Monday, July 25, 2016

The RM.....

What the what what what?

I never thought in my entire life that I would be a returned missionary. This is so weird. This week was the fastest and most bizarre week of my entire life. MY ENTIRE LIFE. Especially this weekend. So many small miracles happened. I bore my testimony in church
on Sunday. It was just a really good weekend.

I don't want to write too much. I really just want my last email to be my testimony. It's super simple, but powerful. I know that Heavenly Father is real. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet on the Earth today. The priesthood is back on the earth. I know that because of that, we can be with our families forever. FOREVER. That's a long time! You're stuck with me suckers! I know that the temple is the house of God. I love the temple! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed me to serve in the same area as the temple. I know the Book of Mormon will bring us closer to Jesus Christ more than we can imagine. I can't even explain how much I love my Savior and how grateful I am for what He has done for me. I am the farthest thing from perfect, but because of Him, I can be like my Heavenly Father someday. Thank you so much for all of the support you all have shown me on my mission! This has been a group effort for sure. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my team! So excited to see everyone and be missionaries unleashed together!

Love, your missionary,
Sister Olsen.

What I will miss most about California

Crystal and Tina and I on my last Sunday
Look Dad, I found John Stockton's house

The Redland's Trio

I taught my last lesson on Sunday night on the temple grounds. It was super spiritual.

Some pictures by my temple.

Sister Reil on the left and Sister Christiansen on the right. We made a great team!
Good-bye photo: Sisters Hamblin, Ashcraft, me, Hess, Reihl, Christiansen, Fife

Very last picture as a missionary! See you tomorrow!!!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Missionary Work Unleashed

Hi family!

This is so flipping weird. I still feel like I am going to be on my mission for the rest of my life. The past 18 months have definitely not "flown by" as they say, but they are going to end next week. NEXT WEEK. I have been saying for the past few months that I never wanted my mission to end. I think that was super silly of me. Everything is slowly coming into perspective for me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into two years ago when I decided to serve a mission. I had no idea what missionary work was. I never really had a lesson on it in church (if I did I wasn't paying attention). I literally had no clue what missionaries did. And I had no idea why Heavenly Father even suggested a mission in the first place.

Truth is, I still don't know everything. In fact, I would say I don't know most things. But I do have a greater perspective of who God is, what His plan is for all of us, and what that means for me.

At the beginning I was so focused on others. I thought the whole thing was to bring other people to Christ. Which, don't get me wrong, that's a huge part of my mission. I don't want to seem selfish when I say this, but my mission is about me. My success as a missionary will not be measured by the number of people I taught. My success as a missionary will be measured 20 years from now. If I am actively living the gospel of Jesus Christ and raising my family on gospel principles, then I will know that I served a successful mission.

I know that God loves each and every one of us. He wants us to return and live with him again. Our lives are about us earning our salvation. The way we do it may be through loosing our lives in the service of others and keeping our covenants, but I'm pretty sure at judgement day, my conversation with God won't be about the guy in my plans for three o'clock in the afternoon. It will be about me; the choices I made and if I kept my covenants. The past couple days I have been getting really excited to experience my life. I think it's been childish of me to be depressed about going home. Life is a journey and a part of it is change. I should be excited about experiencing new things and seeing what my Heavenly Father has in store for me. Change is good. I'm super nervous because everyone has been telling me that adjusting back to normal life is hard, but I know my Savior (and mom) will help me. I'm just excited for a new chapter and to apply everything I have learned from my mission. Basically, my mission has been the MTC for my life. I'm ready to live it!

This week I am just going to focus on making sure these sisters are ready to take over the area. We are going to find a new family to teach and I'm pretty excited! I told Heavenly Father that I just really want to enjoy this last week and see a ton of miracles! What I am going to miss most is how I feel when I talk with people. This week, we went on exchanges with the Spanish sisters again. While Sister West was teaching this woman in Spanish, I was teaching her husband in English. There was a lot he didn't understand about repentance. So I taught him super simply and just felt overwhelming love for him. I felt what his Heavenly Father wanted him to hear. I feel that all the time when I'm talking with people. I know it comes with the calling of being the Lord's missionary, but I hope it doesn't go away!

Anyway. Have a great week. We are going to knock 'em dead here in Millcreek! Love you all. Thank you so much for all the support you have given me on my mission. There is no way I could have done all of this alone.

Jesus Christ lives. I know that he is more than aware of everything we are going through. He has experienced all of it himself. I know that Thomas S. Monson is His prophet on the earth today. I know that His church has been restored to the earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints isn't just some other church. It is literally run by God himself. He wants us to come to him. I know that a lot of people that read my blog are not members of the church. I know they might have questions or wonder why I would leave my family, school, dating, etc. for 18 months to go to a place where I knew no one to just talk to people about the restored gospel. Please feel free to ask me! I love talking about the gospel and my mission. Ask me about my experiences. Ask me about my beliefs. I promise I won't push or pry or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. If my church was a cake, it would be the biggest most delicious, delectable, desirable, scrumptious, cake ever! I just want to share with everyone! It's fun to share the gospel! And if you don't like it, that's totally okay. I'll still be your friend and love you to death. But you have nothing to loose and everything to gain :)

Love your missionary,
Sister Olsen

P.s. Just because I'm loosing the badge doesn't mean my mission ends! The field is white and already to harvest in Tennessee and Logan Utah, too. Watch out world, because when I come home it's going to be missionary work unleashed!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Last Chance!!!

Hey kids! 

If you want to send me an actual letter, this week is your last chance! Just thought I would throw that out there :)

This week was weird. It was fast and slow. We met President and Sister Dixon this week! Oh my gosh they are literally the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life! I loved, loved talking to them. They made me feel so good when they were talking all about Aunt Cindee and how much they have been looking forward to meeting me. 

He told us all about how he was called to be a mission president and when he was set apart by President Eyring. He said that ALL of the missionaries serving with President Dixon is for a reason. It made me feel like we were supposed to serve together even if it is only for a few weeks. Anyway. They are amazing people. I hope my future family is just like theirs.

We actually had lessons this week! Hallelujah! We picked up this new family. We felt like we needed to be on a certain street so we went and we met this super cute family. They are very active in their faith, yet we're very intrigued by the thought of modern day prophets. So we will see how that goes.

My testimony of the Atonement grows everyday. I just am so mind boggled of how much Heavenly Father loves me. He has been so patient with me this transfer. It makes me want to treat others better and have more patience.

Anyway. Out of time. Sorry this is so short. But I love you all! Thanks for being awesome and I hope you have a great week :)

Love your missionary,
Sister Olsen

Here are some super awkward pictures of us and the Smiley Sisters and our Color Me Mine pday activity. (LtoR- Reil, Hess, Me, Fife, Christiansen)

There is this super fancy mansion in Redlands called Kimberly crest. They have debutante classes for girls under 18. They celebrated 100 years and had a huge celebration. They asked all the missionaries in Redlands to come help them set up. We set up 300 tables and chairs in about 45 minutes. Afterword I made all the missionaries sing armies of  Helaman to all the workers. The elders weren't very happy. Now watching the video it was probably pretty awkward.... But I really felt the spirit super strong when we were singing. It was awkward but also cool....

Sister Orr, Sister's Fife, Hess and Erickson and West on the front row, then Sister's Reil, Olsen and Christensen on the back row.

The trio: Sister Christiansen, me and Sister Reil

Frozen bananas on the Fourth of July!

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 2016.


Just last week it still seemed like I was going to be on my mission for the rest of my life. And then one morning I woke up and it was July. Not going to lie I would like to throw up all over the floor. My mission really is going to end. I'm not very happy about that. I am excited to see everyone, but there is something so special about being a full time missionary. Good thing I still have three whole more weeks!

