Monday, August 25, 2014

another transfer and a district leader

Dearest family,

Looks like I did something REALLY bad, because I have been sent to the outer limits of the mission! Teofilo Otoni, my new city, is 11 hours by onibus from Vitória. We got on a bus at 9 Tuesday night, and arrived here at 8 am. HOLY COW WHAT A LONG BUS RIDE AGH! But now I have been in another state of Brazil, Minas Gerais! One state closer to you, Nick.

But the city here is great. There are 2 branches here, and ours has a frequency of about 35. Apparently, they have only had 2 elders here in the past - now there are 6! It looks like the Lord has some big plans.

I felt like I had fulfilled my purpose as a missionary last week, as I talked with Roninha in Terra Vermelha before I left. We had started teaching her daughters about the restored gospel too, and she had told us that nothing could stop her from being baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ! When I told her that I would be leaving, she started to cry. She even said a prayer at the end that I would be transferred to somewhere close. I was really surprised - she was so grateful that we had brought so much more light into her life.

My new companion is Elder Jacobson. We are twins. Literally. He has a twin in Sao Paulo serving a mission too! Also he can sing well, so we can harmonize - YES - and his birthday is in January, and we are even going to BYU on the same scholarship! We are already good friends. We both want to work hard, and I know good things will happen.

I got the box you sent! It took 6 weeks, on the dot.You'll have to send the Christmas box soon ha ha. All I want is a long letter from everyone there, that is what's best.

I went to church Sunday and we had 2 investigators that we hadn't even met yet - the neighbors of a member. Then last night we went to their house to set up an appointment all together, and they showed some desire to learn more about the church! It really demonstrated to me the importance of members in missionary work. We knock hundreds of doors every week and have no success. But because of a friendship and a desire to share the gospel, the friend of this member  will very likely become a member of the church. Moral of the Story: GIVE REFERENCES!

I love you all and I pray for you always. Keep me in your thoughts - I need the strength. Especially since this city is basically a mountain range!

Much love,

Elder E Olsen

Dear family,

WOW your new couch is SUPER big! How did you even get it to fit haha? I think that's a pretty big accomplishment on its own. I look forward to sitting down and being engulfed by the sea of cushions one day! Also Grandpa is 92? oh louco!

Soooooooooooooo transfer this week! I was transferred to here! Flamboyant! Mesma área! But now I am District Leader Trainer, so I have a district to care for (with sisters... yikes! haha jk they are cool) and a novinho to care for too. Now I know how I was when I was new... a little bit trunky, have to be taught in every aspect of everything... hahaha but he is gente boa, e its not that bad, its just a lot more stuff to think about and worry about.

So I have a super weird... I mean COOL story to tell! This week there was this lady kind of old and crusty (haha) sitting outside her house so we went up to talk with her. Then when she saw us, she started like babbling about how she had a vision of Jesus and all this stuff and she was like "and then... let me see your hand" and so i gave it to her, and she started pulling it in but I resisted BUT SHE WAS TOO STRONG AND...! She kissed my hand!? haha and then she said "and so I sang praise.. can I sing for you?" and I was like sure and so she sung some weird hymn in a really high screechy voice haha it was really crazy.

The members here have been super nice to us lately too. We had dinner 2 times this week (!!!) and also we were just walking and an Irmã pulled up by our side and said "we have a present for you!" and it was an ABACATE COM LEITE pra fazer vitamina (avocado with milk for vitamins)!!! so I was pretty happy about that. Even better one of our investigators Inês went to church and the ward members received her really well! Even better is that... well let me give backstory. We have an activity in our mission called Pegue a Onda (because of a talk by Elder Nelson) which is basically to give the members one day to invite their friends, and then have a church day geared towards visitors, and our Bishop said we can do it! So were gonna do it this fast Sunday, i'm praying that it'll go well.

Don't be afraid to send pics of yourselves too! That one picture of you guys at the temple I liked a lot. I miss you guys a lot and love you a lot, and I always pray for you and all of our family. 

Elder Nicholas Olsen 

with my new companion, Elder Araújo de Bahia


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

prosciutto, horses, and a baptism

Querida família,

Tudo bem? Transferred. Again. Looks like the Lord doesn't want me staying in one place for too long! And it was just getting good too - Eliane was baptised this Tuesday, and looks like Roninha will get a new job in a week or two! She told one of the other Elders in the branch here that NOTHING could stop her from getting baptised - WOO! And her daughter is 9, so they'll start to teach her too!

I don't know where I am going or with whom I will be. you'll have to wait until next week.

This week was marked by a lot of rain and a lot of dirt. And a lot of slow days. But Eliane was baptised! Because of rain and other problems this week, we only visited her one time between Tuesday and Sunday. When church rolled around and she wasn't at church, we started to panic. And right when we arranged to go to her house with a member to get her, she showed up! She had missed the onibus and - get this - WALKED all the way to church! WHAT! She said that she couldn't miss this Sunday because she needed to receive the Holy Ghost! Haha it was so gratifying!

