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, December 11, 2017

Ndricoje Botën!

THIS WEEK HAD BEEN THE GREATEST WEEK OF MY LIFE! I just know that it's just going to get better and better from now! This week we focused A TON on LightTheWorld (NdricojeBotën) and Christmas miracles are happening here in Pogradec! One of them being that this Saturday we are having this HUGE concert that we are putting on for all of Pogradec and it's getting bigger and bigger than we thought so we are excited to Light the World to all of the city of Pogradec!

Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. We found a coconut haha and couldn't figure out how to open it so we smashed it on the floor.

2. So everything is centered around New Years here-Christmas is not really celebrated so the lights are New Years Lights, the trees are New Years trees, and even Santa Claus is Babi Gjyshi that just means dad grandpa and he comes around for New Years. New Years is pretty HUGE here.

3. We are introducing a ton of Christmas traditions to the people here one being Christmas cookie decorating! No cookie cutters don't exist so we hand carved trees, snowmen, and ornaments. We'll see how it goes tonight at Family Night :)

I cannot explain how much my week this week changed from night to DAY once I centered Christ in it! He is the LIGHT of the World! You would think that being a missionary, I'd have to always be happy and perfect centering my life on Christ but let me tell you-if we are not making the conscious effort to center Him in our life-it's easy to forget. I was trying to find new ways to improve and I felt I was going through the motions. EVERYTHING changed once my companion and I started getting really into the LightTheWorld service and started to do everything with LOVE! Love, pure love, truly comes from CHRIST! He turns our night to DAY! While I struggled for some time, everything changed when I was reminded to remember Him and serve as He did. He did so much-He healed, He taught, and He suffered. Yes it was hard, but I don't think it was hard for Him to keep going as He had a purpose as to what He was doing this all for. He did all that He did for us because He has PERFECT LOVE! This is what this LightTheWorld is all about! He is the light of the world and we can be the Light of the World. Then as we serve and we are that light, we are FILLED with Light which means we are FILLED with love! It's truly a beautiful thing!

I want to share with you of this light and the Christmas miracles from this week. Some things we were able to do was one day, we bought a TON of oranges and were going through the streets and searching for those who were in need whether that be the beggars in the streets or people we were led to. I cannot express the joy and gratitude that filled their countenance as we gave them this simple mandarin orange. Another day we visited some of the widowed women in our group and heart attacked them with paper hearts and notes. It was the most precious thing to witness the humble gratitude from these people! 

Our Christmas MIRACLES were that in English Course, we had light 6 people ask for a Book of Mormon and we have this woman that we are working with that has a HUGE desire to be baptized! Her husband in the beginning wasn't allowing her but this last week, on his 3 hours off of work in the week, he got his family all together and they all came in to CHURCH! WHAT?! He came and their whole family sat together and it was the most beautiful thing! I cried! I truly believe that miracles are happening here in Pogradec. If there's one thing I am learning is how GOOD God is! You've probably heard this before but it's SO TRUE! Honestly I just love sitting back (well, maybe not that, we're always working haha) and just watching Him work! This is His work! I used to have this fear that I'd mess it up but it's not like that. This IS His work. It's just a matter of the desire that I have to be an instrument in His hands to bring about miracles. He will accomplish His work. The Spirit makes up for what I cannot achieve and I can testify of that. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior!

I just wanted to conclude saying that Jesus IS the Light! I read in Helaman 14 in the Book of Mormon with Samuel the Lamanite prophesying, 3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

​The sign of Christ's birth was LIGHT and only LIGHT! Then, Samuel proceeds to testify of the sign of Christ's death in that same chapter​ that it will be 3 days of darkness. We see that without Christ, there cannot possibly be light! So what will happen when we come unto Him? We will be FILLED with light! I testify of that! We are teaching a woman right now who knows NOTHING about Christ and it's so beautiful to see her fill with light little by little. We started with His birth this week and have the blessing to teach her about His life. He is MY light and I love my Savior SO MUCH! I am NOTHING without Him! I can testify that as we come unto Him, we are FILLED with LIGHT! Let's LIGHT THE WORLD! I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

​I LOVE YOU ALL!! I hope you have a wonderful week and if you need a message or a friend to talk to, I am here :) Every Monday haha​




Our Christmas tree with our little group here in Pogradec.


We helped a woman to see and gave her a magnifying glass so she could read :)


Changing the world one orange at a time!


Our heart attacking :)


New Years Lights!


Our hand carved sugar cookies. Please note the star I attempted to cut out ;)


-- 

Mirupafshim! Të dua!

Motra Olsen

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gëzuar Krishtlindja e Vogël!

MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! This is one of my FAVORITE holidays as it starts off the giving season off perfectly! Motra McGuire made me a bracelet and I got her a snow globe with our faces it it haha It's a Swedish Holiday that my family celebrates so I had to celebrate it over here in Albania!! Also, we relived Noah and the floods this week so....stay tuned :)


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. So it's not too much of a Christmas season here HOWEVER people instead of getting Christmas trees, get New Years trees. Yeah I don't know how that works BUT we got a tree for our apartment! I LOVE CHRISTMAS :)

2. It rained ALL week this week and the streets were FLOODED! Everyone was out of school and basically floating down the streets haha it was awesome!

3. I wanted to share of a special drink here dear to my heart. It's called Salep and it is the greatest think on the planet! It's basically the thickness of pudding but it's cinnamon and it comes in a mug. 

BONUS: This week was Albania's Independence Day so for Family Home Evening on Monday we celebrated by dancing valle (traditional Albanian Dance) together and people were so into it!


So honestly, this week felt so long I can't remember a thing haha but so much happened! We are planning this massive Light the World Concert that we are SO EXCITED for and miracles are happening in regards to that concert! We are getting some of our investigator's families and the members involved so it's going to be a special Christmas! We are also trying to do a Nativity Scene with the Primary for Christmas Day-their first! It's fun because most people do not even know about the Nativity or about the birth of Christ so this Christmas will be a first for them and will be SO SPECIAL!! I am so excited!


I also want to share how much I love my companion and how much of a hard worker she is! Miracles truly are going to be brought about here in Pogradec! I just see it :) Something I've really learned this week is the importance of faith IN Christ! I've definitely had many moments this week where I just called upon to Lord to know what to do or what to say! As I am training, it definitely has impacted me greatly and I realize how much more I have to rely on the Lord. While at this point, I'm the one understanding and in some lessons, crazy things have happened, I have just been calling on the Lord to help me to know what I need to do. I am so thankful because through faith in Him, I find that miracles occur. A heart softens or someone says something that just saves the day. I am just so thankful for my Savior and I know that I am not doing all of this alone! This is Motra McGuire's favorite scripture and I have just LOVED it-Phillipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

I just want to testify of this. I honestly have so much more I need to change, I have so many weaknesses and sometimes, I have absolutely no idea what I need to do or how I can help someone in the moment in their situation, but I know someone that does-and that is Jesus Christ. I am going to try to turn unto Him this week even more so that I can come to know Him a little more in order to help those around me. I love this gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ, with ALL of my heart. I love my Savior and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


LOVE YOU ALL!! Also-Today my companion and I went out for a LONG run to these beautiful fshats here!! It was awesome! Oh I miss running so much! LOVE YOU ALL!! LIGHT THE WORLD!! Check out Mormon.org for more details on how you can Light the World.


Our Christmas Tree!!!


Our snowglobe!


Celebrating Albanian Independence Day!!



Putting up our tree! Get ready for the bonus video ;)


The Mission Office Christmas Tree!


The floods!!




I MADE SWEDISH PANCAKES!! Literally my favorite family treat!


Mi​rupafshim! 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, November 27, 2017

Gëzuar Dita e Falendërive!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! This past week was a CRAZY week with lots going on! One being that on Thursday we met up with the entire mission in Tirana at a beautiful hotel to have a massive Thanksgiving Dinner!! No it was nothing like an American Thanksgiving but everything is always better with an Albanian twist on it :)


Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. Thanksgiving Dinner!! It was the best. You can't have vegetables and potatoes in Albanian without having it fried in olive oil! Also the turkeys were impressive! I especially loved the cube potatoes. Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, or really any of that doesn't quite exist in Albania.... :) I did manage to make pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! We had a massive dessert buffet as every companionship brought a dessert!

2. Olive trees. Albania is KNOWN for its olives! We actually went out to serve this lady by gathering olives and we spent a lot of our day whacking a tree with a stick it was awesome!

3. POMEGRANATE SEASON! Man, I love pomegranate. Also my kitchen must love it too because it is COVERED in pomegranate juice. Whoops. :)

Highlights from the week: The first one being MY COMPANION Motra McGuire! No her name's not Lizzy.... ;) She is from Southern Utah, SHE RUNS! THIS IS CRUCIAL! And she sings and plays percussion. She is awesome and here is a quote that describes her: "uhh....do you know why I smile a lot?....uhh.....because it's worth it" :) I love her! I am so blessed to be able to train her for these next few months! We've already been running everyday and I couldn't be happier! Also-I'm realizing how OUT OF SHAPE I AM wow I cannot wait to get running again haha

Another highlight was the Thanksgiving Variety Show! I was able to accompany the violin to "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and sing to "How Can I Be Sure" I'll try to send those :) I just want to share how THANKFUL I am for my Savior and this time that He is giving me to serve Him. I am so thankful for my family and for my family here in Pogradec! I am so thankful for my companion and for all of you and your support! I couldn't be filled with greater gratitude this Thanksgiving season!!

Finally I want to share something so powerful that I learned this week and that is GRATITUDE on the SABBATH DAY. I was able to give a talk to our little group here in Pogradec and as I stood up in front of all of our members for Sacrament meeting I just saw so many that I have grown close to and so many that how impacted my life and how many more people have been added ever since I came in. I was just FILLED with gratitude and I had tears streaming down my face as I just shared with them my gratitude for them and for the Sabbath Day. I learned so much in that moment that I would like to share with you. One being, why do you think we have the Sabbath Day? Isiah shares in the Bible that the Sabbath is a DELIGHT! But why? The Sabbath Day TRULY is a HOLY day! God created that from the beginning. It is sanctified so that we don't have to work, we don't spend money, we partake of the Sacrament in church, and we spend this day worshiping God with our families. Have you ever thought that this day was literally designed for us in order for us to count our blessings? What happens when we count our blessings? We are grateful! We are thankful! And we are HAPPY! I think of "Count Your Blessings"  

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

As we keep the Sabbath Day holy, we are showing our gratitude to our Savior and our Heavenly Father. As we keep the Sabbath Day holy, we have this day to be surrounded by things we are blessed with. Our family, our friends in church, and most importantly, our Savior and Heavenly Father. WHAT A BLESSING! Then what happens to the rest of the week? We are regenerated! We are aware of our blessings SO THAT those trials and difficult moments throughout the week are forgotten as we cherish the DELIGHTFUL Sabbath Day.

D&C 78: 19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.

Finally, we are able to partake of the Lord's Sacrament EVERY week! We are able to renew our covenant at baptism and be cleansed AGAIN! As we keep the Lord's commandments, take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and always remember us, He promises us something SO SPECIAL!

Mosiah 24: 13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your​ ​backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do​ ​that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that​ ​ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my​ ​people in their afflictions.

​HE WILL DELIVER US! HE WILL BLESS US! This is why we come to church EVERY WEEK! This is why we partake of the Sacrament EVERY WEEK! He sanctified this day not just to be HIS day, but this is a SACRED day for us! We are with our families! We remember our Lord so that He WILL deliver us! I testify of that that the Sabbath Day IS a Delight! It IS a day FILLED with gratitude and I truly felt that! We can now be grateful not just at Thanksgiving time, but always and ESPECIALLY on the Sabbath. I can testify of that with all of my heart. I am SO GRATEFUL for the Sabbath Day. I love my Savior and His work. I testify of that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.​

​Keep sending those Christmas Cards!! :) Love you all!​ Also this week is the start of #LIGHTtheWORLD!! Check it out and just us in LIGHTING the WORLD this Christmas season everyday for 25 days. 

​https://www.mormon.org/?cid=HP_FR_24-11-2017_dMIS_fMORG_xLIDyL1-A_





Yes that is supposed to be potatoes and stuffing :)


An attempt at a Gingerbread House....



My MTC group :) I love them!!


Just some stallions along the beach :)


Pomegranate!!!


My companion, Motra McGuire and me :)​


-- 

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I’M TRAINING!!!!

SO MANY MIRACLES THIS WEEK!! I don't even know where to begin! One being that we had yet another baptism and it was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! Her entire family came (all of her kids and their families) and it was absolutely beautiful! We also received transfer calls and I am going to be TRAINING here in Pogradec as my companion is going home!

Culture Shocks of the Week:

1. Don't count on the menu at restaurants. You only end up being able to order one thing. Then it comes out to be something completely unexpected.

2. Sometimes the pizzerias are out of pizza. You then just end up ordering drinks.

3. It's weird that somehow when contacting people in the streets, not a single person has a phone or any way of contacting them.....(I've tried to make that as sarcastic as possible) haha

I want to share about this woman's baptism. Her name is Sabiko and she is INCREDIBLE!! I've already shared with you what she has given up-alcohol, tobacco, coffee, all of these things and in just 2 weeks. Do you know what helped her? Reading the Book of Mormon. She gave it up in just 2 WEEKS because she came unto Christ through reading His words in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is POWERFUL!! It was the most beautiful thing to watch her get baptized. That morning we were over in her shop and people were telling her she's crazy for getting baptized in the lake at such a cold time and that she shouldn't get baptized. She then just responded, without doubting, "Christ helped me to give up smoking and alcohol. He will make the water warm for me." I am happy to testify that after her and her grandson's baptism, they were WARM. They said the minute they stepped in the lake, it was warm! I know that it was Sabiko's faith in CHRIST that the water was warm. As we were there sitting at the baptism, I saw that her daughter was crying. She shared that she is so happy that her mom has finally found peace. I just want to testify that Christ truly is the Prince of Peace! As I watched them get baptized and as we went about in the program, I felt SO MUCH PEACE! It was absolutely beautiful! 

I came across this scripture in the Book of Mormon, Helaman 5: 47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

Christ truly was chosen from the foundation of the world to come to the earth, to atone for our sins, our weaknesses, and our pains so that we might find PEACE and RETURN back to our Father in Heaven! I also want to testify of the power of the Book of Mormon. It truly is the Word of God!! Its words truly are the words of Christ! I have never seen so many people overcome temptations, give up unhealthy habits, and unite their family BECAUSE of the Book of Mormon and its power! It has power because in it, we find Christ. It TRULY testifies of Christ and He has suffered for US so that we can find peace, we can overcome our weakness, and we can return back to our Father in Heaven WITH our eternal families!! I love my Savior and I testify that the Book of Mormon is TRUE with ALL of my heart! Read it everyday and you WILL be blessed! I can't testify of that enough! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Have a wonderful week!! I just have one request from you all-PLEASE send me your Christmas Cards!!! I'll make a deal, if you send me one, I'll send you one :) LOVE YOU!! I want to know how you all are doing!! 

​Sabiko's family!!!


My little buddy :) He's AWESOME!!


Our mission president was able to come and baptized her!


My perfume gal :) I love her!





In the beautiful village of Tushemisht.



I honestly don't know what I'm doing here haha


FALL in 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)

Email: natalie.olsen@myldsmail.net


mormon.org

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..... :)