Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MTC Week #6

It's hard to believe another week has come and gone already. Less than three weeks left! This week has been pretty crazy with the new responsibilities as zone leaders. As of last Sunday, they have implemented a new program for the zone leaders to do all of the orientation for new missionaries rather than the Branch Presidency. We will spend a good portion of Wednesday and Thursday nights teaching now, so we have been preparing quite a bit this week.

My Spanish is getting a lot better! The more I speak it, the more I get it. We have been teaching lessons in Spanish this last week and I was surprised at how much I've improved. I think the hardest thing for me currently is trying to understand other people as they talk. Sometimes I even have a hard time understanding when other missionaries speak, and when I get out into the field they are going to speak much, much faster. So hopefully I can start to pick up on that a little more soon.

Well, the Swine Flu is back at the MTC. It hasn't become a huge problem yet but one of the elders in my zone was corantined. We have been struggling with health all around in the zone. One Elder had to have his appendix out in the middle of the night a few days before he was scheduled to leave for the field. In addition, they found out that he has a cancerous tumor. For the time being, he has been added to our companionship. We are now a foursome! He will be finding out this week whether he needs to go home for treatment or not.

On Sunday we were able attend the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication. It is always a neat experience to see another temple dedicated. It was inspirational and a nice break from the normal schedule.

Yesterday for the devotional Elder Richard G. Scott came. It was the first time an apostle has come since I've been here (because they take July off) and it was such a cool experience. He spoke on a variety of subjects including teaching by the spirit and following promptings of the Holy Ghost. It was very, very powerful. I wish I could go into more detail about it but I don't have time.

I'm finding that most of the stuff I'm learning here isn't new. The amazing thing about the gospel is that it's so simple. The things we learn about in primary are really all we need to reach our goal. The material hasn't changed at all, but my receptiveness and need for application of these principles has really increased. It's been amazing to learn something new out of a scripture I've ready hundreds of times, and then really strive to apply it to my life.

Thank you for your letters and words of support! I love you all!

Elder Olsen

Bananas eaten since entering the MTC: 113

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MTC Week #5

Hey everyone! It's been another very fast week at the MTC. The time here just flies. Somebody commented yesterday that we have less than four weeks until we hit the mission field. I'm very excited but I've still got a lot to learn before then.

I had another really cool experience in the Referral Center last Thursday. I called a man named Thomas from Pennsylvania to confirm the delivery of a DVD. We got talking and he really feels bad that he hasn't been more diligent in following Christ throughout his life. He just recently retired and is trying to find some direction in his life. He is really trying to strengthen his faith in Christ and has a goal to attend church every week (he attends various denominations). We ended up talking for about 20 minutes and I was able to talk to him about the Book of Mormon and he sounded very interested. I read him a few scriptures and promised to send him a copy. He promised he would read it when it arrived. It was amazing how much he just opened up to me even over the phone. He was really excited to talk to me again and learn more, to the point that he asked how he could get in contact with me. I will likely talk to him again tomorrow, so I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

We got a new teacher this week to replace Hermano Bennett. His name is Hermano Jackson and it seems like he will be very good as well. It seems like he wants to focus a lot more on Spanish than we have to this point which is something I definitely need. Speaking of Spanish, as of 6:00 tonight we are supposed to only speak Spanish the rest of the time here. Hopefully this will help a lot.

I forgot to mention last week that I am no longer the district leader. They try to switch it up every few weeks to give more people leadership training opportunities. I didn't get much of a break though, because last Sunday my companions and I were asked to be the new zone leaders. By next week we will be the oldest district in the zone! I'm excited for the new opportunity to serve, although I'll be even more busy now.

Anyway, that's all I can think of to mention this week. Things are still going very well overall. Thank you all for your support!

Elder Olsen

Bananas eaten since entering the MTC: 94

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MTC District

Here is a picture of Eric's MTC district. The two Elders next to him are his companions (he's in a threesome), Elder Burns and Elder Larose.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MTC Week #4

Wow! It's hard to believe that it's already been another week. Time is flying by now. I'm almost halfway through my time here! This last week has been pretty much normal. I'm really starting to get a feel for how everything works here and the rigorous schedule.

So we found out this week that both of our teachers aren't going to be able to stay for the whole time we are here. We have two of the best and most experienced teachers in the whole MTC. When people ask who our teachers are and we say Hermano Williams and Hermano Bennett, nobody can believe that we got both of them. They are both spectacular teachers and very inspiring. Hermano Bennett just got a job as a seminary teacher in Coleville, so his last day will be Saturday. And Hermano Williams has to go back to school in a week or so. It's pretty sad that they have to go but it's been a blessing to have been taught by them.

We had the opportunity to chat with people in the Referral Center this week. It's a really neat experience and I love doing it. I don't know what I like more between chatting and phone calls. I guess it's just nice to be doing real missionary work.

I guess I really don't have much to say this week. The Spanish is still coming slowly but surely. Starting next Wednesday, we're only supposed to speak Spanish. It will be a challenge but I'm sure it will be worth it. I'm really enjoying my time here. The Spirit is so strong and i feel inspired and motivated to be a bettter person every day. I've really grown so much in just four weeks.

Thank you all for your letters and support! If you e-mail me, please send it to My parents will print it off and send it to me so I have a hard copy. I don't have time to respond during this 30 minutes every week but I'll do my best through letters.

Elder Olsen

Bananas eaten since entering the MTC: 76

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MTC Week #3

Well, I don't really know where to start this week. I really don't even remember what happened. It's all become such a blur and it's flying by! I'm definitely maturing a ton spiritually. I'm already such a different person than I was when I got here and it's only been three weeks! I'm loving every minute of it though.

The Spanish is starting to come a slowly but surely. We have spent a lot more class time this week studying it. We have learned about half of the verb tenses so far, but it's hard to use them in actual speech. I think I understand a good portion of the other concepts, so now it's just a matter of applying what I've learned. Tomorrow our distirict has a goal to not speak any English at all. It's going to be difficult but I think it will definitely help. This will be a permanant goal starting in week 5, so if I want to communicate with anyone I guess I'll have to learn!

For the devotional last night, Merril J. Bateman (Emertius Seventy and former president of BYU) came and spoke to us. He talked about the things we can do to have the Spirit with us at all times. He also said: "If you have the Spirit with you, you will always know what to do." I took great comfort in these simple words. I just need to do my part to have the Spirit with me.

We decided that yesterday was General Authority day, so we all parted our hair and wore ugly/plain/old-fashioned ties! It was really funny to have the entire zone (probably about 40 of us) do this. We also decided that every Saturday would be "Christmas Song Saturday," and we sing A LOT! It was awesome to sing Christmas hymns all day, but kind of weird because it's August.

I don't really have much else to say. I guess I can give a summary of what the typical schedule is in the MTC. Here's tomorrow's schedule:

6:30-7:00: Arise and prepare
7:00-8:15: Personal study
8:15-8:45: Breakfast
8:45-1:00: Class
1:00-1:45: Lunch
1:45-4:30: Class
4:30-4:40: Prepare for gym
4:40-5:30: Gym
5:30-6:00: Shower/get ready
6:00-6:45: Dinner
6:45-7:45: Companion study
7:45-9:00: Language study
9:00-9:30: Plan for the next day
9:30-10:30: Prepare for the next day
10:30: Lights out

Anyway, that's a little bit of what I do every day.

Random tidbit from this week: I have eaten a banana at every meal here except two so far (because they were out). That's a total of 57 bananas to this point, and I've only be here three weeks! Call me a monkey if you want, but I'm going to keep eating bananas.

Well that's all I've got for this week. Thanks for all of your letters and support!

Elder Olsen