Monday, April 24, 2017

Gainesville Reunion


This week has been pretty good, everyone on campus has been a little cranky with finals going on right now, but it's just helping sift the wheat from the tares haha. On Tuesday we had the booth out at Turlington plaza and people were really just not having it so we decided to have some fun and flip our perspective, and we tried to see how many rejections we could get in a row instead of feeling like garbage because everyone was turning us down. Our high score was 22 people in a row, but we found some solid people in between that so hopefully they will work out.

Wednesday I got to go on an exchange with Elder Stuart, who is serving in Gainesville 5th ward, so it was super cool to go back to my first area for a day. We took a member out with us who was the first person that I had ever taught on my mission! I almost didn't recognize him because he had to shave his beard off to become an ordinance worker in the temple. It was cool seeing the big changes he has made.

Then on Friday we had another exchange: it was with the other YSA elders so I got to be with Elder Weng. He is from Taiwan and let me tell you he is the man. He just has so much faith and is also just really classic. He used an old LDS homefront video on a door approach and we taught a lesson from it. He is absolutely savage.

Our investigator Jimmy Yu is doing really well. He came to institute on Tuesday night and then to the Elders Quorum BBQ on Saturday and he was just loving it. The guy is so good at ping-pong, it's crazy. He is also learning and understanding the gospel so well, it is super neat to see his face just light up when he understands a gospel principle!

Hopefully everyone is doing well :^)

Elder Olson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lens cleaning wipes


This week has been pretty good; finding has been kind of rough because it's almost finals week at UF and literally nobody thinks that they have time to meet with us. So that has been our struggle this week. I actually think that I dislike finals more as a missionary than I did as a student haha.

On Tuesday I got to go on an exchange with Elder Peterson, who is serving in High Springs. I didn't know him at all so we had a good day getting to know each other. We didn't have any set appointments so we had plenty of time to talk as we were finding on campus. We had a neat experience though where Elder Peterson had this prompting to go talk to this guy that was realllllyy out of the way, and it turned out that he was a former investigator and so we showed him the Prince of Peace video and he really liked it. Then we come to find out that he is from Live Oak and he is a youth pastor at a church that was in the White Springs boundaries. After that we figured that out we found out that we both know Sophia, who was just baptized last month. Haha, we made sure to drop that on him. So who knows if that will go anywhere but it was a cool experience.

Oh yeah also on Tuesday Keith and Lisa Wheeler, members from Fleming Island 1st ward, came and took us and the other elders out to lunch which was really sweet. Good times with them and we cherish a meal appointment whenever we get one.

On Wednesday our investigator, Jimmy, who is a 21 year old physics PhD student here at UF, came to the New Testament institute class. Because we are at the end of the semester, the class material was on Revelations 1-11. . . We weren't sure how that was going to go considering that Jimmy has very little religious background, but he actually really liked it! Elder Booker did a great job of teaching and Jimmy even wanted to come to the Saturday evening session of stake conference so it all worked out.

As we were leaving our apartment after lunch I was walking down the stairs when suddenly I hear out of nowhere "STEVEOOOOOOOOO" and then this big hairy guy was giving me a hug and let me tell you I was really confused. Like really confused. Then I realized that it was Zach Barney coming back to visit the mission. Haha it was fun to see him and meet his family. We got to tell his Mom lots of stories that she didn't know about hehe.

On Saturday we were pretty much just tracting all day and it was pretty dead but we met some good people and had some really funny experiences. I'll share one. So we knocked into this girl, Sophie, a girl who converted to Islam a few years ago, and we were able to show her the Prince of Peace video and share the restoration with her and it was going really well, but we weren't able to set up a return appointment so we got her number to set up a time after finals. So I pulled my little pocket book planner out of my pocket, and as I did, this little glasses lens cleaning wipe falls out of my pocket. So I pick it up and put it back in my pocket and it was only after the weird look she gave us that I realized that the little square packet that fell out of my pocket might seem like something other than a lens cleaning wipe . . . especially on a college campus.  But by that point it was just too late to explain what it was and in the heat of the moment I decided to just go with it and not explain it. So I am just dying of laughter/awkwardness on the inside while Elder Call is saying the prayer and after we walked away we just started to laugh so hard. Haha hopefully she texts us back and texts us back for the right reasons.

Anyways, Sunday was stake conference which was really awesome. We had a couple of investigators come, a girl that we met on Turlington and her roommate. They were almost 30 minutes late but it turned out to be perfect because they missed the sustaining (which can be weird if you are going to church for the first time) and then someone did a musical number of "If you could hie to Kolob". And so they missed both of them. To quote the scriptures "all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things". Haha it was perfect. Then a member from 3rd ward was kind enough to have us over for dinner and we tried to reach a bunch of less active members for the rest of the day.

Happy Easter,

Elder Olson

Elder P

Elder Faber catching us snoozing

Lens cleaning wipes

Monday, April 10, 2017

Elder Call the Second


The last few days with Elder Kautai were super solid. On Tuesday morning we had district meeting and we were getting hammered with a morning rainstorm, we got soaked just running to the car. We spent a little time contacting on campus and then we had a dropped lesson with our investigator Trokon. It was kinda sad because he just isn't willing to truly open up his heart because of his commitment to his other church, but we definitely felt like he walked out of the church feeling like he was leaving something behind so hopefully he will be back one day.

We also got to go to institute with an investigator on Tuesday night. The sisters' investigator said the closing prayer and in it he said "God, thanks for helping us to look good, and especially to smell good. In Jesus name Amen" hahahaha I was dying laughing but trying to hide it because I didn't want him to get offended ahhh it was bad.

On Wednesday we had transfers but we didn't go to the transfer hub in Jacksonville because Elder Call was already in Gainesville. Instead a member drove him over and we got right to work! It was kind of weird not going to Jacksonville for transfers; it almost just felt like we were on exchanges for the first few days.

Elder Call has been adjusting to the YSA really well though, he is the man. Like way faster than I did, it is intimidating at first. It's been a really good first week with him, we are already friends from Lake City and he is a really good missionary so we are just flowing. We've been able to find a few people with solid potential, so hopefully they progress and we can find some more because Elder Kauai and I dropped most of them.

Saturday was an interesting day, I got to have some new experiences. The sisters had a baptism on Saturday and we had an investigator going which we were hoping would really give our investigator the fire that she needed to start keeping some commitments. The baptism wasn't super well planned though, and there were just a bunch of awkward moments and it started really late. There was still a remission of sins and all, which is obviously the important part, but it could've gone better. So after the baptism everyone is still mingling and we ask our investigator if she'll be able to make it to church tomorrow, and she has some excuse, and so we ask if we can set a return appointment and she says "you know I actually think that I am good for right now. Thanks though!".... I didn't even think it was possible to get dropped immediately after a baptismal service. But it happened.

I did get to confirm the sister's investigator in sacrament meeting which was cool though. His name is Trey and he really is a solid guy, he is already planning on serving a mission.

Hmm anyways I think that is basically all of the noteworthy things from this week

Elder Olson

Monday, April 3, 2017

Anything to get a break from the heat


This week has been pretty great, it's heating up down here though and that makes me less than thrilled.

So on Tuesday we had 4 appointments and then they all slowly cancelled on us... one by one. So we had 8 hours of finding on Tuesday and we were just getting shut down. Like nobody was talking to us, it was kinda rough. So we took a 30 minute break in the air conditioned blood donation van and some vampires stole some of our blood while we were relaxing. 

We got a free nutter butter out of it so it was worth it. We did, however, finally find one person at 8:30pm after 8 hours, so hopefully it was worth it. Tuesday was pretty much like the rest of the week. Literally all of our appointments cancelled on us so we were just finding all week long. We had some good times.

Wednesday we drove to Jax for another zone conference which was pretty good. We got a sneak peak of The Prince of Peace video and talked about using it and it's been fun to use this weekend.

Friday night we had transfer calls, it's been such a crazy fast transfer. Elder Kautai is getting transferred out, he is going up to the metropolis of Darien Georgia. My new companion will be Elder T Call, who is the cousin of my former companion Elder E Call. I am pretty pumped for that, we got to serve around each other in Lake City and so I already know we are going to have a good time. Our district is getting thrashed though, so many people are getting transferred out. It'll be good.

Of course the highlight of the week was General Conference. The Saturday Afternoon session was my favourite. (The comment from Elder Sabin about scout leaders always sleeping in the back of the truck really hit home for me. It's just so true.) On a more serious note, I really enjoyed Elder Clayton's talk in the Sunday morning session about doing the small things that will go a long way. I know that I needed it because I always want to know the why behind everything, especially in the gospel. But it was a good reminder that I'm not always going to get to know the why behind everything, and sometimes we just need faith.

Anyways, things have been good, I'm sad to lose Elder Kautai because we have just had a blast in the YSA, but I know Elder Call and I have big things ahead of us.

Elder Olson

Monday, March 27, 2017

Campus Life


It's been another really great week in the YSA. We were able to find a bunch of new people this week and have some fun doing it. We also had 2 exchanges this week which was coolio. On Wednesday I was with Elder Botalla which was really sweet. He is from Italy and he is just so solid. We got to spend lots of time talking about how much we love America :^)

Then on Thursday Elder Faber and I were together on an exchange which was awesome but weird because it hardly felt like an exchange because we were still in the YSA. We had a pretty good day but not that good because campus was just crazy because there were all these hip hop flash mobs happening on campus and a bunch of people protesting. We still got work done though.

Hmm I feel like this is going to be the most boring letter I've ever written... Oh also all the missionaries did a musical number in sacrament meeting which was a first for me. Fortunately there is 10 of us in the branch so I was pretty much drowned out. Blessins.

Wow I am really struggling on finding things to write about. Things have been really good though. It is still surreal how fast the mission has been flying by. I'm just hoping to make the most of every second of it!


Elder Olson

Elder Botalla

Wanting to teach the gospel but Babylon

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Iowa Friends

Hello hello,

This week started off with a treat when Jackson Averett (formerly Elder Averett) came to visit us. We just walked around campus and showed him the football stadium and made a neat little video. It was some good times hanging out with him again :^)

On Wednesday we set up this family history booth that we have at Turlington Plaza, which is at the heart of campus. But there was this huge group from some church in Iowa that came down and was street preaching, and then a bunch of people were just blending in and talking with students. We aren't really sure what their purpose is, because none of them really knew either haha. But a lot of them were being soooo bashy and it just made the afternoon pretty inneffective. And
because they were going so hard in the plaza, everybody on campus was pretty burned out when it came to talking about God.

The  best part about it though was that these two girls were telling us that since we grew up in the church we weren't actually converted to it, we were just blinded/brainwashed by our parents. But then one of the sisters' investigators, who was kinda hanging out with us, came up to us and said, "I actually just met the missionaries last week, and they gave me a Book of Mormon and I KNOW that it is true. Also their church matches the church found in Acts more than any other church I have ever been to, and I know that they have a prophet guiding their church." Then he threw down on them with the Bible, which isn't what we were going for, but it was still pretty awesome haha. They just kinda ignored it and changed the subject. Vintage.

But apparently the sisters met one of them that was actually interested and they set up an appointment with her and her "mission team" at the institute, and the sisters called us in for back up. I was expecting it to be a big bible bash, but we set expectations that we just weren't going to do that and it actually turned out to be a really positive experience! 3 of the 6 of them took copies of the Book of Mormon so hopefully we planted some seeds.

All of our investigators are kind of dropping off right now which has been frustrating, and it's been a tough week for finding, so things are a little rough as far as the work goes. The cool thing is at UF is there is just SO many people, so anyday at anytime we could meet that one person that is super prepared for baptism, so we're just pushing along trying to find them!

Love you all!

Elder Olson

Iowa Friends

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Break


It has been quite the week that is for sure. Spring Break has been low key brutal not going to lie. It's just been a battle with everyone gone, and the only people that aren't gone are old people that aren't YSA and then also the foreign students that don't speak english.

Because of the lack of people and investigators on campus we did a lot of service. Most of it was for a member that I knew in the 5th ward, Sister May. She is moving out and she needed a ton of help because she has so much stuff. We also went to the Ronald McDonald house and did some good stuff there. One pretty unique service opportunity that we had was at a place called "Jungle Friends". It's a animal rescue facility for monkeys that were used in laboratories and stuff. We didn't actually do anything with the monkeys but we were doing yard work right next to these monkey enclosures so it was pretty fun.

I have been really exhausted this week and I can't really figure out why. It's been frustrating to not be on my 'A' game, like I was nodding hard in sacrament meeting and I felt like a greenie in the 5th ward again haha. But we are just pushing through it and this week should be solid with all of our investigators getting back.

Love you all!

Elder Olson