Monday, February 12, 2018

Let the Holy Spirit Guide... Seriously. Just Follow It

Dearest and most belovedest family and friends,

Well we had perhaps the best week of my mission! A LOT of being guided by the spirit. It has been wonderful! I am Learning how much it puts thoughts into your head that seem like your own thoughts, almost. Often times the feeling comes as the thought enters, so you can know the thought is from the spirit. I love it :) Experience is the way to learn to follow the spirit. 

We have a lot of cool people to work with in this area! We have a baptismal date set for a woman named Hilda, who has a Mormon granddaughter. It is set in March, we will see if we can help her meet it. We also found an older lady, Ramona, who has already been to church many times with her daughter in Idaho and fed many missionaries! She already had a book of Mormon and everything! Super cool :) The Lord sure is good. All the time. 

Elder Brant and I are now doing a ten minute ab attack every night! It is fun! He is super into that stuff, like about every companion I have had, so it is cool. I have even started paying attention to the nutrition and carbs and stuff in my food, which I have never thought to do before. So basically, I will be a bodybuilder by the time I get home. Just thought I would give y'all a heads up in advance ;) 

Spiritual thought of the week? Just... Everything they teach from primary up, the basics... They are so important. Just... Read the scripture! Go to Church! Pray! Take the sacrament! Follow the spirit! Keep the commandments! Attend the temple! They are helps in life, there to support us, to help us keep going! Aught we not to use them? As elder christofferson said, they are like the brass serpent held up among the Israelites, and they needed only to look to be healed. And yet many refused to even look! Just like we often refuse to do simple acts that will heal us. So be faithful, be vigilant, and do what God asks us to so that he is ABLE to bless us. 

Well I sure love you all. Have a great week! 

Elder Poulson

Monday, February 5, 2018

Let the Holy Spirit Guide

Goooood afternoon family and friends and associates! I hope you are doing well today. And yesterday. And everyday! I'm feeling pretty great. P days as a missionary are a blast if you do them right. They must consist of:
- Good but approved music
- A really good laugh
- Some sort of food you don't usually eat
- Other Missionaries
- A piano
- A sport
- A game other than a sport
- A song to put you back into missionary mode

ANYWAYS. Great week, this one was! Me and Elder Brant are just listening to some gospel themed country music on our way home. We had some amazing spiritual experiences with finding and teaching people at the right times. We have been trying to show more love for our investigators. Always trying to improve on the mission ^-^

Elder Brant will randomly just start yelling about something slightly annoying to him in an unexpectedly super loud voice, half jokingly, and it gets us other missionaries every time! It is so funny! XD

Spiritual thought of the week? I was able to go confirm Natalie this week, which was great, albeit nerve-racking. As I took the sacrament afterwards, I remembered something I recently read on LDS.org. Three suggestions of what to do during the sacrament:

  1. Remember Jesus Christ:Read scriptures about how the Savior served and showed love toward others. How do you feel His love? How can you serve and show love toward others like the Savior did?
  2. Remember what you need to do better: Reflect on your past week with a repentant heart. Choose one thing you can change, and write down how you’ll make that improvement. Put your goal somewhere you’ll see it often.
  3. Remember the progress you are making: Ask God to help you see the good progress you’re making. Record how you feel.
We aren’t perfect, but the Savior knows that. That’s why He asks us to remember Him. Remembering Him gives us hope and helps us want to improve. Even at times when we fail to remember Him, President Eyring says, “He always remembers you.”
It worked well for me. Maybe you could give it a try: it might work for you ^-^
I also love a quote by President Monson (Ps read his memoir it is fantastic, especially the teachings section.) 

First, learn what we should learn.
Second, do what we should do.
And third, be what we should be
I love you all! Have a wonderful week :) 
Elder Poulson
We think this is Elder Bry with Natalie at her confirmation.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Week of Fire and Water

Buenos días family and friends! We are just freezing over here in California! It has dropped to, like, 45 degrees on some days! I had to wear a jacket. It was horrible.

Haha so essentially, Winter isnt real here. It is about 68 degrees right now, the perfect temperature, so I'm not complaining ^-^ Although that doesn't mean this week hasn't been full of fire! Let me give some examples:
- A FIRE interview and district meeting with our Mission President
- I may or may not have put out the fire (pilot light) in our heater while trying to turn it on... 
- Elder Brant and I had a flame of fire in our souls to do the work. Especially Elder Brant. He is a boss ^-^
- Shawn T has our legs on fire from doing P90X Insanity every morning! It really gets your mind going in the morning when you can't think because your legs hurt too much. 

As for the water part, I got to see a bit of the fruits of serving here this week. First of all, Natalie got baptized! Who I taught for a large part of my time in Long Beach West. Elder Hammack baptized here, which was cool to see :) She looked happy, I was happy for her :) Then, for the cherry on top, I got message with two pictures of Diana getting baptized! She was the 9 year old girl I taught in Long Beach. Her family moved to Utah, and there she got baptized! So I am a very grateful missionary right now ^-^

I heard something interesting the other day. "People don't join the church for the doctrine. They join the church for the outcomes of the doctrine." That is so very true. No one cares if we can prove intellectually that we are right. That is what they call "bashing". No, frankly, I am more or less uneducated in biblical and religious history, I don't have the ability to prove this is true. But I don't need to. All I need to do is help people act on the doctrine so that they can feel the results. And it is the same thing in your lives! Yes, learning the doctrine, the teachings, is vital. But even more vital is learning to live the doctrine and enjoy the resultant blessings. That is the whole point of our having the doctrine in the first place: to show us how to obtain the guidance and help we will need in this life in order to be happy and return to God after. True doctrine lived sincerely brings about peace and joy. So go LIVE IT! And quit worrying about the unimportant stuff :) 

I love you all! Two requests: 1. Don't die, and 2. Go make someone else happy. Oh, and also, if you'd like, I would love to hear a bit about how you are doing, even if it is just a couple seconds. Yes, you. So click here if you want: bryan.poulson@myldsmail.net

You all are the best! Have a wonderful week :) 

Elder Poulson

Monday, January 22, 2018

Flowing with Milk and Honey... Sort of

Hello mis queridos family and friends!!! I estoy here en Cerritos, speaking Spanglish and loving it :) This Promised Land is pretty good actually. I'll tell you about it in a sec. 

Elder Brant is awesome! Very dedicated missionary, very ready to work. He is only about 3 months out in the mission field, but he is doing well. We are excited to work together in this area :) The ward is in fact pretty promising! A lot of friendly faces, the members are willing to go out with us to teach and visit, which is wonderful ^-^

Life is good. We went and relaxed at an institute building today, it was nice. My ping pong skills are still good ^-^

We have a couple strong investigators here. Monica is the mom of some younger member daughters, she is super close to being baptized, just needs a gentle push. Kevin is a 16 year old friend of that family, we play basketball with him and then teach him. He is great. 

Forgot to finish this! My bad. Gotta go. Love you all bye! 

Elder Poulson

Elder Bry & Elder Brant

Saying Goodbye to members & missionaries before leaving his last area

Monday, January 15, 2018

I'm Going to the Promised Land!

Ya know, after you write like 70 of these general emails you begin to run out of creative things to say. Also I typed half of this and then it deleted, so my general email motivation is kind of low haha :) I hope your are all doing well though! Always hoping for that :)

Things kind of got crazy over here in Long Beach. We assumed all would be the same with us, since Elder Hammack is still in training. But NOPE! There is your plan, and then there is God's plan. I'm headed to Cerritos, often referred to amongst Spanish missionaries as "the Promised Land" because the ward is super strong and missionary oriented! So I am ecstatic for that! Just kind of caught of guard, but it is all good. One of my old companions, Elder Harward, will finish Elder Hammack's training, so he is in good hands :) I am going with elder Harwards trainee, Elder Brant. It should be fun ^-^

BUT we did some great work this week! We found a guy named Edmund who we have already taught three times! We shared a talk with him by Elder Holland called "My Words Never Cease", and it changed everything. I would encourage you all to read it :) Anyways he will most likely get baptized. And Natalie is finally set for the 28th for baptism, which will definitely happen! So I am beyond excited for that! ^-^

I've thought a lot lately about giving appreciation to people. I think that there are many many people who do such wonderful things and love so much that on the inside feel on the whole un-influential and like a failure. Think of what difference a word of sincere appreciation would do for someone who doesn't feel like they are enough. In the spirit of Elder Monson, who we all love and miss, it would do us well to tell the people we love that, in fact, we love them! He always focused on the one, especially the one who was dejected or in need of a pick-me-up. Elder Eldredge has been telling me about the false nuclear missile alarm in Hawaii. It made him want to assure that his family and loved ones know how much loves them. Think of the regret he would feel if he didn't make that clear earlier, and then that wasn't a drill. Live in a way that if you or your loved ones were to leave the life without advance notice, you would have no doubt that they know that you love him.

Challenge! Ready, go! Give out 5 sincere compliments tomorrow! I'll do it too. I'm meeting a lot of new people, so it will be good :) 

Gotta go! Love you all! "Fear not, though the enemy deride. Stand tall, for the Lord is on our side. We will heed not what the wicked will say, but the lord our God we will obey." Have a great week! 

Elder Poulson

"Just call me a Super Hero!"
Check out that Superman curl!!  haha!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Time Flies on Wings of Lightning

Hey Family and friends! How have you been? :) Good? Good. Glad to hear it. Y'all are the best!  My week, true to the title, flew like lightning! Good though, a good fast. Always a good week on the mission ^-^

We taught Maria a couple more times, and she is growing in faith! She might have changed her swap meet time to Saturday so she can go to Church, keep your fingers crossed ^-^ A man named José is also progressing, he has read the Book of Mormon a lot but has yet to come church. He gets it a lot better now, so we have hopes for him. Natalie has been sick (like hospital sick) and then out of town, but we fully expect her to be baptized the 13th or 20th. She has the desire and testimony, which is just wonderful :)

I repeat what I said the first week here: I am happiest and feel the best when I am teaching people. I can't tell you how, because it takes a LOT of effort to teach, but it is wonderful. The spirit is what makes the difference, I guess :) But missionary work is mentally exhausting, let me tell you! 

Have you ever wondered why Nephi was so spiritually strong? I sure have. I studied it this week. It was based off a couple principles: first, he listened to his father. Then he had desire, which led to faith, humility, diligence, and worthiness. He also prayed quite often. Basic things, but despite being taught them all our lives, do we live them? Do we love them? Do we seek after these things? I feel that if we had a bit more desire, it would all fall into place. So my question for you is: where are your desires? What are you seeking after? What do you truly want? Where is your treasure? And if it's not where it ought to be, seek heavenly aid to change it, by prayer and by study.

Love you all! Have a great week and year and such ^-^

Elder Poulson

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hectic Holidays

Hello family and friends!

HAPPY HECTIC HOLIDAYS!!! Mine were actually only semi hectic, but it sounds kind of fun to put it that way ^-^

We had a productive week! A lot of people around home, and a lot not. And EVERYONE and their dog is sick, even though out is like 50 degrees at the lowest here. It all worked out though :)

We did make some progress with some new people though! AND we sent out a daily text, and two super old investigators got a hold of us, and one of them we taught twice in one day! (Over the phone) Verónica is now being taught by the other elders, and it is going great ^-^ Maria de Jesus is also going well. We are going to pray in faith that she gets a Saturday spot in the swap meet so that she can come to church Sunday. Prayers of faith are the substance of this work :)

I spent the week building myself on Christ. It was a wonderful experience I won't soon forget. He loves us. And that is perhaps the most important thing to remember daily. For if He loves us, everything will work out. His love us the only constant there is, and we can always rely on it for worth, strength, and motivation to return to Him and our Father in Heaven :)

I love you all! Set your vision high this year. Read chapter 3 of the teachings of President Hinckley, and with optimism and faith, to have a wonderful year! Shaka :)

Elder Poulson

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!! :D

Merry Christmas everybody!!!

All of my write home energy went to talking to my family over Skype (SUCH AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS GIFT!) so this will be brief.

Christmas was wonderful, it was a p day so that made it very fun :) We got to go give gifts to several investigators last night, which was splendid ^-^

Did you know you can build YOURSELF in Christ? It is quite spectacular. It happens when you shift your view of yourself from what it currently is to how Christ sees you. He sees you for the good in you. He sees you as His. And He loves you :) Seek to understand who he is, who you are, and how it all lines up.

Love you all! Bye!
Elder Poulson

It really was the BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT to skype with Elder Bry!!  He looks so awesome and is happier than ever!  We got to talk to his greenie and Elder Eldredge (his last comp).  
We loved every single minute!!  

Monday, December 18, 2017

It is Your Choice

Hello family and friends!!! :D Frankly, I remember about nothing from what happened this week... Seriously, I am racking my brains and I've got nothing.

Oh yeah! We had a Christmas party on Friday! That was kind of cool! Natalie came to that and to church, with her mom (who hasn't come in a very long time), so I was happy :) She should be getting baptized in the beginning of January, from the sound of things.

