Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mon., 8/28/2017 (Neuland)

Well it sounds like everyone got crazy weather! Y'all with the hurricanes and rain and us with... no rain. But we have moved into the 40s (Celcius) (100s in F) for the summer, and apparently in my area it went above 50 Celcius a few times. Fun stuff. Anyways, we had a zone conference Tuesday, and it was super good. About 70 missionaries were there, including 3 zones, and we learned a lot about using time effectively, and having a better companionship. Elder Schmidt from my MTC group is a zone leader in one of the other zones, and he and his companions taught about using better questions. After the conference, we got to talk to a lot of other elders for a few minutes, and I got to see a lot of old faces, including Elder Tesucun and Elder Villacresses. We took a colectivo home to Neuland, which took a looooooooooooooooooot longer than the other one, and we got in around 6am. We had an interesting load of work this week; we had to get the Branch's financial records straight and all that good stuff and we don't have the authority to do anything without the branch presidency and nobody has/answers their phone. It was a little hectic but it was a lot of fun. In the end we couldn't get quite everything worked out, so the branch wasn't able to attend the district conference in person, but we got it set up so they could stream it in the computer. The members in Paraiso, well we haven't been able to get in contact in about a week.. woops.. but we should be out there for a little while this week. Saturday we had a few meetings and interviews and such in Abundancia (another area that has the biggest chapel I've ever seen in Paraguay in the middle of NOWHERE with 56 church built houses) so we had to go out there. Elder Brower and his companion are really getting into exercise so we joined them for the evening. There was a lot of wind and a ton of lightning, and it even rained! For 30 seconds then it stopped hahaha. We were going to bed at 10:30 when we got a call, and the chapel in Neuland just lost the roof, the air conditioner, and a lot of other damage. Apparently there were VERY strong winds in the area, and all the power was out. The northern side of Paraguay church repairman (and Boqueron district counselor) and the schoolteacher (who the next day got sustained as district secretary) and Elder Castañeda and I piled into a truck and we sped over to Neuland to rescue the computer, documents, and everything else. The computer got a little wet, as there was no roof for a little while. We went looking for the roof and came across a couple of other roofs in the process. We went to our house as our roof is not stable, but there was no damage. 2 trees in the front of our house fell, so I am very glad they took the blow and not our house. We got home around 1 am and went right to bed. Sunday we had district conference, and the district had a LOT of changes in leadership. Apparently the new leaders are really going to be great, so we are excited to work with them. Sunday evening we had to run a few kilometers to catch the only bus that came all day. We are now in Loma Plata, another German founded city here in the Chaco. It's honestly a lot of fun here, and we are getting a lot done. We should have a couple of baptisms coming this week if we can get transportation for our investigators. We are really seeing the blessings with the people here, and their desires to come closer to Christ. That's really a good thing to do; think to yourselves, what can I do to come closer to Christ? Think on that for the week!


1 With 3 of my companions at our zone conference

2 With Elder Tesucun(my second trainer) and his trainer Elder Villacresses

3 They let our district loose in Asuncion

4 Where Elder Castaneda is from, it doesnt go above 28 Celcius, so he really wanted a photo hahaha

5 Nightly exercises in Abundancia. I don't know if you'll be able to find it, but the story of that place is really cool

6 We got the call around 10:30 Saturday that the chapel roof blew off...

7 Yeah...

8 I think there's something missing in the branch President's office... Oh wait, the roof!

9 It was pretty crazy... pretty windy too. Luckily we were able to rescue the computer, but we still don't know if it will ever work again because it also rained a bit

10 Well we did find the air conditioning unit...

11 and the light bulb didn't break! They're pretty expensive here.

12 We thought we found the roof but...(wait til 13)

13 It was actually someone else's. Here's part of the chapel's roof.

14 The Chaco Elders, Pte and Sister Evans, and the Assistants

15 We had to run a few kilometers to catch a colectivo

16 Walking to where we are writing y'all right now, (which is about a 45 minute walk) some guy in a truck that we met a couple pdays ago in a different city gave us a ride. MVP

I love y'all, thanks for the emails and prayers!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mon., 8/21/2017 (Neuland)

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!


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

PS here are 2 more pictures, one from today and one from when Elder Salazar and I cooked for the district.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mon., 8/14/2017 (Neuland)

We had a bus break down and now have a very small amount of time, so I'll have to make it short. We had a really good week and have been really working well together. Elder Castañeda and I are really working well together, and as I've told y'all, it's kind of the hardest area in the mission, but we are having so much fun. From my time here in Paraguay I've learned that we can work super hard and talk to thousands of people, but if we don't work with the members, nothing comes of our work. Neuland is a special area where the members don't know that much, but we leave every house with a reference of someone to visit, and a lot of the time, the members go with us. We have been working on reactivating a lot of families and inviting a lot of new families to come to church, and it's a little bit slow but big things take time! We got in a lot of service projects, including cleaning a really dirty underground water tank, cutting down a tree with a machete, and cutting down a grove of small trees with a machete. It has been really busy and really just a great time. Sunday we were in Neuland and had a solid attendance of 23 people. Paraiso, our group that is about 70 km from Neuland, had a solid attendance as well, of 26. We had 13 investigators and a lot of less actives in church, so it ended up a pretty great week. Today we are finally in Filadelfia, as we went by a big Rodeo that's a little far from here and the bus broke down. Thanks for the emails and I hope you all have a good week.
We also watched "Only a Stonecutter" about 5 times this week with different members and investigators. It has a really interesting quote that I wanted to share. In this life, there are 2 kinds of people; people who act and people who are acted upon. Which would you want to be? What can you be to be that type of person. Hint: read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to church, and look for every opportunity to serve others. Have a great week all of y'all!


1 We cleaned an underground water tank/well.

2 We also cut down a tree with a machete.

3 Rama Neuland right after church.
4 There hasn't been water half the week and we kind of ran out of clean dishes so we ate right out of the pans.
5 4 Americans, a Peruvian, and an Equatoriano at a German rodeo.
6 At the rodeo.
7 With Fidelino (Branch secretary) and Agripino Gomez, the Branch President. We had the first ever Branch Council meeting! All 4 of us! hahaha
8 EVERY house in the mission has about 15 copies of True to the Faith in Spanish and Jesus the Christ in English. I don't know why, but it always happens.
9 I'm not sure if I'm in this picture but it's the only one I could get of the temple trip. We were recently getting back from my surgery when they took photos so I might not be there, but the missionary all the way to the right might be me. hahaha
10 Cleaning a well.
11 I'm not really sure who these kids were but they wanted to take a picture.

2 I did find one picture of us at the temple the other week and I'm definitely in it.

Well that's it! Have a good week!