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

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Carlisle #1

So, MTC week 2. And last. Sorry about the short little wimpy letter last week. They literally gave us 3 minutes to email.

So... MTC. The food got a little bit better, or maybe I just got more tolerant. Either way, this week was much better. I don't really remember what happened. Maybe that's a stupour of thought saying I should'nt bother with it. But I will tell you about contacting. 1st, before my mission, I had no idea what contacting was. So I'm going to tell you. You're welcome. It's when you go out on the street and talk to EVERYONE!!! Try to get their information, phone number, address, social security number, the works. So on Wednesday of last week, they loaded us all onto the coach, and drove us to downtown Manchester, dropped us off and said to meet back there in an hour. So we went and talked to people. The first person we sat next to, folded up their paper and walked away. :( At the end of the hour we didn't have anybody's info. I was feeling down. "I'm a terrible missionary, I'm a terrible person, nobody likes me, Santa's not real, life isn't worth it." But as I laid in my bed wallowing in self pity, I realized that these people aren't just rejecting me. They're rejecting thousands of other missionaries doing the same exact thing. But more importantly, and even sadder, they're rejecting our saviour Jesus Christ.
That's all I care to say about the MTC. Life was good, I was happy. I had friends, and I feel like I came to know Jesus Christ.

Wednesday the 30! Transfer day!!! The day I sent that pathetic letter. So! They loaded us on the coach at 6 am and drove us to a chapel in Manchester. We met President and Sister Ulrich there, they are great. President is full of doctrine and spouts it out like nothing. We recieved training from the AP's who seem amazing. At 2ish:00 I met my companion. (I will send pictures in a seperate email). His name is Elder V and he is from West Jordan, Utah. He's 22 and quite smart. He's a musician and a great missionary. I have a really good trainer.

So we're in the Carlisle area, which is as far north as you can go without going into Scotland. I think it's 9 miles to the border from where I am now. It's a biking area, but we have been walking and taking the bus alot as well. This is one of the two biking areas left in the mission. The rest are all cars or just public transportation.
One more thing about Carlise. WE ARE WHITEWASHING IT, AND REOPENING IT! WHAT!!!!
But that's ok. It's been so great. Because we reopened it we had zero appointments set up, so we've been doing A LOT of contacting. I've already seen miricles in my life, but I'll get to that later. People in Carlisle are certifiably crazy. I've told 11 year olds to get cigaretts out of their mouths, I've been hugged by a 16 year old who was proper drunk. His eyes wouldn't focus, he reeked with alcohol, and he couldn't stand up straight. I chatted with a blind man who had a girlfriend with mental issues. He thought she was Celine Dion. I sat next to a crazy man at the library and security guards took him out. (he'd escaped from the mental hospital).
Miricles. Thursday morning. First time out of the flat, we talk to a man with gages and lip and nose rings. He was a former investigator! We taught him the restoration this morning and he accepted a hypothetical baptismal commitment. "if you find out these things are true will you be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God?"
 His name is T and he's crazy. But great!
On Saturday Elder V and I were walking down the street and we both turned right at an intersection. Which was weird, because we were planning on going straight. My comp started to turn around to go where we intended, but there was a lady walking towards us. So I said, "let's talk to that lady first, she wants to be baptized!" totally joking. But when we talked to her, she was the most normal person ever! She isn't crazy! Isn't that great! She wants us to come over and teach her! I'm so excited! J is my favorite investigator ever! I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways! :)
I've already had fish and chips. They call the shops "chippies" and they really are on every corner. It was really good, everyone says the one we were at is the best.
Yesterday was fast Sunday and the ward held a special fast for missionary work! Everybody in the branch bore their testimony. There were only 4 people in the gospel principles class, including the teacher and 2 missionaries. :) Life is great! I love being a missionary! The church is so true! I love you all! You are simply the best!
Elder Olsen

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Arrival in Manchester

President and Sister Ulrich and Elder Olsen

Elder Olsen and his first companion and trainer Elder V