Monday, August 25, 2014

Baptism, Ward Members, Squirrel and Ipad!!

First Mission Baptism

Hey from Florida!! Things are so crazy out here and so much amazing things are happening!! This might be weird but I’m going to start off with a story/testimony. This man was having a rough life. He’s in his 70's and doesn’t have close family. He’s been a hard core drug and drinking problem and on this one day his life just wasn’t going how he wanted.. He found out his daughter was homeless in California. He was one phone call away from getting some drugs to "take his worries away" right as he decided to call up and get them his friend called him and invited him to come listen to the missionaries at her house with her. This started something in his mind and heart and he invited the DeLand missionaries over to his place! He read the Book of Mormon in 3 days and said the desire to take his life was gone now!! That man was Jim and he was my first Investigator baptism!! His testimony is so amazing and I’m so proud of him! Thanks for the prayers for him and for me;)

The ward members here are so amazing, it is quite small and there are many who are quite poor but their testimonies are so great and they love the missionaries!! Brother R. in the ward also gave the 2 new DeLand missionaries a book called "BOM made easier" it’s a awesome book..I was SOO thankful! It’s amazing and so is his family!

Families here are so different though. EVERYONE can be a different religion in the family, it doesn’t seem to function well..but I’ve met those families! There are SOOO many different religions around here it’s definitely not Utah hahah! Also speaking of Florida, we get crazy lightning storms and it downpours everyday for about 30 mins. Then the rain stops and it’s about 108 degrees outside. bleh.

On exchanges with the other elders we found an injured baby squirrel and took care of it. His name is now Owen;) hahah.  I have pictures and stuff, which also reminds me, I will try and send them out this week from my camera. I GET MY IPAD FRIDAY!! YAY! 

Anyway, I’m in a hurry. Sorry if I’m leaving some stuff out! I’ll make sure to email more again next Monday!! I LOVE YOU ALL!! Thanks for all the prayers and support!  Jim and Jessi are done basically BUT Trina could use a little help.  Please keep her in your prayers!  Thanks again for everything!  LOVE YOU ALL!!

-Elder Olson

Sick Squirrel Owen

Sick Owen..we are helping him

Me and Elder Cooper

DeLand Zone

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DeLand, Florida, Crazy Weather and First Baptism!

Sorry I wasn’t able to email you yesterday! Normally my p-day is on Monday, but had zone conference so that moved it to today! BLEH!! But yes! So far it’s actually been very awesome! I do still miss home, family, friends, concerts and all of that stuff but I’m having a pretty good time out here so far. It’s weird getting used to things and been really stressful BUT I know that it’s a good thing to be out here. And I've already seen and got to do SOO much! I’m serving in a pretty sweet town called DeLand with Stetson College like 4 blocks away from us. So we're teaching a lot of old and young people!! DeLand is so cool though. My companion Elder Cooper is pretty cool too. We're somewhat opposites in some ways, but we get a long and he is a great guy and trainer.

Florida is soooo so weird. Weather is CRAZY. The rain comes down SO hard for about an hour a day and then it’s just killer hot and humid after that. The ward members and our investigators can tell I’m new, because I’m still "shiny" from getting used to the humidity. But the people here are just amazing. They are all so nice and love the missionaries! (mostly) If the people don’t care what you're talking about when you approach them on the street. They’ll still listen, but usually kindly decline! The other thing you learn about these people is they are slightly crazy. A lot of them are kind of hoarders, and have had drug problems in the past. But that doesn’t really change who they are now. In fact I believe it helps with their testimony and everything! They're all so nice to us and I haven’t even met them all. We are teaching some awesome people though. And Jim is our first to get baptized with us!!!! ON SATURDAY!!! AND we have about 5 others with dates to get baptized! Jim has had such a hard life and I’m so happy to see this makes him smile and proud of what he is now! He almost killed himself the night the missionaries met him. He definitely deserves this! So if you could pray for him and our newest investigator Jessi, who has 3 months to live cause of lung cancer, that would be appreciated!!:)

I have so many stories I wish I could tell right now, but being a missionary is crazy work. I PROMISE I will get around to the best ones in the upcoming emails! This is just a quick email saying I’m happy to be out, and things are going awesome! Thanks for all the love and support! I Love You All!!! (P.S. I made a new pet. a banana spider the size of my hand) he lives on my apartment).

Yes my bike is here safely and I get one week of riding it and a week of car we share with the other elders…Who are AWESOME!!  I’m getting more used to being out here and it’s been fun and interesting! Sorry this is odd. I just have a ton to do...missionary life is CRAZY!!.. Even on p-days BUT I will be able to respond next Monday FOR SURE!! I just want to get out of my first transfer. So I don’t feel so new, and I’m not viewed as the "greenie" it makes everything even harder. BUT it OK I’m doing well and can’t wait to see what’s to come!
I Love You all so much too and can’t wait to hear back from you guys! Let everyone in the fam know! Miss You!

Always know that hard times come, trials come, pain comes, but shortly after blessing come. When much is required much is given back.

I love and miss you! Talk to you next Monday!

-Elder Olson

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Elder Olson has arrived in Orlando....or somewhere in Florida!

Well, after 12 days in the MTC, Elder Olson has arrived safely in Orlando!  I had the opportunity to talk with him by phone from the airport in SLC and then received an email that night to let us know that he had arrived.  BOTH were shorter than a mom would like, however, it was just wonderful to know that he is safely in his mission area and ready to serve.  It has been a LOOOONG week not knowing where exactly he has been assigned or who his companion is....or how many bike accidents there have been so far:)   But being the internet stalker mom I am, I was able to find a picture of him and the other new missionaries that arrived in Orlando on the 11th.  Thankfully there is are couple missionary blogs that may provide me with some pictures etc. :)

I will update this weekly as I get letters or emails from him and have also included his contact information at the top of this blog if you would like to write him.  Here are some excerpts from his emails and letters so far:

August 2, 2014- MTC
"Today is my first P-day and on my Birthday! Birthdays just aren't the same without my family and it's still hard to not be there with you all but overall today wasn't that bad.  We had the opportunity to go through the Provo Temple!  It was neat!  And after, two awesome elders in my district surprised me with a birthday gift - a tie clip and a shirt!  They are the 2 best elders! Thank you all so much for the awesome gifts, cards, letters and emails.  I didn't expect that and it totally made my day!  This is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done, but like Jeff (Bishop) reminded me, "I never said it would be easy.  I only said it would be worth it!"

August 9, 2014 - MTC
"I love you guys so much.  I miss being home, but I know that I am where I need to be!  I like this quote "Successive small and connected steps can, with UNWEARIED DILIGENCE, finally bring us where we wish to be" - Elder Maxwell.  I have had the hardest but most spiritual last 2 days ever.  An Elder from our new zone wanted to go home.  As Zone Leaders, me and my companion helped calm him and he got the chance to talk to his parents.  He is staying for now! We took him to our investigator and the elder shared a personal story, which I think helped commit her to baptism!  YAY!" 

August 11, 2014 - Orlando/Mission Home
"Hey!  I made it out to Florida!  So far it seems pretty sweet.  Large, humid and green!!  That is basically what describes Florida.  The missionaries and mission president here are really nice and awesome, however, I am getting really nervous about tomorrow.....I get my first training companion and basically it all starts.  Even though I feel completely inadequate and like I don't know enough, I love my mission and can't wait to see what this brings. Sorry this is brief but there are 12 missionaries and two computers.  I will write more later.  I love you all so much!"  Elder Olson