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

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