Monday, December 28, 2015

Wigan #15

Hey everyone!

England: where the only free wifi you can find is in a pub.

This email will probably end up being pretty short, sorry! Family: It
was so good to see you and speak with you! That was such an amazing
part of my week. I think this Skype was probably the one I enjoyed the
most. I'm not sure what it was about it but it was so good for me.
Thank you for making that special for me. Everyone else: you missed

This Christmas was great! Ya I missed being with family, but It was a
great Christmas nonetheless. On Christmas Eve we spent the night with
the the other Wigan Elders, Elders Nxxxxxx and Txxx, and the
Warrington Elders, Elder Bxxxxx and Elder Wxxxxxxxx. We bonded
together and enjoyed the company. It was good!

In the days after Christmas, the flooding happened. Pictures attached.
It was fun. It's gone now, not much we could've done to help, but fun
to laugh at!

I think that's it! Oh ya! We went to Manchester today to go shopping
and we went to the National Football Museum. 'Twas good!

So that's it from me, I'll make sure to attach a few pictures to make
up for not many words. Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wigan #14


I guess the first thing I want you to know this week is just how much I love my mission. I have so much joy from being involved in this work! It builds my testimony so much feeling so happy, because there isn't much that should make me happy when I look at things from a secular view. The circumstances that we live in as missionaries here in England should not add up to good Christmases. We don't have family, no snow, no Santa or reindeer, no elves, not even a Christmas tree! The situational mathematics should not equate to a brilliant Christmas! It's been the warmest December England has seen in 70 years so there is no chance of snow, we've prayed so much for angels to protect our flats that here is no chance Santa is going to get here :), we're 7000 miles away from family, and we're to poor to purchase a tree. But despite the lack of Christmas frills, I've never felt the spirit of Christmas so much. Now I know that we are actually in great circumstances for missionaries, and actually for lots of people, but that's not what I'm getting at. The fact that I feel the way that I do confirms again and again to me that The Christ did come. He was born many years ago but the sweet scene that the shepherds witnessed can be ever present in our hearts. And it is in mine. On Saturday the other Wigan Elders met with us to street contact town centre. It was really rough at first, in the 1st 45 minutes I had only given away 1 pass along card. A few of us wanted to quit, but I said a prayer, asking to be led to the right people, and then it started booming! The best experience came towards the end when I met a woman who had lost her husband 3 months ago. She was in a bad place in her life and couldn't wait for Christmas to be over. As I testified to her that she could have a great Christmas regardless, something connected our hearts. I felt her pain and she felt my love, both for her and for Christmas. It was a magical moment, something that I've never quite experienced the like of. This 50 year old lady named Rxxxx has been a major contributor in helping me find CHRISTmas. We exchanged great gifts that day.

Our Christmas rules are much more strict than they were last year. We have to proselyte on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and the biggest shopping day of the year. We didn't last year, we also don't have as much liberty with what movies we can watch. Some missionaries are throwing temper tantrums about this. I don't understand it, when we accepted our calls we didn't care what happened those days! People just forget the reason they serve. I think that this helps us to focus on the "reason for the season".

Last night we went out caroling with the other Elders. We had so much fun, and had a lot of laughs, but it was also a bit hard as well. We went door to door and more often than not we were shut down. Several times we were asked to stop singing before we were halfway through the song. I know we didn't sound the greatest, but it goes to show how much Christmas is becoming more of a commercialised event than a religious celebration. People don't really care anymore. It's the biggest challege that we face. Satan is working dang hard. And he's doing a good job, but that's why we've gotta work harder! I love it so much!
Make this the best Christmas you've ever had. Focus on Christ. Read about His life. Ponder His ministry. And celebrate! It's a time of "great joy"! Act like it!

I love you all! Here's some pics! Maybe just one...

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wigan #13

Hello All!

I'm so happy today! It's been a great week and I feel good. I love contrasts. I think that it's easily the best way to show how good something is, or I guess if you look at it the other way, how bad something is. This was a week of missionary work. I loved it. It wasn't a week where I had to worry about what other people would do, or have done, but I was able to direct my focus and faith towards inviting others to come unto Christ. It was very spiritaully fulfilling, especially yesterday as I partook of the sacrament. I was keenly aware of the sacrifice of my Savior, and that was a huge blessing for me to be able to see.
This week was one of tracting. We went harrrd. I think tracting is similar to Christmas. Each door is like a present, and you don't know what's inside til it's opened. And no matter what happens, it's always a positive experience! It's easy to see how the times when you testify to a soft hearted man who is interested and wants to learn more is good, but sometimes it's harder to see how others can be so good. We had an experience on Saturday that I think shows how those negatives are actually positives in disguise. It was rainy and cold, we'd been knocking doors for about an hour when we came to... another door! So we knocked that and the door next to it opened! Most of the houses in England are terraced housing, so they are all connected. The person who opened that one told us to come in and that they wanted us to tell them about our God. I was a bit apprehensive because I could smell alcohol on this lady. She was probably about 25 so I asked if they're were other people in the house. She said that there were two other people there so we went in and found a mess. These three ladies had been drinking since 5:00 the night before and it was about 12. They were still going with the coke and vodka and they were absolutely smashed. The one who opened the door started asking loads of questions, saying that she was a devil worshipper and spouting off loads of random stuff. The other two were just as drunk, one of them went off about how she wanted us to help her become a Jehovah's Witness, while the other one stared at me without blinking for a good 2 minutes. When she broke it and blinked she started screaming at the top of her lungs! We made a swift exit after testifying of the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. So that interesting experience was super positive because we've been laughing about it ever since! Super funny.
We went to Liverpool on Sunday night to watch the Christmas Devotional. So good! I loved President Uctdorf's talk. That devotional helped me to get more into the spirit of Christmas, which has been hard because not many people put lights on their houses. People will decorate a tree, but we don't often get to see those because we rarely get past the door step. So it doesn't really feel like England celebrates, even though I know it does.
Here's some pictures. Enjoy!
Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wigan #12

Hello everyone!
Thanks for being so great, I'm so thankful for your prayers and letters. I miss you all, but I'm so grateful to be immersed in the most incredible work, it's such a blessing to be a part of this. I can feel of your support and love for me. It really carried me this week. 
So this week had some crazy ups and downs. Hands down, it was the most emotional week I've had on mty mission. I experience every thing in an inbetween balling like a baby, laughing my head off, stressing myself out of my mind, flying by the seat of our pants, discouragment, disapointment, inadequacy, shame, joy, depression, and anxiety. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, which I pray is over because I do not want to deal with any more.
I don't know how to begin to describe the week. This was a week where much of my attention was devoted to other missionaries and their problems and concerns. This week I had to deal with other missionaries problems, all while trying to handle my own problems and focus on investigators. It was a trying week.
I won't go into anymore detail than that. I already spent quite a bit of time writing President about it and I've talk about it to my zone leaders, President and Sister Ulrich, and the assistants. I've told the story a few times so I'll forgo telling it this time. Reading that it sounds like I've just been super depressed and down, but I honestly did manage to enjoy parts of my week.
So here's the latest update on Dxxxxxxx and Bxx. Dxxxxxxx is gone as can be. We had two addresses for her, and both of them were places where she lived, but it was 3-5 years ago when she last lived there. She hasn't answered the phone in what seems like months. 
Bxx is still struggling. He bought us KFC this week which was really nice, but as far as his progress goes, he's slowed down a lot and he's doesn't really have that desire to keep going. We won't give up though.
I went on exchange with Elder Dxxxxxxxx again this week. I went on exchange with him when I was in Warrington, and we worked in Wigan. So we went on exchange, and that was actually pretty good. It was nice to be able to work with a different missionary and help with different issues than I'm used to.
I'm grateful for trials. I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow. I know prayer works. God lives. He gives us the strength and help that we need when we need it.
Have a great week!
Love you!
Elder Olsen
We did glamour shots this week!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wigan #11

Hello Everyone!
Happy P-day! It's a wonderful, cold, wet, day! England is the best! I love my life! 
I'll start this puppy off with a story... It was a cold, wet, but wonderful day. We were at a dinner appointment on Saturday, it's a part member family that I had never been to before. So we get there and sit on the couch and they bring out the food (they don't have a table). I set my plate of spaghetti and meatballs on my knees and turn to look at Elder Rxxxx, as I do my plate slips off and the spaghetti runs away all of over my suit and the carpet of these poor people's home! So I'm trying to clean it up and their little Jack Russell Terrier dog comes over and eats most of this speghetti. They get me another plate and we eat, I'm thoroughly embarrassed at this point and my face is bright red the whole time. When they bring out dessert the dog wanders in the room as well, and throws up, all over the floor, huge red mess of tomato sauce and meatball chunks! It's disgusting, but they clean it up and we carry on, pretending like nothing happen And then the dog did it again!! And this time it's the rest of the pasta! It was the funniest, most embarrassing meal of my life. :)
My Thanksgiving this year consisted of a wonderful meeting with half of the mission and Paul V. Johnson of the 70. It was a great meeting and I loved it so much! It was a spiritual feast and I came away from it with an incressed desire to do better.
This week was super rainy! We had a street display in Warrington that was going incredibly well. All 8 of us missionaries were there teaching different people and seeing great success. I was talking with a lady from Liverpool who is the nicest lady in the world. She was super prepared to hear the Gospel and started crying when I taught her the 1st vision. It was probably because the cold wind was blowing right in her eyes, but I choose to believe otherwise! :) She's going to be fantastic for the sisters to teach over there. After that we kept going with the display, until the Heaven's sent down the torrential rains! It was absolutely throwing it down! So we had to wrap up the display. It was super good nontheless!
Last week on we met up with the sisters from Warrington, because on of them Sister Yuan, is chinese and we began teaching a chinese family! They were met at a street display weeks ago, but because of busy schedules we were just able to meet with them this week. The Chinese have a different set of lessons because of their religious background, so It was fun to teach about the Godhead and have a translator! It was a completely new experience that I would highly recommend. :)
Well I think that's about it from this neck of the woods. I might send pictures later if I can get back to the church before P-day ends.
Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wigan #10

Hello all!
Wow, the miracles never ceases to amaze me. Since I've been on a mission, in a position where I get to see people grow spiritually, it puts me in an amazing position to see the hand of God in not only my life, but in the lives of those around me as well. But not only that, I have the incredible opportunity to help and assist in the process! I get to share with people advice, teachings, and experiences that I can see affect people's lives.
One of the times that I saw this strongly was this week when we were teaching Bxx. It has been a difficult journey with Bxx, he's never fallen back to his hard drugs, which is amazing, but he has relapsed with smoking once or twice. But we've been teaching him for so long that we've gotten to the point where I don't know what else we can teach him. So we've really tried to understand God's will in this, because we can't do anything. This week in going to through the scriptures I was reading in Alma about the Atonement and it just hit me how real it actually is. So we taught Bxx about that, and how the restoration of Christ's church gives us greater acces to it than we would otherwise have. He thought about it for awhile, and we were just sitting there in silence, feeling the spirit and waiting for his reaction. Oh, I loved that moment so much, I know with all my heart that the Church of God is found here in this church. The feelings that I have had overweigh all of the things that I don't understand.

One of the most exciting things that happened this week was last night. We were standing in the cold, shivering our tails off, and a drunk lady came up to us! Now, I love drunk people, they are so funny, so I was excited to talk with her. She was asking us loads of questions about the church, and we were answering them and bearing testimony and the like, then she turned on us and started telling us that we can't be telling people stuff like that because we are too young. That we just came to England because we wanted to see the world. Elder Rxxxx doesn't like people telling him what his emotions are, and when he gets mad it's scary. And this lady was just going on and on about how we haven't lived because we haven't ever seen anybody die of aids, and we haven't lived because we've never been in a war. She was being really arrogant and Elder Rxxxx was getting mad, so I just started messing with this lady, asking her some contridictory questions and leading her into all sorts of loopholes. Elder Rxxxx saw what I was doing and so he joined in the fun. At the end she wanted to know how two 19 year olds can know so much about religion, so we got a return appointment with her! So now we are trying to figure out who will be a good fellowshipper for someone like that. Reading over that it sounds really mean, but it wasn't really. We were polite and the questions weren't rude or anything. It was nice and it rekindled my love for the people of the drink.
Here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wigan #9

Dear Family,

Man, I love you lot. It's been a good week for me, and I'm so grateful for the time that I have to be here away from you. In the best way. :) it's such a growing experience for me. I'm writing this on Tuesday because yesterday we had an all-Elder meeting at the Manchester stake centre. It was so much fun! I was able to see almost all of the companions that I've had on my mission, that was fantastic. I missed out on seeing 3 of them. My trainer, Elder VW has gone home, Elder Bxxxxxxxxxx has gone home, and Elder Sxxxxxxx has been banished to the Isle of Man. But I got to see Elder Rxxxx, I see him all the time, but he was there, E. Bxxxxxx, E. Lxxxxxx, E. Hxxxxx,  E. Sxxxxx, and E. Sxxxxxx, along with some others that I have gotten close to. We had some great trainings given by President and a few of the Zone Leaders. It was a great meeting and on top of that we had a few hours to play sports. I played some American Football, had a blast, and am now super sore. So worth it. But between travel and the meeting we didn't have time for anything else so we did our shopping today and now I'm writing you! Elder Rxxxx has the flu, so I'm hoping I don't get it, but he has had some pretty severe symptoms so we're under orders from the mission president's wife to take it easy and spend the day in. After an hour of being in I got cabin fever so I've been going crazy with sorting out the area book, cleaning, studying, etc..

But moving on to how last week was, it was pretty good. We met a great lady named Dxxxxxxx. She was referred to us from, so we texted her and set up an appointment for the next day. When we met her we took her on a chapel tour and set some good expectations for teaching her. Then at the end of the visit we extended a baptismal invitation to her...and she said yes! So we offered her two dates, and she asked, can I be baptised before that?! Oh boy, you could've picked our fellowshipper's jaw off the ground, Elder Rxxxx was bouncing in his seat, and I don't think I stopped grinning for the rest of the day! The work is being hastened!

Currently in our mission there is a big focus on the Addiction Recovery Program that the Church has. We've been given 1 hour a week where we study out of this booklet and complete it ourselves. Man, there is some amazing stuff in that book that's worth considering no matter who you are. Like, "In what ways can you learn to trust In God?" And "List some of your character weaknesses, and next to them list the strengths they may become as you come unto Christ." How powerful is that?!?! I'm super excited to keep applying these to myself and working my way to overcoming the grasp that sin has on me.

I went on exchange this week with Elder Pxxx who is in my district, I brought him here to Wigan and we had fun! One of the highlights was that we had some Mac & Cheese for dinner! That stuff is extremely good. It reminds me of my childhood. It's an American specialty that I've only had 2 or 3 times on my mission. Pure golden goodness. The only thing I need now to complete my childhood reminiscences is corndogs. You can't get those here either, but I believe I will pull through from this trial that doth beset me.

It's starting to get cold here! Christmas is fast approaching! People keep reminding me that this is my last Christmas as a missionary, my last Halloween, my last Thanksgiving, etc.. And it's ticking me off! I love my mission so much and it just goes by way to quickly! But I take comfort in two things: I still have time left, and that even after my mission I will have experiences with the Gospel. I love my God. I know he lives and that he watches over us. He wants to see our happiness and he gives us the things we need to be happy. Sometimes they are concealed and we have to search for them. Sometimes we will find it, but sometimes we will realise that the happiness that we were looking for is in the journey.

I love life!

That's it from me! Love you all!
Elder Olsen
p.s. I was all ready to send pictures, then I realised that I left my card reader at the flat. I promise to send loads next week!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wigan #8

What to say about this week... It was strange. It was good. I'm happy and I've had some great experiences this week, fun ones and spiritual ones too. Some were both fun and spiritual!
On Monday we played basketball as a district again. We have 2 sisters in the district, one from China and one from the Phillipeans. I don't know what if it is just them or if it's Asian culture, but they are fiesty! I'm scared to play against them because they aren't afraid of anything and they come after anyone!
Tuesday... We had district meeting again. And it was a decently good one. Elder Rxxxx and I did the trainings and we talked about how we can improve our street displays. It's supposed to be super fun and interactive. A different form of finding than anything else. And it was great. We were directed by the spirit and managed to get what we had prepared out. That evening we left Wigan to spend the night in Bolton, a neighboring area because early the next morning I would take my theory test for my drivers licence!
Wednesday. It was a... different sort of day. I took the test and passed! But Elder Rxxxx was not allowed to be in the testing centre while I took the test, so he got permission to wander off on his own. I finished the test super fast, and waited for him to come back for about half and hour. He had the phone so I started stopping people in the street, asking them to use their phone. That didn't work. So I wandered around town and had the brilliant idea to check in McDonalds! I found him. Proof that my companion is polynesian...
Thursday was Guy Fawkes day. Which is a holiday the English celebrate where they light bonfires, set off fireworks and get drunk. So once again, we had to be in the flat by 5:00. In order to make better use of our time we did our weekly planning during that time. It was good.
Friday was a good day. It was actually really good. We had some really nice converstations with people on the streets, but unfortunately no return appointments. That's how the last few weeks have gone for us. We seem to do a really good job when we go to Warrington finding potential investigators for them, but it's just not working out for Elder Rxxxx and I. But it's ok, that's how my mission has gone. I just keep trying to work like it all depends on me, and pray like it all depends on God. That evening was also really good. We had a ward activity with a bonfire and fireworks. And wow. It was weird. We got permission to go in normal clothes and so it almost felt like I was back home. But despite that feeling we had the opportunity to teach 2 lessons to non-members and we have a return appointment with one!
Saturday we had a street display in Warrington. And it was really good. The weather was rough before and after the display but it held off for the duration of it. And we put the things in practice that we had talked about at district meeting and got 4 new investigators from it! What??! That's what happens when energy is introduced! It made me happy to see missionaries emerge from their shells and become firecrackers, bouncing around and working incredibly hard. When we got back from that I had the chance to meet with some great family friends. The Craguns (shout out to them!) came and saw me and took us to dinner and gave us some American food! Thank you again, Tim and Ami. It was a very nice evening.

After that we went to wander the streets but both felt like we needed to visit Bxx. So we visited him and had a great lesson with him. wow, That was amamzing. It had been awhile since we really connected with him, but the spirit was so strong, and he regained the motivation to keep progressing, and then he came to church again!
Sunday was a great day at church. President and Sister Ulrich came and afterwards we visited with them and got to have more of a one on one. They are amazing people and I'm glad that they are my leaders for this time.
And that concludes my week! Thanks for reading and thanks for the support! Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wigan #7

Hello Family and Friends!
My week in a nutshell was pretty darn decent. I can't complain to much, and I don't want to, so I won't! Life is good and it moves on. It's one of the greatest things about life. That we don't have to be stuck in the rubbish of the past. I've seen that a lot this week. As many of you know I'm serving with Elder Rxxxx who I served with exactly a year ago. And if you remember I trained him immediately after being trained. So we were both incredibly fresh and green. We made a lot of mistakes. Lots of them. And it led to the time that I spent in that area being the worst time of my mission. And I am just so thankful that we don't have to be stuck with those mistakes. A year has gone by. Nobody died. We can move on! I look back on the year, and it's only looking back that I can see change. But I am so grateful that we can take advantage of the Atonment and grow from the past, not dwell in it. Use it as a springboard for future success.
As I finished up the transfer with Elder Sxxxxxx, we spent some time visiting some people that we were working with, specifically Bxx. Elder Sxxxxxx was the one that found Bxx a week or two before I came to this area. And It was Elder Sxxxxxx that Bxx trusted. When he told Bxx that he was leaving, Bxx said it felt like a kick in the teeth. And that made me think of the New Testament, when Christ was with His disciples and told them that he was leaving. They didn't want to accept it, but they were told that they would be sent another comforter. The Holy Ghost. It hit me that unless there is an element of change in something, nobody will grow. Up to that point I think Bxx was relying heavily on Elder Sxxxxxx, but now that he is gone I hope and pray that he will rely on the Holy Ghost more in his life. I think that would make things so much better and help him progress even more.
Halloween was an interesting night. We live right outside a pub and halloween is much more of a drinking and partying holiday here than a door to door kids holiday like in the states. So we got to listen to quite a bit of drunk karyoke on the 31st! Drunk people are so funny.
Well I think that's probably it for me this week! I love my mission and I love the opportunity to serve God and others. It makes life so much more meaningful and fulfilling.
Love you lots! Have a great week!
Elder Olsen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wigan #6

Hello all!
Well.. to start everything off I will give you the transfer news. There is no sense in making you wait! I will be going to be staying in Wigan! YAY! It's weird to not be moving this transfer, the last time that I "survived" the transfer was back in May! So I've moved around a fair bit. Missionaries tend to be staying in areas longer and longer in this mission. It used to be unheard of for missionaries to stay longer than 4 transfers, which works out to be about 6 months, but now missionaries are staying longer. There is a missionary in Liverpool that has been there for 10 months and he is staying there this transfer. So with the new trend, maybe I'll be able to settle down and get good things rolling. And this is the exciting part. Elder Sxxxxxx is leaving and going to Liverpool, and my new companion is... Elder Rxxxx! What! I'm getting reunited with my "son"! Crazy! It was exactly a year ago that we served with each other. I spent last Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with him, and this year I'll have at least Halloween and Thanksgiving with him, and if we stay next transfer Christmas too! So I'm super excited. It will be great to see how much we have grown and changed in the last year. I'm so excited for it!
A few highlights from my week, and then I'll attach a few photos. These aren't in any particular order or anything, Just the order they come to mind!
On Saturday night it was the end of the Brittish Summertime hours (daylight savings). So I got an extra hour of sleep without breaking any rules! It was great! Such a needed blessing.
Monday night I interviewed the other Wigan Elders investigator for baptism, and then on Saturday he was baptised! I love conducting interviews for baptism. It's a time where I can have a one on one with someone who has a young, fresh testimony and have a very spiritual experience with them. And then to see someone get baptised. Ah! I want it more than anything! I know that I can do hard things, and something that President Ulrich told me recently is that conversion is the real goal. And it doesn't matter who. And I know that I'm helping people become more converted, and I'm helping myself as well. Hard work, despite discouragement or lack of visible success is a lesson that I have learned over and over again. And it's one that will be of great importance for my future.
We had zone meeting this week, and 5 minutes before the meeting started, to the surprise of everyone President and Sister Ulrich walked in! So we had our normal zone meeting, which was really good, and President addressed us. It was SOOO good! My district has been having a few struggles in companionships, and it felt like President was addressing every little issue that I raised in my letters to him! It was so inspired and I learned so much about how I can introduce more energy and excitment into the work. So it was super fun trying that out the rest of the week.
On Friday our dinner appointment was cancelled.
It's pretty obvious here that summer is over! The gloves and scarves are coming out! Bring on the cold! But I wish it would just stay warm...
Well mom, I'm sorry for the short letter last week. I hope this will do for this week, because my fingers don't have any more words to type. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! 
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, October 19, 2015

Wigan #5

Hello all!

This week has been so fast! And boy, it's been a ride! Elder Sxxxxxx and I had some pretty interesting experiences this week, some that were great and others... less so. But all in all it has been a good week, just not long enough! Time flies..

I don't know how to start this, so just look at the picture. It's worth a thousand words anyway.

That's right! We got to take Bxx to the temple this week! It was Amazing!! I cant adequately put into words the feels that we felt there. In D&C 121 it names it "the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost". And I understand that now. The power and feeling that is there is unmatchable, and indescribable. The Spirit was SO strong there, Bxx was so touched, and just said over and over again, "I've never been anywhere so clean, I've never been anywhere so pure." It was an experience never to be forgotten.

Elder Sxxxxxx and I were in a lesson later this week, and the best way to sum up the lesson is to say, drunk people are hilarious! They are so funny!
I don't have any time right now! The Warrington missionaries came and we played sports and had a blast. Here's a picture!

Here's one more picture, and then I need to go!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wigan #4


I'm glad that I'm sitting here writing this letter, because it means that the beginning of another week is here. This week was good with some really good points but I'm glad to put this one behind me. I had to deal with some really stressful stuff that I never wanted to do as a missionary. But thankfully that's all behind me now and I get to move away from the stress and drama. 

Monday was a great P-day. We emailed and shopped and were lazy until 6:00. And then it was time for something fun. We have/had an investigator named Cxxxx who is 19 years old, which means he is YSA aged. So we went to the YSA Family Home Evening with him, which was really fun! It was Elder Dxxxxxxxx's (one of the other missionary's in Wigan) birthday and they had a lesson and then threw a party for him. Our investigator really enjoyed it, but probably to much so. :) later this week we ended up coming to a mutual agreement to drop him because he loves his weed and vodka to much. The only counsel he would take from us in regards to either of those substances was not to do them at the same time. That much alcohol with fire isn't a good idea. He might explode!

Tuesday we had district meeting, a street display, and an exchange. All 3 of these were super good. I have a wonderful district who is so supportive and are great missionaries. At the street display Sister Yxxx, a missionary from China, found a Chinese man and after teaching him a full length lesson dated him for baptism on the spot! He doesn't live in the area so he has to be referred to another area, but it was really added some fire to our street display! After that I went on exchange back to Warrington. I stayed in my old flat, met some of the best members from the area, and ate hot dogs from a bottle. It's the English way to do it, instead of getting hot dogs that come shrink wrapped in the packaging, they come in a bottle soaking in brine. It looks and sounds gross, but it just tastes like a salty hot dog. 

The exchange was good. Elder Bxxxxx is a great missionary and it was fun to be with him in my old area. On Wednesday morning we helped a member move, and in the process of moving a 2 seater recliner up a narrow flight of stairs I did my back in. I've been having a few minor problems with my back the last few months, but it's never had much of an impact on me. I think I just tweaked it just right, and I can't sit down for more than a few minutes now. I think I'm driving my companion crazy during personal study when it looks like I'm playing head, shoulders, knees and toes every 5 minutes! 

I think that's about it for Wednesday, except for dinner I made Hawaiian Haystacks, but it tasted like we were eating oatmeal. It was super bland. I've discovered that I can't cook very well without my mothers help. Or maybe it's because we don't have any proper equipment here. Anyway, because it was so bland I made it more exciting by turning it blue with food colouring. It was definitely more exciting, but it didn't taste much nicer. 

Thursday was weekly planning. We met a nice lad named Lxxx. He is 17 but looks like he is 22. We're hoping to be able to start teaching him, he was our second biggest finding success this week. Super nice kid, has his head on straight and seems to know his way through life alright. He'll be great once we snag him. 

Friday and Saturday were full of finding. I had one or two interesting experiences with that, but I won't go into those. We met a really nice woman who became a new investigator. Very kind and gentle with great faith. But she is mouldable and wants to find the right faith. I'm excited! 

Sunday was a very special day for me. Taking the sacrament was incredibly refreshing, and oh it was wonderful to me. I love the focus on the Sabbath day from the General Authorities. It has changed my perception completely. 

Mom, and anyone else who cares, I promise I have pictures to send, but the computer here is down and there is no way for me to get them from my camera to my iPad to send, so you'll all just have to wait until next week. It's ok, I still look the same, it's just a test of your patience! Sorry! 

All in all a good week over here. I'm pleased with it anyway. I'm glad it was fairly decent back home and I hope this next week will be wonderful!

Love you!

Elder Olsen

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wigan #3

Family! Friends!
It's good to hear from you! As always, thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You lot are the best. It's been a good week over here across the pond. I'm hoping it has been for you as well. Isn't General Conference the best! Ah, it was so good to be able to hear that! Such a spiritually refreshing thing.

This week was a bit weird. We didn't have a lot of time to proselyte. Zone meeting in Liverpool and General Conference left us a with not much to do. On top of that we had a few lessons with our investigator Bxx so that took a lot of time as well. Bxx is doing well. He has had a lot of problems in the past and he's struggling to quit smoking. Conference was really good for me because it hit me that Elder Sxxxxxx and I have been attacking the smoking concern. We've really been attacking the branches on the tree instead of the roots. We really need to be working on teaching him about the Atonement and teaching him how to place his burdens on the Savior, rather than helping him to struggle on his own. I think we've almost been counter-productive. But it's all a learning experience and I'm grateful to be able to learn and grow, rather than be stuck in the past.
So life is pretty good for me. Your english missionary is doing well. I'm happy. I don't have much to say today, but life is good.
Thanks for being great!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, September 28, 2015

Wigan #2

Family and Friends, it's so good to hear from you! Thank you all for writing me and for your support. One thing that I've realized throughout the course of my mission is how valuable friends and family are. As a missionary, things are always changing. And it can wear one down. Ya, it's the same church. Yes, I will always have a companion. Yes, I always have the help of God just a prayer away, but there are so many variables that are always changing. And so it's so nice to have support, to know that every Monday I can be lifted by my loved ones. Thank you to all who take time and write me.
This week was good, but it had some major potential to go downhill. The excitement started on Tuesday after district meeting. We held it in Warrington, and then after that we went to Warrington town center to do a street display. It went pretty well, but there is opposition in all things, and it this case it came in the form of a born-again Christian. This man was a street preacher for whatever church he belonged to, and he didn't like what we were doing. So he parked himself about 10 feet away from us and shouting at the people, telling them how corrupt we are and how the Book of Mormon is false. I don't like stuff like that, so I went over and talked to him! You know, make friends with him and try to get him to stop. And immediately he tried every single born-again trick in the book. He gave me the biggest tongue lashing I've ever had! It was honestly really rough. But I'd been studying about charity, and the spirit surged into me like I'd never felt before, so I politely interrupted him and told him that I love him and that God loves him. He went silent, looked at me, shook my hand, and walked off. It was one of the most touching moments for me on my mission. I hate bashing. I could've pulled out scriptures and shredded his behind, but that's the spirit of contention, so the spirit of the devil. There were 2 other times this week when Elder Sxxxxxx and I were hit with born-again anti's, and each time we left them with a restoration pamphlet. Testimony is so powerful. You can try to prove things. You can try to reason. But no amount of eloquence or logic is more powerful that the Spirit of the Lord.
Well I've had a few other crazy happenings, one of them involving a drug addict, a hamster, and a dead chicken, but I won't go into that one. :)
Have a wonderful week ya'll! I think that you all are brilliant!
Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wigan #1

Hello Everyone!
Because of poor time management on my part, this email will be shorter. Sorry!
Well I'm in Wigan! It's been nuts since I've been here. So I've been to Wigan before because Warrington is so close, and Wigan was always a quiet little town. And I think that it usually is, but this week it decided to welcome me in with a few.. exciting events and people. :) I've experience a first for me. It's been fun!
But first, this is Elder Sxxxxxx. He's my companion. He's a good man. He's from Spain and he's very humble. He is a convert and loves the Gospel. 

Ok, now on to the fun stuff. On Saturday we pulled Warrington in up here to Wigan for a street display. We met in the church and then walked to town center. When we got there we were met with an interesting situation. There was a protest going on, set up by the National Front. A racest group who is protesting the refugee situation. So we called the display off and went to the church for lunch. To make a long story short, the demonstration met with another group and it turned into a riot. We were told that they called in over 100 cops to try to control the situation. Someone lit bombs off and there were stabbings and all sorts of happy stuff like that. So we locked ourselves in the church until the rioting was over and after about 3 hours it was safe to go out. So we went out and kept working but we stayed far away from towne center.
But now Wigan is back to normal. I have a really good district, and I'm excited to be working with them. It's going to be a good transfer.
Sorry it's short but I gotta go. 
Thanks for the support, I love you all. 
Elder Olsen

Monday, September 14, 2015

Birkenhead #6


Well it's that time once again. Transfer news... So for this coming transfer, Elder Sxxxxx will be staying in Moreton! And I... am leaving! This one came as a huge surprise to me, things were going so well, I was sure that we would stay together. Fortunately for us, the Lord has sees the big picture and sometimes has other plans than what we want or expect. To be perfectly candid, I wasn't thrilled when I found out yesterday that I was moving. Things really were going super well and I was enjoying the area, getting along great with my companion, and connecting well with the members. I'm leaving this area after just one transfer (again) and I'm going to Wigan! I'm really excited about that, I've been to Wigan before, It's really close to Warrington, in fact, Warrington is in Wigan's district! So I'll probably be able to go on exchange back to Warrington! That'll be weird. I really am excited. Nervous, yes. But I'm getting the hang of moving. The worst part about it is packing...
I had another good week. Elder Sxxxxx and I have been incredibly blessed to have a great transfer together. We've only had a few negative experiences, but Elder Sxxxxx has been great with helping me to be more positive in situations and to look for the good in everything and everyone. So even in those trying and frustrating times I've been able to look at it as a growing opportunity, rather than a roadblock. It's been a great lesson for me to learn and I think it's one of the big reasons that I was sent to this area.
This week we taught Rxxxxxx again. We taught him the second half of the Plan of Salvation. We tried a new approach with Rxxxxxx. We've tried so hard to teach simply. To teach in a way that he couldn't misunderstand. And it's been working. We had him teach it back to us, which he did really well. We had such a spiritual lesson with him. I'm super excited to hear how he progresses!
This week I interview someone for baptism! That was a privilege. She'd been taught by the zone leaders and since they're in my district I interview the candidate. It was super good. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. It's great. I don't know what else to say.
Because missionary emails are boring sometimes, I'll include funny highlight. :) I tried to make cinnamon rolls this week. And it sort of worked. I made the dough, then realized that I didn't have time to let them rise because I needed to leave the flat. So I kneaded the heck out of it, then rolled it out and put the stuff inside it and popped it in the oven. The end product was amazing. Not in a good way either. They were the heaviest cinnamon rolls I've ever held. It tasted... goodish. but they were super dense. So that was fun! Here's a picture of them. :) They look goodish. I drowned them in frosting. :D

Well I'm going to sign off now. Ya'll are great! 
Love, Elder Olsen

A few more pictures that we got today!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Birkenhead #5

Elder Sxxxxx and Elder Olsen

Hello all! 
Well another week has come and gone! I love my mission so much. I feel like this last transfer things have finally clicked and I actually know what I'm doing now! I'm having the time of my life out here, but when I sit down and think about it, I really shouldn't be. Missionaries shouldn't be as happy as we are. It's grueling and exhausting. But it's fantastic. This week was especially good because of one special place I was blessed to go to. 

Because of some problems in the past, President Ulrich promised us a reward if we would get up on time, do a full 30 minutes of exercise, and do full studies. He promised that he would take us to the temple for us to do baptisms for the dead. So on Tuesday Elder Searcy and I were scheduled for 10:00. Our bus from our flat to the bus station was late so we ended up missing our first train, but we caught the next one to Liverpool that came about 10 minutes later. We had to catch a connecting train from there and that one only comes every half hour so if we missed that we would've been in trouble. I'm sure we were a sight to see running through Liverpool Central train station! But we caught it and settled in for the hour train ride. We then had to catch another connecting train to Chorley and that was super tight as well but we caught that one by another miracle. So we made it in time for our session! And when we got there President surprised us by arranging with the temple for us to do an endowment session as well! That was amazing. I had some family names that I did baptisms for and the endowment was amazing. The temple is incredible. I love it. 

Another huge highlight from the week is Richard. Elder Searcy bus contacted Richard last week and then last Sunday when we dropped by he let us in to teach him! And then on Friday we taught him the Plan of Salvation! Richard is so prepared. He has absolutely no religious background, but he came to church with us this Sunday and stayed for the entire three hours. He was so good about it. He was patient and even though all us members drop copious amounts of Gospel Lingo, he just let it all soak in. He is doing very well. 

I'm super excited for this coming week. I love my mission so much and I can't wait to see the blessings that will come this week. 

You lot are a huge blessing to me. Knowing that I have people who love me and are praying for me is a huge comfort. I can feel your prayers, they truly do have power. 

Elder Olsen
The view from our flat this morning

Monday, August 31, 2015

Birkenhead #4

Good Morning!

Again, I don't know where all the time has gone. This week has flown by. 

Alrighty! So some of my highlights of the week:

I went on exchange with Elder Rxxx, who is from Austria! We were working in his area, so he was leading it out. This is his 2nd transfer in the mission, and he is amazing. His home back in Austria is about a 10 minutes drive from the home where they filmed Sound of Music. I learned so much from Elder Rxxx about devoting all we have for the sake of Christ. Before his mission he played football (soccer) at a very high level, in fact he tried out and made it onto the Red Bull team where he would be paid well when he was 16. But he quit the team because they played on Sundays. We taught one of their investigators named Axxxxx the Restoration. Elder Rxxx brought an incredible spirit into the room with his testimony and his attitude towards the lesson. It helped me to realize that though I haven't gotten flippant I've become a little to relaxed about teaching. It was one highlight for me for sure, and it's always good to be able to connect better with the members of your district. 

The next highlight comes on Saturday! Wow, this was a fun day. On Saturday we traveled to Rhyl again for a zone street display. We were told that there were going to be 180,000 people coming out to watch an air show! We divided up into districts where we then set up the display and started contacting people. There were so many people out and about, it was a huge turn out. Unfortunately the location that we were assigned to be was not the best spot, everyone who passed was in a huge hurry so we didn't even get one person to talk with us in the hours that we were there. But the plus side is that we were set up so that we looked over the ocean and were able to see the air show the whole time! It was like dinner and a show! But without the dinner and with a whole bunch of work and rejection! 

The time is going by so quickly, I feel like I was just here writing to you last week. The time going by so quickly has helped me learn a powerful lesson. I need to be actively involved in every moment. I find that sometimes I just go along, doing everything that I'm supposed to but I'm not quite there. The last few weeks going by so fast has taught me more how I can be an agent at every opportunity rather than an object waiting to be acted upon. I think that this is something that determines successful missionaries from the unsuccessful ones, how well they seek out people, opportunities, and joy. I've been both at different times throughout my mission, and the times when I really decide to be an agent, when I'm really there in the moment, acting with faith are the times that we've been blessed the most. 

Just yesterday for example, we went to a man's house whom Elder Sxxxxx had met whilst on exchange with Elder Nxxxxxx. He invited us into his home and we taught him the restoration. It was a powerful lesson full of the spirit. He was so prepared it's amazing. He doesn't have a date now, but Elder Sxxxxx and I both feel that he will get baptised. I bring that up because during that lesson and before I had been focused on acting and being in the moment and we had that great lesson. 

Well that will be it from me. You lot are brill. 
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, August 24, 2015

Birkenhead #3

Hey ya'll!
Man, the time just goes way to fast. This needs to stop. I feel like I was just sat here at this computer yesterday, but it's been a whole week. 

But it has been a really good week. On P-day last week we went to the New Brighton beach and took pictures! For those of you who can't be bothered to find it on a map it's north of where I am, and it looks out across the Irish Sea. :) It was a good day. We had fun but we didn't go down onto the beach because we were in proselyting clothes. I know, sorry excuse. But it was a beautiful day. 

Tuesday was good too! We found two new investigators! We went by a media referral from months ago that had never been contacted, and they were in! And they were actually interested and wanted to learn more! What?! So that's how we met Cxxx and Txxxxxx. They are together and have a child, and were just firing questions at us left and right. Many people think that England, and I guess Europe in general is dead to missionary work. I don't think it's dead so much as slow. But the Lord has promised to hasten his work and it's coming! Missionary work is the best. Ya'll should be jealous. 

Wednesday: Another great day! I went to Wales. The place that's next to England. We had a zone meeting in a Welsh town called Rhyl. Wales is like England but with a funny language below all of the English signs. While there we had interviews with President. I love that man. He's great. We had a good talk about doctrine and the like. I asked him how I could be sure that the changes that I was making on my mission would be lasting changes to my nature rather than just temporary changes to my behavior. What he said was something that I think I already knew, but It's always nice to have someone like him tell you. He said that If I was really understanding the changes and the doctrines than my nature would change. It's the understanding and the application of it that changes nature. It's just the application that changes behavior. It was good. 

On Thursday we had one of the best ward missionary meetings I've ever been to. It was the first one on my mission where the ward missionaries came to it and it was super productive. Several of the ward missionaries are recent converts, so it's great to have them in their first callings and being super motivated about the work. 

Friday we spent the day getting wet. That was so much fun! Rain is one of those things that when your stuck in it you either laugh or cry. Crying gives me a headache so I choose to laugh. So we had so much fun dancing and talking to people. Everyone thought we were absolutely bonkers but hey! who cares! If it gets them to stop and talk to us I'll do a lot of things! 

Saturday. Oh Saturday. We went to a part of the area that neither of us had ever been to before. It's called Heswall and it's a little out of the way, but it was great! We went tracting there and nobody knew about us, and everyone was nice! It was like we had stepped back in time, everyone opened their door and treated us with courtesy. And they had never heard of anyone knocking on  your door to share religion with you! It was weird but we had some really nice conversations and a really good time. That evening was a first for me. The ward decided a few weeks back that they were going to put on a play and that the missionaries were going to be involved. And then Saturday night was the production. It came together remarkably well for the amount of preparation that it had, and we had a lot of fun playing the missionaries in it. I forgot my lines at one point though, so I had some ad lib banter with someone instead. But I think it was better than what I was supposed to say anyway. :)

Sunday was great. I woke up happy and excited for church. I just love the sacrament and it was amazing. That evening we were in the middle of a dinner appointment when we got a phone call. Then another. Then another. Then a text. Turns out another member thought we were coming over for dinner at their house that night! And they didn't make it easy for us. Guilt tripping us and everything. It was nuts. But all is well in Zion. We ate 2 dinners. 

And now here I am at the end of this letter. Thank you all for being great. You're all stars if you still read these. 

Love you!
Elder Olsen

So last Monday after emailing we went to the beach! And we were on the boardwalk, walking along and I tell Elder Sxxxxx "take a picture of that log, you could probably convince your family it's a dead seal or something." Later that night elder Sxxxxx was looking at his pictures and he zoomed in on this piece of log that had washed up on the beach, and he sees that it's not a log. It's a dead creature. Look closely! You can totally see the teeth!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Birkenhead #2

This week was so incredibly busy! We had so much going on and it was a fantastic week. Unfortunately we were so busy that we didn't have much time for finding, but when there are definitely worse things than being to busy with teaching appointments to tract! :) 

So on Monday, I took a nap. Oh my, that was absolute bliss. This lifestyle wears you out. You're just tired all the time and then you work harder and just get more tired. So the nap was so nice. :) 

Tuesday was another good day. We had district meeting which went alright. I gave a training on how faith and power relate to one another and how we can increase both. I was super nervous about it, but I think it went ok. It was really a special thing to be able to see the spirit working. I was wondering about that relationship for a long time, and I recently found out the answer, so the training was very personal to me so I was grateful for that chance to bear testimony. 

Wednesday was a busy day with travel. We have to travel so much in this area. To get to district meeting (which we hold in Runcorn) it takes about an hour and a half by train each way. We had referrals all over the Wirral that we had to contact so we were traveling all over the place. It's a catch 22 because we are supposed to contact referrals within 24 hours, but when they are so far away from each other travel just eats away at time ant we don't have time for that! So we did the best that we could, trying to travel contact people. I had one that ended super badly! This is funny. :) So I sit down on the train and there is a man across the aisle so I start to talk to him. He was very friendly but he had a big dog with him who was a bit less friendly. I guess I said something wrong, this dog thought I did, because he started barking super loud and he tried to jump across this man to get me! I have nerves of steal and did not hit my head on the window out of fright. 😊 But this man had to get off at the next stop and wait for the next train because his dog was too loud! Failed train contact! :) 

Thursday was another good day. We had a mission leadership council, with all of the district leaders, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and assistants, along with President and Sister Ulrich. It was an incredibly powerful meeting. I don't know how to explain it. We had trainings by the assistants and President Ulrich that was so good. It was a 7 hour meeting but it went by so fast. The spirit was so amazingly strong. We just sat there and basked in it. :)

Friday was good as well, And Saturday, And Sunday. :) We did get time yesterday to tract for about an hour, I love tracting. It's always a surprise who will answer the door! It keeps you on your toes. :) We met a super nice woman, who says all her friends are mormon, and she wants to be as well! But her husband is super against it and doesn't want to divide the family by joining. Those situations are always so hard, but we're going back this week to see her and hopefully the family as well so we'll see what happens! 

We met a couple this week. Dxxxxxxxx and Jxxx. This was such an exciting contact. :) they stopped us in the street! Jxxx was higher than a kite, didn't know which way was up. So I took him aside while Elder Sxxxxx taught Dxxxxxxxx. He had a really good lesson with her and she became a new investigator! Meanwhile Jxxx kept bashing America and guns and telling me how great England was. He was way gone. 

Well I hope you're week was great! This week Elder Sxxxxx and I will get more time for finding so I'm looking forward to that! 

Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, August 10, 2015

Birkenhead #1

With transfers happening this week, it seemed to be extra long but it was really good overall. I love this new area that I'm in! So a little bit about my companion. His name is Elder Sxxxxx. He is from Spanish Fork UT. He has been on his mission for 8 weeks. He's great. We get along so well and have already made each other brothers. He is an amazing pianist. He works hard and he pushes me. He is exactly obedient. It is so nice to have obedient companions. It takes away so much work and stress when they have the same goals as you. President told us to "jump out of bed" in the morning. And so every morning at 6:25 when the alarm goes off he and I stand up in our beds and then jump out! With the iPads and some missionary's disobedience the mission rules are incredibly tight right now, so we have to play fun games like that with the rules or else we will go nuts. We have a lot of fun and we work super hard. It's been great to have a fresh start, It's my favorite thing about transfers, that new beginning. 

So the area that I'm in right now is Moreton ward, but I'm living and working in the Wirral. Which is a peninsula east of Liverpool. Elder Sxxxxx and I are the only missionaries on the Wirral, and so it's up to us to spread the Gospel to the 400,000 people who live within the ward boundaries. Bring it on.

I've only been here for a short period of time, but one thing that I've seen so far is how much the hand of God is involved in the work here. With so many people and such a big area people are led to us. We have some solid investigators, and Elder Sxxxxx and I think that we could potentially have 6 baptisms this transfer. But in order to achieve that it's going to take miracles. Please, please pray for us. Pray that we will teach by the spirit, and that we will be able to find new investigators who will quickly progress towards baptism. 

This week we taught Hxxxxx. He is from the middle east, but he is a Christian and he loves the Book of Mormon. We taught him the plan of salvation and he accepted everything. He wants to be baptised, but he has some issues with the word of wisdom that we have to get over first. But I'm super excited for him!

On Saturday morning I woke up and there was a text on the phone. It was from a former investigator who was regretting her decision to quit investigating and was wondering if we could come and teach her! It was a great miracle to see, she hadn't had any contact with the missionaries in a year. 

Well I think that's it from me! I sure love you and pray for you!  Thanks for doing the same for me.
Love, Taylor

Here is a bit more information about Taylor's area:

Chester zone covers the entire part of Wales that is in our mission as well as Birkenhead and Runcorn. Zone meetings will be held in Rhyl.
If you look at the map there is a little peninsula east of Liverpool. That's called the Wirral. Elder Sxxxxx and I are the only set of missionaries to cover the entire Wirral. It has about 400,000 people. It's called the Moreton ward but we meet in Birkenhead.  I live in Birkenhead as well. The area is massive. We take trains all the time to get around.  So it used to have two wards in the Wirral, Moreton and Birkenhead. They had two churches as well, but because of decreasing members they had to combine them. They first met at the Moreton Chapel which is why it's the Moreton ward, but they outgrew the church so then they moved to Birkenhead church.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Warrington #6

Good Morning!

Another good week is in the books here in the motherland. And it really has been a good one. Before I get into what's happened this week I'll let you know what's happening with transfers! Well I've been in Warrington for six weeks now and I won't be here any longer. I've been called to go to Moreton, which is on the coast next to Liverpool! This will be an adventure for sure, the people in Liverpool have what's called the Scouse accent, which is incredibly hard to understand. It sounds like they try to combine German and English, and they speak with a higher pitch. It's very back of your throat type, and they speak fast as well. I'm super excited but disappointed at the same time. 6 weeks is not very long in an area, I feel like I was just settling in and then they go and yank me out! I'll be serving with Elder Sxxxxx, I've never met him I don't know anything about him other than this is going to be his 2nd transfer in the mission, so I will be follow up training him! I hear he is a great man and that good things are happening in that area. My district has the zone leaders in it, so just a bit of extra pressure there! It's going to be hard to leave Elder Hxxxxx. He and I have become good friends and we both feel robbed a little, but I think my replacement here in Warrington will be good for Elder Hxxxxx.

It will be strange to be so close to Liverpool, because I'm not in the Liverpool zone anymore! I'm in the Chester zone which means that my zone meetings will be held in... Wales! I'm super excited! There are 7 zones in the mission, each zone being 1 stake. There have only been 1 or 2 missionaries in the last 3 years to serve in all 7 zones, I think I might make it! I've had 5 areas and been in 5 zones, so I'm getting a pretty good spread across the mission! Only 2 more to go!

Alrighty! Well Monday was a chill P-day. We didn't do anything to exciting. I cut my hair and Elder Hxxxxx got his hair cut. Then we went straight to the church to email. We didn't have money to shop last week because it was the end of the month and we were poor money managers this time around. So we emailed then played ping pong and pool at the church.

Tuesday was district meeting. Man, the mission is tightening up the iPad rules. Some of the missionaries are being dodgey, using Facebook and watching movies, so the rules are being tightened and we all suffer for the wrongs of a few bad apples. But it needs to happen. People can't be doing things like that. It's just not ok. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It's pretty dang important. 

Wednesday was a pretty normal day. We were tracting and met a girl named Pxxxx. She was really nice and welcoming. When we explained the Book of Mormon she said it was interesting and that she wanted to know more. So the appointment with her is this week, but I won't be here to update on how that goes. We had ward council as well. It's always such a laugh. Someone brought up that we weren't being fed like at all, and everybody started saying how important it is to have the missionaries in their home, and how much it brings the spirit, how much they love it, but then when it comes to it nobody did anything about it when Sunday rolled around. It just made me laugh. :)

Thursday we had weekly planning and then I went on Exchange with Elder Jxxxx who's in my group. It was great! So much fun. It was a really good exchange. We worked super hard and had lots of success. It was great. After that we had a really good milkshake. :) It was the best! 

So that's my week in a nutshell! 

Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, July 27, 2015

Warrington #5

Good Morning family, friends, and anyone else!

It's been a great week. I hope you all can feel that. What a wonderful time to be alive! We are part of the force that is preparing the world for the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. The dispensation of the fullness of times started in 1820 with Joseph Smith. Soon after the organisation of the church in 1830 the first missionaries left America and came to England. They docked at Liverpool and immediately travelled to Preston to begin preaching. Within days the first baptisms occurred at the River Ribble. On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go on a mission historical tour. We met up at the Temple and then loaded up the coaches. Our first stop was Preston. There is so much church history here, I'm a little overwhelmed with trying to write! Thousands were baptised within a few short years. Many of us have ancestors that were among those converts that grabbed on to this new truth. Each one has their own stories and sacrificed so much to be able to worship the only true God. I know this letter is supposed to be about my week, but the only way to even partially convey my feelings is to tell this one story. Nestled in the English hills are two quiet little towns, Chatburn and Downham. In 1837 Heber C. Kimball felt that he needed to go to these towns to preach, but everyone told him that these people were hard-hearted and that nothing would come of it. In spite of these warnings he travelled to Chatburn, where after preaching once he baptised 25. The next day in Downham he baptised 10 more. Shortly after nearly all of the townspeople in both towns joined the church. Heber C. Kimball walked up a nearby hill, where he felt the spirit so strong he removed his hat and felt like taking off his shoes. Not understanding this, he asked Joseph Smith about it later. "That is a place where some of the prophets of old travelled and their blessing fell upon you," was the reply. We got to go visit both of these little towns. Downham is much the same as it would've been in 1837. The feelings of the spirit that I had while walking there, is indescribable. It was confirmed to me once again that this work is of God. He is leading it and I am privileged to be a part of it. I love opportunities like this, not only because I get to learn some of the history of the area and church, but because it provides a great time to recommit. Spiritual progression is like walking up an elevator going down. If you stop moving you will be going back down so we have to keep progressing. That's why I recommit so many times. "Each of us have sinned and come short of the Glory of God", we should really recommit every day to be a little better.

The rest of my week was good as well with a highlight/lowlight coming just last night. We finished up our dinner at 8 and were going out for one last effort to find a new investigator. Sunday night, nobody was on the streets, but eventually we see a man so we stop him! We had probably the most powerful on-the-spot lessons I've ever been a part of. The spirit was so strong, it was guiding every single word, and I know this man felt it. But he used his agency and didn't want to learn more. It was heart wrenching! He felt the spirit! But something held him back. He was normal too! But you know, I learned so much from that lesson about following the spirit. I learned how to recognise it easier and how to follow it. It's difficult, but this helped so I'm grateful for the experience. I guess I just wanted to share that because it had an impact on me. And seed planted dang it!

So yeah! The church is true, the book is blue

Have a great week! Love you!
Elder Olsen