Monday, October 28, 2013

Another week in Barrio 1

p-day at the bowling alley! 
the Hermanas on my lane

me and Hna. Aagard (she is one of my favorite hermanas in the mission and this bowling activity was to celebrate her birthday!)

Hola familia y amigos,

Well, things continue to go in Barrio 1.  Not much happened this week.  White washing is still hard, but we did baptize again.  We baptized little Rosalind.  It was an awesome baptism too.  The primary sang and because her birthday was just last month there was a huge Latin birthday party afterward.  We enjoyed the good food, but did not participate in the dancing.  We left to be home on time and the party was still going strong.

The baptism was really special.  It was so sweet to see a child so young with such a strong testimony.  I love the scriptures that tell us to be as little children.  Teaching Rosalind and seeing her baptism strengthened my testimony in that regard.  She is so sweet and so Christ-like.  

After the baptism all her family members shared their testimony.  Her parents who are not yet members included.  Her dad gave a great testimony and got super emotional at the end.  I am so excited for them to get married soon, because they are a wonderful family and I want them to make it to the temple!

Before the baptismal ordinance the primary children sang cuando me bautice (I don´t remember what it is called in English.  It’s the one that talks about the rainbow and the temple or something) and this was when I felt the spirit the strongest.  This is the song we sang when Armando and Denis got baptized.  The memory of their baptism and how Armando started bawling when we sang this song came to me and I almost started crying.

I KNOW this church is true and that I am in the work of Salvation.  There is no greater work to be in! I LOVE it soo much.  Every day is a miraculous miracle!  Is that redundant?

This week has been a bit rough.  White washing is hard.  A lot of the investigators in this area find out that we are not the other hermanas and don´t want to meet with us anymore.  So this week is going to be pretty much like starting from scratch.  I am very grateful for the 2 baptisms we had, and consider that a huge blessing.  But now we have nothing.

Which means we will be finding a lot this week.  Hopefully we can work mostly in finding with the members, but we will be contacting this week!  a lot.  Hopefully we can contact in an effective manner.  I´m not a huge fan of contacting.  I love doing it in the sense that I love to talk to people.  But in the 2 transfers I was with Hermana O´Keeffe we probably received 150-170 phone numbers.  Maybe 20 of those people had a lesson with us, and maybe 3 became progressing investigators.  It´s not hard to get people’s phone numbers.  But it´s not an effective way to find and retain people who really will progress.

We continue to have the occassional comida.  I LOVE when the members feed us.  It usually happens on Sunday. They will invite us over for after church.  Yesterday we had a great comida with a Brazilian family.  The best frijoles I think i have ever had!  I LOVE FOOD.  And Latins know how to cook!

I love my mission.  I love my life.  I love my Savior.  I love the Atonement and I know it is real.   I need it every day and I preach about it to others every day.  There is no greater call than to serve a mission!

con amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh Barrio 1

 The baptism of Dantel.  I’m pretty sure he is from Ecuador, but I don´t know for sure. hahaa.
 My photo wall.  On the very right you can see pictures from Corinne´s wedding!
P-day today.  We went to Parque Europa (Europe park).  It was my third time going and I´ve already sent pictures from it, but this one was different.  We found this little vine tunnel, I don´t know what it is. haha. i cannot talk in English anymore.

Hola Familia y amigos,

Barrio 1 is different.  It has been a CRAZY week.  White washing is not easy.  But we had a baptism on Sunday, so I cannot complain much.  It´s just been hard getting to know the ward and our investigators, and our area!  We were doing weekly planning before we had even MET some of our investigators.  We still haven´t met them all!  But we are working hard and overall I really like Barrio 1.  It is a smaller barrio, but really good. We have only met a few members, but they are so nice and one Hermana is willing to help us with anything.

So we spent a lot of time going through the area book, and having the Elders help us and trying to make sense of everything, but I will tell you about our Baptism and the Bolivar family.

Dantel (30 yrs old) got baptized yesterday and it was AMAZING!  Long story short we had some struggles.  We had the baptism planned for Satuday, but it ended up happening yesterday.  Missionary life--things happen!  I´m just glad he got baptized.  He was so cute after, he looks at us and says, “I´m not an investigator anymore.”  hahaa.  

It was super weird that we were the ones to baptize him too.  He had already been taught EVERYHING.  We just gave him a pre-interview and then he had his real one.  The day of his baptism was like the 4th time we had met him! haha.  But he is super cool.  i felt the Spirit really strong when he got baptized!

The Bolivar family.  They are AMAZING.  They are a FAMILY first off.  And they are from Peru.  They have been meeting with the missionaries for about 3 years now. The only thing stopping them from being baptized is that they are not married.  But that isn´t stopping their children!  

They have a 10 or 11 year old son who is a member and we are currently preparing their 8 year old for baptism.  We don´t know if the parents are just waiting for marriage but I think they are.  To me this family is incredible.  They are raising their children in the true church and patiently waiting their turn for baptism.  They go to church every sunday, and are super active.  They have the picture version of the Book of Mormon, the New Testament, AND the Doctrine and Covenants.  Their kids know sooo much about the gospel.  It´s amazing.  

Rosalind, the 8 year old, is SOO funny.  We are teaching her all the lessons to make sure she is ready.  Yesterday we did the Plan of Salvation.  When talking about the resurrection and being restored to our perfect state, she asked us what would happen if somebody had a face and half of it was one color and half was another?  To what state would they be restored?  It was SO funny.  

Hna Palomino was great.  She just said, "The only answer we have is what the scriptures say.  They would be restored to the perfect state.  If we meet someone like that in heaven, we can ask them."   Teaching children, is fun.  After her baptism, which is this saturday, we are going to start focusing on the parents and see when they can get baptized.  They are getting married on December 11th so hopefully pretty soon!

This week, we are going to have to work hard on finding because we don´t have a very big group of people to teach!  Prayers that we can find people prepared for the gospel would be awesome!  Thanks.

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Estoy serviendo en Barrio 1

 Me and our ward mission leader
 Me and Armine.  She helped us a ton with lessons!
 The district-all of us served in barrio 8 as well. Our ward was a district.  It was awesome!
saying good bye to: 
Justino (recent convert)
 Oscar (recent convert)
Oliva. Isnt Oliva sooo short?  I LOVE her soooo much!  She is probably one of my favorite members of my whole mission.

Hola familia y amigos,

We have had quite the transfer.  I am serving in Barrio 1.  I am still in madrid, but more in the North.  i live really close to Cuatro Caminos.  I don´t know if this is just a metro stop, or the actual part of Madrid, but you could look it up and figure out where I am.  Is it funny that I don´t really know?

My mind is a bit scattered this morning with transfers and everything. I must say I was surprised by the transfer. We have just arrived in Barrio 1 and we have a lot of work to do already! Hermanas Talbares and Ferrari worked hard and we have many progressing investigators and 4 on fecha. It surprises me that an area like this was white washed, and I feel bad for the other hermanas. But I know all is in the Lords hands and we will all see the miracles that we are meant to experience.
So they white washed the area we are currently in.  My new companion is Hermana Palomino.  She was raised in New York and Utah, but speaks perfect Spanish and English.  

The two Hermanas before us are staying together and were sent to go open an area.  It is super weird because white washes tend to happen when companions have problems, or the area is not going well.  But they stayed together, so clearly there are not problems getting along, and they left us with 4 investigators that are scheduled to be baptized. 2 this week and 2 next!  And an agenda full of appointments and stuff.  We don´t know why the area was white washed, but we will have a very busy and productive transfer!  

I have to explain a story.  Sunday morning President called, and told me that he wanted to read my letter to him in stake conference!  He asked my permission, and of course I said yes!  Wow, what an experience.
I was sad to leave Barrio 8, it was my longest area in my mission, but I feel good about Barrio 1 and am ready to work harder than ever before and see miracles! I was very surprised Sunday morning, when the phone went off and you were calling. It was amazing that you read my letter in Stake Conference! I do try to write with my soul, but I never realized my letter could have such an impact! Thank you for that opportunity.

This last week,  I really thought I would be transfered.  I just had a feeling.  I sure did not want to go though.  And it was super hard.  It honestly felt like leaving Logan again.  I had been in Barrio 8 the same amount of time, and it was hard to say goodbye.  I had the chance to say goodbye to Justino, Oscar, and a few of our Menos activos (less actives).  Justino gave me a farewell gift, and Oliva did too.  So SWEET.  I love the Latin people!

My last week in Barrio 8 was wonderful! I loved my time there, as I have loved my time in every area. I have come to think, that my current area is always my favorite because it is where I am currently loving the people. I still have great love for all of my areas, but I can say with confidence that right now Barrio 1 is my favorite area, or very soon will be!

I don´t really remember what we did this week.  Lora has continued to progress, and she is seeing miracles.  She told us she read more in the Book of Mormon and that she started at the beginning like we asked her to.  She read the first 5 chapters!  And she says she feels more energy and fuerza (strength?) to go about the day.  And she is feeling more peace and tranquilidad.  She says it is super weird, but making her think.  

I think it was hardest to leave her, and i did not get the chance to say goodbye, but I wrote her like a 2 page letter.  I really think she will get baptized this or next transfer.  It is hard because I am not close enough to go to the baptism, so I won´t be able to see it.

But I am very excited to be in Barrio 1.  We don´t know our investigators or the area or the ward, so I think i am most looking forward to the chance to start over.  I can be whoever I want to be.  I can be the best I have ever been, and really make the most of my last 3 transfers.  This is probably my last area, but with me you never really know!

