Monday, February 24, 2014


Bonjour!                                                                                                                        02/24/2014
This past week has been pretty good! Not a ton of new stuff really. It’s strange sometimes working in a tri-companionship, but it was still good! On Saturday Elder Haggard got the missionary he’s training who is a Tahitian named Elder Florion. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have him in my District!  He’s seriously hilarious and is just a big teddy bear. I forgot at the same time though how big Polynesians are, but then quickly remembered again. I was messing with him while he was in the shower as the light is on the outside, then quickly remembered he could probably tear my skinny body in half, so I backed out of that one. Things have been good though, and it’s been the best having him as a new missionary in the apartment. Along with that, Tahiti seriously sounds like the best place in the world, and I would die to live there one day seriously!
We won inspections last Monday in our apartment, so that was the best! And on top of that on Tuesday morning we had to go to the couples house to call all of the contacts we took a couple weeks ago. They were very nice to make us lunch!  I can’t even express how incredible it was! Sister Christensen made us lasagna, as one of their sons served in Italy. It was honestly was the best. 
On Thursday we had a zone meetings so that was nice to be together as always! One of the best parts is with the latest transfer; Elder Merritt and Elder Barton came over here from Benin, so it doesn’t get much better than that! It was great to see them again! I’m excited as well as next week we have a mission conference again with Elder Vinson, in where he is specifically coming for the mission rather than for the Stake. So I’m really excited for that, and again he will be interviewing a few elders, so that would be cool to have that opportunity as well! 
 We didn’t have any baptisms this past weekend, but are hoping to have one this next week! It’s another Ami who is a contact of a member, like almost all of them we have, and I’m really excited for her! One of the best parts in seeing that someone is really devoted and has the faith, is when they make the sacrifices to follow the message, or come to church; for example, the church is super far from our area. Yet she walks each Sunday, as she doesn’t have the way of paying for a moto ride, and is there about 30 minutes in advance! I’m really excited for this next week with her! All of our other Ami's are doing good as well. We have another Ami for example who has had problems in accepting the message as his family is very very voodoo... and we can never teach him at his house. Along with that he is very poor, just like everyone else here, but is even more poor which is hard to believe. But he usually works on Sunday to make just enough money to be able to pay the rent for their little parcel. Rather than going to work though he decided to come to church in place of that understanding the importance of it, and also that the Lord will do his part. I was amazed to see the faith he had, and honestly, I’m not sure how things are going, but I’ll be finding out soon, I hope all is well with him though. I love the ward here as always. I love our bishop and his counselors. They’re incredible, they’re at the point even when they name their kids after people in the Book of Mormon, for example the bishops daughter is named Sariah, and his counselors son is named Lehi. Ha-ha seriously its the best!  I had an ingrown toenail yesterday and that was seriously the worst thing. I’ve never really had one but that was rough, I was able to figure it out though and fix it at least, I think!
 Today we went to the beach with some of the elders from the zone and that was really fun! The best part is Elder Potter fixed his football so we had some football on the beach. Best thing ever! Elder Barton and me ended up being captains and we had a pretty good game! Unfortunately though there was a blowfish that had gotten washed up on the beach and he stepped on it cutting himself. It was actually really weird but he’s all good! 
One of the things I’ve learned on the mission big time, and from President Weed, is that you can’t change other people, and in some cases your situation, but you can only change yourself. So if there are problems with a companion for example, even if it is their fault, change yourself and make yourself even better and more patient and more charitable, and it will be less of a problem.
Thanks again for all of the love and support! I love and miss you all a ton! I hope you guys have a great next week, and things go good for you! Thanks for everything!
Elder Oliverson
                                     Its nice having the secteur with the lagoon!

                                                Beach today with the Elders! 

