Monday, June 29, 2015

Warrington #1

I hope everyone is doing well and is happy, enjoying their summer!
I've been experiencing a heat wave of sorts, it's just really hot all
of a sudden, but what makes it worse is it's just humid. I feel like
such an English person right now. No matter what the weather I find
something to complain about. I'm becoming such a cynical person!
That's not good! But overall it was a good week.

Monday through Wednesday was the last few days in Ashton. It was good!
We saw a few members that I had gotten especially close to. It was
pretty good. I guess it was closure of sorts. I did my very best in
Ashton. I changed and grew so much during that time and I left the
area better than I found it. Ashton was a success for me.

Ok so transfers! Everybody who gets transferred makes their way to the
Manchester stake centre and there is a meeting where the incoming
missionaries are introduced and the departing missionaries give their
testimonies. It was a different transfer meeting than I have ever been
to. Everything was the same, but it was the meeting when a few friends
went home. So that was different. It hit me that I'm not a baby in the
mission any more!

So I met my new companion, Elder Hxxxx from Finland! He's a short
little man who is about as American as foreigners go. He served in the
Finnish army for a year as a sniper. He loves ice hockey and ice
cream. He's fun to be around and still has great faith. I'm super
excited to serve with him!

We had a pretty normal few days after that, but we walked super far
because at the end of the month we didn't have enough funds to buy our
bus pass and the office was slow with getting money to us. Friday
evening was a church ball game against another ward. We got to play
because we had investigators come, and even though it was soccer it
followed every stereotype of church all games. It was incredibly
competitive and kind of scary. It's amazing how intense people get in
these games.

Saturday was great. We had a stake helping hands service day. It was
the first one I've been involved in and I really enjoyed it. We worked
in a cemetery cleaning it up and general maintenance, but there was a
3 acre section that was overgrown. It was literally a forest. 70 year
old trees were growing all around these old tombstones and it was our
job to take them all out. It was a lot of hard work and fun. I was so
sore at church the next day. But it was good!

Well sorry this isn't super long. It was the first time I've done all
my emailing on the iPad and it's slower. But I'll throw some pictures
on here just for fun.
Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ashton #23

Well another week has gone by and here we are again!
Does the time go by as quickly for you as it does for me? It's ridiculous how fast it goes. 

Well I'm kind of in a reminiscing mood right now. Last night I got a call telling me that I was being transferred, so I've been thinking back over the time that I've spent here in Ashton. What I've done with the opportunities that the Lord has given me, how effectively I've used my time, really just trying to judge what impact I've made on the area. 

I'm been in Ashton for about 5 months now. It's become my home away from home. I've made friends that will be with me forever. I've had experiences that have changed who I am and who I want to be. And I've come to know my Savior in a very real and intimate way. 

I know God is there. He loves each of us. Jesus Christ is our Savior. A week ago Elder Lxxxxxx met a lady on the bus named Lxxx. She was the only one on the bus besides us. We taught her this week on Wednesday. I'm sorry to say that it's taken me this long to do, I guess It's all part of the process, but during this lesson I completely turned myself over to God. I didn't search my brain for things to say, I relied on inspiration and revelation. Teaching this way to one of the most prepared people I've ever met was incredible. I felt such charity towards her. I could feel a portion of God's love towards this lady that I had never met before. God's love is real and it's a powerful thing. 

This week has been filled with opposition. Satan does a dang good job at doing his thing. But the Priesthood is very real and very powerful.

This week we met a young man named Mxxx on the street. He is about 21 and he's grown up with religion as an on and off thing in his life. It was one of the most interesting contacts I've ever seen, because we stopped him, but then he directed the conversation after that. He told us that about 2 weeks ago he had a dream. He explained the dream to us, all the while the weirdest thing happened. Heavenly Father blessed my companions and I each with the spiritual gift to interpret. It was amazing. He told us his interpretation of the dream, which was exactly right, and he told us that he viewed our meeting as a sign from God. He wanted to know more about what we share and he is so prepared. I don't know how to say this adequately! God loves his children and he is hastening his work! I love to see this and be a part of it!

Well I'm getting transferred to Warrington on Wednesday. It's in Liverpool zone so I'll be able to see a part of England I haven't seen before. I'm super excited!

Well I love each of you. 
Love, Taylor

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ashton #22

Hello all! Get ready for the big news! 

So this week there was a few small changes in the mission, missionaries went home to go to school, and as a result of the shuffle we ended up in a trio! Elder Lxxxxx is Elder Bxxxxxx's and my new companion. He was already serving in Ashton, but in the 2nd ward. He is from Switzerland and he's hilarious. Such a goon, and a good misisonary. 

This is us! Celebrating the occasion.

So last week for Preparation day we went to Manchester City Center. Elder Bxxxxxx hit his 8 month mark and so some people in his group got together for a reunion of sorts. It was pretty fun! I got to see Elder Rxxxx again and catch up with some other missionaries as well. We went to a all you can eat place and cleared it out. Good times. :)

Tuesday was an interesting day. Late last week they called a mission wide conference and that was on Tuesday. So it was pretty late notice, but it was a really good meeting. Mission wide conferences are kind of a big deal here. It only happens about once every 2 years, but here we are, with 2 in the last month. They talked a lot about policies and procedures, both general and relating to iPads. I can see why they needed to do it, over time, just like the apostacy, things get distorted and nobody is really sure what the actual rules are, so it was a good refresher. The spirit was super powerful. Wow. I was mentally drained after that. It was crazy. 

Wednesday was the first day in the trio. It was... different. It took us a while to figure out how things were going to work with street contacting. I mean, it's pretty intimidating to have 3 people in white shirts stopping you on the street. So it was a bit different. But we got it figured out. 

The rest of the week, except for Saturday and Sunday were pretty similar. We asked President Ulrich how he wanted us to tract, and he told us to explore different options, so we tried all 3 of us at the door, we tried 1 person at 3 doors, we tried 2 and 1, but it just didn't feel right. There is a reason the scriptures say "preach the gospel two by two" it didn't feel right knocking a door by myself. 

Saturday was a really weird day. There was a Stake 5-a-side football (soccer) tournament going down, and we were going to skip it. But when we spoke with president he told us to get investigators and go participate in it! So it was a bit different. We spent the majority of the day playing football. It was really fun, but it almost felt like we were taking a break from misisonary work, even though President told us to do it. We were the team that made everyone else feel good about themselves. :) But the good thing that came from it is that some of the investigators that came also came to church on Sunday!

Oh! I forgot to mention. With the change-up that happened, we are covering both wards now, Ashton 1 and Ashton 2.

Sunday evening was another Stake activity. It was a stake showing of Meet the Mormons. They haven't released it until now over here, so it was the first time everyone had seen it. Dang, that movie is so good. :) 

So there you have it folks! Here's another picture just because. 

Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ashton #21


We had a wonderful week full of beautiful sunshine! There were a whole 2 days this week that we were able to go out with out jackets, the whole day! It was amazing! So on P-day this last week I went and got new shoes to replace these bad boys. 

Ya it was about time for those to be replaced. After preparation day finished we went to go to an appointment that we had, but unfortunately this person wasn't home. So we spent the rest of the evening getting rained on. 
Tuesday was a day that changed my life as a missionary. It was the day that the iPads came in! What?!

See! Look how happy I am! These iPads are going to be amazing. Unfortunately we don't have facebook yet so we can't proselyte online, but it's already revolutionized the way we study and teach. It's been amazing. We had a few lessons this week where we were able to pull out the big guns and show them videos of prophets and apostles. The few times that we have showed videos changed the course of the lessons. It brings the spirit and it's so powerful. Instead of showing the 20 minute restoration video, we can show just a 5 minute clip and it just hits them with the spirit. It's been amazing to see. 
Wednesday was nothing special. It's so hard to see people reject the gospel. We stopped a man in the morning and taught him the whole first lesson. We taught him the restoration and the nature of God, how we can receive answers, and the whole time we were just testifying over and over again. It was one of those lessons where you can just feel the spirit tell you what direction to take, what to say, and it was powerful. He was participating and getting excited about it, but at the end, he wouldn't accept a return appointment, wouldn't give us his number, nothing! 
Thursday was weekly planning. We changed things up a bit and went to the church instead of staying at our flat. We planned and downloaded stuff on the iPads. We don't have internet access in many places so I was grateful we were able to download all that stuff. But there is still so much to do! 
Friday we had a few more tea appointments fall through. We spent a whole lot of time finding people, at least trying to find people. 
Saturday morning we had service, they needed our help. Sometimes ward members will say, "Hey Elders, can you come help me out with..." fill in the blank, and we get there and it's a menial task that they could've easily done on there own. Washing windows, changing lightbulbs, folding laundry, they don't need us! But this lawn was completely out of control. So that was a lot of fun. :) 
Sunday was AMAZING! We didn't have normal church. Elder Holland was in Scotland, and so we got a broadcast of that meeting. They showed it to stakes in the Nordic curve, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, as well as the UK, Ireland and Iceland. It was an amazing meeting. Elder Holland lit it up as he always does, but it was a more personal experience. At the beginning he was reminiscing the time that he was in England and a missionary, then as area president over that area. He's such a funny man when he gets going, and he testify's with such power. That evening we were at an investigator's house and he started going off with some Anti-lit about the Book of Mormon, which is what Elder Holland spoke about. The Lord has perfect timing. With renewed testimony and power we were able to defend the Book of Mormon. It was really good. 

It's just been a good week overall. I feel happy and things are once again starting to pick back up. 
Well there you have it! 
Hope you all have a good week!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ashton #20

Hello Everyone!
If I could point out one thing that I learned from this week, it would be diligence. It was a rough week, I never got down, never felt that it was to hard or wanted to give up. It takes a lot to get me discouraged, and I didn't reach that point this week. But some weeks just wear you down. It kind of makes you want to curl up into a ball and lay there for hours. It was exhausting, but at the same time it went by pretty quick, tell me how that one works! 

So last week I mentioned Sxxxxx, our investigator who we had dated for baptism, quick update on her, we uh, haven't been able to get ahold of her. Calling, texting, voice mails you name it. So that's where that is. We had a whole lot of appointments this week, and a whole lot of appointments feel through. We had a few wrong addresses, so frustrating! some people not be in, and other excuses. But we just kept plodding along, doing our thing, praying hard, working hard, sleeping hard. 

But I found a nice wooded area! It's our sacred grove of sorts. 

And we got to build a trampoline, that was fun! 

Oh! This is a funny story!
So Txx. I mentioned him last week, he was the one who gave us the address to the mosque, just yesterday we were tracting on a street pretty close to the mosque, and we tracted into him! His face was absolutely priceless when he opened the door! So it was pretty awkward, for him, and we played it off to be nice, but we have another return appointment with him on Wednesday! So hopefully he won't dodge us, because we know where he lives now! 

Missions are the best thing in the world. You learn and grow so much, and you meet so many great people as well. I'm having the best time of my life. I'm a different person than I was 10 months ago, and it's for the better. :) 

Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. It means so much to me to have the support that I do. 

Remember, Satan is real. But good always beats the evil. 
Love, Elder Olsen