Monday, March 28, 2016

No Sugar Added

I have a few emails to respond to so I am just going to send this big one really quick. This week seriously flew by faster than any other week. This is the last week of our 7 week transfer. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. No clue. I only have two transfers left now so I feel like if I stay this next one and finish Sister Ashcraft's training I will probably be here for the rest of my mission. That's a long time folks! That would be 8 months in Yucaipa! But I don't think they would transfer me and leave Sister Ashcraft here. So no clue. I guess we will find out next week!

Anway, what even happened this week? It's getting hard to remember! The whole thing is just blending together!

Oh yes. I added the subject as "no sugar added." I am sure you are wondering why that is. Well our investigator is really having a hard time giving up her word of wisdom addictions. There is a study in preach my gospel that suggests to give up one of your own addictions so you can understand what your investigators are going through. Sister Ashcraft and I have decided to completely give up dessert and treats to help our investigator. We have only gone a few days so I am still going pretty strong. Actually, I have tried giving up sugar before on my mission, but it has been super hard because anyone and everyone give us junk food pretty much everyday. But with a purpose behind it, it's a lot easier. In fact, after the women's broadcast (which I hope everyone enjoyed because I know I super felt the Spirit!!) they had cookie ice cream sandwiches and it was pretty easy for me to say no thanks.


I just put that in caps to add emphasis that I don't need treats :)

Miracle of the week:
Pretty much our entire ward council was out of town for the Easter weekend; including all 6 of the high priest and elders quorum folks.
We got a call at the beginning of the week from the Relief Society in the Upland 2nd ward (for those of you who do not know where that is, it is just outside the mission very close to my last area in Fontana). She told us that there was a less active sister that is trying to come back to church moving into our ward on Saturday.

We literally called probably 25 people and everyone was out of town.

So I had a mini panic attack, prayed for help, and the next 5 people I thought of to call could all come! So it turned out great! This sister even had three of her friends come that were not members. Two of them were married and very active in another church, but they were super impressed with our members and had a ton of questions about the church. The other guy was single and said he had taken the missionary discussions before, but because of how impressed he was with these members being so kind and willing to serve, he said he was going to take them again! (He lives in Nevada so we won't be teaching him.) Not to mention another investigator came. And Brother Francis (a member) was bearing his testimony while lifting heavy boxes and talking about his mission like a boss. 

Then on Sunday I was a little sad because all our investigators couldn't come to church because they were either working or out of town for Easter. But don't worry because one of our neighbors that actually lives across the street from a family that helped with the move just showed up to church! What! Who just shows up to church?! It was awesome.

Okay my fingers are starting to hurt so I am going to end it here. I love you all! I hope you have a great week!
The church is still as true as it was last week :)

Love, Your Missionary,

Sister Olsen

Our Easter treats! We put the passalong cards in the Easter eggs

This is Sister Jean Jeffery. She had us for an Easter dinner last week (not actually on Easter. We spent Easter with a different family.) But she worked so hard on the meal and gave us such a cute card. Definitely one of my favorite mission memories.

Photo shoot in the Palmer's backyard. Enjoy.

This was the last treat I had before I stopped eating treats. Super sad.

This is Webster- a.k.a. the floppiest cat I have ever seen. We made him a little angry I think. I call him "The Floppy One"

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another week, another email...

Well people, Taylor and Tara both had great questions for me so I used all my email time on them. Sorry! I'm out of time, but here are some pictures of the week :)

St Patrick's day goodies

Look! We helped feed some homeless people! Yay! Sister Ashcraft and I were at the end of the assembly line and tied all those bags ourselves.

Yes, I am aware my Book of Mormon is upside down.....

We went to a member's house, but they weren't home. We liked their wisteria so we just took some pictures by it.

Remember that Strawberry Shortcake video we had about Strawberry Shortcake going to the Big Apple City???! We were volunteering at the Yucaipa History Museum and they had this game board in the 50's to 60's exhibit! I was elated!
This is from when Sister Van Cott came out with us last Saturday.

This cute little gal grabbed my hair and said
"look! I'm a blonde missionary!" I thought it was cute.

Sister Ashcraft snook a picture of me when I was trying to understand how Ammon baptized thousands of people.

Monday, March 14, 2016

I Enjoy Being A Missionary!

Hello family!
It sounds like you are all having a great week! I'm so glad! This week has been a great one for us!

I can tell you this much- fasting and prayer are REAL. Holy cow. Sister Ashcraft and I have been fasting for referrals and ways to work better with the members. The referrals just poured on in this week! One of our referrals we even put on date to be baptized! Also all of our investigators came to church this week! It was a miracle!

One of our sweet investigators is really progressing. We had to push her baptism date back a little bit, but holy wowie wow. This week she was just on fire! Her table is covered with scriptures and talks and pamphlets we have given her. Her kids love church. I love them. It's just so great!

Another investigator came to church for the first time yesterday! One of our ward missionaries also invited her friends to take the missionary lessons and they came to church as well!

I have just been praying and pleading for ways to help the members here. I have noticed that the more I openly show my love for them, the more they trust us. We took our Relief Society president out with us yesterday as well and she loved it.

This week we invited the mission president's wife to come out with us on Saturday morning for two hours. Let me tell you, I planned for those two hours all week long. We had 4 appointments set and about 8 back up plans. I was just praying and praying that whoever we were actually able to see would be who needed Sister Van Cott. 

She was so awesome and brought brownies to take to all of our investigators. We were able to see several investigators and had some really touching experiences with them.

I was also praying that whoever we saw and whatever we were able to do would give Sister Van Cott a good idea of the work we were doing here and what we could do to improve on. Everyone we saw just talked about how much they loved us and how much we have helped them. At the end, all Sister Van Cott gave us for improvement was to use more scriptures when we were teaching. She thanked us for loving the people and we went on our merry way.

I was super humbled because I knew that it wasn't me at all. I have only been in this area for 4 months. I think about when I was in Tennessee for 4 months and I didn't get to know hardly anyone at all. These are children of God and he loves them so much. He is able to use me, a inadequate 20 year old girl to do this work to show these people how much he cares for them and how badly he wants them to come to him. It is a very humbling feeling. This must be God's work, or else none of this would work out. I would mess it up pretty bad without him!

Anyway. We had a great week and I love our new bishop and I love going to church. A lot of members grabbed us to tell us about the missionary work they are doing yesterday at church and it really made me feel good and made me feel like I am accomplishing my purpose.
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Olsen

Monday, March 7, 2016

I love to see the temple

This week was awesome. And stressful. And frustrating. And wonderful. Pretty much like every week as a missionary. 

Last Sunday sister Ashcraft and I fasted for referrals and oh boy did we get referrals this week! Fasting and prayer is definitely a real thing people! I got to go to the temple three times this week. The Redlands stake center shares a parking lot with the temple. It's a pretty good meeting spot for missionaries when they need things. For example, we met one of the the senior couples that work in the office there because we needed a new phone. 

We also went for a session this week which was awesome. And we had Yucaipa stake conference at the Redlands stake center. (Apparently our stake center is too small for all of us to fit). Also, going to Yucaipa stake conference was sooooo weird for me. One year ago exactly I was in the Banning Ward (Banning is in the Yucaipa stake) and went to Yucaipa stake conference. I got to see some Banningites. This one laurel that went out with us a lot ran right up to me and gave me a big hug. That was cute. Anyway. Three of our investigator families that are friends with members committed to come to stake conference that day. So we planned on doing a temple walk right after conference. We even had a general authority visiting (Elder Gary Wilde). He was staying with one of the counselors in the stake presidency (president Adams who is in our Ward). So we asked President Adams if Elder Wilde would call our
investigators to personally invite them. We were pretty dead set on all of these people coming. Saturday night we found out that one investigator couldn't come because he was working for his mom. Sunday morning we found out that our other investigator is having liver problems and was sick all night long and the third family decided to go to Palm Dessert for the weekend. Basically I was devastated. 

I was studying for hours about the temple to prepare and I really thought it would help all these people progress. But when we got to the conference, the whole thing was about temples and families. From all my studies, I was perfectly prepared for the conference.
Want to know what I learned? Well I'm going to tell you. I guess if you really don't want to know you could just stop reading.... Anyway. I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons I came to a mission where I could be by the temple a lot is so I could learn how important the temple is. 

In "True to the Faith" it talks about how everything we do, including missionary work, should point to the temple. It says that only the home can compare to the sacredness of temples. Before my mission I really believed that the most important thing in this life was how other people saw me and what they thought of me. Now I know that there is nothing more important than going to the temple. When we go to the temple, it means we are worthy and are trying our best to
live a Christ centered life. It shows Heavenly Father that we really love him, have a desire to serve him, and that we are doing all we can to eventually become like him. There is absolutely NOTHING in this life that compares to the joy I feel when 1. I am sharing the gospel and 2. When I go to the temple. Nothing. There is nothing more important to me than to be married there and make sure my family is united so we can live with God again. I love the temple. And honestly, the way I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints contains all the necessary principles for salvation is the way I feel at the temple. I love you all and I am so grateful that mom and dad were married in the temple. It's the best feeling there is in this life and I can't wait for how it feels in the next.
Have a great week!

Sister Ashlee Olsen
California Redlands Mission

Visiting the California Redlands temple

Sister Ashcraft and I at the temple

Temple selfie with other sisters in my mission

I love the temple!

We did some service for a sister in our ward with a couple laurels. She has a
lot of back and knee problems and can't move very well. We just did a little yard work. I think I look like I'm allergic to dirt or
something in the action shots.

Behold my origami skillzzz