Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A World to be Thankful For - Week 48

Dear family and friends,
Can you believe it, November is over and I am quickly approaching my one-year mark of being a missionary (Jan. 5 evening was when I was set apart) and I have realized that there is so much that I have to be thankful for. More than anything else, this year has taught me how much I love my family. They have supported me with every phase of life and have been there when everything seemed to work out perfectly and have also supported me when I decide to do something extremely different than I ever thought and serve a mission. They have supported me through emails, letters, getting me ready for this mission, loving me throughout my entire life; I have never known anything else than the feelings of love from them.
Without more than a breath difference, I am also extremely thankful for the friends that I have been fortunate enough to make. With family, I won the jackpot, with friends, I have tried to earn your respect and love slowly and surely throughout my life. You are very important to me and have helped me also through the thick and thin. It is really humbling, when all is said and done, because I am so indebted to everyone's love and kindness more than I can ever really explain. The most that I can really say is thank you for everything that you have done. Even my companions have been amazing--I feel so thankful for it all.
So, to celebrate all of the things that I have in my life, we had a Thanksgiving together as Sisters in our Zone. Due to other restrictions, we are very limited on get-togethers, so this was one really great experience. All of the sisters pitched in and brought something delicious and it was like Thanksgiving in America, except we are in Mongolia and our Thanksgiving Dinner was of chicken and other items. I had a package of jello and stuffing that I was able to contribute (thanks, Andreina!) and everyone ate until there wasn't any food left. We were able to meet at one of the apartments (it used to be a Senior Missionary Couples, so it is nice!) and listen to Christmas music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, do a small training, and just eat. It was so much fun.
Also, my school schedule changed again and I am now teaching teachers! It is amazing to teach people who are so excited to learn and I think this is one of the coolest parts of my mission. I help share the gospel with those who are ready to receive it (we do not proselyte, so only those who first approach the missionaries from personal interest are those who are taught), and as an added service, I teach English to professional teachers and help them improve their lives in other ways. It is one of my strongest hopes that there is something that attracts those that I teach to also want to learn about the gospel so that we can help them on that level as well. However, one thing that I have noticed that is different between teaching Teachers, who are excited to learn, and the 11th Graders, who it is like pulling teeth trying to get them to participate, is that those with true desire learn more. It doesn't matter the level that they begin at, so long as they try, I will help them every step of the way. If they so much as open their mouth and start to ask me a question through English, I will patiently wait to allow them time to figure out how to say what they want to ask or I will try to help guide them in saying the sentence/question that I think they have. As soon as they ask, I will teach them and help them as much as possible.
If I have this much patience as a very imperfect person, how much more patience does your Father in Heaven have? If we just ask, He will teach us. If we have a true desire to learn, He will allow us to completely excel in whatever we ask. Yes, it is going to take work. Just like the teachers needed to first ask me for help, the same is for Heavenly Father. He respects agency. He is not going to force me to learn and because of that, it is up to me to move forward. In my 11th Grade class, I try to force them to learn and hold their grades as ransom, but it never works out well. You cannot compel people to do anything.
Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect. All we have to do is ask, and then be happy knowing that He will help. That is just something that I have been thinking of, but I think that I will try to get a picture next week. I love the teachers so much! They are the highlight of my teaching assignment. :)
I love you all,
Sister Jessica Olsen

So to keep up with the tradition of my favorite shopping day, here are the spoils from my 'Black Friday' excursion. That is right, all I bought were socks and pine nuts--heregtei zuils (needed things). Hahaha, and the first one is my victorious entry. :)

So I have kind of been a slacker about taking pictures this week, so I don't have a lot to share, but here are some more.
I forgot my scarf today, but luckily it is a warmer day, and I took a picture with my comp where she is enjoying hers and my neck felt exposed (I haven't not had a scarf since September), then other random moments with some of my favorite people and some of the sisters in my ward. I went on Saturday and helped them clean, but I absolutely love these ladies.

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