Monday, May 19, 2014

I Thank My God for Each and Every Day & Meet Some of Our Investigators

 May 19th......

Hello! WHAT A WEEK!! It flew by way way too fast! I am indeed getting transferred tomorrow  Saturday afternoon we got the call, but honestly, in the temple Friday night I just knew I would be leaving. After 9 months in YSA I will finally be going to a family ward. I'm sad to leave but I feel way better about it than I expected to.

Standing here today (literally...we stand at the Apple store...) I could not have asked for more from the Lord! Two of the biggest dreams I had for my mission were to "FIND CHANTEL" and help a less active get on a mission.  I wanted to find the me that I was 3 years ago. Without going into too much detail, Rebeca has been a MIRACLE! She is more of a Chantel than I realized at first. Yesterday I saw it full circle as she talked a little bit about how she's starting to really think about going on a mission and realizing that's the Lords' plan for her. Such a tender mercy!

Charlie is a guy that almost tried to throw us out of his house the first time we went to see him and missions came up. We kept meeting with him, became friends, and helped him to see for himself that a mission was still possible for him. Recently, he got a priesthood advancement and will be blessing the sacrament for the first time next week. Now he talks openly all the time about "When I got on my mission..." . Also, such a tender mercy!

Being able to be in the temple with Kirsty Friday night, was a huge blessing. I have learned SO much about hope this transfer and trying to really understand how trials play into our eternal perspective. That girl went through more in 3 months than most will go through in a year. On the way down I thought to when I went through for the first time and the week before being hell; not knowing if I'd make it.  Bishop Pickering told me "I promise ANYTHING you go through or give up is beyond worth it to make it to the temple!!!" Seeing her come into the Celestial Room and seeing her happier than I've seen her in a looooong time, I was reminded again of the truth of that.

I know that Heavenly Father knows what's best for us. I know He's aware of what we want and what we need. And I'm sure sometimes it's hard for Him when those don't line up. But I know with time, sometimes they do. I can't believe I have been out for 9 months already! I can't even explain how blessed I feel to have already see the two biggest dreams of my mission come true and to become friends with so many great people who have truly changed my life!

In the temple, I've never felt such peace before and I couldn't stop crying! (Go figure...) It was a whole new level of peace and a deeper sense for everything I put myself through in the past. It was a way of seeing things come full circle and feeling good about the hard/bad experiences I may have had; knowing it helped somebody for the better and seeing somebody else pull through it as well.

On a lighter note... I had wheat bread this week for the first time since Elementary School! haha Yep! But still no french toast. Sister Vanhoven leaves for Brazil tonight and when we asked what she wanted to do for her last day she said "Sister olsen, will you PLEASE come to Ihop and eat french toast?!" Not a chance. I also offended  a man who was changing his tire when I suggested that he jack up the car before trying to pull the tire off... HAHA thanks dad!

Glad things went well at home this week! Not gonna lie, I don't have much time to write people back but I promise I will next week. THANK YOU for the constant love and support! Dad, enjoy not being Bishop Olsen anymore :) Sounds like it's already a huge difference in just one day. LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!!

With faith in every grateful footstep and for the last time in YSA,
Sister Olsen

​Earrings Rebeca and Sister Patton made me!

​PAMELA! So sad I'll be missing her baptism
"The Book of Mormon has a lot of wars ya know?" "The Lamanites are the original gangsters!"

​RON CUHA! hahaha
He's pretty short... One day he was walking back inside as we were telling him bye and he stepped on those steps and said "Yeahhh I like this better! Now I can finally see your eyes" So it became a joke with us

​BROTHER ROSE! I love this guy. He always has us over to give us food. His wife died a year ago so he always tells us how ready he is to die but he is so hopeful and nice! Check out his left foot... I tease him every time I'm gonna slice it open and drain it out!

​So I wore this to his house for dinner :) Don't let his smile fool you. I walked in and the first thing he said was "Take that crap off in my house!"  haha you can see why we get along so well

​CSUN! it's the university in our area. This thing is cool! It's a mirage so no matter what direction you look at it from, it still says CSUN

​Bishop KNOWS I hate the Heat! At the end of baring my testimony I said "NOBODY compliment his tie!" cause when he found out I was getting transferred he wore this to church...

​After the temple with Kirsty. SUCH an amazing night! :) Triplets re-united

My district leader Elder Ford and his companion Elder Agular after our last district meeting. I LOVE THEM! Elder Ford has been in my zone my whole mission and Elder A is precious! He's from Mexico and one day asked us to teach him what "though" means. "They put it everywhere here and I do not understand it!"

​When we went to the temple, the freeway was crazy backed up so we went through Beverly Glen/Beverly Hills. Bishop pulled over on the way though at this place... the house Michael Jackson died at! This is where the ambulance was backing out of with the news coverage.

Mothers Day celebration last week with half of our Relief Society. Sister Patton is amazing!!
He's so funny! And super sarcastic

Last laundry trip this morning with Sister Moore as we entertained ourselves... "Okay this picture is how we feel every night once 8 hits"


May 12th.....

This week was so good! Things went by crazy fast though. IT WAS SO FUN GETTING TO SKYPE AND SEE EVERYBODY! Even if the babies were grouchy ;) And just to mention again...remember how I won the cleanest car award?!?!?! AND the punctuality award?!?! Yep my zone will be hearing about that the rest of my mission. And you probably will too...

Friday we were having lunch and we got a text saying to check our emails from President Hall about a special video on mothers the church put out. Go to and see it. It's really good!

It got me thinking last night though what were my moments for "It was mom":
- She taught me to "Go up big!" in basketball and volleyball...and then the rest of life
-Taught me how to read and love books! She made countless trips to the Bookmobile for us
-She may not be a fan of my concert obsession but she's the one who taught me how to love music
- Always had breakfast ready for me! Even when I had 6am practices or truancy school
-Taught me how to have school pride... (BYU Yuppie town!)
-I never remember her being self conscious or uncomfortable about how she looked. She taught me to love myself
-Showed me by example the importance of scripture study even when I wasn't interested.

Mom has always supported me ENDLESSLY in any activity or adventure I came up with: piano lessons, YW projects, short kick with band and "acting", soccer, basketball, volleyball, basketball and club volleyball at the same time (MADNESS), student government, NY HI and DC, moving to St. George, moving to China, doing mission papers...twice! People would hear about things I was doing and ask "What does your mom say about this?" which I thought was weird because she never did anything but support me. It was always just "What's the plan?" or "How can I help?"

Hope that things are wonderful :) Have a great week. LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Mistakes of the past don't define you...THEY REFINE YOU

 May 5th......

Oh my goodness this has by far been one of the fastest weeks of my mission! IT WENT BY SO FAST! I'll keep today short since we don't have much time (as usual) and I'll be talking to you SUNDAY! So crazy. Sister Kemp and Sister Hacker both asked me today if I was excited to see the babies haha like I said...I might talk about them a lot!

This week we had a really amazing lesson with a girl named Pamela. She's the one who I related Alma/Tupac to.  I LOVE HER! She has been reading the Book of Mormon and so when we got there we asked what she thought of it. She told us how she's reading in Moroni and what she really loves about it. When I asked if she thinks it's true, she kinda trailed off on a not very direct answer.

As we went through the lesson, we showed her in Alma where it talks about his conversion story and verse 19 stood out to her: "And now, behold, when I thought this I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more." She went the most serious I've ever seen her and she asked "How did he do that? How did he just let go of the guilt and pain he had?" We testified of the power of the atonement and the power of baptism; of making that sacred ordinance with Him and how only through the Savior are we able to fully let go of everything.

We continued to talk and she told us a lot of stories from her past! She has had quite the life! She is so inspiring to me and I admire how she's able to totally forgive others instantly and not hold any hate in her heart. She got really choked up when she talked about how happy she has become this last month. She talked about the happiness she has seen in her family just from her going to church and all the changes she's had at home. The best part of the lesson was when she brought it back around and said "So if you were to ask me again, ask me again if the Book of Mormon is true...I WOULD SAY YES!"

I was so happy I cried just a little bit!  Seeing people be baptized is pretty great but honestly, hearing people bear their testimonies of the peace and happiness they have found is SO much better. I know she has made a lot of hard changes in her life and that she has more to go...but she's going to be so blessed for it. She went on to tell us SHE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED! YAYYYY! She's getting a blessing from the Elders tonight and then we're setting an official date but she's thinking May 18th or 27th cause she doesn't want to wait any longer :)

This week was crazy and parts were stressful and long. And everyday is hard. But moments like that are amazing and impossible to describe! I am beyond grateful for the changing and lasting power of this gospel. I know that it changes and BLESSES lives where nothing else has been able to work before.

We had Zone Training Meeting this week and I love getting together with all of the missionaries like that! We had MLC last Wednesday and another one today where we skyped in to Salt Lake so preparation day is short today but it was so worth it! I learn so much every week and I feel like I learned my whole mission worth today. I'm so grateful to not only be a missionary but for my leadership call and the many opportunities it has given me to learn and grow even more.

Hope you all have an amazing week again! Things here are gooooood! And I can't believe I'll be talking to you Sunday. Until then... LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Better than Tupac

 April 28th-


This week has once again gone by pretty quickly! I can't believe how fast everything keeps flying by. Ever since I hit my six month mark, I feel like things continue to go faster and faster.

One of the miracles this week, was from a girl we've been trying to get to church for a few weeks now. She's facing some pretty big/hard word of wisdom battles. The first day we met with her she quoted something by Tupac. I wanted to show her a scripture in Alma that it reminded me of, so I told her to turn there and said "Don't worry...Alma is BETTER than Tupac!" She laughed pretty hard and we kept going. She told us about how her friend was shot and killed and we promised her if she'd keep reading and start coming to church, she'd be able to find peace from all of it. I love that promise in the introduction! "...tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life..."

She came to Addicition Recovery Program with us on Thursday night and really loved it!!! I'd given her one of my scripture markers and she was marking up the ARP book with it, filling out all the worksheets. When we left that night, we talked to her for a little bit in the parking lot after. She got really excited when I asked her if she'd read and she said "YOU'RE RIGHT! ALMA REALLY IS BETTER THAN TUPAC!" :) The change that she's experiencing after only three weeks is so amazing! I am so proud of her cause I know what she's going through is really tough stuff. Every time we see her, she tells us she feels like she can't stop smiling. Yesterday, she came to church. And for the whole three hours, she didn't stop smiling!

We spent a lot of time with our Sisters again this week so it was kinda crazy. It was good though! I'm so grateful for getting to serve them and the chance that gives me to get to know them better and to learn more than I would otherwise. This week is going to be busy with MLC on Wednesday, zone training on Friday and also....TEMPLE TRIP! We got special permission from President Hall to get to go with Kirsty as she gets her endowment this week! Gonna be great :)

Glad things at home are going well. One of the Elders pointed out this week that we'll be sky ping in just another two weeks which is crazy! Speaking of time going fast.... Sorry I haven't sent pictures for awhile; things have been crazy busy but I'll send some today.  Hope this week is great as well! LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen


April 21st-


Judging from Ashs' pictures, it looks like it's starting to get pretty warm over there! NICE! We've hit 100 multiple times this week so with not being allowed to swim or chill it'd be nice if it would level out a little bit at this point but I'm lovin it all the same!

This week, as always, went by really fast. We had exchanges twice this week and one of them I was with Sister Flake. She's legally deaf but has hearing aids and can hear a little bit. IT WAS SO GOOD! It was great getting to know her more and seeing a different perspective on the work. We went to dinner that night with two members from our ward and he took us to Black Angus. Yep...I still come unglued when I hear country music!!! I understand that rule more because I realize that I come completely unglued when I hear that music. It'll be nice to have to go back to though :) My other one I went with Sister Vanhoven. It was our third exchange together and every time we do, I realize more and more how alike we are. We always seem to be able to talk through things she needs so it was a testimony builder for the Lords' timing and will.

Yesterday being Easter, we had dinner with a member and his family. It was so fun! It felt quite a bit like being at home actually; really loud and lots of people. I was thinking during sacrament meeting about the meaning for Easter and what it means to me personally. I know a big part is that we can also be resurrected but I think more of the power of the Atonement.

I love that the Atonement means we have the perfect best friend who understands exactly what we're going through. I know I have found comfort from Him for things I never thought I could make peace with. I know that WHEN we fall on our own, He is always watching and ready to help us up again and to make us better. I know He never turns away from us and leaves us.

Glad everyone had a good week! Looks like it was busy!!! YAYYYY for getting all moved/set! I'm sure Taylor was excited for that process haha Have another great week. LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Short On Time

April 14th-


Things this week were great! Went by really fast. Sorry not much time to write today!

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I overcame my greatest fear by leading at the baptism? Welp that was a lie! Friday afternoon we got a call from one of our Sisters saying "The Assistants just called to ask if I can sing at mission conference tomorrow! Will you play the piano for me?!" Mission conference was with alllll the missionaries: Spanish, Korean, ASL and English....And Elder Richards from the seventy! Playing the piano for a musical number with that many people quickly became my greatest fear!! We shot over to the church and ran through it a couple of times but it was a song I've never played before and we had a lesson coming up so we didn't have much more time to practice. So luckily I talked one of the Elders into doing it :) :) I was relieved but definitely a call to repentance to get better at it a little bit.

Elder Richards visit was awesome! Definitely motivating to change and improve a lot as a missionary but especially to be better as a Sister Training Leader. We started the conference by all of us meeting him; one row at a time going up and shaking his hand. Pretty cool! Then after the whole mission conference we went into the relief society room and had a special Mission Leadership Council Meeting with him too. That's where it really got instilled in me to step it up and do more as a leader. Nothing like having a general authority tell you to do better to light the fire under ya... It was a long weekend to say the least but it was great!

This week I was reminded again just how powerful forgiveness is. Not only to ask for it for youself but to truly forgive the people in your life who have hurt you. It's hard and honestly a part of me hates it still when it's somebody I was close to, but I know we're never able to be truly happy and peaceful until we do! So...challenge for the week is to forgive somebody that you know you need to!

I'm sorry I'm not better about writing back!! Every week I say I will but I never actually do. Sorry! Things here are going great!!!! Thanks for all of the love and support and keeping me updated on your lives; especially when I don't get to write back right away. THANK YOU for the Easter packages! Jax's addition is currently on my desk haha And about the move...I'm not sure who's sadder, me or Taylor ;) Hope you have a great week and a great Easter! We're gonna be at a memebers house for dinner Sunday who just got back from his mission in Africa! It was dangerous enough that the Sisters had to be in at 7pm! Kill me. So just know again that I am still very very safe ;)

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Transfer Day

April 8th-
Ni hao! Okay so yesterday we got to go help with the new missionaries who just came into the mission. Definitely one of the biggest advantages to being a Sister Training Leader :) I went out tracting with Sister Denk from Canada. When we have new missionaries come in, we end up with taking a few hours on Tuesday to do the things we didn't have time to do...this week emailing got bumped!

Transfer meeting just ended and I am pleased to say...I am STILL in Northridge YSA! Which means I will have spent at least the whole first half of my mission in YSA work. I would be fine to stay here the rest of my mission! Talk about being humbled by the Lord because my last words when I left were "ANYWHERE but a YSA ward!" :) Thursday night as we were driving home I had a really spiritual experience and felt like maybe I would indeed be transferred this time. I told Sister Moore I felt at peace with it and understood if that's what the Lord wanted. Saturday in between sessions we had a call from our district leader and as soon as we saw their name come up, I panicked! I thought "Okay Heavenly Father I lied! I do NOT accept thy will!" I wanted to stay desperately so it's a tender mercy that He allowed me to for at least another six weeks.

Last week was glorious when after 117 days of planning, Holly was finally baptized! We watched conference at Bishops' house with Rebecca, Holly and Sophia (Rebeccas's sister who IS STARTING TO INVESTIGATE THE CHURCH!). The last hour of the afternoon session was killing Holly. She got up and was pacing around, kept pulling out her phone... we kept teasing her that she was acting like she had something coming up. Seeing her go down into the water was amazing! She was glowing!!! After being with her at 4 baptisms, watching 2 baptismal videos and seeing her light up was nothing compared to being able to see the smile on her face for her own. "I'm a daughter, pianist and a student. And I am a Mormon!"

I LOVED Elder Hollands' talk, as always! The story of the mashed potatoes to the back of the head reminded me of Sister Kemp and I's encounter with "The Flip Flop Cowboy" down in Van Nuys. It hit close to home. I thought it was an interesting point when he talked about "sometimes you will wonder if this is really even worth it."

"Worth it" does not even begin to explain it! Rebecca bore her testimony again last fast Sunday and we were able to be with her last week as she received her patriarchal blessing. The ways that she has changed and the impact the Gospel has had on her life is remarkable. Seeing her baptized was amazing but seeing the true and lasting change it's brought to her is so much better! I know this work truly changes lives and changes them for the better. I know that Heavenly Father truly loves us and wants the best for us even when we don't feel like it's leading that way. I'm thankful beyond belief that He lets us be a part of these miracles and have my life changed for the better as well. I'm thankful everyday I get to wake up and put on that little black piece of plastic, but even more importantly am starting to get little glimpses of what it means to have Christs' name on me.

Glad to hear things are going well back home! We hit 50 degrees this week as well...I put a coat and an extra blanket on ;) I also just BARELY missed my goal for reading the Book of Mormon. I wanted to read it within 3 months and I finished it in three months and ONE day! Today was full of more hellos and goodbyes as Sister Walgren (Who I stayed with my very first night and she took me out my first day) flies home tomorrow! I am not a fan of people I love starting to head home but I'm grateful they came into my life and for the impact each one of them has had on me. LOVE YOU ALL!

With faith in every sure footstep,
Sister Olsen

Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 12:44 (Hollys' favorite scripture!)