Monday, March 23, 2015

Long Meetings, Service Projects and Cockroach Pizza!

I finally met Orlando Mickey!....Well the sign anyway.

This sign concludes my trip to Disney World:)

Well the new IPads are a success!  Well, except for the fact that almost ALL of my pictures I emailed to myself to keep didn’t transfer ... And all my Mormon message videos and such are gone, but it does run SOO much better! That training meeting was quite possibly one of the longest meetings of my life and lasted from 7:30am-6:30pm! It was pretty awesome though! And with the new iPad, we got some cool new tools we can use, including apps like iMessage, FaceTime and Yahoo Weather.  It’s all pretty nifty!

Other than that meeting, this week was full of many more meetings! But with it all, we were able to pick up some pretty cool people to teach! The owner of the store in JMart, where I got my "Real Men Love Jesus" shirt from, said she wanted to learn more about the LDS church! Her mother was a member before she passed away. And her sister currently is a member. So she decided to skip her church and come to our yesterday. She wasn't too thrilled about the screaming kids we happened to have yesterday, but overall enjoyed it!

We were given the opportunity to go do service for an elementary school not too far from our area. We went and helped them move EVERYTHING out of the school library out so they can re-do it! This school is particularly special. Our Stake holds a food drive every Sunday, where (if you're able) you bring two cans of food and donate it. The reason for this is that 80%+ of the kids in this school are being raised in a family that financially falls under the state poverty line. So these students are receiving free breakfast and lunch given by the school and all that donated food goes to these families to eat during the weekends!! It was a pretty special opportunity and we had a blast!   I'm grateful we were able to go and do that!

We also had the opportunity to do service for a less active lady in the ward.   Let’s just say she has a lot of stuff!  Anyway, we helped fix her fence so the HOA wouldn't threaten to kick her out of her home. So that was a pretty neat experience. You know the weirdest part of it all?  Well that was the pizza that had cockroaches baked into it. Yum... Service filled week for sure!

It's just been a pretty crazy week for missionary bashing.  They start it up when we contact them or they will come and talk with us first.  Either way, there have been a lot of negative people trying to make us look, and feel like we're lost or wanting to confuse us  and make us look like we don't know what we are even doing! I think it's hilarious to see people like that. We had a man come up and ask us this question "What do you know, about what you need to know, about what there is to know?"  There was no purpose for even talking with us! It can be funny, but it's also discouraging at times as you walk away. Some people just feel like they need to outsmart us or do what they can to discourage us. But always as I walk away I think of a General Conference talk given by Elder Holland in 1999, which is possibly one of my favorite talks. I just think to myself
"Don’t give up! Don’t you quit! You keep walking! You keep trying! It will be all right. Trust in God and believe in good things to come."

Thanks for all the love and support!! I'm so grateful for everything that has been given me, all the prayers, letters, and thoughts! It certainly makes those rough spots that occur more humbling when I recognize the blessings all around me! I pray for you all and I hope you have an amazing week this week! I love and miss you all! Thanks for everything!

Elder A. Olson 

This would be me after that LOOOONG meeting!

I like turtles!...he is super tiny.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Anniversary, Success, Investigators, Learning Creole

My Mom must LOVE this tie...again....this time a gift for St. Patty's Day


Goodies from the family!

Phew...made it through another week in Ocoee! Big surprise there!! Haha

Well this week had some rough parts, with the start of a new transfer and Thursday marked the 7th year an amazing man has been absent from our physical presence. Heaven is lucky to have someone like you!!! I miss you Colton, I can't believe it's been so long, but can also seem so short... You were the best example to everyone around you including myself.  I've always wanted to shape my life so that I could be a particle of who you were! The most amazing thing about missionary work is being able to share the knowledge I have! I know now and am fully aware that families can be together forever!  And although physical separation can be extremely hard, that is just more motivation for myself to strive to be the best I can be.  I will try my best to be my best so that I too can live up in that wondrous paradise with you and all my loved ones! Not a day goes by that you aren't on my mind, as I pick up and read from your scriptures! I'm thankful for the support you continue to offer, and I know you're doing great missionary work where you are too! I know you are where you need to be! Keep up the good work and thanks for the amazing memories!! I Love You Colton Ray Stewart! 

Also I found this quote that I'd like to share.

There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power.
—David A. Bednar

We saw a lot of success this week in our companionship. We ended up getting some really high numbers in all categories this week!  We were the leaders in our zone, however, numbers mean absolutely nothing unless there is a person attached to that number. We were able to pick up 4 new investigators just by talking with everyone!! Some of them are pretty solid too! Like one contact we made was outside with her 6 year old son watching the sprinklers. We invited her to church. Come to find out, she has been looking for one after hers was shut down and it left her kind of lost on where to go!  We also had a man just decide to walk into church.  He was an assistant pastor for another church, but always wanted to experience and see for himself what our service was about! He loved it and agreed to have us over.  He admires missionary work and is pretty sweet!

We had an investigator take us to KobĂ© Steakhouse this week for her birthday! It's a REALLY expensive Japanese Hibachi type restaurant. It was SOO rad! But yeah!..random.  haha! Totally look it up! 

I had to log into Facebook to get set up for our internet proselyting break, so that we can train in the next month or two. We will be learning how we can best use Facebook for finding, teaching and helping everyone around us! Thanks for the support and I will let you know when it will be up again and in use! It's been a privilege working on and with everyone on it and look forward to continuing sharing this gospel in ANY way possible!

Guess what??  We have our Zone Conference Wednesday, which also means we will be getting our new personal IPads!!! WOO! Mine won't have scratches from previous missionaries or anything! It'll be nice and kind of weird to take it home when my missions over! 

Also, we now have a Creole speaking missionary in Ocoee!!! He's in the other companionship in our Ward! This is SOO USEFUL because there is a large population speaking Creole here. …So I'm trying to learn a little haha. Also, I realized that in like 2 transfers from now I hit my YEAR mark! That's so weird to think about and it doesn't really feel THAT long already haha! I sometimes still feel like a greenie! 

Anyway, Thanks for all the love and support! I'm grateful for all of you and all you do! I love and miss you all! Have an AMAZING week!!

- Elder A. Olson

Monday, March 9, 2015

Transfers....or Not, Apartment Decor, Exploring Orlando and Prayer.

Sending Love from Florida!

Oh boy!   We survived week six of the transfer!  Although it is ALWAYS a hard one, we got some work done and actually found a new investigator while Elder Peacock and I were on exchanges.  So that was a big blessing!!  But anyway, this transfer is almost officially OVER!  Yes, it ends today!  Well the verdict is……….

Elder Walker and I will be staying together in Ocoee for at least one more transfer!....So Yup!....Nuff’ said. Haha!
We had some pretty cool things go down his week.  A young man the other Ocoee Elders were teaching was able to get baptized on Saturday! And today I was able to go out and explore a little bit more of Orlando area, specifically the touristy areas! We saw Universal Studios and all the different shops and restaurants around that! It is a VERY nice area down there.  So that was pretty fun to go out and see!

Also, we will be receiving our own iPads to use on the mission soon. With that, we will be receiving extra training for Internet Proselyting!  And we will be learning how we can better use Facebook for our missions.  So for everyone's information, if you follow my missionary Facebook account, I will not be using it for the next 2 months probably. Thanks for understanding!

This week I totally put up thumb tacks in our apartments living room wall so it could hold up my iPad.  This makes it so that we can watch General Conference talks on our tiny TV. I don't know why I told that story. It was totally just like one of the highlights of my week haha!

Just a little redecorating!!
Other than those few little things, nothing much new is happening. It's been a slow week! So let's hope that things will pick up with this new transfer! 

This week we had a training session ALL about prayer. I know I've talked about it multiple times here, but it's so hard to grasp just how important it is.  But there is one thing that stood out to me this time and basically it is this. "Pray as if nothing is going to happen UNLESS you pray!!"  Continue turning to your Heavenly Father!  Talk to Him! He wants to hear from you! So do as that quote says, pray as if nothing will happen unless you ask Him!

Thanks for all the love and support! You guys mean so much to me! I'm grateful for everything! I hope and pray you all have an AMAZING week!

Love and miss you all!

-Elder Alex Olson

Monday, March 2, 2015

7 Months Down, Last Week of Transfer, and Thought for The Week.


This week kind of felt at times like it would never end!! I think it was because we had such a messed up schedule, with all of our days shifted one day later. So we had P-day on Tuesday, and the following days were filled with a lot more meetings, temples service, etc. But I have to say that it wasn't the worst week. 

 It was a little on the unusual side, but we're also able to see quite a few little miracles! We tried visiting a less active family in the ward who has stopped attending church for about the past six months. Come to find out, they are WAY cool and absolutely LOVE missionaries!!! It's always nice to interact with people like that, who sincerely appreciate missionary work and the missionaries! Sometimes I feel we might be taken for granted hahah! But they are awesome and asked if they could feed us this week as well!! I'm hoping that schedules change for them so they can attend again! 

We had a pretty crazy experience this week though.  Our ward mission leader came out on exchanges with us earlier this week. He just got back from his mission in Japan. When we tried to go visit a potential investigator (that we first met on the side of the road) she was not at home, however, her sister answered the door and she is a member of another church. The church she is a member of is one that we missionaries get confused with being a part of A LOT!  Anyway, she wanted to "ask us a few questions" which turned out into an awkward bash type conversation.  She questioned everything we said, hoping we wouldn't have anything to back up our beliefs! Quote the experience haha!

All in all it was just a pretty average week of missionary work....just a day late on everything.  This is the last full week of the transfer and this Saturday we get the call letting us know what the plan is for the upcoming transfer! YAY!

I've found some pretty awesome quotes/pictures that I have attached with this email.  I've truly noticed that no matter what happens in this life, all those difficult times that arise in our lives, although they may be difficult and trying, they are all placed in our lives to help us grow. Christ is by our side at all times! Helping us push through the rough times! He knows what we need. He knows how to help. Turn to your Father in Heaven, not only when you need Him, but always! If you're struggling and need help, stay on your knees, continue asking for strength and for the help you need. Then get on your feet and continue moving forward!

I'm great full for all the prayers, letters, thoughts or whatever it may be!! You guys are absolutely the best EVER! I miss and love you all very much! Have an awesome week!

- Elder A. Olson