Monday, March 28, 2016

Week One in Mongolia

Dear family and friends,

So it has finally happened, I made it to Mongolia, can you believe it? I have been looking forward to this since August 29 when I opened up my call--some moments in dread and others in pure excitement-- and now it is here.

The trip here was insane with so many stressful moments! We made every flight, luckily, but the one actually taking us to Ulaanbaatar was the closest call where we were basically running back and forth in the Korea airport trying to get the boarding pass--the craziest part was that this was the airport that we had a 6 hour layover. We missed some important details like where to pick up the ticket; such a rookie mistake, for anyone else travelling, be smarter than us. Make sure that you are at the gate at least 2 hours early because we thought we could get everything done in a hour and had some major learning lessons. 

However, we are here and that it is the important part. I instantly fell in love with the people and the city from the moment that we walked out of the airport and met the missionary personnel to take us to the mission home. I think this was such a tender mercy because approximately two days later on Monday night, I had my first encounter with a drunk Mongolian man and fell out of love with the people. On Tuesday morning, I would have come home. As the day progressed, I taught my first English class realized that the Mongolian people as a whole are amazing and giving, minding their own business, it is just the off-shoot that is a little awful. Throughout the week as I was able to interact with more people, I have learned how to recognize and avoid the odd ones, but I love it. 
This was the ger I was in yesterday! 
The air here is very polluted at night, it clears up at the day, and then gets bad again at night. We have these masks that keep it clean for the most part, but it will be nice when the weather really warms up and people are not heating up their homes as much because there is a lot of coal and wood that is burned. 

I went into my first ger yesterday for dinner and I loved it. In the area that I am now serving in (crazy enough, I have only been here for a week and we had a transfer, so I am in my 'second' area without ever having been at the first), it borders the end of the city and it is like a mini countryside. The mountains are beautiful, the air is so much cleaner, and the people are so loving. I went to church yesterday and depsite the language barrier, I know that I am going to love them.

This is going to have to be a short letter, unfortunately, as I am going to meet others for a mini hike (expect some cool pictures), but I will try to write more next week.

I love you!

Sister Jessica Olsen

Random cow walking around

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I am in Mongolia!

Hi Family,

So I made it! I am in Mongolia and I absolutely love it, the people are wonderful and they smile at me a lot because we really cannot speak (due to a lack of language on my end). The church meeting reminded me of the Spanish ward growing up where everyone chats together before church, after church, and there are little kids everywhere wandering around throughout the Sacrament meeting.

The jet lag is insane, I am so tired right now that every time I stand still for longer than a few minutes, I can feel myself start to sway to fall asleep. This morning during personal scripture study I had to get up and walk around every 5 minutes to keep myself from falling asleep. The Bensons, my mission president and his wife, gave us the request to stay awake until 9:30 PM to try to get over the jet lag faster by acclimating as quickly as possible--I was knocked out last night by 9:35 PM and he told me that he called at 11 PM (Mongolia). I know that I am going to sleep like a champ tonight and I think tomorrow is P-day where I will be able to give more information about my flight and the crazy ups and downs. I am so glad that President Benson was able to call home and let you know I made it.

Hahahaha, really quick, though, there was this rumor going on at the church meeting that I attended where everyone came up and asked me if I was from Hawaii because that is what they heard and they said that I had a very pretty face. I told them that my face came from my mom and that I am from Colorado. It is so great being here, even though I can only catch a single word in a 20 minute conversation, I am really happy and I love all the people; I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. :)

I love you! 

Sister Olsen

PS - I ran into Sister Harker and gave her a huge hug! I will be seeing a lot more of her (hopefully), so I will have to take a picture, now I just need to find the Sister who is visiting Mongolia until next week and taught us at the MTC

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I am Leaving on a Jet Plane

Dear family and friends,

So, it has only been two days since I emailed because they have been messing with our P-days due to the English training, but this is my last P-day before Mongolia happens. That is the craziest thought to me because if you would have asked me at this time last year if I were going on a mission, my answer would be no. In fact, I am pretty sure someone did ask me this question; looking back, the Lord has bigger and better plans than I can even begin to imagine. I feel like a better person with more pure love for others and have been humbled in my heart while being here at the MTC, most importantly I have learned that I will accomplish nothing by my work alone, but everything must have the Power of the Holy Ghost accompanying it or the things that I say and do are pointless. This is the Lord's work that I am privileged to partake in. 

My plans for today are to pack, pack, pack, and then go shopping for some essentials like floss, and then go and pack some more. It is crazy how my clothing has seemed to multiply and take over my life, but I'll get it back together into that suitcase! I do want to take a moment and reflect on some of the lessons that I have learned:

1. This is the Lord's work, do it His way - Before coming here, I had a really bad habit of only halfway doing things in the way that I was asked. It wasn't with malicious intent, but I always felt like I knew a better way to accomplish a task, so someone would give me a request and I wouldn't follow the exact directions given--if they asked me to do something like make 20 copies, I would only make 10 and then say that I would make more if needed (just as an example).  Right now, I know that the more I follow with exact obedience, the better off I will be because there is a reason that I am being asked to do something in a specific way. I believe that the Lord is directing my actions and if I am asked to make 20 copies of something even though I feel like only 10 are needed, I should make the 20 because the Lord has a bigger picture than I do, who knows, maybe 10 copies will fly away in the wind and I will be grateful for the extra 10 copies that I made due to the faith in the directions. Obedience and blessings start with the small things like waking up and getting out of bed at exactly 6:30 AM rather than hitting snooze, and soon I will be trusted with the bigger things, like teaching the gospel to people who have never heard the name of Christ. Everything is preparing me for something else down the road and I get to chose how quickly I make it to that ending destination.

2. Avoid Pencil Skirts - Oh my heck, I think one of my biggest regrets are the amount of pencil skirts that I brought because they are not convenient and not comfortable to be in for 18 hours a day. Seriously. Pencil skirts are beautiful and I will wear them at home all the time, but right now is not about having the more form-fitting skirt because then all I can do is to think about me: how I am sitting, if my ankles are crossed, making sure that the slit isn't riding up too high--also, have you ever tried to get up from kneeling on the ground without flashing someone? It is almost impossible in a pencil skirt and definitely never one of the most graceful moments in your life. My biggest advice for sisters is to get A-line skirts that are loose enough to be comfortable and goes below the knees without looking like a crazy bag lady, it is possible to find, I promise. Those skirts are my favorite, I am not saying to throw away the pencil skirt, it is just a mission is probably not the right time to turn inward and only think about yourself. I didn't believe others when they told me to not bring pencil skirts and now I have skirts that I need to send home.

3. Make your bed every morning - The first thing that I do every morning is to make my bed and it is the one thing that keeps me for staying in bed longer and hitting the snooze button. When you make your bed, it signifies that you are ready to begin your day and with that, you begin your day with obedience. I mean, here you are, with your bed made at 6:30 AM, what could you not accomplish after that feat? Lol, the world is your oyster, and all you did was to straighten a blanket to signify that you are ready to go about doing the Lord's work--my blankets are not perfect enough to bounce a quarter off, but it is nice enough to deter me from crawling back in. Also, having a nice bed is a perfect place to crash at the end of a long day.

4. Serve your companion - Find the best within your companion and find a way of serving them every single day. Really, every day. The best thing happens where through service, you notice how great your companion is in small things (my companion has a ton of patience for me and is good at getting to places on time), so why not get them an extra cookie in the cafeteria or hand them a hymn book in church? I am all for the big gestures also, but it is in the small moments that you really learn how to love someone. The best person to begin with is the person that you are with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; might as well try to get along. :)

5. Have Patience - Have patience with yourself and with others; we tend to forget about ourselves in this category. Love yourself and if you are trying every day to be a good person, then allow yourself the time to grow. If I think too critically against how I am doing, I go down a dark path that leads only to sadness and depression, you are your worst critic. Do not compare your failures against someone else's success, if fact, do not compare yourself against others at all. It does not ever lead to happiness. Notice other people's success, give them congratulations, be nice to others, but their success has absolutely no influence on your success--there is enough room on the top of that mountain to accommodate everyone. Do not push others down to lift yourself higher, but have charity and love towards everyone that you meet. I know that I am not 100% perfect that this, but I try everyday to become a little better.

6. Keep a Journal - These are amazing experiences that are shaping my life here in the MTC and even more out in the field, have you thought about your experiences? Take pictures and remember these moments! I have taken SO MANY pictures, those in the classroom, in the hallway, in the residence; my dad said it best where you will never regret having pictures. Do not become distracted and forget your purpose, but snap a quick pic to remember events and people in your life (even if you end up with a goober face). You are being given these experiences to help shape you to meet the great and divine potential within you. At the end of the day when you take a moment to reflect on what you have experienced, you will more clearly see the hand of the Lord in everything that you do. He was there to help you find your keys that morning, He was there when you felt the need to turn left instead of right, He was there in the joy that you felt during your conversations and actions with others, and you will be able to thank Him for all that He has done. I know that God dearly loves every single one of His children and wants to help them find happiness. "Men are that they might have joy" (Nephi).

7. This Mission is Not About Me - This one is coming straight from my wonderful companion: this mission is not about me. We all have moments where we mess up and feel inadequate--on Tuesday I was teaching a lesson with this same companion and suddenly I could not understand anything and my 'investigator' (always a teacher) did not understand anything that I said. I ended up getting so lost in my own head, I ended up crying. In the classroom. In front of the same teacher that did not understand me while he was being the investigator. He understood that it was a culmination of being overwhelmed with the thought of leaving this week and still struggling with the language, but when you don't think about yourself, you do better. Last night we taught the same teacher again, but this time I did not think about me at all, I just REALLY wanted to help him. Guess what, he understood me. When I think about me, I see all of my faults, when I focus on others, any mistakes are just evidence of how much I want to talk to someone.

I know that there are more things that I could mention, but these are the big ones. I want to let you know that I love you very much! More than I could possibly explain without stuttering over and over again on how great you are and how thankful I am to have you in my life: my family, friends, and everyone in between. You help me become a better person and I know that I could not nearly be as happy as I am if I didn't have every experience in this life, even the ones that leave me crying, because everything brings me closer to our loving God and His Son. Our human conundrum has been solved through the Atonement, now it is just a matter of making it through the day trying our hardest to be the best version of ourselves as possible. If you have a bad day, just know that you can start again, that very minute, to be a little better--this is the great gift that we have been given. I believe in you and next time I get to talk you you, I will be on the other side of the world.

I love you with all my heart,

Sister Olsen

Oh beautiful spring, I am going back to winter and will miss you 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Visa Status Update!

Hello family and friends,

So that blessed moment has arrived and I (think) that I have my visa now, at least I know who my sponsor is going to be! I am going to work 12 hours a week in this school named 'New Generation' Secondary School in Ulaanbaatar and this school varies between K-12--I may have even seen a picture of it and the walls are a happy yellow and the picture had little 2nd or 3rd graders doing their gym time outside and they had the cutest cheeks in the entire world. They were in uniforms and everything! So with this information, I at least know that I am teaching some variation of school-aged kids and one of the Sisters in my district, Sister Hansen, is teaching at the same school as me. The picture that I saw had "Sheen Oei" (in the Cyrillic lettering) written on it, which means new generations, so it would lead me to believe that it is the same place, but I could be wrong. Some of the other members of my District are teaching at the Medical University, another two universities, and at two other schools so we have all lucked out and will be teaching at schools and not at other random places. Do you know what else this means? There is a possibility of Summer breaks which means I might make it out to the country when it is at the prettiest!!

This week has been the longest week of my life, though, because of the English training that we did Monday - Friday and the In-field Orientation yesterday. Everyday, it felt like I was working two jobs because we would get out of bed exactly at 6:30 AM, get dressed as fast as we could, grab a lunch and breakfast, then jump into a van to go to the BYU English Training Center by 7:20 AM. We would begin observations non-stop from 8 AM to 3 PM, then we would come back to the MTC, go straight into Personal/ Companion/ Language study between 3:00 - 5:30, go to dinner, and then be in class for Mongolian grammar from 6:30 - 9:00 PM, plan for 25 minutes, and then back in the residence by 9:30 PM. Every minute, there were a million things that we should be learning. Also, since this week had such crazy timing, my Mongolian took a hit and back-tracked, the struggle is real. I went to try to teach a discussion this week and I couldn't understand well or speak well, so I have decided to take every free moment in the next couple days and read Mongolian aloud to try to just get my tongue used to the new words again. Starting this time next week, speaking English is not going to be an option. 
Reviewing our class
Reviewing our class 

From my understanding, the first week of being in Mongolia is going to be a culture shock, but it is the first 3 months that will be the hardest. Knowing that this is going to happen, I have already started to pray for an increase in patience in myself while I am really learning how to be fluently conversational and an increase in love from my training companion because I feel like she might be exasperated with my pronunciation.  Some words I feel like I can hit dead-on, but other words I can practice saying all day without it looking like any progress is being made. The Lord gave me this calling, so I know that He will help, but keep me in your prays, please! There was this really cool talk that I read by President Benson called, 'Beware of Pride', and he talks about how pride is pitting your will against God saying that your plan is better (which is bad) and it is the opposite as well where you feel like you are not good enough to accomplish anything even though God said that He would help (which is also just as bad). So I am trying to walk in the middle ground of this all and have faith--which is confidence in the perfect nature of Christ and knowledge that He loves us perfectly and wants to help--that He will help me learn Mongolian more perfectly even if it is not easy right now. I said it before and have had it reminded to me again, anything that comes easy will not be valued. So the struggle is real, but I love it!

One thing that happened at the ELC was that we observed about 3 classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, but on Wednesday we only observed one, but taught and reviewed our own class. Reordered and everything. This class was incredibly fun every eye-opening on how to teach an English class and how to be mindful of little things (like slowing down your speaking speed and giving as clear and redundant instructions as possible) which I loved, but watching a recording of myself was also a bit painful. As a side note, I also want to point out that if you eat a lot everyday, stop running, and then sit down in a class for 9 hours a day, you will gain weight--thank you MTC and my lack of control at the cafeteria. So here I was, just watching myself on a video, but the most amazing thing was that it wasn't too terrible and I learned a lot! I am SO EXCITED to be an English teacher because you really do fall in love with the students that you teach and I know that English will make a difference in their lives--all the students at the ELC come from all over the world (church member or not) and they said that learning English allows for better jobs and opportunities in their home country. We also had a follow-up review session with the department director and he said that I had a great ability to have a cheerful attitude in the class where the students perked up, but there are times that I speak too quickly and the instructions come out jumbled. So I need to work on that. No biggie.
On Thursday, we had a lesson that was the needle that broke my back because I felt like a failure of a missionary because I could not understand what he was asking and thought that I failed based on my language skills (or lack of fluency thereof) and broke down crying in the middle of class. This same teacher, ended up taking time and pulled me and my comp out of class and just checked in with me. For the first time, he actually spoke English to me and we had a wonderful conversation about how a good missionary is not based on speaking, period, it is about serving with your full heart and trying every single day to work hard. By that criteria, I still feel like a good missionary. Everything is a little overwhelming with all the changes that I keep going through, but knowing that my family is there really helps with every step of the way.

So at the ELC there was this egg drop competition, we did not win.
The In-field Orientation yesterday was a last-shot where the MTC is teaching you how to be a loving and diligent missionary. It was about setting goals, making plans, sticking to those plans, and how to be a good servant to the ward that we are assigned to, and basically making the most of this consecrated time. I love being a missionary.

So, it is now time to finish strong. I am leaving on Thursday at 3:20 PM and will start my journey to the land of the big blue sky. I love it and know that the Lord will help.

Stay strong and with all my love!

Sister Jessica Olsen

This is what it looks like when I am scavenger for clothes--the closest I have to thrifting.
My District 
my shrinking zone. Come Friday, there will only be 4 sisters and 7 Elders left!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Happy Saturday!

Hello family and friends,

Oh my heck, life is good on Saturdays and now I get to share it with you? It just keeps getting better and better (P-days on Saturdays are great)! This week, however, there is change in the air and my departure date for Mongolia quickly approaching--13 days and counting with the official flight-plans in-hand. Our district actually received our departure date on March 17th and will arrive on March 19th in the afternoon in Ulaanbaatar; I think that I am still in denial about it all though, like it doesn't feel like I am ever leaving the MTC. So I received the news at lunch yesterday and then just kind of sat there not believing that the paper was real, but all the signs are there that we are getting booted out of here soon. We will have this In-Field Orientation on Friday next week where all the missionaries leaving the next week are brought together for a good-bye message from the MTC presidency and we receive some insight from Returned Missionaries on how to be effective and hit the ground running. Also, next week I am about to put in a good 32 hours teaching English in the BYU English Training Center, I am very excited about this because it is off the MTC campus! Crazier yet is that we are actually going to skype with the Mission President in Mongolia next week so that he could tell us what to expect during the first few days after arrival.

This week has been AMAZING in learning how to really teach by the Spirit, though. For the past week, since three other districts in our zone left, there are about 6 teachers who have found themselves student-less until their new missionaries arrive in 3 weeks, so our Mongolian district gets to reap the benefits and the teachers will come and assist our teachers, meaning we get more companionship coaching sessions. What is even better, is that these other teachers teach in Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese, normally and do not know Mongolian, so we get the coaching lessons in English! I feel some completely blessed by this opportunity because it is just a happenstance that this is available.

This week, we had two back-to-back coaching sessions by different teachers, one at the end of the night and the other following during the first language class of the day, and both built off one another so well that I know it was not coincidence, but the Lord really had a lesson to teach me and made it happen. The first night, we had a teacher come and talk to us about how to effectively use our planner in preparing for the next day's activity and bore testimony of the importance in planning well the night before so that the next day you never waste time, but you always have something to do. I told him how I haven't really enjoyed the planning this entire time, but was willing to give it a try. They next day, we had a teacher teach us about how to teach to investigators needs and how to really prepare in the lesson. Can I just tell you, missionaries absolutely LOVE their investigators and plan out the lesson for days before meeting. Honestly, days. Here at the MTC, we have 'investigators' played by our teacher and even though I realize that it is not a real investigator that I am teaching because it is my teacher, I think about the investigator all day long. I want to find a way to help them find happiness and peace when they say that they are struggling and I want to tell them to bring all the goodness that they have from their life and see if we could add upon it. I believe that there is the light of Christ in every person and that light attracts to light, so there is always room for growth through the message of Jesus Christ. I mean, here is a God that loves you with a perfect love and wants you to be happy and successful, that is His whole mission for us on this earth. 

Back to these lessons, though, they both built off of one another so perfectly that we had the most amazing lesson teaching our investigator Ganaa. Walking in, we knew what we wanted to teach about and what his needs may be, but other than that, it was a trust-trial in the Lord. We had the faith the prepare as much as we could, learning the necessary words and the scripture references, and the Lord did the rest of the work. All we had to do was open our mouth. I don't really know how to describe it, but I was able to speak more Mongolian than I thought possible, being able to ask questions in mostly correct grammar and just share a message of how much God loved him. None of this would be possible if not for the help of the Lord because He has been able to take a very stubborn daughter and help her learn a COMPLETELY foreign language and have a mostly-fluent conversation in less than 60 days. Where else and how else could this be possible?

I love this time in my life and know that I am a better person for it. I have learned how to love others more perfectly (I am not perfect yet, but I keep trying to have charity everyday) and how to really trust that the Lord knows and cares about my individual struggles. I know that it is when we are in the action of taking that step into the darkness that we will find the next step lite.

Oh man, let me tell you about this wonderful teacher of mine! Her name is Sister Moldigali and she is from Mongolia and is the sweetest person that I have ever met. I am so excited to go  out there because of how much I love her. What is even better, is that she is actually going over to Ulaanbaatar next week to visit her family and has promised to find us and give us a hug, so it is almost like I am taking family with me. Even more, she is moving back to Mongolia in a couple months for about a year to finish off her degree and will really be around the entire time. I cannot describe what a comfort it is to know that she is going to be there and I am so excited for the time where I can speak fluently enough that we can have a long conversation

The second picture is from last night and these are members from the Young Thai district that just arrived about 2 weeks ago and I LOVE them so much. This is at the end of the night, but they were just saying how they were sad that the older Thai district would be leaving next on Thursday, but glad that we had more time to spend with them. Honestly, you really do meet amazing people in the MTC. 

Add caption

I love you!
Sister Jessica Olsen

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I am (Almost) Healthy Again!

My wonderful and amazing and great family and friends,

I am almost healthy, but this week has been kicking my hiney in the recovery process. So last Monday was the beginning of the decline and I optimistically thought that I was getting better, but then Wednesday happened and I was knocked down feeling completely terrible, so I want to share the story with you about my first major illness on my mission (I know, this is going to be a very exciting story, just wait and see!).

So, like I said last week, I am pretty sure that I picked up this illness by sitting outside in a breeze with damp hair. It turns out that this is partially correct because in Provo, due to being surrounded by mountains, there is this thing called an Inversion Affect where the air pressure is negatively affected and it gets stuck on this side of the mountain, meaning that it is cycled a little more than we would like, and bacteria and viruses are spread a little easier because they are hanging out in the air a little longer; also, because this was the first time that I really spent time just hanging out outside (besides our weekly temple walk), my body is not familiar with the germs in Utah versus the germs in Colorado. No, this may not be the full story and I do not know enough about health, weather, or biology in general to preach this off a soapbox, but it makes me feel good. So here I am, just sitting outside trying to exist and enjoy the sunshine, when the Inversion Affect gets me. Next thing your know, I am sick.

My note that allowed me to go to the clinic!
Outside of the MTC!
Monday was awful. Tuesday I spent my P-day napping and running small errands around the MTC campus (emailing, laundry, the typical run to the Bookstore to just stare at the pretty skirts) and so my body was able to rest. Next came Wednesday, the worst day of the week for me health-wise. Since the day before I was feeling better, I decided to wean myself off the medicine: such a bad idea. By the time lunch came, I could barely breathe because my nose was stuffed and my coughs were VERY ineffective, so I kept feeling like I was chocking a little. I decided to self-medicate and took all my medicine at one time (while reading the packaging to ensure that every was suitable to mix with one another) and I started to feel better, but then I went though this huge mental cloud. Hahahah, about an hour after I took the medicine and so everything was in full effect, I had to teach a lesson to Tsetsgee, the name of our 'investigator' that was role-played by our native Mongolian teacher (Sis. Moldagali), and I could not think of ANY Mongolian. I just sat there and floundered around for the 20 minute appointment while my companion had to pick-up my slack. I felt really bad about dropping the ball on that one! What was even worse was that we have taught this lesson a few times previously and so I knew that I knew how to say the necessary phrases, but I blame the medicine. Luckily, my wonderful companion skipped gym with me and I was able to take a nap. As the day progressed, my coughing kept happening, so my voice was becoming more and more deep (like it couldn't hit the higher notes like it usually can). The good news, though, was that my Mongolian pronunciation became better that night because I was able to talk more from the back of my throat like you are supposed to. 

The next morning, Thursday, I woke up with a stinging in my throat and wouldn't you know it, I lost my voice. I could kind of squawk at my companion, but that was about it. Losing your voice in the MTC is not fun, especially when you have lessons to teach and words to practice saying. Blessings are real, though, because after about 3 hours of being voice-free, it started to come back. By mid-day, I could talk at a very low pitch with everyone around me, so I was able to give the lesson and remember my Mongolian; even more, I could still REALLY pronounce the Mongolian words better. I feel like I will be a successful missionary if I would just lose my voice more often. :)

At the clinic

Friday was great, Saturday was even better, but the funniest thing happened. On Monday and Wednesday last week when I was feeling my worst, I looked my best. Now that I am feeling 1,000 times better, I looked worse for it. I blame it saying that my chest congestion started deep inside, and then moved up and out, making me have a runny and red nose. I looked like Rudolph. As a precaution, I decided to finally go to the clinic today to make sure that the bronchitis did not change to pneumonia. Good news, family, I have been given the a-okay by the Doctor that I am on my way to health!! He said that I did have bronchitis, but because I was drinking a ton of water last week, my body is showing all signs toward recovery. The coughing will last about 17 days, which is about the exact time that I will go to Mongolia, but if there are any signs that it is getting worse, I can drop by and he will be able to prescribe anti-biotics, but I shouldn't need it at the rate that I am going. Keep your fingers crossed! Which leads me to my cool story this week!!! I was able to leave the campus!

With a doctor's note in hand, my companion and I left the campus and walked over to the Student Health Clinic about 1-2 blocks away. There was so much freedom and, get this, there was a TV in the waiting room while I was waiting to get a chest x-ray. It was weird seeing a TV, lol, you forget about all the technology when you are not around it for  days now. Next week we start the English training, so I will be able to leave the campus everyday without needing a doctor's note. Again, those blessings.
This is my life here at the MTC. Studying all the time!

My view from my desk

Enjoying the warm sun outside!

One really cool thing that happened on Wednesday night when I was at my low in health and just wanted to sleep, I was feeling sorry for myself and suddenly had this thought go through my head, 'Do you have the faith to be healed?' Immediately, I thought, 'Of course'. I then had the thought, 'Do you believe that Heavenly Father really hears your prayers?', again, my answer was, 'Yes, I do believe that He hears me'. Suddenly, I had this thought go through my head, 'Do you have the faith to not be healed?' Interesting, if you think about it. Do you believe that Heavenly Father loves you so much and has a plan for you that He will let you go  through a trial (even a sickness) if it gives you the chance to help you become a better person? As much as I wanted to be healthy right away, there has been a joy in the journey because, like I said earlier, my Mongolian when I am sick and can think straight is better than my Mongolian when I am completely healthy. When I have been sick, I have taken better care of myself, so isn't getting sick kind of a blessing? I then was talking to my companion this morning and realized that there is no way that I would be getting ready to head over to Mongolia if every blessing that I ever desired was answered the moment I asked for it. I know that Heavenly Father loves me too much to give me everything I ask for like a spoiled child. So, 'Do I have the faith to not be healed?' Yes, I think I do and am grateful for the person that I have become because of it.

I am not saying that life is dreary, but keeping an eternal perspective, I am so grateful for delay-response prayers. I know that I will get healthier, but there is joy in waiting (but moving forward, not letting your life come to a stand-still). I feel like I need to go and listen to that old Garth Brooks song, 'Unanswered Prayers'. I know that Heavenly Father loves every single one of His children (including me and you) and wants us to become the best version of ourselves possible. He does not make trials for us in order for us to suffer, but like it says in 1 Peter 1:7, the trials that we face will be more precious than gold.

I love you and stay healthy!

Sister Olsen

We did face masks!

Sister Olsen and Sister Bottorff

This is what I look like when I carry my laundry across campus

Guild, Olsen, Hansen, Bottorff