Thursday, January 23, 2014

Older and ....wiser?

Another incredible week from this frozen missionary!!!
Honestly most weeks I don't even know where to start these emails....There is always so much to say! Well I'm 21 now!! Weird....definitely don't feel that old. Didn't I just enter young womens or start driving or something. So wonderful to look back and see all of the different changes and experiences in my life that have led me to where I am right now. I honestly never thought that I would be serving a mission on my 21st birthday, but here I am! And there is no place that I would rather be!! My birthday was so great though! Thank you to everyone for all of the birthday cards, emails, and packages! I have some AMAZING friends and family!! I feel so loved! It is wonderful to have such incredible support. It really does help so much. We had district meeting, interviews with President Vellinga, and coordination meeting all on my birthday this week, so a lot of my day was spent at the church building. But it was still awesome! It was such an awesome birthday gift to get to meet with President ON my birthday!! He is such an incredible man! We all look up to him and love him so much. Sister Stringham took me to Menchie's (Yogurtland of Ohio) and made me a super delicious dinner!! She is so good to me :) Then after coordination meeting Sister Beaudoin and Sister Perrenoud had brought my favorite cookies as a treat for everyone! Such an awesome surprise! And then Elder Hicken, Elder Curtis, Elder Riffenburg, and Elder Francis gave me a present as well! They bought me a calendar of a whole bunch of different animals. haha I think they get a kick out of my animal obsession. They were so excited to give it to me. My district is so great!! They are all so sweet to make my birthday special for me. :)
We were going to go to lunch at Costco on my birthday, but sadly it didn't work out with our schedule, so we postponed that until the weekend. (Keepin up the Olds' tradition of going to Costco all over the country!) Ohhhh delicious and cheap Costco food. Love it. Thankfully SIster Stringham loves Costco just as much as I do. We got dinner there and a few minutes later a family came down and sat near us and they were speaking Russian!!! I got so excited!!! Of course I only understood like 3 words that they said, but I still loved it. It made me miss Ukraine even more!! If that was even possible....
So sometimes none of our stop by's are home or none of them want to talk to us. So we have to go with our back up plan of tracting. And then Ohio thinks it is funny to start snowing like crazy!! I have seriously never seen snowflakes that big!! And it picked up in a matter of 10 minutes! It was ridiculous!! The pictures really don't even do it justice. It got 100x worse about 5 minutes after we took the pictures. Sister Stringham and I made the best of it though and just kept singing, "We're traaaaaacting in the snow. Just traaaaacting in the snow!!" haha I love her so much.
Oh we got to go into Cleveland this week for my Cystic Fibrosis appointment! It was so fun to take a little "vacation" and see Cleveland! The hospital was ridiculously huge and nice and thankfully we got there 45 minutes early because we got sent on a crazy goose chase to find the right clinic. We were there pretty much all day. It turned into a 5 hour appointment! I felt bad for Sister Stringham, but she is such a champ and actually enjoyed it. Of course we didn't want to waste any of the Lord's time though. We talked with 6 different people about the church and gave out cards! It was so great!! Our district leader thought our text was hilarious to him that day: "Doin missionary work at the hospital!"
2 weeks ago one of our investigators tried to drop us. Try being the key word. He was at church yesterday though!! And he seemed to have a really awesome experience! We are both so excited about him!!! Keep him in your prayers! He knows the church is true, but is too afraid to tell his Mom that he is going to church with the Mormons and not to Catholic Mass. Oh did I mention that he is in fact 60 years old....? Yeah. He makes us incredible food though!! He is an amazing chef! We told him to open his own restaurant.
Random story of the week: Sister Buchanan has a freaky finger just like me!!!! We were both so excited when we found this out!! Haha I have never met anyone else who has a freaky finger too! See Steph! I'm not the only one.
I love this amazing work so much. I love this gospel so much. I love you all so much!!
Lots of love from Ohio,
Sister Olds the II

I write way too many letters on Preparation Day....This was last week. 14 letters!

Cleveland!! We had so much fun going in to Cleveland for a day. Having CF definitely has it's perks sometimes! haha

Sister Stringham bought  me Menchie's for my birthday!!!! So delicious.

This doesn't do it justice at all. It got so much worse!!! But it was fun :)

My wonderful birthday present!! It is SO MUCH nicer than my old one!!! I love it!! And Sister Stringham thinks it is hilarious. SHe has already tried it haha.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

THIS is what it's all about!

Guess what happened this week......BAPTISM NUMBER ONE!!!!! It was so amazing!!!! Brother Landrigan has been dating a member in the ward and has been coming to church for 4 months now. We seriously only taught him because he had to be taught by us before he could get baptized. Teaching him was so easy! He practically already knew everything that we were teaching him and when we went over all the commandments he was already living all of them. How awesome is he?? SO golden! The spirit at his baptism was absolutely incredible!!! I feel so privileged to have gotten to be a part of it and to helped one of God's children come closer to Him and take the first steps in returning to his presence.
Well that was seriously the highlight of my week (of course). Mondayand Tuesday we had to stay indoors all day because it was too cold to go out. That is definitely no fun for a missionary. We made the best of it though. We met with one of our less active members a few times this week and oh boy, it is always a good time over there. Let's just say she is the absolute epitome of a crazy cat lady. (So of course you see why I love her so much) She always has such....wise words of wisdom for us. This week it was "A change of the name, but not of the letter, is a change for the worse, not the better." Meaning that if we married someone that had the same first letter of our last name, then one of our children would commit suicide. I don't know where she gets these things from. But sorry to all Olsens, Orrs, and all other O last names, we won't be getting married apparently.
I love and miss you all so much!!!!! You are all in my prayers and I think of you often.
Sister Olds II

Wonderful Sister Looney....the name is fitting...
We tracted the coolest street ever this week. 

Our ward mission leader, Brother De Leon, had us all over for dinner this week! He is so great!

Guess who is rubbing off on Sister Stringham!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A week of firsts for this AZ girl

I had my first snow day this past week!!! I know that sounds exciting....but really it's not. Especially as a missionary. Thursday was snowing way too hard and way too much and so we couldn't get our car out. We prayed about if it would be safe for us to go out or not and we both felt wrong about it. So we were stuck indoors all day. Oh man. Lots of personal study, companion study, making calls, changing appointments, and trying to figure out what to do. By the end of the day we had definitely gone a wee bit crazy from being shut up inside all day. So we wrote a song!!! Haha Brother Buchanan (who we live with) was playing a song he wrote for us on his guitar, and for some reason that got us in the mood to write a song as well. However we quickly realized that we are no song writers, so we just changed the lyrics to a song already written:
I'll Make a Mormon Out of You
By Sister Olds & Sister Stringham
(Rewritten lyrics to "I'll  Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan)
Let's get down to business to find the one
He has sent us sisters to preach of His Son
We're the youngest bunch he's ever sent,
but you can bet before we're through
Someday we'll make a Mormon out of you!
We'll teach about the prophets and the truth they've brought
Once you feel the spirit you'll know it in your heart
You may think that this is difficult, like you'll never get a clue
But somehow you will find this is true.
[Next part is supposed to be the investigators speaking]
I'll never get through this book
Does the Lord really know me?
Boy was I a fool for letting these girls in
These girls got me scared to death
Hope they don't give up on me
Now I really wish that I knew how to read
Be a Mormon!
You must build Faith in the Lord our Savior (Be a Mormon!)
Repent of all your sins and be clean (Be a Mormon!)
Be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost
Continue to endure unto the end
Time is racing towards us til He comes again
If you heed His teachings, you won't fear the end
You'll have more joy than you've ever known
Don't give up you're almost home
Now you know for yourself what is true
Be a Mormon!
You must build Faith in the Lord our Savior (Be a Mormon!)
Repent of all your sins and be clean (Be a Mormon!)
Be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost
Continue to endure unto the end
We are so proud of our ridiculous song. We even sang it for Brother Buchanan afterwards. It made him laugh. I think he thinks that we are kind of ridiculous [which we are]. Oh yeah! This past week during personal study we hear him yell up the stairs at us "Sisters! Come to the door!" And we both thought that we were in trouble for something. We open the door and he is at the bottom of the stairs wearing this loooooong black wig that is all poofed up in the back and he goes, "You vwant to go to ze woods?!" We both just died laughing!!!!! He cracks us up!! He is too funny. Last night we went downstairs to make some food and he comes out and starts making us popcorn and giving us cans of pop to drink. We asked him about this question we had during companion study that day and he pulls out this Doctrine and Covenants Commentary book and totally clears it up for us! He is so wonderful and he KNOWS his scriptures. Then we sat there for about 45 minutes just listening to all of his amazing stories he has about his life and his family. I loved it so much!! It made me miss sitting around with our family and all exchanging crazy stories. I think sitting around in Bunkerville with all of the family that weekend of Gran's funeral listening to crazy stories about Roger and our family will always be one of my favorite Bunker memories. I have the greatest family ever! I love living with the Buchanans so much. We feel like they are our grandparents. They're so wonderful.
Another first this week: shoveling snow!!!! The day after our snow day we went and did some service tracting and shoveled peoples driveways for them!! I actually really liked! A little sore the next day, but well worth it. People were so confused why we were shoveling their walk, yet didn't want any money. It was pretty funny. They were all so appreciative though and were so happy for the help. God definitely sent us to the right street that day.
Friday night we went to go visit a less active (only because of her health) and we just sat there knitting with her and visiting for a while, then shared a message with her before we left. It was so cute!! I feel like a precious little old lady. She is so wonderful and I just love her to pieces! (Oh yeah...Sister Stringham is teaching me to knit! I can't remember if I already told you guys that or not. I'm not too good at it yet though...)
So one day this week I definitely did not get enough sleep the night before and, as Mom would say, I got pretty punchy. I was just busting up at everything!!! Sister Stringham was like, "Who are you Sister Olds?!?!" haha We had a good time laughing together though. I honestly can't even remember what we were laughing at, but we were both really slap happy and thought we were so hilarious. I'm happy to know that even though I am a missionary, I am still the same old goofy Amber.
I finished the Book of Mormon today!! Reading the scriptures on my mission has been SO DIFFERENT than before. I get so much more out of it and am understanding way more than I did before. We are so blessed to have The Book of Mormon in our lives. I think we often take it for granted because we have always had it and don't realize how blessed we are to be so fortunate to be able to read it every day. Brother  Buchanan showed us this movie called "How Rare a Possession" about the importance of the Book of Mormon. Watch it for Family Home Evening tonight!! It is an incredible story!! I am so grateful that I was born into a family that lived the gospel and loved it. This gospel is the most important thing in our lives and is why  we are all here!
I love and miss you all so much! (Especially while singing songs about family in Primary yesterday) It is so weird that I have already been out a month. It feels like I just got here and also that I have always been here. Mission time is super weird.
Sister Olds the II

Sister Stringham with the Buchanan's dog LuLu. She LOVES attention.

My first snow day!!

I was a little too excited to shovel snow...