Tuesday, April 29, 2014

week 13, a new companion for Elder Olsen

First from Elder Nick Olsen:

SO this week was transferencias. I have a new companion, Elder Vieira.  The best way to describe him is like Kyle Francis but Brazilian. He has 1 ano e 8 meses na missão, and he is already getting excited to go home. Change is hard, but every day is getting easier with him. I really want to baptise. Na verdade, I want people to feel the strength of my testimony and come unto Christ, but I know that its their decision, and I have felt the Spirit testify through me so i know that Im doing my part. Still its been hard, but pelo menos this transfer is the only transfer in the year that's 5 weeks instead of 6! 

But Elder Moon was also transferred, so we now have Elder Brito for the District leader. He has only been a member for 2 years and he's really cool and smart, from Sao Paulo. He wants to be a chef when he's older! He made a pudem for a gente (which is like flan) and its funny because antes the missão i tried flan and hateed it, but now i love it. Haha, the things the mission does to you. But its weird because like Elder Vieira is kind of like a squirrely kind of funny, and Elder Diego laughs at everything. Sometimes I think maybe Presidente messed up and I was supposed to be with Brito and Diego com Vieira haha. but Ill get through it. In the movie of Emma Smith, Joseph said to her " we will do the best that we can, and go on". I will do the same.
Church was cool this week! I know I've improved in Portuguese because the beginning I couldn't talk to anyone but now I can pretty easily, and also I played the piano for the first time and Bispo was grato demais haha it was funny.
I was thinking a lot about paciencia this week. There are like a ton of examples in the scriptures, and I found out something interesting. La na história do Alma, when theyre in Helam (i think?), and the people of Alma are enslaved by the Lamanites, it talks about pacience. And after a ton of humildade and oração, the Lord does not take the burdens away. He strengthens them, and helps them be able to get through it. Thats how we grow. So with qual quer dificuldade you have, just think about that!
I love you all, thanks for the words of encouragement and news of you. I'm pretty much sure I'll cry when I see you haha and I'm about to send pictures so don't worry!
Love, Elder Olsen

                                                                            Elder Silva leaving

                                                                                   at transfers

                                                                                      a baptism

                                             this sister is from Vitoria and her mom knows Elder Eric Olsen!

And now for Eric's email:

Tudo certo com vocês? Tudo certo. É minha frase favorita. 

First and foremost, mom, I have been wanting to tell you for a long time that they make salads here really interestingly. They always add salt and oil to lettuce and tomatoes. Just in case you were wondering! It hasn't really grown on me yet, but I eat it anyway. My goal that I tell all the members and investigators is to try all the fruits of brazil! This week I had kaki, fig, cana, fruta pão... esqueci. But my favorites are guava and banana da terra! Interesting stuff.

We are FINALLY having some success here! Leidiane will be baptised this week WOOO! MOM THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! I dont know how she changed her mind, but she is so rock solid in her testimony right now - she was even teaching her sister about the Book of Mormon! We have a couple other investigators that are progressing too, which is a miracle in itself, and we brought 8 people to church Sunday! Literally I cant explain to you how different this is.

We also are teaching a family that is incomplete - the parents are members, but they are inactive. They have 3 daughters that can be baptised. It was really cool - last night we went there to talk with them, and the parents were talking about how they wanted all their 5 children to serve missions! The girls themselves still have to get a little more excited, but.. we will get there! The only problem is they live laaaaaaa encima no morro. At the top of the mountain - and we live at the bottom. So when we visit, it is a hike. For real. But vale da pena!

I learned somethihng interesting this week! It seems like many times in the Book of Mormon, the prophets pray to be blessed with something - According to their faith. They use that phrase in prayers a lot! It made me realize how much we need to rely on the Lord. Realmente, nada acontece until we have enough faith that the Lord can help us. 

Tomorrow there will be a meeting of zone leaders and district leaders in Vitoria, and my companion is a DL. ...and there are no other Elders here in Colatina. So I will go on a split to Aracruz and work with a hispanic Elder, Elder Aguayo, that only has 5 months in the mission. He is muito simpatico, but pray that we can understand each other!!!

Na verdade, I saw the hand of God this week. I cant describe it. Everything just took off. It was like he said, Youve worked hard enough. Its time that you find dos eleitos! And we did. What a blessing that He loves us. He lives! Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. I love you all and yall are in my prayers.

Elder Eric Olsen

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Easter from Elders Nick and Eric Olsen

First from Elder Eric Olsen:

Feliz Pascoa para vocês (happy Easter to you)! Unfortunately we hardly had any Easter celebration here. During the week Elder Mason and I asked a ton of people - Are you excited for Pascoa??? And the answer was always - Not really, its just a holiday for Catholics. It made me kind of sad to think that the world isn't singing the praises of He who broke the bands of death and hell, so that all of us can taste the sweet fruits of Eternal Life. But life goes on! And, in truth, we should treat every day like pascoa.

I never realized how companion life would be before the mission! I just thought it was somebody you spent all your time with - I didn't think about the teaching part. Sometimes it is hard to come to consensus on ideas of what to teach, how to teach, and literally teach together. What is especially difficult, though, is helping people understand the magnitude of your message. NOBODY wants to pray. NOBODY wants to really know if God will answer their prayers! IT IS HARD. 

Our number one investigator, Leidiane, keeps breaking our appointments. We had to drop her. It broke my heart - I have really come to care about her well-being more than anyone else here. But we cant make her go to church; we cant make her meet with us. 

On the bright side, a miracle occurred yesterday! I was sitting at a table while my companion talked with our zone leader, and a drunk came up to talk with me (oh great..) No, we didn't baptize him. No, he wasn't super interested in the church. But I could understand everything that he said! Until my companion finished his phone conversation and joined us - then I was boiando no maionase (totally lost) like usual. It was really strange, but it was the Lord helping me out - no doubt.

Also transfers are this week, but my whole district is staying here in Colatina! So tudo bem.

I wish I had some interesting stories, some new investigastors wioth promise, some glimmer of hope to share with you. Honestly this week has been difficult. We found ourselves rejected and out of ideas more than once - to the point that we had to sit on the side of the road and collect our thoughts. I took some pictures of us deep in thought but unfortunately I cant send them! I will try to next week I supppose. 

 I love you guys. I hope to have some better news next week. Ficam na paz.

Elder Olsen

Now from Elder Nick Olsen:

Mom and Dad,
First off peço desculpas (I apologize) because I forgot the cord to my camera today! So i cant send pics. Also mom I received 3 letters from you today haha que chique! and so eu estou animado para ler (I am excited to read).

BUT so this week I had a division com the zone leader! We went to his area and taught, I really like his style. He is Braziliero and não fala Ingles (doesn't speak English), so it was a little bit hard as vezes (in truth). But he was like instead of burning me on doing stuff wrong, he was like talking about how missionary work should be fun like don't push too hard and just be like the Savior. But with this one family we gave the lady a blessing (first lesson) at the end and the Spirit was so dang strong it was insane!

Anyway, last p day we went to a shopping!! (mall) and it was doido (crazy) because all the places in my area and everything are really poor, but the shopping was chique demais ! so i had a lot of pics but... sorry!

I love hearing from you guys. The coisas sobre suas vidas e também (things in your lives and also) testimonies of the truth. They literally brought tears to my eyes today, thank you so much. I never really thought about it, but sometimes the missionaries need strengthening too.

Elder Silva will be transferred :( so that's sad, but i'm excited to get another comp and learn more! I already know he will be Braziliero.

Que coisa marailhosa que Jesus Cristo ressuscito por nós! I love Him and Im so grateful for everything He did for us.

Please tell Phil and Emily that I love them a lot, I often don't have time to write to them but I think about them and pray about them all the time. I already decided that for my last agenda I'm gonna put our family pictures on the outside haha to get psyched.

But I love you all! Thanks mom and dad for everything you do for me. Oh ps portuguese is coming little by little to me so that's good too! Now all we need is some eleitas prontos para ouvir o evangelho (elect people ready to hear the gospel).

Elder Olsen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week 11 from Eric and Nick in Brazil!

First from Nick:

nossa então

Haha first off mom I haven't worn sunscreen a single day since I got here. But everything is good! I haven't got the shot but I will talk to the presidents wife when I see her, what exactly is it? Hep A the second shot or what? And also I finally got the package! And I was all like oh heck yeah there's gonna be a ton of treats, they probably just put religious material so it didn't get stolen! and then i opened it and... hahaha it was funny. But thank you all the same!

The video family moved out of my area so that STINKS because they were my only family actually progressing. sei la I am a little bit discouraged to be honest but it happens. I just will have to push through. The mission leader of the ward said that the culture of brazilieros is to not make committments, which makes missionary work a little bit harder because that's all were trying to do! The Portuguese is coming little by little... by little... by little. But that's just part of the mission I guess, or at least i'm telling myself that it is haha.

Last week for pday, our zone was the highest baptizing in the month so we got to go to a theme park! To be honest, apparently its never happened before and I think its mainly because the zone leader and AP are going home this transfer haha but whatever! So we went to MUTIRAMA and it was super .... funny haha because I've already been to the best places in the world (disney, universal, cedar point) and it was a little bit... less. haha but still fun. 

Also the other day we got to have lunch at the house of the Bishop, and the other elders wanted to see Dad sing. So we watched the Holy City which was super good for me to see, and the Bishop said you were like Pavoratti! But for some reason now he calls me Elder Rico haha não sei.

Do you have Bryan Austins email? Because I wanna talk to him. The church news you sent had stuff about his MTC so I was thinking about him. UGH I wish I had more to tell you but its pretty much routine agora! I love it, but its routine. And difícil. Haha if you want things to pray for, pray for me to learn the language bem rapidão and also for the people here to have their hearts softened. Well, not softened, they're just preguiçoso. "aquele que for preguiçoso não sera considerado digno de permanecer", right?

So today I was reading in the Bible about the Expiação and it was really interesting to me. Jesus Christ, the Son of God mesmo, said "all things are possible to thee, take this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done" or something to that effect. And it was funny to me because sometimes I pray and say all things are possible unto thee, help me to learn or take this burden from me or make these people believe, things like that. And its true, all things are possible. But if Jesus Christ himself had to endure some things, what would make us entitled to receive a free pass when he didn't? I don't know, sometimes it doesn't make it easier to think that, but it puts you in good company.

Also I don't have Phils email i think but tell him to email me! Im pretty psyched about his scholarship truth be told.

I love y'all, I hope I get to talk with everyone on the Dia das Mães! If you're all there anyway. You might want to have questions prepared or something, I don't really know up to you. But love you.

Elder Nick Olsen

                            I love that Nick and Andrea are both wearing their Piggly Wiggly shirts!

Now from Eric:

Nossa então

Apparently every time there is a dupla of American missionaries, they are repeatedly asked - Vocês são irmãos? Which I never experienced, but now I am with an American, so... Vocês são irmãos? ...Nao.

Infelizmente, we are not having too too much success. Mom, I havent experienced any rich people yet. Apparently there is a rich area here in our area, but my companion doesn't want to go because he says nobody will receive us! He said that once he knocked doors in a rich area for an entire day and only taught one family. and they told him to never come back. So! If I ever teach rich poeple, I will let you know

We have one investigator, Leidiane, that told us we were angels sent from heaven! ...She might have been a tiny bit intoxicated at the time, but still! She is progresing really well and believes all that we teach her. She was sick yesterday though so she didnt go to church with us... And she lives with her brother, who doesnt want us meeting with her anymore in his house. So we have to teach in the house of a member. Just goes to show that the adversary will do everything to discourage people.

Aqui futbol é tudo. And the team that todo mundo torce é flamengos - a team in rio. AND yesterday they beat their rival in a jogo. It was a glimpse of the world cup, I think. Everyone was in the streets yelling, excited, music blaring... it was a good thing we had an appointment or we would have gone home! Não é fácil.

Elder Mason has a reputation to make his companions work until they drop. Which is good! I like to work hard. He also likes to sing showtunes. Honestly it is super difficult to not speak english all the time, and we end up speaking way more than we should. But Portuguese is progressing... little.....bylittle............by little. Also, we might receive two more missionaries in our area this transfer! Sei la. I think either we will receive more missionaries or one of us will be transferred. 

Sometimes it is difficult to feel the Spirit. Sometimes we have to work for it. But I testify that the Lord will always come in the hour of need. Yesterday in Sacreament meeting we were nearing the end, and I felt horrible about my abilities as a missionary. As the closing prayer started, I said a little prayer of y own - I asked for strength and ability to do what is necessary. And right then the orator said - Abençoes cada missionario em cada parte do mundo. He hears us. I love Him. And I love you all. Please pray for me, and pleasse pray for the people here. Especially Leidiane!

Elder Eric Olsen

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

week 10! Eric is transferred.

First the e-mail from Eric:


Aqui eu estou escrevendo para vocês de Colatina! Look it up. It has the third most beautiful sunset in the world apparently! Go figure. There is a gargantuan Christ statue on the hill - just like Rio! The city is located on the river Doce, and a bridge connects the two sides. I live on one side with Elder Mason - from Utah - my second trainer. 4 Sisters live on the other side - which has the chapel. Because this weekend was conference, we spent a lot of time walking back and forth, braving the 40 minute walk across the bridge to the chapel. Also I just have to say, the city is a giant moho - hill. Every time we visit somebody there are 1000049344950 steps to climb.

Elder Mason is amazing. He speaks a lot of English with me, but when I want to speak Portuguese, he is willing. He is always really excited and ready to change whatever he can to help me out in any way! Every night he asks - what can I do to make your life easier? How Christlike!

Apparently when I arrived, they had just cut most of their investigators that were not progressing. So we are looking for new people to teach. People seem more receptive here though, and Elder Mason is really warm and genuine with evrybody. I am learning a lot from him. He even actually does the training exercises! 

Unfortunately, we spent a lot of conference time looking for investigators to bring with us. We watched the first session, as well as the second half of the second session. The Priesthood session was past our bedtime... We saw the prophet speak on sunday morning and all of the last session! I cant believe I missed Elder Ballard and Elder Nelson and Elder Bednar - some of my favorites. I especially loved Elder Scotts discourso! Anybody who didnt hear should look it up.

I just thought you might want to know, everybody in Brazil watches Naruto. Which is really strange to me..! It is like Dragon ball Z, but a little different. Brazileiros love it.

I loved one of the discourses in conference about ancestors - The more connected we are to our righteous heritage, the more desire we will have to stay true to the faith - ...I think. Mom, you could send me some stories of my ancestors in print! I wouldnt mind.

Please get in touch with President Jensen, the mission president from Tallahassee, and let him know that everybody loves the obedience tie - and yes, I am being obedient! Every time I wear it, todas outras pessoas estão com ciúmes! 

I testify that the Lord answers prayers! I am so happy here in Colatina. It has only been a few days, but I know that He heard me. I know that if we trust in Him and strive diligently to do His will we will see His hand in our lives.

I love you all!

Elder Olsen

Here is Eric's address. for those of you who have asked. You can send letters or packages to this address:
Elder Eric Christian Olsen
Brazil Vitória Mission
Avenida João Baptista Parra, 633
Salas 1501/1502
Edf. Enseada Office, Praia do Suá
29052-123 Vitória - ES 

And now the e-mail from Nick:

Nossa cara sou muito com ciúmes sobre sua área é tão tão muito bonita! Aqui é só tipo casas sujos e bars na cada esquina. 
BUT oi gente espero que vocês são bons. For conference we got to watch every session! Did you see Benton James in the choir for priesthood!? I freaked out. Also listening to the choir makes me very trunky for you pai. My comps think I am really good at singing haha I tell them its because of you two. And the investigator family who watched the video so many times came with us for one session.  I think they will be baptised! Its a little bit frustrating, the people aren't really keeping commitments here. The other day we were accompanying sobre a pamphlet about the restoration we gave someone and Elder Silva was like did you read it? yes read it. What was your favorite part? ah, i liked it all. Did you like the part with the horse? oh yeah yeah, really cool. And in the moment I was thinking "dude i just read the pamphlet today for study, there's no horse." and then later I realized he was just seeing if the dude actually read it... haha clearly not. 

But anyway! Phil that is awesome about the scholarship! I can't say I had much doubt to be honest, but still it is a pleasant surprise. Its crazy that school is practically wrapping up there. Also mom can you put my address on the blog or facebook or somethng bc some amigos quer enviar things to me! And ps ainda não tenho the package com glasses :(

So i wrote some things down to explain for yall haha. First is about the churches. There is a city in my mission called Anapolis, and it holds the records for most igrejas por população. Nossa! And so there are just like a billion igrejas in cada bairro. including mine. Also Americanos chegaram esta semana! I feel bad for them because in the other missions, they were effective and everything but now they cant do anything and forgot Portuguese. THIS is really important!! EVERYONE HERE thinks im german, idk if i already told y'all but today i was just like yep im german thats right. My companion said its because Im loiro but i dont know haha i guess its not that important. Eventually I want to have a good accent and say "não eu sou de la em santa catarina!" 

AH também I was trying to watch most of conferencia in portuguese right? except mais ou menos for the prophet because I needed to understand and hear that voice. But apparently I was falling asleep in one part (IT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CANT UNDERSTAND OKAY??) and Sister Marshall disse para mim: haha it reminds me of when your dad was the bishop. sometimes he would sleep on the stand too! So i guess it runs in the family dad :)

The work in general has been pretty much the same. We´re about to kick it into overdrive: more contacts, more recibidas, more lessons, more challenges, more datas, more batismos. Im still learning portuguese, obviously, but a lot of the missionaries brazilieros disseram para mim que meu portuguese está progredindo muito bem and compliments like that. So Im sure within 2 months ill be well enough off. I appreciate the prayers on my behalf for health and courage and habilidade to aprender.

Guys how great is it that we have a living prophet today. With all that's going on in the world, we need someone who can speak with God and receive revelation on our behalf. I presto meu testemunho pra vocês que ESTA IGREJA é a unica igreja na face da terra verdadeira e viva. Eu sei com todo coração que Joseph Smith vi Jesus Cristo e Pai Celestial, não por que alguém me contou, mas por que eu orei e eu perguntei, como Joseph mesmo. E eu sei através O Espírito Santo que estas coisas são verdadeiras. Vocês seria surpreendido com como O Espírito sempre vem com a Primiera Visão e com testemunho.

Eu amo vocês. Eu oro para vocês cada dia e cada noite, especialmente você Elder Olsen. 

Elder Nicholas Olsen

Here is Nick's address where you can send letters or packages. If the value of the package is less than $50 they won't have to pay customs. 
Elder Nicholas Don Olsen
Brazil Goiânia Mission
Rua 18, 110, Salas 1105 a 1107
Ed Business Center, Setor Oeste
74120-080 Goiânia - GO