Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010 Last e-mail!!!!!!

Transfers were Thursday. Since there was a group of missionaries going home, the group I came out with that will be going home with me on Saturday, we had our last night seminars with them. We had some good food and some good chats. We also had a testimony at the end of the meeting. It was great to see how much each missionary has grown since we were in the MTC.
Since Thursday I have been serving as an assistant. President Holzapfel asked me to pick some areas in the mission and go and visit them. I was in the Ensley part of Birmingham from Friday to Saturday. Had a really good team-up with the missionaries there. I then headed down to Oxford for Saturday and Sunday. Elder Bishop is still in the Oxford area so it was good to team-up with him and his companion. We got a lot done and I everyone learned much. We were able to set a baptismal date with an investigator they started teaching.
I attended church in the Oxford Branch. It was fun to see the members again. After church I headed back up to Birmingham and went on a team-up with the Elders in the Bessemer area of Birmingham for a couple of hours. We ate with President and Sister Holzapfel last night and then had a short meeting to prepare for this coming week. We will have a Multi-zone conference for the Northern part of the mission on Tuesday, a Multi-zone conference for the Southern part of the mission on Thursday, and a Leadership training conference on Wednesday. I will be speaking at both Multi-zone conferences and training at the leadership conference. I am going to try and team-up with as many elders as possible in the Birmingham area during those days. Thursday I will ride down to Tuskegee and team-up there until Friday when I will return to Birmingham and have my last interview with President Holzapfel.
So, it is going to be a very busy week. It is a great way to finish off. I am very blessed to have an opportunity like this.
See you on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

#1 Missionary with Sister Holzapfel

Zone Leader Council

December 6, 2010

We had a wonderful thing happen yesterday.
When I was in this area last year there was a guy named Mike who lived next door to us. We would usually see him everyday and talk with him for a bit. Every now and again we would have a bbq or something with him and some other people from our apartment complex. We worked to get him to come to church but it never happened.
When I came back here, Mike had moved. His brother lived across the complex so I though I would try him and see where Mike had moved. His brother still lived there and I found out that Mike was still in the same apartment complex. We went over there and he said he was still interested in coming to church sometime.
We stopped by this past Friday and I asked if he wanted to come. He said he wanted to come check it out. He came yesterday with a friend. Her name is Aubrey. She used to live above our apartment. Elder Harrison and another missionary ran into her one day while she was outside crying because she is going through a very bad divorce. They gave her a Christmas DVD and she said she may come check out church sometime. When Mike and Aubrey showed up to church, we were surprised to see her. We didn't know they were friends.
They both loved it. Mike said it was the best church experience he'd had in a long time and he was making plans to come again next week. Aubrey enjoyed it very much as well. It was fast Sunday so we were a little worried about having them there. Sometimes fast Sundays can be a little much for people. But the perfect people got up. One girl shared a story and at the end of her testimony said I don't know why I told you that but apparently I needed to say it.
Aubrey also noticed that a good friend of hers is a member. This member and her parents helped Aubrey to get away from her husband who was very abusive to her and her child. The member was very happy to see Aubrey. Now, Mike and Aubrey are planning on coming to Church next week and go to the Huntsville Stake Christmas festival that is happening this coming weekend. Everything fell into place perfectly. A miracle of fasting!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am being transferred. I am pretty sure I know what I will be doing. President has shared a little with me about what i will be doing but I have not been assigned so I will let you know next week (IN MY LAST E-MAIL!) what I am doing.
Elder Harrison is being transferred as well because he is having shoulder problems and needs to be near Birmingham in case he needs surgery. The visa waiters, Elder Moore and Elder Lund, will be staying here and two more missionaries will come in to take over the area.
I think that is about it. The weather is C-O-L-D COLD!
Love ya much!
-Elder Oliekan

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nov 15, 2010

Have had a somewhat busy week. The visa waiters got here last week. Elder Moore and Elder Lund. Elder Moore is from Utah and Elder Lund is from the Seattle area. They are learning to speak Portugese and when they get their visas they will be serving in Brazil. The wards are excited to have four missionaries here for the time being. Each ward would like to have their own set.
Things have been a bit hectic though. We were supposed to get some bunk beds but I guess the mission ran out so we have mattresses and luggage sprawled across our small apartment.
We also tracted into Homer Hickham (October Sky) last week as well. We talked with him for a few mintues on his doorstep. He is a nice guy.
We have still been tracting alot. Haven't found anyone yet but they're out there somewhere.
The weather has been mostly in the upper 70's except for yesterday and today. A bit colder and rainy.
Love you all!!!
-Elder Oliekan

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 8, 2010

This past week has been a crazy week.
We had Zone Leader Council this past Tuesday. We were informed that we would be in charge of a two hour training the next day on Wednesday at zone conference. We did not get home until 5:00 and had too many things to get done before we got in for the night so we didn't have much time to prepare anything. We worked on it a bit when we got home and then tied up any loose ends in the morning. The training went well.
We had a team up on Friday through Saturday and then two investigators came to church, Ashley and Ericka. They are both progressing alot and I am sure that Ericka will be baptized before I leave.
We also found out that we are getting two new missionaries into the area. They are waiting to get their visas so they can go to their assigned missions. We will have four missionaries living in our apartment, two who are straight out of the MTC. We have been tracting non-stop and so that is what we are going to be having the two new missionaries be doing.
Hope everyone is doing great!!!
-Elder Oliekan

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Travis will be coming home on December 18th! His mission report will be on December 26, 2010 at 10:50 am at the Ponds Park ward chapel. You are all invited to attend and join us for lunch after at the house.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

I am back in the Weatherly and Byrd spring wards in Huntsville. It is great to be back here and see so many familiar faces. I am serving with Elder Harrison from Pleasant Grove, Utah. He likes to tract and thats about it so that is all we have been doing.
Nothing new to report really though. I hope everyone is doing great. Love ya.

-Elder Oliekan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 25, 2010

We had a wonderful Multi-Zone Conference this past Thursday. President Holzapfel emphasized "killing the self". He said we needed to focus more on teaching principles based on what we learn about each individual person. He told us about a South African golfer who won a huge tournament and after was told by a reporter that he was very lucky that day. The golfer responded, "The more I practice, the luckier I get".He told us that being busy isn't the same as being effective. He used an ER doctor as an example. If three people from a bad car wreck come into an ER, one of them is going to die, the other may die but can be saved, and the other is hurt but can be saved later, the doctor has to discern which of the patients he is going to save at the moment. Otherwise two people will die instead of one. He compared it to us and the people we are teaching. He said we don't have enough time to spend on people that are dead or people that can be saved later because they aren't ready to be saved now. He was very straight forward that we can't waste the Lords time anymore!Our mission doctor also gave a very good talk. He talked about three groups of people that Elder Richard G. Scott divided the people of the church into.1. They have a testimony and are converted2. Have a testimony but are not converted3. No testimony and not converted.He said that a very large group of returned missionaries are in group number two. They come home, have callings, are sealed in the temple, and so on. But, they don't magnify their callings, they are poor home teachers, and usually struggle with Pornography.He told us that when he sent his sons on missions he was sending them out to suffer. The Lord suffered so much for us. It is time that we suffer for him. We cannot afford to come home from our missions in group #2! We suffer on our missions... Suffer for the Lord.President and Sister Holzapfel shared an experience they had with President Eyring on December 9, 2009, the day that he called them to serve in this mission. He told them that the Lord woke him up at 3:00 AM that morning and talked to him for two hours. This is what He told Elder Eyring. The Lord is interested in Salvation, not efficiency. The Lord wants missionaries to tract. Sister Holzapfel said she isn't sure why the Lord wants this mission to tract so much. It is the lease effective thing I know when it comes to finding people. But President Holzapfel told us how great our joy would be if we brought save it one soul unto Him. That one soul is us... He said that the idea of tracting was going to change in this mission. He told us it is a means of our salvation. He didn't promise us more baptisms or anything like that. The only thing I am certain of is that this past Thursday, at our multi-zone, I heard a revelation from God, through a Prophet, to me.Elder Gonzales of the presidency of the seventy came to our mission recently with Elder Hinkley. Elder Gonzales told President Holzapfel that the harvest hasn't even begun in Alabama yet. We need to be getting double if not triple the the goals we've set for baptisms in this mission. The most in the month I have seen in this mission since I have been out is 30-40. I know that this mission is on the verge of doing something great.President Holzapfel told us it isn't about the vision of the South. It's the vision of Christ.We also had a media referral that we met with yesterday. Long story short (I am running out of time) He moved to the area, was baptized four years ago in Colorado but became inactive a few months later. He knew where he needed to be, got a hold of Salt Lake, had a good chat with him and he is coming back to church!!! WHAT AN AMAZING BLESSING AND ANSWER TO MY AND MANY OHTERS PRAYERS! I love you all!
-Elder Oliekan

Monday, October 18, 2010

October, 18, 2010

This week has been slow as usual. But, we got a couple of good referrals. We should have a couple of people to start teaching before the end of the transfer.I had my interview with President Holzapfel. I shared some of the concerns happening in Jasper. He met with the Stake Presidency that night and they were here yesterday and are working to resolve some of the issues. He asked if I wanted to stay in Jasper. I told him I would rather be moved. He said he felt good about that so I am pretty sure I will be going to a different area next week.That is about all for the week. Love ya!
-Elder Oliekan

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 12

Pretty much a slow week. I have my interview with President tomorrow so I will talk to him about some of the things the area needs.
We talked to a members grand-daughter who is visiting from Michigan. She came to a session of conference and thought it was interesting because of some of the topics like pornography. This woman is a Pagan, bi-sexual, supports abortion, and pornography. So naturally she didn't fully agree with everything spoken. But we talked about truth and how it never changes. Just because someone is taught their whole life that the sky is green doesn't change the fact that it is still blue. She agreed with that. We had a good conversation and she said she had always wanted to read the Book of Mormon because I think the rest of her immediate family are all members. She said she would read some passages I left for her.
That is about all for this week. Finally some clouds today and the air has cooled off a bit.

-Elder Oliekan

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

(Travis spent most of his e-mail time this week getting registered for school. When I asked him if he was going to send a regular e-mail, He said he forgot and this is what he wrote.)

Things are the same really as last week.
Very few people came to conference. I think the most we had was 20 and that was the morning session on Sunday. The rest were just us and one or two others.
We are thinking the branch needs its leaders to be better examples. That is what we're going to work on.

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Pics

September 27, 2010

Well, needless to say the Jasper branch is very... Interesting. On Sunday, they got to the sacrament portion of the meeting and realized that nobody brought the bread. So branch president tried taking up some time and called some people up to share their testimony while someone ran home to grab some.
Priesthood meeting was spent most of the time arguing about how to collect home teaching reports (Doesn't matter because nobody does it anyway). And that was about it. I am still thinking about what the branch really needs. It was a ward a few months ago but nobody comes anymore so it has been turned into a branch.
Today we went fishing. There is a less-active member who lives/works at a huge lake and so she let us come fish for free. Her husband is not a member and he wanted us to fish later tonight. We will have dinner with them and the branch president and his wife tonight. It should be fun.
Nothing else really to report. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to watch all of the sessions of general conference. Too many people take it for granted!

Love ya!

