But I Was Here To Change That


This week was really good.  It’s only the second week I have worked in my new area now, and it was only for three days.  But there are some problems.  I have no idea where any of my old comps investigators are. So it’s been a challenge to find people that we were teaching.  One thing that I’m really grateful for is that the members here are really good at giving references, and that makes life a bit easier.  

We had a meeting this week with some of the members.  I was told it was a missionary coordination meeting, but it was really a welfare meeting. So I turned it into a mission coordination meeting.  Whoops. Anyway, we got to present ourselves to the leaders of almost each auxiliary and quorum.  However, the Bishop wasn’t there.  He works till nine at night and is impossible to find.  So I don’t know what to do there.  I just told them that I don’t know what their opinion was of the missionaries, that I guessed it wasn’t very good because of some of the things that happened, but that I was here to change that.  I told them I’m here to work but I will need their help because I don’t know the area, and I told them I want to help them too. So we will see where that goes.  

Also, this weekend we have our first baptism in my new area! Whoo-hoo! And next week we have another one! But the one for next week is a super crazy story. This guy moved in to live with a member and we went and visited him because he came to church and we met him there.  So we go visit and I had no idea what to teach him because I didn’t know what he had been taught, or how far along he was in his conversion, or what we needed to teach to get him ready for baptism.  So we started teaching and we taught about the Book of Mormon, how it’s the keystone of our religion and because it’s true Joseph Smith is a prophet and this is the true church.  After we finished, he told us his experience and story about all the churches he has visited and then told us he knows the church is true. It was just really awesome.  We committed him to a baptismal date.  Afterwards, I remember joking with my comp that there was something, a catch.  There was no way that a baptism comes that easy. It was definitely a little blessing from the Lord.  And it was quite a contrast from another first lesson we had with a reference we had received.  The reference was some guy who was really evangelical and wanted nothing to do with us.  Trying to teach was hopeless and it was almost a fight in my opinion.  

Truly the people who are seeking the truth honestly and humbly are the people who are prepared to listen to the gospel. I don’t really know how to explain it.  There’s just a difference.  The man we met and now committed to baptism had gone to many churches but he said that they just weren’t the same and he felt that this church was true. And he stopped going to other churches. There are people that are prepared to listen and there are people who aren’t. This man we met was prepared before he came, and so he received the missionaries and felt it was true. And now he’s here!  So that’s all for me.
Elder Ollis

The Time has Flown, But I have to Focus on the Remaining 18 Months!


My new area is called Cerro Verde. It’s kind of like Park City, just a little resort town without the snow. Really chill.  All the roads are paved and the houses are nice.  But right now I’m living in Choloma.  It’s about twenty minutes outside San Pedro.  The missionary work is good.  I’m still in a trio with the Zone Leaders and we are working in my area some days of the week and the other days in their area.  So we have two areas to work.  The Zone Leaders and I do splits.  I go with a ZL and the other ZL goes with a member for three days of the week.  I love my area and my comps.  One is from El Salvador and the other is a gringo, but his dad is from El Salvador so he speaks good Spanish, which is awesome.  I’m doing alright and we get along great. 
My area has a good ward with a lot of returned missionaries that I hope will be willing to help.  I’m trying to meet all the members and our investigators because I don’t know where anyone lives. So it’s really crazy.  I still have to meet with the Bishop.  He’s not really interested in helping us, but I’m working on it.  We have a baptismal date and there are a couple of investigators that are close to baptism.  So there is work to do and people to teach. I just don’t know them all and I need time to get to know the area. I still have no idea where I’m walking in my area, but with time hopefully I’ll figure that out.  So I’m basically exhausted.  
Honestly, I don’t really have much more to share, except for the fact that I’m enjoying this mission! And yes this week is my six months.  There will be cake involved most likely!  The time has flown, but I have to focus on the remaining 18 months! 
Something I’m learning on my mission is how to listen to the spirit.  That is something so critical for a missionary and all of us, but I’m really not good at it.  There’s a quote in Preach My Gospel by President Hinckley that says if you’re prompted to do something good or are enlightened, it’s the spirit. Because all good things come from God and the spirit testifies of Him.  I think I’ve been overcomplicating trying to feel the spirit my whole mission so far. I’ve been waiting for some voice to talk to me.  I also spoke with the President of the Mission at a Zone Conference and I asked him how to tell if it’s my thoughts or the spirit.  He said that the spirit works through our thoughts.  God knows us individually and knows our thoughts also. He speaks to us through the spirit in our individual thoughts, in ways that we will understand.  I can’t remember exactly how he said it but it made sense to me.  So that’s all because I’m running out of time. Love you all! 
Elder Ollis

I'm So Grateful We Have an Eternal Vision

(Elder OIlis was transferred last Wednesday to a new area.  He spent three days with his new companion who was then sent home.  He is currently living with the Zone Leaders awaiting another new companion.  He is a little frustrated that almost a whole week went by without learning about his new area or doing much missionary work. Please keep him in your prayers!)


Well, I honestly have nothing to share this week.  It’s been a really crazy week.  I’m getting a new companion this week and I’m in a new area, so it’s really crazy right now.  I’m seriously sitting here trying to think of something to write…..  so I’ll just share my testimony.  I just want to share that I know this church is true.  The gospel is really the only way that we can make it through this life and return to live in the presence of God. I know the scriptures are like a guidebook for every problem we have in life.  And I know that we can express every problem we have to our Heavenly Father who loves us and is waiting to hear us.  I know we have our loving brother Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and is waiting to forgive us for the things we do wrong.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet called of God for this day.  

I’m so excited that I will get to listen to this General Conference and actually understand it this time- ha ha.  I’m so glad that we have this church.  This world truly is filthy and dark, yet with the Atonement and the hope that it brings, the world is definitely much brighter.  I’m so grateful that we have an eternal vision in sight and that this life is just a test, a really long test at that. I’m also thankful for the opportunity I have to share these things.  I’m so thankful for the many blessings Heavenly Father has given me. They are innumerable. He loves us so much and I know He's listening to us and that’s why He gives us so many guides in our lives. He wants that we can come back to Him.  Love ya all and miss you all!
Elder Ollis

He Paid the Price for All


Well, I just want to write a little bit this week.  I had an experience this week that really made me think about what comes after this life. I won’t share [details] unfortunately, but know this, it was pretty crazy. Anyway, I thought a lot about what comes after this life, and how different it is for people.  Death has never been something that has caused me too much stress.  I’ve never been worried about my own life, or the lives of my family. Now before everyone thinks I’m insensitive, let me explain.  It’s because I know that this life is not all. I wouldn’t be completely devastated if someone close to me left this life, because I know I’ll see them again.  I know that whatever happens to my family we can live together again after this life, if we are righteous. That’s the goal!  

I also received a package and had the chance to read over some of the talks my family sent me. One of which was on the topic of grace.  Now I’ve never understood grace until now.  Something that really struck me as interesting was that he said, Christ didn’t pay for a part of our sins and we had to be obedient and try and be good to pay the rest.  He paid for all of it.  We can do nothing to pay him back for that, or even try and pay our part.  He only asks us to follow Him in return. That is grace.  I had never understood that word.  But now I do.  How merciful is our brother, Jesus Christ, that He paid the price for all and only asks that we follow Him.  And yet we can’t even do that sometimes.                 

Now to tie this all in with death, I also received a talk about how the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to do and become.  In the Book of Mormon it teaches us “this life is the time to prepare to meet God”.  The key word is prepare.  When I prepared for my mission it took a lot of time.  And in the scriptures it says this life.  Our whole life is the time we have to prepare; the only time.  We should always be working to become like Jesus Christ and prepare to stand before God in the last day.  Maybe this is why death seems so small to me. It is hard to remember all that during the day, but when you think of the eternal picture and why we are here, it seems so insignificant.  But it is impossible to always make a complete upward progress in life.  There are always downs, unfortunately much of it is self-inflicted by our sins.  That is when the grace of Jesus Christ becomes something necessary.   He has paid all so we can have that progress again, even after we make mistakes.  How grateful I am for that. All He has asked is that we try to follow [Him] and make progress each day.  Anyway, that’s my thought.  Love you all and miss ya!  And as always, I love the work!
Elder Ollis