Thursday, July 7, 2016

Welcome Home

July 6, 2016
We spent the day making some signs and doing pretty much anything to pass the time.  
It seemed like the day would never end!

Too bad it was dark when we arrived home from the airport! :)
Unfortunately the wind kicked up and our sign was ripped--but our dear neighbors saved the day and fixed the sign!

I started tracking the flights at 3:30 am our time when the first flight left Manchester at 10:30 am.
Best sight ever!
It was so incredible to see all these missionaries coming down the stairs!
The gang is all together again after 3 long years!
It has been almost 3 years since Taylor has seen his Burton Grandparents.
They were serving a mission in France when he left and are now serving a mission in Utah.
A welcome sight--Bro and Sister Hamilton who also served in Carlisle.
What a amazing surprise!  It was wonderful to meet this amazing couple!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2 Carlisle #24

Somewhere out in cyberspace is the last letter Elder Olsen wrote as a missionary.
He sent it and then immediately turned in his Ipad. Unfortunately, we didn't receive the letter.

Monday, June 27, 2016

2 Carlisle #23


Hey everyone!

It's been a great week! There have been a lot of things happening in the UK this last week, which has made things really exciting! It's been really fun to see the energy come into the city. For those of you who haven't heard, Britain has left the European Union. The lead up to that vote was lots of fun! Almost every day for a month we have been getting flyers through with our post telling us to vote leave or vote remain. People have been advocating their opinions in town centre and that occasionally leads to some interesting times when the opinions clash. But most of the excitement happened during the build up. The people in Carlilse don't seem to bothered that we've left, most of Carlisle voted to leave. If the vote went the other way I think we would've had more riots. On top of that the Prime Minister has stepped down. People complain about him all the time, but I think they would rather have him than the person who will replace him. The other excitement, the one people seem to care more about is the Euro Cup. This is one of the biggest football (soccer) tournaments for England, right behind the World Cup. England has done well in it so far, and they will play again tonight. We have to avoid the pubs and clubs when England plays, things get a bit fiery. It was especially bad when England played Wales.. It has been really exciting though, and it is such an easy conversation starter! It is so easy to ask people about the latest game and then move it into the Gospel. It's a huge blessing that this tournament is going on as I finish my mission.

I forgot my planner, so I can't remember a lot of specifics about this week, but I'll do my best to try and remember.

District meeting was cancelled this week, so we had some extra time to proselyte. Unfortunately a few of our investigators dropped us this week. It was a miracle family, so we were really disappointed. We had tracted into the mother and daughter separately and they both gave us the exact same response. And when we had an appointment with the mother, the daughter was their! But that is no more, at least for the time being. They said that they wanted to continue with what their ancestors followed. That it was letting down the family to change religion. So that stinks.

We had an exchange with the missionaries serving in Barrow. They both came to Carlisle, and I worked with Elder Jxxxxx for the last exchange of my mission. It was a blast! I've done several exchanges with him before and we are good friends so it was an appropriate way to finish my exchanges. While on exchange I was peed on by a dog... It was actually really funny. I started talking to a man named Fxxxxxx (Ailee, he's from Indonesia), he knew some of the members of the church here, so that connection was established and he started to walk away. But that was when Elder Fxxxxxxxx and Elder Lxxxxx burst out laughing. The way Elder Fxxxxxxxx tells the story is that he noticed the dog sniffing around my leg and thought something was going to happen. So he then had two options, warn me so I could move my leg, or tell another missionary so he could watch too. Unfortunately for me the second option was the choice! The good news is that after the dog peed on me he felt bad and stayed to talk to me so I was able to teach him a lesson and place a Book of Mormon!

Through the street display we met Cxxxxxxxx. Cxxxxxxxx is a new investigator! We've already met with her twice and she is progressing really well! She's 18 years old and I'm sure she'll get baptized. The lessons that we had with her were really good and she is excited to learn more. The only problem is that she leaves the country for a month this week. But we have permission to Skype her and teach her through Skype. So that will be good!

Here's some pictures, everyone likes pictures!

Me and the little devil....

This is what happens when England plays football... 

Monday, June 20, 2016

2 Carlisle #22

Hello all!

I guess I'll start with the biggest news of the week! RXXXXX WAS BAPTIZED!!! It's so exciting! This is so great. It's things like this that make it all worth it. All those long hours spent in the rain, everyone who has ever degraded me or the church, this makes it all worth it. Sigh...

So! It has been a good week in Carlisle! For the most part. There were definitely some time that I would not classify as desirable, but like I said, it's worth it. I don't have loads of time today, It took some time to get my card reader to work, in the end I had to give up and use my companion's. So I will just send a few of the prominent events from this week.

Early this last week we had an exchange with the missionaries serving in Workington. They whitewashed in this transfer replacing the sisters who used to be there. So we brought Elder Cxxxx and Elder Cxxxx here to Carlisle. Quick note, Elder Cxxxx is French, and Elder Cxxxx is from Scotland. Elder Cxxxx has been on his mission for about 2 weeks. In total. He didn't go to the MTC. I went with him and Elder Fxxxxxxxx was with Elder Cxxxx. It was a very good exchange! Things went really well, we were able to help both of those Elders out. They are great missionaries and helped us too. The downside of this exchange is that I got a parking ticket on Wednesday morning for £60, so about $90. I think it was an unfair ticket so I've appealed it to try to get out of paying that kind of money. We'll find out soon what will happen with that. That really put a damper on the day, but we couldn't do anything about it so we moved on. We met several people who accepted return appointments but unfortunately none of them were able to happen. In Carlisle it is really easy to get a return appointment, the hard part is getting a second return appointment.

Another highlight is the ice cream cake that we made for Rxxxxx's baptism. It was oreo. And it was amazing. I was very pleased with that.

And the other highlight to mention here is Rxxxxx's baptism! Everything came together so smoothly, in fact, the whole process from finding Rxxxxx to getting her baptized was the epitome of working with the branch. The service was very simple, but it was lovely. The talks were great, the spirit was there really strongly, and Rxxxxx was happy. Everything went exactly according to plan.

It has been such a privilege to be able to work with Rxxxxx. She is amazing and has become one of my good friends. I have great memories of powerful moments while teaching her. Wonderful experience.

I think that's it for me today! Have a great week! Thanks for the support!

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, June 13, 2016

2 Carlisle #21

Good Morning!

Where to begin? Overall this has been a great week. I look back on this one and I just get happy. I felt the spirit so strongly many times, and Elder Fxxxxxxxx and I had a lot of fun. I know I've been talking about this for the last few weeks, but it is what's on my mind all the time! It's Rxxxxx!

We taught Rxxxxx a few times this week, and we had some struggles with it! Unfortunately not everything works out how you've planned, and we saw that this week. Things didn't go super down hill, there were just a few frustrations with fellow shippers not letting us get a word in and talking about things that don't really apply very much, Despite all that, we were able to plan the baptismal program with Rxxxxx. It's so exciting to see everything coming together! This is incredibly fulfilling..

But, the highlight of this week is hands down the visit from ELDER OAKS!!! He visited the Preston stake conference this last weekend, and made time to have a meeting with the missionaries! Oh man, it was amazing! As far as I remember this was the first time that I've ever shaken an apostle's hand. But what struck me as I did and looked into his eyes is that he is a man! He is normal! One of my favourite parts of the meeting was when Sister Oaks spoke. She is soo funny and has a personality that you just can't help but love. When the previous speakers cracked jokes Elder Oaks was straight faced, but he was clutching his side he was laughing so hard at some of his wife's remarks! The love that the two of them has is so obvious and it just shines. And when Elder Oaks spoke, I don't have my notes, but I could see the apostolic mantel upon him. He spoke things that were so pertinent to me. One thing that I do remember that he said: "Convert in Spanish has two meanings, one is someone who is fully changed and mature in a religious conviction, the other is someone who is beginning that process and on the path. That is the kind that we baptise! We don't baptise adults of gospel maturity, we don't even baptise teenagers! We baptise infants! You know which kind that I mean."

But my experience with Elder Oaks didn't stop there. The next day (Sunday) we went to Stake Conference and were able to hear him speak again. The Carlisle branch rented a bus and driver and we rode in extreme comfort to Preston. Rxxxxx came with us, as well as another investigator named Lxxxx who we recently started teaching. I was sat on the stand because I was singing in the choir. I was directly behind Elder Oaks on the stand. And when he spoke, that was the best part of the meeting. From my spot on the stand, I saw him literally receive revelation and then speak it. If he would've written his talk having known me and Rxxxxx our whole lives, it would've been the exact same talk that he gave at stake conference. I feel bad for everyone else, because the just listened in to and Apostle speaking to me and my investigator and probably felt pretty jealous. And Rxxxxx agreed, she told me that she felt like he was speaking to her the whole time, and that she felt so much comfort during his talk, that she was doing the right thing in getting baptized. It was a remarkable opportunity that I won't forget. Absolutely brilliant.

As far as the rest of the week went, Elder Fxxxxxxxx and I (just realized we haven't sent a picture home in a while and neither of us have a camera, sorry!) really struggled to find members to come teaching with us. We are really feeling the impact that the Hxxxxxxx's (missionary senior couple) had on this area now that we don't get to utilize them. It caused more stress this week than I've had my whole mission, but I got through it just fine.

I want to really thank you all for supporting me. I feel of the power of your prayers and I'm grateful for the support that you give. The passing remarks to my parents, and little notes of encouragement mean so much to me and my family. Thank you.

Ta Ta for now!

Elder Olsen

Monday, June 6, 2016

2 Carlisle #20


It's been a crazy week in Carlisle! But I guess if it's not crazy it's not Carlisle! This week finished off our 7 week transfer and started our 5 week transfer! And with the new transfer came a new companion! I'm still in Carlilse, meaning that I began and will end my mission here! My new companion is Elder Fxxxxxxxx from Sparks (and Vegas) Nevada. He loves beach volleyball, doesn't eat very much, and has been out for 16 months. True to his home state, he was wearing gloves the other day, at the same time I was temped to take off my jacket! But we get along well and he will be a great final companion. I'm doing my very best to stay focused on my mission, and that's going really well. We have good things going here which really helps.

We had a flat inspection this week, and we passed with flying colours, but unfortunately despite my attempts to disguise our weed garden by calling it a "Japanese garden with rare specimens" we got a slap on the wrist and told to do service for ourselves and weed the garden. So we did the front as fast as possible then went out finding again. I guess we need to do that back garden as well. But that will be later.

Rxxxxx is getting interview for baptism on Wednesday, which we are so excited for. She is so committed and is the most solid recent convert ever. And she isn't even baptised yet! She is such a kingdom builder. She has changed so much since we first started working with her. She is so much more happy and confident! The spirit is in her home. And even the dog is feeling it! After 2 1/2 months of seeing Rxxxxx several times a week, the dog let me pet it. And then it ran away.

I wish I could write more, but our p day has been shortened this week. So next week. Oh! Elder Oaks is coming to our mission on Saturday! So we have a full mission conference, and then the next day is the Preston stake conference, and Elder Oaks will be presiding at that as well! It only took me 23 months of being a missionary to see an apostle!

So that's it from me! Have a great week!

Elder Olsen

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

2 Carlisle #19

Good morning!

It's been a great week in Carlisle! For the big news of the week, I am staying in Carlisle for my last 5 weeks, but Elder Pxxxxxx will be leaving! ☹️ my new companion will be Elder Fxxxxxxxx. I don't know much about him, we've always been in opposite ends of the mission, but it should be really good! We have some really good things happening in Carlisle, things are going better than I've ever seen on my mission. Elder Fxxxxxxxx and I are going to keep that going and make things happen!

As far as my week goes, on Tuesday we had district meeting and then exchanges after. I was with Elder Gxxxx from my group, and Elder Pxxxxxx was with Elder Jxxxxx, from my group. We had such a great time together! One of the highlights was driving through the Lake District on the way to Carlisle. We saw beautiful scenery. So we got permission to take photos. It was amazing.

Elder Pxxxxxx and I were able to teach so many lessons this week! We had lots of success with everything that we did! Not one of our appointments this week fell through. That's amazing. Our appointments were super great as well! Some of them lead to new investigators too! We've just had a really good week.

A few weeks ago Elder Pxxxxxx and I were tracting and met a lady named Axx. She invited us back but never set up a specific time with us. We were prompted to go back to her on a whim, found her in, and set up an appointment with her. She lives on her own so we made arrangements for Elder Hxxxxxxx to come with us. When we got to the appointment we were shocked to see someone else that we knew! Axx's daughter Lxxxxx is someone else that we had found ages ago who had also said we could come back! So we were able to teach them the restoration and have an appointment to go back tomorrow! It's going to be super good! It's amazing to see the Lord's hand organizing this work. Things are literally falling into place, I've honestly never seen things like this on my mission. We taught Rxxxxx many times this week. We've found her biggest concern and have been working on addressing it. She knows the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true church. But she struggles with feeling good enough. She knows it is a life long commitment and she wants to be true to it. We've given her every answer there is, and we are working towards a baptismal date of the 18 June. She is sooo close!

Elder Gxxxx and I found several new people on the exchange that we went on, looking forward to meeting up with them and working with them.

(writing this several hours the other part)
I've met Elder Fxxxxxxxx now, and it's going to be a good transfer. He's from Sparks Nevada and has been out for about 15 months. He plays a lot of Beach volleyball and longboards. I'm excited but I'm going to miss Elder Pxxxxxx. We got along so well, and we worked really hard. We had lots of fun together and saw miracles. I guess it's time to see those miracles with Elder Fxxxxxxxx now!

Today was transfers, so Elder Pxxxxxx and I drove to Chorley where we caught the coach with other missionaries to Manchester where we met our new companions. After a short training and some mingling we headed back up, loaded up the car and headed north! And now here we are sending emails off!

I guess that will be it for me today, I still have a few emails to send off. Thank you all so much for your emails. They mean so much to me. I feel your love and encouragement. Thank you for the support you have given me.

Love from England,

Elder Olsen

Monday, May 23, 2016

2 Carlisle #18

Well chaps, thanks for the great letters! It was great to hear about how things are going for you all. It's been a good week for me! We got a lot done and met with some really good people! The teaching pool that we have now is the biggest and most progressing that I've ever had on my mission, which feels so good! And one of the best parts is that all of the people come with a member attached to them! Whether it was a member that introduced them to us, or we introduced them to a member, all of the people that we are working with have a friend in the church.

I always get to this point and struggle to remember what has happened during the week. Everything blurs into one. The most prominent thing, and one of the best that we were able to do this week is the mission historical tour. On Thursday we were able to drive down to the Preston temple, have a quick meeting, and then tour some of the sites of our church history with half of the mission! (the other half went the day before). We saw where the first baptisms in England took place, the sites that the first missionaries, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, and others preached their first days in England, as well as a beautiful village where almost all of the residents joined the church. It was a great experience and a brilliant opportunity to recommit to my Saviour to serve with all of my heart for my last few weeks. My time is winding down, but I'm not. I'm in it till the end!

We met with Rxxxxx several times as well. Rxxxxx is soooo good! But there is something that is keeping her from taking the step to baptism! She believes in the Book of Mormon, she believes Joseph Smith was a prophet, she has a testimony of the plan of salvation, she's living the commandments and meeting with us 3-4 times a week! But she want's to make sure that she will stick to it, even after we leave. She doesn't want to get baptized if she doesn't feel like she'll be able to devout all of her time. So we are working with her still. Prayers would be so appreciated!

Other than teaching and the historical tour, we did lots of door knocking this week. We met loads of really nice people! But not many people were willing to talk about the Gospel. Disappointing, but they had positive experiences with Mormon missionaries so I can't complain.

Lately I've really been able to see a change in me. I've looked back to the beginning of my mission, now over 22 months ago, and the difference is huge. Everything about me has changed. Even my appetite. I don't crave ice cream as I used to, my desire for sweets has diminished. I'm not as athletic, but my understanding of the gospel as it applies to people is so much better.

I don't really have much more to say! Except for that I love you.

Have a great week!

Elder Olsen

Monday, May 16, 2016

2 Carlisle #17

This week went by so fast! I feel like I was just emailing yesterday! I think I'm going to have to open my planner to see what we actually did!

Monday, Pday.

Tuesday, we had district meeting which was good. We talked about teaching repentance. We talk a lot about the doctrine of what repentance is, so we focused on how we can teach that more effectively. When we got back from that (we held it in Workington, about an hour away) we went tracting, in a really nice area. We had an appointment fall through, And we taught Rxxxxx about Prophets! We had our ward mission leader with us, who was a great addition. The highlight of the lesson is when Rxxxxx said that she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet! She did say that she wasn't to sure about the Book of Mormon though.

Wednesday. We did some gardening, for service, We knocked more doors, had another appointment fall through, then had an appointment with a lady named Lxxx. It was alright, we didn't really get to teach much, she's going through a rough time, and our fellowshipper was super talkative. We talked about finding answers to our questions in the Book of Mormon.

Thursday. We had weekly planning. It was a nice day, nearly got pooped on by a bird. Had an appointment with Jxxxx! Jxxxx is a member's friend who we met when we dropped by this member. She hadn't been out to church for a while. But we started chatting with Jxxxx and since then he has come to church twice! and she has been 3 times! So things are going really well with working with them, We are really excited! We also taught Rxxxxx again. We talked about the Book of Mormon. It went really well. in between visits she had read the testimony of Joseph Smith about the Book of Mormon and now believes that it is from God!

Friday, We tracted for hours. and found a nice lady named Jxxxx! We'll be meeting with her later this week, and we are super excited for it! Jxxxx is super genuine and the nicest person ever. We had a dinner appointment with the Bxxxxxx, a great family, and street contacted for a bit!

Saturday. Lots more tracting, another lesson with Rxxxxx, again, it was good. There was a branch activity that we went to with Rxxxxx that night as well, which was really fun.

And on Sunday we had church!

During planning on Saturday night, we opened with a prayer, and the thought came to my mind that we should go to Penrith, an area about 1/2 hour away by car. I didn't want to do that because of the travel time that it would take so I pushed it aside. We planned for what we would do, then closed with a prayer, presenting our plans to the Lord and asking if they need to be adjusted to let us know. After the prayer I felt super strongly that we should go to Penrith again, so I mentioned it to Elder Pxxxxxx and he said that he'd been thinking the same thing the whole time. So we re-planned, choosing a few new streets to tract. Well we drove over and on the way nearly got in a car accident, a big white van tried to overtake a bicyclist on a skinny windy road right as we rounded the corner. I hit the brakes and drove partway into a field, so there isn't any incident there, but back to the story. We did our tracting in Penrith, met a few nice people, but didn't find any new friends. It felt good though. I know we were supposed to speak to those people who we did, and I know it made a difference in their life. I don't believe that we would be sent to an area like that for no purpose. We will go back and tract the streets we choose but didn't get to.

So that's me!
Have a great week! Thanks for your prayers!

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, May 9, 2016

2 Carlisle #16

This week has been pretty good! Family, I love you all so much, thank
you for the Skype yesterday, it was so good to see and talk to you!
Friends, I'm sorry you don't have my family. That's super sad for you
because they are fantastic! I'm also sorry because this email will
probably be shorter than normal, after all, I did just talk to my
family yesterday! Now that my last Skype is out of the way and food
for my first week home has been planned out, I feel old. But that's
super good! Because it's motivation to power through my last day!

This week was a pretty good one! We have been working towards
preparing Rxxxxx for baptism, but she doesn't feel ready and so we've
had to reevaluate and we've pushed it back. We taught her 4 times this
week with members present! It was super good! Sunday night we watch
the Prophet of the Restoration with her, and she really enjoyed it!
She said that it gave her a new perspective on things. She came to
church too! It was great!

We went on exchange to Lancaster this week! It was a good exchange, I
went with Elder Hxxxxxx from Idaho and we did some finding! We found a
man who had witnessed a suicide 20 minutes before, a man jumping in
front of the train. He was pretty shaken up and so we introduced the
gospel to him, and he walked away. We did get a few good contacts and
I enjoyed my time there. We've had great weather all week, and
Lancaster is a beautiful city.

I'll send some pictures too! Because everyone likes pictures.

Have a great week!

Love, Elder Olsen

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Skype

Our last Skype session.  It was so wonderful to see and hear him!
The best part was definitely being all together for a family prayer.

Monday, May 2, 2016

2 Carlisle #15

I want to preface this letter with an apology. Because of our trip to
the temple this morning I won't be able to respond to all those who
wrote me. I'll do my best but it probably won't end up happening. I'm

I'm writing this in the back of a small car, driving through English
hills, lit with a beautiful sun and dotted with sheep. This country is
amazingly beautiful. I'm so grateful to be blessed to serve in what we
call "the cradle of the restoration."

It's a bank holiday today, which means that we got to go to the
temple! It's such a privilege to be in a mission that has a temple
within it's borders. I've really come to associate the temple with
solace. It's a place of respite and peace. We live in a troubled world
but we in the gospel are so lucky.

This week we had an experience in teaching a lesson that was very
powerful to me. We were teaching an investigator who has lots of
concerns about the church. She's visited a few anti-Mormon websites
and agrees on a lot of the partial truth opinionated philosophies that
she's found. I've heard it all. It's been a good few months since I've
heard a piece of anti lit that I haven't heard before. But rather than
try to explain away and nervously defend the church and that which it
stands for we felt prompted to teach and testify about faith. I don't
know what the result was, we had to move on and go to another lesson,
but I know that the spirit was there and that it was the right move.
We followed the direction of the spirit and it seems to have worked
out ok! I know that it worked out better than if we had done things my

One of the most noticeable lessons that I'm learning is how the Lord
bestowes miracles on this work. It's been so good to see people placed
in our paths. I'll share 2 examples from this week with you. 1st one.
My back has been giving me difficulties lately. I'll leave it at that
rather than going into my rant about side bags. But anyway, the last
few days has been really bad for it, but on Saturday, we met a Chinese
lady who invited us into her house! She wants to learn about God, and
that was super good to be able to teach her. But the best part about
it is the massage chair that her husband had! It was a full body
massage chair, complete with a sound system. And I got to get a
massage in it! It tickled my feet but it was sooo good for my back!
2nd. We finished up a teaching appointment with a man named Sxxxxx,
and one of his neighbours is a less active member so we decided to
stop by her for a few minutes and invite her to come to church with
us. Well Axx has several properties and rents some of them out to
people, so this is one of the addresses that we had for her but we
weren't sure if she would be there. But she was! And what's better is
that the tenant of the flat was there too, so we got talking to him
and discovered that he really feels like his life has fallen to
shambles. So we talked to him about faith and were really able to
boost him up! And the best part is that they both came to church on
Sunday! We were expecting to have 4 investigators at church, and none
of those came, but this other man did, so that was a nice surprise!

I know that the Lord loves us. I don't know everything, but I know that much.

Have a great week!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, April 25, 2016

2 Carlilse #14

Good morning everyone!
I want to start this letter out with how much I love serving in the EMM. I know that the Lord tailors all of our circumstances for us individually, and that is such a blessing. We had a great experience this week that really helped us to understand how much the Lord loves us and wants what's best for us.

Working with Rxxxxx has been very enlightening for me. She has taught me things and has been such a great listener. She's one of the best people I've worked with on my mission as far as a teaching environment. I look forward to every lesson with a nervous anticipation. This week we had a lesson scheduled with her but our member friend that we were planning on going with had to cancel on us. We felt like we should go ahead with the lesson anyway, but we really wanted this member couple to become friends with Rxxxxx, so we rescheduled for the next day. Unfortunately Rxxxxx had some issues come up and had to cancel that appointment so we rescheduled for after church a few days later (she wasn't able to make it to church either). 30 minutes before our lesson was to begin our member friends once again had to cancel. We called around franticly, trying to get someone to come with us, but call after call was either a no or no answer. But with just a few moments to go we found a different number for our branch president! And he saved the day! Not only did his presence allow us to go in and teach her, but he made such a difference in the lesson. He added some great input and taught very naturally with us. Because of some of the things that had happened earlier in the week, she was going to drop us, but because of the testimony of the Carlisle Branch President she is looking forward to another visit with us!

Heavenly Father has really prepared people, and they are coming! We made a mistake not going to Rxxxxx's on our original appointment. We don't know, but the conflicts the next day may never have happened! But God wants her to succeed so He prepared everything so that Rxxxxx could have the best experience for her on Sunday night. It was amazing.

We found several new people this week who I'm excited for. We also had a referral come in that we had to contact. So we called the phone number and scheduled an appointment! It looked like it was going to be a golden referral! We had a bit of a surprise when we put the address into the GPS. He lives in a little village called Keld, population, probably about 25. This village (if it's worthy to be called a village, hamlet might be a better word) consisted of 1 street. It was a nice drive 45 minute drive in the countryside on a beautiful day. But, when we got there, the person who had been referred to us had no idea what was going on and had no interest, it was just a prank from one of his mate. Disappointing, but we had a beautiful drive anyway.

It was a week of testing for us! We had 11 investigator appointments fall through on us. We showed up to all of them, but they weren't in for any of them! So again, disappointing, but it gave us an opportunity to do more finding! And we took advantage of that time, we put in a lot of hours of knocking doors this week.

I think that's it from me today! Thanks for the emails and prayers!

Love, Elder Olsen

Driving on the wrong side!
Tracting in Keld
2 ways, 60 mph speed limit, I went like 30

Monday, April 18, 2016

2 Carlisle #13

Hello Everyone!
This week has been absolutely crazy. It's been so busy and lots of fun! Emailing last week was pretty much a fiasco, P day had been moved to Tuesday, and we had transfers that day as well. So I had to drive 3 hours to Manchester and 3 hours back. But it was good. 
Elder Pxxxxxx and I are getting along well. We've had lots of laughs and worked hard, when we had time to work. Wednesday was really good, we went out and tracted for about 5 hours., and met some really good people. One lady, Axxxx, had been to the Temple open house 20ish years ago and was  good friends with one of our branch members! This member had invited her to several activities over the years, and Axxxx had gone! But she describes herself as a doubting Thomas. Sometimes I want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them until they accept what we say! We're pretty sure that Axxxx knows that the Gospel is true, she described a powerful experience that she'd had where she had felt the spirit at the temple. But people are so skeptical!

One Friday there was a joint mission leadership council with district leaders in Manchester, so we drove to Lancaster on Thursday night and spent the night with the zone leaders so we didn't have to wake up super early to get to Manchester. MLC was super good! I was really happy to be able to be there and be involved in the discussions to help the mission. We were able to all get on the same page to help us move the work forward in unity.

On the way back from that we stopped in Lancaster to pick up Elder Pxxxxxx who had been on a split while I'd gone with his companion to the meeting. We picked him up and took him to the Lancaster flat so he could pick up the rest of his stuff, and as he ran in he slipped and slammed into a pole! It was super funny to watch, but I felt bad the next morning sitting in the emergency room. Elder Pxxxxxx cracked his sternum.

So that slowed us down a bit, but we were able to get a mileage extension on the car, because it hurts Elder Pxxxxxx to breath. Finding is still going really well, we found 6 new investigators last week, and that's with spending 2 full days outside of our area! We met an artist, and he gave each of us a piece of his art, so now I have a snow leopard on my study desk!

On Saturday morning a text came in from our branch mission leader saying that his wife had set up an appointment for us for that afternoon! Luckily we were able to make it out of the hospital in enough time to make it there. We had a lovely visit with Nxxxxxx and talked to her a lot about prayer. The next day at church the member came up to us saying how much Nxxxxxx had liked our visit! So we have a really good recipe for success with this family!

Well I think that's it for me today! Thanks for all your emails!

Love, Elder Olsen!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2 Carlisle #12

Hello everyone!
It's been a great week. Prayers do get answered and miracles do happen. I can hardly type fast enough! I just want to tell you everything!

I'll start this letter off with the beginning. After emailing we got a call from the AP's letting us know that they would be coming to work with us that evening and go to our district meeting on Tuesday as well! Elder Nxxxxx (shout out Cache Valley) worked with us and his companion worked with the other Elders. It was so good! I was really pleased to be able to work with him, and he brought lots of energy that we had frankly lost. 
District meeting happened. I'm still district leader this transfer so it must have been ok. After that we had to wait until the fuel was syphoned out, someone put the wrong fuel in the car. When that was finally done I drove to Lancaster! I drove! It was great! We had an exchange with the zone leaders, I was with Elder Nxxxxx, who is a fireball! It was really good exchange! We went finding for most of it, and I was able to learn a lot. I struggle with being myself around people that I don't know, and the exchange helped me to find ways to get over that.  After the exchange we drove out to Barrow, and I conducted a baptismal interview for a 15 year old girl. She passed. After that we embarked on a difficult drive through the Lake District. Narrow roads and sleet made the journey interesting, but I was loving every minute! It was amazing to be driving through one of the most beautiful parts of the world listening to general conference. It was a great day. 
Thursday was one of the best days ever. We had some really good finding, but the best part was our lesson with Rxxxxx. We taught the second half of the Plan of Salvation. It went really well and I felt like we were actually teaching Rxxxxx, not that we were teaching a lesson. During part of the lesson I felt like I was trying to hard on my own and that I needed to trust the spirit more, so I followed a prompting and showed Because of Him, a 3 minute video clip about the Saviour. While that was playing I started praying for Rxxxxx and for us as teachers. After the video the spirit was tangible, and Rxxxxx felt it! She felt it so powerfully, so we invited her to baptism (again)! She said she needs to time to think about it. But it was the most powerful lesson I've ever been in. The spirit did a really good job. I've never taught anyone like Rxxxxx. She just laps it up and is so accepting, but she isn't rash either.

We did a lot of finding on Friday, which went well. With my recommitment to talking with everyone this week I found myself stopping bicyclists, and I even shared a card with a motorcyclist while he was waiting at a red light and I was crossing the street! The book of Proverbs has it right, "the righteous are bold as a lion"! I just loved the Gospel more this week, and that created a natural desire to be better and bolder!

On Saturday we had a branch activity! We watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of Handel's Messiah. So Good! On Friday and Saturday we invited everyone that we spoke to to the activity. And 2 of them showed up! We had a 16 year old young man and his mum come. We later found out that the mum is a less active member, but a practicing Buddhist now. They really enjoyed it! Some of the members recognized her from when she was an active seminary student. She is one of the focuses for the branch now. 
And that brings us around to today! The day of transfers. I will be the Lone Ranger staying in Carlisle! The rest of my crew is leaving me! Elder Sxxxxx and Elder Fxxxxxx are whitewashing out, and they won't be bringing in a replacement companionship. The flat is being shut down leaving 2 of us here! So it's me and my companion Elder Pxxxxxx. He is Danish and has been out for about 8 months. I'm looking forward to serving with him, he's s goofball. 

Well that's a wrap for me! Turrah loves!
Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, April 4, 2016

2 Carlisle #11

Hey Everyone!

I had a horrible week this week! It was miserable and pretty much rotten; manky as they say here in northern England. 
So many things went wrong, nobody wanted to talk, and the worst part is, I was ok with it. I want you to understand, I'm not writing this letter as a confessional, nor am I putting my neck in the chopping block of judgement or scorn. But rather I'm attempting to accurately describe some of the dangers of missionary life and how to avoid the pitfalls. 
I honestly don't know why this week was especially difficult, in reading this it may not seem that it was. Everything about this week was set up for success. It was going to be perfect. I mean, we started the week off by going to the temple! There is no better start to a week than spending time in the house of the Lord. But I took it for granted and let everything slide. 
I think the best way to describe my attitude for the majority of the week is the word shallow. There was no depth to my desire, no depth to my work, and no depth to my prayers or studies. I was obedient, mostly. But I wasn't valiant in my obedience. We were out the door on time, we woke up on time, we didn't come in early, but I gave up on people at the doorstep. The scriptures describe me exactly, "men's hearts shall fail them." This week I took the easy way out, and the result was... nothing. We had no results to account for at the end of each day and the end of the week. I felt disappointed, but I reasoned and rationalized, shifting the blame to other people. They wouldn't have wanted to talk anyway, type thing. 

I don't want to dwell on mistakes that I've made. I'm definitely not perfect, and because of that, I don't particularly enjoy sharing all of this. But if I can help someone learn from my mistakes rather than from their own, I'm all right with that.

I don't want anyone to get caught up in the first part of the email because the next part is the part that matters.

I went into General Conference how I always have. I wanted to learn and to be spiritually edified. And that's what I got! I felt so uplifted and strengthened. What had become dull and monotonous was suddenly exciting and fun! In the conference I learned that I was doing wrong and therefore establishing a bad pattern for my life. I realized that I was the definition of taking the easy way out. But I was also given the tools to overcome it. Heavenly Father in His mercy laid out a plan for me, so that I can overcome myself. I know that I don't have to be bound down by exhaustion anymore. I've given so much on my mission, and I learned how to give more. Not more of myself, but more of my Saviour. I went home on Sunday evening and applied this plan. I invited Christ to revitalize me, It's my testimony that He can do it. He can give us strength beyond my own. I know that I've been blessed with interrupted sleep the last few months so that I could learn how to access the enabling power of grace.

 Blessed are they who are compelled to be humble, but more blessed are they who do not have to be compelled. I learned the hard way. Learn from my mistakes. I promise that the joy and energy that you feel on the other side far outweighs the exhaustion and sorry from before! I feel the song of love in my heart. I feel it. Do you? It is not enough to merely become clean and sanctified by the Atonement. Not in this day and age. Not with the tasks that are ahead of us. We must learn to access the power of heaven in our own lives. I testify of these truths in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

So what now? I am so grateful that I don't have to wonder. My game plan for the next weeks and months is to tear apart the conference talks. Those who gave those talks speak for the Lord. I need His direction. And then I will put it in action! I love this work. 

Here's some pictures as promised!

Lots of Love!
Elder Olsen
Elder Kxx and I at the temple!

the most unhealthy Easter treat... Caramel filled chocolate egg, with cake baked around it, and the whole thing dipped in chocolate. Diabetes.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2 Carlisle #10

Hello all!

Oh boy, it has been a great week!  Carlisle has seen many miracles and
blessings in the past week.

I'm here emailing at the Chorley temple complex having just went
through a session. It was absolutely amazing. I didn't have any
problems staying alert and I learned so much. I loved the feeling that
was there. I really experienced leaving everything at the door. I went
in and felt no stress or anxiety. I was completely at peace. In the
session we were in there was a girl going through for her own
endowment before her marriage. It was nice to see everyone acting so
Christlike, guiding her through everything. It was super nice.

Elder Kxx and I taught a great lesson this week with the Hxxxxxxx's (a
senior missionary couple here). We're teaching a lady named Rxxxxx. We
met her tracting and shared the Book of Mormon with her. She told us
that she was looking for a boost of faith because of some difficulties
that have gotten her down. Well we arranged to come back on Wednesday
and it was a great visit. Elder Kxx and I taught with more unity that
ever before and we included her in the lesson, getting her involved,
asking questions, etc. You could've filmed it and put it in the
district! She accepted baptism when she finds out that it's true;
we'll extend a date this week.

I thought we ate lots of sweets back home for Easter, but I think the
British top us on that one. They aren't really into the whole Easter
egg hunt, but everyone has loads of chocolate eggs. I'll send a
picture next week when I'm back on a computer.

I love this gospel. I am so blessed to be part of it. I love the
opportunity to share my testimony with people. I know the church is
Love from Carlisle,

Elder Olsen

Monday, March 21, 2016

2 Carlisle #9

Hello family!
It's been a pretty good week! It has been absolutely exhausting, but incredibly worthwhile. I think it is so interesting how there seems to be a focus that emerges from each week. I recognised this week's focus at church yesterday and looking back over the week it's easy to recognise that we've been given experiences to help us learn this principle. The principle I believe that God was trying to teach me is to put off the natural man. Many of the people that we spoke to talked about how crazy we are, how we should be in the pub watching Manchester United, or doing this or that. As we testified to these people of prioritising God over ______ (drugs, alcohol, ect.) the spirit touch my heart, reassuring me of the importance of the principles that I taught. This happened over and over again this week, in varying degrees of pressured from others, and escalated yesterday after church. 
In Carlisle we go tracting all the time. It seems like all we do is knock doors, but it's effective so we keep doing it! Well we met a man, a modern day Sherem type (Sherem being an anti-Christ, cleaver with his words but slimy in deed). He was quite cleaver, he talked about this and that, yada yada blah blah, etc. It was stuff that sounded pretty but it had easily apparent holes. I'm not a salesman, I'm not especially gifted in debate or conversation, but I have faith in the living Christ and I can testify that He uses the simple to do His work. With the spirit guiding our words and actions, we stood our ground and defended our faith. I do not believe in bible bashing, but I believe in courageously defending what I know to be true. To finish the story, mr. Sherem saw how he was contradicting himself and gave up. He shook our hands and closed the door. I don't know what will happen to him, but I do know that he saw more than two twenty year old boys on his doorstep that day. And I could walk away from that door satisfied that we'd done exactly what we were supposed to. 

We did meet some great people this week. Including two who are super receptive. I'm very excited to begin working with them. I think that they both will be willing to put in the work to get an answer, That's all it is! The gospel is true for everyone, people just need to be willing to find that out for themselves. One of them, Txxxx, is a 20 year old young lady who has read 6 different bibles cover to cover. She knows that there is more than what she's been finding and wants to figure out what it is. I felt the spirit so strongly as we testified to her and she felt it to. Our other hopeful is Rxxxxx. She's pretty much a dry Mormon. She lives most of the standards that we have. She said that she needs a boost in faith right now, and she believes that it wasn't coincidence that we knocked her door that day. I know it wasn't either!

Before I sign off I want you to know that I'm happy! I'm doing well, staying focused, and working hard. I know that this is the work of the Lord and I'm grateful for Him.

Thanks for everything!

Elder Olsen

Monday, March 14, 2016

2 Carlisle #8

Hello everyone!

This week was great, but not in the way I was expecting it to be. But I'll get to that later. Ha! Cliff Hanger...

Having a car in the area is the best. I still haven't had a car for my companionship, so I've been on foot for my whole mission still, but it makes things so nice for P-day. We went on another road trip on Monday to a castle. Dang! That thing was old! It's the best castle I've been to in England. I'll attach photos at the bottom. So we explored a bit of that and had a good time. This week we also had interviews with President Ulrich. I love having interviews. It's such an inspirational time where I can come away with certainty that I received revelation. I loved the time that I was able to spend there. That was in Lancaster, so we spent most of Friday out of Carlisle. On Tuesday we also had district meeting in Workington. It was the first time that we got together as a district this transfer. Wow. This is such a powerful district. We have so many strong missionaries who all make me want to improve. It's a really old district as well. 5 of the 8 go home in the next 6 months. We definitely have missionaries who sprint to the finish, rather than meander.

Of the time that we were able to spend in Carlisle, it was good. We spent less time finding this week and experimented with finding through service. We spent a few hours digging up a tree root for a nice lady that just hasn't committed to meet with us. She was super nice and offered us lots of chocolate (yum!) and bought us pizza as well! Food is the second greatest motivator in the world. Christ is the first. Sometimes I sit and think about the bible stories. What would it have been like to watch Noah building the arc. What role would I have played? Would I help or persecute? What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the Saviour during the sermon on the mount? And when he fed the 5,000... They got both of the great motivators! They heard the words of the Christ and got food too! Lucky ducks...

There wasn't actually a cliff hanger, but to wrap this up, this was a week of spiritual growth for me. President challenged me rather bluntly to step up, and I spent the days since trying to do exactly that. We've been waking up at 6 rather than 6:30 so we can have extra time to ponder and pray in the mornings. We were challenged to have morning devotionals with the Lord, It's been interesting trying to do that. I haven't seen great changes yet, but we were promised miracles by a representative of Christ, so I can't wait to see what those will be.

Love you all!

Elder Olsen

Monday, March 7, 2016

2 Carlisle #7

Hello everyone!
Happy UK Mother's day mum! I love this day! In England one of the things that they do to celebrate Mother's day is after Sacrament meeting, all of the primary kids come to the front of the chapel and get a rose to give to their mother. And then they go around and make sure that everyone has one. It was a great week for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

With transfers happening this week it was my job to keep the area moving forward. It was exciting for me! I haven't done that since over a year ago when I was in Ashton! My new companion Elder Kxx and I had a great start to our companionship. We've clicked and we get along really well. He's pretty quiet sometimes, which is nice. Elder Kxx is going to be a great companion for me to have at this point in my mission. It's been said that people talk about people, smart people talk about things, and intelligent people talk about ideas. Elder Kxx and I have had good conversations where he has pulled me up to higher conversation to speak of ideas. And it's been amazing, we speak of simple things like faith and put it into action. It's been great so far and I look forward to seeing miracles working with this him. 

This week we went over to a member's house for dinner. It was a great meal and good company too. But the best part about it is that the 16 year old daughter had invited a non member friend over! We connected with him really well and began teaching him! The spirit was tangible in the room. The question was asked "how do you know that this is actually real, not just some story that you've been told?" It was the mother that answered, which was amazing. We've been working with her for a long time and she's had her fair share of trials and doubts, but she bore a simple witness of the Book of Mormon, and the already powerful spirit intensified. It was an amazing moment to be a part of. And then the young man came to church yesterday. Members are the key to missionary work. Missionaries can work incredibly hard, and if the members don't support them, it's all for nothing, but with the members support and help, and them doing the work, that's when miracles occur much more common.
I'll send some pictures from our time in the Lake district. And then I'm off!

Have a great week!

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, February 29, 2016

2 Carlisle #6

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all well, and that life is treating you nicely. I'll just jump right into my week!

Last week after I emailed we all piled into the car and drove to the Scottish border! I didn't go past the sign so I can't say I've been in Scotland, but I have been to Scotland! Right up next to it. :) I was sat in the back sticking the camera out of the car snapping photos the whole time. It was a good ole adventure!

Tuesday was district meeting! I loved it because I didn't have to train on anything! Delegation is the best, other people can do the hard work. We learned about the difference between pride and confidence. I think it's an interesting balance. Sometimes they compete with each other but other times they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. After district meeting we went to do a street display in Workington town centre but we were kicked out by the council before we were 5 minutes into it. So we packed up and headed back to Carlisle, with 2 more missionaries in tow. The exchange policy for this mission has changed, instead of swapping companions and working in each other's areas, now all 4 missionaries work in the leaders area. So I went on exchange with Elder Mxxxxxx, from Tonga. He's a big teddy bear with strong desires to do what's right. I was able to talk with him really openly and since I've come through some of the things that he is going through it was a good exchange. He lacks self confidence and that's a battle I've fought myself. It was really good and we were both edified.

It's a good thing we have a really big flat, especially with other missionaries staying over more frequently now. The next day we went out and hit the streets some more! I learned from Elder Mxxxxxx that finding is an attitude, not an activity. I really liked that and it's true. It's the principle of forever finding put into practice. Not much more happened on Wednesday, except I found a spot where there used to be a leper hospital not far from where we live! I'll get a picture of the sign today.

Thursday was going to be dynamite! But everything fell through, so we just knocked doors all day. It was the first time on my mission that I'd knocked a whole street with not one door opening. Not really a bucket list item, but I'll cross it off some list anyway.

Friday... I made the most amazing curry for dinner. It was so good! So there's that... The only other interesting thing that happened is the swarm. There is an area in Carlisle called Botcherby. It's a bit rough, one of the roughest in Carlisle, which isn't very rough. But as we walk into Botcherby the sky darkened. I'd say that the sun was blocked, but the clouds were already doing that. It was the biggest cloud of birds I have ever seen. There were literally millions of birds in this cloud. And they were all synchronized creating shapes, diving and rising together. It was amazing. I was pooped on not one, not twice, but 6 times when the flock flew over. It was literally raining bird poop.

Saturday was a good day too. We worked hard and talked to a lot of people. I don't have much more to report about the rest of the week...

We got transfer calls and I will be staying in Carlisle. Elder Kxxxxxx is leaving to go to Liverpool. My new companion will be Elder Kxx, from Spain. He was in the district this transfer so I've gotten to know him a bit. It'll be good!

Here's some border pictures!

Monday, February 22, 2016

2 Carlisle #5

Hello everyone!
It's been a good week for the most part. Here's a few of the highlights from week 4 of this transfer! I'll try to stick to basics rather than going off on some tangent like usual, but no promises. 
On preparation day last week after we did our shopping and got everything done we went bowling! We were going to go to a castle but miles restrictions prevented us from going. We had a great time and I only embarrassed myself badly once! It was a funny moment, I was trying to put some curve on the ball and as I released the ball my feet slipped out from under me and I fell down in a pile of uncoordinated shame! I didn't get a gutter ball though! I got 3 or 4 pins so I was able to pick myself up with a small piece of my pride intact! :) 
On Tuesday we went to Workington for district meeting. The other set of Elders in Carlisle have the car, and we don't ever get to use it, so even though I have my license I'm not the designated driver, so I haven't driven since my test. So they drove us out there. We had a street display afterwards which went well. We have a powerhouse district. I'm really impressed with some of the missionaries we have. The level of diligence and hard work really impresses me. It makes me want to be a better missionary! 
What else...? Ok, so Thursday morning we got a call from the other Elders, who had gotten a call from a less active man just minutes before. He was wanting help moving and it was happening that day. We didn't have any appointments so we went overage proceeded to help with the most difficult moving job I've ever attempted. There was a lot of big stuff, and some of it was heavy, but he hardest part was the location of the flat. It was a 3rd story flat over a shop and it had a super steep staircase with a 180 degree turn halfway through. And that's after we work around the banister and in and out of bedrooms whatnot. At one point we had a sofa wedged in so tight that we had to through ourselves at it to try to get it to budge, and when it did fall we had another person below who had to catch it coming down the stairs. We only wrecked 2 walls and the ceiling though! It could've been worse! That night we had coordination meeting, and it felt like we were on the hot seat! We only had one name on the progress record, because all of our other appointments had fallen through. I'm sure our branch mission leader thought we were slacking off. 

Friday we worked just as hard as we have the rest of the transfer, but this time we reaped! We had a great day teaching people and schtuff like that. We found 4 new investigators, which is huge! That's probably the most I've ever had in one day. It was a really good day.

Saturday was just the opposite. We were so excited from Friday that during planning Friday night we planned the tracting in the same area for the whole day. That wasn't the best idea. We worked super hard but weren't able to teach anybody. It was one of the longest days of my mission. But we got through it alive. :)

Sunday was great as always and here I am on P-day writing again!

Thanks for reading! No pictures today, maybe next time. 
Love you all!

Elder Olsen 

Monday, February 15, 2016

2 Carlisle #4

Good Morning everyone!
Elder Kxxxxxx and I had some pretty good days this week. One of my favourite parts of this work is to see how the Lord takes average people who speak average things and magnifies their abilities and words. We saw that this week, 2 young men like us do not have the ability to do what we do. The Lord strengthens those who trust Him and Magnifies those who act with faith. Unfortunately I can't really illustrate this with an individual experience, but rather it's a collage of people and events that make it clear in my mind. The Lord takes raw materials, and refines them! I'm not perfect, but I'm a whole lot better off than if I was sat on my backside doing nothing. 
I learned a great lesson this week dealing both with heat and a lack of it. 1st, when it's cold, wear gloves, especially when biking. I got really good at biking with my arms folded trying to warm my hands and shield them from the cold. 2nd is that I need to pay more heed to common sense. I found a lighter on the ground so naturally I needed to set something on fire. Unfortunately my hand was in the way and I burned myself. It isn't terrible, but it's enough to remind me that I should be more careful. I was thinking about this earlier, and I drew out of this experience what I'd like to call the parable of the flame. 

Deep within each of us there is a flame. It can either be very good, or it can be bad. This is the flame of our passions, or our desires. As we feed this flame it gets bigger! And naturally the bigger the fire the more it consumes. It begins to roar and be rather impressive. The more we feed this fire the more it takes on its own. This can be applied in two senses. It can be either the fire of our faith which starts of small, but the bigger it gets the faster it grows, like the mustard trees. It can be the fire of our passions, which needs to be a controlled burn. But just like I tampered with the lighter to create a torch, tampering with our inner fire can lead us to be burned as well. If we want to have a roaring bonfire of faith but we cheat rather than doing the necessary steps of prayer and scripture study and pour gasoline all over it, it might get big fast but it'll burn out. And if we're stupid, we'll probably get burned. 

Alright, what else should I report on... So Hxxxx ended up texting us and saying she doesn't want to meet anymore. I hate it when people feed our investigators anti stuff. Everything that is not understood or that puts the church in a bad light is explainable! Sometimes the act of faith that is required of us is as simple as having an open heart and looking at the correct sources. That's why we have the scriptures! That's what prayer is for.

Back to my week. We did community service this week! It's good to see people rallying around and helping God's children. We were sorting supplies to send down to Syria. So many people here are against helping the people there, and it's hard to see. But it was great to be able to work around people of other faiths practicing true Christianity and serving God's children. 

Well that's all from me I think. Thanks for being fantastic!
Love, Elder Olsen
I clean!