Monday, July 21, 2014


July 21, 2014


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!


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)


July 14, 2014  BAPTISM WEEK

Oh my goodness famille. It was baptism week! (That's what Sr. Wright and I decided because we kept handing out 2 Nephi 31 for commitments). It turns out that baptism week doesn't actually mean having baptisms but we got four new people with baptisms dates!  We now have six total.  Crazy.  You would not believe the miracles we had up here in Gatineau!  And we got 9 new amis!  Can you believe it?  No way!  We have gotten 14 new amis in the last two weeks!  It is unbelievable.  And I have decided that since we found them on baptism week, it must mean that they are all getting baptized.  No way!  How wonderful is this area?!

Okay let me tell you about these people.  We just laugh every time we think about it.  5 of them consist of a little gang from Senegal.  They are these black, young guys in their 20s with tattoos and piercing; just rough, scary looking people.  Ha,ha they are awesome.  Their names are Badou, Hydress, Bishop (perfect eh? --the eh thing is totally real by the way), Sededrick, Doudou.  It is so unbelievable.  Each time we go they have a new friend there!  And they actually get into it.  They are talking, asking questions, bearing testimony of their beliefs.  It's crazy.  There are usually two or three of them there when we show up.  Badou is the only one that really pretends like he not interest, but he so is!  He is one of my favorite. He's the one that is always inviting us back and bringing his friends.  It was the coolest thing yesterday.  We went over to their building and he had Sederick and Bishop with him.  So we all went upstairs and watched the Restoration with them.  It was sick.  In the middle of the film I looked around the room and I realized that we were watching the Restoration with a bunch of gangsters!  No way!  Ha,ha, maybe you had to be there.  It was so sick.  Unfortunately, Sr. Wright informed me that when Badou got up during the film he came back high on something.  We got a lot of Word of Wisdom work to do with our G amis, but I can hardly wait to see how this gospel and the Atonement will change them.  I got to commit all three of them to baptism last night.  So cool.  They all think my broken French attempts are cute.  They try to let me do it in English cause they all understand English.  So a lot of the testifying was committing was in “franglais” but it was so cool.  The Spirit was so strong.  You could tell that they felt it, especially Bishop.  He was just baptized Christian and he's been looking for the truth and he is not ashamed.  He can't wait to check the BOM out.  They are so cool!  You guys would love them.  And Badou and Bishop are going to come church this week!  So Sr. Wright decided it was going to be Swarm Week this week.  Everybody is going to swarming to the chapel!

We also found a new family this week!  Sydole and Rose are the parents.  We have this miracle building here in Gatineau that we call our golden building.  That is where we found Mary and her husband Theodore.  And Mart. And Solonge. And everybody!  Basically everybody in that building is a potential.  But we went and taught them for the first time this last week and they just ate it up!  We talked about the BOM.  They also had a friend Fernande there.  She was skeptical.  But Rose totally just start testifying about how the BOM could be true and how she needed to just have more faith!  No way right?  I can't believe it.  I cannot wait to go back and teach them.

Okay sorry.  I am way too excited with all our miracles.  I was so excited to hear about the family vacation though!  The pictures are to die for adorable!  I love it!  Especially the three amigos pic with Dad, John, and James.  Ha,ha.  I about died.  And Sarah is coming home!  Tell her I say hi and to shoot me all kinds of mission advice!

Fun fact for the week.  I have a car.  I haven't mentioned that yet.  And it is super nice too.  Sounds like I'll be driving it this week when we go on splits!  We are living the life of luxury here in Gatineau.  Oh and find WASABI PEAS.  You will love them Dad.  I think you should just be able to find them at Walmart.  Okay that's all.  Love you so much!!!

Lots and lots of love,

Soeur Olsen

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 7th, 2014

July 7, 2014

REBECCA! Wow. I am so sorry to hear about your car accident! Yikes. That is so scary! I am so so relieved you are okay though. Congratulations on Zupas. AND your patriarchal blessing! Oh my word! That is so so so wonderful! My blessing has literally been one of the single most beautiful thing in my life. I am so excited for you. Read it all the time! Every time you are feeling down.

Okay famille!  Get ready because I actually have a lot of time today!  (Sorry, I hate to be one of those missionaries that send forever long emails; you are under obligation to read all of it.)

Gatineau is AMAZING! I have decided that it is the miracle area. I have also decided that CMM is the miracle mission. I keep hearing stories about general authorities coming and saying that our mission president is not like other mission presidents. He is special. Apparently they have also been saying that they have sent some of the very best missionaries the Church has ever seen to this mission! Oh my goodness, this place is full of special miracles for these special little Canadians!

Bonne fete Canada! July 1st was Canada Day. Apparently it was a party. I don't really know. The missionaries don't really get to see a lot of party action.  But everybody kept saying what a big deal it was and nobody wanted to see us, so I believe it! We are just outside of Ottawa, the capitol, so I would imagine it would be like being in Washington DC for the 4th of July.  Despite not really having anybody to teach we were actually still really busy. The Quebecois have this beef with the Canadians. They don't want to be a part of Canada. So instead, just to spite the country (Quebecois are so funny), they made the Canada day the day when all the leases expire. So for the Quebecois, Canada day is moving day! The streets are just packed full of moving vans. People here are constantly moving. It sounds like most people move every year or so. They just circulate around the same area. It is odd and really inconvenient. So we spent a lot of the day moving members out of their apartments and into new ones 15 minutes away.

Between moving and missionary work, we were really tired! But this week has been absolutely amazing! When we were first driving to the area, Sr. Wright was telling me about the amazing Amis de l'Eglise we had. She was talking about this wonderful, strong, miraculous teaching pool. Well, I don't know what I did wrong, but since I arrived our teaching pool has disappeared. We have had no one to teach! Even our recent converts (CRs) were skipping out on appointments with us and Sr. Wright kept saying how she really feels like we just need to go out and find people. She says she has never felt this strongly about there being people we need to find in her whole mission. Apparently in all the 9 months that she has been here she has really only gone tracking (porte a porte) once. How exciting is that!  I love it! So we spent a lot of time this week going through formers (former amis). It was so cool! We actually haven't intentionally found any of our formers, but it has led to finding multiple other people to teach. By the end of the week, we had 5 new investigators after street tracking/knocking only about 20 doors! We had a sit down lesson with an opening and closing prayer and set up a return appointment. I guess that never happens! So I am excited about it. Sr. Wright says that's the second most she has ever had on her mission. I love tracking! I feel like such a little missionary! Walking down the street with my French speaking companion: Bonjour! Ca va bien? Nous sommes missionaires pour l'Eglise de Jesus-Christ des Saint des Derniers Jours.... and then they usually respond, at which point Sr. Wright has to take over because I cannot understand a word these people are saying. Everybody hear sounds different. These Quebecois--they are killing me! You have never heard such a thick accent anywhere in the world! I can hardly make bonjour a je m'appelle. Some people have really just nasty sounding Quebecois and others have really cute, twangy Quebecois. It's sick. I am already starting to incorporate it into the way that I speak. I want to be a little Quebecois so badly! One of the best things about Quebecois is that they have so much English incorporated into their language. So occasionally they will just spout out phrases that are one hundred percent perfect English. They don't even realize that they are doing it. It is the funniest thing in the world. They will just be speaking heavy, indiscernible French and then throw out, “That's it, that's all”, like they are an Anglophone. So funny.

Okay so I don't have time to go through all of our amis, mais there are a few that I have to tell you about! Okay so first there is Denis and Ines. They are a father and a 14 year old daughter from Cote d'Ivoire. They are wonderful. Sr. Wright has been working with them for 10 months here in Gatineau and they are so converted. They understand everything so beautifully and they are so converted. They don't feel like they are ready enough to be baptized though yet. But they fasted this last Sunday, and they set up the day to be baptized on July 26! We are soooo excited! Apparently they have fallen through before but Sr. Wright says it is different this time. Second, while tracking this week we had the coolest experience. We were in what we now call our golden building. We ended up setting four appointments in that building but on our way out the first day, I asked Sr. Wright if she wanted to stay and knock or if she was ready to go. She said she felt we really needed to knock the top floor. So we went up and I picked a door. A woman opened and before I could even finish my little French schpill she opened the door and beckoned us in. She came back, and after talking to her for a little while we found out that she had already been taught by one of Sr. Wright's companions just before Sr. Wright had arrived in Gatineau. She left the room and came back with a BoM (LdM) in French and English and with a word of wisdom and tithes and fast offerings pamphlet. What?! Apparently she had gone on vacation almost a year ago to the states for a month, but the missionaries never got back in contact with her. She thought we were finally just back to teach her. No way! We had just been through all of our former records the day before and she wasn't in there. Somehow she got lost. We would have had no way to find her. It was such a miracle. She says she already knows that the LdM and J.S. are true. Her thing is that she doesn't believe it is the only truth and she also has a hard time with the fact that she needs to be baptized again. She is stellar and her name is Mary. We are going back to teach her tomorrow and I am so excited!

Okay that is actually all the people I have time for I guess. But needless to say we had a miracle week. And Sr. Wright said that the reason she thinks we need to track right now is because of me. She says she feels like there are people here that have been prepared for me and we need to find them now while she is still here so she can teach me how to do it and then hand them off. So cool! I love her so much. She is so funny and good to me! She is too nice to make me do anything scary. But I have been trying to put myself out there anyway! 

Love you so much! Have a wonderful week. By the way, this next week is Baptism Week. (Sr. Wright and I decided). So pray that we will have miracles! (And I could still use help with the language too.)
The first two pictures are the last ones from the MTC

I miss our little family!  Aren't we so cute?  And the one labeled the Pistorii, I am now serving in his area!  It is so fun!  He was my "French coach" kinda at the MTC, and now I am here and the members talk about him and we are looking up some of his formers.  It's so fun!

These last two are from Canada!

From last week! Sorry we couldn't make pictures work. Look how cute our little house is! We are living below an English speaking member family! I think we have the nicest place in the whole mission maybe. We enter in through the backyard, and it is a little house all to our selves! Isn't sister Wright so cute? We have the same hair!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014


So much. So little time. Always! I guess that is a missionary thing. I wish someone would have told me that beforehand.

Okay I am in Gatineau West!!! I am so excited! On Wednesday President had all the trainers and all the greenies gather in the mission office and one by one he announced where everyone was going. It was crazy mean. It took forever for him to get to me. So Gatineau is French speaking! I am so happy! I was going to be so disappointed if it was English speaking. Apparently President doesn't move people around hardly ever. So everybody is placing bets on me being in this same area for a year! I had never heard of mission presidents doing that before but I am so, so excited!

Alors, Gatineau is on the very western cusps of Quebec. So we are in the only French-speaking ward in the area. The rest is in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, which is English speaking. It is crazy! One minute I'll feel right at home with all these people that speak my language, and the next, they all simultaneous switch to this weird sounding- supposedly French- language! People weren't kidding about the Quebecois accent. It is thick, and sick. I am already starting to switch my pronunciation. It is awesome.

The crazy thing about being here is that everyone is from a different place. We are teaching people from Haiti, Cameroon, the woods --whatever that means--, everywhere! EVERYBODY'S French sounds so different. It is so hard. It takes me so long to try and figure out what they possibly might be saying. But it is also really cool. Sometimes I understand. And sometimes, I even understand really, really well. The Africans are the best. The have the clearest French. I can almost imagine they are speaking English. I love it! It is really cool but really hard, lots of the people are bilingual, but not all. As of this week, about 1 in every 3 lessons have been in English.

The people here are amazing. I am really not sure how to tell you about them. There are a lot of people that we teach that I still haven't met yet. It is not like what you would expect. We really don't have that much time to teach. We spend all morning studying. It seems like we usually at some kind of ward gathering/meeting/service project in the afternoons because nobody is home for us to meet with. We have an early dinner, and then we finally have a four or five hour block where we can teach. Most of the people we are teaching are less actives or new converts. We also have some investigators. The majority of our investigators have been taking the lessons for at least 5 months or so. They have already had all the lessons multiple times. So I haven't actually taught a PMG lesson yet. We usually just read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with them except for last night. Last night we taught Kadidia and Debare. They have had four or five lessons it sounds like, but it has been a week or two since we have been able to set up another appointment. We spent the lesson just trying to reestablish why we are here. They are from Africa I think. I don't actually know. They have three or four kids I think, but I am not sure because the parents sent them out of the room. I guess that is customary when guests come over. (I want to teach the whole family so hopefully we can get them to stay next time.) We taught it with a 30 year old women in our ward named Caroline. She is awesome. And it sounds like she helps us a lot. It was an awesome lesson. We talked about faith and read in Alma 32. It was way cool! I was like sharing thoughts and testimony in French! It was way cool. They could totally understand me! (I am sure my grammar was all over the place.) I hope we can get in there again soon.

Okay my trainer! Her name is Soeur Wright (It's actually Allie Wright if you want to look her up) She is from South Jordan and she has a twin! She is the best. She reminds me of Kelsey Nelson. So much fun! She is so cute and so funny, and she is so good to me!  he is willing to let me do whatever I want, but she never just throws me under the bus so I am way grateful. She actually has one or two transfers left training me and then she leaves! I am so freaked out about that! Then I'll be in charge. Everybody loved her companion before. Some of our investigators aren't even ready to meet with us yet because they are so sad that Sister Craven is gone. It's so adorable. But it makes me nervous for when she leaves!

Oh and Elder Jenkins that was in my district at the MTC. He is serving in my very same ward! Cool, right? Okay, got to jet! Love you all!