sometimes scared to lose the power of being a missionary, I don´t want to lose how close I am to the Spirit and how close I am to my Savior and my Father.  I don´t want to lose the responsability of helping others come unto Him! Never have I been so happy or found so much joy, I don´t want it to end!

I love you all and hope you can find joy in missionary work, just as I am. 

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen

P.S. we have found a Piso and are waiting to see if the dueño aproves everything, but we should be moving soon. Hopefully this week.  But we are not moving far and we see the other hermanas many times a week (they serve in the same ward as us and go to our district meetings).