Monday, January 25, 2016

Eighteen Months Down!!

(Since I wasn't able to get his pictures to upload, I included a video of Alex from our Christmas Skype...he still is a character:)  Diana)

Hey everyone!! How are y'all doin?! Things have seriously picked up here in Sebring this week. We've been slammed with how crazy our schedule has been the last few days. We had a lot happen, but it seems like typical stuff, which included our usual exchange for the week. I went to Okeechobee again, but this time I was with Elder Amos. It was a pretty good exchange and nothing out of the ordinary really happened. Well...I guess something did! While we were inside, a cleaning company van hit out car. It left just a little scratch, but we had to fill all the church paperwork out! Then we got stranded outside because we locked the keys yeah! That was interesting! Now tonight we have another exchange, but I'm staying in Sebring with Elder Harrison.

Wednesday we had a AWESOME meeting! It was a special worldwide broadcast to all the missionaries. It was the first broadcast like that in over a decade and it was absolutely amazing!! It was basically like a session of general conference, as in there were lots of General Authority guest speakers. The instruction they gave was perfect and I wish it would have come sooner in my mission, because it definitely changed me! It talked a lot about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Holy Ghost. One really awesome thing Elder Bednar said in his section was: "Part of our role is to understand how the Holy Ghost touches hearts of people. We are the vessels that can bring the spirit UNTO the hearts of Gods children, but it is ultimately their job to invite that same spirit INTO heir hearts."

On our way back from that meeting, (since it was a 2 hour drive to Vero Beach) we stopped at a little pond because we spotted some Alligators! They were pretty good sized too, but I forgot my camera.. So I'll keep my eyes out for some more:) We also did a lot of service this week. Elder Davis and I have  really connected with this couple in our ward, Jay and Amy. They are AWESOME and are seriously like my favorite people in this area! We love being over there with them. Also, Amy is a recent convert of only a few months, and it's a blast hanging around them! Anyways, we went with Jay and helped one of his non-member friends move stuff out of her storage unit and into her new apartment. This lady has been having a REALLY tough time with things lately, so we were happy to spend those few hours helping her out.

Also, we found a few new investigators this week, well...4! So that was a huge miracle. Some of them are a little iffy. Like one, she was really cool with meeting and happy to learn, but she called us and told us she doesn't want us back because her husband had read anti-literature on the internet... We asked if they got their info from or, and they didn't respond so we basically explained that's like asking a math teacher to help you with your history homework. You're going to the wrong source of information to learn. But we also found a girl named Melody from Puerto Rico, and she has recently moved here and was meeting with missionaries over there! So she is super prepared and solid. So we are now working with her some more!

Nothing else cool I guess, but before I close just a quick thought today. As I was reading through a book something stood out to me, and I wanted to share it! 1 Corinthians 2:5 states "Your Faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Remember, Faith and Doubt cannot exist in the mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate Faith. Strive always to retain that childlike faith which can move mountains, and bring heaven closer to heart and home.

Thanks for everything everyone! I love and miss you all, and hope you have a splendid week ahead of you!!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, January 18, 2016

Miracle Week!!!

I managed 8 seconds on this Zebra!!

Two cool Elders!!  Me and Elder Davis!!

We will be companions again when pigs fly...Doh!

Hey everyone!! We had a pretty solid week this week and a lot went down,
but it probably doesn't sound too exciting to you guys. So you'll just have to hear my stories and put up with it anyway! haha!  Tuesday we did an exchange with the Okeechobee Elders. I went there and worked with Elder Harrison for the day. He's pretty new into his mission, and he was actually one of the missionaries who switched from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando Mission, so I gotta do some training on how the FOM runs! It was a pretty good day and FULL of knocking doors. We had a funny experience though. We were invited in by a nice gentleman and after our message we asked if we could close with a prayer and he insisted he would say it. After awkwardly waiting for what seemed like 5 minutes for him to pray I peeked and he was staring right at me and said, "You wanna say it?" HAHAHAH! Awkward..

Then we had a Zone Conference on Thursday, so that was super cool! We had a good time, and seriously learned a TON!! A lot of it was focused on temple marriage and covenants, self worth, but also a lot on repentance! Then this week, we also received our area-book so we now know who and what the previous sister were teaching. So we went around and met some of our solid investigators, one of which we did service for on Saturday. We were on an exchange and I was in Sebring with Elder Rowley. He's a super awesome missionary and we had a riot of a good time!! We did service for our investigator Dave since he needed help taking the bed off of his truck along with pulling the gas tank out. So that was pretty cool! Then we decided to go visit a cool member, who helps run a local flea market every Saturday. We did service for her and her friends there. attached is a picture of all of them. They took us out! The lady sitting to my left we call "Nana". She's a awesome non-member who LOVES the elders. But of course Nana is hiding in the pic. haha!

Nana and her friends!!
While at the flea market we met a nice couple, who owns the concessions stand. After service we decided to go snag some food over at their stand and it seriously become one of the highlights of the week!! THEY WERE SO COOL! Their names are Tonya and Mike and they are our new gators. They had tons and TONS of questions, and are actually friends with a member of the ward! Overall, we just had an amazing conversation. was nothing special. I can just tell/feel that there is something special about them! They were so happy with the work we do!!

But probably the craziest thing that happened was this: We called on an
investigator the sisters had named Alex. well....over the phone he said he was under the weather and busy. After explaining why the sisters left and we came in, then explaining we are from the Orlando Mission he said, "I have a son who is a member in Orlando...its Enoch R." We FLIPPED!! In case you don't know, Enoch got baptized in Ocoee right before I got there. So me and Elder Davis got to teach and built a strong relationship with Enoch and now we are teaching his father, both of us, exactly a year later!! It was super crazy, and after he found out that we knew and taught his son he actually asked if we could come that next day!!! WOOHOO!!!

Also here's a quick random story. There was a tornado that came through Sebring a few days ago. Unfortunately, it killed 3 people about 20 miles from here. Also when it came through Sebring it flipped a few trailers and rearranged the trailer park. Luckily it wasn't too strong by the time it got here and just touched down and went back up basically!

Anyways, as I've focused on the goals I want to achieve this year, and ultimately what I want it to become, I've thought of four pledges I wanted to make to ensure a great year ahead. As I've pondered these I've decided I will listen, I will learn, I will labor and I will love. And with that being said, I've spent the last few days thinking of a good spiritual message I could convey in my email.. Focusing on one of those four pledges so that I could learn how to become better. And I've had SOO many different thoughts come to my mind. So honestly...I'm just picking one and I'll share more about the others I'm my future emails! 

It's been said that "You begin to live only when you begin to love, and you begin to love only when selfishness dies and you live to bless others." It is the unseen power of your sincere interest and love that can open hearts, and allow the spirit to penetrate their soul! I find that pretty neat, but I know that if it wasn't for my love for the people in the wonderful area in Florida, and the love that radiates from you guys back home, I wouldn't be who I am today! I appreciate all the great influences I have in my life, and for the impact you all have had to help me become who I am, so that I can help bless the lives of others! I love and miss you all! And hope you have a great week ahead of you!!!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, January 11, 2016

White-Wash Life!

Got my fancy glasses!!
Well...I guess I will start off my email by saying hello from Sebring, Florida!  So yes.. I did make it down to my new area! And I will give you the low down on what the situation is/was. The church decided to create a new stake here in central Florida, which is now the Vero Beach Stake, and consists of units from the Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando missions! And so that stake is now considered part of the Florida Orlando Mission! So the missionaries already serving in the Orlando area that is included in this stake just stayed in their areas, and switched zones. The Ft. Lauderdale missionaries stayed in those same areas, but will be switching missions to the Orlando mission. And where I am serving, Tampa missionaries used to be, but were pulled out and the area was given to us!! And so that's how I'm here!!! But one of the craziest parts of this whole conundrum is that I am again serving with Elder Davis! We were companions about a year ago, in Ocoee and here we are again! So I'm super pumped about that!

