Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 17, 2013 MTC Handwritten Letter

Here is the 2nd Handwritten Letter we received...

Hey Mom!

Things are pretty good!  The Spanish is coming…They say that you will hardly use what you learn in the MTC and that learning Spanish in Argentina you can do in 3 days what the MTC would take 3 months.  So I just can’t wait to get out into the field and such.

I heard one thing small about the shoulder bag thing but I don’t really know…I’ll try and ask around.

Oh boy, the food is not doing me justice.  I don’t know if it is because I haven’t adjusted or what, but I am gassy ALL THE TIME!  And it smells so bad!  I feel so bad for the guys in my district.  But I don’t know what I could do.

The Devo’s are so good. The first Sunday we listened to a guy named Blake Durante (I think) and his new wife.  They were both so funny!  He taught us to be BOLD!  And she taught us to be learned or something like that.  I fell asleep at the Devo on Tuesday so I couldn’t tell you who it was but on this Sunday, we listened to Elder or Bro Heaton. He is like the Director of the MTC Administration or something.  He taught us about how God’s hand is in everything.  He had recent converts come up and tell their stories.  This kid liked this girl so he started getting closer to her and she was a member, and well, long story short….Her family adopted him and they were sealed in the temple….HA! Super awkward but it was funny! 

But ya I did not see Spencer’s email yet.  They are really strict about Email and such.  But I got your package today!  It was great!  I totally love it! Especially the purple tie.  Everyone was jealous of my package!  It was great! 

I saw Dallas today.  Se was jealous of my package and said I was a lucky man! HA.  Then she walked over and told me that Sister Lyons sent her the Ward Newsletter and there was a little thing in there about me and her.  She asked if I got it and next time I see her she hopes she has it to show me because I didn’t get it.  Oh Well.

Today I got a package from “Scottsdale.” She sent me some cologne and a picture of her haha.  My district was trying to convince me that she liked me.  It was comical.  Then these Elders in my zone passed by and saw the cologne (we were at lunch), and they said it was like the best cologne and super expensive.  They said the ladies love it.  Maybe I shouldn’t wear is on my mish and wait till I get home.  OH!  The best part was the package was it was like a pink flowery envelope.  Kinda funny!  Yeah!  It’s pretty cool because half of my district is planning on going to BYU-I when they get back.

I am planning on writing the thank you cards on P-day during laundry because it gets boring in there.

So today was our first day of TRC = Training Resource Center.  Basically what happens is REAL People come to the MTC and we teach the Member’s.  They aren’t acting or anything.  They are themselves and we teach them lessons in Spanish.  Today we had 2 people, 20 minute lessons.  That is just enough time to get to know them and bare testimony (baring testimony takes a long time still, haha!)  Our first guy was fun.  We just talked to him and was pretty cool about talking in English which wasn’t good.  The 2nd lady went better.  WE talked to her mostly in Spanish, but she helped us out along the way.  I bore my testimony to her in Spanish and the words just flowed out of me. 
It was such a great experience. 

Tonight we had devotional and got to sing in the choir.  This devo was special.  It was broadcasted to the other 14 MTC’s.  We sang “Nearer My God To Thee.”  Afterwards they took a picture of all of the Missionaries in the Marriott Center.  They said they have only taken a picture of ALL the missionaries 3 times before.  So it was kind of a big deal.  If you see it, I am on the far left, in the aisle like half way up right before the big group of girls/sisters (the choir).  I also saw Hunter and got a picture with him.  I’ll ask him to send it to you on Thursday.  He leaves for Georgia on Monday!  CRAZY! 

After the Devo, we had a District Devo Review.  We went around and said something we liked about the Devo.  Then after we were asked to all bare our testimonies.  After that the Spirit in the room strengthened like none other.  At the Devo, he said that the best tool the Lord has is the Missionaries and their testimonies.  So we learned a little about testimony. 

I got the newsletter from Sis Lyons yesterday and I think my sweaters got her today.  I have a package waiting and I don’t know what else it would be!

Love Ya!

Connor Olsen

July 12, 2013 MTC Handwritten Letter

So I had forgotten that Connor had told me that he was sending home a couple of handwritten letters.  This is the first one.  It just kind of ends, and he finishes it in the next letter.


So things are going good.  The language is coming along…Somewhat.  We have taught 4 times in Spanish so far.  It is very difficult, but I know that it will come.  So we had a teacher named Hermano Day.  He was pretty cool.  He would speak very clearly and slowly so it was easy to understand his Spanish.  But we found out he was just a sub for our real teacher.  His name is Hermano Page.  Although Hermano Day was a great teacher, I feel that Hermano Page is a better match for me.  He pushes us a little bit more and makes us write more and do more like tasks which seems to help me more.  IDK.  We’ll see.

 So originally we had 10 Elders in our district.  After teaching a couple of lessons, they decided that some of the guys in our district were a little more experienced in the Spanish language.  Some of the guys have taken 4+ years of Spanish and since our class is a beginner class they were suggested to be moved up to the intermediate class.  After they were tested and interviewed, 3 of the Elders were transferred up leaving only 7 Elders in our district.  One of the Elders that left was the Elder from Gilbert High.  I’m pretty sure I told you about the Elder from Gilbert High.  So we got two sets of companeros and a 3some.  Luckily I’m just still in a set.  But I think it was better that those guys left because they would answer questions right away before I even had a chance to think about it.  So now it feels like the whole district is on the same level.

On gym time, the other day I was playing volleyball and the guys there were saying I was pretty good.  They thought I had played like on the high school team.  And these guys had been playing for like 5 years, so it’s a pretty big compliment.

I love meeting new people.  All over I can have great conversations with random people.  I’ve met a lot of guys going to Honduras.  None going to Tegucigalpa, but in other missions throughout Honduras.  I show them the picture of Spencer at the Tegucigalpa Temple and they get really jealous.

So I got my debit card.  I still need to go to the front desk to get a phone to activate it.  But, I’m not in a huge hurry to do that because I don’t need it while I’m here really. 

So I ran into Sister Stringham today.  Hopefully I’ll see her sometime in the next 2 weeks before she leaves.  My district was very impressed when she walked up to me! Haha.  Elder Russon was like, “Wow, she looks a lot like my next girlfriend.”   

So apparently the IT guy said that my SD Card is too big and it won’t connect to the computer because 16 gigs is too big for an SD Card…?  He even said my 8 gigs were too big.  He told me to just wait till I get out to the field to send pictures home!  I laughed and said, “Wow, you obviously don’t know my mom!” Haha!  So I’m not exactly sure what to do.  He let me send some pictures from his computer, but he is not going to let me do that every time. I very well might be snail mailing my SD card and you can send it back. 
So I got my Hat in the mail!  Pretty Awesome! 

The days are starting to go by faster.  But slowly I can feel our district getting less and less productive.   I try to think about if Jesus walked through the door at any moment will he be happy with what he was seeing.  So I try to be at least the one guy working while the others goof around.  There is a time to work, and they have a hard time working till the end of the day.  It does get really tiring especially after dinner though! 

Speaking of Dinner! GRRRR….!  So I saw the menu and it said “Hot Wings.”  I got excited.  When I got go dinner, they were neither Hot nor Wings.  They were BBQ boneless chicken nuggets!  FRUSTRATING!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 17, 2013 Email Challenges


Things are well... I have not heard anything about the backpack thing. Everything is so in the dark about everything and it’s all really confusing... All of stuff here you just have to figure out on your own! It’s really annoying. Well, I have a 3 page letter almost finished that I wanted to send yesterday so I’ll finish that and get it off. Answers some questions. Um ya! Things are good. I’m just tired and writing emails while my laundry is going! I’m glad Lauren’s doing great. And uh ya! Idk haha Oh hey! Could you send me a Frisbee! Pday get kind of boring some times and our district wants to play Frisbee! Haha!!! That would be awesome. Um I did get the package. Like I said a lot of the questions will be answered in the letter. I don’t really know what else to say haha.

So I thought that I could get on the computer and finish later but apparently the time has to be consistent so it keeps counting down even when you aren’t on so that is super stressful and makes me forget what I would say! So annoying. And it doesn’t help that the computer keeps freezing and such! This thing is so annoying anyways. The language is coming along some what. I haven’t tried my visa yet. Haven’t activated it yet

 Walking to and from choir/devo! Crazy how many missionaries there are.

 We sometimes get bored haha

 My companion who grew up in a small Utah town of Huntington, Utah. Bought some "Shower Sandals" not knowing what Corona was. I made him take a picture with his "beer sandals" so funny!!! There is even a bottle opener on it haha
 We got an Argentina flag because it was the wrong color and the other guys didn't want it. One of the teachers is like well.. I'll take it home and soak it in bleach. So that's where it is now haha

 His last purchase before he entered the MTC.  Can't go on a mission without a hat! Go DBacks!
The 2 Elders are my Zone Leaders. The one on the right went to Highland but graduated 2013. 
Pretty cool. Great guys!! 
  That is a strange picture of my district. From left to right. Elders Enright,Eburhard(same way spelled as Loren Eberhard. No relation that he knows of), Elder Russon, and Elder Cannon.
 Elder Cannon is the DL(the one yawning)
Elder Hunter Haynie - It's a Cronie from Home!  I Love You MAN!

July 10, 2013 First Email & PICTURES!

Hey Mom!

Things are great! My district is awesome! There are 7 guys now. There used to be 10 but 3 guys got moved up to an intermediate class because they had taken over 4 years of Spanish. Yeah.. Well the ¨¨date¨¨ with Kelsy was a  OMG Hey! Then we took a picture haha. But yeah! Well right now I’m trying to figure out how to put pictures up but it is not working so... I’m not really sure. I will let you know before I get off. Haha! In my package I want to get DDP (they have caffeine free diet coke here and it doesn’t cut it! HAHA) and like those Kool Aid packages or mio or something like that.   uhhh... I’m sure ill think of more things after I get off haha! Oh I need addresses because I only have one hour a week on the computer but I can write letters easier. And I also need the list of thank you letter people. I also need my Immunization record! I can’t find it in my stuff and I need it ASAP! But I love my district. There is 4 of us going to BAN and 2 going to Resistencia (spelling is wrong) and one of the guys is going to Ecuador. The guy going to Ecuador was supposed to go to the Mexico MTC but there were problems with his VISA and so he is here. He is really mad at the travel people because they keep cancelling his flight.  He is a good guy though. He likes to hang around me. Like one night he just decided he would hang out in our room until lights out even though I was obviously trying to sleep and my compaƱero was trying to write letters. Oh well... So apparently last night mi compaƱero got sick at like 2 am. He started throwing up and was loud and woke everyone up...except for me. Haha! They said I slept right through it. Unfortunately he’s been sick all day. But he’s a trooper and is pushing through it. So yesterday we went to our first Devotional. There I saw Hunter because he lives in West campus so it would be the only opportunity to see him. He is Zone leader crazy!!! And he has gained 10 pounds so far.....and you can see it... haha!! But he is doing good! Today I got my suit dry cleaned. I’m a little messy eater haha, oh well. So I talked with the IT guy and he wants me to go down to their office to figure out what’s wrong with uploading pictures because they don’t know what is going on. But hopefully I can get pictures to you tonight. If not next week. Sorry.  Well uh ya! Haha

Oh and I do not know the two missionaries you emailed about sorry, I’ll keep an eye out though.

 The Uncomfortable Bed!
 Hermana Foutz - one of his bestest friends since they were 8 years old (L.A. Visitor Center Spanish)
 THE DISTRICT - His companion - Elder Johnson far left
 Hermana Torgersen - Another good friend (Alabama I think Spanish Speaking)
Look, I'm a Missionary!

MTC First Letter, July 4, 2013

Leaving the MTC was hard and we started just driving around.  We went and visited some old friends and then headed for Idaho to spend the 4th of July with our daughter Lauren and Dennis.  I ended up staying in Idaho after the weekend and the boys drove home to Arizona.  When Dad got home he told me there was a letter from Connor and he read it to me.  He is what he wrote:

July 4th, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

Things are going great here at the MTC.  As soon as I got here, they already had me speaking Spanish.  Because of the 4th of July, they had to cram both Wednesday and Thursday into one day, so it was very overwhelming.  We had a meeting and they told us that on July 3rd, there were 841 NEW missionaries, where normally there would have been 200-300 this time of year.  We were the largest group of new missionaries to enter the MTC.  They had 100 cars come in every 15 minutes! CRAZY!  They have the MTC’s first missionary from Cuba, and a whole row from Japan that doesn’t even speak English.  We read through D&C 31:3 and it was a very powerful scripture.  Every time I read it I can feel the spirit so strong and I get goose bumps.  My companion’s name is Elder Johnson.  He is a really cool guy.  He is short and scrawny but will be a very powerful missionary.  He is very book smart and very excited to learn.  He is from Huntington, UT and he just barely graduated from high school.  They made me senior companion….but I heard it’s just because I am older.  The first night was rough.  When we got there we dropped off our bags in our room and we didn’t see our room till 9:30.  We had to unpack, read, get ready for the night and pray in just under an hour.  The beds were uncomfortable and unbelievably HOT!  Didn’t get much sleep.  We had steak for dinner our first night.  Let’s just say it wasn’t ribeye…..I’ve been spoiled.  Salad bar was really good though!  So far I’ve run into Spencer Wilkinson, Kelli Torgersen and a couple other people I know.  A guy from my district is from Gilbert and went to Gilbert High.  I don’t hold that against him… He is still some what of a good guy…I guess.  Nah, just kidding.  I love my district.  They are great guys!  Five of us are going to the Buenos Aires North Mission, 3 of them brought sleeping bags.  Apparently, they haven’t taken out the whole southern tip out of our mission.  There is a small part, so there is a chance I will be with the Penguins.  Well….I have to admit that I was wrong.  My Pday is on Wednesday so you won’t get an email till next week and I’ll send pictures.  Tonight we get to walk up the hill and watch fireworks.  So that should be fun!  The MTC is a closed campus, so on Pday I can’t walkover and go to the bank and such so hopefully everything works out there.  So I actually leave the MTC Aug 12th so my address is Aug 12 ARG-BAN, 2007 N. 900 E. Unit #89, Provo, UT  84602.  I only have 60 minutes for email so try to have people write letters and do  I snuck up that Diet DR. Pepper and at the end of the first day I went straight and opened it.  Even though it was warm it was the best tasting thing ever!!  Well, that was my first 2 days.  I’ll try and send more but there is barely time to think!  Everything is so fast paced.  I need to learn how to drink out of the drinking fountain a sip at a time, instead of the fire hydrant! 

With Love,

Elder Connor Olsen

p.s.  I ran into Kelsy Foutz today.  Very Fun.  We got to watch 17 Miracles & then fireworks and ice cream (on the 4th of July)

He IS but He ISN'T

We left for the Provo MTC on Monday, July 1, 2013.  Our plans were to stay with our cousin Jan, attend a session at the Salt Lake Temple and report to the MTC on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.  It was interesting driving for 12 hours in a car with a Missionary.  We listened to church music for the day.  It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be.  Tuesday was a great day.  Garrett and Mitchell went and did baptisms and Connor, Dad, and I did a session.  There is something special about being in the Salt Lake Temple.  What a great experience that was.  After attending the temple, walking through the new mall, having a yummy piece of berry pie from the Lion House and picking up a few more things from Deseret Books, we made our way back to Jan's house for a yummy steak dinner that we made at her house.  To finish off the last night, we set off a few fireworks to "I Am a Child Of God."  It was quite fun.  

Wednesday was an emotional day.  We got up, packed the car with Connor's luggage and headed for Walmart for one last run through.  On the way there, we had to stop by Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  We then headed for BYU to see if there was anything he couldn't live without.  We had to take care of some banking things, we ate at the Cougarette and then it was time.  We went over to the Provo Temple to say our last goodbyes.  There is nothing that can prepare you for the heartache a mother goes through as she holds her child in her arms for the last time in 2 years.  You want the time to just stop, but you know it can't.  Now that I have sent two boys on missions, one on a plane and one taking to the MTC, neither way is easy!  Just like ripping off a band aid, you just have to do it.  We finally, climbed into the car and drove across the street into the MTC.  We were told to pull to the left and follow the directions.  I was driving and I was told, "Ok, Mom, you have 2 1/2 minutes to say goodbye.  And he wasn't kidding.  We were one of the first cars to pull in and we kept following the motions to keep driving.  We drove all of the way in and around the corner and down the hill.  I think there were only 3 other cars in front of us.  We all got out of the car and the tears began.  I didn't care.  I love my boy and I wasn't going to hide it.  I actually did better that the other mother's around us.  I hugged him one more time and he walked away with his missionary escort.  I had my camera and I yelled out his name.  He turned around and waved and a snapped a picture.  He turned and walked up the hill and he was gone.  And his journey begins.

Elder Connor Olsen, June 30, 2013

After all of the planning, shopping, preparing and partying, it was time to set Elder Connor Olsen apart to be a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It was a quiet evening with just our family, but the spirit was so strong as we bore our testimony and then the Stake President set Connor apart.  I love how he is set apart from his family, friends, and worldly possessions.  He is set apart from media, music, and cares of his daily life.  He is blessed to find those that are searching for the Gospel in their lives.  It was a great evening and we were happy that our family was there to share the night with us.

Connor Olsen is NOW a MISSIONARY!