Tuesday, October 28, 2014

rainy season

Dear family,
So it flooded yesterday. Most of the streets were clear, but one street was completely underwater - the street that the Church is on!
We got really wet!

Of course! It wouldn't have been too big of a problem, but there was a baptism to be held during the storm. I thought we should have just baptized Igor in the flood water, but apparently it is pretty dirty! Elder Mason and I went out in the flood to get him to the chapel. It was quite an adventure! AND Igor, Elder Mason's recent convert, has some cute little kids - this picture is for you, mom!

I had an amazing experience with Gleice this week. We had a family home evening with her family and the family of a Seventy that lives in our ward - cool, huh? - and the subject was the Book of Mormon. The next day, we asked her if she had read anything from the scriptures after the noite familiar. This is where it gets good!:
She said that she prayed, and asked God for guidance in her life to know what she should do. When she opened the Book, she turned to 4 Nephi 1:1, which reads:
And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away,and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins,were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.
She recognized it as a response, and wants to follow it! Her only problem is that she has to talk to her parents, so pray for her to have courage.
We have 2 firm baptismal dates this week too, so pray for them! Gerlane and Suzana. I will send pictures next week! 
As I have tried to give up my desires and focus on those around me, I have found myself becoming happier and happier - more involved in the lives of these people. Now I know why the Savior tells us to serve. He wants us to be happy! (this is what I always tell me investigators - He wants us to be happy!) And He knows what will make us happy! That's why He tells us to serve - because it is good for our mind, body, and soul.

I love being able to share my gospel knowledge and testimony with people. And now I have a question: In what ways have you been blessed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Actually answer! I want to hear about it. Maybe your answer will be told to someone who is needing strength all the way in Brazil :)

Keep the faith! Much love,

Elder Eric Olsen

Hello my friends! (what every Brazilian on the street knows in English haha)

Well mom, sounds like you are really getting into your calling! I remember you told me that when you had a lot of lil kids you like got into the language and the way of interacting, maybe you are finding your way there again. It's hard to talk to kids in Portuguese sometimes, once I was trying to talk to this really cute lil kid named Neto and he was saying something about what sounded like "eeh-kay-shah" and then I realized he was saying "eeh-gray-jah" (Igreja). Haha so that was pretty difficult!  And yes it is raining these days. I think that the rainy season is getting here.
And yes, my duties as DL are going well.

WOOOOOOOOOOOHH BATISMO!!! And by that I mean THIS week in the front. Our investigator Alcyr is going to be baptised on the 1st of November! He really was prepared by God, we met him knocking doors but he was ready to hear our message and read and prayed and went to church, I am just really happy that we had the opportunity to be part of his life and his story! AND also yesterday we brought a family to church! A mom, Adrielle, and 4 kids from 2 to 10 years old. 

BUT ANYWAY, that is pretty much the best and most exciting news of this week haha. The rest is just shenanigans (spelling?). Yesterday we were knocking doors and a guy came out, just a normal looking guy. And so my comp said we were missionaries and such, could we share a message with him. And he was like "Estou meio enrolado aqui agora, vocês podem voltar amanhã mais ou menos 3 horas? E nós podemos falar tranquilo. Eu vou assar um frango pra vocês." Hahahahaha like out of nowhere he was just like oh yeah and lets have chicken? It was funny as heck. Also you know how in the US everyone is like "ohhh coffee brazilian roast wow chique!" But here I was talking to this lady that lived there a few years and she was like "wow the coffee in the US is like the best in the world." So I was just like "..........?" haha I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. 

Also a Portuguese problem: we were talking with some members that are young men. And they were talking to Elder Arana about like where is Ecuador and stuff, and he was like "yeah you would have to cross through Peru to get to Brasil from there" and the guy said "pois é mas alfândega não deixa, né?" Alfândega means customs, but almôndega means meatball... So that was pretty funny haha I imagined like a meatball stopping a car full of illegal immigrants! 

Also I saw a vid from a missionary in Japan who was speaking Japanese to his family, so I made a vid also speaking portuguese but the internet here wont let me send it. I forgot that in Japan they probably have 27G by now!

I'm sorry that I didn't have any spiritual mind blowing experiences this week, but I will search the Lord more this week. But despite that, I know that Jesus Christ lives and He loves us, He knows us and He watches over us. And I love you guys and thank you for all your prayers and support!

Elder Nicholas Olsen
the cheese car was passing in the street (blaring "é QUEIJO, É QUEIJO, É QUEIJO!!!") so we bought queijo branco with rapadura and when you eat it together mmmmmmm uma delícia

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bom dia gente!

Bom dia gente!

Como vocês estão? Que pena que vocês dois tinham que voltar para "the arctic north!" haha. I had a dream this week that was pretty horrible. Eric was my companion and we were working Summerbrooke, knocking on doors. When we arrived at our old house, the people let us in and everything was arranged THE EXACT SAME as when we left!! haha it was pretty trunky, and I woke up with my mind very far from Anápolis.

What a sweet semana! Apart from the fact that it should have already been raining 3 or 4 weeks by now and hasn't rained at all thus making this city a burning inferno, we had a pretty good time! In district meeting, we did a practice about having courage, so we went out on the street and invited people to be baptised. And for us one guy actually accepted! But he lives outside of our area. But then the next day our district (our dupla and 2 duplas of Sisters) marked 11 baptismal dates!! It was really awesome. They just kept calling me and I kept calling the ZLs with more and more haha super cool.

Also this week we wanted to do a fast. And so it wa difficult, but we resisted the hot sun and the enticing invites from some members (vocês não querem guaraná, Elder? Não sério, nós temos na geladeira! SÉRIO!!) and made it home without breaking it. But it was so hot so SO SO HOT and I laid in bet for an hour and a half without sleeping, periodically grabbing ice cubes to rub on my forehead, that eventually I just had to drink (almost one liter in one try) water. And in the morning, I said to my comp "Dude im sorry.... but last night at 11:30 I broke the fast..." And he said "No its all good at midnight I did too!" haha so that was pretty funny.

In other news, I don't know how but somehow they found out that I play piano, so I have to play now in sacrament. Which isn't me hiding my talents, it's just that they already had 2 Irmãs that know how to play! But so I did great in the first 3 hymns, and the last one was "True to the Faith"... I absolutely BUTCHERED it! Haha but nobody seemed to care, so that was good.

We found an eleito também!! :) A young guy named Alcyr, we met him just knocking doors. We left a chapter from the Book of Mormon with him, marked with the first pamphlet, and when we came back he had read the chapter and the pamphlet too! First time that's EVER happened! So I was pretty happy about that.

Anyway, it's good to know that you're doing well, I haven't had time to arrange anything (not even letters!) for Christmas for yall yet, because we can only write on Pday. But even if it gets there late, you can be sure that something will be coming!

Amo vocês, oro pra vocês sempre, pense em vocês todos os dias. 

Elder Nicholas Olsen

Tacos with the zone leaders last pday

Bom dia gente! Como vocês estão? I just want you all to know that I had a dream this week that I came home. I think its because my subconscious is thinking about it - after all, we have 2 Elders in our house that will go home in the next 2 months! Wow it was a bad feeling when I woke up, not because I don't like to be here on the mission, but dreams like that 
dão saudade!

We had a great week as well. We are working a lot with a FAMILY! that went to CHURCH YESTERDAY! so our lives are just filled with happiness for the moment! Their names are Jackson and Gleice, and the have 6 year old twins - how is it that I have a knack for finding and teaching twins? This week something crazy happened - their child Arthur was really sick with pnemonia, with a fever,.. it was pretty bad. Gleice told us that she decided to read the Book of Mormon, and she just opened up and started reading - in Alma 15, where Alma heals Zeezrom - who is burning up with fever! When she told us about it, Arthur had already healed. We were able to testify of the importance of faith and the power of God, and the truth of the Book of Mormon - it was bem legal!

Also I FINALLY met the mission president! He interviewed me. ...most of the interview was focused on Scrabble, and he gave me some great tips to beat you all when I get home - but interestingly, everything that he said is also applicable to missionary work! He is a really inspired man. 

I met a couple this week that really seemed like you, mom and dad. They wife was a little quieter, but when she spoke it was always really witty and interesting. The husband spent a good part of the almoço telling stories of his mission - mostly pranks and tomfoolery! IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE BOTH HERE! But not exactly!

I feel like I have tried a lot more lately to act as Jesus would. Instead of trying to get to the greatest number of people possibly, I try to love those with whom I have contact. I find that as I show love and really work to help others, I am happier and I have more success! I am truly thankful for the example of the Savior. And I know that He lives.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and the he will bless our lives if we just open him up and read. I know that God keeps His promises as we have faith. And I know that He hears and answers prayers.

Boa semana todos :)

Elder Eric Olsen


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14 2014

Dear family,

Mom and Dad, what luck for you two to be able to visit Phil and the ol' "stompin grounds". Did you cry, haha? I never told anyone this but when Eric and I drove away from Tallahassee for good I may have shed a tear! Phil is down in the south all the time, I wonder if he appreciates it like he should! haha

Well well, it was quite a week for me. First of all mom, could you please send me a little oil container thing for my bday? because I am in need. This week was full of a lot of walking, quite a bit of teaching the restored gospel, but not a lot of success, and not a lot of people wanting to go to church or read the Book of Mormon or change anything in their lives. Sometimes it gets discouraging, BUT I was reading today in a talk by Elder Holland that he quoted this part of Hebrews: 

 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
 36 For ye have need of patiencethat, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
 37 For yet little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw backmy soul shall have no pleasure in him.
 I thought this was interesting. We have to remember the confidence we have always had in the face of trials. He said that Satan will always keep trying, if he can find a chink in your armor he will use it, and if not he will try to create one. But we can have confidence in that which we have already known in our past.

I always pray for you. It's good to hear that sometimes you remember Eric and me and take confidence or feel comforted knowing that we are here. I am trying my best to do what is right and merit blessings for myself and for our family. (haha i feel like some of my past comps that have given testimony about how they want to work hard... THATS NOT A TESTIMONY!!) 

Sorry that I dont have more to say! I will say this: the mangos on the trees are almost ripe! haha love you all

Elder Nicholas Olsen

A flamboyant tree.

Eating ice cream with our Haitian investigator.

Querida Família,

I would like to start out by saying that I ate chili this week, and it was super super good. I realized that it is just beans with meat, because I eat beans every day, but it was still REALLY good! 

I went on splits with Elder Mason this week. It was a little nervewracking - the Elder who trained me, and taught me everything - but I was in charge! And, of course, everything fell through! But it was a good experience. I think God is working really hard to make me feel humble - because I ALWAYS feel pretty humble and in need of more spirituality and knowledge.

The week was really good! We found a lot of people that seem willing and ready to change their lives! The only thing they don't want to change is that nobody wants to wake up early Sunday morning for church!! But its all good. Part of the job!

Working in the city is not what you would think - it is just like any other place. The only difference is that there are skyscrapers that you have to pass in order to get to the houses. And it is a little cooler, because its on the coast!

Yesterday night, we had the best lesson of my mission! Actually, maybe not the best,... but its in the top 10, for sure. Probably top 5. We taught this family about baptism, and the Spirit was SO STRONG I cant even describe it. It was really the answer to a lot of prayers, because I always ask that we can have the Spirit to be with us and testify of what we say. 

What can I say, it was a long week. We even tried to help a woman stop drinking - and she drinks all day every day... I think we bmade a bit of progress! President Packer said that the study of gospel principles makes a bigger difference in behavior than a study of behavior! Honestly, the doctrines on the restored gospel bring us more happiness than anything else.

I love you all, and I hope that you are gearing up for Christmas! We are already listening to Christmas music here. I just love to celebrate the fact that Christ came :)

muito amor,

Elder E Olsen


Monday, October 6, 2014

New companions all around

Dear family,

WOW it really was a great conference wasn't it? I had the opportunity to watch all of it too, and although it was all in Portuguese, I understood and was able to get a lot of information and revelation for myself. I especially liked Elder Packer, who talked about the Savior and the Atonement, and Elder Uchtdorf also. And Elder Godoy but primarily because he was speaking Portuguese haha so I didn't have to hear the English quietly and the translation. When the first guy spoke Cambodian(?) I said to one member of our ward  "I wonder if they'll have all of the foreigners speak their own language?" and him: "of course not, in the scriptures it says everyone has to hear by their own language so it can't be that way." So I will admit I wasn't a little smug when they started in with Spanish and Portuguese!  I think its a great addition to conference.

I'm jealous! You guys are going to Tally AND ATL? Legal!! I will be here in Flamboyant! ;) haha. I have a new comp, Elder........... ARANA!!!! Which is almost spider in Portuguese haha. He is from Ecuador and yes I'm training again, this is his first transfer. Wow its pretty tough to understand him because he says everything with an accent and sometimes he just speaks Spanish by accident, but its okay, he's willing to work!

I'm having some difficulty with the work, but the cure for that is just to work more! However, I had a cool experience this week. We went to give a lesson to this lady who hasn't been going to church for a couple weeks just to check on her and everything, and she seemed a little bit sad. But we just talked about the prophet and conference, like we had planned. And when we were gonna leave she was like "thank you so much for coming, I didn't even know that I needed this today but you two bring a spirit so strong, etc". And it was just one of those moments that I thought "wow, I'm doing my job!" 

I always like the phrase "lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the knees that are weakened". There are so many ways to serve, and they will all bring us joy in this life and in the kingdom of our Father.

I love you guys, I know that the Prophets and Apostles are called of God, I know the Jesus of Nazareth is our Savior and Redeemer.

Elder Nicholas Olsen
Eating brownies with some members who served their missions in the U.S

At conference with my new companion
Look how blonde my hair was!

Dear family,

Wow it sounds like conference was SUPER amazing! Unfortunately I wasn't able to watch all of it :( actually, I didn't even get to watch half. We had to work on Saturday, and then Sunday morning the projector to watch wasnt working. So I will be waiting here ansiosamente to receive the conference Ensign! But from what I heard, I was really happy. I especially liked the talk in Portuguese - not because it was in Portuguese, but because I felt like it answered some of my questions!

Thought you should all know, that I found a bug in my foot this week. Kind of like a maggot? But I got it out, so no problem :) ha!

This week I started training Elder Machado, from Florianópolis! He is a rapaz with a lot of faith, and an aptitude to feel the Spirit. I honestly feel like I have learned more in these few days than him - for example, I learned how to get completely lost in a city when you are in charge! We are here in the heart of Vitória - when I say the heart, I mean part of our area is downtown. So you could say ti is pretty legit.

Most of the week was spent in fervent prayer with no idea what to do, who to talk to, how to train, and everything else. But we did have an experience bem legal yesterday - we went to the house of an ancient investigator to invite him to conference. He was super non commital, and basically told us that it doesn't matter what we do, he will not join the church. But then he asked us to say a prayer before we left, and so we did. When the prayer closed, he said "huh, weird. When you pray, I feel something different. Its something good. It is something I didn't feel when the other missionaries passed by" So that was pretty neat, to know that at least the Spirit will testify of our message always.

Also I am living in the same house as my trainer, Elder Mason! This has been such a blessing. I know that Heavenly Father put us back together - he has really provided support and advice that I have needed.

I know that God loves us, and that all that happens to us is for our benefit! Elder Bednar's last conference talk talked about this - our burdens are there so that we can grow. I love this gospel, and am very thankful for the life and love of Jesus Christ.

Elder E Olsen

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

another transfer for Eric

Cara família,

It is so good to hear from you! I don't care what anybody says about being trunky, I always look forward to hearing from you muito!! Parabéns to Emily, I need to learn from your example! This week I performed a baptism, and the white pants I had bought before the mish almost don't fit anymore haha yikes! Dad I really like the way you write, its almost like a piece of literature because, i don't know, just the style! And seeing as I don't have the ability to read books for now, its certainly welcome and legal! Also Mom now you can finally relax huh! your big task is finished with the primary program.

So this week was pretty busy, it ended up that we had a baptism!! Which counted for another dupla of missionaries because the lady lives in another area, but the joy is just the same. When I was entering the water and waiting for Inés to enter, I heard her talking with another sister behind the door, saying how happy she was in that moment, and it stirred my heart. Participating in the service is really a blessing and a privilege.

Unfortunately, my comp was transferred this week! So idk where he will go or who will be my new companion, but I will miss Elder Araújo a lot. He was a really great guy, and taught me a lot about how we should really care about our investigators as individuals and people and not just a way fulfill our purpose of invite people to follow Christ. To really want to help them, that is what's important.

We are teaching a family, Weberson and Elizabeth, and they're super cool. The first time we went there and talked about the Book of Mormon, we asked if they would read and pray to know if it was true. And they were like "I don't think that's necessary, we already know!!" :O haha it was awesome, but they aren't married, so were gonna help them out with that. This Friday if everything goes well, we'll go to the cartório and mark the marriage date!

I will pass 6 months aqui in this area!! But its a good area, the people treat us well, especially the members, right now I'm just a little bit anxious about who will be my new comp and everything, but I'm sure that whoever it is will be will be chosen by the Lord.

Amo vocês, I pray for you all the time. I hope that you are feliz and forte, I am excited to listen to the words of the prophets this week. They truly are prophets, seers, and revelators for the world today. (I also look forward to talking with y'all on christmas!!)

Elder Nicholas Olsen

Dear Family and friends and anyone else who reads this!:

Another week, another 3,000 baptisms! Just kidding, no baptisms this week - except I heard about one in Anapolis! Parabens Nicholas! Quão grande será vossa alegria no Reino de nosso Pai :)

This week we worked super hard. We taught a bunch of lessons and found a bunch of new and interesting people. The people that I really enjoyed talking to are João Vítor and Nicole - they are 16 and 17 years old. When we went to walk with them to church Sunday, it wasn't forced at all - it was as if we were walking to church with our friends! They are really special. We left a chapter of the Book of Mormon with them, and when we returned to see how they liked it, Nicole said "yeah yeah this chapter that you left was great. But I was reading in this OTHER part of the Book of Mormon and..."! It is really cool to see people that have been prepared to believe in the simple truths of the Book of Mormon, and are EXCITED to read it!

So I was transferred again. I will be heading to my 5th area already - in 8 months! For those that don't know, that is a lot of areas in very little time! The worst part is that I won't be able to see Leo Duarte get baptised. He is really close to feeling ready, and I know that he will join the church after I leave. I am just happy to have been able to bring greater peace into his life, and the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Also very sad is that a woman we are teaching said she was going to a wedding, and she would save us a piece of cake. And I have never eaten wedding cake. So I will miss out on that! Not as important, but I do love cake.

Elections are this week and it is obligatory to vote here in Brasil. But most people don't care about politics, and just vote for whoever they have already heard of. So the politicians pay people to write advertisement songs, and people ride around in cars, getting paid to blast the advertisements AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE! But the election is Sunday, so tudo bem.

I cannot express how thankful I am to be a child of God. For His plan. For the fact that we can have happiness in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. It is literally the best news that I have ever heard. Despite and difficulty that we pass through in this life, despite any sickness or trauma, we can be perfected through Jesus Christ. I just cannot explain it. I love our Master Jesus Christ and know that He lives - and I know that we can hear His words through His prophet, Thomas S Monson, THIS SUNDAY! And I cannot wait.

Love and prayers to you, and Wish me luck with my new assignment!

Elder E Olsen

ps dad - The language is much better - this week I was talking to someone on the cell phone and they mistook me for a Gaucho! (Brazilian from the south) So I guess its getting better little by little.