Monday, February 23, 2015


Hi family and friends!

WELL I DID IT! On Saturday I hit my official one month mark! Hip hip horray! It feels so good to have a little bit of time under my belt. All of the missionaries in my zone have been out for at least a year-well except Sister Magleby, but she's halfway done. Anyway feeling new is kind of hard, but at the same time I love it because I have a lot of time and missionary experiences to look forward to!

Alright I guess I'll start off with a quick story that might scare you a little bit, but personally I think it's hilarious. Thursday was super pretty outside and so we thought we would go over to a park to do our weekly planning. There was a whole bunch of kids and moms there so we thought it was fine, but pretty soon all these sketchy teenagers and young adults started coming to the park. Then before we knew it they were all yelling " EAST SIDE" "WEST SIDE" soooo me and Sister Magleby made like a tree and leafed. We almost witnessed a gang fight. But don't worry because we are safe and it was just a funny thing that happened. We got a good laugh out of it. Good old Banning.

OH MY GOSH MOM I ATE THE MOST DELICIOUS FOOD THIS WEEK. There is a Filipino family in our ward named the Lagazo's. She is an AMAZING cook! She basically fed us this delicious feast and I was soooo happy. Tara will get a kick out of this next part- they started talking about Balut. Do you remember that Rhett and Link episode where they ate balut? Yeah that's all I was thinking about. Apparently it's a huge delicacy in the Philippines and they make all the missionaries eat it... Luckily they didn't have any then, but they sound pretty determined for us to try it.. I'll let you know.

Alright so I think I have talked about Monique and Natalie before, but I don't know if I have explained the whole story. Monique lives in the nice part of Banning with her mom and grandma and she has three kids. Sister Magleby and the Sister before me found her and apparently it was quite the miracle. We have been giving Monique and her 9 year-old daughter Natalie lessons. Oh my gosh they are so prepared! They totally get everything and I just want it for them so bad!!! They just really need the Gospel!!!! It's been super hard getting them to church.  Yesterday Natalie broke her arm so they couldn't come. But they know like half of the people in the ward because Monique grew up here. Isn't that awesome???? Please pray for them. Satan is working superrrr hard on their family right now. Ugh I hate Satan. He's so annoying.

Oh lol I forgot to tell you I gave a talk in Church yesterday. I just talked about missionary work. I didn't have anything to record it on... but I will send you my notes! Everyone said I did a good job, but people always say that, sooo... One of the Zone leaders in my district shook my hand after and said I did really good, so that was nice. The missionaries in my district are really great missionaries. They're just super nice people.

Last night we had dinner with the Westbrooke family AND THEY ARE AWESOME. They have 5 kids and their oldest is 16. Madi-she's 14- is such an awesome little missionary! She brought a friend who isn't a member, but has less active parents. She wants to take lessons from us! We watched the "Because of Him" Mormon message and the "Come unto Christ" mutual theme for 2014 music video. Taylor, Tara, and Dannon need to watch that. I loved it. We just talked about the importance of Christ in our lives and the spirit was there so strong. Eating dinner in member's homes is seriously the best. After you have been out all day in the lone and dreary world, walking into a home that has the spirit present feels so good. Having a worthy priesthood member in your home makes such a difference. I think I totally took advantage of it when I lived at home. I even noticed a difference at USU when I was living with all girls. Tay Tay, Tara, and ManDan- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LIVING AT HOME! The spirit is so strong in our home and I miss it so much! Remember when that family bought our house in Virginia and said something about all the love she felt and that's one of the reasons why they wanted to buy our house? That's because the Holy Ghost was there.

Alright I guess I will leave you with a spiritual thought. I have to do an hour of training everyday in addition to my other studies. Yesterday, Sister Magleby and I were reading in Alma when Ammon astonishes King Lamoni. When we were reading about everything that Ammon taught him something totally hit me. There are missionaries in the Book of Mormon! I honestly feel so dumb not knowing this before now. I feel like I have never really understood the Book of Mormon even though I have read it before. Now I read it and study it every day and I can't get enough of it!!!!!

So when we were reading Alma 18 it totally hit me. Missionary work is really God's work. It has been since before Christ was even on the earth. How cool is that?!? And honestly, Heavenly Father doesn't even need missionaries. If he wanted he could come down and do it all himself. But he lets people like me do it!!! I seriously feel so blessed and basically awesome because I can be just like Ammon.

Wow..I'm such a geek...

Anyway-the church is true! Heavenly Father loves all of his children-even the ones that lived centuries and ages ago!!! This is just a huge testimony to me that this really is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

You're all awesome. Go read about Ammon cutting a whole bunch of arms off then rendering Lamoni speechless. I hope it gets you as pumped as it got me!  


Love, Sister Shlee.


Thank you so much for the valentine!! I love it!!! Also I am wearing a random skirt someone left in the closet so that's pretty cool I guess....

This is Precious the Pomeranian. I thought Dad would like this picture....

This one is kind of blurry. This is my first investigator to come to church! Yay! Her name is Kaitlyn and she is nine. This is also the day I gave my talk.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Belated Valentines Day!!

HI MOM. And family and friends and everyone else my wonderful mother shares these with :)

So these past few weeks here in Banning have been so weird. Sister Magleby and I have basically been chickens running around with our heads cut off. All the missionaries in my district keep saying how weird it's been lately and wondering when it will get back to normal, but this is all I know about missionary work because it's all I've experienced so far, so yeah. My life is interesting.

Okay I forgot to tell you what happened to me on my first full day in the field! Sister Magleby is a Sister Training Leader so we have to go on splits a lot. So I was on splits with this random sister and I found myself at the DI doing service hours. So I was going through this big heavy swinging door and my foot got caught and basically I bled all over the DI. It was sooooo funny. Classic Shlee. Everyone working was like "well.. welcome to the mission field!"

One more funny story for you. On Saturday nights we have correlation with the other two sets of elders in our ward. This past Saturday we got a text from Elders Johnson and Robison (the Zone leaders who are in our ward) telling the rest of us missionaries not to go to the church. We found out from the other two elders that apparently the ZL's went early to set up and this homeless woman was trying to get them to let her sleep in the church. When they wouldn't let her she just climbed into the back of their truck and wouldn't leave so they had to call the cops. It was sooooooo funny.

Alright I guess I'll talk about real missionary work now. This past week has been pretty hard for me. Being a new missionary is soooo hard because you haven't seen the fruits of your labors yet. You basically are just working your tail off and waiting for the blessings. I feel like at the beginning of this week I'm FINALLY starting to see some of those blessings!

On Sunday I just felt like I needed to start praying for miracles because we have been super busy doing things for the bishop and working with less actives, so we have like one investigator. So yeah I just really started praying for miracles and that I could start seeing some blessings because I was feeling super discouraged.


Last night after p-day was over we stopped at Lola's. Lola is a less active. She lives in this super nice retirement community called Sun Lakes. Banning is super weird because a lot of it is really nice, but a lot of it is super sketchy, too. Sun lakes is one of the nicest areas here, but you probably google earthed my area and already know that haha.

Anyway, Lola is 94 and missionaries have been working with her forever! She lives in this beautiful house and she's actually super hip and hilarious and basically I love her to death. Missionaries have had the hardest time getting her to commit to anything and she says she just doesn't feel the spirit. But we had a break through with her! She is going to let us teach her and she is going to start studying the B.O.M. with us! She basically told us how awesome we are and that she loves us and is willing to work with us because she sees something in us. I totally know it's not us at all. It's 110% the Holy Ghost. That is so humbling.

Also. Today was District meeting and we were all sitting there talking about being better missionaries and this woman just walked in. She was like, "I just moved here. I have been taking the lessons in Wisconsin and I want to be baptized." OKAY WOW THAT IS A MIRACLE. And she lives in mine and Sister Magleby's area so we get to teach her!!!!!!!! All the missionaries were freaking out and were like this never happens! Just the fact that we happened to be at the church when she wanted to swing by is a miracle! And she has a huge family that we get to teach too! Her name is Angela and basically I'm super pumped about her.

Well here are some pictures :) I also have some written letters I'm taking to the post office right after this. Something that me and Sister Mags talked about a lot today is finding opportunities. Really anyone and everyone you come in contact with you affect in some way. And you don't have to be a full time missionary to do that! Here's a challenge for you family- just be nice to people. Whenever you see someone in the neighborhood go up and talk and just say hi! Be like that cute little Asian woman in Halle Plantation
that waves at everyone! Because really you have no idea how many lives you can touch that way.

I love you all so much and miss you a ton. I pray for you all the time. Stay awesome Olsen's!


Sister Shlee

Me and my companion gave out valentines to potentials and less actives :) tell gma I can't get enough of this red skirt! I wear it all the time!

Here's a cute mobile home park.

Banning, California! (the nicer part)

It's warm here :)

We have been volunteering at this super cool fire museum and it's a lot of fun!

Send this one to Aunt Jeanne- I totally reorganized Sister Heacock's  Tupperware hahaha :)

and this is Sister Heacock's dog Pepe! I thought Dannon would like this.

Look Mom! I'm in the dessert!

Me trying my hardest to learn the area. I had to put out a whole bunch of maps.

Show this to dad. I colored his picture.

This recent convert's mom had us over for dinner and she had a giant spinning wheel. Sleeping beauty is my favorite. I had to.

The beautiful Redlands Temple.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


After recovering from a bad stomach flu virus, Sister Olsen was able to send us a quick email. (Awesome way to begin your mission!) 

Hi family!
So sorry for the scare! Looks like I got the flu even though I wasn't home with you!
There was a bug going around in the MTC and there is also a bug going around my new ward. Everyone here either was sick, is sick, or is getting sick. Poor Sister Magleby is starting to feel it too so there's that. I saw a doctor at the MTC; I have been eating a lot of greek activia yogurt and I talk to the Redlands mission nurse all the time. As of right now I feel great!

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED! This letter is going to be short because it's not p-day, but I will do my best!!
Monday night me and all my MTC buddies stayed up snaking on chips and queso (thanks Moffitts!!:) ) and then we woke up at 2 am so that was interesting. Getting to the airport is such a blur. We had to get on a charter bus then take the front runner. It was so weird. I said goodbye to all my MTC friends. So sad :(. Right when we got off the plane all of the missionaries leaving were there to greet us. I was the first one off the plane and it totally took me by surprise.

REDLANDS IS SOOOOOO NICE Mom! The mission home is a mansion. Since our Mission President has kids in cub scouts, our first dinner was at the Smiley Ward's blue and gold banquet which was super cute. The VanCotts are really nice. They took such good care of me. I cannot describe to you how tired I was and they just took all 12 of us in their home and took such good care of us.
All the sisters stayed at a sister's home in their ward that night. Her house is 100 years old and looks just like the house from Doll House Murders- that sounds bad but it was so cool!

My companion is Sister Magleby from St George, but I see you already know that :) We are in the Banning area. It's pretty sketchy actually. It's weird because parts of it are super nice and other parts are kinda scary.
It really is so beautiful here. Amazing weather. Blue skies. Palm trees. Mountains.
ANYWAY. SOOOOO many spiritual experiences! Aaghh!!  I'm already like out of time!

I'll tell you about Monique. Monique is an investigator that Sister Magleby and the sister before me found. They just felt prompted to knock on her door even though we don't tract in this mission. She is definitely one of those prepared souls that you hear missionaries talk about. Last week we taught her about the plan of salvation and Sister Magleby did the "soft" baptismal commitment. In other words, she said that if she found these things to be true she would be baptized. YAY!

Oh my goodness I need to tell you about Jeni and Lenore. Lenore is Jeni's mom and they live in our apartment complex. Jeni's son committed suicide last April and their lives are just super sad. We went to talk to Lenore last week and it was soooo hard! But the spirit told us that she just needed someone to listen and to be her friend because she is super lonely. I bore my testimony to her about how Heavenly Father knows her and loves her personally and I did cry a little bit. I felt super stupid but she said she was so grateful that I cried because now she can trust me and knows that I'm genuine. Teaching them is going to be hard, but me and Sister Magleby can do it!

So Sunday night was seriously the hardest night of my whole life. It was like 4 am and I seriously just wanted to go home. Let me tell you something. I flipping hate Satan. I keep thinking of how much he's put me through in just the short amount of time that I have been here (getting the stomach flu twice already) and that's really significant to me. I really feel like I'm supposed to be here for a reason. He is trying sooooo hard to get me to give up. I feel like the more he tries, the stronger I get. I'm totally supposed to be here. I don't know why yet, but I can't wait to find out! I don't know what I would do without Heavenly Father because he is helping me now more than ever!

I hope everyone is feeling better! I love all of you so much!


P.S.  I forgot to tell you, but the ward here is awesome! I don't have time for pictures today, but I can't wait to send you some Monday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Arriving in Redlands

Hi Mommy!

I'm here in Redlands; I can't describe how beautiful it is here!!!! I am soooo tired today because I woke up at 2 a.m., but I'll make it through. I really like the mission president's wife; she is so nice! The mission home is basically a mansion. It's so BEAUTIFUL!! I almost feel like I'm on vacation. ALMOST. There is ALOT of work to do! I love you all. I have a feeling this week will be challenging so keep me in your prayers. I can't wait to send you pictures on Monday! All mail needs to go to the mission home. They can't forward packages to me unless it's First Class or Priority. Otherwise, I'll have to wait for someone to bring it to me.
Love all of you so much!!!

Sister Olsen 

Sister Olsen and her MTC companion Sister Stalder (far left) along with the other incoming California Redlands missionaries with President and Sister VanCott (center) at the Ontario airport in California.

Sister Olsen with her new companion and trainer Sister Magelby.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 2! Last week at the MTC!


So I feel like my last email was sort of rushed, so I'm going to try to write a better one this week!

Okay so Dad was totally wrong about the MTC. I LOVE IT HERE!!!!! My district is so awesome! I've grown super close with everyone and I love them all to death. I'm still struggling getting pictures on here so hopefully I'll be able to figure it out because I have so many pictures I want to send you!

I don't know if I told you, but my branch presidency made me and my companion Sister Stalder Training Leaders over our branch. Our branch is our district and another one and we go to all the Sunday meetings together. STL's are the female equivalent of Zone Leaders so it's a pretty big deal. Haha just kidding. It's not that big of a deal. They just gave us flip phones for emergencies and then we gave a tour to the new district that came in on Wednesday.

We got a new sister from New Zealand this week! Her name is sister Beck and she's super cute! She's serving at the Kirtland visitors center so I'm SUPER JEALOUS. But it's okay though because I know my mission is just for me:) There's people in California that need me, not in Ohio.

We taught sooooo many "lessons". Really there are just role plays. I hate role plays. It's just so awkward because you know the "investigators" are actually members. Actually, most of my "investigators" are actually my teachers soooo yeah.

There's this thing called TRC and you teach an "investigator" like 4 lessons. That wasn't too bad because the girl we taught- Lianna- was super awesome. Probably the cutest/ nicest BYU student I've ever met. And I did my first ever baptismal challenge with her and she said yes! Yay!

So earlier this week my companion and I were SERIOUSLY struggling with teaching. Our teacher had to stop us in the middle of a role play and then proceeded to tell us that she's been teaching for 5 years and has never done that. So that was incredibly awkward. But we have improved SO MUCH. I feel sooooo much more comfortable teaching now than I did before! So that's good.

Our schedule is so tight here at the MTC. Literally every minute of every day is planned for you. I got a package from the Moffitts! And Grandma Olsen and Diana Jaco sent me letters! And Dad sent me the most amazing letter. Tell him I'm going to try the best I can to be a Zion Missionary!!!! But I don't have much time here to write thank you notes so tell everyone thanks and that I love them! I'm hoping I'll have a little more time to write real letters in the field because I'll be able to plan my own schedule. We will see what happens.

This week has pretty much just been a lot of teaching. Sunday was pretty cool because it was fast Sunday. I made it through the whole day without any gum! Go me! We had a pretty great devotional from the MTC presidency. The President (President Burgess) had an elder come up and share his testimony. This elder is the very first elder from Syria to serve a mission. His testimony was AWESOME. His family was about to get on a train from Romania back to Syria and these missionaries saw them and just happened to have a Book of Mormon in Arabic. It totally changed his family's life. He talked about all the hardships he faced because our church is not welcome in Syria. His dad was arrested and he didn't know where he was for like 8 months. His mom almost lost her jaw or something. Anyway, he said whenever he went through a hard time, he could feel the Holy Ghost telling him, "Have faith. It will all work out." This totally inspired me. If he can go through all of this, then I can definitely serve in sunny beautiful CA for 18 months. I'm so grateful that I have the Holy Ghost with me as a constant companion. I know that if I have faith when I'm struggling then everything will work out.

President Burgess came to my branch's fast and testimony meeting which was awesome! I bore my testimony and pretty much just talked about what dad said in his letter about being a Zion missionary and going above and beyond what you are asked to do. So yeah that was cool. Also I've been leading the music a lot here so that's also cool. Oh! And I did choir! Did I tell you that already??? I've been able to go to the temple twice since I've been here and I love it! I keep learning and it's awesome!

Sorry I don't really have any good stories. Our days all just so packed with teaching and I pretty much just feel the spirit all the time. I miss you guys! I can't wait to talk to you tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ashlee or Sister Shlee or whatever you want to call me haha :)

This is my favorite picture in the MTC. The girl that I am pointing to is also Sister Olsen!!

Me and my companion Sister Stalder at the Provo Temple.

Me, Sister Stalder and Pres. Gines.

We were all matching and it was super cute :) Elder Ross is on the end. Basically he's the same person as Taylor except he's not shy haha. They have the same sense of humor and they look the same and they both really like soup.

Gotta love these Elders!!

My awesome district that I love to death! This pic is super awk.
Ross, Teichert, Poulter, Olson, Sandborn, Sis. Newcomb, Carlisle, me and Stalder

District 6B Selfie!

Sister Beck is in the red! she's from New Zealand. Then there's Sister Allen. They are both going to Kirtland and I'm super jealous. They're both so cute! They are replacing us as the STLs

Sister Johnson and I! It's been such a blessing having her here; I love her to death!


Here I come!!!!!