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, 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

Transferring!

This week has been a week of all sorts of crazy stuff. Remember how we were all super sure that Elder S was going to get transferred? Well, he is staying for a fifth transfer here! That is very unusual for our mission. The maximum is usually 4, which is 24 weeks. So, you may ask, 'Elder Oliver, are you going to have a 3rd transfer with Elder S?' The answer is... Nope! Surprise transfer, Elder Oliver! 

President Deere called me on Friday, and instead of telling me who was going to come in place of Elder S, he said, ''Elder Oliver, you are headed towards Marbella. Do you like to drive?'' You can imagine my surprise. I was thinking, ''What?? I've only got 3 months here in Almeria! We just set a baptismal date on R, and everything is going really well! Why do you have to take me out of here?''

So that is my main trial. The Lord always pulls me out of areas right before people get baptized. It makes me happier than anything else to know that I have changed peoples lives, even if the fruits of my labors take longer to ripen than I'd like. 

Lots of things happened this week. As my family already knows, I'll be getting a car in my next area. That is cool, but that has caused a little bit of stress, because we have had to work quickly to get my international driver's licence. My companions will be Elder V, from Madrid, and Elder S, from Germany (but only for 2 weeks). I'm super excited, but we are going to be going to an area that has only been worked for 2 transfers. Elder S opened it with Elder P. But, the problem is, that Elder V and I don't know the area. So we are going to have to learn fast. 

Seeing as I got to talk to you guys on Saturday, I really can't think of what I need to tell you, but I am keeping a daily journal of what happens, so at least I will never forget what has been going on for the last few weeks. They have been very important weeks in my life, and I treasure the memories which I have made. And I am really struggling with spitting out proper English.

Next week I will be able to fill you in on all sorts of cool things. HEY!! Guess who is coming in my place! Elder O! The giant!   He is also from Arizona, but from a tiny city called Thatcher. We met in the airport on the way to Madrid. He is awesome. This area will be in good hands. 

I look foward to all your updates about school, work and life in general. I know you are all busy and stuff, but even just a short update about life, or a funny joke, or tips on how to find people are greatly appreciated. 

¡Os quiero un montón!
Elder Oliver

Another Lengthy Sermon

Today I received an email from my brother. It reads as follows, '' so i know this is short, but we're doing a strike, you need to not give a sermon every time. I love you, but, i want to know stuff that happens, so yeah. love you''

Hmm, 'I love you, but I want to know stuff that happens...'   Ouch. 'You need to not give a sermon every time'  Ouch again.

First off, sorry guys! My excuse is this. My testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is deepening every day. I feel his love, power, and glory more every day. I share that love with those that I meet, with whom I talk, and with those that I serve. I feel a desire to help all of you understand and feel what I feel. I want everybody to convert to the gospel as I have. Just as the sons of Mosiah did, 'even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.'    

...Wait a second, isn't that what my brother got tired of? 
Sorry...

This week went really well! We have seen many miracles, large and small. Elder S and I have both been working harder to help rebuild our relationships with the members. We've been working, and now we've been seeing the results of our labor.

Our investigators have started to progress!! The last 2 weeks have been turning points in my mission, and in my life. There has been a direct correlation between my renewed faith and testimony (Don't worry, I never lost either, but I have grown a lot in these 2 weeks.) and the progress they have been making. Many have finally started to read the Book of Mormon, and today we set a baptismal date on a man that we met last week. Pray for R, he wants to change his life. (23rd of August)  and we have found several new families recently.

--Here is the story,
We showed up to R's house this morning (having changed our P-day to tomorrow--We still email today though--) and we begin to talk. We tell him that we are going to watch a video, and we plug in the Flash drive to his TV, and briefly go over the principals of the restoration. However, every moment that we pause, he starts talking about the atrocities committed in the name of God by various religions in history. We watch the video of the Restoration together, and he continues talking through the ENTIRE video. It was a little frustrating, so say the least. Right after the video ended, he said ''Yeah, I believe your church to be true''  (he studied quite extensively with the missionaries about 15 years ago).  We say, ''R, will you fix your life up and follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?   ''Absolutely!'' 

We sat there, stunned for a moment, and then he started making plans how to quit drinking and smoking so that he could be addiction free for his baptism.

So, that was a bit of a miracle.

This week we cleaned our apartment, and now it is probably the cleanest in the mission. And we got an old TV from a member that didn't want it. Watching the Restoration is a lot more comfortable on a 20'' screen than a 6'' screen, haha.

I have been eating super healthily again, and I feel amazing! Renewed in body and soul! Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious here, I really lucked out on the food department with my mission call.

We did another musical number this week at church. Did we do well? I believe so. The list for eating appointments was twice as full as the last couple of weeks, and meal appointment numbers don't lie. 

We'll be getting our transfer calls this week. I'm fairly sure that Elder S will leave. Maybe I'll be a senior comp? 

Speaking of senior, I just passed a year in the mission, and I am still going strong. In fact, I am the strongest that I have ever been. My spanish is rockin', my knowledge and application of the gospel is deeper and more meaningful to me than ever, and we are teaching of ton of Gypsies. It seriously is a lot of fun to be a missionary.

However, now I kind of need to start deciding where to go to school... Any suggestions? My patriarchal blessing tells me that during my mission I will be able to decide on several of these big decisions in my life. So, I just need to put in my part, and the Lord will do the rest.

This week was awesome, and I hope you enjoy your time in the states and around the world as much as I enjoy my time here.

Os quiero mucho! 
Que Dios os bendiga!  (Oh no!! I'm turning evangelical! Haha;)   )
Elder Oliver

Another week in Almeria

First of all, I am happy to say that we are still doing well here in Almeria, and that our difficulties don't last forever. This week has been interesting. We went on splits this week with Elder R and G (from Guatemala) and that went well. G and I went on a tour through los Almendros, a really sketchy gypsy development that is stereotyped as being full of cocaine and marijuana. I don't know how true that is though, I have only seen the marijuana!  Haha, there is more of that stuff there than I could ever believe. 

We only had one investigator come to church this week, which was a disappointment. We were hoping that 8 would come, but most of them slept in, and the one that didn't sleep in was in the hospital because he got jumped IN the Great Church of Apostasy on saturday. He was going to send his daughter off to a program almost identical to Playground Pals, or summer rec, through the local G.W.of all the E. And while he was finalizing the paperwork, he saw the Moniters, the people that were going to be the leaders, loading 2 dollies stacked with assorted alchoholic drinks. He asked them what that was for, and they said that it was for Sunday, because it was their day off and they could do whatever they wanted. 

He politely asked for his money back, which they gave him as he de-registered his daughter, and they was asked, 'why are you taking her out?' to which he replied, 'because you are all a bunch of ------ drunkards. After that, a few of the kids there, between 17 and 20 years old pinned him down and began to inflict upon him grievous wounds... Okay, not that grievous or scriptural, but today he is in the forensics lab and the Police are having a crackdown on that area.

Good excuse not to come to church?

I highly doubt that Elder S and I will stay together one more transfer. In this mission there are very few companionships that have had more that 2 transfers together, or individuals with more that 4 transfers in one area. 

I am so glad that you guys are having such a great time in Washington! I get homesick for the trees and green and rain when I hear all the things that you are doing there. I can't wait to get a chance to travel back up to Washington some day. Who knows? Maybe I'll end up working there some day!

We continue teaching large groups of Gypsies in the middle of the streets of Los Almendros, and we have found a solid crop of new investigators that I feel will be able to progress towards entering into the covenant of Baptism.  
Anyways, I love you all so much, and I hope that you have a safe journey and have lots of fun in whichever part of the world you are!


¡Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

Friday, July 18, 2014

Almost Dead, But with New Life July 14 Letter

So, as you know, my comp only has 2 months left in the mission. When missionaries go home, they die. And the trend, is that missionaries that are on their deathbeds change. They either become more disobedient to the rules that we have, because they feel like it is not important anymore, or they become more obedient, because they recognize that their days are numbered. Elder S has been in the first group of missionaries, but this last week he has changed. He has had a change of heart, from what I can see, and now the two of us have a more powerful desire to BE obedient.  Now, neither of us are perfect, but we are getting better. We both want to get better, and we are doing the things that will carry us to a higher level. 

He and I have both learned a lot from each other. We both get along super well. Did you know that his sister just went to the MTC last week? So, they won't see each other for quite some time. There are only 2 months separating them, but those two months turn into 3 years and 4 months without seeing each other. However, his Sister is going to serve in Sweden, so he said he'll stop by and drop off a care package to her apartment, haha.

This change in Elder S has taught me something very important. He has taught me that once you get near the end, and the going gets tough, you just have got to finish. You don't let off the gas. You don't throw down the test booklet right before you reach the last page. You've got to finish strong. It is imperative.

Let's look at a few examples,

Moses, was miraculously preserved to free the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. After many years in the wilderness, he was sent by God to go deliver the Israelites. When he got to Egypt, Pharaoh increased the workload of the people, and refused many times to let them go. When he finally gave up, Moses and the Israelites escaped ASAP, and ended up coming to the shores of the Red Sea. There were the waters ahead of them, and then to make things really bad, Pharaoh had changed his mind about letting them free, and was on his way in his chariots to destroy the people. Now did Moses start crying when the situation looked hopeless? Nope, he put his faith in God, and the waters of the Red Sea were opened up to provide safe passage to the Israelites.

David, when he was a boy, went to the battle grounds to deliver supplies to his older brothers that were engaged in the war. He heard the voice of Goliath, and decided to go up against him. He prepared himself through prayer, much thought, and searched for stones fit to use in his sling, and then walked out to meet Goliath in battle.  When he got down there, he saw how big Goliath was, and I am sure he had some second thoughts. However, his people's liberty was in jeopardy, and he trusted in the Lord to deliver him. He didn't put the stones back in his pocket and run back to camp. He hurled that stone with all his strength.

And most importantly, Christ. Christ suffered for our sins in Gethsamane and on the cross. When the Romans savagely beat him and tortured him, did he ever say, ''Okay! I give up!  I'm done!'' and retaliate? No. Not at all.

So, when we come really close to our goals, what do we do? Satan, of course, will try to do everything in his power to discourage us, to make us lose hope, and to try to get us to throw in the towel. However, nothing of any worth was ever easy to achieve. We have to give our 100%.   When I was in my first semester of senior year, I was trying to balance a schedule of hard classes, seminary, church assignments, Swim team, and finishing my eagle scout.  Instead of curling up and giving up, I decided to give everything I had left.  How did I do? I did well. I wasn't perfect, but I got good grades, I had perfect attendance at seminary, I was working harder than ever in my church calling, I made it to the State Championship Final in the 100 yard Butterfly, and I finished my eagle Scout award and turned in the papers on time (1 hour before I turned 18:/   ) Was it easy? Heck no. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

I just invite everybody to stick it out to the end. There is no glory in giving up at the last moment. Only tragedy. 

The same is with this life. If we give up, all that waits for us is tragedy. If we hold on tight until the end, we will receive the reward which has been promised us.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20



Os quiero mucho!
Elder Oliver

ps. The rest of the week went really well. Investigators are doing great, and we had a great time in Málaga for a tri-zone conference with President!
pps. Happy Birthday to my Uncle Kurt!    

         Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes!