Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

I can't believe that Amy gets home this week!  Give her a big hug, and be her friend.  Make sure she is okay!

We had a crazy week.  Like always.

Monday, P-day.  We don't really have time to do many things on p-day after all of our studies, shopping, cleaning, etc.  We saw Sister Tomassino in our ward.  She was so cute!  She lives in a little one room apartment and she is embarrassed about it.  She has such a strong testimony and love of the Gospel.  We had a wonderful time visiting with her and doing family mission plans.

Tuesday we went to Gite Ami, the homeless shelter where we do service every week with the Elders.  There the Elders started talking to an eighteen year old boy.  After they left, we continued to talked to him.  His father had passed away to years ago and he had run away from home.  Since then, he has lived through many traumatic experiences.  He was getting ready to go to rehab in two days so that he could go home and be a big brother for his siblings.  We gave him a Book a Mormon and talked about God's love and the Savior and said a prayer with him.  We were so impacted by the things this boy had experienced and we felt so blessed to be instruments in the Lord's hands to help him learn about the Atonement and the power it can have in our lives.  It was an amazing experience.  During our talk with him, we had a call from an unknown number.  I looked but didn't answer it.  Afterwards, we listen to a voice mail that this man had left.  He didn't give us any of his information, he just said, "I was looking for Sister Olsen, but I think I have the wrong number, sorry!".  I was so devastated!  I was feeling so bad.  As I was talking to Sister Carpenter about it and apologizing, we received another call! This time the number showed up!  It turns out it was John.  John is a man that called us before Christmas last year from another untraceable number.  His friend Neil, who sister Wright and I had met but had not been able to get his information, had give John our phone number.  He was afraid to die and was looking for comfort.  However, he did not want to meet with us.  So we pointed him to the website.  He thanked us and hung up.  We were so excited to hear from him!  He told us how much comfort the website had given him and agreed to meet with us.  We went and saw him the next day on Wednesday! 

Wednesday morning was transfers so we were at the bus station early with the missionaries being transferred.  Sister Narraidoo from France went home. It was so hard saying goodbye to her.  Her companion Sister Matos is now training a new missionary, Sister Arizmendi from Mexico.  She is so cute!  Sister Hinkson and Sister Smith switched places.  We miss Sister Hinkson but it is so fun having Sister Smith here in Ottawa with me!  It's the best!  So anyway, Wednesday we spent the whole day with Sister Ladd while she was waiting for Sister Smith to get here.  We saw Sorayah and Isabelle and then John (who is anglophone so we passed him off the the zone leaders but it was an awesome lesson!) Then we saw Moise and his son Yan.  It was way fun spending the day with Sister Ladd!  We were sad when we had to give her up.

Thursday was awesome!  Thanks so much for the packages!  They made my whole day!  I have the best family ever!  Thanks for all the cute notes and treats!  Thanks SO much for my camera and new outfit!  Much needed.  It was the best birthday!  We had district meeting and then went out for Indian food with Sister Ladd and Sister Smith in our district.  It was super fun!  Afterwards we saw a former investigator Amy and had a lesson with her and cake and Camille  tea.  (I have had so much herbal tea on my misson...I don't like it. I prefer warm milk and sugar.  You've got to try it!  It's African... i think.)  Then we had a lesson with Isaac and then Jocelyne about covenants.  It was kind of scary.  She started getting mad that we were talking about baptism.  But things turned out okay!  She is so close!
On Friday we got a new investigator!  She is a media referral named Joanna, and she has a cousin that lives in Utah that is Mormon. When her sister was visiting her cousin, she took the missionary lessons!  Small world.  So we are excited about her.  After our lesson with her we saw Irene with our member Tchoha!  I love it when the members take over.  They make such a difference!  Her mom's funeral was on Saturday in Cote d'Ivoire, and it's been really hard for her.  We talked about temples.  It was a beautiful lesson.  The Spirit was so strong!  Then we had an unexpected change of plans when the zone leaders called us and told us we had to drive down to Montreal tonight rather than taking the buses in the morning.  So we drove down and got lost for TWO HOURS!  Maybe not quite two.... but a long time!  We finally called an Elder in Montreal who was able to help us get to the sisters apartment.  I think we finally got there at like 11:30 pm. We stayed the night in downtown Montreal with Sister Arriaga and Sister Jeter (other STLs).  It was super fun!  They are adorable!  Ha,ha.  Sister carp and I feel so out of our element in Montreal.  It is a different world!  We love Ottawa and never want to leave!

