I Am Thankful We Were Able to Help Her


Monkey Boy in the tree!

Well this week was a lot of good, but a bit of bad too.  First of all today was absolutely awesome because we went to the beach again.  We feasted on coconut milk and meat from coconuts that I brought down from a few trees for everyone. So that was a good relaxation for the week.  Just made me realize how out of shape I am.  I could barely get up the tree two times, and my arms were fried after.  Guess I should actually use my exercise time instead of sleeping through it.  But I’m always so tired....  decisions....

…This week….all the lessons we had were really good lessons that…. really helped our investigators to progress. We had a lesson with our investigator that is going to be baptized this Saturday, and she was a little confused with the Book of Mormon and the different plates and stuff. We tried to explain it, but the power went out and we have to go back to our house when that happens…We had a lesson with a family that two of the kids are really interested.  They weren’t able to come to church this week, but for a good reason.  We also had a good lesson with someone who has listened to the missionaries a few times already and I have faith that he will progress this time. So we had some really good lessons.  And if things go well and people keep their commitments, we will have a baptism every week for the next three or four weeks!

Me and my companion fasted this week for our investigators too.  And I think we will do it again soon…We should have a baptism this Saturday and we have a few, new people that are willing to listen to us.  One of them is a family of four.  My comp contacted them when I was on divisions and we went to get an appointment and they were so nice.  The kid said he wanted to serve in the mission and he’s like 16 or something.  And the mom is really receptive and I have hope for them.  

We had more investigators at church than ever before, and one investigator that is really receptive was able to finally come.  She studies on Sundays and so she never could before.  She is on vacation right now.  So if she comes for three weeks we can baptize her. So we had a lot of good…things are progressing and getting better.  We also had a great experience with a less active sister.  We went to her house and we were talking for a bit and then we started sharing a message.  We asked her some questions because she looked a little worn down, and then she opened up to us and shared that she was really depressed.  She asked us if we could give a blessing and we did. I… am so thankful we were able to help her. 

On the bit of bad side, we had to drop a few investigators because they weren’t coming to church.  It’s always a struggle to get people to understand that we want them to act on our message, not just listen.  But some people just aren’t willing to do it.  They are missing the part that will bless them the most!  That’s agency.  I got in a little bit of a bible bash with some kid…He was really receptive with his two siblings, but the next time we came he didn’t really want to listen because he listened to some friend of his tell him a bunch of stuff about the church.  Then he starts telling us the Bible [is] the most correct, and that it doesn’t say anything about Nefi in the Bible…and I got a little too excited.  I felt really bad after…. so we will see what happens.  I have faith that his siblings will accept the gospel however.  

Don't worry I didn't get wet!
As for the funny story of the week, we went to teach an investigator, and we had planned to teach about the law of chastity, and her boyfriend just happened to be there.  We didn’t end up teaching it however.  It was just funny.  And we are getting cellphones this week!

So it was a pretty crazy week...I know the Lord is in charge of all things and is watching over us.  I know that this is His church.  I know that the things we teach can really bless the people, and it’s really frustrating when they can’t see that and don’t want to act.  But it’s my responsibility to share it so that all those who will, can accept it.  I know this church is true!   Love you all, and to my family I’ll see you all soon! 
Elder Ollis

The Lord is Preparing People


Well, I think after I read everyone’s emails, and after my interview with president, I have decided I’m a complete nutcase. I like to expect myself to be perfect when it’s impossible and that’s why I’m never happy.  And let me just tell you, my mission president is THE BEST MISSION PRESIDENT EVER. There is no argument!
So this week was pretty good, besides the fact that we basically had no work.  Easter here is a whole week celebration. It’s a tradition to go to the beach and bathe apparently.  So almost all week people were gone on vacation. Friday when we got up to go do some service in the church, there was no one. And it’s really odd because there’s always rapiditos flying down the streets but nothing was there.  My comp said it looked like the zombies had come.  We had a good laugh.  We also had divisions this week and I got to go to another area and work a little bit with a missionary named Elder Hernandez.  It was pretty fun!  For some reason this week, I got a craving for Christmas music, so I was listening to Chrismas music.  Odd yes, but that’s me.  

