Monday, April 25, 2016

Fast Week and Fast Cars!!

At the Race Track!!

Hello everyone! I Hope you had an awesome week this week!! Ours was quite the adventure, really. We had quite a bit of lessons and service this week!! Tuesday we went over and helped Dreama pack,because she prayed about it and decided moving to Tampa would be the best thing for her and her kids. She told us that she is going to go and try to get on her feet and save enough to move back to Lake Placid and buy a house. So, sadly we lost one of our top investigators, but we are happy she is doing what's best for her.

We are continuing to work with our three recent baptisms, and we also had the baptism interview for their cousins Troy and Sidasia. They passed! So
tonight we are going to meet with them to set up their baptism program, figure out who is going to be performing the baptism, who will be giving the talks, doing the confirmation, and getting them baptismal clothes!!

We have been working with a new investigator. Her names Amy and she initially got interested in learning more and strengthening her faith because her 5 year old daughter came up to her and asked, "if I die, am I going to heaven?" She didn't know the answer, she didn't feel comfortable and so she decided she had to have that knowledge and assurance too! She is in a hard living situation, but she has really shown a lot more interest recently. So we are pretty excited to continue to be working with her!

There wasn't too much new or exciting this week. I guess the craziest thing that happened was on Saturday. One of our members asked if we would like to meet with his friends. His friends have been to Temple Square and to church before and decided they need stability in their lives, and the gospel would bring that! So anyways, there was a catch to it. That specific member's hobby, and his friends hobby are racing. So they were having test runs, and his friend was coming down to do trials as well! We got permission to go to the raceway and talk with them, and while there might as well see some test runs right? Well.. After we arrived we found out the friend wasn't going to be able to make it... So... To make the trip to the Raceway worth it, the member offered a ride in his 2010 ZR1 Corvette. And if y'all know me, there is NO way I'm turning THAT offer down! So we each gotta do a few laps with him,and it was AMAZING!!! That was literally like one of the coolest things ever and we got to about 142mph...phew... So insane! It was a blast.

Just another quick thought from General Conference by President Uchtdorf's talk titled "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home." "It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt. There is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored. The joyous news of the gospel is this: because of the eternal plan of happiness provided by our loving Heavenly Father and through the infinite sacrifice of Jesus the Christ, we can not only be redeemed from our fallen state and restored to purity, but we can also  transcend mortal imagination and become heirs of eternal life and partakers of God’s indescribable glory."

Thanks for all you guys do! Love and miss you all!! Have a great week this week.

-Elder A. Olson

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Changing Lives....One Step At A Time!

Me and Elder Rowley!

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a swell week this week! Ours was pretty much average, and not much changed from last week sadly. We have just been working close with Quay, Ashanti and TJ since their baptism was last week! They have been doing well! It has already been really cool to see the progress the three have made since I met them at their first lesson when doing exchanges in Lake Placid a while back.

Also, we have been working with another investigator, Dreama. She is awesome, and has made a total 180 with her life. Again I met her at her first lesson in Lake Placid while on exchanges.  The change from then to now has been amazing! She has completely handed over to us all the word of wisdom problems she faces, she has stopped smoking and has truly engulfed herself into the gospel and its teachings. It's been so cool to see her attitude change.  She was facing a really tough time Saturday night and to find comfort she said she ended up praying a lot and turning to the Book of Mormon and started reading from it! We met up with her Sunday for a lesson and she told us that she noticed a difference, a totally turnaround from the previous night. She felt the love that God has for her, and it helped change her. She said by that next morning she felt like a completely new person! It's always amazing to witness the blessings the gospel has for the people here.. How we have seen the blessings in our lives and that is our purpose for being out on missions; is to help others witness those blessings as well! Sadly, Dreama might be moving to Tampa soon, but luckily wherever she ends up, missionaries will be there. The church family will be there and she can continue in her spiritual journey.
We had an exchange this week and it was super fun because it was Elder Davis and I in Sebring! hahaha! I was back again with my old companion together in our old area! So that was a blast being able to see all the familiar faces that we used to teach! It confuses the heck out of everyone though! :)

Nothing else too exciting has been happening though. We do have 2 more
baptismal interviews tonight for Troy and Sadasia, who are cousins of the
three we just baptized! So that will be pretty fun. Their baptism isn't set until the 30th so let's hope all goes well!

I have just a quick thought for today and I apologize my email is short. This was taken from President Thomas S. Monson's talk this last General Conference. "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day--whether to make this choice or that choice--if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." One of my favorite quotes is "What is right will always be right, even when no one is doing it. What is wrong will always be wrong even when everyone is doing it." As we carefully make those decisions in our lives we can find the comfort of the Holy Ghost more evident in our lives. We can truly be guided by our Father in Heaven so that we can ultimately live with Him again. Choices determine our Destiny.

Thanks everyone, love and miss you all! Have a fantastic week this week!

-Elder A. Olson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wild Baptism Week!!

Baptism day for Quay, Ashanti and TJ!

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you guys are having a swell day!:) Our week was pretty epic and as usual it started off pretty average, with the same old stuff like teaching appointments and such. Wednesday we actually had interviews with our mission president- President Berry. It was great!!! I was super excited to be able to have an interview with him, mainly because I think that it was my final interview with President Berry. We might have one more before he leaves In June, but I'm not sure.  Either way it was great. We just talked about future plans after mission, current standings on Lake Placid, etc.. It was great! He's such a great guy! They even took us 8 out to dinner because the interviews took up our dinner time!   

Tuesday we spent hours doing service at a food bank, which was awesome. We just helped them stock their new shipment of canned goods in. But their storage room was all out of shambles so we spent extra time sorting their old stuff, putting them in proper places, reorganizing and stocking the new! It was surprisingly really fun! they have us peaches and orange juice, so it was a win-win.

Thursday we had yet another meeting, this time it was our fun 2 1/2 hour trek to the meeting in Vero Beach! It was just a normal monthly meeting.. So it was pretty good as it usually is! We just talked about setting goals in our personal lives and areas so that we can continue to see success!

Friday was a typical weekly planning day, with nothing too special. Elder
Rowley is signing up for college classes and registering for that so we spent a little while Friday working on tests and stuff as well! He goes home like 3 or 4 weeks after I do, so we are both heading to the end soon. It's weird though, because the branch members keep bringing that up. hahah!

Saturday was hectic but AWESOME!!! Sebring ward had a "Fish Fry" activity so we went to that one, which was good. Then right after that, Elder Rowley and I were preparing for the baptisms. There is a fun little story that goes along with that one..We had everything set up, and we started filling the font and realized, the water was FREEZING!! So we worked on it, worked on it some more, then called our branch president who said the water heater had been busted for a few weeks!... I decided that as Elder Rowley prepared the room and got the program printed off I would go boil big pots of water so we could dump those in to warm it up a little...well... That was a good thought, except the kitchen didn't have a stove top. So I switched to Plan-B which consisted of putting water in the microwaves they had, and dumping them into a 5 gallon cooler (for insulation) and running it down to the font and pouring it in! So I did that for a good hour, it worked, not well...but it warmed it up a few degrees! Hahaha!

But overall the baptism went great! I'm so proud of Quay, Ashanti, and TJ for the steps they are taking towards their Heavenly Father! It was definitely a special day for them and for us. Seeing people change their lives around to follow Jesus Christ is always a huge blessing to witness. It was a great program and the confirmations Sunday were fantastic. Quay even cried during the whole thing. She said she has never felt that amount of love pouring out from God before that day! I will attach some pics of the baptism for y'all!

But that was about our week this week. For a spiritual thought I just took another one of my favorite talks from General Conference. Talking about how at times we all become lost to the gospel, through different trials, etc.. But through the love, grace, and Atonement of Jesus Christ we can find that peace and stability again. ."My dear brothers and sisters, my dear friends, I testify that God sees us as we truly are--and He sees us worthy of rescue. You may feel that your life is in ruins. You may have sinned. You may be afraid, angry, grieving, or tortured by doubt. But just as the Good Shepherd finds His lost sheep, if you will only lift up your heart to the Savior of the world, He will find you. He will rescue you. He will lift you up and place you on His shoulders. He will carry you home." (He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home) -Dieter F Uchtdorf

I know that as we continue to search for the Savior, and apply the most amazing thing, the Atonement, into our lives, we can receive that "rescue" we can witness the change in our lives, the increase in our faith, and feel the absolute love our Father in Heaven has for us! Thanks for all you guys do! I love and miss you guys!

-Elder A. Olson 

Steven (Sebring Investigator) and I.

Me and Ashanti

Elder Rowley and I

Just Relaxing...

Baptism Day!!

General Conference + Upcoming Baptism News!

Off Roading in a Jeep!!

Hello everyone! Hope the week was rest for you, cause I know we here in Lake Placid had a pretty solid week!! Tuesday we had transfers, and I took the long journey the 20 minutes south to my new area, Lake Placid! It's strange because I've been here before on many exchanges, so to actually be serving here in the Lake Placid Branch is unique! It has been a blast so far!! So yeah, Tuesday we had exchanges. Elder Rowley and I just went to town on the lessons. We met up with a couple that we actually contacted on exchanges in Sebring, Mike and Tonya. We met them a while back and got their address, so we went and visited with them. They are both super awesome! We learned a lot too, and saw some blessings for sure. They have trust issues, especially when it comes to people they don't know, so going to church has always been an issue, but they explained that the love they feel in our church from meeting us, and other members has been amazing. That they feel of our love for them and most importantly Gods love for them! So we are excited to see where that will take them!

A lot of this week was just me getting to know the people here, meeting the people they were working with and the members around. We met with this family that are all working towards baptism! The three kids are actually being baptized this Saturday too! The cool thing about it was I knew these people previously because of exchanges.Elder Goff and I were actually the ones who taught the first and second lessons with them. So they already knew who I was!  So this Saturday should be a great time! We have TJ, Quay, and Ashanti getting baptized this weekend. Our branch President will be baptizing TJ, Elder Rowley will baptize Quay, and I will be baptizing Ashanti!! So i will definitely let y'all know how it goes next week!

We also got a good taste of what Florida off-roading is like!! After our dinner lesson with a less active young adult in our branch, he took us out in his jeep in the back country off roading! It was LEGIT! They had HUGE mud puddles, and all these sand/mud paths going through all the trees. It was cool.

Also this weekend was of course General Conference which was AMAZING. The talks were perfect and it definitely helped answer all of the questions I had! It was great to hear and sustain our beloved Prophet and his counselors, and the rest of the seers and general authorities of the church. I'm grateful for them, their love, and their service to us, and to God. They gave some very good advice on a lot of important topics, such as: Family Roles, Faith during Trials, the Atonement, Repentance, the Holy Ghost and much more! If you weren't able to watch it, I highly recommend you do. I could feel the spirit so strongly, and it helped in my overall progression towards God in strengthening my faith and testimony! 

Here is a little quote/summary of one of the many wonderful talks we heard this weekend, given by Jeffery R Holland. "With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed. Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. …Brothers and sisters, the first great commandment of all eternity is to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. That’s the first great commandment. But the first great truth of all eternity is that God loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."

Anyways, I'm having a blast! Elder Rowley and I are working super hard, and doing great! Thanks for all the support, I hope you all had an amazing General Conference weekend and also have a wonderful week ahead of you!! Love and miss you all!

-Elder A. Olson