Guest Post: Sister Ailee Olsen

Friday, March 15, 2013 , 2 Comments

I was away at college for the October conference. All of my roommates except one had gone home for conference, so there were just two of us there for the announcement. President Monson started talking about the age change for the guys, and I started bawling because I knew that he would change the girl’s age, too. It was a very emotional day for my roommate and I.

The first thing I did (after I stopped crying and called my parents) was count 120 days before my 19th birthday. I could turn in my papers on February 27. When I was 16 I decided that I’d like to serve a mission. But now I had to decide if I was going to go or not. After the age change it just seemed obvious that I was supposed to go. I prayed about going and just felt so much peace, but I was still anxious. What if that’s just what I wanted? 

It really hit me one day while I was sitting in the temple studying Preach my Gospel while waiting to do baptisms. A guy sitting next to me stopped me and asked if I had already planned on going before my mission or not. He then went on to tell me all about his two sisters, one of whom really wanted to go her whole life but, when it came time, was told that it wasn’t right for her, and about his other sister, who never wanted to go but ended up feeling like she should. He reminded me that it’s different for each person. That day I just knew more than ever that I was supposed to go on a mission—but I still had a few months before I could even open my papers.

One day towards the end of the semester I was walking to class with a couple of roommates. At my school we operate on a three-track system—we fit three semesters into a school year, and each student is assigned to two semesters. Because I am assigned to the spring-fall track, I was going to be in the middle of a semester when my availability date came. My roommate Whitney mentioned that she had just found out about a program that the university has allowing prospective missionaries to go to school on their off-track so they can get on their mission on time. We decided we’d go talk to the administration later that day and see if there was any way we could get in the program. It turned out that there were four spots left in the program. Whitney and I both immediately signed up. I suggested that we stop by our apartment manager’s office on the way home so we could see if there was any way we could sign a contract for the winter semester. It turned out that two girls had dropped out of their contracts earlier that morning and those were the only two spots available. We signed the contracts right then.

I wanted to do my papers through my bishop at school, so I opened my papers at the beginning of December. It was really cool talking to him about it. The first thing he did was ask me if I had any marriage prospects. He reminded me that marriage is always a higher priority for a girl than a mission. At the time, I was kinda dating a great guy. He knew that I was going on a mission and we had decided to pray about our relationship. The next Sunday he approached me and said that he’d received his answer and said that we should just be friends. I didn't get the same answer until later that day.

My parents scheduled my physical and dentist appointment for the first Wednesday of the break. After 18 years of never having any dental problems, I had a cavity and was informed that I had four embedded wisdom teeth that had to come out. My dentist gave me the number of the oral surgeon, and I scheduled a time to get my cavity fixed. Thursday morning my dad called the oral surgeon. That afternoon I was in the office, and Friday I was in surgery. The receptionist told me that after my dad called, five other people had called trying to get in during the break, and that I took the last spot.

I finished my papers in the middle of January. I met with my bishop at the end of the month, one month exactly from the time that I could submit my papers. He told me that I would get a call from the Stake President’s office scheduling a time to meet with them. That call didn't come, so I transferred my papers down to my bishop at home. I met with my bishop and stake president that weekend, one week from the time I could submit my papers. That week was the worst week of my entire life. I could definitely see the influence of Satan in my life—but I also saw the hand of God more clearly than ever before. It was so hard for me. The night before my papers went in I went and talked to my bishop. He gave me a blessing. The Spirit was so strong that night and I knew, once again, that I was supposed to go on a mission. 

The three months between when I opened my papers and when I received my call were the hardest months of my entire life. You don’t realize all the ways that Satan can tempt you until you are headed somewhere that he really doesn't want you to go. I’ve had so many things go wrong, so many problems, but I also saw so many miracles. Just the fact that I was able to be up at school this semester, that I was able to get my teeth out, and that my call came so quickly attested to me how much the Lord needs me on a mission in July. I’ve seen the hand of the Lord in my life so much more in the past three months than ever before, and I’ve grown so much closer to my Savior. I’ve felt so much joy as I’ve learned more about Him and His atonement. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me. That’s why I’m serving a mission—because I want to help people find that joy and love. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.

Because of my experiences getting ready for a mission, the number one thing I would tell future missionaries is to be better. Be better in your scripture study. Be better in your relationships with your family. Be better with your prayer. Commit to be the best you can be and then rely on the Lord. He will help you be better than you can be. And don’t get discouraged if you fail or even just fall short. Use the people around you. Your friends and family will support you—and don’t be afraid to go to your bishop. He won’t judge you for any of the concerns you’re having, and he can help you work out any problems, whether they be worthiness issues or fear. Don’t give up, and don’t worry—the Lord is on your side. He needs missionaries right now and He will help you, because He is always, always there.

(Sister Olsen wanted me to tell you that she's been called to serve in the great land of Indonesia! She's from Utah and will turn 19 a month before she goes to the MTC. Also, she's the oldest kid in her family, which is, of course, the best spot to be.)


  1. What a beautiful young lady! She is going to be a great missionary.