Monday, April 27, 2015

Bye Bye Banning! Greenie-Be-Gone

The time has come. I am being transferred.


Sister Magleby and I proselyting in the rain. The work never stops!

 Also I am officially done with training. Now I'm just a regular old joe; not a greenie. This is weird. Time is going by really fast. I am now going to be serving in Fontana in the Summitt Ward with Sister Hamblin. No idea who that is, but I guess I will be finding out on Wednesday!

Seriously so many miracles have happened this past week that I don't even know where to begin!

I guess I will start with District meeting. We have district meeting every Tuesday morning. Elder Glenn was my first district leader. He taught me a lot of stuff that was just really great. Every Tuesday I was seriously so uplifted and everything he said really helped me. This past week we talked about Great Faith and Mighty Prayer. That's actually something that our mission president has been talking about a lot and something that I have really been trying to work on. Something I have really been thinking about is how in the scriptures it says that spirit is matter. We can literally have more of faith or less of it. We acquire more faith by our prayers- the language we use and by truly PLEADING on our knees with our Heavenly Father. We talked about that and how we can really be guided by the spirit and have more success as missionaries if we really GET DOWN on our KNEES and PLEAD with God. Anyway this district meeting was like this huge pump up thing and we all walked away like YES!! LETS CONQUER THE WORLD!!!...

...then the rest of the day was really hard...

Banning right now is in the building stages. It's been pretty hard on a lot of us because only one companionship in our area has had a baptism since we have been here. Missionary work is just really hard. BUT because of that, instead of getting discouraged I try REALLY HARD to just have faith that everything is according to God's plan and I just pray my little heart out.

And the rest of the week was just full of 


First I will tell you about exchanges. Like always, I pray and pray and pray when we go on exchanges that I can be led where we need to be and how I can help the people in my area and the sister I am with. It was Thursday night at like 8 pm and something just didn't feel right. So Sister Jones and I (the sister I was doing exchanges with) pulled over in the McDonald's parking lot and I prayed and prayed. Nothing came to me. But I did notice that there were like a million people in McDonalds so I just thought somebody in there probably needs the gospel and we went in. 

Right when we walked in this 15-year-old boy walked up to us and was like "Hi Sisters!" And I had no idea who he was so I asked him what ward he was in. Turns out he was from Arizona. He said that there were a million people at McDonald's because of this choir trip he was on. He introduced us to his friends and we were able to give some of them Because He Lives cards and talk to them about the Resurrection. So that was pretty cool.

In the mornings, Sister Magleby and I usually run. But on Friday we were both just feeling super tired and out of it so we decided to walk. We came across this man  who was just outside walking. He said he was trying to clear his head before he woke up his girls. He told us about all of these trials he is going through right now and praying and praying and praying that God would send him someone or something that would help him.
And here come us...the missionaries.

So we were able to talk to him and all three of us really felt like our conversation was meant to be. Now he is an investigator. Good thing we just decided to walk that morning.

Another thing I was really praying for was a confirmation that I was helping someone in someway. I guess that was kind of a selfish thing to pray for... but I got a ton of answers to my prayers. We had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators on Tuesday.  He told us how much we meant to him. He said it meant a lot that we were taking time out of our lives to help people like him. And he said that he was really glad we were friends. So that was tender.

Then last night we had dinner with the Belcher family. Sister Belcher is from Brazil and she served her mission there too. Her husband just got baptized last year and he is now the High Priest Group leader in the Banning ward. She was telling us all about her mission and all of these wonderful people she met. Sister Mags and I had been talking a lot about how missionaries are pretty disposable so we told Sister Belcher about that. She got really emotional and said something like "Never say that! WE LOVE YOU. You are helping more people that you realize. YOU are CHANGING LIVES."

So I was all touched because Heavenly Father answered my prayers and made me feel a whole lot better, but then I realized something. I am not changing lives at all. The Holy Ghost is. I GET the privilege of being an instrument of the Lord for just 18 short months. I can't tell you how amazing and humbling that feels. It's not about me at all. I GET to see lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Also. Our investigator we have been trying and trying to get to church since I got here FINALLY came to church on Sunday! My last Sunday in Banning Ward. What a miracle/blessing. I want to thank all of you for your prayers concerning her. It has seriously helped so much. Heavenly Father has great plans for that family so keep praying!

Alright I'm about out of time. I wish I could just video tape my life and let you watch it. Heavenly Father is blessing me so much and I get to see all of these miracles and there isn't even time to tell you half of them. But. I did something really scary... I prayed for trials. Yup. I did it. I need a trial because I need a reason to get on my knees more and I need experiences that will change me and help prepare me to be a flipping awesome mom. So I did it. Please keep  me in your prayers because I know that something really hard is about to happen. But it's going to be the best blessing ever!

