Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter #13 - December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

I hope everyone had the best Christmas ever and are all stoked for the new year!! This year for Christmas President LaPierre and his wife gave everyone a personal journal, a Book of Mormon in their native language and a red pencil.  This next year we get to go through and reread the Book of Mormon, and mark everything we learn about the Savior.  We are to write in the journal anything we want to remember about our experiences with this new opportunity and everything we learn about Christ.  I think it is a great idea and it would be awesome if everyone did the same.  There is always something we can do to improve our lives and this is a great way to have those things made more apparent.  This past week I talked to my family through Skype and it was an awesome experience but  very difficult at the same time.  I left the members home in tears and I wanted to be home with my family.  The next day I woke up and realized how blessed I was for something as small as carpet, or being able to shower without having to wear shoes!! So many things that I just overlooked when I was at home.  This week I made a conscious effort to once a day say a prayer of gratitude, a prayer where I don't ask for anything.  When I do this I immediately want to work harder and find more people to share this message with!!!

Now time for investigator updates!!! This Sunday we had the entire Marquez family attend Church!!! It was the 3rd time for Mario, Nico, and Gabriel. The 2nd time for Leo, and the 1st time for Neomi and Rocio.  They all made it through all 3 hours!!!  All 3 hours were about Family Search.  Although this is a very important item (family history), 3 hours was a little much and it went clear over the families heads!  After words we went back that night and brought Hermano Zorilla with us to teach them about how the Gospel has blessed our families and how it can bless theirs.  Neomi had 2 of her older children there as well to listen to us!! We taught 11 people in 1 lesson!!!  Also....... THEY ACCEPTED THE INVITATION TO BE MARRIED!!!!!!!! That is the single biggest obstacle we face here in Argentina. People live together but just don't want to get married.  I just had a thought as I sit here writing this.  All of you that are reading this and are married, or have parents married in the temple, can you send me an email of just a paragraph or 2 about the blessings you see in your family from being married in the temple.  I think if they heard it from people who have experienced it, it would be very special!!!

Saturday when we were tracting, we walked by and wanted to stop and talk with Cristian and Ayelen who we hadn't seen in 2 weeks!! They had a couple there from their church who starting attacking our beliefs and quizzing us on scripture knowledge.  Elder Merrill handled it well, but then they starting talking about Joseph Smith and how the Book of Mormon is false doctrine.  My blood began to boil.  The women stood up and got in my face yelling about how it is not our fault that we are preaching false doctrine, its our parents fault for teaching it to us.  I was about to lose it!!! I had to leave.  I could not listen to this women sit and lecture me about things she had no idea about.  I was so angry and I was upset that Cristian and Ayelen would let that happen right in front of them!  When we got back to the pinch we were eating lunch when we got a text from Ayelen and Cristian asking forgiveness for the way that their visitors had acted and they wanted us to stop by to share more of our message!!  We went by yesterday and talked more about the Book of Mormon because they had a ton of questions about it!! They also had a ton a questions about Baptisms for the Dead!!!!  I had no idea where this was coming from it was crazy!!! But we told them that we would look into their questions and give them better answers!!  We have been so blessed this week!!

Now time for a funny story!!!  Last night we had around 45 minutes left and so we decided to go visit a less active member. We always get food from her so its a good deal. haha.  We showed up and her son was hammered.  So naturally..... we sat there and played Jenga with him. haha He sat and smoked and swore up a storm while we played Jenga haha!!!!

Anyways my time here is changing, I just heard I am getting transferred to San Vicente about 2 hours south of Posadas.  I have loved my time in Villa Cabello and everything about it.  I know the Lord directs our lives and there is a reason I am going to this new place!! My companion is Elder Izurieta from Buenos Aires!! He is going to be the Branch President in this new area to!!!! Lots to learn!!  I love you all and please continue to pray for me.

Love Elder Ollerton

Monday, December 23, 2013

Letter #12 December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

Hello everyone!!
I hope everyone is having a great holiday season and getting all ready for Christmas!!  We have had another challenging but successful week here and the hand of the Lord is evident.  First, the good stuff.  We got the Marquez boys and their dad to church again and also to the First Presidency Devotional last night.  We are still trying to get their daughter Rosio to come and it is difficult to get the mom as well.  Mostly because every time we visit that family, Neomi is drunk and goes on random rants about weird things.  She then makes her kids pray for forgiveness and makes them say that they are sinners.  Its weird ha ha.  While in Priesthood this week, a member asked Mario (the dad), if he was a member.  His response shocked all of us when he said ¨"Not yet!!!!!!"  We are so pumped and we are right on track for their families baptismal date of January 18! Please continue to pray for them!  We also stopped by Bonifacio and Marias house to just see where we stand after last week.  Bonifacio told us he wanted to have us over for dinner so that we could go to church on Sunday, but he had a prior commitment this last Sunday.  We were playing with their pet Parrot and it was just walking around my shoulder when all of a sudden everyone was laughing and I didnt know why, until I turned around and saw the stupid thing pooped right on my shoulder!! Bonifacio got it off me then bathed me in cologne. ha! ha!.  We had another pretty creepy experience this week but it turned into a cool one.  We had been teaching a woman named Maria Rojas, and it just so happened she lived in the same village that all the guys that want to jump us live in. We went to talk to her on Saturday and she told us that she didn't want to go to church so we turned to leave when a big man named Victor came over and told us he wanted to talk about the Bible. He also smelled really strongly of liquor!!  We sat down with him and immediately all of us had a bad feeling. Once we sat down with Victor all the other guys in the area left somewhere.  He kept quizzing Elder Merrill's scripture knowledge and saying stuff like "What does John 3:16 say?" Then he told Elder Merrill to give him his bible and Elder Merrill wouldn't do it.  We all stood up and left and Elder Merrill was like, "I had the strongest feeling he was going to steal my bible!"  We all were glad we got out of there.  Also, as we walk down the street and we get a lot of cat calls because we are 3 well dressed white boys ha ha.  Some lady told me I had a nice butt.  People are crazy!  Christmas is very different here because most people just get drunk and party.  They do a ton of fireworks but no one leaves their houses because people steal a lot of stuff on Christmas!!  We are working hard and counting the days till Christmas! We decorated our Pinch this week and it looks great !!!  
Mom I also bought a 3 liter bottle of Coke and made a gigantic Slurpee!!!!!!!! I love you all and wish you the very best Christmas!!
Elder Ollerton

Monday, December 16, 2013

Letter #11 - December 16, 2013

This week kicked my butt.  We talked a lot about Christmas this past week and watched a few families sit under their lights and trees, and it made me super homesick.  We had a lot of success this week but I miss everyone and the thought of 2 years is killing me.
Anyways onto things that don't make me sound like a whiner.  We found a new family who is progressing very fast!! We taught them lessons 1, 2, and 3 in a week.  They also attended church this week as well as a baptismal service on Saturday.  The parents both have addictions to alcohol and smoking so pray for them!! We had a kneeling prayer with them, and Mario, the father of the house, prayed for strength and then began to cry.  The spirit is super strong with that family!  We also went to teach Maria, Bonifacio`s wife, and she told us that Bonifacio had come home the night before super drunk. He had relapsed.  She began to cry as she told us how sick and tired she was and how her father had died of alcoholism.  I immediately thought to talk to her about Joseph Smith and the trials he went through.  I shared D&C 121: 7·8.  I talked about why we have challenges and then I felt impressed to ask if she wanted a blessing. We explained what that was and Elder Merrill gave her a blessing and she told us she felt a little better afterwards! She is one strong woman!  We had a lot of distractions this week ha ha.  Elder Worthington was transferred back so we are a trio again which is fine.  It means I have to pay less for a Remis (Taxi).  We also bought AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am so pumped to not wake up covered in sweat!!! Also we can close the windows so I don't get eaten by mosquito's anymore! Maybe that is why I have lost so much weight its just from blood loss!!  This week I hit a milestone.  I have officially lost 20 LBS in 3 weeks ha ha.  We have hit triple digits almost everyday this week and it is killing me. I did get the package from the Jacobsen Family though and I forgot how delicious American food is ha ha.  I have set a goal to eat healthy and exercise every day but the Hi-Chews are so good!!!  Here guys where ankle bracelets and stuff so i took one of the bracelets the littles made and it is on my ankle right now ha ha.  I hope everyone is doing good and staying safe!!! Keep writing and praying for me cause I can't do this alone.  I love all of you and pray for you constantly!!
Love Elder Ollerton

Monday, December 9, 2013

Letter #10 - December 9, 2013

Hello Everybody!!
Week 3 and the time is starting to click by faster!!  It is starting to get into the middle of summer here and I am wasting away.  I have lost about 15 LBS since I got here so I am literally wasting away!! We had a lot happen this week.  Elder Worthington was called on for an emergency transfer so it is just Elder Merrill and I now!  We have found a lot of success in our area this week, but a lot of trials have come to.  We had one of our investigators, Bonifacio, who we thought was just golden and so ready to be baptized!! We went to pick him up for church and he told us that he wasn't going today.  When we asked him why he told us that he had decided to be baptized into a different church.  The other church baptized him last night.  He didn't want to wait 2 more weeks.  All is well though, his wife is still investigating the church as well as his grandson!  We also have been praying to find a family that has been prepared.  Last night we think we found them :):)  Cristian and Ayelen read through the entire Restoration pamphlet as well as The Family: Proclamation to the World.  We taught them the Restoration and answered their questions.  It was awesome! They really seem to just get it!  After we finished we asked if they had anymore questions for us and Ayelen asked us what the Premortal life was? We gave here the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and are teaching them the 2nd lesson later this week!!  Keep them in your prayers please!!  I am so glad that I am hearing from more of you!!  Another thing is Christmas just isn't the same here.  Its 98 degrees outside with 100% humidity, nobody has lights or music and honestly I miss a lot about home.  However, whenever I am feeling "Trunky" (missionary lingo for homesick) Elder Merrill is quick to put us to work!! It is awesome to see the work move forward! We got 2 inactive members to church yesterday and it was awesome!! A lot of people here think that the only thing they have to do to be "saved" is be baptized.  Therefore we have a lot of inactivity.  We are focusing this week on visiting a lot of inactive members!  I will let you all know how that goes!!  Also last week as we finished teaching Jorge, we were all walking, laughing and talking (in English).  Elder Worthington and I didn't realize this but speaking in English makes you a target here.  We got to the end of the road and there was a boy, about 17 years old, standing there and when he saw us he quickly turned around and put something in his pants.  As we got closer Elder Merrill whispered "Shut up! Shut up! to us.  We didn't know why, then we walked past the boy and all of a sudden he whistled and Elder Merrill quickened the pace.  I glanced over my shoulder and 4 more men came out of the bushes.  They were headed towards us. We hurried inside of Bonifacios house and taught him a lesson.  I said a prayer asking Heavenly Father for safety.  I was pretty sketched out!!  I thought of everything I had that they would take and there was one thing that I never go anywhere without.  My sister Rylee before I left, gave me a leather bracelet that says Proverbs 3: 5-6.  It is always in my shirt pocket right behind my name tag!!  I didn't care what these men took from me as long as they didn't take the bracelet.  I quickly took out the bracelet and put it in my shoe.  They could do whatever they wanted to my stuff, but if they took my bracelet we were going to have a problem!! Elder Merrill asked Bonifacio if he would walk with us to the top of the hill (because Bonifacio is HUGE) . He agreed and we got home safely.  While I was sitting in Bonifacio´s house,  I was thinking about all that Joseph Smith went through for his testimony.  I knew that these men wouldn't do anything as bad as what had happened to the Prophet,   but it made me think, what would I go through for the good of this Gospel.  My heart was calmed and I knew no matter what happened I would be okay.  The Lords hand is in all of our lives and I hope we can be more grateful for everything we have especially during this time of year!! You are all in my thoughts and prayers daily!!

Elder Ollerton

P.S. Don't worry Mom. We are fine!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter #9 December 2, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!
This week has definitely been more difficult than the first.  We got 20 new investigators this week so that takes our teaching pool over 30 with a lot of families!! I am so excited!!  The hand of the Lord has been very evident in our work this week.  We did get dropped by a couple families which is sad, but hey now the seed is planted!  Right after we would get dropped I swear there was another family next door!!!  It is awesome!!  Our apartment still sucks and I kind of have to pick my poison.  Either I sleep without my mosquito net and get eaten alive,  or I use it and the fan blows it on my face which tickles me and wakes me up constantly.  Nights here are brutal!  The mattresses are 5 feet long I swear and I end up in the fetal position most nights haha.  We are still eating good!! My body is having a hard time adjusting to the Argentine eating schedule, HUGE lunch, no dinner.   I always end up eating bowls and bowls of cereal with yogurt instead of milk here.  All the walking has benefited me though!!  I have lost a couple pounds haha yippee!! The language is still kicking my butt, but I am learning fast and hope that I will soon be fluent haha (Pray for me). We had a miracle happen this week.  On Saturday we were expecting up to 12 investigators at church.  Sunday morning came around and it was raining pretty solid here.  The entire city shuts down here when it rains and we began to get txt after txt saying people weren't coming because of the rain!! We were so upset.  Everyone of our investigators had fallen through!!!  Then we got a txt saying, "We are waiting to go to church"   One of our investigators had decided to brave the weather and bring his family to church.  We put him and his family on a bus and then caught a taxi to another investigators house.  We put both of them in the taxi and ended up having 5 investigators in Church!! It was great!!!  We had a really neat experience this week-  We were teaching 2 sisters (14, 9) Selene and Milagros.  One day we went to teach them and Selene said that she had some friends who wanted to talk to us to.  Elder Merrill asked her if they were drinking.  She said no so we walked over.  The boys were 23,18, and 15.  All of them had at least 5 tattoos, they were all drinking wine and smoking cigarettes.  EVEN THE· 15 YEAR OLD!!  We gave them a Word of Wisdom pamphlet and bore testimony then left.  We were also teaching a women named Cristina but she has been lying to us through her kids about whether or not she is home.  We decided to give her 1 last chance so we walked to her house and clapped at the gate (Here you clap instead of knock).  Out walked Jorge (the 18 year old in the park).  He had a big smile on his face and I just thought to my self "you have got to be kidding me!!"  He was smoking a cigarette and when he saw us he put in out and walked to the gate.  We asked him if his mom was there and he told us she was sleeping.  We asked when would be a better time to come back and he let us in and grabbed 3 chairs for us!!!  We sat down and began to teach him!!!  He told us he had begun smoking at the age of 8!!!  He told us he really wants to change but it is so hard since he has been smoking and drinking for the past 10 years!!!  He is my age and is already addicted to Alcohol and Cigarettes.  I felt so bad for him!!!!  He got kind of emotional when we were talking about overcoming addictions and he ended our visit by saying "You promise to come by more often and teach me?"  We said we would and walked away still in shock at what had happened.  I learned that you never know when God will present you with an opportunity to teach and you never know who he has prepared!!  I was stunned!!  The Work is truly moving forward here and the Church is true!! I am still upset I haven't heard from all of you yet, especially my MTC teachers!!!  HAHA I love you all and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Stay safe and you are all in my prayers always!! 
Elder Ollerton