This transfer, as we are white washing, I really want to work hard with the ward. We don´t know the area or anything, so we really need their help! And we need their trust, so I hope we can befriend them and serve them! I also want to work on teaching more by the spirit. To really rely on the Lord and so I am going to really study Predicad Mi Evangelio chapters 3 and 4. I am very excited for this transfer and for the MIRACLES that are waiting me, as I strive to do what the Lord would have me do in His vineyard!

I have a million pictures to send home, and not much else to say.  i KNOW this church is true.  I know God needs me in Barrio 1 for a reason.  I know I am in his hands.  We sang “I´ll go where you want me to go” the day we learned about transfers.   I love that song so much, and it really has applied to my mission.  I have had 18 companions, slept on 10 beds, and packed my suitcases 6 times now!  But every change has brought forth miracles and I know this one will be no different!

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen

Monday, October 7, 2013

a week of MIRACLES

me and my compañera at the mission home today.  we had an Hnas only activity!  We have 50 some hnas in the mission and about 45 in madrid that came to the activity!  I LOVE this mission!

Mis FUNDAS. por fin.  My scripture covers. Finally!  I ordered them LAST General Conference.  A guy in Malaga makes them.  I finally got them, and I LOVE them!

Hola Familia y amigos,

The stuff in grey is copied from my letter to President.  We haven´t much time, but what I wrote to president is pretty much everything that happened this week.

I saw miracles this week! It has been such a great week! We worked hard, and saw miracles.

Miracle 1
We are teaching a Spanish Woman who has lived a hard life and has told us that she has no faith and a hard heart. Our first 2 or 3 return appointments, she had not read in the Book of Mormon. Our last appointment with her, she read 3 Nefi 14 and Moroni 10. She had sticky notes marking the chapters, and had things to share about what she liked. We then spent time reading with her in 2 Nefi 31 and that brought a strong spirit. We talked about it and she said the closing prayer. She prayed in gratitude that she felt better and believed that God was helping her and that it was because she was learning about His truth or something. She also seemed happier, and I know she is begining to change.  gospel is helping her!
Lora is absolutely amazing.  She has seen a lot of hardship in her life, but now that she has started to read the Book of Mormon, I hope she will continue and see the blessings that it brings.  She still has a long way to come, but I know this gospel is for her, and I am sooo excited for her to progress!  I know this gospel is what she needs.  We haven´t known her very long, but I have so much love for her!
Miracle 2
We were out contacting one morning and we started with a prayer. We quickly recieved about 4 references. I was very happy, but praying in my heart that we could find a lesson. Not long after we found Suelita. She is from Leon, but living in our area. We were walking down the street and all of a sudden, I find myself talking to this lady, and asked her if she had some time. She said yes and so we sat down and taught her the Restoration. She really enjoyed it and we are going to continue teaching her!
This was a huge tender mercy for me!  I was really praying in my heart that we could find someone prepared and that we could have a lesson on the street.  I honestly cannot remember starting to talk to her.  I just remember talking to her all of a sudden.  I love moments like that.  The spirit really guides us to find those who we are meant to find.
Miracle 3
On Friday at Mediodia until Saturday at Mediodio we fasted that our investigators, less actives and recent converts could come to General Conference. This is my last General Conference in the Mission and I REALLY wanted the chance to watch it with someone. I was able to watch every single session in Spanish! The saturday session we had an investigator and her less active, husband-to-be, and 2 recent converts. The Sunday sessions, we had a recent convert, Oscar. He got to the chapel at 10am for his priesthood interview with the bishop, and stayed all sessions. It was a once in a life time experience to sit in the chapel and watch conference with these people that I love SO much! I am very glad that I had this opportunity!
This might be the biggest miracle of the week.  It was a little disappointing, because we were expecting so many more people to come.  But I will NEVER forget the moments where I was able to feel the Spirit and feel the love of God and the leaders of the church, and to look over at Oscar and know that he was feeling it too. He is super shy, but I know he enjoyed conference and that it made him feel good!  and Justino came for the saturday session.  He REALLY enjoyed it!  He said it wasn´t long enough.  But he couldn´t make it to the sessions on Sunday, other than priesthood.  i LOVE General Conference sooooo much!  I recieved a lot of inspiration and revelation to my questions and doubts.
I LOVE the mission, and am trying to make every moment count. I love my Savior and love this chance and opportunity to bear testimony of Him and the restoration of His gospel!
This week has been wonderful.  As is every week.  Every MOMENT of the mission is just fantastic!  I LOVE the mission soooooo much. Can I say it enough? I wish I could adequately describe how i feel, but there just are not words for it. 

Con amor,
Hermana Olsen