Not going to lie people, we had a rough week. But, Heavenly Father loves us so much. He is seriously so patient with me. I'm so indecisive and such a spaz, but for some reason unknown to man, He still is blessing us.

We fasted this week for a prepared soul to teach. We fasted and prayed that we would be able to work with the members better and receive more referrals. Literally right when we ended our fast,  the stake president's wife called us. She said she wanted us to come over for dinner on Tuesday night with her nonmember friend and teach her the missionary lessons. Crazy right?! We received 5 referrals yesterday from a bunch of different people. A ton of sisters asked if they could go out with us this week and we actually have some appointments and good things lined up! Hooray!

I don't have pictures to send this week- sorry! But we are getting all our stuff done early today so we can do some cool Fourth of July activities. Redlands is quite the place for Fourth of July. Our mission president asked us to be in by 6 pm. So we will just do regular pday stuff plus some finding since there will be a bunch of people out. I'm sure I'll have some great picture to send home next week.

Love you all! I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of all of you. If you do have any questions or anything you need, I invite you to ask Him in prayer and fast about it. I have seen so many miracles from fasting on my mission. I hope you all have a great week.

Your missionary,
Sister Olsen

Monday, June 27, 2016

New mission president+new apartment +new companions+new district+new transfer= CLEAN SLATE

Hi family.

How the heck are ya?

Not going to lie, this week was pretty crazy and stressful and weird and AHHH! 

So what happened with transfers was the A.P.'s called us on Sunday night to tell us Sister Jensen was getting transferred and that I was getting a new missionary. I was pretty upset to be honest. My prediction with transfers was this- We were living with the sisters in Smiley Ward (mission president's Ward). Since we were already living with them I thought they were just going to stick me in a trio with them. I was all for that because I thought it would be super cool to be in Smiley Ward for the new mission president's first transfer. Also I really love those sisters. A lot of our investigators dropped us and our teaching pool shrank. So since we weren't teaching and there is already elders in our Ward, I thought for sure they would just take sisters out of Millcreek. 

On top of that, they switched our apartments. I will probably spend my entire pday cleaning. (we were moved into an apartment some Elder's lived in. Don't need to expound on that...)

So I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. But then on Monday night I got Sister Reil. Oh my gosh she is so awesome! She is from Alberta, Canada and she is so funny. She makes us laugh all the time. She is such a hard worker and one of the most obedient missionaries I have ever met.

On Tuesday morning we went to district meeting as normal. But president did transfers on Tuesday afternoon this time instead of Wednesday morning. They moved out of the mission home this week so it could be cleaned and all ready for the Dixons. They were staying at a member's home and didn't have anywhere for the new missionaries to sleep on Tuesday night, so they had to do the new training meeting right after the new missionaries got here. 

Poor Sister Christiansen (my second companion) woke up at 2 am and got here in the morning, had brunch with the Van Cotts and then met us at the training meeting. Usually the new missionary training meetings are from 9 am to 3 or 4 pm. This one was from 1:30 pm to 5 pm. That is nothing! We usually get all this instruction about how to train a new missionary and ZIP. Only three English sisters came in this transfer. So there were 7 of us in the meeting. Sister Gunn who was in the MTC with me is training and also the sister that Sister Magleby trained after me is training. Sister Gunn has pretty much been training her whole mission.

Anyway so we all sat down with the Van Cotts and he asked us what we needed to go over. So a lot of the training in the meeting was actually done by us. He basically sat us down and said how much he trusted us and that we could do it.

All weekend I was being a brat and thinking all these negative thoughts about the changes that were happening and complaining internally and to my roommates. As we were sitting in this meeting it hit me how dumb I was and how many mistakes that I make. I felt terrible.

I do not understand how or why Heavenly Father trusts me to train all of these new missionaries. I have trained 6 missionaries! What the heck is the man up stairs thinking?! I am a pretty average missionary. I haven't taught a whole lot on my mission. I've only had about 6 baptisms my whole mission. Some of them in past areas are already less active. I feel like I make more mistakes than I do good things.

