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.

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

(We received this email late in the morning, with the email title:  Long email.)

Haha, just kidding, I don't really have any time at all today, but suffice it to say, that our Smoke alarm and CO detectors work, and we are working really hard here. This week I am going on splits with the Zone Leaders up in Castilla la Mancha, so we'll see how that goes. 

I may be able to come to the Locutorio late tonight right before we go to bed and fill you in on some details of this last week.


Love you all, a lot!
Elder Oliver

Sorry for such a short email, I didn't have a lot of time to begin with, and I spent most of it emailing people from old areas that I haven't heard from in a long time

(Then later in the day we received this:)

So, going along the lines of the special training with president, I will fill you in briefly in an experience that we had just a moment ago.
So, we got back from Fuengirola today, got dressed, and headed out to work. We had appointments scheduled for the entire evening today, and we were expecting to be pretty busy up till the end of proselyting time. We popped on over to the first family, and nobody answered. We passed by the next family, and nothing. We quickly went through all of our backup plans, and guess what! Nothing. So, as we were heading away from the last family that didn't answer their door, we got a phone call from a senior missionary working in the office.
''Hi Sister C. This is Elder Oliver, how may I help you?''
''Hey, Elder Oliver, do you have a bit of extra time?''
   ---I look at my agenda with all of our appointments crossed out.
''Actually, yeah! We have plenty of time! What's up?''


And it turns out that one of the senior couple Elders (Coombs) had gotten sick, and he was staying at a hospital here in Marbella. So, we stopped by the hospital and had a great little while chatting with him and his wife. They are from AZ too! And they know people that I know!
Anyways, we got to know them really well, and as we left, Sister Coombs was crying. They were so grateful for the visit, and we really felt good afterwards. We knew that had those families not fallen through with their appointments, Elder and Sister Coombs would have spent the entire night in the hospital alone.
We really can see the hand of the Lord in all things. He sometimes works in not so mysterious ways.

Anyways, I love you all! I hope Cooper and Brodie have had a great birthday, and that you will all have missionary experiences this next week!


Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Monday, August 25, 2014

Loving Life in Marbella

***Killing a missionary means that you are their companion as they complete their mission.  Just to be clear, Hayden is not a murderer.  :)

This week has been interesting, we officially killed Elder Scheible, and I officially had my first baptism! So that is pretty cool. I'll fill you in.

Elder Scheible finished his mission on Wednesday. With two years of service behind him, he was ready to move on, but those last two days, you could tell that emotionally, he was torn up.  He served well, and many people are going to remember him for what he did.

Now, Elder V and I have taken charge of the work here in Marbella. We never have proselyting time that is wasted by wandering around the streets, because we have a ton of people to go and visit. Some of the people we have met are really flojo (literally, limp.  But we use it like -lazy-). Luckily, we have other people to visit when others don't answer their door. 

This week, we officially had a baptism. On the 23rd. All we did was organize it, because the girl that got baptized was all ready to go by the time that we arrived here to Marbella. In Almería, we had set a baptismal date on a man named R, (the really tiny one in the photos) for the 23rd. Then, the Lord took me out of Almeria, and put me here. However, the Lord still gave me a baptism on the 23rd of this month, because he is awesome.

The little girl that got baptized lives with her Grandma who got baptized a year ago. They are from Bulgaria. L reminds me so much of Regan, like, in every way possible. Haha.

Elder V and I have been working hard on contacting still, finding members, and helping people to improve their lives. 

We also hiked a mountain on Last P-day, here are a few pictures in Dropbox.








I also got to play my violin at the Baptismal Service, which was a lot of fun. We didn't have a ton of preparation, but we pulled it off. Another Elder at the end of the service was a little dumbstruck at the musical number, regardless of how simple it was.   Haha, I still got it!  (still working on that humility thing...)

Anyways, it was a great week, and we are looking forward to another super tiring week. Love you lots, and send my regards to everybody! Even random people in the street. Get started on contacting!


Love you lots,
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver



PS I received a letter with like a million little notes from girl's camp(?) this week. The letters made my day, and I hope that everybody that wrote me something knows that I appreciate it a lot!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Smashing records

Remember how last week I told you that I would send photos today? Well,  the SD card doesn't work here in these computers. So, that is a big bummer, because I have lots of great photos. Just imagine a really manly guy with my face, battling against nature in the Spanish mountains, contacting people everywhere, and cooking weird stuff. And then imagine all that, accompanied by an Ecuadorian and a German. And that was our week.

Well, I don't know if I told you last week, but we set some seriously high goals this week. And do you want to know what happened??  Well, we all gave 100%. And when I say 100% I mean it. Elder Scheible, Elder Vera, and I really focused on contacting this week. We wanted to get lots of potential investigators so that we have plenty of work these next few weeks. The Mission record is 72 future investigators in one week for any single companionship. This week, we broke a mission record. In fact, to say it more humbly, we kind of smashed it. We got 100 futures in one week. (Alma 26:12-13)

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

We couldn't have done it without Jesús. And I mean that in two ways, 1, because there is a priest aged kid that helped us out a ton, and 2, because by the power and strength of Jesus Christ we were able to accomplish the most work that I have ever done in one week. Not only did we find a lot, but we taught 26 lessons, which is also a strong number. Nowhere near any records, but standards are 20, so that is cool.

I have learned so much from my companions here. This is definitely an inspired companionship. We all need each other, and this area needs us. Our goal is that we teach and find so much, that President has to send another companionship over here.

Anyways, that was part of our week. This morning we hiked a cool mountain near Marbella, and took some cool photos. Last week we also stopped in a place called Puerto Banús, and saw a ton of cool cars. In Arizona, I saw 2 Ferraris in the 2 years that I lived there. In Puerto Banús, within 20 minutes we saw tons of ferraris, maseratis, Lamborginis, Rolls Royce, Bently, you name it. It was definitely a car lover's paradise, haha.

I love Landon's email. For those of you that didn't get it, which would be everybody, here is a little bit out of it,
''Hey Hayden,
A couple of days ago on Monday, I started swim team. I heard people talking about you. They said you have legs like tree trunks, you have a massive upper body, you could bench over 400 pounds, when they found I was your brother they started calling me your prodigy, they expect me to do butterfly for everything. Any way you are a living legend at swim team and it's great to be at a place that looks up to my older brother.''
Oh, ye confused and silly generation, how quick are ye to forget Hayden your Capitan!?

Haha, no, it's alright. Maybe a little bit got exaggerated, but at least they remember my name. Landon is going to do a lot better on that team through the years than I did.

Anyways, I'm sorry I don't have any photos again!
Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Monday, August 11, 2014

Marbella!

Dear Friends and Family,
First of all, I want to apologize for not having any photos today. I totally forgot to bring my camera. I have taken a lot of photos since last week. Partially because of the transfers, and partially because Marbella is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Like seriously. If you doubt my word, look up on Google, Marbella, Spain. (here are just two of the pictures I found on google images.  Wow)

So, Let me fill you in on the deets. It was really hard to say goodbye to all my friends in Almeria. There are so many wonderful people that have touched my life, and have taught me how to be a better missionary. Elder S, for his very last transfer is with Elder O. He is awesome. 

On my side of the mission, things are going really well. Elder V and Elder S are awesome! I love these guys, let me tell you a bit about them. Elder V is from Ecuador, but lived in North Eastern Spain, --San Sebastian, País Vasco-- for most of his life. For the last 13 years. He has about 9 months on the mission, and is a really great missionary. He listens well, to the investigators and his companions. He doesn't have his international driver's license, so I suppose I am going to have to drive. I am looking forward to spending the next few months with him. We'll get along really well. He has a ton of really clever jokes.
Elder S is from Germany, a place called Grenzach, on the German-French-Swiss border. He speaks German, English, French, and Spanish fluently, and it is very dificult to tell that he is not a native speaker of English. In fact, he speaks better than many Americans! As I mentioned last week, he is about to die, as in he only has 11 days left in the mission. And he is not letting a single minute get wasted. He is super obedient, and is one of the best workers I have ever met. That is probably why he was the Assistant to the President. He is also one of the best 300m Hurdlers in the world. Which is pretty cool.
It has been really hard to adjust to teaching as 3, but we are working hard during study time in the morning to get used to it. Both my companions are champion contacters, and I am learning a lot from them. I hope to be able to become an awesome street contacter soon.
I have been learning lots about how to be a leader here, and there are a ton of good things happening here in our area. I love being here in the Fuengirola Area!!  It really is amazing.
Love you guys lots! Next week I will have some photos, and even more details about everything that is going on.

Love you lots!!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver