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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Elbasan: My New Home!

HELLO EVERYONE from the city of Elbasan!! This city is the coolest thing because it is built around a massive castle from ancient times. It's beautiful, it's not like my little Pogradec, and I know about no one. Neither does my companion! Speaking of my companion, I have something really special to share. I'm going to tell it with the pictures :)
About over a year ago I served in Korcë and we had a lot of contact with Pogradec as they were both recently opened together at the time. I have known Greta (the one in red) ever since the beginning of my mission! 

I had to put this photo because it's extremely cheesy haha but about 6 months ago I went into Pogradec and we knew absolutely no one but I remembered Greta from over a year ago-before she was even baptized. When I came into Pogradec, She was the first person I met up with in Pogradec and we've been able to teach her and do mission prep with her ever since. She's been baptized for just about a year now and has been super excited about a mission. She was one of the first members in Pogradec!


I've actually been able to teach her family and she has made such an impact helping her family to be baptized. I was able to help do her mission paperwork trying to translate for the dentist and everything. We went out to get all her supplies and have her get all prepared for her mission! She will be the first missionary from Pogradec!


Then as I went to the trainer and new missionary meeting, 4 new sisters came in along with Greta-now Motra Cela. My mission president, President Anderson was asking Motra Cela who were the missionaries that taught her. He was showing us how much we make an impact on the lives of these people. The first person she said was-"Motra Olsen". I about bawled. She shared that yes, originally she was taught by Elders, but that Motra Olsen taught her the gospel especially as her first sister missionary. I then was assigned to train Motra Cela! She told me afterwards that she was so thankful that I would be her trainer because I'm like family to her.



Wow all I can say is that I never thought that coming into my mission about 16 months ago, within that time, I'd teach, and experience all that I have just so that I would serve with Motra Cela in the end. All I can say is that you missionaries out there-you make an IMPACT on those around you, whether you know it or not. I am just so thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and that He has given me so much. It was hard leaving my last companion-Motra Mcguire-I love her SO MUCH! But I'm looking forward to seeing what this final transfer has in store. 

Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. Before I left Pogradec, I went over to a member family's home and they made me and the other departing Elder lale-a funeral dessert. It was funny because the son told us-"Wow, you're probably the first living people to eat their own lale!"
2. I've now moved into a WARM city! Well....warmer. As in there's no snow. It just snowed a TON right after I left Pogradec!
3. This is just a cool story! I had dinner with some Americans while I was in Tirana for a couple of days. The woman was married to an Albanian here-who was in my uncle Paul's class at BYU-I which was AWESOME! There was another couple here adopting an Albanian. He served in this missionary 10 years ago! It was weird to all talk in English and have American food.....
4. Because my companion is Albanian, it doesn't matter if I talk to people in the streets in Albanian, they still turn to Motra Cela and say, "are you here to translate for her?" haha

I just want to share my gratitude for the time I had in Pogradec and my sweet companion I left, Motra Mcguire, and my companion I have now. I'm so thankful for the Elders being willing to show us the streets and help us with all of the people because Elbasan has been opened for like 10 years now! I'm thankful for the members reaching out and we are doing all we can to help the branch here in Elbasan. It'll take some work but good thing I love work :)

I just wanted to share a scripture that really stood out to me this week:
2 Nephi 5: 27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
Interesting about this scripture is that the whole chapter, chapter 5, talks about how Nephi and whoever would join him, was commanded to leave his brothers Laman and Lemuel. The Spirit of the Lord could not be with Laman and Lemuel as they would not listen to the words of the Lord or keep the commandments. I loved that Nephi and his people, as they listened to the Lord and kept the commandments-they lived after a manner of HAPPINESS! How cool is that! I have seen that we are happy when we are obedient. I'm seeing that on my mission. While everything else can be going wrong, at least we can be obedient and we will feel joy. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

LOVE YOU ALL! Don't know what's going to happen this week but I'm excited to find out!

Once entrance to the castle in the middle of the city!

This is just down the street from my home!


I MET MOTRA MCCLUNG! (Sadie's roomate) I got to take her out in the streets on the first day so that was fun!

Motra Cela and I on Valentine's Day.

Me and Motra Jones!!! I got to serve with her for 2 days this week as we waited for our new missionaries!!! I LOVE HER!!!

​Me and the gentleman from my uncle's class!​


--
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)



Sunday, February 18, 2018

TRANSFERRED!

Saturday we received transfer calls and after about 6 months in Pogradec I am being TRANSFERRED to the big city of ELBASAN! And not only that-I'm whitewashing (meaning I'm going into the area and starting from scratch) and TRAINING!!! This will be an adventure!

Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. I received some words of wisdom:Sunflower seeds heal your stomach and cookies make you strong :) That's good!
2. We were doing a Book of Mormon survey and I approached a lady asking her to help us. She then proceeds to share "I would but I really have to go to the bathroom" I feel bad to say but, I'm pretty sure that's the first excuse I believe haha.
3. We got a haircut....then ended up going home and re-cutting our hair hahaha
4. Sad moment actually-a lot of marriages here are arranged and this lady we met we were asking-"How'd you meet your husband?" She responds-"It was arranged. It was not for love" as he's just chilling there. I honestly did not know how to respond to that.

​I wanted to share about how much my time here in Pogradec has impacted me. So I came into Pogradec in August last year, super pumped to get the work going! I was able to open it for sisters and we started from nothing! I have truly seen the Lord work INCREDIBLE miracles these last 6 months that so many families have been brought into the warmth and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have to say that I have had many moments​ where I have been scared and have felt helpless as I have had NO IDEA how to care for the needs of these people here! But I have always know that someone does-and that is Christ. They are my life! We take care of the members as they experience so many hardships but I have loved being in every aspect of their lives and seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ work in their lives! I have seen relationships healed through Christ and I have definitely faced many trials as not everyone is in agreement with the change of faith in the family. I love the people of Pogradec! They are my family. Truly. They will be in my prayers forever!

As I was bearing my testimony to them in Sunday, I was praying as to know what to share. I felt to talk about charity and I wanted to share it with you! Charity is the PURE LOVE OF CHRIST. Christ did not live for Himself, but He truly came to be our example, to suffer for us, to die for us, then to be resurrected so that we can be reconciled with God. His LIFE was an act of true and pure LOVE! That is why we must have charity. I love Paul's teachings in the Bible
1 Corinthians 13:And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
This impacted me! We could serve, we can go to church, we can study the scriptures, we could sacrifice our time. we can pray, we could do all these things but what is it any good to us if we do not do it out of love?How can we be edified if we do not live the gospel because of our LOVE for the Lord and our LOVE for those around us? Another scripture impacted me in the Book of Mormon-Moroni 7:44 "...
and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity
​" ​
​Wow. We cannot say we know Christ if we cannot forgive the people in our lives or we cannot love the person next to us. That was powerful! As I stood there before this people, I then just starting sobbing because of the love I felt for them in that moment. I honestly am SO FAR-believe me, from truly obtaining charity but I truly hope to develop this attribute of Christ because it is what He IS! As we have charity-we have everything. We have joy no matter our trials! We have joy in attending church and taking the time to speak to our Father in Heaven in prayer and to hear from Him in our scripture study. It doesn't become a routine, but countless joyful moments showing the love for our Savior and our Father in Heaven. Then as we serve one another with CHARITY oh how joyful we will be! Moroni gives us counsel to pray for this love with all the energy of heart! As I stood there in front of my Pogradec family, I was blessed to feel a little bit what the Lord feels for them. And even what the Lord feels for me. I hope to develop a greater love for my Savior and Heavenly Father along with those around me.

​I also wanted to share how much I truly have loved my time with Motra Mcguire. I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for her . She truly has changed my life and taught me so much about love. She is an example of charity to me. I love her and I truly am going to miss her.

​I love this gospel with all my heart and will try for the rest of my life and eternity to come to know my Savior and love as He does. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.​



We did a blanket service project activity and we are preparing to donate them to newborns in Pogradec!



​Coordinating with the President and his wife along with the senior couple here in Pogradec :)​

Dessert Byrek

Dogs everywhere...

My Pogradec Nënas :)

​Getting some pizza! She is awesome!! She's moving to Kansas but preparing to be baptized here!!!​

This is my bud Gjergj. He is incredible and has done all he can to help us with our missionary work here! He is going to be an incredible missionary!

Me and my girl Sabiko. I LOVE HER! She is incredible! This is us in her little shop. Her faith is incredible!!

Last time at the church! The church is on the second floor here across from the Dentist here :)

My girl Ana and I. She is so cute and is turning 8 this year!! She's Gjergj's sister :)​

I love her!!!

This picture just makes me laugh. I got pulled into this pic by the way. Our member Kosta just grabbed my arm and pulled me in hahaha

Francesko is incredible! He was the one that read the Bible and found the church himself. He is incredible!

This is an incredible member Frenki!! He has an incredible memory and basically has the whole Book of Mormon memorized.



--
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)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Welcome GREECE! :)

​hey!!! so this week was rough but i had some pretty special moments!!!! one being that i got to go to an exchange to korcë this week back to my first area! i loved serving again with my girl aleksia as we surprised her and had her help us in the lessons!!! it was to visit some people i had taught a year ago and suprize visit them! man i love these people!!!

culture shocks of the week:
1. We went and visited Macedonia again today!! I got to take Motra Mcguire to see the beautiful old church there! We also about got attacked by a peacock but it was AWESOME! Couldn't tell you anything about the church though because all the plaques were in Macedonian haha
2. When I went on an exchange this week in Korcë I served with Motra Pauga from Australia! I got to learn a little bit about Australia then it was awesome!
3. These culture shocks are just now turning into extra comments I dont really know where to fit into the email haha

HEY I realized I completely forgot to mention that GREECE is becoming apart of our mission-​​The Adriatic South Mission!!! It wont take effect until July so after Im home but thats pretty cool!!! Wooooo we are going to have 4 countries in the mission now!!!

So some major sad news actually was with a woman Ive been teaching for about 5 months now. I love her so much and have never fasted and prayed so much for someone. Her desire was to be baptized this last Saturday and we just poured out our hearts and did all we could to make that happen. When Saturday came-we come to find out that her family didn't accept it and it kept her from getting baptized. Honestly I just stood there and cried. However I will say that I have not lost hope. Sometimes I feel-but I prayed! I did all I could! why did something so good not come about? I learned something about an aspect of faith. Faith does not mean that anything will happen according to our will and our desire even if the desire is good! Faith is having full trust in God and His timing and His will while continuing to do all that we can and acting on that which we know to be true. God has a plan for ALL of His children and I just know that she will come along one day!! 
1 Nephi 17;50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
​Interesting that Nephi said IF GOD HAD COMMANDED ME! Faith is full trust in Christ and who He is and what we can do through Him. It has power-but it truly is centered around the will of the Lord. I find comfort in knowing that we are all in good hands: the Lord's hands.

Another incredible moments this week were with a member. We just decided to read about the Sabbath day with her and without saying anything, she went off sharing how she has to feed her family and all these things and she has to work on Sundays and cant possibly miss work. However something incredible happened as we taught her the aspect of faith in Christ. The Lord giveth no commandment save He SHALL (that's a promise) PROVIDE a way to accomplish that which He hath commanded. It comes down to faith. Do we trust in the Lord to drop everything and follow Him? He WILL provide a way! She then just turned to a customer and said-"Im taking a break tomorrow! Im going to keep the Sabbath Day holy!" 

​I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!! That is probably one of the most rewarding things I've been able to experience on my mission and that is the fact that I get to LOVE these people! It's a beautiful thing to get a little glimpse of what God feels for His children.

Well I have a feeling this next week is my ​final week here in Pogradec! I love these people and have been with them for some time now! We have transfer calls this Saturday and I"m not ready to leave my sweet companion Motra Mcguire yet but I am excited for more ways that I can serve the Lord. I LOVE YOU!

Motra Mcguire and I had a picnic together at the church before fasting on Saturday!


Me with my peacock :)






-- 
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

Monday, January 29, 2018

Gëzim! (JOY)

Hey everyone!!! How are you doing? I am SO GRATEFUL that it is finally WARM here in Pogradec! I also wanted to give a shout out to my FAVORITE little sister Carley for her birthday!!!

Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. Even after 16 months into my mission, I managed to make a major language mistake saying that God has prepared for us 3 trashcans instead of 3 kingdoms.....(mbetëri vs. mbretëri)
2. Motra and I went on a hike to the "Pogradec Castle". When we reached the top we were able to see the remains of the castle: one broken pillar. :) The greatest castle I've ever seen!
3. There will be an attached video....but while street contacting Motra and I were able to see a woman string up toilet paper to the 5th floor. It was the greatest thing ever!!

This week was full of strengthening members, finding, doing a Book of Mormon study for the people in Albania, and more finding :) Oh how I love being a missionary :) I want to share a little bit about our study-or survey. It is called "Zëri i Zotit" (the voice of the Lord) and we go out with one page from the Book of Mormon and ask people to read it and write what they think about it. It's actually the COOLEST thing. Those that actually stop and take the time to read it are able to share a little bit about what they believe. I have seen so many interested in receiving a book. The Book of Mormon truly contains the voice of the Lord.

2 Nephi 9:18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel,they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
If I were to have a scripture of the week, this week it'd be this one. My FAVORITE part of this scripture is that our JOY shall be FULL forever! How does that happen? We endure-and endure well throughout our hardships, trials, and oppositions. God's purpose for us here on earth is for us to have JOY! Why have commandments? Why have prophets? Why have more scripture: The Book of Mormon? Why send His Son, Jesus Christ to the earth? Why sacrifice years of serving preaching the gospel? Because we have a Father in Heaven who LOVES us. It's as simple as that. And these things are what brings us JOY! Everything that is good comes from God and as we come to serve Him, to love our Heavenly Father and Savior as they love us-oh how happy we will be! So much that our joy will be full! I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARLEY!!!

I don't think there's enough... :)

haha someone broke the scale.... ;)


This is normal :)

My beautiful city of Pogradec :)

The *drumroll* Pogradec Castle!!! WOOOOOO!!!





Love you!!! Have a wonderful week!!!

--
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, January 22, 2018

Can't Have Rainbows without a Little Rain :)



Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. We have a member who has her own little cafe shop so we usually stop in to see how she's going. We stopped in this week and she says, "I want to make you some sausages". She then whips out a pan out of no where and a loaf of bread and cabbage and fries them on this little pan above her portable heater in her shop. It was so random it was awesome!
2. We saw a FULL RAINBOW this week after we had some monster storms! We were trekking through the streets that were literally rivers. It was awesome!
3. We eat a whole lot of Kos (Greek Yogurt) here. It's awesome! We drink it watered down and with byrek

So this last week there was a baptism in our soon-to-be branch and I wanted to share with you his story. He is incredible! So there's a boy-Francesko-and he's about 12 years old. He's read the Bible and has LOVED learning about Christ. As he read and finished, he felt like something was missing like there had to be more. So a few months back we had a baptism here in Pogradec in the lake and he passed by watching from afar and saw that we get baptized the way Christ did! So then some time recently, he saw the missionaries holding ANOTHER book-the Book of Mormon. When a man dropped a pass-along card in the trash, he ran over and grabbed it and found the church himself asking when we had church. Luckily we were there at that time! He then came to church and it so happened that that week I team taught with one of our younger members the "Restoration" in the youth class. Since then, he's been learning and this past week he was baptized and now his family is interested as well. It truly is incredible and I am so excited about our growing soon-to-be branch! These people here are incredible!

This week I have really just seen miracles with our members here. We are continually looking to strengthen them and teach them the doctrine and it is incredible to see their lives change as they continually strive to live the commandments. One shared how her and her husband, before they go out into the fields or off welding a tunnel (yeah-jobs here are intense!) they drink hot cocoa and then kneel down in prayer together every morning! We have just been seeing so many miracles with these people here! I LOVE THE GOSPEL IT IS SO AWESOME!

I also just want to bear my testimony of our living prophet: President Russel M. Nelson. Something I have truly come to see and LOVE is that God is THE SAME yesterday, today and forever. One, that means that He will NEVER love us less. If we make a mistake, or sin, it doesn't mean that it means that we are worthy, but we will never be worth less. The second is that His doctrines, His commandments never change. We have living prophets to direct and clarify the Lord's commandments. We are led by the Lord and not by the ideas and desires of men. This is comforting for me to know that we will always have a living prophet to guide and direct us according to the Lord's will! I testify that President Nelson is the prophet of God and that President Thomas S. Monson was a true prophet of God!

2 Nephi 29:9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.

I testify that the Lord LOVES us and will always love us along with our Father in Heaven. They will never change because their love is perfect and they are perfect beings. We are imperfect beings striving to become a little better and to be perfected each and every day through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK! Look for the rainbows throughout the week! ;) hahaha



​The drinks are watered down kos (dhallë) Here we have egg byrek and fassule (a bean soup) these are the most common foods we eat here. And fruit of course!​


Pogradec

​My ​shop buddies :) I always pass them in the streets! They are the sweetest things!

Streets of Pogradec so you can get an idea of how things are.

Pogradec

Pogradec

--
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)