-Elder Oliekan

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

We had a GREAT weekend. We were trained by Elder Bednar and all I can say is that I don't think I have ever heard a better teacher in my life. He is a very funny, down to earth man. He stressed the idea of being agents to act, not objects to be acted upon. For that reason he would not call on someone to answer a question unless they were raising their hand wanting to answer because he did not want us to become objects being acted upon. He also talked about note taking and how too many members take notes at Conferences and miss possible revelatory experiences. He said to use notes as inspiration comes.
It was wonderful to be in the presense of an Apostle. It was intimidating at first to be in the same room as he was.
Jasper is a small town. I live with members again but at least we have a car full time. We live about 25 minutes from Jasper in a tiny town called Townley. It is in the middle of nowhere in a forest... There is virtually no work happening here either. I wish I could say I am surprised.
The Branch is... Interesting. Alot of older people. For some reason everyone here is obsessed with knowing my first name. We had Stake Conferene yesterday and they attempted to broadcast it via web cam to the ward and branch buldings. However, the feed from the Stak Center was bad so everyone in the Stake pretty much missed Conference.
Elder Tennant is from Mesa Arizona. He likes to draw.
My new address is
4566 Beech Grove Rd.
Townley, AL. 35587
Love you all.
-Elder Oliekan

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sept 13, 2010

We had a good turnout at church yesterday. Brother Fraziers friend, Tommy came. He enjoyed it a lot and said after the meetings that for the first time he could go home from church and be happy for the rest of the day. He is coming along. Sister Teel also came up to us, very excited, and told us about a great missionary experience she had this past week. The Teels are one of the families we have given our standard lesson to and they are seeing the results from thw things that they have done with it. INterestingly enough, the families that have completed their standards are also the ones that are having missionary experiences.
I am getting transfered. I am going to Jasper, AL. It is another Branch. I am pretty sure this will be my last area. I am going to be serving with Elder Tennant. He is a weird kid. I have no idea what to expect.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. LOVE YA!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sept 7, 2010

This came a day later than usual because of Labor Day and the libraries being closed.

We have continued our standard lesson with the members and have been able to begin following up with some of them. One family, the Woods, drew a flower and put it on their wall in a frame. Each petal represents a standard that they want to set. They are then going to make petals of the same color (All the petals are different colors) and put a different pedal in a different part of their house to remind them of the covenants that they have made with the Lord. It is great to see the different ideas that members are coming up with for their standards. The members are also starting to have missionary experiences. So far the response has been positive.
The Branch put on a softball team against the Anniston Ward yesterday for Labor day. It was also our P-Day so we were able to go to that. It was fun and we had a good time.
The weather is starting to cool down a bit. It is definitely getting colder at night. The days are starting to have cool breezes. It makes none car days a whole lot nicer.
Tomorrow we will be going to the temple. This is my fist time going to the temple on my mission. I am truly looking forward to it. I plan on making it a point to go often when I get home.
Transfers will be next week. I am not 100% sure what all is going to happen but I know a few things that will be happening. I will let you know what happens next week.
I love you all very much!
-Elder Oliekan

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Elder Robbins trained us this past week. It was a very good conference. I will share notes when I get home. He did tell us that Elder Bednar would be coming next month to train us. I am very excited.
President Church gave a lesson in a combined Preiesthood and Relief Society class. He mentioned that we were sharing a lesson with the members to help them find someone to have us teach by Thanksgiving. We have been stopping by whenever we can and leaving notes on their car, or front door to remind them that we were praying for them. He said that after we gave him and his wife the lesson, they have continued to pray and make covenants and his wife had her first missionary experience ever the other day! She came home very excited. Hopefully the members will continue to have missionary experiences and this area can get going.
Brother Frazier, a returning less-active member, brought one of his friends to church. His name is tommy. He came a few weeks ago during a fast and testimony meeting but he wasn't so sure about it. He wasn't used to different people going up to the stand and talking. But he enjoyed this past Sunday and we are going to teach him the first lesson on Friday.
That is all for this week. Love ya.
-Elder Oliekan

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010

We had stake conference yesterday for the Birmingham stake. President Church was called to the presidency... He will still be the Branch President until they call someone new. It is a little discouraging becasue he is wanting to get missionary work going here but the Lord needs him there now.
We have started visiting some of the members and sharing a lesson with them to help them more with their missioanry work. We are having them pray for someone to share the gospel with by a certain date that they will pick. We will see what happens. It is looking like this area may be closing.
Nothing else really to report. It is just slow. Elder Robbins from the 70 will be training us tomorrow. He spoke during Stake Conference. It should be a good training.
Love ya.
-Elder Oliekan