Saturday, March 21, 2015

Welcome Home

Final Mission Pics

El Fin

March 9th--

How do you start your last email from the mission field?! Ahhhh.

Yesterday I was sitting in sacrament and right as we started, I realized I was in the exact same chapel for my last Sunday as I was for my very first one! YSA and Saugus wards meet in the same building. I thought back to that first week and all of my fears and issues at that point. I had NO IDEA how much fun I was about to have or how blessed I would be.

It's hard to put into words how I feel right now and all of the different emotions running around. But overall I feel incredibly grateful. I am forever grateful I was able to serve a mission! I have seen myself be able to feel peace and hope for the first time. My favorite part of the whole Book of Mormon is the third paragraph of the introduction where it talks about The Book of Mormon bringing peace in this life.

Sometimes things are just hard and there are moments where we really don't know what to do. But I know if we stick in the scriptures and turn to the Lord, we really can overcome anything that comes our way! I didn't understand why missionaries have so many rules but I see now how it gives it countless opportunities of learning how to turn to the Lord. We are able to find the things we want and need the most.

If you find your life not where you want it to be, give God a chance. I have been there before of feeling almost totally empty inside and not knowing what to do. I had things I never thought I would overcome. But as I let Heavenly Father in more, I found those things slowly being resolved and feeling better and better about them.

I'll see you so soon! Thank you so much for all of the prayers and love and support. I could not have done it otherwise. Can you believe it's already been 18 months?! Wow. LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every last footstep,
Sister Olsen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't Blink.....

March 2nd---

I have tried really hard to stay away from country on my mission. NOTHING makes me come unglued faster than getting to hear a line of country from a car passing by ;) I must admit though that all this weekend that Kenny Chesney song "Don't Blink" has been in my head! Looking at pictures and reading through old journals at night and thinking back to the last 18 months I feel like "Where did it go?!?!" I can't believe I'm on the last week of my mission.

My favorite chapter in The Book of Mormon lately is Alma 14. The Lord is teachin me! I have loved Almas' example of no hesitation in trusting the Lord. As soon as Amulek asks if they'll be burned to, Alma immediatley responds "Be it according to the will of the Lord..." That's hard! And it's really hard for someone as stubborn as me!

I don't have much time today but I will email next week for sure real quick. We got caught up with errands and playing today. LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen 

It's the Final Countdown......

Feb 23rd.......
I feel like I am in SUCH a weird place! I am starting to face a lot of my "lasts"...last fast Sunday, last district meeting, last temple trip, last zone training meeting etc. IT'S WEIRD! And some of our members have started pointing out how some of my dinners are my lasts with them. I am not looking forward to telling people goodbye.

SO much happened this week! Here's a quick hit of highlights:
1- We helped a family move. I had the WONDERFUL surprise of blazing in the front door and stopping dead in my tracks when I looked over to see TWO snakes in a cage in the front room! "Freak out" doesn't begin to explain my reaction! They got a kick out of it and I've gotten crap from the Elders all weekend for it. WHO HAS SNAKES?!?! They are predators...NOT pets! As we were leaving I told the family I thought they were all lovely people, but I hated their snakes with a passion. They just laughed and laughed.
2- We got to go back down to my valley Saturday night!!! I can't even explain all of hte memories and people that came to mind getting off the Rinaldi exit! I love it down there so much. We got to go because Granada HIlls had stake conference and the visiting general authority was Sister Aholellei's old stake president! So President Hall text us and told us to run down :) It was a HUGE blessing from Heavenly Father for both of us because I was able to see some ward members...but especially Rebeca and Holly!!! I love them so much. So many people down there still have such a huge place in my heart.
3-We hiked to the S behind Saugus High School that I've been wanting to do the whole seven months I've been in this ward.
4- I got laid out for 2 days with a crazy sinus infection. But IT RAINED yesterday! A miracle in and of itself out here but I finally got feeling and function back to my face by this morning because it cleared the air ;)
5- We got to take a recent convert to the LA Visitors center for the first time. The whole time we were there she just kept saying how grateful she was we brought her and she doesn't know why she waited so long to go :) The Spirit was crazy strong and it was fun to see it working on her!

We followed a prompting to go visit a woman who we haven't seen for a while. I am so grateful we did! She talked about how she'd been thinking about us and she felt more open to different questions she has about religion right now. She asked us to come back and do service for her on Saurday and she's coming to dinner with us to a members. It was amazing! It was a good reminder how Heavenly Father truly is preparing people in our paths alllll the time! It's just out choice to follow the promptings He gives us to reach out to them!

Glad you all had a great week. I pray for you and miss you! Sorry it's fast again today, we're going to play baseball since the rain cleared up! LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every soggy footstep,
Sister Olsen

Feelin the love!

Feb 16th--
This week was PHENOMINAL! Oh my goodness. Best week I've had in a long time! Everything is pollinating super early here (welcome to So Cal) so the air has been crazy and it was scary windy this week! IT WAS CRAZY! So my sinuses are goin nuts but even that couldn't bring it down this week.

A scripture that I have felt a lot lately is Mosiah 24:14
      "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders
        that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, when while you are
        in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me
        hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do
        visit my people in their afflictions."

January was pretty rough for me. This week, so many things happened and came together to where I felt that burden lifted IMMENSELY! I can't even put it into words. The atonement is something I used to misunderstand. I thought for a long time that the atonement was only like "I've sinned to the extent I need to go talk to the Bishop" and that was it. There is SO much more to it than that! Anything that is unfair or hard in life can be made right by the atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a blessing to me before my mission and it was such a good reminder this week that we always need it.

This week had lots of funny things happen too. We did a lot of heart attacking our ward council members for Valentines....AND WE KEPT GETTING CAUGHT! haha it was pretty funny! One house we went to, I felt really bad, but of course couldn't stop laughing. We were working on it and all of a sudden, we hear the lock turn and he wipped the door open. He thought it was people trying to break in! We talked to him for a minute and he said he'd let us finish then we'd talk and he'd act surprised. At church yesterday, he said how their little girl was so in awe of it the next morning. Another member is on the Elders side and lives kinda in the boonies... So we got a ride from the other Saugus sisters, got totally lost and ended up on the back side of a mountain with no lights. It was Friday the 13th so we were telling scary stories while I tried to find the road we needed. It was funny! NOT a good idea when you have the rule of somebody getting out of the car to back you up everytime ;)

All is good in the Sisterhood! We are having so much fun and have so many goals for what I want to do before I leave. We started teaching a new woman last week, have a potential family we're trying to work with and another man who has the cutest little kids! The work is movin forward here in Saugus. And it's awesome!

Thought for the week from my friend Garth Brooks:
"Just remember when you're talkin to the man upstairs, that just because He doesn't answer, doesn't mean he don't care... Some of God's greatest gifts are 'unanswered' prayers"

Happy Birthday Grandma! LOVE YOU ALL WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

How Firm A Foundation

 February 9th--
OH MY GOSH BUBBS IS ENGAGED?!?!! Yayyyyyy! Not gonna lie..I've been waiting for that email for awhile :) Although I still let out a little yell at the library :) How exciting! I'm glad it held out until I would be home.

This week we got to go to the temple :) Oh how I love it there! I love the peace of the temple in general, but I think the LA temple especially has an interesting contrast to it. Talk about leaving the world behind... We had the usual traffic, lots of homeless people, city full of smog and even some helicopters going! It was SO nice to be able to walk inside and leave all of that behind! I don't think I really appreciated the peace of the temple until recently and being able to feel that strong difference that the world has to offer, and what the Lord has to offer.

We have been teaching somebody making huge amounts of progress! I know I say this everytime but that is the BEST part about being a missionary! It's amazing to get to see somebody's life change...seeing them become happier and believing the things we're teaching them.

On a funny note... We do service once a week in the place called Towsley Canyon. We help them do trail maintenance for hiking. As we work on them, people usually walk through us some. It's funny to see how some LA people "hike"... The other day there was a little boy probably the age of Jax that came through. He was in all his designer clothes, little sunglasses...SUPER CUTE! But clearly not having a good time. As he went past us he turned to his mom really upset and said "Mom! This is DIRTY DIRT! I hate dirty dirt." I started laughing pretty hard! I just thought in my head oooooh you cute little city boy! It was precioius :)

Things are good here! We've been up in the high 80s/low 90s most of the week except for a little rain on Saturday. That's crazy winter has been so warm up there! I hope and pray the snow doesn't hit in March. Thanks for all of your love and support and prayers. It means a lot and I definintley feel them. This week did have it's difficult elements but it was really powerful to see the Lords' hand in my life. A couple of days, I felt a little out of control and not as happy as I wanted to be. I put extra effort into The Book of Mormon and I started to feel that peace I desperately needed. I know that book has power in it! I feel it every time I read! I know when we take the time to give the Lord time, He blesses us and helps us and heals us in a way nothing else can.

Love you all whole heaps! And I'll be seeing you a month from Wednesday...can you even believe it?!?! LOVE YOU!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

​Giving Warheads to primary kids=GREAT IDEA! hahaha they handled it better than the Elder did!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

January 26th

Sorry so late today! We went hiking again this morning and the sisters we rode with move a little on the slower side ;) Look at me leaning patience!! Or trying...

This week was amazing! It went by crazy fast. Lots happened so here's a quick sum up:
1-I ATE FRENCH TOAST! Yep. For the first time since 6th grade. And luckily I did not throw up. We'd made a deal with a guy we're working with that if he prayed I'd eat it...
2- I got my first sunburn of the year!
3- Sister Aholelei and I are staying together!! So since this is my last transfer, she'll be the one to send me home
4- THE WHATLEYS WERE BAPTIZED! It was amazing. You could feel the love so strongly there and I was SO grateful to still be close and get to be a part of their great day. I love them so much!

Sorry it's super short today and I haven't shared too much lately. I promise a regular email next week! Know that I'm praying for you. LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

That's what Faith Can Do

January 19th-

Last week we had zone conference. It was great! At the end of lunch every time, they have all of the missionaries stand in a big circle and sing "Called to Serve" to the ladies that make lunch for us. It's pretty fun and you can feel the spirit very strong.

This time as we were singing, it hit me that this was the last time I would be doing this! I got sad immediately. And then moms' genes kicked in a little bit and I started crying of course! I started to really think about the words and the privilege it has been to be called to serve Him for the last 16 months. It was a good reminder how everything we do and say should be things He would do and say. I thought about going Onward, ever onward no matter how hard things may get or how tired I am. AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE TIRED IN MY LIFE! Or gotten more sleep, so that makes no sense to me...

Sunday night we got a call from the assistants to ask me to bear my testimony. They always have the missionaries do that at their last zone conference. Getting ready to go Tuesday morning, I was thinking how do I sum up everything I've learned in 16 months?! I think the most prominent thing I've learned is love. Before I came out love was not something I believed in (aside from loving the babies). I didn't know that God loved me. I didn't think it was possible to truly love random people around me.

I know without a doubt now that EVERYTHING God gives us, He gives us for a reason. Sometimes I still struggle to remember that right in the moment but I know it's definitely true! I have come to love these people SO much! And my love for my family has increased more than I thought it would too. I'm getting pretty excited to come home actually. I am excited that I know now the kind of person Heavenly Father wants me to be. But I'm glad to still have 2 months here. I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO! People to meet, foods to try, bikes to fall off of.... It's gonna be great :)

I'm glad you all had a good week! Unlike Tanner man, we once again have BEAUTIFUL weather here! I miss those thunder and lightning storms a little bit. But ya can't beat going hiking and getting sunburned in the middle of January ;) LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen 


January 5th--
I can't believe today is January 5th because it is 78 degrees outside today! I'm emailing late again because we had stuff this morning and then I wanted to take a nap. Outside. IT WAS AWESOME!

New Years Eve was very different again this year. Last year, I feel like I was super excited and ready for it! This year, even though it's exciting, I felt more on the sad end to have it already be 2015. I couldn't sleep very well that night so I was awake for Utah, California and Hawaii's New Years!! I knew when it was midnight here because one of our neighbors started shooting off an M80 and everybody ran outside yelling haha it was pretty fun even just chilling in my bed!

New Years morning I sat down and got thinking about what my goals are for this year. I didn't set any specific ones for past March. But I found ten different scriptures for how I want to finish my mission. I can't believe I only have about two months left!

Throughout 2014, I kept a jar on my desk and I would put little things in there throughout the year. Memories or stories or scriptures that I wanted to remember. I poured them all out and read them. Memories like: Rebeca telling us she loves us for the first time, water ballooning the Elders, baptisms I was able to be a part of, funny quotes from President Hall, funny moments with companions...SO many memories came back! It was seriously my favorite year yet! I feel like I was beyond blessed by Heavenly Father! I learned and was a part of so many more miracles than I deserve. It was fun to sit down and have that time to reflect back, and think of where I want 2015 to go.

Hope you all have a great week! And enjoy that snow and cold weather :) I'll send pictures of my sunburn next week ;) LOVE YOU WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

I Need Thee Ever Hour

December 29th--

So before you come out on a mission, there are countless welcome home talks and missionary stories that you hear, right? You hear about the person they knocked into who was hoping somebody would come by. Or the person that feels the spirit so strong they commit to baptism right on the street. Or getting a whole family to be baptized. Everybody knows these stories well!

But there's a whole collection of stories that NOBODY tells you about before you leave! Like this thing called weekly planning where you spend 3 hours every week sitting in your desk planning for the next week. Or the baptism that gets cancelled because of parents fighting. Or the days where you walk outside and find a bike tire totally deflated. There have been COUNTLESS experiences  on my mission that I just was not expecting. Like hearing somebody pray for the first time...

One of my favorite surprises the last 16 months, is hearing somebody pray for the first time! There is such a special, strong spirit that comes as a person takes that step and shows their faith. I love how genuine they are. I love how simple and open they can be. This year we knelt and prayed with a man who hadn't prayed in over 20 years. He opened up a little bit about his son who passed away unexpectedly and how hard that's been for him. It was AMAZING to see him push through all of that enough to say a prayer for the blessings he's received. I loved it! The spirit was so strong and it was easy to feel the love Heavenly Father had for finally hearing from him :)

Baptisms are great, don't get me wrong. But I LOVE the prayers and testimonies of those people where the gospel is starting to mean something to them. They say a missionary is happiest at a baptism but I think I disagree.

Thanks for all the Christmas cards and letters and packages! Crazy that this is my last Christmas out here but it has definitely been a good one. I love this time of year and I hope to keep the spirit of Christmas with me a lot stronger through 2015. LOVE YOU ALL WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen

Last Call Indeed

December 22nd-
Moms email hit way close to home! I did not realize actually that this is my last time skyping home from out here. Like I did but I didn't!

We are still enjoying 80 degree weather today so it's a little strange to think that Christmas REALLY is this week! I have a bunch of pictures again from this week so I'll just send some of those instead of writing much cause I'll be talking to you in just a few days. YAY!

I love this season! I can't believe how fast it's come and gone. I'm thankful that even though I'm away from my family, I know they are supporting me and will be there for me when I go home. It's been so fun seeing so many people come home for Christmas and getting to be involved in some of that fun. I love it!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you have a beautiful week and enjoy getting to spend time with loved ones.  And "see" you soon! xoxo

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen 

Deck the halls with bowls of Frosting! ​We went and decorated cookies with our investigator family to teach them about FHE

​Favorite decoration I've ever seen :)


Dec 15th-
I can't believe how close we are getting to Christmas! WOW! I only have a minute today but here's a bunch of pictures to update you on stuff. We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday and a lot of the families we're working with were there. YAY! I'm emailing late today cause I got to go back to Mint Canyon for a funeral of a family I got really close with. The temple trip was this week and I got to see my original MTC district for possibly the last time. We had some pretty crazy rain and wind last week that dropped a tree in our investigators yard. It ripped the roots out of the ground 6 feet. All is well with us! We have our apartment decorated super cute thanks to the Wilsons in our ward :) We got transfer calls Saturday and Sister Aholelei and I are staying together another transfer :) :) So we're way excited! AND she let me cut 6 inches off her hair this week! I've improved greatly since Britt and I attempted it with the Barbies. LOVE YOU ALL WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every footstep,
Sister Olsen


 December 8th-
Hola hola! I can't believe we're down a week in December. This week was really interesting...I learned a lot!

I was sick one day and by the time we got home, I was EXHAUSTED! Sister Aholelei jumped in the shower after planning, and I laid on the couch. Our teeny teeny apartment was dark; the only lights were our Christmas tree and counter lights. I had Scotty McCreery Christmas playing and I let my mind wander to a lot of the heartache we had seen recently. I wasn't feeling bad for us or even really sad...but I definitely had a lot on my mind.

A line in the song says "It's time to let go and let the love in. Christmas is comin' round again" and it hit me really hard! Our tree was like a symbol of Christ and His love for us. Just as our little tree was lighting up our otherwise dark house.. He is able to do that in our personal lives. Have you ever been able to feel bad while you're staring at a Christmas tree?!?!  In a world that is overflowing with hard things and bad news and trials... He is the thing that "lights us up" and helps us feel hope. He helps us to overcome things that we otherwise can't. It's hard to explain, but it was a powerful lesson for me.

I am so thankful for this Christmas season! I LOVE getting to be a missionary and especially this time of year! We had "I'll be Home for Christmas" sneak on the cd player this week and to be honest, I will be home for Christmas. I love these people and I am so excited to get to spend the holiday, bringing an extra measure of the Spirit into their homes and getting to be a part of their lives and families for the day. I have no doubt that President Monson is our prophet on the earth today and that I was sent to this area by revelation, for a specific reason. I am so grateful to be here! So don't worry about me...all is good in the Sisterhood!

On a lighter note...we got an early Christmas miracle of RAIN this week! For the first time since March. We had zone conference so we were in the church building all day, but during lunch 3 companionships of us ran out and took a quick photoshoot to commemerate it. Cause ya just do not see rain here! If you look close in the picture, there's even a puddle behind us, which is a really big deal!  It was a great great week! Thanks for all your emails and letters.. sorry I'm pretty bad at writing back! And thank you for your prayers. I feel them and neeeeed them. LOVE YOU ALL WHOLE HEAPS!

With faith in every finally wet footstep,
Sister Olsen

​and earlier that morning....Madi and I caught frogs in the bushes outside our house

Lizard lovin'
Yep...I actually quite like bearded dragons now! The guy in blue breeds them so he has A TON! I love this family!

​I GOT TO SEE SISTER HACKER THIS WEEK! We combined zone conferences so it was really fun to see her. I trained her-she trained Sister Ostler- and she trained Sister Forbush. There's a thing in our mission with "Family Lineages" of who you train. I think the lineages are creepy and weird but I love these three! ​​

​We were taking funny pictures with this family and decided to do "SIMBA" with the dog