Monday, February 17, 2014


Bonjour!                                                                                                                        02/17/2014

Not much that is new. The work is still coming along. Elder Kouadio left this past week as he is transferred to Benin, so Elder Haggard has been working with Elder Sahue and I, so that’s been a good time for sure. The assistants also came over and stayed a night with us due to transfers, so we had a nice sleep over with them! We were hoping to baptize one of our Amis Linda this past week, but because of family problems, we had to push that back a bit unfortunately but its fine. Our Amis are all doing really good, and finding people is definitely not a problem in this secteur. We have a new Ami that I’ve been really excited about named Koko, its a older guy that is actually very intelligent and educated, with a family as well, which is rare to find here. We found him from a member named Joel. He’s been a member since 2004 and I swear I’m pretty sure half of the ward is his contacts, he’s incredible. But anyways we just got started with him, and he’s someone who’s explored about every church, from catholic to Jehovah witness, and he’s been frustrated on why they are all so different, and why they aren’t in line with the Bible. It was like the perfect situation, we were able to get him the message of the restoration right away, and left it with him to read. The next lesson he came back having read everything, and was happy as ever. We had a great lesson going over the restoration, and he is right in line to progress a lot. One of the coolest parts was at the end of the lesson when he expressed his appreciation that he had found us, and the message we had given. He’s only been an Ami for like a week and is already bearing his testimony! But he explained to us that in his life he had so many problems, a ton of problems with his kids in college, with his wife, with the work and just about everything. But when he found us that first time everything has seemed very at peace. He compared it to being in a storm, then all of the sudden everything clears up and becomes calm. It reminded me right away of the story of Jesus with his disciples on the boat with the storm, and how Jesus calmed the storm, and that affect that he can have. It was incredible to see how much peace this message, and the spirit has brought to him in just this past week. He’s loved everything about the message, and has studied it a ton already, he’s already becoming one of our Faithfull’s at church these past two Sundays, so I’m really excited to see things go forward with him. No doubt someone very prepared and ready for the gospel. 
We’ve also been putting a lot of work in with our inactive's, as this ward is full of them. With some it is pretty easy, but with many it is a challenge. It makes you very thankful for the spirit though in how much it helps you deal with the different situations. You see so many different reasons, and situations as to why they are inactive, and having no experience with any of these, it can seem very difficult to have any idea how to help them or what to do. But I can see as well that the spirit will take over and help you, if you let it. That is one of the biggest things I’ve seen, and as it says in Preach my Gospel, you are supposed to listen to the person, rather than thinking of your response, and if you do, the spirit will let you know what to do. That is no doubt very true, and we had a really cool experience with that this last week with a young man in the ward that hasn’t been to church in months. It turned in to a really great lesson on repentance and how it brings hope and can heal us. Inactive's are very important, as you think that if this one-person falls away from the church, think of the generations following that will miss out on these blessings if this person doesn’t come back. The spirit is incredible and it reminded me a lot of our last zone conference and a lesson we got. It talked about the story of Nephi we all know and him getting the plates. And in chapter 4 where he talks about how we went forth not knowing in advance what he should do. As the story goes on you see the way was completely prepared for him, and the spirit continued to guide. In Lemuel's side of the story, you see they had the same situation, but when he went forth, nothing was prepared, and he had hardly any if any guidance from the spirit, and failed. It’s incredible how important the spirit is in the work. Things are all well here though, and the work is coming along great! 
       That was one of the talks that we studied by Bednar (Oct 2012 Conference) and I loved it, it was awesome. That is very true though, and its good to have a testimony but its really just the beginning. The conversion comes as we put the testimony into action. Elder Vinson is actually coming back next week for another little conference, so we have even more talks to study so that will be good!
       Thanks for the letter and for all of the support as well!  I love and miss you all a ton!
Elder Oliverson

Its nice to have running water..

FHE night with the ward!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book of Mormon

Bonjour!                                                                                                                         02/10/2014

       Things have gone pretty well this past week!  We were able to get pretty good work done even with the Zone conference being that week, and our baptisms. I forgot to mention last week we’ve been having some bandits breaking into our little area and stealing our stuff. I wouldn’t say they’ve broken in as they simply hopped our wall, but luckily all they stolen were our chairs... Either ways we were blessed as well as we usually don’t lock our roof access in the night, but did this night, and we know they tried to break into the house through the roof, as they stole all the stuff we had left on the roof. Either way I miss my chairs a lot for putting on my shoes.
      Our candidates all finished the lessons well and were able to be baptized this past Saturday, it was nice as there was an activity at the church, so there ended up being a ton of people there for the baptism, so I’m sure the Amis liked having the support!  We have a couple more getting baptized next week, so I’m hoping they all continue to progress well. Most of them are all member contacts, but one in particular was just a guy that stopped us on the road. We get stopped on the road ever day almost, mostly by either crazy guys or Nigerians. But I remember this guy stopped us asking who we were, and what our message was, because he’s been looking for a church, and the Bible isn’t clear enough for him to understand.... Clearly someone who was very prepared! Since then though he’s never ceased to amaze me with how well he’s progressed, his name is Joseph.
       We do have a member contact that is really good, but at the same time he’s done a ton of research on the church, and apparently the best way to do that is by the Internet, so in turn he has found a lot of anti Mormon material... Its not a problem at all, but these people are hard to get to understand that all truth comes from God, rather than men, so why not take his question to God and ask him, rather than searching out his answers in the other ways. He’s a tough one but he is coming along.
     I was looking at it as well, and have seen how amazing some of the members in our ward are. There are many younger members that come from part member families, which is already difficult. But on top of that, many of those families are in big opposition against the church, and others are big on voodoo, which I haven’t seen a problem with really since Benin. I’ve really felt bad for these people in those situations, but at the same time, we know that the greatest blessings come from sacrifice. If we didn’t ask for sacrifice, their faith would never grow.
     Our zone conference this past week was really good as always too! It was a big lesson again on agency, and a lot of what the general authorities presented before us last week. It was awesome though. On Saturday morning, we decided to have a zone activity to help one of the areas that was struggling, so we went to the area and set up some tables, and started a contact getting session for a couple hours. In just two hours we were able to get 140 contacts, no doubt one of the big blessings of being able to serve these people here are who are so open to the gospel!! The work is going well though in general, we have good help as always from the members and things are coming along.
    Things are all good with my companion and we get along well, he’s been teaching me Gnushi as that is really the language they speak in Cote DIvoire rather than French, the problem is its still French, but with many words changed so its kind of a mess but its cool, ha-ha, but hey if I have any Ivoirians in the future I’ll be well prepared!
      All is good here in Africa though! I’m still getting skinnier, I think; even though I’m working out, but it has too stop somewhere but well see!
      A big part I like in the secteur is how much inactive work we have as it keeps us busy. Its a common trend with all of them though, you rarely if ever will find an inactive that still reads their scriptures, and those little things. So that’s always one of the big focuses, we had a really good lesson with one of them this past week named Folly. I remember having always heard that when you testify yourself, it strengthens your testimony, and that is something that I know is very true now having been on the mission. Having the chance to testify of the Book of Mormon every single day is no doubt a big blessing and something, that brings the spirit like none other! That book is incredible! We had a lesson one of the nights this past week in the dark, not too unusual, but luckily on our phone there is a light, so in the lesson everything was dark, and you couldn’t see anyone. And everything was black, except for the light on the Book of Mormon, and I really just started thinking about that literally and how the Book of Mormon really is a light like that in our lives while the rest of the world can be dark, along with the Temple, Church, and things like that.
      I think its interesting too seeing that for the third hour at church the people here are studying the same manual as you are over there. I’m sure it’s a lot different, but you’d be surprised coming to a meeting here, they are pretty impressive.
      Things are all going well here though! I hope all is great there this next week! I love and miss you all a ton!! Thanks for the letters and such!

Elder Oliverson

Monday, February 3, 2014

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, and Elder Vinson

Bonjour!                                                                                                 02/03/2014

