Monday, January 26, 2015

Transfers!! Yup, I'm staying in Ocoee! I love exclamation marks!!!

  Life as a Missionary.....

Elder Davis and I with our normal faces....and extra chins :)

MAN!!... This week was one to remember, honestly! Week six of the transfer is ALWAYS different and numbers are always lower for some reason. But even though we knew Elder Davis was leaving Ocoee, we had an awesome week! We picked up a few new people to teach and they are AMAZING! We have a girl, Kedicia, we are teaching that we've only met with once.  I'm suspecting she will be baptized this upcoming transfer! Also, Jessica has set a new date to be baptized, that will be February 21st

Overall, this week was pretty awesome!! We've been spending a lot of time with a few really cool recent converts. Their names are Enoc and Junior and they are both flipping sweet and help the missionaries SO much!  Plus, now that this Ward knows I'm one of the 2 missionaries staying in this area, they're treating me much better!! It's been nice… FINALLY!!!

Here we are "Hymn Caroling" with Enoc and other missionaries!

We also had Interviews with President Berry this week, so that was awesome! We only get those like every 3 months basically.  It was pretty cool to catch up with him and get some advice and help!! President is awesome and I'm thankful for that opportunity. It's been awesome so far and later this week I actually hit my SIX month mark!!!  I can’t believe it!!

Sorry this email is so short. Nothing much new because well...this week was just full of interviews, visiting members, and getting Elder Davis packed up and ready to go, sadly!! It's been such a sweet transfer especially with someone I can relate to so closely!!! I'm slightly nervous to get my new companion.  In the interview, President Berry said my new companion might be apprehensive about coming to I guess I will see how that goes! Let's hope for the best!! YAY!! Also, I heard that my area might be going full bike….or we will have a weird car share..I don’t know yet but will let you know!!

I'm thankful for all the help and support I get from back home. You guys are the absolute BEST! I love and miss you ALL! I hope you all have a great week.  You're in my prayers and thoughts! Keep up the good work and keep moving forward!

--Elder A. Olson

Loving my Moo Moo Mac & Cheese shirt/dress

District Missionaries!!

Random Picture :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

High's and Lows of Missionary Service, Temple Session, New Friends from Utah and President Visit

Elder Olson, Elder Davis with Mark & Mariah Bailey, from Syracuse, UT. They happened to be on business and attended our Sacrament meeting!

Well it’s been another adventurous week of highs and lows. I would say this has been one of the roughest weeks so far.  Thankfully, there were some very rewarding things that happened as well!  We had another week of teaching 25 lessons and again President Berry called us to congratulate us on a great week! That makes it rewarding to know our work is being noticed and I hope that the numbers continue. Friday we had the opportunity to go and attend a session at the Florida, Orlando Temple. It was such an amazing experience and was so awesome!  The Spirit you feel in the Temple is absolutely unmistakable! It is so strong and is always a privilege to attend there and work on the grounds once a week!  Sadly, attending the temple for a session only happens four times on your entire mission.

 There is always so much drama going on between ward members in Ocoee and it seemed to really take a toll on me this week. It’s difficult because members try to drag the missionaries into the middle of everything. The best thing about being around the drama and seeing what it can do to people is that it really makes me want to be the best I can be. It has also taught me that I should let NO ONE disrupt my mission. This is my mission for me, the Lord and more specifically the people I am out here to serve. I want it to be the best and so it should be.

But fortunately and unfortunately I feel like I'm staying in Ocoee for another transfer. Maybe it’s for the best, but I just still haven't been able to connect with this area or the people very much. We don't find out for sure about transfers until this Saturday so...we will see!  I’ll continue to do my best, but it’s been a different transfer, this one….

Anyway, we have still been working with Jessica. She's progressing, but she wants her baptism on her own time and so we have to respect that!! We have also had some investigators drop off as well. We did have an awesome experience at church last Sunday. President Berry came to our services and met our investigators. We also got to meet and talk with a family that was here visiting from Utah! They knew the cities we lived in and they were WAY awesome and fun to hang around for the day!! Then they got a group picture of us and texted them to our parents haha! Overall a fun time!

On a crazy note, someone was shot and killed in the parking lot of a store our investigator Edwina works in (she owns her own little shop) and where we teach her! So yup...that was awesome news to hear…I guess?

Anyway, I encourage you ALL to either go walk the grounds of a temple, or go inside and do some temple work if you are able to do so! The feelings you get and the blessings you receive at the temple are far beyond anything! It’s amazing and the Spirit felt there is great!

Also, I have a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley that I would like to share...

"I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh., therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee"  -2 Nephi 4:35 

"Get on your knees and thank God for His goodness to you and express unto Him the righteous desires of your hearts. He hears, He responds, He answers. Not always as we could wish He would, but there is no question in my mind that He answers"

I love and appreciate all you guys do for me. I miss and greatly love each and every one of you!! Have an AMAZING week!

--Elder A. Olson

Florida, Orlando Temple

Monday, January 12, 2015

In Da Hood, Sad Saturday, Coyote, Smoking Apartment and Power of Prayer


Hey everyone!!! It’s been another crazy and eventful week here in Ocoee! If there were two words to describe this week, it would probably be "Never Ending."  It felt like this week went on and on. I had exchanges this week with our District Leader and we went to Olympia, which is crazy because it's like 15 minutes from Ocoee, but WAY nicer!!  It was nice to get away for a bit.

Saturday was a terribly tough day. We had our baptism for Jessica set for that day. But sadly, stress and anxiety got to her and she smoked some cigarettes and so we will have to move her baptism day. On top of that, all of our set appointments for that day fell through. It was such a rough day! Things just weren't going my way and it wasn't fun but it's okay!!

Ocoee is so ”In the hood”, I'm totally getting me a grill so I can fit in. Gold teeth are totally in around here.  JK!!.. But seriously. I might get removable ones.

Fortunately, we did also have some awesome things happen this week!! Friday night we had to go late to the church to get our service clothing and as we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a dang COYOTE!! Well, we chased him around in the car to get him away from the residential area next to it because he was HUGE!  But he ended up running into a storm!  I want him as a pet..Kinda...haha

Also the next night we attempted to have a fire in our apartment fireplace, because it was in the low 30's, surprisingly!!! It was SOOO nice! But anyway, we started the fire and quickly realized that the chimney was sealed….so like the smoke clouded our apartment. So I was fanning a box to keep the smoke away from the detectors hahah!! It was quite the adventure! So instead of an ACTUAL fire, we put two candles inside of the fireplace and called it good!!!

This area is just so weird to me.  The bishop asked me to speak in church 15 minutes before church started!!! Talk about late notice! But luckily, it wasn't hard and i feel it ended up pretty well. I am just having trouble connecting with this area unlike DeLand. The people don't care as much here, and it's just so odd. BUT we've also seen some amazing miracles this week. We had a lesson at the mall, not too far away from us. Right after the lesson, we started walking to the car and one of the people working in a store asked if we wanted a case for our phone. SUCH Ann easy contact! All we had to say was we were missionaries so it's technically not our phone. Come to find out, her name is Christina, and she has actually been LOOKING FOR and WANTING to go back to a church!! She is solid and we will begin teaching her this week! It's so nice when people are prepared and placed right in our path!! MIRACLES!

But recently, I've truly seen the power of prayer. Since I've been in this area it's been harder mentally, physically, and emotionally. I've been asking, and fasting for help. And although it might be small, I can tell there is a difference! I've gained a few more friendships in this area, which is definitely helping, because I feel like people actually care I'm there.

I know our Father in Heaven wants to hear from each and every one of us. He wants us to turn to Him. The more we avoid those fundamental things like: praying, reading scriptures, and attending church, we don't and we can't progress spiritually. We all know our physical bodies need physical substance, food and water. But to grow spiritually we need a spiritual substance as well! That's where the base of our testimony and faith come from. Without those things, it's easy to become distant from our families, our happiness, and our Heavenly Father!

I love and miss you all dearly. I very much appreciate all you have done for me and my family! I'm thankful for all the thoughts, prayers, letters and everything! I hope you all have an awesome week and a safe one as well!

--Elder A. Olson