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 word...it means North Americans!)because Spanish is hard that´s why....but the Latinos and Maestros were all really into....it 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. Anderson....it 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 lately.....it 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 missionaries.....you 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 speak....it´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 hope....live like His son........help 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 things.....it 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 factory....so 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 chapel......at 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 here....it 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"...google translate is a beautiful thing!)

On Saturday we had the opportunity to go street contacting in the Correa Kennedy area of Bogota....it 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 cards.....one 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 football...my favorite 

Laundry with Elder Robinson and Elder Carey

The view out my window...you 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 room...my 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!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Great Wall (week 2)


Phhhhhewwww another week down!!! The days here are sooooooo looooong and exhausting....nothing really interesting happens here but there is still a ton of details about the CCM and other stuff that I did not get to include in my last email.

For starters, the CCM is under MAJOR construction....basically something was wrong with the gym roof and now we are getting a new gym roof....after that is done they are gonna replace the chapel roof!!! Normally this would not bother me....but my classroom shares a wall with the gym.....a wall, A DOOR AND A WINDOW.....WE CAN HEAR EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!! Every single hammer, drill, construction dude talking....everything! Also on my very first day my feet were in a puddle of water because it was raining and it leaked through the non-existant gym roof and out our classroom door (who puts a door to the gym in a classroom?) sooooo yeah because of all that we all have to stay outside during gym time.....usually the hermanas take the court but it´s fine cause the elders get to go to the real world at the park across the street....it´s soooo weird they have flea markets, and dog races and theres a huge painted brick wall (butterflies....painted butterflies) AND ALSO (Aubrey waaaaait forrrr it waaaait for itttt) THERE´S A ROLLER RINK!!!!!!!! (YAY shout out for me!! Which is good because my personal email was about two sentences so I needed the love, ya know? Anyone who is anyone knows that I love roller bladding!!) But the weirdest part of the park is that unlike parks in America.....people actually go to the park...it´s kinda wierd!

Hmmmm what else can I talk about.....well we don´t really have heating or AC here (I have looked for vents they are not a thing!) in most of the bedrooms or rooms that have part of the window you can´t close....they are just slanted soooo air can come in....most of these rooms have a little place about the door where a window should go but there isn´t one soooo air can flow through the whole building....normally this would be great but it´s freezing cold all the time and all my teachers make sure the fans are on.......I was expecting Colombia to be hot and humid...but it isn´t (thank goodness I am not staying in Bogota)

Jaime is doing great!! He got baptized so now I have two new investigators Giovanni and Juan Pablo......Giovanni looks a ton like Hermano Arango and Jauan Pablo and Jaime could be twins!!! (Fun story...Dane wrote Garrett an email all about how cool it was that Garrett has "real investigators" in the MTC...Garrett's whole email this week to Dane was him just explaining to Dane that his teachers are his investigators hahaha) 

My district consists of Elder Heninger (Hen in Jer) he is from saratoga springs he is way cool kid I like him a lot!!! And his companion Elder Robinson....he is technically from Pennsylvania but he moved to Manti over the summer....I like him a ton too!!! And then me and my comp.....we are a small district but we get along great.

The other district has 6 other kids!!! I like them all too.....To answer all of your questions I do like Elder Vincent and I do like Elder Carey!!! I am surrounded by lots of nice people :)

I looooove the temple here.....it´s a little mini Bountiful temple inside and out, I have gotten lots of impressions there!! And yeah I actually go through in English so that´s not really a problem!!

I would say that my biggest challenge is for sure Spanish........There is a giant language barrier and it´s about as big as the Great wall......that being said though I don´t really believe there is a great wall in missionary work!! Me and Elder Eldredge KIIIIIILLLLLL our lessons with our investigators....I have made sure that the non-existent great wall does not bother me....I have drawn pictures...done actions.....pointed to things and have used my very LIMITED Spanish!! I am not really improving but I do things so that I will (I totally bore my testimony Sunday!) Sooooo yeah it only exists if you tell yourself that it does

In life I think we all create "Great Walls" for ourselves....school is hard....work is hard...life is hard sooo we need to stop worrying about things that don´t matter...this week our challenge is to get out our favorite bulldozers and knock out a couple of our "great walls" stop worrying about things.....they always work out...I promise :)

-Élder Olsen

This is all the pictures I have!! We do not get a ton of time to take pictures...only on P days!!!

So this is a very crappy map but it has the right idea...

...And my schedule for this next week in case you ever wanna know what I am doing. (Yeah Gar....let me just read that schedule that's in Spanish! No hablo Espanol Elder Olsen!! He probably just got really annoyed of me asking where he's at and what he's doing at all hours of the day. I'm not obsessed with him at all.) 

(Here we can see how his class connects with the gym! Which is apparently really upsetting...)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Mermaids and Rocketships (week 1)

YOU GUYS!!!!!!

Thank you sooooo much for all writing me.....I tried to reply a little bit to each of you but I don´t get a ton of time here, plus the keyboard is super complicated and frustrating but it´s all good I will figure it out.

The plane rides were very good....on the first one I had an aisle seat.....next to me was another Elder on his way to Peru and across the aisle was another Elder on his way to South Africa.....we had a bunch of good conversations....the kid going to Africa was teaching the girl next to him and she asked if he had any information about the church.......he didn't so i was actually able to give out my pass along card!!! (WINNING) The second flight was a liiiiitttle more different.......us elder´s were the only one´s that spoke English.....i sat next to two nice Colombian ladies who decided that they were going to adopt me.......so that´s cool i guess xD

We got here at like 11:30ish i think.....the driving wasn´t too weird because it was suuuuuper late.....so yeah we got our companions....got showed to our rooms (and of course a got a shoe box sized one but it is whatever) and we went to bed....the next day we had orientations, first emails, first classes ......first everything!!! it was a good day!! Colombian food is either really really really good or really bad there really isn´t anything that I think is just okay......my stomach doesn´t always agree with the food though and that has caused some problems if you know what i mean ;) (Fun fact from Aubrey here, Garrett emailed me privately the complete story of this and called it my birthday present. HA! I've never gotten a better email, or birthday present for that matter, in my life! I can't share all the details, but just know that Elder Olsen is already having some funny experiences!!) We eat a lot of fried foods so the CCM smells like oil all the time!! we also eat lots of rice, soups, and meat!! the rice is okay it usually has like roast and peas and weird stuff that does not belong in rice in it......the soup is either really goood or really bad last night I had a chicken noodle soup kinda thing with a piece of corn on the cob in it.....cause you know that´s normal i guess.....I actually don´t really care for the juice BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE THE SODA!!! there is this one soda that is super good....it does not taste like bubblegum but the only thing i can compare it to is bubble gum.....sooooo good!!

I struggle with the whole companion thing, I think we both kinda do. I can´t go to the bathroom alone....I can´t eat alone....there´s just no privacy and for a very private person like me it´s a struggle!!! We share a room with Elder Sadana from Peru and Elder Flores from Bolivia....I LOVE THEM!!! They are quick to help us with our Spanish, eat whatever food we don´t want and help me with hearing aid stuff and tying ties....they are kinda the best.

Spanish is difficult but I am literally surrounded by it everyday....I have already learned how to pray, testify, and a whole bunch of other things in Spanish...I have also had to write AND GIVE A SACRAMENT TALK (bet you can imagine how thrilled i was about that one) All my teachers (Hermano Arango and Hermano Casiblanca) are native but they speak perfect English...it´s not like it´s Spanish all the time like some people told me it would be :) We have lots of language challenges where we have to go testify to the natives and stuff.....I hate those but my Spanish gets better and better the more that i talk to them...but my Spanish is easily the worst out of all the kids that came with me.

My investigator´s name is Jaime......he looks a lot like Hermano Casiblanca ;) we have taught him 3 times....he has already read parts of the BOM...prayed about it, wants to go to the celestial kingdom and will be joining us at church this weekend :) We are lucky cause the other companionship in my district have a HAAAAARD investigator (ten people came out with me so they made a district of 4 and a district of 6.....I am in the district of 4)

I could go on about how hard it is here.....never before I have felt so stressed, so unworthy, so frustrated but at the same time I have never felt as close to my heavenly father as i have here......the best advice anybody gave me about the CCM was Landon Carter....I remember him talking about how Satan is gonna work on you and make you feel unworthy and that is 100% true!! I was thinking the other day how easy it would be if I didn´t come out here and that´s not true life is not mermaids and rocket ships the struggle will always be real but so will Christ :)

So this week for my weekly challenge I want you all to write down everything that is going good for you.....and everything that is bad, I want you to compare because i know you´ll be able to see how blessed you really are........it´s not necessary but if you wanna write me about the experience that would be cool too!! (I challenge everyone reading this blog to complete the challenge Garrett gave. I think it's a great one! I'm so proud of that boy!!!) 

Ëlder Olsen

He said he had Halloween candy in his mouth in this picture!

(We interrupt this blog for breaking news!!! Garrett's cousin Krista just saw this very attractive picture of our missionary on her friend's instagram. It's a small world after all!!
Hahaha I imagine this is the face Garrett makes when the food doesn't agree with him. Too far? I don't think so, I think I'm hilarious!