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, June 23, 2015

6/22/15

This week was another busy week, full of meetings, bus rides, and walking under the merciless sun.
Monday was, like I may have told you, the most boring p-day of my entire mission. Wow. There was a holiday here in Mazarrón, and every single store was closed. My goodness, we were so frustrated! There was literally nothing to do, so we went back to the apartment and cleaned for a few hours. 

Tuesday we traveled to Murcia for a dual-zone conference with President, and there were all sorts of surprises. Well, actually, the only surprise was that it was my last zone conference ever. So, they invited me up to the front to bear my testimony and some things that I have learned and felt out here in the mission.

Wednesday was one of the few ''normal'' days of this week. We were able to teach 4 lessons, and our friends are progressing just as slowly as usual. However, we found a woman from Honduras who is very interested in the gospel message. She doesn't look any older than 40, but already has 9 daughters. 7 of whom are already married... I don't really know how she achieved that, but she did.

Thursday we started the day doing weekly planning, and then went on splits with the Elders in Cartagena so that I could see how Elder Harris is doing and how well he's learned the area. He's been out about a year, and he is doing really well. I have a feeling that he is going to be the next district leader in Cartagena. He is a natural leader, and a funny guy. That evening, we went to the chapel (in Cartagena, of course) and I got to do another baptismal interview with a young woman who got baptized on Friday.

Friday, Elder Harris and I walked in the sun for three hours looking for people that would listen to us. Later that evening, we met back up with Elder Salcedo and Datwyler and went to the baptism of the girl that I interviewed. It was a great program. After the baptism, there was a farewell party for a young man in Cartagena who is heading off to the MTC in Madrid next week. He'll be serving in Barcelona.

Saturday we worked here in Mazarrón (finally!) and we had a good day walking around in the sun, again. Later, we went and played some soccer with an investigator kid, and we had a great time.

Sunday was a day of miracles. We started church a few minutes late, mostly because of the lack of people at 11 o'clock. However, as we kept going, family after family trickled in, and in the end, there were 21 people at church. There were several families that have never come to church here before in Mazarrón. It was a huge surprise, but another member had invited them to church, AND THEY CAME!! One of them, after the meeting said, "I need to come back to church. I need to serve and help lift this little branch," so BINGO! One more priesthood holder. We are going to get him to talk to bishop to make sure that everything is going fine, and then we are going to be able to (potentially) be a branch!  Plus, another family from Cartagena is moving here this week +6!! He is the older brother of C Jr., a member here. He is also in the bishopric of Cartagena 1st ward. It was a good week.

Today is not p-day for us. We are writing during our mediodía time, because we have changed our p-day to this friday, because we were already going to be there (that way, we don't lose so much proselyting time.)  Love you all!


I hope that you have a great day!
And happy Fathers day, Dad! I love you a ton!

¡Os quiero!
Elder Oliver

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

T-3 weeks (6/15/15)

Well, this week has been pretty good. Filled with all sorts of fun adventures.

Monday was p-day (obviously). We didn't do much ('cause there's not much to do here in Mazarron, so we chilled in the apartment and I slept a little bit, then we left to go teach and find. We saw P that night, who last week had had a relapse into alcohol.

Tuesday we went up to Cartagena and had district meeting. I assigned a couple of talks about setting and meeting goals, and the missionaries who spoke did a great job! Then I spoke about baptism. We set a district goal of 5 baptisms before the end of the transfer, and we were all feeling super pumped to go out and teach that day. 
We felt the spirit so strong, and as we left we were ready to go. As a district that day, we set 3 baptismal dates. We set a date with our friend C, the boyfriend of Tatiana (a member who has recently started coming back to church). However, the date is for September, because they have to get married first... But that's alright! That's not the first family that I've taught and committed to baptism in that situation.

Wednesday we had a surprise meeting in Fuengirola with president Deere. It was a district leader's training, so I got to make the journey to Fuengirola yet again! That's all right. We had a great time, and I got to see a whole bunch of my friends that I haven't seen in many months. We all talked about how the mission has gone, and I feel like we've done pretty well as a group out here. Not a single elder from my group went home early, and the great majority of us are still holding out to the end (as in, not getting too trunky). Later that night we had a great meeting with president Deere, and he taught us all sorts of good stuff. We are really working hard on preparing the missionaries for the mission president change. We're excited, and most people are pretty sad that pres. Deere is leaving, but seeing as he goes home with my group, we won't have to go through the change.

