Monday, April 27, 2015

"When someone says 'Jesus' you just snap your neck and say'Okay!'" -Cierra

Yada yada yada....

I never know how to start these emails. 

We had our very first English class this week!!! It went way better than we were expecting. Not that we were expecting it to be awful or anything...but we just really felt like we had no idea what we were doing. Unfortunately none of the Marshallese came, but all 5 of the Hombres came!! It was so much fun and they said that it actually helped them a lot and are going to be coming every week! I never thought that I would get to do English Classes on my mission, but finally my experience of teaching English in Ukraine came in handy! 

Remember how all of the members of the St. Marys Branch are pretty much the most incredible people in Ohio? Oh, what's that? You felt the spirit?? Yeah that's because it's true. They are all such awesome missionaries! The Bissegger's had us and Sam over for dinner and a lesson at their home and it was so fun and so great! I have seen so many awesome examples of member missionaries and what miracles happen when it is done right. Being a member missionary looks like so much fun! I can't wait to do it in a couple months! Anyways, back to Sam's lesson. We taught about temples, eternal marriage, and family history work. He had actually seen a picture of the temple on facebook last week and then read a whole bunch of the comments. He said how he could tell who the Mormons were and who weren't. The Mormons were all so respectful while the other people were bashing on temples and Mormon beliefs. Then Sam started referring to the Mormons as "we" and "us". All of us just kind of smiled at each other. It's only a matter of time my friend!! 

Yesterday we had a Regional Stake Conference broadcast from Salt Lake City. I had never had one of those before. It was so neat! We heard from Larry S. Kacher, Linda S. Reeves, Elder Neil A. Andersen, and Elder Robert D. Hales. It was kind of like our own mini General Conference! Also, we had 8 people at church!!! [Investigators, less actives, and recent converts!] We were so stoked!!!! 

My favorite thing that was said at the conference was from Larry S. Kacher. He said:

"Each day we decide the degree of our discipleship."

I love that!! Every single day we get to decide what we are going to do and who we are going to be. Will we be better than we were yesterday? Will we make the right choices today? Who we are and who we become is completely based on the choices that we make. Getting to this point of my mission it has been so neat to look back throughout my mission [and my life] and see what my choices have helped me to become. 

Cleaning up Grand Lake St. Marys!
[We won the scavenger hunt]

St. Mary's very first English class!!

I LOVE OHIO IN THE SPRING!!! The tulips and Magnolia trees are my favorite :)

Spanish, Marshallese, English

English with the Hombres

Weekly Planning is fun to do to do to doooo

I looked out the window and what did I see? POPCORN POPPING ON THE APRICOT TREE!


I love him

Service in the rain

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oh! P.S.

How wonderful is this video?? I love it.

She looks so much like Sara!

Drip drip drop little April showers!

All of these April showers truly are bringing the most beautiful May flowers!! I love all the tulips, daffodils [that always remind me of Gran], and my most favorite are the huge gorgeous magnolia trees! I will try to get a picture for you all soon! [Or ya're all allowed to use google...]

Oh Sammy Sam. He is just so GOOD! He has continued to live the Word of Wisdom so diligently. This week in one of our lessons he told us how he was really inspired by the Word of Wisdom and decided to start running every morning and eating healthier. He also told us how he is noticing how much happier he is still, even when things go wrong. For example he got a flat tire this week when coming home from work and he wasn't upset at all. He just fixed it and kept going. He said how normally he would have been upset about it for a few days. This gospel truly does bring joy! Even when we get flat tires! :) The wonderful Davis family had Sam and us over for dinner last night and to watch the"Prophet of the Restoration". It was so great!! I wish you could all [as well as him...] see how incredible he is!! He is so close!! Keep praying for him please. 

Our area is all just tiny towns out in the middle of nowhere. [As I have explained before] However, each tiny town has a HUGE catholic church in the middle of them. Sister Hemenway and I decided to set a "goal" to go and tour all of them. [A while ago that was a big push in the mission as a finding idea]. We started with the one in Celina....Immaculate Conception. Yes, that is actually what it is called. I have always wanted to see the inside because it looks incredible from the outside! It reminds me of all the huge cathedrals we would visit in Europe. We finally had some time to do it and it was pretty interesting. We walked in and at first were really confused because no one was in there. We weren't sure if we were even allowed to be in there or not. After looking around for about 10 minutes we finally found the "Self Guided Tours" book which helped us to realize that we weren't breaking and entering!...[We just aren't used to churches be open all the time.] It was so intricate and ornate inside though!! It was so cool to see. The most interesting part though was how we felt. It was a nice church, but we could notice the lack of spirit that we felt. It helped us to better understand how our investigators feel when they come to our church for the first time. Comparing that feeling to how I felt taking the Sacrament on Sunday was like night and day. I LOVE the Spirit so much! We are so blessed to have him with us constantly. 

This morning I was reading Samuel Wittwer's biography and there was one part that just really struck me. I mean, I loved reading all of it of course, ancestor biographies are my FAVORITE!! But there was this part at the beginning that was a good reminder for me.:

"We can imagine, too, that there was harmony and love in the for each other and for their Father in Heaven, and great was the joy in their hearts when the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into their valley and to their home telling of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

First of all I absolutely love learning about our family's conversion stories. All of their conversions are part of our own individual conversions. But what really hit me was those two Elders. I'm sure they had no idea what the later affects would be from teaching that small family of 3 in that small valley in the Swiss Alps. Generations of that young boy's posterity were members of the church as well as numerous missionaries over the years have resulted from that little family accepting and converting to the gospel. It reminded me how I, or any of us, truly have no idea what can come from the good we do in this life. One day I will get the chance to thank personally those two Elders, but for now I can thank them by paying it forwards. Who knows, maybe 25 years from now there will be a Marshallese branch here in St. Marys! 

Thank you for the continued support and especially the prayers. I love you all and will see you all too soon. :)
Sister Amber Olds

So silly

Zone Birthday Part

Immaculate Conception

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Zippi dee doo dah!

My oh my what a wonderful day! Spring has sprung! [Officially now....that was just a tease before...] The sun truly does make a difference! Everyone is just so much happier now! And it is contagious!

Remember Heladio from last week's email? ["I love you"] Well he is our new investigator as of yesterday!!! He came to church with Ramiro yesterday and then we went over that evening to give him a Spanish Book of Mormon and introduce it to him. After we talked about it a bit, the "hombres" translated for us, and read a chapter; he told us how he wants to learn more! Huzzah!! It is so much fun and such a pay day to get to see Ramiro and Sandro be such good little missionaries! And Aaron too even! [Oh, did I tell you before that we are teaching another one of their roommates? Aaron? Well, we are. And he is also awesome :)] They were all teaching and testifying of the Book of Mormon to him and even though I didn't really know what they were saying, the spirit was so strong! [Thankfully, because that is the only way we know that what they are teaching is true... :)]

Also this week with the Hombres we taught them "Head. Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in English and they taught it to us in Spanish! We have a video of it but it is probably too big to send. Sorry! You'll have to wait 3 more months for that one! [<-- I know I know...but if anyone corrects that number I will spider monkey you...] It was hilarious though!! They were so confused. 

This past week we had a lesson with Sister Beougher that actually ended up helping me a lot as well. We shared Mark 8:22-26 and discussed how Christ doesn't always just immediately heal us, but sometimes he does it in stages. BOOM. Hello Sister Olds! Pay attention! It literally hit me like a ton of bricks! [Not literally...] I kept thinking how once certain things happened, I would just miraculously be all better and perfectly happy. Wrong-o! It takes time. It's a process. Sometimes Christ just takes us by the hand, walks with us for a while, and helps us get better little by little. There is purpose to God's timing. I am learning that over and over again out here. But His timing is always the best timing. It reminded me of this quote from this incredible man:

"When these trials come, the adversary's minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, 'I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn't it?' Then partner with Him to endure well to the end." -Jorg Klebingat

Hard times come, that's true. Hard times do not stay though. Christ will always help us through them if we let him.

With all my love from Ohio. :)

Sister Amber Olds

Look at how green and gorgeous Ohio is now!!!! 

So we took advantage of it and weekly planned in our backyard :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"We are here to help people and you're a person so we want to help you." -me.....cause I'm genious

Yep, just quoted myself. Well, actually Sister Pound quotes me and so kindly reminds me how dumb I sound sometimes. Got to love District Meeting role plays! Am I right??
I know you are all dying to know about my new companion, and actually you all know her! Merida is my new companion!!!! [The girl from Brave...for those of you who are slacking in your Disney trivia]. Her name is Sister Hemenway and I was actually her STL out in Cleveland so we already knew each other! It was great! She is so cute and tiny and so fired up about the work!! I am so stoked!! She will be a great addition to the St. Marys Branch!
Wow, what even happened this week? Monday and Tuesday were all kind of a blur having Sister Thomas say goodbye to everyone and getting her ready to go. I really do miss her a lot. But she is loving life at home, so that's good! Tuesday we all got together as a zone and played volleyball in Lima. Then Wednesday my little Sister Hemenway came! I think she was really overwhelmed by our area at first. I can't blame her though, it is A LOT to take in at first. She is getting the hang of it now though. :)
So funny story this week: [Hopefully this isn't one of those "had to be there" times....] Ramiro and Sandro have a new roommate living with them whose name is 'Heladio'. [And doesn't speak much english at all.] When we went over for our lesson with them and Aaron we met him. When Elder Joos went and introduced himself and shook his hand he just said, "Heladio" and Elder Joos goes and hugs him and says, "I love you too, but what's your name??" We all just DIED laughing!!!!! It was hilarious!! Then at the end of our lesson when we were getting ready to go Heladio came back out and shook all of our hands and said, "I love you. I love you. I love you." Hahaha thankfully he was a good sport. :)
How great was General Conference?? Soooooooooo much talk on families. That was definitely one to make a soon to be returning missionary feel a little "trunky"/homesick for her family. But it's all good! I've still got lots more left to do before that day comes. My favorite was Elder Clayton's and Elder Pearson's. SO GOOD.
I say this all the time, but it's because it's true, I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Thank you for all the prayers. I honestly could not do this work without them. You all mean the world to me. I can't wait to Skype you all NEXT MONTH!!! Then see you a month after that.....weird.

Sister Amber Olds

I walked out of the bathroom to them attacking me with the sword, hangers, and bubbles...