Monday, November 30, 2015

Wigan #11

Hello Everyone!
Happy P-day! It's a wonderful, cold, wet, day! England is the best! I love my life! 
I'll start this puppy off with a story... It was a cold, wet, but wonderful day. We were at a dinner appointment on Saturday, it's a part member family that I had never been to before. So we get there and sit on the couch and they bring out the food (they don't have a table). I set my plate of spaghetti and meatballs on my knees and turn to look at Elder Rxxxx, as I do my plate slips off and the spaghetti runs away all of over my suit and the carpet of these poor people's home! So I'm trying to clean it up and their little Jack Russell Terrier dog comes over and eats most of this speghetti. They get me another plate and we eat, I'm thoroughly embarrassed at this point and my face is bright red the whole time. When they bring out dessert the dog wanders in the room as well, and throws up, all over the floor, huge red mess of tomato sauce and meatball chunks! It's disgusting, but they clean it up and we carry on, pretending like nothing happen And then the dog did it again!! And this time it's the rest of the pasta! It was the funniest, most embarrassing meal of my life. :)
My Thanksgiving this year consisted of a wonderful meeting with half of the mission and Paul V. Johnson of the 70. It was a great meeting and I loved it so much! It was a spiritual feast and I came away from it with an incressed desire to do better.
This week was super rainy! We had a street display in Warrington that was going incredibly well. All 8 of us missionaries were there teaching different people and seeing great success. I was talking with a lady from Liverpool who is the nicest lady in the world. She was super prepared to hear the Gospel and started crying when I taught her the 1st vision. It was probably because the cold wind was blowing right in her eyes, but I choose to believe otherwise! :) She's going to be fantastic for the sisters to teach over there. After that we kept going with the display, until the Heaven's sent down the torrential rains! It was absolutely throwing it down! So we had to wrap up the display. It was super good nontheless!
Last week on we met up with the sisters from Warrington, because on of them Sister Yuan, is chinese and we began teaching a chinese family! They were met at a street display weeks ago, but because of busy schedules we were just able to meet with them this week. The Chinese have a different set of lessons because of their religious background, so It was fun to teach about the Godhead and have a translator! It was a completely new experience that I would highly recommend. :)
Well I think that's about it from this neck of the woods. I might send pictures later if I can get back to the church before P-day ends.
Love you!
Elder Olsen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wigan #10

Hello all!
Wow, the miracles never ceases to amaze me. Since I've been on a mission, in a position where I get to see people grow spiritually, it puts me in an amazing position to see the hand of God in not only my life, but in the lives of those around me as well. But not only that, I have the incredible opportunity to help and assist in the process! I get to share with people advice, teachings, and experiences that I can see affect people's lives.
One of the times that I saw this strongly was this week when we were teaching Bxx. It has been a difficult journey with Bxx, he's never fallen back to his hard drugs, which is amazing, but he has relapsed with smoking once or twice. But we've been teaching him for so long that we've gotten to the point where I don't know what else we can teach him. So we've really tried to understand God's will in this, because we can't do anything. This week in going to through the scriptures I was reading in Alma about the Atonement and it just hit me how real it actually is. So we taught Bxx about that, and how the restoration of Christ's church gives us greater acces to it than we would otherwise have. He thought about it for awhile, and we were just sitting there in silence, feeling the spirit and waiting for his reaction. Oh, I loved that moment so much, I know with all my heart that the Church of God is found here in this church. The feelings that I have had overweigh all of the things that I don't understand.

One of the most exciting things that happened this week was last night. We were standing in the cold, shivering our tails off, and a drunk lady came up to us! Now, I love drunk people, they are so funny, so I was excited to talk with her. She was asking us loads of questions about the church, and we were answering them and bearing testimony and the like, then she turned on us and started telling us that we can't be telling people stuff like that because we are too young. That we just came to England because we wanted to see the world. Elder Rxxxx doesn't like people telling him what his emotions are, and when he gets mad it's scary. And this lady was just going on and on about how we haven't lived because we haven't ever seen anybody die of aids, and we haven't lived because we've never been in a war. She was being really arrogant and Elder Rxxxx was getting mad, so I just started messing with this lady, asking her some contridictory questions and leading her into all sorts of loopholes. Elder Rxxxx saw what I was doing and so he joined in the fun. At the end she wanted to know how two 19 year olds can know so much about religion, so we got a return appointment with her! So now we are trying to figure out who will be a good fellowshipper for someone like that. Reading over that it sounds really mean, but it wasn't really. We were polite and the questions weren't rude or anything. It was nice and it rekindled my love for the people of the drink.
Here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wigan #9

Dear Family,

Man, I love you lot. It's been a good week for me, and I'm so grateful for the time that I have to be here away from you. In the best way. :) it's such a growing experience for me. I'm writing this on Tuesday because yesterday we had an all-Elder meeting at the Manchester stake centre. It was so much fun! I was able to see almost all of the companions that I've had on my mission, that was fantastic. I missed out on seeing 3 of them. My trainer, Elder VW has gone home, Elder Bxxxxxxxxxx has gone home, and Elder Sxxxxxxx has been banished to the Isle of Man. But I got to see Elder Rxxxx, I see him all the time, but he was there, E. Bxxxxxx, E. Lxxxxxx, E. Hxxxxx,  E. Sxxxxx, and E. Sxxxxxx, along with some others that I have gotten close to. We had some great trainings given by President and a few of the Zone Leaders. It was a great meeting and on top of that we had a few hours to play sports. I played some American Football, had a blast, and am now super sore. So worth it. But between travel and the meeting we didn't have time for anything else so we did our shopping today and now I'm writing you! Elder Rxxxx has the flu, so I'm hoping I don't get it, but he has had some pretty severe symptoms so we're under orders from the mission president's wife to take it easy and spend the day in. After an hour of being in I got cabin fever so I've been going crazy with sorting out the area book, cleaning, studying, etc..

But moving on to how last week was, it was pretty good. We met a great lady named Dxxxxxxx. She was referred to us from, so we texted her and set up an appointment for the next day. When we met her we took her on a chapel tour and set some good expectations for teaching her. Then at the end of the visit we extended a baptismal invitation to her...and she said yes! So we offered her two dates, and she asked, can I be baptised before that?! Oh boy, you could've picked our fellowshipper's jaw off the ground, Elder Rxxxx was bouncing in his seat, and I don't think I stopped grinning for the rest of the day! The work is being hastened!

Currently in our mission there is a big focus on the Addiction Recovery Program that the Church has. We've been given 1 hour a week where we study out of this booklet and complete it ourselves. Man, there is some amazing stuff in that book that's worth considering no matter who you are. Like, "In what ways can you learn to trust In God?" And "List some of your character weaknesses, and next to them list the strengths they may become as you come unto Christ." How powerful is that?!?! I'm super excited to keep applying these to myself and working my way to overcoming the grasp that sin has on me.

I went on exchange this week with Elder Pxxx who is in my district, I brought him here to Wigan and we had fun! One of the highlights was that we had some Mac & Cheese for dinner! That stuff is extremely good. It reminds me of my childhood. It's an American specialty that I've only had 2 or 3 times on my mission. Pure golden goodness. The only thing I need now to complete my childhood reminiscences is corndogs. You can't get those here either, but I believe I will pull through from this trial that doth beset me.

It's starting to get cold here! Christmas is fast approaching! People keep reminding me that this is my last Christmas as a missionary, my last Halloween, my last Thanksgiving, etc.. And it's ticking me off! I love my mission so much and it just goes by way to quickly! But I take comfort in two things: I still have time left, and that even after my mission I will have experiences with the Gospel. I love my God. I know he lives and that he watches over us. He wants to see our happiness and he gives us the things we need to be happy. Sometimes they are concealed and we have to search for them. Sometimes we will find it, but sometimes we will realise that the happiness that we were looking for is in the journey.

I love life!

That's it from me! Love you all!
Elder Olsen
p.s. I was all ready to send pictures, then I realised that I left my card reader at the flat. I promise to send loads next week!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wigan #8

