Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Letter #36 July 21, 2014

Hey Everyone!!
This week was crazy.  I was all over the place!!  Monday after writing we all went out to the Ruins.  They were huge and pretty cool as well.  Still not really sure what they were, as far as I can tell it was a Guarani Indian civilization before.  We all had a great time running around taking pictures and just enjoying the sites.  Tuesday, I did divisions with Elder Quesada for like 3 hours and then we headed to the terminal here in Encarnacion.  We had to go to Asuncion, along with around 14 other missionaries in order to do paper work and more visa stuff.  I swear it never ends haha. We had a 5 hour bus ride to Asuncion that started at 12:00.  I woke up at 4:00am in the morning and asked a guy where we were and he told me we were about 30 miles outside of Encarnacion.  Our bus had broken down and we had been stuck in the same spot for 3 hours!  It was awful.  A 5 hour bus ride turned into 9 long hours on a tiny bus that was not designed for American sized people.  We finally got to Asuncion and it turns out that it was transfer day in the Asuncion mission.  I actually met friends from Lone Peak High School that I didn't even know were in that mission!!  It was so cool to see old friends from before the mission!  We headed to Migrations and took care of a couple issues and then got to go and see the temple!! It had been 9 months almost without seeing a Temple.  The feelings there were so special and it is definitely something that I miss a ton!  We took pictures, walked around the temple grounds (incredibly tiny), and then got to go to the Distribution Center and it was like Christmas morning!!  I got a ton of stuff for only 50,000 Guarani (about 10 dollars).  We then headed to one of the highlights of the trip... PIZZA HUT!!! They actually had Pizza hut in Asuncion!! It was awesome!!  They did some weird stuff to the pizza though.  One of them was covered in corn, another had hot dogs on it.  Someone needs to teach them how to make a pizza ha.  Overall, Asuncion was a blast!! I loved being able to see even more of the world!
Back to reality,  we had to do a ton of contacting this week trying to find new people and it was super hard.  We work hard all day but we haven't really found anyone that will progress.  This week we clapped a guys house and he let us in to talk with him.  Right as we had started to talk, his nephew showed up and it just so happens that his nephew is a Pastor for a different church.  He sat down and actually knew quite a bit about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and then he asked if it was ok to call us "Mormons".  We said yes and that it was just a nickname.  Then he told us he didn't want to call us Mormons because he had Googled what the word "Mormon" meant and then he told us that in Chinese , Mormon means "camino al Infierno".  For those of you that don't speak Spanish this guy tried to tell us that Mormon in Chinese meant "Pathway to Hell".  I tried not to laugh at this guy.  There are some pretty interesting characters here in Paraguay!! I still got 15 months here to meet even more of them!! Bring it on!!  I hope everything is going great at home and everyone is safe. 

Mom, Dad and fam,  I hope that you are loving Powell and I am still a little bitter that I wasn't invited!!

Love you all!! 
Elder Ollerton

P.S.  If you are looking for some killer scripture study this week,  Mosiah 3 or 24 was amazing for me!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Letter #37 July 28, 2014

Hey Everybody!!

Wow every week I feel like P-day comes faster and faster.  This week was the last of the transfer so we worked hard so we could finish strong.  Monday, I did divisions with Elder Vindas.  It was a weird change because the last time that I did divisions with him he was my Zone Leader and now the roles were reversed.  We worked hard so that we could meet as many people as possible!  We began clapping houses and a lot of people let us in.  I want to share one experience that we had together that was especially powerful.  We walked down the street and met a woman named Jorgelina who was out on her porch smoking.  Elder Vindas asked her if she was stressed and she sad yeah.  Then we asked her if we could share a message that brought relief and she brought us some chairs.  We began to talk to her and she just wouldn't open up to us.  She gave us very short answers and didn't show much emotion.  Then out of nowhere, Elder Vindas began to tell her what he felt about her.  He began to make bold statements about why she was the way she was, and what had happened in her life.  I watched in shock as my friend, filled with the spirit of the Lord, made bold observations about her.  After a minute or two,  I looked at Jorgelina and she just said "Si".   It was an amazing experience!! I learned a valuable lesson that night, that when the spirit tells you something, DO IT.  Thanks the spirit,  we were able to get to the heart of Jorgelina and she accepted a baptismal date of August 9th.  Our divisions were focused on being bold.  I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 24:12 (Look it up)  Everyone of us can be more bold in bearing testimony and sharing the gospel.  This week we really focused on the Barbosa family.  The kids all had sufficient attendance so they could be baptized the only problem was their dad.  He drinks a lot and he thinks that his kids are not prepared sufficiently to be baptized.  This Saturday, after a lot of hard work, all 3 of the Barbosa kids entered the waters of baptism.  We headed out to the Barbosa´s house (around a 20 minute walk).  We had the baptism planned for around 5 and so at 4 o'clock we got to their house.  Only Maura, the 12 year old daughter, was there.  We waited until 4:45 when finally Alfredo and Carlos showed up.  After we got to the bus stop and waited for another 20 minutes, we learned that there were not any more buses from Ita Paso at that hour.  We had to call a taxi and at around 6:30pm, an hour and a half late, we had a baptism!! It was so cool to watch the look on their parents faces as their kids took this incredible step!  Their parents are still trying to get through the marriage process so that they can be baptized, but you could see the motivation in their eyes after the baptism.  There are great things ahead for this family!! Other than that,  this week was good.  There's always a lot of stories to share, but they will have to wait another 14ish months ha.

I love you all and you are in my prayers constantly!! Keep fighting and stay cute cool crazy!!
Elder Ollerton

Monday, July 7, 2014

Letter #35 July 7, 2014

Hey Everyone!!
This week was crazy!! We were running in all directions and we were drained in every sense of the word.  Tuesday we had Leadership Council in Posadas so we hopped the border once again.  It was an awesome day full of learning.  We talked all about being yourself and not trying to be any other missionary.  That is a huge problem here.  We all see missionaries that are just awesome and we try to adapt ourselves to them.  President LaPierre talked about how we weren't called to be anyone else other than ourselves.  I was called to be Elder Ollerton.  It has been a tough week trying to find out what I have taken from other missionaries and what truly is me. 
We were Posadas until Wednesday doing Leadership Council, and then paper work through Thursday.  We only had 2 days to work this week so that was also stressful.  Trying to find time to help other missionaries, and help people progress towards baptism is hard. Finding the balance between them is even more difficult, especially when I am not even in the same country.
We got out and worked hard through the rest of the week and ended up with a huge payback on Sunday.  In total we had 40 people in church, that is the most I have seen in 7 months!!!  We also had 13 investigators!! We are being so blessed here in Ita Paso.  I love the area and on top of everything it only rained once this whole week!!!  We are focusing on 8 people that we want to baptize this month and if all goes well, it will be amazing!! We have a lot of kids that love to come to church and listen to the gospel, and we love teaching them!!  We use a lot of visual aids (not just because they are young, but also because they speak a lot of Guarani) and also games to help them understand.  They always ask us when we are going to come back and when church is.  Super cool!  I am also trying to get more comfortable with all my Zone Leader responsibilities.  We have a lot more to do now.  We received a call on Saturday at around 12:30 from some Sisters in an area around 30 minutes away from ours. They told us that they needed baptismal clothes.  Their baptism was scheduled to start in an hour!!  We grabbed the clothes that we had and headed out the door to go to the bus.  Right as we got out the door, we saw the colectivo (bus) passing on the street above ours.  Elder Magdaleno yelled, "GO CATCH IT ELDER!!"  I don't know why but I just took off on a sprint!! I must have ran over 200 yards to catch this bus and I was dead beat tired when we got on.  I realized how out of shape I have gotten in a quick 9 months!!
We have been working with a lot of less active members and most of them are coming back to church.  We set a goal to become a branch within the transfer.  We are only 1 Priesthood holder shy of becoming a branch!! Keep all of us here in Ita Paso in your prayers :)  We are working hard and doing our very best to help the church progress.  The Lords hand is evident everywhere even in places that we never would expect.  We have a less active member that lives around 3 miles from our house.  We walk home every night from their house. It is very dark with little street lights anywhere.   Every night when we are about to leave, the family prays for our safety as we walk back.  Night after night we see some sketchy guys that drive by, but we are always protected.  The Lord truly knows his children and watches over us all even if we don't know it.  As I read the scriptures, I have come to realize how often the word Diligence appears in one way or another.  I know that as we are all diligent, in everything that the Lord requires of us, he will watch over and protect us.  I hope and pray that we can do everything that we can, so that the Lord can pour out all of his blessings upon us.

I love you all and hope you are all loving life!! Stay safe!!

Elder Ollerton