Monday, July 16, 2018

Another week in Bella Vista!

Mon., 7/16/2018 (Luque)

Well I'll be pretty short as there isn't much time! We had a good week this week as usual! Here are a couple of highlights:

1. We got a copy of the Ward Directory. 28 pages of legal paper.... there's a literal BOOK of members just in Bella Vista!

2. I got to have a division with Elder Ollero, from Peru. I've had a few divisions with him before, and this one was really good!

3. Of the 4 speakers assigned for Sacrament Meeting, all 4 didn't show up, so Elder Alvarado and I both gave talks. It was his first on-the-spot talk on the mission, but he did a really good job!

4. Our AC broke, but luckily we have a fan and it's the middle of winter here so I think we'll cope! hahaha

5. Honestly sometimes in the mission you just work and have lessons and that was this week.

6. One of our investigators, a young mother named Paola, came to church yesterday and is super excited to get baptized, so watch out for that!

That's pretty much it! We are doing good here in Bella Vista! I did want to share a scripture real quick: D&C 58:42-43. I gave a talk about the Sacrament and Atonement of Christ, and among other things used the example of the bread as showing how Christ didn't just suffer a pain or something general like that, he suffered specifically for every single one of us, and that suffering was different as we all are different. Nobody is perfect, but we all are united in the fact that we need Christ. That's why I'm here,because many people don't know who they are (Children of God) and why they are here. We missionaries are here to help them learn that and help them become happier! Thanks for all the emails and prayers! I love you all!

Pictures:

1. Our AC broke; good thing we have a fan ft. our bedroom door that's actually just a blue tablecloth

2. Elder Alvarado with the selfie.

3. Just getting buckets here in Bella Vista.

4. Random graffiti in Luque.

5. In the airport with Elder Alvarado.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

Mon., 7/9/2018 (Luque)

Well as usual the week sped by! We had a very good week here in Bella Vista! Here are some of the highlights:

1. We had a Baptism! Over the last change we worked on reactivating the Fm. Chamorro Diaz, and their son Ramses got baptized! It was super special because Elder Alvarado had his first baptism, and he got to baptize Ramses! Ramses had a good number of family members attend his baptism, and I got to conduct. (Somehow I always end up conducting meetings.)

2. I had a division with Elder Morris! He's from Utah and has about 7 months in the mission. Always good to get to know new people!

3. That division was on the 4th of July, and we (along with Elder Alvarado and Elder Torres) sang all three verses of the National Anthem and said the Pledge of Allegiance!

4. I had a division with Elder McEwan; we were companions in Neuland! He did the baptismal interview for Ramses, then we proceeded to set 6 new baptismal dates!

5. It rained a few times but we just used that as an opportunity to receive blessings and go out and work.

6. It's still kind of weird to think that I'm training, but it's very rewarding, and we just treat each other as equals anyways.

To sum it all up, we're just working up a storm here in Bella Vista, especially really just working with members, focusing on receiving references and putting baptismal dates with them instead of focusing on contacting and numbers of new investigators. The shift of the focus of our mission is changing here, to use our time more effectively, which basically means, it's just a lot more fun and rewarding. All in all it was a good week, and just a lot of work and a lot of fun getting it done.

I also really had the song 'Carry On' (Hymn #255 in English) hit me this week, as really it's so important. In life, we can't just SOMETIMES be good people and follow God and go to church and serve others, we need to ALWAY press forward and really always do our best to be good people and come closer to God!

Thanks for all the emails and prayers! It's always the best getting on the computer on Mondays and seeing your emails! I hope y'all have a great week (especially Steve for his Birthday last week!)

Pictures:

1 The family tie.

2 Shout out to an Elder Wilkinson for starting the tie! Don't worry; I don't actually wear it.

3 10 years later, I am the owner of this bad boy!

4 "Thank you Saint Expedito for favors received."

5 Ramses's baptism!

6 With his family too! Thumbs up!

7 The water was cold but the spirit was strong!

That's all folks! Have a good week!

Monday, July 2, 2018

WELCOME TO PARAGUAY!

Mon., 7/2/2018 (Luque)

Well it's been a great week here in Paraguay!  I'll start off with the good stuff!

 Tuesday we had transfers, and I was sent to Asuncion to receive a new companion! 3 Elders and 7 Sisters came into the mission, and we had a meeting with them as trainers and trainees. Well only 2 of the Elders showed up that day, and when they announced the companionships, I was that last person who didn't get called! Elder Alvarado is my companion's name and ironically there was an Elder Alvarado leaving that day (from Nicaragua) so instead of taking the traditional picture with my companion and Pte and Hna Evans, I took one with the other Elder Alvarado! Everyone got a good laugh! So I had to stay at the office until Wednesday when Elder Alvarado's flight came in. I had no problem with that, as the Office Elders and Assistants are a few of my good friends from the past!

That night the Office Elders (and I) had pizza then I went with the Assistants and the American Elders (who were going home) to stay at the Assistants' house for the night! Elder Cartagena (we were companions in Yby yau) is the new Assistant, along with Elder Lovelace (one of the elders that stayed with me when I got my wisdom teeth removed in the Mexico MTC), so that was dope!

Wednesday we sent off the outgoing Elders, and I got to go with the APs and Pte and Hna Evans to the airport! We then waited for Elder Alvarado to get in! When he did, we headed to the Mission Office and had a meeting to give him a few pointers from the day before, then we headed out to Bella Vista!

Thursday we had a meeting with the whole zone, then Elder Alvarado and I put in work! We have just been getting him used to the mission all week, but he is doing good. He is from Kearns (Salt Lake City), Utah, so he speaks English and Spanish. His parents are from El Salvador and Mexico! The best of both worlds. We do however just end up speaking 90 percent Spanish together.

It's still kind of weird working here in Bella Vista for me, as I'm kind of used to 1 hour of church and low numbers, but here it's always in the 150 attendance range. In that, I've thought a bit recently about the Sacrament and what it means to all these people. Before my mission I really didn't give enough importance to the Sacrament and reverance, but here I've seen it in a different light. Whether there are 150 people or just two, the atmosphere is really still the same. Whether the church is in a huge chapel (Bella Vista), one without a roof (Neuland), one that's super tiny and there are only 2 people (Loma Plata), or even outside (Paraiso), but there's always bread, water, the same prayer, the same meaning, and the same healing power! This week has been bomb and hopefully we just keep on working hard! Thanks for all the emails and I hope y'all have a good week! 

[Elder Olson answered questions again from his mother:

Q:  Tell us about your new companion.

A:  He is from Salty Lake City (Kearns) but his dad's from El Salvador and his mom's from Mexico, so he speaks perfect Spanish! 

Q:  Is your new companion a convert?

A:  His dad is a convert but he's always been a member! 

Q:  What did you do this week?

A:  What we did all week was put in work! Last change I wasn't able to get much done but we are making up for that. We put 5 new baptismal dates this week so now we have 6! 

Q:  What are the challenges you have?

A:  My only challenge so far has been being patient, as my comp is new and doesn't understand a few things (ie.: if someone is drunk, we can't teach them in the moment because they're drunk) but really it's just been a good week!

Q:  Are you able to get many to listen or is the World Cup Soccer Championship a big pull?

A:   The world cup is big here!  Everyone's happy because Argentina lost.  I'm happy because apparently Sweden is still in? That's what I heard but I'm not watching any! Just everyone else here in South America!]

Pictures:
Sorry I can't send my pictures as my card has a virus (I think) but I know Hna Evans might have updated her blog.  If interested, look up 'Paraguay Asuncion Norte Mission' on google and there should be a picture of my new comp on there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

New companion!

Mon., 6/25/2018 (Luque)

Well here's the week in summary as I don't have too much time!

 It was week 6 of the change and we would have had a baptism, of our investigator Ramses, but the whole family got sick, and we'll have to wait a week or 2!

We received changes and it turns out that Elder Aguilar will be leaving! We then received a call today confirming that I'll be training a new missionary starting tomorrow! This change Elder Garrett went home, and Elders Baez and Tesucun also will be going home. It kind of hits home, because I'm going home relatively soon too! That reminded me of a quote that Pte Thomas S Monson gave, "Serve where you're called. Not where you were, or could be. Serve where you're called." That's what I'm here to do. Following in the footsteps of my trainer, Elder Bridge, and his trainer, Elder Wheeler, I will probably be finishing my mission training! Exciting stuff!

Thank you all for the emails and prayers!

Pictures:

1 From Zone Conference.

2 Burning our trash (there's no other way).

3 pt 2

4 The District sang Happy Birthday to Hna Alegre (next to me) and Elder Lovelace (one of our APs and a long time friend in the mission, we go back to the MTC in Mexico).

5 Our full District: Elder Baines from Canada, Elder Follett from the US, Elder Sotec and Elder Torres from Peru, Elder Aguilar, Hna Coy from Guatemala, and Hna Alegre from Peru!

and here are some throwbacks that I just got a hold of!




Monday, June 18, 2018

Out of time

Mon., 6/18/2018 (Luque)

Sorry! I'll have to write more next week as it's late and we're out of time! It was a fast week and we'll have a baptism this week! Thanks for the prayers, emails and Birthday wishes! [Elder Olson turns 21 on June 20!]

 I love you all!

[Elder Olson answered questions from his Mom]:

Q: What does Paz del Chaco mean?  Celebrating something?

A: Paz del Chaco means Peace of the Chaco; it marked the end of a bloody war.

Q: Are you in Bella Vista or Luque?

A: Bella Vista is the name of the ward and an area of the city. The city is Luque.

Q: Are you the District Leader now?

A:  As we're in a whitewash, I am not a District Leader anymore.

Q: Why did you teach in District Meeting?

A: Our District Leader didn't want to teach so we did instead. (It's weird as people think I'm District Leader, not him.)

Q:  What do the members feed you?

A:  The food we commonly eat for lunch is noodles with a little bit of meat, and if we're lucky fruits and veggies. Sometimes rice too. If it's a holiday-like Sunday was-then they serve Dio an asado (bbq consisting of basically 90 percent meat). Food here is eaten with a fork in the right hand and a piece of bread in the left. Sometimes they give us hot chocolate and a bread called mbeju when we are in lessons. We walk normally but sometimes take colectivos. Occasionally members give us rides but that's not common. Most people live in houses here, which are almost always 1 floor. Many have cars, many have motos and some people get by with just colectivos.

Q: Do you wash your clothes or does someone else do it?

A:  We have our landlady--who is a member--do the clothes. 

Q:  Are you playing the piano in your Sunday meetings?

A: I normally play piano, but this week I was in the choir.  Elder Sotec and I--he is from the other Bella Vista area--rescued them because it was 4 ladies.  Honestly they needed help so we went up there to help for Ward Conference.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Another week in Bella Vista!

Mon., 6/11/2018 (Luque)

Here we are once again on P-day. Today is Paz del Chaco day in Paraguay, so everything's closed everywhere. Good thing that there are despensas (a little room in front of peoples houses where they sell food) everywhere, so we won't starve this week! Also the fact that there are lunches with members every day! NOTE: If y'all have any questions or anything you'd like me to write about, let me know so I can make it interesting! This week was a bit of a slow one, with little noteworthy activities, but here are a couple of things that happened this week:

1 We got caught outside in the evening during a power outage and it was crazy dark! We could see the stars pretty well.
2 We have multiple members that asked us for copies of the Book of Mormon to give to their friends.
3 Shouting the words "tu primo" (your cousin) just became super popular in Bella Vista.
4 Elder Aguilar and I taught the lesson in District Meeting.
5 We helped a family move this week! It reminded me of the service projects helping people move with the missionaries in the states!
6 We went to the church for correlation Sunday afternoon and the choir was practicing. Well,there were only 3 ladies singing. Elder Sotec and I and Richard Britez (a Returned MIssionary that jjjjjjjjjjjjjust got home) went up to help and they sounded better.
7 There's an elderly man named Thomas that we've been teaching recently, and he came to church! We're not sure how much he understands, but he was beaming to just be there at church!
8 Members actually feed us here! Like real food! It still amazes me! hahaha. They are awesome here!

In my study of the scriptures, Liahona magazines, and so forth, I learned a lot about a 3-word phrase this week, which is "strive to magnify." We need to work and do our best to keep the commandments, work, and such but sometimes we don't do the best job, or by the choices of others or extenuated circumstances we aren't able to work to our potential! But God doesn't care as much in WHAT we do, but more in HOW and WHY we do it! For example if we keep the commandments so that others can see, we are like the Pharisees! But if we aren't perfect, recognize that, and try to get better, just like the publicans in Christ's parables! I also read a lot in 2nd Nephi and there were a ton of things I learned, but to sum it all up, Nephi was inspired of God, so were all the other prophets, and so is our prophet today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is literally (as the name says) the church of Jesus Christ (that's why it's called that), and let me tell you, following the commandments is the best option if you want to be happy! I hope y'all have a good week! Thanks for the prayers and emails!

My camera won't upload the photos, so there won't be photos this week, sorry! Hopefully next week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Che ro´y, koi hum, Its cold

Mon., 6/4/2018 (Luque)

Well, as the title says, it's a little cold here, well that means 40s or 50s, but that's a lot colder than a month ago! We had a busy week this week. As I may have mentioned, our mission is working on being more effective, and that has brought us to work more with the members. We have gotten to know many of them a lot better than before! It works better for us because, honestly, it's more successful for us and the members like being visited! We had a couple days with rain and a little cold, but the work goes on! 

Saturday we had a baptism of a girl named Zaira! She's 14 and goes to church by herself (not including when she brings her friends!). Her mom is a member but recently has been working on Sundays. Zaira understands all that we have taught her and is one of the most converted people I've seen in my mission! We've only been here a couple of weeks, but we have already seen the Lord's hand in the work. Other than the Baptism, the Bishop now knows I play the piano (honestly not really at all but they're all happy) so I played in Sacrament Meeting. 

One day this week we visited a family that really doesn't have a lot, and they have been passing [missing church?] a lot recently. We as missionaries were there to help them. During the lesson the daughter in the family that is 12 years old was cooking their dinner, and even though they had NOTHING, she was insistent that we eat with them. To refuse would be impolite. I have really come to see this week the importance of Christ's teaching that we need to be like little children, just like this one girl. How many of us (everyone) maybe think about ourselves first and others after? It's common. But really people with nothing still trying to give to others first, that's what Jesus Christ teaches us. Maybe giving time to visit someone sick when we have no time, maybe congratulating someone else for winning when we lose, maybe even turning the cheek instead of fighting when others bother us!

This has been a good week, and I am getting to like Bella Vista more and more. It's a night and day difference, working alone and working with members! Thank you all for your emails and prayers! We see miracles daily, and they only come as a result of our (and your) faith! I hope y'all have a good week!

Pictures:




1+2+3 Zaira Blanco's Baptism!

4 Last P-day with Elder Johnson, Elder Skelton and Elder Aguilar.

5 Our chapel, it's hard to get a good picture.

6 A cow. Oops.  Well I guess the cow didn't show up in number 6 (it's behind the pole) but that's my companion Elder Aguilar!

7 same as 6

8 I'm not sure which came first, the tree or the road...

9 Elder Aguilar with our new favorite tree.

For some reason I can't send more photos than this, the computer has some kind of problem!