Monday, January 5, 2015

A birthday and a new year in Brazil

So, I know I am a little late in saying this, but.........


Brazilians put WAY more emphasis on the new year than on Christmas, which was a little strange to me. On New Years Eve, everybody dresses up in all white and goes to the beach. Well, I don't know what they do in Goias, because there is no beach,... But here EVERYBODY - minus the missionaries - went to the beach to party down! In our house, we grilled some meat - the universal way to celebrate anything, brazilian-style. And as they counted down to the new year, all the other Elders grabbed eggs - I thought that I was about to witness yet another Brazilian new year tradition! But when they clock stuck midnight, they all smashed their eggs on my head! Instead of a Brazilian new year tradition, I was the victim of a Brazilian birthday tradition.

Yeah, I am 20 now. No, I didn't do anything for my birthday - not even a cake :( But I will make cupcakes this week, so it's all good.

Also, I gained a victory in the office this week, because I convinced the IT dept of missionary services that I need a new computer! So that was kind of a birthday present, even though it won't come until March or April.

AND our investigator Deborah will be baptized tomorrow, and it's all good! She is super excited, and is really showing her faith and trust in God by taking this step.

But other than New Years, my week was characterized by two things: the musical melodies of Stanford Olsen

and the wonderful words of Jeffrey R Holland.

First off, Stan, wow. You are an inspiring vocalist! My only sorrow is that there are not many videos of you on the internet. If you wanted to make some and send them to me, I would NOT complain. You have been a great instrument to bring the spirit into the office. Thank you!

Secondly, Elder Holland is the bomb. His talks are SO good, like I can't even explain. This week I just decided that I was going to read a bunch of them, and It was a really great experience. I really felt my testimony strengthen with respect to the modern day prophets and apostles. One particularly good talk was called Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments. It talks about marriage and virtue - HIGHLY recommended. 

But yeah, that's about it. Hopefully by the end of 2015 you'll see my smiling face back in the US! But no promises...

Much love to you all! I know that God lives, and that he cares about us. He is worried about our well-being, and wants to bless us. And as we do what He asks, we allow Him to open the floodgates and make us much happier in our lives!

Oh also, I got a tie for a present from my recent convert Antônia! And we had lunch at her house on the 1st.  She is the one in the middle. 

Happy 2015!

Elder Eric Olsen


Caramba, dad first of all that was a sick email haha I loved it! Parabéns! Also mom haha "Since I'm on a roll today..."
Well, fortunately I was spared from the Brasilian Birthday Tradition, but New Years was pretty sweet. Here there is no beach, so people just generally party. We went out at 8 on the 31st to get some snacks but everything was closed... only one really chique market was open (like as if it were Fresh Market) so we bought some soda and fancy grape juice and left. Then, as the clock struck 12 (are we bad missionaries? idk but the assistants were with us so I hope its okay!), we watched the fireworks and hooted and hollered into the night! I had all but forgotten that it was my bday, until all 6 Elders that were there started singing parabéns to me and then everyone gave a dogpile hug. Classic young man tomfoolery.
Also on the 1st was the Leadership Meeting, and because it was New Years that meant lunch at Presidents house! where they also (all 20 zone leaders plus sister training leaders plus the office) sang parabéns again! so that was sweet.
I've been trying to learn for a few weeks about how to have the Spirit, how to have the presence of God more in our lives. And I have come to a quite simple conclusion: as we draw closer to Him, He draws closer to us. When God sees that we are nos esforçando (idk in English) to get closer and to learn more and have more light in our lives, he sees that effort and rewards it. Scripture study, prayer, going to church, being kind. There are no secrets in the gospel. (Granted there are mysteries, but that's for another day) It is simple. Just do what is right, and the blessings will follow.
I love you guys, I'm so thankful to have such wonderful people in my life, especially my family for 20 YEARS WOOHOO!! I know that the Savior lives and loves us, and that the Book of Mormon is true, and that if we are faithful we will inherit all of the gifts that God is so anxious to bestow upon us.

Elder Nicholas Olsen

ps sorry no pics i forgot my camera today

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