Monday, February 23, 2015

Ashton #6

Hello everyone! 
I have had quite the range of emotions this week, I've gotten the whole scale from good to better to best! It was a good week. And I'm excited for this coming week. 
I'm going to do a day by day letter today, because I have so many thoughts in my head right now, this will be the best way to try to organize it. 
Monday after P-day we went tracting. I love it, absolutely love it when you receive confirmation that the plans that you had planned the night before were in harmony with God's plans. We tracted into a man named Ali, and right away he invited us in and told us that he loves to have conversations with people about God, because he feels like he's recently started his journey to get to know God. Hey guess what! We can help you! He denied our help and doesn't want us to teach him the lessons, but he invited us back to have another chat about God later on. So we had a flashing yellow light. Proceed with caution. 
Tuesday was the last district meeting of the transfer. 
after that we did more tracting and then had our dinner appointment with the ward mission leader and his family, who are brilliant. I love them. They are one of the best families in England. 
Wednesday we were able to help out chopping wood again, in the days that followed, my back was soo sore.  
Saturday. :) On Saturday I went on exchange with my district leader Elder Lxx. While with him I learned so much! We had a long time to just talk and get to know each other, and during the conversation he helped me to realize that I was doing something wrong. It isn't something that was super obvious, and I could've still been a successful missionary without changing it, but once I realized that something was wrong, I just had to change it. I realized that I had a face on. I wasn't being myself. I had to be so many things, charitable, kind, obedient, Christ-like, diligent, It was overwhelming. I realized that somewhere in the last 7 months, I had stopped becoming, and was just doing. It was just to stressful for me to try to Be everything, that I had subconsciously forgot about that and just Did it. I don't know if that made any sense to you, but it does to me. I realized that it was more important to be an imperfect person who is trying, than to be someone who acts perfect, but isn't really. I was squeezing myself into the mold of a what I thought a perfect missionary was instead of just becoming a missionary. Once I took that face off, which I'm not done doing, it's a process, people on the street started opening up more! it was amazing!
Saturday we also had our follow up visit with Axx. And Lo and behold he has a wife! They are both striving to draw closer to God, and with Elder Lxx there I was able to understand how we can teach without them knowing that they were being taught. So we have another appointment with them! 
We also taught Mxxx and Axxx about Faith. Mxxx really opened up and they finally committed to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is true! Progress! Mxxx wasn't able to come to church, which was a bummer, because he is struggling more than Axxx, but Axxx made it to the whole thing! So that's my week in a nutshell. I wasn't able to say everything that's on my mind because my companion is waiting for me so I have to hurry. But transfers are this week and I'm staying here and I'll be getting a new companion. 
Love you all!
Love, Elder Olsen 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ashton #5

Meet the Mormons is SO GOOD! On Wednesday this week we had the privilege of travelling to Chorley (where the temple is) to have a mission activity. While there, we got to play zone around the world ping pong, and watch Meet the Mormons! It is such a good movie. :) 
This week we were able to meet with Mxxx and Axxx a couple times. We taught the Plan of Salvation and they both understand it well. Mxxx is really quiet, but when we talked about the resurrection he expressed a concern! It was about flippin time! And I told him that as well, because neither of them have been feeling the need to pray, so when Mxxx said that he believes more in reincarnation than resurrection, I told him that we were happy about that. Because now that he is faced with a decision that he can't solve intellectually, he needs to pray and get a spiritual answer about it. So I'm excited to see how that goes. But other than that I don't have much to report. It was a good week, we worked hard and were obedient, but unfortunately we didn't see any thing happen. It was by no means bad and we were upbeat and happy the whole time, I just don't have anything to say! Sorry! And we didn't take any pictures either, so I'll take one right now so you don't forget what I look like. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ashton #4

Wow! This week went by so fast! I can't believe how fast time flies when you're on a mission. For those not out on one, it goes by so slow. Like with Ailee, (shout out to you) it seemed like her mission was forever long! But I'm sure to her it felt really short! I'm the same way! I look back at what has happened and I think that there is no way that I've done all that! I haven't been out for that long, I still feel like a newbie! I haven't been out for 6 months yet, but I have. Anyway, this week went by so quickly. 

Nothing very exciting happened this week on Monday, but on Tuesday we had district meeting, where I had to give a training. I think it went pretty well and the district seemed to enjoy it, so that was good. We had a couple highlights from that meeting. For one, the Zone leaders were there so I was able to see my trainer Elder VW, so that was a lot of fun. I had such a good time serving with him. The other exciting thing happened during lunch. We are supppsed to bring our own lunch to these meetings, sometimes, we'll bring sandwiches, or frozen pizzas, etc, but Elder Sxxxxxxx and I got the bright idea that we would bring some frozen ground beef, brown it up with some taco seasoning, and have tacos! It was going to be great. However, we finish with district meeting and go over to the kitchen, and we can't find a frying pan anywhere. The church did not have a frying pan. But we were really hungry, and we didn't want to carry around ground beef with us all day, so we just microwaved it to death. We stuck it in the mircrowave for who knows how long and waited until it browned up. Then we mixed the taco seasoning in and ate it with tortillas! And it actually turned out ok! The meat was a little rubbery, but it almost tasted ok! So we survived that one. After that I went on exchange with Elder Cxxx from London. While I was with him we found a new investigator using a banana and I perfected my south England accent, which is the accent that everyone thinks of when they think of England. So I consider that a successful exchange. 
This week was extremely devoid of stories or really anything that I could share, other than one thing that I will share at the end. But before that I'll share a quick update with you about Mxxx and Axxx. We were able to see Mxxx and Axxx quite a bit this week. We did service at their house stripping wall paper, which for those of you in Utah who have never done it, is a nasty job. You just get hot and sweaty. But it was really good. We were able to talk a lot about the gospel and have discussions with them, and then they also had us round for dinner one night! They are progressing really well and I can't wait to see them make the covenant of baptism, but they have to get married first. But we'll get them there! 

So the last thing that I want to share, is just how important it is to be diligent. I've heard stories like this my whole mission, but I've never had one happen for me until yesterday. We were tracting and it was getting late. It's a mission rule that we can't knock doors after 8:00 pm just because of how dark and late it is. It's about 7:50 and we're knocking the doors, and we have a couple experiences with people that kind of put my companion off of knocking doors that late, but I insisted that we keep going until 8. So at 7:58 I've just about had it as well, so we decide on knocking just 2 more doors. So the first one didn't open, but the second one opened and he let us in! He's a minister for a Unitarian church, but he felt like something has been off in his life lately! Hey guess what!!!! The true Gospel of Jesus Christ can help fix that!!! So that's my weekly miracle. 

The very last thing is something that we did early this morning. We got up and went to the Vellodrome, which is where they do Olympic bike racing. I don't have any pictures of us doing it, but right after we finished, Team GB (Great Britians Olympic team) got on and I got pictures of them. So that's it for this week! Thanks for your support! I love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ashton #3

I love my life.

2 cups of flour, 2 cups of milk, and 2 eggs does not make pancake mix. And it doesn't make German pancakes either. We tried both.
This week was absolutely amazing. I loved the growth that I experience and I loved the wonderful little things that God grants us. Last Tuesday we had a specialized training, which is a zone meeting, but the Assistants and President Ulrich were there and gave trainings, as well as the zone leaders. But before the meeting started I had an interview with President Ulrich. I know that every missionary says that they have a great president, but mine is just the best. President Ulrich is so inspired and knows me so well, even though we don't have that many occasions to talk. We had a super spiritual interview and it was really good. It started off my day right so I was able to learn things from the meeting that wasn't said. Things I was taught by the spirit. The Assistants gave a training about desire. How if our desire is to share the Gospel, it's what we will do! It doesn't matter what other people say or do, we will see success. So I've really been thinking about what my desires are. If I desire to be here, tracting in the rain, or if I'm thinking about what I'll have for dinner. Things like that affect how effective we are as missionaries! It's something that is so simple, we just have to pay attention to our thoughts! So this week that was a big focus for me. When I'm studying, I try to desire nothing else, When I'm cold and wet and nobody even looks at me, if I desire nothing else than to share the Gospel, I'll get it! It's absolutely true. I've been trying to study Charity this week, because we hear all the time that we need to love the people to teach them effectively, and if I'm absolutely honest, the people of England are kind of hard to love! But having the desire to love them, combined with studying charity and doing all that I can, it led to miracles this week. 

So as many of you know, I've struggled the last 3 1/2 months with finding people to teach. I have spent countless hours tracting and hundreds of hours street contacting. And nothing has come of it. But this week God has been merciful to Elder Sxxxxxxx and I and we had one of the best weeks of my mission. Not in numbers, but in quality, fun, good experiences. During the middle of the week it snowed, and it snowed, and I loved it. 

We stopped a man and gave him a pass along card, and I tried to continue the conversation, but he was edging away and I needed something that was going to keep him from running away, so I tried to come up with something good to say, but all of a sudden my mind went blank and I couldn't say anything, I physically could not speak for a good 5 seconds. I tried, but nothing came out, so he started to turn and walk away but at that moment a snowball came flying out of nowhere and hit Elder Sxxxxxxx right in the face. After that we all turned to look for who had thrown it and we couldn't see anybody! But after that he stayed and talked with us and we had a really good Gospel conversation with him and we got his contact details to see him again. God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he has to restrain his servants and throw a snowball at one of them to get his children to listen, but he does what he has to do. :)

Do you remember the couple we tracted into last Saturday? Well they're named Mxxx and Axxx. Our return appointment with Mxxx and Axxx was for Tuesday evening, right after we would get back from our training. So we got in and right away I could tell that it was going to be a different teaching experience than I have ever had. When we got there they immediately turned off the telly and got out the Book of Morman we had left with them and right away we established expectations and it was a great visit. The spirit was there and they committed to come to church!
... Which they did! It was fast and testimony meeting, so for all of Sacrament meeting I was sitting on pins and needles, just praying that nobody would get up and say something weird. But it went great! After church we had another lesson with them, and we followed up on what they thought of church and if they had been reading the Book of Mormon. Axxx read 17 chapters! It was amazing! And she said that she had received her answer... When she said that I got butterflies in my stomach. She said she knew it was true!!! It was amazing! I have never had an investigator that wanted to progress before, and now I have 2! It's the best feeling ever. 

On Wednesday we were doing service for a member, chopping wood with an ax, and a man walked by and asked if he could have some wood. We said to ask the owner so he went and found him and asked. The owner, brother Fxxxxxxx, said this man could have some logs if he took a book as well. Which the man did. Brother Fxxxxxxx and this man have a conversation in the which Brother Fxxxxxxx teaches the restoration and sets up an appointment for us to go over and teach his family! So we will do that on Wednesday and I will let you know how it goes. 

The last experience I want to share, happened on Saturday night. We had 15 minutes before we were supposed to go in, so we were wandering the streets trying to talk to people. And at 8:00 on a Saturday night in England you are going to meet some drunk people. So we started talking to this man, who was clearly drunk, and he was trying to argue with us on the very existence of God. He started to say some absolutely terrible things about me and Elder Sxxxxxxxx, but scriptures were going through my mind and I was thinking of when Jesus Christ was being mocked and persecuted he stood there and did nothing. So that is what we did. We couldn't walk away, because by this time we had attracted a group of drunk men who circled us. And then this man turned his attack from us to God, which I was not going to stand for. He said some horrible things, that should've made my blood boil, but it didn't. I gave this man a soft rebuke with words, and turned and pushed through the circle, Elder Sxxxxxxx hot on my tails. The crowed was silent and we walked away. God was with us. He gave me strength beyond my own. If I didn't have his help, I probably would've starting punching him. But the thought didn't cross my mind until later. In the hours that followed, the external strength I had received stayed with me and I had a wonderful experience in my prayers that night. God truely lives. 
I love you. I love my mission, and I love my God. 
Love, Elder Olsen