Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 11 Training, The Man Who Knows Everything, Loss of a Dear Friend, Carnival, Fall Fling and Faith.

Ryker, Elder Olson and Tinlee at Provo Temple

HEY!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE! How was everyone's week? It definitely wasn't the best week for me, but oh well...I knew week 11 was going to be tough and that's exactly what it was! It started out with exchanges with my favorite Elder in the district, Elder Hamp. He's funny and still gets work done!

On our "4 hour knocking spree" we talked to this guy outside of his home. He quickly said "I already know it all! You guys are WAY too young to be teaching, especially to someone like me. You need 10-15 years of Holy Bible experience like me to go out and spread the word." Then as we continued to talk to him he was just trying to make us feel dumb by asking questions like, "how many starts are in our Galaxy?..." After we guessed he said stuff like "Wow really?..there are 500 billion" and more dumb questions like "how many galaxies are there? (No one knows that) “Do you even know how many books are in the Bible?" And my personal favorite "do you know when the letter J was invented?...the 1700's".  His whole goal was basically to make us feel like idiots. Then he yelled at us because we stopped paying attention, because we were already late to an appointment, saying "how much do you learn in a day? Not much I assume! I'm trying to teach and you guys don't even listen. You go pretend to help people while I go do actual work at a JOB". In this case it's kind of hard to be loving towards people like that, but you just got to push through it and laugh at it later on!:) Be an example.

Sorry for the rambling on about those experiences. This week has been full of them.  It was a rough week because I was in charge of ALL finding, contacting, planning, and teaching situations, while my trainer sat back. He also made me delete the picture on my iPad of Ryker, Tinlee and I at the Provo Temple, yup.. But...that's week 11 in training for ya. LUCKILY this is my last week of the transfer!! Almost there!!! 

You may remember me talking about our investigator Jesse in the past and how he was on a roller coaster in his health with his lung cancer? He would have his good days and his bad. The last time we met with Jesse he looked at us, said he knew his health wasn't getting better by any means, but he wasn't going down without a fight.  Last Sunday night his neighbors took him to the hospital because he wasn't breathing right. Shortly after arriving he passed away. We had no clue until we went to check on him a few days after. We could tell because his ramp to his door was missing and then the neighbors told us everything. I just want to thank you all for the prayers for him! It made me sad to think we weren't able to get through all of the lessons, but I know Jesse is happy where he is with no more pain to deal with! It was expected and he put up a fight for sure! It’s not every day that one of your investigators pass away...but I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to meet him! And his last words to us as we left his home a few days before were "I really appreciate you guys coming over" this work is changing lives. And although he didn't get the full message, he had that faith and love for his Savior, I know he will continue learning and is in a much better place and state than he was before!

Sorry, I didn't want the email to turn sad, but I have to keep this thing current and that's kind of a huge thing that happened this week. Week you're putting me through the wringer haha! Anyway, it’s just a lot of teaching, finding and biking going on around here! Nothing too new other than that! I don't want to leave DeLand!... YET at least! The ward members are awesome! Their faces become familiar and it just starts acting like your home ward! You make friends with people in the ward! I just hope the wards continue being cool!

Even through this painful week, we had some amazing things happen. Specifically on Saturday! Miracles were just all around!!! First off, we rode past a big carnival that was happening in downtown DeLand and talked to some AWESOME people!! We found a lady that needs some service. Next we started biking home and met a guy who Elder Cooper and his last companion talked to months ago, but never contacted after that.. And he was SO interested to hear the message now! YES! Then on our way home to lunch, a sweet family having a birthday party in a park invited us over and gave us lots of water and we ate lunch with them! We found out they were not active members. So hopefully we can teach them or just be that example. And to end the night off, we had a Tri-Ward "Fall Fling" and met MORE awesome people, handed out candy, played games, overall just had a blast!!

Thursday marks 3 months of being on a mission!!! WOOHOO! Time is starting to really go by!! Once I get a new companion, I'm sure it'll go even faster!! MAN!!...I can't wait!!! I'm nervous to be the one that knows the area and people more than the other, but it's alright. Week 11 has really helped and it has to happen eventually!! Overall not that bad of a week! Next Tuesday is transfer day so be ready to hear about the new companion and stuff! Weather is finally cooling off in the mornings. In the low 60's! So that's pretty awesome.

This week we talked a lot about faith in most of our lessons. So might as well share a little huh?:) Faith is important. It's something you don't focus on, but is needed so often you might not realize. Farmers plant their crops only to have the faith that they will grow. Faith is the foundation to everything we do, although sometimes our faith can be hanging by its last thread. We should never lose the hope. 

"Your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength. No matter how many times you have slipped or fallen, rise up! Your destiny is a glorious one! Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! You are stronger than you realize. You are more capable than you can imagine. You can do it now!" 

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

This talk is AMAZING! It brings hope to me, knowing I can have those moments that no matter how many times I do slip, or something doesn't go quite right, I can pick myself up and continue on my way! Thank you all for everything, all the prayers, thoughts, emails and letters. I love and appreciate all of you!


-Elder Olson

Monday, October 20, 2014


This week was probably our best number wise. We taught a good amount of lessons, had some member present lessons, and 2 new investigators!! Not to mention we had Ariel’s baptism and another temple tour!!! YAY!! 

Things have been so conflicting and I hit a few rough days this week. But you just kind of have to power through them and serve those around you. That's the key to fixing things out here. haha! It was a good week though. I'm nervous for this week because I'm the one that's in charge of everything for week 11... But after that it's only ONE MORE WEEK until transfers!!! Since I'm training and Elder Cooper has been here a transfer longer than me, I think I'll be staying in DeLand for at least one more transfer with a new companion! And I'm NOT complaining about that! I LOVE serving in DeLand! It's such a good city. Although I don't know my new companion, I have high hopes haha. :)

Ariel’s baptism went well this week! It was SWEET! Had a couple of special musical numbers where her and her 9 year old sang. I'm just glad she was FINALLY able to get baptized! Also, this week we took Priya and a different recent convert Michael to the Orlando Temple to walk the grounds. They were both absolutely speechless! It was so great and this time we went in daylight so the pictures are somewhat better! WOO! One of the Temple President’s Counselors came out and let us come into the lobby and we talked with them about the importance of Family History. It was honestly such a sweet day and it was on the same day as the baptism!

We've been doing a lot of service this week and usually early in the mornings. We were helping a member clean up his trees/backyard. Also, we helped a different member move stuff from one house to her new one!  We also helped her re-do the inside a little. She's having "hidden rooms" like in movies, behind bookshelves and stuff! She's cool!

It's just been a long week, it was our car week. But we biked the WHOLE WEEK cause we're almost out of monthly miles already... So we probably biked like 30-50 miles a day. Not terrible but not fun. Mainly cause we visited a lot of less actives that like WAY far away from our apartment.

On our way to Orlando, I found out that Fall-Out Boy and The Black Keys are playing...I want to go to a concert... It's kind of a bummer not to be able to BUT we did visit a cool protected forest area, full of swamps, Hawks, snakes and alligators!  We didn't see any alligators sadly. 

I do miss Utah. The weather has been in the low 70's until like noon most days. So mornings are like 60!! It feels SOO nice! That's what reminds me of Utah. Walking outside and knowing it will be cool. Florida is kind of hit or miss. Depending on humidity!'s another little thought:) 

What steps can we take today to “walk with Him”?

1. Feed the desire to be a better follower of Christ.

2. Pray for this desire that your faith in Him may grow.

3. Obtain knowledge from the scriptures, lighting the way and strengthening your desire to change.

4. Make the decision today to act and say, “Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!” Simply knowing the truth will not change your world unless you turn knowledge into action.

5. Persevere in the decision you have made by exercising these principles daily.

May the words of our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, motivate us to action in our desire to accept the Savior’s invitation. President Monson said: “Who is the King of glory, this Lord of hosts? He is our Master. He is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He is the Author of our Salvation. He beckons, ‘Follow me.’ He instructs, ‘Go, and do thou likewise.’ He pleads, ‘Keep my commandments.’”

May we make the decision today to increase our level of worship and commitment to God, and may our response to His invitation be heard loud and clear: “Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!”

-Elder Eduardo Gavarret

The best council you can get/give is basically this: In our lives we get caught up in SOO many things, so many "noises" and different distractions. I know and have witnessed that if we go back to the basics, go back to the fundamentals of daily scripture study, honest daily prayer to our Heavenly Father, and attending church, our prayers will be answered. We WILL come closer to our Heavenly Father and receive numerous blessings. I've witnessed it and have recently had to lay it kind of hard on investigators. That if they do this, they WILL receive help to quit smoking. But they have to WANT it and give it their all with those things.

I love and appreciate all that has been given to me and the sacrifice our Savior Jesus Christ has done for us. For this atonement and the opportunity and blessing we have to be forgiven for what we have done big or small. I love and appreciate you ALL! And am thankful for the support! Miss and love you guys! 

-Elder Olson

Monday, October 13, 2014

ER Visit, Twenty Three Bites and Another Baptism!

Orlando Temple Visit

This week was definitely an eventful one!!! So much went on but yet not too much…. I don't know how to explain it. We didn't get too many lessons this week sadly. We had only one dinner appointment but we did pick up a new investigator.  YAY!

Then on Thursday, I took care of our zone leader, Elder Gottfredson.   He got really sick at a meeting we held and so we came back to our apartment while Elder Cooper went with Elder G's companion back to Daytona to do all their appointments.  I stayed back and watched Elder G. and talked to the mission doctor on the phone for over an hour.  Then I was informed that I had to take him to the emergency room! It was CRAZY!! They initially thought he had food was appendicitis and had to get his appendix removed with only a month left of his mission!! SUCH an eventful night hahah!  He's good now though.

Priya got baptized this week and it was SO cool! All that work is paying off!! WOO! She LOVED it and yes I was able to confirm her a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!! It was such a sweet and great opportunity! I feel blessed that I was able to do it! Although I can't remember what I said, the Spirit guided me along.  Seriously, it was cool!   One baptism down and one more scheduled for this Saturday!!!

On exchanges this week we did service like almost all evening. I had about 23 mosquito bites on ONE leg. Yup... So that was joyful! It's good now!

I also found out like the coolest Elder that was in my MTC district (and came out with me to Orlando) is going home already... LI didn't expect him to at all! Dang. Bummer!

It's still very hot. Luckily things are supposed to cool down! My body just feels and expects it to be cool when I walk outside haha! Other than that, nothing else really happened. November 4th is transfers. So that's another thing to look forward to. LOL! Anyway, I’ll share a little message since my email isn’t very eventful.

“Let us, as disciples, reach out to all who for whatever reason, have moved away from the hope of the gospel’. Let us reach to lift handswhich hang hopelessly down.”
–Elder Neal A. Maxwell (Preach My Gospel)

For those whose hands hang low remember: Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I know they can become strong. I have personal witness that they can. It's amazing what it can do. Just give it ALL your effort and you will be greatly blessed with any weakness or affliction that might be standing in your path!

I love the quote by Jeffery R. Holland this conference. "I may not be my brother’s keeper, but I am my brother’s brother." Do all you can to help those around you like it says in that quote by Neal A. Maxwell. They need help. Most need faith, but most are lost. Help 'find' them and be an example!

Thank you all so much for the love and support I'm receiving. I can definitely feel the difference and I greatly appreciate it all! 

Thanks! Love you and miss you!

-Elder Olson

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference, Orlando Temple and Outsmarting my Companion.

So much happened this week it was quite overwhelming!! Guess that's a good thing right?  First off I sincerely hope EVERYONE got the opportunity to watch General Conference this past weekend…ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! On your mission, general conference is like another Christmas!  It was so great to sit down and listen to the messages of the leaders of this wonderful church!! (Not to mention a powerful way to show others this gospel).  We had a few investigators that came with us to the church to watch it and they loved it! What a blessing it is for us to be able to watch only if it was like every 4 months!

Wasn't it SOOO cool that they could do it in their native tongue now? I thought that was SWEET!! I liked Chi Hong Wong’s talked about being "spiritually paralyzed" unable to come back or restart by their efforts. That's a lot of pressure for us missionaries, but also brings miracles! And yes Bednar’s talk about missionary work was AMAZING!

Also this week I had the privilege of going and walking around the grounds of the Orlando, Florida Temple. I have to say that Temple size doesn't matter and it's only about half the size of Provo, but the spirit is still the same!! We went with Jim, who we baptized a little over a month ago.  He's so excited to go do baptisms for the dead!! It's weird that we have to drive like an hour and a half to get to it, but being near a temple is a blessing of its own and definitely worth it.!  Miracles happen when you  just go!  I had the opportunity to give a blessing to a random lady while waiting for the temple tour. Please attend regularly!!  Even on the outside the feeling is so rich. 

Priya is still set for her baptism This Saturday and I'm very excited! I will be confirming her as a member on Sunday! Nervous but ready!! 

The temperatures have been getting into the low 60's at nights and feels like home!!  Although during the day it goes back to like 85...hurry up Florida winter!  I'm so excited for the work here. I'm thankful for this opportunity!  

Here is a funny story about this week. My companion and I had like a half argument. It was hilarious!  Here's the story behind it all.. We have a new less active member in our ward and her name is Satchiko.  We are meeting to teach her 9 year old so he can be baptized. They're from Micronesia. Elder Cooper wanted to refer them to the Spanish Elders because they were speaking "Spanish" when we first met them...I don't know how I knew, but I just had the feeling Micronesia was over by Samoa. And I KNEW it wasn't Spanish!  So we butted heads about where it was located and the language. Well...we visited them last night, and without even asking, and by coincidence, someone rode by and said "Hola"!  She immediately turned to me and Elder Cooper and said "I don't know Spanish! It annoys me when I'm mistaken for a Mexican. I only know English and Samoan!” Needless to say, I just turned and gave my companion the BIGGEST "there ya go" smile!! J

Anyway, this week was LONG but SOOO good. I love the opportunity I get to help people out and bring them to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. To show them the power of the Atonement and the pure love Christ has shown for us, through his great sacrifice for you and me- each one of us individually. 

Here’s a short story.  We had a closing prayer with a non member family and asked them to kneel during the prayer. The power in the prayer that was offered brought tears to the eyes of that family. They honestly said they would strive to do the best they can. The power in a kneeling family prayer is bringing a once uninterested family back to the church. Imagine what it can do in your life, and with your families?  I invite you all to strive to say family kneeling prayers. It really brings the spirit and is such a blessing to see the powers it contains! 

I’m running out of time, but I will continue sharing parts from conference and what I'm reading/learning throughout my other emails. I’m so very thankful for this gospel and what it has done for my life. I'm also thankful for my family and the influence they have on me. I'm thankful for the support everyone is giving me! I love and appreciate you all!

Miss and love you!

-Elder Olson