Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Olson

We are getting a vision of why we are here in England in the Hull Stake. We met with President Fewster, counselor in the stake presidency over the YSAs, on Sunday. We talked at length about the church here in this area and the young adults we are working with. As I have said before, we are working hard to get a YSA center. In order to do that, we need about 50-75 young adults attending church and activities regularly. We have between 25-45 right now. He told us a lot of interesting things, but he did assure us that we were prayed here. He and others felt that they needed someone who had grown up in the church and knew how things were organized. We are excited to be part of his vision and hope to be able to make some major progress.

Yesterday we met with two young Chinese mothers, one member and one non-member, to help them with their English. Suki has been a member for 2-3 years and still has a hard time understanding the gospel. Sunny is a non-member and speaks a little better. We are teaching English in England! We also had FHE at our flat for the first time. Sadly, there weren’t many YSAs here – five - but most are on Easter break and have gone home. We think it is a start though. The kids that came loved it and we think the word will spread. We played Baptism – the game where you dump a thimble full of water on someone’s head if they get the correct answer. At any rate, we sometimes feel guilty that we are having so much fun!

We wonder how these young adults can withstand all of the temptations here, but some do and they have tremendous testimonies. Help us pray for the work to progress here in England.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lots of pictures. ;)

Elder Olson standing by our car. He is in our tiny parking space in front of our flat.
 

These are some of the YSAs we are working with. We are at the church and this is after institute and before refreshments.


This is St. Mary's Church located in Beverly, about 7-8 miles north of where we are living. We drove there one day to meet the sister missionaries.
 

This is us standing in front of the Preston Temple. The gates were closed as it was Sunday.
 
 
 
Elder and Sister Olson by the MTC in Preston England.
 
 
 
This is our backyard. It looks bigger in the picture than it really is.


This is the park in front of our flat. If the sun shines, it is full of people - all kinds. The man you see is Elder Olson. We walk around the park every morning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slowly starting the Lord's work

It seems that we have done little here, but we have managed to get the Internet in our flat and set up the router. We are still trying to figure out how to set the printer to wi-fi. We washed our clothes in a little launderette close to the university. It felt dirty and very public, but we did it anyway, as it was either that or wash clothes in the bathtub. Since then, however, Elder Olson has figured out how to get a part and fix our own new washing machine. We will have to figure a way to dry them, but we will probably hang them inside the flat and only wash small loads.
We have been walking every day. Elder Olson got his hair cut on Tuesday and approached the hair dresser about the church. Turns out she knew quite a bit about the church already. There is still time. We are meeting with a member of the Stake Presidency on Sunday, so he can tell us what we need tp do to get a Youth Centre. It seems that he is very intent on reaching out to the Chinese. We will probably start having family home evenings here at our flat in another week. That's a start.
Yesterday was transfer day, and we don't know about all the goings on, but we will know very soon. I went to the ward Relief Society birthday party last night. They had food and birthday traditions from around the world. This ward is very diverse. Some of the countries represented were Australia, Jamaica, China, Mexico, Russia, Denmark, South Africa, India. I was surprised. We had food from all of these countries plus England.
We are so very sorry about the death of Mike Jeppsen, Carol Jean's husband. We wish we could give hugs, but alas, we cannot. We know that our family will do so in our absence. Thank you all for your support. We feel a great urgency for the work here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The first days in England

March 18, 2012

Let us tell you about our first day here in England. We left the MTC at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and arrived in Manchester at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. President Lindley met us at the airport. He then took us on a tour. First we went to the MTC at Preston, England; it sits right next to the Preston Temple. We walked around the garden and he took our picture there and in front of the temple as well. We couldn’t exactly go into the temple grounds because the gates were locked for the weekend. Then he took us to the River Ripple where Heber C. Kimball baptized many members of the church. 
  
We then when to Chatburn, an ancient little village where it still looks the way it may have looked a couple hundred years ago, after which we traveled through the countryside observing green pastures and hills divided by stone fences until we reached Leeds and the Mission Home. Sister Lindley fed us and then we were released to the APs. They drove us to Hull and our bed. We were so grateful that the Martins had arranged for everything and supplied the apartment with the essentials to get us through the night. We went to bed at about 8:30.

We want to let some of you know a little more about what it is like here. First of all, let us tell you about our home. The Martins arranged for us to live here in this very nice flat, because they thought it would be good to have us closer to the YSAs. We live next door to the University, which is where many young people are going to school, so they chose this flat because it could accommodate many people at the same time. They thought we could have family home evenings here, which would greatly increase the attendance. The young adults are currently driving or catching a ride to get to the church. So as a result, our flat is nicer than we ever imagined it would be. It is not typical for missionaries to be living in such a place, but the rent is cheaper because it is so close to the center of town. Having said that, we have been told by at least two people that we should be very careful living in such a very dangerous part of town. We have also been told that the park attracts all kinds of people, and as we have walked and driven around, we have noticed that we do live in a less attractive part of the city. But we feel safe living here. We have an iron gate that opens with a remote where we park our car. There are also several locks on the doors and think that there is an alarm system installed. We have been advised not to go into the park in the night, but we don’t do that anyway, as we are always sleeping in the night time, because we are so tired. We are on the Lord’s errand and feel that all will be well, if we are careful and obey the commandments.

The house was once owned by the very rich and is very very old and has, in the past years, been divided into three apartments. We are in the bottom front. (It’s the one on the left of the two front doors.) Because it is so old, the plumbing was added later, including the bathroom and kitchen, so the pipes for water and sewage are on the outside of the houses here. Also, you turn the light switches on and off when you use them. For example, when we want to use the toaster, we have to switch on the outlet in order for the toaster to work. 

The park in front of the house is beautiful and the leaves haven’t even come out yet. There is a lot of garbage lying around: including beer bottles and such, so we thought we would pick it up as we went for a walk. However, we have noticed that it reappears the next day. We think people throw down their garbage to give someone a job, as we have seen someone picking up the garbage besides us. The park has some statues, flowers, trees, lots of grass, a duck pond where people come and feed the birds, and an exercise area. Today we have seen tons of young people playing soccer, moms walking their children about, families, many people running – for exercise of course- and even couples sharing the beautiful afternoon.

The people here are nice to us as we are very obviously “different”. We do have a difficult time
understanding everything that is said. Mostly it’s because of the way the language is used, although some do have a stong cockney accent. It reminds us of My Fair Lady. The people who live closer to London speak more clearly than these up-northeners. Some of the young men wear very tight fitting levis or slacks a little low on their hips and the younger girls wear opaque tights with short shorts or a long blouse barely covering their behind. Today at church, I counted at least six girls/women wearing levis, slacks, or tights.

The ward had more people attending than does Mink Creek and they seem to be very knowledgable of the gospel. However, surprisingly, there seem to be a lot of ethnic groups in the ward and attending the university. We have met people from China, Iranian(?), Swaziland, Scotland, and who knows where. Sadly, there is most often a language barrier. President Lindley said that we may be teaching English. Students with rich parents come to England from other lands to learn English and sometimes find the church. There are many split marriages and broken families here too. The students go back home and sometimes have been baptized and hopefully teach their families. For example, you cannot preach the gospel in China, but they can tell their own family about the church. The church is present in China, but missionaries are not allowed there yet. It is an exciting work as we are to try and establish a Youth Center in the Hull Stake, like the church is doing all over Europe.

But we need 75 YSAs to do that and we are only averaging around 30-40. Tonight we went to a YSA broadcast from BYU Idaho and there were only eight there. Most YSAs need a ride – it’s a problem we are trying to work out.

The driving here is frightening for both of us, but especially for Elder Olson as he is doing the driving. The other night we drove home from Leeds, about 80 miles away. It was dark and we had to go through a very congested area of downtown through the university area and such. When we got back home we were so grateful that we had made it, but didn’t sleep well because of the nightmares we were having about hitting someone head-on. But again, the Lord was watching over us. Elder Olson has been studying the Driving Code book to help him understand the laws. The driving will be okay though once we are used to driving on the left side of the road.

We are installing the Internet here at the flat and are wondering if we should get a phone with texting so as to keep in touch with the YSAs. Isn’t that interesting?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hull agrees with the Olson's

We have been in Kingston upon Hull for six days now. Our biggest problem is finding our way around, but since we got the TomTom (Satnav), we are doing much better. We have nightmares about driving on the "right" side of the road and hitting someone head on. We drove to Leeds last night, about (160 miles) and couldn't sleep when we got home because of the stress of it. The Lord must be watching over us, because we are still alive after that trip. Elder Olson has managed to have two suits and a couple of shirts cleaned. We don't have a washing machine yet and will have to navigate that on Monday if we don't get the washing machine fixed by then. We have also visited the grocery store and a few other stores to get set up. We have met with the YSAs (Young Single Adults) a couple of times and plan to do much more in the coming week. Yesterday we sent the Martins home, so we are on our own. They live close to London, so we can still call them. We have also met several of the young missionaries serving in the area. We hope to carry on the work the Martins started by establishing a Youth Centre. They are being established all over Europe to help YSAs stay active in the church. The church is doing this to save this age group.
The pictures are of the park in front of our flat and some of the inside of the flat, our front door us with the Martins.


Living Room


Dining Room


{Editor's note:  Tomorrow, March 18th is "Mum's Day" and next weekend is Day Light Savings.  So in my time zone, they are currently 6 hours ahead, next week it will be 7}

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Finally word from England

We have made it to England - Hull to be exact. Our new address is Elder and Sister Jimmie D. Olson; 46 Pearson Park, Hull, HU5 2TG. The days have meshed together since we got here. But we are well and safe. We have been rescued a few times. We have a car and I'm afraid to say that we have probably broken a few traffic laws - accidentally of course. We have been briefed by Elder and Sister Martin the residing missionaries that are going home on Friday. We have met lots of great people, mostly young adults and we can see that we have work to do - to establish a Young Adult Center. We need at least 75 active young single adults to get one of those. The ground work has been laid, but we need to do lots of work to finish the task. When we first got here, President Lindley took us to the Preston Temple and the MTC in England. He also took us to the stream where Heber C. Kimball baptized many converts. It was there that we dedicated ourselves to the missionary service. We recited an oath and said a silent prayer. We are very blessed to be in England. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MTC

We are standing in front of the world map at the MTC.
 
 

Our district in the MTC

This is a picture of our district. The Olsons are going to England, the Pattersons to Hawaii, the Powells to Japan and the rest are going to Nauvoo. From left to right: the Pattersons, the Wassons, the Meirs, the Olsons, the Endters, the Nunns, and the Powells. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MTC update

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
 
 
Well, we taught our first discussion today as a couple! It was a mock discussion, but they do have volunteers come to the MTC to pose as investigators - people who have joined the church but use their story to help us learn how it might a real discussion would be. We study from 8:00 to 4:30 with lunch and short occasional breaks. There are about 2200 young elders and about 100-200 senior missionaries here. The young elders have been taught to serve the older missionaries by opening doors, carrying luggage, and acting interested in us. They treat us like royalty! It is very sweet.
Our travel plans have changed. We are leaving for England on Saturday instead of Monday. We are happy for that, because we don't want to sit around all weekend wondering what to do with ourselves. We will arrive in Manchester on Sunday at 1:05 p.m., after which we will drive to Leeds which is about a 1-2 hour drive we think.
We are meeting lots of great people who will be going all over the world to serve the Lord. It is amazing to us the committment that is here to live and preach the gospel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Delivered to the MTC!

Dear Family,
We have arrived at the MTC. We leave for England on Saturday. We love you all, but are excited to be serving the Lord. Please take care. Check out our blog at fromleeds.blogspot.com for the generic version of what we are doing. We will have our cell phone for one more week and you can call us. If we can't answer immediately, we will call when we can.
Love,
Elder and Sister Olson
Photo:  Elder & Sister Olson with son Jerry and grandkids Jocelyn, Natalie & Luke right before leaving them at the MTC.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Baptism

We were set apart on March 1, by President Keller at the Stake Center. We thought it was special! We have experienced out first baptism - Luke Olson was baptized on March 3, 2012 by his father, Jerry. We enter the MTC tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. Jerry is driving us.

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