Monday, March 12, 2018

From Biking to Boating

Hello from a rain-washed California! We are having fun traversing the flooded streets of Cerritos! In case you were wondering, California is NOT built for rain. It has been quite the adventure! 

In case you were wondering, "Cerritos" means "little hills" in Spanish. Which was always confusing, since this is a very flat place. So one of the elders here asked a lady that has lived here forever, and she said they called it that because these used to be fields full of cows, and they dropped so much manure, they made... Well, little hills! XD I thought that was hilarious haha :) 

Life has been a bit more tiring on bike, but that is okay. We have been able to make some progress with the Familia Osorio and Hilda. The Familia Osorio has two kids, Fernando and Ramses, that will hopefully be getting baptized on the 1st of April, so that is great! We were able to find quite a few new investigators, which is always gratifying ^-^

Gerry, a recent convert in our area, is just so awesome! He is already more involved in church than the rest of the elders quórum and most other members. He was saying that we should all do some fundraisers to bring money in for the church haha ^-^ He is solid.

Recently I have been pondering the phrase "God can make a willing man able, but He can't make an able man willing." In my opinion, a willingness to do God's will ought to be one of our most sought out traits. Though we should be using our natural talents and abilities, we aren't limited to them, however many or few we may have. God intends to accept us as we are, but he doesn't plan to let us stay that way. So take the advice from Mosíah 3:19 - Become "as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." I love it. We must learn that. THAT will be more important than any other talent or skill we develop, because from that one skill of submissiveness to God will sprout a multitude of abilities we can use to help others and find success. Success is bringing yourself joy by bringing joy to others. 

Well. I love you all! I reckon I'll see you sooner or later. Have a great week! 

Elder Poulson

Monday, March 5, 2018

Graduation from Teenager-hood

Why hello family and friends! How nice of you to take a second and read my email! You deserve a special prize ^-^... Note the word deserve. Careful word choice there. You deserve it. Not "I will send it". The best prize I've got is the next couple paragraphs ^-^ Enjoy! 

Elder Brant and I are... Well, we are here. It has been quite an adjustment to bike, but we are getting there. Oh did I mention that? Our ward now has Spanish sisters! And they were so kind as to take our car ^-^ Our area is very long, and our apartment is at the bottom of the area, so we bike a fair amount just to get to where we work. So essentially, we improve our understanding of and ability to endure to the end on our bike ride home every night haha :) 

We have decided we are going to have to stop going by quite a few of our investigators. We just either never find them, or they have stopped progressing. We are still trying to help Monica and Benita, as well as the Familia Arredondo. It is a process, but we find that as we help them have spiritual experiences on their own, that is when they really progress.  

Yes, yes, my birthday was yesterday. It was good, but a bit surreal. I can't really believe I am 20. Our recent convert's (Gerry's) wife made us a delicious Hispanic dish called Pasole, which I love, and ended up buying me a cake! It was kind of off setting though, because when she went to get the cake, she called and asked for my first name... It's not a secret or anything, so I told her, but she showed up with a cake that said "Happy Birthday Bryan", and sang super loud "happy birthday dear Bryan" and I just felt weird. It was appreciated though :) 

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." The trick is to refuse to be repressed or discouraged, no matter what turn the great ride of life takes you on. That being said, following the spirit will help you make the right turns. I have been learning recently those two things: irrepressibility, and sensitivity to the spirit. I particularly have found that the spirit is brought about by the prayer of faith. We'll put were the words of Alma when he said:
"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." Alma 37:37
Alma 37:33-37 is probably some of the best counsel ever given. If you are seeking some good council from the Lord, check that one out. I know that we have the right to receive communication from our loving Father in Heaven. He will guide us as we submit our wills to Him. I simply pray that we will all have the strength to do so. 

Well, don't worry about me, I'll just keep pluggin' my way along over here in the Long Beach Mission. Just go about your weeks with a smile on your face and song of still joy in your heart, and know there is at least one person praying for you, albeit all the way in California. Love you all! Take care. 

Elder Poulson

Happy 20th Birthday Elder Bry

Monday, February 26, 2018

Cerritos Round 2: Miracles Pending

Hello my wonderful family and friends :) I trust you are all doing well. Elder Brant and I are content here, we are staying together for another six weeks, which is what we wanted. We were afraid they would separate us! We are doing good, hard work here, and aren't quite ready for it to end yet haha :) 

We had a splendid week too! We were able to have a lot of members of our ward come out with us to visit people. It really makes a difference when they come, especially to overcome the cultural barrier and help the person come to church. We have two mostly blind members that have a lot of time, and they both have been working with us and giving us referrals ^-^ It is exciting!

Have you ever pondered on such questions as:

1. What is God's purpose in being a God? 

2. How was Christ able to willingly endure the Atonement for all sins, pains, and weaknesses? 

3. What is the single most important trait for us to possess? 

The answer? 


If you love, you will be happy. 
If you love, you will be loved.  
If you love your kids into obedience, they will be most likely to obey. 
If you love, you will love life. 
If you love, you will enjoy service.
If you love those you lead, and show that love, you will win their undying loyalty. 
If you love God, you will follow His commandments, and you will return to Him and receive eternal happiness.

Love you all :) Have a great week! 

Elder Poulson

Monday, February 19, 2018

Finding People to Love!

Did you know that that is what missionaries do? We find people to love! ... Not to love like to marry. Definitely NOT like that haha ;) As in we find people to whom we can give some needed love. And the greatest act of love we could perform is to connect them to Christ by helping them use His Gospel. The fulness of which has been restored to the Earth by God today through a living prophet. "There is no more compelling work than this, nor one that brings greater satisfaction." 

I hope this email finds you all good and well! If not... Well, I expect you'll learn something wonderful from your challenges :) That IS the point of opposition and hard things, after all. I am doing splendid down here with Elder Brant! We are having fun :) We are finding a lot of people to teach, which is wonderful! 

We have been working with some longer-term investigators, like Monica, Benita, and the Family Arredondo, that have one obstacle between them and baptism that they just haven't quite been able overcome yet. We are trying to help them gain the strength to do so. I've been realizing that really, nothing we say will do that. It is the Book of Mormon and other scripture, old and modern, that will push them over the barrier. After all, we are degree-less teenage ministers carrying the greatest religious message in all of history: we aren't chosen for our intellectual ability and wisdom won from experience. We need the spirit and the words of those much wiser in order to help just about anyone. 

Do you trust the wise words of prophets, old and modern? Do they truly hold value to you? Do you copy and paste their words into your own life, your own trials? If not, there isn't much of a point in reading them anyways. Sobering questions, but vital to ask. I ask them to myself, and find myself lacking. Time to repent, I guess (the progressive kind more than the asking forgiveness kind)

Well, lest this become a place I just dump random thoughts, let me tell you a story! Once upon a yesterday, we were talking to a member who was blind for 4 years, and now has VERY limited sight. He opened up to us, and ended up telling us some poetic things. One of my favorites: "The blind see with the heart, because they cannot see by the eyes. So they love everyone as a wonderful person, for they have no way to judge them otherwise."

Gotta go. Love you all! Bye :) 

Elder Poulson

Elder Poulson climbing trees again!! 

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