Monday, December 29, 2014

Stretford #10


Hello everyone! Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you!
It was a really good week being Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I told you about Monday and Tuesday last week because I emailed on Tuesday, So on Wednesday, Christmas eve, we stopped proselyting at 4:00. At 4:30 we went to a member's home and we at dinner. It was a traditional mainland European Christmas eve meal, consisting of dozens of types of cheeses and sausages. It was really good. I was stuffed afterwards. After that we met up with most of the ward and we went carolling at 2 nursing homes. Then we went back to the member's and watched Frozen. :) After we got back to the members, we watched Frozen again with the other missionaries in our flat. :)
The next morning we got to sleep in til 8, so at 8 we opened our presents! :) Thanks to all those who sent me something. I love you!
There you go. That's a picture.
Then we got ready for the day and went to one of the senior missionary couples with a whole bunch of other missionaries and we had lunch and partied. While there we watched Brave and Despicable Me 2. After that we went to a member's home and had dinner and Skyped home! It was a good day. That evening we packed up our stuff and went to the assistants flat to spend the night. It was us 4, the assistants, and 2 more elders. We watched the Lego movie that night, then got up early the next morning to go shopping. In England the big shopping day is the day after Christmas instead of Black Friday. So we all went shopping and it was crazy and there were a lot of people there and I forgot my wallet. But that's ok. I didn't want anything anyway!
So yeah. That was pretty much my week.
Here's another picture

Love you!
Elder Olsen. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas testimony


I have a testimony. That is why I am on a mission. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have a testimony of Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith. When I left on my mission 5 months ago I felt like my testimony was strong, powerful, and unshakable. But the first day out here, when I had doors slammed in my face, English people turning up their noses at what I hold so dear, and having to sleep on a hard, flat pillow, I wasn't so sure that my testimony was as unshakable as I first believed. But after buying a new pillow and spending enough time talking to people to develop a thick skin my testimony started to grow stronger than ever before.
I know that God loves us. I know that we are his children. Jesus Christ is our older brother and our Savior. Joseph Smith is who he chose to reveal his gospel to, and because of that, we have prophets on the earth today. I know with absolutely no doubt that God loves us and the only way we can participate in the fullness of his love is found in this church. Jesus Christ truly died for us. I know it.

Thank you for your love and support.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stretford #9


Hello everyone!
I've had a great week this week. I think it may have been one of the best weeks I've ever had. I loved it. 
So on Monday we went to the Manchester Christmas Market. It's a European style street shopping, where different vendors come and set up their shops. Supposedly it's supposed to be the best one in England, So we were excited for the opportunity to go. It was a LOT of fun. We bumped into lots of other missionaries serving in Manchester that also decided to go, so we had fun looking at all the merchandise and having fun together. The whole thing is traditionally German, so I was having flashbacks of the time that we went to Christmas Markets while living in Germany. It was so much fun for me to remember the fun times from 12 years ago! Pictures are attached. 
Tuesday we were privileged to be able to go to the temple. It was sooo good. I don't think that missionaries get to go enough. This was only the second time that we've gone since leaving the MTC. I had such a spiritual experience, and I loved every minute of it. I've been studying a lot about the Atonement and birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, so it was really good to be able to go and learn more. Speaking of the studies that I've had, I've made some really interesting comparisons between the birth of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. As we know, when Jesus was born he was laid in a manger, which is what animals ate their food out of. Tradition tells us that a manger is made out of wood, but in reality, it was made out of stone. So animals eat their food out of a stone manger. The connection that I made is that a stone manger is very similar to an alter. In the Bible dictionary it tells us that alters are usually made out of stone. So we have this alter. Things are sacrificed on alters. Jesus Christ was sacrificed for us. He said in John that "I am the Bread of Life" and living water. Bread and Water go on the sacrament table, which is kind of like an alter. So the Bread of life is lying in this stone manger alter at birth. And on Sunday we have Bread on an alter which help us remember his death. Just interesting similarities. I hope that makes sense and it wasn't just me rambling. 
On Wednesday we had a really good day. We were able to teach a few lessons to people on the bus, and got a new investigator, so that helps us out a lot. 
Thursday we have weekly planning, But this week we have very little time to go out and work, so we spent most of the time planning what movies we are going to watch this Christmas (because that's allowed) and so we had a lot of fun. 
Friday and Saturday were similar to Wednesday, we taught a couple lessons and had fun. Saturday night we were supposed to meet a family at a restaurant and they were going to take us out to dinner, but they cancelled on us once we were already at the restaurant so we had fish and chips instead. 
Sunday was one of the highlights of the week for me. Church was amazing, and we had a good day working, but the highlight was that evening. The Stake put on a carol concert. It was absolutely amazing. I've never seen a stake with more musically talented people. The spirit was so strong. Along side the concert, there was a video played about the Christmas Truce. Which is absolutely amazing. It's a video produced by the Church about the end of World War 1. It's an amazing story. On Christmas, I don't remember the year, but the Germans and Englishmen got out of their trenches and played a game of soccer together. They sang carols and buried their dead together. All because of the spirit of Christmas that they felt. 
On Monday half of the mission got together at the Manchester Stake Center and we had a big dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and President Ulrich gave a talk. It was incredible. I loved it. President Ulrich expounded some deep doctrine that I don't think would be appropriate to share here, but it blew my mind. 
That was my week! It was good to hear from so many of you this week! I'm thinking about and praying for you all. Thank you for all the support and prayers. I love you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stretford #8

Cache Valley boys all in one zone
Well, another week has come and gone and I am totally amazed at how fast this week went by. I feel like it was just the other day that I sent my last letter. Which I read again today, and I sounded totally depressed!! I would like you to know that I am not depressed, not even a little!! But missionary work is hard when people don't accept what you believe with all your heart! But in saying that, we are progressing a lot better. 
So I won't go through a day by day because I don't have tons of time (I really need to work on my time management). 
This week we rode a lot of buses. And we spoke to a lot of people. I am really starting to enjoy it! We call it bus contacting. And when you are bus contacting, you meet some really interesting people! I've met engineers and homeless drunk people, and rich drunk people, and someone who's biggest desire in life is to assassinate the queen, and every other type of person out there. But we are still in the same boat. We have no people to teach. We can teach lessons on the bus all day long, but it doesn't mean anything to us if we can't get any follow up appointments. But we are pushing through it and Elder Rxxxx and I know almost all of the bus drivers and we are pretty much pro at talking to people. Sometimes we talk at people because they don't listen, but that's ok. I'm sorry if this doesn't make any sense, I have very little time so I'm just word vomiting. Anyway, My week was great!  I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been working so hard and I had the best night sleep of my mission last night. So yeah. I love you all. Thank you for your support. Love you!
Elder Olsen
I live on my own road!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Stretford #7

This is crazy. Transfer 4. Nothing has really changed in my situation. One of the zone leaders who share our flat left and a new one came in so the dynamics of our flat slightly changed but things are pretty much the same. 
So this week has been amazingly uninteresting. Like, if I were to send a normal email, I wouldn't want to read it. I would be so bored. So real quick, Monday was p day and we went shopping. I bought a new tie (with matching cuff links, and rudolph cuff links. 
Tuesday was a normal day.
Wednesday was normal.
Thursday was normal.
Friday was normal. And by normal I mean riding buses 5 hours a day, just so we can talk to people. I feel like it's kind of a cheap way for missionaries to get out of doing missionary work, but it's what they want us to do and it's how they want us to do it so I'm gonna do it! After that we tract in the evenings, because that's when families are more likely to be home. That is a normal day. 
I'm personally kind of struggling with the work, just because I LOVE teaching people. And we don't really have anyone to teach so we are trying to find people all day and it just gets old after doing it 7 days a week for 6 straight weeks. 
Saturday was our ward Christmas party. It was fun but it wasn't an effective use of our time. I sound like a negative Nelly right now! This isn't good! We had a part in the program, but it was at the end so we couldn't leave, and the music was such that we couldn't listen to it, so we spent some time in the hall just sitting there. Saying that, I had fun.
I feel like this was a downer email. But don't think that!! I am not down right now! I am loving being out here and doing the work. I am happy and enjoying myself. But I would appreciate a few extra prayers on our behalf this week please. I love you. Thank you for your support. 
Love, Elder Olsen

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Stretford #6

Mission Grandpa (Elder VW), Dad (Elder Olsen) and Son (Elder R)
This 6 weeks has gone by so fast. Time is super weird when you're on a mission. I can't describe it, but it's really weird. As far as Transfers go, Elder Rxxxx and I are both staying in Stretford for Christmas. :) Alright, here's a quick run down of the week. 


Since Monday is P-day all the missionaries in the Manchester zone got together and we played American Football! It was so much fun to get out and it felt so good to exercise like that. I'm getting so out of shape it's not even funny.  Anyway, It felt really good to run around for a couple hours. After that we all went to a Carvery, which is pretty much a posh Golden Corral and ate Thanksgiving dinner. That evening we had a lesson with Jxxxxx, our Golden investigator. I don't remember how much I've told you about Jxxxxx so I'll start at the beginning. President Ulrich promised us that people are being prepared behind doors, so the focus of the mission changed from street contacting to tracting. So I was praying about a street to tract and my eyes were drawn to a certain street. I kept looking at the map but I couldn't pull my eyes away from that street. So the next day we knocked the doors on that street. About a quarter of the way down the street we knocked this door and this lady popped her head out the upstairs window and asked who we were. We told her we were missionaries and she came running downstairs and let us in. We taught her the restoration there that night and set up another appointment with her. She is such a good investigator. She asks all the right questions, she agrees with everything being taught, and she actually keeps the commitments we give her. To date we have taught her the 1st 2 lessons and she is dated to be baptised on the 20th of this month! 
Tuesday was a pretty normal day, nothing much happened. 
Wednesday was the same.
Thursday was Thanksgiving day!!!! Which unfortunately isn't celebrated in England. But that's ok because if you have memebers from America in your ward they might just invite you over for dinner! Which is exactly what happened! So our dinner appointment was scheduled for 5:00 and it was about an hour away by bus. Come 4:00 we go to catch a bus, but Elder Rxxxx lost his bus pass. So we almost ran back to the flat to try to get money to catch the bus, but we had no cash in the flat. So we very quickly walked to the ATM to get money out, but both of our cards with Church funds were empty, and the ATM wouldn't take either of our personal cards. At this time it's about 4:30 so there is no way we can make it there on time, let alone make it. So we try to get ahold of this member but we can't get through until almost 5:00, But as soon as she finds out that we can't make it, without hesitation she called a taxi for us and told us she would pay for it. It was amazing. So we got a proper Thanksgiving dinner. 
The rest of the week was nothing special. But we did mud masks! Pictures will follow. 
We didn't have any cucumbers
so we used lemons...

The highlight of the week for me didn't come as a story. It's not something that we did. It's something that I experience on my knees. I was praying, desperately trying to figure out what I could do to be a better missionary, and it hit me like a pile of bricks. I need to be myself. Looking back on my mission, It feels like I tried to squeeze myself into a missionary mold, which is wrong. I needed to just become a missionary. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll report next week on how it went. 

Thank you so much for all your love and support. I love you.
Love, Elder Olsen

Stretfortd #5

Well it's been an interesting week. :) But I absolutely loved it. On Monday we went shopping at the Trafford center, one of the biggest malls in the UK. It makes the Cache Valley Mall look like a... Well, this was a big mall. I didn't end up buying anything, which means I have developed self control! YAY! It was really fun. I have pictures but I wasn't able to bring my camera today, I'll send them next week.
If I were to look at my week from an outside perspective, I would think it was a terrible week. We didn't teach many lessons, we had so many doors slammed in our faces, and we got rained on. But I had a way good week personally. I grew so much more as a person, and my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has gone up so much as well. 

Some of the Anti-highlights that we had: 
We were tracting, and this black African man opened the door. He looked like he was going to say something but then just stopped. He looked at Elder Rxxxx and just said, "I'm shocked!" For the next 5 minutes he proceeded to tell Elder Rxxxx that he is an embarrassment to himself, his family, and all "colored" people everywhere for being a part of the Church, which is "one of the most racist organizations to every exist. That was a fun one for us to try to sort out. 
Another time we were out tracting and again, an African man opened the door. It's important to note that the door swung out. And he just stood there. And stared us down. It was my turn to speak at the door so I asked him how he was doing and he just stood there and stared at us like we had just killed his mother. I asked him if he was religious and suddenly he just shouted at the top of his lungs "NO!" And then he went quite again. Just that single outburst and that was it. I asked another question and the same thing happened. "NO!" I asked if we could come in to share a message with him and this time he didn't say anything. So I grabbed the door and closed it and we walked away. Right after the door closed he opened it back up and like a normal human being asked us very politely to shut the gate. 
Last night we went to teach a less-active member and we brought a fellowshipper with us. At this Less-actives home was her Muslim boy-friend. Bruce R. McConkie said, "You should never get into a bible bash, but if you do, make sure you don't lose. So we did just that. We tried everything not to get into a bash, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This Muslim had read the bible, the Book of Mormon and the Quaran. We Destroyed him!!! :) But we left as friends so it's ok.   
We had some other experiences similar to this that aren't worth mentioning. But the gist of it is that we had a rubbish week. But I loved it. On Friday, we went back to the flat for dinner at about 6. And I just poured my heart out in prayer. It was probably the most discouraging day I had ever had. Which resulted in the most sincere prayer I had ever had. That evening after dinner we went back out and we had 2 AMAZING lessons. The spirit was there and these are incredible investigators. I'll tell you more about them next week. 

It was stake conference on Saturday and Sunday, and it was one of the best stake conferences I had ever been to. I feel like I was hit by a spirit bomb. It was amazing. I loved it so much. 

Today for P-day, we played American Football with a lot of missionaries. It was so much fun. I loved it. I am so dirty right now. It was muddy. :) 

Anyway, I'm happy right now. Thank you for you're love and support. I love you!!!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stretford #4


Can you believe it??? I've been on my mission for 4 months already! The time has absolutely flown by. I've been having so much fun and working so hard and it's been great!



Well this week was different from the other weeks in Stretford.  I don't really want to talk about Monday and Tuesday because they weren't anything special, but the rest of the week was soo GOOD! On Wednesday we had a specialized training from the Assistants and President Ulrich and I loved it. The training from the assistants was exactly what I needed to hear. I don't even really remember what they talked about but the spirit was strong and I was in tune and I was able to receive personal revelation for myself and for the work in the area. It gave me an enormous sense of responsibility and urgency to get the work done. I loved the feeling of the spirit that was in there and I feel like the whole thing was directed at me. I love it when pressure is put on me. When I'm in the right mind set, I thrive in situations where it's do or die. I felt like that was how it was this week. Do or Die. We didn't have any investigators so we have been doing loads of finding, except it wasn't finding the Lord's way. I thought we were working hard, I felt like we were! And looking back on it, I was working hard! But I was trying to do missionary my way. It was a lackadaisical Elder Olsen way to do it. When I got that urgency and personal revelation I felt put in that Do or Die situation and so I really started to rely on my Savior to enable me and Elder Rxxxx to preform miracles. Saturday and Sunday are the stand out days this week. The kind of days when you love being a missionary. President Ulrich told us that we need to start tracting now. He had received revelation that we need to tract. So on Saturday we went tracting for about 3 hours with a member. The member and Elder Rxxxx would knock one door and I would knock the one next to it by myself. We got loads of Potential Investigators that we are going to go try by tomorrow. Then we came across someone walking across the street and we stopped him. He's a 17 year old boy and he was super interested in how he can know if God is there and about the Restoration so we got a new investigator! He was our first solid investigator of the transfer. Then on Sunday we went tracting again and found another 17 year old investigator with the surname of Olsen! We talked about the restoration and about family history and it was great! Then at about 7:00 we went on Splits with the Zone Leaders. We had been praying for a street for us to tract, and I felt like we needed to tract one of the streets super close to our house. So Elder Rxxxx went with Elder Gxxxx to that road and in the space of about an hour they had taught 2 lessons and had 4 new investigators! Miracles happen! I went with Elder Oxxxxx and we taught 2 lessons and had a new investigator as well!  I know that the Lord speaks through us. I felt that so strongly this week. When I opened my mouth to speak, I spoke. It was my voice, but it wasn't my words. It's been a great week and I'm on a spiritual high now. 



I love you all. Thank you thank you thank you. 
Love, Elder Olsen



Monday, November 10, 2014

Stretford #3

Alrighty everyone, where to begin. I'll start on Monday and just go through the week. 
Monday was P-day. After emailing we went and played basketball at the stake center with most of the missionaries from the Manchester Zone. It was nice to get some cardio into my life. It's to cold here in the mornings for someone from New Zealand to go running in the morning so we don't go running as much as I would like to. So I'm getting fat. That evening when P-day ended we went and had family home evening with a less-active part member family. We had a really hard time delivering any sort of lesson because of all of the screaming and shouting and burping coming from the children and the father. He was doing all 3. He's crazy.
Tuesday- On Tuesday we had district meeting and I had to give a training on chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel. It was really interesting to be instructing missionaries with so much more experience than me. It really helps me understand the importance of humility. If we rely on the Lord he will enable us to do things far beyond our actually capabilities. After that we went to another less active's house and did service for this lady and her daughter Lxxxxx. It was really funny because I was working on taking apart a bed with Sxx (the mother) and Elder Rxxxx and Lxxxxx were off to the side talking in an almost flirty way! We had a talk afterwards. :) I love the innocence that some people had. Even though Elder Rxxxx is 6 days older than I am, he has a childlike innocence much like Anna does. :) Love you Anna! 
Wednesday was Guy Fawkes day. Guy Fawkes day is a holiday the English people celebrate to celebrate and remember when this man named Guy Fawkes tried and failed to blow up the house of Parliment. Because it's a holiday where people run wild, all of the missionaries had to be in our flats by 5 pm so we spent the rest of the evening eating food and talking about sports. 
Thursday we had a joint zone conference with Ashton zone. It was really good and I feel like I learned alot about how to put in practice the principles that we learn in Preach My Gospel. For the last 30 minutes of the meeting they let us go out and apply what we learned. It was amazing. 30 different companionships hit the streets in a 4 block radius. Miracles happened that day. In 30 minutes there were 47 new investigators across the board. When we all left the building I felt like we were just like the stripling warriors. It was amazing to see so many missionaries going out to fulfill their purpose. I am so blessed to be able to take an active part in this work. 
Friday. On Friday I took Elder Rxxxx tracting for the first time. Having the opportunity to train makes me so grateful for my trainer and how patient he was with me. I think that the best way to force someone to grow up is to throw them in a foreign country with someone else and make them look after that other person. I have grown and changed so much in the past 4 months. Our Savior is so merciful. He gives us the ability to grow so much spiritually but still retain our personalty and sense of humor and everything! I am convinced that miracles follow trainees. We had more success than I have ever had tracting before. We found some super solid families that we are going to start teaching this week and hopefully baptize them! 
Saturday was an adventure. One Saturday of each transfer we had 4 hour finding where we do just that. Try to find new investigators for 4 hours. We went out with a member named Brother Bxx, who has been helping misisonaries for 30 years or so. He has a way of street contacting that I have never seen before. Let's just say I was basically teaching the Gospel like the missionaries in the 1800's were. Just Preaching on a street corner. 
Sunday we had church and it was super good. 
I'm out of time and I have to go!
I love you all!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Stretford #2


This week has been so good! I have enjoyed every moment of it. I feel so blessed to be on a mission, in England, with Elder Rxxxx. I don't have tons of time to write this letter but I will do my best to get my thoughts and feelings out onto this. I was thinking about what I should write, and I started thinking about what would benefit you most. Yeah, mission stories are great, but it doesn't tell the story of what's happening in my life. I think the best way for you to truely understand is for me to bear my testimony. Don't worry, You aren't missing out on any stories, It's been a pretty dull week in that sense.
 
My testimony covers a very broad range of topics and I don't have time to write it and you probably wouldn't want to read it all either if I wrote it all down. But the basis of my testimony is on my Savior Jesus Christ. I can testify that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God. He is our Savior, Redeemer, Advocate, Friend, and Brother. I really just want to touch on one or two of those points. 1st, he is our Advocate. We always talk about how he is our Savior and Redeemer, but I think that for the most part we don't talk about this one. It all boils down to the Atonement. Because He preformed the Atonement, and I testify that he did, he knows each of us perfectly. Because of that he can plead our case to the Father. He loves us and he knows us perfectly. He wants us to return to live with him and he makes it all possible. I love Him.
2nd. He is our brother. He is the Son of God. We are children of God. Jesus Christ is our brother and we are joint heirs with him. Because of Christ's character, I believe that he was the best brother in the pre-earth life. He was the one who helped us glue a lamp that we broke back together. He helped us to set back up the bunk beds after it fell because we were jumping on it. He loves us.
 
I urge each of you to continually develope your relationship with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We do this through prayer and through scripture study. It is absolutely essential for us if we want to be happy.
 
I love each of you. Thank you for your support. I'm praying for you.
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stretford #1


Before I get into my letter I just want you all to understand how hard it is to write these letters. So much happens in a week that I just can't fit it all into one little email. But at the same time If I was reading a missionary letter I wouldn't want to know most of the things that happens in the life of a missionary simply because many times nothing happens. If that makes sense. If not... you probably haven' served a mission. 

I feel like it was forever ago that I last emailed! Last week in Carlisle we basically spent the whole week visiting members and investigators and saying goodbye. I don't think I told you but Elder VW and I both left Carlisle which is really unfortunate because we were having some really good progress. We taught a woman named Dxxxx who accepted baptism so we had 2 people scheduled for baptism and now that we are both gone we can't keep an eye on them to make sure they're doing ok. Which is a bummer. 

Thank you all for your support and confidence in me as a trainer. I really do appreciate it and it means more to me than you know. I got my new companion on Saturday so we have spent a total of 2 days together. His name is Elder Rxxxxx and he is from New Zealand. He's 18 and he's great! I feel super blessed to be his trainer. He's going to be great! As you can imagine I've been feeling quite inadequate, but I have been so blessed in so many ways. We are in one of the only 4 man flats in the mission with the zone leaders so they're helping me to keep and eye on him as well. And we have an amazing ward. Everybody is super keen on missionary work. Some of the best missionaries in the mission served in Stretford so I'm with esteemed company. :)

Can I tell you how amazing prayer is? I'm going to. 
I have never prayed more in my entire life. I felt overwhelmed, inadequate, homesick, tired, stressed, deranged, to name just a few. But as soon as I start praying It leaves me. One thing that I've learned through study and personal experience is that prayer is a form of work. Real true prayer is not a casual roll out of bed type thing. For me at least, it involves breaking a mental barrier that the natural man has to make a connection to Heavenly Father. When I break that barrier everything flows, and the amazing thing is that it flows both ways! My thoughts and feelings flow to heaven, and the blessings flow to me. When I break that barrier I don't get distracted by day dreams or anything! It's amazing. I have seen myself change as a result of prayer. I've been lifted beyond my own capacities to become better. I have truly felt the enabling power of the Atonement and I can testify that it is real. I've noticed myself become more personable and charismatic, more approachable and fun to be around, better looking and stronger... more humble.    

One of the other tender mercies of the Lord that I've seen is that being in a 4 man flat opens up a whole new world of foods to eat. I've been eating almost nothing but curry and pasta for the last 3 months and I'm sick of it. New people, new ideas, new food!! And guess what!!! I have a bunk bed and I'm on the top bunk! It's been too long since that has happened. It's wonderful. 

Well, I've included some photos (you're welcome)

Elder Rxxxx and myself. 
Elder Grxxx (zl), me, Elder Rxxxx, and Elder Oxxxxx (zl)
Me and the chapel in Carlisle
Thank you all. I love you loads. You should all send me an email. By the way, a special thanks to those that do. You people are top notch. :) I love you!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carlisle #12


Well, it's that time again. Another 6 weeks are up and it's time for transfers. It's so crazy how fast time flies, it feels like 3 weeks ago that I was on the train from the MTC to Carlisle when in reality it's been 12 weeks. My news goes as follows: I'M GOING TO BE WHITEWASH TRAINING!!! On Saturday I will be transfered to the Stretford area in downtown Manchester. And I'm going to be training. In an area that I've never been before. And I'm going to be training. What the heck?!?! I've only been on my mission for 3 months! The only thing that has kept me from having a mental breakdown is the faith that I have that this call comes from God. He who is called is qualified. I have a testimony of the truthfulness of that statement. I got the call from the assistants on Thursday afternoon and the only thing thatI could say was "uh huh" and "wow". I was completely overwhelmed. As soon as I got back to the flat I kneeled down and prayed. I poured out my soul to Heavenly Father and asked for comfort and strength to be able to not freak out. I can't describe the answer that I recieved. It wasn't a heavenly manifestation by any means, but it was the closest that I have ever recieved and it was more than enough for me. All of my stress melted away. I felt comfort like I had never felt before. I felt like I was being hugged by a warm fluffy cloud where unicorns live. I know that God lives and that he answers prayers. He knows each of us personally and he loves us. Another part of my answer was a sure knowledge that this is what is best for me. This is how I'm going to be able to best serve my companion, the people, and God. This will enable me to become a better missionary. I'm going to miss Carlisle, but I will go forward with faith.
Wow. This week has been full of miracles. This first one still blows my mind everytime I think about it. It involves Pikachu, but I don't want to call him that, that's just weird. Let's call him Pxxx. Pxxx is the gay hit man that I've mentioned earlier. The alchoholic that has a crush on us. The last time we saw Pxxx was about 4 weeks ago. We went to his house and he was not feeling very well. He was contemplating suicide and He was struggling a lot. We told him that he needed to go to the hospital. A couple days later we went to his house without an appointment but he wasn't in. We spoke to one of his neighbors and he said that Pxxx was in the hospital. We prayed for Pxxx every now and again but kind of forgot about him for a couple weeks. Then last week on Monday his name popped in my mind during planning for Tuesday so on Tuesday we went to his house and lo and behold, he was there!!! We talk to him and Pxxx is completely sober. He tells us his story of what happened. Long story short, the night we last saw him, he was lying in bed, he threw up blood, his lungs were filling up with blood. He calls 999 (the english version of 911) and they rushed him to the hospital. His esophagus had burst. They performed surgery on him. He had a 10% chance of surviving but survive he did! The doctors told him that if he kept drinking he would be dead in 6 months. Pxxx hasn't had a drop of alchohol since. Miracle. And guess what! He's getting baptized!! He'll have to be interviewed by the mission president because he's committed a serious crime but I think he'll pass.
I could share more miracles but this is already longer than most of my letters. Basically, last week was really good. We taught some really good, powerful, spiritual lessons, we had investigators attend church, I've had some really insightful studies, and I've come to know my Saviour more. I want to share one more experience with you.
Last night we had a missionary fireside where Sisters Bxxxxx and Fxxxxxxx and Elder VW and myself sang songs and played music. The theme of the evening was the Restoration and the Saviors Atonement. I had a couple solos and I would like you to know that I nailed them. :) The spirit was so strong throughout the evening that you could cut it with a knife. I just want to let you all know that I know that the Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is my brother, my Redeemer, my friend, and my Savior. I know that he took upon him my sins and for that I will always love him. I know he lives. He truly was resurrected. I know it and I will not deny it.
Thank you all for your prayers. I have been able to feel them the last few days. I love you and am so grateful for your support. Thank you!!! I love you!!
 Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, October 13, 2014

Carlisle #11


The week has been really really slow and quite hard.
When I wrote last week we had a really good week planned out, but one by one almost all of our appointments fell through. On Monday we went golfing again which was quite fun. We had been going to a city council run course so it was rubbish. This week we went to a proper golf course so of course it was much harder. I would like you all to know that I have either inherited golf genes (thanks Pappa) or I have the power of God behind every shot. I am a total baller when it comes to golf! ;) Unfortunately we had to cut our game short because of time constraints, but that's ok. We had 3 appointments planned for that evening and we were able to teach one of them, but the others were cancelled when we were on the doorstep to the house, so we wasted a lot of time going to and from different parts of town.
Tuesday it was zone conference so we took the train to Lancaster. As part of the meeting we carved pumpkins! Elder VW and I would've done really well but we were given a bread knife to work with so that didn't work out all that well. That night we had planned to have a dinner appointment with our branch mission leader and his family who aren't members, so we couldn't miss that. But we also were invited to go to a part-member less-active family's home for dinner and we couldn't miss that either! So we ended up making the sacrifice of eating at both houses. I was ready to die at the end of it. I felt so bloated. I found a scripture that's appropriate for this experience. 2 Nephi 9:51 the last 7 words. "and let your soul delight in fatness." I was trying so hard to delight in it, but I felt like their was a kangaroo with boxing gloves bouncing around in my belly boxing the inside of my ribs. I was convinced I would explode if I ate another thing.
On Wednesday I was feeling ok. I had tamed the beast inside me so my kangaroo was content. We helped someone move! English houses are really small, so we may have scratched a few walls with the sofa. That took up most of the day. We had a few appointments planned in the afternoon but like Monday, those fell through. At 7 we went to bible study with Jxxxxx at her church. It was super good! Everyone was trying to bash with us but we wouldn't bash back so they felt really dumb and it was great!
Thursday. I don't even want to talk about Thursday. Suffice it to say, though we worked hard, we accomplished nothing.
I don't know what it is with Fridays but it seems to like raining on Friday. And by raining I don't mean a drizzle. If that's your definition it rains every day, It RAINED on Friday. I don't know how to describe it. If you view "raining cats and dogs" as raining hard, it was raining pregnant elephants and obese hippos. It was chucking it down! Basically though we worked hard, nobody let us in.
Saturday was just as bad. It was the baptism of an 8 year old named Rxxx. The branch president asked us to fill up the font and to lock the building up after the baptism, and because of the party after the baptism, we were at the church for 7 hours. But Jxxxxx came to the baptism!! It was so good! Jxxxxx is going to be baptised. I know it. Something like 80% of investigators who attend a baptism will be baptised. I'm so excited for her!
Sunday. I love fast Sunday. It's pretty much the best thing ever. I love hearing the testimonies of steadfast members. Almost all of the adults in the branch are converts and they share powerful testimonies.
That's pretty much my week. We tracted and walked around in the rain. I have learned loads about diligence. It will pay of to keep working. I'm hoping and praying that the pay off will come this week.
But guess what!!! I love my mission!
I love you. Thank you for reading my emails. :)
Love,
Elder Olsen

Monday, October 6, 2014

Carlisle #10


So it has been a crazy busy week. Here's the run through.
Monday-P-day. We went golfing and shopping and it was great.
Tuesday-Normal day in the life of a missionary. Not really. We had district meeting which was good. We went tracting which is no fun. Nobody likes it. But the exiting thing came towards the evening. We kinda got kidnapped but not really. So the sisters and we got picked up by a member to go do service at her home. It took about 30 minutes to drive to her place. We spent about an hour cleaning her home, then for the next 3 hours we just sat around. The member did not want to take us home, she just wanted to party and chat and so we were stuck at her place for the better part of 4 hours. She got us home by 9 but because of what happened we didn't get much done. 
Wednesday-Good day. We met with a part member less active family and they fed us some.. interesting lasanga. It was strange. We're starting to teach them so that's good!
Thursday was normal. Appointments fell through, we ate curry, and walked around the streets of Carlisle.
Friday- I am convinced that rain brings miracles. It rained harder than I have ever seen it rain before. So what did we do? We tracted. :D I was thoroughly drenched within 10 seconds of stepping outside. We took a bus to one of the outlying towns and went to work. We saw so much success and taught so many lessons on the door step. :) It was one of the coldest, funnest days of my mission. When we caught the bus to go back to Carlisle, we sat down on this bus, which was packed. About 2 minutes into the bus ride a woman sitting in front of us turns around and asks "Are you Mormon?" Automatically I thought, Oh no. This isn't going to go well. We said yes and then she asked if we believe that the Lord's kingdom will once again come on the earth. We thought we were in loads of trouble now, that's a typical Jehovah's Witness question when they want to bash with us. Well we said yes and she looked thoughtful and said, "Oh, I believe that as well" What? You aren't going to bash with us? Anyway, we taught her this amazingly powerful lesson right there on this silent but crowded bus! After we finished she turned to the people around her and started doing missionary work! Preaching and telling people to repent and all that. It was great! That evening we stopped by 2 members homes and both times they gave us a towel to dry off with before they let us come in their house. We were wet.
General Conference!!! So on Saturday I was able to watch the 1st session live. It played at 5:00 p.m so that's how far apart we are.
Sunday morning we watched the Priesthood session at 10. Then the Saturday Afternoon session at 1. Hey guess what! So Joanne, our bashing investigator, dropped us last week, but she came crawling back to us and ended up coming to conference! It was amazing! She came in right as Elder Anderson was starting his talk and I swear that talk was written for Jxxxxx. It addressed one of her biggest concerns. Everything from that point on was just perfect. Conference was written for me and Jxxxxx. Sorry all of you who had to listen to it, maybe next time they'll write it for you. HA!
Anyway, at 5 we watched the sunday morning session live and that was great! We haven't been able to see the last session but I am going to listen to it as soon as I can.
Conference is like a shot of spiritual caffine. It just energizes me and makes me happy.
I love you all. Thank you for writting me and for your support. I love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Carlisle #9