We didn't teach too many other people. It is hard to get lessons in around the Holidays. We DID help some random people move some stuff out of their apartment! Which was amazing, because we always offer to help people with stuff, but they always say no for whatever reason. They also said we could come back and share our message, so that was exciting!

Thought of the week: You can choose. Elder Kearon said that SO many times: you can choose to *insert phrase here*. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to live the Gospel. You can choose to follow the Spirit. The second you realize that YOU, you personally, can CHOOSE to do and be whatever and whoever you want to do or be, your life will change!!! Why? Because you decided it would. Now that comes from faith and hope and patience and love and determination and perseverance. But in the end, it is as simple as this: What will you choose to do? Who will you choose to be? 

Choose to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. Specifically ask for His help to change. He will change you. He CAN change you. Because He performed the Atonement. And he understands exactly your barriers and obstacles and how you can overcome them.

"Repentance is new strength." Repentance IS change.

I love you all! CHOOSE to have a great week!

Elder Poulson

Monday, December 11, 2017

Training + British Seventy = AWESOME!!! :D

Hello family and friends!

I am writing this from a computer today... That feels weird now, I am so used to typing on a phone now. This is a lot better though ^-^ I hope you are all doing spectacular this Christmas season! Lighting the world and such always seems to cheer me up :)
This week was crazy and long but great! I'm typing this a day late because we had the wonderful opportunity to have a zone conference with Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy! :D Beautiful accent, even more beautiful advice! What really struck me was just how happy he was! He had a brilliant sense of humor, and you could just feel his love. He was just so... happy! And he essentially told us that we ought to be happy too! That we should work hard, enjoy it, stop worrying, and be happy. Definitely advice that I have needed before and continue to need at times ^-^ Serving a mission isn't exactly an easy thing. But it is something to be enjoyed. And that will come when we CHOOSE to enjoy it.
So I'm training! It isn't super hard though, because I have the one and only Elder Hammack! He is from Ogden area, Utah. I mean sure he is disobedient, trunky, and crazy, but it's okay. He jumped on a train once without me and I had to bike after him, but its whatever.

Naw just kidding :) Super fun, very prepared, we have been having a blast! ^-^ Teaching some good people too. We found a guy named Jose that is 16 and trying to turn his life around. We really want to be able to help him. Faith and hard work should do it :) Elder Hammack and I really do get along well, it makes doing the work so much easier when it happens that way.
In case you were all wondering, confidence is as much a gift from God as it is something acquired. In all reality, ANYTHING we want to improve on can come as a gift from God. When you pray at night, do you ask for God to help you change specific things, through Jesus Christ, by His Atonement? Repentance isn't just something we do when we sin, after all. It is a daily course correction. So if you find yourself feeling inadequate or in need to improve in any aspect, just pray for the strength to do it, for the strength to change IN Christ. When we really understand His Atonement, we will understand that He not just forgives us: He changes us. And that happens when we humble ourselves and ask in faith. For that reason, we are taught to "pray always" in the scriptures. If you haven't heard it yet, I would highly recommend the talk by Elder Bednar called "The Enabling Power of the Atonement". It explains it all SO well! :)
I bring that up because God has given me confidence and a brilliant self worth. And for that I am forever grateful ^-^
I have really learned lately to remember faith and love. Faith is a power that cause things to happen. Love is a power that causes hearts to change. Faith and love can change lives. That is how missionaries do it :) The greatest teachers seek to show how what they have helps those they teach. That is love. But to teach in the first place, you must have faith, for if you dont believe you can make a difference, you wont. Do you believe you can make a difference? Do those around you know they love you? And of course, never forget hope. Moroni 7 will explain that better than I can ;)

I hope you all have a great week! Love this Christmas season. It is a wonderful time to live :) This time is a wonderful time to live. The scriptures of multiple nations are before you. You have the plan of God and the guide to return to Him! You know your purpose in life, and you can accomplish that purpose! You can prepare to return to Him! You can be happy. Not always, but usually. If the Gospel doesn't do that for you yet, don't despair. You either don't yet fully understand it or have not yet learned to use it. Keep trying. Go serve. And remember the baby in a manger that caused legions of angels to sing in JOY!!!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week :)
Elder Poulson

Write me if you'd like ^-^ bryan.poulson@myldsmail.net

The Greenie....Elder Hammack