Monday, November 23, 2015

Former LDS missionary creates graphic novel based on experience

(by Megan Marsden Christensen 11-22-15)

Each day for 18 months, Brittany Long Olsen kept a journal in the form of comics as she served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tokyo, Japan.

On Nov. 11, she published those comics in her new graphic novel, "Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo."  Olsen has been keeping a journal this way since 2008, when she started college. She thought it would be a fun way to keep track of her life events, and she put some comics on her blog.  While on her mission, she found it easy to share her experiences with family as she took pictures of her journal pages and sent them home each week.  "It was a fun way for them to follow along, and it's a really fun memory for me to have as well," Olsen said.  Within the graphic novel are missionary experiences others can relate to, such as learning a new language, adjusting to a different culture and dealing with difficult mission companions.

She also addresses her experience with the influx of missionaries who came into her mission after the LDS Church lowered the age at which missionaries can serve.

"I think one of the most uplifting parts of the book is the spiritual journey that I go through," Olsen said. "... Someone who's reading it can really see how I change from being really self-absorbed and dwelling on how hard it was for me. … Over time, I open up and really love the people and just want to share all the goodness in my life with them and become their friends."  Olsen's graphic novel is available on Amazon's CreateSpace for $24.99. If readers buy it directly through the publisher, Olsen will donate 10 percent of its proceeds to the LDS Church's missionary department.  To keep up with Olsen's comic journal, visit her website, where she draws comics about adjusting to newlywed life.


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