I really love all of you so much!

Love, Ashlee

P.S. I saw a billboard for the Charlie Daniels band. They are coming to Cabazon next month. Baby Charlie Daniels is a lot cuter than the fiddler Charlie Daniels.

Here is a couple of pictures from exchanges. I took better ones at the temple, but then they all got deleted last week sooo.. And yes. That is my lovely MTC comp Sister Stalder and her companion Sister Jones.

Throw back to my very first member dinner with the Holland's :) I love these people

Remember that picture I sent of the best meal I had ever had? Well this is round two. The Lagazo's son had a birthday party and there was even MORE delicious Filipino food! YAY!

The Holland's have a band and they played at the party. It was really great!
These are the Morenos. I just said good bye to them. They have taken such good care of Sister Magleby and I, and I really can't tell you how much I love them. Also we just took these so that's why I'm in PDAY clothes. We played games for pday today at their house

We have the same water bottle. We discovered it looks funny when you put it up to your face.
Rain or Shine! We are working hard!!
Heres a picture of me blowing bubbles during lunch. That was a good time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three whole months????

Well I guess I technically hit 3 months tomorrow, but still! That's 1/6 of my whole mission! It feels like time is flying! Well not all the time... but looking back as a whole is weird.

Let's talk about funny things; things I never thought I would do on my mission first. Remember the pictures of the camel and donkey? Well apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger's ex-wife lives in that neighborhood. I couldn't remember if I told you that already, but I thought you would enjoy that.

Also. Last week we went to Wienerschitzel to get a corn dog and the lady that took my order was like in awe of us. She wanted to know if we were nuns so I told her we were missionaries for the church and gave my schpeal and she was like oooo-ing and aw-ing. Then when she gave me my order she handed me my tray, then proceeded to bow and say "my lady". It was really quite hilarious.

Abe Lincoln's head was pretty awesome. There's something I never thought I would see on my mission.

Here's something that I also thought would never happen on my mission- all of the pictures on my camera got erased. Good thing I have been sending you most of them, but I had some REALLY cool pictures of Idlywild this week. Also I got to go to Redlands on exchanges and had Chick-fil-a and slurpees for the first time since I was home and they all got erased. Luckily Sis Mags took some pics at Idlywild. But all the pictures she had of me are really gross soo....I apologize for that. I don't really look like a representative of Jesus Christ in some of those pics. At least we still have Abe's head. That's what is really important.

But I really hope you are all saving my pictures because this could probably happen again in the future. Luckily we are getting IPads in a few months.

The work in Banning is really moving forward. We have a ton of AMAZING potential investigators. This week Sis. Mags and I are planning on inviting a lot of people to take the lessons, so I am pretty excited about that. We plan on having a lot of new investigators by the time the transfer ends- WHICH IS NEXT WEEK.

Oh and yes; we should address this. I only have one more week of training! This is my last greenie week! After the end of this transfer I will cease to be a padewon and become a full on Jedi Knight!

Anyway like I said, the members here in Banning are really helping us. And we are really connecting with people. I love it; it's awesome.

This week the Valencia family really outdid themselves. The Valencia's are a rockin' family in our ward. They went out of their way to pick up a less active girl for activity days and church this week without us even asking. What awesome member missionaries. I hope you are helping out the missionaries back home.

We had a really good lesson on Friday night with one of our investigators. She texted us right before church started and said she was putting on shoes and brushing teeth, but then didn't come. I've just decided I need to respect her agency and love her to death. Don't give up, but don't get discouraged.

Another neat lady we are working with came to church, too! We didn't expect her to come at all! She is this really sweet lady. I need to take a picture with her; she is just darling.

Well, that's about it for this week! When we were sitting in church I was quite discouraged because our investigator wasn't there, but I read the lyrics to "How Firm A Foundation" and it gave me a lot of comfort:
"Fear not, I am with thee; oh be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand. Upheld by my righteous, Omnipotent hand."

The church is true, I love you all and I am happy!



We went to this referral up on the bench and it was this giant house. Too bad the house was completely empty.... so we took a selfie.

No one's home! Or lives here!

This is Idlywild. It's the furthest place in our area so we had never gone before, but it's gorgeous! We went up there to deliver some birthday cards.
There was a lot of cool, random stuff up there in Idlywild. The whole time we were singing Jessica's theme because it looked like Man From Snowy River country! SO cool! Here's an Idlywild selfie.

Here's a picture of a giant statue of Abe Lincolns head we found while we were in Idlywild. Did I mention "random stuff?"

One more Idylwild selfie.

Okay. This is the last one. Promise.
This is Freattie. We love Freattie! He's actually a super funny really cool dude. We named that huge plant Paul.

This is Sister Schroth. I think I've sent a picture of her before. I absolutley love this woman! She is the president of the Quilters Guild. It's pretty awesome. All the cool ladies in Banning and Beaumont go. We go and help with it sometimes.

These are some of my favorite Young Women! L-R. Michelle Moreno, Madison  Westbrook, and Emily Moreno.  I absolutely adore them! Some of the greatest member missionaries I know!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hermana Olsen??

Hello everyone! Or should I say Hola!

Yup. I talked to my Mission President. Remember how my call says that the language is subject to change or whatever? Well now I am a Spanish speaking missionary. DON'T WORRY I'M ONLY FREAKING OUT A LITTLE BIT! I'm seriously soooo scared and don't know how this is going to all work out, but Heavenly Father does! I am confident that everything will be okay (:

Alright so updates on Monique. On Tuesday she came to the Relief Society activity!! We finally got her to come to something! We went to her house right before to see if she wanted to come and she was like "oh yeah you told me about that! Sure I'll come! Let me go get my purse!" She went up stairs to grab her stuff and Sister Magleby and I proceeded to silently have a dance party in her entry way. David and Natalie came too! But....then we were really sad because David is on this new little league baseball team. From what I gather it's sort of like CYA Allstars. But all of their games are on Sundays......... no idea how we are going to get that family to church. BUT I WILL NOT GIVE UP. Also Friday night we had a really great lesson with them. We went to the Price's house (they are members that Monique is friends with) and watched the Restoration. I was bearing my testimony and Monique was telling me she knew I was sincere because she could see it in my eyes. I can't tell you how happy that made me.

So I did my first exchange as a STL this week. IT WAS AWESOME. I was soooooooooooo incredibly nervous so I prayed my little heart out. I prayed all day long the day before and all day long the day of and all day long the day after (for gratitude of course!). Here's what I learned: truly getting down on our knees and pleading with our Heavenly Father yields amazing spiritual, emotional, and physical results. Heavenly Father took really good care of Sister Stalder and I.

Oh yeah did I mention I am Sister Stalder's STL? (my MTC companion). This is basically the coolest thing ever and let me tell you why. When we were at the MTC I had a very distinct feeling that we were supposed to be companions. She is in a HUGE area right now. She and her companion (Sister Jones, who I also went on exchanges with last transfer) are over a family ward (Milcreek) AND the YSA ward- which covers two whole stakes (Redlands and Yucaipa). They are struggling because their area is super tough. So Sister Magleby and I have been really praying about how to help them.

Going on exchanges with Sister Stalder was SO COOL. Some of the things I was really struggling with a few weeks ago is something that she's struggling with now. We are helping each other. It is obvious to me that this is meant to be. We talked a lot about how important it is to love the members and people we are teaching. We don't need to worry about if they love us or not if we are really being like the Savior and sincerely loving them. When we truly love other people and do everything we can to serve them, they will love us back. So we are both working on that. After we talked about that she said "I think that conversation was the whole purpose of this exchange" so that was really cool.

Hey guess what we did when we were on exchanges. We invited Teresa to be baptized. SHE SAID YES. IT WAS SO COOL MOM I WISH YOU COULD HAVE SEEN ME! I asked her to be baptized! It was the first time I have ever done that!!! And I did it with my greenie MTC companion! We are just two brand new missionaries inviting people to be baptized. It's fine. Heavenly Father DEFINITELY helped us out on that one!

Oh sorry. Teresa is one of our investigators. She is 22 and has two adorable little kids. She is married to a guy named Waseem. He's pretty cool. Not interested in the gospel though. She speaks Spanish and English is her second language. Good thing I am a Hermana now!

We are also working with a less active family. They are an older couple. Both converts. We have been going over every week and reading the Book of Mormon with them. They are really progressing! They are totally eating up the Book of Mormon and it's awesome! We have developed a great relationship with them. On Friday we went over there. As we were sitting there and he was talking about things that he was struggling with, I heard very clearly in my mind, "This is my choice son. I love him." The spirit was sooo strong in the room as Sister Magleby and I bore testimony of Heavenly Father's love for them. It was seriously so amazing.

Well that's about it for this week! I'll send some pics! Sorry I have been so bad with pictures! Good thing repentance is real!

Love, Hermana Olsen.

P.S. APRIL FOOLS! I'm not spanish speaking that was a joke :) Sorry I had to! Even though it's the middle of April...

Love, SISTER Olsen <3

This picture is actually from two weeks ago but I forgot to send pictures last week because I'm lame...This is Marissa and she is adorable! She is a Laurel and comes out with us once a week. She really loves us which is good because I REALLY LOVE HER! She gave us these chocolate bunnies for Easter :)

...And it was pretty hot that day so my bunny melted. Here is a really awkward selfie of Sister Magleby and I in the hot car with our chocolate bunnies. Enjoy.

