Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 23rd Photos

Temple day on Monday with Holly, Brian, Kirsty

These signs are all over the valleys! These are the "secret" signs for when they are filming shows and movies

Temple day on Wednesday before the session

LIN! This guy is from the Shondong Province. Which is where I lived when I was there!!

I tried to talk Sister Kemp into camping out on the balcony like we do at home but we compromised with sleeping in the front room....all week haha

MERRY CHRISTMAS at church yesterday with Brother Turner


HOLA from the Great San Fernando California! I can not believe we're only two days away from Christmas!! I will definitely NOT be having a white Christmas this year! Mine will be hot and drrrrry. But that's okay because much like Kenny Chesney, all I want for Christmas is a real good tan! ;) Jokes jokes! I have though successfully gotten the whole San Fernand valley hooked on Scotty McCreery and Brad Paisley Christmas!!! :)  But for reals this year has flowwwwn by! Happy Birthday Jesus, Happy Birthday Jake and Happy Birthday Dad! Love you all

This week was great!! We went to LA for the Visitors Center with Brian (investigator), his girlfriend and Holly (another investigator) on Monday. We saw a few of the videos, met up with the ward to watch a bell choir and then walked the grounds to look at the lights. Holly set a baptismal date and Brian is on the verge of setting one also so it was exciting. The spirit was so strong! Wednesday morning we got up at 5:30 to head back to LA to do a session with all the English speaking missionaries in the mission. THAT WAS COOL! We did a chapel session and sitting in the chapel waiting to get started, "Behold, A Royal Army!" was seen in an all new light!!! WOW! There were about 125 of us, all dressed in white. Getting to the end and being in the Celestial Room with them was even happier and more powerful than when we went for my birthday with the departing missionaries. And I didn't have any "wardrobe malfunctions" this time so it was a great experience. We saw a lot of heart ache this week. We met a girl who had an abortion because her boyfriend got another girl pregnant and another girl who was four months pregnant and leaving her boyfriend for a better life. SO proud of her but I definitely had an overwhelming reminder that the Lord has given us commandments for our blessing, happiness...and sanity. In the bible dictionary under the commandments it says they may also be referred to as "the covenants." I love that! It's not just a list of thou shalt nots, it's ways the Lord has set up to make life even better for us. We had exchanges this week and I went to Woodland Hills with Sister Lewis, one of the Sisters I was in the MTC with. SO MUCH FUN! It was my first time on bike and I hope I get transferred to a bike area at some point.

This time of year is so amazing! I was nervous because I LOVE Christmas! It's my favorite time of year. But I have had countless tender mercies on a daily basis with just loving where I am right now. We've been incredibly busy so that always helps... At Mission Leadership Council the start of the month, Sister Hall said this year, as missionaries, we are the angels of the Christmas story. We get to go forth to other people and tell them "...Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people... Glory to God in the highest. And on earth, peace, good will toward men." I love this gospel and the ways it has blessed and changed my life. I'm grateful to have time to help others find the peace they don't have in their own lives...yet!

I can not wait to see your faces in two days!!! I have no idea what time but I'll give Bishop moms' number and they can talk and get it figured out for sure. Ahhhhhh!! And I have a surprise for you that day...
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! ...and to all a good week!
Love you all!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

PS Remember how mom would re-write Christmas carols for our Christmas cards? Here's my version of the 12 Days of Christmas as a missionary haha sing it as you read it!

"On my first Christmas away from home the good Lord gave to me...."
     -A companion just like me!
     -Two skirts I love!
     -Three colored pens
     -Four favorite verses
     -Six types of cereal
     -Seven Sister exchanges
     -Eight hours sleeping
     -Nine dogs a barking
     -Ten strangers staring
     -Eleven ways of tracting
     -Twelve pounds of letters

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad-Dec 16th

Hey! Hope this week was great for everybody :) This week was nuts down here! Still safe ;) No worries mom!

We had a lot happen this week! We had two different exchanges and I am EXHAUSTED! I'd heard when you're "running" them that it really takes it out of you and we did them back to back. Sister Kemp and I got back together Saturday night and we were in bed by 9:37 haha right after we finished planning. I do not understand how I survived on such little sleep at home. It mystifies me I ever went on three or four hours. We couldn't possibly sleep any less as missionaries and survive, yet there still never seems to be enough time to get everything done we need/want to. It's nuts!

Tuesday we had a zone conference with all the english speaking missionaries and we met with our investigator Holly that night...AND SHE SET A BAPTISMAL DATE! So excited for her! She's adorable. We're going to the temple with her and another investigator named Brian in like 30 minutes so not much time today. I love and miss you all and CAN NOT wait to get to skype at Christmas!!! Everybody's Christmas cards are hanging up on our fridge, I love them! Sister Kemp was laughing when I got my quilt with it wrapped in the twine, and then when she saw the "GOT TRUCKS" picture she started laughing and goes "Sooo did you grow up on a legit farm?!" hahaha You'll get to meet her on Christmas when we skype. Woop woop! LOVE YOU ALLLL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen
 REUNITED at a zone conference this week
My first exchange was with Sister Williams. It went super well and super fast!! This is when we took pictures for our goals right before we switched back.
Sister Redner made my day to say the least :)
Taylor Swift's birthday was this week. Sister Kemp is obsessed with her so we "celebrated" with wearing red lipstick during breakfast/studies

Peace robot man on our way to the ocean today

We're Not in Kansas Anymore.....Dec 9th

 HELLLLLLO! Before I forget, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUBBS AND JAX MAN!! So crazy to think Taylor is 22 now and Jaxon is 3! We celebrated both days with my companion. We had jerky for Taylors and Rice Krispies with Nutella on them for Jax so you were in my thoughts! Hope it was great boys!

So, last Tuesday I got transferred and I left Santa Clarita Valley. I was a little bit bummed because I love it there! And with doing YSA and covering the whole valley, I got to know it pretty well. Now I am down in San Fernando Valley! And it is QUITE different! I love it haha I have become PATHETIC and freeze all the time! It's still in the 60's but it's humid cold which is like "my bones hurt" cold! And you know the winds they talk about on The Holiday? The "Santa Annas?" That's a real thing! And they're here. And they're crazzzzzy!

My companion is Sister Kemp. She's one of the Sisters I stayed with my first night here (THREE MONTHS AGO TODAY!)  so we're pretty pumped to be companions!! We kinda put it together right before the meeting started that we'd be companions since she was the only Sister Training Leader to be losing a companion so we were glad it actually happened. Sister Kemp is from Idaho, and she loves country :) Need I say more?! Right before I left Santa Clarita, somebody gave me Brad Paisley Christmas and Scotty McCreery Christmas :) :) Thanks for sending Scotty Britt! I'm gonna give those copies to the Elders cause I told them I'm gonna convert them to country music.

San Fernando is a whole other world! I'd heard before in Santa Clarita that it's crazy down here, one of the porn capitals of the world! So if anybody needs Jesus, they do :) We are living in a fine area. We had Elder Kottcamp and Elder Hansen (zone leaders) come bless it because we're opening it and it's crazy how safe you feel as a missionary. One night, they had the police helicopter going and SWAT was out tromping around but you don't even feel worried. It's pretty cool! There are some pretty "tough" people out here to say the least. We found out yesterday one of the gangs out here will only let you out if you go in a room with 14 guys for two minutes and they all have baseball bats. If you survive, they'll let you out. There's lots of homeless people and one set of Elders told us there's a street to avoid after dusk because there's a lot of prostitutes.

I'm so excited to be down in this valley! The first night was super sad, not gonna lie. Tears may have been shed haha One of our investigators we found and have been working with, we were ready to set a baptismal date and she did Wednesday night. Sister Hacker called to tell us and I was so tired from moving and changing I started crying. Laaame. But seriously's pretty great down here! It's a whole other feeling. There's a BIG part of Spanish work down here. Most of the spanish zones actually. So considering my first mission call to be spanish, I get excited to think of coming in contact with the person/people I was supposed to meet two years ago! We are talking to EVERYBODY! We're gonna find them :)

Things are good here! We are going to LA Temple on the 18th :) Remember when Sage and Sydney Cornforth told me to watch for their step son/brother Elder Roundy?! I saw him on the first day out here and talked for a little while but he's my District Leader now!! He's cool! I'm excited. Being a sister training leader is still hard to wrap my head around. We are in charge of exchanges. That's where we switch companions for 24 hours and are supposed to help teach/train the sisters we go with. I'm the youngest out over allll the girls we're over except for one. So I will definitely be getting a blessing before starting out.

Hope things are still going great! This time of year is my FAVORITE! Deeeefinitely weird being away from home but Bishop and his wife had us over for dinner last night and had us decorate their tree after so that was fun! We're supposed to also help the Sisters really enjoy this time of year..and it's my first holiday out too so again I don't know what I'm doing. But watching the Christmas devotional last night and hearing a general authority pray for the missionaries is always a cool experience. You feel the prayers!!! So just keep praying for us :)

Have a wonderful week!
With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Bobbye Jo! The Shepherds had us over for dinner my last night and they surprised us with having Bobby there.
This is one of our investigators about to set a baptismal date. She's gonna be in Utah for most of January
DALTON FROST! This kid just got in to BYU-I and I'm so excited for him!
Before transfer meeting on Tuesday. Elder Patterson is a visa waiter for Brazil. He has a twin brother who was also a visa waiter and they both got sent to this mission to wait. His brother got his visa and left back in July but this one is still waiting...
Our first night trying to get our apartment all set up
THANK YOU MOM!!! It's already almost half way gone. Sister Kemp is trying not to eat it haha but I put it on the Rice Krispies
Somebody gave me Brad Paisley AND Scotty McCreery...MERRRRRRRY CHRISTMAS TO ME! And Ash the decorations you sent were perfect :) Thank you! Our super fake fireplace looks great!

Holly is an investigator and she found out we both love country, especially Taylor Swift so she made these for us for Christmas and brought them yesterday :)
What up quack pack
You're probably gonna get a picture home every time it rains haha so...twice!

Attitude Of Gratitude-Dec 2nd

 GREETINGS from Santa Clarita :) (aka the place where Paul Walker apparently died this weekend..??? We've heard about that non stop) It sounds like Thanksgiving was great!!! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and week in general.

So...after weeks of feeling like we were "safe" from transfer calls, they finally came on Saturday. Last transfer they came at 3pm and this time, we had to wait clear up until 8:30 pm. Elder Schick (our zone leader) is getting made an assistant to President!!! We found out Friday and his last night in our zone was Saturday so Saturday night we decided to throw together a "heart attack" for him, with little notes from everyone in the zone. It was so cute :) He was really excited and surprised by it. As we were going from companionship to companionship though, everyone was soooo on edge and just down since everyone was still waiting to hear who was leaving. It was probably the longest day of my mission so far honestly. Pretty crazy.

We were sitting outside Elder Schicks gathering our supplies when our District leader Elder Ford called. He said "I've got transfer calls Sisters! I'm sorry but Sister Olsen you're being transferred to a car area." I was so bummed! I tried really hard to pray to be okay with however they went, but not gonna lie, my heart dropped just a little. We were talking at home around 10pm about everyone else leaving (every companionship in our zone except for 2 are getting split up) when our phone goes off and it's President Hall calling. Long story short (thanks to Elder Olsen haha) I got called to be a Sister Training Leader!!! He had asked to talk to me alone so I was in sitting on my bed and just started bawling. I thought I felt inadequate to train at 6 weeks but I feel REALLY inadequate to accept this. So I'll finish packing tonight and we're off to transfer meeting tomorrow. I have no idea what area I'm going to but I have a feeling it'll be either Newhall or down to San Fernando Valley so we'll see how it goes!

Being transferred coupled with Thanksgiving, I feel SO overwhelmed with gratitude and couldn't stop crying almost all day yesterday. (Thanks for that trait mom...) I got moms letter saying how grateful she is to have two empty seats at Thanksgiving this year with Tanner boy and me gone. She talked about two years ago and what a rough place I was in and it really hit it home in me. I am unbelievably grateful that the Lord never gave up on me. I am grateful for the Atonement and the total PEACE and joy it can bring to our lives even when we think we are past all hope. I am grateful for Bishop Owen being so loving and telling me to never give up on myself. I'm grateful for my family being so patient with me when I was trying to figure out what I wanted in life and what route I was gonna take. I am grateful for learning so much on my first transfer and deciding what kind of missionary I really want to be. I'm grateful for this little black piece of plastic I wear every day and what it represents.

I never wanted to go on a mission, but last October something switched inside of me where I went from fighting AGAINST going on a mission, to never fighting harder for something in my life! And I am grateful for that. For Michelle, Jessica, Chrissy and Lindsey always staying so patient and encouraging to me! I'm grateful for Taylor's example and seeing how much his mission meant to him when he was released and had to take his name tag off. I'm grateful for my sistas (not to be mistaken with my now Sisters...) always loving me and being the greatest friends I could always turn to and talking about things they probably would fathered have not talk about. I'm SO grateful Tanner boy and me get to be out experiencing all of this crazy at the same time :) Nice to know my "little buddy" is going through a lot of the same things. Grateful mom and dad have always supported me in everything I've done and for always building me up that I really can do anything I put my mind to.

I'm grateful for the Lord constantly humbling me and knowing that He knows what's best for me. I came out here thinking "I want to go anywhere but a YSA Ward" and now I don't want to leave. Bishop Rock and the whole ward are great and everyone knows how "GREAT" I am with goodbyes. But I'm pretty pumped for a change! I got a blessing from Elder Ford and Elder Nielson last night and that helped calm me down quite a bit. It's got me pretty nervous and anxious but I'm excited. I know the Lord will continue to bless and guide me more than I can understand now, because I wouldn't have even made it to California without His help. I know he won't ever leave me. And for that, I am grateful.

LOVE YOU ALLLLLL! Until next week...

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Clark told me he's sad I'm leaving and he gave me a hug when he opened the door.  This kid cracks me up! He taught me a "missionary handshake" that almost breaks one of our fingers every time we do it.

This might be used in a Christmas card haha ps....they gave me that skirt I'm wearing ;)

Their son Dalton is a kid we've been working with in our ward.  He had to work last night so we're going to see him today but when they found out I was getting transferred, Sister Frost text us to come over for dinner.  Their family is AWESOME!  Sam (next to me) reminds me SO much of Tanner!  They are who we were going to spend Christmas with that I told you about.
Mosiah 13:3 "Touch me not! For I have not delivered the message which the Lord hath sent me to deliver" (more or less.....but that scripture cracks me up as a missionary!)

Christina Frost haha we always take a ton of ugly pictures on her phone at dinner.  She's the one who text some to Britt a few weeks ago!  So we had a whoooooole shoot with me leaving.

ALEX WALBORN! How I love this girl.  My very first night there I met her and she was so cute and so sweet! I love her!

BROTHER FOLSOM!! He's great!  And he served in Japan...hence the peace.  He has a son serving in the Philippines right now so it was cool hearing him bear his testimony about the gratitude for his son not only serving, but being protected also.

Brother Ashton, us, Brother Smith (STONEY MCCOARD) Brother Folsom, and Bishop Rock before church yesterday.  I wanted to leave and not tell any of them (since I suck at goodbyes) but wanting this picture gave it away.  Such a great Bishopric!

"I could get used to a view like this! Yep....I'm used to it."

Elder Dunn, Elder Schick, and Sister Hacker and I.  I am SO grateful for Sister Hacker!  I don't know what I would have done if I had to train somebody who didn't really want to work, wanted to go home, etc.  And becoming friends was just a bonus!