Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sept 22, 2014


Wow it seems like y'all actually have stuff to do! I kind of imagined you as just sitting in the house the whole day long, haha jk jk! Also I am super jealous of this European tour! My friend is serving a mission in Milan, maybe if you are close and have time and nothing else to do you can go out to dinner with him or something! But thats really far away.

Yes I was a little bit doentinho but its all good now, it was just a cold that I had for a few days. Oh in terms of Christmas, I would appreciate shirts more than any other clothes haha. And other than that I don't really care, just pics and letters from everyone and whatever else you want to include.

This week we had a miracle. Our thing in this mission is always invite to baptism, mesmo on the first visit, and last pday at night my leader called me and said that we were having miracles! That they marked 2 baptismal dates and another dupla too and blahblah! So my comp and I had already been to all of our marked appointments and they had fallen through, but we wanted to have a miracle too. So we said a prayer, and just started walking. And we knocked some doors, talked with some people, just walking where we were lead. And then my comp talked to this lady and she said sure I'd love to hear a message, and my comp asked if we could RIGHT NOW and she said sure! And then he looked at me, waiting. And I was like oh great, here we are in the middle of the road and my comp handed it over to me to leave a message in the street..? haha but it turned out that she lived close, and we went there and taught her and marked a date with her!!!! So it was a super cool response to a prayer said in faith.

Another cool experience but on a different level: I was talking to a dude in the neighboring ward who shares the chapel with us, and he said "where are you from? Santa Katarina? Rio Grande do Sul?" And I was like :OOOOOOOOOOO haha so idk if he was just like kind of making fun of me or serious but it looked like he was serious! So that was cool.

Other than that, we are just working really hard. Trying to do everything possible to bring others to Christ. Thank you for your love and prayers, I love you!

Elder Nicholas Olsen

at a birthday party for one of the Sisters 

Dearest family,

Very cool that it is starting to cool down there. Thankfully, its starting to heat up here! There is nothing like tracting the dusty hills, climbing up and up and up in 40 degrees C! Which I think is about 100 farenheit? Yesterday we arrived at lunch literally dripping! 

Dad, thanks for the experience about the visit that you were able to do. Sometimes I don't feel very guided by the Spirit, but stories like this remind me that God is really guiding our steps - if we listen. 

This entire week was spent worrying about one of our inveestigators - Leo Duarte. He went to church last sunday, and then a baptism, and then we visited him EVERY DAY this week! He is a really spiritual guy, and he realized that there is a difference in us. We were able to teach every prerequisite for baptisms - and more - during this week. He always says - If I didn't believe, if I wasn't experiencing something different, I wouldn't continue to meet with you two. We really have been emphasizing the importance of prayer with him, and the fact that he can receive an answer from God if he ACTS to follow Him and ASKS in faith. He even stopped drinking coffee, and took us out for pizza one day! Which, by the way,  I hadnt eaten since March, so it was SUPER good.

This thursday we also did an activity in our branch that we made BROWNIES for the snack afterwards, and everybody loved them! Actually they were way different than what I usually made, it was more like a chocolate cake mixed with brownies. But still, it was a hit!

Mom, I wish I could tell you that we will have a primary program, but of our 35 members, I think only 2 are primary age... sorry! 

I wish  I had more to say, but this week was mostly just sweating and walking. Hopefully I will be able to tell you about a baptism next week! Until then, love you all!

Elder Olsen

ps transfers are next week

pps can you check my facebook and accept my friend requests?

ppps for Christmas I would like white chocolate peanut butter from byu - sorry i forgot to ask you when you went there... and just send chocolate because it might melt but you can always throw it in the fridge! And yeah shirts, but shirts that are really thin. a different kind than we have already. and letters etc. obrigado!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missing home.

Caro família,

I am so trunky right now, aka homesick, because of your apple pie - football bonanza! That is so cool about the jet flyover at the game!

As you all gear up for winter, we here are gearing up for summer. Everyone talks about how horribly hot it will be... welp. Also I have seen a ton of pictures of missionaries in the summer - wading in water up to their waists! So I guess I am in for some swimming, woohoo!!

This week we received a miracle. We found someone that is really spiritual sensitive - literally prepared by God. Missionaries always talk about the "elect" and those that are being prepared, but this guy is it. We met him Saturday, he went to church on Sunday - and after the first meeting he turned to me and said - Wow I just feel really really good, like I should be here. MIRACLE! It really strengthened my testimony that God wants people to come unto Him, and is preparing the hearts of His children.

Also, I want to know how are the scriptures and the Family Home Evenings, etc! What are you learning in the scriptures, what spiritual experiences did you have this week? What strengthened your testimonies? I need things like this! Also things that might help me to be better as a missionary, as a person, as a friend, as a child of God. 

ALSO mom you could send me a recipe for apple pie. Every brazilian keeps asking about it, its pretty famous!

I know that as we work and pray and pray and pray some more, God keeps His promises. We really have to show our desire to receive blessings from Him, and how do we show our desire? Through our actions. I know that everything that God gives us in this life - trials as well as victories - is for our benefit.

As I sat at lunch with a member, he talked about how our church callings are not as important as our families. "Your family exalts you, not your calling." I agree 100%, and I am thankful to our Father for giving me such a wonderful family to help me grow. I love you all! Boa semana!

Elder Eric Olsen

ps mom I don't KNOW Elder Burns, but I know who he is!
pps - best part of the week happened just now, that my old comp wrote me an email and told me that Roninha named her dog after me - Olsen! Haha!

Dear family,

Haha you guys are pretty funny, sabia? Mom, I'm unspeakably proud of you for saying y'all! Parabéns! And yes I miss music, but fortunately the girl that runs the lan house is playing Ed Sheeran with all my favorite songs: A Team, Give me Love,. Actually,  probably its unfortunately because we're not supposed to be hearing it haha but what can I do about it right!?

BOM DIA and boa semana to you. It is really something else to read these Hemingway like descriptions of the crisp fall air and a sour apple pie, you are really trying to drive it home huh? haha just kidding, I love to hear about how it is there. It seems to me like you are living the American dream: College football, apple pie, Miss America, leaves almost changing color, só o ouro! The other day I asked my comp: "its spring, right?" and he said "I don't know dude, in Brasil we don't have these things. To me its always summer." hahahaha and seriously it is! Also yes mom if you send a flash drive I can get speakers.

This week my district received 2 new SISTERS!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOH! So now our district has me, my trainee, and 2 duplas of sisters... it will be a wild ride! hahaha. But one just got here from serving in the U.S. for 8 months and the other is from North Dakota and has a really strong American accent! 

I had a cool experience this week, I was wanting to help people. And so I prayed and said to God, "just give me opportunities to serve. I don't even care if it leads them to baptism, although that would be ideal, I just want to go about doing good." And the same day I saw an old guy carrying a bunch of oranges, so we helped him out, taught a lesson, gave him a blessing, and left. He didn't want to go to church or learn more, but still I felt so good afterwards! It was a testimony to me that if we ask for opportunities, God will give them to us. Be it missionary opportunities, opportunities to serve, or whatever. Another day we taught a guy and when we were leaving he said "thank you for coming here. I was feeling alone and sad but with you coming here... now I feel a lot better." So just pray for the opportunities!

Dad it seems like you are a bit trunky, seja feliz! I miss you guys a lot too but whenever I think "wow i'd like to be home with my fam" I realize that I wouldn't really want to be there until after I have finished my work. And then think of how much happier we will all be! :) Just find a balance between Jacobs words (a lonesome and solemn people) and Nephi (And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness).

I miss you and love you muito! Penso em vocês todos os dias. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, know that I am also thinking and praying for you.

Elder Nick Olsen

A member of the ward brought us breakfast

Zona Anápolis!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Caro Família,

Fico muito feliz por conhecer vocês. Tem tantas vezes na semana quando eu fico falando sobre meu irmão, que é um super gênio - estudando direto. Ou minha mãe, que me ensinou sobre o batismo quando eu era muito jovem.  Amo vocês tanto. Não consigo expressar o meu amor por cada um de vocês. Peço desculpa por tudo que eu fiz em qualquer momento de errado; saibam que eu só quero o melhor pra vocês.

This city is super difficult, nobody wants to talk to us, but I just remember that we are here because Jesus Christ sent us here. He told an ordained Apostle to send us to our respective missions, he placed an inspired leader at the head of each mission, and we should be where we are! I heard a story of a woman that was baptized at 75 years old, and then received her Patriarchal Blessing. In it, she was told that she would have accepted the Gospel at 13, but the missionary who would have found her decided not to serve a mission. So even if we dont baptize everyone, we are planting seeds and influencing people.

This week I really learned how to let go of myself. Usually I am really selective about who I talk to. I justify myself, saying - oh the spirit didnt tell me to talk to that person! But this week, just about every appointment we had fell. So I ended up talking with EVERYONE - literally had no exceptions! And through this, we actually found a few people that showed some interest. I never thought of myself as someone with fear to talk to everyone, but this week i lost that fear that I didnt even know I had.

I am really grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I have never felt so much purpose and... fulness? in my life. I dont know if that makes sense, but that is how i can describe it. I have gained a testimony of the scriptures, from so many experiences. I know that D&C 18:15, specifically, is true - How great shall be your joy! I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he suffered greatly for us, and I KNOW that we are His children. I have no doubt of this. 

Mateus 7:7 Pedi, e dar-se-vos-á; buscai, e encontrareis; batei, e abrir-se-vos-á.

Muito amor,

Elder Olsen
This was our week.

the catholic temple here in Teofilo Otoni

our zone

DEAR MOM AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!

16!!!!!! Haha now that I am LD I have to say our baptism goal of our district for this month when I answer the phone, and so I end up screaming "DEZESSEISSSSSS" on the onibus, in the dangerous neighborhoods, etc. How are you both? Good to hear that you have meetings early in the morning dad haha, I am already telling all the High Counselors of our ward that you are also suffering... I mean glorying in afflictions! And mom haha que saudade of the Y! My friend Keeley sent me this pic today too so Im pretty much set with memories of the ol' homestead (kinda) for the week.

Mom thank you lots for sending that CD. I especially like the "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy", before the mission I mal conhecia that hymn, but now it is definitely one of my favorites. Before we left home I remember Eric wanted to sing it with us 3 and you playing piano and I didn't want to, but now I remember it very fondly! And we sing bonito demais! haha. Also can you send a recipe for pancakes? because somebody asked me for one and I had only used the one that Elder Vicente had, so I would appreciate it!

So the Sisters (of my district but other ward but use the same chapel) had 2 baptisms on Saturday, 2 senhoras. And the one was like 79 or something, so I think she didnt understand very well how the baptism would be. So she went down in the water with her mouth half open, and when she came up she started coughing and coughing and having trouble.  Needless to say it wasnt the MOST spiritual baptism in the world, but it happens.

This week we have been working a lot a lot. We moved to another neighborhood and weve been working there, so well see how it turns out. I have been studying a lot about faith and how it affects what happens to us. Its like, first of all there's faith. And then you have enough faith to do something, so you have actions. And THEN you have to have actions but your faith has to be REAL, like you really believe that your faith will make things happen! So its hard. And also I read in a talk that missionaries show their faith not only physically, but mentally. So its not enough to have shoes full of holes, but you have to have FOCUS and really concentrate your thoughts on the Lord and on bringing people to the fold. So ultimamente I have been working on that, its been hard but I'm getting better.

We had some investigators but they decided not to go to church, but I had faith and Elder Araújo também, and I knew that the Lord would help us have somebody there because we really did everything possible. And we got there and some of the members had brought people so we ended up with 4 instead of 0! Also next Sunday were doing an activity in the ward so I'm hoping they will bring a lot of investigators, pray for that!

But long story short, I am well. The work could be going better but I know that the Lord lives and that He's on our side. One of the sisters said something interesting the other day, she was like stressed out and annoyed with something but then she said "you know what I realized? Satan wants us to be miserable like him, so when we let ourselves get down we are letting him win. And there's no need for that!" or something like that. But its true! So just be happy!

Thank you so much for your prayers and your testimonies, they really help me. I love you guys so much! Também estou animado pra falar com vocês no Natal :)

Com Amor,
Elder Nicholas Olsen

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

letters home Sept. 1

Dear Family,

Getting an email from every member of your family is definitely enough to make you miss home. So I am a little homesick, but today is P day, so I think that is okay! 

So this area is full of hills. We have mapped out our area well enough that we can usually avoid them, but once in a while we have to struggle and sweat and se esforçar to reach the top of a morro! And once we get to the top, what happens? ...The appointment always falls through!

We had a few lessons that were really spiritual this week. One guy was particularly elect - Marcos. We shared the message of the Restoration with him, and everything went perfectly. He really seemed to understand. Then we went back, and he told us that the first night we had taught him he had slept through the night for the first time in years - becasue of the peace we left in his house. Beleza! But then we went back a third time, and he basically told us that he wasnt ready to make a change in his life so great. He really understood the committment of being baptized, and so he didnt want to change. That happened with 2 people this week, actually. The people that understand our message dont want it, and the people that dont understand dont see the importance. At least, that is how it seems.

After a long week, we had more or less 15 people that had said they would visit the church with us! Come sunday morning, there were 3. And they only stayed there an hour. So you could say it has been a pretty rough area.

Oh! We had a meeting with our Branch President, and he asked that we work doing contacts in the Praça, which is the most frequented place in the city. Downtown. So we started working there, but after about 10 minutes we realized why nobody had worked there before - NOBODY WANTS TO TALK TO YOU! IF you guys see missionaries in the street, just talk to them for a few minutes. Por favorzinho.

There is one good thing that happened this week, actually! Wow, that sounds so pessimistic... ONE thing. But Saturday morning we arranged to go teach english at an english school. Actually, we just presented ourselves and tlaked about what we do. It was a conversational class, for the advanced students. BUT somebody asked about the Mormon Bible, so we got to give a lesson about the Book of Mormon! And a policeman that was in the class invited us to go to jiu-jitsu with him! we didnt go, but at least we got an invite!

I hope you all are praying every day, and listening during your prayers. Prayer is conversation, not just an order form. I was having a really rough day this week, and I just started to pray. As I let myself sink into the prayer and just listen, I had this weird feeling/voice in my head? I cant even describe it. But I knew that God knew what I was feeling, that it was for my benefit , and that I am His son. I know that God answers prayers.

I love you alll. I want to see everyone at christmas, so Make plans to be at the Olsen homestead! Boa semana, e obrigado pelas orações de vocês.

Elder E Olsen

Wow realmente hearing from you all is pretty... idk homesick! haha. But no it's super good to hear from you all. Reading all the emails from you reminds me, for some reason, of how smart you all are! I will be happy to be able to just talk at Christmas like Elder--I mean Eric!--said, or better yet when we can all just sit and talk without limits!

Emily that's crazy you met Mario Batali!! Did you like get all fan girl or just acted cool like you didnt even know? I remember one time Kingsley Clawson said he was working in Miami and helped Flo Rida pick out a watch! But congrats on the new job and even if its not like paying 1000000 in cash every week, at least it is something chique!

Phil it's good to hear from your "promissory estoppel" self. (did THAT make sense gramatically? haha (ps just so you all know I rememeber the rules of punctuation and everything I just dont have the time or desire to put in the effort and write everything correctly! (parentheses inside parentheses))) Sounds like a bit of a rip off with Law School so far. So do you think you will actually end up being like Jack McCoy? I get to thinking sometimes about if I want to live in a city or in the more suburbs or country... But I do think it would be cool to live in a city like ATL or NYC. Do you live in the actual city part?

Mom I think you have gotten even prettier in this pic!! And Dad!... not so much HAHA kidding dad you are pretty too. But I got your package this week that you sent IN MAY!!! delayed just a little bit, huh? And also a package with pants (cool as heck) and a tie(thank you)! So thank you, its always like a little mini christmas when I get stuff from you. Good luck in Utah mom, I wonder if youll see Bryan there, haha. But if you wanted to get some little coisinha de BYU you could, brazilian missionaries usually want to trade something for stuff from there.s week we worked real hard the whole week but unfortunately, none of our investigators went to church. It was actually funny, Sunday morning I called this dad whose family we have been teaching and said "hey good morning, everything set to go to church today?" And he was like "Look Im not gonna promise anything, but well try to go." Haha I was like DUDE ITS S.U.N.D.A.Y. M.O.R.N.I.N.G. either youre going or not!? Haha but its okay. I started reading this talk by a 70 about having faith to work miracles, so we will be working a lot more! One thing Ive noticed is the attitude and disposition we have in the service of the Lord. 

For example: remember the story in the Book of Mormon that has the guy who goes back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates? He follows the counsel of his father? whats his name... Im thinking of Laman!! He also did all the things that were asked, but he didnt have faith and he wasnt willing. And so even if we do everything asked of us, if its for the wrong reasons, it isnt enough. And sometimes its hard to change our own will and desires, but for that we have to ask God to help us.

Gente, sinto muito falta de vocês. Vocês são os caras! kkkk brincadeira mas vocês são realmente anjos, amo vocês com todo meu coração. Obrigado por tudo vocês fazem por mim e o amor que têm por mim também. 

Elder Nicholas Olsen