Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ashton #19

Hello all! 
This week was pretty darn good. Lots of ups, one or two not so ups, but I'm one happy camper, doing what I love, and loving what I do. 

A few of the highlights from our week. 2 weeks ago or so we found a girl named Sxxxxx. We got her phone number and gave her a Book of Mormon, but that was about as far as it went. We'd text her occasionally but we just weren't getting anywhere. Out of the blue we got a text from Sxxxxx apologizing for not being in touch and asking when we could meet up! So on Saturday we met Sxxxxx at the church with 2 fellowshippers, one return missionary sister about Sxxxxx's age and a boy preparing to go on a mission. We then had one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever been in. It was amazing. Sxxxxx accepted a baptismal date of the 27th of June! Please Please pray for Sxxxxx to get her answer!

That was probably the biggest highlight from last week. The biggest one this week happened yesterday when we were able to go to the temple! I love it there! It's the best place on earth. But anyway, back to last week. 

Sxxxxx was the highlight of the week, but I have some non-highlights that were just funny and made me laugh so looking back they could be considered highlights. :) Txx is one of those highlights. We street contacted Txx on Tuesday, taught him the full Restoration on the street and  said a prayer with him. We set up an appointment with him for the very next day. When we got to the appointment, we realized that he had given us the address to a Mosque! We called him but he had blocked our number. We got played like a violin!

Non-highlight #2! We were walking down the side of the road, nobody was on the streets so we were just talking back and forth, that sort of thing. All of a sudden I got the wind knocked out of me and a can of soda falls to the ground! Some bozo had chucked a can of soda at me as they were driving by in their car and drilled me in the chest with it! I have a pretty nice bruise on my chest, it's pretty epic... :) Don't worry mom, I'm fine. :)

So that's my week in a nut shell! We found 6 new investigators this week! Please pray that we will continue to have sucess!

Love you loads!
Elder Olsen

Here's some pictures!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ashton #18

What a week! 
I hope you all had as good of a week as I did. This has probably been one of the best weeks of my mission. It turned me around and helped me to take a step back and evaluate my efforts and improve. After all, what is the gospel if not guidelines to help you become your best so we can be worthy to meet God again. 

As I'm sure many of you know, I've been out on my mission for 10 months. And as many of you know, no one that I have taught has been baptised. I'll be honest, that hasn't bothered me. I've heard stories of missionaries who didn't baptise anyone and they all said they had successful missions because they were converted. And so when nothing was happening I started to think that. As long as I came home converted my mission would be a success. But I was reading in the Book of Mormon and in the Book of Mormon there are more than a few stories of missionaries who baptised thousands. So finally, something started to bother me. We hear all the time that "this is the greatest generation of missionaries the world has ever seen." I'm obedient! I work hard! So why do we not baptise like the missionaries of old? I called my mission president, President Ulrich, and I had a brainstorming session with him over the phone last Sunday night. He gave me a list of scriptures to study, and every single one of them were different accounts of missionaries baptizing hundreds or thousands of people. And in every account is was the faith of the missionaries and their prayers. I know I mentioned this last week, but now I've had time to go and apply what I learned. 

The average companionship in this mission will place 3 or 4 copies of the Book of Mormon in a week. I know it seems really low, and there are obviously exceptions. My average has been probably 7 or 8 in a week. Last week we placed 22. Obviously there is a difference. If someone were to watch what we were doing while we were proselyting they wouldn't see much of a difference. We spoke with as many people as possible before, we spoke with just as many. We changed our approach a little, but not enough to make that much of a difference. So what was it that changed!? My faith. I changed who I looked to. Before, I would look to myself for the answers. Last week, I looked to God. I allowed my heart and my mind to open up and obviously there was a big difference. We found 2 new solid investigators. We found several more strong potential investigators. And it all comes down to faith. 

 I'll share one of the best things from my week. This will definitely be a highlight of my mission. So obviously back in the states there is a separation of church and state, so religion can't be taught in schools. Over here things are a bit different. Most of the schools are run by churches. The members send their kids to Methodist schools or C of E schools, but that's not important. They have a Religious Education (RE) course that they have to go through, and right now the schools are 4 weeks into the Christianity portion of RE. The Bishop's wife arranged for us to go to her 7 year old daughter's class and give a presentation on Mormons! So on Wednesday we infiltrated the school and brainwashed the children with the truth! It was so much fun to teach a class of 20 odd little kids and hear their questions and see their little minds working to comprehend. We got to work with them for an hour and then they had to go home. We got some great looks from the parents when they were picking up their kids! :) But it really was a special experience, one that I won't forget easily. 

That's all I will share from this week, but I'll attach a few photos and they'll need an explanation. Our Ward Mission Leader and his brother who is also in our ward own an American Candy shop. And occasionally they will bring us some of the stuff that's expired. We got a huge box of stuff from them. :) It was great!

I love you!
Do good things this week!
Elder Olsen

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ashton # 17

I don't really know what to write about today... It was a decent week, not to many highs or lows so I can't complain, but just kind of dull. But it culminated very nicely with a great skype home which was such a blessing to be able to speak with my family, even with technology issues. 

Looking back on the week, It was definitely one of the faith trying weeks. I started off every day with a good study and I left the flat each morning with a smile and the attitude that I was going to do everything I could to find a new investigator. It started out great every time, and maintaining it throughout the day was a struggle, but with lots of prayer I was doing everything that I could, and nothing was happening. It was getting pretty frustrating by the end of the week, and I was just exhausted, so the skype Sunday afternoon was perfect timing. I needed a break with my family. 

I spent my personal study this morning, trying to find out what I could do to fix the problem. I studied every scripture I could find where the servants of the Lord baptised thousands of unbelievers. Without fail, each of them pointed to the faith of the missionaries, and the power of their prayers. My goal this week is not to find a new investigator. My goal is to find many new investigators. My goal is to increase my faith and to change my mentality. Of course it's all if it's God's will, but I'm trying to purify myself so that I can be a more effective tool in God's hands. 

Reading over that it sounds really negative! I don't feel that way at all, I'm happy, I love my life, I love the gospel, and I love serving in England! 

I don't know what else to say. Please pray for me this week. Please pray for all of the missionaries. We can feel your prayers, they truly lift and strengthen us. I'm so grateful for all of your support. I love the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I know I'm where I need to be. God is a God of miracles and I know he can and will work them in this blessed land of England. I love you all. Thank you for your support. 

Love, Elder Olsen
ps sorry I didn't take pictures this week. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Skype

It was so wonderful to visit with Taylor!
He looks and sounds great!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ashton #16

It has been such a good week. I've been super excited to write and tell you all about it! Everything is going really well here in the motherland, I'm happy, spring is in the air, and the gospel is being spread.

So on Monday, after emailing I went to the mission home and hung out with President and Sister Ulrich, and Elder VW and his companion. 

There we are! We had a lot of fun and it was a good reunion. :)

Oh I need to tell you about this man we met! We actually first met him a few weeks ago, just on the street. He has stringy long hair, looks like he's been wearing the same clothing for years, smells like a barn drenched in alcohol, and hears voices. We met him again this week, and sure enough he smelled the same, was wearing the same clothes, and still hearing the voices. The smart little boys that we are, we started to ask questions about himself. Come to find out he was homeless for 13 years but that stint ended when he found a faith in God. He's been hearing voices for 11 months straight, they keep him awake at night so every single night he drinks himself to sleep. He used to use heroin but it's to expensive. So we teach him there on the street, about the book of Mormon, about the Priesthood, etc. He said he wanted a blessing. Takling every precaution in the book, a few days later we went to his home and administered a blessing to him. He was incredibly greatful and apparently it's "an honor to stand in our presence." Anyway, we're going to go back this week, but there is no way we are going back into his house without a fellowshipper. Crazy people. That was fun. 

The other big news that I have to share is that on Saturday we had a mission wide meeting where Elder Allen, the man in charge of missionary work, and Elder Dyches of the 70 trained us on how to use iPads! But did we get them? Nope! still more procrastination. Not sure what they are waiting on exactly. There are a lot of details that are involved in the iPads, and they told us a lot of what we would be able to do, but most of the training was more on being pure in heart and having integrity than anything else. The biggest and strongest filter is your personal integrity. I'm super excited for the time in the who knows how distant future that we will be able to proselyte online and use the iPads. If you have questions about logistics or anything involving what we will be able to do. Send me an email because I can't cover everything in this letter. 

Hey, I love you all! You're the best, one more picture to send you on your way. :) It's spring!


We have been asking Taylor for pictures of his flat in Ashton: