Monday, October 31, 2016

On Becoming a Mom - Week 44

Dear family and friends,

I want to start this letter as more of a tribute to all of the missionaries who serve in their home country, especially our native Mongolian missionaries. In Mongolia, there is one major city that half of the entire country's populations live in (which is also where I am currently living) called Ulaanbaatar, then the rest of the population is kind of dispersed between about 5 other smaller cities or just out in the countryside with their cattle, horses, sheep, or goats. There really aren't that many places to go. As such, when a Mongolian gets a calling to serve in Mongolia, they either go out to the countryside and serve where there is a lot less convenience and ability to buy necessary items, or they serve in the city that they live. Ulaanbaatar is also not big at all, is is about the size of the Denver Metro area, so you can ride a bus and go from one side of the city to the other within 1 hour (including bus stops and traffic, so it is really less time than that). You literally serve in the city that you live. You walk down the same streets that you have walked down friends with, you see the same people, the only difference is that this time you are a set-apart missionary and that makes all of the difference in the world.

So that is what happened. I was given the privilege to become a 'mom' here where I train a sister who is just entering the mission field and needed to learn how to do everything who just happened to also be a native Mongolian. I felt like a mom, too, all week where I cared about how she was doing, I tried to teach her everything I knew, I praised her accomplishments, and I felt sorrow during her suffering. It was a really great four days, that unfortunately ended far too soon. Like I said, being a missionary is hard and it makes a huge difference. There is no such thing as an easy mission: sometimes you need to adjust to different foods, different languages, and other times you have to adjust to different expectations, and missing your family even though you are less than 20 minutes away from where they literally live.

Missionaries who serve in their home country are strong. In the beginning of my mission, I felt like it was easier to remain a mission because it would be too hard to get home quickly and expensive to buy a last-minute flight from Asia to America. It was easy to stay a missionary because there really wasn't any other alternative (we all have agency and I knew that the mission would make arrangements to go home if I got to that point, I am not exiled to Mongolia). Those who can go home and want to go home, but don't, deserve a lot of praise. They are making hard decisions every day and it is not that the desire to go home decreases, but it is more like their desire to stay on a mission becomes stronger. They are stronger.

Today, my first daughter went home. After watching her walk into the car and seeing her drive away, a little piece of my heart broke. She is still a strong person and she is still going to do good things, but being a missionary requires a willing heart and relying on the Lord to strengthen you when you feel that you do not have anything else to give. This is the greatest privilege that I have yet lived. It is also hard. I am not in my home country, I am different from the people around me, but I honor those making hard decisions every day. Good luck, keep living your faith.

With all of my heart,
Sister Jessica Olsen

Always remember, faith is knowing the sun will rise lighting each new day. Faith is knowing the Lord will hear your prayers each time you pray.

Here are some good things that happened this week, my mini taught me how to make food on Tuesday!

We had one really fun FHE on Tuesday! A bunch of Mongolians shouting Uno, it was fun

I have been adopted in as a native, I swear I blend in perfectly. These are some of the new missionaries going out to the countryside. There is one with a dream companion (Monkhgerel who is an STL in the countryside) and one with my really god friend. We have decided that we would be future companions soon

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