Monday, September 29, 2014

Letter #46 - September 29, 2014

Hello Everyone from your best friend down here in Paraguay!

This week was nuts!! We worked so hard, saw a ton a ton of success but also quite a few hard trials! We started out this week with P-day going to the beach and playing some football.  It felt great to get out there and do something American for the first time in a year!!  After P-day we went back and tried to clean our apartment which has become impossible.  The apartment is just determined to be an old run down, fall apart piece of poop!!  It's all good though.  Tuesday came around and we found a less active member who had recently moved to Ita Paso, and had been praying to have the church put back into her life!! The first door of the week that we clapped was an answer to a prayer!!  We also found a ton of new people this week, and a lot of them were super cool!! The best part is a lot of them were guys which means potential Priesthood!!  We had especially powerful experiences that I want to share with our progressing investigator Romina.  We passed by on Tuesday with a member who is awesome.  Hermana Cabrera is the perfect person to help us out with Romina.  We decided to teach Romina about the Law of Chasity.  She is 19 years old, not married, with a 3 month old daughter and she lives with her Boyfriend.  As you can see, we were a little nervous as to how the talk would go.  We began to talk, and it was such an awesome discussion!!!! The Spirit was strong and testified of the truth of what we were saying.  It was vital to teach with the Spirit especially on a touchy subject.  Romina accepted everything and agreed that these principles were something she wanted to see her daughter live when she grows up and something that she is going to talk to her boyfriend about.  We were excited and relieved!!  What a first day of the week!! Then the very next day decided to walk to an outlying neighborhood and contact. We contacted a house and there we met Cecilia.  She is 84 years old and can barely move she has had so many operations on her body. She is probably about 4`11 and is just the most awesome little lady!!  She talked about how hard her life has been since her husband died and about all the pain she is in.  It was super sad, but at the same time it's an awesome feeling to know that we have just the thing to help her!  We explained what the Priesthood is and how we have the power to give people blessings, then we explained a little about blessings.  We asked her if she would like one and ever so slowly we made our way back in side her tiny house.  She sat down and asked me to give the blessing.  One of the blessings I am seeing a lot of now is that as I become more and more in tune with the Spirit, God gives me more chances to exercise my Priesthood.  We gave her a blessing, and as bad as I wanted to tell her that her body would feel better the only thing the Spirit prompted me to tell her was to be patient in trials and have faith that the Lord knew her.  It was a very sobering lesson on doing the Lords will and not my own.  After the blessing,  I felt spiritually exhausted, I was even sweating.  I think the blessing actually took a lot out of me!  Cecilia looked up at me and with the most sincere look in her eyes said Gracias.  I almost cried (ya ya i know laugh it up).  This week was one full of the Spirit!! What a blessing!! Also something (pretty sure it was a spider) bit me and my whole hand swelled up.  Then the next day I didn't get out of bed, I felt so sick. It was nice to relax and just let my hand heal. I am fine now.
Well all is well in Zion!! I am loving my mission and realizing that I have less than a year left is a huge motivator!

Please continue to pray for us down here we need it!! Love you all and thanks for everything!!

Elder Ollerton

Monday, September 22, 2014

Letter #45 - September 22, 2014

Hau-pe chera´a!!
That's some good ol Guarani for ya :)  Just stoppin' in for the weekly letter from your favorite missionary down here in a country nobody knows.  Just kidding :)  I hope every one had a great week, we sure did!! This week was the fastest of my mission.  We did divisions with the Elders in San Pedro (a village about 3 hours outside of Encarnacion) on Tuesday and it went well.  It is a super small town and so we ran into each other a lot.  We decided to have all 4 of us work there for a day in an effort to help the Elders a little more.  I went out with Elder Arevalo, a brand new 18 year old missionary from Lindon, UT.  It was fun to be able to work with someone brand new and super young!! Made me remember when I couldn't understand or talk to anyone ha.  Good times.  We got back to Ita Paso on Wednesday afternoon and so we didn't have a ton of time to work this week.  We really only worked 20 hours this week out of the 50 or so we normally have.  We had some really cool experiences with the Morel Family this week.  They are a family of less active members whose mom is coming back, but whose dad´s work prevents him from coming.  We passed by and began to challenge the Dad to look for a new job.  He told us that the job he had now paid a lot of money and it would be impossible to find another job as good as it.  He said even if he did find another job he would have to work more and it would pay less.  We told him "Hermano, you may feel like that, but we promise you that you will actually work less, and gain more!"  The spirit filled the room and the couple told us they would kneel together and pray about what to do.  It was an awesome lesson.  We went back 3 days later to follow up and the Hermano told us that they had decided that he couldn't do it.  He couldn't bring himself to quit his job.  We had decided to share the story of the Young, Rich, Ruler and how he followed everything the Lord asked, but couldn't give the Lord Everything.  We talked about how the Lord requires sacrifice from those he loves to try them.  Then I felt prompted to share Alma 20:23.  King Lamoni´s father says he will give up half of his kingdom to have his life spared.  Then I read in Alma 22:15.  The king says he will give up everything he has in order to know God and have eternal life.  We talked about how the Gospel is like a Pearl of Great Price that once found, is worth whatever sacrifice necessary to obtain (Matthew 13:45-46).  We then asked him "Hermano, what would you give to have eternal life?"  The answer shocked us both, he said " I will quit my job."  We were so happy!!! He really understood what we were saying to him and the importance of church attendance!!  We had so many awesome (and crazy) experiences this week but as always, they will have to wait another year to tell them all.  Crazy to think that I come home a year from today!! Starting to hit me how fast the mission really is.  Gotta make every second count!!

Jaji-tupata (Talk to you later)
Elder Ollerton ;)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letter #44 - September 15, 2014

Hey Everyone!!
Hope everyone is safe and sound at home.  This week was a pretty good.  We worked hard!  Elder Magdaleno and I parted ways on Wednesday and Elder Hawk and I went to work.  We have started to realize that the only way Ita Paso is going to grow is if we start to work out in the other neighborhoods.  Ita Paso is just to small for us to see some crazy growth in and of itself.  We started to work in a part of our area called Arrabales (basically Guarani for undesirables) and it we have quickly discovered some weird events happening.  Elder Hawk and I were just doing some normal contacting when we heard a voice yell "Hello" out of a window.  Normally it's just kids who think its funny to try and talk to us in English.  We like to turn around and contact them and maybe throw a little English in our sentences just to tease them.  A lot of the time when I speak English to people its about things that don't make any sense to them at that moment.  I try to make it fun!  I say things like "I have a hole in my sock and my big toe is cold" stupid stuff like that makes working more fun!!! This time however it was an older woman who was wearing the vail that's typical of a couple religions here.  She came out and I called her sister and asked her what her name was.  She started asking me why I called her sister before telling us her name was Pastora.  She told us that she wore the vail on her head because whenever people saw her scalp it made her feel like bugs were biting her or something.  I just thought she was crazy until I felt the spirit leave.  We got a really dark heavy feeling and we both got really uncomfortable.  We gave her a pass along card and as we started to leave she looked me straight in the eyes and I felt I heavy darkness that was the scariest thing ever.  I just felt like she was honestly looking inside of me.  Not sure how else to describe it.  Down here witch craft and black magic type stuff are common so now I am convinced that she is some crazy witch lady!! HA HA HA We started to head to a members house to introduce Elder Hawk and we passed another woman with the same vail on, and the same thing happened.  She looked at us all creepy and we got empty feelings inside.  I think they were undercover dementors from Harry Potter. Some one call J.K. Rowling for me and tell her jokes over.  Sorry I think I am getting weird out here.
Hard to believe that I have completed 11 months in the mission.  Time really does fly by!! I am so grateful for all of your continued love and support!! I love you all and hope that you all are staying safe and enjoying all life has to offer.

Elder Ollerton
PS.  Please continue to pray for the Barboza family!! They sure need it!!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Letter #43 September 8, 2014

Hola Familia y mis Amigos!!
Que tal a todos?? Espero que todo esta bien donde esten.  Ahora tengo amigos por todos lados del mundo y seria dificil a nombrar todos.  Well I am running out of original ways to start these emails so I figured maybe I should just do one in Spanish haha.
This week was fast!! It was the last week of the transfer so we were pretty worn down.  We just barely got changes and I am staying in Ita Paso again but with an Elder named Elder Hawk.  We had a problem this week with the Barboza family.  As Elder Magdaleno and I were riding on a colectivo, we looked out the window and saw Hermano Barboza at work... with a cigarette in his mouth!!  We were both just devastated.  He had worked so hard to leave these things behind and he fell again.  We passed by their house a couple days later and they werent home, but that same night we passed got a phone call from a VERY VERY drunk Hermano Barboza.  He began to talk about crazy topics and I just passed the phone to my comp because I couldnt understand a thing.  We were super confused at what had happened.  We passed by the very next day and again, they werent there.  On our walk back we passed by the 3 kids of the Barboza family and asked if their dad had been drinking and smoking.  They all covered up for him.  Then we told them we would give them stickers if they told the truth.  Then they all told us the truth haha.  We went by a couple days later and the Hermano told us that it was his work that was difficult.  All of his work buddies are alcoholics and so he told us he was going to go find a different place to work.  It was awesome to see him taking the iniciative and looking for a solution.  We also had alot of cool experiences with members this past week.  I think sometimes we as missionaries take them for granted.  We tend to see the work load and then wonder why the members dont help us more.  This week we decided to make rounds to the members and just thank them for all that they have done and continue to do for us!!  We had 2 of the families cry on us and it felt great to be able to just thank someone and love them instead of focusing more on the things that stress us out.   We have alot to do here in Ita Paso and at times it is hard to stay animated because I have been in an area that is probably the size of Lone Peak High School as far as area goes.  At times I feel like I have clapped every house in Ita Paso, but then I remember a talk given by Edward Dube of the Seventy in October 2013 general conference (no im not going to tell you what it says, im going to make you go read it).  It is a great reminder to me constantly.  I love you all and pray for you always!! Please keep us in your prayers down here ;)

Elder Ollerton

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letter #42 - September 2, 2014

Hey Everybody!!
I hope every ones week was stellar (yes I did just use that word), and you are all doing well!!  This week was one of ups and downs as normal but the high moments of the week were definitely some of the best!!  This week we were still running around trying to get everything ready for our Conference.  We had to get all of the food sorted out and the restaurant that was going to cater it is an hour outside of Encarnacion.  Long story short, it all went well and everyone loved the lunch that we had.  President had a tough time crossing over to Paraguay from Argentina and so he only got to share a little bit of time with him.  We talked all about what it means to be a successful missionary.  The Assistants had a list of qualities that people think makes a good missionary, then they had another list of things that the scriptures say make a good missionary.  Something I have learned in the mission that I am truly grateful for is that numbers don't mean a thing.  Elder Magdaleno and I always say that if we can lay down at night feeling like missionaries then we have done our job.  I have really been focusing on that as we find more and more opposition in Ita Paso.  It really has helped me to know that the only thing the Lord and Father in Heaven ask of us is that we give it everything we have.  Even if we don't see the results, we can always feel the fruits of our labors if we give everything.  This last Sunday it rained hard and so we only had around 20 people in church and that was after calling all the members.  We even had a member here call us and ask if church was cancelled because of the rain.  Needless to say we got a little frustrated.  Even though the Church here bares the same name as it does back home, things don't necessarily run the same.  Elder Magdaleno and I do EVERYTHING.  At times it is exhausting and we just collapse when we get home at night, but it is very rewarding as well.  Even though I feel like there is a lot on my plate I wouldn't have it any other way.   Yesterday, we headed to Argentina for our Leadership council with President and that is always a blast.  This time was different from any other though.  He talked a lot about what it means to "Edify the Church" and how we can do it.  The members here need a lot of help with everything and President talked about the importance of helping the members become more self sufficient.  Elder Magdaleno and I have been working hard to help the members better understand the covenants we make at Baptism in hopes that they will have more desires to help us when they realize the gravity of what we promise.  Waiting and praying to see results. 

That's all for this week!! Hope everyone is safe and loving home (or mission) life!! Love you all!!
Elder Ollie ;)