Monday, December 26, 2016

No Limits (week 9)

We got to skype Elder Olsen on Christmas Eve, which was the highlight of our holiday season!! He sounded so good!! He is a little sad that he isn't fluent in Spanish yet but he has been in the field for like three weeks so I think he'll be okay. 
This one is a video so I hope you can get it to play! If you're friends with Garrett on Facebook or Instagram it is posted there. 


How are you guys? Haha I hope that things are going good!! It was super weird to talk to you guys haha it was just different!! The computer I am using does not have USB ports (it is one of the giant 90s ones) so I cannot send my pictures right now :( will for sure next week though.

Buuuuut yeah this week has been crazy because we had a trillion different district meetings leading up to our christmas conference! We had to prepare a skit.....ours ended up about a girl that left on her mission and tracted into a gangster that got stabbed and then he woke up out of no where and started singing christmas music hahahahaha it was pretty dumb!!! (Not gonna lie...that does sound more scary than festive haha) The conference was really cool though we had it on the 15th floor of the Dann Carlton was waaay nice!! We started off by listening to President Pricoli and Hermana Pricoli and then they called two people to give a talk! Then we watched 17 Miracles!!! After that we had LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNCH.....we had a quiche type thing for an appetizer and then we had steak and mashed potatoes....they covered it in basil and olive oil sooooo I was all about it. Then we had a lemon cake for dessert with chocolate drizzle....after that we had to sit through an hour and a half long video of every single missionary talking about their favorite companion and what they learned from them.....Hermana Herrara let me go through her photos so I did that instead of paying attention! Then we all had to give our skits.....which was fun I guess.....and then we had scripture trivia and I kinda was just there for that.....It was all in Spanish and we only had 10 seconds to answer sooo I was just there hahahahhaha but after that we had a break and we got chocolate covered strawberries which was cool. Then we heard some more from President and Hermana Pricoli and got our letters from the first presidency, 2 bags of candy, a Liahonna (ENGLISH FTW) and our packages.....everybody was looking at me weird because I got two packages and most people did not even get one.....I kinda felt bad about that!! Then we went home.

Christmas Eve was like any other day except skype haha buuuuuuuut Christmas is another story.....I started with the packages which I appreciate mucho!! The N64 shirt is my favorite! (Tooting my own horn here because I give awesome gifts haha!) Mom did you make those pillowcases? (Yes she did! She sent a handmade pillowcase for both Garrett and his companion! Most of everything in his package there was some for both boys) .....Elder Chaiña is always disobedient and sleeps in so I had time to put all his stuff on his chair and lay it out.....he seemed to like everything okay....he was not as excited as I thought he would be...but oh well!! Then we had church which was an absolute disaster!! Not a ton of people showed up including the bishop so the members were scrambling to do of course the missionaries had to give talks hahaha but they didn´t get anything figured out until 9:30 so we started way late. I just pulled out my talk I wrote for the Christmas conference and gave that.....I got lots of compliments on it so it worked out I guess!!! But after that Julieth was really wanting all the missionaries to eat lunch at her house so the sisters asked for permission AND WE GOT IT!!! (In Garrett's mission they aren't allowed to do anything member dinners without permission so this was the first one he has had) So yeah we went to her house for dinner. We had potato salad and lunch meat ham, and that´s about it but we had caramel pudding and popcorn and we watched conference talks hahaha we were there for a long time it was fun!!!

After that we visited another member....Nancy Escobar and we chatted with her....and then we went home and I had bread con queso (SOOOO GOOOD ITS BAKED INTO THE BREAD). But yeah that was my Christmas!!! We had a zone activity today which was fun everybody was playing sports but Elder Reeve and I just sat down and talked about life.....he has a South Korean hacker investigator which sounds RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!

Buuuuut yeah I have some pretty big goals for this next year and I want to share a few with you guys:
- Better group emails
- pictures with every email (unless I get a dumb computer)
- better Spanish skills
- better testimony
- really strive to help others around me
- be the bestest I can be
- have no limits for myself

We honestly should not waste our time....every minute of free time we have could be and should be used to develop a better relationship and testimony of our Heavenly Father!! I have come to really enjoy conference talks and writing in my journal....I am about halfway through my first one!!! Prayer is also another good one we need to constantly be doing.....are you guys praying or just saying a prayer? Sooo yeah that is this weeks Challenge....write down some goals AND DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF!!! There are no limits unless you put limits on yourself!!! I love you guys mucho!!!

Also I just wanted to say real quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAIRBEAR! I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU TONS!!! Hope you have a great day! (Our brother Jarin's birthday is on the 31st so feel free to send him presents and candy)

 Practicing our Christmas skit (I died so that's why I am on the floor)

Chocolate Strawberries in between skits.

A view of the mountains....I tried cropping this picture cause it looks better, but my camera was not about that.

The super nice hotel where we had our conference!!


 My Christmas ornament.

Another view in the night time!!

Okay I forgot to write about the zone activity we had on Christmas Eve, but we had an activity where we had to get a piece of chocolate out of a pile of flour, then we played mafia and drank hot chocolate and Elder Mcdermott passed out stockings.

Just opening presents... 

All of Chaiñas stuff I left on his chair.

Opening my mug from President

Fruit roll ups are life!!

Hanging with Julieth and her family.

Caramel pudding stuff Julieth made us.

These next few are from the sports activity I told you about...

Monday, December 19, 2016

More Christ (week 8)

THISSSSSSSSSSSS WEEK was sooooo slow!!! Hahaha Elder Chaiña is good, he's very different than Elder P!!!! We don´t have a ton of investigators, so we have been working with a lot of less actives. We have Alcides though, he´s one of our two investigators. He told me he really likes pb&j's and that he learned how to make them while in prison hahahahahaha! But yeah Ciudad Modelo is sooo sketchy, but there is a lot of good people here!!! It´s just really hard to do anything without any Spanish skills, but we will get there!!

At a zone activity I was talking with Elder Mcdermott (my rad zone leader who has a blog, I stalked it before I came) and he was telling us about how Christmas is gonna go and how we all should not be sad because Christmas is all about Christ. Mas in Spanish means more, and we talked about how we need more Christ in our lives!!! So that is this weeks Christ!!! Find Christ!! Really get to know your savior!!!

I am sorry this email sucked but I am trying to get all my pictures up and this computer blows. So just know I am trying and I love you all!!! I can´t wait to talk on Christmas Eve.
 Cristo Rey!

This is the view from Cristo Rey.

With the district on our way to a zone conference in the rain!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

First Week in the Field!!! (week 7)


Sooooo my first week is donzo!!!! It was super long but looking back it went by fast......kinda!!! I am in an area called Ciudad´s a neighborhood of Cali!!! It´s super sketchy (totally almost got robbed but I am not gonna go into too much detail about that) My companion is Elder Chaiña....but I had a companion before that named Elder P!! He always had a headache cause he was stressed out from being district leader and stuff.....I have a feeling that I am going to like Chaiña better though!!! Elder P spoke English and was weird about rules and stuff. Ohhhhhh and my "favorite" part was because I am new and have not gotten money from the mission yet....I only have my personal money......Elder P didn´t budget and we never had money.....guess who got to pay for his taxi rides so he could be transferred DING DING DING!!!! (Garrett is obviously not bitter hahaha)

Buuuut yeah I have only taught like 2 lessons because Elder P was sick!!! But after we are done emailing today Elder Chaiña and I are going go teach so that is exciting!! Its been a hard and long week but I am trying my best to have a positive attitude about it......It´s hard!!!

But yeah the members seem really cool.....they made me speak in sacrament. I have a hard time remembering and understanding their names so wish me luck!!!!

Do me a favor? Help out the missionaries around you!!! Make them dinner or something because I know they are having a hard time too!!! 

Love you all!!!
Elder Olsen
(I'm adding some more tid-bits from emailing Elder Olsen back and forth today because his email was so short! So here's just some random stuff he sent me!)
Yeah I don´t think pictures are gonna be easy here hahahahaah the computers here stink!!! Nope no rain!!! It's super hot all the time.....the food is the same stuff but better quality and yeah I have a pensionista (that is a ward member who cooks them lunch everyday except Sunday).....good thing too cause we could have starved! (He said he was going to write more about almost starving in his "big" email,but he didn't)Today we had a bean and bacon type soup with some rice and plaintains. We have that a lot and it's good!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sooo I Didn't Die Part 2 (week 6)

Soooooo I got here!! We left at like 3 in the was only a 40 minute flight so that was good!!! I hate having 3 bags´s rough.

I had my first interview with president like 2 seconds ago....I was suprised at how much I could understand. I don´t find out anything important like my area or Comp until tomorrow!! It´s so green here.....and humid! I LOVE IT!!!!! It´s different than Bogota but I think I am going to like it muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch better!!!!

But yeah I only have 3 minutes.....soooo I didn´t die!!! I am alive and I love you all!!!! I hope everything is going good!

- Elder Olsen

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Faith or Fear? (week 5, one week left in the CCM!!)


Now before you guys get mad at me, my SD Card needs to be formatted or something soooooo I can´t send pictures.....I had a whole bunch this week too!!!

Buuuuut yeah....thanks for all your letters, I got a whole bunch this week which makes me veeeeeeeeeeeeery happy.....I try to write everybody that writes me but because I never have any time they are always suppppper short sooooo sorry...I appreciate all the letters that I get though and everybody that writes me :)

Thanksgiving was good......super weird and really different but good!!! Because it is a South American thing to have a bigger lunch than dinner....we had a Thanksgiving lunch! We had turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies, and some rice with bacon cooked into it........but the best part was the APPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPLE PIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE :O hahahaha we aren´t lucky enough to have pumpkin soooooo it´s whatever!! While we ate President DuVall was giving his own devotional and teaching all the Latinos why we celebrate Thanksgiving (they don´t have it here.....they just start celebrating Christmas at the end of October) After that he invited everyone to stand up and share what we were grateful for......only two Nortes got up, (I asked Garrett what Nortes was because that is a very strange means North Americans!)because Spanish is hard that´s why....but the Latinos and Maestros were all really was different but it was super cool to celebrate with people that have never celebrated it before!!! We also had a Thanksgiving devotional broadcast live from Provo by Neil L. was soooooooo good, the quote that I think about most from that devotional is "sometimes you can´t see the blessings until they are behind you." There has never been a more accurate statement than that.

The big district is good....I prefer my old district...but it is whatever!!! More people to get to know better I guess!!! The other day we were practicing baptizing and confirming and I was bapatizing Elder Guiterrrez and I went down to far and we both ended up on the ground (okay he ended up on the ground and I ended up on my hands hahahahahaaha). Which waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas lots of "fun" hahahaha! (This is actually pretty hilarious because Garrett was worried about this very thing while baptizing people! It's because he has shrimpy arms the poor dear. Maybe baptizing all those people will give him more arm muscle hahaha) And Elder Peña And Elder Garcia.....hahahahaha I can´t even with them! Last night me and Elder Eldredge were walking back to our room and we walked in and there was just 15 Latinos staring at us with a deer in the highlight look because Elder Garcia just decided to have a hair cutting party in the middle of our room (SOOOOOOOOOOOO against the rules). Sooooo yeah I grabbed my journal and some cheez-its and we went and wrote and ate because we didn´t wanna be involved with that hahahaha!!

Speaking of cheez-its....Thanks Mommy and Danine for my package!!! On Saturday me and Elder Eldredge left the classroom real quick to go check on the talk topics for Sunday, and when we came back the security guard (AKA the chillest dude ever) was just sitting there and was like "Elder Olsen" and I was like "hmmmmmm what have I done lately that could make the security guard need to talk to me?" Then he handed me my package and everyone there was just like "WHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAT YYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOOU GOOOOOOOOOT A PAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKAAAAAAAAAGE!!" Hahahahahaha packages really aren´t a thing that happens here....unless somebody delivers it person soooo thank you thank you thank you Danine!!! And thanks mom for thinking about me...I was able to share a whole bag of swedish fish with all the Nortes and some of my teachers (so fun watching them eat american candy!) 
I have been thinking a lot about faith seems like in the church we are always taught that faith and fear can´t exist in the same place.....I have personally learned for myself that THAT IS NOT TRUE!!! Faith and fear always exist in the same place....ALWAYS!!! It´s just up to us to decide which we are actually going to pay attention to. It seems like the first week of the field is always the hardest for foreign are in a strange place...eating weird food in a weird living condition...doing things all day that you aren´t used to in a language that you don´t´s hard but I don´t want to have a bad attitude about it. Things are either really hard or really rad depending on your attitude.....and faith!!! I hope that this next week I will be able to pick faith over fear.....this week´s challenge is easy PICK FAITH!!!!! If you have faith before your trials actually happen you will be ready and have more strength to get through them.......I promise you that!!

"Have faith.....have like His other´s on their way"

I love you guys,
Élder Olsen

P.S I am not sure when i will be able to write next.....I will be on a plane next week sooooooo we´ll see :)

(One more week in the CCM for our Elder!! I'm so excited for him to get out into the field and start teaching! His time in the CCM has flown by for our family, it has probably been a lot slower for him!)

(Update from week 8!! Garrett was able to send us these pictures now that his camera is being normal so I'm adding them now!)

The food!

Elder Peña and Elder Garcia

 Elder Vincent 

The scripture list Elder Carey gave me

 Some Venezuelan money the Venezuelan's gave us for gifts!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

SCRIPTURE POWER!!!!! (week 4)

Hey guys!!!!

I don´t really know what to write about.....this week has for sure been an adjustment period, the new district is okay.....but I really miss it just being the four of us!!! Elder Guiterrez is our new district leader (he is Elder Carey´s companion....he is 25 and from the phillipines and already knows 3 languages....Spanish will be number 4) but yeah I am very happy about that, I like him a lot and he´s coming to Cali with me soooooo that´s always fun!! The thing about the new district is that it´s never silent.....I loved my study sessions in the last district because it was always so quiet but that´s not a thing anymore! We have some intense district meetings......some of these missionaries have VERY different ideas on how to do makes it kinda difficult because if I wanna study my way some kids might not think that´s useful or effective.....everybody has different ways of learning!!!

Our new roomates are Élder Peña from Colombia (he lives like 10 minutes away!) and Élder Garcia from Ecuador!!! They are cool, but nobody will ever compare to Elder Flores.....I miss him but I know that he is killing it in the field. Out of all the new north americans Elder Steadman is my favorite.....I guess we went to High School together but because he took smart people classes we never knew each other, but it was fun to figure all that out!!!

Buuuuut yeah there really isn´t much to write about this week.....Just lots and lots of studying!! Our new teachers are Hermano Rodriguez and Hermano Saldaña, I like them both a lot!!! I have been trying to focus my studies mostly on the scriptures....Elder Carey is alllllllll aboooooooout the scriptures and he gave me this giant list of the most powerful scriptures....I went through them in a day and marked and wrote notes on my favorites.....he has also gave me some scriptures about some personal gospel questions I had...seriously though he´s the best!!! Me and Elder Heninger also went through our quads and tabbed almost all of the Preach my Gospel scriptures.....My scriptures look like a mix of a 8 year old´s scriptures and an 80 year old´s scriptures....I love it!! And I love reading them....Scripture power is a real thing you guys!!!! I have had some many questions answered these past couple of weeks and the feelings you get are indescribable.....kinda like your stomach doesn´t weigh anything....I LOOOOOOVE IT!!!!! This week´s challenge is to really STUDY the scriptures.....get some questions answered and that fun stuff.....if anyone has any cool scriptures I would LOOOVE to hear about them!!!

Love you lots and lots,
Élder Olsen

My scriptures look so different now!

Elder Carey....just being elder Carey!

Such a bad picture of me...but elder Carey makes me laugh hahahaha

Group 18

(These next few things are little clips that Garrett sent me while we were chatting today! He wrote a shorter big email, but sent us all a picture of handwritten letters and chatted a lot so that made up for it! I'm just putting them here so he can look back and remember what was going on at this time of his life!)

Uhhhhhm my favorite thing about being is missionary is teaching! And my least favorite thing is probs always being with someone (SHOCKING). Hahaha something I figured out this week is that the fruit juice we drink here is from a that´s why it sucks, Cali is also the best place in the country for fruit SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I AM EXCCCCCCCCCCCCCITED!!!!

 I looooooooove teaching!!!.....but only with my investigators not those practices we have in class because some of the other kids are DANG GOOD at Spanish and I just sit there like "wait what?" Hahahahaa yeah plus when you are teaching you realize your Spanish isn´t that sucky soooooooo, that's cool. We had elders here last week from the Bogota South Mission that said "4 months and you will be fluent"....not counting on that but I hope!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Service is a BIG DEAL! (week 3)

Hey guys!

Sorry it has taken me a minute to write today....all the older elders and sisters left for their mission tonight so it is just us ten! (I am gonna miss them all soooooo much) and we also kinda got stranded at the temple today so that was cool. (I went through in Spanish for the first time)

Things are going good though....the gym did get finished and they started work on the first I was happy but they moved the piano and have devotionals in the gym so it really is not much better.....BUUUUUUUT I am not staying in that classroom anymore, because sooo many more missionaries are coming tomorrow they are combining the Amulek and the Ammon districts, so yeah it is going to be all ten of us in their room....I am not really happy about it, I don´t think I will learn spanish as well........but we´ll see how it works out later :)

Soooooo yeah I am offcially a 3 week missionary.....being able to say that is kinda a big deal because it means we are halfway through, it has been confirmed that I am leaving the CCM (Missionary Training Center in Spanish for those who asked) on Dec 6!!! ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND I CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCAAAAAAAAAAAAN NOOOOOOT WAAAAAIT!!!!!!

I wanted to take a minute and talk about the kinds of food that I eat because I always forget to write about it.....we eat lots of meat...mostly chicken but a lot of steak too!! Lots of rice but I don´t really love the rice has a weird aftertaste. (For those of you who know Garrett, you know that is really strange because he eats rice like there's no tomorrow!) For breakfast we either have scrambled eggs, boiled eggs or french toast.....we have had american food a couple of times but it´s not my favorite!! The bread lady delivers fresh bread about every other day and that is my favorite!! For breakfast we always have this brown bread that tastes like the bread at Outback (literally the only reason to go there) andddddddddddd I looooooooooove that!! Overall the food is okay.....we ate at the temple today and that was rad!! It was what we usually eat but higher quality soooooooooo me gusta. (That means "I like it" translate is a beautiful thing!)

On Saturday we had the opportunity to go street contacting in the Correa Kennedy area of was fun but VERY DIFFICULT!!! Me and Elder Eldredge were able to get 3 referrals, pass out 1 BOM, and handed out all of our pass along of our referrals who took our Book of Mormon was named Carlos...he seemed really interested so we put a pass along card in 3 nephi so he could go read that later!!! Overall it was a good experience but my Spanish is no bueno.....I think it is important that we as people love everyone else as people.....not only love them but serve them! If I would have thought before going out contacting "my Spanish is not good" or "I am too shy for this" it would not have happened...we need to forget others and go out and serve.....only as we do so will we realize that we really don´t have too much to complain about :) This week´s challenge is gonna be kinda different.....I want everyone to serve someone THEY DO NOT KNOW in a creative way.......Tape a dollar to a vending machine, pay for the people behind you at McDonalds, bake some cookies and leave them at a random door.....idk!! But I promise you that as serve you feel soooo much better about the things going on throughout your life.....I promise!!!

Love you tons,
Élder Olsen

Our soda machine...the soda I really like is on the right.

Street favorite 

Laundry with Elder Robinson and Elder Carey

The view out my can't tell but that white wall has graffiti on it that says "Dios Bendice" I love that.
(That means God Bless...again we love google translate!)

My window that you can't close...also shows our closets

My shoe box bed is the one on the very left next to the wall

I am going to miss Elder Flores and Elder Saldana!!! (Saldana on the left and Flores on the right)

The whole gang!!!

Group 17!