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