Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The lowest lows mean the highest highs

Not going to lie...this week was rough!  We had so many people that weren't home, or flamed us [not there for our appt], and had one of our awesome investigators drop us. :( But I would totally do it all over again if we could have these amazing miracles every week!

Guess what, the Rilometos, the Anitaks, and our new investigator Estevan came to church yesterday!!! Yes!!! I love miracles!

I had one of THE most amazing experiences of my whole mission this week. We had a member with us for the evening and had a lesson planned with the Rilometos. As soon as we sat down Amy asks us, "How do you know that Joseph Smith is a prophet?" Well, let us tell you! We testified to her of how we came to know for ourselves, through study and prayer, that Joseph Smith truly is a prophet of God. We explained more about how the Spirit works to answer our questions and our prayers. We invited Amy to pray and ask Heavenly Father right then and there if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She agreed to and so all of us knelt down with her to pray. Her prayer was in Marshallese, and all we caught of it was "Joseph Smith", but from the Spirit that we could feel in that room we knew that it was powerful and heart felt. Once she finished we told everyone that we should just be still for a moment and listen. The spirit was SO STRONG!! We were all praying so hard that she would be able to feel it. A minute late Amy gasps, grabs her heart, and goes, "Do you feel that?!" YES!!!! WE FEEL IT!!! Immediately tears started running down her face. She was so excited and said, "It is jumping around inside of me!" It was amazing to see someone feel and recognize the spirit for the very first time in their life and to have her prayer answered so powerfully. We were all in tears in their little basement. It was truly a miraculous and amazing experience, for all of us. She kept saying, "I will never forget this." We won't either. :) 

I don't think I have told you about our new investigator, Estevan, yet...but he is AWESOME!!! Also he is so crazy and I love it!! Elder and Sister Joos actually met him at Goodwill a few times and then were able to talk a little about the church and get his information! So we stopped by a couple of weeks ago and introduced him to the Book of Mormon and he was pumped to read it! He told us a lot about his spiritual experiences and more of his background. I would explain more, but some stories are just SO MUCH better in person. You can all look forward to those this summer :). This past Saturday the Joos' had him over for dinner and we were able to teach the Restoration. Once we got through some more of his experiences....we were able to introduce Joseph Smith and that there is a prophet on the Earth still today. [Not a self-proclaimed prophet...] He was so excited! When we had him read Moroni 10:3-5 he just kept nodding his head and going, "Yes! Yes!" We are still trying to help him to understand that the Book of Mormon isn't the Bible and that's why he doesn't know any of these people. He'll get there. :) At the end of the lesson he asks, "So do you Mormons ever meet together or anything?" Why yes! Yes we do! He invited himself to Church!! He said, "Jesus is telling me to check this out. I need to go." He loves Jesus. A lot. :) I honestly wish that I knew how I could describe him better...but just know that he is AWESOME!! And he actually did come! That was hilarious too. So he came in a few minutes late and sat down next to us. Everything was going good! He even grabbed "The Living Christ" and the Relief Society handout from a couple weeks ago that were on the front table when he went to go to the bathroom! Then our Branch President got up to give a talk on our Branch Goals for 2015.... Oh no...First thing was '15 new convert baptisms' and our "tactics" of accomplishing that. Sister Thomas and I were just sinking lower and lower in our seats and praying so hard that somehow the spirit would block that from him. Although I am pretty sure that he doesn't know that he is an "investigator" or what a "convert baptism" is. He had to leave early to go to work and he leans over to confirm our appt for next Saturday and to tell us that he will be there next Sunday for all 3 hours. Phew!! It didn't totally creep him out!! However when he stood up and left before the meeting was over EVERYONE in the congregation thought it was because of the goals. Hahahaha so we get to Gospel Principles class and everyone bombards us with questions, "What happened??" "Did we scare him off?" "Does he think we are all about numbers??" It was pretty funny. But we were afraid of those exact same things too...

Here's a lil' gem for ya from good ole Tad R. Callister: 
"Eventually we must do more than tell the stories of the Book of Mormon; we must live them."
Boom! Love it! I am in the middle of Alma right now and just finished the story of Alma and Amulek, Ammon, and the Sons of Mosiah. I love reading about the missionaries in the Book of Mormon so much! [Naturally...] It gives me so much hope and inspiration to do and be better. Yeah times get hard on a mission, but hey, until I am locked up in prison with my companion being beaten and spit on everyday I think I will be just fine. But even if that does happen, we are totally making those prison walls crumble! [How cool would that be?!?! I can't wait to watch the Book of Mormon stories on Celestial Home Video someday...] 

Love, hugs, and snugs from snowy St. Marys :)

Sister Amber Olds

Making cookies for those we visit with Sister Tenney :)

"I don't know about you...

BUT I'M 22!!!!"

I feel so ooooooooold. ["Your name fits now!" hardy har har So funny. Ohionas think that my last name is way more fun to make fun of than Arizonians do] Thank you so much for the birthday package!!! I loved it!! And also was flattered at how skinny you all think I am....My birthday was so good though! We found a new investigator, got to have dinner at the Kiefers, and got to visit some of my favorite people :) It's weird that none of my family or friends ever saw me while I was 21. Thank you so much to everyone for all of the birthday love!! :D

Sadly for you all I forgot my planner and my journal to remind me what happened this past week....Although my journal wouldn't have been much help anyway. I am ridiculously behind in that.....So this email might be a tad short this week. 

Last Monday I was super sick and after taking a 4 hour nap during preparation day I took my temperature and it was 100.7. Yay! Fevers are fun! So I was sick the next day as well. No fun. But thankfully I was feeling better by the next night. 

Hoooooonestly that's about it. My memory is so bad now!! Or last week was just really uneventful. 

One of my New Year's Goals was to memorize one scripture per week. Last week my scripture was Alma 26:12. [The other weeks were Moroni 10:32 and ALma 37:6] I feel like these scriptures are some of the biggest lessons I have learned on my mission at different times. Alma 26:12 has been my lesson lately. I really cannot do this work without His help. I know that all of the good that has come from my mission or the miracles that I have seen are all because of my Heavenly Father. I have grown so much closer to him over the past 13 months. He truly isalways there for us, even when it feels like we are alone. I so badly wish that I could take all of you through the journey of my mission, but I know that it is my own personal experience. Everyone's paths are different and individualized to help them. I'm grateful for how my mission has and is changing me to become a better disciple of Christ. 

I love this gospel and have no doubt in my mind that it is true. I know that as we live the gospel we are promised more happiness and peace than we could ever find anywhere else. So many people are searching for what we already know. How blessed we are. Now it is our opportunity to share this happiness with others. I LOVE getting to be a missionary and helping others to discover this joy for themselves. This truly is the greatest calling ever. 

Sister Amber Olds

I'm feelin 22!!!

The pictures dont even do them justice, but we got make overs from Lilly and Oscar! 

I have been slacking SO MUCH in writing in my journal lately. So I had to put up a sign to remind me each night. Well, that wasn't really cutting it. I needed a bit more intimidating motivation. The Vellinga's birthday card worked perfectly :)

Our Katniss braid cult.

Kroger!! Mom will understand how happy I was about this :)

OHIO!! These are all of our awesome shirts we got for each other for Christmas :)

Last night Sandro was showing us how he "breed cows" and so I snagged this awesome shot of him. He is such a crack up!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

"I feel like your mom is this classy lady living in a house of barbarians." -Sister Pound

Having Cystic Fibrosis has been such a blessing this week!!! Well, it has been in many ways my whole life, but allow me to explain...

We had a little bit of time before dinner and so we decided to stop by a few of our former investigators that we had chosen the day before. Our first one was the nicest lady ever that let us right in. As soon as I walked in the door I noticed her shirt that had a set of lungs on it and it said, "Cure CF". What?!?! I want to do that too!! So I asked her why she was wearing that shirt and she then explained to us how her 16 year old daughter has CF and was actually currently in the hospital. [Which was kind of a blessing for us because if she had been home I would have been shewed out of the house in a matter of seconds] She was so excited [that sounds weird...but she was] when she found out that I have it too. We then spent the next 20 minutes talking with her about CF and the gospel. It was amazing!! Unfortunately of course we can't teach her, but it definitely opened up the door a lot for the next set to serve here. She explained her daughters condition and it just made me so so so grateful for how much Heavenly Father has blessed me in my life. She was is in the hospital all the time and has to do 4 treatments a day...Yes I have CF, but it could be SO MUCH WORSE than it is. She was so happy that we stopped by that day and even took a picture of us to send to her daughter and wants to stay in contact. Such a tender mercy!

The second miracle this week because of my CF was with our investigator Kim. 
[I can't wait for you all to meet Kim someday! She is so fantastic. She has the BEST stories ever. I could literally listen to her talk all day. My favorite is the one about her giving a swirly to a girl when she was in junior high.... :)] We have been trying for so hard for the past few months to get her to read the Book of Mormon and nothing has been working. Within the past month she has quit smoking [Whoa! Thank you Heavenly Father! Haven't even taught the Word of Wisdom yet] and she has been really sick from it. She started doing these breathing treatments every day and was telling us how bored she is while she was doing it. I got all excited and told her how I have to do those same treatments every morning and that I read the Book of Mormon while I do it. She thought that sounded like a good idea and decided to try it out. IT WORKED!!!!!! We went back yesterday and we started sharing the story of Lot's Wife with her when she goes, "That's just like Nephi and his stupid brothers!! Always murmuring and wanting to go back to Jerusalem." YES!! She had read two chapters during her treatment and then was so engrossed with it that she read three more!!!! We were so ecstatic!!! Heavenly Father knew exactly what He was doing when He blessed me with CF. :) 

THE RILOMETOS FINALLY CAME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!! They got there after Sacrament Meeting, and Ray wasn't able to come because he is sick, but that's okay because THEY CAME!!! We were in shock when we saw them!!! Finallyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. So this past week we had a lesson with Ray, Amy and Jeje about Tithing and fasting. Remember how Ray is the most wonderful person ever and completely embraces and accepts everything we teach? Well same went for this lesson. At the end we committed to live the law of the tithe and the fast after their baptisms and Ray asked, "Can I do it before my baptism? I really need blessings." HOW WONDERFUL IS HE?!?!?! Aww man, I love them so stinkin much. 

Thank you so so so much everyone for all of the birthday wishes!! Your package came on Saturday and now it is like Christmas all over again. I just want to open it noooooow! But I will wait. I can't believe I am turning 22. Crazy. 

Sister Amber Olds

I love Ohio!... No really... I do.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Anything is pasta bowl with God."

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!! Yay!!! We woke up to a white Christmas this morning!!! I am so excited to skype you all today!! Oh wait....what? It's January 6?? Awkward....Happy Boxing Day I guess...

So many wonderful things this week,and difficult things, but let's focus on the wonderful!!

RAY HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE!!!! We are so excited. He might just be one of my favorite people to teach on my mission. He so readily accepts and understands everything that we teach! It has been kind of difficult trying to continue teaching Jeje and Amy but then also trying to catch him up. But this past week we started out our lesson by asking Ray about his Book of Mormon reading and how he felt about it. He started telling us how he has been reading and praying about it and that feels like everything that he reads is what he believed before, but now it is written down! Then he just pauses and goes, "I think it's true...." YES!!! IT IS!!!! Then we set a baptismal date for him right there for February 28!!!! [Now the trick will just be getting them all to church still...] 

We had another miracle with another wonderful Marshallese family this week. So we have been teaching the Anitaks every week since I got here and we would always just go and read the Book of Mormon with one of the daughters and weren't really sure if it was helping much or not. Last week we were finally able to meet with her less active Dad as well and it was so great! I asked him about his conversion story and how he felt about the gospel. [pretty much it was just a whole bunch of questions to get him to bear his testimony. Such sneaky missionaries ;)] He bore such a sincere and strong testimony. We were so thrilled and were really hoping that would be the little reminder he needed of how much loves this and needs this. GUESS WHO SHOWED UP TO CHURCH SUNDAY!!!!! THE ANITAKS!!! It was so amazing!! We weren't expecting them at all. It gets better though. Last night Ramiro and Sandro had to cancel [which is unheard of for them] and so we just took that as a sign that Heavenly Father needed us somewhere else. After saying a prayer we both had the idea to go and stop by the Anitaks. In all ways it made no sense to us [time wise, mile wise, just saw them yesterday wise...] but we did it anyway! Thank heavens we acted on that prompting!! So we were reading with Baminda as we usually do but then half way through her aunt and uncle [at least I think that's how they're related....it is SO HARD to figure out the Marshallese family trees....] walk in and invited themselves to read with us too. What?!?! Awesome!! Her Aunt is an investigator that we haven't been able to meet with in a super long time and her uncle is a less active member that has never been real interested in us when we come over and usually quickly sees himself out of the room when we come. He opened up to us so much though. His heart was softened like butter. :) He asked us to pray for his family and we were even able to set up another appointment with him. THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER!!!! We were on cloud 9 driving home afterwards.

Both Sister Thomas and I are staying another transfer together! I am so excited. I have learned more from Sister Thomas than I think from almost all of my companions. There is still so much more work that we can do here together and we are pumped to see what will happen. Oh also, her Dad is going to Phoenix tomorrow and might call you up!! I gave her your numbers for him to call. 

I love you all so much!! 

Sister Amber Olds

Merry Christmas!! 

Toledo South Zone!! [Still so weird to me that I am out in Toledo and not in Cleveland anymore]

Lima District!! I have loved having Sister Stringham out here with me!! But now she is being transferred :( 

Brother Yule, Brother Parson, and Sister Pound with their knives. Yep, a pretty normal Branch Council!

Our apartment has a sword. A legitimate sword. 

"It's like a soap opera! You even have to take care of a horse!" -Sister Hunter

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!!!! The members took such amazing care of us! We started out at the Felvers. Oh the wonderful Felvers :) They made us Taco Pizza [which was amazingly delicious] and we were already SO FULL when we left there. They made I think about 6 pizzas and there were 9 of us!! Afterwards we went to the Davis' to skype!!!! Man, that feels like forever ago!!!! I loved getting to see all your squooshy faces so much!!!! [Every day since Christmas I would go, "Hey!!!! It's Christmas!! We get to skype our family today!!!" Ha I'm funny] Then the Martinez', Sandro, and Elder and Sister Joos all came over for dinner. It was such a party!! So funny story; I was talking to Sandro asking how his Christmas had been and where Ramiro was. Our conversations are always pretty interesting with our language barrier. He kept saying something about a "brick house" and I was SO CONFUSED!! Finally he had to use his little google translate on his phone and he was trying to tell me that Ramiro was "breed cows". [That's what he does for his job] Then we kept talking and he asked if I went to school before my mission and what I was studying [We had Brother Martinez helping us translate by this point] and when I told him that I was studying communications he just busted up laughing and said, "YES!! You need that!! Go learn Spanish!!" Hahaha It was hilarious. Sandro is such a crack up. After the Davis' house we went to the Roodes for the rest of the evening and played Trivial Pursuit. Now, you have to understand that Brother Roode knows pretty much everything about anything. He can tell you almost ANYTHING about any historic event...ever. It's impressive. Also, their son was there who is just like a mini Brother Roode. SO needless to say we were pretty intimidated. Sister Hunter and Sister Thomas each stole them to be on their teams and so it was Sister Pound, Sister Roode, and myself. We surprisingly held our own pretty well!! [Thanks "It's Tricky" for helping me to know Run DMC. Also thank you Dad for making me watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' every Christmas :)]

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MY PRESENTS!! I love them all so much. You all know me so well :)

Well I think I told you most of the other things while skyping. 

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!  2015....Wow. I can't believe it is already here. I come home this year!! Weird....Let's not think about that. I hope that you can all make a goal to find ways to come to know your Savior better this year. 

I love you all so much. So so much. I honestly cannot thank you enough for all that you do to help and support me out here. This work is wonderful and difficult and challenging and amazing. Thank you for always being there when I need a little boost :)


my Christmas kitty friend :) The Kiefers had us all over for Christmas Eve for a white elephant party and it was such a blast. They really loved my Book of Mormon wrapped in a whole roll of toilet paper :) 

More Christmas kitties!!

taco pizza!!

The wonderful Felver family :) We're not in Cleveland anymore toto!