D&C 20:10-12

10 And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.

11 In me he shall have glory, and not of himself, whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free;

12 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dec 29 Email--Os deseo lo mejor

Well I don't really have much to say either. This week was Christmas and it was great and all and we loved talking to our families and such, but really it just felt like another p-day. We couldn't go out and proselyte at all, and everybody was at their houses enjoying the company of family and friends and good food and stuff. So, we went to a restaurant and I ate some truly delicious boquerones (anchovies?).

This weekend we were supposed to have 4 investigators at church, but none of them showed. It was rather depressing, but we've learned to deal with that, and we plan to visit all of them tonight. 

The best thing of this Christmas was probably the Christmas caroling. We went to Málaga as a zone to go sing Christmas carols in the Plaza de la Constitución, and there were thousands of people everywhere. It blew my mind how many people there were in one little city center. Wow.

Needless to say, I sang really loud and had a lot of fun. We had a decent sized crowd listening for a while as missionaries began to go out and contact them. The best part: There was a cute little couple getting far too lovey-dovey right next to where we were singing, so what did we do? The APs went over and contacted them. I hope they gave them a law of Chastity pamphlet, haha.  Aside from that, we got all sorts of potential investigators and met some amazing and some weird people.

Anyways, I love you all, and if you want me to include anything in particular next week, please, email me questions or something like that, that way I can focus my thoughts.

¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Dec 23 Email

Hey there! All you people not here in Spain are really missing out. Well, the weather is pretty much identical to weather in AZ right now. Sunny, 15 degrees (Celsius) and a slight breeze. It couldn't be better. However I am still praying that we get some random snowfall here on Christmas, because I still haven't seen snow out here.

That's all right though, there are other things that are good. Like being a missionary. I have felt the spirit so much this week and it has changed me. I know that God loves us, and he teaches us the things that we need to learn even if it's not what we want to learn.

Along those lines, yesterday we had a great tri-zone conference here in Málaga. We were able to listen to President Deere and his wife and his assistants. They told us yesterday that they had the opportunity to meet the new mission president and his wife. They are Pres. and Sister Andersen from Blackfoot, ID. We are hoping to prepare the way for them so that their transition is smooth, and so that all the missionaries are working their hardest to be obedient and to find, teach, and baptize. 

This year as a mission we have done well. In fact, we have done spectacularly. However, we haven't met some of our goals, so this year we have set new goals. We have new weekly standards of excellence and we are working on bettering ourselves and becoming more excellent people. We have a goal of baptizing 50 people in this first month of January 2015 to start out the year well. Please pray for us us and join us in this push to find and teach.

If you haven't shared the gospel yet for Christmas, I invite you to invite somebody to church. To listen to the missionaries, or to even watch a short little Mormon message. Anything that will help them to feel the spirit. Will you do it?

Fill me in on how it goes.

This week we have been able to share the gospel (surprise! haha) with lots of people, and I got to bust out the violin again. That is probably the best purchase I have made so far out here in Spain. I have been able to share my testimony throught the strings of my violin. I love that. I speak so much more fluently on the violin that in English or Spanish.

Anyways, we will see each other on Thursday at 4 pm! (my time)
I hope you all have a great day tomorrow eating mini-shishkebabs. I will be thinking of you, but not too much! ;)

¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dec 15 Email

How is everybody doing this week?

I saw the video you sent me of the orchestra concert. It was fantastic! haha, I loved it so much, and I am so SO proud of Porter and his friends. You guys rock. I wish I could have been there to cheer you on, but keep up the good work!  Was somebody playing an electric violin in the back? If so, who was it?

This week was way better than last week. Elder Moore and I have been working really hard here in Marbella to find, teach, and baptize. I don't know if I told you last week, but our car is in the shop again. Something in the moter has gone kaput, and we have been trying to figure out what missionary work is like without a car again, haha. It is extremely difficult in our area to take the buses everywhere, and rather expensive, but we have been making do. We should get the car this afternoon. Whew! (After 2 weeks of car-lessness).

We have learned a lot this week about following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As we strive to purify ourselves and become more like Christ, center our lives in him, we have seen his guiding hand in many things. Elder Moore and I taught several lessons this week, and while we were teaching, we both felt prompted to change the topic of our lesson at the same moment to the same thing. So we did just as we were prompted and the Holy Spirit testified to the truth of what we were teaching. He was there, and we all felt it. It was a great lesson. There were a few other cases of similar experiences this week, all of which sacred and memorable.

Elder Moore continues to suffer from assorted health problems and he is having a dificult time with them, please pray for him. Despite the trials and affliction that is he going through, he continues to amaze me every day in so many ways. I am so glad I have the privilege of being his companion and his trainer. I feel like I learn more from him than he from me sometimes.

Christmas is fast approaching, and my Christmas spirit is here! I am always singing or whistling some form of Christmas music and it just makes me happy:)

Things are looking up here in Marbella. Our new friends that we have made have begun to read the Book of Mormon, and ask some really good questions. We have also found some slippery people that we haven't been able to get a hold of in a few months. 

This Sunday, Bishop walked up to me and said, ''We're short one speaker today. Could you help us out?     '''Sure thing, Bishop!     ....we'll see how this goes.''  But, everything went really well. I only spoke for 10 minutes, but apparently everybody liked what I said. All I said was centered on Christ, because Christmas is coming soon. And I liked it too. Nothing too deep or boring. Just simple Christmas love. John 3:16

Please join in the Christmas Cheer!  #sharethegift
Os quiero mucho
Elder Oliver

Monday, December 8, 2014

YAY CHRISTMASSSS!!!! (Dec 8 2014)

This week was a really good week. We learned a lot about diligence, using time wisely, and patience. You may read this and think, wow, they had a terrible week. Did we? In some ways, yes. In others, no. We have been stricken with a bout of bad health this week and we weren't able to get out and work nearly as much as we wanted to. And those appointments that we did set up, mostly fell through on us.
Despite being confined to the little apartment that we have for almost three days straight, I learned a lot. As in I had plenty of down time to study. Haha, I learned all sorts of things. After watching every church video you could imagine I began to study a lot in the scriptures. After I became exhausted from studying so much, I learned how to form sentences and identify poetic marks in Hebrew literature. I translated a few verses from the Hebrew Old Testament into English, compared it to the KJV, and it turns out that I didn't do so badly. Then, I read some more of my Bible in Spanish and in German, and ate a ton of chocolate.
That was most of my week. My companion has suffered a lot, but after a quick chat with some doctors we think we have it all figured out.
I sent some pictures in dropbox today! First time in a long time. I haven't been that big of a picture taker this transfer. I will make sure that I take lots of photos this transfer! Hey, guess what! I am going to stay at least one more transfer here in Marbella! I am so happy. This will be the area that I am in longest out of all my areas so far. So hopefully, we will see some baptisms here soon. We have all sorts of good friends that have expressed interest in coming to church, and we are working tirelessly to help make that possible.

The sisters in Fuengirola had a baptism this last weekend. And nice old man named ..... He owns a kiosk down by the beach. It was a fantastic service this Saturday, and he was confirmed on Sunday. One more soul on the right track.
It was definitely a good weekend for Sister Fulsom. She's dying (going home from her mission) this week, so it was a great way to end a mission. She'll be headed back to Seattle this week and off to Provo in January, so good luck to her! (She knows Gavin Brown. I believe they met at an EFY activity a few years ago, haha)
Anyways, not much more to report this week. I love you all. I hope that you can enjoy the real spirit and meaning of Christmas this year.

¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

 Apparently he was excited about the cookies.  He made all the cookies! 
 The caption for this was Exodus 20:17.
 Thanksgiving Dinner!
 Thanksgiving Selfie!
 A Young Man in their ward that just got a mission call.

 The car that was on fire a week or two ago.  His caption was, "Not our car."
Sisters from his MTC District.

I found Stollen! (Dec 1 2014)

Wow, you have had a crazy week! I can't believe how much you have been able to do. You are the craziest family ever.

This week was a good week. This Tuesday we went to Fuengirola (we actually went to Fuengirola every day this week... Way too much time in the car) and did a good companion exchange. I went with Elder Berry, who also started the mission in Torrevieja, right before me, and my comp, Elder Moore went with Elder Hampel and they worked in Fuengirola. My companion is such a machine. They went out and set 2 baptismal dates that evening. That really helped out their area. They've been struggling lately by no fault of their own.

Then on Thursday, we had THANKSGIVING!! We were able to go and eat a great thanksgiving feast with the rest of the Málaga Zone and a few of the other Americans that live nearby. It was great! The only thing missing was my family, and pumpkin pie. I made a huge batch of Chocolate chip cookies. That night I froze the remaining dough, and then accidentally froze my tongue to the spoon the next morning. Ouch!

We worked really hard to get lots of our new friends to church this week and most said that they would come, however, only one of our friends came to church. Ana is the woman that contacted us in the streets in San Pedro, and we met with her on Tuesday. She told us she would love to come to church, and then, BAM!!! She came to church. That was awesome. Especially because it was the Primary program this week. I am pretty sure that everybody loved it. And she wasn't scared off either, which is a huge blessing, haha.

We saw lots of little miracles and have felt the spirit of Christmas really pick up around here. I love Christmas. And I love it even more here in Spain. There are decorations on all the streets and everybody is gearing up to celebrate and commemorate the birth of our Savior. There really is nothing better than being a missionary at this time of the year. People are more receptive to the message of the restored gospel as they try to find the true spirit of Christmas.

And, speaking of the true spirit of Christmas, have you seen the ''He is the Gift'' initiative that the church has started? Check out the video!

This is why all us are here! This is why we are missionaries. I got a really clear picture of that this week. But really, He is the Gift. Please share the Gift.

Love you all lots and lots!
I hope you have a fantastic week!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

ps. I found a store that sells weihnachtsstollen!!! Estoy contento.
pps. Pray for my comp. He is suffering from bad migraines.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Letter from 11/24/14

Hey, so I just remembered, that I have been forgetting to fill you in on many big and exciting events that have been going on of late.

First of all, Stake Conference! Stake Conference was super fun. I got to drive the whole way (it was pretty far) to Granada and we listened to many fantastic talks by the Stake Presidency and President Deere. And, best of all, I got to see some of my fellow missionaries from the MTC at the conference! I haven't seen them since we came to the field, so that was nice to chat for a few minutes and catch up. Then, I drove all the way home, while everybody else slept... Grumblegrumblegrumble. That's all right though, I just listened to a bunch of McConkie talks.
We are focusing really hard as a mission and as the Stakes of Southern Spain on integrating the members into our work. We have been having a bit more success lately with our young men and getting them to be part of missionary work. However, we can't tell if they are really excited about missionary work because of the success that we have had of late, or if they are just excited that there will soon be a few more young women in the ward, haha.
We have been having some difficulties lately trying to get a hold of our friends with baptismal dates. Things just keep getting in the way of being able to see them, but we have decided to call them to teach them. We have been keeping near daily contact with all three of them for the last week and a half, but as the baptismal date looms closer we are starting to get more and more worried about if they'll go through with it or not.
This last week we had a fantastic HUGE zone conference in Málaga. Half the mission was there, and we were privileged to have Elder Patrick Kearon from the first quorum of the Seventy address us and give us a really good training. I learned so much from him. And more importantly, I felt the Spirit so strongly in that meeting. This is God's work, and he has been helping us to become the best we can be, so as to become the most effective missionaries possible. I was also called to play a musical number in the meeting, so I recruited Sister Fulsom and Elders Hampel and Mercado to jam with me. We performed ''Gethsemane'' by Sally DeFord and wow, it turned out super well, despite our lack of extensive preparation (they gave us about a week to put something together).
After the meeting, I met a bunch of other elders that play violin and other assorted stringed instruments, so I'll be praying that they get transfered to the district of Fuengirola so we can do some duets and stuff like that. In fact, one of the violinists was the Elder that was trained in Torrevieja by Elder Larios right when I went to Algeciras, so that is cool.
This week hasn't been the fastest week ever, but we did find a good crop of new friends to teach and guide them towards eternal life.
Speaking of which, on Wednesday, we were walking along the streets of one of our pueblos, and a man seated at a bar calls us over, and asks, ''Are you the JWs?'' in English. ''Nope! We're the Mormons!'' His eyes got all wide (however, he was a little tipsy) and he said, ''I'm a Jew. I'm from Berlin. I am not practicing any religion, and I have never been baptized. I am a free bird.''  I checked his German, and sure enough, he is German, so that led me to believe that he was telling the truth about the other things too. Then he tells us something rather surprising.  ''I want to become Mormon. I want to get baptized. It is good that we are in Spain, because if we were in other parts of the world they would cut your f------ heads off.'' 

That was surprising. Haha, about baptism and about terrorism. Anyways, he asked what it took to become Mormon, and then looked at his cigarette and his glass of alcohol, and said, ''I probably need to stop this, don't I?''
So, it was a great week. We got the guy's number, and we are going to meet with him this Wednesday (because the last appointment we had, he was wasted when we got there).
I love missionary work. It is seriously the best. I love you all! Tell all your friends about the gospel!
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Another Week in the Lives of the Elders

First I want to start out with the most interesting thing that happened here this week.

We were relaxing in our apartment after lunch on Saturday, getting ready to start language study, and BOOOM.  Elder Moore and I look at each other, thinking, ''What in the world was that?''   We look out the window and see a little VW Polo. However, this poor little Polo was on fire. We sat there for a second, a little bewildered and mesmerized, and then I realized that the burning car wasn't a spectacle to be viewed, but an emergency. Then, the fire reached the gas tank, and then there was a huge jet of flame for a good 20 seconds. While this was happening, I was calling emergency,

(But all in spanish)
''Emergency Response''
''Uh, hi. I'm here in Marbella on Such-and-such Street, and, well, a car just exploded.''
''And what is the nature of the emergency? Is there anything on fire?''
''Yes. A car.
And some bushes. In fact, the bushes right next my house!''
''We'll be there right away.''

That's right, you'd better be here right away. And they were, surprisingly, haha. We had a good time watching the firefighters and policemen move cars and pressure wash that little sucker. After all that, the little VW Polo was more of a VW Ashes. There was not much left of the front half of the car.

Aside from that, we've had a pretty slow week here in Marbella. Lots of people fell through on us, and we have been unable to meet with our Golden Investigators, because they were preparing and competing in a Fencing tournament in Cádiz.

We set a baptismal fecha with M. The son of a less active here in Marbella. However, we are having a few problems with his mom with trying to get him baptized. Pray for him and her. They are great people, but just can't see it in the bigger picture.

Really, this week was hard. A little hard on my morale, mostly because I haven't felt like as good of a trainer as I want to be. However, I am changing everyday. I am getting better. Everyday, I seek to be a better missionary, and to be a better follower of Christ.

I love being a missionary, because everyday I get to talk to everybody about how much God loves us. That He sent His son to atone for our sins, and that these blessings are available to us for free. We just have to let him in our lives.

As we get closer to the Christmas season, I have been reflecting a lot about giving. What more I can give. Whom else I can help come unto Christ.

I was listening to an interesting talk this morning by an Elder Skousen, and he said that the miracle of Christ's birth wasn't really that he was born, but what the world gained by his life (which obviously comes after being born). I thought about it and felt such a desire to help more people come unto Christ.

Let's get out there and help more people!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver