Monday, April 20, 2015

Kedecia's Baptism, Transfers, My Friend Puc and Crazy Ocoee/Pine Hills Happenings!

This was an exciting week to say the least! A lot has happened so I'm hoping I don't forget any of it in the email. haha! Well...the highlight of the week was definitely Kedecia's Baptism! Thankfully, everything went smoothly and it all worked out on such short notice! It was such a blast though!! She really enjoyed it and felt how sacred it truly is! And yes I was able to baptize her!

Me, Elder Walker and Kedecia
We were also able to take Desiree on a temple tour this last week, and along with that, we set a baptismal date for her as well! It's currently for May 9th, but it'll probably be changed for a later date in May! 

Also.....transfer doctrine finally came in late Saturday.. And.... I am staying ANOTHER transfer in Ocoee. I'll be in this area for at least 6 months of my mission by the time I leave! And yes, I'm doing another 6 weeks with Elder Walker. Yup! It'll be interesting!

But it's definitely been an interesting week to say the least! I turned a cup inside out and named him PUC. He was awesome and my best friend! And could still hold water! We also ran into some "Isnats" this week on the street. They tried to have a verbal fight with us, because in their beliefs no one Caucasian is 'saved'. So it was kind of weird, and seriously went nowhere! But it was a fun story to share. We also had some young girls pull up next to us at a stoplight, and ask if we were high. I guess when there are white people in Pine Hills, they're always high hahah! But yes, those girls were definitely high too!

We were able to find an awesome small family this week! I had an impression to go knock on a random set of apartment doors, which in especially rare in Ocoee for sure. I've never truly knocked on doors here! But the third door was AMAZING! We asked if we could pray with them, after they invited us in! They were super awesome, so hopefully we can make it back this week!

I was totally expecting to get transferred though. Doing three transfers with someone is rare. But whatever, that pretty much sums up my week!  Sorry for the extra short email! Week 6 is rough and we basically just planned for the baptism and transfers this week.

I love and miss you all and hope you have a GREAT week!!:) Thanks for
all you do! Talk to you all soon!

-Elder A. Olson

A little tree work

Monday, April 13, 2015

Baptism Date Set, Wild Weather and Horse Cloud, More From General Conference.

Check out that car!

It's totally Radford!

This week has been a complete adventure!!! It's has kind of just been a non-stop, rushing week. We set a baptismal date with Kedecia late last week. It was originally set for Saturday the 18th, but she was able to get a new job and had been scheduled to work that day.  Transfers are coming up and she wanted us both to be there, so last night she called and moved her baptism to this Thursday the 16th!  WOOHOO!  Plus on top of that, she has asked that I baptize her! so I'm very excited for that! I cannot wait! So that will basically be the highlight of this upcoming week. Also, on the 18th is when the "transfer doctrine" call of who's staying and who is leaving comes in.  Either way, I'm actually pretty happy, and I've come to really enjoy and love Ocoee/Pine Hills!  It’s crazy to think I've already been here 4 1/2 months and so who knows what could happen. Only 8 days though!

Also, we've been meeting with another store owner in JMart, named Desiree. She sells religious t-shirts for a living. That's where I got my "real men love Jesus" shirt. Anyway, she has been sitting in on our discussions and has come to church twice and has absolutely LOVED it! She skipped her church to come join in on ours yesterday. She promised she would be there next week and we are going on a temple tour with her and Edwina on Wednesday.  She is awesome and also assured us that she is going to pray about being baptized into our church.  So that's another little bit of awesome news! She shared a story of how her mother and sister were members of our church before her mother passed away. Her mother always wanted her to come, but she never did. In fact, she avoided the missionaries! But it just goes to show you that patience and time is all that's needed! It's been great!

The weather here has been INSANE this week. We've had extremes from temperatures being at 106 degrees, to a tornado warning like 40 miles away!
I also saw a cloud shaped like a that was cool...picture below.

Horse Cloud!
I really enjoyed General Conference, and have been able to re-watch a good portion of them. They were all amazing and I'm always in awe after listening to those powerful words. Lately I've been focusing on the Atonement in my studies, along with the love our Savior and Heavenly Father have for us. So here is a pretty sweet quote for Dieter F. Uchtdorf:  "I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly." 

The Atonement is HUGE and has impacted our lives in ways we can physically see, mentally tell, or spiritually recognize as well as in ways that we may be absolutely blind too, but are still there. But when it comes down to it all, when we recognize that personal imperfection is just an opportunity to change, that's when we notice the Atonement the most in our lives! Our Father in Heaven loves us, he sent His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to come down and pay for the sins of everyone. EVERYONE! No matter who we once were, or where we are, it applies to us all! We will never be perfect, but we can always strive to be!

I love and miss you all! And I hope you have recognized Heavenly Fathers hand in your life! I hope and pray you all have a fun and safe week and thank you for all the support, thoughts, prayers, letters, and email towards my family and me.  Have a great week! I love you guys!
-Elder A. Olson
Got me an In N Out shirt for a dollar!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

General Conference and Port Au Prince, Haiti Temple Announcement!

Well another successful week down in Ocoee!  This was definitely a busy week with General Conference this week! I hope you all had a awesome EASTER and General conference weekend, and enjoyed hearing from the prophet and leaders of this church!  It was so inspiring to be able to hear those precious words and it really made those hard times worth the wait! Every 6 months is killer! I always wish it could come sooner!

But there were some amazing things in it! Although the satellite transmission in our chapel was terrible at first, it eventually got fixed. So I did miss most of the first session Saturday.  BUT we also saw and heard some amazing talks none the less, and the announcement of a new temple in Port au Prince, Haiti is AMAZING and Especially being in Ocoee where most of the population IS Haitian! It really makes me love this area to see how excited they were to finally be receiving a temple where they all were raised!

We had a guy come to our chapel for conference. None of us knew him and he just came with someone. He was very touched by the words spoken! In fact, at one point, he was basically crying hysterically! We were also able to get some of our investigators there as well and for the most part, they LOVED it! They were kind of sad that they didn't get to hear President Monson talk, but were touched and had a good time either way. We told them we would show them the talks when they come out.

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed it! And with it being the second one while on my mission, it made me happy that I still have more to look forward to! I noticed A LOT had to do with Family, relationships, and the roles we should take in marriage! It was pretty cool and it really stands out just how important it all truly is. I'm grateful for my family and friends! They truly make life SO MUCH EASIER!!!

There was also a section of a talk that I liked and I hope I have the chance to go through and re-watch them soon! But this really stood out and it's such a simple question, yet it means a whole lot. "Is the gospel still wonderful to you? Never tire of rediscovering the gospel, there is always something new to learn and feel, always seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost"
-Gérald Caussé
Sleeping dude in the back during conference

Sadly, Kedecia has decided to wait for her baptism and so that is a little bit of sad news. Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!!! Sorry this email is basically all about General Conference but that was honestly the highlight of my week and I hope yours as well (along with spending time with family!)  I love, appreciate and miss you all! Have a wonderful week! 

-Elder A. Olson

Beautiful Orlando Temple at night!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

25 Lessons, Bike Accident and Because He Lives!

"Because He Lives"

This week was a pretty sweet week! We were all striving really hard to end the week by reaching the huge goals we set together as a district. It was a great motivation with that daily reminder to go out and work our hardest! At the end of it all, we were able to see some miracles! We got around 25 lessons taught this week, which almost doubles last week’s numbers and we were also able to set a baptismal date with our investigator Kedecia this week!!  Her baptism date is coming up fast, but that is the day we prayed about and feel she can achieve! Luckily, she is super awesome and WILL be baptized eventually. Even if that day isn't right!

This week was also special because a few weeks ago, we were shown a video and given an initiative with it. It's called "Because He Lives" and we are all SUPER excited that it is now available to the public, and was released a few days ago!  It's especially special because it has to do a lot with the life, atonement, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I encourage you all to go and watch it if you have not. The Spirit that is invited in that video is AMAZING! I hope you all can share that video, either on social media or in person!

Other than that, it's been a pretty average week though, temperatures cooled down to the low 70's so that was AMAZING (Especially on bike week) but now they are climbing again!  And speaking of bike week, I was also in a bike accident this week!! I was stopped at the crosswalk, waiting to cross and my companion HIT ME with his bike!  It smashed my leg into my own bike. Yeah I know...typical! It's alright though! No worries!

This week I had a weird dream. I had a dream of a campfire! That's the only thing I remembered from the dream. hahah! So basically this entire week, I, for some odd reason, just wanted to go on a hike or camping or at least SEE a mountain! But nah...didn't happen... I did get to go on exchanges with Elder Armijo again!! It was AWESOME! We had a pretty rad time, and met some really cool people! So that was a blessing!

This upcoming week is definitely going to be a busy one, with Easter AND GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! What a special and unique opportunity that we have to listen to our living day prophets and apostles! Heed the message that they give and truly apply them into our lives. The world is changing, and will continue to do so. That's why we need them. They truly are called of God and are here to help us be the best we can be and return to our Heavenly Father! I hope you all are as excited as I am for this conference and this wonderful opportunity we have! 

Anyway, sorry this is shorter than usual! Not too much going on, but either way I'm grateful for all of you guys and all your thoughts and prayers! I hope you all have a fantastic, safe and exciting week this week! I love and miss you all! 

-Elder A. Olson