Josh sent home pictures again this week! Please enjoy! (sorry they are so small, you can click on them to make them bigger)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Hey everybody! It is Elder Oliver once again reporting from CRAZY LAS VEGAS!! haha. This has definitely been an interesting week for sure! As usual here in Las Vegas. So I leave for Mexico in one week! I have no Idea what time my flight is or anything like that. But I am assuming that it is going to be early in the morning...Because I will probably have to transfer flights and have all sorts of layovers. So I have heard they usually do it in the morning because I could very spend the entire day traveling. ha. So unfortunately I don't have exact details. But I am excited to leave for Mexico! I have had the oppurtunity here in Vegas to work with some Mexicans and they are such great people! It just made me really excited! So one more week!
So how am I doing??? Wonderful! I have just been working and trying to do the best I can! I want everyone to know that I am healthy, and well rested everyday! I am doing really well! My companion Elder Tuione leaves tomorrow. It is his last day! So me and Elder Cunningham are going to get a new companion tomorrow in my first transfer conference. So that is pretty exciting. I am grateful for everything that he has taught me and I hope that we can stay in touch!
Next! Some fun news for you guys! I went to the consulate! I recieved my Visa! I traveled there with Elder Butler who is my zone and I see quite often. But when we pulled up and went in the building Elder Jessop and Elder Richardson were there! It was so much fun to be all together again! We are all leaving for the Mexico at the same time so that will be fun to travel together! Elder Jessop and Elder Richardson seemed like they are doing really well! They had some funny stories and experiences and I shared with them all of mine and it was just fun. Felt like good ole' MTC days haha. It was really fun.
So Now to the work! I will start off from the beginning of the week. We met an awesome person named Rokie. He is extremely interesting. We got a referral saying that he was from Israel and that his wife and son had died in a bomb explosion. We felt the spirit really press on our minds that we had to go see this man. We went over to his house just to see him and see if he was still interested in learning more like the referral said. We knocked on his door and he came out and we told him who we were and we ended up staying there for over an hour. He could not stop talking! and we didn't want him too! He pretty much told us his life story. And how he was so interested in the church. His best friend is mormon and is super happy. He never wanted to talk religion with his friend because he was a jew and wasn't interested. But over time he saw how happy his friend was and wanted to find out why. We told him that we were going to teach him. He was so prepared to hear the gospel. And we have been meeting with him and giving him commitments. He has been reading the book of Mormon and he is now in Ether in a week....pretty amazing. He wasnt able to come to church cause his daughter went to the hospital. So we told him that the Lord will bless him if he continues what he is doing. And he seemed to respond very well to that. He is such a great guy!
With Reggie we had a bummer week. We tried to reach him friday and saturday and sunday morning and we could not get a hold of him. If was going to be baptized this week like he was supposed to he needed to come to church this week. So we went to church and found out he was not there. So we were bummed out about that. But that wasn't that big of a deal. Just that we couldn't baptize him this week. We were just worried because we had never had a problem gettting a gold of him before. So we went and visited him later that night. He was there and he said that he wasn't going to be baptized. He said that his legal situation is bad. Worse than he had told us. He really could be going to jail soon. So we completely understood that his mind wasn't in the right state for him to learn and read from the BOM. He just can't focus on it because of things going on. We understand and We pray for him because he is such a great guy. and he would be a great member of this church. So we wished him the best.
Last story. We went street contacting outside of this little place called freemont experience with all the people who had gone out partying and all this stuff over there. Some classic experiences that I will never forget haha. Usually it isn't effective because the people aren't open to the gospel. But it was good practice for me street contacting people. So I really enjoyed it. But there was lady that I stopped and that I talked to. Her name was Laura, she was a shorter black lady. She looked like she didn't have much, her shoes had duct tape all over them and her clothes were a little worn but the spirit told me to talk to her. So I did! She was awesome!!!! I gave her the Book of Mormon and she said that she would try reading it. She said that she would come to church. Which was the next day!! It was so awesome. She doesn't have a car so we told her to be outside her place and we would have someone pick her up. And she was there and came. She took a whole bunch of ensigns from sunday school to read. haha. It was so awesome! She said she really enjoyed church and that she wanted us to come by and teach her about the Church! So that was defintiely a sweet experience meeting her.
Well everyone that is what is going with me right now!!! I love you all so much!!! I want to say happy birthday to my parents who both had their birthdays this week!!!!!!!!!! SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I Love you so much!!! I hope they were amazing!!!! But I love everybody so much thank you all for your support! I feel it everyday out here!!! I pray for all of you everyday as well! I hope you have a good upcoming week I have no idea when I will be sending my next email! But hopefully not too long! But love you all thank you so much for everything BYE!
con amor Elder Oliver
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
It's Elder Oliver once again reporting from th Las Vegas Nevada Mission with some exciting news! This week I was informed that I am leaving for Mexico on the 30th of April!! So that is just about two weeks from today! pretty exciting stuff! So I just wanted to let all of you know what is going on there. I am not sure when my actual flight is or anything like that. But Between now and the 30th I will be going to the consolate to recieve my visa. So ya fun stuff!
Today was another very interesting week...ha. Welcome to Vegas! So last week I talked a lot about my investigators Reggie and Robert. They are definitely the most interesting ones! So I am going to talk about them and give you an update. So we are going to start with Reggie. He is not in Jail!!! haha. So that is some exciting stuff! He really is so awesome! He is struggling with financial and living and legal troubles as I have explained. But he is a great guy. You can tell that he doesn't like the decisions he has made in the past and that he wants to change. I can tell that he just wants to find peace. He has all these things that are going on in his life and he just wants an escape. He wants something he can turn to. So that he can feel better when he is overwhelmed. Well we got what he is looking for DON"T WE!!!! haha. The gospel brings peace and direction in our lives. It makes us focus on the things that are really important. Family, Friends, Relationships in general, especially our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We are so grateful that we have the scriptures to read from and the oppurtunity to talk with our Father in Heaven. We are trying to help him find that out for himself. That he can escape the world and his problems when he reads and prays, and he really isn't escaping his problems when he does that. We know that he will be blessed, and those problems will be easier to overcome and deal with. We are really excited for Reggie we know that if he keeps our commitments he is going to gain a testimony. We love reggie and hopefully he will really progress this upcoming week.
So...now we are going to talk about Robert....This has been a rough week. So I know how last week I talked about how well he is doing and everything is going well and he is praying and reading and trying to overcome smoking. Well I wrote that e-mail in the afternoon monday and monday night he dropped us. We had a lesson with him and we could tell that he was really discouraged and that he thought that he couldn't do it. He wouldn't hold his head up. We read from the BOM with him and we had a really good lesson I thought. We put sticky notes all over his apartment saying we loved him and Pray and Read And Baptism and stuff like that to try and help him from smoking! So we felt much better after leaving his apartment. We were in the car for no joke 30 seconds when we recieved a call from Robert. He said that he said he was going to stay Catholic with his parents and that he didn't want to meet with us anymore. So...That was it. We drove home in silence. It was not a good night. So a couple days later we recieved a call from Robert. He said that the devil has really been working hard on him. and that he wanted to meet with us again and talk. So we went over to his house. We talked to him and he said that he is not ready to quit smoking but that he knows that our church is true. He still wants to get baptized. We told him that that was great! we gave him a new date for the 15th of May and we were going to continue working with him. We told him that we would see him at church on sunday. So sunday comes around and we get a call at 6 in the morning from Robert saying he wasn't coming because he didn't sleep well. So that was kind of interesting. Then after church he called us again and said that he was going to stay catholic again. So...ya. I feel bad that Robert is struggling and is confused. He has really bad influences in his life. He lives with a couple of guys who aren't good and give him a hard time about the church. and his parents are the same way because they are catholic. So...I don't know what is going on with Robert if he is going to change his mind again or what. But I pray for him every day that his mind will be clear and that he can overcome smoking and be baptized and find that peace. But anyway that is the update on Reggie and Robert!
So I am just loving it here in Las Vegas, obviously the Robert thing isn't a terribly happy moment, but at the same time it is. I love Robert. I wish the best for him. I was worried about coming to the field from the MTC because they always tell you to love the people. And I wanted to and hoped and wished that I would! But I didn't know if I would be able to. But I have learned here in my short time in Las vegas that I am capable of loving the people that I am going teaching. And my perspective has changed. I don't just see people anymore. I see my brothers and sisters and I really want them to have what I have because I love them. I am grateful for the things I am learning in Las vegas and I am super excited to go to Mexico and start having experiences there!
Well I want to thank all of you for everthing you have done for me! and everything you are doing!! It really means a lot! I feel your support everyday!!! Thank you so much! So I am excited to talk to you all next week! LOVE YOU ALL! I hope you have a great week!
Con Amor Elder Oliver
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
It is Elder Oliver still reporting from Las Vegas! Which is great! I really am loving it here. Although I am still very excited for Mexico I feel my self growing into a better missionary everyday! Except for spanish...I don't speak much of that. haha. I practice when I can though so it isn't too bad. But anyway this week was a very good week with a lot of things happening. First I am going to start off with how I am doing my situation and stuff. So... The weather here in Las Vegas has been beautiful. Not too hot! but I have been told that will not last too much longer. But I am always like that is fine I am going to Mexico City which I have heard is very similar to california weather. But anyway I am in a car with my two companions so I am not really out in the heat much anyway. So ya! I am eating plenty and staying healthy and actually starting to lose some of the weight I gained in the MTC which is nice. I didn't feel very good about myself about that haah. But that is ok! That is pretty much what is going on with me. My companion Elder Tuione has been sick all week so I have been secretely trying to avoid him. shhh don't tell him.
So now on to the work! which is going great! There were some up and some downs this week. I want to start with Robert because he is the man! In the two and a half weeks that I have known him, he has had a complete change of heart. He is doing all the things that he needs to do to change his life and follow the example and commandments that Christ has given us. He has been kicking bad influences out of his life, stopping bad habits, and has begun the difficult journey of quitting smoking. I think that I mentioned in my last email that I was really worried about his smoking. I still am. But we went and bought him some patches which he started using Saturday. He has his baptism set for the 21st of April and he has to be done smoking by the fourteenth and off the patches too if he wants to hit that date. He was so discouraged cause he wants to quit so bad but he didn't have the money to buy the patches. So when we gave them to him he jumped out of his seat and gave us a hug! It really was a special moment for me because here is a man that I am witnessed change his life around by applying the Savior's Atonement in his life. He also gives the most sincere humble prayers and I almost cry every time he says a prayer. It really is special and it just gives me so much energy and excitement for the work! I hope he stays strong with the smoking so he will be able to make his date.
So we met with Reggie and he is a great investigator super solid and we set him for the 21st as well. But he has some serious legal problems and actually could be going to jail if he is found guilty this week. We are hoping for the best for him. And we hope he uses what we have taught him about the peace that comes when we pray and when we read the Book of Mormon. And a quick update on Erin....She is gone. We have gone over to apartment and all of her stuff is gone and she won't pick up her phone. So we have no idea what is going on with her right now. We hope that she tries to make contact with us again. Because we have talked about how the gospel can bless her and her three children so much during this obviously difficult time of their lives. If there is one thing I have learned on my mission it is I need to rely on the Lord when I am down and discouraged way more than when things are going good! He will help us more there than ever. It really is so wonderful to know that he is always there ready to pick us up and lighten our load. I thank Heavenly Father for that knowledge everyday.
So defintiely one of the Highlights of this week was when I went on exchanges with couple of Spanish speaking Missionaries. 1st reason is I got to speak spanish! 2nd. they are hilarious and I love meeting and working with different elders so I can learn form them and become better myself. 3rd. We were out biking (yes I got to bike this day and I was really sore...ha) Me and Elder Fischer were leaving an appointment and we turned around and saw Elder Parea (from Mexico) riding the opposite direction. We followed and he had noticed a man sitting in his garage and went to talk to him. We learned that he was sitting in his garage thinking about how he needs to find God in his life. And how he has little boy about to be born. He is so scared because he says he tries to do all the right things and he still isn't happy and still doesn't have that peace of mind. He broke down as he was telling his story to us. And as I was listening I was thinking that wow the Lord has prepared this man for us to be here right now and tell him about the restored gospel. He spoke English which was nice for me so I could understand everything that was happening. But I felt the Lord knew that man and loved him. I was so grateful that I had been on exchanges for that day and that Elder Parea followed the spirit and talked to him. It was really a special experience.
