Monday, August 26, 2013

Letter for August 26, 2013

Hey Everyone!

Wow! What a week it has been, again. It was so fun to hear from all of you again. I swear every week goes by so quickly now. It's really fun to hear what is going on! Congrats to the Springville Football Team for their win! I hope they can keep going and win 'em all! Tre tre has braces now and I can't believe it! So many things are going on back home. So crazy! A lot of things are going on here as well.

We had a baptism yesterday! Gilberto was baptized. He is so solid and is going to make a wonderful member of the church. He was so ready. The service went rather smoothly, which is always really nice. Elder Robinson baptized him, which was really special it being elder Robinson's last day. We all rejoiced together. Which is so great. So that was awesome! Elder Robinson was telling me last night that he couldn't have imagined ending his mission any other way. So it was awesome!  Also, something really special happened this Sunday. We went to our ward council meeting. Our bishop asked us to get all the missionaries there. So we got there and he began to talk about the missionaries in our ward. How special we are and what great work we do. How much we've accomplished and how powerful our parents are. Then out of nowhere, on a projector screen, he pulled up a file. Then came a video of the mom of one of the sisters. Her mom bore her testimony. It was so powerful. Then all of a sudden I see my father's face go up on the screen. He began to share his testimony with us. He had everyone laughing as he began to bare his testimony.  I felt such great power enter within my heart that I began to weep. It touched me so much. Yeah, I get homesick sometimes. I love my family and I miss home. It was just so nice to be able to see his face and hear his voice. I loved it. It was something that I believe was divine direction. Something I needed to hear. It was awesome. I loved it. All the ward council was in tears as well. They have really come to love us. I love feeling loved. What a great ward I’m in right now. I love it.

Speaking of the area. I have a new companion. His name is Elder Aguilar. He was born in Mexico, but then moved to the states and has lived in California and Arizona. He leaves in the end of December. We are really excited for this upcoming transfer. We have had a lot of changes and we are seeing good things happening here. I'm really excited to be here with him. He’s a native speaker, so that's awesome as well. I hope that we will be able to continue to see miracles here together as I did with Elder Robinson. I'm excited to get started.

I guess that's really all that happened this week. It's so crazy. I can’t believe how fast time goes by. I love this work. This is His work. I know it. I hope you all know that I know that the church is true. I know that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, that through this church we are able to participate in salvation. What better thing is there than that? It is the greatest of all the gifts of God. So keep going. Endure. Keep the Lord with you always. And I promise you that you will come out on top. Love you all.

Elder Dallin M. Ollerton

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter for August 19, 2013

Hey all!!

Wow, Hard to believe that another week has flown by here in the mission field! We are seeing so many miracles here in Anaheim. It's such a blessing to be in the mission field. I hit 18 months out here in the mission. It made me reflect on my whole mission. I can't believe how fast time goes by. It's so crazy. I know that right now I have no regrets about my mission. I've been working my hardest and I’m so grateful for my mission in my life! So it's awesome!

On Monday we had a great FHE (Family Home Evening) at our bishops home with the familia Manzanares. All of them were there. They're quite a rumbustious group, but I know that they will continue to learn and such. It was so cool because Alberto, our investigator, had no idea what a FHE was and bishop did a great job at helping him learn about it. They really enjoyed it, and it helped them get some new friends in the church. Alberto is doing awesome! He is such a funny guy. I love that family so much. They are really doing well. He used to be such a big time drinker. We went over about 5 times to teach them this past week. He told us that he is a week sober from drinking. That in itself is such a miracle of the Lord. He couldn't go a day with out drinking when I was in the other area. In fact at most of our lessons he was really drunk. So it’s so cool to see the progress with them. I love them so much. Something totally random about when we go over there is the flock of wild parrots that fly around their house. Yes, I said it, Wild parrots. I guess in Santa Ana it's known that wild parrots fly around together. It's really odd to see that here and in the city. They tell us that it's their 5 AM alarm clock. It's so interesting because we would teach them the plan of salvation and he had no idea that we lived before we got here and that we would live after we die. He really liked it though and understood that baptism is the first step we take on the staircase toward heaven. He is doing so well. We are sad cause they weren't able to make it to church for some reason. We hope that we can get them there this Sunday so that way he can become more converted to the gospel.  They are doing well. Please keep them in your prayers!

We also had zone conference this week. That was really fun. I had the privilege to be the opening speaker at conference. I told you a little about the righteous routines a while back. My topic was "Engaging the Godhead in the work through the righteous routines." It was awesome. I really just broke it down. I learned that one of the main definitions for engage is "to interlock" I used football to compare it. Coach Ewing would always tell us receivers to "engage" our defenders. The way we do that is by interlocking ourselves with them. If we could do that we could drive them in any direction we wanted. I likened to the righteous routines because when we study, pray, plan, and teach we are interlocking ourselves with the Godhead. They are able to drive us in the direction we need to go. I shared some cool experiences I had as well. It was good. Afterward President Bowen and I were talking and I told him you could compare football to anything in life. He got a real kick out of it. I loved conference. Elder Robinson and Larsen (my trainer) gave their departing testimonies. It was so weird to see them up there. Can't believe it. Now it's my turn to step it up. It'll be exciting.

Friday we got a new missionary in the zone. Transfers aren't until next week. We got an Elder named Elder Curtis. He is from Richfield. It's a special situation because he was originally called to Morelos, Mexico. He was out there for about a year and had to go home because of medical reasons. He wanted to finish his mission and they reassigned him to this area. He is an awesome elder. Although he's only been out for a year his Spanish is amazing and way better than ours. It makes all the non-Hispanic Elders mad, but we are excited to have him here in the zone. So that was pretty exciting!

We saw Gilberto quite a bit this week as well. He is progressing very well. We always talk food when we go over. He is from Guerrero and he had his own small restaurant there. I hope that maybe with time he can teach me how to cook. I love it because he was telling us about how he and a buddy of his went to a buffet. His buddy ate a ton and Gilberto was like "how can you fit all that in there?"  Then Elder Robinson told Gilberto about the time I ate five hamburgers in one sitting at a member’s house. Gilberto's jaw just about dropped to the floor. Ever since then we always bring it up. I love that guy and he keeps telling us how excited he is for his baptism. Which is this Sunday. We still have quite a bit to cover, but he is so ready and prepared. We have had a ton of members come over to fellowship him. He is doing very well. We are stoked for his baptism.

As you can see things are going well here. It's the end of the transfer already, hard to believe. It's also Elder Robinson's last week here as a missionary. I hope I can make it the best last week a missionary could have. I know that's what I would want my last comp to do. So it'll be good. I love the mission. I'm so grateful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to serve Him. I'm a testament that when you give up your life for the Lord, you shall find it. Just like the scripture says. I know that that's true. I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Dallin M. Ollerton

Monday, August 12, 2013

Letter for August 12, 2013

Hey everyone!

Wow, what an incredible week it has been! We really have seen so many miracles here in this area and in this zone. The zone is doing amazing. We jumped with investigators with a baptismal date and investigators coming to church. Some of the most important key indicators of conversion. We did something a little different this week. We got the zone together and made a goal to have all companionships invite at least three people to baptism this week. Then they would report it to us at the weekly call in report. We also told the zone to call us and tell us when they got a baptismal date. We would announce it to the zone to keep the entire zone updated on what's going on. We got six dates this week as a zone. That was so amazing. Two came from our area.

 It was so funny because last Monday night we were walking around and getting ready to go home for the night. We were crossing the street on English street in Santa Ana when we heard, "Hey!" come from a car as it was zooming past us. We shrugged it off and continued to proceed to our car. Then as we were getting inside our car I heard the voice of a small girl say "Hey Elder Ollerton!" I looked up, and saw to my surprise, Joby, Carmen, and Christian Manazares. Remember the family I found and taught with Elder Castaneda and they got baptized after I left the area? I came back and baptized one of the boys? Yeah, it was them. They told us that they had just moved into the neighborhood. They moved into our area! It was really cool to see them again and be able to talk to them. We invited them to our ward. They weren't able to come yesterday because Joby was pretty ill. We got a text from her in the middle of church saying, "Hey guys I got some good news for you." We asked, "What's that?"   "My husband wants to get baptized." Yeah, for real. Her husband is not a member of the church. I guess they were talking about it and he told her that he wants to be in with the family too. It was so awesome!! We went over and talked to them last night and he was telling us about how he is filled with coraje (not sure what it is in English, but I know what it means...) and he wants to be filled with peace. He was a huge drinker. He didn't want anything to do with us when we found his family. He has really turned about 180 degrees. I couldn't believe it. His heart has changed so much. It's so amazing that when I read that text I was just speechless. I couldn't believe it. We set a date for him to be baptized on the 8th of September. It’s going to be solid too. Joby was so happy that she was in tears. I'm so happy for them and the Spirit was so strong. What a miracle. I testify that the words of Thomas S. Monson are true "Men can Change."

We also had a really neat experience with Gilberto. HE CAME TO CHURCH!!!  It was so awesome! We hadn't been able to see him all week until Saturday. We went over there in the morning to see how it was going. He was leaving to go and do some errands. He told us to come back. We got a member that lives in the same apartment complex as he does to come with us, so it was perfect. The member was a perfect friendship for him. We talked about baptism. We read 2 Nephi 31:17, and talked about how baptism is the first step in the path that leads us to our Heavenly Father. We tied it into the sacrament, and how that is the reason why we go to church on Sunday's, to be able to renew that covenant. Then we talked about the Sabbath day. He really was just eating it all up. The Spirit was there and you could just tell that he knew that it was true. Then we reset his date to make it firmer for the 25th of August. He said yes. Again, another great miracle from the Lord. He totally guided that lesson and it was awesome.  He came to church and was commenting more than most of the members about the classes. Even in Elders quorum where the topic was about tithing. Which we haven't even taught him yet. So he is looking very good. So awesome!!

We also had another interesting experience on Saturday. We were driving around when we got a call from other zone leaders about a referral a member had given them. They told us it was a man that lived across the street from the member that referred him to us. The member is in the Spanish YSA (Young Single Adult) Ward, so we got to go over and meet him. The man's name is Martin. He is an older man. He is blind. He went blind about a year and a half ago. I guess back then is really when his life went down the drain. He went blind. His mom passed away. He had a heart attack and at one time was pronounced dead. He has a pacemaker. As well because he is blind and has all these health problems his wife kicked him out of his home. So he's been through a lot. What really inspired me about his man is that he still has a great attitude about life and has a great big smile on his face. He loves joking around and laughing. I really found that inspirational. I really have no reason to complain about anything I've been through. He told us that he wants to go to church and learn more from us. He came to church. We got a member to go and get him and to take him home early because he had to take his medication. We taught him a little. We are going to go by more and more. He’s awesome. He has a lot of great potential! We are excited!

Man, it’s just been a great week. I know, and something that I’m learning while I’m out here is, that we always need to rely on the Lord. During the good times and the bad times. “Puro pa delante” we always say. Which means “Keep moving forward” I know that as long as we are doing the Lord's work the Lord's way that we will see miracles. That goes for all things in life. We will be blessed with Eternal life. "The greatest of all the gifts of God" so keep going everyone. Always go to the Lord. I know that He will answer. Keep doing the right, and you will be blessed. Life isn't always easy or fair, but as you keep enduring. That is when you will come out on top and you will be on the right hand of God. I know it. I love you all. Thank you so much for your support. I got one last lap left. Hard to believe it. Got so much more to do. Love you all!

Elder Dallin M. Ollerton

Monday, August 5, 2013

Letter for August 5, 2013

Hey everyone!
Wow, what a week it has been out here in Santa Ana. It just zooms by so quickly now. I can't believe that we are now into August, so nuts! We are seeing a lot of cool things going on out here in the mission. Sounds like everyone back home is doing well, too. That is good to hear. I love seeing the pictures of the camping trips and all that. I hope that everyone can stay safe out there!
So this week we had something a little different happen. We had Mission Council this week. Basically that is when all the zone leaders and the sister trainer leaders get together and we council about things that are going on in the mission. President Bowen addresses us, and the assistants to the president introduce us to what we will be trained on this next coming month as a mission. It was a really neat experience. We learned about something called the "Righteous Routines". It is something that the brethren came out with a while ago. So it's nothing new, but it's something that President Bowen feels like we need to focus on. Which is basically that we center everything we do on our investigators. A scripture I loved about it was D&C 11:21. Which tells us to seek His word before we declare it. Then our tongues shall be loosed. It was a good relation to the fact that we must study for our investigators before we try to go out and teach them something. How can the spirit direct you to tell them something that you don't already know? So it was a really good training on how we must focus our personal, companion, and language study as well as our planning and teaching on the investigators and their doubts. If we can do that, then the spirit is able to guide us to their needs. They are edified and we are edified and we can rejoice together as it says in section 50. So it was really good. Then we had the privilege of teaching the training we received to the zone. They really loved it and it really was something our zone needed to hear. Funny, every mission council I've gone to or training we received I feel like it directly goes with what we need. Spirit really does guide.

So we had an interesting experience on Wednesday and Thursday. This man named Miguel came to church a while ago. We thought he was an investigator of another companionship. That didn't turn out to be the case. So we went and talked to him. Another missionary recognized him from a different ward. I guess this man has been trying to get money from the church to pay his rent and get him some food. I guess he claims he had an accident at work and was on disability and trying to go to court to get some money from the accident. He isn't a citizen. I guess he thinks he is going to win the case and in order to win the case he can’t work at all. So he just moved to our area and asked if he could talk to the bishop about getting some help. He went to church and began to talk to the bishop about getting help. I guess what it boils down to is that he really doesn't want to work, but he wants money to pay for everything. The bishop went over to his home to see what his conditions are like. The bishop said they only rented one room out of an apartment. They have six kids. The dad is about 55 and the mom is about 22.... yeah, not kidding. They are from Guatemala. The bishop saw what was going on. He told us how he saw the kids and they really need help. So the bishop is giving them material to be able to work and gain a living. So that way they can live. They have six kids. It was so crazy to see. Sadly the dad is a little lazy and is trying to get money out of us without doing anything on his part. So our bishop is going to give them food for two weeks, and then help them try to get back on their feet again. We went over to teach them about the gospel. Neither he nor she was really receptive. We hope that we can help them with the gospel. It was one of the craziest situations I have seen out here. I hope we can get the gospel in their hearts and they can act on it. They'd be so blessed if they did.

We had a cool experience the other day too. We were walking to a member’s home from our car after we parked it. We turned around and walked back to the car because we had forgotten a Book of Mormon. Then a lady yelled at us and stopped us on the street. She was a lady we had contacted on the street a while back. She was wearing a back brace and two knee braces at the time. This time she wasn't. She told us that we had healed her with our prayers we left her with. She couldn't walk around or do anything for 7 years. Now she was twisting and twirling around. She saw us and said. "If they come back I’m going to talk to them." She says she wants to listen to us. We passed her to the English missionaries we have in the area. It was awesome.

We are still teaching Gilberto. He is progressing pretty well. We are hoping to get him to church and get him a good friend in the church as well. We are also teaching a part member family. It’s the husband of a wife who is a member of the church. Missionaries have been teaching him for the longest of time now. He is super Catholic. He was relating to us yesterday how he used to organized camps and stuff like that when he was out in Guerrero, Mexico. He is a really nice guy who has already read the Book of Mormon once completely. In fact, when his wife doesn't understand a scripture he is usually able to interpret it really well. So he's pretty cool. Hope to get him as well.

We are continuing to see good things over here. I love it here and I know that the church is true! Keep it up and I love you all so much.

Elder Dallin M. Ollerton