Monday, April 25, 2016

Orangetopia

Hello from the promised land!

This week was great. As usual. I have a new found love for fresh oranges. A lot of members have orange groves here. They have millions of oranges so we pick them and give them to investigators. This one day we came home with a bunch of oranges. We walked into the apartment and the kitchen was literally full of oranges because our roommates had the same idea we did. It was probably the most glorious sight my eyes have ever seen. I will probably never be able to eat a normal orange again because Redlands oranges are literally life changing. Pictures to follow after this email.

Oh gosh. So much has happened this week I don't even know where to start! We did at least two temple tours everyday. We had interviews with president Van Cott. Our investigator is on date for baptism. We've met a TON of the member's non member friends. Gosh. It's a lot. 

Here are some highlights:
I love being near the temple so much. It has played such an important role in my conversion. Sister Osborne and I did several temple ground tours this week, three of which were with investigators. There were some that we planned that fell through, but every time we planned to be at the temple a non member was there that wanted a tour. So that was pretty amazing. Most of them were in Prospect Park (another Ward in our stake boundaries), so I'm sure those sisters have found some new investigators this week. This one woman wanted to see the chapel and the family history center as well. We took her in the chapel and I just felt like I should play her a hymn. I can only play about 3 or 4 hymns well so I was a little leary about the prompting, but I just played Sweet Hour of Prayer for her and the spirit was super strong and it brought her to tears. I LOVE walking around the temple with all of these nonmembers because we always feel the Spirit super strong. There is nothing that brings me more happiness than sharing my testimony with others. I can't even tell you how happy I am just because we have been talking with so many people and going out with members and strengthening our relationships with them. We just testify all the time! I feel so good!

We had a couple really cool experiences with member missionary work this week. First , we had dinner with a family in our ward and invited them to invite their neighbor to come to a Relief Society activity. We sat with her at the activity. Some talks were given about enjoying the season of your life that you are already in. She got a little emotional. We walked around the temple with her afterwards and bore testimony that also brought her to tears. It was a pretty powerful experience.

We also visited a returned missionary who was speaking in church this week. She told us about her neighbor and that she had been working with her before. We went and visited with the neighbor and took her some cookies a member gave to us for investigators. She was super sweet, but not interested in our message. But the sister that was speaking invited her to church and she totally came! It was awesome!

We are teaching a lot of people and 
have a lot of lessons scheduled for next week and I am super excited!

Sister Osborne is doing good on training. We are getting to know more people and we are super excited to be here. 

Well that's about it from me! Have a great week everyone! I sure love all of you with all of my heart!

Sister Ashlee Olsen

California Redlands Mission


Orange picking at Sister West's house! It's glorious. There are some pretty beautiful houses here. I went inside the trees to get the best oranges. My hair is so long that it kept getting stuck on the branches.




Here's some pictures of a all the sticks in my hair from the orange trees







I'm making really stupid faces because it was really sunny and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. But I'm pointing to the temple in the last couple photos.



video



There are beautiful homes here in Redlands!

This is when we came home and there were oranges all over the place. I don't know if you can tell but I was very excited. We had a juicing party in our orange Redlands shirts.




We have an investigator in Angles Oaks. We stopped on the way down the mountain and took some photos.











Post church lunch.




Service project with the young women. 



I drew a picture of all of us as fairy princesses. I am the orange fairy.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Another week in the Promised Land

Alright so Sister Osborne and I are basically best friends by this point. She is seriously such an awesome missionary. It doesn't even feel like I am her trainer. She is just awesome. So there's that. The other day though I told her that and she said that I was supposed to be her trainer and that she really needed me. That made me feel really good. It reminded me of how I feel about Sister Magleby.

My brain doesn't even feel like it's in my head right now. I forgot how difficult it is to not know an area and try to do missionary work. Everything that we do is about people. When you don't know the people, it makes it a little difficult. So we have just been meeting as many people as possible right now and trying to get to know them at lightning speed. So far so good. We sent out an email to the whole ward with our picture and some information about us. We also bore our testimonies on Sunday so the ward knows us. It's just a matter of time before we know the ward.

Can I just say how much I love the temple? It is seriously such a blessing to see it everyday. I love how the temple makes me feel. I think a lot of people see it, but I wish everyone would just take a minute out of their day to walk on the temple grounds. I know a lot more people would be interested in taking the missionary lessons and coming to church if they did that. Whenever I have doubts or questions or anything I just think about how I feel at the temple. I have never felt so at peace or at home. I know it is the house of the Lord and he wants all of us to be there. There is nothing more important to me then getting married in the temple and having my own family for time and all eternity.

I have to go. I spent too much time replying to emails so this will be short, but I will share one miracle moment of the week.

So this one time Sister Magleby prayerfully planned what time she was going to go to the gas station. She told Heavenly Father what pump she was going to be at and prayed that someone prepared would be there that would be baptized. She promised that she would talk to everyone she saw to find the prepared person. She did that, and 6 weeks later Carl was baptized.

Sooooo I totally copied her. After several very awkward encounters and rejections we met Terronae. She was wearing this super cute dress so we just started out with a compliment. Before we knew it, we were talking about the temple and she said her mom actually had a ton of questions about it and they both would want to walk around the temple grounds with us. Sooooooo that was really awesome.

There is something very powerful about making promises with Heavenly Father through prayer.  The only thing that stops Him from pouring out blessings to us is our own choices. As long as we are doing our best and doing what He would want us to do, He will bless us beyond all human comprehension. I know that's true.
I am so grateful that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so that we could have the priesthood and temples. I love all of you! Have a great week!
Your missionary,
 
Sister Olsen

It's fine. I just get to see the temple like 6 times a day. No big deal.

This is the building I am emailing from right now. Redlands is the coolest!

Half the members here own orange groves and give us millions of oranges. I have started making orange juice and it is the most delicious nectar the tongue has ever tasted. Literally all I do is squeeze the oranges and drain the pulp. I will never be able to eat normal oranges again.



This is Sister Fife (curly hair) and Sister Bates (red shirt). They are my totally awesome roommates that I love with all my heart! Sister Fife was trained my Sister Magleby too.

The pine cones in Forrest falls are bigger than my head!

These are so delicious and everyone needs to eat them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Exaltation!!!! Oh, and Moroni is my new neighbor :)

EVERYONE!
I HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE PROMISE LAND!!

Okay I literally just said a prayer so that Heavenly Father will help me write this email. We have been so crazy busy this past week; I haven't even had time to unpack yet! And we had a crazy fun pday today as well. There is just so much to write about and I am going to try and whip it all out in 15 minutes because I still have a bunch to do to figure out all of my classes and what not.

Alright so I am guessing that you are probably on the edge of your seat wondering where the heck I am emailing you from right now. I have been transferred to..............

REDLANDS!!!!!!

How awesome is that?!?!?!?! I am probably going to finish my mission here!!! I am in the Millcreek ward. I honestly still don't really know the area yet.... But it's the biggest and probably most awesome ward in the Redlands Stake. We take in a small portion of Redlands, all of Mentone, Forrest Falls, and Angles Oaks. The last two places I just mentioned are up in the mountains and we have some investigators and new converts up there and it's really cool. No, the Mission President is not in my ward. But...... THE TEMPLE IS IN MY WARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We literally drive past the temple about 5 times a day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S SO AWESOME AND I AM SO ELATED. AND GET THIS! The temple president has asked us to do temple tours of the temple grounds for non-members. Remember when I really really wanted to serve in a temple visitor center? This is like the next best thing!!!!!!!!!

My companion is also probably one of my favorite companions. We have only been together for 5 days and she is right up there with Sister Magleby and Sister Shin. Oh wait. I forgot to tell you I am follow up training again. Hahaha. That's funny that I forgot to mention that. Yes so her name is Ashley Osborne and she is from Napa Idaho. This is her second transfer in the mission field. So after this transfer I will have been a part of four sisters training. Also, I will have never done a full training on one sister, but that's okay. I flipping love it here so I am totally cool with what is currently happening.

Here's the thing. Sister Osborne and I are basically the same person. Our lives are like 93.8% the same. We even have bunions and varicose veins in the same place. Is that too much information? But we like all the same things. Purple is also her favorite color and she is just as obsessed with giraffes as I am. But literally like 5 or 6 times a day she will say something or the other person will say something and the other person's response is usually "me too...." or "I feel the same way..." It's freaky, but also super awesome. She is just so great and this is so great and I am just loving my life so much right now. I am very tempted to tell President Van Cott that I don't want to leave mid transfer anymore because I am super sad that I only get to be here for 2.5 transfers. But don't worry I will come home. Maybe...

Okay so I don't even know where to begin because this week has been so crazy! On top of this transfer, we also had an Area 70 visit the stake this week. It was super cool. I also forgot to mention that our ward is ON FIRE with missionary work! We are seriously about to baptize nations!!!! Once I figure out just what the heck is going on of course. I am still meeting everyone and trying to figure out how to get places. It has been a very, very, very long time since I have lived in a city. I forgot how to drive where there are a lot of cars and stuff everywhere.

Anyway. So this area 70 is Elder Jay Pimentel. He was so flipping awesome. He invited us to the adult session of stake conference. And because he is the coolest man currently living, he had a special meeting in the morning just for the missionaries and all the people they are teaching (investigators, recent converts, and less actives). All of these people's fellowshippers were also invited. We had three investigators, a couple less actives, and a few recent converts there. IT WAS SO COOL! And of course, he talked at the main session.

He made some super cool parables that I want to write about. He talked about baseball so I feel that dad and Tay Tay will like these ones. He compared fasting to a sacrifice fly. In baseball, if someone of the opposing team catches the ball when you hit it before it touches the ground, you are out. But, if you have less that two outs and there is someone on third base, you can hit what is called a sac fly. If you hit it to the outfield, and the player on third base makes it to home plate, you score. A sac fly is also the only out that doesn't hurt your batting average. However, if there isn't someone on third base, hitting the ball straight to the outfield to an opponent is pointless. The same goes with fasting. In order for our sacrifice to be beneficial, we need to have something on third base.

He also likened having a broken heart and a contrite spirit to a baseball glove. When you have a brand new baseball glove, it isn't very flexible. You can't open and close it. You have to break it in first. It takes a lot of work to break that glove in, but once it's broken you can do whatever you want with it. We are like the glove and Heavenly Father is like the hand inside. In order for him to use you and work with you, you need to be broken in.

He also talked about God's perspective. He said this one time he took his kids to the Empire State building in NYC. They went to the lower observation deck. He pointed to a taxi that was driving by until they couldn't see it anymore. He pointed to a taxi that was parked that they still could see. And he said there were probably more taxi cabs coming around the corner that they couldn't see yet. They went to the very top and they could see all of the Taxi cabs. He said that the first cab is like our past, the middle is our present, and the last is our future. We can't see everything all at once from our own perspective, but Heavenly Father can see everything. That's why we need to trust him because he has a much better perspective and vantage point then we do.

One last parable. When you put a foam cup full of water in a fire, it will not burn. If your foam cup is even a little less then full of water, it will burn. He suggested that the water in the cup is like the love of God. We need to fill ourselves with God's love to protect us from harm.

Anyway, sorry that was a lot. I didn't explain any of that nearly as well as he did. But it was amazing to hear him speak. President and Sister Van Cott spoke at their stake conference for the last time. Holy cow they were a powerhouse. He said that if you felt anything missing inside, do missionary work. If you want more power, do missionary work. If you want to have incomprehensible joy, do missionary work. Etc. It was probably one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard at a stake conference. I left that conference feeling like I could just conquer the world! I love conference so much!!!!!!!!!!

One last thing. The temple is being cleaned this month and they asked us to help clean it. We just scrubbed rust off the men's lockers in the baptistery, which wasn't very exciting. But what was exciting was the guy that was in charge of the temple cleaning showed us all around the temple! We got to go into the bowels of the temple! It was like the chamber of secrets, but sacred! We went into the basement and saw all the pipes and plumbing and vents and stuff. It was really cool.We went into the break room and everything. It was awesome.

Okay this is the longest email of my life. Oh! One more thing! For pday today we went to the university of Redlands! I got a sweet sweatshirt! Oh! One more thing! The Redlands Bicycle Classic was this weekend and we got to volunteer! It was so much fun! This race is the oldest in the country. We helped with the Disabled Veterans Race and the Women's Race. I don't remember what their names are, but there were Olympians that have won medals in both of those races. So cool! 

Now I really am done. Love you all! A lot happened this week. By next P-day hopefully I will know things better and things will be back to normal. It's not every week you get to meet a general authority, take a backstage tour of the temple, and go to a world famous bicycle race.

What's funny is, none of you had any idea that I was doing any of this this week. Haha. Love you all! The church is very much true!

Your Missionary,
Sister Olsen


This is Webster (the floppy one)



and the palmer family that I was living with


This is a super cool children's garden in Yucaipa

Saying goodbye to the amazing Sister Ashcraft

This is the Chudy family. She reminds me a lot of Grammy neat. They live up in oak Glen and I was teaching their neighbor Rob. I am really excited to take you to their ranch someday! The dog's name is Ranger.

This is sweet Lyla Terry from Yucaipa. She is 91 and has been my grandma away from home these past few months. She is basically an angel on earth.


Yucaipa zone day before transfers.


 

 

This is my awesome new companion Sister Ashley Osborne! Yay! 



Redlands bicycle Classic at the start/finish line

We ran into the Harbers from Yucaipa at the bike classic! They were my totally awesome neighbors in Yucaipa.



Redlands bicycle Classic