Monday, September 11, 2017

Grotesquely Optimistic

Why HELLO! family and friends! How are you all doing today? Whatever the answer may be, I hope reading this can cheer you up a little bit ;)

We had a great week over here in Long Beach! We did a fair amount of teaching, which is always something to be grateful for :) We actually have a baptismal date set for Jackie, and we have high hopes for her to be baptized next month! So we'll see how that goes :) As a general whole, our investigators are doing great. The Romeros, Mayfer, and a new one, Diana, are all doing well!

The other day, we had a brief conversation with some random guy, and then started talking to his friend about the Gospel. The friend wasn't super interested, but as we finished talking to him, the other guy came back. He stopped in front of my companion, took of his shoes, looked him up and down as he walked in a circle around him, put back on his shoes, and then handed my companion a banana. And then he walked away. XD We have NO idea why that happened, but I'm not complaining, because GUESS WHAT!?!? The sticker on the banana says I can enter to win a FREE BANANA COSTUME!!! :D :D :D :D :D Just imagine it! I walk down the escalator on the day I fly home, in a banana costume! XD It was really just kind of funny though, that entire situation! You get all varieties of people in Long Beach ^-^

Tangled gets the credit for the title of this one. "Call us brutal, cruel, sadistic, and grotesquely optimistic, but way down deep inside I've got a dream!" Haha yup, welcome to my mind ^-^ I learned about optimism this week. I've always considered myself an optimist, but I don't think I quite understood what it truly means. I learned this week that to be optimistic is to expect good things to happen, yes, but then to act under that assurance. Meaning, essentially, "do many good things of your own free will." (D&C) I have found that when I am consistently putting away all negative things and seeking to find the good and do good things, I accomplish good things, and I feel good :) If we look to the light, and seek to reflect that light, we ourselves will be filled with light. I had a great week because I chose to :) Now optimism does not mean you are never sad. The joy of the Gospel doesn't even prevent one from being sad sometimes. But optimism means you can pull out of it by the strength of your determination that everything will be alright AND your commitment to seek to do good.

Well, hope that made sense. It all made sense to me ^-^ I hope you have a great week! Love you all, don't forget to be truly optimistic!

Elder Poulson

Monday, September 4, 2017

Put Your Hands in the Air!!!

To My Dearest Friends and Family,

Good Morrow good fellows! I expect that you had the most splendid of weeks! I, too, enjoyed myself this remarkable week in the great city of Long Beach! 

On this end, we actually had a REALLY good week! Not just because we had fun, but we were super focused on our purpose, and just followed the Spirit. Newsflash: that is what makes a week in the mission good!

By following the spirit, we found some people to teach with GREAT potential!

Great story of the week: the little niece of a less active member was holding this big nerf gun when we came over. There was a huge pile of them that the kids had. Well this little girl, Sophia, walks up to me with the gun and yells, "Put your hands in the air!!!" I acted all scared and threw my hands in the air. The thing is, as I'm assuming most if not all of you know, my left arm locks at a certain point when I try to put it in the air. So I am standing here with one arm all the way up, and the other a little over halfway. Well Sophia of course notices, and yells out, "No! All the way up!" I more or less distraughtly said, "I'm sorry, I can't!" She proceeded to put the gun down and show me with her own arms. "Like this!" I kept trying to explain I couldn't, but she just wouldn't get it. It was hilarious! XD

What did Elder Poulson learn this week, you may ask? Well, our purpose it to bring souls unto Christ. Already knew that. But I have been studying the first chapter of Preach My Gospel, which is all about our purpose. It elaborates a little bit more. I have been told that Elder Bednar once showed that manual to a group of Elders and said, "This was supposed to be called 'Preach My Gospel by the Spirit.' We didn't like how it looked, so we changed it. But that is what it was supposed to be called. If you search the scripture reference on front, that is what it says." My ONLY responsibility is to do God's will, and I know God's will how? By the Spirit. So my commitment to follow the spirit has increased drastically this week. And I really saw the blessings of it.

I'm being that guy who is using someone else's email time, so I'ma go. Love you all!!!

Elder Poulson :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

U-Turns and Turning Out

GOOOOOooooOOOOD Morning family and friends! Oh wait my bad, it is good afternoon, because it is afternoon. I would be publically shamed if I had said that to a Hispanic here :P

I am doing really great today! Elder Eldredge and I are just moving along, working hard here :) It is a good time! We have recently started counting of U-Turns Elder Poulson makes on the daily. And by counting, I mean lost count :P Haha let's just say that my navigational skills are slowly but surely improving! ^-^

One of the exciting things around here right now is that we have been watching all of the training videos in anticipation of receiving smartphones! I know it probably sounds like I am just a technology-thirsty teenage missionary who is excited to get a real phone back in his hand, but I am actually more excited about the implications for the work! It seems that we are going to be able to do online proselyting using Facebook, teach lessons through facetime, and have all of the information we need on our phones! It is going to be especially useful to be able to teach those who really don't have time to have lessons twice a week at their house. But everyone has a 20 minute lunch break, right? ;) I am super excited! They will be initiated October 2nd.

As for investigators... Well Mayfer and Jackie both did NOT come to church this week... Sadly. But we are going to keep working with them! The familia Romero and Jose are doing good, so it is all good :) Jose is a seventy year old one eyed man that loves to talk and has great questions! ^-^

One thing I have really been learning this week is the necessity of focusing on those things outside of ourselves. The hardest times in my life have been when I have been focused on my own needs and desires. Similarly, the best times in my life have been when I have been focused on the needs and desires of others. That is what makes times of trial so hard: it often forces us to focus on ourselves. But in this, Jesus Christ showed the perfect example. There is not a single instance in the Bible in which he did anything for himself. He only ever looked to help those who he loved: that is, everyone. And so should we. "I would that you should be perfect, even as my father is perfect" comes right after talking about loving even your enemies. And love is a verb. To love is to serve. 

Thus, I am striving not only to serve a mission, but to love my mission :)

I hope you all are doing well! Seek to serve, and you'll do even better! Love you all! Peace :)

Elder Poulson

Monday, August 21, 2017

This Week's Subject is Just a Light Topic

Hello Family and Friends!!! I always say the same thing here, so I'm just gonna hit the skip button.

And here we are! This week was great again! Well at least pretty great. We were inside a lot somehow, but it turned out alright :) We made some really quality plans for how to help specific people accept the Gospel and be baptized, and it kinda has me pumped ^-^

We had two people come to church this week! Mayfer came again, the son of the familia Alvarez. He is 9 years old, so it falls to us to teach him if he wants to be baptized. We have been helping that family come back to church, and it worked out :) It is amazing the influence the habits of prayer and scripture study can have on someone, especially when done as a family. When they start, people come to church and grow in happiness. When they stop, the opposite happens: inactivity and artificial happiness, until something happens to make them lose that happiness. And then they turn back to what once worked and always will work: the basic principles of the Gospel. Anyways that was exciting!

The other person that came is named Jackie. She is the great niece of our Bishop's wife. She is super open and has a bunch of member friends, whom she kind of gravitated to intentionally. Anyways, we convinced her to finally come, and she loved it too! So that is exciting :)

I don't really have any stories this week, but I am working on something I call the Allegory of the Light. Sounds funny, but you'll see what I mean. I'll probably put it on here when I finish it. But it is essentially a huge symbolic discussion spawned from scriptures about light. It is gonna be awesome!

But for now, I will just reiterate something: obtain as much LIGHT as you can. By light, I mean knowledge. Good knowledge. Knowledge of good things. The more we learn, the more we can grow. If your knowledge is coupled with action, you will receive more light, "and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."(D&C 50 24) "When you have light, BELIEVE in the light, that ye may be the children of light."(John 12:36) "And if ye BELIEVE all these things, see that you DO them."(Mosiah 4:10) And what is our job as missionaries and your job as members? "Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven— These should then be attended to with great earnestness." D&C 123:13-14 Go find those who are in darkness, and show them where the light is! Step by step, their eyes need to adjust. But show them where the light is. Then they can have a Tangled moment! (And at last I see the light) ;)

Stuff like that. Anyways, I love you all! Have a light-filled week!

