Saturday, February 28, 2015

MIssion Conference, New Investigators and Barber Mishaps

Mission Conference Elders

Elder Armijo, Elder Davis and Me

 First off, this is kind of weird emailing in a Tuesday!  However, the Mission Conference we held yesterday was AWESOME!  They basically talked about proselyting in the new age and how different it has become over time, and of course the new tools we are privileged to use! They announced that we will be getting our new iPads in the next few weeks, but we are going to be doing many training courses, seminars, etc. about working online and Facebook Proselyting.

Also, we had a member of the Quorum of the Seventy come and speak at it. Elder Zwick came and gave us some GREAT advice!

"None is immune or exempt to the spiritual battles life throws at us. We are all given the opportunity to fail, but we must all stand tall, push through the best you can and give it your all."
-Elder Zwick

At the mission conference I was able to see and kind of hang with some of my previous companions! It was awesome to be able to see and talk with them again, see how their new areas and new companions are and so on! Elder Cotton is still in DeLand so I was able to catch up on all that has been happening over there. I was sad to hear that some people haven't been coming as regularly as they had been.  Yet there are others who are getting callings, and overall progressing!!! I sure miss my old companions.

We were able to pick up a few new investigators this week, and will start working with them soon! We also had the Stake Baptism day.  Jessica decided she wanted me to baptize her. She had a interview with a member of our mission presidency and they both decided she should wait a little longer to make sure she is fully ready.  We know what we need to do to get her to that point and are going to continue to keep helping her the best we can!

Not much new for is week, except for it has been extremely cold surprisingly. We were probably in the low 30's for a few of the mornings this week, so that has been nice and quite interesting! I will admit though, It was pretty chilly. hahah! But now it's starting to warm up, and sort of get into the rainy season! 

So sorry about the lame email! It hasn't been that interesting. But I will leave you with a quote and message from Elder Zwick:

"Make your heart your filter.  If you can't get that now, you will never go anywhere. And never reach the full potential your Father in heaven has in store for you and wants you to achieve."

This world is filled with things everyone doesn't agree on. Drama seems to be everywhere, and it's always been an ever changing world and will continue to be! Some things will get better. Some things will get worse! As long as we stay true to the teachings we have learned and follow them the best that we can. Your Father in Heaven is going to provide. He will make sure everything works out how it's best for you. You will achieve much more! It might not be easy, but it's worth it.

I love and miss you all so much! Have an AMAZING week everyone! Keep up the great work! And again...sorry this email is a day later than usual! 

-Elder Alex Olson.

P.S.  I got a haircut from a barber I believe was totally's called the radical laser part.....haha.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to NOT keep an investigator, Pine City...Crime City, Prayers Needed!

False Advertising with Pine Hills/ Safe Neighborhoods claims!
Well, this week was definitely a strange, unforgettable one!! The week started off pretty slow with appointments falling through or people not interested in the lessons we had to share. It was kind of stressful! But it's crazy how things that happen can really determine how the day or week will go. First off we've been teaching a guy (Luis) since I've been in Ocoee. Early last week, we decided to go see him again. During the lesson, Elder Walker pretty much flipped out on him.  Elder Walker was basically telling Luis that we don’t want to hear his drama or teach him if he isn’t going to stop.  Luis got upset and told us never to come back.  Ugghh!  That whole thing was quite upsetting to me.  

That was just one of the many events that took place this week! One of the most memorable is that both sets of Ocoee Elders were together one of the mornings.  We decided to all go and teach Edwina at JMart.  On our way there, we passed stabbing crime scene at a convenience store.  That was pretty sketchy!  Then about 15 minutes later, we basically walked into another….But all is well and we are all OK!  Phew!!! 

Jessica had her Baptismal interview this week also!!! And she is still shooting for this Saturday for her baptism.  This week is the "Waters of Mormon Stake Wide Baptism" event.  So please keep her in your prayers that she can make that day! She is SO ready and she just has to overcome her smoking addiction and social anxiety. If you could keep her in your prayers that would be much appreciated!

Elder Pelo also called us his week from Manhattan NY!!! He had to leave a few weeks ago (medical leave because of his back) and he is living in NY currently with his family right behind the Temple! He's having a good time, but he really misses being on the mission. He's also having spinal surgery this week so keep him in your prayers as well! I was grateful to hear that a mission is way better than going home early. How boring it basically is at home when you aren't working or in school! So yeah!

And I also saw a Rolls Royce Limo like yesterday, AWESOME!!! But anyway, that's been my week. Sketchy, somewhat eventful, and very stressful!! I hope you all had an AMAZING Valentine’s Day!!! I'm thankful for all the love and support I've received and continue to receive! You guys are the best EVER! Have a great and swell week everyone! Love and miss you!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, February 9, 2015

Manhunt, New Investigator, JMart Happenings and Valentine's Day/Love

Well this week wasn't anything special and really just an average week! Serving in Ocoee/Pine Hills I thought I would have MUCH cooler stories and experiences!!! Haha!  The only exciting thing that seems to ever happen anymore are the manhunts with helicopters flying overhead, using their searchlights!! Pssh...lame!

