Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 "Last Letter From Jon"

As I am heading into my last week of mission there are two words that describe my emotions.  Exquisite pain and exquisite joy...

Exquisite pain because I am leaving a land and people that I love beyond comprehension.  The people of South Africa, a choice people unto the Lord and I am so grateful for what I have learned from them.  I might have been trying to change them and help them come unto Christ,  but really it was a reverse effect and they held my hand and have guided me to Christ.  Pain also comes because I know that even though home life is great there really is nothing better than seeing someone look at your nametag and see their eyes brighten up as they realize you are a representative of Christ. They look to us for healing and they know it will come.  Home will be great but Africa will always be the home of my testimony.

Exquisite joy because I will see my family.  When I came on mission I realized right away that my family means the most to me.  Family is what makes heaven and I cannot wait to be by their side for eternity.  Joy because I am excited to live the gospel fully and to show others the happiness it can bring.  Joy because I came to Africa, learned what I needed to learn, and found who I needed to find.  Joy because I will get to Fly Fish the Provo again with my dad. 

My emotions are strange...It is weird mixed feelings for sure.

Well, I love you all and I love Africa!

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015 "Africa Unite"

Well it finally rained here in the Gauteng so I bet the Boers (farmers) and their crops are feeling quite lekker!  The rain here and the hail storms that we have are one of a kind.  It dumps for like 15 minutes and then stops out of nowhere.  It's phenomenal and yet I am the biggest baby when it comes to lightning.... I like it when I am inside but if I am outside that is a different story!!

This week as far as missionary work goes was super refreshing...  I needed it.  We taught heaps and finished the week off with the baptisms of Mary and Olga! They are both amazing and the coolest part about these baptisms is that I taught them from the first lesson to the end.  That doesn't happen very often especially on my mission, I have either been a reaper or a sower.  

Anyways I don't have too much this week but I just want to express my love for africa and the people here.  I am just going to list everything that I love!

-How natural it is for people to believe in Christ.
-Their humility and receptiveness of the gospel
-How sincere and real their prayers are.  They understand they are talking to God.
-They may have no money but if you visit there will be food and cold drink
-They are always happy! 
-They don't need material goods... Look at all those fancy clothes these will keep us warm just like those… (Jack Johnson)
-Their smiles!
-The children calling me malungu (white man)
-showing magic tricks to the kids and hearing them say "ahhh IT'S MAGEEK"
-Their accent
-Kota, KFC, and all the food!
-The diverse cultures and languages 
-The taxi drivers... One of a kind
-The burning fields.  I guess cutting grass with a lawn mower is too main stream.
-Their nappy hair and how they don't wash it... Reminds me of my high schoo days KUNU ON
-They would rather have airtime than food.
-It truly takes a village to raise a child.
-Kids playing soccer in the streets or on a dirt field using a brick for their goal...
-Kids asking for 5 bob...(5 cents) to by sweets.
-Finally their pure love for christ

Hope you enjoyed! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015 "Mission is Lekker"

Missionary work was very limited this week...  For me I love the ministering part of the work that I do but I really struggling with loving the administrative work that I do.  I sometimes forget that all the work that we do in the office and for other advents really is missionary work.  

My whole mission I loved finding, knocking on doors, talking with everyone, teaching, and testifying of Jesus Christ.  I thought that was how my whole mission would be and I was perfectly fine with that.  I loved focusing on an area and my investigators.  The whole switch to the duties I now have has been pretty hard for me to accept.  For example this week we had to run medicine to a missionary that lived 2 hours away, go pick up T shirts, enter in heaps of CDEs in the computer, and move to a new flat.  Which outside of exchanges left us no time in our area.  This responsibility has made me even more aware that Heavenly Father cares about me and my future.  Even though these experiences aren't fun I can see I am being molded and that He has provided these opportunities for me to grow and learn.  

We had a great gathering of the whole mission this week and it was called The SAJM Summit.  About 5 months ago I asked Sister Dunn if she thought it would be fun and plausable to get the whole mission together and go on a hike.  She said she would think about it and then came back with this amazing idea of centering a hike around a purpose and making it a learning opportuinity as well.  So what we did was we had our mission presidency speak and they all spoke about leadership and overcoming our fears.  Then we had this lady named Lin Den Hond who was the 3rd South African women to Summit Mount Everest.   Her story is truly motivational and in doing it raised money for a village in Gautang.  She meantioned that "when your purpose is bigger than your challenges you can accomplish anything."  As I was thinking about that I realized our purpose is the biggest purpose even in God's eyes....  I think we can overcome our challenges.  That statement made me realize that the small difference I am making here in SA really will eventually, maybe in generations to come, make a big difference.  After the talks we went on a beautiful hike all together.  It was an amazing day!

