Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Letter #30 April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

Hey Everyone!

Another quick week has come and gone here in good old Puerto Esperanza. This week I have truly felt the Lord helping me in everyway!! With now only 1 week left in his mission, all my comp wants to do is stay in bed.  I LITERALLY have to drag him out of bed every morning.  It takes a lot out of me to ignore his little comments and try and keep the spirit with me.  I have learned more these last 3 months with him than I did my first 2 transfers in the field.  My patience and relationship with my Heavenly Father have grown and been strengthened so much even though the experiences that have helped that happen were extremely difficult! This week we have been really focusing our efforts on the people that are going to progress.  We have found recently quite a few awesome families that I really see progressing!! It’s a weird experience but this week I have been trying to look past how people are, like their difficulties and short comings, and I have learned to see them for who they could be, or how our Heavenly Father sees them.    It really has helped me stay focused in lessons better and listen to what they are saying.  I am sad to say it took so long but I have started to realize the significance of calling everyone here Brother or Sister. They are all lost sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and I kind of feel like a shepherd.  I have started to walk a little taller in the streets as I come to truly understand what the calling of "Missionary" is all about!  This last Tuesday we had a Zone Conference, and President Lapierre was there doing interviews.  My comp and I were the last ones to go so I had a lot of time to sit and think about what needed to be said.  My comp went in to his interview first which left just Sister Lapierre and I to talk.  And the first thing she does is look at me and say, "Do you want to talk about it?" She could tell that I was being put through a rough time so we sat and talked just her and I for 45 minutes before my interview! It was awesome! Minutes later I went in and talked to President Lapierre. He told me so many awesome things.  He said "Elder, these next two weeks might be the hardest of your entire life, but they will probably earn you a place in the Celestial Kingdom." ha I love that guy!!  We then talked about my comps recent Bible bashing spree.  He told me "If he does it again, walk away. I give you my permission to leave your companion.  Go back to the Pension and call me and I will send him home a week early!"  He told me that at this point, we are basically doing damage control. He then thanked me for my work with my comp and told me how proud he is of me. Then he told me that I have done so good with him that he might just let me pick my next companion. haha.  I am so grateful to have a President like him.  
This week we worked more with Cintia and her husband (whose name we still don’t know. ha), we went on Tuesday and they told us that they had goggled "Mormons".  Immediately I was like, “Oh know what did they read?”.  They had a TON of questions about everything, especially Joseph Smith.  We taught them the first vision and when we asked them how they felt, Cintia said, "I feel peace and happy."  But her husband said something different that surprised me.  He said, "I don’t." I was like, Oh KNOW! Then he said, "I feel an emotion,  like something burning inside me." He got a little teary eyed and we just sat in silence.  We just let the moment happen.  Then after, we explained to them what the Holy Ghost is.  It was an AWESOME lesson!!  So much faith in them!

Also this week we passed by the old folks home to visit Carlos. Randomly people started coming up to us and talking about the church! They all had attended years and years before!! Turns out the Old Folks home is a Gold mine for baptisms. ha. Who would have thought!!
This week I heard a great quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland, he says "When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple. Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” That is an everlasting declaration of God’s love and care for us, including—and perhaps especially—in times of trouble."
I have a personal testimony that the Lord lives and loves each and every one of us individually and personally, and sometimes it is only through our trials and pains that we can come to know this for ourselves.  I love you all with all of my heart, and appreciate all the birthday wishes and support!!

Stay safe!
Elder Easton Ryan

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter #29 - April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Hey Everyone!
I hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday! Easter here was pretty good and it was awesome to be able to go around and share a message about our Savior with everyone here!  Being in a small group of the church here provides the unique opportunity to give a talk and teach Sunday school every week.  We got to teach a lesson about the Atonement yesterday and it was great.   Everyone there participated and I felt the Spirit strong.  The opportunity to give Sacrament talks every week has really been helping my teaching ability.  I find myself taking initiative more in lessons and I understand everything.  I have been so blessed here.  This week I went on divisions with my Zone Leader Elder Vindas.  I went up to Puerto Iguazu and worked with him for the day.  He told me they have been worried about me because I have not been as animated as usual.  Truth be told, these past couple weeks have been difficult.  It has been hard to be upbeat and I haven’t had a ton of energy to do anything. I’m feeling better but little illnesses take my energy.  That and the companion situation was difficult.  Elder Vindas did his best to animate me, and after around 3 lessons, I felt rejuvenated for the first time in a while.  We ended up teaching 11 lessons in a little more than 8 hours.  Pretty good for the area we are in!!  It rained a ton again and so we worked all day in around 8 inches of mud!  Not my favorite thing in the world ha ha.  Elder Vindas did tell me that he thinks I speak fluently though which made me pretty happy, and I gave myself a little pat on the back.  Last night we got home from working and I don’t even remember what he said but my comp made some remark and I finally, after 10 long weeks, blew my top.  We got in an argument and I felt really bad this morning.  I prayed for help that the anger would be taken away from me and that we would be able to work past it.  After my personal study I felt a lot better and we talked things out.  
We found a lot of new families this week and they all look super promising which is super exciting!!!  I have found a new drive to work hard which although sometimes is difficult because I am so tired, has made me enjoy my mission more!! Crazy how fast time is flying by and I am so grateful for the new love to work the Lord has helped me find.  I am super excited for all the success that I know will come with hard work and obedience.  We are facing big opposition but I know with hard work and your continued support and prayers, we can do it and the work will go forth strong here!!

Thanks for everything, and I love you all!!!
Don’t forget to write!! I’d love to hear from you all.

Elder Ollerton

Monday, April 14, 2014

Letter #28 - April 15, 2014

Hey Everyone!

This past week my 6 month mark came and went!! Crazy how fast the first quarter of my mission has gone by!!  It really is true what they say that time out here starts to fly!! I have new resolve to work hard and really give these next 18 months everything that I have!  This week was probably one of the slowest in my mission!! We had a lot of opposition and it was almost like we were working in a new area.  For the first time in 2 months here, we got rejected a ton!!  We were both really confused! We had an investigator who we had been working with and she had a baptismal date for this last Saturday and all of a sudden she just didn't want to listen to us anymore! Super confusing!  We went to a part of our area that we hadn't really ever been to and found quite a few new people to teach but I´m still not sure if any of them will progress or not.  My companion and I had a few more little arguments this week but nothing big.  I have decided that I am just going to try and help him enjoy his last 3 weeks as a missionary and try to keep everything really calm and fun.  We had a lot of fun on Wednesday as it was my actual 6 month mark.  Here as a missionary, every 6 month milestone (ie. 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years), you do something fun.  For example, at 6 months you burn a tie, and eat a 1/4 kilo of Ice cream.  At a year you burn a shirt, and eat 1/2 a kilo of Ice cream.  18 months you burn a pair of slacks, and eat 3/4 of a kilo, and 2 years you burn a suit, and eat a kilo of Ice cream.  It's super fun and I finally feel like I have gotten my feet wet with the whole Mission thing.  We have our investigator with a new baptismal date for this next Saturday and she is so ready!! She just has to stay strong and stay single ha ha.  We passed by last night and had an awesome lesson with her!!  This week we had a change in our mission schedule to accommodate the change of weather! Surprisingly it is actually pretty chilly here now and I think I may have caught a cold.  But as for the schedule it is a hard adjustment!  We now study in the morning, and then work from 1:30 in the afternoon, until 9:30 at night!! The days are long but we are adjusting. It has been a long couple of nights these past 4 days.  I have been up with cold like symptoms and my comp snores like a bear.  Sometimes I throw things on the ground hoping he will wake up and think something just fell.  Or sometimes I smack my hand on the wall to try and wake him up so the snoring stops but nothing ever works!! ha ha.  That's pretty much it for this week! Hope everything is well at home and everyone is just loving life!!

I love you all!!
Elder Ollerton

Letter #27 April 07, 2014

Hello once again from this little section of the Lord´s vineyard!
I hope everyone had a great week and just loved General Conference!  My companion and I got to go to Posadas this week to watch Conference in English.  Although I´m sure I could understand it in Spanish, there is something different about listening to the actual voice of the Prophet and other General Authorities!! We left Friday afternoon and spent time there before leaving Sunday night.  I'm a little ashamed to say that it was the first time I had actually sat through and taken notes on every single talk.  It truly was a spiritual feast!!  Every talk just seemed to have something even if it was small that I needed to hear!!! It was an unbelievable weekend!!  I especially loved Elder Hollands talk (as always) about defending our faith. Being a missionary I felt like I had a different perspective on the story.  As a missionary there are always going to be people or instances that will try my patience.  But this week it hit me that I really am in a set apart servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I really can endure any trial with patience.  But at the same time I loved what he said when he said "Endure every trial with courage and courtesy, but Defend the Faith.¨ As members of this church we have the responsibility and it is something that I hope we can always remember!
  Anyways,  we didn't have to go to Posadas, but this week during scripture study I was especially down and I decided to give President Lapierre a call.  We talked for no more than 5 minutes and he told me to go ahead and come in to Posadas.  Saturday morning before conference I sat down with him and we had an hour long interview.  I told him about everything that I was experiencing and why I needed the interview.  I told him all about my companionship problems and he really is an inspired man.  He knew exactly what to say to put my mind at ease.  He told me how proud he was of me and that he knew that I was the Elder that Elder Seethaler needed to help him finish strong!! I felt a new drive to work hard and help the work of Salvation move forward!!  We had a pretty normal week other than our Posadas trip.  I can truly see the hand of the Lord working here in Puerto Esperanza and I am so happy to be a part of it!! 
I love you all and I will see you all in a short 18 months!!  Crazy how fast 6 months has gone!! 
Elder Ollerton