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Liberia, Africa: Here We Come!

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Dave and I are now working with some of these great missionaries in Liberia

Facebook: Search "Sheryl McGlochlin". I'll friend you if you aren't in my group. As of April 21, 2023, this is still the best way to access my many photos, videos and thoughts. Facebook has worked the best for me. I'm working to copy Facebook posts over to my blog for those who don't use Facebook but that isn't happening yet.

WHATSAPP: Reach me through Whatsapp. This app is free to download. It's the best international messaging service, in my opinion. Search "Sheryl McGlochlin"

My US Cell phone won't work again until July 2024. If you text/call 801-278-5313, I'll receive your message sometime after July 15, 2024.

Standing outside the temple in Ghana are the Barkers from Highland, Utah and some very wonderful Liberians!! I can't wait to be able to be an escort for some of the Liberian people and take them to the Ghana Temple! Hopefully all of my experience of escorting hiking clients to Europe will help me in this important assignment. We'll teach them before taking them to the Ghana Temple, 2 countries away from Liberia, about a 3-hour flight and several hours of driving from where we'll be living. Many of these good people have never been outside of their own villages. They've never been in an airport, flown in an airplane, eaten at a restaurant, slept in a hotel, etc.

Church Distribution Center in Monrovia is small but has plenty of supplies for us.

Gospel Literacy classes in Gbarnga, Liberia where we live.

Dave and I are living in Gbarnga, Liberia for 18 months. Pronounced Bonga

Our mission

  • MLS Missionaries which means Member Leader Support

  • MLS also unofficially means Missionary Love Support - to support our young missionaries as if they were our own children

  • 170 missionaries in the Liberia Mission, officially called Liberia, Monrovia Mission

  • Most of the missionaries are 18 - 25 years old.

  • Most come from other countries in Africa (approx. 54 countries in Africa)

  • FYI: Liberia is in WEST AFRICA. Monrovia is the capitol of Liberia, located on the west coast.

  • When we arrive in Africa, in mid-January there should be around 4 senior couple missionaries total, scattered throughout Liberia.

  • Our mission could use 25 senior couple missionaries. They are the glue that helps to hold the mission together and help relieve the local church leadership of some of their duties.

  • The church is growing rapidly in Liberia and needs experienced, seasoned members to help them become church leaders in their own areas since we are just here for a short time.

  • Liberia is one of the fastest growing missions in the world.

  • As of July 28, 2022, in the West Africa area there were 432,748. These numbers are constantly changing.

  • There are 17 missions (ours is 1 of the 17 - Liberia, Monrovia Mission)

  • There are 2 temples, 134 stakes, 43 districts

  • Approx. 25,000 new members

  • Africa is a very Christian continent.

  • English, like pigeon English, is the official language however there are 20 other languages spoken as well.

  • Liberia is a very tropical climate in a rain forest, 400 miles north of the equator.

  • To help

  • keep the cost down, Dave and I plan to be eating lots of rice, pineapple, coconut, mango, passion fruit, banana, avocado, etc.

  • Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Sierra Leon, next to us to the north, is even poorer.

  • Liberia is an expensive place to live - nearly everything is imported. It’s much more expensive than living in the US.

  • Housing is very inexpensive UNLESS you want electricity with your lodging. An apartment will cost you $500/year but if you want electricity it will cost $2200/month!

  • Our Mission starts January 2, 2022, 9:30 AM in Provo, Utah and the MTC. (Mission Training Center)

  • Our mission ends July 2, 2024.

  • After 2 weeks of mission training in Provo, Utah, (Monday through Friday) we’ll leave the US around mid January and fly to Africa.

  • We’ll fly to Brussels then south to Monrovia, Liberia - approx. 30 hours of travel if everything goes well.

  • Liberia is about 400 miles north of the equator

  • We arrive during the hottest season. It’s also very humid. No suit coat or any kind of coat is needed here.

  • After arriving we’ll hopefully get some rest, get our driver’s license then stock up on lots of food before heading to the Bush where we'll live.

  • We'll come to town, to Monrovia about a 5-hour drive from our home, about once a month to buy more food and supplies.

  • After a few days of getting acclimated and acquainted with the craziness of Monrovia where the Mission Office is, we’ll drive about 5 hours to the Bush where our home is waiting for us.

  • We’ll be living in the Bush, the lush, green country area, among several villages

  • We’ll stay there for 18 months, unless our mission president moves us somewhere else.

  • Liberia is half the size of Utah.

  • We have already received many shots that were required to serve in Africa. You can come to Africa without all of the shots we were required to get. Yellow Fever Shot and Covid are required by the government. The church requires us to have all the rest. I was concerned about all the shots but it was a much easier and painless process than I thought it would be - except in the pocketbook! I want to teach people where to get their shots for the least amount of time and money since prices fluctuate BIG TIME depending on who you talk to. I discovered that I really love going to Utah County Health Department in Pleasant Grove. They accept walk ins and definitely have the best prices! We went at 8 AM and go in first without ever waiting.

  • I’ll be wearing a lightweight dress or skirt/top for the full 18 months except in my home. It's not culturally acceptable for lady missionaries to wear pants.

  • Dave will wear a white short sleeve shirt, dress slacks and a tie. Never a suit coat!

  • 2 bedroom home in a gated community - ok it’s a compound - but it’s a safe haven inside a large wall with barbed wire on top. Our home is the only one inside this compound. Dave and I are the only ones living in this home.

  • Extra bedroom for you to come and visit us!

  • Own private well - clean drinking water

  • We have Wifi everywhere we go.

  • Living off of 2 Generators - there is no electricity in these villages

  • A truck with big letters on it that say MISSIONARY

  • We have AC in our truck and in our home

  • I have a nice kitchen to prepare our meals - stove, fridge, deep freezer

  • Prepare members for the Temple and escorting them to the Ghana Temple 2 countries away. People who have never slept in a hotel, ate at a restaurant, been on an airplane or in an airport.

  • President Nelson announced a new temple in Liberia in October 2021.

  • We get up when we want, set our own schedule, do what we feel inspired to do. Lots of opportunities to do all kinds of things: teach reading, writing skills, music, dance, gardening, self reliance,

  • We are the only white people living there for many miles. The Barkers, from Highland, Utah have been there for the past 18 months but they are coming home soon. We are replacing them. There will be about one month vacancy from when they leave to when we arrive.

  • One of the first things I’m excited to do is get outside when the sun comes up at 6:30 AM and walk with Dave through the neighborhoods and start saying Hi to everyone.

  • Liberia has two seasons: a rainy season and a dry season

  • To save a lot of money on food, I’ll be preparing the bulk of our meals from raw ingredients. You can buy many of the food items you see in grocery stores but it is at least 4 - 5 times more expensive.

  • The prepared bread in Liberia apparently doesn’t taste very good. The senior couples have told me they make their own bread, rolls, banana muffins, etc. from scratch.

  • The younger missionaries love it when the senior couples feed them or make any kind of treats.

  • Our children will be living in our home while we are gone.

  • Some ways I will communicate with others: Zoom, Whatsapp, email. My email is now

Liberia is in West Africa

I'll pass on this place for my dental work.

A common place for many things, including baptisms

One of our senior couples made a delicious Thanksgiving Dinner for some grateful missionaries

Christmas decorations in Liberia

Our mission farewell

Some people we'll be working with - including our mission president: President and Sister Thomas

Local homes in the villages

From my senior couple missionaries who are there now. How much do we take our water for granted? They have to work so hard for everything they get.

We are replacing the Barkers, who are from Highland, Utah. They have served 2 missions in Liberia and are leaving Africa December 15, 2022. They have been living in Gbarnga, Liberia in the Bush where we will be living, in and

near several villages.

