3 Nephi 5:13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Become Like a Child

HEY THERE!!! Sorry for that cliff hanger last week, my email went a little weird and cut off the rest of it. But I forgot to mention that last week I went to Macedonia!!! So that's where all the pictures came from :) Also for a major blessing this week: A FAMILY WAS BAPTIZED!!! One of the member's family after a year finally got baptized AND this member is SO CLOSE to heading on her mission! I just teared up watching her family one by one get into the waters of baptism and become one step closer to an eternal family. It was absolutely beautiful!!


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. When Albanians go our for ANYTHING-for example, out to pizza for a member's birthday, they get SO DOLLED UP! It's impressive actually. You wonder why their weddings have got to be so decked out. You saw a little glimpse of that with me when I had a little makeover in Kosovo....

2. I'm getting SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS! It's not much of a thing here but I started to decorate our apartment and put up some Christmas lights my mom had sent me in the MTC. Let's just say, that the voltage doesn't match. After about 10 minutes they all blew out haha I was wondering why the lights were abnormally bright...No explosions, all is well-ha! :)

3. Just an update on the weather: It is rainy and cold. It has been raining a ton this week and it gets super dark here. It's beautiful here though!!


So I have got to tell you about the miracle grandson of one of our investigators. First off-we have another baptism THIS Saturday with this woman and her grandson. I need to tell you some stories of these incredible people. The woman we meet with her at her cafe and after fasting this last Sunday, she has not smoked SINCE! She smoked A TON before meeting us but through reading the Book of Mormon, and fasting to have more strength from the Savior, she gave it up! It is so sweet to see her grandson be like, "Grandma! You're not smoking anymore!" She then proceeds to share, "I don't do that anymore." She is incredible. So now her grandson is going to join her. They read together everyday from the Book of Mormon and in one week he's about finished the children's explanation of the Book of Mormon (he's little) He's already sharing his desire to go on a mission! Oh my goodness-the influence of a child is INCREDIBLE. They are so innocent and are so in tune with the Spirit. The woman invites literally everyone who comes to her cafe to church and kicks people out whenever she meets with us. She's always like, "I've got some business to do!" haha She also immediately when learning about the Sabbath Day was like, "I'm closing down my shop on Sundays and will be with my family." Her faith is absolutely incredible and I just learn from her each and everyday. I honestly love these people so much.


I want to share a tender experience I had. We were in a difficult situation and I came across this scripture that just impacted me.


3 Nephi 9:22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

I have seen how important it is for us to humble ourselves like a child. I have seen it that children get it! They don't overthink, they truly are so close to God. We had an experience asking a little boy, "Do you want to be with your father forever?" and with an immediate "Yes!" The Spirit just filled the room! It was a feeling of sweet peace :) I have seen with that other little boy getting baptized this week, he immediately read the Book of Mormon, he immediately acted, and truly was so humble to do what the Lord asks. We have another woman we are teaching and her little boy randomly in the middle of the lessons yells out "Everyone quiet! I need to pray!" When I look at this, I think how submissive am I? How immediate am I in being obedient and would drop down to my knees to pray whenever? I have seen that I have been learning so much doing the little things and it truly strengthens us. It is when we kneel down in humble prayer, accepting the will of God, that we can become as a child and have the power of Christ's Atonement in our lives. I can testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


I love you all! Hug your little children and hold them for me because I can't for some time :) LOVE YOU!!!!!

What a cute family :) We had it at the local hotel pool.



Me and a member from Korcë! I love her :)


The first memebr I met when I entered into the field in Korcë!! I got to see her again :)


​Me and my girl :)


-- 

Mirupafshim! Të dua!

Motra Olsen


Letters:

Adriatic South Mission

Sister Natalie Olsen

POB 2984

Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"

Qendra "Alpas", Shkalla #5, Apt #14

Tirana

Albania


(If you can't send it with the POB box number, you can just send it without it. I'll still get it)

Email: natalie.olsen@myldsmail.net


mormon.org


​And for a bonus..... :)



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gëzuar Hallouin!...ose Dita e të Vdekurve?

WOW!!! Lots have happened this last week! One thing being that I swear I have perfume in my blood now!! I'll explain a little more later :) Also HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Or Happy Day of the Dead! I celebrated a little more of that one. No it's not a thing in Albania...I just have a Mexican companion :)


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. Apparently I spoke in my sleep. That's not the shocker though....the shocker is that my companion told me I spoke in ALBANIAN!!! WOOOO! Still have yet to dream in Albanian but I'm on my way!

2. This last Tuesday was Halloween! It's kind of a thing here in Albania....it's more of just a random kids in masks screaming through the streets haha that's about it. HOWEVER a NEW culture shock was that I was able to celebrate Day of the Dead with my companion so we made and decorated candy skulls and even made a Pinata for Family Home Evening! No it has nothing to do with Day of the Dead....we just wanted an excuse to make a pinata :)

3. The Albanians are TALENTED with their knitting!! Here's a little something that one of our investigators knit for me :)


Now for the miracles of the week!! Wow I don't even know what happened but we truly have been blessed with all of these incredible people here in Pogradec! Two people we were able to meet with this last week one called US! The other we met passing by the perfume shop she works at. The first one I apparently met 2 months ago and she called us from a pass along card and the other one, we were walking through the vacant streets of Pogradec late at night after all of our lessons fell through just looking for something breathing when we passed by all of these shops and passed by the perfume shop. We decided to turn around and approached her and she was like, "I was hoping you'd turn back! I've always wanted to learn about Christ!" We then now have been teaching her at work and she doesn't have us leave without COATING us in heaps of perfume. I probably sweat perfume now haha but hey-always smelling good :) haha


Funny quote from someone we are teaching (the one that kicks EVERYONE out of her cafe so she can go to church) after church we went to visit her and she was like, "I was like counting down the minutes until I could go to church" (do we ever do that?) She then said, "I was so happy I just felt like I was at a party!" She went on about HOW happy she felt in church! A joy unlike any other that she's ever felt! She's now preparing for BAPTISM! I am so excited for her!!


I just want to share a little something that has come to change my perspective of everything! THANKS to my wonderful family, they sent me a gratitude journal that I have come to use every day. I gotta tell you-on the worst of days they were the BEST of days! I still found SO MUCH to be thankful for! I swear things are so much brighter as I just look to extend that thank you for something so little and for the little things I am SO THANKFUL for! Gratitude truly is a light in the darkness! I was listening to a talk from President Monson in having an attitude of gratitude. Do you know how much better life is to just be grateful for the little things around us? And do you know how we develop this attitude of gratitude? I suggest to start a gratitude journal. To start off, I am so grateful for my family. SO grateful! I am so grateful for this GOSPEL! I am so grateful to be a missionary. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else in the world at this time. I am then am so grateful that I have this time to then prepare for my future family. I am especially grateful for my Savior and how He continues to change my life and the lives of those around me. I challenge you everyday of this Thanksgiving month to share with others that you are grateful for them.

Love,

Motra Olsen


Monday, October 30, 2017

Besim :)

Hey everyone!! Happy Halloween this week!!! I have no idea how much Halloween is a thing here but I'll let you know next week! haha


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. NO PICTURES!! I'm sorry haha I honestly don't even no what happened this week haha

2. You have no idea how many APPLES we are given. Every time we meet with someone or are even rejected in the street, we are given an apple. I don't even know what to do with them!

3. Whenever we meet with the older ladies here, we always sit down for tea. I feel like I'm in Europe or something :)


So this week, I am just in awe at how incredible the people are here and how miraculous their faith is. This week I wanted to share a lot of stories from the people:

There is an incredibly strong member here and we had a little Relief Society Activity watching 17 Miracles with the women about the Pioneers traveling across the plains. Lets just say that a lot of them didn't like it....there were a lot of tears HOWEVER I wanted to share some quotes from this member: "After seeing all those pioneers suffering through the winter, I'm embarrassed when I think 'Oh it's too cold to go to church'" She also was like, "Well, what's the prophet asking us to do today? What can we do?" We were able to let her know, no, we are not walking across the plains and all trekking like the pioneers. She'd be willing though if that were the case!

There is a miracle lady here who just this week went from drinking and smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day down to just 2 cigarettes! Do you want to know what's helped her? THE BOOK OF MORMON! That's honestly my favorite book. It has POWER! It truly is the Word of God!

We were meeting with a recently baptized member. He truly is such a humble man and he was like, "If you gave me a choice between a massive case of money and the Book of Mormon, I wouldn't take the money. The Book of Mormon is priceless. It means everything to me."

The faith of young children is incredible! We were in a lesson with this lady and her son and right in the middle of the lesson he was like, "Everyone be quiet! I need to say a prayer" He then proceeded to pray! What a stud!

A member got a job on the weekend and he got iron in his eye. He immediately was able to get it taken care and had a patch on his eye. When his wife asked him if they were going to church the next day, he then said, "I've got my other eye right?" WHAT A GUY! I then about cried as I saw him walking in the church with his sunglasses, his eye patch, and a smile on his face.

These people truly inspire me! They are INCREDIBLE! I just look at what they go through and it just pains me! HOWEVER their faith is strong! Their joy is full because of Jesus Christ and His gospel! How incredible is that! I just wanted to share of the exceeding joy I felt yesterday as EVERY SEAT in our Sacrament room was FILLED! We couldn't fit another person! We had 27 people there in church and it was truly a miracle! I love this gospel! I truly want to testify of the strength and goodness of the Lord.


Alma 26: 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

All of these miracles, all of these things are not my doing. Ever. I just see the strength and the goodness of God as the lives of these people change and are filled with pure joy. I will boast of my God. I truly am nothing, but the Lord has allowed me to partake in His joy of His sheep being brought again unto Him. I am just so thankful for Him. I don't really know what else to express. I just plead that we all come unto Him so He can heal us. His words are truly in the Book of Mormon and His warmth is found in our prayers to our Father in Heaven. He truly hears us and loves us. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Hey-challenge for you this week: READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! Everyday! You won't regret it :) Also read this talk from President Nelson on the power of the Book of Mormon!

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-book-of-mormon-what-would-your-life-be-like-without-it?lang=eng

THIS LOOKS LIKE POGRADEC! Hands down, it IS my favorite picture :)​

-- 

Mirupafshim! Të dua!

Motra Olsen


Letters:

Adriatic South Mission

Sister Natalie Olsen

POB 2984

Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"

Qendra "Alpas", Shkalla #5, Apt #14

Tirana

Albania


(If you can't send it with the POB box number, you can just send it without it. I'll still get it)

Email: natalie.olsen@myldsmail.net


mormon.org

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Një Vitë!! ONE YEAR!!

I officially have hit my YEAR MARK!! WHAT?! No I didn't burn any shirts or anything...but I managed to burn a pumpkin haha but this last week was a special one! We had one of the families we are teaching get BAPTIZED!!! We now have the first family baptized in Pogradec!! This city truly is a special place!


I'm going to spice some things up a bit haha

12 Things I've Learned This Past Year:

1. Kindness is service

2. You don't need measuring cups to cook. Just eye it, sample it, and all works out! I've learned from the best here-and that is EVERY Albanian!

3. Patience requires a lot more than just waiting...it requires faith that things will work out, hope, and a lot of love. 

4. It's a LOT easier to choose happiness. While I can go through the same things everyday-street contact, tract, study, eat, and repeat-It's a BLAST everyday when you choose it to be :)

5. If I never know what to do; If I'm placed with a lot of responsibility-or pretty much all of it because we basically need to run everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, here in Albania, I am NOT doing it alone. I have a Father in Heaven that I can turn to IMMEDIATELY in prayer!

6. The Scriptures are the GREATEST THINGS ON THE PLANET! Man they are so awesome! It's also fun to read the Book of Mormon in English and then the Pearl of Great Price in Albanian-ha! I'm trying to get any study in that I can it's like CAKE!

7. Speaking of cake-You can't have dessert here without it being drenched in sugar water. Don't get me wrong-it's good. Another note-don't plan on going on any healthy diet here you'll just get 5 plates of byrek and salad drenched in olive oil. Welcome to Albania :) Or more-the life of a missionary haha

8. I never understood how much I could love an ENTIRE people! I love the Albanian people! It's truly a love I can't express into words. Just that I can only imagine just slightly, the immense love that our Father in Heaven has for us!

