Tuesday, February 24, 2015

death of a chicken

This week something truly terribly happened. I don't want you to freak out, because I am okay, nothing happened to me! ..but I witnessed something pretty bad. A murder. ............................................................of a chicken. A bunch of dogs just teamed up and killed a chicken. After seeing what I saw, I might never be the same!

But on a real note, it was a slow week! On Sunday we were invited to be part of a mini Missionary Training Center for the youth of the Vitória Stake, and so we ended up with a group of about 10 youth, and taught them how to be missionaries. Well, we did the best we could with 45 minutes! But it was a great experience - it allowed me to ponder on all of the good things that have come into my life because of the mission, and explain them to others. Also Debora went! She is super excited about the gospel.

Also Jonas received the Aaronic Priesthood, and I think next week he will baptize one of our investigators! Pics will follow.

I got up early with my companion this week to go to the monte - the mount. Everybody in our area has been there at least once to pray - it's as if it was a sacred local getaway to speak with our Father in Heaven. Of course, we know that we can speak with Heavenyl Father anywhere! And so Elder Garcia and I went for the sole purpose of taking photos! 

Yesterday I was not feeling very good at all. I didnt know why. I felt as if I wasn't really in tune with my spirituality - as if I was missing something. I dont really know how to describe it. But I said a prayer, and asked Heavenly Father to help me feel better. 

And He answered, as always!

We went to the house of one of our new-ish investigators, Leo, just to check up and see how he was doing. We had asked him in our previous lesson to pray to God and ask for guidance on what he should do in his life, and he told us that he was still uneasy on the concept of prayer. So we taught a lesson on prayer, and the Spirit was super strong. It was easy to see them reflecting and hearing the voice of the Spirit, and scriptures would just pop into my head to address their concerns. It reminded me of a saying that one of my leaders here always says - "I searched for myself, and had no success. I searched for God, and didn't find Him either. I searched for my neighbor, and found all 3." Really and truly, when we are in the service of our fellowman, we are in the service of our God - and we are entitled to His presence and influence.

I am grateful that God speaks today - not just to me, but to all. I am grateful for the counsel of a great apostle: Doubt you doubts before you doubt your faith. I don't know everything, but I know that I am on the Lord's errand, representing His church and His Gospel to the world. I know that He loves us, and that we can repay His love" "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

uma boa semana pra todos!

Elder Eric Olsen

I know you don't want to hear--how hot it was this week. Okay, okay, if you really want to know, one day I went to the investigator's house and she said "are you embarrassed or something Elder? You don't need to be embarrassed here!" And I was like Irmã... I'm sorry but its just MY FACE and it's 1000 degrees outside! haha

Well this week was marked by... BATISMO! Our 13 year old investigator Guilherme was baptised on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. And no we aren't Michael Jackson missionaries (lol), he understood the doctrine better than a few adults I have baptised. In fact, we had a cool experience. We went to his house every day, and he was always so excited about the messages and baptism but this week not at all. And we were so frustrated, we just said to him DUDE WHY ARENT YOU EXCITED and eventually figured out that he was worried about keeping the commandments after baptism, and he said that he didn't want to be baptised. 
So we told him to just pray about it that night, listen for an answer and be sincere with himself, and that we would come back the next day. Honestly, I had very little faith that it would work out, but we fasted for him. And when we went back, we asked him if he prayed and he had, we asked him if he received a response and he had, and it was that he should! SO fasting really works, because against all odds he was touched by the Holy Ghost. I LOVE having testimony builders like that.

Also YES I got Grandma and Grandpa's box. It was a fine day, I was in a good mood, and then I got the box. So I decided to leave it for the next day, then I would maybe not be as happy and could cheer myself up. The next day I was still happy, but decided to open it anyway. And what did it have... JERKY!! And I decided to leave it and eat it later, when I wasn't as happy, but I continued happy, so I just decided to eat it. And now, in less than a week, I have already eaten all of it. Haha my Chilean roommate loved it.

BUT that's pretty much all I guess. OH I wanted to say that what Eric said about when you serve others you gain a lot. I have been really self centered, not that scripture study is bad, but focused on having a better spirit and everything by studying and praying a ton, but in the end the best way to have the spirit with us is serving others and thinking about others. "Forget yourself and go to work!"

Love you guys! thanks for the support and love and prayers.

Elder Nicholas Don Olsen

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

1 year in Brazil!

I have officially been out of the good ol' USA for a year. I can't say that I don't miss peanut butter, or cheesecake, but I have grown to love goiabada, feijoada, and learned to make rice wayyyy quicker than anyone in the US! I love being here.

On Sunday we had a baptism! Of Jonas, our golden investigator. Well, he is golden in every sense except that he is having a had time getting his family to come to church with him. But he was super excited to be baptized, and is also super excited to receive the Holy Ghost this Sunday. He is reading th eBook of Mormon, keeping the work of wisdom, and in every way worthy and prepared for his confirmation. And President and Sister Young went to the baptism!

Unfortunately we haven't left the office hardly at all this week. One day we were here until midnight! But we are teaching a few people that are interested, so we will see who goes to church on Sunday.

This week there were a few zone conferences, and we had to go so that I could give a training about references. It was kind of weird to train the whole zone, but it worked out well.

This week I witnessed a MIRACLE of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We were walking in the street, and Deborah, our recent convert, called us over. She was going to church! On a Friday night! And she was dressed modestly, AND she was with a less active member that was crying. Deborah was consoling her, telling her everything would be okay. It wouldn't have been a big deal, but in the very moment, the scripture Mosiah 18 came into my head: the baptismal covenant. That we will mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. What a fulfillment of that promise.

Also we taught an alcoholic, and to help him stop drinking we took his little bottle of who-knows-what-kind-of-alcohol! haha!

And I cut my hair.

That's my week! I am so grateful to be a missionary, and for the opportunity that the Lord gave me to be able to be an example and teacher for those that are in need. I am grateful to serve my Master, Jesus Christ. I don't have a doubt that He lives, and is watching over us. I don't have a doubt, just as Mormon, that if we ask in faith, nothing doubting, He will bless us according to our righteous desires.

Elder Olsen

Dear family,

Well I guess I didn't explain very well how it is here with the changes, so let me explain:

Now I am Sec. Financeiro Líder de Distrito, so apart from having to deal with all the complainy missionaries (haha jk... kinda) I now follow up with a district too! With 5 duplas!!! SOOOO I guess you could say it's a bit more work and I miss falling into bed as soon as planning is over, but it's another opportunity to serve and I'm grateful for it.

As for my area, dad, I don't even think there is a dirt road in any part of it! I live really close to the Lago das Rosas, if you wanna look that up, which is basically right in the middle of Goiânia. It's in the same area as the office and the church is close, so it's great. The only difficult thing is that there are a lot of closed condominiums and rich people, so the work has been a little bit slow. BUT we are doing our best to find the people that are prepared by the Lord.

Also big news... I'M LEAVING THE OFFICE!!! JÁ!!! President told us that at the end of this transfer (there are still 4 more weeks) I will be heading out to who knows where to work in the field again. That will be  quite a change, especially because I've gotten used to being white and in air conditioning, but it'll be great. Yeah speaking of white, anyone who is complaining about it being cold count your blessings! I got sunburned for the first time in a long time this saturday, and it was HORRIBLE.  Our investigator kept being like "are you embarressed? What happened?" and finally I realized and I was like "no irmã... its just my face..." haha. 

Well... unfortunately I don't have much else to share. And also unfortunately I didn't have much time to take pics this week. But next week I promise I'll have some!

But I love you guys, I'm thankful for all of you in my life and I'm thankful for this gospel that has given shape and meaning to my life.

Elder Nicholas Olsen

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

WELCOME TO....GOIÂNIA!!! I was transferred!!! From Universitário to Goiânia! (if you want to look it up on Google maps, the truth is that Bairro Universitário and Setor Oeste are pretty much neighbors haha.) This was the week of transfers, and the week of moving to a new house, with new house mates, a new calling (SFLD), and a new ward. A lot of change this week. I will miss our old ward and everything, but also I'm excited to be going somewhere new.

My new companion is Elder Sales. Actually, he already was my companion but he had gone to Itumbiara in the place of Elder Silva, and now he came back. So it'l be normal. Unfortunately, Elder Brooks was called as AP so he went away, but the new guy Elder Badu seems like a good guy too.

So basically, we worked really hard with nature against us this week, haha yes the dry season ended. It's all funky because the dry season was supposed to end in like December but it's still going on, but on Saturday (our first full day of work) it rained SO MUCH!!! We just got soaked the whole day, haha! I think we taught like 2 lessons, I kind of had hoped that some people would just open the doors out of pity, but it didn't pan out the way it happened in my head.

I'm not gonna lie..................I was pretty dang trunky this week. My friends (and former zone leaders) Elder Lee and Elder Creer went home, and it was the first time I actually went to the airport. Idk what it was, just the fact of being there and having prepared my bags for the move and everything, I felt like I would get in too! haha but the more I have been working this weekend, the more it passes.

Also lol, dad said in Portuguese "I have done enough in 'academia'" which I think was meant to say academia, like English, but academia in Portuguese is gym! haha so you have done enough in the gym..?

THANK YOU MOM!! I knew you would like Bishnu, I was the only person here when we watched Meet the Mormons, but Idk. I think it was the fact that he had made such a huge change in his life, but he was so willing and strong in the gospel. I think I got the multi cultural thing from you, mom.

This week I was thinking about the gospel as our anchor. Elder Creer said he had realized something in his mission. The reason (or one of them) that we cant watch tv, or listen to music, or talk to our families, or go out with girls, or anything else that we did beforehand, is to make us rely on the Lord. If we had them, we would run to them to help us relax. But here we are forced to create a relationship with the Lord. And that is the ONLY thing that is constant! No matter what the situation, place, difficulty, what we have done, who we are with, what we are doing, we will always have the ability to go to our Father in Heaven and draw from the relationship that we have from Him. That is my revelation this week. That is MY anchor.

BUT I love y'all, I'm thankful and pray for you always, have a good week!

Elder Nick Olsen

Baptism last week

Acai in the bowl (amazing!)

Dear family,
I always spend a long time trying to figure out a witty way to open up my weekly email. ..and it never works out well. So this week I gave up!

WOW what a blessing that transfer week is over! I get super stressed out on transfer day, because whatever tiny little thing that goes wrong could end up becoming a big problem. And whatever goes wrong is my fault. But nobody got lost, and everyone made it to the transfer meeting, so it is all good! Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to Elder Paez, one of my leaders. He taught me a lot about the scriptures, and about humility. He got up every day at 5:30 just to start reading the scriptures! Anyway, I will miss him a lot. That's the worst part of working in the office - sending people home when they finish

Our investigator Jonas is progressing really rapidly. He called us this week on Tuesday and said "So when can I be baptized?" Haha we were so excited! He will be baptized on Sunday by his friend Arthur, who is a counselor in our bishopric. He bore his testimony to us yesterday that he has been feeling much stronger spiritually since we have been teaching him, helping him pray more, and since we left him with the Book of Mormon. He knows it's true - he knows because he is living the gospel, and seeing the difference that it makes in his life! 

It started raining here, after months without. They were about to start rationing water, too. It is cool to see how many people  give thanks to God for things like rain - just about everyone recognizes that God has command over the elements, and so everyone is saying that He answered our prayers! If only the people would turn to Him with their whole lives, instead of just asking for rain...  

But unfortunately it has been a pretty slow week. But my love and prayers go out to you all!

Elder E Olsen

At the airport

Monday, February 2, 2015

Querida família e amigos :)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Transfers.

The best because it is super exciting; the worst because of mind-numbing labor required to ensure that everything goes smoothly! That has been my week. As I looked over my journal entries the past week, every day I said "This week I worked on stuff for the transfers," so it looks like it has been a pretty monotonous week. Although in order to bring everyone to Vitória, we always need to do logistical planning and buy 1,000,000 bus tickets in the bus station. I AM SO SICK OF THE BUS STATION!


So we got pizza to celebrate. And just about spent all the money we have. But it was worth it!

It was a little strange to get to a year as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There is a gratification that comes from knowing that you are spreading eternal truths across the earth, allowing people to make choices with everlasting significance. I read in the Book of Mormon today about the 3 Nephite Apostles that chose to remain on the earth until the Master's Second Coming, preaching the gospel to all ends of the earth. Truly, they understood the necessity of this miraculous work! I am honored and priveleged to represent the Lord Jesus Christ at this time of my life - and it's already ending! I have resolved to savour every moment.

Also, we had a missionary that was supposed to come to ou mission next week, but she never showed up in the training center! Church Headquarters gave me the assignment to contact her leaders and find out what haappened,.. so I spent a good chunk of my week calling Mozambique!

My companion marked his wedding date this week, so that was exciting.

Also, mom, I thought we were supposed to read "Lord, I Believe" this week! I was struck, in Elder Holland's talk, how he says "When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we want it as humbly and honestly as this father did, we can get it. The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as being of “real intent,” pursued “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God.”11 I testify that in response to that kind of importuning, God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief." I found it really beautiful - that He will help us. We simply need to have an earnest desire, and a paricle of belief! How dearly He loves us!

OH! And we have a new investigator, his name is Jonas. He has a lot of faith in Christ, and a deep desire to repent and become better. Whenever we teahc him a new commandment, he starts living it. He is starting to pray, and he will go to church with us on Sunday - it is amazing to see how the Lord prepares a way for each person to be prepared to hear the gospel. For Jonas, it was Arthur - the First counselor in the bishopric here. Through Arthur's influence, he came to know about the gospel, and ended up stopping us on the street to know more about the church! People that follow the principles of the gospel of Jessu Christ have a certain light, and others notice. Be a good example! You never know who might decide to follow Jesus becasue of you.

My love goes out to all of you! I hope everything goes well for you all this week - my prayers and thoughts are with you.

Elder E Olsen

Dear family,

 WOOOOH I MADE A YEAR!!! It has really flown by, I feel like it was last week that I was in my first area eating pequi for the first time. It has been a lot of experiences, a lot of people met, a lot of rice eaten, a fair share of discouragement, blessings, prayer, walking, everything. Everything you would want and more.

Also to celebrate we got açaí.

Yeah I think I understand about Julian wanting to stay home haha. When I get home I'll probly just lay down on the carpet and drink a coke. For like 3 hours. BUT I'm not too worried about it yet. Also yes I got the box with the ties, thank you! And I think I will be in the office until March or April but I highly doubt June. Also if you want to send me that book I accept mom!

So this week has been pretty hectic, because of the transfers. Fortunately, as finance sec., I only have to buy the stuff, not plan anything! So it takes very little mental concentration to pass a debit card, haha. But it was awesome when we went to the bus station. We had been there for about 2 hours, tired and annoyed at the slow workers, and President Kuceki was with us to help us buy, since I don't have unlimited money. And all of the sudden he left for like 10 minutes, and came back with Milkshakes for us! And then later on he left again and came back with quarter pounders! Haha he really treats us like his own kids.

Also this transfer we will make another zone, "Zona STAFF"!! And there is only 1 district in zona staff, and I think I might end up being DL! Which would be crazy, keeping up with the whole zone and doing my secretary duties haha. But were not really sure yet.

This week in my studies I realized something that we have all heard a lot: that we learn line upon line, precept upon precept. I had always heard, and at the beginning of my mission I got frustrated because of it. But the more we seek God with earnest heart, the more He sees that we desire it and he will allow us to know Him better. I had been praying a lot and reading a lot of scriptures, and then one day I was just sitting watching a video about Jesus Christ, and I just... felt something! Something difficult to describe. I always thought that just a trite phrase, because people always say "difficult to describe" and then describe it. But I will just leave it at difficult to describe! It was, however, a testimony builder.

Sometimes God doesn't respond our prayers the way we would want. I had been praying to know God and Jesus Christ better, and that's what I got. Which is not really what I had asked for, at least in my opinion, but He knows best what we deserve and what we are ready for. 

Also WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK! and this is where I'd put in my pic buuuuuuut.. sorry, I forgot my camera.

But I love you guys, you are in my prayers. Have a good week!

Elder Nicholas Olsen