Sunday, February 23, 2014

Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

February 17th--
Okay first of all, my bad on the email from last week! I meant verse 33 haha I like that part where it talks about having his arms reached out towards us!

HELLLLLLO! Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day! Ours started off pretty funny with this guy texting us that him and his friend "were looking for two lovely ladies to take to dinner tonight and possibly a movie. Would u be interested? We could talk all about the wonderful world of mormonism" We got a good laugh out of it!

Yesterday at the start of church was crazy. Rebecca came in to sacrament but we couldn't find the guy who was supposed to confirm her anywhere! We had seen him pull in like 15 minutes before so we text him, NOTHING. We literally ran out to the parking lot to try and find him while Bishop stalled with announcements, NOTHING. We call him, NOTHING. We walk back in thinking somebody else will have to confirm her and he's finally standing in the hall. Walked in and went straight up to do it.

She has never looked so happy!!! She was glowing in Relief Society. I love getting to be a part of this. I love that Heavenly Father lets us see and experience so many miracles every day. She text us last night that Bishop already got her a temple recommend and she's gonna go on Thursday. It was amazing to get to see her go through the whole process from "I don't know why I let you in" to "I GOT MY TEMPLE RECCOMED!!!" So happy for her :)

This week was...special haha this was definitely my not so favorite week. Saturday night I finally realized I needed some help and text the zone leaders to come and give me a blessing. Elder Kottcamp and Elder Hansen are awesome! (They know I love Mt. Dew so they bring one for both of us almost every time we see them) Elder Hansen performed it and it was again such a reassurance that blessings definitely come from God! The things he talked about and counciled me with were things that he could not have known about. The very first thing he said though, he talked about the support of my family; blessing me to be able to better feel the prayers and fasts of my family. I thought back to Ashlee telling me last week about Jax and Kez praying for us every time they pray. I am so so grateful for all the support and love I've always gotten. This would not be possible without that!

Even as crazy as this week was, there still is no other place I'd rather be. I loved the end of Tanner mans email last week! I feel the same way. I love that Heavenly Father knows what we need even when we don't and that we're guided to the right things that are going to be best for us. I can't even express how grateful I am to be out here and for all the things I've learned and experienced. Life is great and Heavenly Father is amazing! Hope you all have a wonderful week! How is February already almost over?!  LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

A little cutting and glueing with an old New Era haha
They have Book of Mormons is 85/100 languages at the visitors center. I have one that is sometimes used in Peru (Tanner man), Holly got Norwegian (where her family is from) and Sister Kemp did Japanese (her brother is there on his mission)

We got to go to the Visitors' Center with Holly this week :) I just love her!
CAFE RIO FINALLY OPENED IN SANTA CLARITA!!! We had to take some Sisters to the office and four hours later we were still sitting there and needed lunch/dinner. Thought we'd take advantage of being up there and grab Rio. We arrived there at 5:19 only to see that since it's so brand new they're only open from 10-5 right now! BOOOOOO! Missed it by that much...
The prettiest graffiti I ever did find! HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

GOD BLESS MURICA! We helped Bryan clean his garage while we did laundry last week

Alma 5:31--February 10th

 Matt was making fun of us for wearing belts with dresses. He got up and came back like this HAHA "this is what you look like to me!" He's awkward haha He's the one who told me it looks like I lost 40 pounds when he saw me in work out clothes

Kidnapped Sister Rhoades and Sister Larson this morning. They both leave at the end of this transfer so our zone had a surprise party for them.

Busted open the giant pinata since Sister Larson and I are the ones who found it.
After Rebeccas' baptism at Bishops' house

MLC this week. We set a goal for 1,000 new investigators in January and got 1253!!! "Fruits" of our labors

Syd and Courtney. I love these girls!! So much fun and obviously, quite funny
It was sooo cold this week! So I had my sweat pants on under my skirt and nobody even knew.

We combined with Santa Clarita YSA for FHE last Monday so I got to see Sister HACKER! HAPPPPY DAY!