But sitting in that room, I felt the Spirit so strong. I knew that with this last, fresh transfer that everything I had done I had been forgiven of. I have never felt so weak as I have on my mission. I have been humbled beyond measure. This has to be the Lord's work. There is no way that a bunch of gross stinky teenaged boys and self centered dramatic young women could do this without some sort of higher power. No way at all. Heavenly Father wants all of his children to hear the gospel.

I know that Jesus Christ died for us. We would not be able to make it back and live with our Heavenly Father without his help. Not a chance. He is so, so merciful. I'm going to attach the Mediator video and suggest that you all watch it because it explains clearly why we need the Savior. It explains how I have felt this past week. I love my Savior more than anything. I can't even begin to comprehend all that he has done for me.

Anyway. Sister Christiansen is super cute. She's from highland Utah. I like her a lot. I think the trio will see much success. Watch out Mentone!

Love you all! Sorry this is so long. I didn't have any emails so I had to do something while my new companion was responding to 30 people :). I hope you all have a wonderful week. I can't wait to write about all the miracles we are going to see this next week!

Love your missionary,

Sister Olsen

Look out Mentone!!

The Trio: Sister Christiansen, Sister Reil and Me

District Photo: The Elders, an awkward space, and the Sisters

Monday, June 20, 2016

Last TWO companions

 Well clan....

I'm done with emailing today. We are moving apartments and I am getting another new missionary plus another Sister and it's about 115 degrees here and I'm hot and distracted and a lot is happening at once. I'm just about to send my last email to President Van Cott. President Dixon is coming next week.

I have been reading in Alma in the 30's about when Alma teaches the poor Zoramites. What I learned for myself is what it means to do the Father's will. There are so many things about missionary work that I don't like or that are hard, etc. But at the end of the day, Heavenly Father knows what's best. The only thing he wants is for me to be happy. 

I knew all of that before, but the other day when I was reading in Alma I realized that he was sad and having so many hardships because of the wickedness of the people. All he talks about is the people and prays for the strength that he can do whatever God needs him to do so he can help others. He also teaches about the Atonement and how to access it through faithful prayer. Through Jesus Christ we can do anything he needs us to do.

Jesus Christ is a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, right? So if I want to truly know him and become like him, I probably have to experience a little bit of that. And when you go through these things it really does bring you closer with Christ.

So I'm going to do whatever is asked of me because I want to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I know I am far from perfect, but I am trying. I'm going to work really hard my last few weeks to just do what Jesus Christ would do. If I want him to work through me I can't let myself get in the way.

I am a completely different person. I had no idea what a mission was or what it would do to me, but I am so grateful that I came. Even though it was hard and not really enjoyable at times, I have gotten to know my Savior and I am so grateful for that.

Love you all! Have a great week!
Love your missionary,
Sister Olsen

Departing Temple trip photos. President and Sister VanCott are leaving next week; they've been amazing and I will miss them!
Sister Stalder and Sister Gunn came out with me 18 months ago. We were all in the MTC together.
Luncheon after our temple trip with all the departing sisters.
All the missionaries going home between June and August. Including President and Sister Vancott in the center!

Attempted abandoned train station photo shoot in 114 degree weather.

Making cookies with Sister Adams 
Fourth of July Lula Roe leggings from Crystal.

Scenic Redlands

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Power of the Nametag

Hi family!

I have ten minutes to write you this week. When I prayed about what to share with you, two experiences we had this week came to my mind.

The first one happened earlier in the week. The past two weeks we have had to slow down a little bit because of my companions health. Don't worry, all is well. We have just had to take a few walks here and there between important tasks and appointments.

There is a busy road (don't worry dad, it has a side walk) in our area called Mentone Blvd. It's where you can find all the awesome Mentone Regs :) We have spent a lot of time walking down the street and waving at everyone we see. 

Apparently, the other sisters in the neighboring area have been doing the same thing. A non member noticed all of these missionaries walking around, took a picture of the other sisters and posted it on facebook. There were several likes, views, shares, (whatever kids are calling it these days) and nonmembers and members were commenting. Everyone was talking about how much they love the Redlands missionaries and how helpful and loving we are to everyone. It was so cool! You never know the good you do! Even just a simple wave at someone you don't know can make such a difference!

The other thing I wanted to talk about was my departing temple trip. Yes. That happened. At the end of every transfer president and sister VanCott take all the departing missionaries to the temple and have a meeting and lunch after. We talked about going home and what's going to happen and other things such as dating. It was really weird. Not going to lie. Since this was the Van Cott's last departing temple trip, they invited all the missionaries going home from now until August to go.

When I walked into the main room of the temple with all the seats, it was FULL of missionaries. I can not even begin to describe to you the peace that I felt walking into the room. I just felt like there were angels everywhere. The Spirit was so THICK. My heart felt so full. When I walked into the next room, President and Sister Van Cott were in there waiting to greet all the missionaries. It was so... well it was weird... But I don't know. I can't describe to you how it felt to be in the temple with that many missionaries.

There is no place I would rather be then the temple. I know Heavenly Father wants all of us to make it there. We need to do everything we can to get to the temple- to get home. 

I hope you have a great week! I love you all so much!

Love your missionary,

Sister Olsen

Look who came back for Crystals baptism last week! The other Sister Ashley O!

Crystal's baptism photos
The sunset was really pretty.....too bad you can't see it...

We made friends with a baby goat. You never know what you will find in Mentone.

Redlands zone photo

Monday, June 6, 2016

Crystal's Baptism

What a weekend!!!! 

Crystal's baptism was so amazing!!!!! So I don't know if I explained this or not, but I will give you the whole big lay down of her adopted family. Brother and Sister Knapp are currently serving their mission in Guatemala and have 8 kids. 5 of their daughters live in my ward. One of them is Julia Knapp and she is dating Christopher Landry. Christopher is Crystal's brother. 

On Monday, Crystal got married! She is so so so happy! What they did is they had the wedding reception right after the baptism. The Knapp Sisters all sang "How Great Thou Art" without any instruments and they sounded like pitch perfect. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my entire life! Mese Ugapo baptized her and holy smokes the Spirit was really, really strong. Then yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and a bunch of them got up and talked about how amazing she is. 

There family is HUGE! We filled up the entire middle section and the right side section of the chapel!!! It was crazy!!!!!!! And get this, another portion of their family lives in Yucaipa 1st ward. So 3 out of the 4 wards I have been in have had Knapp clan family members. 

I have no idea why Heavenly Father let me be apart of this. It could have been any missionary. I'm pretty sure just whoever was here would have had the opportunity to teach Crystal. But I am so so so grateful that he let me be here for this. She has been such a light in my life and I love her so much.

Also- I don't know if any of you have heard of Lula Roe, but it's this really popular modest clothes line. You can be a consultant and have parties and sell it yourself. The lady that started it is Sister Knapp's (the mom on a mission in Guatemala) sister. She and her husband own the company. So they were there at the baptism amongst the other family members. They name all the clothes patterns after their daughters and grand kids. It was really funny because I was wearing a "Nicole" design and this darling lady came up to me and said "I'm Nicole. Your outfit is named after me." So that was pretty cool. I bet a lot of Mormon ladies reading my blog right now are star struck! But I had no idea what Lula Roe was until I came to this area so there's that.

Well that's all from me! Other stuff happened but I am slowly starting to loose my memory. Alas. Thus is the life of thee olde missionary. I love you all so so much and I hope you have an amazing week! I love hearing about your missionary experiences with your friends. Keep telling them to me! It gives me an idea of how to help my members! The Church is True! 

Love your missionary,

Sister Olsen

Some photos from our hike in Forest Falls this morning.
Brother Sorenson got us kfc

Crystal's wedding reception

A nighttime tour of the temple grounds with this sweet family.

My roommates decorated my door for my birthday and Crystal got me birthday cake leggings.