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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So many things to do; so little time!

This week, we are having a week of finding, as a mission. We have a goal of finding 888 new investigators this week in preparation for the the new transfer. That means each companionship needs to find 9 or more news this week.

Elder Vera and I have lots of faith. We like to set high goals, even though sometimes we don't meet them. This week he and I have set a goal of finding 25 new investigators. That is a lot. Like, so many I can't even describe how absurd somebody sounds when they say they want to find that many news. However, we've got Jesus on our side-- the same Jesus that helped us out in our week of 100 futures. And we also have Rodrigo!  Seriously, if this ward does one thing really well, it is create young men that want to serve. Rodrigo recently decided to serve a mission, so we are doing week-long splits this week. I am working all the pueblos (which really never have been worked before) and Elder Vera is working Marbella. We have gotten 4 so far this week!

I don't have much time to write today, because we have sacrificed our preparation day in hope that we will be able to find lots of news this week. It is something that you don't do very often in the mission, because P-day time is next to sacred, haha. However, if the Lord sees our sacrifice, he will reward our efforts, right?   Right.

I just want you all to know, that I am still loving this work. There is nothing I would rather be doing right now with my life, than this. I find such joy in inviting others to come unto Christ because I know that they can be happy just like me, if they apply the teachings of the Gospel to their lives.

I'm excited to train. It will be a good experience. I no longer am afraid that I won't be good enough or that we won't get along, because nothing like that will get in my way of helping other people come unto Christ. 

I love you all! Read your scriptures! Say your Prayers! Listen to the voice of God!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gemelos!

As I embark on my journey through the college application process (which I should have done before the mission) I realize that I have some severe disadvantages. The main one, is that I really struggle putting together sentences in an educated manner.
Expansive vocabulary? Nope. Ability to deftly dance through English's syntactical sea? Tampoco.
Words, structure, and process of other languages? Que va!
Anyway, I have had a fantastic week so far. We have working really hard on helping people progress spiritually by leaving them commitments. Very specific, and very personal commitments, so that as they go about doing these things, they can look back and say, woah! I really have changed!
That is the best. Change. In fact, this week we taught a woman the Plan of Salvation.
(http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/plan-of-salvation)
During the lesson, she made several intuitive leaps, commenting on things she learned by processing the new information. As we finished explaining the plan, she said something really awesome, for a missionary. ''Knowing that I was with God before, really makes my life more meaningful. It makes my relationship with him more personal. I want to do everything that I can to be able to return to him.''
We sat there for a few moments, and let the Holy Spirit work his magic. This woman remembered! She realized that God really is her Father, and that he has created a plan for her. Through faith, repentance, and baptism, she can receive the Holy Ghost, which will help her to learn and progress until the end.
We have seen all sorts of nice little miracles this week, things that have really helped us feel like we are doing the Lord's work in the way that he wants us to do it.
I got a call on Friday night from one of the sister missionaries in my district. I answered the phone, and she says 'you're going to be a dad again!' And I thought, 'wow, that sounds really weird.' Just to fill you in, in the Mission, when a missionary is chosen to train a new missionary, they become the Dad, or Mom. Depending if they are an Elder or a Sister. Now, missionaries need two parents, so if there is a new elder, the oldest sister missionary is his mom. If a new sister missionary comes, the District Leader is the dad. So, Sister F was called to train another missionary (her 4th trainee, by the way) and I am the District leader, so I am Dad! Haha.  I already have one daughter, Hermana H, the current trainee of Hermana F.
I got to thinking about how much time in the mission I have, about everything that I have learned here, and then though, oh no! I don't have a successor! I have no sons! I commented this to Elder V, and said, ''I think it would be cool to have a son. But maybe that isn't what the Lord wants. Maybe this isn't the right moment. Maybe I'm like Abraham. Maybe I'm just sterile.''
Not two seconds had passed by after saying this, than I got a phone call. I thought to myself, 'haha, that would be funny if that were president Deere' and I looked at the phone. 
----Pres. Deere----
and my stomach dropped.
I knew why he was calling, and suddenly, I felt really weak, incapable, and like I just wasn't ready to take on more responsibility.
''Hey President! This is Elder Oliver!''
''Hey Elder Oliver! How are you?    ----a little bit of chatting/small talk-----
Elder Oliver, I have an assignment for you. Are you willing to accept?
Sure thing, president!