My melted bunny. :(

Look mom I had mango sticky rice. Yum <3

Look mom I made smooth jello! Sister Magleby LOVES it! She also thinks its really funny that it's called SMOOTH jello. She is still cracking SMOOTH jello jokes. But she really loves it haha it's actually quite funny. 

And this is a picture of Monique's front table:) this just made me really happy.

Monday, April 6, 2015

That awkward moment when you're a Sister Training Leader and you don't even know it until the transfer is halfway over....

Greetings everyone! Ashlee the missionary here.

Alright first off, I stayed awake for all 5 sessions of conference and even took fantastic notes. Never thought that would happen on my mission; actually I never thought that would happen in my whole life so that's good!

Secondly, yes I am a Sister Training Leader and it wasn't a fluke. If you don't know what a STL is, that's probably because it's really new. They were created with the age change because so many sisters started coming in. A STL is the female equivalent to a Zone Leader. Sister Magleby was a STL last transfer and now we are companion STL's. We are over 4 companionships of sisters and go on splits with them once a transfer. When we go on splits, we make sure they are doing okay, being obedient, etc. We help them with planning and strengthening their areas.

Yes WE are supposed to be helping THEM.

I am a greenie STL.


What's awesome though is that it's not random. Heavenly Father needs me to be a STL right now. I have NO IDEA why or WHAT THE HECK he is thinking. I feel so inadequate it's not even funny. I'm seriously still a new missionary and I feel like I have absolutely no clue what I am doing. I'm already just completely going on faith for myself and my investigators and less actives and now I have to worry about 4 companionships. Yup. Dad wrote me a letter about how they can't fire me and not to stress about how many rules there are. Just to do my best. But what I am so stressed about is how many people I have to help. I feel like there is no way that I can do everything that my trainer and my mission president have said I needed to do. My best is not good enough.

The amazing part of this whole thing though is that my best doesn't have to be good enough because of the Grace of God. Did you fools watch conference? Because that's what President Uchdtorf talked about. And it's so true. I know that my best won't be good enough, but once I have done everything that I can possibly do Heavenly Father will take care of the rest.

So here are my mixed emotions about the situation:

-I have gained new confidence because Heavenly Father sees a lot of awesome potential in me.

-I'm totally stressed out because I have to worry about everyone and their dog.

-I feel so terribly inadequate and quite frankly scared because I have never had to rely this much on Heavenly Father in my life.

...But my testimony is growing at an exponential rate. I'm just totally livin' on 110% faith. It's flipping scary as heck and totally awesome.

So speaking of conference! First of all I'm incredibly worried about President Monson. He didn't look too good. Secondly, here are my take-a-ways:

1. Family is everything and ESSENTIAL to God's perfect plan. They talked about this a lot. Which is incredibly awkward as a new missionary. Marriage??? Babies??? Ummm....wut.

2. Helaman 5:12 is still my favorite scripture of all time. Has been since freshman year of seminary. It was mentioned in conference a lot. Even if they didn't talk about that scripture specifically a ton (it was mentioned once or twice) they talked a lot about building our foundation on Christ. So that's important. Oh and Dad told me that in his letter too. So yup.

3. LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE. Enough said!

So I would like all of you to tell me what your favorite talk was and how you are going to apply it. Elder Nelson said something about conference is great, but it doesn't really mean anything unless we allow it to change us. So if you could all tell me what your favorite talk is and how it's going to help you I WOULD LOVE THAT! It will really strengthen my testimony :). Also I feel like Elder Nelson's talk was really for our family so you should watch it again together as a family :)

My "favorite" (I got a lot out of all of them!) talk was Gerald Casse's. Something that he said that I really loved was "The gospel is a fountain of knowledge that never runs dry." We need to keep rediscovering the gospel and stay anchored on the simple truths of it. I loved how he finished with "I Stand All Amazed." When I read the scriptures and testify to people I teach I want to really think about- am I truly astonished?

One last experience I had- We almost didn't have an Easter dinner. Since it's General Conference, the meal calendar didn't get passed around in church. So we were planning on having oatmeal. Yup. But then we decided to visit a whole bunch of less actives to share the #becausehelives video with them. The sweet Tamulones family fed us. It was seriously the biggest miracle ever! There were like 30 nonmembers there! AND THE FOOD WAS GOOD. But hopefully we will get to teach them!

Well that's all the time I have this week! I LOVE YOU FAMILY. It looks like you had an amazing Easter! Miss you and hope to hear from you soon!