Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Happenings,Skyping Technical Difficulties, It's a 75% off Miracle and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas! Alex is obviously the "A". :)

Skype with Elder Olson on Christmas Day!  He would immediately stop talking and strike a pose whenever the camera came out.  We are glad to see that Alex hasn't changed!

HAPPY New Year this week!  I would like to start off by saying THANK YOU to EVERYONE who helped make this Christmas such an amazing one!! I sincerely appreciate all of the efforts to help me out on this Christmas while away! It was definitely a unique one, and one to remember! I'm thankful for all the letters, cards, packages and prayers!! It means so much! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas as well!

So basically, it was a busy holiday!  We did a ton on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We taught a bunch of lessons, ate lots of food at member’s houses, were able to Skype with our families, and hung out with some awesome people! And although it has been an overwhelming and overall stressful week, I love the people we teach!  They are all older and already know a lot… but that's also a hard thing. We have some that are nearly impossible to teach and they just argue with a lot of the doctrine we teach. This is because they were previously in a different denomination. We also had a lesson with an investigator last night, and we took a recent convert with us.  Unfortunately, part of the way through the discussion, the member basically started teaching false doctrine...that was stressing me out so much! We had to clear everything up! Oh well that's missionary work I guess! 

Christmas Day was totally AWESOME though!! Being able to see the people I miss and love was the perfect gift. And although we had technical difficulties at first (and that slightly freaked me out with no sound for the first five minutes) I was so happy to be able to finally talk to my amazing family, grandparents, and friend!!!  Thank you all for that opportunity, that's truly what made this Christmas special. I'm thankful for that amount of time I was given to see and talk with you guys again!

And tomorrow marks my 5th month on the mission!!! It’s kind of crazy to look back on the past five months and I realized that it doesn't really feel or seem like it's been that long. There definitely are days that it hits me, but when I look and think about what's to come, the privilege of being on a mission far surpasses the amount of time, and sacrifices it takes!

Also I experienced a miracle this you may remember I found a LEGIT Legend of Zelda sword last week.  And even though I haven’t played it in a long time, I loved it when I saw it! Well, I went into the shop again this week and the owner said everything was 75% off!!  So now I am the proud owner of a sword!  I'll probably have to send it home hahahah! It's awesome!

Proud owner of the Legend of Zelda Sword!

Well...nothing too new this week other than it was a busy and stressful. Somehow managed to get through it! I just want to express my love for all of you! I'm so thankful for everything you do and the influence you all have on my life!

Again I'm thankful for the letters, packages and prayer directed towards me! Sorry if this email wasn't the most exciting thing ever but not much new has happened. I am up to the usual missionary work in a new place that I am still getting used to...and new companion.

I love and miss you all! Have an amazing New Year!! WOO 2015!! 

Be safe and have a great week!!

Elder A. Olson

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Area- "Crime Hills", New Companion, Elder Davis - "Hey I know you!" and Merry Christmas!!

First off, I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you ALL!!! I hope you all have an AMAZING holiday season, even though there's no snow yet really. If it makes you feel any better, I don't have snow either!

So yes...I was transferred to a new area with a new companion last week! I am now serving in Ocoee, FL., which is actually considered the ghetto of the mission. It’s definitely a LOT different than DeLand, but isn't THAT bad I guess. Our area consists of a little city called Pine Hills, which has the nickname around here of "Crime Hills". It fits its name because Elder Davis (My new Companion) and I had our bike helmets stolen! .... So yeah... it’s slightly sketchy!

Elder Davis is pretty awesome though, and he has been out 6 months. We both went to the same high school for 2 years and actually have some friends in common and so that's pretty sweet! He lived in Payson, and his family currently lives in Spanish Fork! So it has been really cool to talk about things around that area and people we both know.

Ocoee is definitely a wild time! Here they have a GIANT thrift store that consists of 40 Stores called J Mart and a few of our investigators own shops inside!!! Basically, you can get anything you can imagine there! I found a sword from Zelda…and I want it... and also custom chains. (Just so we fit in the hood I guess?) So YUP!!  Good times!

I have the feeling I’m only going to be in this area for one transfer though. It may be just one and then done in the area…. and Elder Davis will stay more.

The ward in this new area is pretty awesome though!!! The members that we have talked to so far are extremely awesome! They were especially nice to me because I replaced an elder that sadly, not many people liked. But it’s a VERY hard area and many are poor so we don't get fed too much but that's quite alright. Besides that, they are good to fellowship and they are ALWAYS willing to come out with us!

With being so close to the Orlando Temple (15 minutes away) every Tuesday we get to go and do service for the upkeep of the outside of the temple. It is AWESOME and such a good spiritual opportunity!!

Sorry, there is not much to say as I am still getting used to things, and this area.
I love you all and hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas and Holiday Season! Thanks so much for the many letters, cards, prayers, and support! It makes this time of year easier to be away. I love and miss you!

--Elder A. Olson

Monday, December 15, 2014


Hi Everyone!  Well...the week has come!! Bum bum BUMMM!!! Transfer week!

It's already hard enough for me to believe it's been SIX weeks, and extremely hard for me to believe I've been here 4 1/2 months!! But I guess my time in DeLand is officially over.. Yup! I got the call Saturday night saying I’m out of DeLand and Cotton is staying! Part of me honestly doesn't want to leave. This is all I know since I've been on my mission. But maybe it'll be a good thing to get out and experience a new place!

It was so hard saying goodbye to some of these ward members and they seriously have become like friends and family. Hopefully in this email I can attach a few pictures with some of them in it! I wanted to stay for 1 more transfer here actually and I feel like it'll be weird. Now I go to a new area, with a new companion, spend nine days before it's Christmas. I'm going to know absolutely NO ONE! But hey, I know that I'm called to specific areas at specific times in my mission to help the people. I just have my fingers crossed that I will be going to Melbourne, FL hahahah! That's the place I want to serve the absolute most. I've heard it's an awesome area, great ward, and one of my favorite bands SWIMM lives down there!!

This week was absolutely crazy! Elder Cotton and I "launched" a new initiative for the DeLand 2nd Ward. We decided to go through the Ward roster and pick out the inactive, less-active, or part-member families. Then we would find an auxiliary leader who connects with that family/person and try to reactivate them!! Because as missionaries, we can go out and baptize the world, but we also need to focus on those who already are baptized and that aren't attending.So this week we visited A LOT of them. And as a result, we started re-teaching three different families in one week! AND we got them to come to church yesterday! What great blessings!

Friday night we also did Christmas Caroling at the Dixie Lodge, which are homes for severe mentally disabled patients. It was such a blast and these people had an awesome time! We sang some Christmas songs, drank some hot chocolate, told a Christmas story, and gave all of them little gifts!! Overall, it was pretty sweet and to see the joy on the faces of those people made all the efforts worth it!

That's basically my week this week!  Nothing too crazy, but some miracles definitely were around us! I've had such an amazing time here in DeLand, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to come and serve here! It is such a special area to me and especially because it's my first. I'm excited to see what the rest of my mission has in store and where I might go next! I will let you know next week!! 

Thank you for all the love and support along with all of the prayers for myself and those I'm teaching! You guys are the best! I'm thankful for the Christmas cards and letters! It's definitely going to make this snow-less green winter much easier! Have an amazing week everyone! I love and miss you all! 

--Elder A. Olson

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas IS Coming, Attempted Weed-Eater Attack & Hugs, Transfers This Week, and HE IS THE GIFT!!

Getting in the Holiday Spirit!!

Hi All!

It is so weird to think that it's December! Even though there is no snow and it's unusually warm and I'm not with my family and friends AND not many people decorate here, I can tell Christmas is coming and I'm SOOO excited! And although Christmas doesn’t seem the same out here, I only have two opportunities to be in Florida during the holidays, so might as well make the most of it right?! 

This week was quite unusual. We couldn't bike much because Elder Cotton’s knee is still in pain. He is off his crutches but it's still rough. And oddly enough, my neck was bugging me all week! But isn't too bad now.

I had exchanges again this week with our Zone Leaders. So I went up to Daytona with Elder Cooper hahah! (My first companion/trainer) We met some people who are...insane!! This one guy threatened us with his weed-eater but then shook our hands REALLY hard and talked for a while. He said he wanted to meet and then sat down on the ground and made us give him a hug. It was possibly the weirdest street contact I've EVER had. It was quite the adventure up there though!!:)

Transfers are coming up soon!  I find out Saturday if I leave DeLand or not...In a way I want to, because I want to go out and experience a new place.  However, I've spent enough time here and it's become like home. I know the area really well and the ward members really well so I don't want to leave for that reason. hahah!

I do want to apologize for this shorter email. We have less time today than we thought we would. So I'll get as much into it as I can. Also, sorry to those I haven't written back quite yet! It's been hectic!! I'm in the process of writing them now! I'll get them out ASAP! But I also want to say THANK YOU! This week had some AMAZING emails that I know are going to make not only this week, but this holiday season so much easier, even though I am away. I love you all and am happy I get to talk to you! So thanks again!

There's a new initiative that the church has set out for missionaries and everyone. Us as missionaries have been sharing it since November 28th and I believe it is very important in bringing people closer to Christ! It's called "He is The Gift" and if you haven't seen it or heard of it, I encourage you to go to and check it out. 

It really puts into perspective what Christmas has become and what the true meaning is. It's really special and hits me every time! Everyone can relate to Christmas and we all can focus on what it's true meaning is, which is the birth of the most important man who walked on this earth, our Savior. Of ALL the days we have in a year, this is the one that should be the most focused on HIM I believe! We actually even picked up a new investigator just by that video! She LOVED it and recognized what Christmas has become and what it really should be. So miracles can happen!! It's really neat!:)

Overall, it hasn’t been a bad week! We were able watched the Christmas Devotional last night! But other than that, there is nothing else really exciting to tell you. I feel like I have another story to share....but my brain isn't working to well right now haha! I can't remember! Anyway, thank you ALL so much for the emails, letters, and just reading my updates! It means so much! I'm great fun for all of you and the example you are to me and also for the amazing work YOU do! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Missionary Selfie!!!