Thursday I came home (as in, I went back to mazarron), and we had just a little bit of time to visit P and his family again that night. They're doing all right. We just wanted to help boost his ánimo and not feel too bad about not being perfect. We just wanted him to know that God is looking out for him, and that he will forgive us, because he loves us, even though we are just a bunch of hopeless sinners. 

Friday we had a pretty rough evening. Everybody fell through on us in the evening so we went to a place called -las canchas- where all the South Americans get together to hang out on the weekends. It was a ton of fun! We played basketball and ate BBQ and got home exhausted. We saw a ton of our friends there, and we got a bunch of funny looks. Just picture me, red-faced and sweating, wrecking everybody at basketball, wearing a tie, white shirt and slacks. It was pretty great.

Saturday we had a lesson with a new friend of ours, A, who is a pastor at a local evangelical church. He is a great guy, and he seemed pretty open to listening to our message. He just doesn't understand why God would give us more scripture. He just kept on comparing it to a two cups and water saying "if I'm thirsty and I get a glass of water, why would I pour it into another glass before I drink it? It's all the same, the bible teaches us everything we need to know. Why would God give us another book?" Considering that all we really need to be saved from the effects of sin and the fall of man is faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, confirmation, and enduring to end, then yes. The bible teaches us that. Not very clearly sometimes, but yes. However, the Book of Mormon helps us understand the why, who, how, when of everything. And it is so much more clearly stated. (READ THE BOOK OF MORMON!)

Sunday was a good day, we had a baby blessing in sacrament meeting, and later bishop, who was here for the day (he normally meets in Cartagena, with the rest of the ward) gave an interesting/good Sunday school class. 
Later, we went to the A's house (the really strong member family) to celebrate the baby blessing with the other family by having a BBQ. We were there for a while, so I had to do district numbers in their backyard, where I got reception. However, the moment I finished numbers I got nailed with a water balloon. And another. And a bucket of water. My goodness, I was soaked. However, instead of turning the other cheek, I quickly found a three gallon bucket, and managed to avenge those wrongs done unto me. It was a great day, haha :) 

Anyways. Today was the most boring p-day in the history of the world. EVERYTHING was closed. Stupid holidays... 

I am so excited to get home and see you all. Start making lists of questions to ask and things to talk about, because I am going to want to sleep for at least 3 days after getting home, haha. Make sure you're ready to share the gospel, too!

Inline image 2
District Leader training!

¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

6/8/2015

This week was a good week. Not nearly as stressful as last, but we did lots of things.

However, I don't have much time today, so just know that I am still working hard out here. Still being obedient. I'm not going to relax my last weeks out here.

We had an awesome stake conference this weekend, and one of the investigators that we had come later had a dream that President Deere invited him to be baptized.

He has opened up a ton this week, and is excited to move foward.

Next week I promise a better letter.
Love you lots!
Elder Oliver

6/1/2015

Dear family (and friends),


This week has been an interesting week, to say the least. I'll start at the beginning, and  I'll give you lots of details... 
Monday, we had p-day. We were already in Cartegena for a baptism Sunday night, and there was no bus to bring us back home, so we bunked with the elders, there and stayed there for p-day. We spent the p-day with the zone, and caught the bus back home so we could buy the ingredients to make a paella.

Tuesday we had district meeting, and I prepared a short little lesson about the Book of Mormon, and then when we finished the meeting we sang the mission hymn, and we were pretty sad, because every companionship in the district was changed this transfer. The elders area in ward 1 got merged into the sisters area, so both elder simón and elder child were getting transferred. Sisters stradling and knowles also were getting transferred out.  So, after district meeting, everybody started writing their farewells, and taking pictures as I made a bomb paella (it was so flippin' good). I made it from chicken this time, and it turned out super good. But like, so good that everybody was just blown away by how delicious it was.

It wasn't perfect, but this life is the time for men to prepare to make perfect paella. I think the next one I'm going to make is going to be a rabbit paella. I think that could be delicious.

Later, we said our goodbyes to the district and headed home. Upon arriving home, we checked our bank accounts to try and pull out some cash, and it turned out that between elder pond and I, we had about 2,50€. We were a little worried, because that evening we were going to cook chipotle style burritos for the branch, and we had no ingredients besides the veggies. So, I made a couple of phone calls to the members and assigned them beans, rice, drinks, etc. so that with what little we had, we'd be able to get this done. We got to the activity, and wow, it was so much fun. Elder pond taught everybody how to make Mexican tortillas and we served the burritos, and they were a hit. Everybody loved it. At the end of the activity, elder pond and I needed to head out early to go print out his bus tickets (which will be another story later). Turns out that all of the members wanted to gather in a circle and say one thing that they love about elder pond, and something that would miss about him. They all said some pretty nice things about him, and when it came to be my turn, I couldn't speak. The words choked up in my throat, and a few manly tears rolled down my cheek. It had just hit me that one of my best friends ever was going to have to leave soon, and that was so hard. Man, that was hard. He really is like my little brother, and it was almost as hard to have to send him away as it was to say goodbye to my brothers and sister back home. After the crying fest, we ran to the locutorio to print out his bus tickets, and we had a horrible realization. The office elders had bought us tickets from the wrong city, and 2,50€ wasn't going to get us to where we needed to be the next day. So, we went home, packed his bags cleaned the apartment, and prayed that God would help us find a way out of that mess.
After he packed, elder pond and I brought our mattresses up to our roof, and my paella burner, and we totally had a camp out. The only problem is that we didn't have any s'mores.

Wednesday, we woke up, and realized that not a single problem from the night before had magically been resolved, and our money still hadn't arrived, so we totally missed his bus to get to Murcia. The office elders wouldn't answer their phone (it was the end of the month, and everybody was broke because the reimbursements didn't come on time, so everybody was probably having the same problems as us), so we called our ward mission leader, explained him the situation, and he drove from cartegena to mazarron to pick us up to take us to cartegena, where we could probably bum some money off of the other elders. We arrived to cartegena, and the elders informed us that the money had just arrived, so we literally ran to the bank(making a pit stop at a döner kebab on the way to order) and I pulled out my money. However, elder ponds money didn't arrive, so his kebab was on me, and I had to buy his bus ticket to Murcia. 

We said our goodbyes, sent him away, and started to relax a little. However, there is no rest for the weary. I got a phone call from the zone leaders in Murcia asking if elder pond was almost there, because his other bus was about to leave, and I told them that he wouldn't be arriving for a while. So, in the end, he arrived late to Murcia, and had to wait there for about 4 hours to catch the next bus. I don't know how many phone calls I made trying to organize people and send them to the right places to make sure my hijo arrived safely. He arrived to his area super late, but he did arrive. His new comp is elder day, from my group.

I returned to the bus station to meet up with my new comp, elder salcedo. We hopped on the bus back to mazarron, where he chatted my ear off. Actually, we didn't talk that much but after everything that had just happened, I just wanted to sleep. We got home, he unpacked his bags a little, and we went out to visit a couple of members before returning to Cartagena that night (for an important meeting the next morning--I wasn't feeling like waking up at 5 the next morning. We got to their apartment, and met the new elder to Cartagena. Elder harris (elder Datwyler was here already) has got about 9 months in the mission. He is huge. Like, we walked into their apartment, and elder salcedo looked rather frightened. Elder harris is about 6'1" and used to be a bodybuilder. Enough said.

Thursday was the day we've been waiting for! The mission wide digital upgrade finally came! We're officially missionaries of the 21st century. There are all sorts of restrictions on the devices, but that really doesn't bother me that much. However, we've got a bunch of great language learning tools, teaching tools, and assorted useful tools (like the hammer app��, or the cutting board app��, jaja)

Friday was a normal day (if you only have one normal day a transfer, does that make it a abnormal day?) we did some cool online training for the online proselyting, and we organized a big activity here in mazarron for Saturday, la cosecha, or harvest. I took mazarron and divided it up on google earth and dropped it into my device from which I'd be able to wirelessly transfer it to anybody else with a device.

Saturday was the cosecha. All the missionaries from the zone came, and we had an amazing time. A ton of members came, so we were all able to go on splits. I had the privilege of working with Ángel, with whom I did the baptismal interview two weeks back. He was super excited to go out and share the gospel, and he and I found a decent number of people who are willing to listen together. At the end of the activity, we all got together again at the chapel and our ward mission leader made a huge paella. It was so delicious, and all 70 of us there to eat left stuffed. It was a good day, and we ended by getting 77 references that day. That's a lot of people. (Organizing all of the names, we realized that couple had been contacted twice, by two different sets of missionaries, and had given them both the same information. I guess those are going to be the most open? Jaja)

Sunday was a pretty chill day. Two people that had been contacted on Saturday came to church, and as they left at the end, they told me that they loved the meeting and that would come back next week, so we'll see.  Later I commenced with taking the district's numbers and it was super weird using an electronic device. However, it went over pretty well.

Monday again, elder salcedo and I went to a barbers, and got our hair cut (if you want to know how many, I got all of them cut). Now we're just chilling here in the apartment typing up our emails to send when we get to the locutorio.


I hope y'all have a great day!
Os quiero mucho,

Elder Oliver


¡Baptisms por miles habrá!

ps. Happy Birthday Dad,  I hope you enjoy the long email:)




5/26/2015

Hey, so sorry I didn't get that email out yesterday. We've been 100% busy, running to and fro doing everything that we have needed to do. Elder Pond is getting transferred, and we have been in Cartagena more often than not, so our time here in Mazarrón is limited, and we are very pressed for time. I will be staying here and my comp will be Elder Salcedo, from Perú. I hope that he and I have as great a time as Elder Pond and I have. These really have been the best 2 transfers ever. 

Thursday we will be getting the ipads! We'll be traveling (surprise!) again to Cartagena, where we are going to get all the details, and we are going to be learning how to use them. I am pretty excited:)

Anyways, sorry for the super-lousy email this week. I just hope that the sheer amount of work we've done in these last few days makes up for it.


¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Ps. You know you're old in the mission when both Assistants to the President haven't been around as long.

t-50 (5/18/15)

Well, I have had a great week. 

Monday- We really didn't do much that day. I bought some chocolate.

Tuesday- Went and taught some of our friends, but one was drunk, and the lesson didn't last very long. We had a great day teaching, and had a full schedule.

Wednesday- We traveled up to Cartegena for interviews with President. I had a great talk with him. I love that guy so much. He really is one of the best people ever. Then Elder Pond went back to Mazarrón with Elder Simón, another elder in the district, and I stayed here in Cartagena with Elder Child, a young elder from Idaho. We had a good time working there, and it was so hot there. Cartagena is so humid, it is ridiculous.

Thursday- We started the day running to the chapel (in Cartagena still) to play basketball. Everybody wanted to play b-ball, but because they thought that Elder Pond was going to be in Cartagena (he loves basketball). It was rather funny showing up the chapel, and everybody was like ''oh man, elder Pond isn't here...'   ...Gee, thanks guys, haha. We had a great time though.  Later that evening Elder Pond came back to Cartagena, and we bought a TON of food. Then, we went to Murcia for a Doctor's appointment (don't worry, we're not going to die), and it was so HOT THERE. But it was amazing. It was 107 degrees there, and absolutely bone dry. It was so awesome, and then I started thinking about Arizona a lot. I was thinking about home just about the entire night, until we got back to Cartagena and bunked with the other Elders for the night (there was not another bus at that hour to Mazarrón).

Friday- So that --TON-- of food that we bought on Thursday was for zone meeting on Friday. Elder Pond and I prepared and cooked some good old Mexican burritos for the entire zone. They were a hit. And we were über exhausted afterwards. Finally, we were able to go home to Mazarrón. 

Saturday- We had an un-eventful morning, other than buying churros (and finding out that I have about €4,50 to my name right now (could you put like 20 bucks in my account por favor) due to buying so many bus tickets of late. We then used €4,25 to travel to Cartagena AGAIN for a stake Priesthood meeting, which totally filled me with strength to finish strong. It was such a great conference. Then we stayed another night in Cartagena, because there are no late buses on Saturdays, so we ate döner kebab and played chess that night (watch out Turner, I'm going to whoop you when I get home, haha)

Sunday- Great Sunday. Ward mission leader came to church, basically helped us out a ton in every way, and we had some great lessons with our other friends.

¡Os quiero mucho!
Love,
Elder Oliver

Well, what do I say now? (5/11/15)

As usual, I don't have many words to share with you this week, because yesterday we talked on skype. That always scrambles my brain. This week was good. We had a great meeting in Sevilla. We learned a ton. Later, Elder Pond and I made some super bomb burritos al mejicano.

Today we made more burritos (we learned how to make our own flour tortillas), and now I am working on some documents for church here in the locutorio.

I am so excited for you, Porter! You're going to ALASKA! And you're going to freeze. Coming straight out of Phoenix, haha. Good luck.

Anyways. I love you all.
Go get to work!
Love,
Elder Oliver