So, not only will I have a daughter this transfer, but I will have a son as well! Gemelos!
He called me to train a new Elder, which is a pretty serious responsibility. The trainer is frequently the most important companion that a missionary will have. I have had lots of thoughts on whether or not I will be a good Dad. Will I trust in the Lord enough? Will I be a good example? Will he even like me? But then I look to the example of my Dad, Elder R. I have learned a lot from him. And I feel like the Lord will help me be whatever he needs me to be. Just pray with me that I can be humble and be teachable.

What should I name him? Haha.
Love you lots!
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver
Have a great week!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Long, Detailed Email (According to Elder Oliver)

Well, this week was an interesting week. We saw lots of little miracles, and we were able to feel the love of the Lord in our lives.

We had the opportunity to listen to the living prophet and the 12 apostles this weekend discourse about various topics. I really loved the underlying theme of love and service. How we need to be more Christlike.

As a mission, we are reading the Book of Mormon together, and we are going to finish before the end of the year. Right now, I am in the middle of the Isaiah quotes of 2 Nephi, and, for the first time in my life, it doesn't confuse me! I'm not saying that I understand everything, (especially because I am reading in Spanish) but that I am not boggled by his writings.

One thing that could be helping me out, is that I am studying Hebrew...   WHAT?? WHY?? You may ask, haha. That is alright, I don't really know. I just had a desire to learn something completely new that would allow me to expand my learning and application of the gospel to my life. I can read the language, and I have a basic understanding of the grammar now. What is even cooler, is that as I learn, bits and pieces of Hebrew words that I have picked up through my life (random Hebrew words in the Bible, Fiddler on the Roof, etc.) have started falling into place.

I suddenly have a much better understanding of the style of Isaiah's writings, and his use of imagery.

My district here is the best. We have had a lot of fun watching the General Conference together. We learned so much that can help the people we know.

To follow up on the woman that got kicked out of her house, just know, that God is taking care of them. They are living in a little cabin for a few more days, and then they will move on. It is a rough process, moving between house and house. But since when were the people of God not nomadic?

At the end of this transfer, we are losing one of my dear Arizona buddies, Elder Oldroyd. He's heading back to Mesa.

I hope to be as good a missionary as him some day.

We have started teaching a whole bunch of English speakers, and yesterday we set 2 baptismal dates (for the 25th of October). Pray for us! Pray for them!

Keep up the good work, and let the Lord work miracles in our lives.
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

He sent some pictures (and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then I guess it is a long email after all), but no descriptions, so your guess is as good as mine.


 Looks like he's making green smoothies?  Good boy, getting his veggies!

 Pajama day?  I'm not quite sure what's going on here!  

Monday, September 29, 2014

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Hey ya'll!

I believe yall is the informal 2nd person plural of American English. Unused in most lands, but prevalent in Southern territories. 

So, regarding the title of this email, this week was even rougher than the last. With the sudden change of weather, people have changed. Which was the least of our problems. We just talk to more people, so we can continue finding as many as we used to.

Remember the woman that was going to be kicked out of her house? Well, she got kicked out, and this week was really hard and really stressful for all of us, because the ward was not capable of helping (there are lots of people here that have needed help). The situation was dismal. There was little hope that she would be able to find a roof under which to sleep, and there was increasing amounts of rain, which makes sleeping on the streets even less appealing.

We were at her house-- which she was able to stay in until Sunday-- and she had all her suitcases packed. Today (Monday) she will be leaving. We sat and talked for a while about how the Lord tests us, and how sometimes, he waits until the very last second to rescue us. 

So, we prayed fervently with her that the Lord might deliver her from having to live on the street, and we read the story about Abraham, when they go up to the mountain to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. We talked about how Abraham must have thought, 'What am I to do? This is my only son!' And he thought that until he got to the altar. Pleading, 'Lord, deliver us!' as he tied up his son. Even till he raised the knife. But, he passed the test. The Lord delivered Isaac out of danger, and provided a lamb, that they might offer a sacrifice. 

Abraham had his suitcases packed, and was handing the keys to the Landlord, but he kept the faith. And we see what the end was.

So, how did this conversation end? We prayed, and we humbled ourselves, and we offered all the faith that we had to God. And then, the phone rang.

On the line was an Angel. The rescuing angel that brought the answer to all of our problems. Well, for a week. But, it was a man that offered this poor family a room for a week, which keeps them off the streets one week more.

A week isn't very long, but the Lord only gave the Israelites 1 days worth of Manna, every day.


Seamos humildes.
Dejemos que obre milagros el Señor.


Love you lots.
Not much else happened that is worth writing. Other major miracles occurred this week, but I won't share them today.



Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Monday, September 22, 2014

Padre nuestro, que estás en los cielos

So, I want to start out by saying that this has been one of the strangest weeks of my mission. Lots of weird things have happened. Lots of good and bad things have happened, and we have worked our fannies off.
I'll start at Sunday and work backwards.
So, this Sunday, we weren't able to get any investigators to church. Which was a huge bummer, but my day was made in Sacrament meeting. The bishopric had forgotten to ask somebody to offer the first prayer, so during the welcome, the brother that directed the meeting said '...we'd like to ask Brother _____ to offer the pray for us this morning.' So, after the opening hymn, Brother _____ went up to the stand, and began to talk. 
'I'd like to thank the bishopric this morning for allowing me to offer the prayer, and I hope that all of us can be edified today through my faith'
---At this point, we were all a little bewildered at what was going on, and then---
BAM!! The clincher,
'my prayer today is taken from 3 Nephi.'
And then he recited the The Lord's prayer, as found in 3 Nephi (Slightly different from the one in Matthew 6).

Seriously the weirdest way to start a sacrament meeting. EVER. I almost busted out laughing in the middle of his prayer. Sorry, it was just too much man, too much!
Anyways, after that, we had a spiritually edifying meeting, so I guess his prayer worked! Haha:)
Now for the more chungo part of the week. We had a lot of investigators drop us, and we had to drop a few as well. That was a bummer, however, most of them gave us food, maybe to soften the blow. It was really quite weird. If they gave us food, they dropped us. Needless to say, we were a little worried when we left the apartment on Sunday on the way to church. We had specifically asked Heavenly Father to not let anybody else give us food to drop us, and as we left the building, we found a bag of food (jam and bread). We didn't take it, for fear that God would drop us after that. Oh the life of a missionary.
One of our investigators from Ecuador got robbed. ALL her information got stolen. Her DNI, her Passport, all her cards, her phone, medical cards, everything. She was a little stressed out yesterday.
Remember the Bulgarian girl that got baptized a few weeks ago? Well, she is now homeless. She and her grandma got kicked out of their house, and now all they have are a few suitcases and 300€.  They are a little bit worried.
So we have been working hard on figuring out how to keep them off the streets. Please pray for a miracle.
We got to see a little miracle this week in the lives of one of our investigator families. M told us that if she didn't see a change in the behavior of her son, she didn't want us to come back (...right after giving us some food). So we have been praying a lot, and we had a good talk with the son, who is 12 years old, about loving and honoring his mom and sister, and guess what!!  The next day, M told us that her son had completely changed. That now he is nice, and loving, and respectful.  WOW, that happened fast.
It's just nice to know the Lord is watching out for us:)
Love you lots!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver
ps. Congrats Porter! For finishing your Eagle Scout. I'm glad you didn't procrastinate it as badly as I did!

9/15/2014

First of all, I apologize for my emails lately. They really have not been very focused, nor have I been able to stay on topic, or string together more than 2 coherent
I can't promise that this week's is going to be any better.
This week, we taught a bunch of investigators, ate a ton of food, and traveled a lot. The average life of a missionary. We also cried repentance, and invited everybody to come unto Christ.
This week, we begin a new transfer! We are going to baptize. We are going to work harder than ever. We are going to make God proud. This week, we are going to find the elect. Those that in this moment, their hearts have been softened, and are receptive to the promptings of the holy Ghost.
Luckily, nobody got transfered out from our district, except Elder D- he will be going to my old Area in Almería.-  He served a looong time in the office. Poor guy....
To answer your questions, yes I drive a lot. I have mastered driving stick. I follow both Spanish traffic laws: Don't cause accidents, don't drink and drive.  They don't really have any other rules here that I know of.
As many of you know, tomorrow is my brother's birthday. Porter is turning 18! Holy cow. So, there are a couple of interesting things that I have noted in him since I left. He has really grown up. I hear so many things from my family and friends, and they all tell me how awesome he is. And then I think, wow. My brother, is really awesome.  I look up to him a lot. And not just because he finally got taller than me. He has helped me become who I am. I know I was always ''the example'', because I am the older brother, but I have always admired him. He can draw. He can play the guitar. He can sing. He's a superhero in my eyes. I really admire his ability to forgive. When we would argue or fight, he would always be the first to forgive and forget. He taught me a lot about that.  I wish I could be with him all the time, because there are so many things my lil' bro teaches me.
Not only these things, but he is my best friend (to my other brothers and sister, you are my best friends too. I love you just as much!!). When he is your friend, he is always there for you. When he serves a mission, thousands will come unto Christ because of the Christ-like love that eminates from him. He will be the best missionary in the world.

