Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nick is transferred

Eric's email first today:

Estou sentindo muito falta de vocês hoje (I am really missing you today)! All these emails are leaving me trunkie...uh oh...

This week was pretty slow. And when I say pretty slow, I mean REALLY slow. We have had trouble with all of our recent converts - none of them went to church yesterday. And we are having trouble finding new investigators. It is pretty tough and pretty discouraging.

Yesterday the branch president asked me to give a talk in church.   .....with 5 minutes notice! I was super nervous, but just talked about my favorite gospel topic - faith. I used a suggestion that dad gave once - always talk about the Savior in your talks. And I gave a personal experience about having faith to speak Portuguese and being blessed with the gift of tongues. And I ended up taking too long! They had to come up and tell me to stop! But it was really cool - I felt like everyone was actually LISTENING, not just sitting in the meeting with their minds elsewhere. 

I didn't have any trouble with the language either. I think this was proof of a blessing that I received this week. Apparently, a prophet made a promise - that you could read the Book of Mormon in any language, and you would be fluent in that language when you finished.

I finished the Book of Mormon in Portuguese this week.

So I think that my ability to give that talk was a gift from God.

I really want to share some super spiritual experiences with you, my beloved family. (and anyone else that reads this! you are beloved too.) Unfortunately, I don't think I worked hard enough to have deserved any really great experiences this week. I will dedicate this proxima semana para vocês - com esperança que eu vou ter uma experiencia, ou algo sagrado, que eu posso compartilhar para fortelecer sua fé.(next week for you--hopefully I will have an experience, or something sacred that I can share to fortify faith).  I love you all. Ficam na paz. And be excellent to each other! 

Elder E Olsen

And from Nick:
Olá meus amados!

So this week was totally screwed up for me haha. We had to move houses first of all, and it turned out that our new apartment was 4 stories up and didn't have an elevator, so I had the privilege of carrying a TON of stuff up there. (the good part is that the apartment is chique) And so the next day I was just completely destroyed. And then I had  fever. And I started to feel really really sick. And everyone was thinking that it was dengue, and apparently if I got dengue I would have to go to São Paulo for the hospital. And so I got a blessing, and in the blessing he said "you will be healed according to your faith". And I thought, okay, this is an opportunity to gain a testimony of the priesthood! But when you think like that you always have fear haha. "what if it doesn't work?? does that mean the church is false??? WHY AM I EVEN HERE!!!???" So yes I was worried, but Sunday morning (after 2 days of sickness) I woke up cured! and I was CERTEZA (sure) that it was dengue. I gained a testimony muito forte this week, the priesthood is the power of God on the earth.

But this week is transfers... It was pretty funny because we got calls about transfers and they talked with the other 3 missionaries that I live with and left me in the dark! So I was pretty chatiado haha. But I did receive a call and... I AM TRANSFERRED! To Anapolis, the Guinness World Record holder for most churches!! And also I will be Senior companion!! So to be honest I am a little bit nervous about that haha but it will turn out good... right? I'm sure it will! My companion apparently has one more transfer that I have, and he is gaúcho (from the south) and really cool. We will batizar até o pó!!

Ahhhh I'm a little bit jealous about all this talk of bratwurst and whatnot. To tell the truth, I am getting a little bit tired of the whole "rice and beans" shpiel. Don't get me wrong, its good, but every day for 365x2 days will be a bit much. Also Mom and Dad, there is a book called "The Power of the Everyday Missionary", which talks about how to be a member missionary. It doesn't have to be hard, you know? In the end, what your doing, inviting people to the house and hopefully feel the spirit and such and such is good. Just don't have fear, because if in the end one of them comes to accept the truth, it will be a moment of great joy for you.

Also one interesting fact: The other day someone said I look like I'm 26! yikes

I love you guys! Sinto muito muito falta de vocês (I miss you very very much). Its too bad that you are such a great family because if you weren't I wouldn't have to miss you! haha


Elder Olsen 
                                                                         view from the new apartment
                                                                          moving and getting sick

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

baptisms and popsicles

First Eric's e-mail:


This is the sound I wont be hearing when the world cup rolls around. My president sent out an email today that says we aren't allowed to watch any of the games. ...in case anyone was wondering.

We had two baptisms this week! That is the good news. 2 more people coming unto the Savior of the world, with the promise of everlasting life!

...the bad news is that one of them wasn't confirmed, and she and Leidiane both ended up going to other churches this week. But that means we have only one subject to teach to the both of them! And it is one of my favorite subjects - the fact that the Priesthood of God is on the earth again, and that it has the power to heal, receive revelation, and lead the church!

This week was really slow. We seriously need some new people to teach. But as it is the last week of training, I am senior companion this week! And you KNOW we will trabalhar ate o pó! And find new people! But yeah, transfers are next week, so we will see what happens there.

I don't have too much to report unfortunately. But i do have a story! One day we were waiting to meet some members for a lesson, and there was a HUGE line of formigas - ants. And I sat there thinking about them - how they bumped into each other over and over and over, but the fact that there were others in the same line helped them stay in place. Helped them get to where they needed to go. And while I read in Mormon today, it talked about the nefites during a war - they all gathered together for safety. It is exactly like our lives here. We have to help one another and gather in places of refuge- refuge from the storms of the devil, the tribulation of the world. Please help others to come into the rebanho de Deus. I know that this is one of the most important purposes of this life - to allow others to taste of the sweet fruit of the love of God!

I love you all! FicamFelizes!

Elder Eric C Olsen

And now from Nick:                                                                                                                                                              

Dear Parents,

HEEYYY!! This week was much better, sorry if last week was a downer but for some reason I was struggling greatly. Fortunately, I was more blessed this week. And to be completely honest, I had a consistent feeling that it was partly because of you both. So thanks for whatever you did!

This week I got a new Book of Mormon (actually Livro de Mórmon) with a hard cover yeaaahh!!! So I was pretty excited about that... is that missionary enough for you? Freaking out over a Book of Mormon? But so for study I have been reading that. Actually for study what I'm doing is going through all the lessons and every scripture and everything. Today I finished the lessons so I will start again. We have this "guide" to PMG that basically makes you dive into every scripture and open it up into 1000000000 pieces, so I'm about to start with that. It's funny though because I've actually never gotten past the 3rd lesson.. haha oh well tudo vai dar certo. 

Also this week we had a Zone meeting and the President was there, so we all got interviewed. I was ready for a 15-20 minute session of batendo papo (chatting) but it was a solid 3 minutes haha. But that's okay. For some reason, Elder Vieiras interview got him pumped, or at least more than usual, and so we ended up trabalhando até o pó for the rest of the semana. And THIS is whats awesome: We have a goal in the mission which is 100 contatos OR 30 recebidas por semana. And yesterday we both needed a lot more. And so we were working, working working, working working working, but it wasn't happening. And we went to the casa at 9, and then Elder V was like "heck no lets go get these" and so we went out again, but still wasn't happening. And it was 9:15, and we decided to go back to the house a little bit sad. BUT THEN the Igreja Mundial let out with a bunch of people and we both got the goal!!!! I had 14 recebidas yesterday! (unheard of) (doido) So that was a testimony to me that the milagres vem na extra quilometre (miracles come from the extra mile). Also what was mais legal que tudo(the most awesome of all) was that the very last one was like the most crente (a crente is like a person who goes to the evangelica churches and is really chato about religion) that anyone ever saw, and she gave an address too.

Dad I had a dream the other day. I was eating fried chicken, but dusted on top of the fried chicken was powdered sugar infused with mint flavor and it was the best thing I ever ate, so you should try that! Also the hymn Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy ALWAYS gets me trunky, because I remember when we sang and mom played that. So we'll have to do that again when I return. Also remind me to learn Italian because its close to Portuguese mais ou menos (more or less) and then we can talk to each other in another language.

Guys I know that its hard to have the courage to just talk about the Gospel, but just talk about it! Maybe you can have an excuse if its your boss haha. But listen, in Amos it says that 10% of the people in the world are ready. 10% are already pronto! So they will hear your voice! Don't have fear!

I was watching this video today and it was chique:

The end is a little depressing. But just imagine the day that we will meet Him, the Savior and Redeemer of total humanity, and be able to embrace him and talk to him. He knows us perfectly and He loves us. 

Thank you for everything, I am sending a letter today with letters for everyone. I hope that you're all good, enjoying each others company. Go to the temple. Watch a movie together. Listen to the Tab Choir. Make crepes or something i don't know just take advantage of the awesome gift you have of this life.

Much Love,

Elder Olsen

                                                                                Popsicle break

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


From Eric: 

Feliz Dia Das Mães!!!!

...I think I forgot to even say that yesterday, sorry mom! And Dad just so you know, the translation for You are the man is Você  é o cara. But it is slang. But still. 

Honestly I dont know what to say in this email, since I spilled everything I could yesterday on skype. Its too bad to think that now I have to wait for Natal to talk again... for my companion, it was his last phone call home! He will go home in November.

Speaking of him, dad, we sing a hymn to begin companionship study every day! I think it is a rule that we do. And we want to sing a hymn in sacrament meeting our last sunday, in 2 weeks. Because there is not much musical talent here in Brazil. Not trying to hate, just saying! 

This week has been difficult. We just aren't having much success lately - Finding new investigators is super hard, and the ones that we have aren't coming to church. AGH. I think we should just take a day and knock on doors, teaching the first lesson 100 times. We would at least find 1 good investigator, right? I am reminded of the missionaries in the scriptures - SOME of the people believed their words. So you have to talk to a lot of people to find the eleitos, right?

Also mom, you can finish the Book of Mormon in two weeks! I was in Alma 3 days ago, but I will finish the Book in 2 weeks from today! Probably. And I am reading in Portuguese. So you can do it! An hour a day!

I love you all and think about you often. But not too much. Just the right amount! If you have a chance, go to a lesson with the sisters! Or give them a reference! Or something. Working with members is a dream come true.

Again, I love you! Never forget the Savior and what he did for us, and the happiness we can attain because of him.

Elder Olsen

And from Nick:

Dear Mom,

Yes it was mothers day here too desculpa I forgot to say but HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! haha that was a little bit stupid of me. That grass over there looks really nice and you both look good too. Dad I hope you are still losing weight because I will expect to go camping or something in 2 years.

It was funny yesterday, all of the Elders think that you two look like the quintessential American couple, I don't really know how but at the same time I totally do! They were also impressed with the hutch with dishes in the back, apparently I'm back to being super rich haha. Also Elder Silva called and told me to send a hug to you guys, he was disappointed that he didnt get to meet y'all.

So this week for me was a lot better. We did more teaching, more contacts, and have a few people that I think might get baptised, but I dont know. Elder Olsen I didn't know that you yourself did the baptizing that is really awesome! I also did a division with an Elder in his last transfer, Elder Maciel from Rio Grande do Sul. He was really cool, what I like about him is that he is a little bit more reserved like me, and so it was good to see a person like that teaching for once. I dont know, I feel like being here has made me be more reserved, and idk if it is because of the language barrier or what, but I'm trying to figure out if I need to learn to be more outgoing and crazy haha. But my idea is that in the lesson at least you need to have the Spirit, and I felt that he did that well and taught me a lot.

My comp is getting better: apparently his namorada told him last week that he needs to work harder haha and so he is now. There is still room for improvement though. Were going to do this program in our ward called I-10 (pronounced eeeh dez but its funny because I-10 is that highway at home) which is basically just an event to get the members to invite people to church. Apparently whenever a ward does it it helps the work a lot a lot! So I am excited about that!

Today was funny, we went to a mall to get money and this guy came up and talked to me, asking where the church was and everything, and I had a full conversation with him by myself. And he said he lived in the U.S. for a little, so the whole conversation was in Portuguese until we said goodbye and he said "nice to meet you" almost perfectly! haha I love when weird things like that happen. Also there is one guy in our neighborhood who I dont even know personally, but everytime he rides past on his bike he says "WHATS UP" with a really thick accent haha its hilarious.

