Monday, November 30, 2015

From blazing hot to freezing cold....

Okay well its not "freezing cold" but it's pretty cold up here! 

It gets down to the 40's at night. I know I have experienced a lot colder weather, but after being in over 100 degrees for 5 months my body is not doing so well.

Yucaipa is beautiful! I think everybody should live here! We have fall foliage (did I spell that right?) and apparently we get snow four times a year. There are a lot of elderly people here which really surprises me because it does get cold. I sort of assumed that all the older folks hibernated in Arizona during the winter months... but yes it's great here. 

The ward is about half of the size that my last ward was. But then again pretty much everyone was gone for the holiday this week so I don't know. We are living in a home share with a family called the Palmers. They are wonderful. I made a video tour of where we live, but it didn't work. Apparently President says we can make videos on our IPads as long as they are professional so I made some, but they are struggling to send from my IPad. I will try again next week. Sorry. I took some pictures for you though so hopefully those turned out good.

Man so much is happening. This email may be completely unorganized and out of control, but that's because that's how my brain is right about now. Sister Anderson and I are basically whitewashing because she has only been here for a transfer and it was her first transfer. Oh my goodness she is making my life so much easier though. I can totally tell that she has just thrown herself into the work and has been trying so hard for the past 6 months to learn everything and get to know the area quickly. That has seriously been such a blessing.

Well usually when you go to a new area and you and your companion are both new you go straight to the bishop and ward council. Unfortunately, everyone was gone for turkey day. I did get to meet the Ward Mission Leader last night right when he got home from his vacation. I really miss Brother Budge (my last WML). But this new guy seems pretty good. I'm still just trying to figure out everything so...yeah.

Thanksgiving was great. I don't know if you got my video, but we had it with this Brazilian lady and her family. The Van Horn's. They are super nice. Our investigator didn't have anywhere to go so we brought her with us. I think that was my favorite part; helping someone feel included. I really felt like I was doing what the Savior would want me to and it felt really good. Our investigator is a sweet lady. Hopefully she will get baptized soon. She is progressing. If you could all pray for her that would be great.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you! Sister Magleby served here for 3 months last year right before she got me. The legacy continues :) Of course everyone loves her here so it's just a lot of fun. I am also in President Miskins ward. He is a counselor to my mission president. So that's pretty intimidating. Actually gospel principles was way scary/ tons of fun because he was there and the counselor's in the stake presidency were there filling in for our bishopric that was out of town. We also had an investigator there that Sister Magleby taught. The lesson was on the second coming. It was actually way cool because they all started talking about the first resurrection and I actually learned a lot. So that was way cool.

I'm doing great. My companion is wonderful. Actually Sister Anderson is already one of my favorite companions. She is super sweet and just loves everyone. Super cute. Well I think that's all from me this week. I am doing good and looking forward to serving here. It's a lot smaller and more wealthy than my last area so it will be challenging, but I got the scriptures and preach my gospel and of course the Spirit. All is well. I'm just cold. But I am happy. There is always things to be happy about. Whether it's the beautiful leaves or testifying to a stranger of the Book of Mormon, the small things are what makes me happy. I look at that picture of the pioneer girl skipping down the blue path everyday and remind myself of that.

Love you all! Glad you had a great Thanksgiving. Everyone is looking so much older. I'm glad to see your smiles.
Have a great week!

Sister Olsen 

Saying goodbye to the Smith family; I worked with them in Fontana.

Our last district meeting in Fontana. Me and Sister Magleby.

My new companion Sister Anderson and I with our friend Carl who was baptized one year ago.

Pictures of my new area Yucaipa; lots of farm land but also has neighborhoods.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Turkey Day!!! Transfers!

Alright I might as well just jump right into it:
I'm getting transferred on Wednesday. I am going to Yuciapa (U-KAI-PAH) 1st ward. Yes I know that is the strangest word you have probably ever seen. Actually, Banning Ward is in the Yuciapa Stake. So I am going back to the zone I was trained in. I am follow up training a sister that came out with Sister Erickson. And my new area is one of the wealthiest areas in the mission.

So. Training round two. It should be a pretty interesting experience. Sister Magleby served there and she loved it. She said it's one of her favorite areas. That makes me feel pretty good about it. I guess I'm just really nervous because being senior companion is really really REALLY stressful. However. If I have learned anything at all on my mission it's that I can do hard things. Basically, if you are comfortable then you aren't growing. And I sure have a longgggggggggggggg way to stretch and grow so this will be good for me.

This week Sister Erickson and I have been conquering our fears of talking with everyone! I am learning to fear God more than man. It's still a work in progress, but I feel like I have gotten a lot better. So that's good.

We picked up a really awesome investigator that I am really sad I won't be teaching. His name is Lou. It was dark and windy when we first saw him outside his home, but he was like right next to a member we were seeing so we looked at each other and said "I FEAR NO MAN!" We went right up and talked to him and he was pretty cool. He is a police officer and has a really cute family. We went back with our ward mission leader and had a really great lesson about the Book of Mormon. He totally clicked with our ward mission leader and they are like BFF's now. As we were talking with him and he was sharing experiences with us, it was cool to see how the Lord has prepared him. 

Well. I'm really going to miss this area. I was secretly hoping that I was going to stay so I could be here for the Holidays. Heavenly Father has other plans for me. I just told Brother Budge (the ward mission leader) and he was pretty sad. I really love his family so much and I have really grown to love this ward. I hope I get to stay in an area this long again. It's so hard, but it's so worth it. And honestly, I feel like the hardest things in life are the best. Nothing really is worth it unless it requires work. 

Alright family. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all of you and your examples to me. I am thankful for missionary work and the opportunity I have to serve a mission and to change so I can learn how to be a wonderful mother and spouse someday. I am thankful for my Savior and all he has done for me. I know I won't be able to comprehend all he has done for me in this life, but I love him with all my heart and my greatest desire is to become like him.

Have a great week!

Sister Olsen

Temple Trip!! These are the sisters that were in our session. RtoL- S. Erickson, S. Rivera (my stl when I was with S. Hamblin), S. Daulton, S. Gunn (she was in the MTC with me. We sat next to each other on the plane here.) and S. Fife (S. Magleby trained her.)
Sister Erickson and I.

Sister Stacey. The relief society president and basically the most wonderful woman on the planet.
Gospel principles on Sunday

Brother Ron Hatch that got baptized right before S. Shin left and my amazing Ward mission leader Brother John Budge.
Mark and Mondi Taylor had us decorate their tree! 
The lights change colors!

I was feeling a little under the weather last week so my Ward mission leaders kids brought me some orange slices

Monday, November 16, 2015

The California Redlands Mission is ON FIRE!!!!!

Hello Family!
From what I can see, everyone is safe and happy. Yay! Another successful week! I must be doing something right because I know my family is receiving blessings.

What a week. We had zone conference this week. President Van Cott talked to us for 7 hours about being on FIRE and talking with everyone. I would like to share one of the scriptures we talked about that has had a huge impact on me:

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Wow. I was pretty silent during the whole zone conference because I was silently repenting. We cannot have faith and fear. Either we serve God and talk with everyone and share the gospel with everyone he places in our path, or we are serving man by fearing him and not sharing.

During zone conference, this sweet sister raised her hand and started to cry. She was upset because of all the times she chose fear over faith and as a result someone didn't get to hear about the gospel. This sister has been out for 5 weeks. I have been out for 10 months. So then I started to cry because I thought of countless people that I neglected to share the gospel with. 

I think I went through the biggest repentance process that I have ever gone through in my whole life. After I started thinking about all of the people I have ran into on my mission, I thought of all of the people from Lees Corner through Chantilly High School. Some of those people I was with for 12 years and I never once invited them to church. I kept them from the knowledge of the gospel because I was too afraid. 

We cannot not be afraid to share the gospel. There are so many people that don't know Christ's church is on the earth right now. How can they be prepared for the next life and fully enjoy this life if they don't even know that? I don't know about you, but I do not want to stand before God and tell him that not just one, but several people were kept from the truth because I was too afraid to open my mouth and invite. I have realized this week that that possibility is way more terrifying than someone saying, "no thanks."

I have this new vigor (did I use that word correctly...) inside of me to invite everyone I know and see. And their kids. And their dogs. And their birds. This isn't just a good message that we love because it's the life style we grew up with. This is the TRUTH. This is the ONLY WAY that men can be saved! EVERYONE needs to know about it!!!!
So I have repented. In the last two days, Sister Erickson and I (if I have counted correctly) have talked with over 40 people. Out of those 40 people we got 1 return appointment. The missionaries cannot do this work without you! You're friends are the ones that are being prepared right now. And I did notice something from talking with people. The more I do it, the easier it is. The more I do it, the happier I feel. The more I do it, the more the Spirit is with me.

Missionary work doesn't have to take time out of your day. I feel like everyone thinks missionary work is a project. All you need to do is talk with people. Be a friend. Invite people to church. "Hey we are having a great church service this Sunday and one of my friends is speaking. Would you like to come?" That's it. I know it's scary, but the more you do it the easier it is.

I know this is God's work. So much so that I just want to shout it from the roof tops. But then that would make everyone think that I was a weirdo so that would actually be counterproductive... but you know what I mean. I just have felt such an urgency in my bones to share this with everyone. I hope I'm not being preachy because their is nothing more annoying than a preachy missionary. I just want all of you to know how much I love my Savior and how much I want to share that with other people. And I just want to empower you to be awesome missionaries because I know Heavenly Father sees such great potential in all of us.

I love you all. The church is true. I know that because I see it change lives, including my own. And all good things come from God.
Have a great week! Missionary challenge: Invite someone to church this Sunday!
Sister Olsen

Monday, November 9, 2015

:) :) :)

Hi family!

