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!
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.