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

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