I am running out of clever subject titles for my weekly emails. I still have a ton to write soooo that's not good!

It looks like it was another wonderful week in good old Tennessee. Glad to see that! Everyone looks great and happy which makes me happy!

This week was very very interesting. Being senior companion has been a very interesting adjustment. Taking the lead in everything has definitely been stretching me. Which is good! I can definitely feel the weight of my calling. But it's good for me. 

Guess who was my companion for a whole day? SISTER MAGLEBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! She is our STL this transfer!!!! So we got to go on an exchange.............and I just realized I didn't take a picture...........dang it. She said we were going to go on another one so I will take one then :) I can totally picture Elder Bednar seeing my face and everything to decide where I was going to serve my mission. I can almost hear him saying, "Sister Olsen's companion is in Redlands, California." I wouldn't be surprised at all if THE main reason I came here was so Sister Magleby could train me. I sure love that lady.

The week started out really, really rough but seriously ended in so many miracles. We have really been working hard on finding through members and we did!!! We got a new investigator! She is living with a family that got baptized about 5 years ago and recently moved into the ward. We had no idea that they had a non member living with them, but during nightly planning their names came to mind. We visited them and they came to church yesterday. We are excited to work with their family.

We also talked with a lot of members about friends they are working with. We set goals with the members to introduce us to their friends. So there are more new investigators to come! 

We are also seeing the blessings of talking with everyone and always asking for referrals. We visited a former investigator to ask for a referral and she sent us to her neighbor across the street. We didn't get to go inside and teach a lesson because his wife wasn't home, but we talked to him outside about the Restoration for a while and was totally interested! Also he showed us his garage. We just peered in again because his wife wasn't home. His garage is basically the coolest thing ever. He is a Tai-Chi master and his garage is FULL of martial arts stuff. Again I didn't take a picture. I'm an idiot. Also he has two really old Chevy's that are probably the coolest cars I have ever seen. I jokingly asked him if he has met Mr. Mayagi (I butchered that but the master in Karate Kid) and he actually has met him. And Jackie Chan. He had some awesome pictures and lots of very impressive stuff. Anyway. The coolest part was he was interested in the gospel.

We met a lot of cool people this week that we will hopefully be working with next week. I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father. I don't love grocery shopping, but unfortunately we are running late and we have to go do that now. Love you all so much! Have an awesome week :)

Love, Sister Olsen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Small Miracles

Hello family!

This week has been great. I have never been so tired in my whole life so I don't really remember most of it, but it was great! Sister Erickson and I are really focusing on talking with everyone and asking everyone for referrals. We have definitely seen the blessings from that!

Earlier this week, I felt a prompting to try a potential investigator. She wasn't home, but her son was and he was totally interested in hearing our message! He was the only one home so we couldn't go in, but we hopefully will be meeting with him soon. When we were walking away from his house this landscaping guy called at us to come over and asked if we had anything for him to read. I said, "Oh boy do I ever!" Just kidding I didn't say that. But we did give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said he had met with missionaries before. He lives in LA, so we can't teach him, but the missionaries there will.

Okay the coolest thing ever happened yesterday. Basically, our whole ward is trying so so so hard to do missionary work, but they are still scared to invite their friends. They do all the social stuff- for example there were A TON of non members at the ward Halloween party, but they have a hard time talking about spiritual stuff with their friends. Yesterday, one of the things I was fasting about was the members being able to do missionary work. The Ott-Beachum family invited their friend Molly to church yesterday. Don't worry because Molly totally got up in fast and testimony meeting and bore her testimony about how impressed she was with our church! We had dinner with their family and Molly that night. We were able to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She lives two hours away, so we won't be teaching her, but it was still really cool to see how the Spirit affected her.

We also picked up a new family to teach this week. Unfortunately. they are moving out of the area next month, but we will continue to work with them until that point. We have only had one lesson with their whole family, but they seem pretty interested and genuine.
So yes. We are sharing the gospel. We may not have a lot of people to teach right now, but we are trying our hardest and doing everything we know to do. I know Heavenly Father will bless us for that.

I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday. I had to. I really really felt it. I have been in this area for such a long time. I know that it's for a reason. I have seriously learned so, so much. When I decided to come on a mission, I had no idea why. I never planned on serving a mission my whole life. I'm only half way and still have a lot to learn and experience. But I know that I have served in this ward for a reason. I have learned so much about myself and the Gospel. I had a testimony before, but now I am converted. I know that I was sent to these specific people for a reason. They have been wonderful examples to me. I also know that we come on our missions to "teach and not be taught." But by teaching I have learned and grown in ways I would have never been able to if I hadn't served here.

THE CHURCH IS TRUE! It's true because it is Jesus Christ's church. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. It has brought me closer to Christ "than any other book."
Love you all!
Have a wonderful week :)

Sister Olsen

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