Monday, December 28, 2015

Last email of 2015!!!!

Can you believe it?! I certainly can't! This is crazy! I think the craziest part is that I have been a missionary for most of this year.
What the heck! My life is flashing before my eyes!

On a more serious note, thank you to everyone for sending me Christmas cheer. Really though. I can't tell you how loved I have felt this past Christmas season. It has really meant a lot to me and has really helped me feel of Heavenly Father's love for me. I marked all of the scriptures you all sent me and took time to study all of them. I think only three were repeated (mom thought only one was repeated but I found two more duplicates. Three duplicated scriptures out of 71 is pretty amazing though!) Helaman 5:12 (my personal favorite scripture) Matthew 5:16 and Proverbs 3:5-6. First I would like to point out that all of these are scripture masteries so way to go everyone for paying attention in seminary. Also these are all scriptures that I really needed and had personal relevance to my life. Thank you all for your examples, prayers, and love. I surely need it!

This week has seriously been a blur. I know I say that most weeks, but this one was especially. We visited SO MANY PEOPLE. Holy cow sister Andersen and I were EXHAUSTED when we got home after Christmas. We literally wrapped up everything we had; Books of Mormon, pictures of Jesus, candy, MOTR DVDs; you name it we wrapped it. All day long we

just shared our testimonies with people. Let me tell you: it rocked. I was on such a spiritual high which is probably why I crashed so hard afterwards.

One of my favorite experiences of the day was caroling at the old folks home. We went with Sister Stalder (my MTC companion) and the new missionary she is training. We started singing in the hallway to three old ladies. Actually one was a member and the nurse didn't realize we were talking to her and started pushing her away in the wheelchair.

After about two feet the lady screamed, "NO! Those are my missionary girls!" The nurse was so embarrassed. It was cute. Anyway. We sang for about an hour straight and by the end the whole hallway was full of about 30 or so old people and they were all enjoying listening to us. I was so happy to see all these people and was really feeling good about myself. Right after we finished, everyone started walking into the room behind us. It was the cafeteria. Sooooo pretty much everyone was just waiting in line for lunch. Kind of funny, but we still enjoyed it. We had Christmas Eve dinner with the Miskins. President Miskin is president Van Cotts counselor. So that was fun to spend time with them. They really made us feel at home and loved.

Also something crazy happened this week. There was an emergency transfer and our district got split on Tuesday morning. Our new district leader was in the desert and he found out on Monday night that he was whitewashing a new area with a new missionary that came out with Sister Andersen. And that he was district leader and had to be at district meeting here the next morning. This was three days before Christmas. He came to district meeting 30 minutes late and looked super stressed. I felt bad for him. Glad I will never be district leader! Good news is I am the oldest person in my district.... Everyone else is 19. So I got that going for me. It's really weird.

Well the time has come. Love you all! Have a great week!


Sister Olsen

P.S. See you next year ;)

The final product of the scripture tree. I don't think you can even see green on it its so full of scriptures!

People in Yuciapa have some crazy Christmas decorations.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Merry Christmas everyone!

What a wonderful time of year to share the gospel and to testify of Christ!
Wow. When I was emailing today I was reading what I was saying at looking at all these little cheesy phrases I was throwing in my emails. I have come to the sad realization that I have become that weird missionary that I swore I would never be. But I have come to terms with it because this really is the only time in my life that I can be spiritual and super close with my Savior. So I'm just going to roll with it and soak it all up!

What a week! I think... I can't really remember. Bahaha. What else is new. Sister Anderson and I have had a glorious time strutting the streets of Yucaipa, boldly testifying of the birth of our Savior. Here is something wonderful, but also stressful, about Yucaipa: pretty much everyone goes to church and believes in Christ. There are seriously about 7 churches down the main road here that takes about 5 minutes to drive down. Yupp. Everyone just really loves Jesus. So that's a real blessing because it's really easy to start testifying of Christ, the hard part is getting them to take the Book of Mormon and let them know that this is the only true church on the earth.... So basically we just testify of Christ all the time and just let people know that they can come closer to him when they read the Book of Mormon. Because that's true. And that's what I am here for.

Our ward is so awesome. There are always several nonmembers at church on Sundays. President Van Cott's counselor lives in our ward and he has this ward doing missionary work. Actually, some days I kind of feel like they don't need me. They are seriously so awesome. But they do need me so I will stay :)

I am so excited for Christmas Eve. President Van Cott has asked us to go in at 6 so we can have plenty of time to study Jesus Christ's life and the true meaning of Christmas. I have really felt the Savior's love for me the past week. There are a lot of really REALLY great missionaries in my mission that are working some pretty wonderful miracles, and sometimes I kind of feel like I am doing something wrong, or I am not living up to my full potential. But I have really been studying the Atonement a lot this week and reading in 3rd Nephi. I have always compared myself to others my whole life, but I am finally beginning to realize that I am who I am and that God really does love me. The thought has often popped into my head this week, "Sister Olsen, why on earth would I suffer everything I suffered and gone through everything I went through if I didn't love you?" And I know that's not just true for me, but for all of us. And that's something that I am really thinking about this Christmas season. The gift that Heavenly Father has given us, his only Begotten Son, to suffer for everything that we have done wrong and any bad thing that we have experienced. I know that if we are ever struggling, we can just lean on him because he has struggled with the same thing. I have known this my whole life, but I think sometimes because we talk so much about it in church it gets overplayed and it stops loosing it's meaning. Maybe not. But I do know that God is fully aware of everything in my life. The tricky part is just letting him take it and stop worrying about things outside my control. He wants us to be happy. We just need to make that choice. And we have every reason to be happy.

I think once you take away all of the wrapped gifts and all the treats (which unfortunately we have still had plenty of...) and all the parties, you really focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I think that's something that I really really needed in my life and I am grateful for the gift that we have received to be free from guilt and experience lasting happiness.

Merry Christmas! I love all of you! I know you all are sharing the true meaning of Christmas with those around you that might not know who their Savior is. If not, I can promise as Christ's representative that nothing will bring you greater peace and happiness.

Sister Olsen

Merry Christmas!! I've loved 
marking everyone's favorite scripture; it's really helped me feel the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you all!!

Tearing up carpet for a family in our ward.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Surprise Baptism

Guess what?!? 
Joshua and Jiselle got baptized this week so I got to go back to Fontana!!!! OH SHOOT I JUST REALIZED I FORGOT TO GET THE PICTURES. Dang it! I had to leave my iPad with my companion because it had the areabook in it so I had Sister Jensen (my ward mission leader's wife that took me to the baptism) take pictures on her phone and then she was going to air drop them to me.......oh well I will send them next week. But it was so weird to go back. It was so fun to see everyone though! I just love that ward with every fiber of my being :)

This week was great! I think...what even happened this week. Time is just flying by because we are so busy trying to get to know everyone and working so much and I just come home and crash and do it all over again! It's so awesome! I'm like a missionary machine! But really I don't even remember what happened this week.

Oh this is a good story. So we stopped in this bathroom in a community center. This 16 year old girl was in there with us and we started talking. It turns out that her two friends from school had just died in a car crash. We went into the sitting area in the community center and taught her the Plan of Salvation. She had a lot of questions. Of course she is 16 so we have to talk to her family before we can officially teach her, but it was cool to see the Lord place someone in our path.

Sister Anderson got her iPad this week and we went to a training meeting with all the new missionaries and the mission president. I always love receiving counsel from President Van Cott. He really is inspired and loves all of us.

Darn it! Already time to go. I have been thinking a lot about repentance lately. Mostly because for me, the hardest part is forgiving myself. It's so dumb because it's not even like I am doing anything "wrong" but I feel like I just mess up all the time. I guess we all feel that way... Anyway, I guess something I have learned this week that I can share with you is that it's okay to forgive yourself. Really Heavenly Father loves us so much and he sent his own son to take away all of those crummy things that don't make us feel good. If he doesn't want us hanging on to stuff like that, then there really isn't any use to hate ourselves when we make a small mistake. Just something I have been thinking about this week I felt I should share.

Love you all! I am seriously so happy that you 

are all happy! Have a great week and don't 

forget to share the gospel!


Sister Olsen

Making treat platters with Sister Elarbee

Caroling with the Activity Day Girls

A home lit up at night in Yucaipa

Picture of our zone

Monday, December 7, 2015

All Missionaries in the California Redlands Mission are safe

But really though all the missionaries are just fine. There is a family in our ward; the husband was at the shooting and was shot at several times, but no bullets actually hit him. We took him some Christmas cookies, but his wife said he wasn't up for talking which is totally understandable. We are praying for him; there really is only one thing that can heal what he went through- the Atonement. So hopefully we will be able to help him. 

We have also been discussing the shooting in our street contacting. One person accepted to take the lessons after we talked about it and another accepted the invitation to come to church. So hopefully both of those families will progress.

This area is so different from my last one. Fontana seems like a weird dream now. This area is so beautiful and also it's super old. I think that's why I like it. There are horses everywhere and apple farms and all this other exciting stuff. I can't wait to take you here someday. The people here are very interesting... they are mostly pretty wealthy and already have churches that they go to. Street contacting has been a challenge. So we really have to work with the members. I have found though that if you are super bold and loving with the members they help you out. 

We have been meeting some of the members friends and helping the members with their own missionary work, and that has been great. Somehow we have two investigators progressing towards a baptismal date. That is such a blessing. I seriously have no idea how that happened. It's kind of like Juan. But yes. We are just super busy. The sister before me did a TON of less active work so we have been helping a lot of them. I have forgotten how hard it is to go to a new place and get to know 400 new people. It's a work in progress. I have a feeling that I won't be here for very long and by the time I get to know everyone I will be transferred. But that's okay. I will just work hard everyday and see what happens.

This will make dad happy; a member in our zone teaches self defense classes. He teaches the sister missionaries in the zone on Mondays for free. That's actually why I am emailing a little later today than I usually do. It was so fun! I think I might actually be able to beat Taylor up when I come home! It's way fun and it's good exercise. 

We were seriously so busy this week and I don't even remember what happened... All I remember is we talked to a ton of people that I don't even know, helped members with missionary work, and totally crashed every single night. Seriously though last night I don't even remember putting myself in bed I was so tired. Being a missionary is definitely exhausting I will tell you that much.
Here's the thing; the longer I am out, the weaker I feel. The older missionaries keep telling me that's a good thing because it means I am getting closer to the Savior....but I don't know.... I still feel like I just got here. I really thought I would be an expert by now, but I am still learning everyday and relying on the Spirit 300% of the time. I definitely have a testimony of the power of prayer I can tell you that much.

Well family, sorry this is short, but I am having a really hard time remembering the week. Just know we are safe and trying our hardest to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do. Hopefully we are succeeding in that, but we definitely have a long ways to go! 
Love you all! Missionary challenge: Invite someone to church this week! Blessings will come of it!

Your Missionary,
Sister Olsen