This past week has been pretty good! The work is still going along really well too. We had our couple baptisms this past week, and we decided to just do it at our church house rather than going all the way up to the building in Kegue! The only problem was the font hadn’t been used in a while, and as a result the water coming out was pure green... Ha-ha on the Bright side though I had a member do the baptisms for us, so that wasn’t too much of a problem! It was awesome though, and the best part was yesterday as it was testimony meeting, one of our converts that was confirmed the same day gave one of the most powerful and sincere testimonies, its seriously the best to see things like that here! The work is coming along though in the secteur, in big thanks to the great members we have, this is no doubt the most efficient way of doing missionary work, but unfortunately not all the branches and wards here are as developed as this one, so I’m trying to make the most of the time I have in this one. As of right now though we are hoping to have baptisms each week of this month so that will be very fun! This past week has been great though! I had the lesson in District meeting and it ended up being on the importance of using the Book of Mormon like usual:) It was good though! The week was great also in that we got to have our conference with Elder L. Whitney Clayton, and Elder Vinson again. Seriously those are the best things ever. Just when they walk into the room you know there is something special about them, they are the best! It was really cool as well, as Elder Clayton started his little lesson on one subject, as he was quoting a scripture though, he stumbled a little and his wife helped him, as she stopped him, he slowly made a different transition in the lesson to a whole different subject in companions and how we work together, as he was giving that lesson, someone brought him a water bottle, as we was talking again, he looked at the water bottle, and opened up to 2 Nephi 2, and started a whole other lesson on Agency and how to deal with Companions and others, but at the same time respecting their agency, while using an analogy with the water bottle... It was clear that not very much of what he said had he already planned out, but much of it was simply guided by the spirit and inspired. It was seriously incredible to watch, they can really look into your eyes and change the subject like that just off of some feelings or inspiration they have. It was an incredible lesson though, and one of those that motivates you even more. Another cool part was when he was talking about mission presidents and how they choose them. I remember hearing to keep a close eye on your mission president and how him and his wife get along and such, and I as I have done that the whole mission its been incredible to see the example that comes from it. He confirmed though that when they choose presidents that is a big part of it is the relationship of the spouses, as they hope for them to be example to us as to what a celestial marriage should look like. It was funny too because before he started talking about this subject, he called them up to the front, and sure enough they were close and President Weed was holding his wife close at his side, and they looked very in love! Ha-ha, it was awesome to see though and was very true for sure. Along with that, of course at the end Elder Clayton invited us for the question and answer session, he said first off, "no new doctrine will be exposed, We don’t know where the sword of Laban is, I don’t know if Adam had a belly button, and we don’t, I mean I don’t know where the lost tribes are". Ha-ha, but it was still awesome! One of the coolest parts to see, is someone asked the first question, and as we had 3 seventies there they switched off, but for the first question which was pretty tough, he turned around and gave it to his wife... And man, I was blown away, as she was just as spiritually strong as he was if not more!! It was incredible to see her answer and to feel her testimony as well!! I’ve never though much about how strong their wives are as well, but its insane! It really gave me a good perspective on someone I want some day though for sure! He gave a really cool analogy about the gospel and our church as well; he was talking about how Elder Packer was explaining an analogy with our church, in that we are like a piano, with all of its keys... In other churches, they have many of the piano keys, but not all of them, with their keys they can do many great things, and play many beautiful pieces, but not all of them, and because of the lack of their keys, they sometimes play certain keys too much, and as a result that key goes out of tune, and compared it to how certain churches focus too much on certain keys for example the Sabbath day, or the name of God, and as a result it causes many problems. But in our church we have all the keys necessary, and we should never play one key too much. For example a question was regarding the Sabbath, and if it has to be Sunday, and he explained that for example in Hong Kong they have a sacrament meeting each day of the week, because of certain conditions there. But that the important thing is they do it. Yes those things are important, but we should never focus too much and too hard on certain points, and as a result hinder our testimony. In the end of his testimony as well, he testified that one day there will be stakes dotting Togo, which coming from him, was really powerful, and very motivating and comforting for us all as well to hear that. Also this week we had a visit from President in the apartment, and that’s when he gave me the news about the passing of Grandpa Oliverson. It was tough, but I picture him very happy right now as he is in a much better place. No doubt its incredible the knowledge we have of the Plan of Salvation and the comfort that gives. We had a really good talk though, and it was great as always to just talk with President Weed. The work is coming along really well though, and things are good with my companion. He stopped me after one of our planning sessions and sincerely was thanking me for my patience with him, and for how much I have helped him. It really is true that when you treat someone well they will act well, usually, but when you treat them like a bandit, that is how they will act. I’ve done my best with him to love him even with the little things that go on, but it was for sure nice to hear him thank me for the sincere love and such that I have shown him. He’s actually coming along pretty well now, not a ton, but he’s made a lot of progress in just these past couple weeks! So that’s been good. The work is certainly going forward though, and it’s really fun to see it progressing! No doubt a big blessing though at the same time, and for sure you see the Lords hand much in how prepared many of these people are. Thanks for all of the support and prayers as they are certainly being answered!
       Thanks a ton for the letter as always! I love and miss you a ton!
Elder Oliverson