I Hope We Never Distance Ourselves from the Things That Bless Our Lives


Well, here we are another week down, here in Catracholandia.  It was a pretty weird week.  It rained a ton, and the world cup... and this and that.  So basically for the world cup, we had to go in the house during the games when Honduras played and we had to be in the house at seven pm the nights of the games, so pretty crazy.  Then it rained almost every day.  And rain here consists of a constant down pour for like 40 minutes.  Our house has a mysterious leak somewhere in the roof and conveniently my stuff is always wet when it rains.  So that’s a great bonus feature.  The other thing is that our area is really, really big.  We have to take a moto taxi for 25 minutes to get to some of our investigators and that makes things a bit difficult.  It’s really hard and expensive to be able to follow up with some of our investigators.  But we are going to work on that and find out a way to make it work.  I also have another ingrown toenail.  

Yesterday we were teaching in a house and the power went out.  When that happens we have to go straight home because it’s dangerous.  Well we started to leave but an electric storm had just started and there was lightning flashing seriously like every second.  The sky was almost constantly illuminated for a solid 30 minutes. It was super sketchy but we didn’t die, so that was good.  

I also bought some new shoes because I ripped a hole in my tennis shoes.  However, when you live in a country with Latinos, the items of clothing generally don’t fit you, including shoes. However we found a pair that fit me….in pink.  I didn’t have much choice there….so I now have pink Nike knockoffs. [Editor’s note: I have requested a picture for proof J

So that’s a few of the little adventures we had this week.  We also had a lot of experiences this week that really made me sad and disappointed, all in one.  We have a lot of inactive members here and we visited with more than a few this week. One was a lady that had been through the temple, we were told, and had moved here but never came to church.  So we went to visit her and she said she doesn’t visit the church and told us we worship Joseph Smith. So that was quite a mind blower for me.  I don’t understand how someone can be so confused.  It makes me so sad to see that there are so many inactives like that.  [People] that have been baptized and made a promise to always keep going in the path of the gospel, yet don’t even understand that’s what they did, or don’t understand the things they accepted as truth when they were baptized.  It’s really frustrating.  I swear, some of the people just said yes to everything the missionaries said and didn’t even listen.  I also had a little experience where some inactives just didn’t have excitement about the church, they just were desanimado, that word again.  I don’t know what it means in English. [Editor’s Note: desanimado is translated to mean downhearted, dejected, lifeless]  And that makes me so sad.  They say they aren’t enthusiastic or excited to go to church, and they are sad.  Well not going to church isn’t going to help them feel better. As for me I always to try to look and see if these people are doing the small and simple things, like reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church.  I know I have seen in my own life that when I’m not doing these things there’s a difference, and it’s not a good one.  When we are not doing these simple things is when we began to slip and fall.  We aren’t strengthening our testimony and if we let it go far enough, we finally find ourselves inactive.  For me, I just know that these simple things bless our lives.  They keep us in the correct path and give us a stronger testimony.  They make our understanding clearer.  They give us power to resist temptation, and when we do them, we receive blessings from our Heavenly Father. I hope that we all can continue to keep doing the small and simple things: reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church, so that we can stay on the straight and narrow path and persevere until the end and receive eternal life.  (I definitely started typing in Spanish like three times in that sentence ja ja, weird.)  Well I hope everything is going well for you all and that you can do the small and simple things!  Love you all and I know this church is true and it’s the best thing for us. I hope we never distance ourselves from the things that bless and help our lives. 
Elder Ollis

And…Drum Roll…We Baptize People in a River!


Well here I am.... I had transfers this week and what a change it was.   I am in Rio Lindo still in the department of Cortes.  However, I had to ride the bus for like two hours to get here.  So we are pretty much in straight farmland.  Picture Idaho, just a little more hilly and a whole lot greener. I don’t even know how big the area is.  We have to take a moto taxi for like fifteen minutes to get to part of it.  So we are pretty far out here.  The church here is in a house, with about 100 members every week.  And..... drum roll........... we baptize people in a river! How sick is that.... so I’m stoked. I want a baptism quick, ha ha. There’s also a huge lake around here called Calle el Lago de Yojoa, and we are planning on going fishing next P-day.   I don’t have a problem with that!

Well today was pretty good. President gave us permission to watch a match in the World Cup.  Unfortunately we chose Germany vs Portugal.  What a waste of time.  And Honduras didn’t do too hot either.  France kicked them around.  We had to be in the house during the match, and we had to go in early that night too.  But my new area is pretty chill, so not really much of a problem. 

Well I’m almost out of time and I’ve only been here a few days so I don’t have much to say.  But we had a cool experience the other day.  We were teaching a lady and she had been taught the plan of salvation before I came.  So we went to her house and she had some questions.  We asked her which of the three degrees of glory she wanted to obtain, and she said the highest. She said she wanted Eternal Life.  Then we explained what she had to do to receive that.  She had to live the gospel, which includes baptism.  We explained the gospel of Jesus Christ and then committed her to be baptized the 28th of this month, and she said yes.  So it was pretty awesome.  It was just like all those prepared people in Cerro Verde; people that just accept the gospel so easily and are ready to commit. It’s just proof to me again, that this is the Lord’s work and I don’t do much.  I just teach a bit.  So I’m glad to be able to see all these prepared people and participate in the Lord’s work. 

I know this is His work and His church and there are so many blessing waiting here for those who want to partake of it.  I know this is true.  Well that’s all I’ve got for you guys. Love you all and take care!  Elder Ollis

P.S. It’s currently pouring and now I have to leave.  I will be completely soaked before I get to the house, which is just up the street.

Note from Mom Ollis:  Draper’s mention of the lake piqued our interest, so we looked it up online.  This is a description we found: “Lake Yojoa (Lago de Yojoa) is the largest natural lake in Honduras. It is 95 feet deep, 4 miles wide, and 10 miles long. The lake sits at the base of two mountainous national parks. Santa Barbara National Park rises above the Northern shore, and Cerro Azul Meambar National Park towers above the Southern shore. It is an easy place to reach, as the main highway between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa passes alongside Lake Yojoa. The lake is comparable to Lake Tahoe in California.” (www.honduras.com/lago-yojoa.comThis picture of Lake Yojoa is from his Mission President's blog.  Draper will be in heaven, whether they catch fish or not.   Take a look at how much he has moved around in his mission. 

It Was Seriously the Best Baptism I've Had in my Whole Mission


Well, this week was pretty awesome. Jonathan got baptized! And it was seriously the best baptism I’ve had in my whole mission.  The bishop was there, we had members to give little talks, and everything went fine.  His mom even came and she’s not a member and we are starting to teach her now. He was ordained in the Aaronic Priesthood as a priest on Sunday too.  So yeah, that was pretty much the highlight of my week.
06/07/2014 - Jonathon's Baptism

We had planned to have two baptisms, unfortunately, the other didn’t happen.  But it should happen a little later in the month. We have two investigators who have been really awesome reading the scriptures, praying, and everything, but they never came to church.  But they came this Sunday and we have a baptismal date with them for the 28 of this month!  We have also have the mother of Samir, a youth we baptized like two months ago, who wants to be baptized now too.  But that will be some time later. 

So everything is going along here.  Unfortunately, I believe I will have changes this Wednesday and I just might leave Cerro Verde.  So we will see what happens.  I really want to stay and be here for these baptisms, but I also would like to start over in a new area, so we will see.

I just want to share something that my Mission President shared with us in a zone conference we had recently; just a short quote about Joseph Smith.  Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said this about the Prophet:

“With his great faith and trust in God, Joseph had an insurmountable optimism. He knew the truth, and the truth made him free – free from fear, free from doubt, and free from pessimism. He said, ‘If I were sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top.’”

“Now, think of how this attitude of optimism could apply to you. When you face challenges and are tempted to be discouraged, think about this attitude of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and try to learn why he was so positive and optimistic even when he confronted serious problems, probably more serious than the ones that you or I are facing now. May the Lord bless you always to remember your blessings and to recognize that He is with you! And may that knowledge strengthen you and cause you to be happy!”

I really liked the quote. God will never forget us in all our trials and He will help us if we have faith in him and keep going.  We must always have faith and keep going. I know I don’t have a very positive attitude sometimes. I’m a pessimist, its true.  But I know that I need to have more faith that God will be there always helping and everything will come out ok.  I hope that each one of us can have the same faith, and that we can let that knowledge strengthen us and allow us to be happy in every moment of every day, no matter the challenges we face. With God as our guide, which he will always be, we can overcome anything.  I love you all and hope you can continually exercise this faith and be happy! And I’ll work on it too! I know this church is true and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to learn and grow and help teach the gospel to the people who have been prepared and need it.  I know this gospel has power to change lives and I know that it blesses the lives of those who have the gospel and live it too.
Love you all, Elder Ollis

I'm So Very Thankful for Christ and His Sacrifice for Us


I guess I’ll just write a little bit today since I don’t have much time, so here goes....
Well, this week was pretty good too.  However, we did not have our baptism again.  Let’s just say it was a bad week for our investigator.  So now we have to have another interview and we will have two baptisms this week on Friday! 

I just wanted to share something I studied about the other week. I have a really bad habit during companion study.  My comp and I will be studying and then I have a question in my head, so I’ll go find the answer, and then I end up studying by myself for another hour. So anyways, we were studying and I started looking up scriptures about mercy and justice. God always has given us laws and commandments, and He is a god of truth and justice, so there is always a punishment fixed when we break the law.  When we break a law, we become impure and we have to pay the punishment.  We also all know that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God, so there was a way provided.  

We, as human beings, cannot pay the price for our sins.  It is impossible.  So God provided his son, Jesus Christ, to come and pay the price.  He paid all and fulfilled the justice that had to be paid, and because of that He is our mediator with the Father.  He can provide us with mercy so we don’t have to pay the full price ourselves. He only asks us that we follow him and obey his commandments.  Because of Him, justice is paid and our Father in Heaven can give us mercy and forgive us of our sins. Maybe I didn’t explain that very well, but I know I’m so very thankful for Christ and His sacrifice for us. If it weren’t for Him, we could never return to our Father in Heaven.  I’m so very thankful that we have the opportunity to receive mercy and be forgiven, and I know that Christ loves us.  All he requires is that we follow him and keep his commandments.  I love this gospel so much, especially the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I’m so glad I have the opportunity to share it with others, and help them change and receive blessings in their lives. I know this church is true. Love you all!

Elder Ollis

(See the new pictures posted on the Mission Field Pictures Tab!)