Monday, December 25, 2017

The REAL Reason for the Season (week 61)


Yesterday was good!! It was good to see you all and chat for a minute....we got really lucky because a bunch of the other Elders here had technical difficulties sooooooooooo thats good that we didn't hahahaha

This week was kinda insane with all the things that were going on!!! We had planned on going to an activity to sing and contact in the Parque Caldas (the center of the city) and so Elder Perez and I showed up and like two other companionship's when it started to POOOOOUR rain, soooo yeah we were stranded at the center of the city for a little bit....which wasn't fun!!! But we pushed it back for the next day!!! It was fun we sang while other missionaries contacted and then we would switch. We were able to get a lot done actually!!! A lot of members came too!! Some of the young women from other wards were KILLING it with was a fun time!!!

But other than that we are just doing the usual.....KILLING IT in our area!!! When we were in our trio Elder Perez and I ALWAYS wanted to go through and find our references and old investigators, but Elder Padilla would always say "no with my other companions we found them all, but none of them want anything to do with the church." Lol we have been finding and teaching some of them and we are actually doing very well, really though Elder Perez and I have just kinda agreed that we are opening an area because in our trio we went to the same 10 people for 3 weeks soooooooooo imma change that!!!

Other than that nothing else interesting really happened in my area.......BUUUUT I HAVE A COOL "HOW I WAS LIKE JESUS ON CHRISTMAS" story!! So today we were walking to the main street from the Morro trying to find a bus.....the bus costs $1600 so I was just casually counting my coins when I dropped I bent down to pick it up and I just heard from across the street "FALTA DINERO POR AQUI" two sketchy homeless guys were looking at me with the "OMG HAY UN GRINGO RICO" face. It would have been easy to ignore them and continue on buuuuut I was thinking about Christmas and Light the World so I crossed the street and pulled two random coins to give them from out of my bag.......they had really big smiles :) This is what Christmas is all's not about presents, or trees, or Santa Clause!! It's really about Jesus Christ and his example for us!!! So we do not have too much time left but imma extend a challenge that you guys can find a way to serve others TODAY!!!! Always remember it feels better to give rather than to receive!!! I love you all soooo much!

Well I gotta go....we are gonna spend Christmas night with the branch President and his family!!!! Buuuuut I love you all and hope you have the best day!!!


 Loooooove all these people

Chillin with Elder Carrion and Elder Lopez on Christmas Eve

 Feliz Navidad Familia!!!!

Chillin with the Bojorge Family on Christmas Eve

 Parque Caldas/El Centro during navidad

 El Morro

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Skype Call From Our Missionary!

Garrett's sister Aubrey here!! We got to Skype Garrett on Christmas Eve and he sounded so good!! I think...he kept talking to us like we knew Spanish so honestly I didn't catch a lot of what he said! For real. He kept speaking Spanish and forgetting English, it was hilarious. He sounded so confident while speaking so I don't believe him when he complains about the language. We were able to meet his companion and he seems very nice! They get a long really well and you can tell that they are great friends so that made us happy. 

It is hard to believe that this was our LAST Christmas call with Elder Olsen!! Only one more Skype call to go!!!! We miss him so much but we are so stinkin' proud of him! He has grown so much in the time that he has been in Colombia. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Skype Details

Heeeeey fam!!! So I am just updating really quick to let you know that we will be Skyping the 24th at 6:00 PM (that's Colombian time). Sorry if it causes problems, it's the best Elder Perez and I can do!!!! Nos Vemos!

Love You
Elder Olsen

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mosiah 2:17 (week 60)

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY YOOOOOOOOOOOOU GUYSSSSSSSS!!!! This was a crazy week and I don't have a ton of time so this email will probably be everywhere hahahahaahah

So first things first today is a holiday and our usual internet place is closed. We have been given time the 24th and the 25th to Skype but i'm not sure if those places are gonna be open....soooo gonna call President to ask permission to figure it out and get back to you guys during the week!!!

As for the week it was good!!! We had a zone conference (turns out it wasn't a Christmas conference) and Elder Falabella from the area presidency was was fun!! We talked about what we need to do to get some more baptisms in, we basically did all the math and we need to have like 60 something new investigators for every baptism....pretty teeeenaz!!! I think if we use Light the World to our advantage we got this. He also passed the saw really hard to the Latinos about how they need to learn's a command and they aren't gonna get anywhere in the church if they don't was pretty teeeenaz.

We also had an activity in the was a Christmas dinner and of course they made the missionaries sing and give testimonies about Christmas traditions. I talked about how all the youth in our ward go to temple square....there were a few Colombians that were pretty jealous about that hahahahahah

I was also asked randomly to give a talk in church......I made it a good year without having to do that so it was good!!! I talked about MISSIONARY WORK WOOOOOOAH and shared about how the ward always has the youth missionary activity and the one time Stockton Stocker and I went to a non member house....I basically told everyone that missionary work really isn't that hard (cause its not) and that we would love to go with everyone to visit their friends, family and neighbors!

We were also able to help a recent convert Sandra paint her house so that was a good time!!!

As for as transfers went.....they worked out!!! The last little bit of the week Elder Perez and Elder Padilla weren't really getting along. It was actually kinda funny Elder Perez kept getting annoyed cause Elder Padilla wanted to walk super fast all the time so he grabbed me, literally let Elder Padilla walk ahead of us and then he started contacting.....bahahahaha that didn't make Elder Padilla very happy!!! Anyways we got the transfer call annnnnnd I am STAYING here in Occidente with Elder Perez and I am staying as a DISTRICT LEADER!!! Soooo yeah I am not really sure how I feel about that.....not really sure if I am ready but I know the Lord trains who he calls so it will work out!!!! As we learn in the BOM "When you are in the service of your fellow being you are only in the service of your God" I really like that scripture and I think about it often........especially when things get rough!!!

Anyways sorry this letter was chichi (lately they have all been......maybe I will start writing my group letters by hand.....veremos!!) But I hope that you all know that I LOVE YOU!!! Can't wait to see you guys this week!

PS shout out goes to everyone that wrote me Christmas letters this week.....I loved those!!! 
Muchas Gracias Y Feliz Navidad!!!

 Mucho Trio

The Nativity in the Popayan Terminal 

Pizza with Elder Sarnowski and Elder Castro

 The Trio all ready for Zone Conference

Divisions and Salchipapas with Elder Echevarria



 Painting Project

Playing around with my camera 

The trio with Brianna

 Transfer Predictions by Elder Perez

Transfer Predictions by Elder Carrion 


With Daniel (recent Convert)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Our Many Imperfections (week 59)

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!! How is life.....I hope life for all of you is just super swell hahahahahah

Life is going great here in Occidente.......this week (just like every other week) has presented its own set of challenges....but its good though, challenges are good for the soul because we can learn and grow from them so thats always a good time!!!

By far the most interesting thing that went down was interviews....interviews and interviews!!! As almost always I started my interviews with Hermana Whitesides....and I just love her she's a spiritual power ball, for that interview I had to learn Alma 7: 23-24, which says:

23 And now would that ye should be humbleand be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ywill always abound in good works.
 I actually had trouble memorizing this one buuuuut I really like it so it was good. We also talked about Spanish which is always fun and ended up with her giving me the "stop complaining to me in a language that you say that you cannot speak" rant hahahah but we talked about the scripture mostly about the part about giving thanks!! Hermana Whitsides is challenging us to say prayers of JUST THANKS at least 2 times a week so that should be chill!!! She also gave me my hearing aid soooo yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

But my interviews with President were a little different.....I had to just kinda explain EVERYTHING, which was kinda hard. He told me that he really wanted me to be happy and healthy and then literally asked me "so if you could pick Cali, Popayan or Pasto where would you go? Would you like to return to Recuerdo Norte? Are you okay being in heat" like a lot of transfers next week should be interesting. I told President the honest truth about all those questions but I also told him I don't wanna be anywhere that my Heavenly Father doesn't want me to we will see!!! We also talked about the trio and how I feel about that situation and he was like "Elder Olsen you only have a week can do it!!!!!" Hahahah I love President Whitesides....I don't feel like I have to put on a filter around him which is good!!!

This week on the 7th we had our annual "Dia de Maria" day....I think it has a different name but I don't know what it is hahahaha but its basically just to celebrate the virgin!! And it's the closest thing to our Fourth of July. Everybody lights candles and puts them on their porch and lights fireworks.....I loooooooove it sooooooo also marked my year in the field which is chill!!!!

I don't know, interviews and the whole situation just stressed me out in general......buuuuut as always the gringo crew is there hahaha Elder Corbett and Elder Marks literally always have the RIGHT thing to say....I had many conversations with Elder Corbett this week and he just understands he always tells me "I know things are hard but you are progressing so much Elder Olsen" he doesn't know how nice that is.....but I do!!! Elder Marks and I had a good conversation about it all today too....he basically just said "Elder Olsen you don't need to become perfect on the mission.....if anything the mission is just the start of learning habits that will help you learn to become perfect later on." I liked that....because it's sooo true the mission has been SO DANG HARD, but I wouldn't trade the knowledge that I have learnt for the world.....Heavenly Father really knows how to use our perfect imperfections to help us learn.....I know that's true so think about that during your next "hard time." (Hermana Whitesides always says that we don't ever really suffer......we just pass through hard times.)

Anyways I gotta jet, love you all have a good week!!!

Unpacking My Adjectives: Occidente
Hey guys! I decided to write a quick letter describing some of the things here in Occidente. I'm not sure if it will be long or interesting because I really don't know much about the area but I totally want to write about some of the things that I do know.

The house:
The house is interesting, we live on the 2nd floor and the landlord lives below us. It's actually a really big house in comparison to a lot of the other houses in the mission. It's falling apart though...Like one time the cement wall kinda just fell apart and a ton of cement and dust ended up all over Elder Parez's desk haha we had to tape cardboard over that part of the wall :D But the landlor wants us to move downstairs so she can move upstairs and fix the place up...but we need permission from the mission leaders first so we'll see.

The Pensionista: Sooo yean it's a little complicated..we don't actually have a pensionista so we eat in a restaurant every single day. But Colombian restaurants are not the same as American restaurants, they don't have a set menu...whatever they fee like cooking is what they have and they don't really buy a ton of food. So if you come late they have probably run out of food haha! But we go to the same restaurant every day and I like it, we always have a soup, usually it's sanco cho (basically Colombian chicken soup) or mazamora (it's like a corn dessert soup). Then we have about five different options to pick from every day...if they have it I usually pick chuleta de's bascially the Colombian version of Katsu and I loooove it! The food is different everyday but it has a set price of 4500 which is pretty cheap so I like it.

The Area: This area is super different from Recurdo Norte in just about every aspect. It's really big and really hilly. I'm not sure of all the neighborhoods our area covers but I know we have La Maria, San Jose and Las Lomas. So in that general area of Popayan the demographics are super weird too because we have some super nice areas and we have some sketchy ones too. But it's diverse and I like that! speaking of diversity, there are a bunch of different churches here too, so the area seems a little more religiously diverse. We have to take a bus to get to our branch. We attend church in the Americas Chapel, and it's the first time I've gone to a chapel with more than one branch in Colombia. I love it because it's hard to get through the walls and I get to see some of the other missionaries who aren't in our branch which is always a good time.

The Branch: Occidente is a branch that is really struggles a lot. We really don't get a lot of people at church, it seems like the youth programs aren't as strong either. But as a missionary it's good to be in areas like this, you can see the growth and progress of the ward, little by little Occidente (and Popayan in general) will grow.

Conclusion: Soo yeah, that's all I got! I know it's not a ton but I hope that you guys can understand where I'm coming from just a bit better. Occidente isa good area, a harder area, but I know it will grow regardless :D

 The si o si sign is the cardboard we had to put up to prevent the wall from caving in hahahaha

 Dia de Maria

 I wanted to take pictures out on the street buuuuuut I was feeling like getting robbed so this should be good hahaha

 Elder Perez and I