Thursday, March 27, 2014

Letter #26 - March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for the delay in the letter this week, the internet in the jungle is a bit fritzy!  We had a pretty crazy week here.  Transfers came on Monday and for once I will be staying in an area for more than 6 weeks!! Super excited to keep working here in this area and help our investigators continue to progress!  This week we decided to really crack down and think about which investigators are going to progress and which ones we needed to drop.  Its never easy to drop investigators and at times I forget that its not giving up on them, it’s just realizing that maybe you aren’t the missionary for them, or maybe now isn’t the time.  We ended up dropping a lot of people who just weren’t progressing and we have really focused on those people that are moving forward!  We taught a lot with members this week, which was great!  We had one crazy experience that I want to share that I know I will never forget!  We went back to teach the family with the deaf and mute son.  His dad is a quadriplegic and he is to the point now where it is hard to move his head to.  He has almost no movement.  We went to his house and we went inside to give him a blessing.  In this blessing my companion gave this man a "commandment to walk".  When I heard him say that I immediately thought "WHAT DID HE JUST SAY??"  He finished the blessing and I was praying for the faith I knew I would need to help this man walk, who had been a quadriplegic for years.  His family put on his neck brace and we slowly lifted the man out of his chair.  We lifted him up and .... nothing.  We waited for a little and then... nothing.  We sat him back down and I immediately felt like my lack of faith had ruined this experience.  Then I realized that I am a called representative of Jesus Christ, and if it is his will that this man walk, he will walk.  The deaf mute son walked over and pointed to his dad’s legs and we all watched in amazement as this man moved his legs all around like a giant Latin version of Gene Kelly!!!!  He didn’t raise himself up out of his chair but I didn’t care.  I had witnessed a miracle from God and I couldn’t believe my eyes!!  We ended up giving 4 blessings and I gave my first blessing in Spanish!! I was pretty nervous but it was just a simple thing some one had asked me to do.  Such an awesome experience!  We did divisions yesterday with our Zone leaders and Elder Vindas (Costa Rican) and I went to El Dorado to do some baptismal interviews!  On our way back we stopped in on one of our investigators who we hadn’t been able to find for the past week or so.  We talked with her about how she felt about the church and then asked her about baptism.  She told us that she wanted to be baptized but in a couple more weeks.  I started to talk to her about how in order to receive the blessings from God, he requires us to take a step of faith.  She really seemed to understand in that moment that this was something she needs to do.  Long story short, we are having another baptismal service on Saturday!!! So excited for this area!!! There were so many great experiences this week but to many to write in 1 letter.  So excited to see what the future holds!! Crazy to think that 2 weeks from now I hit 6 months!! Time is flying!!

I love you all and I cant wait to talk to you next week!! You’re the best!! 

Elder Ollerton

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Letter #25 March 17, 2014

Hey Everyone!!
The miracles keep coming here in our little corner of the Lord´s vineyard and little miracles are very evident in our daily lives here in Argentina.  We had a very short week this week because we had a mission conference on Wednesday.  Tuesday night we set off for Posadas which normally is around a 5 hour bus ride, but it took us 6.5 hours because all over the province of Misiones, teachers are on strike for heaven knows why!!  We got stuck in an hour and a half delay in order to watch a protest pass by.  Nothing to exciting. 
We got to listen to Elder Zeballos who is the first counselor in our area presidency.  He and his wife were awesome speakers!!!  They talked about so many different things, and at the same time they tied everything back to our purpose as missionaries!! I learned so much! It was so good to see all of my old friends and just catch up a little.  We had the entire Argentina side of our mission there, around 80 missionaries!!  It was a great conference and a nice little boost to the week.  We got back late Wednesday night and only had 2 full days of work this week!! That being said, we still taught over 25 lessons and I have no idea how we pulled that off.  The Lord is blessing us so much. The church is growing super fast!! 
We had another really cool experience this week.  We had just gotten out of a lesson in a part of our area I had never been and so we were kind of lost!  We took a road that we had just hoped would cut across a field and guide us to where we needed to go.  We ended up getting lost and at the end of this dead end street we passed a house with 3 women sitting outside.  We went and asked them how to get to the main road.  Turns out they speak very little Spanish and Guarani is what they speak fluently. My companion served in Paraguay for many months and so we communicated a little bit.  The thing that they ended up noticing was our name tags.  They recognized the name Jesu Cristo on our name tags and before we knew it we were taken inside and into a small back room.  There on the bed was a man who looked like he was around 70 years old and from his head to his fingers he was as skinny a person as I had ever seen.  From his stomach down to his toes, he was very very swollen.  Something was very wrong.  He was to weak to even lift his head off the pillow.  He told us he had been like this for 10 hours and he knew that we had been sent from God to help him.  They asked us to pray and so we gave him a blessing!  The Spirit was so evident. After we finished they immediately invited us back for another visit.  I really learned how important it is for all of us to be ready to serve because we never know when the Lord will put us in someones path who needs our help.  Also this past Saturday we had 2 more baptisms.  They were the 2 kids that had the super anti-Lds family.  This last Thursday we went to their house and had a great talk about Baptism again.  Their mom agreed that we could do it, as long as we could keep it a secret so that we didn't have a ton of drama! So that's what we did. ha ha We baptized them on Saturday and it was a great service!! We have received so many blessings and it's impossible to write all of them in a letter!!!
We have a lot to talk about in 19 months. haha.

I love you all and pray for you daily!! Love you and God bless :)

Elder Ollerton

Monday, March 10, 2014

Letter #24 March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Another week down and its crazy to realize I have been away from home for 5 months!!! Time has flown by and I never thought I would even get to this point this fast.   Anyways, this week was pretty good, and I am still learning a ton!!  This week we worked a lot better with the members and we had a lot of success.  We have so many exciting things coming up this week!! We have an investigator named Ramona who wants to be baptized but first she has to get married.  The thing is she is an immigrant from Paraguay and she has no documents whatsoever.  So last week we asked President Lapierre if it would be ethically okay to pay a doctor to forge documents and he said that he didn't think that a lack of documentation should keep someone from saving ordinances, so this week we are going to go pay a doctor to forge national documents. hahaha! 

Also this week we had a lot of crazy success.  We had 3 baptisms that were going to happen but some crazy family members who are anti-LDS intervened and it didn't happen.  So our solution was to go teach these family members.  We went to their house and the father turns out has a muscle disease and is a quadriplegic.  We talked about Faith and then talked about Priesthood and how we could give him a blessing.  He told us that we could come by anytime and he would love to receive a blessing.  While we were there, their 25 year old  son came out and started to look at my pictures.  He was deaf and mute.  He came across one of my pics of me playing football and baseball and he freaked out!!!  He began to make motions of football and baseball and came over and brought me a pen and paper for an autograph. haha.  Then before I knew it I had about 4 or 5 teenagers taking pictures with me. hahaha.   Not going to lie I felt pretty awesome!!  We stayed and talked for a little longer then had to go. 

We also had another cool experience.  Saturday night we were on cloud nine.  We had around 1 more hour to work and we already had taught 12 lessons that day.  We got to the house of the Bogardin Family and their son Alejandro had come home very high on marijuana and very drunk.  His parents asked us to give him a blessing.  We asked the father if he wanted to give the blessing and he said he wanted the Elders to do it.  I annointed his son with the oil and then Elder Seethaler gave him a blessing.  It was a powerful blessing and Elder Seethaler actually through the spirit commanded Alejandro to stop using these things.  The next day as we were passing by to get our investigators,  we clapped the Bogardins house just to check up on them, and out came Alejandro to go to church with us!!! Shirt and tie and all!!  It was incredible!!!

 Final story for now!  Yesterday after church we got a phone call from the zone leaders saying they needed to go to El Dorado (about an hour south of here) to do emergency divisions and try to save a baptism.  The investigator was getting cold feet.  I knew Elder Seethaler would be going because they needed experience to try and save the baptism, but then Elder Vindas (zone leader) said, "Elder Ollerton dont worry I am paying for your ticket!"  They trusted me enough to go out their and do divisions.  I went with Elder Prince from El Dorado.  We were in the MTC together so I was kind of nervous to be out on our own.  We did great!! I was surprised at how easy it was to lead the discussion and not have anyone to lean on for translations.

 I am truly being blessed out here and I am so grateful for it!  I hope all of you have a great week!!

Love you all!
Elder Ollerton

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Letter #23 March 3, 2014

Hello Friends and Family!!!

I hope everyone is doing great at home with all of your busy events going on!!   This has been another good week here in the Garden of Eden!!  I really do feel so blessed to be able to be serving in this area!! It really is awesome being a missionary in this little corner of the Lord´s vineyard!!  This last week we had a lot of success.  We taught a lot of lessons and we saw a lot of miracles!  That is not to say that we have not had our fair share of trials.  This week was kind of tense in our companionship.  We have each found things about the other that we have a hard time with but I love Elder Seethaler a ton!!! We are working hard on being patient with one another and I have started to study patience in my personal study.  This week we taught a ton and one of the families that we are focusing on is the Amarillo family (the Yellow family haha).  The man is Marcelo and he is a member that we are reactivating and the girlfriend Raquel is one of our investigators.  This week we are going to push really hard to get them married so that she can be baptized next Saturday.  They have a huge family that lives with them so they are top priority right now!!

In total since we started here in Puerto Esperanza, we have found over 130  people to teach and majority of them are families!!  We have been so blessed and watched over these last 3 weeks!! This week we went to talk to a man named Juan Carlos.  His property is about 5 km outside of Puerto Esperanza and it is where we are going to start baptizing.  As we started walking up to his door, we saw two other missionaries from a different church.  My first thought was to come back later and not make an awkward confrontation for this family.   But we kept walking and  when these two 5´6 Hispanic missionaries saw two  6´2+ American guys walking up they just turned and walked away. ha ha.  We figured out why President sent 2 huge white Elders to this area, now everyone knows the Mormons ha ha.   We sat down with this woman and after around 15 minutes of talking she had a baptismal date.

Missionary work is so much fun!!!  We had a lot more success stories this week but now its time for a funny.  After Church on Sunday my companion was super mad because the members told me that I speak better Spanish than he does.  Then later for dinner I started to try and cook and a couple of oil burns later Elder Seethaler took over.  We started getting texts from some girl saying she was the daughter of Lillian.  Lillian is a member that we have been trying to get in touch with forever and we cant ever find her so this was awesome that her daughter was contacting us.  We started talking and we ended up finding out that her name was Alba she was 18 years old and she wanted us to come visit her and her family.  We asked her if her mom would be home so that she knew our intentions for visiting and then we headed off to Barrio Alegre which is about 3 km outside of Puerto Esperanza.  We got there and we could not find this house anywhere!!  We just started to teach lessons in the area hoping to find her.  After about 45 minutes we just called her and it turns out it is the daughter of one of the families that we dropped last week for not progressing and she just missed us. ha ha We were super confused for a long time and we ended up just laughing it off.

That's it for this week.  Lots more happened but you will all just have to stay tuned till October 2015 to hear everything.  I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!!

Elder Ollerton