Monday, August 31, 2015

Birkenhead #4

Good Morning!

Again, I don't know where all the time has gone. This week has flown by. 

Alrighty! So some of my highlights of the week:

I went on exchange with Elder Rxxx, who is from Austria! We were working in his area, so he was leading it out. This is his 2nd transfer in the mission, and he is amazing. His home back in Austria is about a 10 minutes drive from the home where they filmed Sound of Music. I learned so much from Elder Rxxx about devoting all we have for the sake of Christ. Before his mission he played football (soccer) at a very high level, in fact he tried out and made it onto the Red Bull team where he would be paid well when he was 16. But he quit the team because they played on Sundays. We taught one of their investigators named Axxxxx the Restoration. Elder Rxxx brought an incredible spirit into the room with his testimony and his attitude towards the lesson. It helped me to realize that though I haven't gotten flippant I've become a little to relaxed about teaching. It was one highlight for me for sure, and it's always good to be able to connect better with the members of your district. 

The next highlight comes on Saturday! Wow, this was a fun day. On Saturday we traveled to Rhyl again for a zone street display. We were told that there were going to be 180,000 people coming out to watch an air show! We divided up into districts where we then set up the display and started contacting people. There were so many people out and about, it was a huge turn out. Unfortunately the location that we were assigned to be was not the best spot, everyone who passed was in a huge hurry so we didn't even get one person to talk with us in the hours that we were there. But the plus side is that we were set up so that we looked over the ocean and were able to see the air show the whole time! It was like dinner and a show! But without the dinner and with a whole bunch of work and rejection! 

The time is going by so quickly, I feel like I was just here writing to you last week. The time going by so quickly has helped me learn a powerful lesson. I need to be actively involved in every moment. I find that sometimes I just go along, doing everything that I'm supposed to but I'm not quite there. The last few weeks going by so fast has taught me more how I can be an agent at every opportunity rather than an object waiting to be acted upon. I think that this is something that determines successful missionaries from the unsuccessful ones, how well they seek out people, opportunities, and joy. I've been both at different times throughout my mission, and the times when I really decide to be an agent, when I'm really there in the moment, acting with faith are the times that we've been blessed the most. 

Just yesterday for example, we went to a man's house whom Elder Sxxxxx had met whilst on exchange with Elder Nxxxxxx. He invited us into his home and we taught him the restoration. It was a powerful lesson full of the spirit. He was so prepared it's amazing. He doesn't have a date now, but Elder Sxxxxx and I both feel that he will get baptised. I bring that up because during that lesson and before I had been focused on acting and being in the moment and we had that great lesson. 

Well that will be it from me. You lot are brill. 
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, August 24, 2015

Birkenhead #3

Hey ya'll!
Man, the time just goes way to fast. This needs to stop. I feel like I was just sat here at this computer yesterday, but it's been a whole week. 

But it has been a really good week. On P-day last week we went to the New Brighton beach and took pictures! For those of you who can't be bothered to find it on a map it's north of where I am, and it looks out across the Irish Sea. :) It was a good day. We had fun but we didn't go down onto the beach because we were in proselyting clothes. I know, sorry excuse. But it was a beautiful day. 

Tuesday was good too! We found two new investigators! We went by a media referral from months ago that had never been contacted, and they were in! And they were actually interested and wanted to learn more! What?! So that's how we met Cxxx and Txxxxxx. They are together and have a child, and were just firing questions at us left and right. Many people think that England, and I guess Europe in general is dead to missionary work. I don't think it's dead so much as slow. But the Lord has promised to hasten his work and it's coming! Missionary work is the best. Ya'll should be jealous. 

Wednesday: Another great day! I went to Wales. The place that's next to England. We had a zone meeting in a Welsh town called Rhyl. Wales is like England but with a funny language below all of the English signs. While there we had interviews with President. I love that man. He's great. We had a good talk about doctrine and the like. I asked him how I could be sure that the changes that I was making on my mission would be lasting changes to my nature rather than just temporary changes to my behavior. What he said was something that I think I already knew, but It's always nice to have someone like him tell you. He said that If I was really understanding the changes and the doctrines than my nature would change. It's the understanding and the application of it that changes nature. It's just the application that changes behavior. It was good. 

On Thursday we had one of the best ward missionary meetings I've ever been to. It was the first one on my mission where the ward missionaries came to it and it was super productive. Several of the ward missionaries are recent converts, so it's great to have them in their first callings and being super motivated about the work. 

Friday we spent the day getting wet. That was so much fun! Rain is one of those things that when your stuck in it you either laugh or cry. Crying gives me a headache so I choose to laugh. So we had so much fun dancing and talking to people. Everyone thought we were absolutely bonkers but hey! who cares! If it gets them to stop and talk to us I'll do a lot of things! 

Saturday. Oh Saturday. We went to a part of the area that neither of us had ever been to before. It's called Heswall and it's a little out of the way, but it was great! We went tracting there and nobody knew about us, and everyone was nice! It was like we had stepped back in time, everyone opened their door and treated us with courtesy. And they had never heard of anyone knocking on  your door to share religion with you! It was weird but we had some really nice conversations and a really good time. That evening was a first for me. The ward decided a few weeks back that they were going to put on a play and that the missionaries were going to be involved. And then Saturday night was the production. It came together remarkably well for the amount of preparation that it had, and we had a lot of fun playing the missionaries in it. I forgot my lines at one point though, so I had some ad lib banter with someone instead. But I think it was better than what I was supposed to say anyway. :)

Sunday was great. I woke up happy and excited for church. I just love the sacrament and it was amazing. That evening we were in the middle of a dinner appointment when we got a phone call. Then another. Then another. Then a text. Turns out another member thought we were coming over for dinner at their house that night! And they didn't make it easy for us. Guilt tripping us and everything. It was nuts. But all is well in Zion. We ate 2 dinners. 

And now here I am at the end of this letter. Thank you all for being great. You're all stars if you still read these. 

Love you!
Elder Olsen

So last Monday after emailing we went to the beach! And we were on the boardwalk, walking along and I tell Elder Sxxxxx "take a picture of that log, you could probably convince your family it's a dead seal or something." Later that night elder Sxxxxx was looking at his pictures and he zoomed in on this piece of log that had washed up on the beach, and he sees that it's not a log. It's a dead creature. Look closely! You can totally see the teeth!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Birkenhead #2

This week was so incredibly busy! We had so much going on and it was a fantastic week. Unfortunately we were so busy that we didn't have much time for finding, but when there are definitely worse things than being to busy with teaching appointments to tract! :) 

So on Monday, I took a nap. Oh my, that was absolute bliss. This lifestyle wears you out. You're just tired all the time and then you work harder and just get more tired. So the nap was so nice. :) 

Tuesday was another good day. We had district meeting which went alright. I gave a training on how faith and power relate to one another and how we can increase both. I was super nervous about it, but I think it went ok. It was really a special thing to be able to see the spirit working. I was wondering about that relationship for a long time, and I recently found out the answer, so the training was very personal to me so I was grateful for that chance to bear testimony. 

Wednesday was a busy day with travel. We have to travel so much in this area. To get to district meeting (which we hold in Runcorn) it takes about an hour and a half by train each way. We had referrals all over the Wirral that we had to contact so we were traveling all over the place. It's a catch 22 because we are supposed to contact referrals within 24 hours, but when they are so far away from each other travel just eats away at time ant we don't have time for that! So we did the best that we could, trying to travel contact people. I had one that ended super badly! This is funny. :) So I sit down on the train and there is a man across the aisle so I start to talk to him. He was very friendly but he had a big dog with him who was a bit less friendly. I guess I said something wrong, this dog thought I did, because he started barking super loud and he tried to jump across this man to get me! I have nerves of steal and did not hit my head on the window out of fright. 😊 But this man had to get off at the next stop and wait for the next train because his dog was too loud! Failed train contact! :) 

Thursday was another good day. We had a mission leadership council, with all of the district leaders, zone leaders, sister training leaders, and assistants, along with President and Sister Ulrich. It was an incredibly powerful meeting. I don't know how to explain it. We had trainings by the assistants and President Ulrich that was so good. It was a 7 hour meeting but it went by so fast. The spirit was so amazingly strong. We just sat there and basked in it. :)

Friday was good as well, And Saturday, And Sunday. :) We did get time yesterday to tract for about an hour, I love tracting. It's always a surprise who will answer the door! It keeps you on your toes. :) We met a super nice woman, who says all her friends are mormon, and she wants to be as well! But her husband is super against it and doesn't want to divide the family by joining. Those situations are always so hard, but we're going back this week to see her and hopefully the family as well so we'll see what happens! 

We met a couple this week. Dxxxxxxxx and Jxxx. This was such an exciting contact. :) they stopped us in the street! Jxxx was higher than a kite, didn't know which way was up. So I took him aside while Elder Sxxxxx taught Dxxxxxxxx. He had a really good lesson with her and she became a new investigator! Meanwhile Jxxx kept bashing America and guns and telling me how great England was. He was way gone. 

Well I hope you're week was great! This week Elder Sxxxxx and I will get more time for finding so I'm looking forward to that! 

Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, August 10, 2015

Birkenhead #1

With transfers happening this week, it seemed to be extra long but it was really good overall. I love this new area that I'm in! So a little bit about my companion. His name is Elder Sxxxxx. He is from Spanish Fork UT. He has been on his mission for 8 weeks. He's great. We get along so well and have already made each other brothers. He is an amazing pianist. He works hard and he pushes me. He is exactly obedient. It is so nice to have obedient companions. It takes away so much work and stress when they have the same goals as you. President told us to "jump out of bed" in the morning. And so every morning at 6:25 when the alarm goes off he and I stand up in our beds and then jump out! With the iPads and some missionary's disobedience the mission rules are incredibly tight right now, so we have to play fun games like that with the rules or else we will go nuts. We have a lot of fun and we work super hard. It's been great to have a fresh start, It's my favorite thing about transfers, that new beginning. 

So the area that I'm in right now is Moreton ward, but I'm living and working in the Wirral. Which is a peninsula east of Liverpool. Elder Sxxxxx and I are the only missionaries on the Wirral, and so it's up to us to spread the Gospel to the 400,000 people who live within the ward boundaries. Bring it on.

I've only been here for a short period of time, but one thing that I've seen so far is how much the hand of God is involved in the work here. With so many people and such a big area people are led to us. We have some solid investigators, and Elder Sxxxxx and I think that we could potentially have 6 baptisms this transfer. But in order to achieve that it's going to take miracles. Please, please pray for us. Pray that we will teach by the spirit, and that we will be able to find new investigators who will quickly progress towards baptism. 

This week we taught Hxxxxx. He is from the middle east, but he is a Christian and he loves the Book of Mormon. We taught him the plan of salvation and he accepted everything. He wants to be baptised, but he has some issues with the word of wisdom that we have to get over first. But I'm super excited for him!

On Saturday morning I woke up and there was a text on the phone. It was from a former investigator who was regretting her decision to quit investigating and was wondering if we could come and teach her! It was a great miracle to see, she hadn't had any contact with the missionaries in a year. 

Well I think that's it from me! I sure love you and pray for you!  Thanks for doing the same for me.
Love, Taylor

Here is a bit more information about Taylor's area:

Chester zone covers the entire part of Wales that is in our mission as well as Birkenhead and Runcorn. Zone meetings will be held in Rhyl.
If you look at the map there is a little peninsula east of Liverpool. That's called the Wirral. Elder Sxxxxx and I are the only set of missionaries to cover the entire Wirral. It has about 400,000 people. It's called the Moreton ward but we meet in Birkenhead.  I live in Birkenhead as well. The area is massive. We take trains all the time to get around.  So it used to have two wards in the Wirral, Moreton and Birkenhead. They had two churches as well, but because of decreasing members they had to combine them. They first met at the Moreton Chapel which is why it's the Moreton ward, but they outgrew the church so then they moved to Birkenhead church.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Warrington #6

Good Morning!

Another good week is in the books here in the motherland. And it really has been a good one. Before I get into what's happened this week I'll let you know what's happening with transfers! Well I've been in Warrington for six weeks now and I won't be here any longer. I've been called to go to Moreton, which is on the coast next to Liverpool! This will be an adventure for sure, the people in Liverpool have what's called the Scouse accent, which is incredibly hard to understand. It sounds like they try to combine German and English, and they speak with a higher pitch. It's very back of your throat type, and they speak fast as well. I'm super excited but disappointed at the same time. 6 weeks is not very long in an area, I feel like I was just settling in and then they go and yank me out! I'll be serving with Elder Sxxxxx, I've never met him I don't know anything about him other than this is going to be his 2nd transfer in the mission, so I will be follow up training him! I hear he is a great man and that good things are happening in that area. My district has the zone leaders in it, so just a bit of extra pressure there! It's going to be hard to leave Elder Hxxxxx. He and I have become good friends and we both feel robbed a little, but I think my replacement here in Warrington will be good for Elder Hxxxxx.

It will be strange to be so close to Liverpool, because I'm not in the Liverpool zone anymore! I'm in the Chester zone which means that my zone meetings will be held in... Wales! I'm super excited! There are 7 zones in the mission, each zone being 1 stake. There have only been 1 or 2 missionaries in the last 3 years to serve in all 7 zones, I think I might make it! I've had 5 areas and been in 5 zones, so I'm getting a pretty good spread across the mission! Only 2 more to go!

Alrighty! Well Monday was a chill P-day. We didn't do anything to exciting. I cut my hair and Elder Hxxxxx got his hair cut. Then we went straight to the church to email. We didn't have money to shop last week because it was the end of the month and we were poor money managers this time around. So we emailed then played ping pong and pool at the church.

Tuesday was district meeting. Man, the mission is tightening up the iPad rules. Some of the missionaries are being dodgey, using Facebook and watching movies, so the rules are being tightened and we all suffer for the wrongs of a few bad apples. But it needs to happen. People can't be doing things like that. It's just not ok. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It's pretty dang important. 

Wednesday was a pretty normal day. We were tracting and met a girl named Pxxxx. She was really nice and welcoming. When we explained the Book of Mormon she said it was interesting and that she wanted to know more. So the appointment with her is this week, but I won't be here to update on how that goes. We had ward council as well. It's always such a laugh. Someone brought up that we weren't being fed like at all, and everybody started saying how important it is to have the missionaries in their home, and how much it brings the spirit, how much they love it, but then when it comes to it nobody did anything about it when Sunday rolled around. It just made me laugh. :)

Thursday we had weekly planning and then I went on Exchange with Elder Jxxxx who's in my group. It was great! So much fun. It was a really good exchange. We worked super hard and had lots of success. It was great. After that we had a really good milkshake. :) It was the best! 

So that's my week in a nutshell! 

Love you all!
Elder Olsen