Tuesday, August 26, 2014

That is a $10,000 camera right there. The church means business when it comes to family history work!

Love these wonderful sister :)

The Cleveland Skyline!

Lakewood Park

The wonderful Brumfields :)

Records preserSister Duhering Sister Bradshaw and Sister Goff. Love them all so much :)

"My hair is already blonde! Just goes to show that I have no control over my life!"

This week was great! But honestly I don't really remember why.... Maybe just because nothing bad happened? Who knows.

Well last P-day the four of us went to Lakewood and Cleveland for the day and it was so much fun! I felt like I was on a vacation! [Which actually kind of felt really weird] We went to the Cleveland Court house to see some of the senior missionaries that work there in record preservation and Sister Brumfield gave us a tour of the whole building. It was so amazing! Rather than try to explain all of it I am just going to send a whole ton of pictures :) After that she took us on a little mini walking tour of Cleveland. I LOVE THIS CITY!!! I can't wait to bring you all back here. I would love to live here again someday. 

We had zone conference this week and of course that is always amazing. There is SO MUCH preparation going into this Saints Unified Voices Presentation in August. Whew! We have another 2 hour meeting this week with more training on it. It is going to be huge! Oh! And we found out which General Authority is coming! Elder Michael John U. Teh! I am so excited! He spoke this last conference and it was one of my favorites. 

Those were probably the highlights of this past week. Sorry there isn't too much this time. The pictures will make up for it though:)

I love you all and miss you like crazy. [Especially when you go on fun girl trips without me] But I know that this is exactly where the Lord needs me to be right now. I am loving more and more getting to bless the lives of others and see how the gospel changes their lives. Especially my own. 

Sister Amber Olds
2070 W. 117th St.
Cleveland, Ohio 44111

Friday, August 22, 2014

We're on our way to being Mormon famous.

Well, I can most definitely assure you all that miracles really do happen! Considering how crazy busy our week was, neither Sister Genster or I fell asleep in any of our lessons. Total miracle! haha no really though. This week was so crazy. But also so much fun!

Tuesday night we got home and finished planning and the other sisters still weren't home. So we called them to see what was up and found out that they had been in a car accident, but thankfully they were fine. Someone had just bumped into the back of them. [It was raining super hard that night and the roads were really slippery] However Sister Vellinga still wanted them to get checked out just to be safe. So at about 9:45 Sister Genster and I took them to the ER and then got to sit in the waiting room until midnight waiting for them. We actually had a lot of fun with that though. Then when they got released they told us that we had to wake them up every 2 hours just to be sure that they didn't have a concussion. SUPER! Needless to say we were SO EXHAUSTED the next day!! But thankfully it was a super busy day and so we didn't even have time to think about how tired we were. But both Sister Maddox and Sister McIntire are doing great and having no problems at all. The back bumper of their car....not so much.

Remember the investigator I told y'all about last week? So she had to reschedule our appt with her because she had so much going on. We stopped by later that week and she opened the door and told us that she was just about leave to run some errands and so it wasn't a good time. Then an hour later we were leaving her house after she had given us a full tour of her house and her backyard. Oh my goodness. I love her so much. She is such a crack up. Then we stopped by a few days later to do some service for her but she said she was feeling sick and was going to lay down. Then two hours later we were leaving her house after mowing her lawn and teaching about the Book of Mormon. haha too funny. We have a feeling that that is how all of our meetings with her are going to go. She loves us so much though. She is the sweetest! And we just met her last week!

We're famous! K not really. So we have been hearing about our Ward Talent Show for months now. All of us missionaries [well, the sisters] had talked about doing something maybe in the talent show, but that's about as far as that ever went. Thursday during lunch I was talking to Sister Genster and said, "Let's just throw something together super fast and do it!!" I mean you know me. I can never pass up an opportunity to make a fool of myself in a talent show! We ended up rewriting the words to "I hope they call me on a mission" to be all about Ohio and the North Olmsted Ward. We were able to convince all the other missionaries in the ward to do it with us and it was so much fun!! I borrowed a guitar from a ward member, the ward mission leader taught me the chords the night before, and by some miracle was able to play it the next night! We have it on video but it is too big to send, and also super shaky. I'll see what I can do to try to get it to you guys. But here are the words for now! [background info: there are tons of extended families in our ward and we can seriously never keep track of who is related to who; in the past 3 weeks we have had 8 new families move in. It has been so crazy!; and I feel like the rest is pretty self explanatory :)]

We’re Glad They Called Us on a Mission
By: The North Olmsted Ward Missionaries

We’re glad they called us on a mission
Ohio is the place to be.
We thought we would be teaching people
But all we ever see are lots and lots of trees

We thought by now we would be ready
But we didn’t really have a clue
We love the people of North Olmsted
But we have no idea who’s related to who

We’re surprised that we survived last winter
We thought the could would never cease
We’re glad you’re all still in Ohio
With the chipmunks, gophers, deer, and all your dressed up geese

Thanks for signing up for dinner
Your cooking’s good we’re getting fat.
Can we please borrow your lint roller?
We’re covered with hair from petting all your dogs and cats.

We want to welcome all the move-ins
The Vellingas didn’t make our band
We love to serve this close to Kirtland
And Cedar Point will have to wait until we’re back!

The whole ward loved it! It was such a blast! Although I think that the last act definitely topped ours! The bishopric, with President Vellinga, dressed up and sang to the Soggy Bottom boys song from Oh Brother Where Art Thou? IT WAS HILARIOUS!!! They all had on long beards and were dancing around like total goofballs. That was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to see President up there. Priceless!

Some other exciting news for the Ohio Cleveland Mission:
-Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices are coming! September 20 they are putting on a fireside/ performance at our Stake Center. There has been TONS of prep work already and still tons more to do. Everyone is pretty excited about it though.

-We found out last week that in September another General Authority is coming to talk to the mission! We have no idea who it is yet though, but I'll keep you all posted!

So yeah, life is pretty good over here in the Great Ohio!


Oh I forgot to mention this. We were sitting outside having a lesson with one of our less actives since he lives alone. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere comes this HUGE rainstorm and within seconds we were drenched!! It was pretty funny. We were doing service for Sister Smith afterwards and when we knocked on her door soaking wet she just starts laughing and goes, "What can I do to help??" She is so great. So she put our clothes in the dryer for us and thankfully we had our service clothes with us.

Sisters love doing exchanges at our apartment. They are always so intrigued with the weird machine with tubes coming out of it in the living room.

Our church building

Add caption

Add caption

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I am joining an accordion band and touring Europe

Awesome miracle this week:
We had planned to go tracting one day for a bit before dinner and honestly I was not too thrilled. I am not the biggest fan of tracting. But we felt like that's what we should do and so we did. I prayed that we would find a new investigator on that street. Second door we knocked on lovely little Miss Oliver opened the door. Oh my lanta. I love her! She immediately starts going on and on about some people that she thinks we know "down at the Hall". We quickly realized that she thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses. [Common mistake. We get that a lot] Then while she is talking a million miles a minute, mid sentence, she goes "Wait....who are you??" *looks at our tags* "Oh!! The Latter Day Saints! Well I already love you guys more!" Apparently a JW had knocked on her door a couple days ago and was not exactly the kindest. We ended up standing there for the next hour and a half talking to her. Now, Ohioans can talk. But she most definitely tops ANY Ohioan I have ever met. By some miracle we were able to squeeze in a super brief lesson on the restoration, give her a Book of  Mormon, and set a time to come back. But we also know just about everything there is to know about her life! She is seriously so great. She plays the accordion and wants to start a band with us and then tour Europe. [Can't even remember how the whole Europe tour came up, but when I said it she went "Ah!! It's happening! You said it and so it is going to happen! From the mouths of babes right?!" hahaha] Because apparently all you need to be in a band is "a great smile and personality" so we're set to go! She fell in love with us and said that she wants to just adopt us right now! She is too cute. I can't wait to go see her again tomorrow. 

So our other awesome investigator that I was telling you about before, Garrett, came to 2 Nephi 5 this week and was not the biggest fan of that! I knew this was going to come up though. We have been studying it a bit this week and praying real hard that the spirit is working on him as well. 

So I got to the story of Moses this week in the Old Testament. Umm...how awesome is Moses?! I love him! Also, someone needs to tell those Israelites to chill out. I never realized how much people are always complaining in the scriptures! I've realized that that has become one of my biggest pet peeves on my mission. Complainers. Anyways! Moses! I was reading about how the Lord blessed the Israelites with manna to eat and was thinking how that applies to us still today. They had to gather the manna each day to eat and couldn't keep any of it to save for later. Are we doing that? Do we read our scriptures or pray once a day and then think "Well I'm set for a few days now!" We can't. We have to spiritually nourish ourselves daily. Also, the Lord gave them the manna. But he didn't go and put it in their mouths for them. They had to do their part to go gather the manna. The Lord has given us the scriptures and ability to pray and utilize the Atonement in our lives, but are we doing our part to use them each day? We have to use our agency to choose righteousness. I love the Old Testament. So many golden nuggets in there. 

I love you all!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for your prayers Especially this past week. I have really felt them helping me and giving me strength. 
West Side Market 
How awesome is this place?! I love it!!


The Christmas Story house is in Cleveland!! Who knew?!

Lamp and all :) 
We find joy in the littlest things... :) [Thank you again Bryant!!! We love our goodies!]

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Happy 8 months!!...WHAT?!

"Oh what a beautiful mooooorning! Oh what a beautiful daaaay!" I sing that for Sister Genster pretty much every morning that we go running. The weather has been SO GREAT lately! I love it!! 

So that pretty much sums up my week! Have a good one!!

Jokes. This week was awesome! As I feel like most weeks have been lately. 

So I am a firm believer in the saying "Everything happens for a reason". So Wednesday evening when literally all of our appointments cancelled on us [and of course I was on exchanges] I figured it was because there was something else Heavenly Father needed us to do that evening. We prayed for guidance and ended up having so many miracles! We stopped by a former investigator who ended up not being home, but we got to talk to her son. At first he told us that his mom was really more interested in "that stuff" than he was. However we kept talking and he told us how he didn't believe in organized religion, but did most certainly believe that there is a God. Yes! Then that he believes our spirits never die but still go on after this life. Yes! Then he told us that he believes that the purpose of life is to progress. YES! He is so amazingly prepared for the gospel! We are meeting with him again this upcoming week and are so excited! Then after that we stopped by a less active member who we had only briefly met once before [props to the lemon snaps again!] and was really hard to catch at home. We ended up sitting on his front lawn for 45 minutes. At the beginning of the discussion he told us how he doesn't believe the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or even if there is a God, just some higher power. By the end of the discussion he agreed to retake all of the missionary discussions to try to help him find truth in his life. It was AMAZING to see the spirit work on him throughout the lesson and to see his change of heart already. I know that the Lord's hand is truly in every part of this work. This is God's work and we are so blessed and privileged to be a part of it. 

This past week we found some AWESOME service opportunities! We volunteered at some community meals here in the area that they do at different churches. It was so fun! It was mostly elderly people and for the most part they were all so sweet and so precious! Being on my mission has made me love old people so much! Even more than I did before. [I know, hard to believe] And so many people talked to us about the church! They would be either have kids that were members, or seen a temple somewhere, or something like that. It was so great!! We loved it!

So funny story. We were doing our weekly visit to the wonderful Brother and Sister Tryon on Wednesday and were talking about service with them. I shared Mosiah 18:8-9 and was talking about how it said "mourn with those that mourn" and Sister Tryon goes, "HENRY FORD?!" [She is hard of hearing...] Hahahaha Sister Maddox and I just lost it!!!! We were laughing SO HARD!!! We had tears running down our faces and just couldn't stop!! I felt so bad! But they were both busting up laughing with us too. It was so hilarious!!!! 

So as we have been meeting with different members and less actives this past week we have been talking a lot about service and charity. It has got me thinking a lot about all of the different people that the Lord has placed in my life and specific times to help me to learn, grow, and be comforted. I have been able to see how so many different things that I learned from so many different people have been such a huge help to me on my mission. I have been especially grateful for young women leaders, Sunday school teachers, family and friends. It is so true that one person truly can make a difference in the world. Just look at the times in your life when it has been one person that made a world of difference for you. So often out here I feel like "Psh, I am just one missionary. What difference can I possibly make?" A HUGE ONE!!!! One missionary can change a persons life forever. I am part of a group of over 80,000 missionaries. That huge number was brought about by that one individual choosing to serve a mission. Then another. Than another. It all starts with the one. 

I love this gospel. I know it is true. I know that it is the only path back to our heavenly home.

We found Narnia! 

K not really, but that's what it felt like! We were tracting and found this path and had no idea what it lead to, but we figured it would be a house. And it was! It was this awesome little historic house! [It had a plaque and everything] It reminded me a lot of the Haunted Mansion. And since then I have been missing Disneyland hard core. 

I love her so much!! She is so great.

Although, our companionship inventory got a little out of hand this week....

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I just love it!

Nothing super huge earth shattering or crazy happened this week, but it was just a great week! I am loving my mission lately SO MUCH!! 

I love Sister Genster. I am SO HAPPY that neither of us got transferred and we get to stay together. Hopefully we get two more transfers together, but we doubt that. At the end of this transfer she will have been in this area for 6 months. This past week on transfer day we had Sister DeWilde with us (She served in Lorain ward with me and is from the Netherlands) and so the three of us have our Europe trip all planned out already! It is going to be so amazing!! I can't wait! (Okay yes I can, cause I love this adventure that I am on right now)

I love this area! It has been so fun getting to know so many different people here. I really really missed the Lorain Ward when I first got here, but now I love the North Olmsted ward so much as well. The members here are so great! Oh also Mitch Whiting's sister, Jocelyn, is in my ward here. haha so that's fun to have a little bit of Gilbert here! And it has been so much fun serving in President Vellinga's ward and area. Although yesterday when Sister Genster and I found out last minute that we were teaching gospel principles we were pretty intimidated that President was there...but all was well! 

I LOVE the scriptures!! This is my 3rd time reading through the Book of Mormon while on my mission and my testimony has increased so much since Day one. It is amazing. It kills me that I didn't study it more before my mission. But I am grateful to have this time to truly dive deep into it now. I recently started reading the Old Testament as well. Wow. LOTS in there that I never knew. Sister Genster always gets a crack out of when I am reading the Old Testament during personal study and will just start laughing. Sister Genster: "The Bible?" Me: "Yep!" haha There is definitely some interesting things in there! And then I only have one book left in the New Testament. One of my new year's resolutions was to read all of the standard works. I've already finished the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants. Typical me left the daunting task of the Old Testament until the end. It has truly been incredible to see how deep study of the scriptures and application have helped me to learn and grow so much. I keep pleading with Heavenly Father to help me to continue this habit throughout the rest of my life. I know everyone says that they will keep doing it after their mission, but less returned missionaries actually do. 

Sorry this week wasn't too exciting. But I'm sure you will be happy to know that things are going well and that I am as happy as ever! If not more. President Vellinga always calls me his happy missionary! 

I love you all and pray for you daily. Keep fightin the good fight! On or off the mission field. 

Our last apartment picture in front of the crazy jumanji plant in our hallways. We are convinced that it is going to take over our apartment soon. Sister Gardner (top right) went home last week :( 
I need one of these to bring home with me!!!! 
We see baby deer all over the place here!! We have a family of deer living by our apartment and so every morning we see the two babies running out in the woods. They're so cute!!!

Our drive through the metro parks in the rain! It was GORGEOUS!!

We have had some CRAZY storms this past week! I love it!!!

i got these in a package from Bryant (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! You're getting a letter soon Braynt:) ) And Sister Genster had never seen them before! She loved 'em!! I love getting to show her random american things :) 

LOVED spending the day with my beautiful europeans!!!