Monday, November 30, 2015

Palm Trees and Christmas Trees....Pizza and Turkey.

Look!  I've got PIE!!

We had a very strange, yet great week!!! It started off about the same as
usual, except I had an awesome exchange go down with Elder Peay, like I
mentioned last week. He's a cool Australian that actually went to high school with me! So we had a pretty good time talking about similar people we know, places, bands, etc. We were able to visit some really cool people, and focus a lot on the Book of Mormon.

We had a solid rest of the week though. Elder Anderson and his trainer never went out knocking on doors and so we decided that would be a good thing to do (being that our teaching pool was on the low side.) So he got to experience some door knocking as well as a old guys threatening us and saying that we weren't allowed in the neighborhood because it was a "No Soliciting" area. Well little did he know, but soon found out, that his next door neighbor is taking the missionary discussions. He's a super solid guy named Darryl who actually just moved to Florida from Georgia. He was receiving the lessons down there, and we now have him on date for December 26th!  Sadly, we didn't find anyone new from knocking, BUT we did find 6 NEW INVESTIGATORS this week. A few of them came from media referrals, or referrals from our bishop. And a few were found looking for less actives members. So we will see how they all progress and what becomes of that.

Also, this week was one of the missionaries favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!! It was pretty sweet. We had lunch with a totally awesome family in our ward named the Gilgers. They live like a block from the ocean and so they ordered pizza and we went and sat by the ocean under a gazebo and talked and ate!! Then that night, we went over to a members house, the Fudges and had our Thanksgiving dinner there. It was definitely a great time! So that was exciting haha! Then that night we set up our (mango juice) bottle tree!! We threw some lights on it and called it good! We now have a Christmas Tree and are ready for the holidays!!

Mango Juice Bottle Tree!! 
So yeah....other than that it's been pretty normal! Like I said, this week we have been focusing on the Book of Mormon in a lot of our teaching and as I have been reading it the last month or so, I have been able to tell that my testimony is growing, and my faith is strengthening. I don't know what made this time around any different but I've just been noticing a lot more. And it has become enjoyable every morning to read from it. Plus it helps that I'm in my favorite part of it, which is the last 20 chapters of Alma, when Captain Moroni comes into play! But overall, in those chapters it always reminds me of how God strengthens people in affliction, and how the actual trial may not be eased by God, but he will bless us with Endurance, strength, and faith to continue working through it!! Like in these versus from Alma 34 and 38 "But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions." " much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Life can be so difficult. These are some of my happiest times serving my mission, but also my most difficult. I recognize I have so many flaws, but as I continue to study, I've noticed that I have a stronger desire to change, to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ, and that it is only through him that I can actually make an improvement in myself!

Thanks for everything. I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving!!! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Hey!  Did you know there is an ocean by Florida?? :)

Love Palm Trees and Christmas Trees.

Monday, November 23, 2015


In honor of my transfer, I am wearing my SWIMM shirt:)

Beach houses in Melbourne

Well..this was quite the week! Like I mentioned last week, I did get transferred and oddly enough I was super nervous to be moved! I seriously enjoyed my time in Sumterville. And even though it was a very unusual place, it started to become like home! I love the members there, and all the people we were able to get in contact with!

So anyway, I'm in another super awesome area! I am now serving in Melbourne FL, which is basically an area I've been wanting to serve in since the beginning of my mission! The area is sweet and we have the beach in our ward! YAY!!! The Ward is also super awesome. It was really crazy though, because before I left I felt like this was the area I would go!! So anyway, the work is pretty slow here sadly but the area is super awesome, and so are the people! We are teaching some pretty cool less-active members and have a few investigators. I'm also in search of a band that I used to go see in Provo (SWIMM) that told me they lived on Satellite Beach, which is in our ward boundaries! WOOHOO!!! 

Unfortunately, I don't have many photos to share today. We will be having a beach PDay hopefully soon and I can get some great beach/ocean pictures then. Missionaries are only allowed to go about once every other transfer, so we should be having a beach PDay soon I hope!

This week we had a crazy lesson with a less-active member, who's husband is like literally crazy! He made us watch a 45 minute video on black rights and stuff like that. Then he wouldn't let us leave his house. It was crazy! BUT on the bright side, we did about 14 hours of service this week. It was AWESOME!!! We helped the second counselor in our mission presidency lay tile down in his living room. He wants it finished by Thanksgiving and we got most of it done, but tomorrow should be the finale day of grouting. It was awesome to be able to help them out!

Really there wasn't much else that happened this week other than moving areas and getting used to Melbourne! Tonight I have an exchange with Elder Peay. He's a missionary from Salem that I went to school with! So that will be way awesome!

Also, I don't have much of a spiritual thought today, I apologize for the lame email!! It's just been a crazy and quite stressful week! But I do have a scripture that stood out to me in my personal study. Alma 36:3 "whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving this week! I know that I'm super excited! I'm thankful so so many things. I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve my Father in Heaven and for my absolutely amazing support system back home. You all have impacted my life so much and I hope you know of my love for you! I'm thankful for my Savior and for His ministry and His ultimate sacrifice for us so that we can continue growing. And although we have flaws, we can progress to become at least slightly better. I'm thankful that death has no sting, even though we are physically separated. Once we realize that eternal aspect, the comforter can flood our souls. Thank you for all you do for me! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bye Bye Sumptee Pie??

The twins we have set a baptism date with!

Me, Elder Davis and Elder Thompson

The AWESOME Salem Missionaries!!

Well well...this week went by so fast!! Seriously!! It was super awesome though. We had a lot going on (mostly meetings) which included a great
Zone Conference on Tuesday. That totally lasted all day though! We got a nifty new device in our mission cars called TIWI. It basically tracks our speed just to keep us safe and stuff! But it was nice to see some of the missionaries In the surrounding zones and to get direction on how to continue working with members, converts and investigators, from President Berry!!

Honestly, there actually wasn't much else that stood out this week. It was
just a super packed week of lessons, and service and it probably only
felt fast because we had one less day to do it all in our schedule.

We have had some great lessons this week, especially the one we had yesterday during Elders Quorum. The topic was "Carrying the Gospel to The World" which just makes sense that we would assist in teaching! haha! But it was super awesome. Not many of the members in Sumterville have served missions, because they are mostly converts, but it was great to hear and share testimony of spreading the gospel. So my weekly thought will be contained in this portion of my email instead of the last part. I just picked out a few quotes from the lesson I'd like to share!- -

"Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family. The world is hungry for true religion, and we have it. Not only should sharing the gospel be regarded as a Priesthood duty, but we should all look forward to this experience with great joy and anticipation. The real purpose in sharing the gospel is to bring souls unto Christ, to teach and baptize our Heavenly Father’s children so that we may rejoice with them in the kingdom of our Father. We all share this great responsibility. We cannot avoid it. Let no man or woman think that because of where we live, or because of our place in society, or because of our occupation or status, we are exempt from this responsibility." And lastly my favorite quote..."There is a difference between a convert who is built on the rock of Christ through the Book of Mormon and stays hold of the iron rod, and one who is not."-

Also Sunday was a special opportunity to attend a very unique fireside. Marvin Goldstein, and Vanessa Joy came to our mission and ALL missionaries and their investigators were invited to go. If you don't know them, they are AWESOME! Brother Goldstein is a very talented Pianist who travels the world and has composed a lot of the church music, and Vanessa is a great singer from Arizona who goes around and does firesides and such! Both are incredibly talented and super awesome!! So we were happy to attend that!

Saturday was a pretty crazy day as well... Only because we got our transfer calls!!! And I'm sad to say that the time has come for me to leave Sumterville. Elder Thompson is done with training and taking over the area! I'm excited to see the next area I will be serving in, and to have even more amazing experiences sharing the gospel! (Fingers crossed for a Coast area!! Hahaha) It's definitely going to be hard saying goodbye to my family here in the Sumterville Branch..

Just as a quick side note... We took some early Christmas pics! You know...just cause we had the stuff....we drew us a fireplace and everything! I Hope you enjoy them!! Anyways.. Thanks for everything everyone! I will be sure to email you next week and tell you all about my new area and comp!! Have a fantastic week! I Love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson 

Check out the backdrop!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's November?....What?

Church couches are the best for naps;)
Well.. Another solid week and adventurous week in the books! Of course, it started off pretty typical, but we were able to see a lot of success. We taught a good number of lessons, and got to meet some new people, and God to strengthen our relationships with others!

We had a super awesome lesson with one of our investigators, Irene. She really loved the plan of salvation and so we were able to talk about that for quite a while with her. Along with that, we committed her to pray to know that baptism was right for her, and we were able to set a date just as a goal! So we asked her to pray for mid-December! And I know that if she prays with a sincere heart, with real intent, having the desire to know for herself, that her prayer will be answered. So hopefully by next week I'll be able to tell you a little bit more
about it!

As I mentioned, we were able to strengthen some of our relationships with members this week. We have been visiting a young couple in the branch, who are recent move ins. The wife has been raised a member and her and her husband have only been married for a few years. They're the same age as I am and seriously like most of the same stuff I do! So it's super nice to be able to be around them, just because it feels normal. haha. But they only have come to church a few times since I've been here, and they were really hard to get in contact with. But we now have set times to visit with them, and we had a great lesson this week with them! Yay! New friends!! We also went out with a great couple in our branch, Who we didn't really know very well. We went to a local member owned Southern Café. Seriously, it was like some of the best food I've had in Florida!! So that was fun!

We also had some crazy experiences this week as well.  We took a member
out to a lesson with our investigator. Somehow they got off topic and started talking about the illuminati, and wouldn't focus on the lesson! Also some members got a call from someone they know, asking if we could help move some furniture. We showed up on time only to find out that we were going to be helping their friend move, which is totally fine. But as we went to the house to get her stuff and move it to the next house, we found out that she wasn't allowed in the property... So the cops got involved, and they had to question us and the two other members helping out. We had to write a report... Blah blah... It was crazy! Anyway, what an exciting week! haha!

In my personal study this morning I made an observation I would like to bring up. I'm going to quickly summarize it, mainly because I know you have all read this. In Matthew, it talks of Jesus walking down the shores of Galilee. He called to local fisherman on their boats (Peter, Andrew, James and John) and called upon them saying "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Next is the important part, saying they 'Straightway' left their nets.. IMMEDIATELY following him. Are we the type of people who when the Savior needs us to do something, or the Holy Spirit prompts us, we heed the call and 'Straightway' act upon it? I know and can promise that as we do, as we put that call first, we will be blessed in the process. We will be moving in the direction of God, and improving ourselves!

Anyway, thanks for everything everyone! You are amazing and I am always praying for you all! I miss and love ya! Also..apparently the last few days have been the new record for Florida's hottest November.  Enjoy the cool Utah Fall weather!

-Elder A. Olson

P.S. Transfers are next Tuesday.  I haven't heard if additional time for my Physical Therapy have been approved for me.  So maybe I will be transferred and maybe I will stay in Sumterville... hopefully we know more soon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Week Happenings!

Here come the Men In Black...and our pug!

Hey everyone!! Well...all I gotta say is this week was quite the "treat" hahaha. Did you get it?...Halloween...treat...anyway..sorry.. Before we get to the subject of Halloween, I better say that this was a rather exciting week! We thought we had a little earthquake here as the ground shook, while we were studying one morning and without a boom or anything! But come to find out, the limestone factory about 5 miles away had an explosion of some sort. It was still kind of cool!  Then we found out that the movie "Jeepers Creepers" was filmed partly in Sumter County! It was the perfect fun fact being that Halloween was this week. I mean.. That explains a lot. This area has all those overhanging trees haha!

Halloween Day wasn't really anything out of the ordinary. The night before, we went out "Reverse Trunk or Treating" which basically means a small group of us got the list of members with children under the age of 18 and went out delivering a little bowl of candy and such to them!! It was really cool to see how happy it made those members to see that we still care, even if they don't! We got to meet lots of families that haven't attended or that we didn't know very well. It was definitely a blessing right there. We even had someone say they wanted to come back to church! On Halloween Day we just did the usual work, which was visiting families and investigators. We dressed as the "Men in Black", or missionaries, whatever one works. Someone asked if we were the Blues Brothers though haha!

But really, the highlight of this week was Saturday Morning. We had worked out a plan with the Branch President to do something exciting! Our awesome branch mission leader is in a wheelchair, so it's harder for him and his wife to keep up their property. But he never asks for help and is always on call whenever ANYONE needs help. He is Truly an amazing man! So we played a little trick on him, saying we needed to meet with him to discuss some events coming up.  Little did he know we had about twenty individuals with helping hands to come and clean up. They mowed the yards, cut down trees, pulled some weeds, etc. It was such a blessing in so many ways! Service is amazing because you know that your Father in Heaven looks down with a huge smile. It was absolutely amazing! We had some non-members come. They were friends of some of the helpers. They knew, and commented that it was a special group of Priesthood holders gathered, helping someone out and that they could feel the Spirit. He loved it and was even able to drive down and attend our Services! Like it states in the scriptures, "When you are in the service of your fellow being, you are in the service of your God." I encourage you to look around at those who may need that helping hand. Life can get crazy, and we can get carried away. Those you serve will feel of their worth, and you will feel of the Savior's love as you do so.

I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven that loves me enough to send His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who willingly submitted to the pain, afflictions, temptations, and death for me and you. I know and can testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that is going to allow us to progress in this life. We would have no purpose without it!  This allows us to change, to grow, to become better. We don't have to be the best, that's impossible, but we do have to be better and continue being better! I know that the Atonement is for everyone and that no matter what you have done, who you are, who you were, because of the love and grace of the Savior, you do not have to be what you once have been.

Anyway, that's about it! That's my week!! Thanks for everything everyone!! You guys are truly the best! I hope you all have an amazing first week of November! WOO! I love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson