Monday, January 4, 2010

Hey everyone! I don't have a whole lot of time this week so I'll be somewhat brief. I hope you all had a happy new year! We celebrated by sleeping because we had to be in by six that night.

On Saturday we got to see Sandra get baptized! It was an awesome experience and the spirit was so strong! She asked me to speak at it and it went really well. After she was confirmed she was in tears and said that she felt all sorts of energy fill her body. We all felt it too! Afterwards we all went to a Chinese buffet to celebrate.

As far as the people that we are teaching right now, the Contreras family is doing really well! The father and son have been in Mexico for the last two weeks but they're finally back. We have had some awesome lessons with the mom and the daughter lately. Evelyn (9) is super smart like I mentioned last week. She blows us away every time! She reads and prays every day and marks her favorite parts. Then she gives us a summary of what she read. She remembers everything she has been taught in the past perfectly. A few days ago we decided to review the plan of salvation with her. After a couple minutes, we realized that she already knew it backwards and forwards. We asked her to teach us the rest, and she did without missing a single part. Then she proceeded to give a very heartfelt five-minute prayer. If we can just get the family to come back to church they'll be on fire!

We have also been teaching an older lady named Angelita who we found on Christmas Eve. We have had a couple really powerful lessons with her as well. She already knows some members in our branch, so hopefully she'll be able to come to church this next week too!

On Friday we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. One of them came to my area for the day but he only speaks English. It just so happened that on that day, I had the top three most intellectually intense lessons of my mission, and I was by myself. One was with a Seventh Day Adventist, and we discussed the abilities and nature of the dead. Another was with a very devout Christian who persisted in talking about the rapture for over an hour. And finally, we talked to a man with no religion in particular but very strong opinions about God. With him we talked about everything from the baptism of babies to the unpardonable sin. I found it interesting that the whole world has such different perspectives and beliefs, even though they all use the same book (the Bible). There are all sorts of deep doctrines and things we don't know, but that's not what we really need to focus on. The Gospel is very simple. All we do is follow the perfect example that Christ showed us to the best of our ability. If we're sincerely trying to do that, all the other stuff falls into place. Of course, it's also nice to have The Book of Mormon to clarify a lot of things!

Well, this has gotten longer than I expected. I still need to e-mail my family. Thanks for all of your support!

Elder Olsen

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