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, 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?''
--Seriously??--
''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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

¡Bautismos por mí les habra!

I love missionary work.  Haha, you are probably all sick of hearing me say that. But that's all right. Good things are worth repeating.
This week we worked a lot with a young man here, D-----. He is awesome. He has a superstrong testimony, and he has a huge desire to do missionary work. His family is great too. They are going through a pretty hard time (divorce) but his dad and his little sister are super strong as well. A few weeks ago when I played my violin with the primary, his little sister was relentlessly staring at me. Turns out, that she is in love with the violin, and wants to become like Lindsey Stirling (she's 6 years old). So, last night after working with D----- for a few hours we went back to his house, and I brought my violin. Surprise!! Imagine her face when she saw the missionaries there with the violin. She was ecstatic. I played a few songs, and her dad was recording many of them. Then, D----- and I played a duet, Viva la vida, and that went sweet.
She really wanted to play the violin, so I gave her a mini lesson, how to hold the violin and bow, and we played the Monkey song. She was so happy.

N---- is a girl that we have been working with a lot lately. She and her mom have been reading the Book of Mormon together a lot lately. She and her mom have a baptismal date as of last Wednesday. D----- accompanied us to the appointment and the spirit was so strong there. We really had a great lesson, despite the screaming 2 year old. They decided that they want to get baptized, and then D----- was super excited to do missionary work, because he had just been part of one of the best moments of missionary work.

This week was great. Elder Moore is doing super, and he and I get along super well. There are all sorts of miracles going on right now in our area, and I wish that we had time to document them all in this weekly email. 

Just know that we are being obedient, and we are working hard to fulfil our purpose as missionaries, which is to invite others to come unto Christ.


¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Monday, November 3, 2014

"I hope my English is as bad as yours"

So, this week was a lot of change.
I'll give you a quick day by day update.
Monday,
Elder Vera and I got haircuts and then went out to Málaga to play softball with the rest of our (new) zone. It was a ton of fun. Perhaps the most fun p-day that I have ever had. We had a great time there, and then went home to finish packing up his suitcases (he got transfered), and then we went and taught G, the recent convert here in Marbella. She is awesome, and we are trying to get her to prepare to serve a mission.
Tuesday,
My last district meeting as Fuengirola District leader.  Elder Vera and I prepared for the district meeting by going and eating Churros and chocolate (they were super good...)Inline image 1
And then we drove out to Fuengirola to meet up with the rest of the district. We had a good meeting, and afterwards, we spent some time writing memories and stuff to each other. That was good. Afterwards, I picked up one of the office elders and Hermana Fulsom, dropped off Elder Vera and Hermana Hurtado at the train station, and we went to the mission home to prepare for Trainer's training.

Then, I got my son!!!

Elder Moore is a machine. He is from Florida, plays soccer, trombone, and is just as nerdy and quirky as me! I am so happy. We are going to get along super well these next 3 months.
We are super obedient, super hard workers, and together, we are super humble.
However, his first day he said to me, ''Elder Oliver, I hope you take this as a compliment, but I hope that when I have 15 months in the mission, my English is as bad as yours.''

...


...


Thanks...
Haha, well, at least I know my Spanish is really good. That makes 1 out of 3 languages.

Due to our super-obedience and dedication to give everything to the Lord, we have seen some pretty serious miracles here in Marbella. Our investigators are progressing, and Golden investigators fall out of the sky as if we had the Midas Touch.
We've taught lots of lessons, and found lots of new people. And have had lots of car problems. Left and right. Up and down... Seriously, sometimes I feel like I don't ever want to buy a car of my own after the mission.


(Duct tape repair job)

I love the mission. There is nowhere I would rather be. This song describes my feelings here in the mission field. Every day I leave my apartment. Every person that I find on the streets and in their homes. Listen to it. Think of your memories of the mission, or future opportunities to serve. (He posted Phil Collins' song "On My Way.")
Love you all!
¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Oh yeah, and My birthday is this week!! Woohoo! 20!!

I'm Just Tired (Letter from Oct 27)

As you can see, the subject of this email explains how we feel after this week.
Every night, crashing on the bed, dead. No energy left, and the only thing that matters is sleep.

That's all right. It feels good to have worked so hard. I know that the Lord is pleased with what we gave this week.

As a mission, we had a goal of finding 888 new investigators in one week. As a mission, we dedicated ourselves to working harder than ever. Finding in every situation, and teaching while we were finding. Sunday night, we got a text message, 

''For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it beaccording to their faith.'' 2 Nephi 27:23

It is how it is. We did it... 897

It was quite the week. As a companionship, we didn't make our goal of 25 new investigators. However, we did really well, and as a district, we averaged 10 new investigators each companionship.

We worked hard with the youth this last week. Driving to and from the pueblos, knocking on doors, and contacting in the street. They really learned how missionary work should be. Hard, but fun.

J should be getting his mission call within the next 3 weeks, and R should be getting his in January. I'm really excited for these two machines to get out into the field. They are going to be fantastic missionaries.

We saw all sorts of miracles this week. Our week before the week of finding, was one of the slowest weeks that I have had in months. Since Algeciras. We were really nervous about the week of finding, and having to try and lead a district by example in finding. So, we set really high goals, worked our behinds off, and the Lord saw our sacrifice and was glad. By His hand we found many people, and of these many people, many of them are truly searching for the truth. 

Let us give thanks to Him for all that He gives us!


And best of all, We're going to play baseball!!! Our district got changed to the Málaga zone, and today we are going out there to go play baseball and have a BBQ!!

Like I said, the mission should be hard work, and hard play.

¡Os quiero mucho!

Elder Oliver


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!!