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!