Monday, January 25, 2016

2 Carlisle #1

Hey everyone!

Once again it's time for the update from England! It's been a good
week for me. Transfers are the best time in a missionary's life to set
new goals and expectations. It's usually a time of growth and change,
a time to lay aside the old self and restart with a fresh you.

With transfers being on Wednesday, the first part of my week was spent closing things up in Wigan. I tried to leave it in the best shape I could, and I definitely think I left the area better than it was when I came into it. We met together as a district on Monday and played basketball and a few other sports, it was fun and I'm going to miss that district. It had so much diversity in it which made things unique and entertaining. In our district of 8 people we had 6 countries represented. With so many nationalities you'd think that cultures would clash but we all got along great and everything was super fun.

Tuesday was the last full day in Wigan, so we went out and worked! I hate it when missionaries think that since they're leaving they can stop working and wait until they get to their new area to start working again. We're all on the same team regardless of where we are, and it doesn't matter who teaches them, it's the Lord's work, not ours! (I'll get off my soap box now). We spoke to a lot of people but were only able to teach one lesson all day.

A few weeks ago there was an announcement made that dramatically changed the way transfers happen. Everyone who is getting transferred and their companions usually meet together at a central location in the mission, we have a meeting where incoming missionaries are introduced and we hear departing testimonies from those who are leaving. But now we are responsible to get to our new area on our own, without the central meeting place. So that was a fun change, but it was a nightmare to try to work out the logistics of it. It was my job to get travel plans and arrangements for everyone in my district which was stressful. I'm not going to be a travel agent. It's decided. But everyone got to their new areas and got their companions so it worked out great. I was picked up by the senior couple serving in Carlisle, which was super exciting! I've never served around a senior couple before and I'm pumped! We drove halfway to Lancaster where we had a worldwide missionary devotional, the first of its kind in 10 years! It was super good and I learned a lot. I won't go into details about it because this email would just get super long. But it was good.

Thursday. The day things really got started. I'm probably going to go on another rant in this paragraph. But is one is mostly positive. My new companion Elder Kxxxxxx is great. He's a solid missionary with an incredible work ethic. I have never come into an area that's had half of the appointments scheduled as this one did. Thursday was jam packed with appointments every hour, we had to bike as hard as we could in-between each appointment to make it to the next one. And the best part is, only 3 fell through! So I was super excited about that! We taught a few really good people, who are willing to make changes and sort out their lives. It was also so nice to come into a CLEAN flat! The Elders here before me did a great job with everything, they were clean and organized, the area book is organized, WE HAVE PEOPLE TO WORK WITH! And I am happy! My companion isn't super talkative, but he puts his head down and works. He's been out in England for 3 months, but he served in Kansas before that for 6 weeks. He's a solid as they get with a strong testimony, good people skills, and an incredible work ethic.

Friday was the day that proved us. We had 6 appointments scheduled, and all but one fell through, so we were left with hours on our hands to find. And we found. And it wasn't finding to fill time that so many missionaries do, we were expecting to find people and the Lord blessed us. We taught lessons, found new investigators, and rode our bikes like nobody's business. I fell asleep super easily that night.

Saturday was just like Friday. We tracted for hours, but unlike a lot of tracting that I've done on my mission, we didn't knock a million doors and it didn't feel like we were out for days. We had conversations with people! We touched people's hearts! We were super hungry at the end! And once again, the Lord blessed us with return appointments.

Sunday was church and it was the first time seeing the Carlisle branch members in 15 months. The reactions of so many people made me laugh! I'll include a few of the funny comments.
-Yep, I still don't remember you.
-Oh ya! You were Elder VW's companion!
-You never really said anything when you were here, but now that you talk your actually really nice!
-When I heard Elder Olsen is coming back, I knew that you had served here but I couldn't remember your face, but you're the one that gave us the burned cookies!

I guess I'm not the only one who can see the change that I've made on my mission!

So in conclusion to this bigger than normal email, I'm doing well. The other Elders in Carlisle have a car and we don't, so I could be better, but I'm still happy.

Thanks for your support and encouragement. Ya'll are loved by our Heavenly Father, and by me.

Love, Elder Olsen

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wigan #18

Well my everyone, here I am, 3/4 of the way through my mission. I am
here standing as a witness to you that I still feel like singing the
song of redeeming love! And I'm grateful to  stand as a witness of God
and the message of the restoration in th last days here in England.
I'm walking the same ground that great prophets before have trod! It
is now my time to shine forth with that same authority for it has been
given to by the laying on of hands and though the keys of th
priesthood to teach that same gospel those prophets before us have
taught. Now is the time and day of our salvation as well as the time
and day of the salvation of others.  I don't want to stand before God
on my final accounting day and not say I have done all I could do to
bring his children into the gospel.

The time that champions shine is in the final quarter, it sets the
Elders apart from the Missionaries. Those who courageously defend the
Gospel. And I'm going to be a missionary!

I have transfer news!!! After 4 blessed months in Wigan, after
spending 3 months with Elder Rxxxx (again), Ive been called to move!
I'm going back to CARLISLE! My new companion will be Elder Kxxxxxx!
He's pretty new, so I'm super excited!

This is so short, but I have a few pictures! It snowed, I had a great
time interrupting people's lives on buses! It was great! We taught a
lesson today so p day time was extended a bit. Here's some photos!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Wigan #17

Hey Everyone!
Thanks for the birthday wishes and for all the support that you give me! I love you all and am grateful for the great people that you are and for the way you live the gospel in your lives. I gave a talk in church yesterday about exercising faith in Christ, and one of the things that I mentioned when I bore my testimony is just that, that it was a testimony. It's not true faith until we go and act on that testimony. That's what faith is and what faith does. It's a motivating force in our lives and it is a gift that we need to foster and care about. We can't let it go! 
So it was a pretty good week! I feel like the lessons that we taught were good proper lessons and that they all had substance to them, rather than the fluff lessons that sometimes comes our way. We're starting to work with some solid people so I'm super excited for that! 
On Tuesday we were street contacting in Wigan town centre and I met a really nice couple. Christian is a less-active member and Kxxxxxx wants to learn about the church! They approached us and asked to be taught! He wants to come back to church and Kxxxxxx wants to be baptised! I'm super excited for them, they're golden! I hope I get to stay in the area long enough to be able to see something come of it! So on Saturday we went to our appointment with them and Kxxxxxx is in the hosptial! She's had a mental breakdown so we spent the whole time teaching and comforting him! It's going to be a great teaching relationship as soon as Kxxxxxx gets back out of the hospital.
Oh! Great news! I found out that Axxx is getting baptised! Ya! As in Mxxx and Axxx! Back in Ashton! I found those two nearly a year ago and it's finally happening! From what I hear Axxx moved out so now she's eligible for baptism! I'll let you know when it happens and a bit more details when I get them!
Anyways, back to Wigan. This week we were almost able to stay in our area for the entire week! We only left one day which is pretty darn good! Usually we've gone to Warrington and done street displays over there on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but I was pretty much sick of that, so I decided we were going to bring the district to Wigan for a change. (We've always gone to Warrington because the town council here in Wigan shut us down for street displays. They want to charge us 250 pounds (about $400) everytime we do a display) So we cheated the system a bit and did a street display without having the actual display. We still had missionaries contacting people street display style, we just didn't have a table!
Not much more to say about this week! Elder Rxxxx and I are doing well.
I love you all! 
Elder Olsen

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wigan #16

Hey happy New Years everyone! I hope all of you were able to finish off 2015 with a bang and give 2016 a great start! In the season of resolutions and goals, I'm grateful for the time that I had to put everything aside and kneel before the Lord. I know He lives and that he loves me. I think that He loves this time of year because it's a time when people use the Atonement and repent, even if they don't really know it. Saying "I will change" is one of the sentances that I think has most power. It shows humility to accept that we aren't where we would like to be. It shows the willingness to change. And it doesn't give room for failure. I love it. It's what the Gospel is all about! Changing ourselves to become the type of person that we would like to be.
So for this week we started it off by going to Manchester on Monday. It was pretty fun! Tuesday was great, we had district meeting which went really well. There was a really good group discussion that was nice to see. The zone leaders were there as well and after the district meeting I went on exchange with Elder Jxxxxx! It was so much fun to go on exchange with him again! He was my district leader in Wigan when I was in Warrington so it was great to see the growth that we've had in the last 6 months. Man time goes by fast. So we had a street display, which was really good. I taught and amazing man who became a new investigator. He's great!
Elder Jxxxxxx and I had a great time together and it was really fun. We had a really good exchange and it was fun to be with someone from my group. He's a great missionary and a good friend. We'll totes be friends back home. He's passed the test.
We had another street display on Saturday, and I got a little more than I bargained for. It was towards the end of the display so I was packing everything away, when one of the sisters stopped a man. They were having a chat and everything looked fine, until I noticed her doing our super secret distress sign. She looked over his shoulder at me and mouthed, "help!" So I walked over and found a new anti-mormon friend! He was being totally rude to this sweet little 4'10" 2 year convert from Colombia. That's not ok. So we began talking and this man is a lunatic. He kept asking all these probing questions, trying to trip me up and prove me wrong. He was getting super into it and it attracted a lot of people. Elder Rxxxx came over and it was completely out of hand at that point. This man was not listen to anything we were saying. It was awful. We bore our testimonies to him while he was shouting about how we're a cult. Not much fun, but the worst part is that he wouldn't let us leave. We all walked away with all of the display stuff, and he was following us shouting some of the worst insults. The only thing that kept coming to me is the scripture when Jesus was being persecuted but "He answered them nothing" so we just walked away all epic like while this lunatic was pulled away by the police. I love times like that because it totally reconfirms my testimony! Bearing testimony like that is powerful and I love it!
Well that's about it! Thank you for the love and birthday wishes! I love you!
Elder Olsen