Elder Poulson

"I may or may not have started wearing a spoon on P-Day to make me feel good and remind me not to care what other people think ^-^"

Monday, August 14, 2017

Taking in Long Beach, One Step at a Time

Huh? Oh, hello there family and friends! I didn't see you there! It's me, Elder Poulson!!! *Cheering* Haha I hope you are all doing great today! I had another great week, which is always great! What's not great is my excessive use of the word great. My apologies. I'll expand my vocabulary.

So this astronomical week included some awesome and crazy experiences! A crazy one first:
I was playing soccer in the cage in the morning at the park by our apartment. I looked over to the side and saw a guy juggling a soccer ball on the grass. It became very rapidly apparent that this guy knew what he was doing. What also became apparent is that this man was very very DRUNK. So I just kind of gaped in amazement watching a drunk guy juggle a soccer ball ten times better than I ever have been able to, and rethinking my life. 
Meanwhile, a random ginger guy comes in from the other side, walks in the cage, and starts talking to me. He has some form of cigarette in his hand. He began to account to me how he had recently been hit off of his bike by a semi truck and was on his way to the hospital. His left leg was swollen to about TWICE the size of his other one! Despite that, he began to play soccer with me! He then went and played basketball with Elder Eldredge. He further enlightened us to the fact that he was J. R. Styles, a lifelong jock, coach, and genius that was sponsored as a surfer buy Huntington Beach for 5 years. XD He told us to search him up... So if any of you are down, you could always search it and let me know if this guy actually exists!

But really, this week was wonderful! We found a lot of new investigators again, one of which sincerely seems prepared! So that is exciting :) She felt and recognized the Spirit. That is key. We are going to help her with her son, who is addicted to drinking. Her name is Raymunda. Her son actually requested a bible, which is how we found her :)

My thought for the week: slow down. Take things one step at a time. Live in the moment. I wish I had my quote book on me, but basically, President Monson tells us to live in the moment. The past already happened, and the future is but an idea and a dream. But what we do right now: that is what controls our lives and our fate

The thing is, I've always been very stressed on my mission. But Elder Eldredge (who is great at giving counsel), really helped me with that. He said as much as we have to do every day, take it one step at a time. He explained it like learning a football playbook. Me being me, I would say it also works with learning forms in marching band (we call it a dot book). If you tried to learn them all at the same time, you're toast. It's not happening. But you start with one, and you make it happen. Then you move on to the next one. That especially applies to applying principles and counsels from our many different sources, including leaders, scriptures, and personal revelation. But as overwhelming as that all can be, we start with one thing, and make it habit. Then we move on. If we aren't good at it yet, we practice until it becomes a skill. Then it becomes a habit simultaneously. Then you can move on to the next one. Like plays or formations or whatever sport or hobby you have, life is designed to be taken one step at a time.

That's all I got. Have a great week and such!

Elder Poulson

Elder Bry & Elder Eldredge (the new comp)

"Mom....I had to buy a new soccer ball!" :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Knew Talking to People Could Be FUN!?!?

Buenos Dias family and friends!!! How are you doing? ... Why I am doing great, thanks for asking! :D

Really though, this week has been great! REALLY LONG, but it has been a blast! We've had fun doing the work. Which is something I have kind of done before, but not like this week. Mainly because we talked to almost everyone we could this week! I'll explain later.

So Elder Eldredge is my new companion! The rumors were true: he is in fact a six foot tall offensive lineman from Hawaii (He says Aloha lol). He could literally squish me like a bug if he wanted to ;) He is awesome though! His philosophy is to always be smiling and relaxed while still doing the work, which is something I am definitely NOT good at, believe it or not. Yes, I am terribly optimistic and happy usually, but while out during the work, I also tend to get very stressed. In the words of Elder Eldredge to me, "If you keep going at this pace, your going to go home in a casket!" Haha so it has been great learning to do the work with an improved attitude and outlook!

We had a really bomb District Meeting this Wednesday, and it kind of got us pumped! Our Mission President has really been emphasizing finding new people to teach lately, and it carries down to District Meeting. We really have been increasing our testimony that "the Lord's elect" are out there and we just have to be guided to them. Combine that with Elder Eldredge's philosophy: "We are sharing the plan of Happiness. How can we do that if we aren't happy and smiling?" We ended up finding about triple what we have been finding this last transfer!!! And we talked to SO many people! It was SO much fun! You would be amazed the experiences you have when you talk to random people on the streets of Long Beach.

The cool thing is, we made a conscious effort to be led by the Spirit, and then when we would go where we felt led, we would always find SOMEONE that said we could come back. Now to be fair, nearly any Hispanic person will say we can come by. Kind of a culture thing to allow "men of God' to enter into your house if they ask to come. The problem is, most of the time they won't straight up tell us if they aren't interested. So then we have to go figure it out. Plus a lot of times they will just not answer the door from then on, or send their kids to tell you they are in the shower. But still, these people seemed decently interested! We ended up teaching a first lesson with a good amount of them. My favorite one was a random door knock at dinnertime, because it took a lot of faith to cut into dinnertime, and then we ended up teaching the Restoration AND getting fed by the same people we taught! XD

I'm going to end with a thought by Hyrum W Smith, "If you had any idea of who you were before you got here, the hair would stand up on the back of your neck." I got a quote book by Thomas S. Monson (which I LOVE), and it says something similar on the subject: "The most realistic self-image of all is to conceive of yourself as made in the image of God." "To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility. You ask, 'How might we achieve these goals?' I answer, 'By getting a true perspective of who we really are!' We are sons and daughters of a living God in whose image we have been created." Whenever you so happen to get discouraged, might I give you a bit of advice that has helped me: take strength from the valiance of your premortal self and your potential post-mortal destiny. Respond to Satan just like this meme says:

Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Poulson

Monday, July 31, 2017

Smartphones, Bikes, Boats, and Bye Elder Lee

Good morning family and friends and dogs and all others not included under said denominations! How are you all doing this fantastic day!? If you're doing great, do me a favor and go give someone a high five. It'll be fun!

Well, this week was rough at first, but fantastic by the end! We put in some good work :) Especially since we ended up on bikes for three days. As I mentioned last week, we were down a bike and a tire, but Elder Lee got a loaner bike and I got an extra tire, so we were good! That is, until Elder Lee's back problems kicked in. So we ended up back on car early. We actually stole another companionship's car, because ours wasn't back from the shop yet. We feel like complete jerks because it was that missionary's last week on the mission, but he was good with it ^-^

I said boats in the subject line because that is what our new car is: a boat! Or to be more accurate, a MALIBOAT!!! It is a 2017 Malibu, and it is SUPER nice, but it is also SUPER huge! Which is tricky when Long Beach parking is literally a 20 minute process just to find a small space, which our Mailiboat would not fit in. Fun to drive though!

Transfers are upon us! And to my great dismay, ELDER LEE IS LEAVING ME!!! :( Not happy about that, we love being companions. Our mutual love of Disney and cheesy jokes really made life fun! But my new companion is a six foot 2 elder from Hawaii named Elder Eldredge. I am actually just swapping companions with Elder Ramirez, who was my last companion, so that is kind of funny!

As for the other part of the subject: Our mission has been chosen to test out SMARTPHONES!!! More on that next week.

We had some fantastic lessons with investigators this week. The familia Romero is awesome. We taught the Restoration, and we managed to help them feel and recognize the Spirit, which is vital! They told us their struggles, and we are helping the a lot! Something similar happened with Luis.

All in all, life is good here in Southern California! All I have to say for this week spiritually wise is: seek knowledge. Learn. Learn as much as you can, especially on topics of the Gospel.  That is, after all, a main purpose of life.  Learn and grow. 

Love ya'll!

Elder Poulson

Ya gotta burn a shirt when you hit the 1 year mark :)

Gotta LOVE that smile!!

Elder Bry's old companion came to visit

Monday, July 24, 2017

ADVENTURE IS stressful. But it's worth it!

Hello all of you wonderful people you!!! In 15 minutes, here is a rundown of my week and whatever other ridiculous thing I decide to add in!

Well, we started out the week really well! We found two part member families we didnt' know existed, so that was good! 

We had to wait for an hour and a half for our car's oil to be changed, which was no fun. We contacted a bit, but they said it would be down WAY before it was. But then some guys walked up to us and started talking to us in weird accents, and it turns out one of them was a Bishop from Denmark! So that was exciting!

We went downstairs today, and found that someone stole my companions entire bike EXCEPT the front tire. The robber decided to steal MY front tire. So now we are both out of bikeability. Which is a problem, since we were supposed to get our car fixed this week, which means we would be on bike for three days. So that is fun.

Elder Lee got sick yesterday! #Adventure :P So we had to stay in all afternoon. We finally found Luis last night though! He was exhausted, so we are going to visit him today instead. But he is awesome!

Umm other peoples... We are teaching a lady named Josefina. Her daughter recently died, so she is trying her best to get past that. We have something that might help. It's called the Plan of Salvation ;)

All in all, it was really a rough week. But I learned that adventures are like that! If it was never rough, where would the adventure be?! It would be lame. Adventure means sometimes it gets hard. And a mission is undeniably an adventure! Ya'll are all adventures too: they are called life. Make sure that you are enjoying your adventures! They go by fast. Love every moment!

Also, do not stress. You've grown up hearing no one is perfect. According to the mission nurse here, perfect should be taken out of our vocabulary. Yes, the end goal is to be perfect, but it won't happen in this life. What we can do is become better everyday. So if you ever feel down, just look back and see how far you have come. And realize that there is a great view at the end of the hike: you just have to keep climbing.

Love you bye!

Elder Poulson

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hope Unto Faith

Buenos dias all you wonderful people! I hope you're having a wonderful day doing wonderful things full of wonder! Wondering why I'm saying wonder so much? Me too. Starting emails is hard.

Now that I got that over with, this week was both good and rough at the same time. I kinda started good but then fizzled out. That is okay though, we can always bounce back!

Our investigators have all been kind of dodgy. We did teach Alfredo, which was cool! He is paralyzed from the chest down due to a recent accident, so he really needs the Gospel. We also had someone show up to church that we have been looking for for awhile! His name is Victor, his wife is a member and the sister of Hna Jolon, who lives in our area. We had a lesson yesterday with him, his wife, the Jolons, AND our ward mission leader! So we're gonna work with him too :)

We had a REALLY cool zone conference this week! President Patterson showed us most of the talk that Elder Anderson gave at the recent seminar for new mission presidents. It was called "the urgency to find", and it was all about finding people to teach, which is a constant topic on the mind of a missionary. It can be REALLY difficult sometimes to find new people to teach.

But in applying those principles, I had an AWESOME experience on exchanges! Elder Hernandez and I set a goal to find three new investigators, and we worked at it all day. We ended up teaching one lesson at the end of the night and left at about 8:50. We parked to do an exchange review, but I just felt unsatisfied. I knew that we had the faith to find, and it bothered me that we hadn't. But as we started the review, Elder Hernandez brought up someone we had forgotten to go by. I asked if we could go now, and he agreed that we could, so we went. We found three new investigators from visiting a former investigator! There was just the mom and dad there, but we wanted to find three, so we asked if anyone else in the house was interested, and the daughter came out and listened too! It felt SO great! Something Elder Anderson taught us is to pray with faith, work hard and with The Spirit, and then get desperate. He is so right!

I also actually got to share a bit about the attribute of hope in zone conference and testify about it, which was really cool. I learned more from my studies of hope. I realized that hope is and always will be a prerequisite to acting in faith. Every time Nephi does something awesome in faith, he first expresses to his brethren that he knows it will all work out, that is God is in it and on it, and they need only to act to receive the promised blessings. THEN he does something awesome with great faith. Hope first. Trust God is in charge, and will make it all work out. Then you will find that any fear and discouragement you had will become irrelevant, and you will be free to act with the courage you've always wanted to have. Hope leads to faith. Remember that.

Well, I'ma sign off. And by sign off, I of course mean that I am going to say goodbye, because it is kind of hard to sign your signature with a keyboard. It would probably be fun to watch though. Anyways, have a great week!

Elder Poulson

Breakfast for champs!

Elder Lee

More of Elder Lee (Bry....we want pics with you in them!!!!)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Exit now for bananas probably

Hello family and friends (and pets)!!! How are you this fine evening? And by fine evening I mean it's so hot outside you could probably boil an egg on the sidewalk AND cook the hen that laid it, but that's not the point ;) Hopefully the weather is nice wherever you are right now :)

This week was just FANTASTIC!!! And that's not just because compared to last week, ANY week would be fantastic. We seriously had a blast this week! The work was bumping in Long Beach for sure :)

If I haven't mentioned it yet, I've learned on the mission that I LOVE soccer! Haha! (It's funny, because I know for a fact I've mentioned it like 10 times. Haha.) But every morning for soccer, there is a park super close that we hope over to that has a cage soccer course! It makes me SO happy! So basically, when I get back, it's going to be hard not to go pro with all the offers I'm gonna get ;) Haha just kidding, I'm still not that good, but it is fun. The reason I bring it up is because we managed to get the whole ZONE to come play during sports today, and I am SO STOKED!!! :D So it's on the mind.

Anyways, now that that tangent is out of the way, this week was great primarily because we worked a whole lot with members!!! Especially this weekend! One of the best experiences I've had in a long time: Last night, we had a member call US and ask to come out (which was awesome!), and we ended up finding a less-active family and a new investigator!

But directly after that was the best part. We ended up taking an hermano, Hno Jolon, and his daughter Darlin to visit the familia Cipriano, who I mentioned last week. The cool thing is, recently a cousin of their's, Hector, moved in. He actually got baptized three years ago in the same ward I started my mission in, on the other side of Long Beach. He met the missionaries, said he was converted in "half an hour", and got baptized five days later. He has a crazy backstory, but basically when he went back to Mexico, he went less active. But he recently returned, specifically to get away from his hectic life and get back into the church! And let me tell you, he is AWESOME! So he was also there. And then the English missionaries that are our neighbors also teach someone that lives in that house. (It is divided into two separate apartments)

So if any passerby happened to glance over at the house last night, they would have seen three different pockets of people: me with Hector and Hno Jolon, Elder Lee with Darlin and the two younger Cipriano girls, and the English Elders with their investigator and the older Cipriano girl. And we were ALL having great Spiritual conversations and lessons about The Gospel!!! It was SO amazing!!!

Well I took so long to tell that story, I'm gonna have to end this soon. But my spiritual input of the week is (1) help the missionaries in your ward or stake. Just do it. It will benefit them, their investigators, and YOU far more than you could anticipate. And (2) always strive to have the Christlike attribute of hope. I learned that this week. We spent all of our afternoons knocking on less actives' and referrals' doors in the hot sun, and found almost no one. But the few times we did find people, and the many times when we had fantastic teaching moments that night, were when we actively had hope. When we recognized that God is in it, and that when we are doing His work, we just have to keep going and we'll find success. When we have hope, we don't get discouraged. And anyways, according to Elder Holland, "trouble has no necessary correlation with discouragement." When I believe it was Albert Enstein whose entire labaratory was burning down, he ran to his kids and told them to "go get your mom! She may never see another fire like this her whole life!" Have hope!

 Love ya'll! Keep on keeping on and such. Or according to this billboard "exit now for bananas probably". Haha bye!

Elder Poulson