We had a lesson with Roninha this week - ela é tão boa. Não consigo descrever (she's so good. I cannot describe). She, for one thing, bought a cake for us. You know how much I love cake. And also she said a prayer and asked for my family to be blessed - so you've got blessings coming your way!

I am so glad that the Lord has touched the hearts of these wonderful people.

Other than these two people, this week was difficult as always. But I did splits with my zone leader - he is a twin from Argentina. He told me about how his whole family is out of the church and they don't even really talk to him anymore - even his twin. it made me grateful for all of you guys. Thanks for the support. I love you all!

Elder Eric Olsen                                                                                                                                                                                              

baptism of Eliane

there are a lot of horses in the street here

a family we are teaching made us cake!

Querida família,

Well well well mais uma semana se passou já. Transfers are this week and.... I'm staying! My companion was transferred to I don't know where and my new companion will be I don't know who. But I am excited about a change. I will miss Elder Vicente but change is progress.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much success getting those people to church. Or the housekeeper. Or anyone actually, none of the investigators went to church yesterday. I find it really frustrating, but it makes sense to a point. This is why missionary work is so difficult: you knock on somebody's door, somebody completely content, and have to show them why they aren't content realmente. Because in reality they don't know what they're missing, but that's just it: they don't KNOW that they are missing something, so they don't have desire to search for it. 

So this week I found out about cevada, which I think is just barley in English..? But here the members like grind it up and drink it instead of coffee, and its actually pretty good! You guys should check it out and try it.

That is crazy about Bryan. I told a member about him and she was like "wow that's so great, he's going from dirt to gold" or along those lines. But I thought that it wasn't, he probably really loved it there in Africa. But if he was sent to Salt Lake I'm sure its because he is needed there in Salt Lake.

Unfortunately this week I don't have a lot of things to say. I am trying to work hard, deserve the blessing, bring people to the gospel and to know Jesus Christ. I miss you guys, thank you for everything you do for me and for me criando em luz e verdade. 

Elder Nicholas Olsen
today I went to the rich person grocery store and found prosciutto!
(it was 10 reias for just 3 pieces  but yolo)
minha zona
Elder Vicente and me
My zone one transfer ago

Monday, August 11, 2014

Father's Day in Brazil

E aí meus queridos!

Primeiramente, desculpa por ter demorado. We spent this morning visiting the Convento da Penha aqui em Vila Velha. was the second time for me, but still really beautiful! It was a little weird though, after being immersed in Mormon Doctrine for so long, to ´plunge into the world of Catholicism!

I am glad to hear that you all are helping out the missionaries there! Just think - How would you want the people here to treat your sons? And then do exactly that with your Sisters! Go teach some lessons with them, have a family home evening in your home and tell them to bring investigators, give references,.. Everything and anything is helpful.

Parabéns to Emily on her job! I have been praying for her, and I know that she is being blessed. I will want some room service when I get home.

Mother, Roninha is good, but she hasn't been able to find a different job yet. Also I am glad that you see me on Facebook, even if I don't know about it! However, GET ON MY FACEBOOK AND ACCEPT ALL THESE PEOPLE IN BRAZIL THAT ARE ADDING ME! Haha I get an earful of reclamação because people aren't being accepted..!

This week was interesting. We taught 2 spiritists. Also we found a woman, taught her everything, and she will be baptised tomorrow!!! Her name is Eliane. And she has a son named Eric! How cool is that! It has been a slow week - we have mostly been working with her. But it is all worth it - she understands the doctrine better than I did until I had been a member for 10 years! I am really excited to be a part of her story.

I love you all and I pray for you often. I wish I had more faith, so that my prayers could make a bigger difference in your lives! It is something I am working on.

Much love,

Elder E Olsen

PS transfers next week! And I will be late next week again!

                                                    Happy Brazilian Father's Day!

Dear Stanford,

Dude you got me laughing quite a few times there. Why would I hate you for thinking about Christmas? I have been thinking about it since the MTC!! Haha, the transfer will be the week of Christmas. I thought you would be interested to know that for some unknown reason, today I was reading your email in a whisper to myself and then perceived that I was talking with a southern accent! Haha so that is pretty cool to me, I miss the south!

Even though you guys are having trouble finding people to invite to learn about the church, you are still doing well. I think it was Elder Ballard that made a promise: if we pray to have people to teach and experiences to have, God will give them to us. So have faith. Also helping the missionaries with things like transfers helps a lot. If you are good to the missionaries, they will really be eternally grateful to you, I can tell you.

I have a lot of room on my memory card still, I try to take pics of all the noteworthy things haha. But I will for sure feel free to buy a new one, or buy a pen drive to back up my pics in case my camera is stolen or something. I had to buy contact lens solution this week which was caaaaaro demais. I am thinking about sending a box to you guys too! Or at least an envelope with a few things inside. I guess we'll see because its kind of hard to drum up money around here.

