Monday, April 27, 2015

Ashton #15

Here comes a day by day email! Hope you enjoy it! It's so important to realize that although missionaries tell stories and they give experiences of what's happened, it's not what a mission is. A mission is so much more and it just can't be put into words. All of the emotions, the stress, the struggles, the joy, the spiritual growth, all that can't be adequately put into words and that, more than the stories, is what a mission actually is. Experiences are just a nice side effect. 

On Monday after we emailed we went to Oldham, one of the neighboring towns and met with a bunch of missionaries and played football (soccer) in the parking lot of the church. It was super fun even though little old American me up against a Brazilian football star got smoked. That evening we met with one of our investigators Lxxxxxx and the sisters and we taught her and passed her over to the sisters. It was sad to do because she was starting to progress and was dated for mid May. 

Tuesday brought a district meeting. It was really quite good and I enjoyed it. We went tracting and found a few new potential investigators, but guess what, they are all single girls so we have to pass them over to the sisters to teach. It's kind of frustrating, doing so much finding but not being able to teach those you find. It's ok, I'm over it. We had investigator sports in the evening and played football again, but this time, I wasn't about to let some English kid off the street beat me! After all, America made it farther in the World Cup than England! So I beat them all. Not really but my team did win. 

Wednesday we cleaned windows for one of the members. I'm not sure why because they don't have kids and they are perfectly able to do it themselves, but we cleaned them anyway. The funny part is that at ward council the man absolutely tore us apart for a job poorly done, even though his wife totally thought they were great. People are funny. They aren't willing to do it themselves but everyone is a critic. For dinner we went over to Mxxx and Axxx's for a cook out with some other members. That went well even though Mxxx wouldn't talk about the Gospel and had a beer in his hand the whole time. Later we went to this members home to teach Axxx. We taught about eternal marriage and temples and family history. It actually went really well and we had great fellowshippers there. Axxx is in a sticky situation so she's stuck where she is until Mxxx gets a job so they can either get married or move out. 

Thursday I got to use a jack hammer to rip apart a brick wall! That was a lot of fun! But that's about it. 

Friday we went finding and tracting all day and got nada.

Saturday was similar to Friday, But we were able to see a less active in the evening and that lesson went really well. 

And Sunday! We met a really interesting man after church. He was homeless for 7 years but now he's trying to develop his relationship with God! So we're meeting with him on Thursday. 

Which brings us to now. Now I'm writing this, about to attach to one picture that I took this week, and then I'm out. 
So long! Have a great week!
Love, Elder Olsen

What's wrong with this picture?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ashton #14

Hello all! 
First off, I just want to say thank you, thank you for reading my letters. I know many of you get lots of emails from missionaries and I'm not sure exactly who this email goes to, but I do appreciate everyone who reads this, because it means that you care and are concerned about me. Thank you so much, it's a small thing that means a lot to me. 

Last week I mentioned that Mxxx was no longer willing to be taught and that he didn't want the gospel to be taught in his house anymore. Fortunately he still likes me as a person so we were invited over on Thursday evening for service and a dinner appointment. Their radiator had leaked on the carpet so the insurance was getting new carpet for them but they had to pull it up so we helped out with that. They went to a chippy and got us some fish and chips and we had a nice (fatty) meal. The English have a weird thing where they like to put mushy peas on fish and chips. It's basically really soggy, wet, peas. It was weird. But that's not the important bit. The important part is that we were in his home talking with Mxxx. Though we didn't talk about the gospel, I believe that if we as missionaries are doing our job right we are the gospel. We are supposed to be the message that we share, so if they accept us it is my hope that they will see something in us that will make a change in them. But it's only because we are supposed to radiate Christ. Malachi 3:2-3 talks about how Christ is a refiner of silver. The Book of Mormon institute manual tells us a little about the process of refining silver The refiner will place the silver in an incredibly hot furnace and let the impurities burn out of it. He knows that the silver is done when he can see his reflection in it. So it is with us. Christ will refine us till he can see his reflection in us. No one is to that point yet, but we are all on our way. I hope that Mxxx was able to see Christ reflected in us. Progress is progress.
On Wednesday we taught Axxx at a member's house the law of tithing and the law of the fast. The lesson went super good and Axxx committed to live them both, and in fact Axxx fasted on Sunday! I really hope that her situation clears up so that she can get baptised. 

We met a girl named Lxxxxxx last week and we had a lesson with her Thursday morning. We met in the park and taught the restoration,but because of a mandate from our bishop, we have to pass her over to the sisters so they can teach her. She's super solid and I'm excited to see what happens with her because she has a lot of potential. 

Because of General Conference and then fast Sunday we didn't have an Easter focused meeting in church, so we had one yesterday. All 4 of us missionaries were asked to speak and we covered differenent aspects of Christ's life. I was assigned to speak on the Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ. I was also the last speaker. Each of those topics is so big! But I had narrowed it down and I had written about a 15 minute talk or so, but by the time it was my turn to speak I only had 5 minutes! So I completely scraped my talk and winged it. But I think it actually went pretty well.  I could feel the spirit directing my words so it was really nice.

But that's my life this week. Oh here's a picture. 
I own a bakery... It's a thug life...
That's all for today!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ashton #13

This is my new companion. His name is Elder Bxxxxxx, he is from Sandy Utah, and he plays Quidditch! So far I've really enjoyed the few days that I've served with him. 

Don't worry, I'm not as fat as I look in the picture. I actually weigh less than I did when I came out, but I've eaten a lot of rice and pasta so my face is fat! The old grannies in my ward like to pinch my cheeks. They are very pinchable after all. 

This week was really good. Started off the week with P-day, which I told you about last week. (we went to the temple) It was soooo good!
Wednesday was transfers. The day of transfers everyone who is getting transfered travels to and meets up at the most central church, which is the Manchester Stake center. We then hang around and wait while President Ulrich finishes interviewing the new missionaries and assigns them to their trainers. We then have a big meeting where the new missionary is introduced and given a companion. After that is done the departing missionaries bear their testimonies, which is cruel to the new ones, but I've grown to love it. Then we all head back to our respective areas! We were lucky and a member dropped us off at the Stake center and took Elder Bxxxxxx's bags so we only had to get ourselves back to Ashton. It was so nice because taking suitcases on buses is not so fun. 

Thursday we had weekly planning, which I actually enjoyed for the first time in a long time. We accomplished a lot and had a good time doing it. 

Friday and Saturday we did a lot of finding. We went to the far part of our area, only about  4 miles away called Mossley and tracted a beautiful little avenue their. I'll send a picture of Mossley just for fun. 

Mossley is a beautiful little English town and as always, the photo doesn't do it justice. 
We met some really solid potential investigators this week, and we'll find out this week if any of them will turn into investigators. I have really good hopes for this transfer and I think that great things will happen this next month. By the way, it's a short transfer, only 4 weeks, so If I get moved from Ashton I will feel robbed. I love Ashton so much. The work is going better, the members are fantastic, I like my flat, and the area is beautiful. I just don't want to leave. 
But I have at least 4 weeks! So that's good. 

Last night we got to go to the member missionary fireside with Axxxxx. The fireside is where any of the newly baptised members can bear their testimonies for investigators. The spirit is always strong and it motivates people to act to change their lives. It was really good.  He asked for a blessing to give him the strength to quit smoking, he hasn't drunk in a few weeks, so we are going to give him that tonight. 

I'm excited for this coming week, we have lots of service planned, which is evidence that the ward is starting to trust us, so I'm excited. 
Hope you have a good one! 
Love Elder Olsen

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ashton #12

Happy Easter!
This week was such a special week to be missionaries. We are set apart as official representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility as his ambassadors to spread the news that He lives! And there is no more glorious truth than that. Jesus of Nazareth descended below all things, He suffered and died, but He lives. He broke the bonds of death that would've bound each of us, but He overcame what we could not do ourselves. And all we do as missionaries is spread this message. There is no greater joy. I am never more happy than when I am doing good in the world. And this week, I knew that I was doing good. :)

I don't have tons of time to write and send this email, so I'm going to cut the fluff and get to the really important stuff. 1st things 1st, transfers are this week. Elder Bxxxxxxxxxx and I are getting split up. I will once again be staying in Ashton!!! And I will be serving with Elder Bxxxxxx from Sandy Utah. 

Next on the agenda is Wednesday. I was blessed to be able to go on exchange with none other than Elder VW! It was so much fun. I've been a little bit stressed over some stuff, and Elder VW is an absolute goof ball, so it was so much fun to cut the stress, be myself, do work and have fun. He was trained in this area so he had some helpful hints and knew some people that would help us out! It was good fun. :) 

Conference! It was absolutely AMAMZING.  I loved it so much. Every single talk was fantastic. My favourite talks were Sister Burton's, Wilford W. Anderson's, and of course Elder Holland's. They were all so good! 

Then this morning I got to go to the Temple! I love being able to do this. It is such a blessing to be serving in a mission with a temple in it's boundaries. I wish I could talk more about Conference, the temple, everything, but I simply do not have enough time. I'll try to send pictures, but when P-day ends it ends so I can't promise they'll load in time. 

Love you all!
Elder Olsen