Elder

Elder

Monday, June 4, 2018

Seeing Afar Off

Why Hello everybody! How are you today? I expect you all to say "good" to that ^-^ Like out loud, right now, haha :) 

Well Elder Myers and I are working hard down her in Long Beach. Same old, just trying to bring people to Christ ^-^ It is tiring work sometimes! The other day we had to run up and down a basketball court for two hours just to get an investigator to meet some members! ;) We actually found a 15 year old kid named Devin last week who is pretty great! Has a HUGE desire to learn! So we played basketball with him and some other investigators, it was fun :)

I tried a new food for the first time this week: octopus. It was... Actually really good! The investigator who made it for us just held it out and said "here try some" and I was just staring at an octopus leg. I even tested the little suction cup things, they still kinda worked! But that was a new one for me ^-^ We also had some Samoan barbecue brought to us from the guy whose mother in law we gave a blessing to, which was delicious, and in the process we got to give his wife a book of Mormon and invite them to listen to the missionaries :) She isn't a member, but really felt comforted when we blessed her. 

Juan and Lesley did not come to church :/ But we are working on it with them. We have some other people we are working with too, more on them as they begin to progress. 

Something cool I learned this week. God gives us afflictions in this life to learn, of course. But something I never thought of before is this: Without afflictions, we would never turn to God or Jesus Christ. We would never NEED to. And we would never draw closer to Them. God loves us enough to hurt us, because he wants us to choose to come unto Him and in the process reach our divine potential. Afflictions lead to happiness, no doubt about it.

Another thought... I like this phrase: We must learn to see afar off. If we want people or our situations to change, we must see afar off and have hope for the future. If we want to prevent ourselves a lot of pain, we must see afar off and make right choices now to avoid future pain. We must learn to see afar off in our afflictions, knowing that we will be so much stronger and more able to serve in the future. God's plan is a long term plan. We must learn to see afar off in order to understand it.

I don't like to be that guy, but I thought it worth mentioning that I am coming home a month from yesterday. I mention that because I hope you can all make it to my homecoming, which will be the 8th of July, I believe, at 1:00. Mark your calendars, because I love you all and want to see you as soon as I can ^-^

But until then... I'll be over here giving all I can to the Lord. Forget yourselves and go to work. Not just missionaries: everyone.

Love you all! Thanks for taking the time to read this :) Let us all press on, 

Elder Poulson


Monday, May 28, 2018

Be Happy. NOW.

Family and friends and such! Good morrow! How are you all doing this wonderful day? :D I am doing great too! Just working my way through Lakewood! It is the only life I've ever known, it feels like. 

Well, first off, Juan and Lesley did NOT come to church... But that is okay! Next week for sure! He gets home like at 4 in the morning sometimes, and church is at nine, so it is rough. Maybe we'll motivate them with breakfast again, haha :)

Gerry's wife Teresa did come to church! She has been before, but its been awhile. We aren't really sure why she came, but she loved it, so that was great! 

We also found some great people this week! A lot of it just came together. One family who is very humble due to some recent trials, another who straight up believed that God can call a prophet. So that is sort of exciting! 

Thought of the week, here we go:
We are limiting our own happiness. 
I loved an example I heard recently, which referred to Nephi's and Laman's opposite reactions to their experiences in the wilderness. Nephi talks about how great it was that God took care of them in the wilderness, guided them, made their raw meet give nutrient and be sweet, etc. Laman only talked about how they could have been in Jerusalem, they could have had their gold, it would have been better if they had died, etc. It is interesting, he said, how Nephi's focus is on what he already has, what is among them. Laman's focus is on what he doesn't have, things away from him, like Jerusalem. 

The point being, what are you focused on: what you don't have or could have or could have had, or what you have already been blessed with? It is good to work to a greater purpose and level of success. But if we aren't happy with what we have now, we will never be happy with what we have later. If we are always thinking, "when I get ____ or become ___ I'll be happy", when we finally get that thing, we likely won't be happy. We will simply rinse and repeat: "Now when I have ____ I'll be happy." And we will never realize how much you have until you look back at a ripe old age just to see how good we had it and how happy we could have been. Our last two prophets that have passed on have emphasized a similar point: enjoy life NOW. "Find Joy in the journey: NOW." "I suggest we quit focusing on the rain clouds and enjoy more fully the sunlight." Things like that. 

My invitation? Be happy. NOW. Like, right now. Not soon. Not later. Now. If you need some help, try writing in your journal or on a paper about how God has given you everything you would ever need to be content and happy with life. You will be amazed.

Well, I love you all! I'll see you sooner more than later! Til then, forget yourself and go help someone else! Nos vemos! 

Elder Poulson

These pictures were texted to us from Teresa in Elder Bry's mission.  
Love the families who feed our missionary!!  

Mexican Green Pozole

Monday, May 21, 2018

Things that Don't Change Stay the Same


Hello Family and Friends!!! Like usual ^-^

This week... It ended well! Juan and Lesley came to church! Definitely the highlight of the week! Juan and their son loved it! Lesley is still adjusting but she liked it too. I am seriously so amazed with them and their progression. We havent even taught the Word of Wisdom yet, and they are already making changes and stopping their habits of smoking and drinking! It is so wonderful. I am a witness of conversion to Christ. I love it :) 

We also got some members to meet hermana Osorio, finally! We had sort of given up on her for the time being. Hopefully the members help her reactivate :) 

By the way, shout out to my newest cousin, Rex! I am so excited to meet him! :) 

I really have forgotten how to general email. I have no idea what to write! ^-^ Ummm... California diversity is crazy. You meet the most random combination of people here. Some teenage kid tried to fight us the other day, it was kind of funny. We just kept biking :)

That reminds me of something that one of my seminary teachers taught us. When life gets hard and the rapids are rough, there is only one option: just keep paddling. Don't you stop. When you go river rafting, the only way to keep your boat straight, and therefore get through the rapid, is to keep paddling. It doesn't matter how well or powerfully, if you keep paddling, you will make it through. So, "if for a time, the harder you try the harder it seems to get, take heart: so it has been with the best people who have ever lived." - Elder Holland

In case you're wondering, my mom is the best! She sent me a whole jar full of uplifting quotes, like the one I just put! I love it! :D

Well gotta go. Forget yourself and go to work :) 

Elder Poulson










Monday, May 14, 2018

Let Us All Press On

Hello! How are all of you fine people doing? I personally had another crazy week! A lot happened. Which is a lot better than nothing happening ^-^

Where do I start? We got some awesome gift baskets from a Samoan family whose relative we gave a blessing to the other week! We got lava lavas, amongst other stuff. We ended up going by again to meet the lady. She was half awake and talking, and we got to sing her a song, which she loved. It was great :) 

We had a busy weekend. Thursday we went to zone conference, which as always was PHENOMENAL. I loved it! We talked about using Book of Mormon, family histoey work, and members in our missionary work to be more effective and powerful. It is true. Those are our main tools. We need all of you faithful members in order to get about anything done :) 

Saturday we went to a breakfast fundraiser for the young women's at Applebee's and found a super good friend of a member to teach. We then went to part of a members birthday party and found some people there that might be taught, and had a couple of them come to a mother's day activity the ward put on that night. It was quite the day! 

A little miracle of the week. We ran into a guy on Sunday at church, right as the third hour was ending, who had showed up thinking the Spanish ward started at 12. Apparently he had been taught by missionaries before, and wanted to start from the bottom learning about Christ. We taught him a lesson right then and there. Super great! He lives in another area, but that is okay. Still great. 

Juan and Lesley... Did not come to church. We don't know why yet. But we had a GREAT lesson with them this week, which included a lunch. We also set Baptismal dates with a family that has been investigating for a long time. They just need to get work of on Sundays, so we are trying to bolster their faith that God can make that miracle happen, and he can do it by the 27th of May. Their name is the Familia Arredondo :) We are praying hard for them all! 

I have been thinking. A lot. I tend to do that. Haha ^-^ I have come to a conclusion. There is absolutely no point in living life unless you lose yourself in helping others. I have found that I am not ever happy unless I forget about my own happiness. It simply doesn't happen. We are counseled as missionaries to forget ourselves and go to work. I don't believe that is a 2 year invitation: it is an invitation for a lifetime. We need to take care of ourselves: we are our own greatest creation, we determine who we will become. But none of that will be fulfilling unless who we become helps others on their path to happiness. 

Remember to love. And love first. Always. :) 

I love you all. Let us all press on ^-^

Elder Poulson





EXCITING NEWS!! Got the official flight plans
July 3rd at 10:17 am

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day!!!

The best part of Mother's Day is being able to SEE and talk to our missionary!!  This was the last of 8 skype calls with our boys over the past 3 plus years.  We are down to the last transfer and Elder Bry will be returning home.  We can't wait...the countdown is on....***JULY 3, 2018***


Monday, May 7, 2018

Forget Yourself

Hello! How are all of you fine people doing? I personally had another crazy week! A lot happened. Which is a lot better than nothing happening ^-^

Where do I start? We got some awesome gift baskets from a Samoan family whose relative we gave a blessing to the other week! We got lava lavas, amongst other stuff. We ended up going by again to meet the lady. She was half awake and talking, and we got to sing her a song, which she loved. It was great :) 

We had a busy weekend. Thursday we went to zone conference, which as always was PHENOMENAL. I loved it! We talked about using Book of Mormon, family histoey work, and members in our missionary work to be more effective and powerful. It is true. Those are our main tools. We need all of you faithful members in order to get about anything done :) 

Saturday we went to a breakfast fundraiser for the young women's at Applebee's and found a super good friend of a member to teach. We then went to part of a members birthday party and found some people there that might be taught, and had a couple of them come to a mother's day activity the ward put on that night. It was quite the day! 

A little miracle of the week. We ran into a guy on Sunday at church, right as the third hour was ending, who had showed up thinking the Spanish ward started at 12. Apparently he had been taught by missionaries before, and wanted to start from the bottom learning about Christ. We taught him a lesson right then and there. Super great! He lives in another area, but that is okay. Still great. 

Juan and Lesley... Did not come to church. We don't know why yet. But we had a GREAT lesson with them this week, which included a lunch. We also set Baptismal dates with a family that has been investigating for a long time. They just need to get work off on Sundays, so we are trying to bolster their faith that God can make that miracle happen, and he can do it by the 27th of May. Their name is the Familia Arredondo :) We are praying hard for them all! 

I have been thinking. A lot. I tend to do that. Haha ^-^ I have come to a conclusion. There is absolutely no point in living life unless you lose yourself in helping others. I have found that I am not ever happy unless I forget about my own happiness. It simply doesn't happen. We are counseled as missionaries to forget ourselves and go to work. I don't believe that is a 2 year invitation: it is an invitation for a lifetime. We need to take care of ourselves: we are our own greatest creation, we determine who we will become. But none of that will be fulfilling unless who we become helps others on their path to happiness. 

Remember to love. And love first. Always. :) 

I love you all. Let us all press on ^-^

Elder Poulson






Monday, April 30, 2018

Mountains and Valleys

Hello everybody! How are you today? I am emailing your from the highest mountain in Southern California: a little hill in the middle of the city of "little hills"! (Cerritos) I am of course making fun of Southern California. If I climb up to the roof of a tall building, squint really hard, and use my imagination, I can kind of see some mountains, but I am pretty sure that is just the other side of my Utah mountains, which is definitely NOT California ^-^ Haha no I titled my email mountains and valleys because this week was just full of ups and downs. A LOT of them. But I ended on a mountain, so I have a nice view of my life right now ^-^ You must look at yourself through Heaven's eyes. 

Now the highlight of this week is that Juan and Lesley have a baptismal date! :D If they feel the truth of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon by the 26th of May, they will be baptized on that day ^-^ Which is very exciting! However, they did not come to church or to see any baptisms this week. That is where they need help. We'll be praying for and working with them :) Members are a huge help with getting investigators to church. (Offer to help the missionaries in your ward with that. They will love you!) 

We had an interesting Saturday this week. We spent the morning using five gallon buckets to clean out 9 months worth of residue that had gathered in a member's swimming pool. The best description of said water would be a mix of sewage and pond water. One of the buckets had some holes in it, so that was just the cherry on top ^-^ Haha it was fun though! I enjoyed myself at least! We then spent the whole rest of the day moving apartments with the help of two other missionaries. It was quite the process. Poor Elder Myers got fried by the sun! Part of his neck hadn't seen the sun for years, because he was always wearing a collar, so it got charred pretty badly ^-^

After Elder Myers and I taught the Restoration at a recent baptism in the ward, a man walked up to me and asked me in Spanish, "Are you from Brazil." A bit surprised, I responded, "No, I'm from Utah." He said, "Oh. You sound like a Brazilian for some reason." I took that as a sign that my Spanish is coming along well! Haha :) 

You know, The Spirit is an interesting thing. I had an experience yesterday with following the Spirit where I felt prompted to head up to a family at the top of the area. That is quite the time commitment when you are on bikes. But we went. They weren't there. Nor could we figure out any other reason that the Lord would send us there. However all the way back to the apartment and throughout the night, I felt the peace of the Spirit testifying to me that we had made the right decision. How is that? 

I have been pondering that question, and came to this conclusion: sometimes the Spirit guides us to do something, knowing it won't work, simply to:
1. Test our faith. Will we follow the spirit the next time, no matter the result? 
2. Teach us lessons we wouldn't have learned in any other way. For example, I learned how to approach failure with optimism in that moment. 
3. One of my favorite quotes of all time: "Doing God's will without thought to the end result or consequence: that is what serving a mission is." Who are we to say what the results should be? If we are truly instruments in God's hands, we don't need to worry about the outcome. We simply do what He asks and give thanks that He is using us to do His will, even if we aren't sure of the WHY behind it. 

That doesn't just apply to missionaries. The spirit whispers to each of you every day. I promise it does. Will you have the courage to follow what it says, the perseverance to follow its guidance day after day? Who do we "fear" more: man, or God? I feel these are good questions to ask ourselves. Soul-searching questions can cause us to recognize the need for a change inside of us. Then we can repent and make that change, and progress. 

Let us all press on! Love you all :) Have a wonderful week!

Elder Poulson







Tuesday, April 24, 2018

This Week.....

This week was a bit slow, to be honest. We are building up our area more. Things ARE going well with Juan and Lesley! They are a young couple that are reading and praying. They didn't come to church this week, but should be there next week :) 

What I did learn this week: as important as it is to improve daily, we need to stop focusing too much on what we can't do or lack and start giving to the Lords work our talents and abilities that we do have. Sometimes we compare ourselves to others and think "if only I were like him, then I could serve." No. God gave us talents. We use them to serve others and be happy :) 

Sorry this is short, temple P day is always a bit of a stretch. I love you all! Bye :) 

Elder Poulson

Mission Temple P-day w/Elder Meyers


Monday, April 16, 2018

A Wonky Week

Yes. That is the perfect term for this week. It was a wonky one! In one sense, it was hard. But in another sense, it was just beautiful! I'll try to give it justice here.

Everything went wrong. We had a rocky start as companions, we couldnt get a rhythm down for anything. We didn't find too many to teach, we were failing at talking to people, very few went to church. I was sneezing and sniffling all Saturday and Sunday. For multiple reasons I will not elaborate on, our entire Sunday was shot by a flat tire and many unsuccessful patch attempts. Every set appointment we had fell through. Every single one. 

I like what my friend Elder Antczak said this week. It was a hard week, and it seems like it was also a hard one for the rest of my missionary friends, so Satan must really be attacking the work of the Lord. I suppose the post-illumination affliction has extended into this week. 

BUT let me testify to you all: I have never learned so much, grown so much, and felt so much in one week without the aid of some sort of conference or abnormal spiritual experience. Or in others words, I have never seen a normal week change me so much. Why? I had to rely on the Lord. I had no other option that could keep me content and happy during a horrible week. And it worked! 
 
I have learned this week how different life is when you love first. It doesn't just make a difference. It makes ALL the difference. There is a quote from conference that is repeated three times in one talk: "Pure love is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ." That is so true. I have prayed so much this week for humility and love. Christ has helped me so much to obtain it. I am grateful for Him, more than I can express. 

I love you all! Go find someone to love :) 

And if you pray to find love for someone, you will find it. You will.

Good luck :) 

Elder Poulson 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Post-illumination Afflictions

Good Morning family and friends!

This week was just... horrible! Yes, horrible would be the word. Absolutely, completely horrible! ^-^ Haha I'm cheery now, but it was just not a fun week. A week of post-conference afflictions. Let me lay out the days for you:

Monday: Good P-Day

Tuesday: Long exchange during which we taught no one

Wednesday: We went to the temple with Gerry so he could be baptized for his deceased father! It was actually really amazing. Teresa came later with her kids and took the temple tour again! This was the highlight of the week.
That night, I started feeling a little queasy. By midnight, I had a repeat of the spamusubi incident: a sleepless night of puking! Yay... It was rough. 

Thursday: Running on no sleep, we stayed in all day so that I could rehydrate and recover strength. 

Friday: Still kind of weak, but we left that night to a set appointment. Well it turns out that the investigator had very kindly invited half of his congregation to come listen to us: WITH the pastor. At first it seemed pretty good, they let us teach them all. Then the pastor pulled out a pre-prepared discourse with as many false allegations and twisted words and verses he could find to attack everything we believe and the history of our church, especially Joseph Smith. He (likely intentionally) did it in a long rant so that we couldn't really explain how each one was wrong. Well we responded the best we could and bore our testimonies, but this man wouldn't let us have the last word! Every time we left our testimonies or tried to leave them with an invitation to ask God for an answer, he threw out a new allegation or something! It was very frustrating. Anyways, I felt at peace about it, but it wasn't an easy thing. 

Saturday: We did find one or two people this afternoon, but nothing that night, which is unusual.

Sunday: Church was hard, I only half fasted, but that was a mistake. I still lacked some nutrients, and I was pretty weak until dinner that night even though I ate lunch. My companion had a couple mishaps I won't detail that held us up at dinner until 7, and we didn't really teach that night either...

It was just... It was just hard. 

BUT! Do you know why it was hard?
Do you remember what Elder Holland said: "The author of Hebrews warned us of this when he wrote, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” That post-illumination affliction can come in many ways, and it can come to all of us. Surely every missionary who has ever served soon realized that life in the field wasn’t going to be quite like the rarefied atmosphere of the missionary training center. So too for all of us upon leaving a sweet session in the temple or concluding a particularly spiritual sacrament meeting." (Elder Holland, April 2016) Conference was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. It would follow that Satan would put on his best "general conference" of his ranks of devilish soldiers to attack the missionaries and followers of God.

But it matters not. "They who are with us are greater than they who are with them." Or as our dear prophet quoted the hymn in conference: "But an unseen power will aid me and you in the glorious cause of truth. Fear not, courage though the enemy deride, we will stand tall for the Lord is on our side! We will fear not what the wicked will say, but the Lord our God we will obey!" There is peace in Hymns. I've been listening to them in the mornings, it has helped me persevere. 

Well ni modo. Things should turn up soon! Transfers came, and I am getting an Elder I've known for awhile, Elder Myers. He has been in this zone but is hopping areas. He has a heart of gold, it should be a good time ^-^

Love you all. Go be warriors of God's great army. :) 

Elder Poulson