In a white wash, basically your first week is always super slow, but you at least know who the previous missionaries were teaching. So it's mostly just spent making maps and getting to know the members. Oddly enough, ours was super busy, because this area was previously part of the Tampa mission we didn't have access to the teaching record. So the week was spent meeting members, setting up our maps, getting to know the area, and knocking some doors! It was quite the busy but not too eventful week! We did find us a few new investigators though, so work is already moving along great. We should be receiving the area book and the ward roster today though, since this is now technically the Orlando mission as of yesterday! The ward here (or from who we have met) have been SUPER supportive and very kind to us and have also been doing some missionary work of their own! Overall, they are excited to have elders in their area and we are ecstatic to be working here. So far I've loved the area!

We had interviews with President Berry! Those went awesome and over the last two months or so I've really connected with President. He expressed his great amount of trust during interviews, and thanked me for taking in this unusual task! We also talked about college and some future plans which was weird because like... I still feel like I just started for the most part haha!

Anyway, nothing too new going on.. We have an exchange with the Okeechobee missionaries, who just came from the Ft Lauderdale mission, so we will see how that goes! Also my spiritual message it's based around something that came to my realization today. I've known it, but haven't quite thought of it like this. In the Book of Mormon, specifically Mosiah chapter 24, it talks about heavy burdens placed upon the righteous and how sometimes in our lives we encounter difficulties, and it can place a burden on our lives! But something I found unique about it is; in verse 14 it states "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." The promise of the Lord that he will EASE the burdens, and how he does that is by what's stated in verse 15. "...the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease" The Lord doesn't remove our difficulties or trials, but as we submit our will to His, He will strengthen us in the process, allowing us to bear our burdens with a divine strength and faith!!

Thanks for everything everyone! I love and miss you all. You are amazing, keep up the good work. Have an amazing week this week, okay?!

-Elder A. Olson 

Excited Elders...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!!

Me and the Gilger Family!!

First off... HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope the beginning of your 2016 has been as eventful as ours has here in the Florida Orlando Mission! This week has been a little on the unusual side. As I mentioned last week, I received a special assignment in the mission and it's still a pretty confusing situation. However, the week started off at transfers! We had to drive down to transfer meeting to pick up the Elder that would be in our companionship. Then once I leave, he will remain as Elder Anderson's companion. His names Elder Bravo, he's a really good missionary! And he is a Spanish speaker, which is something that is definitely needed in this ward! So it's been really interesting having him here with us.

Last week I was also told that I would be moving to the new area in around 10 days after transfers. BUT I guess they decided to move it closer, because I will be moving to the new area tomorrow morning!  I have to meet at the mission office bright and early, and will be driving the 2 hours with my new companion to our new area! After getting settled in, we were given the instructions to go meet the bishop of the ward we will be serving, and go visit the possible investigators and less actives that were previously being visited. So normally when this happens in missions, where they withdraw both missionaries and put two new ones, it's called a white wash! 

From the limited details I've received so far, we are gaining more area in our mission boundaries! We are apparently acquiring some of the Fort Lauderdale mission. And apparently it is A TON of area. Like...3 ZONES is one district in this new area. Sadly that's about all I know so far, except Elder Davis will be in the district!! So it'll be pretty cool to basically be serving out of the regular mission boundaries. Let's just say I was told that if I thought Sumterville was desolate, that will change soon. hahaha!

Other than that, it's just been a week of missionary work. We found a solid new investigator. Her husband is a member, but less active and they are both extremely interested in coming back/coming to church!  Also, it's been a busy week full of packing, saying my goodbyes, and yeah..that's about it! I'm just excited for tomorrow and to see how this new adventure goes! And I'm assuming that this might be my last area....maybe one more, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, thanks for everything. I love and miss you all! And I hope you have a great start to your new year! Thanks for the prayers and support! Sorry this is a rather short email. We have been caught up still packing, and shopping, and I don't have too much time!

-Elder A. Olson

 PS: picture includes me and the best family in Melbourne, the Gilgers, and their awesome baby named Danger.

Happy New Year!

Danger Gilger at the pulpit!!