9. Speaking of these people-they just GIVE! They have taught me so much! That includes not to compliment or they'll give you all that they have ;) haha and to truly give more of myself to others.

10. The importance of family. Oh my goodness-I cannot even begin to explain! These people are CENTERED on the family here and there is such a special Spirit in the air to see so many walking with their families and so many weddings blasting through the streets. Family is such a focus that every goodbye given to me is, "Hope you find a great husband!" or "May you have 10 kids" I'm just like-woah. I've got time haha but I have truly seen that the family IS ordained of God! The couple that was baptized this last weekend were united with their 2 children who have been baptized within this last year. They are now all preparing to go to the temple. When we end lessons with this family, we all kneel in family prayer and it is so precious! The family is SO IMPORTANT! It truly IS the plan of God! His plan is not just that WE return back to Him, but that our FAMILIES do! Anything Pro-Family is Pro-Christ. I can testify of that! Christ suffered so that we can be together with our families forever :)

11. God LOVES His children! He loves you! I cannot tell you how many times the Lord has placed someone in my path so that I can reach out to them or to send me an idea how to serve someone. I'm just thankful that I have the opportunity to serve. He's the one sending the messages thinking of EVERY little detail to help each and every one of us.

12. To serve God, to find happiness, we just need to be WILLING to follow Him. THEN He will qualify us. I do not have the training, the background knowledge, or the skill to council families, to help people find jobs, to teach foreigners English, to teach the gospel in a foreign language and ALBANIAN at that too, to know the needs of these people, to be the source of resolving conflicts, to run meetings and activities, to be the chef in all of the refreshments required for activities, and so many other things. The good thing is-I don't have to! But someone does-and that is Christ. If I am just WILLING to serve Him. If I am willing to do all these things-if I have faith in Him then He will qualify me. He will make that happen. Faith truly is so powerful! I am some foreign, 20 year old girl trying to take care of so many here and what do I know about their struggles? What do I know about their sufferings? While I don't know, someone does. As long as I look to Christ, obey Him, and have faith in Him, He can, and has turned me into someone capable of doing so much I definitely have lacked the faith in myself doing. Luckily, I just need faith in Him, then miracles are brought about. Then through losing myself and trusting HIM-I find myself.


I just want to share with you how thankful I am to serve on this mission. Oh yeah is this the hardest thing I've ever done? You got that right. But I have seen so much change and my eyes have been OPENED in this last year than any other time in my life. My mission is changing my life for good and will continue to change my life. However, it's not the mission that's changing me, it's Christ. I love you all. I can testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


BONUS! Culture Shocks of the Week:

I knew I had to do it :)

1. CHESNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE! It's a thing here in Albania! I actually had it with a family for my birthday and wow are they good! haha now I can only think of Christmas. Who am I kidding-I've been thinking about Christmas since July :)

2. Canned pumpkin doesn't exist here-or really anything canned so do you know what that means? You got that right-I chopped, boiled, scooped, and mashed my OWN pumpkin! Now I got a hunk-a-ton of pumpkin so looks like it's going to be pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cake, and pumpkin byrek of course for a week!

3. I feel like all my culture shocks are turning into food. Obviously it's a problem for me haha BUT it's JAM season so I've had juices and jams I didn't know could be juices and jams. While the fresh fruits are all out in the summer, winter brings on jams and juices and people keep GIVING them to us! Ahh! I currently have cherry jam, apple jam, and quince jam (yes, a fruit here in ALbania) in my fridge.


LOVE YOU ALL!!! Have a wonderful week!

I mashed this pumpkin!!!

I am proud of my pumpkin :)

My burnt pumpkin haha

I LOVE THEM!! They make me so happy!

The whole group at the baptism :)

Look at this eternal family! Aren't they so cute? Yes the son baptized his mom :)

Went to a little museum here in Pogradec :)

Crepes :) My favorite food on the planet!


-- 

Mirupafshim! Të dua!

Motra Olsen


Letters:

Adriatic South Mission

Sister Natalie Olsen

POB 2984

Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"

Qendra "Alpas", Shkalla #5, Apt #14

Tirana

Albania


(If you can't send it with the POB box number, you can just send it without it. I'll still get it)

Email: natalie.olsen@myldsmail.net


mormon.org