So Carlisle. It's a pretty crazy place. I'm not really sure what to say this week. I'm feeling quite lazy about writing this email.
Well, this week was a little bit slow. We traveled to Chorley (where the Preston temple is) on Wednesday for a multi zone skills workshop. The different zone leaders and sister training leaders were responsible for running a station teaching a missionary skill. Most of it was a waste of time because procrastination insn't just a disease that high school students suffer with, it also effects the zone leaders. So most of the trainings were just put together on the fly so I didn't get much out of them. On Friday Jxxxxx dropped us. For those of you who don't understand missionary lingo, that means she doesn't want us to teach her anymore. We clear? Jxxxxx was the one who always tried to prove us wrong and she was a major headache all the time. I really wish that we could keep teaching her and baptise her, but at the same time it's nice to focus our efforts elsewhere. Saturday was a much better day. On Saturdays we have an hour to use the computers to do family history. I feel the spirit of Elijah! Side note, if you read about Elijah in the bible, he is one class bloke. :) Then we had a lesson with a new investigator who has an unbelievable amount of faith. She kept saying over and over, "it can't be coincidence that we met, God wants me to take this step in my life. It can't be a coincidence." She is the most Golden investigator. Pray that Dxxxx will want to be baptised! I didn't spell baptize wrong, that's just how the English do it.
Other than that, our week was wildly uneventful.
I know all of you were thinking, "Oh, I wish I could do something for Elder Olsen, he's just one of the best people I know!" Thank you for thinking so highly of me, I appreciate it. ;) Well there is something you can do!!! Will you please read your patriarchal blessing, then go through and rewrite it in your own words? I did this not long ago and I learned so much about myself, my potential, and how my Heavenly Father sees me. If you don't have a patriarchal blessing, if you are at an appropriate age, consider getting one.
I love you! Thank you for your prayers and support.
Love, Elder Olsen
p.s. Mang nix the mushkras are rakin. That is the gangster slang for "shut up! the cops are coming!" You're welcome.
 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Carlisle #8

I think the hardest part of writing emails is thinking of the subject.

So it has been a good week this week in Carlisle. We didn't see much success which was hard, but I have faith that we will see miracles this week!


Before I get into the bulk of the letter, I want to give you my insights on why the Atonement was necessary in the pre-existence. In Revelations chapter 2 it talks about the war in heaven. The dragon (Satan) and his 1/3 fight against Michael and his army (US!!) Verse 11 says something to the effect of, "and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by their testimonies." So we won the war in heaven because of the Atonement! Crazy right?? That's so cool!
So this week. 
Monday was P-day! So after we emailed and did our shopping, we went with a member to the golf course and played a round of golf. :) I have never golfed before, but guess who won!! It was me! I'm so special!! That evening we had one of the most unorthodox lessons I've ever had. Basically we did family history on the x-box and had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation sitting on a bed. I've basically learned to roll with whatever the investigators give me. 
Tuesday wasn't anything special, we taught our gay friend again, and he had been keeping committments so we decided to keep teaching him for now. :) 
On Wednesday we had an All Elder Training in Manchester, which was so good! We started out with President Ulrich talking about the Atonement, which was really cool because that has been the focus of my study for a couple days. After that we had a breakout session where we got to play sports!! And guess what. One of the Elders had a proper disc. So needless to say, I played Ultimate. :) Look! It's a picture down below! 
Ultimate!  Elder Johnson (from Break Force), Elder Lundell (from Riverton), Elder Olsen (from Sky View)
After that meeting we had exchanges, so I was on exchange with one of the Zone Leaders in Lancaster. We taught a man from Italy who can barely speak english. Elder Kxxxxxxx (zl) is from Sweden so his english isn't great either so I ended up giving the whole lesson. I'm pretty sure both I and this investigator got a little taste of the gift of tongues. Anyway, the exchange was good and I learned alot. The rest of the week was pretty normal so I'm not going to go into that. Today we went to the Scottish border with 3 of our investigators and the sisters! Pictures below!!! 

Adventures at the Scotland border



But yeah! I'm super excited for this coming week. It will be good. :)

I think you are all pretty great! Thank you for your love, support, letters, emails and the like. It's great!

But really. I love you.
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Carlisle #7

Well it has been another crazy week in Carlisle. I'm hoping for an abnormal week this week, because our normal weeks are weird and messed up and super crazy. So an abnormal week would be nice. :)
After I emailed last week Elder VW and I went to the driving range and wacked out all of our stress on the poor golf balls.
 It was wonderful. I'm not a very good golfer, and I'm still awful, especially with a driver, but I got pretty darn good at hitting the snot out of the balls with the 8 iron. :) Oh it was good fun!
This week has been really good. We had some solid appointments with our investigators and some of them are progressing quite nicely! Hopefully we will see a baptism in Carlisle before the end of this transfer. It's been years since the last baptism here, but I believe strongly that as soon as we get one it will be like pushing over that first domino and others will follow. 
On Friday we got a call from one of the sisters former investigators. His name is Pikachu. It's not really, but he has problems so I shouldn't tell you his real name. Pikachu wanted us to come over and have a chat with him, and so the next day we did. It was alright, nothing special happened, but at the end we invited him to church. Skip to Sunday. He comes to church. We didn't think he would. He's dressed in sweat pants and a wife beater and he was a little bit tipsy, but he came. :) At the end of sacrament meeting we take him home and set up an appointment to meet up with him that night. So that night when we came he decided to tell us about all his problems. Long story short, he's gay, he's in love with both of us, he was sentanced to life in prison but got out after 14 years for good behavior, he went to prison because he was a paid hit man. So we're teaching a gay assassin. WHAT!?!?! Why is my life so great??? I'm on a mission in England, teaching a gay assassin. Life could not be better for me right now. :D
Anyway, I have a challenge for you.  I want you to study your scriptures and tell me what was the purpose of the Atonement in the pre-earth life. No internet allowed!!! :)
I love you all very much. I love your emails and letters, and I love your prayers. I know that God answers our prayers. Test it.
You are the best. I love you.
Elder Olsen

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Carlisle #6


It's transfers on Wednesday! Isn't that crazy! I've been in Carlisle for 6 weeks now. It's great. So nothing new is happening with me this transfer, Elder VW and I stay in Carlisle. YAY!
So last week I asked you to study the book of Jonah and to share your insights with me on that. Thank you soo much for doing that! I've learned alot from your comments and insights and it has been really great for me. So what I got out of Jonah has a lot to do with the character of our Heavenly Father. In chapter 1 Jonah is told to arise! What was he doing before?? He was on his bum! He was sitting around, waiting for life to come to him. So Jonah arises, but he arises to flee, or as we learn in the footnotes, he procrastinates. He tries to flee from the presence of the Lord so he gets on a boat to Tarshish. A big storm arises because God can do that, and the mariners on the boat (they're great by the way) they say, "everyone! pray to your god to deliver us!" lower case g. (vs. 5) They didn't know God! But wait, they find Jonah sleeping and say "Jonah, call upon your God" they were starting to get the picture, that was uppercase. They cast lots and it falls on Jonah so they question him. "Jonah where are you going, why is God mad?" etc. And Jonah feels bad so he tells them to cast him into the sea. But the great mariners, they don't want to do that! They want to save his life so they rowed hard to bring the boat to land. But the waves got bigger and it didn't work so they cast him overboard. Then look, this is great. They "cried unto the Lord" the Lord. Then they make sacrifices to the Lord. In this bad circumstance, they came to know the Lord. They don't mention their gods any more. Wow. Bad things happen to good people, but maybe that's because people come to know their God in those hard times. Ok, the fish. This is good. Look at this part as symbolism for Jesus Christ. He was in the fish for 3 days. That's pretty crazy. But look at this, chapter 2 it mentions the temple. Wow. Look at that story with the temple in mind. Jonah made vows right?? He broke those vows and it says he was in "the deep" or Hell. But what was the vow??? It talks about sacrifice in that same verse. Vows or Covenants, sacrifice, temple.  Hmm, they had the endowment back then?? What do you think about that?? Mind blown. Now we get to the other stuff and I'll be quick. The fish vomits Jonah onto dry land. How nice is that!? The Lord could've made the fish vomit him anywhere but nope, God is nice. When he gets to Ninevah, he was only in the city for a day and the people are already fasting and praying and repenting and they're humble, and even the animals are fasting! Now this is speculation, but Jonah says Ninevah will be destroyed in 40 days and they start to fast that day. I think they fasted for 40 days just like the Savior. And then the last bit, Jonah. Jonah didn't want Ninevah to be spared. I think people are like that. Some people hold grudges and don't let us change and become better. They don't let us forget about previous mistakes. Grrrrr! Don't be one of those people! Forgiveness is Grand!
Anyway, that's that. This week was good! We went to Carlisle castle Monday after emailing, I'll attach pictures.