Well that is about it for the week... ASKIES(SORRY)  unless you want to hear more about office work... lol I love mission and really I don't want it to end.  Not that I am dreading going home and going to school and all that good stuff, but I am really going to miss the opportunity to wear Christ's name on my chest, it's Lekker.  Well, I guess I will just wear his name on my heart. 

Love you all and do something this week that will make you say "Kunu On" lol

Elder Olson

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015 "Vulnerable & Christlike"

Have you ever been so caught up in your life that all you ever worry about is yourself?  Have you ever served someone then bitterly said to yourself that they didn't desire the service that you have rendered? Have you ever thought to yourself that you are better than others because of your rank, age, education, the clothes you wear, or even color of your skin?

If you have had these experiences in your life may I suggest that it came from selfishness?
This week for me has been an eye opener, an experience that is engraved to my soul.  It wasn't one event that happened but a series of minute events that have brought me to the realization that I like many of us lack the Christlike attribute of gratitude.  For some reason it is hard to show gratitude maybe it is because to an extent it makes us vulnerable when we tell others of the gratitude that we have for them or maybe we may feel it's even childish.  Well I would say it does make us vulnerable and even childish but both of those are ok!   How do you think Christ felt as he was walking in to the Garden of Gethsemane?  Well from a scriptural account it says speaking of Jesus' emotions he "began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy." -Mark 14:33. I think that it is plausible to say that he felt exquisite vulnerability.  Yet vulnerability lead him to the greatest act in all eternity.  Now let us precede to talk about being childish.  Anyone that is a student of the Book of Mormon should know the scripture that I am about to use.  Mosiah 3:9 which reads "Becometh as a child." But let me take this a little further and expound on not only this scripture but chapter. In the same chapter in verse 17 it reads "whereby salvation can come unto the children of men".  In verse 18 it reads "humble themselves and become as little children".  In verse 21 it reads "none shall be found blameless before God, except little children".  In this chapter it mentions 4 times that we need to be as children and even more interesting is that this is coming from King Benjamin who from a physical stand is the farthest thing from a child! Yet he was urging all who could hear the words of his voice to be as a child!  There is something special about children and we can learn from them, especially in gratitude.  It is interesting to me that what was once so easy for us as children has become so hard for so many of us.  As we show are gratitude both vocally and by deed our Heavenly Father is much more inclined to help us.

Sorry for my ramble this week on being vulnerable and childlike.  But I learned heaps about them this week so I just thought that I would share.   So to all I am grateful for my family, friends, the gospel, the scriptures, South Africa and the people here, and most importantly my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Mcolisi got baptized!! It was so powerful and even the bishop said after that he has never heard a testimony that powerful from a recent convert!  It was really cool.  We are going to get him started on his family history this week so he can go and do baptisms in the temple in a couple of weeks!!
All is going well in Jozi!! We are loving it!!

Time for some humor.  So this week we were at one of our members house and she has a ginormous tarantula! Apparently like snakes it sheds and the shedding looks exactly like the spider.  So I had this great idea that we could scare Sister Dunn pretty bad with it.  So we got home and saw that they weren't home yet and so we wrapped the skeleton around the door handle and waited patiently.  Soon after they pulled in and Sister Dunn was with her sister and as they got out of the car Sister Dunn's Sister says "Oh my is that a bug ahhhhh Sister Dunn look!!!"  So Sister Dunn goes and gets a close look and says "Elder Olson your not pulling a prank on me are you?? This couldn't be a joke!! Ahhh its moving!!!"  Both of them are just losing it and scared out of their minds.  Finally after I stopped laughing I showed them what it was and even chased sister Dunn with it.... haha it was a good laugh.  Here is a Picture of it

Also a pic of hillbrow in Joburg! (I had to hurry and take the pic from the car...)

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015 "Our way of knowing the Savior"

Well I don't really have much to say this week.  I am not really in the mood to email.  Things are great though and I am just loving life!

Recently I have been doing a deep study of Jesus the Christ.  It is the most amazing book and James E. Talmage is amazing with his words.  I had a thought the other day as I was reading about Talmage.  I was thinking how it appears as if he was there during Jesus Christ's earthly life and then as I read the footnotes I realized he knew all he did from his profound knowledge of the scriptures.  I then thought to myself I can know Christ in the same way! I am reading the same scriptures and as long as I have the spirit it will reveal these amazing truths to me.

I just want to end with a question.  Do we realize that the scriptures are our way to knowing our Savior? 

Elder Olson

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015 "There's more to life than sports"

This week has been amazing!! 
We were super busy since transfers are getting closer and closer and we just don't want to procrastinate anything.  I had some great experiences this week and one of those was seeing how amazing the youth are in the church!  Since we are held to a lot of restrictions we always need a member with us in Joburg.  We couldn't seem to find anyone that would come with us then I remembered a young priest named Justice.  I didn't know him very well but we called him and he readily agreed to come with us to teach.  When we went to pick him up he was waiting for us with the biggest smile on his face and a Book of Mormon in his hand!  As he jumped in the car he was so excited he sat in the middle seat with his head right in between mine and my comps.  He mentioned that this was the first time that he has come out with the missionaries and that he could hardly wait.  As we got to our first lesson which we taught in a library on the kiddy table in the corner I could see his excitement grow even more.  As we sat down and started the lesson he was one of the first to teach!! He testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and the Book of Mormon.  I have heard many testimonies and there are some people that just open their mouths to speak and the spirit hits you.  He is one of those people and not only could I feel it but the investigator we were teaching surely could as well!  As we walked out we talked about the lesson and he was just amazed how strongly he could feel the spirit.  I wish I was more like Justice as a teenager.  He knows what is true and not only does he profess to believe it but he lives it.  I later on asked him what it was like to live in Hillbrow (Which is like the Compton of SA).  As he thought about it his countenance changed and in a saddened voice he said "My man... The temptation is unreal... But luckily for me I have the gospel."  I then realized how much he relied on the gospel as a 16 year old.  I think for me that was the last thing on my mind at that age...  Justice has faith as his anchor and I had sports.  I think that is why I went through my concussion problems because the Lord needed to show me their was more to life than sports.

I think all of us no matter what age we are can learn a lot from Justice's example.  If your anchor is in anything other than faith in Jesus Christ it will only bring you worldly happiness. If you anchor is in Christ then you will have peace... Even if you live in Hillbrow.

Anyways work in Johannesburg is shooting up since we have been there!! We had 11 investigators at church and we should have around 10 baptisms before the end of the year!!!  We have some sweet investigators.  One is Mcolisi (pronounced mmmm with a click.   To do the click put your tongue right behind your teeth and press down. then the rest is how it is spelt)  he goes to a university in Joburg called Wits and is going to be a teacher.  He is so intellegent and loves the gospel!  He lives right next to the temple and so we actually teach him on the temple grounds! It is amazing....  He will be baptized on October 25th. We are also teaching three siblings Jetro, Ntando, and Angelica.  It is cool how we started teaching them.  Their brother just recently left on a mission and right after they felt they should start attending church.  As you can see there are some unimaginable blessings for going on mission.  They are on date for the 11th of November. 

Funny story for the week! It was at night and we just got done talking with president and when we got in the flat and like ten minutes later I heard my comp say "Man can't you see president's Bath?" I was so confused so I said "you see him in the bath??" and he responded "Yes! Look at his arms!" I then said "NO MAN! I'm not a peeping tom!"  Then we both realized we weren't understanding one another.  He was saying president was buff.... hahah so I thought he was this creep looking at him through his window but it turns out he was just commenting on his chiseled arms haha. We laughed for a good 15 minutes

Well Life is good.  I love you all.  I don't really miss any of you... lol

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015 "Atonement & Miracles"

This week has been great!! Everything is just amazing.  I love my area, my companion, and South Africa.  South Africa has really left in imprint on my heart and it is going to be hard to leave.  This place and more importantly the people mean so much to me.  Mom you are lucky that SA is so far away cause if it wasn't I would live here.  

Well I don't have much time today.  We are taking out the Special Needs missionaries and so we have to pick them up soon. I am going to be brief so sorry!

I just want to explain an experience that I had which was sad but that I learned a lot from.  We went to go visit a part member family.  The Dad and Son (who is on mission in Uganda) are members and we are teaching the two older brothers and one younger sister.  They have been progressing so well and have come to church for the past 5 weeks.  As we were walking up the stairs to their flat we saw one of the brothers in the hall way.  It was very clear within seconds that he was drunk and he said to us that he will join us in just a second.  We got to the flat where the rest of the family was and waited for him and hoped that he would come to his senses and join us.  15 minutes went by and he never came so we decided to teach without him.  As we then went back down he was in the stairway with a girl that had him in control like a puppet.  It was so sad to see that he had no control over himself and there was no part nor portion of spirit with him.  As we walked out of the building I thought to myself ok now when he wakes up tomorrow he is going to feel guilty and unworthy, which is good, but then he is also going to feel he is too unclean to be at church.  That last thought comes from satan.  The next day he wasn't there and unfortunately I was right.  I just wish he knew and could see the healing power that came from the atonement and that it is panacea to all of his troubles and worries. If only he knew that Satan's grasp on him isn't as tight as he thinks. As I walked away I was sad but this week I cannot wait for the opportunity to share the atonement with him.  
I know in my emails talk about the atonement a lot and the miracles that come from it and that is because I learn more and more about it every day.  It is so simple that even a child can understand it but it is so infinite that it takes eternities to learn how to use it to its full capacity.  I know that sounds paradoxical but study it and use it and you will see what I mean.  The atonement has made me see things in a different way and just maybe I am starting to see a glimpse of what Heavenly Father sees.  If you are new to the gospel or feel that your understanding is limited start off with studying about the cleansing and enabling power that comes from the atonement.  It will change the way you see as well.