Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Make Goodness your Priority

Dear family and friends,

So, time, it literally is just flying by and nothing really stays the same, but we are children endowed with a great power and we can make amazing things happen. It is all about making a vision of what you want to accomplish, then be uncompromising in your pursuit of that dream, but you must stay strong to who you are. In this pursuit, you must remember to seek after goodness--doing good, being good, thinking good--and all things will work out. That is our promise, whether right away or later, it will work out. 

"Search diligentlypray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good." D&C 90:24

So I have 7 weeks left being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I want to end as strong as ever, becoming the best missionary possible, then going home and morphing that transformation into just being a good member. I was reading in Helaman 12 today how Samuel received the message and it filled him with joy, and that same experience can be felt in our lives every single say. My companion and I set some hard goals this week is pursuit of excellence and I think that it is kind of funny. That morning, I had this thought go through my head of how I should read PMG (Preach My Gospel, the missionary handbook of sorts) one more time, but I thought, 'no, I am almost done, I don't need to.' Then, that night, my companion and I were talking about setting hard goals and she is going to challenge herself to translate thoughts so that she can more readily teach (this is very difficult still), then it hit me. I learn best through reading something over and over again. So it came naturally that I need to read PMG once more before my mission ends in Mongolian, but I cannot just skip the hard words. Every time I come across something that I don't recognize, I highlight it and then look it up. Oh my heck, it is working.

I started this goal on about Thursday or Friday of last week, then by Sunday, I could feel my understanding increasing. Then while I sat their in Church, I felt so overwhelmed by my love of my ward. I LOVE SUKHBAATAR! I love the members. I love the kids. They help each other and my ward is in a part of town with a lot of young families, as well as a lot of older members, and everyone just helps with the kids. Families all sit mixed together and it is amazing. During Sacrament, one mother had a 3 year old who was going a little crazy with the jitters and her husband was on the stand giving a talk, so she came and sat by us. I always keep some small paper and coloring pencils with me on Sunday, so we were able to help distract him with coloring for a few minutes. Afterwards, when he couldn't be contained any longer and took off running, I was struck by how amazing it was that in a moment of need, this mother trusted us enough to allow us to help keep her son under control. As missionaries, one of your largest goals is to serve the people. On Sunday, I served with my full heart.

Then, in Mongolia it is very unusual to have a dinner calendar, but my ward has started to try to feed the missionaries. By the end of the meeting block, our calendar was filled for every single day of the week. Again, this is very unusual, but they really like us too! Oh man, next week will be my last transfer call and it is 50% chance that I will stay or go somewhere else for my last transfer, but if I stay, I know that I will be happy. If I end up moving, well, for one of the first times in my mission, I am ready to serve anywhere with anyone without any conditions. I am done trying to control things that I have no control over. All things will work out and I feel like it is just an amazing adventure and opportunity.

I feel like Elder Holland, but all we need to do is keep trying. We need to keep believing. We need to keep hoping and praying for help. Above all, we need to just know what is good and go after it with all of your heart. So even if things seem to be coming to an end, it is not. It is just the beginning of a new and wonderful chapter in life.
So these are some of the little goobs in my ward that have each stolen pieces of my heart, the Sutphins who are concluding their mission this week (tomorrow!), and Enkhjin. I love this family.


Hanging out with the STL's (and my fellow MTC sisters) and my companion and I had the MOST DELICIOUS treat in the entire world. It was ice cream, shaved ice, and a whole lot of flavor.

 So there was this crazy dust storm that happened last week and it was so yellow outside. Then my companion and I were walking around outside, and saw these lovely little cars deciding to go swimming. 

I love Mongolia.

So Sunday I just couldn't stop eating. All night. But I have one awesome companion and we had one great movie night with face masks, popcorn, and frozen oranges. That last one was actually really delicious!

Can you see the difference?

Changes are in the air! The Mission office is getting remodeled (or having one awesome new fort look) and trees are starting to be planted outside.

It is a great place to be in Spring

So there are times that I forget what number I was on when I sent the pictures. So this is the last one, but I think it is 4.

Anyways, here are Sister Hansen and I making the best of our English assignment. We have officially changed our English Speaking Class into an English Reading Class. Oh my heck, and I found Harry Potter in Mongolian!!!!!!! I tried to buy it from the school, but they said no. I am now off to search through every used book set-up/tent until I can find it. 

I will take a picture of our students next week.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

*cough cough* I've Got the Black Lung

Dear family and friends,

Can you believe it, I am sick again. If you are keeping track, that is the 3rd time in the last 6 weeks, so every other week I am coming down with something now, I don't even know why. I am eating vitamins, my companion makes a green smoothie (full of spinach, kiwi, apples, and seabuck thorn) every morning, I have discovered the secret to sleeping (oh my heck, music! I just turn on my iPod on low and it just plays for about 3 hours and I am usually out within 20 minutes of laying down now), and I am really happy in my companionship, but my body is breaking. Why yom be?? It has been a very slow and kind of funny decline, though.

So on Tuesday, it was a slightly windy day and I spent the morning with my companion and MTC district taking some really awesome Mongolian Traditional and nontraditional pictures pictures in deels, then we went out into the beautiful world of Mongolia and took pictures by all of the random statues that we walked by with Sis. Bottorff. It was so much fun! In the Mongolian clothes, I felt like Queen Amadala and Star Wars really made a great choice by choosing these outfits to use. Then, it is just fun to walk around and just enjoy life with those that you love. I don't think that I have walked as much as I do now with my current companion than any other time in my mission. It is great!

However, the next day, I was walking around outside again with my companion and it was another lovely Spring morning, but I couldn't seem to control my body temperature at all, I would break out into a little bit of a sweat when we were in the sun, then in the shade, my hands would become so cold that they felt like they went numb. At the time, I thought that I was just being over-dramatic because my companion was completely fine and wasn't having any problems with the weather. With all of the crazy changes, I felt like something not good was starting to grown in my body, so I started to occasionally take some medicine. Like a Dayquil to start off my morning.

Friday was okay.

Saturday, that night things started to go more downhill. However, I had so much fun because we did an early Easter celebration with Sis. Mason and Sarangya--oh man, she was in the last ward that I served in as a ward missionary and I just love the girl. She ate peeps for the first time, we made a Paazookie (a big cookie that you put ice cream on right out of the oven), and some delicious chick tsoibin. It was a lot of fun and totally worth waiting until the very end of the night to have dinner, but I think that I might have talked just a little too much that night. My throat was sore, but I just kept chatting away without a care in the world.

Then bright Sunday Easter morning, I woke up without a voice. It was completely gone and life is hard as a missionary when you cannot talk on a Sunday in church. It was really funny because I would be able to quietly whisper and every time I did, the person that I spoke to just naturally started to whisper back to me. It was like a day of secrets. We had to cancel our appointments and then my companion and I spent the after noon doing a very quite study, she made a DELICIOUS Easter dinner of chicken nuggets, and then after I tried to sleep off the sickness, she killed me in Canasta. Like without mercy. I think that I am getting better at the game, though, and by the time this mission is over, I will be an expert with her help. 

Last night, though, was the hard night of not sleeping, only coughing. Over and over again. Coughing. Coughing. Coughing. I am doing good, and so long as I don't talk too much, I don't cough. Also, I am full of so much medicine right not, I am feeling great about life. I am pretty sure that it could have been worse, but it is okay, because I know that I am doing everything I can to stay healthy and eventually my body will catch up. On a good side, my English class went really well yesterday and I think it is because the kids felt bad about me having to try to talk to them in a wobbly voice.

See, there is always a blessing to be found. I love those silver linings.

Have a great and healthy week!

Sister Jessica Olsen

Here are some of the last pics in our clothes. Aren't they just so precious?

Oh the shinanignas that you can get into while taking pictures outside

I love my companion!!

By the way, Happy Easter!! Here was our early Easter Dinner and then the very-end-of-the-night Easter picture. Hahaha, just in case you are curious, no, I couldn't really talk in the last one. I sounded like a 90 year old man who had just finished running a race and was completely out of breath,

So this is the end of P day last week. At the very end of the night, we went out and heart attacked one of the sisters, and they figured out it was us. We came home the next night and had been 'attacked' as well.

I don't understand, we were being so sneaky, too!

Making pizza yesterday and enjoying the fact that Mongolia is becoming BEAUTIFUL again


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I love this week!

Dear family and friends,

General Conference! Zone Conference! I love my life and it is always so much fun when the missionaries get together, this week has been so great.

I almost just want to do a breakdown of all of the fun things!

It was P-day! We still had to teach the teachers that morning, which allowed us the opportunity to go to the Traveling Circus!!! Oh my gosh, it was so much fun and it turned out that it was the Mongolian traveling circus which goes all over the country. We had upfront seats and it was great!!!! The only thing was that there was this really cool act with horses and while we were at the very front, it was also shedding season, so there was horse hair everywhere! If you had allergies, it would have been your worst nightmare, but luckily, it was fine. My companion and I got pictures outside by the horses, then afterwards, we went on the stage and got pictures by a lot of the performers.

Oh, we also started everything out by going to Hard Rock Cafe! Since we went in the middle of the day, we were one of the only ones in the restaurant and they turned on the big screen for us. For the 3rd time in my entire mission, I have heard a country song and I felt like my heart melted just a little. The food was AMAZING and ridiculously expensive, so I have decided that I will go once more. That will be one of the last places that I eat at while here. Quality food always hearts the wallet just a little.


ZONE CONFERENCE! Oh man, these are just great. Sis. Harper even made chicken salad sandwiches on croissants--I have not had croissants since before my mission, I almost cried of happiness. There were some powerful lessons taught and we were given the challenge to be as obedient as possible. I love these.

Friday - A good normal day of teaching English, followed by having to do Big Plan and figure out next week. When I started my mission, I felt like it was just a big waste of time, but as I have moved forward in my mission, I have realized how vital they are. You need to be on the same page as your companion for how time is spent, the lessons that you share, and just goals you are working towards; when you don't take the time to plan, it is really hard to be successful. You definitely will not be united without it. Hahahahah, I am planning on doing these when I have my own little family someday.


GENERAL CONFERENCE and WOMAN'S CONFERENCE! Talk about pure happiness. All of the missionaries in the city came together, and get this, my ENTIRE MTC group is finally here in Mongolia. It was such a happy time and the first time that we were able to actually see each other. Sis. Harper made her ice cream and Sis. Sutphin made Apple Cobbler. Oh my heck, these woman are magical and have found ways to make food that you cannot get here. Blessings!


GENERAL CONFERENCE AGAIN! And the fun keeps going. This day was especially fun because we all brought food for a pot luck so everyone was able to eat together and just enjoy the company. My mission has some very firm rules regarding Sisters and Elders not mingling for social occasions, so it is only during conferences that we spend time all together. After conference, my companion went out and met with a few investigators.


A day of English, but I also met with my New Members who were jut baptized. We taught the lesson by having them put on the missionary badges and teach us the Plan of Salvation. It was so cute! They had prepared and practiced on Sunday so that they were prepared to teach us. Then, as I pulled out badges for them to wear, they went and grabbed their parents' badges--both the mom and dad. It was precious and I felt the spirit so strongly--their family is an example of the happiness that can be brought into a family and a uniting force as they come back to church together. I love them so much.'


I am hanging out with my MTC sisters and we are going to run around town just taking pictures all day. Mongolia has warmed up to the point that it is fun to spend large amounts of time together.

So I know today's letter just has a lot of information (and not much else), but I loved this week so much!!! 

I love you all,

Sister Jessica Olsen

Hahahhaha, so Hard Rock wins the race for pics with this letter. Seriously, this apple cobbler almost made me cry with happiness because it was so good. :)

Oh man, this was so much fun and look at those seats! My camera died, so I couldn't get the ending pictures, but Sis. Hansen is having it sent to her Facebook, to be sent to me later.


My goal is going strong with finding and taking a picture with all the statues I can find--there are a ton here and today we are going to get so many more. 

Look who dressed to match! This is my favorite thing in the entire world, when I accidentally end up looking like Sis. Bottorff. :)

I just want to say right now, I really do believe that I have one of the greatest groups that ever came to Mongolia. I feel so lucky in that we all get along so well--but I am also a little biased.

Also, a picture of me talking to the Doctor and him trying to convince me that I am not going to die. I had a cut on my finger (that looked very iffy) and I was trying to talk him into amputating it off. Don't worry, he said no.

Look at all of these wonderful people! The two little girls are the daughter of one of our investigators and they are all learning really well right now--we came over as they were heading out to get water, so we decided to help. 

Then are little new members from last night. If you look closely, two of the badges belong to when their parents served from about 15 years ago.