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
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!


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!
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!