A friendly little garden spider in Honduras!
So anyway, when we went to give service in the church, we found that the land they wanted terraced to plant stuff was super hard to turn.  First of all, it’s really steep, second of all it’s full of rocks and garbage and tarantulas, and third it was unbelievably hot.  But we managed to get some work done and we are going to come back and finish another day.  The four missionaries of the ward made up half the work force unfortunately.  My hands are covered in blisters.  But it was good fun!  

As for the important part of the week, we have a new investigator who is super pilas! First she was a reference from a member.  I might have mentioned that last week, but she came to church last week for the first time.  She had been attending in another ward, but came here.  So we went and visited her this week and the first lesson was awesome.  We explained the restoration of the church and she understood everything. Oh yeah, and the first five minutes of the lesson we asked what she wanted from our lessons, and she said that her daughter was a member and she wanted to be with her. She went to church this week so we put a baptismal date with her the first lesson! My comp went and taught the plan of salvation while I was on divisions, and she knew all of it.  So she’s on track to be baptized for the third of May! Super awesome!  Just another one of those little blessings from the Lord.  It really made me think how this is the Lord’s work.  Our recent convert Carlos, was the same.  He just came out of nowhere and was prepared.  So did this new investigator.  The Lord is preparing people and I’m just here to be His instrument.

So this week, I’m going to try to be just that.  To follow the spirit when it comes and be an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord.  I know this is His work, and I know that thanks to the atonement, I can be forgiven of every single thing I will do. That is the only way we can return with God.  I really am learning more and more about the atonement and my faith is growing in it here in the mission.  We also had another good lesson with a family.  The dad is inactive and the mom isn’t a member.  We taught the plan of salvation because it pretty much talks about everything they wanted for their family, and the wife said after that it answered some things that she didn’t know or hadn’t heard before.  She’s a little evangelical, but I have hope she will be baptized too.  We also were able to have our first mission coordination meeting and it was awesome!  We have a new ward mission leader and he’s super sick [as in the good kind of sick J].  He just got back like a month ago.  He’s helping us a ton.  We are going to get new ward missionaries too!  So things are looking up.

I know this church is true and this is the work of our Heavenly Father.  He is in charge and is watching over us.  I know He loves us, as He provided so many things to help us in our lives to return to Him.  I know He loves me and each and every one of you.  He gives us challenges to learn, and I need to remember that more often. We aren’t perfect and never will be in this life, and He really just expects us to learn and grow.  That is why we are here.  I know that if we are progressing and growing our testimony, we are doing okay. I love this gospel and I love the chance I have to share it.  I have seen people change because of this gospel and I know it is true.  I know Heavenly Father loves us and so does our brother Jesus Christ.  I’m so very thankful for the plan our Father in Heaven has for us, and for the chance we have to return to Him through Jesus Christ.  I know that I’m not perfect, and I know I can repent of the things I do wrong. That is how we grow.  I know this church is true and I know that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God.  I know that this church is the kingdom of God here on the earth. It is the church Christ organized during His life.  It is the church of Jesus Christ.  I know that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God and another testament of Christ.  I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that if we live the things in the scriptures, and we do the small and simple things, like reading the scriptures, pray[ing], and go[ing] to church, we can progress and that is what we should do.  I love you all and hope you have success in your lives.

Elder Ollis

They Understood Exactly What We Were Saying!


Well this week was a good week.  My companion and I have been talking more and more and we were able to get members to go with us this week.  So that was really awesome.  We also had a really great lesson with a family of investigators we have.  They were a reference from a member and it’s a bit difficult to meet with them because the dad works everyday till eight at night, and the mom works every day but Saturday until seven.  So they are rarely ever together to teach.  But we were able to have a lesson with them this week and it was awesome.

We started to read the chapter of the Book of Mormon that we left for them to read.  They hadn’t read it.  We can only meet once a week with them so they forgot, but that’s normal here. People never keep their commitments the first time. But anyway, we read Moroni 10 and talked about it.  Then we explained a little bit about the priesthood because the wife had a question, and then we explained a little bit about where we got the book since they had forgotten what we taught them two weeks ago. But they understood what the first seven verses of Moroni 10 are talking about. That we can pray and receive an answer.  We then asked then what it means if the Book of Mormon is true.  And the husband started talking and it was just…wow!   He knew exactly what it meant if the book is true.  (Which of course, it is!)  He said that if this book is true, then the church is true.  That’s usually something we teach to the people.  It’s a chain….  if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and this is the true church Jesus organized in his life here on earth.  And he already understands that if the book is true then the church is true!  

