Monday, December 28, 2015

Wigan #15

Hey everyone!

England: where the only free wifi you can find is in a pub.

This email will probably end up being pretty short, sorry! Family: It
was so good to see you and speak with you! That was such an amazing
part of my week. I think this Skype was probably the one I enjoyed the
most. I'm not sure what it was about it but it was so good for me.
Thank you for making that special for me. Everyone else: you missed
out!

This Christmas was great! Ya I missed being with family, but It was a
great Christmas nonetheless. On Christmas Eve we spent the night with
the the other Wigan Elders, Elders Nxxxxxx and Txxx, and the
Warrington Elders, Elder Bxxxxx and Elder Wxxxxxxxx. We bonded
together and enjoyed the company. It was good!

In the days after Christmas, the flooding happened. Pictures attached.
It was fun. It's gone now, not much we could've done to help, but fun
to laugh at!

I think that's it! Oh ya! We went to Manchester today to go shopping
and we went to the National Football Museum. 'Twas good!

So that's it from me, I'll make sure to attach a few pictures to make
up for not many words. Love you all!
Elder Olsen



Monday, December 21, 2015

Wigan #14

Hi!

I guess the first thing I want you to know this week is just how much I love my mission. I have so much joy from being involved in this work! It builds my testimony so much feeling so happy, because there isn't much that should make me happy when I look at things from a secular view. The circumstances that we live in as missionaries here in England should not add up to good Christmases. We don't have family, no snow, no Santa or reindeer, no elves, not even a Christmas tree! The situational mathematics should not equate to a brilliant Christmas! It's been the warmest December England has seen in 70 years so there is no chance of snow, we've prayed so much for angels to protect our flats that here is no chance Santa is going to get here :), we're 7000 miles away from family, and we're to poor to purchase a tree. But despite the lack of Christmas frills, I've never felt the spirit of Christmas so much. Now I know that we are actually in great circumstances for missionaries, and actually for lots of people, but that's not what I'm getting at. The fact that I feel the way that I do confirms again and again to me that The Christ did come. He was born many years ago but the sweet scene that the shepherds witnessed can be ever present in our hearts. And it is in mine. On Saturday the other Wigan Elders met with us to street contact town centre. It was really rough at first, in the 1st 45 minutes I had only given away 1 pass along card. A few of us wanted to quit, but I said a prayer, asking to be led to the right people, and then it started booming! The best experience came towards the end when I met a woman who had lost her husband 3 months ago. She was in a bad place in her life and couldn't wait for Christmas to be over. As I testified to her that she could have a great Christmas regardless, something connected our hearts. I felt her pain and she felt my love, both for her and for Christmas. It was a magical moment, something that I've never quite experienced the like of. This 50 year old lady named Rxxxx has been a major contributor in helping me find CHRISTmas. We exchanged great gifts that day.

Our Christmas rules are much more strict than they were last year. We have to proselyte on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and the biggest shopping day of the year. We didn't last year, we also don't have as much liberty with what movies we can watch. Some missionaries are throwing temper tantrums about this. I don't understand it, when we accepted our calls we didn't care what happened those days! People just forget the reason they serve. I think that this helps us to focus on the "reason for the season".

Last night we went out caroling with the other Elders. We had so much fun, and had a lot of laughs, but it was also a bit hard as well. We went door to door and more often than not we were shut down. Several times we were asked to stop singing before we were halfway through the song. I know we didn't sound the greatest, but it goes to show how much Christmas is becoming more of a commercialised event than a religious celebration. People don't really care anymore. It's the biggest challege that we face. Satan is working dang hard. And he's doing a good job, but that's why we've gotta work harder! I love it so much!
Make this the best Christmas you've ever had. Focus on Christ. Read about His life. Ponder His ministry. And celebrate! It's a time of "great joy"! Act like it!

I love you all! Here's some pics! Maybe just one...

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, December 14, 2015

Wigan #13

Hello All!

I'm so happy today! It's been a great week and I feel good. I love contrasts. I think that it's easily the best way to show how good something is, or I guess if you look at it the other way, how bad something is. This was a week of missionary work. I loved it. It wasn't a week where I had to worry about what other people would do, or have done, but I was able to direct my focus and faith towards inviting others to come unto Christ. It was very spiritaully fulfilling, especially yesterday as I partook of the sacrament. I was keenly aware of the sacrifice of my Savior, and that was a huge blessing for me to be able to see.
This week was one of tracting. We went harrrd. I think tracting is similar to Christmas. Each door is like a present, and you don't know what's inside til it's opened. And no matter what happens, it's always a positive experience! It's easy to see how the times when you testify to a soft hearted man who is interested and wants to learn more is good, but sometimes it's harder to see how others can be so good. We had an experience on Saturday that I think shows how those negatives are actually positives in disguise. It was rainy and cold, we'd been knocking doors for about an hour when we came to... another door! So we knocked that and the door next to it opened! Most of the houses in England are terraced housing, so they are all connected. The person who opened that one told us to come in and that they wanted us to tell them about our God. I was a bit apprehensive because I could smell alcohol on this lady. She was probably about 25 so I asked if they're were other people in the house. She said that there were two other people there so we went in and found a mess. These three ladies had been drinking since 5:00 the night before and it was about 12. They were still going with the coke and vodka and they were absolutely smashed. The one who opened the door started asking loads of questions, saying that she was a devil worshipper and spouting off loads of random stuff. The other two were just as drunk, one of them went off about how she wanted us to help her become a Jehovah's Witness, while the other one stared at me without blinking for a good 2 minutes. When she broke it and blinked she started screaming at the top of her lungs! We made a swift exit after testifying of the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. So that interesting experience was super positive because we've been laughing about it ever since! Super funny.
We went to Liverpool on Sunday night to watch the Christmas Devotional. So good! I loved President Uctdorf's talk. That devotional helped me to get more into the spirit of Christmas, which has been hard because not many people put lights on their houses. People will decorate a tree, but we don't often get to see those because we rarely get past the door step. So it doesn't really feel like England celebrates, even though I know it does.
Here's some pictures. Enjoy!
Love you all!
Elder Olsen

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wigan #12

Hello everyone!
Thanks for being so great, I'm so thankful for your prayers and letters. I miss you all, but I'm so grateful to be immersed in the most incredible work, it's such a blessing to be a part of this. I can feel of your support and love for me. It really carried me this week. 
So this week had some crazy ups and downs. Hands down, it was the most emotional week I've had on mty mission. I experience every thing in an inbetween balling like a baby, laughing my head off, stressing myself out of my mind, flying by the seat of our pants, discouragment, disapointment, inadequacy, shame, joy, depression, and anxiety. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, which I pray is over because I do not want to deal with any more.
I don't know how to begin to describe the week. This was a week where much of my attention was devoted to other missionaries and their problems and concerns. This week I had to deal with other missionaries problems, all while trying to handle my own problems and focus on investigators. It was a trying week.
I won't go into anymore detail than that. I already spent quite a bit of time writing President about it and I've talk about it to my zone leaders, President and Sister Ulrich, and the assistants. I've told the story a few times so I'll forgo telling it this time. Reading that it sounds like I've just been super depressed and down, but I honestly did manage to enjoy parts of my week.
So here's the latest update on Dxxxxxxx and Bxx. Dxxxxxxx is gone as can be. We had two addresses for her, and both of them were places where she lived, but it was 3-5 years ago when she last lived there. She hasn't answered the phone in what seems like months. 
Bxx is still struggling. He bought us KFC this week which was really nice, but as far as his progress goes, he's slowed down a lot and he's doesn't really have that desire to keep going. We won't give up though.
I went on exchange with Elder Dxxxxxxxx again this week. I went on exchange with him when I was in Warrington, and we worked in Wigan. So we went on exchange, and that was actually pretty good. It was nice to be able to work with a different missionary and help with different issues than I'm used to.
I'm grateful for trials. I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow. I know prayer works. God lives. He gives us the strength and help that we need when we need it.
Have a great week!
Love you!
Elder Olsen
We did glamour shots this week!