That night we traveled by train to Lancaster to spend the night with the zl's. Tuesday we went to Manchester and had one big meeting all day, but it wasn't boring, it was so good! President Ulrich talked alot about prayer. Prayer is so great! Everyone should pray more. yep. We didn't have tons of spiritual experiences this week because we were out of Carlisle so much that we didn't have time to give very many lessons. But Elder VW got hit by a car! We were on bikes and he just got side swipped. So we were in the emergency room until 3 a.m. It's just a minor ankle sprain. He's all right. Yeah...
So I guess that's it. I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your support and stuff. Thank you thank you thank you!
Love,
Elder Olsen

Monday, September 1, 2014

Carlisle #5

Carlisle. It's a crazy place.
Elder VW and I are celebrities. We have a whole street who absolutely love us. We walk down the street and they all come out of their houses and want to talk to us and the little kids are giving us loom band braclets and rings, and it's crazy. On Saturday we went to pull weeds for an older gentleman, so we were in our casual clothes. We walked down the road and for the rest of the day the talk of the town was the mormon's being in normal clothes. The life of a celebrity.
Anyway I want to talk about Jxxxxx, I mentioned her last week a little bit. Jxxxxx is a little bit of a headache. I have a knot in my back under my right shoulder blade named Little Jxxxxx. So the story of Joanne has more to do with what I've learned than what she has. The night we met Jxxxxx with left her with the Restoration pamplet and the Plan of Salvation one. And she spent all night studying about it and about our faith. So the next day we met with her and she spent the whole time asking us questions about deep doctrine that she had found on some anti-mormon site. She wanted to know about how we can become Gods and she attacked us on stuff that isn't relevant and it was a mess. We tried to show her scriptures in the bible about our true identity and loads of stuff like that. But she wasn't having any of it. So we started to mention little nuggets from Tad R. Callister's talk, Our Identity and Our Destiny. Bits like, we grow up to become like our parents and the like. That infuriated her. So we went away feeling not very happy. That night I sat pondering about what happened and what we could've done, and I realized, we had tried to use the "intellect of man" to prove scripture. THAT WILL NEVER WORK!!! If someone becomes a member of the church simply because of what we say, what we prove with historical facts and data, they will not stay a member long. What we should've done, and what we have done in more recent meetings with Jxxxxx, is talk about the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Mormon is true than none of those other questions matter. If an investigator gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the divinity of it, they will be truely converted. But if they believe what you say about facts, they will merely be convinced, which is not conversion. Jxxxxx is beginning to soften her heart and to accept little things. The power and divinity of the Book of Mormon is real. I have seen miricles because of it. I know without a doubt in my mind that it is not only a historically accurate book, but it is of God. It testifies of Jesus Christ. It has changed my life.
On Thursday we traveled to Preston to go to Speciallized training, where our zone met together with President Ulrich, his wife, and his assistants. It was incredible. I'm still trying to process the personal revelation I recieved. It's something about prayer. How we need to stop praying for general things and to start praying for what we really want. The assistants taught us to stop praying to find a family, and start praying to find a specific family. For example, on Saturday night I prayed that we would be able to find a family with parents who are married, has a teenage son and two small girls, who are ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We found them. They are potential investigators but we are meeting with them this week and I have full faith that they will accept it and be baptized.
I have grown to love the Bible. I studied the book of Jonah this morning, it has some powerful stuff. My invitation to you is to study the book of Jonah. Please share your insights with me and next week I'll share mine with you.
I love you all. You are in my prayers constantly. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I love my mission. I miss you tremendously, but I don't care. I get to be here in England on the Lord's errand!!! Ya'll should be jealous.
One more invitation: have one religious conversation a day with your friends or family.
I love you.
-Elder Olsen
p.s. ice bucket challenge conquered.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Carlisle #4



I'm sorry I didn't email yesterday, it was Bank Holiday so all of the banks and libraries were closed.
My week... Before I get into that, I just want to tell you how much I love you. I took so many things for granted that I never realized, little simple things like having a clean dish towel. I never realized how much of an impact my family and friends had on me. I have been so blessed to have grown up in a family that loves our heavenly father and that has standards. A family who works together in love and unity. I've seen torn apart families who absolutly can't stand thinking about their family. I am so blessed to have been raised in the church. Thank you ancestors for accepting the Gospel and teaching and raising your children in the ways of righteousness. So I honestly do love you.
Family: I would've been a much different person without the love that you've shown me. I love you.
Friends: You guys are crazy. And blessed. I've been taught alot by you. By example, and sadly, by things that I wanted to do differently. But I can honestly say, I love you all. You've inspired me to become a better person and for that I am so grateful.
Some advice: this comes from the bottom of my heart and I absolutely know this is true. If you want to be a good friend, don't exclude people. Happiness does not come from pushing yourself higher that other people. Happiness does not come by pulling others down to make yourself look better. Happiness comes from pushing one another up. From making other people happy. If you help others climb higher, you will be climbing higher yourself, and you might not even realize it. Do not exclude people. Do not make a circle of friends. Be open to other people. See the good in other people, and you will be happier. I don't mean to rebuke anyone. I only want to share some of what I learned the hard way.
Some of the highlights from my week.
Txx. Txx is the only investigator we have who has been with us since the beginning. We met with him on Tuesday, planning on teaching the 3rd lesson (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) but when we got talking and found out that he hadn't read in the Book of Mormon since our last lesson, I felt the strongest prompting to read with him. I looked at Elder V, he looked at me (he was getting the same prompting), and we just laid it on him. We read 1 Nephi 1, explained the importance of the Book of Mormon, talked about how if you want an answer to your questions you need to put some effort into it, and he committed to read and to come to church! Sadly, he stayed out to late on Saturday night drinking, so he was hung over and didn't come.:(
The other big highlight comes from Jxxxxx. Jxxxxx is a very intense Church of the Nazarene Christian. She believes very strongly that Jesus saved her from a life of badness and that she has the truth. She believes in the bible with all her heart. Anyway, after we first met and answered some questions, she had done tons of research and she came prepared for our meeting with questions, not to find out about us, but to prove us wrong. She attacked deep doctrine like how we can become Gods. Thankfully, we were able to defend our religion with the bible, and with the bible, show her about the plan of salvation. :) Thank you Paul!
 
We've had a pretty good week. Yesterday we were able to go to the temple!!!!!!! I love the temple! Yep. That's pretty much it from Carlisle.
 
I love you,
-Elder Olsen
Cheers!
 



Monday, August 18, 2014

Carlisle #3

This week has been a bit slow, which is honestly really hard. It's hard to focus, and it's hard to get motivated when nothing is happening.

But that's ok! Because we started the week off really well, and we finished it really well. So Monday was obviously P-day, which is always nice. So P-day ends at 6 and after that we pound the pavement. We tried by loads of investigators, unfortunately none of them were home. But in the process, we got rained on. Drenched. Ring me out, soaked to the bone, sopping wet. It was so much fun! :) Tuesday was probably the most successful day of my misison so far. We went on exchanges with the zone leaders, but we blitzed the area, meaning both companionships were in the same area instead of one in each. I was with Elder Hxxxxxxx and he is a monster missionary. He is so good. We went tracting and street contacting and taught lessons and it was just the best thing ever. While tracting we met a young man named Sxxxx. We started to teach him the first lesson on the doorstep and halfway through he invited us in! We finished the lesson which went really well and he totally wants to learn more! Unfortunately we haven't been able to catch him in since, but hopefully. Days like that are what make missionary work feel rewarding. Ah! It was so good!
Wednesday was less good. We had 4 appointments set up and they all fell through. We did service for an ancient member of the branch. Oh! We had our first dinner appointment! We were fed by a part active/part less active members home. We shared this appointment with the sisters in Carlisle, because it was one of their birthdays! So it was good. This family is from Zimbabwe and they fed us fried chicken. Thursday was awful. Nothing got done. Nobody accepted us, appointments fell through, etc. Friday we had 5 appointments with investigators fall through. Saturday was pretty much the same. But I can always count on Sunday.
Sunday!!! Elder V and I fasted because nothing was happening. I gave a talk in church on the Resurrection, Judgement and Kingdoms of Glory and that went really well. I was the closing speaker so I had prepared a 20 minute talk but I only had time to give 10 minutes, which I was disappointed about, but I could definatley feel the spirit. :) We taught sharing time in primary which was so much fun! The branch only has 9 kids in primary but it was still exhausting. We had a dinner appointment and we had Yorkshire pudding. This proper english meal is just potatoes, roast and gravy. It was pretty good!
So I'm sorry this email is jumbled and probably doesn't make sense.
I've learned alot of patience this week. With my companion, with the area, and with myself. I can honestly say missions change you for the better. Back home I don't think I included Heavenly Father in my life. I knew he was there, I went to church, read my scriptures and prayed, but I just went throught the motions. I only felt the spirit if it punched me in the face. Now that I'm out, I recongnize the little things more. I feel the spirit direct me, whereas before I just felt the spirit and it was the spirit, now I can discern direction, comfort, peace, direction, and direction. The spirit will direct you in everything if you desire it and if you make yourself avaliable for it to. Please, include Heavenly Father in your life. You're life will get immensly better.
I love you all. Thank you for your prayers.
Love, Elder Olsen
P.S. It's August and I'm freezing. Count your blessings.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Carlisle #2

These emails are so hard to write. So much happens in one week!
I've seen so many miracles this week. Miracles that most people would deem as insignificant, miniscule, or simply just as chance. But these miracles are what make missionary work so rewarding. They mean so much to me and to my companion, but when we try to tell them to people it doesn't sound as amazing as it really is in my mind.
I love Carlisle. And white washing. Since we reopened the area, we had to start from scratch. We didn't have a pool of investigators or even potential investigators to work with. And that means contacting! We've spoken to soooo many people here, we have a reputation on facebook. Carlisle is divided into sections of the town. ex. We live in Harraby, the church is in Morton, etc. We're known on facebook as the "happiest people in all of Harraby" and that "Mormons are the best people and the best neighbors". Sadly, all of these comments are followed by "I could never be one". But I really feel like this good reputation is a good foundation that we can build on.
On Wednesday we were walking around Morton, street contacting, and we past by a house with a door mat that really caught my attention. It said "I'd love to stay and chat, but I" then it had a picture of a mustache. :D get it?? I'd love to stay and chat but I mustache... must dash! So we just had to knock on that door. It was the only door we've knocked since we've been here. A 22 year old girl opened the door. We talked about stuff, no mention about the gospel, asked if we could come visit again, she said yes, and that was that. Then on Saturday we went to Morton with the sisters to visit one of their investigators and give him a blessing. Opposite side of Morton. We gave him a blessing and when we left, Elder V and I offered help to an old couple working in their garden. We had a nice chat, the old lady, Ixxxx, grew fond of me and told me areas to avoid. They were the nicest people ever! We set up an appointment with them and went on our way. Yesterday after church while we were waiting in line for the bus, and lo and behold, the girl (Jxx) (different Jxx than I mentioned last week) was waiting for the same bus! Anyway, we find out the the old couple Gxxxxx and Ixxxx are her grandparents! So now we have appointments to teach the whole family! That isn't chance. Coincidence doesn't exist. We knocked one door. We spoke to one couple. They both accepted. They're related! Straight up miracle.
On Thursday we were riding our bikes around Harraby and out of nowhere a group of 20 teenage ruffians surround us. They're smoking, swearing, spitting at us, trying to steal our bikes, it was almost a panic moment. But Elder V had brought his guitar with us that day, so he whipped it out and we calmed the beast by serenading it with the sweet tunes of two young men and a guitar singing Hark All Ye Nations! Now these kids are our friends. :) Miracle.
Invite the missionaries back home to come to your house for dinner! Set an example. We haven't had any dinner appointments yet, and I'm getting sick of pasta and curry. Don't make the missionaries where you live suffer!!!!! :)
Can you do a huge favor for me??? Pray for our investigators by name. Jxxxx (pronounced Utah), Txx, Jxx, Lxxx, Jxx & Jxxxx, Cxxx & Mxxx, Hxxxxx & Kxxxxxx, Gxxxxx & Ixxxx, and Kxx. I know this makes a difference. I know that Heavenly Father loves all his children and that every soul is precious to him.
I love you all. Thank you for your support and for your prayers. Life seems to have gotten crazy since I've left, don't let it take away your gospel study. Study the scriptures. The answer to every worldly problem is contained in the scriptures.
I'm praying for you.
Love, Elder Olsen