Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

October 13, 2014

Surprise!  Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.  We just found that out this weekend.  So unfortunately, we will not be able to get our winter clothes until next Monday.  But la famille Baker is having us over for Thanksgiving Dinner!  They are seriously the best.  We feel so loved by them.  It's just what we need!  Heavenly Father is so good to us two nineteen year-old Americans in little Gatineau.

Okay so this week was crazy again with the buses.  We are having a hard time figuring out how all this works.  But it is so good!  We are learning so many amazing missionary skills and we have so many more opportunities to connect with people and share the Gospel!  I love it so much.  It isn't coming all at once.  It is definitely going to take some more practice, but it's the coolest experience to meet a person, make a connection, and share a truth all between a few bus stops!  We have to be careful though, because otherwise we'll get kicked off the bus.  But it's so fun!

We had interviews with President this week!   We got super lost on the buses on the way there.  Interviews are in Ottawa, which is in Ontario, which is a completely different state from Quebec but it's like fifteen minutes away from where we live.  We had to get to Ontario and then buy new bus tickets there and anyways, we got really lost.  We also had a few incidents in between on the way.  By the time we finally got off our last bus we were way off the mark.  So we were marching through this wooded area fifteen minutes before my interview was supposed to start.  Miracle of the story, we somehow ended up on the road just around the corner from the chapel five minutes before my interview started.  I wish I could convey to you what a miracle it was!  We were so lost and so late and we were never going to get there.  Heavenly Father is so good to us!  He is working full time to make up for all my mistakes that I make throughout the day, but He loves us and blesses us anyway!
The interviews were awesome.  I love President and he still loves me. He just spent the whole interview complimenting me and uplifting me.  He's the best!  It sounds like the mission is down a car.  If they open up an area that needs a car more than us then it will go to that area but if not we'll get one.  But I have no idea when.  So we'll see!

I'm really learning the principle of line upon line, precept upon precept.  I know I gave my farewell talk about that and I thought that I learned that lesson last year.  But Heavenly Father is so much wiser than me and He loves me so much that He continues to give me opportunities to learn about it.
French is definitely an example of that!  It is definitely coming little by little, but that's okay!  It's so fun!  I love speaking it so much!  I learn new things every day and I am just having a blast with it.  The real problem for me is understanding people still.  Everyone has a different accent and they are all so darn thick!  I love the Quebecois and I can't wait for the day when I become one of them!  I think we are all going to have to move up here because I don't think I can ever go home!  Start learning your French but it's okay if not.  Everyone is bilingual that is from here.  There are a lot of Africans that don't speak English and some that don't even speak French but over half of the Quebecois we meet speak both.  I told you that the Quebecois are descendants of the Indians right?  I just think it's so cool that we are sharing the Book of Mormon with the Lamanites!  Fulfilling prophecies up here! We are so blessed.  I feel like the luckiest person in the world every morning to be a missionary here!  Even though it's hard and we are still very much figuring things out over here, I know how much Heavenly Father loves us and how much He loves these people!

Elder Ballard is coming  this Saturday!  Did I tell you that?  We are getting a new stake President in Ottawa so he is coming to call him.  He is holding a special meeting for our recent converts, less actives, and amis Saturday!  I can't wait.  Please, please, please pray that these people will have the desire to come!  This could shake the lives of these people if they come. I just know it!  We are doing everything we can to get people there.  I am so excited!  We are so blessed to have living prophets and apostles today.  It is usually the truth I share with the people I connect with on the bus.  What better news than Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have restored their Church and speak to us as their children today through their prophets and apostles?  I love it so much!

We have a new ami this week.  His name is Amid.  He is a former Muslim.  He is another person who believes that it doesn't matter how we worship, just that we do.  I can't wait to share with him all the blessings that come with joining himself to Heavenly Father and Christ's Church.  Of course they love us no matter what but because They love us so much, They have given us the way to receive the fullness of the blessings that They have for us!

Okay, I think that's all I have time for, I love you all so much!  Thanks so much for your love and prayers!  Have a wonderful week!  We'll try to start taking pictures again so I have something to send!

Love love love,

Soeur Olsen

Happy Conference!

October 6, 2014

Hi family!

My goodness, this computer does not work.  Thanks so much for all your emails though this week!  It was so good to hear from all of you!  I am glad you had such a wonderful conference weekend!  I got to watch conference at the Church- in English- hurray!  It was wonderful.  We had a couple of investigators come but most were no shows.  That’s okay because Elder Ballard is coming in two weeks to call our new stake president!  He is going to hold a fireside especially for missionaries and their amis!  Yaya!  We are going to be doing everything we can to get everyone their possible.  Please pray that we can have angels helping us to get these special people there!

So... car.  We don't have one.  We had to drop it off at the shop and leave it there.  Rough.  On the plus side, buses are amazing!  My goodness, I have no idea how to bus contact, so I am learning, yay!  It's really fun.  We get to talk to so many more people!  It is such a blessing!  We have had some really cool experiences all ready.  We have also gotten lost/stuck a few times.  But it's okay, it always works out.  We have seen so many miracles!  I don't know whether or not we will be getting our car back.  Hopefully we will find out this week.

Sister Carpenter is awesome!  She is so excited to get out and ready to work.  It has been a difficult adjustment from trainee to trainer and car to bus. Our area is so huge, that we are pretty cut off from a lot of people now.  It will take some time but Heavenly Father will help us learn how we can do His work most effectively and He'll help us get to where we need to be!

The French is soo much better!   Don't get me wrong, it is still very beginner.  I have found that Heavenly Father has really blessed us to be able to communicate with these people!  He is so good to us.  He loves us so much!

Have a good week family, I’ve got to go and try to buy some winter clothes now!  Thanks again for all your love and prayers!  Right back at ya!  Don't forget to watch those hastening of the work videos and apply the things you learned at conference!  We are so blessed to have the Gospel, don't forget it!

Love you so so so much

Soeur Catherine Olsen

September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Okay everybody! Sister Wright left this Wednesday and I got my greenie!  Her name is Sister Carpenter and she is SOO cute!  You'd just love her.  She is from Temekula, CA and she's a blonde!  She fits right in here in Gatineau because Elder Jenkins got another blonde too!  How fun.  Still a blonde Gatineau family.  She's Anglophone but it is really fun teaching her French!  (I just hope I am doing it right).  Since she's arrived I have really had to step it up and I have been really blessed.  The French hasn't been TOOO much of a problem yet.  We are really blessed to be serving in such a bilingual area.  I have really seen how much Heavenly Father is blessing me with the gift of tongues.  It's so amazing...and really fun even though it's hard.

So we made it to a new week!  We didn't die.  Yay!  It's hard because I'm in charge of planning how we use every minute of the Lord's time every day.  It's been really hard this week cause we have had lots of things fall through and lots of things we would like to do we are not able to because of klicks (the amount of miles we are allotted).  I'm just really, really trying to rely on the Lord and follow the Spirit because I don't really know what else we can do.  We don't have a lot of experience to go off of.  I know that Heavenly Father is really putting us through the refiner’s fire and preparing us for something greater.  I know that He loves me and my cute little greenie and He's going to be with us, helping us and guiding us, even if it's hard at first.

We have been trying to focus on the members.  We really want to get into their homes and get to know them and help strengthen them.  We also really need them to come teaching with us so keep praying for us and our ward so that we can have success in our area!  There are so many things to do and hardly any time to do it, or any klicks!  We are just taking it one day at a time, and little by little we are going to see the Lord work wonders in the area. I am sure of it.  I love you all so much!  Thanks for all of your prayers and support!  Have a wonderful week!

Yes it is starting to get cold!  I am thinking I have got to go find a heater blanket somewhere!  Sister Wright says that is something I am going to want to have.  Thanks so much for the package; the GPS and treats are a Heaven send!  I loved getting all of your letters Laura, they made my whole week.  Thanks so much!  I love you! Happy birthday next week cute girl!  Thanks also for grandpa's blessing, the missionary dolls and sunglasses!  I loved it all so much and really needed it.  Thanks for taking such good care of me through packages, letter, and prayers. I love you all so so much.  Tell grandma that I hope she gets feeling a little better!

Love love love with all my heart,

Soeur Catherine Olsen

Pictures:

This is Catherine's new companion :) 



Baptism of Denis and Ines Coulibaly 09/12/2014 Missionaries from Left to Right: Sister Craven, Sister Wright, Sister Olsen


Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 15th, 2014

Denis and Ines got baptized on Friday!  They did it!  They just got confirmed yesterday.  Oh my goodness famille, it was so awesome.  It was the biggest baptism this ward has ever seen; there were 70 people there!  The Spirit was so strong.  The day of, Denis got stuck at work, left with him and his boss to finish everything.  He said there was no way that he was going to finish in time for the baptism, and he didn`t know what to do.  So he prayed and said Heavenly Father, if I am supposed to do this today, please help me be able to get to my baptism.  Right after, his boss came up and told him to go home.  Church is true everybody!  And now it`s got two new golden members.  My goodness.  I wish I had words to describe it.  I love them so much.  They are going to have such a huge impact.  Our ward needs them.  I am so blessed to be serving here in Gatineau!

Transfer calls.  I am training.  Also, the Elders in our ward that we serve with, Elder Norman (who came to Gatineau with Sister Wright- been here for a year) and Elder Jenkins (from my MTC district- came in with me).  Elder Norman is going to train in Montreal.  And Elder Jenkins is staying with me here in Gatineau, training as well.  I didn`t stop crying all night long.  We were sure that no matter what happened, Elder Norman would be staying, and I could stick with him.  The ward and all of our leaders are devastated.  I don`t know how we are going to do this.  Neither of us have any idea how to do this.  And after having the same two missionaries here for a year... it kind of feels like we are getting our feet pulled right out from under us.  This weekend has been so hard.  But I know that somehow everything is going to be okay.  I don`t know how, and we might be stumbling around for a while, but I know that Heavenly Father is going to be there for us.  I know that He is not going to leave us alone.  And it might just be me, my greenie, and Him against the world all the way out here in little Gatineau, but that`s a pretty powerful team.  I just know that as we work hard, be obedient, and rely on the Spirit, we are going to be okay.  He`s going to be with us, and we`re not going to fall.  Finding faith to overcome fears.  I`m still working on that.  But I know that the Lord blesses His missionaries to be more than we really are.  No matter where we are or who we are, our Heavenly Father knows us and we are never alone.  He will be there for me and for you at every step.  So let`s all have a little more faith!  We`re going to get there!

So this Wednesday our little Gatineau family will be heading to Montreal.  Sister Wright will be going home, and I`ll find out who my new greenie is!  (Hopefully she`ll be francophone) And then us four greenies we`ll hopefully find our way back to Gatineau and survive up there.  Pray that the GPS has arrived at the mission office by then.  And then I guess we`ll just take it one day at a time, because, what else can we do!

Hey famille, I have a challenge for you.  I want you to go to lds.org and check out the Hastening the Work website.  It`s the new way the Church has implemented to do missionary work, and it is beautiful!  And it just so happens that President`s stake is the model for it, so he`s all over it.  Watch it for family home evening!  Maybe you could watch one each Monday night for a couple of months.  It`s so inspired, and it`s the way that the Lord has decided that we will usher in His Second Coming.  Check it out.  Check out the member and missionary tab.  (I love that we are all under the same section, what does that tell you? ;);) )

We got President to Gatineau this Sunday!  It was awesome.  He was in the circle for Denis and Ines, and then he gave a talk and a fireside after church.  It was just what our members needed to hear.
  
Okay, that`s all I guess, I`m too exhausted to write anymore-- emailing home is hard stuff!  Hey also, I know this is really inconvenient, but I was wondering, would you mind printing out my weekly emails and putting them in a binder for me.  This are often more detailed than my journals, so I`d really love to have them after my mission.  Thanks so much for all your love and prayers and support.  I love ma famille so much!  Have a good week everyone!  Good luck with school and work, and don`t forget to have fun and pray for missionary opportunities!  And your little French missionary out here in Gatineau. I`m really going to need it.

Killed a spider with my bare shoe yesterday.  It`s starting to get cold.  I`ll send pictures of the baptism!  Love you! 

Love love love,

Soeur Catherine Olsen!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 8th, 2014

September 8, 2014
Hi cute famille!
This week was a really long week for me and my trainer.  She is really having a hard time with going home and I am really having a hard time with being left here alone in Gatineau!  I've been studying a lot this week about finding faith to overcome fears.  I am learning so much about the Atonement out here on my mission.  I have never been so keenly aware of my weaknesses and shortcomings.  It is a really humbling experience and I am really learning how to rely on the Savior and his Atonement to overcome my shortcomings.  I am becoming even more grateful for Him and His grace and mercy for each one of us.
Guess who came to Church yesterday!? Isabelle and her three kids: Sariah (9), Loic (6--super french name, cute eh?) and Mika (4--girl).  Jim, her boyfriend and their father (excommunicated member of the Church), was too tired so hopefully next week!  It's a miracle!  We going to get them married and then they are going to get baptized and sealed together for all eternity!  I love them soo much; we are so excited for them!  They understand everything so well and are committed to getting married and baptized.  They did get a little of a surprise this week because they were under the impression they had to get baptized before they could be married.  That was a shock.  We also had to explain that there are two marriages, a civil and then a sealing.  Ha, ha I have never seen two people's eyes pop out more.  We missionaries are just full of eternal surprises!
Denis and Ines are getting baptized!  The baptism is this Friday!  I am so, so excited!  They are so cute and soo ready!  They both had their baptismal interview in May.  Denis was actually interviewed by President Patrick.  This has been a long time coming!  They are really nervous still and I think they are feeling a lot of pressure from us and maybe the ward.  We are going to pull them aside and set things right.  Hopefully it will still happen because they need to be baptized so they can be sealed to their mom.  Hopefully we'll have some fun baptismal photos for you next week!
This Saturday is transfer calls... yikes.  I'll be finding out whether or not I am actually training and who my new companion is.  I'm trying really, really hard to keep my cool and just step up and take whatever is coming in stride.  It's going to be really hard.  No matter what I am going to be senior companion of the area. Sister Wright has been here for a year and everyone knows her and loves her so much and they are all so devastated about her leaving.  She knows everything about Gatineau and I am so worried our little French area is just going to fall to pieces when she leaves.  But if I have learned anything out here it is how much Heavenly Father loves the people of Gatineau and He is not going to allow their progression to halt just because of my inadequacies.  So we'll just keep praying and being obedient and working hard!
Love you all!  Miss you so much and I hope school and everything is going okay! 
The Ogden temple and Labor Day Picnic look so fun!
LOTS OF LOVE!
Soeur Olsen
Pictures:


Cute Josianne and Fanny Allard from the ward took us out to the cute little cafe where they work. (These girls did a mini missions with Catherine and Sister Wright.)



Sister Craven--Sister Wright's previous companion, my Sister Training leader-- in our district just had her birthday.  So we decorated District meeting with balloon animals.  Remember those days?  I am still a pro.


Sister Wright, Mika, and Sariah. (They are teaching these little girls and their family.)


Elder Norman swallowing a hot dog whole


Me and Damion and Nathan--boys of member Caroline Baker.  So cute!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 1st, 2014


September 1, 2014

Hi famille!

I love hearing all the adventures from home.  I hope school and work is going okay for everyone.

Little and big miracles in Gatineau:

Big Miracle: Last p-day things got crazy off schedule and we didn't have any time to do our grocery shopping. Yikes.  It turned out okay because the Lord knows his missionaries need to eat.  So He made sure that we had dinner appointments (and the leftovers) every night this week.  What a huge miracle.  The people and ward here is so, so sweet but they just never think to invite us over and feed us!  It was such an unexpected tender mercy.

Little Miracle: They have Tim Horton's in Canada.  I don't know how to describe them.  They are like a mix between McDonalds and Starbucks.  We went and got what are called Tim Bits this week. They are like doughnut holes, except they are so, so good!  It brightened our week right up!

Big Miracle: Sister Wright locked the keys in the house on Wednesday night when we were stopping by home to get our whiteboard for an object lesson with Denis and Ines (Dad and daughter from Cote d'Ivoire. Sister Wright has been teaching them the lessons for a year now and they are getting baptized Sept 12th!).  We had left all of our things in the locked car.  So we were locked out of our house and car with nothing but a whiteboard, marker, and cellphone five minutes before our lesson. A stake member was coming to the lesson and we would not be there on time.  Stressful!  We walked halfway there (looking ridiculous) and then a member came and picked us up and came to the lesson with us.  It was a stellar lesson!  When she dropped us off at home we found out that the members we live with (who have the spare keys) had just left for Toronto for the rest of the week!  It was bad.  It was 10 o'clock and night and we already had our District Leader (who was on splits all the way out in Ottawa) on his way to drop off the car to the Sister Training Leaders so they could  come pick us up and take them to their apartment for the night.  The Elders were going to have to take the bus all the way back home.  The Zone Leaders were getting ready to drive down to help us break in.  So we basically had the whole zone up in riots and out of their houses past curfew until our member, Maryse, carded the door and got us in!  HUGE miracle and super funny story.  You should have been there!

Little/Huge miracle: The members we live with, the Schulka's, gave us a cutely wrapped pink present this week with a can of spider spray in it that says: KILLS ON CONTACT.  Best gift ever.  We've have been going crazy.  I'm happy to report that we haven't seen a spider in three days!  Miracle juice.  Unfortunately, our house is now ridden with every other kind of the bug that the spiders were eating but I don't mind!

Big miracle: We had a lesson with Jim and Isabelle Bour (not married) and their three kids this week.  (Jim is an excommunicated member and Isabelle is a non-member.)  Most powerful lesson and experience I have had on my mission.  Jim bore such powerful testimony and committed to coming back to Church and he is bringing his family with him.  He says he's been waiting for Isabelle and she is finally ready!  She says that she has met with plenty of missionaries before but it's different this time.  She doesn't know why, but she says that maybe it's cause she is more open.  She said she will definitely be baptized!  So powerful and soo cool!  And their kids love us. They are so cute.  I'll send you a picture of them today.  Unfortunately, they didn't come to Church this week.  I have no idea what happened; we were really bummed.  But we're going to see them tomorrow so pray for them!  They are so ready, and they need the gospel!

I have learned this week how essential it is to have a Christ-centered home.  I see all these broken families out here and it just breaks my heart.  They have no foundation, no anchor to keep them from crumbling.  I realize now that without the gospel, without a common goal to work and progress towards, marriages and families don't last.  People change, and they have nothing in common anymore; kids go off the deep end.  It's so heart breaking to see.  Every family needs the gospel and the Atonement to help them with their problems and heal them from their heartaches and addictions and unify them.  We are all so blessed!  Thanks so much mom and dad for centering and anchoring our home in Christ and the gospel!  It makes all the difference in the world.

I hope you all have a good week!  And don't forget to buy some cupcakes for my half birthday!

Love, love, love,

Soeur Olsen

August 25th, 2014


August 25, 2014

Hey family! Sounds like the birthday was fun!  I starting school is going okay for everyone-- it's weird not being in school with you, I am still surprised to hear that life goes on without me.

Okay, so we've had this huge spider guarding our door for weeks.  And I finally killed him!  Get this though, we got up this morning and opened our blinds, and there is a HUGE spider web blocking our entire front door just outside with a big old tiger looking spider sitting in the middle.  And right below him on the side is this ginormous wolf looking spider.  Long story short, our little kitchen window is now our way in and out of the house until the Elders come to kill them.  Canada spiders are sooo much bigger; I wish I was brave enough to get you a picture, but I get shaking too bad.

So we have been working with a lot of Recent Converts and Less Actives (LARCs) lately.  We are trying to help them get their patriarchal blessings.  It's been so cool!  One of our recent converts-Ana- is going to be getting hers hopefully in a few weeks.  I am so excited for her. We've visited multiple times a week ever since I got here.  She's been going through so many hard things, and so many big decisions in her life.  This blessing is going to help her so much! Patriarchal blessings are soo so powerful and so important.  It reminds how fundamental my blessing has been at every point in my life.  Rebecca just got hers too!  I hope you are really using it has a tool.  There is a special comfort that comes from reading your blessing directly from Heavenly Father to you.  Makes sure you read it every week.  Between the scriptures and your patriarchal blessing you will find answers to every question you have about what you need to be doing.  We like to use the story of the Liahona to help our investigators and recent converts understand. That’s really what it is.  It so exciting and fulfilling to help these people works toward them and receive because it's definitely one of the biggest blessing of the restored gospel!

We had the trainers/greenie meeting in Montreal this last week.  It was so fun!  And we went and got poutine again!  Haha we're going to have to take a poutine break; we've had way too much this week.  I'll send a picture though.  This is the first place I ever had poutine.  Montreal is such a fun city though! It's so fun walking down those streets as a missionary.  And the meeting was super fun too because I got to see my MTC district.  It's so fun to see how we've all just been shipped to the opposite ends of the mission and just stepped right up and started working to build the kingdom in our separate corners.  Missionary work is so powerful and so important; I just love love, love being a missionary!

Love you all soo soo much!  Thanks so much for your love and emails!  Good luck with starting school back up!

Love,

Your favorite daughter and sister! Soeur Olsen

August 18th, 2014


Hi family!

 

Okay, this was such a long week.  I have no idea what to say.  You know, these emails home are really exhausting!  But I love getting all your emails and hearing about Anne's fiddle fest and Hammy!  Sounds like you are all doing really well!  Hey, let's have a goal to keep Hammy alive until I get home, okay?  I really want to meet this guy.  I cannot even believe you've get a hamster roll around there in Utah--it's like I don't even know you anymore!

 

Zion looks so fun; thanks so much for the post cards! I'll have you know that I went "froggin'" this week too!  I almost caught him like five different times.  Those little guys are just so fast!  We went up to a camp last p-day that one of our members owns for special needs kids.  It was way fun.  We had s'mores.  Want to know something crazy that you've never realized before?  Chocolate is supposed to melt when you eat a s'more.  It's crazy.  I guess the laws are different up here.  So companies have to make their candy bars differently in their Canadian factories.  You would not believe how good a Hershey bar is here!  It's like a lindt bar or something.  And you have to pound your s'mores so fast cause otherwise the chocolate will liquefy and drip all over the place before you finish it.  Crazy right?  We never have that problem with the American wax bars.  Just watch for that the next time you have s'mores.

 

Tenney’s and Sarah are in town!  Tell them all hi for me!  And HAPPY BIRTHDAY BENJAMIN!  It's really been a long time since 22 now... ;) get it? I love you SO much and hope you have a wonderful wonderful birthday with lots and hugs and kisses from our family!  --This message better not have to be passed on by the way.

 

Okay so we had another mini mission this week, this time with the older Allard girl Fanny.  She is so stinkin' cute!  These Quebecoise.  So it was definitely a long week, but we saw a lot of miracles too.  Remember my gangsters--who aren't actually gangsters mom--?  They are doing really really well this week.  We taught Hydress the word of wisdom.  He is a little freaked out by it.  We  caught him taking a smoke about 30 minutes after our lesson.  But he is going to get there!  We also have been teaching Badou a lot.  He's been playing too cool since the beginning, so Sr. Wright really got after him a few lessons back.  He has completely turned around now.  He is finally praying!  He has even been praying twice a day!  And he came to church!  Oh my goodness.  He is a totally different person when he prays.  He is so much brighter, and he actually smiles!  It is so cool.  He said that he can feels a difference when he prays; he is happier and nicer to people.  Oh my goodness!  I wish you could see the huge impact the Atonement is having in his life.  The Atonement is really at the center of all our miracles.  There is nothing like watching somebody use it in their lives.  Unfortunately, he told us yesterday that he is actually moving today to Calgary.  NO!  It's so so sad.  But we are going to get him in contact with missionaries somehow, so we hope he will meet with them there.  We know we planted a seed though, so we hope that he continues pray and nourish it.

 

Thanks so much for all your love and prayers family!  You are the best!  It is miraculous the strength that they gives me to handle these difficult situations.  I love you all so so much!  Have a good week and keep cleaning the room so that the hamster can stay!

 

Love,

Soeur Olsen

P.S.: My companion locked the keys in the car this week so we waited for an hour in the rain for CAA (Canadian triple A).  I am not the only one who does it
 
PICTURES!
First time in Tim Hortons.  These things are all over the place here.  A mix between Startbucks and MCdonalds.  Tim bits: their infamous doughnut holes, so good!

poutine!

catching frogs!

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 11th, 2014


August 11, 2014

Ha, ha I just love my family! Your pictures are SO cute! Haha and we have a hamster now!  I love it!

I am so surprised to hear about all the people that have come home!  How fun!  Rachel Davis got her mission call to Washington, D.C. this last week. If you see her, give her a big hug for me!

Such a good week up here in my little Gatineau!  Our Ward Mission leader up here is Frere Allard.  He is the best. He literally does EVERYTHING for us and he has the cutest daughters that are sending their mission papers in in September:  Fanny (21) and Josianne (19). They are just like us, Liz!  They are my friends in the ward...if missionaries are allowed to have friends.  I think we are.  They are so cute to me!  This week Josianne came did a mini mission with us!  She was with us all Thursday, Friday and Saturday and slept over Thursday and Friday night.  It was so much fun and so helpful to have a francophone on hand for all of our French questions.  Fanny is coming on one with us this week!  They are the most amazing girls.  They been through so much, but they have such strong testimonies and they are just the best to teach with!  It sounds like we might be having a mini mission with them every weekend between the two of them.

This is such the miracle area.  We have 14 amis right now.  So since we have so many, and we had Josianne with us, we went on a member split Thursday night.  Sr. Wright and Josianne went together and drove off and left me to lead out three lessons with the Christensons- the Senior couple serving in our ward.  Elder Christenson speaks about as much French as I do... so not a lot.  Sister Christenson doesn`t really speak French at all.  My goodness.  It was the scariest thing I have ever done.  I felt like I was totally on my own!  Ha, ha it was rough, but actually really fun!  Everybody was really understanding with my French.  It really helped me to realize that Heavenly Father won`t ever leave me alone.  He gives me everything I need in order to do this work.  For the lesson with Mary and Theodore that night, He gave me wonderful Plan of Salvation pamphlets that I could use as a tool to help them understand.  For the lesson with Serge (a recent convert) He gave me the BOM that we could read from.  For the lesson with Jim and Isabelle, He gave me Frere Allard! (That one was especially helpful.)  It might seem kind of silly but it was a huge blessing.  I had everything I needed to help me teach and testify of the doctrine in those lessons.  It made me realize that I will really be okay when Sr. Wright leaves at the end of this transfer.

That lesson learned came at the perfect time.  The Sister Training Leaders called this morning, and they want to do double splits with me in my area this transfer because they think I will be assigned a new greenie to train as soon as Sr. Wright goes home in 5 weeks.  If that doesn`t just shake everybody awake I don`t know what would.  It just makes me shake even thinking about it.  But even though that scares me to death, I am really learning that God takes care of His missionaries.  And even though it`s hard, and it feels impossible, He is going to give me everything I need.  If I have learned anything out here, it is how much the Lord loves His children in Gatineau.  This is such a special mission.  Did you know that Quebec was included in the Toronto mission when President Monson was presiding over it?  All of the general authorities always tell us how the Lord is sending His best missionaries here, how special and important President Patrick is, and how this mission is one of the biggest melting pots.  Heavenly Father is taking His most elect children out of the countries where we cannot go yet as missionaries, and He is bringing them here to Quebec.  These people are so special to our Heavenly Father.  And Satan definitely knows how important they are too; he works really hard on them.  I feel so honored to be able to be planting in this section of the vineyard in this 11th hour.  It is such a miracle. 

Thanks so much for everything family!  I am so grateful for your wonderful examples to me!  Thanks so much from your prayers. I can really feel them and they honestly make all the difference in the world.  Please keep praying with me, because I am really going to need it now more than ever!  You guys are best!  I think about you and pray for you all the time!

Lots of love,

Soeur Olsen

P.S.: Congrats on the new place Benjamin and Kirstie!  I want pictures!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 4, 2014


August 4, 2014

Salut famille!

I am so excited to hear that Liz is finally done with school!  And the Shakespeare sounds like a blast!  Rebecca: you need to send me a picture of your hair!  I want to see this.  I miss Frozen.  But sometimes when we go to teach lessons the kids have it on and are watching it in French; it`s so cute!  Did I ever send you the video of Elder Abbott singing Do You Want to Build a Snowman in French?  Frozen in French is soo much cuter! 

I can`t believe that it has been a week.  It just flew by, I can`t even remember what happened!  Everything was turned upside down.  We had three moves this week and then Zone training meeting, so my schedule was really thrown off.  But I finally got all of your cute letters!  And you have to give Aunt Lollie the biggest hug for me!  Liz, you two are the best!  It made my whole week!  Haha the missionaries hve never seen a package that big.  The APs called to make sure we had a car; they were not sure what to do with it.  The whole zone made me open it up in the parking lot!  It`s was the best!  I miss America so much!  It was so fun!  Sister Wright and I are just going wild with all of our fun treats, and we are going to deck out our apartment with all the fun decoration!  We are excited to get some American pride going because we ran into a couple of American haters this week. Thanks so much!

Things are really crazy up here.  Practically the whole mission is going to be turned over by the end of this year.  Right now Elder Jenkins, Sr. Gentils and I are the only greenies in the zone.  And everybody else is almost done with their mission. We had over seven missionaries going home this week.  And then Sister Wright and others are leaving after this transfer.  It really freaks me out to think about what`s coming. By the end of the year everyone I know we`ll be gone and the zone will be filled with new missionaries in its place!  I can feel Heavenly Father preparing me for some really difficult things.  Each day I feel more and more like this is my time to learn, and pretty soon I am going to be asked to step it up. It`s discouraging because I feel so far from where I feel like I need to be.  But it is amazing to see that the harder things get the more strength Heavenly Father gives me.  I know that He blesses us with everything that we need in order to accomplish the things that He asks us to do.  I am really learning out here how to just turn everything over to the Lord.  To just put all of our fears and inadequacies at his feet and then walk out the door and get to work.

A miracle of the week: So for the last two Tuesday nights we`ve been playing softball! (Well, Sr. Wright has been playing softball, I have been supervising.)  One of our members is a bus driver.  Every Tuesday night the bus drivers and the mechanics get together and play softball.  (Not making that up.  It is hysterical).  But we got permission from President, and it has been the coolest opportunity to work through a member and talk with and get to know all of his coworkers.  It is opening up huge opportunities for him to continue talking about the Church at work now too.  But this week, after the game had finished, one of his coworkers came up to us and told us he was Mormon! He pulled up his sleeve and showed us his CTR tattoo he had on his arm-- a little ironic, but it unbelievable!  It turns out that he is a convert to the church and even had a mission call to Guatemala, but then he met his wife and married her instead.  He loves ``his religion`` and I guess his entire family is active LDS, and he wants to start coming back to Church.  And he had no idea that Frere Morin was LDS, and Frere Morin had no idea he is a member either.  I guess he LOVES Grandpa Hinckley.  As soon as he started telling us his story he just starts talking about how much of an impact President Hinckley has made on his life and how powerful his testimony was to him.  Haha. Immediately Sr. Wright took that as an opportunity and everybody in the ward knows about Grandpa Hinckley.  It was really cool to see Heavenly Father use that to help us make a special connection with this man who has been prepared to return to Church.  He was really, really touched and we are going to see him this week!  So that will be wonderful!  Well thanks so much for all your love and prayers family!  Keep praying for me to receive the gift of tongues please!  The Quebecois have been especially blunt about my language abilities this week so don`t forget!

Love you to the moon and back!

Soeur Olsen
 
 
Pictures:
 
These are the elders that serve in our ward with us- Elder Norman and Elder Jenkins
 


 
Me and all my packages. All the other missionaries are jealous. They think its just ``greenie mail``
 
 
 
Finally went to Parliament last pday!


 

The Downsides of Not Understanding the Language‏ (July 28th)


July 28, 2014

It sounds like you have all been doing really well!  But stop leaving my Dad home alone!  Some of us have to work for a living.  But I am so happy to hear how awesome girl’s camp was and how well all of your talks and testimonies went!  I have the most righteous family in the world! (I honestly think we do; you did such an awesome job mom and dad! I am so grateful to have grown up in such a gospel centered home. You wouldn’t believe what an apparent difference it makes.)

Yes I had poutine the first day!  It`s awesome.  We`ve also had this thing called shwarma.  Look it up.  Other than that we are mostly just scrapping for food on our own.  We don`t get fed very much.

There is one French speaking branch in the Zone of Ottawa.  So there are three teams in our ward that are French speaking (us, the elders, and a senior couple) and we cover all the French speakers in our zone.

Big Adventure for the week:

Last Sunday, I am sitting in Gospel Principles just doing my usual thing- which unfortunately consists of trying not to fall asleep because everything is just gibberish- and all the sudden I hear Sr. Wright volunteer the sister missionaries for something.  The next thing I know she is signing me up for un Donation de sang--Blood Donation.  I honestly about passed out.  I spent the whole week trying the get out of it.  I tried to get other missionaries to take our place, I tried telling them that we had a DA and couldn`t do it anymore.  It was awful.  I honestly paled just thinking about it.  But unfortunately Friday came and it was still on.  I realized that I was going to have to do this.  So I started praying real hard and doing everything I could to live through this experience.  I had heard that donating blood is a lot less painful if you drink lots of water.  I drank 15 water bottles before 4:30 when we had to be there.  I thought I was going to be okay. I was feeling a little calmer about it, until we pulled up and saw a big trailer with the words: The Bloodmobile.  How sick is that?  I don`t know what is wrong with these people.  Anyway, after a lot of waiting and worrying we finally got in there.  They had to do a finger prick to see if my hemoglobin was okay.  The nurse could not get it to stop bleeding.  My blood was so watery, it was running all the way down my arm.  I was so freaked out.  I couldn`t do anything but just stand there while she cleaned me up.  After she got it to stop bleeding they stuck me in the blood sucking room. I really started to panic then.  MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: Apparently you have to know all the shots you have gotten in the last three months.  And I couldn`t say with certainty all the shots that I had gotten just before my mission, or if I had gotten them in May or not.  I never thought I would say this, but I am so so grateful that you have to get immunizations before a mission.  Biggest miracle.  I have never experienced more relief in my entire life.  Prayer is real!  I didn`t have to give blood!  Ha,ha. It ended up being really funny because they wouldn`t let Sr. Wright give blood either because apparently her arms are covered in pustules that would infect the blood.  She was so offended.  She just has these little raised pores on her arms that you would never notice.  She couldn`t believe that she wasn`t able to donate her blood because of so called ``Zitty arms``.  It was hysterical.  She spent the rest of the day comparing her arms with mine and trying to pop the little bumps.  I still catch her examining them all the time.  It is so funny.

Sorry I don`t have more uplifting testimonies today.  It was a long week.  We got smurfed (stood up a lot).  Our baptism didn`t go through.  And even though we haven`t had a lot of visible success I can still feel Heavenly father strengthening us and leading us each day.  I am out of time but I will talk to you again next week!

Lots of love and prayers!

Love,

Soeur Olsen

PS My next zone training is this Friday, so that`s when I`ll receive the letters, packages, etc.  I’ll let you know.  We have them once a month I think.  Love you all!
 
Pictures:
We went to the Civilizations museum last p-day.

Here are the pantoufes that a member in the ward made me.  They are shoes that people keep in there house that you can put on after you enter and take your shoes off, so your feet can stay warm while their house stays clean.  They are beautiful!
 



Monday, July 21, 2014

Spiders!


July 21, 2014

Famille!

Okay, apologies in advance, I am emailing in a French library- I have a French library card!- and the keyboard and punctuations are different.

I am so excited to hear about James Fox`s mission call!  I can`t believe you guys forgot to tell me.  Tell him congratulations from me though; he will be so so amazing!

Sarah is home!  She sounds as funny as ever.  Give her a really big hug, and don`t do any tim tam shots without me!

No sorry, we are actually living in the basement of the member, and it wouldn`t be very polite for us to use their mailbox, so keep sending things to the mission home.  It does take a while because we are about two hours out, so I only get mail once a month, I think, at zone conferences.  Maybe I`ll dig up the address of our home and send it next week just in case you need to get something to me quickly, but don`t plan on using it regularly.

I am so relieved to hear that you didn`t call President Patrick!  I promise, it`s just fine.  My trainer knows what she is doing, and we are always listening for the Spirit.  Yes we ALWAYS have members with us, and yes we are NEVER alone with them.  We can`t even give them rides.  All the rules that are put in place keep us safe.  And they aren`t actually a gang.  That`s just what we call them.  They are really really nice.  And usually the worst thing is that they step out and take a smoke during the lesson.  Don`t worry about me!  We are being smart and following the rules and the Spirit.  Don`t call President.  I have an interview with him this week so I will ask him about it if it makes you feel better.

Thanks so much for going to Diggy farewell!  It`s so fun to hear how everyone is doing. Thanks for snagging me some things from Grandma and Grandpa`s house!

I`m appalled to hear Dad that you don`t like wasabi peas.  I am sure that Anne is not really taller than me.

Sorry I forgot my camera cord today so no pictures!  Although my Elders from the MTC keep sending me ugly pictures of me so maybe I forward some of those along.

This week so awesome!  It was definitely hard, but still full of miracles.  I went on my first split!  It was stressful. They kept me in my own area, so that was really mean.  But it was okay because I went with Sister Craven who was Sister Wright`s companion in this area before me.  So all of her old investigators were excited to see her, but it was stressful having to take the lead with all of our new amis.

Denis and Ines are getting baptized on Saturday!  I think.  They just changed the rule, so now we teach Lesson 5 BEFORE baptism (it includes eternal marriage, temple work, missionary work, etc.)  So we taught about temples and eternal marriage this week.  It was so special because Denis` wife passed away six years ago this week.  The Spirit was unbelievably strong.  I love teaching people about eternal families!  But just before we left Denis and Ines said that they were still kind of on the fence about baptism.  So we are going to go talk to them this week.  Ines is going to girls camp though, so we told her to pray about it then.  She is going to text us Saturday when she gets back from camp to let us know whether or not she is getting baptized that day.  So definitely be praying for out little Cote d`Ivoire family!  They are so prepared and so, so ready.

Hey Badou- Senegal ami- came to a baptism this week!  And then Hydress- Congo ami- came to church!

Okay, worst thing ever this week.  Wednesday night, when we were on splits and Sister Craven was sleeping over, I felt something crawling across my lips, and went to touch them, and there was something there!  I swiped it off and threw my blankets off my bed.  It was so horrible.  Our house has been infested with spiders.  I hate it.  I spent like 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to calm down and make sure it wasn`t in my hair.  I came back and try to subtly examine my bed with the flash light.  Sister Craven thought I was crazy.  I ended up sleeping with a wash cloth on my arm for the rest of the night because my towel was still wet and my covers were infested with spiders I`m sure.  I keep having nightmares about spiders now.

Okay sorry, that`s all I have time for!  I hope you have a wonderful week!  Don`t worry about me, I am happy and healthy and loving everything about being a missionary up here in Canada!  Happy Pioneer Day!

Love,

Soeur Olsen

Oh and p.s. we went to a family`s house for dinner this week.  Look up Val de Mont (ou peut etre Val des Monts).  It was unbelievably gorgeous.  Their house sits on Lac Claire (ou Clair).  Apparently they own like five lakes up there!  It is way cool!



(I'm not sure if this is from the MTC or not)