Thursday, April 24, 2014

The stronger wind, the stronger trees.

Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow

This poem has been on my mind a lot this past week. It was a difficult week, but honestly it has gotten to the point where Sister Ebersole just have to look at each other, laugh, and say, "What next?!" 

So, word of advice for everyone. When you are going through a really difficult time in your life, and your district leader asks you to give the spiritual thought at District Meeting, the last thing you give it on is how the Lord is there for us through everything, no matter what. What was I thinking?! Ugh, I cried through the whole thing. It was ridiculous. I shared a quote that Mom sent me a couple weeks ago (Sorry, I forgot to bring it with me today and can't find it on I will sent it next week) and I didn't even make it through the 2nd sentence before I started crying. I hate crying. Especially in public. But they thanked me for it and said that it was so powerful, especially because they knew that that is what I am going through right now and could strongly and personally testify of it. 

Sad news this week. Sister Looney wasn't at church on last Sunday and she hadn't been answering her phone. We decided to stop by on Tuesday to see how she was but she didn't answer. We thought maybe she had a doctor's appointment or something and so we left. However I didn't feel right about it and so a couple hours later we went back. After knocking a few times, her neighbor came out to tell us that she had been taken in am ambulance the night before. We called the Bishop, her visiting teacher and home teacher, and Sister Taylor immediately. No one knew what had happened, or even where they had taken her to. Sister Taylor, the saint that she is, called all the hospitals in the area trying to find her. Long story short she eventually found her and we got permission to go visit her. She is not doing well at all. Please, please keep her in your prayers. 

A few other quick things from this week:
  • We finally got to do service at a nursing facility and it was so much fun and made me so happy! Besides Easter, that was the highlight of my week! Why are old people just so adorable?! I love them!!
  • We got in a car accident. Calm down, nothing serious. Someone just merged into us. There was a tiny dent in our passenger door. Tender mercy of the week though! When we went to get it fixed they said it would probably be about $100, but they did it for free! Both the guy that fixed the dent and the guy that buffed the scratch out for us. We were so incredibly grateful! We must be doing something right. 
  • We might be moving this week, but who actually knows! So send all mail to the mission office for now. 
  • I had a big time Ukraine flashback this week!! We were doing some stop by's and at one house 4 drunk/high/who knows what else guys answered the door. It was terrifying. Thankfully nothing happened though. We just gave them a pass along card and got out of there as fast as we could. Seriously though, all you had to do was throw a Russian accent on them and I would have been right back at home in Ukraine! haha Is it weird that it made me really miss Ukraine??
I feel like there were other ridiculous things that happened this week, but I can't remember all of them. But it is a new week! And it is going to be a great week!

So I have tried to make it a habit of reading my patriarchal blessing every Sunday. I absolutely love my patriarchal blessing. It is incredible to see how what it talks about in there is truly happening in my life! I can see that I am becoming the person that Heavenly Father wants me to be and has promised me that I will be as I live righteously and continually live worthy of His blessings. I encourage you all to read through your patriarchal blessings again this week. They truly are inspired. They are our letters from home.

I can never say it enough, but I LOVE THIS GOSPEL so much. It is absolutely everything to me. I wish I was a more eloquent speaker, but words honestly cannot describe how grateful I am for our Savior, his atoning sacrifice, and His love and comfort. 

I love you all so much. Thank you so very much for all of your support, advice, and comfort these past few weeks. It has made a world of difference to me. 


Look at what I found at Walmart!! PEACH JUICE!! Just like how they had it in Ukraine!!! It was delicious. 
HAZELNUT SNICKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so so so so so excited to get these!! Thank you so much for the package!!!! Such a wonderful surprise :)

This last one is for you Steph. It is from Monet's garden in Giverny. I freaked out when I saw it! Remember when we went there?? And it was gorgeous and awesome?? It made me miss you lots and lots :)

More treasures from tracting

Alma 26:12

Yea, know that am anothingas to my strength am weak;therefore will b  not boast of myself, but will cboast of my God,for in his dstrength I can do all   ethingsyea, behold, many mightymiracles we have wrought ithis land, for   which we will praise his name forever.

About a week and a half ago Sister Ebersole and I chose that scripture as the theme for this past week. Talk about inspired! We had no idea how fitting and how needed that scripture would be.

I am grateful for trials.
It has taken me a while before I could actually say that with sincerity. But I truly am. When I have trials I know that it means that Heavenly Father knows that I am ready to take on a heavier load, I am ready to learn, I am ready to grow, and that I can make it through this trial. I know He will never give me anything that I won't be able to handle in this life without His help. This past week has definitely brought me to my knees more than ever before. Being diagnosed with diabetes was most definitely not something that I was expecting while on my mission. [I always kept thinking, "Eh! One disease is enough, right?" Apparently not!] It honestly didn't hit me until the next day. However, I know that Heavenly Father is going to help me through this and I am going to be just fine!

I am grateful for the priesthood.
It just so happened that interviews with President Vellinga were this week. Ours fell on Friday, which was by far the hardest day this week. I love President Vellinga so much and always look forward to my interviews with him every three months. Towards the end of the interview he asked me if I had any questions for him. I sat and thought for a minute, then just asked, "President, how am I doing?" He looked at me and said, "Sister Olds, you are doing outstanding. I don't have to worry about you at all." Those words are like gold coming from your mission president! I told him that I sometimes worry about myself and He goes, "What?! Why?!" And then went into explaining everything that has been going on lately and what I have been feeling. He gave me some wonderful advice and encouragement. President Vellinga is honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. At the end of the interview we knelt down to pray and he said the shortest prayer I have ever heard in my life. Of course I was confused and so when I looked at quizzically he says, "Sister Olds, would you like a blessing?" Immediately tears ran down my face. He said that was why he ended the prayer so shortly. Heavenly Father truly knows each of His children so well and what they need most. He also know when they are too stubborn or prideful to ask for help. That blessing from President was one of the most incredible blessings I have ever received. I cried through the whole thing. [And everyone knows how much I hate crying!] I know that that blessing was straight from Heavenly Father, everything he said brought me so much comfort. That thing that hit me most was when he said, "Heavenly Father is so proud and pleased of all of your hard work." That was what I needed. So many different things have been happening lately and I have been way too hard on myself and thought that He was disappointed with me and that I wasn't doing enough. That is not the case at all. He loves me. He is proud of me. And He is here to help. 

I am grateful for Heavenly Father's trust in me.
Yesterday we had lunch at one of my favorite member's homes! She ended up telling me the huge impact that Sister Stringham and I had had on her family, as well as her daughter. We had no idea as to anything that had been going on, or the difference we were making. Through sobbing cries she thanked me profusely for rescuing her daughter and bringing her back to the fold of God. She said that as a mother she will be eternally grateful to us for the influence we had on her daughter. She said how she knows that Heavenly Father sent the two of us here to this area, at this exact time, just for her daughter. I sat there listening with tears in my eyes. We had had no idea the difference we were making simply by being who we are. It was such a testimony builder to me of how we need to constantly be Christlike examples because we never know how that will effect someone else. I thanked Heavenly Father profusely last night for the trust and confidence that He has in me to help one of His daughter's back to the path. That experience reminded me why I am out here and that I truly am blessing the lives of others, even if I don't see the evidence.

I am grateful for my friends and family.
You all brought me to tears today when I opened my email to see 40 new emails from supportive friends and family with words of encouragement and love. That was an amazing surprise! [I promise to respond to them all eventually! I don't have enough time today unfortunately.] You honestly have no idea [well, unless you have served a mission] the difference that it makes knowing that you have so much support back home from so many different people. Every letter, every email, every word of encouragement helps me so very much. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love you all so much. 

I am grateful for the Atonement.
I will never fully understand the full depth of this incredible act of love, but I will forever be grateful to our loving Savior for his amazing sacrifice for all of us. I encourage you all to share this amazing Easter video with everyone you know! It is so simple, yet so powerful. This is such a wonderful time of year to remember all the the Lord has done for us.

I am grateful for this gospel. 
The more experiences I have out here on my mission, whether good or bad, the firmer my conviction is that this is God's true church. I am so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel that helps me make it through these hard times. I am grateful that I get to share the happiness that comes with this knowledge to so many others. I am also grateful for both of these talks: [1 & 2] that helped me so much this week, and that this song has constantly been playing through my head this week. 

The Lord lives. He knows and loves each one of us more than we could ever comprehend. I pray that none of you ever forget that He is always here to help us along our rocky paths, as well as our smooth paths.

P.S. Tracted into a guy sharpening a machete. Yep...that was terrifying. Definitely didn't push any when he told us he wasn't interested!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"We're off to see the Prophet, the wonderful Prophet of God!"

I LOVE THE SUN!!!!! Having the sun come out a few times this week seriously did WONDERS for me!! Tuesday we took advantage of it big time and had a picnic for lunch by Lake Erie. It is finally starting to thaw! We also spent about 3 1/2 hours that day tracting. We found one super awesome potential! (D&C 18:15) We talked with her for about 10 minutes (which is super long compared to the 15 seconds we get with most people) and she has been wanting to read the Book of Mormon and was so excited that we had one for her! We are meeting with her tomorrow so I will let ya know how it goes next week! 

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE EASTER PACKAGE!!! That was such a nice surprise :) And I get the hint! Clearly I am not writing enough letters from the plethora of cards you sent me! We have all been munching on the eggs all week. I can't even remember the last time I had Robin's Eggs. Those things are good! 

So this email is going to kind of be all over the place because so many different things happened this week, with no real clever or logical way of tying them all together. So here goes!

Apparently Friday was the opening day of baseball or something (clearly not a sports fan....) and so our investigator Elaine invited us over to cook hot dogs with her. We barbecued them out in the rain (it rained fromThursday to Saturday this week....) and it made me miss going camping when we were little so much!! Can we add that to the to do list when I get back? Yes? Yes.

We were told that we were going to finally be moving on FridayWednesday we packed up all our stuff (because Thursday was super busy) only to find out 15 minutes after packing up EVERYTHING WE OWN that we in fact were not going to be moving after all. Super. So then we got to unpack everything. Great fun great fun! 

Super sad news. Sister Looney "dropped" us yesterday. (a.k.a. Told us not to come over anymore to visit her) Something along the lines of we don't understand her anymore (which isn't entirely wrong. She is getting harder to understand....we think her mind is starting go. Well, going more.) And then she said how all relationships eventually do come to an end. I was practically in tears the whole time she was talking! But then I asked her if we would still see at church and she goes, "Oh of course!! That won't change at all." Well perfect! That made me feel so much better! It is okay if we don't visit her anymore, because we have done what Heavenly Father needed us to do to help her, now we can move on. She is so wonderful and I will definitely miss our visits with her. Oh but she left us with a good one yesterday! "Did you know that Jesus had marijuana??" Oh boy.....Apparently he used it to flavor his food....

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL THE MISSIONARIES OUT THERE!!! That is seriously what General Conference is for all of us! Conference has never gone by so fast in my life!!! It was so incredible! And of course I absolutely loved hearing about the Gilbert temple dedication and Cultural celebration!! Okay, how amazing was Elder Holland's talk?! (As usual) I am SO STOKED FOR MAY!!! I can't wait for him to come talk to our mission!!! The biggest things I got from General Conference was that this world needs a whole lot more love in it, and that the second coming is SOON! So we had better be preparing ourselves! Yikes! 

I love this work. I love the gospel. I love the Lord.

I hope you all have a most wonderful week! 

Sister Olds II

P.S. I came across Doctrine & Covenants 39:14 this week and literally burst out laughing. It's no secret that I wanted to serve my mission in Ukraine. That scripture was like a smack in the back of the head. hahaha I am so happy that I got sent to the best mission in the world though! I love it here so much. More than I thought was possible. 

P.S.S. So awesome opportunity I just had! we are sitting here at the computers emailing at the library and I over hear the old man across from us asking for help with and so of course my ears perk up. I pull out a card from my bag and go talk to him about it and give him the card. Then the guy next to him asks us about it and wants one too! It was so great!  I love those little opportunities the Lord puts in my path! 
Picnic by Lake Erie!! 
Trying to feed the squirrels.
My beast of a strawberry I had for lunch. (It made me miss going sailing with you Dad so much!! I feel like we always have strawberries on the boat when we go out. Oh that reminds me, Sister Ebersole asked me this week if I had "ever been on an actual boat". Haha it made me chuckle)

The first Sunday that we have had beautiful weather pretty much since I got here!

Isn't Sister Ebersole just the cutest thing ever??? I love her so much!!!

So many people have these geese by their front doors! (Sister Kerr was right!!) And I have no idea why!! But the ones that are dressed up are my favorite (of course...)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I promise I'm not an eeyore

Well this week was definitely better than last week, but still very difficult. I am still trying to get the hang of this whole "training" thing. I don't think I have ever been so stressed in my life before. Which honestly doesn't really make any sense. I can't exactly pin point what it is that is making me stressed so much. I am pretty sure it is just a huge compilation of lots of different things that are getting to me. (I know I know Dad, I need to relax. "They can't fire me")

We have been working super hard to find new investigators, but I am pretty sure that people are calling their neighbors when we come on their street to warn them that the Mormons are coming and to not answer their doors. Either that or no one actually lives in these houses in our area! But we keep working hard and know that the Lord will lead us to them eventually as long as we rely on His help and do our best. 

Wasn't the Women's session of Conference amazing?? I absolutely loved it! We got to watch it at the Bishop's house with all of the young women so that was super fun! Unfortunately none of our investigators were able to come. Which was such a bummer because it was all focused on covenants! 

Sorry this week is so short. Not too many exciting things happened this week. Keep us in your prayers that we will find the elect this week!

Love you all so much and miss you tons. 

Oh P.S. Saturday there was a horrible snowstorm. Now today it is 60 degrees. I give up! I can never keep up with the weather. Someone needs to tell Ohio that it's spring already!