Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On Being a Big Sister - Week 57

Dear family and friends,
This week I feel like I am becoming the big sister to all of the sisters here very slowly. Yeah, there is the whole age thing (except I heard that there was a Sister coming who is only 2 years my junior at 27), but it is more than that. It is that I am the second oldest Sister group here now, we have walked the streets, knocked on the metal doors, and have borne through eating more buuz than many others. The oldest group (Sis. Bollwinkel's) goes home next transfer in March which is a little devastating because I am completely not ready to take their spots. Honestly, I was living in denial always wishing to remain the junior companion and slowly coming to grips every time I had to train someone. However, time and experience really does happen, whether you want it to or not.
So as a big sister, one of the most important lessons that I am learning is that almost nothing I do here is about me. I am not the most important person walking around the streets of Mongolia, it is my job to simply try my best and to love all of those around me. It is to try to adapt to any new rules that come from leadership and to encourage others to also try their best. This week, there were some changes to the missionary schedule that came from the Presidency that has made the missionaries more accountable for the time they use and exercise their agency to a larger extent. In our mission, between the crazy English schedules and splits, the new criteria makes it a little easier to do more work without losing all of our time in studies. We also get to stop everything by 9 PM and just settle down for sleep (alleluia, I might just start to sleep again). All the missionaries are going to be able to transition to life-after-a-mission so much easier.
Yes, we still work. Yes, we visit the investigators, members, less actives, to the same extent that we did before the changes, but we now work at a pace better suited for our needs and their progression. All of the stress has been relieved and I have been non-stop smiling since. I feel SO GOOD about the changes. The start is a little bumpy trying to learn how to balance the needs of the day with the demands/expectations, but there is so much agency again. I love it.
But one other thing that I have been able to have happen this week is that I have been able to share some of my talents and hobbies with those around me. On Tuesday last week, I was able to help my comp buy all of this pretty make-up and tell her what I will wear on a daily basis. I have also started my 42 Principle Notebook again (a brief summary of each principle in the PMG book that I need to teach to al investigators before baptism) and I have been pulling out my Pinterest side (I MISS PINTEREST SO MUCH!) and pasting so many pictures to use during my discussions. I have been able to use the completed pages several times this week and I feel like I have unlocked the best method for me to teach out here. Along the way, I have been able to help my comp learn about what I am doing and I think that she really likes it. We also basically scotch everything with pictures on this mission--PMG, monthly planners, hymn books, everything. Now my 42 is joining the ranks
Also, with the changes, I am going to start working out again! We have a full 30 minutes set in the morning to use, and now I have the time to use all 30 minutes--I think that I might try running stairs or something--nadad tsagt baigaa shuu!! Hahahhahaha, but to be honest, I have been so lazy these last 9 weeks of this transfer and have basically not done a single sit-up. All of my muscle is gone, so those stairs are going to kill me. It will be fun. I think that I will try to have my comp join me (well, she would have to because of the whole sight-sound thing). Also, I still need to work toward that 5 minute plank and standing splits
Any ways, this week has been great. Two baptisms. One huge change. Shopping for make-up and being in Mongolia, what more does a girl need.
I love you all!
Sister Jessica Olsen
PS - This letter is kind of all over the place, but the most important thing that I have learned as being a big sister is that it is good to be the first one to apologize. Take charge and make good changes by realizing your own faults.
Pinterest, my baptism (I think that she is the reason that I came to this ward when I did, I love the heck out of her), and taking my comp out to the best 'Americanized' Chinese food--she wasn't a fan, so I was able to take hers home for leftovers-- and then lunch with Sis. Bottorff before the big conference on changes.

I got the packages!! They are awesome and it was like Christmas all over again. :)
I have been sleeping in the pjs and received a lot of compliments on the skirt. I also loved all of the pictures, it was such a fun way to end my P-Day.
This is one of my investigators and her sons, they are golden and are set for a March baptism (after the big holiday here next month, it is like the Mongolian Christmas)

So these are moments where I am completely with my Mongolian counterparts (and one baptism of a sister in my earlier ward and I am so happy to have been able to attend).
I think that I am looking more Mongolian by the day. :)

So the other day it was -6 F, but the wind dropped the degree to -40F and it was so cold. Hahahahaha, I was holding a pop in my hand and if any of it splashed against the walls of the bottle, it almost instantly froze. Seriously, the pop was freezing and turning into ice in my hands. Then to get to the ger, we walked straight into the wind. It was so cold getting there, but in the gers was so toasty and warm. We defrosted, had a great lesson, then braved the elements again.
It was such a fun day. they built this igloo out of frozed ice chunks

Random moments. Me changing the light bulbs, walking around outside, loving Mongolia. Also, look at the frost that forms on the windows


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