Monday, August 31, 2015

Training, Hurricane Prep, False Alarm and a Nine Speaker Sacrament Meeting!

First Family Pic!  Me, Elder Thompson (our new son) and Elder Uber
Well week one has officially started for the transfer!! Our week started off pretty good. We went to the transfer meeting Tuesday morning, which was good but super duper long! We had to wake up at 4am to get to Orlando by 7am, which is when the meeting on how to be effective trainers starts. Then around 10am, they brought in the new missionaries and announced who we would be with! After that, the normal transfer meeting took place at 11am. It was really nice to see almost all of my old companions and some of the awesome missionaries I've served around!

So yes, Elder Uber and I have now got our Trainee! His name is Elder Thompson and he hails from Cokeville, Wyoming. It's apparently a little town of about 500 people I guess, so he feels right at home being in a small town... especially one like Sumterville! He's a pretty cool Elder so far! He is truly adjusting quite well, and has already been involved in taking the lead on some of the lessons. I have attached a few "family photos" for your enjoyment:) 

I've heard you learn the most when you train, and so far I do feel like I've learned a lot! I'm sure it's because you have to take responsibility, in example, behavior, teaching, finding and everything really. At least it will be that way for the first little while! I'm happy that I have this great opportunity though, and I hope to see some awesome things come from it!! So far it's been a blast!

We had to speak yesterday in Sacrament meeting, since it was the 5th Sunday. But sadly they scheduled NINE SPEAKERS!!! So we got like 5 minutes each:(.... After I prepared 20 minutes easily!I spoke on the blessings that come through missionary work! It was pretty awesome! On Saturday we had our Branch Social and we basically had like 40 people there eating ice cream, popcorn, and watching the movie God's Not Dead. It's not a church produced movie, but it was a solid Christian movie that had a good meaning. I really did enjoy it! I recommend it.

As you may have heard, we almost had a HURRICANE!!! PHEW.... Luckily Tropical Storm Erika broke up on its way towards Central Florida, so not its just some heavy rain.. We still have a major flood warning, anywhere from 4-10" is what we have heard! But it sounds like there is another one heading this direction again? Fred? We've just heard from members so I'm not fully sure and currently it's somewhere off the coast of Africa. But we will see what happens I guess!? Either way the Branch and Mission were super cautious with making sure we had all our storage for food and water, etc. 

Other than that, nothing much new is happening and I am just enjoying the mission and trying my best!Here is a quote from God's Not Dead.."Some of the most important work we do seems meaningless" I really liked that!
Also here is a great scripture I have found this week that I enjoyed. Alma 37:36-37 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever. Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
I've really come to realize that no matter what comes into our lives, it's because God has placed it there for a reason. The afflictions we face, the temptation that befalls us, the joys, events, everything is because on Him. So why would/should we NOT take the time to talk to Him? We should thank Him for everything and ask for His helping hand. He knows what we need. He will help us!

Love and miss you all! Have an amazing week!
-Elder A. Olson 

And another family pic!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Baby Bump..........

Multi-Purpose Party Hats!
Well this week was been surprisingly awesome!!! We had a very full, eventful week actually..It started out like I mentioned in last week's email, that we kicked off the week with an almost 3 day exchange! I was in Lecanto with Elder Valora and we went out and definitely saw some miracles! We did spend quite a while knocking and approached a man laying sod down. He told us his name was Ed and we asked if we could help. He said we were welcome to come by and help him with the back yard later on in the week! He was also open to us coming back and sharing our message about Jesus Christ! 
After that, we headed to a dinner appointment and right across the street was an older man doing yard work as well. As we crossed the street, he was super happy to see us! His neighbor had hold him about us but the missionaries have never stopped and talked to him. He told us he never realized we helped with service as well as teach the gospel and was happy to have us help rake his yard. We also set up a time to see him again!

THEN towards the end of the week, we had our Leesburg Stake Conference, which was totally AWESOME!! Elder Brent H. Nielson, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, came and participated! So we had a few meetings full of great information from a awesome General Authority. We talked a lot about self worth, families, avoiding temptations, and how to continue becoming and striving to be our best! I have a few lessons from him I'd like to share. He stressed that we are agents who act, not objects who are acted upon. God created everything and we have the agency on how to act. Many people in the world feel they can do whatever they want, and they can! But to follow the Savior, the gate is straight and the road is narrow... Also he talked a lot about Mark 4, the story of Christ Calming the Tempest and how that can be applied to each of us every single day!! He said: "When we take the Savior into OUR 'vessel' (body/soul) no waters will drown us. The waves may beat upon the sides, but nothing can ultimately take you down!" I LOVE that! We MUST stand strong and have Faith. We MUST endure all we can and we MUST rely on the Lord in our troubled times to make the difference!

Also....many of you might be confused as to why my title is "Baby Bump".... Well....the transfer doctrine has come in and Elder Uber and I are BOTH staying again! BUT we will be doing a combined train of a new missionary! Then, in six weeks, Elder Uber leaves and I finish off the new missionaries training! WOOO! TRAINING!! I'm going to have a mission 'son' Hahahah! I'm pretty pumped and it's going to be such a learning opportunity! So yes...we have been joking around since we found out:) but it'll be great!


I have been taking my painkillers for my back and they seem to help for the most part. They kind of make me feel drowsy after I take them. Also, they have scheduled an X-ray (and whatever )towards the end of September for me. So we can finally get to the bottom of my back pain.  Thanks for all your prayers!!

Also, congratulations to my sister Keisha and her new husband Preston on getting married Saturday! I'm glad that I could be there in a way AHAHAH!! Love you both!

Sorry for last weeks email and how lame it was. I wasn't feeling 100%....but I love and appreciate all of you and all that you do for me! I have the best support group a missionary could ask for! I hope you all have an amazing week ahead of you! Thanks for everything. Love and miss you all!! 
-Elder A. Olson

Monday, August 17, 2015

Golf Cart Cruising, Flood and Fiesta Chicken Success!

Shotgun in the Golf Cart with Bro. Crawford and Elder Uber!
My name is Elder Valora and I have kidnapped Elder Olson I am sorry for your loss... But you will see him again if you live the laws of the gospel. Amen

Okay....well....I'm having troubles starting my emails today so Elder Valora started it for me!!! hahah, This week was a pretty bland week sadly but it actually FLEW by!  I can't really remember what happened...nothing too exciting I guess!

We did have a pretty successful week with members coming out with us to give lessons and all. A few of them decided that they wanted to spend all day with us visiting people! Brother Crawford, our super member missionary, came out with us on Wednesday and we went and visited all the less actives and potentials in the villages (retirement community). Which ultimately meant we got a ride in the golf cart all day long! That seriously was the coolest part of this week actually! He even let me drive for a little bit! I didn't realize that they have tunnels that go under major roads in the villages that allow you to continue on the golf cart paths. Pretty nifty!

This week we went and visited a whole bunch of less active members around our area every day and also did some more knocking! Luckily, it wasn't too humid or too hot this week...we actually had some pretty major rainstorms this week. We got stuck at one of our recent converts, Aynns' house, because of the storm. It was raining so hard that the grounds started to flood! It's was a pretty intense storm but luckily it was a pretty chill day without a lot of appointments. While their, she taught us how to make fiesta chicken. It's pretty good turned out better than I expected! You know I actually do know how to cook while I'm out here.

I did call the mission doctor on Friday and he actually didn't really say much or do much for me. He did prescribe me a painkiller that is going to have to be picked up today so we will see how that goes. He said that if it doesn't seem to be helping or improve within the next few days to give him a call and he will set up a time for someone local to give me an x-ray and possibly take further actions to help it out! It's still painful but that's all right.

We have a pretty busy week ahead of us. Tonight I will be on an exchange with Elder Valora in Lecanto again.  This will be a two day long exchange instead of one so it goes until Wednesday night.  Tuesday morning we have our typical district meeting, but President Berry will be there and we will be having our quarterly interviews! Also, coming up this week on Saturday we get the transfer doctrine. So we will then know who's leaving and who's staying! We are not really sure at this point because Elder Uber only has one transfer left, but he's also been here six months already! So we think either he is leaving, or we are staying together another transfer. News to come!

Lately I've been thinking about all the privileges we have of living at this time. We have the privilege to pray to our Heavenly Father. Effective prayer requires great effort and serious thought to the attitude and words you use. We have the privilege to have Him answer our prayers. He WILL answer if you follow what Preach My Gospel says on page 91 about PRAYING with FAITH. Also I wanted to briefly mention CHARITY and how we should continue growing in that Christlike attribute!!
We were given a prime example of perfect love to lead us, a Savior who came down and on His own will and gave Himself for you and me. He knew trials and tribulations would arise in our lives, and lifted the burden of sin and death from our lives! He wants us to be like Him. He has readily given us so much all because of one simple fact. That HE loves us!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  I love you all!

-Elder A. Olson
District P-Day Games!!

Mom asked what I eat at home....Here you go!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

"Are We Humid Or Are We Dancers"

I guess we all have our average weeks, and it seems this week was one of them! This week was primarily just full of finding and teaching!! We were running a little slim on our teaching pool and so we decided to endure the heat, sweat a little and go knock some doors! Nothing too crazy or exciting happened with that, but we went and visited one of our members who is currently in hospice. We wanted to see how he was doing, how his health was holding up and if he needed anything.  While there, we met his son, who recently moved back in, and his son's girlfriend, who is living with them. After the closing prayer, the girlfriend pulled us aside and asked if she could learn the lessons! She felt that since the family are all members, she might as well learn what it's all about. But oddly enough, she wants to keep it from the family, so they don't pressure her into anything. We totally respect that actually, and this way she can find out for herself about the restored gospel. So that was an awesome experience!

Also, the Branch President's grandchildren, Zoey and Damien had their baptism Friday! It was awesome and with the largest group I've seen attend a baptism out here! We filled the room with easily 55+ people! It was such a good baptism and the Spirit was super strong. You could literally see the peace in Zoey afterwords! It was such a cool experience. I'm so glad they made that huge step which is a gateway into so many more blessings offered in our lives! And I'm thankful we have and hold that proper Priesthood Authority, once again, restored to the Earth so that we can continue growing closer to our Father in Heaven!

This week has been unusually HUMID!! BLAHH! But no worries, I will survive!! Hope the nice cool states are enjoying themselves! Well...the nice, not humid states... 

Again I appreciate all the kind thoughts, letters, packages, etc. sent and given for my Birthday and Year-Mark! It was very humbling to see how many people care! And I am happy you all have been placed in my life. Thank you so much for all you do for me! As for the status on the back, I did have a few days with minimal pain. I'm still taking anti-inflammatory medication, but more of them than before. hahah! It's still bothersome enough that this coming Friday I will most likely be calling the Mission Dr. to schedule a time that I can go in for another checkup/X-ray...So I do appreciate all the prayers in behalf of that! There has definitely been a difference and I can tell! Sorry that there isn't much to this email. Like I said, it's been a pretty average week with not much happening! Just same ol' stuff basically. 

BUT, before ending I would like to share something, I read in a General Conference talk given back in the 80s that I believe is from President Monson. He talks about a friend of his, who left an impression on a young man back in his mission. After many years they unexpectedly reunited at a General Conference! It just makes me think of how much of an impression we too can leave on someone. 

I found this section of that are short videos intended for Social Media, and I encourage you to share some of these (or other) uplifting videos.

Because you never know what impression it could have. So I'd like to
link a couple!

I love this video because it reminds us that we need to continue to work on those small things in our lives that help us.  We need to continue to pray, read the scriptures, make our Sabbath what it needs to be, and rely on our Savior! Also I found some pretty cool pictures there as well! I love and miss you all, and hope you have an amazing week! Thank you for everything!!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, August 3, 2015

Burn Baby Burn....

One Year Anniversary Ritual

 We had quite an adventurous week this week! Surprisingly, it started off with an exchange! I went over to Lacanto, with our District Leader, Elder LeCheminant. This wasn't a normal exchange and it happened to be a 2 day 2 night exchange!! We seriously had a blast and were able to see a lot of success in his area. The morning of District Meeting we focused primarily on finding new people to teach, and to basically not be afraid of knocking doors. Afterwords, we both decided "lets put the new knowledge to good use" and went on our knocking rampage! Seriously, like 3 hours of straight door knocking.. BUT we saw some of the largest miracles I've seen in my mission in that short of time!

First off, while knocking we were started our greeting telling them that we were missionaries. But when I took the lead, I decided to change it up, and offer a prayer when they answered. When a man answered at the first door, I asked if we could simply say a prayer with him. To our surprise, he conveyed he had a nephew just get murdered the day before and he was very uneasy about it.. The prayer invited the spirit, and he asked if we could come and talk again! THEN we also went and knocked on the house across the street. It was also a man who answered and he had lost his wallet, so we got to pray for that as well!  We decided to try another street and parked in front of a completely random house, and went and knocked on that door.  It turns out that it was the home of a less active member and he apparently wants us to come visit more often!  THEN we went to Subway and the guy who helped us out was also a less active member as well and he was SUPER awesome too! We saw so many miracles, and it's great to see the fruits coming from knocking and sweating...But we made artificial snow later on (picture included) so that makes it all better! haha jk!

Snow...Florida Style!!
Also, while on the exchange I hit my official year mark!! And apparently it's tradition to burn a proselytizing shirt. So we went to an awesome member's home, named Aaron, and did it at his place! I have attached plenty of pictures of that too! So yes. yes, it was a blast!

Look Mom!  I'm Burning Things!

My Shirt Burning Cheer Team Elder LeCheminant and Aaron
Here is a fun story. We also attended a child of record baptism, since we were in charge of filling the font. To our surprise, when we opened the curtains, a HUGE wood spider was justa chillin'.. So we had to dispose of it.. Freaking scary spider! Luckily they're harmless, but it was so large you could actually hear it as it walked!! So there is a picture of that too! 

NO this doesn't represent the true spider size.
This week we have a few baptisms coming up as well, although I'm not sure if it counts fully as our baptism. The family attends our branch, but is in the Leesburg Sisters area. So they taught them...either way, we are attending and excited for Zoey and Damien!! (Branch President's grandchildren)
Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes as well! I love and appreciate all of them! It was such a great birthday and definitely one to remember! I'm grateful for all the thoughts, and prayers in regards to my back. So far it doesn't seem to be improving but I'm still taking my medication and doing my stretches. Oddly enough, on exchanges we visited a "psychic" lady who is married to a less active member. She "read" me and told me exactly where the pain was and the cause of the pain. She said it wouldn't get better with time..Not saying a believe her by any means, just thought it was a fun little story! haha.

I totally spaced sharing a spiritual message last week, so I will do it now! This last week I have been on what I call the "Holland Spree". I'm basically binging on Jeffery R. Hollands talks, thoughts, and words. I have been listening, watching and reading all about what he shares! And one of the most important things I notice is he talks a lot about Hope. He says most of us feel inadequate in some way, whether it be in a situation in our life, callings, or life in general. Most of us at times feel like we aren't capable and the Lord is placing a burden larger than we think we can carry. We believe and think there is no hope for the future, for a good outcome, or that we can't learn, grow, improve and become better. We feel lost and don't know what precisely to do or that we aren't good enough... But that is the purpose of the Atonement. None of us will be perfect and God understands and doesn't expect us to be! He just wants us to be our best.. That is why His Son, Jesus Christ, came down to suffer what he did, for us. He loves us! He knows we can improve and we can be forgiven. We can carry the load in our lives IF we rely on our Savior Jesus Christ!! There truly IS hope. God hasn't left us alone, nor will he! Sincerely, ask for His guidance and help in prayer. I promise that although we feel inadequate at times, that's just when God wants us to continue to try, give it out you've got and grow. Rely on the Savior my friends because he is always by your side. It might not always seem like it, but one day, I promise you, you will look back and realize he was there for all of it!

I love you all, thank you for all you do! I hope you all have a swell week this week!

-Elder A. Olson