Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 23 news from Brazil

Ooooooooooooooooooooolá meus amigos!

Sounds like everyone is kind of espalhado no momento (spread out)! A few in Virginia, a few in Michigan, a few in Brazil,.. Makes me happy to know that one day we can all be together for eternity. 

First of all, good news from Colatina! We had five (5) YES FIVE people in church yesterday! Ajudando as pessoas encontrarem a verdade uma por uma (We are helping people find the truth, one by one)! Nobody will be baptized this week, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

To answer your question, the activity that we did with wheelchairs is done every month here in Brazil. I don't know how the church chooses the place, but Colatina got lucky! We received the references yesterday and will be visiting them all this week. Actually, we visited one yesterday. She was a less active member that was baptized 20 years ago - when we entered, she asked if we wanted some coffee.  ...........yeah. 

Here is something funny, we told an investigator our real names - Eric and Matheus - because she asked, and then she came to church and when people asked - who did you come with? - she said - Eric and Matheus! And nobody knew who she was talking about haha!

Also  I got the package! Thank you very much much and I think it delays 3 or 4 weeks to arrive. Suggestions for you:

I think the packing is overkill, and you could probably just use a smaller box if you wanted to!
Things like ramen or little meals etc, I buy here. the food you send should be snacks - like chocolates, homemade stuff, gummies, jelly beans, jerkey,.. stuff like that. but thanks anyways its 2 reais i wont have to spend on food haha. Also the pictures of Christ as a game thing was good. I had a companion
that had a little puzzle of the plan of salvation. Things like that that would help in teaching are sweet!
Basically just anything that would remind me of home. Oh also if you send more family history send in small font! It is a lot of paper to carry around.

I love the lessons we can learn from the scriptures. When the Savior called Peter and Andrew to the ministry, He first suggested - Cast your nets on the other side of the boat - and they came up with loads of fish. I have found that if something that we are trying to accomplish is very difficult, we have to try something different. We have to think outside the box, and cast our nets on the other side. 

This week we had a zone meeting - the last of our ZL Elder Richards. It was pretty regular, but at the end he said - I know that God has a plan for us. It was such a normal statement - I probably say it 5 times a day.But when he said it the Spirit hit me - He does have a plan! No need to worry. He knows it all. I bear my testimony that He knows all, and He just wants us to come unto Him.

I love you all and you're in my prayers!

Elder Eric Olsen

Oi família!!

NOSSA may I just start by saying that I am muito muito bonito on that plaque haha and I probably will never be bonito assim in my life again. 

ENTÃO boa semana. This week started out great because I got mail!!! But I can't read outside of Pday, so I haven't read yet but I will today. Thanks mom! And other friends that sent stuff. My trainer even sent me a jersey of Santos! (his favorite team de futebol)

The work here is still really hard.We haven't had much success, and its pretty frustrating. Last pday we were in the supermarket and someone approached me and said "hey, where are you from?" naturally I almost screamed, and then spoke a lot of English with Portuguese mixed in. Turns out it was just a guy who has been studying English, but he invited us to his house. So the other day we went there, and he was super rich. He had a collection of 32 watches!! and like 100 colognes! Haha so that was crazy buuuut... infelizmente he didn't go to church either. 

I heard a talk in church that I liked a lot, and he told a story in the talk. He said, "there once was a man with a lot of faith. And an angel appeared to him and said: 'Here is a big stone. Now you have to push it and move it.' And so the man got up every day, pushed the stone every day, and went to bed. For algumas semanas (a few weeks) this continued. And eventually he got annoyed, and thought 'why did God ask me to do this? nothing is happening!' And when the angel returned, he asked. But the angel said 'look at yourself. You haven't moved the stone, but you are strong,  you have grown a lot. This was the purpose of pushing the stone.'" So I liked that a lot. Sometimes we work and work and have nenhum resultado (no results). But its because the Lord purposes are not our purposes, His thoughts are not our thoughts.

One day was better than the rest this week, and when I stopped to think, I realized that for some reason I had been thinking about Jesus for a lot of the day. It really is true, that our afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Not that challenges wont come, because they will, but we have to have our foundations built upon the rock that is Jesus Christ. If I've learned one thing in my mission so far it is that. And to speak Portuguese hahaha!

Well I love you all, hope you are doing well. I pray for you often. I will be sending some more letters to you soon!

Elder Nicholas Olsen

ps I learned that Nick is only a name for cachorros (dogs) here in Brasil!!



                                                                     I finally saw a monkey!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

World Cup

Oi familiares! E outras pessoas!

This week was really annoying. But at the same time, a grande bênção. We had a lot of stuff going on, and weren't able to work as much as I would have wanted.

...which is the blessing. I WANTED to work! Which is probably horrible to say, but in the beginning of the mission, I would wake up so depressed. UGH. One more day of confusion and dejection. But this week I was overcome with desire to convert everyone. To help them come to an understanding of God, and build their faith.

Thursday was the first soccer game! Andddd we stayed at our house. Read some scriptures, relaxed,.. Kept score, because the people yelling in the street made it obvious that Brazil was winning. But our president said that we are allowed to watch, as long as we stayed in our house. So my comp is working hard to find a tv that we can use - talking to all the members, etc.

Friday was our last conference with the president before he leaves - dia 27. He talked a lot about baptism, and why it is the most important part of missionary work. IT was a super easy day, just listening to him and his wife talk, but I found myself wanting to go out and climb hills to see our investigators!

I was in church on Sunday - one more Sunday without anyone in church - and I couldn't help but shed a few tears. Why are these people so stubborn? Why don't they understand what we explain so clearly? Truly this too, was an answer to a prayer, as I have been trying to develop more love of the people here.

If nothing else, I am recognizing the answers to my prayers more often. I know that God hears us and answers us. Not always when we wants - honestly almost always NOT when we want - but he will lighten the burdens and respond to the cries of his chosen people.

If you want a list of pesquisadores to pray for.... : Camilla, Alex, Maria, Edith, Jadir, Wagner, Bruna. 

ALSO good news! We had an activity that we gave out wheelchairs at the chapel! And next week we, the missionaries, have to go visit all of them and make sure that everything is going well with them. ....and share a message about Jesus Christ! So hopefully something good will come of that.

I love you, And remember that the Master knows us each individually - better than we know ouyrselves. And He is always watching over us. Always.

And think of me during the Brazillian jogos durante a Copa!

Elder Eric Olsen
 p.s. my stupid computer won't send pictures. I have tried everything idk what the problem is. I'll try again next week, sorry for real  I know its annoying. Also can you get me in contact with Elder Norton? 

Dear Family,

Wow I am so happy that you went to the temple first of all! It makes me think of Mother's day, when everyone was telling their parents to stay firm and go to church, I know that I would never have to worry about that with you two, and I would never been on this mission if it wasn't for you. So thank you.

Anyway! About the packages first off, coisas boas: peanut butter, nutella, beef jerky, snacks, sweets, things like that. Just things that will arrive one day after all the work you've been doing turned out for nothing (because the Lord tries the faith and patience of his missionaries A LOT) and makes you smile because now you have a little sweet smackeral. Or a little taste of the U.S. Haha I don't know, but I trust your judgement.

This week began the Copa do Mundo!! For our mission, we had to stay in our houses during the game, but only the Brasil game. So everyone was planning on sleeping, until 10 minutes before it started when I received a call: "Elder, Presidente esqueceu a dizer: não pode dormir na casa." ( President forgot to say not to sleep during the game) AAAHHHHH BRINCADEIRA but tudo bem, so I just read some of the teachings of Joseph Smith in Portuguese. Did you guys know that the gift of tongues is specifically to teach the gospel? 

This week I had a cool experience. I was pretty down, sometimes you just get frustrated, you know. And my comp was playing some tab choir, and I went outside and sat in the hammock (yes we have a hammock) and I said a prayer. And for some reason I said "Heavenly Father, please let me attain exaltation", which is strange, normally I wouldn't say something audacious assim. But right then, the choir was singing "I Believe in Christ" and said these words:
I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I'll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: "Ye shall obtain."
And those 2 parts: I'll gain my fondest dream and the 2nd 2 lines, they hit me pretty hard. And I just felt like I knew that everything I am doing is worth it in the end. As long as I do His will, it will all be worth it.

I can't tell you how happy I am seeing you at the temple together, I even took a pic of your pic to save for me! You are great examples. Thanks for everything you've already done and are still doing for us! I love you!

Elder Nicholas Olsen

                                                                    after zone olympics last week

                                                          the streets decorated for the World Cup


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

a hard week

First from Elder Eric Olsen:

Dear family,

Because we are all irmãos em Cristo, right? So we are all family!

This week was a little discouraging. When I opened my mission call and saw that I was headed to Brazil, my first impression was - WOW this will be easy. I had no idea how hard a mission could be, and no idea how many people would reject the truth when it was placed, perfectly wrapped up, enticingly glistening and entirely explaining the history of the universe, right in front of them.

I guess that is a good thing - when we feel that longing for people to accept the truth, and that sorrow when they don't want to. It means we are acting like the Savior - we are FEELING as the Savior would feel. Truly He, more than any of us can comprehend, wants the best for every one of us. But just like Him, we can only present the truth. We can only give this opportunity, better than anything else in the world, to our friends, family, and others that we meet. And the rest is up to them.

I feel like Nephi - his tears watered his pillow by night because of the iniquity of his people. No, I don't cry literally. But my worry is great. My sorrow because of the heardheartedness that I experience. 

And as I have thought, one thing could fix it all. The subject of the prophets last talk says it all, the first and great commandment in the law - love. A love of God brings us to repent and follow him. A love of knowledge allows us to understand just how everything in Gods plan fits together. 

Just turn to the Lord. Accept the love that He has for you. And do what you can to serve.

And help the missionaries! 


Elder Eric Olsen

PS sorry that this has no content about my week, but nothing happened, nobody was baptised, nobody went to church,... just a lot of climbing up hills!

And from Elder Nick Olsen:

Wow that Portuguese was perfect dad! At least I think it was.. haha.

Mas hola pessoal! Infelizmente I forgot my planner to come here today, so I don't have my guide of things to share... but oh well I will try.

First off, BATISMO!!! haha just kidding actually, opposite. This week we worked super hard, contacting todo mundo and challenging to baptise (that's like the mission thing now) but unfortunately NOBODY went to church. And a maioria of people will give a reference, but when we go there they don't want to hear a message. So they're trying to be nice maybe but it just ends up wasting our time.

SO the work is really hard here but we are working até o pó! Also congrats on 31 years of marriage minha nossa that is a lot of time! I try not to think too much about home because I get trunky BUT sometimes I do think about you guys and how much I took you for granted, you really did everything I would want and more as parents. And I will take you out to a restaurant when I return! And by that I mean I will drive and you can pay :) hahaha

But anyway so I read this talk that was floating around in our house from like 1980 by Pres Monson about visiting widows. And then the next day we found this lady (na verdade I dont know if she was a widow but it looked like it) and we taught her and gave her a blessing for health and stuff. So I was really grateful for that experience, just imagining that if I hadn't been there in that moment maybe she would never receive priesthood service assim. 

Also yeah we actually have people to play the piano here other than me! So that's pretty cool. My comp is pretty cool, he's really funny and so I'm learning more about what brazilians think is funny haha. What's annoying about here is its all bars and churches, bars and churches. So you talk with 10 people on the street: 1 accepts to hear a message, 3 are drunk, and 6 are crentes (firme evangélicos). tudo bem, né?

Basically what I do for language study is read the BOM in portuguese out loud, because I haven't finished yet, but I like reading the Liahona too. Like you said, it has other vocab fora de "evangelho" and "sacerdócio" haha.

So I have actually been a little frustrated this week. Realmente, nós trabalhamos com todo força que temos, mas terminamos a semana sem resultados. ( Really we worked with every strength we had but with no results).But i read in the Book of Mormon about Alma in Alma 31. And so he's all depressed because the Zoramites are wicked, so he says this long prayer asking for strength and patience and success. And in the last verse it says, "he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ." and I thought about that. The only sure way that these afflictions, or any afflictions, will go away, is through a testimony of Jesus Christ. Because in the end, I know that He already suffered more than this, and in the end, I know that I am doing this for Him. So that is my spiritual thought, in the name of... haha just kidding. But really Jesus has to be our Rock (helaman 5:12...? I think)

I love you guys so much. Thank you for the prayers, for everything that you do for me. I couldn't have gotten to this point without you. I pray for you all the time, and hope you are well.

Elder Olsen

                                                            I made pancakes!
                                                made noodles (lunch fell through)
                                                I saw this parakeet on a branch

Thursday, June 5, 2014

From Elder Nick Olsen:

Boa semana meus amigos!!

So I am here in Anapolis. Com certeza its more scenic than Goiânia haha, I'm in a ward called Flamboyant thats kind of in the suburbs. There are a lot of neighborhoods in our area, apparently there is one neighborhood really far from the church which is more poor, so the missionaries have been working there for a while. Sempre quer os pobres. But I decided that we should work in a neighborhood closer to the church that is a little bit more rich. Not really RICH rich, but the people there all have cars and stuff like that. But I am excited, we have already taught some families. Unfortunately, nobody went to church this week, so we have our work cut out for us.

The ala here is much much much better! The members like the missionaries, they teach with them sometimes and they just like them.  My portuguese is... coming along. Better every day. Although I got a little annoyed, the mission leader yesterday kept asking questions to my comp about me and I just said "Oh Irmão! na verdade, eu estou aqui mesmo, pode falar comigo direto!" (Oh, Brother! Actually I'm right here, You can talk directly to me!) which probably was a little rude but its like seriously? haha whatever. 

So one day an Irmão (Brother) said that he couldn't do almoço (lunch), but he would take us out for dinner. And we went to a place for Rodizio de pizza!! So they would like bring the pizza around, had everything from margharita to ice cream on the pizza. It was awesome. Also just so y'all know, Elder Silva is a secretary now and he called me and said my package is in the escritório (office), but we don't have a Leadership meeting this month so I wont get it UNTIL JULHO (July)!!! UGH!!!

The other day I went to this house and the kid was watching Lord of the Rings on TV... Nossa que chato! I wanted to watch haha but instead we taught a lesson and the Spirit was strong. I'm hoping the the guy will be able to go to church with us! Honestly, the work here is really hard. There are a lot of people that let us teach, but they don't realize what our message is. We explain that we have the Igreja LITERALMENTE de Jesus Cristo, guiado por Ele (literally The Church of Jesus Christ, guided by Him), but they just kind of agree and let it go. It's so frustrating because I know that this message and this gospel could change the lives of so many for the better, if they would just accept it. If they would just really pray about it and ask God. I know that the only thing that is keeping me alive with all this work that is not yielding much fruit is the blessing of the Lord. Eventually, I will bring people to the fold.

One thing kind of frustrating is that I'm realizing that a lot of missionaries are pretty immature. I don't know why, but I feel more serious on the mission (which is probably bad bc brazilians  like to joke and make fun a lot). But for some missionaries, they revert into being more adolescent ainda. 

Haha that being said... My comp is Elder Vicente! He is from Santa Katerina, in the south, and he has the same time in the mission as I do. Actually, he has one more transfer than I do. He is learning English, and like to joke around a lot, but not in a way like a clown more like a quiet joking way. So I am excited for us to work together a little bit of time. 

Espero que vocês estão bem (I hope you are well). I am super jealous about all the cool stuff y'all are doing, seriously. I wish I could be there with y'all, but I have work to do here por enquanto (for the time begin). I miss you guys like crazy, seriously, and I love you. I dont know what else to say haha so that I love you very very much.

Elder Olsen

From Elder Eric Olsen:

Dear todo mundo,

Olá de Colatina, terra de mole pesquisadores! We had a grand total of 0 people in church this week, and 0 people that are progressing from our meetings and help! Thankfully, we got to eat chocolate cake yesterday. So it almost balanced out.

My new companion se chama (is called)Elder Branco, de Curitiba. He is a smooth talker, so we are able to talk to a lot of people. He is helping me better my portuguese for sure - although he teaches my slang a little more than I would like! Mas ele trabalha até o pó  (but he works hard)- this week we have about 20 NEW people that we are meeting with! Usually we only have 8 or 10 each week.

We started working in a really rich neighborhood - it was my idea, haha. Here is the difference between really poor and really rich here: Really poor people want to see miracles, so they go to evangelical churches and are really firm in the idea the every church is the church of God. The rich people are steeped in tradition - aka Catholicism. 

And mom, just so you know, it is a different religious culture here. They have meetings basically every night of the week, and so people are always in the church. People are always with their friends from the church. And when they hear that your church is on the other side of the bridge, and it would take 30 minutes to get there, and that there is ONLY 1 meeting a week, they want nothing more to do with you! I have a lot of hope and faith though. Elder Branco seems really competent. 

Our goal is to bring 5 people to our Lord through sacred covenants this transfer. Here's to the 5! ....at least 5, that is. Possibly 20. We will see! 

I love you all!

Elder Eric Olsen