 "I said remember this moment, in the back of my mind" :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

It rained this week :) and rained and rained and rained. Crazy Californians don't know how to deal with it haha

BECKY DAYTON! I love this girl

This picture was me after phone calls last night and pretty much sums up our week...exhausted! (It took Sister Kemp forever to wake me up she said)

SUCH a crazy but amazing week!! We had Mission Leadership Council, Zone Training Meeting, helped with multiple companionship inventories (slightly awkward...), exchanges with Sister Redner again and REBECCA'S BAPTISM! And we spoke in church yesterday.

Rebecca has the coolest conversion story! It was so great to see everything come full circle for her. She looked so dang happy!! She's my first baptism I got to really be a part of. All I could think was the Taylor Swift song "I said remember this moment, in the back of my mind." She was suppossed to be there at 5:30 and called us at 5:40 totally lost and about 20 minutes away. She got there right before six so she changed and we got to snap just a couple pictures before we started. She had to go under twice but when she came out after she sat down by me and I asked how she feels. "I feel good! I feel really happy." :)

I've seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new :) :) That's what faith can do!

Sorry not much time today but things are GRAND here in San Fernando. We have three exchanges this week so it's crazy busy but it'll be fun. Hope everyone has a great week again this week :) LOVE YOU ALL!
With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Monday, February 10, 2014

Endless Rejoicing in the Land

 February 3rd---
Hooooooola! Words can not even express how happy I am this week! Week of miracles for sure :) I can't believe that this week I have been gone for five months already! It's FLYING by!

First of all, Bryan Kelly finally set a baptismal date!!! FEBRUARY 23rd!

Bryan is such a great person! He's been prepared for such a long time and although Sister Kemp and I have felt that he's ready to be baptized, he didn't. So we've been playing the waiting game for a bit. We went over for lunch ^^ this day (he opens the garage day and we sit there in camp chairs since there's not a girl in the house haha) and to read where Christ comes to America. After eating he said "What are we gonna talk about today? The elephant in the room?" And kinda started laughing. Long story short (Tanner...) he ended up picking the 23rd. He said he just had to wait for something to click in him. And the good news is, that's close enough to when I go home next year that I'll be able to go to the temple with them when they get sealed :) :) I had that program in my bag from a baptism we watched and he took that and put his information on it and sent a picture to Kristy to tell her he finally decided to move forward. SO EXCITED FOR THEM!

Rebecca Munoz also set a baptismal date this week!...for FEBRUARY 9th! Which, yes, is next Sunday! So this week is gonna be fun :) She was one who went with our ward to Gilbert this weekend. We met with her Thursday to see if she had any questions before, and at the end we asked where she is with baptism. We've asked before and she said she has commitment problems. She said "I'm not ready yet but I'm open to it now!" We were pumped!! They left Friday morning and Friday night we get a text that says "I've been thinking about it, I think I'm ready!" WHAAAAT?!?! We played it (kinda) cool and set up to meet with her Saturday night when they got home.

When we got to her house, her little sister Sophia was SO excited to show us the pictures of the temple that Rebecca took!  We talked about it for a while and then said "So we also wanted to talk to you about that text you sent us..." She told us as they were driving she was thinking about it and thought there really is nothing to hold her back. She text us and she was at about 80% at that point. We told her to go to the temple with a question and she did. "As we were going through, I had the question in my mind like you told me! They were kinda rushing us. So I muttered a quick prayer just in my head. When we got into the celestial room I had this moment of complete clarity and I just started crying! I knew 100% this is what I want and what I need."

I have never seen the whole "light in the eye" as much as I did with Rebecca on Saturday night!! She was glowing. I am so excited for her to take this step and to be able to work on going back to the Celestial Room again. Testimony meeting was alllll about the temple and how strong the spirit was and EVERYONES desire to do what they need to to get back there. Super powerful. This week I was showing a Sister some of the things I'd learned from Jacob 5 and this time verse 66 stood out to me where it says: "...until the good shall overcome the bad..." Not "if" not "hopefully" but UNTIL. I know that good will win in the end, good will ALWAYS win in the end! I am so excited and grateful for Bryan and Rebecca taking these steps and the ways that it's gonna do nothing but continue to bless their lives.

