Monday, December 28, 2015

Special Assignment


I put the "I" in Christmas!

This week has been a bunch of craziness and fun!! First off, this week was super hard to meet with people. Everyone was basically out of town or just super busy with family and prepping for the holidays. Because of this, not too much teaching was able to happen. We were able to swing by and see most of them, but it was for the most part just to check in on them!

Also, this week was pretty awesome because it was CHRISTMAS!!! WOO!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to celebrate with lots of fun, food, and of course...Family! We had quite the successful Christmas here in Melbourne Florida! We started our day off eating breakfast at the bishop's house, which was super cool! His family gave us some pretty sweet socks and a tie! THEN we went to the Gilgers' and had left over Christmas Eve food for lunch, (they fed us Christmas Eve as well) and Skyped our families from their house. I had an AMAZING time talking to family and friends. Thank you all for being there and for your love. You are all amazing, and have impacted my life immensely and changed who I am today!! I love having that opportunity, that is obviously the best gift in the world. I love and miss you all! You make my holidays away from home a lot easier. Thank you! Words can't describe my appreciation!! After our Skype, we had dinner with the Elders Quorum president. It was a good day full of fun, food and family!!:)

This week we also got our transfer call!  And let me tell you....this one has brought me a TON of confusion and stress! Saturday afternoon, we got a call saying that Elder Anderson was leaving. Then around 10pm that night we got another call from the Assistants saying president prayed about it and I will be the one leaving, but not for another week and a half AFTER transfer meeting?! Apparently I will be taking part in a "special assignment". I'm thinking that I'll be whitewashing/opening a new area. But I should find out about it more tomorrow! Sorry I don't have any details, I will let you know more about it next week.

Just quick is one of my favorite quotes from Dieter F. Uchtdorf - "Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!"

I love and miss you guys! Thanks for everything, sorry this email is somewhat shorter. Love and miss you!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, December 21, 2015


First off, I might as well say Merry Christmas!! I'm super excited for this Christmas and it has already been pretty awesome. Just the events and spirit that has been leading up to it has been great!! We have some amazing members really taking care of us this upcoming holiday. They have signed up for multiple meals, and have offered their homes for our calls home. They've been really supportive and no matter what it'll be a great Christmas!

This week was pretty wild and it actually started off on the beach again. The day after our beach p-day, we had lunch with a lady in our ward who's backyard is the beach. hahaha! We didn't touch the sand but we could see the ocean! Then we had a dinner with a super cool family, the Holmquists. They have a tradition that you have to sneak a picture of you and your comp in one of their frames, without them noticing, or you become a "forgotten" missionary!! And well, all I can say is SUCCESS! They said we had the second best strategy of any missionaries!! The mom left to go get one of their daughters, and we "forgot" our iPad in the car, well...I stole the frame and put it in while I was by the car and hung it back in the wall when I came back inside!

The weather here has been outrageously warm! It's still crazy to think that it's December and yet the temperatures have been in the high 70's and low 80's...super different than last year. But hey, it'll be quite the experience to come back to a cold Utah winter next time around!! I've heard that Utah is getting down pretty close to zero lately? My yahoo weather even says that it'll be getting into the negatives!?

Anyway, just a few random things that happened this week: We helped paint a non-member's house, so that was a ball!! And we had another exchange. I stayed in Melbourne with our District leader, Elder Olsen, so that was pretty crazy! We confused a lot of people with that one hahaha! We had them thinking we were brothers! We also had the annual Missionary Christmas Devotional!! ALL of the missionaries were there in attendance. It was really neat to see all of them there, and get to talk to the old buds! It was super awesome though! WOOO! So I got a few pics with the missionaries going home next week that I've served around. (Elder Cortez, and my old comp Elder Cotton).

I don't have much of a spiritual thought today but I just hope we continue to
remember the true reason for this season and how it should represent life. Not only that we celebrate the birth of our Savior but His life and ministry..And the life that it brings to us along with the blessings that He brings as well. Let the lights of this holiday season remind us of Him who is the source of all light.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AGAIN! I hope you have an amazing Christmas and its
full of rejoicing, love, and family! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beach P-Day!!

It's Beach Time!!

Where did this week go?! Man.. It actually went by super fast!! Nothing too crazy really went down here and it was a pretty normal week. We had our Zone Training Meeting, so that was pretty good. Later in the week, we also went on another exchange with the Zone Leaders. I stayed in Melbourne with Elder Peay again.  We had a super solid day and we met with a lot of less active members, along with some of our investigators! Also we had a less active who hasn't been in years come to church on Sunday! I was asked to give a talk on "Christ the Savior" so he wanted to come check that out. But yeah, the talk went really well. I was asked to be the first adult speaker after the youth speaker, but apparently some miscommunication happened because they announced me as the concluding speaker! I was actually pretty happy about because I had a awesome talk that could occupy a good 30 minutes or so. But in the words of one of our members, being the concluding speaker is either "feast or famine".  Unfortunately, I was only left with about 7 basically my talk ended up a testimony. I just wrapped everything up that was mentioned previously and tied it all into how the Atonement of Jesus Christ cannot become a commonplace in our teaching, in our conversation or in our hearts. Speaking in Sacrament meeting truly made me love this ward even more, cause although my time was VERY limited, they all came up and thanked me after, and said they were impressed that I got a solid point across in such a short time.  
We did have our district P-day today! Beach P-day all the way and it was such a blast! I mean..other than waking up at 5 in the morning to get there in time it was awesome. We drove all the way to Cocoa Beach, and partied there. We saw the awesome sunrise, played some ultimate frisbee, and chilled. Then we went to Ron Jon's Surf Shop, which is seriously like one of the biggest surfing shops out there!! So we got us some new awesome P-day wear, and also got some Christmas shopping done!!! It has been pretty much a jam packed day already! I got a bunch of pictures I'll be sending out showing all our beach adventures. It's still super strange to be at the beach, on the 14th of December, and it being like 80 degrees outside! Merry Christmas from the beach! If only I brought a Santa hat or something. 

My thought for this week comes from a talk given in conference by Elder Holland and speaks of the Savior.
"It was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind--us, all of us--would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone, and because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so."

1 Peter 3
"For Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God"

Through the Atonement of Christ, we can now progress, and ultimately return to live with God! And without the Savior placed into Gods plan, we wouldn't have that blessing!! It's truly come to my realization that our lives have so much more meaning now that we have a Savior in our lives. That through Jesus Christ's ministry, Atonement, and death our lives are blessed immensely. That through Him, we are able to do so much that wouldn't be possible IF a Savior wasn't placed into God's plan/our lives. It's truly humbling to know that we wouldn't be where we stand now if it wasn't for this single but significant birth, life, and death! What a plight our life would be without a Savior.

Thanks for everything! I love and miss you all and I hope you have an amazing week ahead of you! Talk to you next week right before Christmas!

-Elder A. Olson 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


We got to sit on Santa's lap!!

Happy December everyone!!!

Well...hmm.. What can I say about this week? I mean, all my days and weeks have started to just blend together. It's just one continuous day with small naps at night in between hahaha! But we did have a pretty good week. It started off with another exchange. I stayed in Melbourne with our District Leader's Trainee named Elder Taylor. Overall, it was a pretty decent day despite all our planned visits bailing on us. Instead so we went visiting lots and lots of less actives! So that portion of it was a success, but other than that, it was a pretty awkward exchange. Thankfully we kept pretty busy with our schedule so the awkwardness was at a minimum!  Me and my companion basically spent an entire day knocking this week too! was a rough one, however, we did meet some new people, and pick up another new investigator.

Umm...what else?... We had some pretty sweet dinners with the ward members. Seriously though, this ward is AMAZING!! I have loved everywhere I have served thus far, but this ward is pretty chill. There are a lot of younger members that I can connect with pretty easily so that helps!  We also had our Ward Christmas Party this week so that was pretty rad! We had a lot of non-members come to that as well, so we will be doing some stop-by's with them to see how interested they are, and hopefully pick them up as new gators as well! The Young Women were in charge of the Christmas Party this year and did a great job! But the craziest part of it all was that the Y.W. Pres. invited her parents so he could play the role of Santa. Well.... It was a couple that was in the Sumterville Branch!  So I got to see them again!  haha! We had a blast though, lots of food, fun, family, and we even got to sit on Santa's Lap!

We also had our investigator Darryl come to church yesterday, he loved it, and really connected with a lot of the ward members. He is still looking forward to December 26th for his baptism. We will see how that turns out!

Also, by next week I should have some LEGIT pictures of the beach! Next
Monday is our "beach p-day" so basically we get to spend like 2 hours there. We get to watch the sunrise, play volleyball, etc. so that is going to be stinkin' awesome! So definitely pictures to come!!!

But that was basically the week this week! As the church released a new video on we have been going around sharing that this week, it's called "A Savior Is Born" so go check it out. It's truly come to my realization that our lives have so much more meaning now that we have a Savior in our lives. That through Jesus Christs' ministry, Atonement, and death, our lives are blessed immensely. That through Him we are able to do so much that wouldn't be possible IF a Savior wasn't born. It's truly humbling to know that we wouldn't be where we stand now if it wasn't for this single but significant birth, life, and death! What a plight our life would be without a Savior.

Thanks for all you do, and during this season especially I hope you feel of my love for you all, but more importantly, the Saviors unending, matchless love for you as well! I love and miss you guys! Have a great week!

-Elder A. Olson

  P.S. the weather is in the low 60's currently! YAY! Kinda Christmassy!?!

Wanna-be Surfers!
Yes, Jesus is Coming!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Palm Trees and Christmas Trees....Pizza and Turkey.

Look!  I've got PIE!!

We had a very strange, yet great week!!! It started off about the same as
usual, except I had an awesome exchange go down with Elder Peay, like I
mentioned last week. He's a cool Australian that actually went to high school with me! So we had a pretty good time talking about similar people we know, places, bands, etc. We were able to visit some really cool people, and focus a lot on the Book of Mormon.

We had a solid rest of the week though. Elder Anderson and his trainer never went out knocking on doors and so we decided that would be a good thing to do (being that our teaching pool was on the low side.) So he got to experience some door knocking as well as a old guys threatening us and saying that we weren't allowed in the neighborhood because it was a "No Soliciting" area. Well little did he know, but soon found out, that his next door neighbor is taking the missionary discussions. He's a super solid guy named Darryl who actually just moved to Florida from Georgia. He was receiving the lessons down there, and we now have him on date for December 26th!  Sadly, we didn't find anyone new from knocking, BUT we did find 6 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week. A few of them came from media referrals, or referrals from our bishop. And a few were found looking for less actives members. So we will see how they all progress and what becomes of that.

Also, this week was one of the missionaries favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!! It was pretty sweet. We had lunch with a totally awesome family in our ward named the Gilgers. They live like a block from the ocean and so they ordered pizza and we went and sat by the ocean under a gazebo and talked and ate!! Then that night, we went over to a members house, the Fudges and had our Thanksgiving dinner there. It was definitely a great time! So that was exciting haha! Then that night we set up our (mango juice) bottle tree!! We threw some lights on it and called it good! We now have a Christmas Tree and are ready for the holidays!!

Mango Juice Bottle Tree!! 
So yeah....other than that it's been pretty normal! Like I said, this week we have been focusing on the Book of Mormon in a lot of our teaching and as I have been reading it the last month or so, I have been able to tell that my testimony is growing, and my faith is strengthening. I don't know what made this time around any different but I've just been noticing a lot more. And it has become enjoyable every morning to read from it. Plus it helps that I'm in my favorite part of it, which is the last 20 chapters of Alma, when Captain Moroni comes into play! But overall, in those chapters it always reminds me of how God strengthens people in affliction, and how the actual trial may not be eased by God, but he will bless us with Endurance, strength, and faith to continue working through it!! Like in these versus from Alma 34 and 38 "But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions." " much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Life can be so difficult. These are some of my happiest times serving my mission, but also my most difficult. I recognize I have so many flaws, but as I continue to study, I've noticed that I have a stronger desire to change, to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ, and that it is only through him that I can actually make an improvement in myself!

Thanks for everything. I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving!!! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Hey!  Did you know there is an ocean by Florida?? :)

Love Palm Trees and Christmas Trees.

Monday, November 23, 2015


In honor of my transfer, I am wearing my SWIMM shirt:)

Beach houses in Melbourne

Well..this was quite the week! Like I mentioned last week, I did get transferred and oddly enough I was super nervous to be moved! I seriously enjoyed my time in Sumterville. And even though it was a very unusual place, it started to become like home! I love the members there, and all the people we were able to get in contact with!

So anyway, I'm in another super awesome area! I am now serving in Melbourne FL, which is basically an area I've been wanting to serve in since the beginning of my mission! The area is sweet and we have the beach in our ward! YAY!!! The Ward is also super awesome. It was really crazy though, because before I left I felt like this was the area I would go!! So anyway, the work is pretty slow here sadly but the area is super awesome, and so are the people! We are teaching some pretty cool less-active members and have a few investigators. I'm also in search of a band that I used to go see in Provo (SWIMM) that told me they lived on Satellite Beach, which is in our ward boundaries! WOOHOO!!! 

Unfortunately, I don't have many photos to share today. We will be having a beach PDay hopefully soon and I can get some great beach/ocean pictures then. Missionaries are only allowed to go about once every other transfer, so we should be having a beach PDay soon I hope!

This week we had a crazy lesson with a less-active member, who's husband is like literally crazy! He made us watch a 45 minute video on black rights and stuff like that. Then he wouldn't let us leave his house. It was crazy! BUT on the bright side, we did about 14 hours of service this week. It was AWESOME!!! We helped the second counselor in our mission presidency lay tile down in his living room. He wants it finished by Thanksgiving and we got most of it done, but tomorrow should be the finale day of grouting. It was awesome to be able to help them out!

Really there wasn't much else that happened this week other than moving areas and getting used to Melbourne! Tonight I have an exchange with Elder Peay. He's a missionary from Salem that I went to school with! So that will be way awesome!

Also, I don't have much of a spiritual thought today, I apologize for the lame email!! It's just been a crazy and quite stressful week! But I do have a scripture that stood out to me in my personal study. Alma 36:3 "whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving this week! I know that I'm super excited! I'm thankful so so many things. I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve my Father in Heaven and for my absolutely amazing support system back home. You all have impacted my life so much and I hope you know of my love for you! I'm thankful for my Savior and for His ministry and His ultimate sacrifice for us so that we can continue growing. And although we have flaws, we can progress to become at least slightly better. I'm thankful that death has no sting, even though we are physically separated. Once we realize that eternal aspect, the comforter can flood our souls. Thank you for all you do for me! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bye Bye Sumptee Pie??

The twins we have set a baptism date with!

Me, Elder Davis and Elder Thompson

The AWESOME Salem Missionaries!!

Well well...this week went by so fast!! Seriously!! It was super awesome though. We had a lot going on (mostly meetings) which included a great
Zone Conference on Tuesday. That totally lasted all day though! We got a nifty new device in our mission cars called TIWI. It basically tracks our speed just to keep us safe and stuff! But it was nice to see some of the missionaries In the surrounding zones and to get direction on how to continue working with members, converts and investigators, from President Berry!!

Honestly, there actually wasn't much else that stood out this week. It was
just a super packed week of lessons, and service and it probably only
felt fast because we had one less day to do it all in our schedule.

We have had some great lessons this week, especially the one we had yesterday during Elders Quorum. The topic was "Carrying the Gospel to The World" which just makes sense that we would assist in teaching! haha! But it was super awesome. Not many of the members in Sumterville have served missions, because they are mostly converts, but it was great to hear and share testimony of spreading the gospel. So my weekly thought will be contained in this portion of my email instead of the last part. I just picked out a few quotes from the lesson I'd like to share!- -

"Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family. The world is hungry for true religion, and we have it. Not only should sharing the gospel be regarded as a Priesthood duty, but we should all look forward to this experience with great joy and anticipation. The real purpose in sharing the gospel is to bring souls unto Christ, to teach and baptize our Heavenly Father’s children so that we may rejoice with them in the kingdom of our Father. We all share this great responsibility. We cannot avoid it. Let no man or woman think that because of where we live, or because of our place in society, or because of our occupation or status, we are exempt from this responsibility." And lastly my favorite quote..."There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of the iron rod, and one who is not."-

Also Sunday was a special opportunity to attend a very unique fireside. Marvin Goldstein, and Vanessa Joy came to our mission and ALL missionaries and their investigators were invited to go. If you don't know them, they are AWESOME! Brother Goldstein is a very talented Pianist who travels the world and has composed a lot of the church music, and Vanessa is a great singer from Arizona who goes around and does firesides and such! Both are incredibly talented and super awesome!! So we were happy to attend that!

Saturday was a pretty crazy day as well... Only because we got our transfer calls!!! And I'm sad to say that the time has come for me to leave Sumterville. Elder Thompson is done with training and taking over the area! I'm excited to see the next area I will be serving in, and to have even more amazing experiences sharing the gospel! (Fingers crossed for a Coast area!! Hahaha) It's definitely going to be hard saying goodbye to my family here in the Sumterville Branch..

Just as a quick side note... We took some early Christmas pics! You know...just cause we had the stuff....we drew us a fireplace and everything! I Hope you enjoy them!! Anyways.. Thanks for everything everyone! I will be sure to email you next week and tell you all about my new area and comp!! Have a fantastic week! I Love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Check out the backdrop!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's November?....What?

Church couches are the best for naps;)
Well.. Another solid week and adventurous week in the books! Of course, it started off pretty typical, but we were able to see a lot of success. We taught a good number of lessons, and got to meet some new people, and God to strengthen our relationships with others!

We had a super awesome lesson with one of our investigators, Irene. She really loved the plan of salvation and so we were able to talk about that for quite a while with her. Along with that, we committed her to pray to know that baptism was right for her, and we were able to set a date just as a goal! So we asked her to pray for mid-December! And I know that if she prays with a sincere heart, with real intent, having the desire to know for herself, that her prayer will be answered. So hopefully by next week I'll be able to tell you a little bit more
about it!

As I mentioned, we were able to strengthen some of our relationships with members this week. We have been visiting a young couple in the branch, who are recent move ins. The wife has been raised a member and her and her husband have only been married for a few years. They're the same age as I am and seriously like most of the same stuff I do! So it's super nice to be able to be around them, just because it feels normal. haha. But they only have come to church a few times since I've been here, and they were really hard to get in contact with. But we now have set times to visit with them, and we had a great lesson this week with them! Yay! New friends!! We also went out with a great couple in our branch, Who we didn't really know very well. We went to a local member owned Southern Café. Seriously, it was like some of the best food I've had in Florida!! So that was fun!

We also had some crazy experiences this week as well.  We took a member
out to a lesson with our investigator. Somehow they got off topic and started talking about the illuminati, and wouldn't focus on the lesson! Also some members got a call from someone they know, asking if we could help move some furniture. We showed up on time only to find out that we were going to be helping their friend move, which is totally fine. But as we went to the house to get her stuff and move it to the next house, we found out that she wasn't allowed in the property... So the cops got involved, and they had to question us and the two other members helping out. We had to write a report... Blah blah... It was crazy! Anyway, what an exciting week! haha!

In my personal study this morning I made an observation I would like to bring up. I'm going to quickly summarize it, mainly because I know you have all read this. In Matthew, it talks of Jesus walking down the shores of Galilee. He called to local fisherman on their boats (Peter, Andrew, James and John) and called upon them saying "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Next is the important part, saying they 'Straightway' left their nets.. IMMEDIATELY following him. Are we the type of people who when the Savior needs us to do something, or the Holy Spirit prompts us, we heed the call and 'Straightway' act upon it? I know and can promise that as we do, as we put that call first, we will be blessed in the process. We will be moving in the direction of God, and improving ourselves!

Anyway, thanks for everything everyone! You are amazing and I am always praying for you all! I miss and love ya! Also..apparently the last few days have been the new record for Florida's hottest November.  Enjoy the cool Utah Fall weather!

-Elder A. Olson

P.S. Transfers are next Tuesday.  I haven't heard if additional time for my Physical Therapy have been approved for me.  So maybe I will be transferred and maybe I will stay in Sumterville... hopefully we know more soon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Week Happenings!

Here come the Men In Black...and our pug!

Hey everyone!! Well...all I gotta say is this week was quite the "treat" hahaha. Did you get it?...Halloween...treat...anyway..sorry.. Before we get to the subject of Halloween, I better say that this was a rather exciting week! We thought we had a little earthquake here as the ground shook, while we were studying one morning and without a boom or anything! But come to find out, the limestone factory about 5 miles away had an explosion of some sort. It was still kind of cool!  Then we found out that the movie "Jeepers Creepers" was filmed partly in Sumter County! It was the perfect fun fact being that Halloween was this week. I mean.. That explains a lot. This area has all those overhanging trees haha!

Halloween Day wasn't really anything out of the ordinary. The night before, we went out "Reverse Trunk or Treating" which basically means a small group of us got the list of members with children under the age of 18 and went out delivering a little bowl of candy and such to them!! It was really cool to see how happy it made those members to see that we still care, even if they don't! We got to meet lots of families that haven't attended or that we didn't know very well. It was definitely a blessing right there. We even had someone say they wanted to come back to church! On Halloween Day we just did the usual work, which was visiting families and investigators. We dressed as the "Men in Black", or missionaries, whatever one works. Someone asked if we were the Blues Brothers though haha!

But really, the highlight of this week was Saturday Morning. We had worked out a plan with the Branch President to do something exciting! Our awesome branch mission leader is in a wheelchair, so it's harder for him and his wife to keep up their property. But he never asks for help and is always on call whenever ANYONE needs help. He is Truly an amazing man! So we played a little trick on him, saying we needed to meet with him to discuss some events coming up.  Little did he know we had about twenty individuals with helping hands to come and clean up. They mowed the yards, cut down trees, pulled some weeds, etc. It was such a blessing in so many ways! Service is amazing because you know that your Father in Heaven looks down with a huge smile. It was absolutely amazing! We had some non-members come. They were friends of some of the helpers. They knew, and commented that it was a special group of Priesthood holders gathered, helping someone out and that they could feel the Spirit. He loved it and was even able to drive down and attend our Services! Like it states in the scriptures, "When you are in the service of your fellow being, you are in the service of your God." I encourage you to look around at those who may need that helping hand. Life can get crazy, and we can get carried away. Those you serve will feel of their worth, and you will feel of the Savior's love as you do so.

I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven that loves me enough to send His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who willingly submitted to the pain, afflictions, temptations, and death for me and you. I know and can testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that is going to allow us to progress in this life. We would have no purpose without it!  This allows us to change, to grow, to become better. We don't have to be the best, that's impossible, but we do have to be better and continue being better! I know that the Atonement is for everyone and that no matter what you have done, who you are, who you were, because of the love and grace of the Savior, you do not have to be what you once have been.

Anyway, that's about it! That's my week!! Thanks for everything everyone!! You guys are truly the best! I hope you all have an amazing first week of November! WOO! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Halloween!!

New Investigator!

Boo Berry Love!!
Hey everyone! How has the week been? Everything here in Sumterville has been pretty good this week. We were able to see of those new "gators" I talked about, and found another! She is super awesome! She apparently met some missionaries back in the 80's. But with her moves, she lost the Book of Mormon she had! She believes it is true already, so we will see how that goes!!

Overall, it was a pretty hard week for door knocking. We knocked SO many doors, but sadly no one was ever. So we were not able to get in contact with most of them. And the few we met, basically ran us off of their property haha!! BUT on the bright side...HALLOWEEN IS THIS WEEK! I just love Halloween! We found some SWEET homes decorated in the villages and so I'll attach a picture of one. Also, this Halloween I'm most likely going to dress as a missionary, or maybe a Ninja Turtle..haven't decided quite yet!! haha. AND Halloween also means the best cereal is out! BooBerry! I had to get some.

We somewhat set a baptismal date with the twins this week. We talked about baptism with them, but we will have to wait for the head of households approval for them. They are super excited, so I hope that comes soon for them!

My physical therapy went well! I had my reevaluation, and the therapist said she could notice physical improvements in my movement! So I updated President Berry, and he said he was going to talk with the mission nurse and get me set up with the missionary department to get me three more weeks of physical therapy. So we will see how that ends up.

I have only a quick scripture and quote today sadly... This is Mosiah 4:6, talking about how we can CONTINUE to apply the atonement in our lives. " I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the Atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end..." "If we are going to receive everything that the father hath, it's not going to happen without giving all that we have in return."

Anyway, thanks for everything everyone. I hope you all have an amazing week ahead of you! Thank you for all of the prayers. I'm always praying for you guys. Have a great Halloween!

-Elder A. Olson 

District P-Day Pumpkin Carving!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Twas a Week of Finding!

Working on shoe art!

Hey everyone, how have you all been? Things have been going pretty well here, and the area has definitely been progressing! This week was quite different than most that we have in Sumterville, mainly because it was all based around finding.. Which was pretty exciting. It was quite successful too!! Basically, we just went through our lists of Former Investigators/Potentials and went visiting those people again. We got to meet some pretty awesome people that way, we knocked some doors, and visited a few Media Referrals! Overall, we ended up finding 5 new investigators to start teaching!!

We found one investigator-Manya, who is way awesome!! She recently went to Utah and while there, she visited the church museum. She really enjoyed it and it sparked some questions inside her!! So we will see where that takes us!
We got to meet with the Twins this week, luckily, health didn't get in the way too much! We had a good lesson with them talking about baptism and they are both just the most excited kids in the world to be baptized! We were able to set a rough date for them as of right now. So we hope and pray they will able to be baptized November 7th or possibly the 14th. We are super pumped for them! I'm glad they have come to realize why we need baptism and truly how important the role of the Holy Ghost is in our lives!

This week I did (for the most part) finish my physical therapy sessions. I do have a physical re-evaluation with them this week to see if there were any improvements. I do feel a little better. I mean, obviously it wasn't going to get solved that quick, but I can tell a slight difference! The pain is still there, is just isn't as persistent as it once was I guess! So we will see what they feel about it. Thanks everyone for the prayers and for caring about it! It's been awesome to have the support group I have!

For this week's thought I strayed away from the General Conference talks for now, only because I found an AMAZING quote given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Rosemary M. Wixom... " President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine. That future, a day at a time, comes alive when you do more than just exist; it comes alive when you live your life to fill the measure of your creation. This invites the Lord into your life, and you begin to let His will become yours."

We need to do more than just 'exist' right now. We need God's ways to become ours. We need to try and live up to our divine potential. We need to do our best to show our Heavenly Father that we care and desire to be our personal best and act on our faith.

Thank you! I do love and miss you all! I hope you all have a safe, and overall great week ahead of you! You truly are the best. And I hope you know of my love and prayers towards you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Powda Blue Suit!!

Sporting my Powda Blue Suit!!

Hey everyone! I Hope you all had another awesome week! Ours was pretty interesting, but a very good one at that and we are still on this awesome spiritual high from General Conference. The week started out with transfers on Tuesday and yes, Elder Uber and Cooper both left to go home! I hate to see them go, but they have served well and are great examples to the missionaries who remain in the field! Elder Cooper was my trainer so it was kind of weird to see him go! He gave me an awesome gift though.. I'll definitely attach pictures. Let's just say it's like a super retro "Powda' Blue Suit". Totally awesome!!

With Elder Cooper (My Trainer)
Then sadly, we weren't able to set a date with the Twins this week. I ended up getting sick Wednesday so we couldn't meet with them. Then their grandma got sick on Friday for our next appointment. All we know thus far is that it will be sometime in November! WOOHOO! 

Also, speaking of baptisms, I found out that Jessica, who I helped teach back in Ocoee, was able to get baptized! YAY!! I was super happy to hear the news, but sad I wasn't able to attend. Also, another surprise is that my old MTC companion has returned to this mission! Maybe I'll see him around!

I started my Physical Therapy this week as well. I only had three visits this week and sadly, not much has changed yet. I have noticed it doesn't hurt all day, but the pain still comes when I sit too long for lessons, drive anywhere, or stand or walk too much. So we will see how this next 3 visits this week end up. Thanks for all of your prayers, fasting and thoughts. I'm very grateful for you all and the constant support I get!! You are my heroes!!!

Nothing else exciting really happened.. We got a new mission car to drive around. That's pretty cool! But other than that I'm still just pushing along and trying to do my best!!

For this weeks General Conference thought, I've been thinking a lot about Neil L. Anderson's talk titled " Faith is Not by Chance, it's by Choice" Seriously this talk was amazing! He talks about how faith isn't a birthright. It's something that is to be picked up along the way, and hopefully confirmed to us that it's true! Faith, like the title says, isn't something placed upon us so we abide by it. It's something that we have to choose to live, choose to want in our lives, and choose to continue in. Because, like Elder Anderson says, faith is either growing or diminishing. How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty,purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith. Without these, faith diminishes.

Overall, the most important question to ask ourselves is "How does the Lord see MY Faith?" I hope that we all are increasing in our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ, and His Atonement. Because I know that this is how we truly grow closer to Him and our Heavenly Father. And to close this out, I will share an amazing quote from that talk. "I don't know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of true discipleship."

Thanks for all you guys do for me, I love and miss you all. And hope you have an amazing week ahead of you!

-Elder A. Olson 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mini Exchange, Baptisms and Conference!!

Conference Breakfast with the Elders!

Hey everyone! How was your week this past week?! We made it through another week here in Sumterville and had a pretty awesome week! It started out pretty average, with the same meetings and stuff like that.  I also scheduled my first physical therapy session, which begins this Wednesday, because sadly they didn't have any openings until then. So I will be doing that and some more assessments!! Then this past Friday, Elder Uber and Elder Cooper got to drive down and do a final Temple Session. (Uber goes home this week) so Elder Thompson, Ashworth, and I got to spend most of the day in their area, Eustis, which is super close to Deland. It was so cool seeing familiar terrain and surroundings! We got the opportunity to go and teach some of their investigators, and see the people they visit. It was definitely a good learning experience/mini day exchange!

Also, we got permission from President Berry to set a baptismal date with the twins this week, so we will be doing that! They are hoping that we can do it mid-November, so that is what we are shooting for!! 
With us being in a branch that rents a little building, they were unable to broadcast General Conference to it. So we got permission to spend that time with the Lecanto Elders watching General Conference and boy oh boy was it awesome! I truly think I learned more from this last general conference than ever before! Those messages were exactly what I needed, and I was grateful that I had questions answered! Those men and women truly are called of God and inspired to lead, guide, and share what they did! And that's why I believe Elder David A. Bednars' talk was one of the absolute best with him expressing where we would be without our leaders and that they are truly called servants of God.  Many of you mention that you saw our frail prophet standing at the pulpit, as weak as possible, but still caring enough, loving enough to continue the message he knew we, as children of God, needed to hear. I love that man! The years of service and the love he has offered us has been priceless! The feelings you receive as you listen to the General Authorities is amazing, and the spirit that radiates from them is undeniable. This truly completes the scripture in Moroni 7:12 "Wherefore, all things which are good cometh from God.." 

There were so many good talks given though and it really did change a lot within me. And so over he next few weeks I'm going to highlight some of these talks in my email and explain why I like them. If that's alright?! So since I've already talked about Elder Bednar's talk, here's what I took from the beginning of his talk... "When you can not do what you've always done, then you only do what can be done. You will not always be eased from limitations or physical restrictions, you will be blessed with strength to continue on, and press forward."

Thanks for all the prayers, and thoughts, and support. I truly do appreciate and love you all. I hope you have an amazing week ahead of you, and you enjoyed  General Conference! Thanks again!!

- Elder A. Olson

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exchanges, X-rays and Excited for Conference!

Our pet Harold.
Well...This week was a success! We definitely saw more miracles! We were able to meet up with the twin girls again. They are just super pumped and ready for baptism. So we are going to be talking with our mission president about their situation, and see if we will be able to get them a date! We also had an awesome exchange this week. Both Elder Uber and myself stayed in Sumterville with Elder LeCheminant! It wasn't that fun of a day sadly, mainly because it was on Thursday, which was my Dr.s appointment! 

But before I get to that.. I'll tell you a little about the excitement that happened during our exchange. We caught a little baby lizard, and kept him as a little pet for the day. His name was Herald and so of course I had to get some pictures of him! But the rest of the time was pretty mellow and filled with appointments.  As for my back, they did In fact take the X-rays, and from what she had told me it was unusual for the pain to last that long, and that what she could pinpoint was a Lumbar Strain. But I took the pictures from the X-ray and sent it to our mission Doctor to see how/what he thinks. They have now asked that I start physical therapy and get massages to help out. The only problem is I have to go lots of times each week! But we will see. 
*Update - Further tests show a vertebrae out of place as well in my lower back.

General Conference is coming up this weekend!! WOOHOO! So I'm pretty pumped for that, as I hope everyone is! It's going to be awesome! Plus they will also be announcing three new apostles.. So that will definitely be exciting as well. There is a cool little message I'd like to briefly share about the importance of General Conference. It is given to us by Elder Jeffery R. Holland.But first here is a scripture I would like to share and it's found in 2 Nephi 33:1"....For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men" And so like Elder Holland said in his talk "An Ensign to The Nations" he states:"If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you."

I know and can testify that if we go into this conference with a question, or concern in mind, like Elder Holland said, and as we listen by the Spirit, our specific circumstance or situation will be answered. It may possibly not be how we expect, but the Spirit will notify us and we will feel of God's love and comfort! I'm super excited for it again, and I truly hope you guys are too, and that you will enjoy it.

Sorry to cut this short but nothing much else is going on in my life haha! Talk to you all soon! I Love and miss you all. Thank you for all you do for me and for the prayers and fasting for my back. Love ya!
-Elder A. Olson 


Monday, September 21, 2015

Gators are good eatin' - Not to be confused with Investi-gators though........

Let's play!  You take the yellow one;) 

Yes yes..It's another week down and it was a pretty cool week! We've been pretty busy  with a lot of lessons, a new investigator, and best of all, I got to eat me some Alligator this week! We had a member take us to a local favorite restaurant called Catfish Johnny's. I was feeling a little wild so I decided to get the sampler! It came with some good ole' Catfish, Frog Legs, Alligator, and some fried Okra! It was really good, honestly! Alligator was seriously like the best!

We have been teaching some pretty awesome people, some of which I mentioned last week. The two twin girls Aliyah and Alora are so dang energetic and excited for baptism! We are going to hopefully set a date this week! It's been awesome though, and we basically just go over and ask them to teach the lesson to us! They are way smart and basically teach it like the way we would. We are just waiting for some last little bit of information to be finalized before they can get baptized! We've also been just talking to everyone we see. We have started teaching this lady who believes in Joseph Smith, and has already read the Book of Mormon. She already attends a different church, but she wants to attend ours and see how it is! And we also talked to a cashierat a Family Dollar store. Her name is Montie and she is like super awesome and happy, and fun! She had a friend that served a mission too! So we will hopefully be seeing her again too! Please pray for them!!

My doctors appointment is this Thursday for my back. I do appreciate all that you guys have done for me in behalf of that.. All the prayers, thoughts, and concerns.  It hasn't been the worst I guess, just kind of bothersome lately. I did tweak it a little today, but hey, that happens haha! I'm just excited to see what they do for it once they've got it all figured out!

Other than that, nothing too new or exciting this week. We did have a "Why I Believe" Fireside last night and heard some great testimonies, and we had to sing in a missionary choir!! There were like 20 or so of us and it was really good considering we only had 20 minutes to practice! I got a (crappy audio) recording of that I'll try to send. Although it might be too large if a file to send over Email. I dunno. I'll try though!!

Sometimes in our lives, we face troubles, discouragement, loss, pain, etc. So when our life seems cloudy and storms linger, when we feel like we are enclosed, and there is no escape and that a particular "storm" may never end, if we rely on our Father in Heaven, knowing with full heart that he is aware of our situation, He will bless us! He will bless us if we turn to Him and if we continue growing in Him, building ourselves higher and trusting in God. When we eventually get to the top of those storm clouds you look and realize the suns still there, shining as brightly as it ever was before! Sometimes the effort of climbing up through that cloud is all the more rewarding, because the ground can seem unpleasant. Life is like that and storms come but the sun is still there. All you gotta do is lift your sights a little bit higher, trust God, and believe it will always be okay in the end.

Thanks for all the help along the way family and friends! You all truly mean something special to me. I love and miss you all greatly and I always hope and pray that you have a amazing and safe week ahead of you! I'm always praying for you! Love you!

- Elder A. Olson