Monday, July 27, 2015

One Year Anniversary plus Happiest Place On Earth - The Temple!!

The week has come! And the year mark has been hit! ( a few days...) I really can not believe it's been a full year already! I look back and I realize just how fast the time is truly flying.. It's kind of unsettling! This has been the most rewarding thing in my life! Sometimes I can't believe I'm actually out here, but I look how much my life has changed and how my relationship with my Heavenly Father has grown! Phew....a year....

This week we were able to go attend a session at the temple too! I mean...we had to wake up at like 4:30 in the morning, to give us enough time to get ready, drive to our rides house, and get to Orlando by about 6:30. It was SOOO amazing though, I mean...Disney is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, and although it's great, I think the temple is!

We were able to spend a good amount of time there, and even see some old missionary district members from Orlando South Stake- Ocoee area! So that was a good part too. I love the temple, and the spirit is always so strong. The ordinances that take place and the opportunity we have to be sealed as a family for time and eternity is the most amazing thing we can ever want and have! On our way back we got stuck in traffic, because there was a 3 semi truck accident on the opposite side of the Turnpike... CRAZY!!

Speaking of crazy, we taught a lesson this week that really made a lasting impression but sadly not in a good way. We were basically in the center of the largest argument I've heard on my mission.. It was terrifying! And at one point, we apologized for the contention and tried to leave, but the man in the house told us to stay seated and we couldn't leave. It was the craziest lesson I think I've ever had. So we aren't quite sure what to really do anymore with that all...scary.

We also were able to start teaching Dana, Linda's son! He is way awesome and is being quite receptive to the discussions. He has a great attitude about everything and we have been able to already see a huge change in him. We are excited to see how he continues progressing in the gospel.

Also, sadly this week, my back has been slightly worse some days... The medication hasn't really been helping, so this Friday I'm switching to something a little stronger I guess? If that's doesn't work, in 2 weeks they will X-ray it... But I'm still moving along and trying to do my best! It's been super uncomfortable to even sit in a chair and teach a lesson! worries though!

I appreciate all the help I've received from you guys, and the emails and letters and prayers too..You truly make it easier! Also thanks for all the early birthday wishes! I appreciate it and I love and miss you all!  I hope you have a splendid week this week!

One year without my favorite band, Twenty One Pilots!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week of Dr. Visit, Orlando Temple with Salem Sister Sighting plus Linda's Baptism!

True Men in Black form here!

Ah another week down and I truly can't believe how fast this is going!!! My year mark is on the horizon! Man... it doesn't feel it's been half of a mission already! Sometimes I still feel brand new and back to my greenie stage! haha. I am so happy to be serving in the mission I am. No matter where you are placed, there will be people who need YOU! You are serving the Lord and His children.. Florida has been amazing so far and I couldn't ask for anything more awesome!

This week was such a different week but it has been quite the adventure! First off, we were able to head down to Orlando again. We visited Dr. Bean....and....he actually isn't sure what is going on with my back. He looked at it for quite a while and couldn't really prescribe anything to do! He gave me some stretches to do and told me to take meds, but overall, he believes it's Sheuermann's Disease. From what I understood about it, it's slightly like Scoliosis but it's more of a annoyance than anything is what he said! So if it doesn't fix itself in 4 weeks I get an X-ray.. So fingers crossed it's alright!!

Also, Friday while in Orlando, we went and did a temple tour with Linda! And while there the two new sisters (Sister O'Hara and Davis) from Salem were there! So that was pretty awesome and exciting to see people who went to high school with me! They seriously are in the best mission ever and I hope they enjoy it while here!

Also speaking of Linda, we were able to have her baptism this week, and it was seriously one of my most stress free baptisms. She was so prepared and had everything set up and ready to go basically! It went very well and we are SUPER excited to have her in the Branch Family.  We weren't able to get any pictures of the baptism just kinda slipped the mind, but we did get some group ones at the temple the night before. Once I receive them from the member, I will send it out!

Also, I forgot to mention that my new Zone Leader for this area is Elder Cooper! (my first companion/trainer) So that's pretty exciting! I am going to try harder with sharing a little spiritual message in my emails again. I used to, but have slowly stopped and only would when something came to mind! So here's a little thought taken from a General Conference talk.. "While it is important to be aware of the desire Satan has to own us, it is not necessary for us to live in fear. In the Doctrine and Covenants we are taught, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.) As we prepare ourselves to receive the blessings of the Lord and to be worthy to serve him, we are gathering strength--power from the Holy Ghost--preparing ourselves to overcome evil."

And I might as well leave you with my testimony that this little paragraph could not be more true. I encourage you all to do what the Lord has asked, and in return he will truly provide all that he sees fit In your lives. He loves you more than you can comprehend!! He knows you, He knows how you feel. I've seen it in my missionary work and more importantly my life! 

Thanks for everything you do for me!, I love, miss and pray for you all always!!

-Elder A. Olson

Parking Lot Campfire

Monday, July 13, 2015

More Sumterville, Taking Down the Tree, Plantains and The Sacrament.

Hey everyone! How has everything been going? It's been a pretty average week around here actually.  We did a lot of service for our members this week! We were asked to cut down a HUGE rotten tree that was seriously like 10 feet around! So it was stinking awesome getting to do that, although sadly,we didn't get to operate the chainsaw, but no worries!! We also just moved some furniture and cut up some carpet his week!

There was some confusion about teaching our new investigators Zoey and Damian (Branch President's grandchildren). They technically live in another missionaries area, but they are being baptized into our stake. So they got to teach them this week, and we teach them next on and so forth I guess?!

The cool thing about missions is that you get to pick up customs to the area in which you serve..mainly food, but that's still fun! Like fried plantains... Mmhmm... It's a large green banana with high starch and low sugar and sounds gross but it's SO GOOD! Also, I was introduced to chicken gizzards..gross..but delicious!!

We were able to get the transfer call Saturday night too AANNNDDDD... Elder Uber and I are staying together another transfer!! Which doesn't sound all that exciting, but the unique thing about it is there are only 6 companionships staying together in the entire mission! I guess that makes us special. hahaha! It's Kind of a bummer though, because that means all of the missionaries I WANT to see will most likely be there...dang. No complaints though! This area is moving right along and at the end of the week we look back and are happy with the progress that has been made!

AND Linda was able to have her baptismal interview this week! She passed and is ready to go Saturday for her baptism so that's going to be an awesome time. Along with that, Zoey and Damian are on schedule for August 8th as well!! WOO!!

In church this week it was focused on the Sacrament and truly the importance of it. We had some guest speakers and it really was a good sabbath day.. "The ordinance of the sacrament has been called “one of the most holy and sacred ordinances in the Church.” It needs to become more holy and sacred to each of us. Jesus Christ Himself instituted the ordinance to remind us what He did to redeem us and to teach us how we may avail ourselves of His Redemption and thereby live with God again....""....Thus, with bread and water, we are reminded of Christ’s Redemption of us from death and sin. The sequence of bread first and water second is not inconsequential. In partaking of the bread, we are reminded of our own inevitable personal resurrection, which consists of more than just the restoration of body and spirit. By the power of the Resurrection, all of us will be restored to the presence of God. That reality presents to us the fundamental question of our lives. The fundamental question facing all of us is not whether we will live but with whom we will live after we die. While every one of us will return to the presence of God, not every one of us will remain with Him."

This is an AMAZING talk given by a seventy that came to our mission.  It's called "The Sacrament and the Atonement" by Elder Hamula. Also, if you'd like, go listen to "This Do in Remembrance of Me" by Elder Holland!

Anyway, we have a good looking week ahead of us, and I hope you do too! I love and miss you all. I am VERY thankful for everything you guys do! Keep it up. Love and miss you guys!

-Elder A. Olson 


Monday, July 6, 2015

Week SIX, More Lessons, Holiday party and District P-Day!

Exhausted in my patriotic socks!

Florida rain after the heat

Another Alligator!!
Thankful for a car in this heat!
Oh man!!  This transfer has been flying by! To think that week 6 is here and we find out about transfers this Saturday!.. Whew... But this one was a pretty sweet week! Once again, we were able have another successful week and taught 26 lessons! The rest of the week was pretty much spent in preparation for Saturday the 4th.  We had a huge party with the entire Branch plus some others! We had the assignment to prepare the little barn that it was being held in, and get all the decorations and tables set up. There was a good turn out and we even had new people come! Also afterwards, we were told where the "good fireworks" would be, so that was awesome! My companion and I traveled a little way with the Belleview Elders, who basically spent that entire day with us. It was a total PARTY! It was FULL of people, literally like hundreds of people.

It's been a successful week with our investigators.  Linda, who is progressing very well, is still set for her baptism on the 18th! We also picked up Damian and Zoey, a 9 and 17 year old who are related to our branch president. They've actually been attending the Branch for over a year now, and have decided they are ready to be baptized!! So we are going to start working with them and get them ready! (Although they already are..)

Oh also...sorry this email is being sent so late in the day. We had district P-day today and so we went to a senior couples house and played volleyball, mini golf and had a barbecue. (and other fun stuff like that).  So it's been a pretty exhausting day with so much volleyball on such a hot day. But oddly enough, it is a total downpour right now. haha! Oh, while I was at the P-day activity, I saw a 5+ foot gator sitting on a log! It was awesome! If only we could get was still like 40 feet away!

Anyway, sorry this is such a boring email. I am struggling today. haha! Actually this entire week! But I love and appreciate all that you guys do! I hope that you have a great week ahead of you! I am consistently praying for you all! I love and miss you!

-Elder A. Olson