What to say about this week... It was strange. It was good. I'm happy and I've had some great experiences this week, fun ones and spiritual ones too. Some were both fun and spiritual!
On Monday we played basketball as a district again. We have 2 sisters in the district, one from China and one from the Phillipeans. I don't know what if it is just them or if it's Asian culture, but they are fiesty! I'm scared to play against them because they aren't afraid of anything and they come after anyone!
Tuesday... We had district meeting again. And it was a decently good one. Elder Rxxxx and I did the trainings and we talked about how we can improve our street displays. It's supposed to be super fun and interactive. A different form of finding than anything else. And it was great. We were directed by the spirit and managed to get what we had prepared out. That evening we left Wigan to spend the night in Bolton, a neighboring area because early the next morning I would take my theory test for my drivers licence!
Wednesday. It was a... different sort of day. I took the test and passed! But Elder Rxxxx was not allowed to be in the testing centre while I took the test, so he got permission to wander off on his own. I finished the test super fast, and waited for him to come back for about half and hour. He had the phone so I started stopping people in the street, asking them to use their phone. That didn't work. So I wandered around town and had the brilliant idea to check in McDonalds! I found him. Proof that my companion is polynesian...
Thursday was Guy Fawkes day. Which is a holiday the English celebrate where they light bonfires, set off fireworks and get drunk. So once again, we had to be in the flat by 5:00. In order to make better use of our time we did our weekly planning during that time. It was good.
Friday was a good day. It was actually really good. We had some really nice converstations with people on the streets, but unfortunately no return appointments. That's how the last few weeks have gone for us. We seem to do a really good job when we go to Warrington finding potential investigators for them, but it's just not working out for Elder Rxxxx and I. But it's ok, that's how my mission has gone. I just keep trying to work like it all depends on me, and pray like it all depends on God. That evening was also really good. We had a ward activity with a bonfire and fireworks. And wow. It was weird. We got permission to go in normal clothes and so it almost felt like I was back home. But despite that feeling we had the opportunity to teach 2 lessons to non-members and we have a return appointment with one!
Saturday we had a street display in Warrington. And it was really good. The weather was rough before and after the display but it held off for the duration of it. And we put the things in practice that we had talked about at district meeting and got 4 new investigators from it! What??! That's what happens when energy is introduced! It made me happy to see missionaries emerge from their shells and become firecrackers, bouncing around and working incredibly hard. When we got back from that I had the chance to meet with some great family friends. The Craguns (shout out to them!) came and saw me and took us to dinner and gave us some American food! Thank you again, Tim and Ami. It was a very nice evening.

After that we went to wander the streets but both felt like we needed to visit Bxx. So we visited him and had a great lesson with him. wow, That was amamzing. It had been awhile since we really connected with him, but the spirit was so strong, and he regained the motivation to keep progressing, and then he came to church again!
Sunday was a great day at church. President and Sister Ulrich came and afterwards we visited with them and got to have more of a one on one. They are amazing people and I'm glad that they are my leaders for this time.
And that concludes my week! Thanks for reading and thanks for the support! Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wigan #7

Hello Family and Friends!
My week in a nutshell was pretty darn decent. I can't complain to much, and I don't want to, so I won't! Life is good and it moves on. It's one of the greatest things about life. That we don't have to be stuck in the rubbish of the past. I've seen that a lot this week. As many of you know I'm serving with Elder Rxxxx who I served with exactly a year ago. And if you remember I trained him immediately after being trained. So we were both incredibly fresh and green. We made a lot of mistakes. Lots of them. And it led to the time that I spent in that area being the worst time of my mission. And I am just so thankful that we don't have to be stuck with those mistakes. A year has gone by. Nobody died. We can move on! I look back on the year, and it's only looking back that I can see change. But I am so grateful that we can take advantage of the Atonment and grow from the past, not dwell in it. Use it as a springboard for future success.
As I finished up the transfer with Elder Sxxxxxx, we spent some time visiting some people that we were working with, specifically Bxx. Elder Sxxxxxx was the one that found Bxx a week or two before I came to this area. And It was Elder Sxxxxxx that Bxx trusted. When he told Bxx that he was leaving, Bxx said it felt like a kick in the teeth. And that made me think of the New Testament, when Christ was with His disciples and told them that he was leaving. They didn't want to accept it, but they were told that they would be sent another comforter. The Holy Ghost. It hit me that unless there is an element of change in something, nobody will grow. Up to that point I think Bxx was relying heavily on Elder Sxxxxxx, but now that he is gone I hope and pray that he will rely on the Holy Ghost more in his life. I think that would make things so much better and help him progress even more.
Halloween was an interesting night. We live right outside a pub and halloween is much more of a drinking and partying holiday here than a door to door kids holiday like in the states. So we got to listen to quite a bit of drunk karyoke on the 31st! Drunk people are so funny.
Well I think that's probably it for me this week! I love my mission and I love the opportunity to serve God and others. It makes life so much more meaningful and fulfilling.
Love you lots! Have a great week!
Elder Olsen