Once again a busy week! It has really been a great week once again.We had P-day Monday, and after P-day we had our district meeting in Filadelfia, and Elder Salazar and I were elected to make dinner afterwards. Tuesday we wanted to take a bus home, but it turns out nobody worked because of some obscure holiday so we had to hitchhike home. Good thing it's allowed here in the Chaco and good thing the Paraguayans are really nice people. We spent only that afternoon and Wednesday in Neuland. We had to start looking for a new house because President Evans asked us to and the water has been out for a week. Thursday we went early to Paraiso, our other area and were there 'til Sunday. There was a big soccer tournament in Neuland though, and everyone, literally EVERYONE was gone, so we contacted the whole community and found a grand total of about 3 houses occupied hahaha. A decent number of investigators were home and we finished the lessons with 4 of our investigators who should be getting baptized in a couple of weeks when we can get transportation for them to come to Neuland. For the 3 days there nobody was home so there were no lights. It worked out well though, because we watched the stars for meteorites. There are a lot more of them than you would think, and we managed to see around 30. We did a few service projects including digging an outhouse pit, cleaning another water tank and collecting firewood. The Nivacle people are really simple and humble, and I really like them a lot. Elder Castañeda and I have been working on helping them grow as a branch and group. Sunday we had a solid turnout of 23 people in Paraiso, which is good as there weren't more than 30 people even in the community at that hour. We got back for the afternoon to Neuland, but as there was a soccer tournament, nobody was home hahaha. We got prepped in the evening to go to Asuncion for our zone conference, and left at 8. That coletivo was FLYING. As the other elders told me, we passed the (normally) 2 am mark (a town called Pozo Calorado) at 11:30. When we got to Asuncion at 2:30 the office elders probably thought we were prank calling them as the colectivo should have gotten in at 4:30 or 5. Today we went to Luque and Mariano Roque Alonso for P-day, and tomorrow we will be having Zone conference. Elder Castaneda and I have been getting along really well together and hopefully we'll be sticking together for another 6 weeks. This week we have really been focused on repentance. It's real, it helps, and you feel good afterwards. When we do stuff wrong, we feel kind of bad, but Heavenly Father doesn't want us to feel bad, so he gave us repentance so we can change. It's honestly the best Christmas present, year round. Thanks for all your email and prayers and whatnot. Have a good week everyone!
Elder Olson wrote the following to his mother this week answering questions about his location:
We are in the Chaco right now which is a big desert where everything wants to eat you (including every plant here has thorns). Due to the conditions, there are no sister missionaries in the Chaco. It's really pretty awesome out here. There are 8 of us here in the Chaco, and my companion and I are over 2 proselyting areas that are 70 km apart, with 2 other areas where we technically should work also but are too far away. We are preparing the area to get bikes soon, possibly this week but there are paperwork issues. We have a lot of German descent Paraguayans but they don't actually speak German, but a dialect of it that is also part Spanish and English. In Yby Yau we were 105 km from Brazil, and I've been to the border before in Pedro Juan. I don't know how far we are here; You could probably find out on a map. Thanks for the letter hand have a good week!
DEAR BLOGGER READERS,
AGAIN ELDER OLSON HAS SENT SOME GREAT PICKTURES, BUT I AM UNABLE TO COPY AND PASTE. ALAS! SORRY!
PS here are 2 more pictures, one from today and one from when Elder Salazar and I cooked for the district.
1 There are about a million signs here that say welcome to Neuland
2 Really, there are a lot
3 We helped the branch president's family cut and carry firewood
4 same as 3
5 we ended up cooking
6WHEN IN PARAGUAY; TAKE NOTE OF WRITTEN IN ZEROS... the difference between 80 cents and 8 dollars
7 With the dried apricots too... hahaha
8 Barbeque sauce saves the day once again for the poor Paraiso elders
9 Out here digging outhouse pits
10 With our investigator Donatelio. He's a really cool guy, and wants to get baptized in a couple weeks. His dad translates for us because he only speaks Nivacle
11 We brought out the gumbo for study time
12 Paraiso=spanish for paradise
13 peeling some mandioca
14 We have so many people to teach we sometimes have to just meet up with a lot of them. We have had lessons with as many as 33 people at a time. These are the coolest people in Paraguay
15 There aren't many lights here so during personal time we watch meteors When were in Paraiso. We saw about 30 in 3 days
16 Ready for church
17 The trees are pretty cool here
18 This is a batata. They're like a potato but sweet. They are really good in whatever form you cook them
19 For those wondering, that's what the bathroom looks like here
20 We got to see Elder Lovelace from our mtc group today. Hes a zone leader in Luque right now. It's always nice to throw it back to the good old MTC days