We are indeed in the drought on the news. Remember the start of "Cinderella Story"? That's my valley!!!! And that earthquake she talks about was 20 years ago 2 weeks ago. Right through Northridge and we are still in a drought. We fasted for rain yesterday though and last night we did indeed get water falling!!! About 1/2 an inch but that's a big deal here. I know that the Lord doesn't always answer our prayers quite that quickly or directly but I know that He does indeed answer them. And in the best way for us! And for that, I am grateful! LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

A little under the weather

It dropped to 59 degrees last night when it rained! Yep...I'm pathetic!!! haha I WAS FREEEEEZING

Sister Kemps super cute skirt I wore for today :)

Welp...peace out! love you!

Bryan Kelly finally set a baptismal date!!! FEBRUARY 23rd!

MTC District (minus 2 and plus the assistants) at Zone Conference this week! Love them! I was still a little sick and we'd just sat for 9 hours so no judging...

Elder Wright had told us "I can't believe they gave you a white cruze! We were supposed to be the only ones with that!" We joked that they're the Assistants but we're the AsSISTERS! We got ready to open 2 new apartments this week! We have 14 new missionaries coming in at the end of the month....THIRTEEN of them are SISTERS! :)

Rebecca :) she came and watched a baptism with us last Saturday. She's a gem :)

"We Christlike......but We Ain't Jesus"

January 27th--
 Okay first and foremost....WHY THE HECK did nobody tell me the Broncos are in the Superbowl this year?! Jacob Brandt I hope you're eating your words right now! Go Denver! Anyways...this week was really really good! It was definitely a battle though for sure. I was reading over my blessing wondering where my "health and strength" part was this week.

BUT that's okay! Satan couldn't get us down! We worked incredibly hard this week and really worked on getting the ward involved as well. It definitely paid off! This week was full of more miracles than I can even explain! Honestly, this week was one of the best weeks of my mission so far! I LOVE seeing the ways this Gospel really does change and BETTER our lives! 1 Nephi 3:7 talks about how there's nothing the Lord has asked us to do, where the way for us to do it isn't prepared already. So true! Things are hard. Doing the right thing is harder. But I know in the long run we are truly blessed for following what the Lord has asked of us.

I can't even explain this week but I wish I could! It was most definitely a CLOUD 27 type of week! Our ward is going to Arizona this week for the Gilbert Temple Open house and three of our investigators are going. I am so excited for them to get to see the inside and see what we're talking about. It made me think about the first time I went through... Taylor was the first person I saw in the Celestial room and I remember just losing it. The week before, I honestly didn't know if I was going to get there. Satan was working so hard on me I didn't know if I WANTED to. But I did and for that I am so grateful! I know that the temples truly are the closest we can get to God in this life and even though it's not dedicated yet, I'm still so excited for them to get to feel just a glimpse of that peace and joy that's there.

Sorry it's so late this week..things have been nuts!! I am learning so so much as a Sister Training Leader! I'm so grateful to get to have this time to learn from the other Sisters and getting to know them on a much more personal level. Hope that everyone has a great, exciting and safe week! Know that we are safe and protected without a doubt :) Life is gooooood here in the great San Fernando Valley. LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every exhausted footstep,
Sister Olsen

This is seriously only the second Utah license plate I've seen out here! And it's the epitome of Utah!

We listen to a song that says "This work's gonna fix what don't 'work' anymore" and I think of Josh every time now. This was at church cleaning/basketball the other night. This is the happiest we've ever seen him! So happy things are clicking and working for him
Sick day this week means this stretching was the extent of our exercise! If you look close on the left you can see where I hung up the babies shrine haha

"White" Winter

January 20th--
Greetings from the Ghetto! :) We made three trips to Santa Clarita AGAIN this week, I totally saw Billy Ray Cyrus at dinner at this place called "The Yard House", the Jeppsens went back home to Utah, took the new missionaries out for contacting, we moved apartments three times (seriously still sore from that), set up exchanges for the eight companionships (16 sisters) this transfer, set a baptismal date with this guy named Josh and had a night in when Sister Kemp got super sick.  Whaaaaaat a week!

So this week we met this guy named Michael. He just got out of prison and, like much of the valley, has some pretty strong gang affiliations. He has a slit tongue....apparently that's a real thing that if you snitch on other members, they'll slit your tongue. We were talking to him when his "baby mama" called and she cussed me out for talking to her "baby daddy." So fun! We also had a hand off lesson for another guy this week. He is 22 and so awesome! He also has been into some pretty heavy gang stuff; he's covered in tattoos and piercings. But the last year he's worked really hard to genuinely turn his life around and better things for his two kids. He'd been on drugs since he was 12 and is finally totally clean and working hard to find clarity and peace. It made me think about Alma 36:21 where it talks about how the Atonement can take any bitter or awful thing and make it equally as great and sweet to us. MY FAVORITE SCRIPTURE FOR SURE! We set a baptismal date with him :) :) February 16th so hopefully he can continue to work hard to make sure it follows through. We ended up not getting one solidified with Bryan this week but we know he still is so close! There's nothing really holding him back and I am SO EXCITED for him to finally get to that point! Just a step on the way to the temple for him and Kristy.

I forgot to mention, but for the last 3 weeks I have been back in the driver seat! WOOP WOOP! Great news, I know ;) Life in LA is still taking a little bit of getting use to for me. We go to District Meeting in Sherman Oaks; 10.4 miles from our home exactly. Mom thought going from Helper to Provo traffic was bad.... It takes us FIFTY minutes to get there! 50 minutes to go 10 miles!!! It drives me crazy. Patience continues to be an attribute the Lord teaches me.

Taking Sister Lind up to the office this week to go home was one of the saddest drives! It was hard. We also joke we go "roadtrippin" up there but this was by far the worst. We picked them up right after District Meeting (which was actually 60 minutes after...) and went to meet President and Sister Hall at the office. The assistants came out as soon as we got there to help carry stuff in. She started crying and it was really hard to see it ending so much sooner for her than she'd planned. She'd been out about ten months. Definitely a testimony builder to always be as obedient as possible and ALWAYS make each day count.

As you can see below, we also are having a white winter ;) Although ours is in the form of blossoms instead of snow! And it was pointed out I never sent pictures from our ocean lookout drive. So there's that as well :) my last day as a blonde so about a month ago.  It is such great weather down here! We dropped for a little while but are back in the 80's-90's. God is great, beer ain't good, and people are crazy! LOVE YOU ALL and hope it's another great week! 

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Maybe You Aren't Here For Yourself

January 13th--
HOLLA! I can't believe it's another week gone by. We had one guy commit to baptism...just have to set a date (YAY!), two trips up to Santa Clarita, three exchanges and four Sisters getting transferred tomorrow! We are NOT one of them! Sister Kemp and I will be staying together another transfer which means she will officially be the companion I have had the longest so far. Today we are going out contacting with the new missionaries! SO excited :) It'll be fun!

This week was nuts! Yesterday, we had President Martz from the LA Temple Presidency come speak to us. He did an amazing job! Turned out he is also a convert to the church. We had our investigator Bryan sitting right in front of us with his girlfriend Kirsty. We've been working with him since I've been here and last time we asked him about baptism he said he didn't feel quite ready yet, but he felt close. When President Martz talked a little bit about his own sealing, it was this really powerful moment for myself where I knew that some day Bryan and Kirsty would be at that point! They are totally going to make it to the temple. Last night we had dinner with them and we talked about what he thought of sacrament. By the end of the lesson, we bore our testimonies that we knew he was ready and that there shouldn't be anything to hold him back from progressing. We asked him to pray about getting baptized either the end of January or the first of February. And he said YES! I felt like I was floating on air last night! So dang excited for them. So it's totally happening, it's just a matter of when.

We also had a crazy man YELL at us on the street corner this week about how we're less than men and should be ashamed to be Mormons. I was in total shock! I've never had that happen before and he was sooo rude!! I was pretty ticked at first but the more I thought about it that night I think those are the moments that are really hard for Heavenly Father to sit back and have to watch. I WILL find that man in Heaven and I WILL get an apolagy!

Sorry not much time today but things are MUY BIEN here in California :) Hopefully you all have a great week this upcoming week. We have a Sister who is being sent home early this week..It's been tough! Definitley not a fun thing to be involved in and my heart goes out to her but it's been a constant reminder that He knows the bigger picture and knows how things will play out long before we do. It's made me think about a scripture in 1 Nephi 21:14-16 that I really love. It talks about how we are graven upon the palms of His hands. I never thought about it much before the mission that in a totally perfect and resurrected body, He left to leave those scars in His hands. Whenever I see somebody with their arm all tore up and ask what happened, 90% of them will start the story with "I was with my brother boating and..." "I was in Moab with my friends..." they always start the story with who they're with! I think if we were to see Him now and ask what happened to His hands he'd say "I was with you during your heart break. I was with you in your car on the worst night of your life. I was with you while you were nervous about starting your mission." Whatever it may be! I know President Monson was 100% right at conference when he said "Whether it is the best of times or worst of times, He is with us! We truly do need Him every hour." I know He loves us and walks with us constantly. And for that, I am grateful :) Love you all!

With faith in every tired footstep,
Sister Olsen

We heard there's a movie coming out about Elders who were kidnapped in Russia. The something approach...? We were at lunch this week and the director of it was there and wanted to take a picture with US!
BOOTCAMP with our ward last week. Seriously could not walk until Thursday

2 Nephi 5:27

HAPPY 2014! So crazy 2013 has already come and gone. Church yesterday was crazy...I saw one of my good friends from high school! I was freaking out a little and Sister Kemp had to remind me not to hug him haha and remember our white supremacist gang member?! HE came walking into sacrament meeting, as we were sitting next to our black investigator! Our stomachs dropped and we were glued to our guy allll day! Luckily nothing happened :) we also taught Sunday School and spoke in Relief Society so it was quite the exhausting day.

New Years Eve this year was definitely the most different I've ever had! Our investigator (a marine) is struggling to find the motivation to read the Book of Mormon and we've been struggling to work out so we told him on the 30th to start reading every night, text us how many verses he read and we'll do that many crunches or push ups the next day. 113 the first night!!! 1 Nephi 1-4... I have never been so excited to work out! Then we went to Mission Leadership Council from 9-5:30, drove back to our valley and grabbed a pizza just in time for our 7pm curfew!

New Years is fun to me! I thought about being in Hawaii last year and never thinking I'd be on a mission a year later. I'm thankful for everything and everyone that got me out here! I know I say that every time but I can't say it enough! I know God loves each and every one of us and everything we go through is for a reason. I know everything happens for a reason...and a reason for the BEST! I thought about 2013 and had my song stuck in my head :) :)

LOVE YOU ALL! And hope you have a great week :)
With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

New Years was different but probably one of the better ones I've had for sure. I thought a lot about last year and being in Hawaii...being determined to let go of what an awful year 2012 was. I thought a lot about the upcoming year though and how 2014 will be "MY YEAR" as a missionary. Not a lot of sisters get a solid year on their missions so I thought a lot about what I want to do/become. One of my goals is to read the Book of Mormon four times. Which is easier than I thought it would be. Reading six pages everyday I can read it every three months!

We have a Sister who has struggled her whole mission and President asked us this week what our thoughts would be in sending her home... I think that's what's got me so down today. They've only had 3 full work days this whole transfer (so five weeks....) and other than that they've been staying in! Which is not okay. But it's really sad and hard to think of another going home. Sister Kemp and I struggle a little bit because she's still caught in a little bit of "I need to be on top" so she's like "Honestly she needs to just go home" and I want to shake her sometimes. She doesn't understand having messed up. She's got a touch of self-righteousness. And is very immature.

I'm struggling a little. But I am praying daily for patience and charity. I know things could be worse and I'm grateful that overall we do get along great! I've learned to ignore and correct in a loving way (hopefully) but it's hard just thinking back to Pierie I think. And if nothing else, at least there aren't obedience problems! haha kill me...

So I am indeed down a little bit today. Sorry about that.

Love you tons. Thanks for always supporting me :)
Your favorite Sister Olsen

Our investigator Bryan wanted to take us out to a fancy dinner for our Christmas present. We went to the Odyssey last Saturday! It was amazing! Melt in your mouth steak :) :) This is the over look though. That's the 405 freeway, San Fernando Valley and more of LA county.

.....And A Happy New Year--Dec 30th

HEY! Looked like everyone had a good Christmas :) I did hear that the Lakers lost to the Jazz this week so MERRY CHRISTMAS indeed!! I realized the longest I'd been away from home was four months and two days with living in China, which is how long I've been away as of today! So crazy how fast time is going by! Ironically enough after Ash made the joke about not being in North Hollywood to see the celebrities, we had a legit referral come in for Justin Bieber! Apparently he asked an inactive girl out and she used it to refer him. There's a city in our area called Calabasas and it's loaded!! Will Smith, Justin Bieber and the Kardashians all have houses out here.

This week was overwhelming on just how grateful I am for my family. After skyping, we ate dinner and got a text from one of our investigators. Remember Bryan and Kirsty?! Bryan went to Kirstys' house for Christmas Day and that night we got a text from him that started with "Sisters Kirsty's niece just died in my arms. This is not a joke either...." It was heartbreaking! Especially after just seeing Kez and Jax a few hours earlier, I couldn't help but think if it had happened to us. That's why I am SO grateful for this gospel!! To know that no matter what kind of crazy stuff happens to us in life, this isn't the end. Having the temples are such a huge blessing to me!

I can't believe 2013 is already pretty much over. I thought a lot this morning about last year in Hawaii and the goals/plans I'd set for myself and how I did on them. At that point, I still had no real plan that I would be on a mission exactly a year later, but I continue to be incredibly grateful this is where I'm at! Some of the things I've learned in 2013 and especially as a missionary...
     -Avocados make guacamole...not guacamole.
     -Stretching is a perfectly good form of "exercise"
     -6:30 am comes EVEN EARLIER as a missionary!
     -Not going to seminary can really work in your favor. I have NO desire to Bible Bash...I know I'd lose.
     -Life Savor mints should be on the food pyramid
     -I continue to have the most supportive family ever
     -Prayer for reals!
     -Loving people is hard. Watching them use agency in a not great way is even harder.
     -Always follow the Spirit. Especially when you don't know why!!

I am so so grateful for the endless blessings I have and the tender mercies the Lord continues to send me every single day. I know the Atonement is powerful and it is real. No matter what we are going through, it covers us. I know the Lord not only loves me, but is walking with me constantly. I love the temple! I know a lot of people probably never thought I'd say it but I LOVE garments! I love the protection, spiritually and physically, that they provide. I know the Lord doesn't give us any commandments without a reason for wanting to bless us. I know that what is sealed in the temple, will be sealed in heaven. And for that, I can not even express how grateful I am!

Hope everyone has a great New Years! Remember that as great as it is to set goals about diets and gyms, goals about prayers and spirituality are a lot more lasting :) LOVE YOU ALL! Until next year... (Never gets old haha)

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

The beginning of gingerbread houses last Monday before the Elders started a full on frosting fight-clean the church? Check!

Christmas Eve we went caroling with the Resenda Elders and a family in our ward before dinner.  SO MUCH FUN!! Seriously one of the highlights of the week.
Our district at district meeting on Christmas Eve
Okay funny story....I took this pictures 3 weeks ago and sent it to Tanner because of his shirt!  Yesterday, we were back in that town, different street and this same homeless man comes walking up to me and says "Hey, I remember you! You took a picture with me!"  haha oops! So much for my "It's okay, I'll never see them again" logic

Exchanges with Sister Panlilio this week had me back on a bike!  I've never felt prettier in my life...;)  Biking is still SO much fun to me though!
NOTHING is more annoying than getting to these houses that are gated/fenced off and they have a "Welcome" sign on them!  And I swear 9/10 of the gated ones do have a welcome sign. At least this one was cowboys.....