Saturday, July 26, 2014

" look like a warrior."

So every Monday [or Tuesday in this case] I get so excited to go email. I love reading everyone's emails and seeing who actually remembers that I am alive. [I love you all dearly for that, I really do] And then I get done reading all my emails and think, "Ugh, now I have to write back." Sorry!! But it's true. I feel like most times people dont actually care what's going on, but I know some actually do :) So this goes out to all of you who do actually care what is happening in the life of Sister Olds! :)

This past week we found a STELLAR new investigator! Last Monday night we were doing some potential stop by's. We were at our last one and no one answered. We started to get in the car to leave when a lady came around from the back. We asked for the guy we were looking for and we ended up finding him in the backyard on a ladder cutting down a tree. We offered to help him and he took one look at our skirts and Sister Genster's boot on her foot [which is now gone! yay! :)] And said he was just fine. We offered to come back the next day in work clothes though to help him out and he accepted. [With a little arm twisting on my part...] We gave him our card with our number on it and he said, "Ya know what I'll have ya do? Go to the second black car in the parking lot and open the back door. There will be a Book of Mormon on the back seat, stick it in there. But make sure I can see it!'.....WHAT?!?! We thought he was kidding at first. But nope! Sure enough we opened the car door and there it was! That little blue book sitting right there on the top of his seat. It wasn't even tucked away or hidden or anything. We were in shock! 

The next day after District Meeting we helped him in his garden for about an hour and a half while he asked us lots of different questions. Some super awesome gospel questions. And some questions that I will probably never ever know the answer to. [Sometimes people think that missionaries know the answer to everything. Gospel related or not. "Sorry, nope. Don't know why the Europeans were more technologically advanced than the rest of the world." "Nope, don't know everything there is to know about aborigines." The questions we get sometimes...cracks me up.] Anyways! We did the best we could to answer all of his questions. It was so great! It was one of those moments where I just thought "YES! This is what missionary work is all about." Then after we weeded out his tomato plants and rose bushes he was so appreciative and then says, "Well, I'm willing to listen to ya girls. What do ya have to teach me?" Yeeeeeees! Perfect. We then sat there for the next hour and a half talking about the Book of Mormon. We were planning on just going over parts of the introduction. But he went through the entire introduction, testimonies of the witnesses, Joseph Smith's testimony, and the brief overview. He wanted to talk about more but we figured that three hours had given him plenty to think over for now and pray about. He told us that he was going to start reading that night! We are so stoked about him! We are meeting with him again tomorrow. 

Hmm...what else happened this past week. I don't even know. Everything blends together after a while. Did I walk off the plane this week? Who knows. Oh! I know! I totally have a testimony of cookies! It kind of cracks me up. People will yell at us at the door and not want to talk to us. Then we bring them cookies and all of a sudden they are our best friends. Works like a charm! "Cookies soften hearts!"

We got to go to Avon this past week!! I was super excited...Sister Genster not too much. But her root canal went well and she is feeling great now. 

I got some sad news this week though. I found out that Sister Looney passed away last Wednesday. Ultimately I was happy for her because she was in so much pain towards the end of her life, but I was still so sad to hear that she had passed away. I know that I was sent to that area to help her. I will be forever grateful for that opportunity. She was such a big part of my mission and I loved her as if she were my own grandmother. I'm sure she is having a grand ole time up there now though! I am trying to get permission to go to her funeral next weekend but I highly doubt that that will happen. 

I love my mission! I don't always like it, that is for sure. But I do always love it. I know that I am supposed to be here in the Ohio Cleveland Mission at this point in my life. It has been amazing to see the impact that missionaries have on other people's lives, as well as the impact that other people have on missionaries' lives. This past week at church a guy was visiting our ward from England who had served here 20 years ago. He still remembered so many people! How cool is that? I am so grateful for this time that I have to devote everything to serving others and to serving my Heavenly Father. 

Our awesome district this transfer!! Every companionship is changing except for me and Sister Genster :) 
First root canal in America! Woohoo! 

This picture doesn't do justice at all to how badly I destroyed our kitchen by cutting up this watermelon! It seriously looked like I had killed something in there! Thankfully though I had it all cleaned up by the time Sister Genster woke up from her lunchtime nap :) Although when she woke up she asked what I was giggling about in the kitchen....hahaha

We've had lots of rain lately....I want one of these geese to bring home with me!! :) 
I found this rockin outfit at the thrift shop. I just wanted the skirt, but it came as a set. But hey, for $2 I was more than happy to take it all. I did a fashion show for Sister Genster. She loved it. Of course.

Everyone needs to stop talking about going home! Okay just kidding. But two of my friends got home from their missions last week and two sisters in our district [one in our apartment] go home tomorrow. It's all around!! So grateful I still have so much time left on my mission. And how cute is this wall?!

Okay, so yes I am a total creep. But this son and dad were SO PRECIOUS!! The dad was out mowing the lawn and his little son was running behind him with his little play lawn mower and the son stops and is yelling after his Dad, "Dad....Dad!...Dad!" And so the Dad stops and asks, "yeah?" And the kid just goes, "I love you!!" It was the sweetest little scene ever!

"I think that Justin Bieber. I don't know why, but I do."

So we have a new investigator that is 11 years old. Judging by the subject line I'm sure that you can gather that we have somevery interesting discussions with her. She is the granddaughter of one of our other investigators though and we absolutely love her to death!! She is just the sweetest old lady! And she comes to everything! [Besides church....] She came to the Utah Valley Children's Choir a couple weeks ago and then to a baptism this past week. She loves it all! But now just needs to know that everything we have been teaching her is true. That's the trick huh? haha But when she went to the baptism tons of members came up to talk to her [YES!! This ward is awesome at fellowshipping!] And the way she talked about Sister Genster and I was so sweet! She would keep telling people how "there were other missionaries before, but there is just something really special about these two. They are so close to our hearts." Awww!!! I definitely teared up a little bit. President Vellinga truly is so inspired when he does transfers. It is amazing to learn why I am put in a certain area and with a certain companion. I love it.

So many miracles this week!! So President DeVore [oh, well brother DeVore now. He was one of President Vellinga's counselors but just recently got released. After 8 years! That's a long time for a calling!] had this genius plan that he concocted. So he comes up to us one Sunday at church and is so excited about this new idea he has. He says how missionaries always get lemons thrown at them from so many less actives, so we are going to turn those lemons into lemon snaps! Hahaha He had the missionaries over to make tons of lemon snaps and then we delivered them to the less actives that don't have home teachers or who don't meet with the missionaries. [The ones the missionaries sometimes dread going to visit] It was so awesome though!!!! We were able to sit down and visit with so many less actives that we had either never met before or who had never let us in. Those lemon snaps just melted down their little hearts! They were so touched that we would take time to make them cookies. It was such a huge miracle!! 

So I have never had so many people so excited that I have Cystic Fibrosis. I just found out this past week that there is a young boy in the ward who also has CF and was in the hospital for a couple weeks and just got out. When his Mom found out from Sister Vellinga that I have CF it spread like wildfire through the whole ward! Everyone is so happy because the little boy has always wanted to serve a mission, but wasn't sure if he could or not because of his condition. Apparently meeting me though has given him and his family so much hope that he can serve a mission one day. Of course I explained that I have been very healthy and have had to take good care of it my whole life. But he is the happiest and healthiest looking little boy! We have to stay apart from each other of course, but it has been so fun to have this little bond with him. Sad, but fun. 

I love and miss you all. I cannot thank you enough for all of the support I have gotten out here. I love this gospel and know that it is true. We are so incredibly blessed to have this knowledge and gospel in our life. Thank you for all of your wonderful examples to me over the years

Sister Genster's crutch broke :( But thankfully it was right before we got to the parking lot to go home.

The Gublers went home this week!! :( We are all so sad to have them go. They did SO MUCH for this mission. We all love them tons. This was at their farewell party a couple nights before they left.

Sister Tryon and Sister Genster switched glasses! She thought this picture was the funniest thing ever!! I love it so much!!! She is so precious.

Lemon snaps!

Ya little sassafrass!!!

I found this street on the map of our area day 1 in here and got so excited!!! It's my street!

This place was so awesome!! Sadly I forgot to get pictures inside, but I will be sure to get some when we go back. It is a lot like the one I went to in Budapest, except much smaller. We are definitely going here when we come back to visit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"It was pretty much love at first sight with Ammon and King Lamoni" -Sister Genster

First of all thank you SO SO SO MUCH Mom for sending all of those awesome Family History stories!!! They have been so much fun to read. Our family is so cool! I had no idea that Great Great Grandpa Bunker met and first heard about the Book of Mormon from Martin Harris! And that he was in Cleveland, and Kirtland, and Akron!!! How cool is that?! Everyone told me that I had ancestors that were in Kirtland. [There was a prophesy from Joseph Smith I think it was that said that all of the saints that were in Kirtland, their descendants would come back to build Kirtland up. How cool is that?!] And Sisters Gannon, Gardner, and Genster all got a real good laugh at how Great Grandpa Hector and Great Grandma Mina met. "Is there room on this sidewalk for two to walk?" "You can if you want." Too great. I especially love that they all had recorded their testimonies down and their spiritual experiences. They really do help to strengthen my testimony. I am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing family. And grateful for all that they went through  and the tremendous faith that they had so we can still have this wonderful gospel in our family.

So this past Tuesday the Utah Valley Children's Choir came to perform here at the Cleveland Stake Center and then the next day out at Kirtland. I was pretty much just expecting a primary sacrament meeting program. Boy was I wrong! They were INCREDIBLE!!!! If you ever get the chance to go see them perform then do it! There spirit there was so strong the entire time. Also! the Conductor was the same conductor that we had at the MTC when I was in the choir there, so that was fun! I went up and talked to him afterwards and he was telling me about how just the week before he had conducted a choir for the new mission presidents fireside and all 12 apostles were there. Umm...awesome. Oh and he conducts choirs for General Conference as well. He was a pretty cool guy. 

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!! I was so happy that I got to be in America this year for it!! At ZTM this past week an elder asked me what I had done for the 4th of july last year and was like "Oh wait, nevermind, you were with your family." But then was super surprised when I said I was in Ukraine. Trying to get the kids to watch fireworks on a projector on the ceiling was about as exciting as it got last year to celebrate! However this year was pretty fun! The ward mission leader and his wife had all 6 of us missionaries in the ward over for Waffles and they were the BEST WAFFLES EVER!! Holy cow. I have seriously been missing out all these years! What was wrong with me?? So his wife is the stake camp director and she needed tons of help so we spent a lot of time helping her put packets together and then making oobleck. [Cornstarch and water] SO FUN!!! I felt like a three year old again. So they have this tradition of keeping their Christmas tree for a while after Christmas and then lighting it on fire a month or so after Christmas. Somehow this year they just forgot about and so they still had theirs and they decided to include us in the tradition. It was so crazy. I don't think they realized how big that fire was going to get! It lit up in a flash! We were all running from it cause it got so hot and was so huge. Thankfully the house or anything else nearby got caught in the fire. I came runnin in with the hose after to put it all out. All in all it was a pretty great Independence Day! That night we could barely see the firework show over the trees from our balcony, but it was still fun :)

Well my email is a bit shorter this week because we are going to go hit up West Side Market today in Cleveland! I'm stoked. I've never been before but from what I have heard it sounds a lot like the huge market I went to in Budapest!

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! Thank you for your continued love and support. 

Just runnin in to save the day!

Fireman Olds

I told her if it isnt better by tomorrow I am forcing her to go see a doctor!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crazy, crazy, crazy

This week has been all over the place!! 

Last Monday we got to go to Avon (Whoo!) because Sister Genster had a dentist appt there. It was kind of weird to be going back. It felt like home, but then not at the same time. It made me sad. And Sister Genster found out that she has to get a root canal. No fun :( 

Wednesday was my doctor appt in Cleveland. It was in the morning this time and the traffic was so crazy! We were half an hour late. But thankfully my doctors are all awesome and it wasn't a problem. Sister Vellinga always jokes that I am going to know downtown Cleveland better than any other sister in the mission. (President never puts sisters in downtown Cleveland...for obvious reasons) But it's true! I know that area like the back of my hand now! But my lung volumes were higher than they have been in like the past 8 years! Whoohoo! Blessings of a mission.

Friday we moved to our new apartment. It's great! We live with the Sister Training Leader's now so that has been super fun. Sadly though while we were moving Sister Genster sprained her ankle really bad :( She didn't get crutches though until yesterday. I was carrying her around for a few days. Literally haha. But she has been so great through the whole thing. Always smiling and always positive. The first day it was so swollen it looked like she had grown a tennis ball on her ankle! Then she got a huge nasty bruise on it. But it is starting to heal. We will definitely have quite a bit of downtime this week though. To her dismay Sister Vellinga told her to keep it up and stay off of it for a week. So lots of letters and packages will be more than welcome this week!! :D Down time as a missionary is probably in my top 5 things of least favorite things. 

Saturday we painted one of our old investigators houses all day. And it also happened to be the hottest day of the week. Of course. But it was really fun. The other sister and elders in the ward came to help as well as some ward members. And she really appreciated it. 

By Sunday my body had apparently been worked too hard over the past few days and out of no where I had come down with a really bad cold. (Yeah, in the middle of summer. I don't get it either) I was sitting next to Sister Vellinga during Sunday school and so she heard me sneezing, sniffling, and coughing the whole time, and sent us home to get some rest and let both of our bodies heal. Thankfully I am feeling much better today. I agree with Steph, getting sick is sometimes a blessing from God so you can take a three hour nap! 

So a couple weeks ago I wrote about how Satan had torn down my testimony and foundation. A friend had sent me a story back to that email and I absolutely love it! He told me that I couldn't get Satan all the credit. Here's the story for you all:

On many occasions Ephraim Hanks was rewarded for his obedience to the prophet, Brigham 
Young. one spring morning he was at work, building an adobe house in the city. The basement 
was almost completed and he was just beginning to lay the sun-dried brick when Brigham drove up in his carriage and said, ‘Ephraim, how thick is that rock wall?’
Ephraim answered that it was eight inches thick.
Brigham said, ‘Tear it all down, Ephraim, and build it twice as thick.’ Then, as if to avoid argument, he turned his carriage around and drove away. Ephraim had been hauling rock from Ensign peak for many days, and had paid a mason a good price to lay it in lime mortar. He dreaded the extra work and expense of doing it all over again.
The mason, too, showed his disapproval by swearing and remarking, ‘Brigham Young may be a saint,but he’s no kind of a prophet about building stone walls!’ Nevertheless, Ephraim re-contracted with the stone mason to double the wall and the next morning started hauling rock again. A month later, they had laid on this sixteen-inch wall much adobe brick and mud. As they were putting up the rafters, a terrific storm started. Rain fell in sheets, causing streamlets of water to run in all directions. In a few minutes the basement of the new house was flooded,but the sturdy, thick walls stood safe and strong, supporting the house. 
A few days later when the water had drained out and they finished laying the rafters, Ephraim drove in the nails to the tune of ‘We Thank Thee, oh God, for a prophet.’
How great is that story?! I absolutely loved it! It completely changed my perspective of what had happened and made me so much more grateful for that experience. Then it reminded me of this awesome Mormon Message I had seen a couple months ago. God's plan is truly the best plan for us. Sometimes we loose sight of that or can forget, but He always has a way of reminding us.

I love you all.
I love my mission.
I love this gospel.

Sister Amber Olds
                                                          27243 Westown Blvd Apt #310
Westlake, Ohio 44145


So background story. Throughout the whole mission President Vellinga is known for loving peanut butter and miracle whip sandwiches. Yeah....I know. Sounds gross. Tuesday after District Meeting we had to run over to the mission home real quick to grab my watch (that I had left there Sunday when they had us over for dinner). We were talking to Sister Vellinga about some medical stuff and all of a sudden President goes, "Do you want a peanut butter and miracle whip sandwich?!" Umm....of course!! How often do you get the opportunity to have a PB & MW sandwich made personally by President Vellinga? We even ran out to the car to grab my camera to document it. It was that big! The whole time Sister Vellinga and Kristen were like, "Gross! No. You don't have to eat that. It's disgusting!" Surprisingly though, it was good!! Maybe all those years of my friends daring me eat to eat gross foods have just whacked out my taste buds, but I actually really liked it. President was so thrilled! haha He told us that we were the most spiritual missionaries he had because we had the right taste buds. That definitely made it to my journal that night!

The ULTIMATE picture of President Vellinga! This picture is going to be coveted throughout the whole mission. We are going to get a big print of it and hang it in the mission office. Everything about it is just classic President. peering over the glasses, the PB & MW sandwich, even the miracle whip jar in the background!! haha too great

He was right though! We really did teach better that day! Tuesday was our best day of the whole week!

The painting crew!

This picture cracks me up! Sister Gardner and I were really struggling back there trying to paint behind the bushes. Few spiders in our clothes....not fun.