Monday, August 8, 2016

Finishing My Course

Well, the highlight of last week was that we had the wedding and baptisms on Saturday of the Familia L. F. They are an awesome family and some of the most ready family for baptism of my entire mission. I am so happy we were able to help them get married and baptized before I finished my mission. They were so excited and willing to do whatever it took to get baptized -- they helped organize the lawyer for the wedding and all the paperwork to get married. They also had a family and friend party afterwards in their relatives' home near the church. It was such an awesome day except....

Saturday would have been an even better day if I hadn't gotten sick (again). I was barely surviving from body aches and fever, but I was still able to attend the service and help out a little bit. However, because I was sick I couldn't perform any of the baptisms, so my companion did. I was better the next day, but Saturday I was hating it.

The rest of last week was just fairly routine except not a lot of the branch members were around during the week because they left on an excursion to the temple in Honduras. The closest temple is in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and the members here in Nicaragua only get to travel there 2 or 3 times per year if they can afford it or if they can get time off of work. Crazy to think how close we live to temples back home.

My companion will still have at least one family progressing after I leave and a couple of other baptisms lined up for the end of August with my replacement. Still, although next Monday will be a long day of flying, this week will be working with the remaining investigators.

Well, it is hard to believe that this is my last time emailing as a missionary. It still doesn't feel real, and honestly, even on the airplane, I won't feel like I'm really going home yet. I have a weird, butterfly knot twist in my stomach thinking about it, but it's just too hard to realize. I have learned so many things on my mission, and I have been told that many things I have learned I will not even realize I have learned them until I am back into normal life at home. I have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ change so many lives and so many blessings and miracles. I know the gospel is true and the atonement is real. I have learned to rely on the Savior and His atoning power. I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support and love. Can't wait to talk to you all in person next week.

Officially signing out,
Elder Olsen.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Not Trunky Yet, But.....

So this past week in our area, we didn't have any weddings or baptisms. Our one investigator who got drunk the Sunday before last had some more issues and sadly, he moved out and no longer lives in our area. Our second wedding, L., well she hasn't been able to get all of her paperwork yet for the wedding, plus her anti-Mormon fiancee keeps threatening to back out of the wedding plans.

Me and my companion
However, our third wedding is the awesome family that lives very far away on the edge of Grenada by the volcano and they are all ready for their wedding and baptism this next Saturday. The couple will be getting married, and then they and two of their sons will be getting baptized. They are all really excited and plan on having a little family party afterwards at their house (they actually have many extended family who are already members of the church). They have been able to leave cigarettes behind and have sacrificed much to go to church on their own account and they even took out their own papers for their wedding. They still have another daughter and her partner that live with them in their shack and we are working with them still. They have come to church with us and want to get married, but she and her partner have not quit smoking yet. They will continue to work with my companion and his new companion after I leave to hopefully get baptized soon.

So our area is doing pretty well and the whole mission seems to have turned a corner with the new emphasis on retention from our new mission president. He has urged us to focus on real conversions and not just numbers and baptize everyone. It seems like the people we have been teaching these last few weeks are more converted than many others I have taught up to this point, which is awesome.

Me and Elder Nave, enduring to the end.
So last Thursday, we had interviews with our new mission president, President Brown. It also counted as my exit interview from my mission (trunky alert, ha ha!). He didn't even ask about our area or the progress of the missionaries in my district. He emphasized personal conversion because he says that many missionaries in the mission right now lack strong testimonies. For Elder Nave and I (who we will both be flying home together with Elder Hansen), he talked to us about spiritual goals after our missions are finished, like temple marriage, scripture study, and school. He even encouraged us to start thinking about home and making plans even though we still have two short weeks to go. Unfortunately, he will be in Guatemala on August 15th, so he won't be able to drop us off at the airport and it will just be the office missionaries seeing us off. Anyway, that was our week and I am glad we have a wedding and baptism to focus on this next week. Hard to believe that next week will be my last P-Day and my last time to write home to you guys! Have a great week!