A roadside stand.

One of my favorite quotes

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”
President Russell M Nelson

Beginning January 2, 2023, Dave and I will be serving an 18-month, full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Liberia, Africa as MLS Missionaries (Member Leader Support)

We'll return home: 02 Jul 2024

Our Mission Farewell

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

5400 South Holladay Blvd.

Holladay, Utah

Sunday, December 11, 2022

9:30 - 10:30 AM

And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
Alma 36:3 Book of Mormon

Liberia is in West Africa, the 3rd poorest country in the world

Until January 1, 2023 my contact info is: 801-278-5313,

After January 2, 2023, I'll be able to communicate through Whatsapp

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Mosiah 2:41 Book of Mormon

Tuesday, September 20, 2022:

Today we received our mission call to serve in the Liberia, Monrovia Mission. I hope you'll join me virtually as I prepare to leave home and go half way around the world to West Africa with my husband, Dave, as we serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We leave January 2, 2023 and will be gone for 18 months.

Some of the missionaries in Liberia that we'll be serving with. The couple is our Mission President and his wife.

A little about Liberia:

These are beautiful, happy men, women and children who have very few material possessions but a huge abundance of faith in God and are eager to love, learn and help others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022:

Yesterday after sharing the news with many friends and family I was exhausted by the end of the day. Our immediate family was with us in person or online as we opened the mission call at 10 am.

The fall season is Liberia's rainy season.

We'll speak English! I'm very grateful for that, however there are several other languages in this country that we'll try to learn a little.

We are assigned to serve as Member/Leader Support Missionaries. We'll offer leadership support and be able to use our own unique talents and skills to bless the lives of those we meet. It's exciting and sad at the same time because I'm fully aware of how fast 18-months can fly by. I already feel an urgency to help them in any way I can and a desire to love them. I will be learning a great deal from them. They live a very simple, humble, hard-working lifestyle. They also have an enormous amount of love, faith and hope and are very eager to learn skills and work.

Senior Missionaries are the glue that holds a mission together. They bring maturity, life experience, skills, talents and knowledge that younger 18 - 21 year old missionaries couldn't possibly be expected to give.

One challenge for me is remembering that Dave and I will be missionary companions for the next 18 months! I love him very so we better get along or this could be a very long mission!

We breezed through the pandemic together. He is my best friend, husband and body guard. I feel safe with him nearby. Over the past 43 years of marriage we have spent a lot of time managing our own careers. Now we'll be coming together and leaning on each other more. I can already feel the difference. This is a huge project to prepare for and we won't be successful if we don't help each other a lot!

Within 24 hours after we received our call, we received our most time-sensitive homework - getting 14 documents together for our VISAS. This is a lengthy process.

This is during the rainy season. It's a hot, humid climate year round. At least I won't be taking much lotion! My skin should look awesome compared to the dry desert climate in Utah.

Thursday, September 22, 2022:

After we opened our mission call, which came to us online through our church's missionary portal, I could not remember "Monrovia", the capital city of Liberia. Before we realized how this city came to be, my oldest daughter said, "Mom, remember Marilyn Monro....via!" We learned how this city was actually named - James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and the last president from the Founding Fathers. James Monroe was honest and known for his kindness and compassion.

I was eager to share the news with my friends, many of whom are not members of my faith. One friend replied:

We thought you wanted a Spanish-speaking mission, with your Duolingo lessons. Are you and Dave going to accept going to Africa or wait for something else?

It's true, I have been studying Spanish on Duolingo for the past 12 months however when we decide to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we also agree to go where ever we are called to serve. As senior missionaries, we have the opportunity to list up to eight preferences on our application with the understanding that revelation from God through His chosen servants may over ride any and all of our preferences. We know that before sending in our application. Dave and I were also eager, willing and excited to serve where ever we are asked to serve.

These are BIG birds in this tree! Moving from Holladay, Utah to Liberia for 18 months will definitely be a culture shock, seeing the living conditions of these good people. This photo is from my Mission President and his wife's blog. I'll have my own photos soon.

About 3 weeks before we received our mission call, I was out walking in my neighborhood when I met my neighbor who I hadn't seen for over a year. I told her we were getting ready to serve a mission! "Where are you going?" she said. "I don't know yet." I said. "My son is the Mission President in Liberia and they desperately need a lot more senior missionary couples!" she said. We soon said goodbye and told her I would keep her informed on where we end up going. I came home and looked up Liberia: where it was, how long the flights were from here to there - about 24+ hours, what the terrain, weather and the city looked like. She immediately started sending me photos of the missionaries there. I saw so many happy people which made a big impression on me. Who doesn't want to be around a lot of grateful, happy people? Three weeks later when we received the news, I saw my neighbor out walking again. I ran out to tell her that we would be going to Liberia for 18 months! I'm extremely grateful that I had that little Liberian seed planted in me 3 weeks before we received the call. My neighbor told her son and his wife and I firmly believe that we were a huge answer to many prayers! Our church leaders are also keenly aware of the needs of every part of this global epic missionary work to bring souls to Jesus Christ!

Since early 2003 I've been fully engaged in organizing, promoting, recruiting and facilitating many local and international adventure trips. Some last a few hours while others last 10 days and everything in between. I would call this experience I'm preparing for now, a Massive Adventure Trip and literally change the course of my life. This adventure trip started May 8, 2022, more than 6 months before I leave for Africa. It's not that easy getting yourself ready for something of this magnitude but I'm so excited.

It's easy for me to look at everything in my life as an Adventure Trip! If you have any kind of a challenge or trial in your life, give it a name and call it an adventure trip. One Adventure Trip that came to me without me asking for it was in August 2013 when I learned I had Colon Cancer. I was terrified of this news UNTIL I realized it was just another adventure trip! I named it CC Adventure Trip. (CC = Colon Cancer). Another similar, unwanted Adventure Trip happened in 2017 until July 18, 2018 when my mother died. I gave that trial a name as well and called it the Doris Adventure Trip. It helped me appreciate and savor each little experience instead of dreading all of them. You begin to see the tiny miracles and the beauty and goodness of people rather than focusing only on the ugly.

For me, this adventure trip has 5 parts.

Part 1 began May 8, 2022 when Bishop Hoole, our local church leader, asked Dave and I if we would prepare to serve a full-time mission somewhere in the world. It took about 4 months before our application was complete.

Part 2 began August 29, 2022 when we had to start the painful 3 weeks of waiting and wondering where our assignment would be.

Part 3 began September 20, 2022 when we received our mission call to Liberia, Monrovia Mission and the more specific preparation began. We also received a lot more resources and mentors to help us. This is the stage I'm still in and will last 3+ months.

Part 4 begins January 2, 2023 when we go to Provo, Utah for 2 weeks for specific training in what is called the MTC (Mission Training Center). All missionaries young and old go to an MTC before serving their mission. There are 7 MTC's around the world. Provo is the one we've been assigned to go to. FYI: There is an MTC in Ghana for missionaries much closer to this country.

Part 5 begins when we fly to Liberia around January 15, 2023. Our mission officially starts January 2, 2023.

The challenges, obstacles, energy, excitement, etc. for each part so far has been like a giant roller coaster! It's also been like hiking up a steep mountain and finally coming to a beautiful vista that gives you incredible new vision, energy, hope, and satisfaction. Most importantly it gives you the will to keep climbing much higher and further.

Friday, September 23, 2022

“Exceptionally well written, a true story that seems as much a thriller as the remembrances of an ambitious and brave woman. . . . This timely book. . . is a lesson in courage and perseverance.” — Washington Post

An inspirational memoir from Africa’s first elected female president about her improbable rise to international prominence, her fight for political freedom, and her unwavering determination to rebuild her nation—Liberia—in the wake of civil war.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

My 5-year-old granddaughter is excited for me to go to Africa and send her lots of photos of animals. Leopards, monkeys, chimpanzees, antelopes, elephants, anteaters, and the red river hog are common Liberian animals. Photos coming....

Liberian Language:

More than two dozen languages are spoken in Liberia. English is the official language. Predominant languages include Kpelle, Bassa, Grebo, Dan, Kru, Mano, Loma, and Mandingo (spoken by the Malinke).

People have been asking me if I'm afraid to go there and l ive there.

My answer: No, because of the deep faith I have in God and how He has been preparing me especially during the past 20 years. I have been teaching hikers how to be safe while hiking on ice, hiking in high altitudes, hiking during the cold winter months especially avalanche season, hiking on trails near moose, mountain lions and rattlesnakes and a host of other precautions designed to keep hikers safe year round. Now I have several experts teaching me how to be safe before, during and after I'm in Liberia. I know first hand the value and blessings that come from listening, trusting and obeying your leaders.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

This is in Kenya - not Liberia but Elder Rasband could have said something similar for Liberia.

It's a great time to be alive and healthy and strong so I can serve the good people of Africa!

See what's happening in Cape Verde, north of Liberia. This same thing will be happening in Liberia with a new temple being built soon!! I can't wait!!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Today is my birthday. I never dreamed when I turned 67 that I would be preparing to serve 18 months in Liberia, Africa! Today I'm busy lining up appointments for shots and appointments for obtaining police reports for Dave and I. The list of documents required in order to get a VISA for Liberia is a long one and these need to be sent in soon since it takes time to get approved for a VISA.

One big present I received today is the link below. Our mission president and his wife, are documenting their experiences as well. They arrived in July 2022 and will be there for 3 years!! We are only there for 18 months. Check out their adventures so far.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

KIVA - Make a loan, change a life.

Matt, a good hiking friend of mine, has been using KIVA to help several people around the world including some women in Liberia through this KIVA app. It's a great way to financially support those who are working so hard to try and earn money to feed their families.

The African people are a very visionary people. When asked why they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, many have said they have had dreams about this very thing so when they met the missionaries it was easy to join and very familiar to them.

This is the only giraffe we have in Holladay. It's bronze. Maybe I'll see a real giraffe in Africa. I caught this photo as the sun came up this morning.😁

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The "VISA To Do List" is very doable. I'm moving fast on completing each document needed. It really helped that we already had our passports. We hope to have everything together and submitted by October 15. In case you ever need to do what I'm doing, I'll share some valuable info that could save you a ton of money.

About the Yellow Fever Vaccine: it's required for a VISA in Africa. Cost can be all over the place! Best price we found is in Utah County Health Dept. for $150. No appointments needed. We're going to American Fork Clinic. Be there by 7:30 AM before they open to avoid waiting in long lines.

We received our "Good Standing" notarized document from Salt Lake Sheriff's Department today. After paying a $10/fee, as I walked out I felt very grateful that I hadn't lived a life of crime. I'm happy I had a clean record and could serve the people in Africa. It also required an appointment.

Speaking of simply beautiful, this was my scenery on my bike ride near Park City today.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Simply Beautiful—Beautifully Simple

This 13-minute talk is so good! Dave and I were asked to read and/or listen to this talk because our training is centered around these principles in this talk. It's familiar because it's how I'm trying to live my life everyday.

Friday, September 30, 2022

I woke up early this morning thinking about all of my possessions and how I need to let go of many of them. That is not an easy gig. I found this 13-minute talk by Elder Holland talking about this very thing. It's powerful. I think most of us are very attached to our possessions. It takes a lot of divine help to be able to let go of our stuff which is why I am asking God to help me do this hard thing. We are not selling our home, however. Some of our adult children will be moving in while we are gone.

Listen to this song and the lyrics. It's a song that's definitely stuck in my mind a lot! I have a twist on it, however. I have a great opportunity for the next 18 months to "leave this world behind" and actually live with so many people who have so few possessions compared to what I'm surrounded by in my Holladay neighborhood. So many Liberians are eager to improve, to learn, to work, be patient, be grateful, be happy.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

I think the #1 qualities you need to serve a mission is a desire to love God and love others. It's pretty cool to be an instrument in God's hands in helping to relieve human suffering, one person at a time. That is God's work and we have an opportunity to help Him! It's very satisfying and fulfilling to be engaged full time in this kind of work!!

The Book of Mormon - I'll continue posting some of my favorite quotes from The Book of Mormon in this blog. Download the app and read it for yourself. As you read with real intent you'll also feel a divine surge of power that will help you do very hard things. This book will change your life. It's a very personal experience. Preparing for this mission has not been an easy thing for me. I'm dealing with a lot of emotions as I close several chapters in my life and start to open new chapters. I'm super grateful for Jesus Christ. This book brings me very close to him which is the power I am able to do all of these hard things. Regardless of the struggles you are also facing, the book will bring you closer to Jesus Christ just like it is doing for me. Test it out for yourself.

The Book of Mormon

Sunday, October 2, 2022

For the last 3 years, every Sunday at 8 AM I've hosted a 30 - 60 minute online class called "Finding Passion and Purpose in Life" where I share mostly personal experiences I've had that drive home principles to live by. It's a great time to stop and think about what we are doing and what changes we may want to consider making in our lives. This is a sample of what I shared today and was written nearly 100 years ago. It expresses exactly how I feel!

Two years ago I was laboring with Elders Wells and Pratt in South America, opening a mission for the Church. I had during that period of time opportunity to reflect and to study. It is said that “distance lends enchantment to the view” and, I believe, sometimes clearer understanding. I was 11,000 miles away from the headquarters of the Church, far enough away to get a good view of things. I had passed out of the world I knew, into a new and different world. The language was different; the customs of the people, the heavens, and the earth—all appeared strange and different—so that I was as one who had left the earth and had many of the thoughts and reflections that I am sure I shall have when that time does come to me....

Photo from our mission president and his wife,

Monday October 3, 2022

I live After The Manner of Happiness!

As you can see in this video you don't need many worldly possessions to be happy.

The Nephites Live after the Manner of Happiness | 2 Nephi 5:10–27

One of many Book of Mormon videos produced by the Church

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

At 7 AM, Dave and I left for Health Department in American Fork, Utah so we could be first in line for our Yellow Fever vaccine. This facility is a "walk-in" place, which I really like. We got right in without having to wait much. Cost of the vaccine: $156/person. It was the cheapest place we could find but the good news. It's good for life so if I go back to Africa I won't need to get it again. It was just a little poke. No pain. No side effects so far except for my wallet! Our insurance doesn't cover this. I'll keep you posted if I have any side effects in the next 7 - 10 days. If you plan to go to Africa you'll need to get this vaccine. We can't get our VISA without it so we were eager to get it.

Photo from our mission president and his wife,

I found this story on our Mission President's blog and had to share.

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference for that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

In order for me to LIVE and THRIVE in Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, my #1 Power Tool is developing a relationship with Jesus Christ. It takes daily effort to gain a deeper faith and trust in Him. It's why I love to talk about the Book of Mormon so much in this blog. I'm eager to let others know where my strength comes from. The Book of Mormon gives me the ability to do very hard things because this book brings me closer to Jesus Christ. It takes effort and discipline to read, listen and study this book each day but I'm making better decisions and staying a lot more focused on things I need to do. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a hard time staying focused so reading this book will help you with any of your weaknesses as well. It will help you regardless of what you are struggling with.

Photo from our mission president and his wife,

Two weeks ago we got our call. It was exciting to tell everyone we knew. Now the honeymoon is over and reality is setting in. I sometimes start feeling overwhelmed and anxious with the thought of living in Liberia for 18 months!

When this happens I immediately think of a powerful experience I had more than 43 years ago. It was the day before I got married to Dave, June 7, 1979. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple June 8, 1979. I was alone laying in bed that morning thinking about the idea of marrying Dave for "Time and all Eternity". In our faith we don't use the words "Till death do we part". Our goal is to grow, progress, develop and be sealed together as families for the eternities which is a lot longer than this life for sure! On this morning I thought about how I had only known Dave for 7 months total! I had had a very strong feeling that he was the person I wanted to marry. We were very much in love. I also started thinking about how I had never dated anyone longer than 6 months - EVER! From the time I started dating at age 16 until the day I married at age 23, I felt like I had dated plenty of guys - but never more than 6 months before breaking up. Now I was committing to ONE GUY for ALL of ETERNITY and I'm only 23 years old!! I know I'm not the smartest or most experienced person to make those types of lasting decisions. We also believe that if we live a clean life we can have the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, who is very smart. So I don't need to be smart as long as I stay close to someone like the Holy Ghost who is really smart! During this mild anxiety attack I was praying to God for some direction and clarity. I remember a strong impression coming into my mind saying something like "Can you live your life tomorrow like you lived it today?" I remember answering that question quickly saying, "Of course I can, I just can't do this eternity thing!" Then a reassuring thought came into my mind and said "If you can live your life tomorrow like you lived your life today, you'll be just fine!" That was my answer and I immediately calmed down. Everything just happens one day at a time. I tell you this story because I've had those same anxious feelings about this mission. No where in my mission papers has it stated that I have to prepare for this mission all in one day or all in one week. When I get to Liberia I will do the same thing - take just one day at a time and try to focus on using my unique talents and skills to bless one person at a time. I am very confident that I can do that!

Many African people have a very deep reservoir of faith and it shows in both of these photos! I can't wait to meet them, help them, be inspired by them, learn from them and introduce them to you!

The plain and precious truth restored through the Book of Mormon (see 1 Ne. 13:34–36), as well as the clarity of its doctrinal presentations, gives Church members more of the rock of Christ to build their testimonies on.

More “rock” means a stronger foundation, and a stronger foundation to one’s belief means increased strength to withstand trials. By joining its witness with that of the Bible, the Book of Mormon lays down a firm, almost unshakable foundation for faith in Christ.

Built Upon The Rock, January 1992

A favorite quote:

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our ability to do has increased.

Heber J Grant

Thursday, October 6, 2022

My Theme Song: I'm Runnin' On

I LOVE this song! It's exactly how I feel - I am running on and am leaving this world behind!

Dave and I biking riding in Lambs Canyon in the fall.

I'll be working with these two beautiful women who also left their homes in the US to serve the good people of Liberia. Nancy is our mission presidents wife, on the left.

Child sleeping on the hard church chairs.

Friday, October 7, 2022

There are many tiny little preparations that need to be made within the next few months. Most important right now is getting all of the documents together for our VISA. As I prepare each day, there are scriptures I read that become very meaningful to me. More so than ever before. In these quiet moments when I'm trying to know what is most important thing I should be working on, scriptures like this become like my best friends and give me some serious guidance.

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good.”

Alma 37:37, Book of Mormon

Saturday, October 8, 2022

For the last 20 years I've spend a lot of time organizing hikes and hiking with an assortment of people from all walks of life. I found this scripture treasure recently which describes what I've been doing a lot of for the past 20 years. I feel like The Lord has been preparing Dave and I for Liberia for a very long time! He has been collectively and individually helping us to prepare for this incredible moment in time.

"And I, Sheryl, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things."

(Paraphrased a little) 1 Nephi 18:3, Book of Mormon

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Dave gave his notice at work last Friday. He'll retire in about 3 weeks, on Friday, October 28. That was a stressful phone call for him to make. Dave is very loyal and this company has been very good to our family. Dave is a Software Engineer for QA Testing and has been for several years but has only been with this company for the past 2 years. (QA = Quality Assurance). He also sent a followup email to his boss that thanked him for making it possible for our family to pay off our home early, get our finances in order and make this mission become a reality! It made me think of all of the people who have been placed in my path in life who have helped shape my life: my family, my hikers, garden members, kayakers, neighbors, friends at church, etc. They have all helped me prepare for this specific mission. You don't just one day wake up and discover you are ready for a mission like this. I feel like the Lord has given me so many situations to work through that would teach me skills, help develop talents, etc. for this very mission. I know that God is all about preparing His children for hard things that they will need to be able to do.

Monday, October 10, 2022

On Sunday,May 8, 2 pm, my life changed instantly with a simple, casual 15-minute meeting with my Bishop! details coming soon....

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Gratefully my 1200 Square Foot High Tunnel Cold Frame Greenhouse with my Lettuce and Micro Greens Hydroponic Garden went to a great friend and skilled farmer, Casey, who also has a passion for growing food. He raises chickens, rabbits, cattle, horses, goats, etc.

Now you see it....

Now you don't....

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

One talent I'm hoping to share a lot with the people in Liberia is my love for and knowledge of music, especially our hymns because they make me feel hopeful and happy and bring me so much closer to God.

In 2020, I was asked to play the organ in our Sunday worship service every month. I'm not terrified of very many things in church but playing the organ was very terrifying to me. It's a loud musical instrument. When a mistake is made everyone can hear it loud and clear! The organ is an instrument you play with your hands and your feet which makes it even more challenging! I found the easiest hymns to play and then played them a lot!

I would play this one hymn the most. It only had three chords and an easy melody. Two years later I've discovered this hymn has much more than a simple melody and easy chords to play. The lyrics also bring a lot of relief and rest to my soul. I'll definitely be teaching this hymn to those in Liberia even if it's just a cappella!

Come unto Jesus (p. 117 in our hymn book)

1. Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden,

Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.

He’ll safely guide you unto that haven

Where all who trust him may rest.

2. Come unto Jesus; He’ll ever heed you,

Though in the darkness you’ve gone astray.

His love will find you and gently lead you

From darkest night into day.

3. Come unto Jesus; He’ll surely hear you,

If you in meekness plead for his love.

Oh, know you not that angels are near you

From brightest mansions above?

4. Come unto Jesus from ev’ry nation,

From ev’ry land and isle of the sea.

Unto the high and lowly in station,

Ever he calls, “Come to me.”

I also really ❤️ this arrangement.

Some of the beautiful children I'll get to meet soon! These photos are from our mission president's blog. I'll post my own photos in a few more months!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The reason I include so many spiritual "power treasures" in this blog is because I've discovered an incredible spiritual strength that I definitely need as I prepare for this mission, with many "temporal tasks" to do. It's very doable WHEN you have access to the power of Christ. When you have His power with you EVERYTHING in your life becomes a lot easier. There are so many decisions to make and things to do. This doesn't have to be for just people like me who are preparing to go on an 18 month mission to Africa! You can have this same divine power in your life! Anyone can have it if they are willing to put forth some effort.

Listen to this short talk by Pres. Nelson to learn the truth about this kind of power. Do what I am doing... listen to this talk every morning first thing, before starting your day and then watch what happens.

Imagine your favorite coach, that you trust and love, giving you some last minute instructions before you run out on the field for the last time before the game is over. It's a critical time for you to get it right. You can't afford to make too many more mistakes. You really want to get it right before you are completely exhausted from trying so many times.

You also may be tired of playing harder and know you could be playing smarter.

Friday, October 14, 2022

"Few, if any, of the Lord’s instructions are stated more often, or given greater emphasis, than the commandment to care for the poor and the needy. Our dispensation is no exception."

An excerpt from "In The Lord's Own Way"

Russell M Nelson, April 1986

October is part of their rainy season. Temperatures stay in the 70s and 80s year round. Obviously lots of humidity. I remember being in Hawaii with high humidity and loving my moist skin compared to Utah's dry desert climate. I won't need to pack any lotion in my suitcase!

Many Americans, including myself, have developed some very wasteful habits. I did not live through the Great Depression. Even though I try to be thrifty I am guilty of wasting food or quickly ordering something on Amazon if I am slightly inconvenienced. Things or food are not so accessible there. I'll be learning and practicing daily habits of thrift. The following excerpt is from a talk from Elder Faust in 1986 about the mission of our church about THRIFT.

Some harvest recently from our 2000 square foot garden in West Jordan. Learning how to grow food before you are hungry is a very smart skill to cultivate.

"First prescription: Practice thrift and frugality. There is a wise old saying: “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Thrift is a practice of not wasting anything. Some people are able to get by because of the absence of expense. They have their shoes resoled, they patch, they mend, they sew, and they save money. They avoid installment buying, and make purchases only after saving enough to pay cash, thus avoiding interest charges. Frugality means to practice careful economy."

Jeff and Nancy Thomas, our mission president and his wife, some of the missionaries and beautiful children. These photos are from their blog. I'll have my own photos within a few more months!

ADVERSITY can be a huge blessing in our lives - contrary to what most of us think.

There are so many creative ways to solve difficult problems and Pete Fountain's life is a great example of this! In Africa, I know I'll be experiencing some very creative ways to solve problems.

I am a musician. I play piano, organ, and guitar. I love music, love to dance, sing, compose music, write music, create lyrics to music, listen to music, etc.

Pete Fountain is a famous musician and was born the same year as my mother, 1930. Here's a little excerpt about his life and a very creative way he became a great musician.

"Pete started playing clarinet when he was a child. Also, as a child, young Pete was very sickly, frequently battling respiratory infections due to weakened lungs. He was given expensive medication but it proved ineffective. During a pharmacy visit, Pete's father began a discussion with a neighborhood doctor who was also there shopping and talked with him about his son's condition. The doctor agreed to see the boy the following day. After a short exam, the doctor confirmed the weak lung condition and advised the father to try an unorthodox treatment: purchase a musical instrument for the child, anything he has to blow into. The same day, they went to a local music store and, given his choice of instruments, Pete chose the clarinet (after first wanting the drums, which his father declined per the doctor's orders). At first, Pete was unable to produce a sound from the instrument, but he continued to practice and eventually made sounds and then music, which greatly improved the health of his lungs.

He took private lessons and also learned to play jazz by playing along with phonograph records of first Benny Goodman and then Irving Fazola. By the time he reached his teens, he was playing regular gigs in the nightclubs on Bourbon Street.[6] According to Fountain:

"When I was a high school senior, my history teacher asked me why I didn’t study more... I answered that I was too busy playing clarinet every night, and when I told him I was making scale — about $125 a week — he said that was more than he made and I should play full time. I guess I was a professional from that point on.[6]"

Thomas S. Monson is one of the great leaders of our church who has had a profound influence on my life. This talk, "The Spirit Giveth Life", is a short and powerful talk! He also talks about how God moves in a mysterious way.

This is one of my favorite hymns in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding ev'ry hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower

Ye fearful Saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head

One of my favorite photos I took in Kauai, Hawaii near the north shore.

Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan his works in vain;

God is his own interpreter,

And he will make it plain.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

(This last verse I found in Pres. Monson's talk)

Nancy Thomas, our mission president's wife and some of the beautiful children. These photos are from her blog.

I'll have my own photos within a few more months!

My Aunt Lanore (my Dad's sister)

The impact ONE PERSON can make

When I was 40 years old, my Aunt Lanore died of breast cancer. She was only 59 years old. I had never lived near her and only saw her occasionally at family gatherings but when I did see her, I felt such a strong connection to her. I knew she loved me and was interested in me. She had a fun, warm, friendly personality and was extremely talented in dance, music and drama - some of the same talents I have. I told Dave we need to drive to Dillon, Montana to be at her funeral to give support to their immediate family. In my feeble mind, I thought their family would need me because they lived in a very small town. I was sure only a few people would be at the funeral. Right before the funeral started our extended Olsen family came out of a smaller room where we had gathered for a prayer then we began walking into the larger chapel and cultural hall. I'll never forget what happened next. It is embedded in my mind forever! As we entered the room, it was packed with hundreds of respectful people standing quietly as we walked through the congregation from the back of the room to the front. So many people were there! I was shocked, over-whelmed, humbled and crying all at the same time. What a huge impact my Aunt Lanore had on her community and way beyond! Her influence was so far reaching! At that moment I knew I wanted to be just like her and make an impact for good on as many people's lives as possible before my mortal life was over.

Just got my Crocs in the mail! Dave and I will be wearing these a lot on our mission. They are great for rain and mud.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Another Culture Shock I'll need to get used to - the streets of Monrovia.

Obviously if you can avoid going into the city, that would be the best option. One thing I love about looking at these two videos is the behavior of the people. Everyone seems to be extremely patient! I don't see anyone throwing a fit! I'm not convinced you would find people in the US as patient as these good people.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

WHY am I getting more excited to go on a mission so far from home and very foreign to me? Why am I willing to make great sacrifices financially, physically, emotionally, mentally, leaving so many people I love - my family and friends and the comforts of home for 18 months?

It's because I'm gaining more spiritual traction and strength, more vision, more love for you and those we'll be serving in Africa. It's all because of God's love I feel inside of me. This has all happened because I've been listening to, reading and studying The Book of Mormon more intently. It has been changing my life and it will change yours too if you let it. It has the power to give us serious spiritual traction.

What does that really mean?

President Monson, just months before he died, gave us the short answer. I can't express it any better. I know each of us wants and needs the great blessings that The Book of Mormon has to give whether we are members of my faith or not.

In April 2017 he said.....

This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.

We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.

If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.

My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

And thus we see that by small means (aka Dave & Sheryl) the Lord can bring about great things.
1 Nephi 16:29

Monday, October 17, 2022

In 3 short months Dave and I will be IN Liberia. We fly out around January 15, 2023.

Today Dave and I had a great Zoom call with our Mission President Jeff Thomas and his wife, Nancy. We talked for over an hour and asked them lots of questions. They have only been there since July. It is a huge blessing to have them as our mentors and be able to ask them questions whenever we want. Currently there are about 160 missionaries from our church in Liberia. Only 30 are NOT from Africa. One hundred and thirty are from all different areas of Africa. It will be a lot of fun working with a wide assortment of missionaries from so many regions and places in the world! If learned today the Pineapples are AMAZING and SO many bananas to eat! Rice is a staple but prices on everything including rice, are climbing due to inflation. Mangos are incredible also! I'm making a conscious effort to focus on the good and not mention as much on some of the unpleasant things we'll experience.

I want to BLOOM where I am Planted.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Yesterday we had a great meeting with our Mission President and his wife, Jeff and Nancy, via Zoom from Monrovia, Liberia. I'm so grateful there is internet access in Liberia!!! He reminded us that we are in for a "Life Changing Experience". He said "It's hard to describe this place until you've been here but we want you to be informed and prepared".

The more I work to prepare for this mission in Africa, the more I realize that I have been preparing, in part, for this mission for decades! The past 20 years as an outdoor adventure guide, organizer and promoter has taught me how to care more about the needs of others than myself, the past 15 years as a community garden organizer and enthusiast has taught me about the critical need for self reliance, the past 10 years working in 2 HolyTemples has taught me how this life is very short but a very important time to learn and understand about spiritual and eternal principles. What we do now will affect our lives for a very long time! I am all about developing and LONG LASTING RELATIONSHIPS, which makes me extremely happy, because of the thousands of people I've grown to love ❤️ very much along the way. These are all my family 👪 and friends for ETERNITY, not just this life!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

What to wear while living in a Sauna

If you are male and headed to an area that is extremely hot and humid year round and need to look nice each day, check out this dress shirt: White Dress Shirt.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

How previous experiences have prepared me for this mission.

On a Sunday in Denmark Dave and I had an opportunity to visit the Copenhagen Denmark Temple. It was closed at the time so we were getting photos and talking with someone we had just met. Soon n after a man with 2 suitcases walking down the sidewalk asked us where the metro (subway) was? Seeing him with all his luggage looked strange in this temple location since there were no hotels nearby. We soon noticed his wife walking slowly behind him also pulling more luggage. We learned he and his wife were from the US, in a taxi on their way to a cruise ship when the taxi driver abruptly stopped and told them their ride was over due to a marathon in the area which the taxi couldn't get through. The older couple were now on their own with all of their luggage to find a way to the cruise ship using public transportation. Notice how the story UNFOLDS from here. 1) We had just come from the Metro so we were happy to walk with them. 2) a few moments later we realized we could help carry some of their luggage 3) once on the metro there were some transfers to be made which would be hard with all of their luggage and his wife was struggling to walk during this whole ordeal so we chose to stay and help them until they arrived safely at their cruise ship. We had no idea that we would spend 3 hours with this couple but one thing lead to another and then another.... we saw a couple who at that moment were "poor and needy". We were "lead by the spirit" and took it one step at a time. That's what this African Adventure feels like. We take only one day at a time otherwise it can look extremely daunting!

Friday, October 21, 2022

I received a phone call at 7:30 AM today from Liberia! So cool! Elder Blanchard and his wife, work in the mission office called and needed some info from us. They try to lighten the load of our Mission President and his wife.

The following link is their blog which is just a glimpse into what we are trying to prepare for.

I have a few veterans who are helping me prepare "clothing wise" for this year round hot and humid climate. I've been learning about fabrics lately - fast drying, wicking, light weight, breathability, etc. I'll post some brands that are known for this type of climate and great for travel.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

In this blog, especially before I get on our mission, it's been very humbling to see so many experiences that God has blessed me with in order to prepare me for this very moment in time when we'll serve in Liberia. I am eager to share some of these simple but profound ways I've been preparing for this mission.

Helping others in stressful times

In 🇮🇹 Italy in 2017, I took our group of hikers on the train from Milan south to Levanto, about a 2 1/2 hour train ride. When we got on in Milan the train was rather empty but with each stop more people got on and few people were getting off! Soon the train was very full, like "sardine" full! For about 45 - 60 minutes we were packed into the train. It was during this stressful time that I noticed 3 kinds of people start to emerge around me. 1) Angry people who were stating the obvious and were taking video to send to the Italian transportation department to complain 2) Selfish people who had a seat but wouldn't look around or give their seat up for anyone 3) Selfless people who were observant and trying to help anyone who was immediately around them. For example, a single mom with luggage and 2 young children, clearing the way when they were trying to get on and off the train, etc. Finding them a seat. It was around the time of Easter which is why the train was much busier than anyone had expected. It was a moment I'll never forget, how my instincts immediately kicked in and other people became a lot more important to me in an instant!


In each phase of our mission preparation we've had countless snags, detours, set backs, delays, roadblocks, along the way. We've had to get used to it. The first obstacle was just getting our mission application submitted which is not as easy as it may seem. Our current obstacle is getting our VISA submitted and finding all the documents needed to live in Liberia for 18 months. In another post I'll share more about the 14 documents needed that I've had to find. Every country has specific requirements for obtaining a VISA in their country. It requires MUCH patience and critical thinking. Thinking about what I CAN actually do right now rather than focusing on what I CAN'T do. These are things we have no control over. You plan the waiting game. Heavenly Father has blessed me with many amazing family members and friends who have also had to exercise a LOT of patience in their lives. Two close friends come to mind: Chantel from Quebec, Canada (now living in Salt Lake near me) and Lisa Morris, my neighbor who is in the advanced stages of MS. Chantel has had to wait a very long time for her family of four to get their US VISAs before they could work, drive, etc. Lisa is the queen of patience! The only thing that functions on her body right now is her head and speaking abilities. She is dependent on others for everything else. Her arms, hands, legs and feet do not function at all. Fortunately we live in a high tech "voice activated" world where she can at least get some help by communicating "Hey Google" or "Alexa".

Sunday, October 23, 2022

When I read this scripture I think of how Liberia (and all of Africa) has been, is being and will continue to be blessed because of the deep faith that so many Liberians have in God! It's so exciting to play a small part in this huge miracle!

For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

2 Nephi 8:3, Book of Mormon

Change can be a hard thing

In 2021, while working in the Jordan River Temple, Sister Linda Burton, our female Temple Leader, informed 100 of us workers that we would need to park in the WEST parking lot from now on and enter the west entrance rather than parking on the EAST side and entering the east entrance. I'll never forget what she said next, "I know this is a hard thing I'm asking of you but I hope you are willing to make the change". I instantly thought to myself "if that is a hard thing for us to do, we are all in trouble!" That was about a year before I knew Dave and I were about to do a REAL HARD THING: sell a bunch of our favorite possessions, leave our family and friends and all of our comforts and conveniences, move to one of the poorest and most expensive countries in the world, for 18 months while we serve some of the most amazing people in the world! This is a true PRIVILEGE!

Just about all prices are more than double of what they are here in Salt Lake right now.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Ten years ago my daughter, Raena, had an opportunity to work in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, for 6 months with Cariloha, a Utah-based company. In less than a month I get a distress call from her, telling me that she and her 5 roommates were spending all of their money on food, just trying to survive. I had been teaching an adult class through Salt Lake Community Education called "Feed a Family of Four on $160/month". I finally had a chance to test out my skills - this time in another part of the world. I was so excited! I jumped on a plane and flew to St. Thomas immediately. This was my chance to teach Raena and her roommates for one week how to walk in to a grocery store anywhere in the world and find ways to prepare simple easy healthy meals using local resources. We were successful in St. Thomas but I've been able to practice this same Feed a Family Skill in Iceland, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, and several locations in the US including all the islands in Hawaii. I now have an opportunity to practice this in Africa and hopefully feed a bunch of people along the way!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

I have seen more miracles in my life during the last 6 months than I have in a very long time! It's all about change. I thought many of these changes would be really hard but so many of them have been easy! That is a miracle! We have been getting necessary shots, selling favorite possessions like all of my garden equipment, my 1200 foot high tunnel cold frame greenhouse, our trampolines, furniture, Yamaha keyboards, guitars, and so many other things that I could never let go of. I'm focused on looking forward in my life. Not backwards. It's an exciting time in our lives. Dave retires in 3 days. I love the peace, unity, love we feel in our home. One senior trying to help another senior!!😅🤣😂😅🤣

Wednesday October 26, 2022

The more you trust in the Lord, and act in faith, the more God will strengthen your faith to be courageous enough to step into the unknown and know that He will protect you, guide you, inspire you, bless you, watch over you and be there for you every step of the way! It's true! I am a living, breathing example of this. My extended family is and has been very faithful for decades. I feel them handing the baton over to me and saying, "It's your turn now, Sheryl. Take it and run!"

My paternal grandma, Rose Olsen, born in Bern, Switzerland, left her home in Emery, Utah at age 79, as a widow, to serve a full time mission in South Carolina. She was out walking the streets and working hard with her 21 year old female companions! I was in my 30's when she left and I remember being so proud of my Grandma for being such an adventurous, faithful, hard-working example to me at 79 years old! She gave birth to 6 children but Renee, one of her children, died when she was 8.

Her husband, my Grandpa Olsen, served his community in Emery, Utah as a Bishop for 30 years. That's a long time to be daily devoted to caring for the poor and needy. My maternal grandparents also have serious loyalty and deep faith running through their veins. I'll share their amazing stories later. Dave has a similar lineage of great, noble family members. I know they will ALL be with us, helping us in Africa because of similar miraculous experiences I've already had in Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Hawaii and the Caribbean. These sacred experiences have helped prepare me for this next "big leap of faith" adventure! I hope what Dave and I do will inspire, influence and motivate others to do what we're doing!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Sometimes I'm asked, "what made you want to go on a mission now?" The answer: I've dreamed about going on a mission with Dave for decades, ever since we got married 43 years ago, way before we had 4 children. I wondered if we could work well enough together and love each other enough to do something hard like this one day. It's taken 43+ years of refining and preparing for this mission. It's a big deal but I finally feel ready and able!! On May 8, 2022 when Dave and I were asked to start making this mission a concrete thing, that's when we had to raise the bar and start consciously working better together. It doesn't come naturally. The first thing we did was to make a bigger effort to pray together each day about things we were trying to accomplish. The results have been fantastic! Coming together to talk with God about your concerns and what you are grateful for will bring powerful heavenly blessings!!

Friday, October 28, 2022

Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life

2 Nephi 10:23, Book of Mormon

I really love this scripture because we really ARE free to act for ourselves. .When I get to Liberia I get to do what I feel impressed to do. I am already developing a strong love for the Liberian people and I'm still 2 months from leaving. God is eager to bless the lives of the righteous!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

If you were to live in Liberia, an apartment would cost you $500/year. AWESOME!! If you wanted electricity for your place it would cost $2200/month. That would pay for the fuel for your generators and their basic maintenance. To receive reliable internet plan on $150/month. To receive a marriage certificate and license plan on $75-$80. The income of many, if you have a job, is $5-$10/month, possibly up to $700/year. If you give someone a church pamphlet they will ask "Is it valuable? Can I sell it for food?"

Microsoft donated several hundred computers to the African people. The parents quickly took them away from the children and sold them for food.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

This speaks of the crosses we bear rather than the ones we wear. To be a follower of Jesus Christ, one must sometimes carry a burden—your own or someone else’s—and go where sacrifice is required and suffering is inevitable. A true Christian cannot follow the Master only in those matters with which he or she agrees. No. We follow Him everywhere, including, if necessary, into arenas filled with tears and trouble, where sometimes we may stand very much alone.

Excerpt from Jeffrey R Holland "Lifted up upon the Cross" October 2022

If you were to live in Liberia, an apartment would cost you $500/year. AWESOME you say. If you want electricity for your apartment it will cost $2200/month. That will pay for the fuel for your generator and basic maintenance. To receive reliable internet, plan on $150/month. To receive a marriage certificate and license, plan on spending $75-$80. The income of most Liberians, if you have a job, is $5 - $10/month, possibly up to $700/year. If you give someone a church pamphlet they will ask "Is it valuable? Can I sell it for food?"

The story is told how generous tech companies have donated hundreds of computers to the good people of Africa to help them learn. The parents quickly took them away from the children and sold them for food.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

My dear sisters and brothers, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.

As we seek our Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, our testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted. We will know of God’s love for us. We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you. I know this to be true in the passing of my eternal companion—Frances Beverly Johnson Monson.

Excerpt from President Thomas S Monson, We Never Walk Alone

Thursday, November 10, 2022

My long time business name has been Live and Thrive. It's also my motto live by. My subtitle is "Don't just survive, Live and Thrive!" Now I'm eager to add...

"Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and THRIVE!"

For the next 18 months I have a chance to see this slogan in action. To be able to share with you the changes in someone's life because of their faith to follow Jesus Christ. I'm so excited to share, teach, and testify of how Christ can absolutely change a person, family, community, village, nation and society ONE individual at a time, when they are willing to let Christ change them. If that's not exciting enough to be apart of and witness first hand, I don't know what is! This could be your story! This doesn't have to be only in 🌍 Africa.

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Book of Mormon

The Word of God is the one true friend you'll always have, no matter what. It will never fail you. It testifies of truth and is another witness of Jesus Christ, the one who has all power to fix all that is broken. That includes you and I.

On this day, November 11, I too want to join my voice of gratitude in sincerely thanking all of the millions of unselfish people who have fought valiantly to preserve my freedom. They have sacrificed much so that I could feel safe and live a very comfortable life. This freedom means more to me now than ever before because of where I'm about to live for the next 18 months. It was just 20+ years ago that Liberia was a war torn country. Trying to restore a nation after enduring a war has to be one of the hardest things to ever go through. I've never experienced that so I can't even imagine. I'm sure I'll very quickly develop a whole new level of gratitude and appreciation for our blessed land of America!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

One of my favorite Bible stories is when they were trying to feed a great multitude of people and they only had a few fishes and loaves of bread. Instead of Jesus focusing on what they didn't have, Jesus gave thanks for the little bit they did have and because of that they were extremely blessed and the food greatly multiplied to accomplish what was need to feed the 5000. Dave and I feel much like this. We are not 20 anymore. Our physical bodies are not as strong and fast as they used to be but our desire to do whatever our Master and Savior wants us to do with our current abilities is very strong and we know He is mighty to heal and fix that which is broken. He has been demonstrating His capabilities to me for the past 67 years!! He has 100% track record in my book!

We can be of good cheer and be filled with peace in our tough times. The love we feel because of the Savior and His Atonement becomes a powerful resource to us in our trying moments. “All that is unfair [and difficult] about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” He commanded, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He can help us endure whatever pain, sickness, and trials we face in mortality.

Excerpt from We Can Do Hard Things, October 2022

Sunday, December 11, 2022

About our mission

  • Called MLS Missionaries - Member Leader Support

  • MLS - Missionary Love Support

  • 170 missionaries in the Liberia mission - most are 18 - 22, most are from countries in Africa

  • When we arrive there will be about 10 other senior couple missionaries - they are the glue that holds the mission together

  • The church is growing rapidly in Liberia. It’s one of the highest baptizing missions in the world, about 200 new members every month!

  • Because of the rapid growth, our mission is in desperate need of leadership and experience which is why we need more Senior Couple Missionaries in Liberia.

  • Speak English - pigeon English

  • Tropical climate - like Hawaii

  • Lots of Rice, Pineapple, mango, passion fruit, banana, avocado are in abundance

  • Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Sierra Leon is next to us to the north and is even poorer.

  • It’s expensive to live in Liberia - nearly everything is imported. It’s much more expensive than living in the US.

  • Housing is very inexpensive UNLESS you want power with your lodging. An apartment will cost you $500/year but if you want electricity in your apartment or home it will cost $2200/month!

  • Our Mission starts January 2, 2022, 9:30 AM in Provo, Utah and the MTC. (Mission Training Center)

  • After 2 weeks of mission training in Provo, Utah, (Monday - Friday) we’ll leave the country around mid January and fly to Africa.

  • We’ll travel to Europe then south to Monrovia, Liberia, Africa - approx. 30 hours of travel

  • Liberia is about 400 miles north of the equator

  • Arrive in the hottest season. It’s also very humid

  • After arriving we’ll get our driver’s license and stock up

  • on lots of food

  • We come to town (to Monrovia about once a month for food and other supplies)

  • After a few days of getting acclimated in Monrovia where the Mission Office is, we’ll drive approx. 5 hours to the Bush where our home is waiting for us.

  • We’ll be living in the Bush - out in the country, in and near several villages

  • We’ll be there for 18 months

  • We have received several shots that were required.

  • That whole process was much easier and painless than I thought it would be!

  • I’ll be wearing a dress or skirt and top the entire mission. Women wearing pants is not culturally acceptable.

  • Dave will wear a white short sleeve shirt, dress slacks and a tie. Never a suit coat!

  • 2 bedroom home in a gated community - ok it’s a compound - but it’s a safe haven inside a large wall with barbed wire on top. Our home is the only one inside this compound. Dave and I are the only ones living in this home.

  • Own private well - clean drinking water

  • We have Wifi

  • Living off of 2 Generators

  • A truck with big letters on it that say MISSIONARY

  • Prepare members for the Temple and escorting them to the Ghana Temple 2 countries away. People who have never slept in a hotel, ate at a restaurant, been on an airplane or in an airport.

  • President Nelson announced a new temple in Liberia in October 2021.

  • We get up when we want, set our own schedule, do what we feel inspired to do. Lots of opportunities to do all kinds of things: teach reading, writing skills, music, dance, gardening, self reliance,

  • We are the only white people living there for many miles. The Barkers, from Highland, Utah have been there for the past 18 months but they are coming home soon. We are replacing them. There will be about one month vacancy from when they leave to when we arrive.

  • One of the first things I’m excited to do is get outside when the sun comes up at 7 AM and walk with Dave through the neighborhoods and saying Hi to everyone.

  • Liberia has two seasons: a rainy season and a dry season

  • To save money on food, I’ll be preparing the bulk of our meals from raw ingredients. You can buy many of the food items you see in grocery stores but it is at least 4 - 5 times more expensive.

  • Bread in Liberia doesn’t taste very good. The senior couples have told me they make their own bread, banana muffins, etc. from scratch.

  • Some of our children will be living in our home while we are gone.

  • Some of the ways we will be communicating with others are through Zoom, Whatsapp, email. My email is

Last Sunday, December 11, i asked Heavenly Father to help me relax and enjoy that whole experience of playing the piano for the kids and also of sharing my thoughts. I've had so many good cries over the past 5 months that I was extremely grateful to not be emotional that morning. Just really happy and hopeful!!!😁😁😁😁 I wanted to focus on all of the good and for a little while not think about any of the bad, the hard, the poor, the ugly.

When personal difficulties or world conditions beyond our control darken our path, the spiritually defining memories from our book of life are like luminous stones that help brighten the road ahead.

Elder Neil L. Andersen

December 12:

How did I get to where I am today?

ANSWER: Spiritual Defining Moments

Elder Anderson gave a Conference Talk about this, called Spiritual Defining Moments

These are rather simple, ordinary experiences, but when you look back on your life you can see how dramatic they were, how they may have changed the course of your life.

As I recall these experiences I am finding 100’s of these Spiritually Defining Moments - where someone came into my life, suggested something to me, encouraged me to do something, or gave me insight or perspective. I felt something and I acted on it.

You have also had many of these moments.

I have started compiling these and plan to keep sharing many of them with you in my blog.

I will only share one today.

I hope something I say will trigger a memory that you have had and help you identify more of them in your own life.

My story….

November 2020.

I went to my orthopedic doctor to look at my left hip that was causing me some pain while I was hiking. He discovered arthritis and a bone spur that would continue to get worse if I kept hiking as much as I was - 3 times a week.

He encouraged me to switch to bike riding or swimming - something that wasn’t putting so much stress on my left hip like walking and hiking was.

My life was full of hiking. For nearly 20 years I had been taking people hiking, organizing hikes, etc. I could tell I needed to make some changes.

Transitions can be very rough.

I tried to stay positive and move forward.

I started hiking less and teaching a Yoga class. Did more weight lifting and stretching.

I skied and did some bike rides and just loved to be active anyway I could without hiking.

I wasn’t sure what my future would be like.

I keep thinking I am 40 years old then I get these reality checks, reminding me I'm not.

Doubts about my abilities, my self worth started creeping into my mind.

About 6 months ago, in the spring, my doubts about my self became a lot stronger and more intense.

Doubts like….

Maybe my best years really are behind me

Maybe I am a HAS BEEN

Maybe people don’t really need me that much anymore

Maybe my talents and abilities are not really that great.

Maybe I’m not as capable or useful as I thought I was.

LOTS of maybes!

In a recent general conference talk by Elder Sean Douglas he said:

Doubt is an enemy of faith and joy, just as warm ocean water is the breeding ground for hurricanes, doubt is the breeding ground for spiritual hurricanes.

Just as belief is a choice, so is doubt. When we choose to doubt, we choose to be acted upon, yielding power to the adversary, thereby leaving us weak and vulnerable.

Satan seeks to lead us to the breeding ground of Doubt. He seeks to harden our hearts so that we will not believe.

In May - on a Sunday - May 8 to be exact - I had a profound experience!

It came in a very ordinary, casual way.

Bishop Hoole who was our Bishop at the time asked to meet with Dave and I.

He asked us a few questions about whether we would be willing to start preparing to serve a full time mission for the Lord.

What he said in those few minutes AND what I actually heard were TWO very different things

I heard:

Sheryl, Jesus Christ loves you SO MUCH!

He is keenly aware of you and the struggles you are going through right now.

He is fully aware of all of your strengths which are many.

He also knows exactly where you are weak.

He has a very important and unique work for you to do right now.

He knows you are very capable, talented, and strong.

You are not a HAS BEEN!

Your best years are still in the future!

You are extremely valuable to Him.

You are definitely ready for bigger, better and harder things in your life.

He needs you to walk closer to Him because He wants to take you to places and meet amazing people you can’t even imagine!

He needs you to let go of your own agenda and trust Him enough to let him lead the way on this great adventure!

Will you do this?

Bishop Hoole didn’t say that but that's what a heard in my heart

I answered with a BIG enthusiastic YES!

I’m extremely grateful that Dave said YES to Bishop Hoole also!

I have a message for you straight from our loving Heavenly Father.

If I had time, I would include your first name.

Jesus Christ loves you SO MUCH!

He is keenly aware of you and the struggles you are going through right now.

He is fully aware of all of your strengths - which are many.

He also knows exactly where you are weak.

He has a very important and unique work for you to do right now.

He knows you are very capable, talented, and strong.

You are not a HAS BEEN!

Your best years are still in the future!

You are extremely valuable to Him.

You are definitely ready for bigger, better and harder things in your life.

He needs you to walk closer to Him because He wants to take you to places and meet amazing people you can’t even imagine!

He needs you to let go of your own agenda and trust Him enough to let him lead the way on this great adventure!

Will you do this?

I’m grateful to each of you, for your love, your example and support to me, especially Bishop Wilkinson, who took over after Bishop Hoole was released, and helped us through every part of this journey.

To our family: We are very close. I know this mission and being apart will actually make our family a LOT closer than we ever have been in the past. It will deepen relationships in ways we do won’t expect.

So to 14 people that I love with all my heart: Dave, Kendra, Brandon, Devin, Trevor, Monica, Raena, Chad, Kyler, Ryan, Kade, Jessica, Summer, and Hope…..

I hope you can see that I am trying to be an example of who we really are. We are a family who are willing to make great sacrifices for those who we love the very most, which is our Savior Jesus Christ and each other. My parents, grand parents, great grandparents, and many ancestors before me have been my big examples.

It’s my turn to show how I am willing to sacrifice for my family and for my Savior.

I know Jesus Christ lives and directs this missionary work.

He has already been guiding, protecting and inspiring Dave and I to prepare for this great work in blessing the lives in Africa!

I will not doubt. I am not afraid!