That's Why Endure to the End is Part of the Gospel


Well, another week has come and gone. And just so you all know there are 60 days till Christmas, ha ha, awesome right?!   Ya, it is because that means I get to talk to family in 60 days and I love my family!  Just mentioning that because the other day the Mission President stopped by in my district meeting and I chose to sing a Christmas song because I’m stoked on Christmas!  After the meeting we talked with President and then we sang another Christmas song because he got stoked on Christmas too.  So I’m trying to get everyone stoked for Christmas!

Let me share the crazy experience of the week.  My comp and I contacted two people the other day in the street and they said they lived in San Jose.  We were like “well, where is that?” and they were like, “two hours away by foot.”  So we set an appointment, and the other day attempted to go there.  Well when they said by foot, it’s true because it was a trail.  People and horses get up there and nothing else.  We walked and found three houses up in the mountains, and then finally ended up getting lost on a cattle driver’s trail covered in mud and poop.  And I slipped and fell straight on my back in mud.  So we never actually found San Jose, but we had an interesting jaunt in the mountains.  Just reminded me how much I love the Utah mountains!

But anyway, this week was pretty awesome.  My comp and I accomplished a lot:  we had divisions with the ZL’s, we cleaned the house, we worked hard, and we are tired.  We were able to find a lot of new people to teach.   [To clarify “being tired” and “a lot of new people to teach”, Elder Ollis shared in his email to his dad that they gave 44 lessons and found 21 new people to teach!]  So with some follow up, we are hoping to reap the rewards.  Although, the end of the week was a little rough, we didn’t have anybody that came to church, and only 25 members showed up.  We also dropped three investigators that had been progressing to baptism, because they now go to another church.  So that was a little downer.  But that’s why “endure to the end” is part of the gospel. It’s not easy, but its awesomely worth it.  

This week I just tried to follow the spirit by following every thought I had to contact and help someone, and we found a ton of people.  It really is important to follow the guidance of the Lord.  This is His work, and our goal is to be instruments in His hands.  Now I’ve used tools a bit, and I would be pretty frustrated if one of my tools didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do.  If my drill starts going in the wrong direction as I’m trying to put a screw in it would be frustrating.  I can only imagine what our Heavenly Father thinks.  I was thinking about that the other day.  This is His work and He entrusts it to imperfect people.  It must be frustrating when the people he entrusts to do the work, don’t do what He wants. But He’s perfect and knows what He is doing.  That’s why it’s so important for us to trust and have faith that He knows what He is doing.  When we receive a prompting to do something, it’s because He knows! And we need to follow it so we can be effective instruments that He can rely on.  That’s my prayer, that we can be the tools that our heavenly father can rely on (and I’m talking about the good kind of tools- ha ha).

Elder Ollis

Finally a Letter to the Taylorsville 23rd Ward!

8/20/2014 (this letter was dated 8/20/2014 and we received it 10/26/2014)

Dear Taylorsville 23rd Ward,

Well, today would mark the one-year mark of my mission and this would be the first time I ‘ve actually written a letter to you all.  Sorry for slacking there.  I’ll try to be more timely.  So basically to sum up one year: I’m uglier, fatter, and I can speak a second language.  And those aren’t bad things, they just happen when you have a year in the mission.  But this has been one of the quickest (and easily the hardest) years of my 19 years on this earth.  I have learned a ton and I would say I’ve changed a bit.  I’m so very thankful for the experiences I’ve had, for the testimony I’ve grown, and for another year to keep going.  

I just wanted to share a scripture that I really like in 2 Nefi 2:4 and 6-9.  I love the last line of verse 4: “and the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.”  The way was prepared for us and salvation truly is free, thanks to “the Holy Messiah for He is full of grace and truth” (vs 6).  His sacrifice is “unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (vs 7).  “There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God save it be through the merits, mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah who layeth down His life….” (vs 8).  “And they that believe in Him shall be saved” (vs 9).  I truly am thankful to my Savior for His sacrifice.  It is only through Christ that we can be clean from sin and have the chance to return with God.  I know Christ lives and that He will come again.  I know God loves us and that’s why He sent Christ here and through His sacrifice we can receive strength and comfort in all our difficulties.  Salvation is free to all as we follow what Christ asks and keep His commandments, always giving our best effort.  That’s all He asks us is that we give our all.  We will never be perfect in this life, but as long as we are progressing each day we are doing ok.  As we come unto Christ we “shall find rest unto our souls” Matthew 11:29).  And “how great the importance to make these things known unto the habitants of the earth” (2 Nefi 2:8). 

I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to help in this work, to invite people to come to Christ, and partake of all of the blessings of His restored gospel and partake of salvation that’s free to all.  I hope you all can find ways and participate in this cause.  Be an example.  Serve others.  Give references to the missionaries.  Help people come to this knowledge that we have, that through Christ we all can find rest, be saved and live with God again.  That’s my invitation and testimony to you all. I know Christ lives, this is His church, and Thomas S. Monson is the man called to guide us by revelation he receives from God.

In the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Love, Elder Ollis

Just Getting Things Done in the Jungle!


Well it’s definitely late here, but here is a short letter.  [Explanation in an email to dad: The ZL’s planned our whole day and we spent a lot of time at the beach.]   I had changes and now I’m in La Jutosa.  Let me just tell you about the area a bit.  Number one:  it’s a branch, there were 45 people in sacrament meeting on Sunday.  Number two: there are a total of three working computers that I’ve seen so far. Number three:  the area has been closed to missionaries three times for unfortunate events.  So I was a little disappointed when I found out where I was going. But that is what The Lord wants, so I just said I’m going to work as hard as I can and get things done.  My new comp is named Elder Kellmer. He’s my first gringo (ha ha) and he’s from Utah. So it’s pretty cool.  We pounded out the first week and worked hard.  There’s a lot of potential in the branch.  Unfortunately, there haven’t been very many good missionaries here.  But I think it will be good to work here.  So not much else to say. Just getting things done in the jungle!

Love you all, and I will definitely write more next week,
Elder Ollis

So I Thought, I Will Go Contact It


This is my last week here in Rio Lindo.  I will have changes this Wednesday.  It’s been quite a few months here. I didn’t have that much success in baptisms in this area, but I learned a lot.  This area was a time for me to rethink my mission and do things differently, and I was able to improve a lot as a missionary.  It was a more personal learning experience I had for the four months I’ve been here in this area.  I’m excited to see what will happen in this change, and to see where I will go.  As always, I’ll go where the Lord wants.  It’s always difficult to have changes, but it’s what the Lord wants.  The Lord is guiding an inspired president, as to what He wants for His work here, and it’s always our best move to follow what the president says. 

…I’m just thankful for the things I’ve learned here in this area.  I did have a cool experience the other day, just thinking back a bit.  I don’t even remember what I was doing, but I was thinking about contacting, or something like that, and I had the picture of a certain house come into my mind.  So I thought, I will go contact it.  The next time we passed, we went and contacted there and the lady, named Sagrario, is super interested. She let us in the first visit and we taught a bit and we have had some good lessons.  She is reading the Book of Mormon and she even accepted a baptismal date for the seventh of November.  I won’t be here, but it will interesting to see what will happen. It was just kind of a different experience for me.

I also had another experience that was pretty cool. We were in a part of our area really far from everything, and we were walking to go back to the center of town. I had the thought come into my mind to contact some house. Shamefully, I got scared and didn’t do it. The next week we were in the same area waiting to catch a moto taxi and I had a thought that reminded me of the house and how I didn’t contact there. So we went and contacted it to redeem myself, and we found a guy that was gold.  He had a ton of questions that matched the theme of the restoration perfectly and was interested.

The spirit really does work in many ways, and I believe the spirit brought Sagrario’s house into my mind, and I believe that the spirit reminded me of the [other] house so we could find the other young man named Jancarlos.  If I wouldn’t have followed the second time, I don’t think we would have found Jancarlos, because he only passed there once a week and lives far away. Really this is God’s work and I’m so very glad I have the chance to take part.  I know this gospel is the truth. It is our guide to live happily. It’s been really hard to see so many people reject it here, but that is all we can do, is share it. I know it blesses our lives and if we follow the steps that God has given us, which is the gospel, then we can return with Him.  I’m so very glad I’ve had the chance to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and I know I have to keep striving to be like Him each day. I hope we can all strive to be more like our Savior.

Love, Elder Ollis

As We Try to Be Like Him, We Should Try to Love Like Him


Well not much time again today, just wanted to share a bit of the things I learned from conference.  And I forgot my notes so it’s probably not much (ha ha), but it was a great conference.  It was cool to listen to the Spanish speakers but the rest I didn’t really like (ha ha).  But anyway... I had gone in to this conference with some questions or things I wanted to better in myself.  I had been thinking a lot before the conference, about how I need to love others more like Jesus Christ.  And sure enough they talked about that.  I was able to note some things I could try and put in practice, so I was able to learn some things.  I know I’m excited to get the talks and read them again in the Liahona.  But that is my theme basically: the love of Christ, also known as charity.

I love how Moroni puts it, that without charity we are nothing.  I know that charity is something that sometimes I lack.  And so I have to change it or I’m nothing, basically.  No, but it’s really hard for me to understand how much Christ loved us.  That is why he died for us.  I know that as we try to be like Him, we should try to love like Him more than anything. As we love him, we will keep his commandments and everything else just falls into place.  We will be willing to love others too, because that’s one of his commandments; as Christ taught the two great commandments, love God and love thy neighbor. As we love God, we will be willing to follow Him, and also to love others.  I hope we can all try to be like the Savior as we learned in conference, and that we can always remember these two commandments: to love God, and love our neighbors.  

Love, Elder Ollis

PS I attached a picture of a waterfall.