Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Weekly Ups and Downs, Florida Driving, Missionary Life and 2 Months down!

This week has been full of its ups and downs. We didn't quite make it to our goals we set for the week, but found a lot of comfort in the process. Although things definitely aren't going as planned with the work and the companions and all, we had a pretty awesome week and some amazing lessons!! I feel like our lessons are getting so much better as we continue striving to do our best, bring the spirit, ask inspired questions to those we teach and overall being the best missionaries we can.

We seriously got a slap in the face this week and reality hit haha! This work isn't easy, and people are just dropping out of our teaching pool BUT we had miracles happen. Elder Cooper and I drove forever to see a potential investigator, but she didn't want us to share a message. We were discouraged and wanted to go back to the apartment, but decided to knock on a few doors around. First house we approached the father was outside. John, got to know him and he was so excited to hear about it and wants to hear more. Not only for him but he wants it for his teenage children. THEN the next day we biked about 19 miles to one house of a referral. Although she yelled at us and wasn't interested, we got on the bikes and a man came out. Not to yell but to thank us for our service. Although he attends a different church he too wanted to learn more. He served in the military for 11 years and had Mormon friends there. Weird..someone in the military thanking US?! It sparked hope and ended the week in the perfect way!!

My companion injured himself playing volleyball...so although I'm still in training I'm driving us around now! Kinda crazy driving after all this time and Florida roads, and traffic are weird!! Makes me miss driving back home, just taking a relaxing drive listening to some GOOD music!! It's stressful here..people are scary (and crappy) drivers!! Anyways! 2 months on the mission TODAY! 22 left haha! Also I experienced the best weather the other day. Since I've been here, it was overcast and in the low 70's.. That's seriously the coolest it's got since I've been here. It felt amazing!! The people in the group picture are in my district.  With those 8 missionaries, 4 cover DeLand and 4 cover Orange City!

Jesse is now in hospice care for a while and things are rough with his health. But I thank you for all the prayers directed towards him!!  Priya is still set for her baptism on the 11th and we are planning the program tonight! WOOHOO! She said I might baptize or confirm her. Either one, I'm honored to do, and the new stake president will do the other!! Our investigator Ariel, that just got married, also has her date on the 18th she's working towards! Things are turning out finally!

And we FINALLY got a Ward Mission Leader..and a good one at that! (He is the kid in the previous wedding picture) His name is Michael Nutt and he is a recent convert of about 4 months. He helps us with a TON of lessons so he should be awesome at this calling! Other than that nothing too crazy has been happening… Warm weather, crazy people, and lots of rain!! Apparently it's a record this year so far of over 2 feet of rain? Crazy stuffs!

We had dinner with the bishop. He's so awesome and gave us a pretty sweet quote that sums up a mission life perfectly. Although it's long I want to share it!

A mission is a strange experience.  It's a trial and a test.

A mission throws at you the worst, yet teaches you the best.

They told me this would be the best period of my life,

But I guess they didn't explain it all too clear;

I came out looking for a bed of roses,

I just wasn't expecting all the thorns I've found here!


Since I've been out I've never been so happy,

I've never been so depressed.

I've never felt so forsaken,

I've never felt so blessed.

I've never been so confused,

My mind has never been so clear.

I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant, 

I've never felt him so near!

I've never had it so easy,

I've never had it so tough.

Things have never gone so smoothly,

Things have never been so rough.

I've never traveled through so many valleys,

I've never ascended so many peaks.

I've never met so many people,

(I've never met so many freaks.)

I've never had so many ups,

I've never had so many downs.

I've never worn so many smiles,

I've never seen so many frowns.

I've never been so lonely. I've never had so many friends.

Man, I hope this is all over soon...

Gosh. I hope it never ends!!

It's kinda crazy how true this all is. Sorry I didn't have a scripture and thought to share, but I feel like this is what should be shared. This work isn't easy, and it is discouraging. But there are so many amazing things coming out of it. It's such a neat experience and I'm thankful for it.

Tomorrow marks my 2 months out!! Doesn't seem or feel like that long. But what I've seen and done in those months have blown me away! I feel great, Florida is definitely a promised land and President Berry loves the DeLand district! So yeah everything's going great. Things drop and improve and I'm just trying my best! Thank you for all the love and support I'm receiving and for all of the love shown to my family while I'm away! You are all the best and I'm thankful for all the prayers directed towards me!! I miss and love you all! Also a special thanks to the Stewart's and the Cooks! Thanks for all the AWESOME letters!


-Elder Olson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weirdest Week Yet! Sick Days, Beach Wedding, Travel Tip and New Stake President!

Wow..this week!  I don't even know how to describe it!! Maybe the weirdest week I've had so far. It’s been both rewarding and exhausting. Half of Thursday, all Friday and most of Saturday were sick days for my companion and I! I was only down Friday. So we were stuck in the apartment. And yet I couldn't even catch up on sleep. I was too busy planning our whole week and preparing lessons while he slept. That’s my life as a trainee right there! We had a ward member bring us lots of soup and Gatorade though (because she's cool like that)!  But other than that those were the longest days ever. I would rather be out teaching!

Transfers came in yesterday and I'm still in DeLand with Elder Cooper. I'm excited about staying, but can't wait to be done with training. I'm sick of all this country music my companion listens to. It just bums me out cause it's boring and isn't mood up-lifting. Only 6 weeks left. BUT on the bright side of things, the beach wedding was AWESOME!!  It rained for like 5 minutes, but was great after that and was pretty nice. Also our newest investigator, Priya (Stetson college student), basically set her own baptismal date!! She is THAT pumped! It’s on October 11th!  Jesse was released from the hospital and is recovering and is doing a little better so thank up for all the prayers:) We also had exchanges this week with the Zone Leaders and I stayed in DeLand with Elder Peacock who is AWESOME!!  We went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner that night and someone paid for our food!!! YAY!! It was sweet! We don't know who though.

This part of my email is a tip for vacationers coming to Florida...Just kidding, but it seriously is something I've learned here. The water is ALWAYS warm when you want it cold. And the hot water is like lava….NEVER cold water!!  Sorry, I just thought I'd throw that in haha! We had stake conference this week and our new stake president is AMAZING! A professor at Stetson College we talked to for like an hour on campus one day. He's in the DeLand 1st ward, but still, I'm excited to have him in! It was crazy though because the whole stake meets in one chapel unlike Utah that usually has like 2+! 

Here is possibly one of my new favorite scriptures-D&C 64:33 "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." That just really rings true to missionary work.  I can just feel the power and responsibility I have for being here. I know I was called to serve for a reason and I'm happy to say I'm getting the hang of it! It just takes a while to adjust. Although I'm by no means the best teacher, I know that what I do have to offer is a bright spirit and just overall my absolute best. I'm helping lay that foundation to bring it to others lives. I've witnessed how it works and know that the better I become the stronger that foundation will be. It's through those small and simple things I'm doing now that help build that up!! 

I love you all and appreciate all that has been done for me! I wouldn't be out here if it wasn't for all the help I've received over my life! I thank you for all the many prayers, love and support that has been given while I'm away! I love and miss you all!

-Elder Olson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Investigators, Florida Hills, Jonny Bag of Donuts and BOM Tattoo

Hi All!

I don't even know what to say about this last week.. It started out so slow, and it was hard to even get people to talk to us! Our whole zone set a goal to gain 4 new investigators by the end of last week. It was definitely a challenge and we only ended up getting 2 and a strong potential investigator. BUT the two were some SOLID investigators!  They're so ready to learn about this church. 

We're still working with Trina and Willie. They've cut down their smoking by a lot so we're going to try and set a baptismal date for them! We have also been attending an addiction class with them. They're DEFINITELY moving along!! Jessi ended up in the ICU again, so we went over early in the morning and gave him a blessing. I think he is more open to the church now.  I only hope he gets better... Keep him in your prayers! It would be greatly appreciated!!

DeLand is SO awesome though, like seriously. I'll send some pictures of what's around town they have like professional murals painted on the sides of buildings! SOO sweet! The one thing I don't like about it.....the hills….Florida hills? What the? ;)  

Our investigator Ariel gets married on Saturday! On The beach and we were cleared by the mission president to go!! YES! I'm so excited to see the beach up close! haha. Also starting Wednesday we are helping to tutor the local high school and middle school students, mainly with their organizing. I'm pretty excited.  We've also been teaching and doing service for a lady named Rebecca.  We Helped her put up a fence for her horses, but now she wants a tattoo with a Book of Mormon reference, we had no clue what to say when she told us that.. And it is still awkward haha! Yo lady. Yo body be one of them temples.  :)

A member took us to a sketchy Mexican food truck..my burritos name was "Johnny bag of donuts" it was GOOD! Like Cafe Rio. I also just want to read Harry Potter right now for some reason. It's weird. I don't read! haha! It's been almost 2 months without caffeine. I blame it on that.

On a serious note, I read something recently that I liked. I Thought I would share it with you guys:) "Walk with integrity; in storm and sunshine, be faithful; in richness or in poverty, be faithful; in youth or old age, be faithful. Hold out until the end and God will bless you and crown your days with sweetness, peace, and love."  That really struck me after reading this scripture, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 
2 Corinthians 4:6. He commanded the light to shine through the darkness, through storms and sunshine If we keep faithful and know he is there to help us in every situation, when life feels like sunshine or storms. As long as we stay faithful and keep the hope in our hearts the "weather" of our lives and what we're facing will pass. You can't always trust the weatherman hahaha!

Anyway, that might not make sense, but whatever.

Thanks for all the love and support. Love and miss you all!

-Elder Olson

(PS: sorry if I didn't type a word correct. Still getting used to an iPad haha!)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tough Week, Florida Weather, Fear Not, Things Will Work Out!

Hi All!

Sometimes you have weeks that just don't work out in the mission
field. This is one of those weeks. It's just a bummer because that seems
like it has been so much harder the last 2 weeks! This week we had LOTS
of appointments but they all fell through. Anyway, I had some good
parts to this week also! One of our late appointments fell through so
we were thinking of someone we could go visit really quick. The name
of one of our potential investigators came to my mind even though
we've never met her. So that's where we decided to go to! She wasn't
home, but at the exact moment we were about to leave her neighbor came
home.  We asked if he could give a paper to her and he agreed he would.
He continued to ask why we needed her and so we explained. Long story
short, it turns out his mother had passed away last month and he has
gotten himself into drinking a lot of alcohol. We explained a little and
he said he would most likely be interested in us teaching more later

Although we haven't had the opportunity to see him again, I KNOW I
felt we had to go there for a reason. I just want us all to pay
particularly attention to that still small voice, it could lead us to something

It is still WAY too humid and hot here and I can’t believe you were snowed on at Scout Camp Dad!  I wish we had some snow here right now:) I have heard that it doesn’t start to cool off here until October.  Florida has been the usual down-pour for like two hours then nasty humid.  Biking around isn’t that bad, it’s just mega hot and gross! Plus, the drivers here are really bad, but it’s OK.   Mom, I am eating pretty much the same as I ate at home… and lots of pasta!  I think I have gained weight from all of the member’s feeding us.

I also want to share this scripture in Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for
I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen
thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right
hand of my righteousness."

We all have those discouraging weeks. They might even last longer
than that. Just keep in mind we need not to fear. He is with us, will
strengthen us in all we do. And ALWAYS be here to help us.

I'm about half way done with my trainer companion! Crazy! We gained a
few investigators and lost some. It happens!  Things don't always go as
planned, but as WE strive to do our best. The Lord will work things out
for us, and we WILL have the best outcome. I'm so thankful for this
opportunity. And for all of your love and support! 
Sorry I didn't have too much to say, just another average week as a missionary?! Love you all! -Elder Olson