Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spring in Texas

April 17, 2017
Hi everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great week and a Happy Easter. It was
another great week here in Texas. We have continued to visit some of
the families in Encino Park in and effort to help them share the
Prince of Peace video. A couple of the youth have mentioned friends
who they have shared the gospel with. We are working with them to help
them know how they can continue to help their friends.

Saturday was one of those days where you have three meal appointments.
We started off by having lunch and teaching the restoration to
Brenda. She is friends with a couple of the YSA who are returned
missionaries. She is mostly interested in learning about our beliefs,
but we hope that when we have our next lesson we will be able to help
her see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ applies to us personally. We
then had an early dinner appointment with in the Family Ward. She has
a couple of friends who she was able to send the Easter video in a
private message. We then went to our second dinner appointment. There
we met Bryan and Craig. Craig is a convert to the church and has recently
returned from a mission. He has spent a lot of time with his cousin,
Bryan who isn't a member. Bryan has come to institute a couple of times
and is in the early stages of feeling and recognizing the spirit. In
his words the spirit is similar to the patriotic feeling that you feel
as you watch the fireworks with you family on the 4th of July. We had
a great first lesson with Bryan and were able to talk to him how we can
become like our Heavenly Father. He came to church yesterday and we
have a lesson with him on Tuesday!

Easter was really nice after going to our two different wards we were
able to visit a couple of less active families. I loved the
opportunity to reflect on all of the blessings that we have because of
the resurrection. I know that because of Jesus Christ we can have hope
and peace.

For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people,
which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you,
were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.
But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth,
and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the
resurrection of the dead (Mosiah 15:19-20)

We have also started to do service weekly at a horse ranch. Right now we are helping them paint a railing. They have us using black oil based paint so it is really sticky and comes off eventually. We also do service sometimes for meals on wheels. We help package the meals that they send out to the elderly people in the area. There are also some elderly women there at the senior center who have adopted us. They are hilariously sarcastic. Anyways, we were about to leave, but I thought that we could share the Easter video with them. They all really liked it and I could tell that they felt the spirit. 

On Easter we visited an elderly woman who recently lost her husband. She isn't really interested, but we thought that she might like having us come by on an Easter. I have decided to that I have grown the love for visiting the elderly on my mission. 
Hope y'all have a great week!

Sister Olsen

Exchanges with Sister Holt. She is such an amazing sister. I love
being able to work with the other sisters and be able to serve in this
capacity :)

April 24, 2017
Hi everyone!

It was another great week here in Alamo 1st and Encino Park. In the YSA ward we have been busy teaching Bryan, our new investigator.  He is great! We have met with him a couple of times this week and also went to institute with him. It has been amazing to see how his testimony has grown and how he has changed. I know that his ability to make changes in his life comes from the power of reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church.  He is steadily progressing because he is keeping the commitments that we extend to him. 

As for the Encino Park ward, we continue to work more with our members to help them in sharing the gospel. Also, One of our investigators who we haven't been meeting with, but has been coming to church said that she wanted to work towards baptism. She has been coming to church with her husband, praying, and reading the Book of Mormon and conference talks for the last couple of months. I am not sure exactly the time line of when she will get baptized/ be ready to meet with us yet.  However, it is just a testimony to me that if we are doing the little things (church, praying, and reading the Book of Mormon) then we will progress spiritually. It is such a blessing to be able to watch the miracle of conversion first hand in the lives of others. 

My understanding of why doing the simple matters has grown so much while I have been on my mission. All I can say is that it works! We are able to change and become better people when we focus on the simple principles of the gospel. I know that any doubt, fear, or struggle can be overcome as we rely on the Lord and seek to exercise our faith to do the simple things. Problems that seem overwhelming can become smaller as we seek to more fully live the Doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End). 

Hope y'all have a great week!

Sister Olsen 

1 Exchanges with Sister Wells. She is so amazing and I love talking about the gospel with her 
2-4 We went on a nature walk/ hike today with the Sonterra sisters 
5 We got to hold ducks at service 
6 We took the back way to Bryan's house. Texas is actually really green 

May 1, 2017
Hi everyone!

It was another great week here in Texas! Bryan has decided to be baptized on May 27th!  We are so excited to continue to help him work towards this goal. We also have Jennifer on date for May 13th! She is in the family ward and it is great to have an investigator with a baptismal date in both wards. Last Monday, Jennifer was struggling with a trial in her life.  She was discouraged, but decided to pray. She said that after praying she felt peace and that her burden was lifted. She told us that she was so grateful for the opportunity to feel the Holy Ghost. She learned that in order to have the Holy Ghost in her life consistently she needed to be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  Hearing her story taught me once again the importance of praying to our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from us and bless us. As we pray to him, we can feel the peace and comfort that comes from the Holy Ghost. 

On Sunday in the Singles ward we got to hear from 9 recent converts! They all had joined the church in the last 2 years or so. It was interesting to hear their different stories. Some of them said that they were at a good place and were happy. They thought that they didn't need anything more in their life. Other converts said that they were looking for a second chance or something more out of life. Either way all of them testified of how happy the Gospel made them. They said that it was the best decision that they had made in their life. Many of them needed multiple invitations from the missionaries or from their friends to learn about the Church. It takes time for people to see how prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and church can change their life for the better. 

Conversion ( people changing to more closely follow Jesus Christ) is a miracle. It always blesses and changes our life for the better. It doesn't matter what our background is, we can all receive the joy that the Gospel brings.  I am so grateful to be able to see the miracle of conversion in the lives of others. It is why I love serving here in Texas. It is what keeps me going when it is hot and humid (summer arrived in Texas this week).  It has also been a blessing to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ work in my own life. As I have served for these past 11 months, I have been able to come closer to my Savior. My desires and perspectives have changed to be more inline with my Heavenly Father's will. It's hard to put into words the joy that comes from living the Gospel. So all that I can say is that it comes to all that seek it. 

I hope that y'all have a great week!

Sister Olsen
Exchanges with Sister Christiansen. She was so amazing and I learned so much from her!

May 8, 2017
Hi Everyone!

It has been a great week.  We have been busy teaching Jennifer all of the lessons in preparation for her baptism this upcoming Saturday! We finished the lessons and she had her baptismal interview on Sunday so she is all ready to be baptized this next weekend. She is so great! I am happy to have played a small part in her conversion process. I know that it has been her consistent effort to pray, read the Book of Mormon, and attend church that has really helped to develop her faith.  While I was studying this week a particular line from Preach My Gospel stood out to me. It says, "Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift of God and comes through studying and living His word and His gospel".  Our faith grows as we study the scriptures and then apply the principles taught in it. Both of the people that we are teaching right now didn't start out with a strong religious background. They were able to learn and strengthen their faith as they started to live the Gospel. 

This week we also continue to volunteer at a horse ranch.  This week we were tasked with cleaning out the horse troughs.  They get algae build up and so we were scrubbing it off. The best part was that they put goldfish in them to help with the algae. We would catch the goldfish and put in a bucket while we were cleaning. It confirmed to me that while I love Texas and being able to experience new things, I still am a Californian who loves the water and fish. I also learned that horses can be really friendly. They would come right up to us and nudge us so that we could pet them. 

Most of the lessons that we taught this week were the commandments. I love teaching the commandments because I always come to realize that Heavenly Father gives us commandments because he loves us and wants to bless us. We are abundantly blessed by keeping the commandments. The more I realize this the greater desire I have to keep the commandments. 

Hope y'all have a great week!

Love Sister Olsen
Pictures 1: We went on exchanges and I worked with Sister Garza for the day. She is a great missionary! We taught Jennifer that night and she was able to relate and connect with her really well. I know that some of the things that she said really helped Jenna understand the blessings of the commandments more. 
Picture 2: We were able to eat dinner at Panera :)