Monday, July 27, 2015

Warrington #5

Good Morning family, friends, and anyone else!

It's been a great week. I hope you all can feel that. What a wonderful time to be alive! We are part of the force that is preparing the world for the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. The dispensation of the fullness of times started in 1820 with Joseph Smith. Soon after the organisation of the church in 1830 the first missionaries left America and came to England. They docked at Liverpool and immediately travelled to Preston to begin preaching. Within days the first baptisms occurred at the River Ribble. On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go on a mission historical tour. We met up at the Temple and then loaded up the coaches. Our first stop was Preston. There is so much church history here, I'm a little overwhelmed with trying to write! Thousands were baptised within a few short years. Many of us have ancestors that were among those converts that grabbed on to this new truth. Each one has their own stories and sacrificed so much to be able to worship the only true God. I know this letter is supposed to be about my week, but the only way to even partially convey my feelings is to tell this one story. Nestled in the English hills are two quiet little towns, Chatburn and Downham. In 1837 Heber C. Kimball felt that he needed to go to these towns to preach, but everyone told him that these people were hard-hearted and that nothing would come of it. In spite of these warnings he travelled to Chatburn, where after preaching once he baptised 25. The next day in Downham he baptised 10 more. Shortly after nearly all of the townspeople in both towns joined the church. Heber C. Kimball walked up a nearby hill, where he felt the spirit so strong he removed his hat and felt like taking off his shoes. Not understanding this, he asked Joseph Smith about it later. "That is a place where some of the prophets of old travelled and their blessing fell upon you," was the reply. We got to go visit both of these little towns. Downham is much the same as it would've been in 1837. The feelings of the spirit that I had while walking there, is indescribable. It was confirmed to me once again that this work is of God. He is leading it and I am privileged to be a part of it. I love opportunities like this, not only because I get to learn some of the history of the area and church, but because it provides a great time to recommit. Spiritual progression is like walking up an elevator going down. If you stop moving you will be going back down so we have to keep progressing. That's why I recommit so many times. "Each of us have sinned and come short of the Glory of God", we should really recommit every day to be a little better.

The rest of my week was good as well with a highlight/lowlight coming just last night. We finished up our dinner at 8 and were going out for one last effort to find a new investigator. Sunday night, nobody was on the streets, but eventually we see a man so we stop him! We had probably the most powerful on-the-spot lessons I've ever been a part of. The spirit was so strong, it was guiding every single word, and I know this man felt it. But he used his agency and didn't want to learn more. It was heart wrenching! He felt the spirit! But something held him back. He was normal too! But you know, I learned so much from that lesson about following the spirit. I learned how to recognise it easier and how to follow it. It's difficult, but this helped so I'm grateful for the experience. I guess I just wanted to share that because it had an impact on me. And seed planted dang it!

So yeah! The church is true, the book is blue

Have a great week! Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, July 20, 2015

Warrington #4

Well, as many of you know, this week marked one year for me. One year
that I've been away from home, one year that I've had someone with me
24/7, a full year of stopping people on the streets, of dealing with
drunk people on a weekly basis, and being called a bible basher. One
year that I've spread the Gospel, a full year of bearing my testimony.
It's been a wild ride.

Well this has been a week of reflection for me. This week was better
than New Year's Day for goal setting! Looking back I can see how each
of my areas changed me, Carlisle, Stretford, Ashton, and Warrington.
Each of my companions, Elders VW, Rxxxx, Sxxxxxxx,
Bxxxxxxxxxx, Bxxxxxx, Lxxxxx, and Hxxxxx have made me a better person.
I've come away from every experience having learned something and
having the option to grow. So all in all it has been a great year!

This week was pretty alright for me! On Monday after emailing we met
up with some other elders and went bowling, I've done this a lot
recently because it was only recently that it was approved as an
appropriate p day activity. So we had some fun doing that. That
evening we met with one of our investigators named Bxxxx for a lesson.
She is American, living in England while she's studying art. She's fun
to teach and it's always an interesting lesson. It's her style to
debate the topic, regardless of her personal stance, simply for the
sake of arguing. It really is an enjoyable time but she keeps us on
our toes! Tuesday was district meeting, and that was good. Nothing to
insightful or revolutionary was shared so I won't go into detail on
that. Wednesday was a good day, but nothing really worth sharing.

Which brings us to my year mark! 
Thursday was a pretty normal day for
the most part, we had weekly planning, we went out finding, but then the day finished off in a great way. We had a dinner appointment with a young family, he is from Africa so we had some really nice African food. While there I had the pleasure of burning a shirt to celebrate! I'll try to attach a video but it might not work, we'll see! But it was really fun and brought back so many memories from my mission thus far.

Friday was another good day. We were going to do a street display, and as we were leaving the flat in the morning I got a prompting to throw in a few more foreign language copies of the Book of Mormon. So I did and we left to set it up. Well we were in town centre setting up the display and before we had even finished setting it up a man walked by, saw the copies of the Book of Mormon and said, "I think I would like to know more about this, but my English is not very good. Do you have one in polish?" And amazingly polish was one of those books that I threw in last minute! Immediately after that I stopped a man who said
"I'm catholic but I know it's not true. I've studied the JW's, Islam, Buddhism, and everything in between, but I've never studied Mormonism." I then taught him the restoration and he wanted to know more.

The Lord is hastening his work and I get to be a part of it! Miracles
are happening and I get to be a first hand witness of it!

So yes, I've been in England for a year, I've been abused and
rejected, but I've never been closer to my Father in Heaven. And the
best part is, I get another year of this!

Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much to me. I love you all!
-Elder Olsen

Monday, July 13, 2015

Warrington #3

I've had a good week over here in Warrington! Things are a little bit
slow as far as the work goes but we have seen miracles, I'm happy and
I'm excited for next week!

Oh boy, this makes me excited just thinking about it! On Tuesday we
went to Liverpool for zone meeting which is about 45 minutes on the
train. It was a great meeting, by far the best zone meeting I've ever
attended. We talked about giving our all for the case of Christ. It
brought me a lot of self reflection and made me think about how much I
am giving. Am I giving my heart, might mind, and strength? Am I giving
everything I am, everything I have for and to Christ? No. I realised
that I wasn't. That I'm not. Boy that hit me hard. I want to do the
very best I can, be all I could be. And so I've promised myself, I've
promised God, and now I'm promising you lot, that I will give more. I
will make a conscience effort to lose myself. This zone meeting was
one of those where we were taught by our leaders, but I was taught by
the spirit more than anything. It was so good!

Wednesday was good too! We were tracking in the morning and we met a
man who had just moved into the area and was looking for a church!
Good News! We have the truth! He is going on Holiday for the next
little while, but I'm excited to see where that goes once he gets
back. We also taught Pxxxx, one of our investigators who is doing
well. We taught him the word of wisdom at a recent convert's home. It
was super good, he is a recovering alcoholic and is trying to quit
smoking as well, I'm excited for him as well, but again, he is going
on Holiday to the Mediterranean until August. So hopefully he'll be
strong and keep his commitments.

Saturday was another good day for me. We did a street display in town
centre, which went really well. I can't remember if I've explained
street displays yet, but it's basically hard core hyped up finding. We
had a table out with loads of copies of the Book of Mormon on it in
different languages and the whole district gets comes together and we
have a combined force going out and stopping every one in town. It was
powerful. Right as we were starting a bird up in a tree exploded and
let loose it's breakfast of berries. Luckily I didn't get hit, but 4
other Elders did. But I used it as a talking point with people, they
would sit under the tree and then I would go warn them about the bird
with bowel issues and get a conversation started! I had just warned a
Chinese man about the bird when he made it clear he didn't want to
talk. I walked away and that fat little magpie once again opened the
chambers and pooped on this poor man's face! It was rough but i
couldn't help but laugh! But I felt so bad for him! But during that
street display a man came up to me, he was about 22 or 23 years old.
He said that a while ago someone had given him a Book of Mormon on the
bus. He liked reading it because it made him happy. It was amazing, we
won't be able to meet with him until Saturday, but I can't wait for
it! He seemed super prepared to receive the Gospel. The Lord is
hastening his work! It's incredible to be a part of.

I love my mission. It is an incredible experience. I'm learning and
growing so much. It's dang hard. It's an emotional ride, it's
horrible, it's stressful, it's wonderful and it's grand, and I love
every second of it. This church is true. God lives, Jesus is the
Christ. Joseph Smith is a prophet of the true and living God, the Book
of Mormon is sacred holy scripture. The heavens are open and we can
each gain this testimony of this by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Choose the right and show your light.
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, July 6, 2015

Warrington #2

Hello all!

I had a pretty good week overall! Things are going really well and I'm
happy to be here!
On Monday we got played ping pong at the church for most of Pday, and
I am getting quite good! :) it was a good day. We were there with the
other Elders serving in Warrington.
Tuesday was District meeting. It went well and afterwards had a street
display. It's pretty much like hyped up street contacting. We've been
asked to split up, but stay within sight and sound, so we do it by
ourselves. Everything is at a faster pace and it's good. I had a good
time with a born-again Christian man. This little old man with very
passionate views was right up in my face. It was  the same old stuff
that born-agains come up with every time. I wish that people would
come up with new things some times.
Wednesday was a normal day. I can't remember much about it, but I'm
sure it was good.
Thursday was really muggy. Very humid and warm. I don't think anything
exciting happened then either.
Friday was HOT!! It was the first time on my mission that I've worn a
short sleeve shirt.
Saturday we had another street display, where someone hit me with
loads of anti stuff. I hate that kind of stuff. It's disgusting. Half
truths distorted into falsehoods. It's been a week where I've had a
lot of opposition, but I've also had a few lightbulb moments.
Sunday was a great church meeting. It was also pouring rain. At church
we had a good lesson on fasting and it was good. I've had a good week,
and I've grown to love my mission. It's a process, but I love it.

Well I don't have much else to say! But have a wonderful week! I sure love you!
-Elder Olsen