Monday, December 29, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS! or FELIZ NATAL!

FELIZ NATAL!!!

So I don't have much time so this will be a short email. BUT

This week was great, especially because I saw you all! But the joke is on you because when I was "bearing my testimony" in Portuguese, I was actually talking crap about each one of you... hahah just kidding! It was great to see you, made me more than a little trunky, but definitely worth it.

For Christmas, after we talked with you we drank a SUPER RARE soda called Guaraná Jesus (its from another state, maranhão) that everyone says is really good. But to be honest, it just tasted like bubblegum! HORRIBLE! So I was pretty disappointed.

I am doing this thing in my journal that I'm trying to write 5 things Im thankful for in the beginning every day. And one of them has to be a person. And then during the day, I also try to act in a way that if everyone in the world did that, I could be, for at least one person, the person they are thankful for. Its pretty cool and makes me think a lot more.

Also (this is a little trunky haha) I am making a bucket list! of 100 things! So basically everything falls into a category of spiritual and things for rich people haha. But I'm only on 42 still. But I wanted to ask: is there really like a festival of kites in Afghanistan or was that just in the Kite runner? Mom can you find out for me?

For Christmas though it was really cool. We stayed up until midnight to open our presents, and while we were waiting, one very fatherly missionary had like a devotional planned. We read Luke 2, and everyone said a Christmas that was most memorable. I said last Christmas, because I knew I'd be going away so I savored it a lot more. Also bc I didnt want to sing around the castle but Eric kept pushing everyone, and then when we finally did I loved it.

BUT like I said I'm short for time, but thank you for your love and support. I'm so thankful to have the knowledge that Christ lives and that He suffered for us. That we can have an eternal family.

Love,
Elder Nicholas Olsen







MERRY CHRISTMAS! or FELIZ NATAL! OR HAPPY KWANZAA! Or whatever holiday you are celebrating, happy holidays!

This week was trunky. It would have been worse if I was in a colder country - honestly, it doesnt even really seem like Christmas here! If it weren't for the lights in the street, I would not even know. But it was a blessing to be able to talk to you guys, and share a little of the joy that I feel here. I don't know why, but the SKYPE call really just strengthened my testimony that families are eternal in the Plano do Senhor! ...So I hope you all like me pretty well :)

Everyone in Brazil stays up until midnight to wait for Papai Noel to leave presents. I still don't get this - how is he gonna come if you're awake waiting for him?! In any case, I went to bed on time for Christmas eve!.....But Papai Noel still didnt show up :/

I gained a stronger testimony this week that we are all children of God with gifts and talents that He has given us. That we are special, and we are individuals - but that He loves us all individually and equally. President Young invited us to spend a part of Christmas Eve with him - first he had asked us to share a talent, and then we would bear our testimonies. I ended up being the only missionary to share a talent (President Young did a magic trick for us!) as I sangThe First Noel. I can't speak for the others that were there, but I really felt the Spirit as I sang. Afterwards, as I listened to the beautifully born testimonies of my companions, I realized - I don't speak very well! It is difficult for me to speak eloquently and put words together in a beautiful form. But Heavenly Father blessed me with just a little singing talent, so that I could praise Him with my voice. What a blessing it is to recognize and develop our talents! 

But wow. Even more marvelous is the fact that Jesus Christ lives. Just contemplate that for a moment. And because He lives, you will live to. Forever! 

Also this week I started a study journal. What a difference it makes! Before I just annotated in the margins of the scriptures, but a journal really allows you to understand a little more of the scriptures - the patterns, the important parts, - you can really see what it is that the Lord wants you to learn! And for me, there's still a LOT that He wants me to learn - so the journal is already gettin full! 

Anyways Feliz Natal para todos, e lembrem-se do Salvador. Não somente durante essa época de Natal, mas SEMPRE na nossa vida. Ele é essencial.

OH Almost forgot, I spoke for like 2 minutes with Nick on Skype, and he sounds like a Brazilian. I can speak well but people know I am American - but NICHOLAS SPEAKS PERFECTLY!

Muito amor,

Elder Eric Olsen

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wow it has been quite a week. MERRY CHRISTMAS! I mean FELIZ NATAL!!

Mom and Dad thanks for sending me that temple selfie, I love it when you guys do that! Also LOL Eric how have you just now experienced fried bananas? I am super jealous of Phil, idk why but that pic of him in the kitchen made me trunky. Maybe it's just me missing wearing a jacket. Also I've been listening to the Gesu Bambino recording from Pavoratti, does Dad have one too? I'm just saying, its probably a lot better...

This week was the Christmas activity... so basically I didn't go out into the street until Sunday! But that was in part because my comp had to skype on Friday. When I went out on Sunday I was so excited that we started to talk to everyone! It felt good to work normally again.

But the Christmas activity was really great, we had some talks to start off and the missionaries that were leaving gave their testimonies, then we went and had lunch, then a talent show, then finally transfers, and everyone went home. The transfers were really funny. There is one missionary who was called as assistant, but there are 3 assistants so he has another companion. And at first they put him on the slideshow, and when he was called he got up all grumbly and mad, and then the President went up and said "yeah its kind of a joke Elder, you're actually ASSISTANT!!" and then he got all feliz aha it was funny.

Also Laurinda and Sylvanio were confirmed this week! And I got to do the confirming for Sylvanio! The first time I confirmed someone, it was really special.

ALSO HAHAHA yesterday at church this guy showed up that I had never seen during sacrament meeting. And so afterwards we went and talked to him and he was kind of weird, but whatever. The other Elders had a baptism, so we went to it, and afterwards he came up to us. "Do you think that you guys could get a little bit of the 'Water of the Most High' so I can wash my feet?" Needless to say, it didn't really work out.

It was interesting, as I was reading Dad's email he said that as he reflects on the life of the Savior he is filled with certainty that he lives, etc etc. And I feel the same way. It isn't something that comes to me intellectually, nor is it a sign, nor is it anything out of the ordinary. Its just the fact that when I think, I know that it is true. It makes sense. It fills my heart. HE fills my heart. I'm so thankful to have a Savior who loves me so much that He would suffer and die for me.

Anyway, I hope that you all remember that for Christmas! Love you all! YES I am excited to skype, its looking like I will do it around 4 or something too idk.

Love,

Elder Nicholas Olsen







Well, it's been quite a week! 

Unlike Missão Goiânia, we here in the Missão Brasil Vitória don't know about the transfer until the weekend before it happens. Generally Saturday or Sunday,... This time we got lucky and received it on Friday, so the weekend was really killer. And actually, it has been super busy until now - and still is! But oh well, that's part of the job. As I met and conversed with the new missionaries, I was reminded of the secretaries when I got here to Brasil - they helped me IMMENSLY. I have tried to help others the way that they helped me, because they made such a great difference in my mission! Truly the kind acts of one person can change another's life.

Also, have you guys ever eaten fried bananas? Holy cow I think they are my favorite food. Period.

Stuck in an elevator: Incident #2. As Elder Garcia and I were going up to the office, the elevator stopped! NO, WE DIDN'T JUMP! Anyway we were stuck for about 30 minutes. And we survived.

It seems as if God is always showing tender mercies to me - just like saving us from being stuck in the elevator! I also was in need of a camera adaptor this week, to complete one of my tasks. Honestly, it was to send pictures of the new missionaries to their parents - to let them know that their children are still alive! And I was searching frantically in our house, but with no luck. I had resolved that we would have to go buy one, but as we entered the office, I say the cord that I needed on the counter! It wasn't my cord, it wasn't my companion's - it was as if it had just appeared there. It's little evidences like this that really strengthen my faith that Christ lives.

Yesterday, we had a problem in the office that President Young had to resolve himself. I learned a lot from his example - Before doing anything, he kneeled down and said a prayer. Then, as he worked, he stopped periodically to pray and ask for guidance. It was a real learning experience - even though he has so much experience and wisdom, he doesn't rely on that which he knows - he relies on that which the Spirit gives him - the direction that the Lord sends (Prov. 3:5-6).

Also, it looks like I will be able to skype at around 3 or 4 oclock my time, but I dont know for certain. I will email you guys on Christmas eve to let you know. 

And it looks like we will spend Christmas eve in the mission home! Yayyyyy!!!!!

I testify of the magnificent truth that Jesus Christ lives, and is the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. That through Him, all of us can become better and live with God again. That death will not conquer us, nor sin - if we are willing to humble ourselves and repent. I know that He loves us, and that His life was given as a ransom for every one of us. I am thankful for His leadership and His everlasting and limitless love; for His birth and death; for His Resurrection and atoning sacrifice. I wish I could say to you all how important He is - but I simply cannot express it with words. 

Esse Natal, lembrem-se Dele!

With much love and gratitude,

Elder E Olsen







Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 13th
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

...yes, I know that there are 2 weeks until Christmas, but I am already celebrating. Which means that yes, I have already started opening presents, mom.

But that's not important! What is important is that we had our Christmas zone meeting this week, and this is the photo of the STAFF:

The Assistants - Elder Carvalho, who is going home on Tuesday, Elder Giancoli, who was trained by my trainer. And Elder Garcia, the Financial Secretary. And myself! We played volleyball - it was SO nice to finally play sports again! AH!

It has been a very stressful week here - because of the transfer coming up, we haven't been able to go out and work at night this week. NOT EVEN ONCE. Next week my trainer will be transferred, and I will be all alone. I am more than a little worried about all the responsibility! Yesterday we went to buy tickets for everyone to come to Vitória for the transfer, and we were at the bus station until 11:30. It was KILLER. But we got milkshakes, so it balanced out to be a good time.

SHOUT OUT TO EMILY - HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
Jackeline's daughter and her dog
On a more serious note - I have been pondering a lot this week about Jesus. Not necessarily on His birth - just on the fact that He came to Earth, lived, taught, suffered, and died for us. That somehow, in some way that I don't comprehend, he made it possible for us to change and develop - to leave our mistakes behind, and reach our divine potential as children of the True and Living God. As I read the prophecy of Samuel in Helaman this week, I was struck by his emphasis on repentance; only through Jesus Christ, it is possible for us to be redeemed from our fallen and carnal state. It doesn't matter what we did, who we offended, or what was said - we can be forgiven.
 D&C 58:42 Behold, he who has repented of his sinsthe same is forgiven,and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

What a blessing it is to know that Christ lived for us and died for us - and that we can always have new beginnings because of Him. I love Him. And I love you all, as well. I know that He lives.

Merry Christmas :)

Elder E Olsen



December 15th
Well this has been quite the week!

This week was transfers, so like Eric said, I have been running all around the place. I think by the end of the week we taught 1 lesson total, haha the worst week of my mission. It happens.

To tell the truth, transfers doesn't add toooooo much onto my work, I just have to buy the bus tickets. But we are having a mission conference, so people from like 8 or more cities are coming to Goiânia so it ended up being pretty expensive!

Unfortunately I got really sick on Thursday and have been recovering ever since, so it was pretty rough. But it's all good! It also happens haha.

The craziest part of this week was when the assistant said to me "can you do me a favor? download some christmas music for the conference." And said that it didn't have to be like hymns, so I ended up getting pretty trunky downloading Michael Buble and Andy Williams to play at the Christmas conference.

Also Laurinda and Sylvanio weren't confirmed yet, but they went to stake conference this week! On Saturday AND Sunday! So I was pretty happy about that.

But that's pretty much my story, sorry that I didn't take many pictures this week but not too much different happened. But I am excited for Christmas! I think I'll be calling (probably!) in the afternoon here, like 4 or 5. But not sure yet,

Love you all!

Elder Nicholas Olsen




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Bom dia, Missão Brasil Vitória"

That's how I answer the phone. Pretty impressive, huh? There have been quite a number of phone calls, a good deal of health emergencies, and a lot of stress this week. Once I read that the most stressful job on the Earth is air traffic controller, but I am confident that "LDS mission controller" is just as bad - if not far worse! But stress is good - that means that you're growing.

Last Sunday we had a baptism! A woman named Jackeline was baptised - she was a little bit doubtful about if she wanted to, but after she was baptised, she has been SUPER excited about the church! When we dont go to her house at night, she calls us asking for us to come leave a message with her, and she said she will bring her nephew to church this sunday as well! I am reminded of what Elder Christofferson said in this recent conference - "As we act to receive more light in our life and show our faith, the Lord will reward us." By the step of faith that she took in being baptised, she is reaping blessings.

Then the next night we went to something called a "Rodízio de Pizza", which is like they bring around 400,000 different types of pizza and you can choose what you want! Now we wont have any money for the next month, but it was super good! I forgot to take pictures though :(

I learned this week that the most important thing for secretaries - other than teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and baptizing unto repentance, of course - is transfer day. We are in charge of the flights, the legality of the missionaries, the health insurance that they have, the flights home for everyone else, and a lot of other things that would not make sense to explain over email! But it is so much work that it takes the entire 6 weeks of the transfer to prepare for just 1 day! This week I have been working on that - like I said, lots of phone calls in Portuguese!

Also, mom, I learned 2 new words - agendamento and emitir. Agendamento means appointment, which I need to know because I set up doctors appointments for sick missionaries. And emitir mean like finalize and buy. As in, yes, you can (finalize/buy) that plane ticket. Sister Young, the President's wife, is always doing Duolingo here in the office! I cant help but think of you.

I love you guys, and I hope your week is wonderful!

Elder Eric Olsen



EU! VOCÊ! DOIS FILHOS E UM CACHORRO! EDREDOM! UM FILME COM O FRIO DE AGOSTO!

Hahah these are the lyrics to a song that I learned this week. That was pretty much the highlight!

Yes mom I have eaten that cake! Its called pudim.

Well the Christmas season has arrived here in Goiânia. Yesterday I realized when I saw a bunch of houses with Christmas trees up. Apparently here Christmas isn't such a big deal here, not as big as it is there. They're more into New Years and Carnival... yeah they like to party. But I am still super excited about Christmas! My presents have been waiting ever since like October haha.

The mission president finished the transfer this week, its kind of funny. Now there are Elders that will call me and Elder Sales and be like "so... got any news?" haha and it makes me want to just hang up on them. I don't even know the whole transfer!

Do you guys remember Elder Holmes? Elder Brooks, who lives with me, was companions with him when he served in Michigan! Small world huh.

I am trying to finish the New Testament, today I got to Revelations. I can't even say how many times I read about "blood fire and smoke" and "grandes terremotos", so everyone be careful out there!

WOW ALMOST FORGOT BUT BATISMOOOOOO! Laurinda and Sylvanio got baptised on Saturday, it was sweet! Unfortunately, they weren't able to come to church on Sunday so they weren't confirmed, but it will all work out, they'll get confirmed afterwards.

So that is my life, that is the mission, I know it I live it I love it. And I love you all!

Love,
Elder Nicholas Olsen




Friday, December 5, 2014

A big change for Eric


Saturday? P day on a Saturday? How is that possible.....?

because HERE I AM IN THE ESCRITÓRIO DA MISSÃO!! IN THIS VERY MOMENT!!!

Wait, I can explain. It all started This last Monday, when our phone was stolen. Not the we were assaulted, just that we went to a soccer field to brincar (I dont know how to translate brincar. It is kind of like "mess around"), and I left the cell phone on the ground. Nós brincamos for about 30 minutes, and when we came back, the cell phone was GONE. Disappeared. And of course, I started to get pretty nervous. I didn't know what would happen - it would be one thing if we were assaulted, but this was just carelessness on my part! So I called the Executive secretary Elder Johnson. After I explained what had happened, he said that he would call me back in a few minutes. And 30 minutes later.............
............President Young called.

"Elder, como que eu posso confiar em você se você perde as materiais da missão? O que eu devo fazer com você?" (Elder, how can I trust you if you lose the mission materials? What should I do with you? ")

Naturally, I was scared out of my mind and almost had a heart attack. Thankfully, he explained that he was just joking, and extended a call to be the new Executive Secretary of the mission. So in case you didnt believe, now you know that Elder Olsen and I really are twins!

It has been a pretty stressful week. I am not at all tired physically, but mentally I am spent. There has been a lot of new things to learn - I dont even want to start on it. But basically my most important job is to make sure that nobody gets deported. So let's hope that I get a hang of it, so that half of the mission isnt sent home! We do a lot of running around - taking missionaries to the rodoviária, buying things for the mission, going to the mail.... its a lot of running around.



This is Elder Johnson. He is my trainer as Secretary. And he was the quarterback of his Nashville Tennessee football team. So, you could say he is a pretty good guy. I feel like if we were at home, I would definitely be friends with him. So thats a plus!

AND we have 2 baptisms this Sunday! I havent actually ever met them, because we have been in the office all week and I just got here tuesday.... But it is still exciting! We are going to their house tonight to meet them.

This is where we work:


Anyway I am pretty happy today - it seems like everything is going well! I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father to have this opportunity to serve hHim, and really dedicate my life.

Much love,

Elder Eric Olsen






Boa tarde family!!

Well there I was, sitting in my lil chair working my fingers to the bone in the office and I got an IM on the Brasil missions IM: "Vitória: Oi, Elder Olsen está aí?" "Yes who is this?" "...guess." Haha it was Elder Olsen! It is pretty sweet that he will also be secretary, so that it wont just be me saying that the secretaries work! I don't know how it is in other missions, but here it seems that the secretaries are sometimes mildly looked down upon for being prideful and not working, but to me it seems like its because generally people want to get a reimbursement from an "all you can eat" lunch. YOU CANT DO THAT!!! haha just kidding.

This week was Thanksgiving, so we treated ourselves to a Thanksgiving classic: Pizza Hut! We got 2 pizzas of the day, which totaled like 60 reais, but it was totally worth is. Uma delícia! Although I cant lie, I did miss you guys and I missed eating stuffing and everything. Next year you guys should make rice and beans with your turkey!

Our investigators have been progressing a lot! In fact, Sylvanio and Laurinda will be baptised this Saturday!! WOOOOOOOH! We taught the Word of Wisdom and Laurinda was worried because she drinks coffee like every day, but by the end of the lesson she said "I don't even drink coffee anymore! I stopped right now!!" It was awesome.

I have been studying a lot the Liahona (actually the Ensign, thanks mom!) and this week I really liked the talk by President Monson. I think it applies to me a lot, because after meeting a Sister that did BYU Jerusalem, I really have wanted to go there. But he talked about how it really doesn't matter where we are, we have to walk HOW Jesus walked, not WHERE He walked. It doesn't matter at all where we are, but in any circumstance, we have the opportunity to do what Jesus would do. And so I'm trying to do that, but the more you think about it the more you realize how much more there is that we are not doing.

I've come to gain a testimony of the BoM... and this is why. In the BoM it always talks about the pride cycle: they're poor, they humble themselves, get rich, get prideful, poor, humble... etc. And when I have been in some of these other areas with difficulties, it was easy to rely on the Lord. I have drawn very close to Him, trusted MUITO in Him. But now, I work in the field a lot less, in the AC, its still hard, but in a different way. I have been relying less and less, it is a struggle to remember Him in every moment! And we always think "if I was one of the nephites I wouldn't be prideful!", but it is difficult to stay so close to the Savior. That's why we always have to ponder the path of our feet, to always be diligent and never forget what we know to be true.

