Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exchanges, X-rays and Excited for Conference!

Our pet Harold.
Well...This week was a success! We definitely saw more miracles! We were able to meet up with the twin girls again. They are just super pumped and ready for baptism. So we are going to be talking with our mission president about their situation, and see if we will be able to get them a date! We also had an awesome exchange this week. Both Elder Uber and myself stayed in Sumterville with Elder LeCheminant! It wasn't that fun of a day sadly, mainly because it was on Thursday, which was my Dr.s appointment! 

But before I get to that.. I'll tell you a little about the excitement that happened during our exchange. We caught a little baby lizard, and kept him as a little pet for the day. His name was Herald and so of course I had to get some pictures of him! But the rest of the time was pretty mellow and filled with appointments.  As for my back, they did In fact take the X-rays, and from what she had told me it was unusual for the pain to last that long, and that what she could pinpoint was a Lumbar Strain. But I took the pictures from the X-ray and sent it to our mission Doctor to see how/what he thinks. They have now asked that I start physical therapy and get massages to help out. The only problem is I have to go lots of times each week! But we will see. 
*Update - Further tests show a vertebrae out of place as well in my lower back.

General Conference is coming up this weekend!! WOOHOO! So I'm pretty pumped for that, as I hope everyone is! It's going to be awesome! Plus they will also be announcing three new apostles.. So that will definitely be exciting as well. There is a cool little message I'd like to briefly share about the importance of General Conference. It is given to us by Elder Jeffery R. Holland.But first here is a scripture I would like to share and it's found in 2 Nephi 33:1"....For when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men" And so like Elder Holland said in his talk "An Ensign to The Nations" he states:"If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you."

I know and can testify that if we go into this conference with a question, or concern in mind, like Elder Holland said, and as we listen by the Spirit, our specific circumstance or situation will be answered. It may possibly not be how we expect, but the Spirit will notify us and we will feel of God's love and comfort! I'm super excited for it again, and I truly hope you guys are too, and that you will enjoy it.

Sorry to cut this short but nothing much else is going on in my life haha! Talk to you all soon! I Love and miss you all. Thank you for all you do for me and for the prayers and fasting for my back. Love ya!
-Elder A. Olson 


Monday, September 21, 2015

Gators are good eatin' - Not to be confused with Investi-gators though........

Let's play!  You take the yellow one;) 

Yes yes..It's another week down and it was a pretty cool week! We've been pretty busy  with a lot of lessons, a new investigator, and best of all, I got to eat me some Alligator this week! We had a member take us to a local favorite restaurant called Catfish Johnny's. I was feeling a little wild so I decided to get the sampler! It came with some good ole' Catfish, Frog Legs, Alligator, and some fried Okra! It was really good, honestly! Alligator was seriously like the best!

We have been teaching some pretty awesome people, some of which I mentioned last week. The two twin girls Aliyah and Alora are so dang energetic and excited for baptism! We are going to hopefully set a date this week! It's been awesome though, and we basically just go over and ask them to teach the lesson to us! They are way smart and basically teach it like the way we would. We are just waiting for some last little bit of information to be finalized before they can get baptized! We've also been just talking to everyone we see. We have started teaching this lady who believes in Joseph Smith, and has already read the Book of Mormon. She already attends a different church, but she wants to attend ours and see how it is! And we also talked to a cashierat a Family Dollar store. Her name is Montie and she is like super awesome and happy, and fun! She had a friend that served a mission too! So we will hopefully be seeing her again too! Please pray for them!!

My doctors appointment is this Thursday for my back. I do appreciate all that you guys have done for me in behalf of that.. All the prayers, thoughts, and concerns.  It hasn't been the worst I guess, just kind of bothersome lately. I did tweak it a little today, but hey, that happens haha! I'm just excited to see what they do for it once they've got it all figured out!

Other than that, nothing too new or exciting this week. We did have a "Why I Believe" Fireside last night and heard some great testimonies, and we had to sing in a missionary choir!! There were like 20 or so of us and it was really good considering we only had 20 minutes to practice! I got a (crappy audio) recording of that I'll try to send. Although it might be too large if a file to send over Email. I dunno. I'll try though!!

Sometimes in our lives, we face troubles, discouragement, loss, pain, etc. So when our life seems cloudy and storms linger, when we feel like we are enclosed, and there is no escape and that a particular "storm" may never end, if we rely on our Father in Heaven, knowing with full heart that he is aware of our situation, He will bless us! He will bless us if we turn to Him and if we continue growing in Him, building ourselves higher and trusting in God. When we eventually get to the top of those storm clouds you look and realize the suns still there, shining as brightly as it ever was before! Sometimes the effort of climbing up through that cloud is all the more rewarding, because the ground can seem unpleasant. Life is like that and storms come but the sun is still there. All you gotta do is lift your sights a little bit higher, trust God, and believe it will always be okay in the end.

Thanks for all the help along the way family and friends! You all truly mean something special to me. I love and miss you all greatly and I always hope and pray that you have a amazing and safe week ahead of you! I'm always praying for you! Love you!

- Elder A. Olson

Monday, September 14, 2015

LONG Meetings and Croom-A-Coochee!!

We've got us an investigator peeking out!
Well....we made it through this week!! It was definitely was a long one to say the least, but we were able to push through and see some miracles! The week started off at Zone Conference, where the Leesburg, Deland, Lake Mary, and Orlando Zones met together to get some instruction. It was a pretty awesome NINE hour meeting. hahah! We got further insight on the progress of the mission, how we can continue in growth, and a few more guidelines!

Also, this was yet another big finding week! We spent most of the days tracking down referrals and talking with former investigators. We ended up going to a little town we've never been to called Croom-A-Coochee, which is literally dirt roads in the middle of a national forest about 10 miles in. hahah! It was a little sketchy, but we did meet some awesome people! We also did end up finding a few new investigators! They were mostly media referrals, who had called and said they wanted the Book of Mormon, so we will see how they progress. Also, we got two additional investigators. They are twin 10 year old girls, who just moved into our area with their grandma (who is a member)! They are super prepared to be baptized, but we just have to wait for some things to be worked out with the parents I guess. We are way excited to have them coming to the Branch!

Then on Thursday, we had to drive the hour and a half back to Orlando, for the Trainer Follow-Up meeting, which was yet another SEVEN hours. We just basically got to ask President Berry how we can improve being trainers, so that we can help ourselves and our trainees!! We also got to also learn how to use our Area Book Planner App more effectively and how to plan out our weeks better..

As far as my back, it hasn't really improved or declined. There were a few days of pretty uncomfortable pain and a few days without much bother but luckily it's hopefully going to be figured out soon. My doctor's appointment is the 24th so we will see how that goes, and I will keep you all updated! Thanks for all the many prayers in behalf of that situation! I really do appreciate them and all of you! 

This spiritual message is going to be a little different, but this is something that has not only changed my missionary work, but my life. And it focuses on our Savior Jesus Christ. So we are going to go over this scripture (Alma 7:11-13) twice. And the reason I wanted to share this so badly is because of this fact: we were provided a Savior who would come down like is scripture says, who would suffer, and die for us so we can grow and be enabled to overcome the bonds that would face us.
"11 And He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of His people.
12 And He will take upon Him death, that He may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and He will take upon Him their infirmities, that His bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that He may know according to the flesh how to succor His people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that He might take upon Him the sins of His people, that He might blot out their transgressions according to the power of His deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

-Jesus Christ suffered for EVERYONE, and it doesn't single anybody out. This was for all of us. But not only for all of us, He knew how it would affect us individually. That's definitely something to focus on. The love of our Savior. I know, and I hope you do to, that if I were the only person placed on this earth after the Fall, (or you were the only person) that He loves us on individual basis, and because of this love Our Savior would still come down, and on His will and through His obedience and love, suffer for an individual person. He loves us, as a whole and as individuals. He wants us to grow to become better, but we wouldn't be able to do that without Him! And in doing so, it allows us to live with Him again! That we might never need feel alone, because He suffered so that He might also feel our afflictions so that He knows best how to help us. I love this scripture, and I love it's message. Let's make it personal, because truly, Scripture will only change the reader. Although He suffered for all, in everyone of us He still remains a personal Savior.
"11 And He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith He will take upon him [your] pains and sicknesses.
12 And He will take upon Him death, that He may loose the bands of death which bind [you]; and He will take upon Him [your] infirmities, that His bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that He may know according to the flesh how to succor [you] according to [your] infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that He might take upon him [your] sins, that He might blot out [your] transgressions according to the power of His deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."

(John 3:16-17)
16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

Anyway, sorry for the long email, and long spiritual thought! I do love and appreciate you all. I hope and pray you have a great week ahead of you! Thanks for all you do! Talk with you soon!!
-Elder A. Olson 

Cool tree in the field

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

This week has been pretty awesome!  We focused a huge amount of time this week on finding new people to teach. We went around the only apartment complex we have in our area knocking on doors and we were actually able to find some awesome people to teach! One we found is Hillary, and she JUST moved in and had been looking for a church! So we will see how everything works out with her.

We had another great week of training as well! Elder Thompson has been doing great and adjusting very well. He is definitely strong at teaching and has a good drive to get work done! We've apparently made some cool connections with people we know from Spanish Fork (his relatives) are family friends with my family! So that's pretty cool! Hello to everyone in Cokeville! haha! It's already crazy to think that we're now in week 3 of the transfer. The time seems to be moving along quite well. But overall, it was a pretty mellow, regular week. We tried finding less actives and others, but no one seemed to answer the door. But we definitely saw blessings for our efforts of talking with everyone.

Lately it's been pretty nice, my back has hurt less the last few days. It is still annoying, but not as bad! I'm still scheduled for the X-Ray, or whatever they want to do with me at the end of this month. Although lately, my chest has been hurting has well....It should be alright though! Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers, I truly appreciate them and can feel and see the difference!This upcoming week is going to be the busy one. We have our quarterly zone conference tomorrow, then we have a trainer follow-up meeting Thursday in Orlando, then we have exchanges Friday! We are going to have to squeeze a lot in, because we are down about 2 days because of these meetings!

Also, pray for us that we will find some new people to teach! We have some awesome people already, but faith in God is affecting some. This week I've truly been trying to improve myself. We all hate not being perfect. We always nit pick ourselves to be better. One things I've come to realize this week is that through loving others, that's how we can become better in the challenges we face in life. We become better as we serve one another as well as by following the commandment of "Loving Thy Neighbor" 
President Gordon B. Hinckley said “Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. … Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ."It's interesting the dichotomy between healing the body and healing the soul. When we heal the body it's always an inward effort. We are always paying attention to ourselves. When we heal the soul, turning inward doesn't work. The triage of the soul is found in turning outward to other people. We should always be trying to uplift and help one another, as the Savior did. That's how we truly help improve ourselves! 

I love you all, and hope you have an amazing week ahead of you! I miss you all, and am always praying for you! Have a great one!

-Elder A. Olson