The next morning we went to a chapel in Montreal and had mission leadership council with the seventy Elder Kasher.  It was so inspiring!  He talked about changing our mindsets.  Too often we have the mind set that either we can't do it, or that we can do it if we work hard and follow the Spirit.  But rather than faith, or a lack of faith in ourselves, we need to have faith in Christ.  When we have faith in Christ, we are not worried about our own inadequacies.  We know that He can do it and we will be instruments in His hands has we are obedient and diligent and searching the Spirit.  It was such a powerful experience!  He talked about how we as leaders need to change our mindsets.  Sister Carpenter and I learned a lot and were really edified and set some goals to improve. Afterwards we all had lunch and then Sister Carp and I headed back up to Ottawa.  Thank goodness!  For dinner we went and got Sharwma.

Sunday!  Stake changes.  We are getting a new ward and boundaries are changing.  The English ward in our geographical boundaries, Champlain, will now be in our building with us.

Okay!  Sorry, I didn't write in my journal this week.  So I wanted to get everything down!

DJIM AND ISABELLE ARE GETTING MARRIED ON THURSDAY!   WE are so excited!  Church is true!  I love being a missionary!

Soeur Olsen

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


March 2, 2015

Heavenly Father is so good to me!  I am so happy.  I am never leaving Gatineau or Sister Carpenter!  I love it here!  Want to know other good news of transfers?  Remember my old companion Sister Smith? (Not the Sister Wright-soon-to-be-Sister-Smith)  yeah, she's coming to Chapel Hill!  Chapel Hill is the other ward in my district!  We get to be together again and we will get to do exchanges together!  Being a missionary is the best!

So I missed lots of things last week.

1. We saw a wolf in the church parking lot in Ottawa at zone  conference last week.  It ran right past our car.  A REAL CANADIAN BALTO.

2.  Sister Carpenter and I were invited to a stake priesthood leader meeting that was the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE THING EVER.  We were the only women.  The stake president acknowledged the "brethren and sister trainers" ever few sentences.  Super uncomfortable.

3. We are having a big new change in our stake this next week that is top secret.  It sounds like there will be boundary changes.  The Champlain ward, the English ward in our geographical boundaries, will be coming to our building.  We won't be alone any more!  We have a special stake meeting next week to hear the details.

4. You know we have a zone goal of 10 baptisms in March?  The most we have ever had in one month in the last two years is 8.  We are so excited!  During zone conference we put up 19 names on the chalkboard of who could be baptized within the month of March.  We put up Isabelle, Soriah, and Ivilise.  We pray for all 19 of these people every day and we had a zone fast for them yesterday.  There has been such power in being unified as a zone in combining our faith and efforts.  We have seen so many miracles from this throughout the teams and the  zone.

Okay, this week!

We were talking with our ZL Elder Anderson last Sunday night and he told him about this miraculous experience he had in one of his former areas where he got 30 lessons in a week.  Sister Carpenter and I were inspired, so we decided we were going to do the same thing this week.  We were determined to do it.  Well, Satan hates us more than Elder Anderson apparently.  (And apparently his ward council set up 15 of the lessons). We got 16 lessons and we are exhausted!  We were working so hard to the very last day to make it happen.  We are going to get it!  Our faith is not weakened!

This week we had exchanges with the Fallowfield Sisters.  Sister Hill came to Gatineau again with me and Sister Carp was with her cute new greenie, Sister Ladron de Geurava who's from Montreal!  She is so cute!  Sister Hill and I had a blast!

Isabelle and Djim are getting married March 13th and Isabelle and her daughter Soriah are getting baptized on the 20th!  And I get to be here!  I am so happy!  Heavenly Father is so good to me!  Did you hear the miracle that happened there?  The ban for the marriage had to be published a la Palais De Justice and at the chapel by the 20th of February.  We had our zone conference, so we gave it to Frere Allard.  His car broke down, so he didn't get it in.  We talked to bishop and he said if we tried to still get the marriage published for the same day, they would reject it and we would have to start the process all over and we would have to wait until APRIL.  So he said to just push back the date and not even try.  We told Frere Allard that but he wouldn't hear of it.  He did not want to push the date back again.  We told him it was the law but he didn't listen to us and did it anyway!  AND IT WORKED!  It was such a huge miracle.  I know it was because of the prayers of all the missionaries.  It was such a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father was aware of our zone goal and the promises He has made to us. He saw our faith and our efforts and He was blessing us for it.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!  So they are getting baptized!

Jocelyne has been progressing so well.  She wants to get baptized!!!  We still don't know when.  But I am not worried.  I know she's can do it!

Isaac is praying for a baptismal date!

Irene's mom passed away.  She received a blessing from Elder Christenson, the senior couple in our area.

Cecile Annie is praying to know if she needs to be rebaptized.  She is an investigator from when Sister Wright was here that we dropped for a little while.

Samuel has been praying!  He hasn't received an answer yet, but it will come!  I love them.  He is praying sister Carpenter and I husbands from Africa.

Isabelle was so relieved we weren't being transferred!  She was praying for us to stay.  That's not a good thing, but she is so sweet!  I love her!

We had an awesome lesson with Patrick and Esther and committed them to pray and read the Book of Mormon.

Taught a new family Tharcila and Martin, young couple from Burundi that we found on a list of potentials from two years ago!  They are awesome.

Denis had an awesome experience where he committed to himself and the Lord that he would pay his tithing and he got a 30% raise at work!  The church is true.

We had our district meeting with the ZLs last week.  At the end our Elders whipped out a cake they had bought me and sang to me-- they had no faith that I would stay.  It was super sweet!  Elder Cameron drew a blue icing dragon on it.  Our Elders are hilarious.  They also left us several musical voice mails this week.

We went to Champlain's district meeting.

We had a sister's activity today!  We bought tim bits, chocolate and honey cruller.  Best ones AND THEN WE WENT TO PANDA!  I have been craving Panda since I got out on my mission and there is only one in the whole mission and it's in Ottawa! I am not sure if that is actually doctrine, but it might be!  It was the best!  Then we each bought a bag of fortune cookies to take home.

Sister Narraidoo is going home this week, and sister Hinkson is switching places with Sister Smith.  We are going to miss both of them so much.  Sister Matos is getting a greenie to train!

THANK YOU for my valentine's day package!  I LOVED IT!  I have the best family in the world!  And I love the garland.  You are the best famille!
I will be in mission leadership council in Montreal this Friday so.... you know what that means.  Thanks so much Liz for the letters!  I just got yours from November ;)
I accidentally went a whole day with out my missionary tag!  I lost the one on my coat and forgot to put one on my shirt.  It was the worst day ever.  I never want to not be a missionary!

Okay!  So I know I am forgetting something like always but I had an awesome week!  I am so happy!  And yes, it is so warm!  We didn't even wear our coats one day.  IT was sunny and felt so good!  We felt like we were in California. Hopefully I will get to have all four seasons in Gatineau.

P.S.  Any church music I am allowed to listen to so if you ever want to send any cds my way, I would love that.  Sister carp is getting sick of our music.


Almost-no-longer-a-teenage-american-that-doesn't-speak-french-soeur olsen!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

November 2014 pictures

Pictures from November 2014

February pictures....It is cold in Gatineau!

This is a picture of Catherine and Sister Carpenter, her companion, at the ice sculptures. 

February 23, 2015

It is FREEZING up here!  I am officially braving the worst winter in Canada.  The natives don't even know what to do!

This week was awesome!  We had zone conference on Friday and it was super stressful!  Sister Carpenter and I love working with the sisters and we love all we learn from giving trainings. This was our first training at a zone conference.  So it was stressful but it went really well.  In fact it was the best zone conference ever!  President Patrick said so himself.  The zone leaders and we gave a training on unity and then we set a zone baptismal goal.  I wish I could describe the feeling we felt. It was the most powerful spiritual experience I have ever had. As group of 45 set-apart full-time representatives of Jesus Christ, we knelt down in prayer seeking Heavenly Father's guidance in bring souls unto Him through baptism in the month on March.  It was so powerful!  We set a zone baptismal goal of 10 for the month of March.  The highest number we have had in the last 2 years is 8 but I know we can do it! I felt it and we are going to get to work!

I have to go cause the Elders just got here and are waiting!

I love you all!

Soeur Olsen

February 16, 2015

Okay!  I am sorry!  I literally spent all my email time uploading these pictures!  I know there are only two, but it takes forever!  Hopefully you will get more next week.
This week was good.  Isabelle and Djim are getting married the March 13th!  We went on exchanges with the Riverside Sisters Wednesday and Thursday and then with the Chapel Hill Sisters at the last minute Friday and Saturday.  We have zone conference Friday this week.  So I hope I have mail;).  We are giving a training.
Love you all!  Happy valentines day!  Hope you had a great week!

February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

This week.  Haha!  I love being a missionary.  It`s crazy getting to email time and realizing all the things that happened this last week.  We had lots of big ups and downs this week!
Monday: Lesson with Jocelyne.  We talked about repentance and having a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Sister Carp shared this beautiful concept of broken things.  How we are all a little bit broken.  But how broken things lead to beauty.  Broken clouds brings sunlight, broken soil brings flowers.  Broken bread brings healing.  I love my companion.  She is so inspired and Christ-like.  It was so beautiful and Jocelyne was so touched!

Tuesday-Thursday: Fanny Allard came on a mini mission with us!  Do you remember when she did that towards the beginning of my mission with Sister Wright?   Yeah.  Well she and her sister, Josiane, leave this week.  I am so sad!  I practically burst into tears on Sunday when they came to say goodbye to us. (I guess I turned my emotions back on!)  It was so hard.  So instead they invited us over for dinner on Tuesday and we will go say goodbye to them then.  It`s going to be so hard. I wish I could express how much these two girls and this family mean to me.  The Allards do so much for us.  They have been answers to so many of my prayers.  The girls particularly have always been there to love me and lift me up in some of the hardest times of my mission.  This is the most Christ-like family you will ever meet.  Sister Carp and I always joke about how Frere Allard is going to have the biggest mansion in heaven.  They are such humble, faithful examples of serving as the Savior would serve and loving as He loves.

So while Fanny was here we saw Ivilise.  I hope I told you about her.  Anyway, she is so prepared.  We had planned to teach more about the Restoration/the Book of Mormon but neither of us could really figure out what to do.  When we got there she started talking about how her mom was in the hospital and how hard things were right now.  So we started teaching the plan of salvation, the purpose of this life and Heavenly Father and the Savior`s love for us.  It was so beautiful.  We fixed a baptismal date for March 20th!  Yay!  Please pray for her.  Her boyfriend doesn`t want to have anything to do with God and he threw out the last Book of Mormon we gave her.  So she will have to either marry him, or leave him before she gets baptized.  She needs this.  Things are so hard for her.  The whole lesson she talked about how she felt something was missing in her life.  I asked if this is what she felt was missing and she said yes.  The Spirit was so strong and I just love her so much.  I just hope that she`ll have the strength she needs to overcome the opposition that is going to come.

Friday: We went to Montreal for a mission leadership council. We woke up at 4:30 am!  Hurray!  Haha, I love how tired I am as a missionary.  It lets me know I am working hard.  So we took the bus down with the zone leaders.  The council was great.  President is so inspired.  I just love President and Sister Patrick.  We talked about ministering and President gave this great training on the angel that ministered to Christ in the garden.  He talked about what we would have done for Christ if we had been that angel and then talked about how we should take all those things and minister to others. ``Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me."  It was so good. 

The bus ride home was awesome too!  Our AP Elder Andersen is our new zone leader.  We love working with him.  He is such an incredible, powerful, and humble missionary.  (Remember that you tube video about the Elder that got his call to serve in Antarctica speaking emperor penguin?  Yeah that`s him!  Look up the video.)  He is such a scholar in the Gospel and on the way home he just poured out information on us.  Ha,ha but honestly, it was the coolest thing ever.  Sister Carp and I felt like we were listening to an apostle.  We love and respect our mission leaders so much and we want to be just like them!  We still feel so young and new and like we have no idea what we are doing.  He talked about the power of godliness and how we can call down the power of godliness through faith.  I have been thinking a lot about that this week and studying that a lot.  I read a talk from a general conference called "Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?" and spent a long time this week pondering if I have enough faith to be healed and to be made whole.  Another thing he said that struck me was that Christ said I am meek and lowly in heart.  We discussed what that meant.  I was so struck by the profoundness of Christ`s humility and charity towards the Father and His unconditional love for us.  This week and I am really striving to become more like Christ by developing this submissiveness to my Father.  I know I can`t do this work on my own.  I am just a teenage, American girl who doesn`t speak the language but I know that I have a Savior that loves me. He also loves everyone around me. I want to serve Him and tell them of His love.  I know that if I am humble and obedient, and really putting all my faith in Him, I know I can have the Spirit with me to help these people understand and have a change of heart.  I feel so blessed to have the Gospel in my life.  I love sharing it.  I just want to do a good job!  But I know that Heavenly Father will consecrate my efforts as I repent and turn towards Him with full purpose of heart.

I love you all so so much!  Have a wonderful week!
Soeur Olsen

February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

This week was awesome!  And crazy.  Remember how everybody dropped us last week?  Well, EVERYBODY dropped us this week.  We are no longer working with Caleb.  He sent us a text and told us he was switching wards because he doesn't feel like he is progressing.  He is still struggling with smoking and now he has been drinking as well.  We are happy for him because he doesn't speak French and he is twenty, so he should be in YSA.  But we miss him.  A lot!  It makes us sad.

Ana de Sousa, one of our recent converts/less actives is moving to Ottawa.  So we will miss her!

Jean Claude, a media referral, is too busy to see us.

But a couple of weeks ago we were in an apartment building of a member.  As we were going to leave, we felt like we should knock.  So we knocked a few doors and found a young man--we've been referring to him as FRIEND-- who had Mormon friends in Africa.  So this week we finally got a hold of him again-- turns out his name is Lamin-- and taught the restoration in the hallway of his apartment with him.  In the middle of our lesson one of our former investigators we are trying to teach again came down.  Things like this only happen to missionaries.  It is just the best!

Also, we found a beautiful family as we were getting into our car a couple of weeks ago.  We contacted the father, Patrick.  We have tried to have a lesson with him and Sister Carpenter finally got in with Sister Narraidoo last week while we were on exchanges.  So we have a new family!  Patrick and Esther have four and five year old boys. One of them is special needs.  I guess the lesson was really hard, but they were so into it.

Tuesday we had dinner and a lesson with Isabelle and the kids at Frere Allard's (Djim didn't show up again).  We talked about missionary work and asked Fanny why she was going on a mission.  Afterwards we watch the #becauseofhim video.  We talked about the blessings of the gospel and why that's important to share it with everyone and talked about who they can share it with.  As we were wrapping up, Isabelle piped in and talked about how grateful she was for the missionaries. She said how grateful she is for Sister Wright and I bringing this blessing to her and her family.  She started crying!  It was the sweetest thing in the world.  I love this family so much.  We found out that with all the paper work the earliest they can get married is the 13th of March.  I am so heartbroken.  We have transfers on the 4th of March. I will be sad to miss that if I get transferred but it's not about me!  I am just so happy for them and I just pray that the Spirit will continue to work with them and change their hearts so that they can go to the temple as a family one day. 

At the end we had to say goodbye to Fanny and Josiane Allard.  It was so hard!  I wish I could express how much this family means to me.  These girls were such bright rays of sunshine during the hardest times of my mission.  I am so beyond grateful for them and just so filled with love for them!  We cried so much!  We miss them so much.  But we are so excited for them.  They are in Utah this week with Sister Wright and Elder Smith and will go to the MTC on Wednesday.

Wednesday we went on exchanges with Dows Lake!  I was in Dows Lake with Sister Matos.  She is in the second transfer of her training. She is a fireball and such a good missionary! It was so fun riding on buses again and working with her.  While I was with her, we taught their investigator Michael with Caleb at the Rideau Centre, our huge mall here. Sister Carpenter and I are here doing emails right now and talked about how we feel like we are coming to the Capitol every time we are here!  So that was fun.  On the way out we ran into Elder Spencer (DL of Dows Lake..the YSA ward in Ottawa) all by himself!  Ha,ha.  It was so funny!  He had gotten split off from Elder Simoes (ZL) on the buses while on splits.  So we escorted him around the mall until we found Elder Simoes.  It was hilarious.

Thursday we went to Dows Lake's district meeting and gave a training on the vision to baptize.  It went well and definitely gave us more of a vision.  Why is baptism so important?  Not rhetorical, you should study it this week.  I am so grateful for the priesthood and the ordinances and the blessings they bring.  If you get a chance read Elder Anderson's Power in the Preisthood talk from 2013.

We had a lesson with Samuel and Blanche this week. They are the family from Benin that we found on Christmas Eve in Les Galeries De Hull.  They are doing awesome.  We watched the Restoration with them.  His brother Julius was there.  He loved it!  Sam always has friends and family from Montreal so we give lots of great referrals to the Montreal missionaries every time we have a lesson with them.  En tout cas, they understand the apostasy and the reason we are asking them to be rebaptized, and they are going to pray about it this week.  Samuel said the closing prayer which is always a little bit odd because he always sings and chants before he starts his prayer. We are not sure what to do about that and asked to know if our message was true.  We know they will receive an answer if they are sincere and put forth their efforts.  They still haven't come to church yet but we are so excited for them!  We are going to baptize a family!

Saturday, we had nothing to do.  So we went knocking looking for a friend of Frere Oula that we had knocked into months ago.  It was in small apartment building just down from our house.  We are pretty sure that Heavenly Father moved the building!  It is not there anymore.  But just to be sure, we went and knocked all the number two apartments on the street.  While doing so we found Luzna.  She is the cutest Haitian girl!  She said we could come back the next day.  So yesterday we went and saw her and her husband.  They are a young couple, both from Haiti.  Apparently she was the girl that we had helped with a table outside of her house during the fall.  Sister Carpenter and I were walking down the street on our way to catch a bus to church and I was talking to Caleb on the phone. Sister Carpenter stopped us and started to help them unload a table from their car.  After a minute, I set Caleb down on the sidewalk and helped out too.  She is so cute!  We started talking, and found out that she had a Mormon friend that gave her a Book of Mormon six years ago in Montreal.  She is so prepared!  We are so excited for them.  We are going back again next Sunday.

Today we went to Le Bal De Neige Winterlude in Ottawa!  They have the coolest ice sculptures. We went with our district.  Afterwards, we walked on the longest skating rink in the world and got beavertails.  So great!  

Love you all!  Have a great week.

Soeur Olsen

Catherine is alive and well!

February 26, 2015

Sorry the blog is not up to date.  Catherine is healthy, happy and working hard.  I will post the letters from February and try to post the letters weekly.  Thanks for your love and support of her!

Rosemary Olsen