That's pretty much my story! I am also excited for natal mom hahaa (#youretrunky! #butidontblameyouiamsuperexcitedtoo). I love you all, and I am thankful to have you in my lives.

Love,
Elder Nicholas Olsen

"My "Birthday"


This is an ugly tie!


new area




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014


HERE I AM IN THE ESCRITÓRIO DA MISSÃO!! IN THIS VERY MOMENT!!!

Haha bom dia and boa semana. I have had quite a week here, it all started with me coming back to Goiânia. And the first night that we were staying here there were like 15 missionaries going home, and 10 of them slept in our house! So it was prety crowded, pretty crazy. This is the first "going away" that I've been to, so there's good news and bad news. The good news is that I got to eat lunch 2 times in the President's house and it was suuuuper tasty! the bad news is that I knew a lot of people going away, including Andrea, and so it was kind of sad and really trunky haha. But its all good!

So what is life in the office like, you may wonder? Pretty much just like the tv show! haha just kidding that would be insane. Basically... its a lot of work. There has been a bit of a misunderstanding with the water and light bills so pretty much every day somebody calls me complaining and I have to go fix it. I have to take care of all of the mission funds for everything you could think of and also register everything to make sure that nothing is going wrong. The problem is that Elder Silva, who would have trained me, is now the new assistent (whooooh!), so i dont have anyone to really show me the ropes... but it will all turn out okay!

My comps name is Elder Sales, he is really tight. Like after training so much is really great to be with someone that already knows how to teach and live mission life and is just like really excited about life! He is the executive secretary, so he always is having to take care of problems, even more than me! I am trying to help out when I can.

I'm sorry but I didn't take a lot of pictures but I was just really kind of overwhelmed and trying to figure things out. But these are the secretaries! Elder Brooks was reassigned to Detroit and I actually met him there, Elder Zeballos is the son of a 70 (wow) but super funny and joke-ey, and Elder Sales de São Paulo.

Sorry if I forgot things but even today on Pday I have had to use time to go to the terminal and buy bus passes and stuff and so its been pretty busy! You can imagine that today I will be sleeping quite a bit haha. But i KNOW that the Lord will qualify and help me as I do my best to serve Him and care for His affairs here on the earth. 

PS yes i still do missionary work too, the office is just until 5 on weekdays.
Also I can text on my phone so I am learning brazilian text linguo!!

blz: beleza
flw: falou
vlw: valeu
rsrsrsrs ou kkkkkk: lol or hahahahha

LOOOOVE,
Elder Nicholas Olsen






Dearest loved ones,

Grace and peace unto you!

Baptism this week:Inline image 1
Helping people come unto Christ is the best. The woman on the left is Antônia - she has so much desire to leave the things of the world behind and become a better person. 

We are also helping a woman stop smoking. She allowed us to take her cigarettes....Inline image 2
..so we broke them all! Haha one more vitória that occured this week.

So I wasn't transferred, but I have been designated as the District Leader here! Which was really good - for the first 5 minutes. And then it just turned into a LOT of work! But I am happy - I have been wanting to be able to make a difference in the lives of the other missionaries. It is challenging, but rewarding.

We were visited by a general authority this week - Elder Mazzagardi. He spoke about everything from music to the ability to read the eyes of others, to the fact that when we bear testimony there are angels with us recording what we say! I thought this last part very interesting. Since he came I have been paying more attention to my own testimony, and when I bear it I have felt a lot more power!

In other news, we got stuck in an elevator this week. For a solid 40 minutes... it was a good time, but I wouldn't do it again. Once it hit 30 minutes I started to freak out, but then we sang some hymns, and I felt better :)

It has been difficult, but this week I really realized - this is the ONLY time in my earthly life that I will be able to serve the Lord with ALL my heart might mind and strength - what a blessing it is! I love you and pray for you always.

Elder Eric Olsen