"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called to declare his word among his people that they might have eternal life." 3 Nephi 5:13
This morning, I woke up and the moment that I opened my eyes, I felt like a ton of bricks fell on me. This is my final full-week as a fully set-apart missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After this week, I will then go home and I am excited about the upcoming trip home and I am looking forward to hugging my mom and dad, all of my sister and brothers, loving on all of those little nephews and nieces, and meeting little Charlotte for the first time in my life. I can't wait to walk into the door and really full-on tackle Lucy because she is the one that really has no idea that I am coming--dogs really just can't talk. That's okay, though, one of my pet-peeves, talking animals. I just don't like the idea.
I digress. Today, I want to talk about the miracle that has been my life for the last 18 months. There is power when your sole purpose is to go about just trying to do your best to help the people around you; you are always one step away from being completely worn-out and exhausted, but you are also excited to leave your house the next morning. You do not want to NOT go out and try to help someone, even if every time you open your mouth to try to talk, they become confused--Mongolian is a beautiful and difficult language that I am determined and WILL MASTER one day. I will become completely fluent if it is the last thing I do, so that means a life long journey of language study. That is also besides the point, what I am talking about is joy in service.
Growing up, my parents were very intent on getting their daughters out of the house every Saturday and out doing service with the other Young Men and Young Women of the Denver 3rd ward. It was mornings of pulling weeds, raking, hosting car washes, more weeds to be pulled, more yards to be worked on, and we never were told that we could just sit-out of a service project. If anything, we were always the first ones on the scene because my parents liked to be prompt. I can see the long-term good benefits that this as given me throughout my life. Before my mission every Saturday morning, I would be the one trying to help install ceiling fans, paint room after room after room, moving people, building things, helping in any small way that I could. I was able to use my tools, my hands, and a willing heart to help.
Now as a missionary, it is just a given. With every appointment, I sincerely ask, 'is there anything that you need help with?' and every missionary really means it. How can we help you? How may we serve you? It is our pleasure and our purpose. This week, I do not have a lot of opportunities to serve through service projects, but I get to go and say good-bye to all of these good people that I have come to love with my full heart. I would do anything that they asked me to do if it would help them have a happier day because that helps me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose and I cannot help but smile at the thought. I am planning on taking a trip out on Saturday to visit an Emme that has been bed-ridden since last Spring and I am going to bring her some banana muffins that she really loves but cannot make because she does not have an oven. I am going to surprise a different lady that I have not seen in 7 months who has not been going to church and i want to let her know that she has not been forgotten, but we still care about her.
It is through being a missionary that I have really come to understand how to give and give and give. The more that you give, the easier it becomes to continue to serve because you do not have a personal agenda, you just want to help others have an easier life. I am making plans of how to keep serving, but I am so grateful for this opportunity. Submitting that missionary application really has become the best decision that I have ever made in my entire life and I am going to serve those around me until that very second that I board the plane to come home (I am traveling completely alone), but I will be nice to the people around me, make conversation, ask about their life, and give service through listening. Then I am coming home and I cannot wait to start helping all over again.
I want to end by just quoting one amazing Primary song:
Give said the little stream,
Give oh give, give oh give.
Give said the little stream
as it hurried down the hill.
I am small I know but wherever I go the grass grows greener still.
I love you all very much and will be seeing you in a very short time.
Sister Jessica Olsen
Mongolia is beautiful.
This has been my final baptism as a missionary baix aa. His name is Altangerel and he is 9 years old, he is such a cute little guy who goes to church with his grandma almost every week and just needed the lessons in order to qualify. Teaching him became one of the most humbling experiences of my life and I am very grateful to be able to be his missionary.
This was our Saturday District meeting and we teamed together with the Elders in our ward: they made an apple pie and we would bring the ice cream. Oh man, we also had our meeting outside, it tasted like happiness and America. I swear, I have the best ending District in the entire world and all of the Elders are so completely sassy. Really, the things that they say are hilarious.
This is my ward parting 'gangster' picture and Bilguun! I didn't think that I would ever see him again, but he came for one day before going out to the countryside for a summer vacation. I love this kid and here are some pictures of my home and of church.
Mongolia is so seriously BEAUTIFUL.
HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHA, so do you see how wonderful and graceful my companion is jumping over this stream? So behind the streams were yaks and everyone was getting there faster than me and for some reason, I ended up with 3 cameras in my hands. So I wanted to go to closer too, and that stream is straight grossness of nasty run-off of terribleness that you have to get over, so I tried to be like her and jump over. However, I counted down and started running to get over it, and I FORGOT TO JUMP. Hahahaha, seriously, I had the intent to jump and just ran right through it instead.
Who does that? Don't worry, no amputation was necessary, but I did shuud shower the second that I got home. I felt like a fungus was growing on me feet all day because of it. So gross. But the yaks were beautiful, those hairy little cows.
I love hiking so much! And climbing trees--there was an ant on that tree that was the size of my pinky-ish. That might be an over-exaggeration, but not really. It was huge~
Here is proof, everything is in the bag. Also, all of my planner covers. I started this really cool project where I am cutting out all of my favorite moments/days and putting it in a different notebook to make a memory collection, of sorts.
I am working on my final planner right now and it is so cool, but here are all of the covers.