Anyways. We have set a couple of baptismal dates this week! Woohoo! So excited!! For October 11. Pray for A, M, A, and M. They will be a valuable tool in the hands of the Lord to bring about his righteous will here in Marbella.

Love you lots!!
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Monday, September 8, 2014

Developing Talents

Hey Family and friends! How's everything going this fine week?

This week went rather slowly. We have been working really hard in finding, teaching and preparing people for baptism, but for some reason, the people this week really didn't want to cooperate. We had all sorts of appointments fall through on us, and of the 15 investigators that commited to come to church, we had 3. Which is still good here in the Málaga mission, but we were really hoping to hit astronomical numbers. However, this week, we almost have an appointment scheduled for every hour of proselyting time. Pray that we can find all these people!

As a mission, we are really working hard on finding and setting baptismal dates. The more people with baptismal dates will result in more people getting baptized! (Duh)   When you set a goal, you are usually think about it more, and you try to do the things that help you to prepare for whatever goal it is you have. As people think of the covenant of baptism, they pray, they read, they go to church. When they do all that, they feel the spirit of truth, and they get baptized!! Whoohoo.

We have had good success with setting baptismal dates this week. We have 2 set for the 27th of September. A mother and her daughter. I realized this week, that we teach a lot of families. Elder V and I teach 1 individual, and 7 families! Do you know how many of these are golden? A lot. This place is the promised land for missionay work. We're going to have a ward here soon, I know it! 

Elder V and I get along super well. We are hoping to have a second transfer together here in Marbella, we both are sure that we are staying together, but you never know! Last transfer came as a surprise to both of us.

This week we did exchanges with the ZL's, and I went up to Alcázar de San Juan. Which is nowhere near my area. (1 hour car to Málaga, 2 hour train ride @250km/h, 2 hour drive. Let's say, that I was a half an hour drive from Madrid.) But the Zone of Castilla la Mancha needs our district, otherwise, it would be tiny. (Five companionships) I got to work with Elder G, and he helped me to learn all sorts of stuff, and really focus my desire. I always learn from other missionaries. Sometimes, I feel like everybody else knows a heck of a lot more than I do, no matter how little time they have in the field (Elder G has 1 transfer more than me).

We had interviews with President Deere this week, and we had a great conversation, and I feel like I will be able to make better decisions now, regarding my future of studies and work. 

Today as a dristrict, we went to Málaga to go see a hands on music museum. It was sweet! It wasn't very big, but there were plenty of cool things to do. We found a hose that when you speak in one end, you can hear the echo about 2 seconds later (it's a really long hose), but if you blow in one end, air comes out the other side immediately. Crazy physics. We also found a room with a violin, cello, piano and guitar, that were hands on. The problem was, there was too much hands on, and not enough care. I found the violin, strings in every direction, bow without rosin. There wasn't even a bridge!! That broke my heart... So, do you know what I did? I searched the room for all the missing parts, got some rosin from the reception desk, sat down on the floor, and fixed it up. 

And then after that, I jammed.

After a few minutes of jamming, we had a little crowd there watching us, with a bunch of little kids, who surely wanted to try out the violin. So, I stopped playing and called the kids over, and taught a bunch of them, one by one to play the violin. One little boy held the violin, and I played out on the finger board a song. Elder H, another elder in my district was playing some Coldplay, Viva la Vida. He, the little boy, and I were jamming out, and all the moms were watching us, maybe crying, or cheering, I don't know, I didn't see them. But I realized, that teaching music is one of my passions, and I would never get tired of it. Ever.

I taught the lesson in gospel principles this week, about developing talents. What did I do? I brought my violin, and talked about how if we have a talent, we shouldn't ljust bury it and wait until judgement day. I played a little bit, and bore my testimony through music, because even in English, I'm kind of clumsy with words.

I'm still a little too proud of myself, but that was everybody's favorite class in a very long time.   :)

Love you all lots.

So, we had a good week, and I have played my violin a lot.
We did lots of missionary work, and the Lord has reached out his hand and is practically throwing amazing people into our lives.


Os quiero mucho,
Elder Oliver