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, December 27, 2016

Gëzuar Krishtlinje!!

Gëzuar Krishtlinje!!! 
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I had a wonderful Christmas here in Albania with my Albanian family! Christmas really isn't that huge in Albania however News Years on the other hand apparently is insane here in Albania. We have to be in our residence at 4pm this Saturdayinstead of the usual 9pm so it'll be super fun to experience an Albanian Vitë të Ri (New Years) this year!

So here are some Culture Shocks of the Week:
1. You know you're not in America when you're driving on the road next to a man riding on his donkey. Him along with the goat herder across the street :)
2. A lot of our lessons are taught either in people's homes next to their portable fireplace or gathered around portable heaters.
3. I have never had food so FRESH! You buy all your fresh fruits and vegetables at this farmer's market called Treg, or heaven ;) Also everything is so cheap I could get 5 apples for 50 cents! Also, I had a popular drink called Dhallë which is basically greek yogurt mixed with water and salt. It's as bad as it sounds. 
4. Being an American qualifies me for instant arranged marriage. I went to the store this week and met one of the workers. She found out I was American and was like, "Oh I have a son! You can marry him and take him to America!" Good thing I didn't really understand what she said until my companion told me afterwards. I would've been and was speechless anyway.

I love it here and have seen so many miracles here on my mission. Just through all my experiences, I can just see how much our Heavenly Father loves us and blesses others to have His gospel and His love in their lives. This past Saturday Aleksia got baptized. She was hesitant this week because she wasn't sure if she was ready to commit her life to live the gospel, but after we shared a lesson on our purpose here on earth, she right in the middle said, "I'm ready. I want this. Can I still be baptized tomorrow?" Just seeing her light and her happiness after she was baptized was unforgettable. She said she knew she did the right thing!

Another friend of ours that we are teaching named Enkeleda has been such a miracle this week! She said that she had school and then she has a course later. She lives in a village so she is here in Korcë in between school and this course. Usually she goes to the bus to meet up with some friends but she felt that she should walk down the Boulevard that day. That is the day that she ran into us and we had a lesson with her right then! The lesson was so powerful and she shared her desire to read the Book of Mormon and the spirit that she feels when she prays. She said she felt such a happiness when she was with us. We shared with her that the impression for her to walk down the Boulevard is the Spirit. God loves us so much to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ on this earth and I am here to share that. I have truly seen our message, the gospel of Jesus Christ, change lives. 

One last story: we had this activity on Christmas Eve where we did the White Elephant gift exchange. According to the number you draw, is when it's your turn to either take the gift from a previous person or pick a new one. There were 3 little kids there. So one of the gifts wrapped was a Book of Mormon and this little girl, about 11 years old, went to open up the Book of Mormon and when she opened it, her eyes lit up and she hugged it and loved it! Then the 2 other children there were jealous. The next boy, about 13 years, when it was his turn, out of all the toys and all the gifts, he went for the Book of Mormon. The little girl, his cousin, was like, "I'll give up all my gifts and my toys to have the Book of Mormon!" It was such a powerful experience to watch that desire to have the Book of Mormon. Are we willing to give up all that we have to seek the Word of God? To seek the Kingdom of God?

I just want to leave with you how much I know the Book of Mormon is true. It brings happiness, joy, and the love of God into your life. The only way to discover that is to read it. It truly is the word of God and another testament of Jesus Christ in addition to the Bible. When you read it and feel something within you whether that be peace or happiness, that is the spirit testifying that it is true. I have come to know of it's truth myself and have felt the most happiness and the most peace as I read it.

Moroni 10:3-5 (Book of Mormon)

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

I know this to be true. I invite you to read it everyday! Whether that be a chapter a day or 5 minutes a day and you will come to feel of the love of God and come to know of the fullness of His gospel. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Have a wonderful week and a Happy New Year! Tell me all about your Christmas adventures! I love you tons!

P.S. I'll be sending pictures later today.
Christmas outfit from family
Albania :)
I tried byrek and DHALLE!!
Familja ime në Shqiperi :)
We had some trouble setting up the baptismal font...
Aleksia and my companion, Motra Cajupi :)
Aleksia got baptized!
Christmas morning
Christmas Dinner with Endri and Sonila
Motra Cajupis grandma knit us wool ocks. She's the best!
Merry Christmas. This won't last long....
Zhaneta made us delicious byrek for lunch today!!

This is the conversion story of Natalie's companion she is serving with in Albania. It was published in the April 2016 Liahona.

It was an early morning in 2008 when my mother woke me up to go to school. I was really happy that morning, but I didn’t know that it would turn into the worst day of my life or the last time I would be with her. I didn’t finish all my classes that day because a friend of our family had to pick me up and tell me that my mom had killed herself. I was only 12 years old.

I thought, “How can I live without my mother?” She was my best friend.

I cried for months. I didn’t like going to school because the other children treated me differently and felt sorry for me. I had no clue what I was supposed to do; I only knew I had to be strong for everyone else.

One day, five or six months after my mom’s death, I was alone in my room by the window, crying, trying to understand what I was here for. Suddenly I heard a voice in my head: “You are my daughter; I won’t let you suffer.” I knew it was God. But it surprised me because I didn’t believe in Him anymore, especially since I felt that it was God who had taken my mother from me. Even though I didn’t know what He meant, I felt safe.

Three years later I went to Rome, Italy, to visit my uncle. He kept telling me about this church he went to. One Sunday, he took me with him. I will always remember walking toward the church’s doors for the first time and feeling the love of Heavenly Father when I went in. It felt like home.

I started going to church every single Sunday and to every activity during the week. I loved being with the youth of the Church. They made me happier. They thought and believed in the same things that I did. Then, after three months, my summer holiday finished and I had to go back to Albania.

When I returned home, I told my dad about the feelings I had had and how happy I had felt during all that time. He didn’t like it. He told me he wouldn’t allow me to continue to go to church or learn more about it. So I would have to be patient for the next three years until I turned 18 years old. Then I could decide for myself and get baptized.

During this time I was blessed with so many people who would tell me about what they learned each Sunday at church. One of those people was Stephanie. She had been living in Italy when my uncle joined the Church, but she had returned to her home in the United States. My uncle thought it would be good for us to write to each other, so I added her as a friend on Facebook.

Even though we had never met in person, I will always be grateful to her for helping me build my faith and learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She wrote to me almost every Sunday and told me everything she learned in church and then would answer my questions. She was a great friend to me.

Finally, after years of being patient, I was baptized just two days after my 18th birthday. And soon I will share with my mother the happiness I felt that day, because I will be baptized for her. I know she will be proud of the life I have chosen.

I feel blessed by Heavenly Father because He was with me during my entire journey in so many ways. I just had to wait and be patient because He had a plan for me. He’s the one who gave me strength to go through all the challenges I faced. He was always there, helping me be happier.

Mirupafshim! Të dua!
Motra Olsen

Adriatic South Mission
Sister Natalie Olsen
POB 2984
Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"
Qendra "Alpas", Shkalla #5, Apt #14

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

Monday, December 19, 2016

I am a Shqiptar!

Pershëndtje! Si Jeni? Si ke kaluar?
Hello from the beautiful Albania!! I don't even know where to begin other than that I LOVE it here! This is now my home for the next 17 months and I am happy to serve these Shqiptaret! First off, according to the Shqiptaret here, I don't even SOUND American!! What! So they call me Shqiptaret ;)

So after 27 hours of travel, I finally arrived in Tirana, Albania. To start off my adventure, while we were in the Austrian airport (Elder Harris, Motra Jones, and I) we were excited to talk with some Shqiptaret. Apparently our broken Shqip qualified us to become translators for this worker in the airport to this older couple so we tried to translate the sentence in Shqip and act out a wheelchair...

So a couple of things that I've have already learned about Albania: 
1. Crosswalks don't exist. You just go for it.
2. The driving is crazy and I am the designated driver in my companionship so I've already had a week of experience...I'll be an Albanian driver in no time ;)
3. There are dogs EVERYWHERE. Along with chickens and random herds of goats along the highway.
4. When you say hi to people on streets, they are actually excited to talk to you.
5. The food is SO GOOD. 
6. When you are greeted, it is traditional to kiss both cheeks.

So I am currently serving in the BEAUTIFUL city of Ko rce, Albania. It is in the south of Albania and I am an hour away from Greece. It is at the base of a mountain and it is COLD. But the people are far from being cold :) This area opened up just 3 months ago so we had just 4 members of our "branch" (more like "group". We don't have enough people to be a branch or a ward) One of the Elders, Elder Wilson, is represented as our "Branch President". I am the Branch pianist so I luckily will get a lot of practice with the piano :) Our church is in a rented out building in our apartment complex. We live right above it. 

The people are so humble and so sweet! I want to share with you my Shqiptaret family here in Korce that we are teaching:
1. Joan along with his family are precious! Joan was just baptized this last Saturday making him the 5th member to our branch! We are currently teaching his mom, Zhaneta, and his sister, Aleksja. They are my family! Zhenta is my Shqip mom :) She told me that I am their "Dhurata për Krishtlindje" or their gift for Christmas this year! They are such a gift to me and just hearing their love for Jesus Christ and love for the Book of Mormon has been just the sweetest things I could ever experience!

2. Endri and Sonila are AMAZING! They are examples of people who rely on their faith and their belief in Christ to overcome all things! They are preparing to be baptized in these next couple of weeks and just seeing their desire to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized along with their love of the Book of Mormon has been so powerful!

3. Finally we are teaching sweet Rosela. She's just 10 years old and she has loved learning about Jesus Christ. She gets so excited to meet with us and she just laughs at my attempts to speak Shqip.

Speaking of the language...it has been going SO well! I don't know half of what people ask me, but when people are speaking, I am actually able to understand a lot along with communicating with them. I never know how many "how are yous" I need to say though to be considered a Shqiptar but I'm learning....and counting ;) I already was asked to give a talk in church and I'll probably have to prepare one every other week.

Finally, I want to talk about my companion, Motra Cajupi. She is the SWEETEST! She is a native Albanian from Vlorë, Albania so she helps me a LOT with the language. She is probably one of my favorite people; good thing because I spend 24/7 with her.

I have loved serving as a missionary and seeing the joy in the people's countenances as we teach of Christ and when they find Christ in their lives. I just want to share with you how much I have seen already the love that Christ has for us individually. I am here to serve first because I love the Lord. I then am here because the Lord loves you! I hope to share that with the Shqiptaret because it has been so powerful in my life! I cannot believe half of the things I do here in Shqiperia, but what I do know is that through Christ, I can do all things! I testify of the love that our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, has for you and you individually. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Romans 8:  38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Until next week! Gëzuar Krishtlindje and I love you all SO MUCH!

P.S. I like letters ;) I can just wait 2 months until it gets to me hahaha

Saying goodbye to my wonderful teachers at the MTC.

New comp

Tirana, Albania!

Part of the village of Libonik, Albania. It is close to Korce.

I went in to teach in the village of Libonik to a special sister named Shpressa

A Cathedral in Korce! The people here are either Muslim or Greek Orthodox. 

Joan and Simon.

My family!! Zhaneta, Joan, Aleksja along with Motra Cajupi and Elder Wilson.

My view from my apartment complex.

My apartment complex. The church is on the 2nd floor.

The streets of the city of Korce!!
Inside my apartment

Mirupafshim! Të dua!
Motra Olsen

Adriatic South Mission
Sister Natalie Olsen
POB 2984
Bulevardi "Gjergj Fishta"
Qendra "Alpas", Shkalla #5, Apt #14

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

Monday, December 12, 2016

ç'farë është jeten time?!

AHHH ç'farë është jeten time?! 
(What is my life?)
Pershëndetje everyone! Life is about to get crazy as I board my flight, or multiple flights, tomorrow! After 27 hours of travel...I'll be in Albania!!

So a couple of things: I wanted to share with you how much I love you. Like, you have no idea. I am so thankful for every letter, every care package assembled by my cousins, and Christmas card! As some of you know, missionaries are pretty pumped to get letters ;) Also, this last week in TRC I got to skype a Hungarian in Hungary who speaks Albanian so that was pretty cool!

So you know you're crazy when just after 9 weeks, you are called to give a talk in church and you give the ENTIRE talk in Albanian. I cannot believe the Shqip I know after 9 weeks! Even the amount of Shqip I'm even able to understand after 9 weeks! I have come to LOVE the language! I'm not perfect in the language whatsoever and I probably won't understand a single word anyone says once I get to Albania on Wednesday, but I know the language will come. The language helps me to prepare to serve the people. The language isn't my focus, the people are. I honestly cannot wait to step off the plane and probably start bawling once I finally see my Shqiptart: The people that I get to serve and teach the source of happiness to for 18 months! 

So today I got to go to the temple and it will be some time before I'm able to go to the temple. 17 months to be exact. I just wanted to share how much peace I feel when I am at the temple. I truly feel the love and the spirit of God while I am at the temple, in His home. I will miss that for a while but I know that I can feel of that spirit every time I serve, read the Book of Mormon, and pray to my Father in Heaven. How special is that! God loves us SO MUCH that He has given us so many ways to feel of His love and to find peace in our lives through Him! I have truly felt that when I am having difficulty with the language or facing any difficulty in life. If you ever think, "life is hard" I encourage you to drop to your knees and pray to our Father in Heaven. He is there. He listens. I have witnessed that myself as I instantly feel peace when I pray. That is one way that He shows me that He is there.

I leave with you my love and hope you have a wonderful week! My next email will be from ALBANIA! I just wanted to share how much I have loved the MTC, truly. I have learned so much here and I am forever thankful for that! I am now ready to hit the ground running in less than 24 hours! Until next week!!

Shqip Words of the Week:
1. Sa bukur! (saw boo-koor) means how beautiful! I say that all the time :)
2. Po means yes and jo (yo) means no
3. Po pra (po prah) it's basically their way of saying, "duh".

We met a senior couple going to Albania this week!

I love my cousins! They are the CUTEST!

My talk in church. :)
​She didn't know what I was doing...and neither did I.

It was so fun being able to see Elder Horne like everyday!
 He's now headed to South Korea! These 9 weeks have been awesome!
I ran into the real Indiana Jones! (Elder Jones) Don't mind him blinking.
​I love my companion: Motra Jones :)

Natalie speaking shqip (cut and copy link)


Mirupafshim! Të dua!
Motra Olsen


​I'll let you know next week. :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Një Javë Më Shumë!

Një Javë Më Shumë! One more week and then I'm headed to ALBANIA!
I hope you had a wonderful week! I got my flight plans this last week so I will be finally flying out to Tirana, Albania next Tuesday, December 13th. I start my traveling adventure at 3:50am and travel for about 24 hours total. I get to have 2 layovers: one in Chicago, IL and then one in Vienna, Austria! Then I finally fly to my Albania and hit the ground running! 

So this week was pretty exciting! We got to Skype Anxhela AGAIN on Friday! She's in Vlorë, Albania and she has such a beautiful light to her as she shared with us her belief in Jesus Christ and the great love that she has felt from Him. At the end of our lesson with her, it was so funny. She just told us, "Hey can you work on the "ti" form (you informal) instead of the "ju" form (you formal/plural) because then I don't feel like an old lady?" So now I know what to really work on before I head out to Albania :)

I got to do a lot of singing and caroling! First off, I finally got to perform my solo, "Abide With Me 'Tis Eventide", today at a welcoming of the older missionaries! Then last week, a ton of missionaries all came in and caroled at this dinner for our Branch Presidents and their Presidency. It was so beautiful singing, "Silent Night" and other songs in celebration of Christ's birth!

This last week I was reading in the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ visiting the Americas after 
He was resurrected in 3 Nephi 17 5 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, hcast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. 

7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy. 
Then in the same chapter...
20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them:Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
 21 And when he had said these words, he weptand the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
 22 And when he had done this he wept again;
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, wept for the children. He weeps for you, comforts you, and heals you because he "has compassion upon you". He loves you, immensely and individually. I feel of that love as I serve. I feel of that love as I read from the scriptures (The Bible and the Book of Mormon). How beautiful to know that we are LOVED! This Christmas season is truly a time to feel of that love! As we serve, give, and love, we are doing as the Savior did and in return, we feel of such joy and love! That joy and love is from the Savior. Remember this Christmas season to remember "Christ" in Christmas and to remember that you are loved with a pure and immense love from Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful week! I love you so much! Please send me Christmas Cards or letters! I'll soon have to change my address next week! 
Shqip Words of the Week:
1. Dashuri (dah-shor-ee) means love
2. Falëminderit (fall-uh-min-dare-eet) means thank you
3. Krishtlindje (kreesht-leend-yea) means Christmas! (literally it means "Christ Birth")

 ​Rocking the Christmas Sweaters at the MTC!

I got to take a little field trip into Provo to go to the dentist with one of the sisters.
It was nice after being at this MTC campus for about 8 weeks!
On December 1st, I celebrated Little Christmas (my family tradition) with my companion,
Motra Jones, and we made little gifts for each other to start off the Christmas season!
We sat around our Christmas tree, had hot cocoa, and gave each other our gifts :)

After Caroling.

There was a Nativity at the Provo Temple!

​The famous MTC map :)

Mirupafshim! Të dua!
Motra Olsen

Sister Natalie Kay Olsen
2005 N 900 E Unit 125
Provo UT 84602