Also, mom, I know they have a dry cleaner but there's only ONE IN THE WHOLE CITY and its far away so I will just stick it out with these pants. I got your box this week! But it was the one with the pants and contacts, I haven't got the other yet, so idk if it disappeared or what haha.

This week is the week of cars. They have these cars here that always pass in the street blaring advertisements: "the milk car is passing in the front of your house!" "The car of pamonha!" "the car of vegetables!" blah blah blah. But elections are coming up: "Pastor Washington Luiz eu vou voltaaaar!" and also there is a circus in town: "você vai, você vai, vai láááááááááááá meu amiiiiigoooooo!" haha so that was an exciting change this week.

Also this week started out super awesome. Like we marked 6 baptismal dates with investigators!! CRAZY! But then the rest of the week we didn't find them at home and they didn't go to church. So its a struggle. But I guess we always have to have trials of our faith.

Love you guys! Thank you for the news (wow the world is ending) and the laughs and testimonies and everything. I found out that my friend from BYU Josie is going to Argentina on her mission! so thats an extra exciting nugget. Love you!

Elder Nicholas Olsen

                                                               Eating meat in the road at night
                                                           When lunch with the members fell through
                                                                                   6 months!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4th

Hello querida família!

Então sounds like your week was pretty tranquil as was mine. The first day we got a call from the District Leader: "Vocês dois foram transferidos!!" But after a half hour he called again and said it was a misunderstanding, haha. But we did have a Zone meeting of 4 zones in Goiânia!! And they will create a third stake there! So that was pretty exciting. Also since I went to Goiânia I got to see Elder Silva, who was my trainer. He is a really good example, it was super good to see him.

One day I was teaching this lady and then she was like, "are you from Portugal?" and i just laughed haha because my accent is nothing like a Portuguese accent! But I guess its good, I prefer Portuguese to American. I heard a lot of bad American accents at this zone meeting. OH also I saw Andrea Marshall! And she said to tell the Hawaiian sister in our ward that she is in my mission and also Sister Anderson is in my mission!

Dad, since you are on the high council now, you should try to do this activity that our mission president wants us to do. Its just like you designate one day, and tell all of the members to try to bring 5 people to church. In truth, it could be just 2 or even just 1. And also in truth, its more complicated here than that, but I think that thats a good idea. Because people always think of missionary work as something they will do NEXT week, NEXT year. But if you have a day set, they'll have a goal to reach. It has already doubled the amount of people in church here!

Speaking of ward council, mom, I went for the first time yesterday. They seemed really focused with wanting to have good baptismal services, but I just wanted to say, if we don't have your help here there won't be any baptisms! Idk, this ward is great in that they like us a lot, but sometimes they're not really as excited about helping out.

Anyway, unfortunately we dont have a lot going on as of now. I am still trying to figure out the key that will make this work move forward! Thanks for keeping me updated with you all, love you a lot.

Elder Nicholas Olsen

                                                                     At a restaurant in Goiânia

                                                                             At zone conference
                                                              This reminded me of The Lion King!

Dearest family,

And principalmente to dad: Holy cow you read the scriptures A LOT during your mission! Did you find better to read one book at a time, or read a little of the Book of Mormon and a little of the New Testament each day? I am almost finishing Jesus the Christ. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes not as much... but I feel much closer to Christ. I feel like I know Him better now.

This week we worked a lot on our goals. Our end goal was to have a lot of people go to church, because that is such an important part of conversion and learning more about the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. We worked and prayed and emphasized, with our investigators, that they really need to go to church. AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. We had 9 people go to church yesterday!!! Which is super bom. And it won't happen every week, but it was a really blessing for us. 

I heard something really good this week: Spiritual light doesnt come to those that wait in darkness. It takes an Act of Faith.

I testify that God wants us to have spiritual light - we just have to search and knock!

This week we had a few interesting experiences. One man that we taught was purely interested in knowing more about the church - but he really listened to our message and asked questions and everything! And the end he said You guys are pretty cool. Lets go to Domingus Martins one day - a little city 1 hour away that doesnt have missionaries - and you can meet my parents. Haha Elder Cervantes, when we left his house, said - Well I don't think we can count him as an investigator, because he doesn't have that much interest. ...But we did make a new Bro today! So we ended the week with 28 lessons, 9 investigators in church, and 1 new Bro.

We also had a woman, Roninha (pronounced Honeenya) that READ and PRAYED ABOUT the Book of Mormon! AHHH! That hardly ever happens! And what did she say about it? "Yep, I read and prayed and received an answer! Of course I will be baptised." But she has to work on Sundays and wont get baptized until she changes her work, so pray that she finds a new job!

Speaking of which, Emily, I will pray for you to find one!

One last thing. Mom, all the rapazes here fight kites. All day every day. I took a picture but it is impossible to see thhe kites, but it is mais ou menos like Kite Runner! 

I love you guys. I pray for you daily. By name, and by necessity. Procure luz espiritual! and Keep the faith, please.

Elder Eric Olsen