Monday, June 29, 2015

New Investi "Gators", Branch Missionary Work, WaWa and Blessings!

We had quite the busy week this week, (although I look back now and can't remember anything too fun that happened) lets just say it was full of lessons and more lessons! Like literally..we were really close to 30 this week! was awesome! So Linda C., who we have our baptismal date set with for the 18th, is progressing VERY well! She is super excited and is now making some friends in the Branch! AND now her son is sitting in on the lessons!! YES!!

This branch is the best though and the members are pretty amazing missionaries! They're definitely helping us find new people to teach, because sadly they are dwindling... BUT the branch president is letting us teach his granddaughter after a long time.  Along with that, the Crawfords (who I mentioned in my last email as the amazing branch members) want us to give them missionary materials so they can go around and hand them out to people they talk to while they golf and stuff!

Once again we went to Orlando this week! Exactly a week from last week's trip.  We got a call saying we had to drive down and get the registration for our car, because they couldn't mail it in time. So we went and stopped by to see a few people while in Orlando/Ocoee. But not too many people were home sadly.. It was crazy to be back in the city again! And while we were there we stopped at a gas station named Wawa...BEST PLACE EVER! Seriously, they make delicious sandwiches! Why can't Utah have em?!

Also, I attached a picture (or a few) of me teaching our new 'Gators'... They were very receptive to the message that we had to share, and who knows? Maybe we can bring em to church! But no...we ended up stopping by a little store that one of our investigators work at and found these alligators! We might as well have some fun huh? I really wanted to hold the baby alligators but they don't let you. They just look so nice and friendly, how can they be so mean!? Now big ol' 13.5 foot George here. That's a monster!

It was pretty awesome though this week and we are able to give many blessings in this area. No joke, we've given like 5 this week! It's amazing to see how they truly work and how as we rely on our faith. And the person receiving the blessing does as well.  They have faith that what they're in need of will be provided. Heavenly Father wants to help out.  He wants to provide the means by which the burden will be taken away from you.  I can promise that the Priesthood has been restored back onto the earth. It was given to the prophet Joseph Smith, and has been passed down since! I've seen it work miracles in people's lives. For example, from this week, I've seen it calm a overly rambunctious child, and I've seen it help painful feelings from one of our recent converts go away right after the blessing. I can also promise that as you seek a Priesthood Blessing, from someone holding that proper authority, asking in faith, and believing in the power that it contains, everything will work out in the end. And your Father in Heaven will provide what he sees fit for YOU!

Thanks for everything everyone!  I'm very appreciative of what you guys do for me, and my loved ones! I'm grateful for all the thoughts and prayers. I'm happy that you somehow are placed in my life! I hope you all have a swell week ahead of you! Love and miss you all! Thanks again!

-Elder A. Olson

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baptism, Temple Trip and Fathers!!

In the Attic with Resusci-Anne!
Just another week in paradise!!.. Well... Except for this humidity! Im getting pretty sick of that already! It's been high 90's with 80% humidity lately. So it really feels like 105 basically!But no worries, everything's still going well! 
Aynn was able to to be baptized on Saturday, so that was a huge miracle! It's so weird having a baptism when I feel like I'm still getting to know these people! I'm still super happy for them, it's just that I've never had a baptism after only knowing them for a short amount of time! But it went very well. And she was really happy and excited! A Branch Member took the pictures so I will send them as soon as I get them! 

Also yesterday was a pretty special day as well! FATHERS DAY!! So happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there. It was a very nice day, especially being the sabbath! We all shared stories and had a pretty good time! We talked about how important the role of a father is, and especially our Heavenly Father. I'm not too sure why I never really thought of that day being for my Heavenly Father too! His guidance, His love, His support. Where would we be without our Father in Heaven? So I am indeed glad I was able to realize that and truly ponder it as well. 
There's also a great Mormon message about our is a link to it!

We were also able to confirm the baptismal date for our investigator Linda Cotton. July 18th! So that's definitely something to look and work towards! It's been pretty awesome with her though, she was found through a couple in the Branch. They are probably the BEST "Member Missionaries" I've been around since I've been on my mission. They're talking with so many friends, neighbors, ect. And will soon be inviting us over to go teach those too!!

This week we surprisingly got a phone call Wednesday morning, saying that a member (of Ocoee Ward) was going through the temple for her endowments! And since Elder Uber first taught her at the beginning of his mission we were invited to go through the session with her! We were able to attend the 7:30pm session with her, and it was AMAZING!! Not to mention that some of Ocoee Ward was attending too! It was such a great day! was a pretty solid week this week! Nothing else really happened! But we're moving onto week 4 of this transfer now! It's flying!! Thanks for everything everyone, you guys are the absolute BEST! I miss and love you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chicken Chase, Country Living, The Villages and Priesthood!

Elder Olson...AKA Chicken Whisperer!

Well it has been pretty calm here and crazy to think that we are starting week three of this transfer already! I guess spending 18 weeks with the same companion definitely made the weeks slow down. It felt like one giant transfer! 
We are still rolling along and we have been doing really well! We have a baptism for this Saturday actually and it's for our investigator Aynn! She is really cool and loves us! She lives in a magical place I forgot to mention last week. Ok it's not magical, but it's still crazy!It's called "The Villages" it's the northern most part of my area, and it's one of the largest retirement communities in the world!!! We only cover a tiny portion of it, but all the houses look the same, and are very pricey. They have their own grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, and at least 50+ golf courses inside of it. Everyone drives golf carts instead of cars, and they get their own road. It's so large it is it's own city!!!! Crazy right?!

Alright...enough freaking out over that.. Haha! All in all it has been a pretty successful week with good lessons, 3 new gators, and the announcement that the annexation of the new church building has been cleared! Now we just wait for a city hearing and we can start the building process! They said it might end up being a stake center..but either way, this branch is growing and will become a ward!! WOO HOO!

Anyway, this week has been full of great things! And there were lots of small things that have truly stuck out to me! For some reason, everything seemed to be centered around the Priesthood this week!! Last Monday I went to Lecanto on an exchange, and we visited a VERY gospel smart member. He was awesome and gave us sweet advice, saying as missionaries we are called to do such a special work, that no one else is set apart to do, not even him! That if the church wasn't true it would have been gone by now letting young men and women go out and do what we do!Then I gave a blessing this week to an older member of our branch, and I felt like the Spirit absolutely guided and conveyed what was needed. I had a dream that night about a friend asking for a blessing/talking about them..THEN Sunday's talks were all about priesthood authority! SO COOL! It's just been awesome and a pretty uplifting week...I really needed it.  I've been depressed since I've come to Sumterville for some reason! Still got some more progress though..

I've been enjoying it here though for the most part and the people are great! We went to a members house and had to help catch their chickens!! It was a BLAST! So that was like...totally awesome haha! 


Anyway...It's a busy week ahead of us, preparing for this baptism and working with lots of new people. Hopefully we will be setting another baptismal date tonight with our investigator Linda. We will see how that goes! 
Thanks for everything, I miss and love you guys so much! I am so grateful that I've been called to serve and I never imagined how much my life would change because of it! I'm also very grateful for our Savior and how progression wouldn't be possible without him! He know what we feel and he knows what we need! Thanks for all the awesome Payson Temple pictures! I hope you truly enjoy having the Lords house, so magnificent and beautiful, so close! I pray you all have a fantastic week! Love you guys!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, June 8, 2015

I'm a Little Bit Country, a Pet Undertaker and Auto Mechanic....well almost;)

Elders from the Ocoee District

Elders from the Ocoee District
Well...the day has come to let you know where I am and who I'm with!  I'm kinda sad that I left Ocoee, and let's just say I was moved to the complete opposite of what Pine Hills (Crime Hills) is.  You better believe it, I'm in the country! I transferred to a little town called Sumterville!! Literally, it's only half a mile wide BUT technically I have the largest area in the mission. We cover LOTS of towns, so much so that we are FULL CAR!! It takes about 45mins-1hr to drive from one side of it to the other. I'll be attaching a picture that describes it perfectly. And I think the craziest part of it all, being here is that I'm serving in a branch! The congregation seriously has like 55 people that come and the average age is around 70. But this area is pretty sweet! It's just so calm and easy and we are teaching some pretty awesome people. Basically, geographically I'm as close to Orlando as I am to Tampa, Florida hahaha!

I'm in the Country!!

Being here has already been pretty adventurous! On my second day here, we had a member call us and ask if we could bury her pet dog.. So that was different. And a few nights ago we were on our way back from a dinner appointment with and older member, when his front tire totally exploded!!! It was sketchy, but neither the member nor my companion (who I will get to in a second) knew how to change it! Luckily, I got the job done and then a county sheriff came with a flashlight to help out! WOO!! So that was exciting too I guess..

Now onto the companion...bum bum buummm! His named Elder Uber!! I actually served in the same district with him on my first 2 transfers in Ocoee, so I know him very well already!:) It's so cool! He's from Pennsylvania and is a big boy. hahahaha. The hard part about this area is everyone loved the last Elder here, so I have to "live up to his legacy" from what I've been told...but yup!! Good times!

Other an that, nothing too crazy going on and I am just trying to survive the heat...luckily having a car is pretty nice.  Oh and I forgot to mention that I don't even have an apartment. We live in a little old Antique Shop that's been converted into a house! So that's kind of different!  

Home Sweet Home in Sumpterville, FL

Anyway..thank you for everything! I hope you all had and will have an amazing week. I love and miss you!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, June 1, 2015

Transfers, Fences, Hurricane Season and Elder Perry

Our District Missionaries

Well well well... it looks like my time in Ocoee has sadly come to an end.  And it always seems that you get transferred when you actually start wanting to stay!! Lately things have just been going really well in the area! With the investigators, members...everything really! But it all has to come to an end at some point, however, it's still just crazy to think that I've been here for six months now! I'm needed somewhere else It seems! I'm hoping and praying it's somewhere awesome like on the coast and with a legit companion too. haha!

But week six ended up being a VERY busy one! We have a member we do service for once a week, and the fence between her house and her non-member neighbor fell over because the post rotted. So we re posted the fence and fixed it up the best we could. It was basically a two day long service project. It took a LONG time but we connected with the neighbor and he said we could come by! So that's a pretty sweet miracle! (Although my neck got way sunburned!)

Also, I found out that June 1st is a pretty significant day for Floridians. June 1st is the official beginning day of Hurricane Season!!! So that's what all of our trainings and church meetings have been on....preparation just in case! It's pretty crazy though. The rain storms lately have been pretty bad, luckily there haven't been that many. It's just been extremely hot and humid recently!

Anyway, it's been a pretty awesome week with Enoc coming back to church and our ward again! He had an interview and was given a blessing by President Berry, and that was such a huge thing. His perspective changed after that and he knew he had to come back and try his hardest. So now he's planning on working towards the temple and also getting a church calling! Keep him in your prayers!

And you probably already know that Elder Perry has passed away. He was an amazing man that truly helped change the world! Sad that he is gone?..Yes. But now he is back with those people he has been teaching and strengthening our faith over! He now is in peace, comfort, pain free, and with his Savior and Father in Heaven!!

It's definitely going to be hard to leave the hood. I never thought I'd actually say that, but I will miss it! I hope everything back home is going great and you all are having a good time! Thanks for everything! I pray for you and am always appreciative of you guys! I love and miss you all!