The beginning of this last week was definitely a struggle.  Our lessons weren't working out, I had some difficulties with the new companion, and just super stressed! Luckily things are improving ever so slightly. Any progression is still progression! It has just been an exhausting few weeks for sure, however, we are seeing some success and miracles despite the trials. One of our newest investigators Kedecia was able to attend a baptism for a recent convert. She had previously been baptized into a different church and at the time felt as if her heart was in the right.  She expressed to us the feelings she got while attending church and also attending Sacrament Meeting. She's not set in stone to be baptized into our church, but she is doing great and is super solid! So we're planning on setting a date with her!

Jessica is still planning on reaching her goal of being baptized the on 21st, but smoking is still holding her back and her date might have to be bumped a little further into the future.  It's a struggle for her but that's when a good testimony really forms. It might take time but it will be worth it!  And to have the faith to quit something so difficult in order to draw closer to your Heavenly Father and follow that example of Jesus Christ is an amazing thing to strive for!

We also had a funny situation happen this week.  We were preparing for our lesson in the parking lot of JMart (ghetto shopping center Edwina owns a store in) and planning on how we would teach her when someone pulled up next to us. The man hopped out of the car and started walking inside. He turned around and yelled to his wife in the car, "Yo lock da doors!!" Then looked at us and said "Oh no not because of you! We're just in the hood." THEN we went knocking on former investigators doors a few hours later and THE SAME GUY ANSWERED THE DOOR!!! He's like super funny and cool, so yeah! It’s Kind of a lame story but it was funny to experience!

This week is going to be crazy! It's already going to be strange not having to work in the flower shop and doing deliveries on Valentine's Day... Next...well...I'm in Florida, where it's like 75 degrees in February already!

But, speaking of Valentine’s Day, I would just like to express how much I love you all! I may not know who is reading, but I love you all! I'm so thankful for the support that is being given while in on my mission. It definitely makes it much easier, and enjoyable! I'm grateful for all of you for all you do! Whether it be with letters, watching over my family, friends or myself, or simply reading this email! I'm so blessed to have such an amazing support group! Thank you!

And I hope you not only feel my love, but also our Saviors love. That doesn't come with a special day but that's available all day, any and every time we need! I know He wants us to be happy. He wants us to feel loved so that we can grow and be our best. He wants us to never feel alone. He is ALWAYS beside us. He knows how we feel. He suffered for us so that WE could ALL live again. We can all experience tremendous joy and live with Him and our Father in Heaven again!!

Anyway...let's hope this week is totally awesome! I hope you all have an AMAZING week ahead of you. Stay safe and have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!
I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Got My Haircut!

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Companion, Good Week, Getting My Hood Swag On in Ocoee!

I've Got My Bling!

Well....I made it through my first week taking over Ocoee, with my new companion, Elder Walker.  He is from Ogden, Utah and came out the same time Elder Davis did, so 7 months!  I will say….this just might be an awkward transfer, but hopefully a successful one!!! We've been doing quite a bit of work this week and unexpectedly pulled a lot of lessons, picked up a solid new investigator, and set TWO baptism dates!!! I am so ready!

Elder Walker isn't too bad!  He is slightly on the shy and awkward side and he doesn't really like Ocoee, but no worries! Things are looking up haha!   On the second day of the transfer he was upset because President called and asked if I could be Senior Companion of us two. Since Elder Walker has been out longer, he apparently wasn’t happy about that. Oops.. Really though Sr/Jr means absolutely nothing!

This week was probably the perfect week to bring in the new Elder too..(NOT) On his second day here, we had a drug dealer ask us at a crosswalk why we were dressed up…then he turned and sold Cocaine to another man..So yeah, that was quite the weird situation!  And the next day we saw a total fight break out. Welcome to Ocoee!!

You will be happy to know...I'm getting my "Hood Swag" on. I FINALLY got my grill!! And got a picture with the biggest chain! WOO! Good week!  Also, I hit my 6 month mark this week as well!!! YAY! Overall it was a pretty solid week. We had a good time, and were impressed on how well this first week went. We are surrounded by some other amazing Elders as well so that always makes life easier!

And My Grill!! 
If there's one hard thing about missionary work, it's being bold!  It’sgetting out of your comfort zone and telling EVERYONE about this Gospel, and your beliefs! Like stated in this scripture: Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ..."  We must need not to be ashamed of what we believe. We must declare to all we know about our beliefs. Share with everyone you can because you never know who wants or needs this in their life right now. The way it will bless their lives is beyond our comprehension. I've seen what it can do, and it makes me actually WANT to go and share what I know to everyone I can!

Thank you all for everything! I am so blessed and sometimes it takes time to realize all that I have. I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve those around me and I’m thankful for the love and support I'm receiving from back home! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson