Monday, December 22, 2014

"Say brainless, don't you know where coconuts come from?"

Christmas just isn't the same without "It's a Wonderful Life"

But that's okay, because I still love Christmas SO MUCH!! We have had such a wonderful week. We have had way more service opportunities helping with the nursing home Christmas parties, helping people to wrap presents, and decorating trees. It has been so much fun! The four of us went caroling Saturday night and it was the best door to door contacting ever! Everyone was so nice to us and one family even gave us home made cookies! Apparently St. Marys isn't big on caroling because so many people were so thrilled to have us come carol to them and some had never even had carolers before! Also, it was Sister Hunter and Sister Thomas' first time going caroling. 

So you all remember our awesome little Marshallese investigators Amy and Jeje?? Well we met Amy's dad this week and invited him to join us for the lesson and now he is a new investigator!! He is so excited for Amy to get baptized and wants to learn more so that he can get baptized as well. There is so much potential in the Marshallese community!! It is amazing!

We were able to meet with so many people this past week that we haven't been able to see in so long. It was so great! We are both completely over our colds now and so that has helped a lot as well. However, we are surrounded by sickies!! It seems like EVERYONE is getting the flu around here, and one of the sisters got shingles this week....We keep praying that we will stay healthy. 

CHRISTMAS IS IN 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your packages sitting under our tree are so taunting every single day. I just want to open them now! But don't worry, I'll be good and wait. 

I hope that you all have a most wonderful Christmas. It's weird that last Christmas I was just out in the mission field for a week. Now I have a whole year under my belt. I have had so much fun lately going back and reading through my journal from the beginning of my mission. So much has happened since then! I am so glad you always emphasized the importance of writing in my mission journal Mom :)

I love you all so much!! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

We helped Sister Beougher and the Roodes decorate their trees this week! I was so happy they let us join them. It made it really feel like Christmas. You all better have still got a real tree this year! 


Best Chrsitmas hat ever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

(Dec 15)

Sorry but this week's email is going to be pretty short. We were both really sick this week and so it was kind of a slower week. Thankfully my cold left after only a couple days. Thank goodness for 4 hour naps...

We learned a Marshallese dance this week! A couple of the Marshallese families in our area were planning on doing it at our Christmas Party this past weekend and so they taught it to us so we could do it together, but unfortunately they weren't able to make it. The party was still so much fun though. I love how close this cute little branch is and how welcoming they are. 

I really should take better notes during the week so I know what to email about. Here's some gems from my studies this week:

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth' believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth;believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."
-Mosiah 4:9

"God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has, But He can't if you don't pray, and He can't if you don't dream. In short, He can't if you don't believe."
-Jeffrey R. Holland

"I have absolute certain knowledge, perfect knowledge that God loves us. He is good. He is our Father and He expects us to pray and trust and be believing and not give up and not panic and not retreat and not jump ship when something doesn't seem to be going just right. We stay in, we keep working, we keep believing, keep trusting, following that same path, and we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, 'I told you it'd be okay, I told you it'd be alright,."
-Jeffrey R. Holland

"A person cannot give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return."
-Henry B. Eyring

"O be wise; what can I say more?"
-Jacob 6:12

"God is working even harder than we are to bring us back."
-Rosemary M. Wixom

I love you. Thank you for the prayers. They truly make a difference in my life. 

This has got to be one of the greatest Christmas pictures ever.  #livinginstmarys

"We have been called to serve in the place where Christ our Savior has shown His face." -OCM Song (Dec 8)

BEST MISSION CONFERENCE EVER!!!!! It was so amazing. But we will get to that.

So last Monday night we had the long road trip to make to Cleveland, but had to stop in Bowling Green on the way to drop off the other sisters car and take them the rest of the way. We stopped there for dinner and ended up eating on campus at BGSU to get Panda Express. [It's a big deal apparently because it is the only one in the mission] Oh my goodness. You guys.....I'm an awkward weirdo sister missionary!!!!!! I felt SO ridiculously uncomfortable being back on a college campus. I seriously felt sick to my stomach and just wanted to run away and puke the whole time. It kind of really really terrifies me that I will be going back to school next year. Bleh. Anyways, we eventually made it the Mission Home [5 hours later] and got to stay there for the night with our whole zone. It was so fun! We studied from the Book of Mormon with President before we all went to bed and then were all up and out the door by 8 in the morning. 

I honestly wish that I could have just had all of you come with me to Mission Conference. Words will never be able to describe the incredible spirit that we could all feel there. It was especially neat to get to have it in the Kirtland Temple. There were so many powerful talks and musical numbers shared. One of my favorite quotes that was shared was from President Gordon B. Hinckley that said, "Without Christ's death, his birth would just be another birth". We celebrate and rejoice over Christ's birth so much because it was the beginning of our being able to go home to Heavenly Father. My absolute favorite part though was singing our Mission Song at the end. I honestly am just getting chills right now thinking about it. EVERYONE was in tears. Singing about Christ coming to Kirtland in the room where He came to Kirtland. Amazing. It was one of the most powerful moments on my mission. After the Kirtland temple Conference we had a banquet at the Stake Center and saw a couple slideshows of everyone and miracles of our mission. It was so much fun. Then we got to see all the nativities at Kirtland! Each year tons of people donate different nativities from all over the world and they put them on display at the Kirtland Visitor's Center. It was such a wonderful day!!! 

So my doctors appointment was in Cleveland the next day [worked out PERFECTLY] and so we got to stay at my old apartment in North Olmsted!! But the best was that since we didn't really have anything to do President gave me permission to go and visit people there!!! We went to the church and got to see a few people there because it was mutual night and then we went to the see the wonderful Wrides. I love them so much!!!! We got to visit with them and he pulled out his mission journals for me again [they're my favorite:)] and then they fed us dinner! They are the sweetest!!!

I'm still healthy!!! But still have CF. My appointment went well. [Thankfully, I think if it hadn't then President would have transferred me back to Cleveland] So I had to get some blood work done afterwards [Steph, stop reading] and after they did it I reached into my coat pocket to grab a "He is the Gift" card for the guy that drew my blood and I guess I squeezed my arm the wrong way or something because all of a sudden there was all of this blood everywhere!! It was gushing out of my arm and spilled all down the front of me. I awkwardly turned back around and was like "Umm...I need a napkin...." They were just like "what happened?!?!" and then wrapped my arm up a whole bunch. Thankfully the Vellinga's were home and so we stopped by their house to clean myself up and wash my skirt. They had us eat dinner with them and the assistans before we hit the road again. [I love the Vellinga's. They're so wonderful] Then we started the long trek back to St. Marys. I love living in the boonies! 

We set two more baptismal dates this week for January!!! For JeJe and Amy!!! They are 9 and 14 and Marshallese and the cutest ever!! I love them so much. Pray that they will be able to make it to church because that is really the only thing holding them back. 

Here's your Christmas Warm Fuzzies for the day: The Coat. I love it so much. So sweet and so tender. Such a simple and good reminder of how the small and simple things truly can make such a huge difference. I hope that all of you will find ways to serve those that we are so blessed to have in our lives,as well as tokeep sharing the gift :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. -Job 30:29

Guess who has two thumbs and gained 75 lbs this week!! THIS GIRL!!! Kidding. But that's how it has felt since Thanksgiving Day. Oh. My. Lanta. We got fed SO WELL on Thanksgiving. We started out at the Felvers and they had a HUGE Thanksgiving feast. There was so much food. And all of it was so ridiculously delicious. Honestly words can't really describe the Felvers or their awesome house [and the barn] so I will send lots of pictures :) [I'll apologize now for blowing up your inbox this week] After the Felvers we headed over to the Roodes to have our 2nd Thanksgiving meal. They made rivlets which were kind of like dumplings, but better. SO GOOD!! All four of us sisters kind of went into a food coma sitting there on their couches and just watching their cats. But the day was not done!! We ended by going over to the Davis' for pie. [As if we weren't full enough already] The members here seriously took SUCH good care of us! I love them all so much! For some reason this has been my easiest transition to a new ward....well, branch :) It really is just like our own little family out here in St. Mary's :) I LOVE IT!!!!

RAMIRO AND SANDRO ARE MORMONS!!!!!!!!!!! Their baptism was so so so so so wonderful!!!! Of course we were stressing about it all week long [#lifeofasister] but it honestly could not have gone any more perfect!! Well, maybe if the water was warm....but the cold didn't deter them at all! It was really neat because it was an english./ spanish baptism! I love how everyone there could feel the spirit even if they didn't know Spanish. The gospel is true and the spirit will always testify of it. They looked SO incredibly happy after they were baptized and even happier after their confirmations on Sunday. After Sacrament Meeting I asked Ramiro how he felt and he just got the biggest smile on his face and goes, "I feel goooooood!" They are so precious.

Can you believe that it is already December? And even better, can you believe that in 3 days I will have been on my mission for ONE YEAR?!?!?! [Even just typing that feels surreal. Not gonna lie, got a little teary eyed.] I remember, and will always remember, December 4, 2013 like it was yesterday. The experiences I have had over the past year are amazing. Being a missionary is truly the greatest calling ever. 

Christmas is just around the corner!! I am so excited to skype you all in a few short weeks!! I'm sure you have all already seen the "He is the Gift" video, but if not then go watch it right now! It is so easy to get caught up in all the tinsel, shopping, and distractions this time of year, but we must remember what we are truly celebrating. Our Heavenly Father sent His son to us to be our Savior. Can you even imagine a better gift than that? I hope that we will all keep Christ at the center of our lives; not only at Christmas time, but all the time. 

Well I have to keep it shorter this week because we have less time today. We are driving down to Cleveland tonight for Mission Conference tomorrow. I am so excited!!!!! All of the OCM Missionaries in the Kirtland Temple. It is going to be such an amazing experience. 

Love you more and more. See you all before you know it ;)

Sister Amber Olds

More of the Felvers kitties eating their Thanksgiving turkey. I love the chicken just chillin out there too. "You can't feed the chicken chicken!!!"

This is Frank, one of the Felvers many cats. He loves loves. ><

This is poppy :) She is one of our investigators cats and she sat on my lap for a majority of the lesson. I loved it.

They have all been hiding in St. Mary's!!!! I love them all so much :)

BOBO THE CAT!!! :D We are best friends, obviously.

The cats kept jumping on the table and for some reason we all thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. [side effects of turkey day comas I suppose...]

They have a cat game on their iPad....