Friday, November 29, 2013

Cloud 27-November 25th

 Tanner told me my emails are too long and that's probably a good point ;) haha good thing I just type fast! Today though we don't have much time because we are playing sand volleyball and still need to go shopping so I'll REALLY try to keep it short. I have thought so much this last week about the gospel and what's it done for me in life.

Obviously this week there are overwhelming thoughts of gratitude! At dinner last night, it came up that I am 24 and the guys' dad asked "So what's your story? Why now?" When we got home last night I thought about it a lot. It still is so crazy to think back over the last 2 1/2 years. I am so grateful to be on my mission NOW and for everything I had to learn in those 2 years from when I first got called. I can not imagine doing it before learning so much more about the Atonement, peace and haha

But you've heard me talk about that enough before I even left! This week, it's been all about my people. It's been super overwhelming how much love and support I've gotten. Alllllll the tears and venting and frustrated rants and the blessings and the encouragement... I can't thank you enough for it! I know I never would have really made it out here without such supportive family and friends :)

I have to apologize because when Tanner Perry was out, Jess and I gave him so much crap for all of his exclamation points in his letters!!!!! haha Now though, I totally feel like that all the time. Even the very worst days out here are still so great. I love being a missionary and am so grateful I get the privilege to do so. This is easily the happiest I have ever been, but before this it would have been the "cloud 9" kick. We were driving home one night and I was wired so I told Sister Hacker this is like cloud 27! It really is the greatest. So my bad Tan ;) and my apologies haha

This week was AMAZING! Way too much to even write but my favorite thing was a baptism on Saturday in Mint Canyon.

My buddy Elder Barnett had his first one!!!
 I was so proud of him!!! It's been so amazing to watch him change so much already from his first day in the MTC, to giving his first blessing and now doing a baptism. I can't wait for his family to talk to him! His lisp is almost totally gone and he reads all the time in District Meeting now.

Transfer calls are this Saturday when we find out if we stay or go. Ahhhh! This time I am praying like crazy that we both stay! Sister Hacker is like a combination of Penny and Michelle Jaynes haha it's so great! We have made soooo much progress in the ward in these six weeks and are working with 4 solid investigators we're hopeful to set at least one baptismal date this week. So I'm really hoping we both stay put but I know the Lord knows best.

Love you all more than you know! I hope this week goes GREAT and everyone has a great Thanksgiving! CRAZZZZZY that one month from today we'll be skyping. Kiss those babies for me! Until next week...

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen
"Fred" was left at our home by the Castaic Elders. We tied him to a streamer and left him tied to their front door. PS...I AM FINALLY LEARNING HOW TO FRENCH BRAID MY OWN HAIR :) Which is great since I have neither time nor desire to do it every day.
Our view by the time we finally left church yesterday

Zone Activity...welcome to our lives with the Elders

AND it rained this week! There was much rejoicing in the land!! Only like 1/4th an inch which is like a flood here it's so dry! We were cracking up in this picture cause my hair is actually stuck in the umbrella but it was on timer so it had to wait

We went to San Fernando this week for a YSA meeting with the other YSA Sisters and we found this road!!! SO COOL! PS...Have I mentioned how much I love driving out here?! We found our first 25 mph zone this week. Everywhere is like 45 or 50 and it's glorious. And when you put your blinker on, people let you over!!! It's crazy.

Okay I didn't know why the other Sisters were laughing so hard until I actually looked at this picture. Little sketch...Don't let that pretty sky fool you! It was freezing this week! Dropped clear down to 67 ;)

Identity thief....

We went to FHE like this and we were laughing cause mine was "pink and Unicorns and UTAH" and Sister Hacker was all "Dark and radical and black" haha

Picture Time

Back on my birthday with the sign Sister Hacker made and the hats Linds' sent me

Elder Workman and Elder Axson came to go over papers for their area and got in the birthday spirit. Or Elder Workman did at least...

"These boots... HAD TO SEE CALIFORNIA!...where God paints the sky!"

I may have taken the wrong freeway last week and left the mission...OOPS!

I'M IN LOVE I'M IN LOVE AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT! 14 pit bull/Mastiff puppies!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELDER GARCIA! Doesn't he look like the kid from "UP" all grown up?! Linds' party hats continue to make the rounds :) :)

:) Happiness! God knew I needed Southern California :)

Another One Bites The Dust-Nov 18th

This week was somethin' different! Being sick at home sucks but being sick on a mission... BOOO! No worries though :) My fever finally broke Sunday. My lips were BRIGHT red, cracked and had heat blisters so not many pictures from this week... After multiple trips to the store, a few nights early to bed, and almost all day Saturday in bed I am finally back to a functional state today! HALLELUJAH! Sister Hacker is a trooper cause I would have gone nuts having to stick to the house that much. Things are good and we have SO SO much to be grateful for!

Remember our guy Justin Roddy who set a baptismal date?! TOTAL MIRACLE! Yeah...that fell through :( Word to the wise: don't get in trouble with the law. He's on probation and so it got put on hold while his court case was still pending. He was crying the last time he called and talked to us. He told us about being on house arrest and only immediate family could have contact with him. That was right before Halloween....

Thursday we were at somebody else's house and I had the feeling we needed to try and go see Justin. Not the best thought because his mom REALLY doesn't like us! It's weird... Don't get me wrong, I've been hated before! haha But at least by people I knew. As a missionary it's kinda funny to have people instantly so against us before we even have ANY kind of conversation with them.

SO long story short, we go to Justins. We pull up to his complex and the very first person we see....MAMA MICHELLE! She's sitting with her back to us, watching a younger daughter on the play ground. I start laughing and we start game planning what to do. Go talk to her? Book it over to his house? Leave all together? We move the car to the other side so we are now facing her. As we walk up, she totalllllly notices us and pretends to be on her phone all of a sudden. Our plan was to try and talk to her since she doesn't seem to like us... But with that we kept walking. We walk out of sight and go to game plan again. We decided we tried to do the right thing by approaching her but since she blew us off, let's book it to Justin's and try to talk to him while we know she's not there.

We didn't want Michelle to see us heading that way though and from where she was sitting you have a straight shot to the sidewalk going up to the door. So we went stealth mode :) We ran around the outside of all six buildings, went through the bushes and went along the back of his building to get to his front door. His dad answered, told us Justin no longer lives there and slammed the door. WHAT THE FREAK RIGHT?! So at this point we wanted to find out where he lives and have nothing else to back to Mama we went :) (Still going the route we took to get to the door so she wouldn't see us leaving...)

Like I said, Sister Hacker is a trooper!! Right as we were walking up, I told her we weren't leaving until we found out some idea of where he went. We walked up to this VERY large, hostile, black woman who has made it clear multiple times that she and played dumb.

"Hi! You're Michelle right?!"-Me
Sister Hacker looked at me a little bit alarmed but I still just felt like we needed to try and talk to her so I shook my head like 'no we're staying!" and luckily she caught it. We stood there smiling in silence for a good minute before she turned back around to us. Talk about a prayer in your heart!!! I just kept thinking please don't start swinging at us... SHE ENDED UP TALKING TO US FOR A GOOD 15 MINUTES! It was good. She actually shook our hands when we finally left. Still hostile and I'm sure she was upset to get home and find out we had already snuck over there...BUT she shook our hands :) God bless Sister Hacker for having me as a companion but she always backs me in our promptings! :)

I'm so excited for Thanksgiving! We are VERY well taken care of even with being over the YSA Ward! We had one girl sign up for dinner and our Bishop, one of his councilors and another guy in the ward have all offered to have us over. We are soo blessed :) Our ward really is amazing. I'm sure it'll be a little different with being away from home but I realized doing dishes yesterday that I've already been in this boat before :) :) And no matter what happens out here it will DEFINEINTLY be a better Thanksgiving than the one I had in China! I'm confident not one of these people will try to feed us duck or dog...

Funny thought of the week: We shared Ether 12:27 and this guy asked if God really can make weak things become strengths. We talked about it but then on the way home I started cracking up! Remember that time when I was little and tried to spend the weekend in Brigham City?! Keyword: tried hahaha I have been super blessed to be focused on the work and life in California. I miss people but not "actively" like I thought I would. God has taken care of me in countless ways and I know he knows what I need while I'm out here and always. Endless blessings and tender mercies have come my way :)

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Hello, Hello-Just getting online if anybody is on for a minute ;)

What's Up? What are you guys up to??
This is Bryant! HE IS HILARIOUS! Little bit off but funniest guy. He's a convert. He came to one of our zone activities once and said we were "such an organization." Since he's the only black guy he said he gets to be president of the organization. And I was deemed first lady. Lucky me! He told me he has a "Christmas husband" for me that he will wrap up

Hiking "Vasquez Rocks" last week with Carissa, Jennifer and Bobbye Jo

We learned how to "properly" juice pomegranates! So fun! Aaaand check our candy stash! We actually gave it away the next day.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nov 12th.....They Call Me Sista

Another week gone...holy crazy!

Really quick today! We missed emailing yesterday and I don't feel good today so short and sweet for sure but know that overall, things here in California are still golden!

The other day was HILARIOUS! Elder Ford and Elder Nielson have an investigator named Merisha and the Elders have told us multiple times she has clothes she wants to give us! They helped her move boxes in and she has 2 closets full of them. Wellllll, in true male form they severely underestimated and underdescribed the situation. SHE HAS A WRECK! The Elders could only carry boxes up to the door and then see from the doorstep. We get there Wednesday and she has boxes piled FLOOR TO CEILING through her whole apartment. The front door barely opens. The two closests full of clothes are the least of concerns here.... For two hours we worked (cause the Elders can't actually come IN the house in their defense. She's an older lady from Poland who lives alone and they teach her at members homes.) and only made it through 3 boxes. It. Is. Nuts.

They were teaching her that day so they showed up a little before four so she could follow them to the house they'd planned. Sister Hacker and I were cracking up like "uhh Elders you left out a few details!" They thanked us over and over for going over there because apparently Mint Canyon Ward won't help people move... ??? Weird. I swear that's HALF of what the wards do... And like I said, the Elders can't go in. We were all walking out to the cars together, carrying stuff to get rid of, and one of the Elders said "These Sisters are pretty great aren't they Merisha?" She responds "Yes! I just love them! And I don't know if you've noticed how pretty they are! Aren't they lovely?"  Instantly awkward. We started laughing and were already trying to get ahead of them. Merisha then realllly buries us... "They have great legs! Have you really looked at their legs?" I was laughing too hard to hear how they talked their way out of that one. Cheers to being an awkward awkward missionary that I have become!

We dropped an investigator this week. It was so rough! We've been working with a LOT and she's set two baptismal dates in the past but she just isn't progressing. For weeks now she hasn't been reading her scriptures or coming to church. We had the WORST lesson this week. It's like the Spirit wasn't just killed, it was shot point blank in the face. So. Bad. So we decided we needed to really evaluate where it was heading and if our efforts were enough.

She's told us before when she prays about baptism that she feels like God tells her right now. I really struggled with that. I kept thinking well you aren't really praying about it! Or you are and He's actually saying YES and you're scared of that so then you tell us that he said no. Or maybe she isn't praying the RIGHT way or praying hard enough. Lots of frustrations were there because in my mind, being baptized is a good thing and there is just NO WAY that God would tell somebody not to be baptized! I've struggled with that for awhile and it wasn't until we were actually meeting with her and in the middle of explaining why we were "dropping" her that the Lord humbled me and humbled me good!!!

As much as I try sometimes, this really isn't the Church of Chantel Olsen of Latter-Day Saints. It's the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. The Spirit in that lesson was one of the strongests it's ever been for me while on my mission. I had complete and total peace that we were doing the right thing. I thought about when I did mission papers the first time. Yeah, it was a good thing. But I had a lot that I still needed to learn and experience before I would have been even remotely ready for this. And God knew that. God knew a mission, like baptism, is a good thing but only if we're serious and if we're ready.And that's exactly what's going on for Jennifer. I know she's gonna get baptized. I feel it! But it's not up to Sister Olsen for when. I just have to do everything I can on my part, follow the Spirit and then turn it back over to the Lord.

And boy am I grateful it's not up to Chantel Olsen. That's a scary thought... I am so incredibly grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows not only what we need, but WHEN we need it! I love that He sees the whole picture. It's hard and frustrating sometimes but I know that when we stay close to the Lord, play by the rules, and do things according to HIS will, that that is when we are gonna be the happiest in life. That's when things work out for the best :)

I seriously love being a missionary :) I am so glad I get to be a part of these peoples lives and see the little miracles on a day to day basis. It's been incredible to get the tiniest little glimpse of how God feels for us, and His love for alllll His children. And I know that God is with us for every step of the way, whether at home or on missions. LOVE YOU ALL! Until next week...

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

One Year Older & Wiser Too-Nov 4th

HAPPPPPY NOVEMBER! I hope everyone had a great and SAFE Halloween! There were three people who died out here :( It's crazy! Holy cow I still feel like I was just in Hawaii on New Years! I can not believe how fast this year is going by!!! This week has been fabulous! I felt incredibly loved!

Sister Hacker is the best! I woke up to our house fully decorated, sweet rolls and bacon cooking, and Mt. Dew and lifesavers on my desk :) Companion of the year award right there! I felt almost overwhelmed with all the emails and mail I got that day. Thank you thank you thank you!!! It seriously made my whole month! It was a different birthday than usual, but still a great one!

We had my 6 weeks follow up and Sister Hackers' one week follow up all this week. Kinda funny going to those so close together! However, I ended up getting out of the one week follow up. Sister Abbott and Sister Young are in our zone and on bikes. Sister Abbott has been sick almost as long as I've been here. We had been at one week for about an hour when she text and asked if I could take her to the hospital. Sister Camargo and I talked to President, left our new companions with each other and took off. They ended up doing blood work and a CT so we were there from 10-3, grabbed lunch at Jack in the Box and made it back at 4 for the last hour of follow up. A pretty great birthday actually :) :) It was almost relaxing to be back in the hospital environment!!!

We have NO time today but I'll send a bunch of pictures from this week! I LOVE being here! And I love getting to work with Sister Hacker :) God is goooood! I read my blessing this week from when I got set apart and it's crazy how much I needed that even in these short 8 weeks.

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Brother Potter is the high council member over the YSA ward. He's the best! He had us over for dinner on my birthday! They had the table all decorated, made us HUGE Hawaiian hamburgers and chocolate cakes and milkshakes.AND cake to take home! I was well taken care of to say the least!

Sister Hacker had our house all decked out :)

Okay dad, you're right! Bobbing for apples is DISGUSTING! But I'm pretty pumped I can finally say I have tried it! Alex and I went first and then watching everyone else after made me gag....

HERMANA FRANCIS! I love her! We came out together but she came from Mexico MTC and we spent the first two days together. She is so cute and hilarious! She's been frustrated her Spanish isn't very good so she keeps telling her members "Yo necessity ayudar."

 I was...a missionary for Halloween! I'm sure you're shocked haha Lindsey Orton sent me cute missionary socks I wore that night though while we were planning haha

District meetings=Blazers day! Sister Hacker, Sister Abbott and me

The ORIGINAL District! Our Sultry Six! Definitely still missing Sister Humpherys! And pardon Elder Bowman in the back...

Companionship unity! HAPPPPY HALLOWEEN! Carving pumpkins with the zone

Friday, November 1, 2013

And There Was Much Rejoicing.....October 28th

Welp we did it! We made it to Sunday :) This week has been INCREDIBLE! A lot harder than I thought it would be and I think I'm more tired today than I have been my whole mission, but it has been really really good!

Humpherys..Hoffmann...HACKER! My new companion is Sister Hacker from Houston Texas and I just love her! When the new missionaries came walking into transfer meeting, I saw her and just had this feeling it was going to be her! I told Sister Scrivner next to me "I bet it's the one in the white!" And it was! She told me the next day that Sister Hall said in the new missionary meeting "There's one Sister in there who has only been here six weeks herself!" And Sister Hacker thought "I bet I'm with her" so it was pretty funny that we both anticipated it coming.

Before transfer meeting, there's a meeting on one side of the building for the trainers and the other side of the building has the new missionaries. When we got into the trainer meeting Sister Hall started with us and she said "Ahh! Sister Olsen is our only 6 week trainer this time. Welcome!" She gave a short training about being the cheerleader for our new companions. She said this is one of the quietest group of new missionaries they've ever seen. I don't remember the rest of what she said honestly cause I was sitting there pretty panicked again like "There is no way I can already be training somebody else." But the more she kept talking, I finally came back to my point of peace with it.

Then President Hall came in. He looked at me and just smiled. I was waiting for him to say "Ohh! We made a mistake! Sister Olsen you aren't supposed to be in here!" Especially since this go around I was the only 6 week-er. And that would have been fine with me! He didn't though. He was with us for about an hour and it was REALLY helpful! The closer it got to 10:30 the harder it got to pay attention though cause it was almost time to go into the chapel which was obviously the "moment we'd all been waiting for." He stood at the door and shook all of our hands before he went to meet up with Sister Hall to walk the new missionaries again. I made sure to make eye contact with him, still waiting for him to realize "Oh you aren't supposed to be here." And again, he didn't.

We got into the chapel and the assistants stood up reminding us we were in the chapel and to remain reverent, we'll be starting soon. They go and stand at the doors into the chapel where they can see down the hallway. When President and Sister Hall were almost to the doors (leading the new missionaries) they motioned to the chorister and the organist and of course "CALLED TO SERVE" started up! It was like conference! Everybody instantly jumped up and started singing. I still get chills every time we sing that out here!! And being on the "singing" end this time instead of the "receiving" was pretty powerful as well, in different ways! It was amazing! They had about 20 new ones so this time they were all in by the end of the first verse and everybody was standing together to sing the last of it. I was laughing though because they all looked TERRIFIED! All except for one Elder. He came in totally deer in the headlights look but just grinning! It was hilarious! Sister Scrivner leaned over and said "You laugh but that was you in your group!"

When he finally got to our zone, I STILL was waiting for President Hall to say "Oh we made a mistake! Sister Olsen you aren't supposed to be here."....Aaaand he didn't. Sister Hacker turned around, I waved at her and when we were moving seats to sit by our new companions, it made me think about a mission call in general.

God knows where we're supposed to be in life. He knows what we need and He's not just gonna call us to California and then peace out on us after that! I was pretty scared to be training but the Lord has helped me these last few days more than I can even express!!! As a missionary for myself but also as a companion and most importantly, in trying to help Sister Hacker the best I can to make these first weeks a good experience for her. God is gooooood!

When we left the church, the first thing we did was go to this place called Todd Longshore Park. (It's the best lookout point I have found so far.) President Hall told us at OUR one week follow up, when he got set apart the quorum of the twelve member who did it told them to find places where they can see the people they have stewardship over and it will change their perspective of missionary work. So I felt like that was a good place to start with her.

We sat up there and talked for quite a while. You better believe we talked about EXACT obedience! ;) We set a bunch of goals for ending the year and talked about what kind of missionaries and what kind of companionship we want to be.

I am so so so so grateful for so many things today! I never understood why people say missions are so sacred and personal until now. I have seen the Spirit guide us incredibly this last week. In many many small ways, aaaand...we set our first baptismal date!!!!! :) :) :) Saturday afternoon with a guy named Justin Roddy. From feeling like we needed to go and see him, to stalking him on the street (hahah long story) while we waited for him to get off the phone, to actually setting the date, the Spirit was driving us the whole way. We weren't even going to be in his town that day.

I love Sister Hacker! I'm so glad and grateful that she's ready to work hard too! And that she's trying and willing to learn everything that she can. I'm grateful we get a long and don't have obedience problems. Things are goooood here in Santa Clarita! I know God is in control. Sometimes I forget for a minute and think this is actually The Church of Sister Olsen of Latter-Day Saints but he very lovingly and kindly punches me in the face to remind me it's The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. He's gotten me this far and He hasn't forgot me yet. Hallelujah!!

I LOVE being able to drive again! AHHH! Words can't even express. And I know people are praying for us before we haven't gotten lost even once yet :) :) So I appreciate the prayers immensely! I feel the impact of them daily in many ways. I'm SUPER grateful for everybody's love and support! It makes a world of difference for sure. Keeeep praying for us cause there's still a long way to go haha

Love you all!
With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

October 28th--Photos

Back in the driver seat :) :) :)  

Celebratory drinks after meeting with Justin :)
One of our members, Kyle Risser, is awesome! He loves to have us over for dinner. His mom had to work yesterday so Kyle and his dad invited their grandma over so we could still come. I LOVE HER! Oh my gosh I want to be her. She's hilarious and talked me into having a Mt. Dew with her hahaha She went sky diving 3 years ago for her 80th birthday!!!
It's still about 95 degrees here and clouds are incredibly rare so this was another reason for much rejoicing this week! haha And a tiny bit of our apartment.
Todd Longshore Park with Sister Hacker :) Don't mind my face...the lady kept talking to us while she was taking the picture
Elder Pisa and Elder Ah Chee (in the green) are from Samoa! Elder Ah Chee went home this last transfer. Elder Schick (purple) and Elder Dunn are our zone leaders. These four are awesome! Elder Dunn goes home in about 3 transfers.
This little kids were killing me at dinner the other night! Our high councilor has us over for dinner but they were watching their grandkids that night too. Same ages as Jax and Kez even.

PROVO GIRLS! Becky Dayton and Jessica Li are in my ward but they both went to Provo High! Becky was actually born at CASTLEVIEW! Crazy

hahaha awful picture cause I was totally creeping but this cat was Coda to a T!!!

Handing over the car keys :)