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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pranvera!!! (SPRING!)

:) Don't really know how to start this one haha BUT just know I love you!

Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. In a lesson, the minute I said-"We should pray" THE PRAYER CALL WENT OFF!!!! YES!!!
2. People don't really die their eggs here for Easter, they spray paint them so when we were cracking open an egg to eat, someone was like "Don't eat it-it's toxic!" haha
3. I really gotta stop telling people I'm a singer because they then proceed to ask if they can get a picture with me and if they can film me singing.....it's happened multiple times now and Motra Ahlstrom is like-"She's not famous!" hahaha

Really this week was a successful week!! We actually got to meet and teach so many people!-one being a woman who can't hear nor speak. She let us in and we taught her using images of Christ and even sang to bring the Spirit in the room and prayed for her. She truly felt such a peace. And then she tried to set us up with her son.....haha but it was such a special moment :)

We have also been able to meet and teach a ton of families because that's the focus of our mission right now. Families are so special and so valued here in Kosovo I love it!! We are focusing on using object lessons and visuals and have been seeing such a powerful impact in our lessons when we teach so simply that the Spirit can testify and touch their hearts. In order to understand, people must have ears to HEAR and eyes to SEE!!! That was a focus at our zone conference this last week!

Speaking of zone conference-I had my final zone conference this last Friday. It was actually so sad. In the North Zone-we only have 17 MISSIONARIES! Isn't that crazy? It's just all of the missionaries in Kosovo and Macedonia. We are the ONLY sisters in all of Kosovo :) However those conferences are so powerful. Motra Ahlstrom and I gave a training and I actually gave my departing testimony. Yeah I still have got a month but-it was so hard to give it. I wanted to share a little bit of it with you.

The only thing I really wanted to testify of was my Savior Jesus Christ. It is he who has changed me throughout my entire mission. I am so thankful to have come to know Him a little more. I hope to spend the REST of my LIFE coming to know Him. In order to know someone, we must walk in their shoes-we must speak as they speak. Do as they do. Suffer as they suffer. And desire as they desire. Love as they love. Christ has given me this this past 18 months. I have felt in my most trying of times His grace strengthen me and embrace me. I have felt SUCH LOVE for these people that I never knew I could ever have. I have felt such a desire to change, to become more like Him, and I have found that it's not the mission that has changed me-it's Christ.

Isaiah 53:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
¶ Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
I cannot think of how many times I've messed up, I've maybe thought "Can I go any longer" and have let my Brother down. However, through the struggles and overcoming them, He has shaped me. He has taken my sorrows, my grief, my iniquities, and my struggles upon HIM. I hope to continue to gather His sheep until the end. I am so thankful to represent my Savior, Jesus Christ here in Kosovo and I hope to truly come to know Him for the rest of my life. I know He lives. He has been there for me and He will be there for you if you come unto Him. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love you all so so much!! I hope you have such a wonderful week!  

KUQ E ZI!!! (Red and Black) We were dressed up like the Albanian flag today :) I love Albania!


Gjakova :)

Me and Motra Ahlstrom's Easter basket with my FAVORITE European candies! Kinder eggs, RAFFAELLO! And Bounty Bars :)

Motra Ahlstrom and me.

Soggy cookies and toxic eggs. I love it :)

SUNDAY DRESS!!!! We watched conference on Sunday! It was awesome!




We went hiking through the woods today!! It was GORGEOUS!!! I miss my trees :)



-- 
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)


Monday, April 2, 2018

Gjithnjë Pranë (Always There)

Gëzuar Pashket! Honestly this week has been crazy. We have been traveling a lot for conferences and a baptism. I don't really know where to begin. It's been an emotional but strengthening week! Christ TRULY is there.

Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. I live in a SPOOKYTOWN! Hopefully there gets some leaves on some trees here because it's just crows, dead trees, moaning mosques, and dark skies haha
2. I pass about 3 mosques walking to church :)
3. Kosovo is very different than Albania in regards to their activity in their religious practices. By that I mean....it is more active here. It's awesome though because I'm learning so much! Read about the Islamic article in the April Liahona it's SO AWESOME!!!

So this last week we had MLC (Missionary Leadership training) in Tirana and it was the coolest thing because we are really pushing to be a very Christ-Centered mission as we as a mission are studying all the topics on Christ in the Topical Guide. We had a special moment where we all shared what we have learned about Christ and I just teared up. I never thought I could grow so much closer to my Savior before but now I just tear up even thinking of Him. He is my Brother. I just think of those moments when I am in such emotional pain and I just cry out to my Heavenly Father and literally feel an embrace from my Savior. I am so thankful for Him and I hope to continue to do all I can for Him as I serve Him here in Kosovo.

General Conference was this last weekend! I only got to listen to half of it-both the morning sessions!-at night! haha I'll be able to listen to the others this week but I had the talk from President Oaks on "Small and Simple Things" that has impacted me so much. I had a very special moment that has impacted me this last week. We were meeting with this family and sharing with them about the Easter message. It was a beautiful moment to share about Christ but I noticed that their little boy was sitting there whimpering because he cut his finger. After we finished the prayer I just thought-what am I doing? I am teaching about Christ but have I thought to be like Him? I just scooped him into an embrace and began to sing to him until he was at peace and no longer whimpering. It was powerful! I kissed his finger and said, "This is how we heal" and was impacted as I felt the Spirit hit me telling me "This is how Christ heals". From that moment, that family actually came to church on Sunday. We all walked together. It was that moment of love that impacted them. I realized how much more powerful our example is sometimes than our words. I was impacted by the small act, the small and simple things, that bring about great things.

(Book of Mormon) Alma 37:6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

Another powerful moment from this week was that we went to go and see a baptism in Prishtina. I got to participate in the musical number for this girl on the piano while an Elder played the violin. She is incredible. Her family is definitely not in support of her decision so she decided that if she were to get locked up in her room, she'd rather do it baptized than not. I admire the faith of these people so much. And why? It's all because of Christ. He truly is our Savior and our Brother. I am SO EXCITED to be a missionary this Easter season and to remember He who has done EVERYTHING for us. Sunday morning for us was really stormy but when we were in church, the storm ceased and it was just sunny. I thought of the 3 days of storm after Christ's death and then the LIGHT after His resurrection. He TRULY lives! He is RISEN! He is the reason for light and joy in our lives! I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

President Oaks Talk: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/04/media/session_4_talk_10/5761873160001?lang=eng

Check out the European Easter Initiative as well that we are sharing with everyone here. When have you found Christ there for you?

My trio girls!!

The BEST Sister Training Leaders in the mission! ;) haha From MLC! Notice my favorite person (Motra Mcguire) is an STL with me!

Our matching bracelets :)

Prishtina!



Most incredible girl! 

Super cool mosque here in Gjakova!

Me and Motra Ahlstrom! She is awesome!



​Catholic church here as well :)



-- 
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)





Monday, March 26, 2018

"Our Trio's Down to Two"-Timon

Dang it...I'm on my last transfer. We had transfer calls this last weekend meaning that my sweet companion-Motra Hysa will be leaving! She's going off and training an Albanian! (Motra Fetaj (Albana from Gjakova)) I really hope you got my reference from Lion King haha but now I'm just serving here in Gjakova still as STLs with Motra Ahlstrom!! I am excited to work here until the end! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. If you purchase something and you don't offer food to anyone, you are seen as an animal. They are all about sharing and are very proper in many things.

2. Even if it's not cold outside, if I'm seen without tights, people think I'm insane (apparently I'm going to freeze in 50 degrees haha) Also, I was crying about something in the street one day and an old lady told me, "Don't cry-you're too young"

3. There are SO MANY CROWS that literally coat the sky. We tried playing music and inviting people to our Easter concert we had on Saturday but you couldn't even hear us because the crows were THAT LOUD! And they all decided to perch right in the tree next to us haha


YEAH! We had a concert this last Saturday for Easter! We have an Easter Initiative here in the European Region with the theme as "Gjithnjë Pranë" Meaning "Always There". So we have been passing out tons of flyers and getting people to come to this concert. We actually had a good amount of people come for a major Muslim population here! We had piano (I did a piano solo!) and violin and singing and all kinds of things and presented the initiative video. It was awesome! I am so looking forward to Easter this week! We are hoping to share a lot about Christ to these people here in Gjakova this week as Easter is approaching!! 


Some really cool moments we had this week was the amount of people we met with! It was actually a major miracle to meet and teach many people. We have some potential investigators so we are excited! We are also helping teach a couple members here how to read and they are just so excited! They just want to read the Book of Mormon but they feel helpless. We are exciting and I know through the Lord and their diligence, they will learn! I am so excited!! Also we have met with a lot of the members and have spent time with all of their kids. We have a big primary here and they even participated in the concert singing "I am a Child of God". 


Funny story of the week. We have a sweet member here named Delila who shared with us her story when she tried to heal a bird. She shared "I saw a dead bird on the road and picked it up and wanted it to live. I started singing "I am a Child of God" hoping it would come alive. I then thought that Christ can heal and I am not Christ so I probably can't bring something back from the dead. And then the bird was still dead" What a sweet soul. She is the cutest thing! Her faith was there! haha


I love my Savior. He is always there. I just also love love love the song "I am a Child of God". Every child only knows one song here and that's the song. Whenever it comes on-they just belt it. Even our English Course kids know it!! It is POWERFUL! In a world here where we are not seen as children of God, it is powerful. We truly are children of God. We have a Father in Heaven that LOVES us! That pushes us, encourages us, heals us, laughs with us, cries with us. We are never along. We are His children and we have such divine potential. He wants to give us all that He has and to have us return back to Him. That is WHY He sent His son. They are ALWAYS THERE I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 


I love you all! Have a wonderful week!! Hopefully it gets warmer this week we got hit by snow!!! Again!!

Me and my sweeties :) They make me happy! They all just jumped on me!

YEAH!!! Gjakova!!!

Me and Motra Hysa! I helped train her in the beginning last year and now she's leaving me! She's going to kill it in Prishtina!

Now we're down to two: Motra Ahlstrom and me :)



THIS WAS ONLY 2 EUROS! I only eat pizza-I swear haha

We told the story of the Brother of Jared and the 16 stones and how the Lord touched the stones and they lit up (Ether 3). Then this little member ran out and got us some stones. How cute!!! It was all he could give!!

Check out my bud-Motra Olsen!

We shared when we have found Christ there. Mine says "When I left my family (this includes my immediate family and families here in my mission and past comps)

And Motra Hysa's is when her dad passed away.

Me and Eda :)

Delila and Maria :)

This is my Kosovo flag shirt! We also found a lake here! Love this home!


-- 

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

He is ALWAYS THERE.

Gëzuar Ditën e Verës! On March 14 it's Summer's Day!! It's not really celebrated at all here in Kosovo because it's more a Albanian holiday but for Motra Hysa from Vlorë, Albania, we brought Summer's Day HERE! It was also her REBIRTHDAY (Baptism Day)! So HAPPY SUMMER'S DAY!! I plan on celebrating this holiday every year!


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. In ancient times, only 2 seasons existed: summer and winter so summer's day began on March 14th and that's why they celebrate it then. Usually on March 13th, people have bonfires to burn the old and begin with the new. We didn't do that haha If you are the first one to wake up, you will have the most energy all year. Luckily I have the nightly prayer call that wakes me up at 3am....

2. On summer's day they usually dance so we had a little summer's day party with the members and their friends and danced the traditional dance-valle! Usually the cookie, ballokume, is made but we made snickerdoodles and it was a close second :) They also have spinach byrek and hide money in the byrek and whoever gets the slice that year is the lucky one. We made spinach byrek! But forgot to put in the money....

3. Finally on summer's day, they make bracelets called verore with red and white twine and you wear it until you see the first sparrow which indicates spring then hang it up on a tree. If a sparrow takes it away, then you have luck for the year! Usually the houses are lined with flowers as well and you sleep on olive branches! It's really fun and the people are definitely superstitious but it was a blast! 


So this week there were many mini miracles or what I like to call: Tender Mercies. Tender mercies are EVERYWHERE! They are the hand of the Lord in our lives. We really do a TON of tracting and finding continuously in Kosovo as we also are strengthening all our recent members here. We had many tender mercies running into some people we've taught in the past and talking with this super sweet family in their doorstep who then came right to church with us the next day and brought a FRIEND!! I also had a man about shove me down the stairs and not call me not so good names haha BUT the tender mercy was my companions being there and finding things to laugh about. I love them. We also had a bunch of people in church AND some families from our kids in English Course come to our Book of Mormon reading. The little things matter :)


A special moment this last week was yesterday, Motra Hysa and I were asked to give talks in church. We were informed the day before and when we asked about the topic, we received "You pick!" Dang it! That's the worst! We were both frantically finding out what to talk about the next morning. However when we came to church we both just felt to talk about how Christ has always been THERE for us. I shared of the story of Christ's resurrection as many don't really understand what that means. This part stood out to me

John 20: 

11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,


12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.


13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.


14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.


15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.


16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.


17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.


Christ truly has RISEN! And He was resurrected for us. What stood out to me was that He took the time, before ascending up to His Father, to be THERE for Mary and ask her why she was weeping. Do we realized that Christ does that to US? Every time we cry and through EVERYTHING we go through, He is THERE and asks us why we weep? I actually shared a story I remember vividly from my baptism when I was 8 years old. I came up out of the water of my baptism and began to cry because I felt such a warmth and peace in my heart. While I was changing back into my white dress, my mom asked me "Why are you crying?" I realized that in that moment that Christ was THERE! I felt His Spirit. What touched me is that my mom asked just what Christ asked Mary as if He were asking me that. I know that He was there. I felt it and I know that this, the gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE. It is SO TRUE and Christ is THERE if we truly ALLOW Him to be. Motra Hysa then shared how Christ was there when she lost her dad. When no one else truly understood how she felt, Christ did. He knew EXACTLY how it felt and was THERE for her. Ever since she was baptized 4 years ago, she has found that He has always been there. It was just a powerful Sacrament meeting and I'm thankful that Christ was THERE and the He is ALWAYS THERE. I love my Savior. He is always there. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. When has He been there for you? 


I love you all! Have a wonderful week and REMEMBER Christ especially during this Easter time!

Matching sweaters with my comps

Don't know why I'm posing like that...don't worry about it haha but this is a cute member family here in Gjakova. We celebrated summer's day with them.

Motra Hysa's REBIRTHDAY day! We celebrated (She said it's better than her real birthday) She's now been baptized for 4 years!

Don't know why the kid has a gun hahaha but I love these kids that attack me every time I pass by. When I was here in Gjakova last summer I helped out with this music program and they all still remember me!


​I really don't know what this pic is......


I live in this apartment building. We live RIGHT by the barber shop and all the barber shop guys.....


-- 

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


Monday, March 12, 2018

Здраво-Hey from Macedonia!

Здраво!! (Zdravo) This week I had the opportunity to go on an exchange in Macedonia and to serve a day there with 2 of the sweet Macedonian sisters!! One of the sisters: Sister Wright, is from the SPRINGFIELD STAKE in Massechusetts!! We realized that we've literally met each other at stake dances a few years ago!! It was fun to have a fellow East Coaster to reminisce with :) Then the other sister is Sister Rice from Iowa. She is so cute! 


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. In Macedonia they speak Macedonian (obviously) and I don't haha so I was back to day 1! But they use the cyrillic alphabet so I learned how to read it! Also the Book of Mormon is only in Serbian so it was fun to also learn a little Serbian for the day.

2. We were driving and we passed by this restaurant called the "White House" I felt like being back home in the US haha except not at all :)

3. One of our recent converts is SO AWESOME! She's actually a very well known, talented singer here in Kosovo-look up Eda Gjergji on youTube and she will pop right up and you will hear what Albanian traditional music is like. I love her!!


So going to Macedonia was like going to a whole new world! First off, couldn't read the signs or understand what anyone was saying. We were doing a Book of Mormon study and I was running around yelling out "Do you know English?" or "E dini Shqip?" (Do you know Albanian) I surprisingly met a lot that knew Albanian and some people from England were there :) Then I handed them the survey and was like "Sorry, I can't help you with reading this one" It was a lot of fun meeting so many new people and doing all I could with what I knew. That was something that I learned-yeah we can be restricted, have a disadvantage in things (like the language, I've been through that plenty of times before), but that doesn't keep us from doing the Lord's work and serving Him. We just do what we know and He will be there!


The branch in Skopje, Macedonia has 6 Macedonian members. Crazy right? And it's been open for about 7 years now! They are so awesome! This week on March 8 was also Women's Day so people were buying flowers in the streets for each other! I got my companions flowers to celebrate! We also had a lot of people give us giant bars of chocolate to celebrate so that was so nice!! Happy Women's Day!!!


Also fun fact: Our church building got egged this week....welcome to Kosovo :) Not too much has happened here in Gjakova. We actually got to meet a lot of the members here and they are all so cute!! We were able to be led to this sweet family who's father recently passed away and were able to share a message with them on eternal families. It was a miracle! It was late and we saw a boy run out into the street and thought to go to the home he came from. The mom led us right in and we met the family. Usually when someone passes away, they have a notice on the door and we noted that. It was a special moment to go in and share with them of the peace we find in Christ. Even though it's not always accepted here, I definitely was able to feel of that peace in the lesson. 


I just want to share how much I love this work and how much I know that we have a Father in Heaven that LOVES us. That has just been the recurring message in everything I do and teach here in Kosovo. Yeah, many do not accept or believe in Christ here in Kosovo. It definitely hurts when many just shoot down Christ as if He was just some teacher on the earth at one point in time. But I KNOW that He IS our Savior. There is no other and so many do not realize what He has done for them if they just allow Him into their lives. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to stand as a witness of Him at all times here in Kosovo. We have a Heavenly Father that loves us SO MUCH that He SENT HIS Only Begotten Son.

2 Nephi 26: 24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.

I know this to be true. This is Christ's restored church and HE is the ONLY way back to our loving Father in Heaven. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


I LOVE YOU! Have a great week!


Happy Women's day!

FLI!!!! A very fat, oily, byrek sorta thing in Kosovo haha

Chilling with a bull in Macedonia.

Me and the Serbain Book of Mormon in Macedonia.

Us and 2 of the members in Macedonia! It was someone's birthday!!!

SO MUCH CHOCOLATE for Women's Day!

haha Minnesota, Macedonia.

"The White House"

A beautiful little village close to Gjakova.

Our spa night haha looking good.


Me and my girls again! Maria and Delila going into church :)


-- 

Mirupafshim! Të dua!

Motra Olsen