So...That is a lot! I hope I didn't bore all of you to death! But I want to say how much I love all of you and your support whether it be letters or packages or prayers or thoughts or anything. You really don't have any idea how much it means to me. I feel your support everyday. Thank you SO much! I love all of you! I hope you have a great day! I can't wait to tell you how this week goes a week from today! Love you all so much.
Con amor Elder Oliver
Monday, April 2, 2012
It is Elder Oliver once again reporting from Las Vegas! How is everybody doing?? I am doing great! a lot have things have happened this last week! So I am going to start off with the usual things haha. I will start with the work. We did not have any baptisms this week but we have a few progressing investigators and a couple that are set for the 21st of April. They are our priority right now. They are Robert and Erin. I know that I told you all about Erin a little. Unfortunately I have more bad news to report. She got in a fight with one of her friends in the apartment complex she lives in. She has been 86'd I think that is what it is called. But she has been kicked out. So we have not been able to get a hold of her for the past few days. It has been tough...So we have been making daily contact with robert though! which has been so amazing!! He is such a great guys who is so sincere. But he has a smoking problem. He could be baptized tomorrow if it was not for that. It is something he is really going to struggle with. I think he is going to make it by the twenty first because he knows about the atonement of the Savior and how through the atonement we can change. He is so humble and really wants to change we love him and are so excited for him! So me and my companions are getting along good! We definitely are not as close as me and elder richardson were. That is ok. We get along good and have fun! They are both pretty far along in their missions so I kind of have to take the back seat sometimes. But that is really ok because I learn a lot by watching them teach and stuff. But I am not speaking spanish enough at all...I try to speak to elder Tuione and he just never talks back really. So I am really trying to keep up on it. So I don't loose everything I was taught. Oh the strip is not in my mission in case anyone is wondering... haha. I know some people had that question. I see elder Butler from my district in the MTC all the time. He is in my zone and we get to talk quite often. Elder Richardson I definitely won't see until Mexico and Jessop will probably be the same way too.
So Now we will get to CONFERENCE!
I loved General Conference! The theme was definitely Family! Which is so wonderful! because abviously Family is the most important thing in our lives. I am so grateful that the brotheren talked about it. Because Satan really is doing his best to attack the family! So now I will get to some of my favorite talks! I loved the talk that President Eyring gave on adversity. Because adversity and trial talks are my absolute favorite so that one really was a great one for me. I loved the talk by Holland as well. Along with Family they also talked about the atonement and how we are always able to come back no matter how far we fall. Holland said something along these lines "The Lord only cares that we arive at the appropriate faith, it does not matter how we get there or how long it takes." I loved that. Especially as a Missionary I see people who are struggling with so many different things. But no matter how long they fall they will be able to return. No joke I seriously liked every single talk that was in conference. But I won't write about all of them. But I hope everyone gets a chance to check out all the talks! Because they really were fabulous.
So I can see the Vegas temple out my window in the distance. I am hoping I will be able to get the chance to go through it before I leave but if I don't that is ok! I am focused on the work of the living. Being in the field really is wonderful. I am so grateful for the time I had in the MTC and the people I met there and the things I learned but it does not compare to the field. I am actually helping people find the way to access the atonement in their lives fully. I am seeing how it is changing their lives. It really is the greatest feeling in the world! The days seem to fly by! There are disappointments when people don't keep committments and stuff like that. But it is ok. I know I am trying my best and I feel the love of the Lord everyday. I hope all of you are doing what you need to do to keep the spirit with you always. We aren't perfect obviously...look at me! I am such a goof sometimes. But when we do our best the Lord blesses us! I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and your support you have no Idea how much it means to me! Thank you so much! I have no idea how long I will be in Vegas! I am guessing it will be about a month but I have no idea haha. if you want to make sure I get the mail for the Week it has to be here before monday because they bring it in the morning on mondays and if it isn' there I have to wait till next monday! So just a warning I love you all so much I hope you have a great day!Con Amor Elder Oliver