I am so overwhelmed with the support and love that I have received and want to let you know that you strengthen me every single day. I have pictures up on the wall of my room of family and friends and I took a moment this morning to just look at it and just felt so GOOD about the work that I am taking part of. I know that leaving was not easy, but could you imagine how wonderful it is going to be to be back and see how much everyone has grown and succeeded in life? I have nothing but confidence in your abilities and the blessings that are going to come into your life because I know that you have already significantly blessed mine. You, my family and friends, along with this gospel, are what I have built my life on and it is such a sure foundation that there is nothing that I am afraid to do; how could I fail? I know that you love me and I know that the Lord sanctifies the work so long as I have a humble heart and good intent. I just love you so very much and hope you know that every day.
|This is my district with the teacher (He is in the Y jacket) and us playing in the snow|
|Playing in the snow - the brother on the right end is one of my teachers|
The best part of the week is on Sunday and Tuesdays as these are our break days from language and it is the most edifying thing in the world. Especially the Sabbath. It all begins the same where you do some study in the morning in the classroom, but the Spirit testifies of everything so strongly! The scriptures come to life and you know of their truths, the Devotional speakers tell you exactly what you need to hear, and then we come together as a district (the nine in my class--two from Colorado Springs, crazy enough) to talk about what we learned. I am convinced that I am surrounded by spiritual giants because of the insights that they offer knowing that EVERYONE is struggling with the language, but are able to rise above it.
|Sister Olsen with two Sisters from New Zealand who are headed to Thailand|
So, to give you a story from this week--my days virtually blend in to one another--I will tell you about one hour that I was at the gym. So like I said last week, the indoor track is my own little paradise. When we first arrived, I did 1 mile with my companion where we would walk one lap and run one lap while trying to memorize vocab words--it takes 10 laps to make one mile--and I felt like it was helping and just a good bonding experience. After our mile, she went downstairs to play volleyball and I stayed on the track to challenge myself to run half a mile without stopping. Before I began, I ran into one of the Elders in my District and was able to just try to check in with him to see how his transition was going. I feel like everyone needs to know that there is someone willing to listen if things become overwhelming. After that quick check in, I ran my .5 mile and immediately afterwards, ran into a girl that I had helped on her first day at the MTC. She was doing walking lunges and so I joined in with her for a couple lunges (ouch!) just enough to make sure that she also felt good about the transition.After that, I saw some of my Poly friends playing basket ball, so I ran down and joined them for about 10 minutes and there is one sister from New Zealand that I love! She is like a sister, so I had no problem just joking around and blocking her by jumping all around her (Hahaha, I look like the biggest dork when I do this).
|This is part of my Zone (Cambodia, Thailand, Mong speaking, and Vietnamese speaking)|
After all of that, I then went up to read my Book of Mormon for the last 10 minutes, but ended up only being able to read for 5 because there was another one of my friends up there who just looked like she wanted to talk. By the time gym was over and I was back at my residence changing to go to lunch, it dawned on me that this is what missionary work is all about. It is not about doing what you want to do all the time, but it is about forgetting yourself and thinking about the people around you and when you do this, you are happy. I don't think that I have had more fun at the gym than this day.
I watched this recorded Devotional from Elder Bednar on the Character of Christ (you should Youtube this or watch it on LDS.org) and how Christ could be characterized by turning out instead of turning in. Even during the hardest moments of His life, He still helped those around Him (i.e. healing the guards ear, telling John to look after His mother) and I am completely humbled by the perfect example that He has set. I know that the lows of my day always correlate to the moments that I think about me and MY lack of ability, but the highs always come when I try to do something nice for someone else. I know that this is the kind of love that the Savior wants us to have for everyone around us.
|This is what it looks like when we are emailing home (and my entire district is here).|
With all my love,
[Posted by Allie]
**Reminder, Sister Olsen's MTC information is located at the top of the blog on the right for those interested in using Dear Elder, a free mailing service that is available while Sister Olsen is still at the MTC. dearelder.com**