Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter #18 January 27, 2014

Hola Everyone!!

This has been a slow week here and we don't have much to write about. But to start off with we didn't get to go to Posadas because the Marquez family was missing some paper work and weren't able to get married.  They will be baptized this coming Saturday if all goes well!  We visited a lot of less active members this week in an attempt to raise the church attendance, and we also moved Sacrament meeting to the end of the block to try and catch those members that just cant make it out of bed in the morning.  That said we only had 15 members in Sacrament meeting this past week and that is counting us 4 missionaries ha ha.  We visited a lot of members that live really far outside of San Vicente to.  We walked probably 10 km to see 1 member.  Pretty crazy some of the places these people live!!  We also decided this last week to make some changes in the apartment.  We moved all the furniture around and made the Pinch our own!! The Elders before us were pretty crazy we were told so we decided to clean the whole thing and make it more comfortable for us.  After we had done this the pinch immediately had a stronger spirit in it.  Mom you were right cleanliness really is next to Godliness ha ha.  We also had the opportunity this week to dedicate some homes.  Elder Izurieta and I knelt in 2 separate homes this week and dedicated them to the Lord and it was a really cool experience.  Something that I had never been a part of before.  Also this last week we had a couple ask Elder Izurieta and I to bless their baby.  Next week in Sacrament meeting we will bless Miguel Rueben Alberto Velasco.  Quite the mouth full.  Probably the biggest thing this week is that we discovered the slow motion camera and the hyper speed video function on my camera.  Needless to say we haven't been bored very often!!!  It is also a good way for me to get to know the kids here even though I cant speak to them fluently!!  We ate with Hermana Navarro yesterday and she normally makes really good food!!! When we got there her sisters family was there to.  Her sister made these HUGE empanadas and I didn't want to be rude so I grabbed one.  It was freakin gross ha ha.  I don't know what was in it but I had never had it before!!! I ate the whole thing and then was happy it was over.  We got back to the pinch last night and i was fine.  When I woke up this morning I thought I was dying!!  I was so sick and I knew it was from the empanada.  So this is the 3rd time I have been sick here in Argentina and now I am on a strict diet of ... Nothing.  Lets hope this doesn't continue long.  I have gotten really into my studies this week to!  Its amazing how much I have learned in just the last week!!  I started reading Jesus the Christ and I have to read every sentence like 4 times to understand him!!  This has been a very different week but I am learning a lot!

Thanks so much for all of your prayers and just being great people!!! I Love you all more than french toast!!

Elder Ollerton

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letter #17 - January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014


This week went by fast but also slow!!!  We started the week off by doing divisions with the Zone leaders which was great but awful at the same time!  It was great because we got to have twice as many elders in our area to try and find as many people as we could to teach.  Tuesday night I went out and tracted with Elder SaldaƱa.  He is from Colombia and doesn't speak any English. It was a good opportunity to work on my Spanish and I was surprised to see that I understood everything he said!  It was a little harder to be able to respond the way that I wanted to though.  We found a lot of new people in the short new time that we had.  We found a guy named Humberto who was just solid as a rock!! He was really open about his life which was great!! He told us that when he was younger he had a problem with drugs, and he is only 21!!!  He doesn't smoke but he drinks a little.  He is trying to quit because his girlfriend is pregnant and they are going to get married!! We were both like, "this guy is gold"!!  We went back a few days later to try and teach him and his wife, but it turns out his wife is a very very very stubborn Catholic who doesn't want to listen to us.  We have a lot of work to do there.  We also found a woman that can't see small words to read, and her son doesn't know how to read (really common here).  Still trying to figure out a way to teach her.  The worst part of our divisions was that we had to cram 4 guys into 2 beds (if i can figure out how to do the photos I will send pics)!!  It was the worst nights sleep I have had since I got here!!  My body didn't fit on the bed and so I got maybe an hour or two all night.  The next morning we were up and at it again this time I went with Elder Lumpkin from Fort Collins, Colorado.  He doesn't like other people to talk in lessons so I didn't get to talk hardly at all!!  He is kind of a control freak.  We did find a great family that we think we will be able to work with!!!  They recently lost their dad to a heart problem so we talked about how the gospel can bless our families even in the most difficult times!  They are really great and we are working with them as often as we can!!

There is a member in the word who is an ex missionary and now he is inactive.  This week we decided to take a trip to his house to see him and introduce ourselves.  And yes it was a trip. He lives 10 km outside of town and we got to walk every step of the way. haha.  It took us just over an our and a half to get there and have his wife tell us he wasn't home. haha.  10 km back and it was nothing more than good exercise!! But then again I do have a few more lbs to lose. haha.

We also got to talk to Elder Ake (my old ZL) in Posadas this week.  Elder Izurieta and I were both curious about our old investigators that we left.  Elder Ake told me that the Marquez family...... IS GETTING MARRIED TODAY AND BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After long hard hours of work this family is finally going to be baptized!!!!!  I called President and got permission to go to Posadas for the baptism!! I could not be more excited!! I know that this would not have been possible without your prayers so thank you so much!!!  I know I am not very good at answering questions about everything so if you have questions about anything here go ahead and hit me up haha!!

I love you all and I hope everyone is loving life!!!!
Elder Ollerton

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Letter #16 January 13, 2014


I hope everyone has had a great week and is doing well!! We are working hard in San Vicente and taking the Gospel to what has to be one of the farthest corners of the earth ha ha.  We had a pretty good week but I am still trying to get adjusted to the whole balancing a branch and doing the whole tracting thing.  It has been hard to find the balance but either way we are working hard.  This is the 2nd week in a row that we have had to email from Obera because internet in the jungle oddly enough is a joke!!! We have one family that we have been working with and trying to get them ready for baptism.  Ramona has 4 daughters and all 4 of them have baptismal dates for the 8th of February.  The only thing is that they live about 2 kilometers outside of San Vicente so we have to wake up at around 5 every Sunday morning, get ready and then walk to their house to bring them to church.  And then when we finally get to the building we have to get everyone inside and start the meeting.  
We have had a lot of adventures this week including getting lost in the middle of the freaking jungle!!! 
On Saturday we decided to go to a less active family´s house and try and get them to church the next day.  We have a really crappy map of the area and just a general idea of where they live!!  So we set off to take an hour walk to their house.  We had been walking for probably 2 miles when we stopped to ask a man if he was familiar with where this family lived and he said not really but that the road to our left would get us there.  So we believed him.  We started walking up this super steep hill in about 5 inches of fresh mud following the last 2 days of rain.  It seemed liked we had been walking forever when we finally made it to the top we saw shacks to our left and shacks to our right with little naked children running around in the mud and the occasional group of teenage guys trying to "mad dog" us.  We continued to walk for another 30 minutes around corner after corner and flicking a crap load of mud off my boots.  We finally ended up in a clearing with a few shacks around us on top of a mountain.  We were completely lost and it was getting dark.  I looked at Elder Izurieta and said "Dude, we gotta pray."  We said a prayer and just sat and waited to know where to go.  At like the same time we both pointed the same direction!! It was seriously a spiritual experience!!  We continued to walk and after about a mile of walking we found the family!! It was such a cool experience to know and feel that even when 2 guys are in the middle of the jungle, Heavenly Father knows them and their needs.

This week we were on and found the new youth theme song for 2014.  It is entitled "Come unto Christ" and if any of you haven't seen it yet you should go watch it!!  I have watched it a solid 20 times and it is always easy to feel the Spirit when I listen to it! There is one line in particular that really touches my heart every time I hear it,  It goes... "So let him in, and he will take away your pain.  When you feel his love you will never be the same." When we truly let Christ into our lives and we have a sincere desire to follow him and help others do the same, then we truly feel the true love of Jesus Christ. It really is true that when we feel that love, we are changed forever.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be able to share this message with the people of Argentina and I would urge each of you to do the same.  We have been blessed to know of our Saviors love and it is something we need to share!

I Love you all with all my heart.  Have a great week.
Elder Ollerton

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Letter #15 January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014
Hola Everybody and Welcome to the JUNGLE!!!

The internet was down all day yesterday in San Vicente so we are now in Obera using the nice Cyber here!  Obera is a 3 hour bus ride away and we take it once a week for District Meetings or Zone Conferences!! It's a pain but it is also nice because we get to use the bus ride to catch up on sleep!!! 
This last week has been crazy!!! Elder Izurieta (My new companion) and I arrived in San Vicente last week and have been trying to get the hang of how to run a branch and everything!!  I am now the 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency which is crazy, and I have to learn how to do everything like Tithing, Temple Recommend interviews and things like that!!  Last Tuesday, Elder Izurieta, Elder Lumpkin (New Zone Leader), and I, jumped on a bus in Posadas and headed off to Obera.  When we got here there was supposed to be an Elder here waiting for us. There wasn't.  Instead we got here to find out that there had been a riot inside of the terminal between the Police and the workers because the workers wanted more money. We sat and waited without a cell phone, for 2 hours with no idea what to do!!  Finally, he came running around the corner and took us to the terminal after they had cleared all the blood and bodies out.  We waited for our bus and then finally got on and arrived in San Vicente (5 Hrs East of Posadas) at around 11:00 at night!! Crazy day (Just kidding about bodies and stuff haha)!!!! 
We had 33 people in Sacrament meeting this last Sunday which is great!!! There is about 200 baptized members in San Vicente so inactivity is a huge problem!!!  Another crazy thing about my new area is that it is over 300 Km wide!! This is a huge reason there is so much inactivity, because people live very far from the church and very few have cars!  We had 4 men in 3rd hour on Sunday and now even all of them are Priesthood holders!! We have 1 ex-bishop that was excommunicated and we are working to get him re-baptized!!!  There is so much drama in this branch it is ridiculous!! Some people won't go to church because they don't like other members and others get offended over the smallest things, its like being back in Jr High!!!! We have been trying to find the perfect balance between working with the branch, and trying to tract and find new people to teach!!!  Our chapel is the smallest thing ever and it is pretty run down.  Also the man that we rent the building from is now kicking us out so Elder Izurieta and I are going to have to start looking for a new place to have Church!! So many things on our plate and we have only been here for 1 week!!!  
More about the area!! I live in the jungle everyone!!!!!!!!! It is awesome!!  It literally rains for days at a time and the roads turn into small rivers!!  People live in small homes sometimes on stilts, its like things I have only seen in the movies!!!!  My pinch is super nice and almost twice as big as my last one!!!  We have air conditioning and everything to!! Definitely an upgrade!!!! I do my laundry by hand now which was definitely a learning experience the 1st time haha.  I love my new companion!!! He has the perfect balance of fun, and work!!  Also it is almost always the perfect temperature here!!!  Much better than Posadas!!! I thought I was going to die there!!  
We had another funny experience this past week! On our way to our District meeting, Elder Izurieta and I woke up late so it was a big rush to get to the Terminal on time for our bus!!  The Sisters had left to Posadas earlier that morning for an emergency transfer so we were on our own to figure everything out!!  And on top of everything, it was raining harder than I had ever seen in my life!!!!  Rivers in the streets so strong they were sweeping cats away haha.  I had forgotten that I had water proof boots in my bag to so we were running to the terminal and I was soaking wet!!!! We got into the terminal and realized we were still 20 minutes early for our bus.  My shoes were full of water and I was soaked to the bone!!  It was a long, cold, wet ride to Obera.  When I finally got to Obera, we found our way to the chapel and found out that we were still 1 hour early to our meeting!!!!! I got to stand out soaking wet for an hour!!  We had our district meeting and on the way home I fell asleep on the bus.  When I woke up, our phone was gone!! I got robbed for the 1st time hah.  Pretty crazy 1st week to say the least.  O ya and we live like 20 seconds away from the sisters so we have been able to receive a lot of help from them!! They are awesome!!  
I love you all and pray everyday that you will all be watched over and protected!!! Much love from South of the Equator,
Elder Ollerton