Anyways, Im really grateful to you guys for being so strong, especially in the church. Elder Brito had to ask his parents to go to church and talk to the missionaries because theyre non members, and Elder Vieira had to ask his parents to read scriptures and pray every day, but I felt good knowing that you guys are always doing those things and I never have to worry about that. Thank you.

Well I love you! Have fun with Emily and Phil, itll be just like old times! Except they're old and we won't be there too and also you live in another house in another state and also... well you get the point. I love you guys, have a good week. 

Elder Olsen

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


First from Eric:

Oi gente! What a week it was. A week full of action and adventure, baptism and confirmation, sickness and priesthood blessings!

So there was a meeting for mission leaders in Vitoria at the beginning of the week, and I am not a leader unfortunately. So I was dumped off in Aracruz with some other Elders for the day. I worked with one Elder named Elder Aguayo - he is from Equador. Gente boa demais. And we marked 8 BAPTISMAL DATES! It was a miracle. Really cool to be a part of! 

Unfortunately, the work in our area was slower than slow. We are having a really hard time finding new investigators to teach. ...And our old ones are not progressing very much.

....BUT Leidiane was baptised and we are going to start teaching her brother and possibly her mother! It was a super spiritual experience, I cant even explain. I know I am worthy but I felt like Ammon after I baptized her - like I wasnt quite worthy. How could anybody be worthy to perform an ordinance so sacred? Amazing. 

Also I was sick the entire week. Just now getting better. It was weird, just my whole body was aching the week entero. To the point where we would have to stop if I was out of breath because it hurt to breathe. But it was interesting - one day I was in a lot of pain but I stopped to talk to a woman and her son. When we got her address and walked away, I felt SO much better. I guess it just goes to show to forget yourself and go to work, huh? ...easier said than done, but still.

If you want to help the missionaries give them references! And have lessons with them! We didn't have success with Leidiane until we took a member with us to a lesson. Lessons with members, along with their friendship, are essential.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the baptism because I didn't have my camera, but Elder Mason did! I forwarded some pictures that he sent me. I couldn't open them, but hopefully you can! If not, he will go home in 6 months and I'll tell him to hunt you all down! 

I love you all! Mom, I cant wait to see you on Mother's Day! Dad, don't get sick because I want you to sing me a song! Unfortunately I have no idea when I will be able to call.. So just dont leave the house after church. Talk to you soon!

Much love,
Elder Eric Olsen

                                                                             Leidiane's baptism
                                                                              sunset in Colatina

And from Nick:

Oi gente!

 This week inteiro I was thinking that we have Mothers Day YESTERDAY, so I was pretty sad to find out that its proxima semana (next week). But haha that was pretty funny for me. 

One other thing that was funny is that I was at almoço(lunch) the other day and there were like a lot of people there which was exciting. And my companions think I look like an actor on disney channel, so they said that and one person was like heck yeah! and someone else was like naaah more like Brad Pitt. And I was like heck yeah stick with that! and then her husband was like more like Brad Pitt after the atomic bomb at Hiroshima! So that's Brazilians for you, they like to rip on each other haha, but whatever. I just laughed. at least one person in the world thinks I look like Brad Pitt!

One other good thing is that the Irmã who batizou last week is like super firme in the igreja, she is making a ton of friends and she invited us over last night to make mexican food (because Elder Diego is Mexican.) it's good to see someone who is really progressing well.

I love you guys so much. Enjoy the fact that you have temples there, family, grass, a beautiful home, things that you take for granted most of the time. We are very blessed in our family. I can't wait to talk with you on Sunday! I think we will sing a primary hymn for you mom. Also y'all should probably leave church early because I'm not exactly sure what time we will get to call you but i think it'll be before church ends.

Much Love,

Elder Olsen

                                                                                3 months!
                                               making tortillas (did you know they are just flour and water)