It was just so awesome because they understood exactly what we were saying!  I don’t remember everything we talked about, but I just remember when the husband was talking I was thinking, what the heck, that’s usually what I say to the investigators. It was so cool.  So we challenged them to read the Book of Mormon and they said they would and I have great hope they will receive an answer.  We also challenged them to be baptized.   The only issue we have is they can’t go to church because of work.  But I have hope that they will keep the challenge, get an answer, and when they have an answer that the book is true and the church is true, they will understand the importance of the church and will go.  So that was the best experience of the week. Love you all and keep being obedient!

Elder Ollis

I Know This is the True Church, It is a Part of Me


Well, this week was a pretty good week. Just little by little improvement… my companion and I have been able to conquer our fears and we are talking to more and more people. We were able to start teaching a lady that sells soccer jerseys, and then her husband showed up and had a few questions.  I feel like he is pretty interested. I have faith that they will accept a baptismal date a bit later and be baptized.  We also found a family of three that were really receptive and we made an appointment with them.  It didn’t go that well, and half the family wasn’t there, but we have another lesson and I’m hoping to get them all together and teach them at the same time. We have a few people in the area that are very friendly with us.  The lady that sells us chicken, the lady that sells us topogigios [Spanish translation: a search on google suggests it’s kind of like a fruit popsicle, they look yummy!] and we are planning to share the gospel with them. We´ll see what happens.  We had an improvement in our end of week numbers and we talked a ton more... so we improved.  And that’s what we should be doing.  

Draper loves St. Patrick's Day, so we
sent him some items to help him celebrate!
I know I still need to continue to have faith and follow any thought to talk to people because it’s the spirit. Something I really want to improve is that I don’t really know the scriptures very well... I’ll be honest.  And it’s really hard for me to remember things. There have been a few instances this week where an investigator had a question and really we should have answered it with the scriptures.  So this week I’m really going to think of my investigators when I study, study for their needs, and pray for inspiracion as to what I should teach. I know that the spirit can guide us in what we should teach and say, and I put my trust in that.  Because it’s a lot better than anything I will ever teach on my own!  

I was really excited for conference this week and I got to watch it in English with a few other gringos, so that was good!  Although I was looking forward to checking the progress of my Spanish.  I learned quite a few things and I can’t wait to really study the talks to learn more.  Overall, I heard a theme of having courage and standing up for our religion, having Christlike love for others, and serving. Well, it just so turns out I’m doing those things right now, so maybe I’m doing alright! ha ha. But it was really good to listen to conference.  I really liked the talk from Presdent Uchtdorf about gratitude.  I have noticed a lot of the time my prayers are mostly asking for blessings.  I have forgotten to look for blessings and be thankful for them.  I know I need to try and do that better this week.  I also learned I need to be more grateful for the situations I am in, even if they are really hard. I also was really struck when Bishop Stevenson said that we only have four minutes in this life, and eternity to think about it.  That honestly scared me.  I know I need to refocus on the things I should be doing and improve myself.  I’m just so thankful that we have the technology to be able to hear it.  

So basically, it was a good week because we improved.  I know that perfection isn’t something I should shoot for, and if we are improving each day, we are in the right direction.  So I’ve still got work to do.  I’ve got to study the conference talks more, and talk like mad! I know this is the true church. It is a part of me. I don’t quite know how to explain it.  I know that if we really focus on the important things, like prayer and scripture study, and really try to find meaning and inspiration, we can find it.  I know the things I’m sharing are true.  I’m planning on refocusing my efforts and finding greater joy and meaning in my mission this week.  Love you all, and keep sharing the gospel!

Elder Ollis

P-Day activity, chopping wood in the jungle to make a
champa!  Picture a hut on a Hawaiian beach!

Draper's companion on the far left, with the two ZLs
From Draper's letter: Just resting after chopping wood with my machete in the jungle.  It was about a gazillion degrees outside.  We didn't bring water and we had to haul all the wood out on our backs.  Some gangsters that have smuggling routes in the area stole the cell phone from the ZL's who were with us.  And I now have crazy tan lines, I got fried!  (This is the moment when mom takes a deep breath and prays harder than ever :)
A gringo tan!