Monday, October 26, 2009

Transfer Week

Hey everyone! This week is my first transfer week. We get calls tonight to let us know if either of us is getting moved so I'll let you know if something happens. If one of us gets transferred, we leave at 6 AM Wednesday morning. It's kind of nerve racking not knowing for sure where I'll be or who I'll be working with a day and a half from now. We also found out that our area is being split in half to accommodate the increase of Spanish missionaries coming in.

This week was kind of rough to be honest. Reynaldo has decided to go back to his old church, Ramiro is nowhere to be found, Martin didn't make it to church after promising us he'd be there for the fifth week in a row, and Melissa said she was just "too lazy to come" this week. It's frustrating but we're trying not to dwell on the bad.

The Garcia family and Ricardo came yesterday and it went really well. We saw the Garcia family every day this past week and it's been exciting to seem the progress. The Rios family seems to be doing well too. They weren't able to make it to church due to work, but I think they'll be there next week.

Speaking of the Rios family, they're the coolest people ever! They fed us on Saturday and it was the best meal I've had since arriving in Tucson. We had some incredible gorditas with a delicious rice drink called horchado. For dessert, we had a homemade cake that could have won a baking contest. Then they gave us more to take home. I guess Anabel bakes cakes as a hobby. They really are the most pleasant and kind people I have met here.

Well, I wish I had more interesting things to say. Besides our little frustrations, everything is still going well. My Spanish is gradually getting better and I'm starting to get the hang of this work. I hope everything is well back at home! I love you all and hope to here more from you soon!

Elder Olsen

P.S. Please send any letters to the mission home address (the River Rd. one) because I might not be living in the same apartment in a couple days. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back in Primary!

Hey everyone! I don't have much time so I'll probably be pretty brief this week, but things are still going great here!

On Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Jensen. He is an English speaking elder who came out the same week as me, and he works up in San Manuel with Elder Dunstan. This was an interesting experience, seeing as we had each only been out in the field four weeks. After our first appointment fell through we decided to do some tracting. First door..."WE DON'T WANT ANY!" SLAM!!! It was a pretty legitimate slam too. That was the first time that had happened to me because even if the Hispanic people don't want to hear our message, they are very polite about it. I was kind of glad that it finally happened though because it keeps you humble. I had come out expecting doors slammed in my face and I was surprised that it had taken a month. Elder Jensen and I had some great success that day though. We taught six lessons and got a baptismal commitment!

Things went fairly well throughout the week. We don't know exactly what's going on with Reynaldo, Martin, Ricardo, or Ramiro right now. None of them made it to church on Sunday for one reason or another. Melissa was sick so she couldn't make it either. This was a little bit frustrating, because there's always an excuse to miss. You just have to want it badly enough. But.....
On the bright side, we had 10 people at church! We had the Garcia family (Ivan, his wife Anayeli, and their two sons) and the Rios family (Carlos, Anabel, and their children--Alfredo, Maria, and Armando)! We also had a nonmember husband of one of the members there (Pancho). Our lessons with all of these people this past week have been awesome! We've seen both families nearly every day, and we're really excited. The Garcia family had to leave after sacrament meeting but the Rios's were able to stay. We were asked to teach the Gospel Principles class on Saturday night, but Elder Muniz ended up teaching by himself and I went to primary with Maria and Armando. It was awesome to be back in primary for the day singing those songs again! Sometimes I wish I could go back to those carefree days, but missionary work is awesome too!

Well everyone, there were many other interesting things that happened this week but I've got to go now. I hope you are all doing well! Thanks for your letters and support!

Elder Olsen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hey everybody! I'm just sitting in the library at Pima Community College at the moment. I'm not quite sure where to start. Hmmm well it's now officially suit season. Apparently we have to wear suits here from October to April unless it's above 75 degrees which it has been so far. But we have to wear them after 5:00 regardless, and it can still be really hot after that time. It's fine though because so far the weather in October has been really nice and it's only going to keep cooling down.

On Tuesday we had district meeting at the top of "A" Mountain here in Tucson (University of Arizona). Luckily it's not anything like the hike to "Y" Mountain. You can drive all the way to the top here. It was a pretty cool experience and the view was awesome. I wish I had gotten pictures but I forgot my camera.

As far as the people we are teaching, we're having kind of a struggle right now. Things are at somewhat of a standstill because people won't keep their commitments and a bunch of unexpected roadblocks have come up:
Reynaldo was supposed to have his baptismal interview yesterday right after church. We called him a half hour before church and he was good to go but then he never showed up, never answered his phone, and wasn't home all day. We're thinking he might have gotten into some legal trouble but we're not sure. Hopefully we can get that situation worked out in time for his baptism next Saturday.
Ramiro has run into some problems with his family. He told us a few days ago that he wants to join but his entire family is against it (to the point where they hid his copy of The Book of Mormon). Hopefully their hearts can be softened eventually.
Melissa also had her baptismal interview scheduled for Sunday. She was ready for church but then her step dad never came home so she had to watch her little sister. Her mom still seems really against baptism. Every time we go over to her house her parents tell us that she isn't there even if she is.
We saw Martin several times this past week and things went very well. We found out that he had tried to come to conference last week but that he had gotten lost. He promised he'd be there this week. But then we went by on Saturday night and one of his neighbors told us that he was in New Mexico. He seems the most ready out of anybody but there's always something holding him back from coming to church.

Well, I guess those are our frustrations from this past week but we're trying to remain positive that things will work out with all of them. I'm sure ways will open up if they want it badly enough. We have also had some good moments from this past week though:
Ricardo returned from Mexico earlier this week and made it to church yesterday which we are really excited about. Things seem to be looking in the right direction for him and he lives right next door to two recent converts so that's helpful.
Earlier this week, we went through the area book and found a family that was formerly investigating the church (la familia Rios). We visited them and found that they had talked to missionaries many times before, but for one reason or another they had never joined. They are probably the most polite, kind, and friendly people I have met during my first month out. They seem very receptive to the things that we say. We have really high hopes for them.
We also found another guy named Ivan who we taught last night. The lesson was awesome, and he seems sincerely interested in our message. We are going back tonight to teach he and his wife about the plan of salvation.

Well, I don't really know what else to say. Missionary work is awesome and I love being out here! It's tough, especially with a language barrier, but it's definitely worth it. I love you all!

Elder Olsen

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Week in Tucson

Well it's hard to believe it's already been another week. So much has happened this week but it's gone by pretty fast. Everything is still going really well here!

On Tuesday I went on another English-speaking exchange, this time with Elder Richins (one of the zone leaders). We spent the day in a small town called Marana. We taught some really good lessons and found a couple of really solid women to teach. I was amazed at how helpful the members in the ward were. Both of the women we found were referrals from members. Things went really well for us and I learned a lot.

Friday was my first zone conference. For convenience, the four zones in Tucson were combined. I met a lot of people and learned a lot about how to get members involved in missionary work. Assistance from members is so crucial to this work. Both my mission president and his wife are very powerful speakers and they really motivated me to go out and give my very best.

General Conference was awesome! It was a great chance to sit back and take in the words of prophets and apostles of God. We watched all of the sessions in a chapel with a few people who don't have cable. It all seemed to go really fast though, faster than I can ever remember it going. The coolest part, of course, was seeing my Mom singing with the choir. Several people we are teaching were lined up to come to a session. We picked up Ramiro (the ice cream man) and took him to a members' house. Reynaldo showed up late but he still made it to the Sunday afternoon session. He'll be baptized in 2-3 weeks if we can get some legal issues taken care of first. Martin didn't show which was a disappointment for us because we thought he'd be there for sure. But we'll keep working with him and others.

Sergio (father of the Gomez family) seems to be more and more satisfied with his current church. It's really too bad because his family would be an awesome addition to our branch. Hopefully he can come around eventually. Melissa (the 16-year-old) went to Mexico this week so we're not quite sure what's going on with her. That's something that's somewhat frustrating about serving so close to the border. Many people just come and go from Mexico unexpectedly. One day they'll be ready to come to church, and the next they'll be in Mexico. On the brighter side of things, we found a woman named Lourdes who seems very interested. We also talked to two other women with families named Margarita and Denise who sounded interested as well. There are definitely some frustrating things about this area but the field is still white and I love the people here.

The weather here was extremely hot through September. It was still over 100 degrees every day, but as soon as October 1st came around it was like it knew. On Friday when we walked out the door early in the morning for zone conference, it was only 59. It has actually rained the last few nights, although I haven't seen any of it. The last few days have been just about perfect. I heard we got some snow in Utah. Is that true?

Thank you so much for all of your letters! Getting mail out here is awesome! If you write though, please send things to the mission office address. Thanks again and I love you all!

Elder Olsen