Monday, December 26, 2016

Forget Snow, I Had a Rainy Christmas! :D

Hey family and friends, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! one day late... I hope it was a good one for you all! Mine was quite strange, but good too... Like I said, it rained on Christmas Eve, like all day, it was great! Surprisingly cold though... It was like 40. Which is cold here.

Highlights of the week:

- I skyped home!!! First skype, it was great! :D See pictures for my festive red spoon.

- We spent ALL day Friday and Saturday with Kevin Sanchez, who is quite certainly a Gentleman and a Scholar! He is already a successful business man at 18, but that is a different story. Anyways, we spent all of lunch and dinner, and some time in between, talking about different stuff we had learned by experience or from books or talks. Mainly, we talked about how to be successful. It really helped me to have a deep conversation like that, they help me figure out life. Anyways, that really helped me to be more effective as a missionary.

- Zone Conference!!! We had a Christmas conference on Wednesday, and literally EVERYONE on the mission that I know was there! (We have split zone conferences, so that was a miracle) It was great to see them all. But the best part was the second half of the zone conference, which was literally a three hour testimony meeting! Yeah I know, sounds kinda boring, but it was SUPER spiritual. The Spirit told me to go up at the beginning, and I told everyone about some advice my mom had given me. She said "Satan is trying to dim your light. Don't let him." That applies to us all, by the way. But if we look to Christ, the brightest and eternal light, we will never lose ours.

- We had a Family Home Evening with the stake president on Monday. We brought a less active mom and her kids. It was way cool, and focused on the Savior's birth.

- As for investigators, Jessi did not come to church :( But she WILL next week!!! But it is okay for this week, cuz Beatriz AND Gloria came to church! And Gloria brought her husband! They are working on preventing their own divorce. The sacrament meeting was way cool, it was ALL music! I played piano twice (once without much of a warning), and some boss professional singer that lives here sang a bunch! It was great!!! :D

That is all for this week. Remember "Life brings to you what it finds in you. What you get depends on what you give." Give it you're all, and God will give you more! Love ya'll! Merry Christmas!

Elder Poulson

Christmas Package from Home

Christmas Package from the Baker Bunch

Fun Times with Kevin Sanchez

Sunday, December 25, 2016


We were all so excited for 5:00 to roll around on Christmas Day so we could SEE Elder Bry and skype with him.  It was the BEST to talk with him and to see his awesome smile!!  He had a santa hat on and made us all laugh to see his festive red spoon behind his ear.   He will forever and always be "King of Spoons".  

He is doing fantastic and his spirits were up.  He was skyping from a members garage and although we had technical difficulties, we finally got it to work and we talked for about 45 minutes.  It went by way too fast and it was SUPER hard to say goodbye, but we are SO incredibly proud of our boy and all he's doing to spread the gospel and serve the Lord!!  

We Love You Bry!! The count down has begun....5 months to Mother's Day!!! 

"King of Spoons"

Savannah's Instagram Post

Monday, December 19, 2016

Focusing is Hard, but Your Focus Matters

HEY YOU GUYYS!!! (If you don't know what that is from, you fail) How are you all? As always, I hope the answer is a resounding "fantastic!" I'm kinda in an interesting/tired mood, so bear with me ^-^

If you ever need to gain weight, just go on a mission. I tried to gain weight for like 18 years, and it didn't work very well, but in 6 months I have gained roughly 20 pounds! XD Tortillas with every meal will do that to you! That and, ya know, working out every morning *casually flexes his arms*

I have realized on my mission how much I love kids!!! I am actually pretty good with them, too :) There was a little girl last night when we were teaching the Bautistas, and I was playing with her with her little hello kitty doll and it's mini house. When she wasn't looking, I put the cat up my sleeve, and she was amazed that is had disappeared! We were about to start the lesson, and her Grandma told her to go look in the other room for the doll. Before she left, the little girl, Lexi, checked under the table, and while she was doing that I nonchalantly chucked the doll into the other room where it made some super loud sounds and interrupted the movie the rest of the family was watching XD But it worked! The girl was amazed to find the doll in the other room, and we had our lesson :D

I was on exchanges with an English elder, Elder Ugbamen, while my companion was at a leadership meeting Thursday. We visited the cutest old German couple, the Owens, who are both members. They pretty much spent the whole time lovingly bashing each other, it was hilarious XD But the lady asked for a blessing for her knee, telling us how when she last asked for a blessing, it completely got rid of her anxiety she had had for 40 years as a result of world war 2. I got to give her the blessing, and it was SUPER spiritual!!! I loved it ^-^ I felt the Spirit buzzing in me for like the next hour! Funny how that works :)

We have been working a lot with Jessi!!! The problem is, satan is working hard on her too... She had family problems last Sunday, and was super sick this Sunday. But she is fighting it! She missed our 9:00 church, but went to the YSA ward at 1 with her son, Kevin (who, by the way, is the stud muffin of the year)! She also hasn't drunk coffee in like 2 weeks! Although funny side note, we actually came to her house this week and caught her about to drink some coffee! She felt all guilty and poured it down the sink. I guess God sent us there at that time haha :) She will likely be baptized on the 31 of December, and I am super excited! We also had another in investigator, Beatriz, come to church out of no where! She is a former and has been taught all the lessons, but I guess she told some of the other missionaries in our ward that she wants to get baptized before January! Not sure if that is true, but we are going to teach her again ASAP.

In case you were wondering, focusing is hard. In my case, I have a terribly hard time focusing on people speaking Spanish all day. But I have been thinking a fair amount about focus. Elder Nielson said in his talk this last General Conference that "our joy has little to do with our circumstances, and everything to do with our joy!" I love that quote! If you focus on the joyful things in your life, you will, of course, have joy! And if you focus on Christ and His power to heal and save you, that source of joy will never fail you, even when all others could. Of course you will have trials and despair and all other kinds of hard stuff, but in that same talk President Nielson said that his friend told him "he had learned to suffer with joy." That sounds kinda crazy, and I am still figuring out how to manage it. But it is possible, through Christ, our Redeemer, who died for our sins so that we don't have to be guilty or sad. Remember that, especially as Christmas rolls around.

So yeah, that is all I've got. Live in your faith, not your fears! Have a fantansmhmastic week!!! (yes, that is Spanish)

Elder Poulson

Grammy K's Package Arrived!!

Did service at the catholic church for a food bank and had a christmas party... Somehow forgot those in my main email! XD 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Adventure is Out There! :D

Yay adventures! Hi family, friends, etc. I hope you are all having adventures too :)

We had our family home evening this Monday, which we were in charge of... There was, quite literally, a lot of running around to get everything set up on time in the right way. But it went really well! Mostly members came, but they all seemed to like it ^-^ We were in charge of the Celestial Room, in the chapel, and it was really fun! We had two big spotlights shining on a big picture of Jesus, and had a recording of primary kids singing "Families can be Together Forever" playing in the backround! Really good :)

Not too much unusual happened on the week days. We were really busy teaching people and such, which was really good!

WE FINALLY FOUND JESSI ! She is someone Elder Valenzuela has been teaching for a long time. Her son, Kevin, is my age and a member. He really wants to go on a mission, but can't yet because of money and that he has to help his mom with stuff. But he is one of the most outgoing people I have met in a long while! Anyways, Jessi, wants to get baptized! She has a date set for the 31st of December (and then it is a new year for a new life! Basically) Her main problem is getting away from work long enough to go to church, and quitting her addiction to coffee. But we have great hopes for and faith in her!

We played soccer with Kevin and a part member family, the Bautistas, on Saturday! (We can do that if we teach them after) I thought I was done for, since two of them almost went professional, Kevin was the team captain on his high school team, and my companion is good too. But I actually kinda held me own! Kinda... But the score ended up 1-1, so it was a pretty good game! Afterwards, we ate lunch at their house and taught them. I guess they were all gonna get baptized about a year ago, but the missionaries stopped going by for some stupid reason... Hopefully we can rekindle their testimonies! :D

We contacted a random referral this week, and we started asking about his family and such. It turns out that his long lost cousin is Valentin, who has a mormon message about him and everything! He was a teacher at the CCM when I was there, so I have also met him. I guess because of his past, Valentin has limited contact with people in America, so it was really cool to be able to tell this guy, Carlos, that his cousin is doing awesome! Anyways, we have a return appointment with him Wednesday.

Oh, I almost forgot! Highlight of the week: I actually ended up playing piano for the actual Primary Program! The usual pianist, the bishop's daughter, needed to lead the kids, so they asked me to play! I only messed up like once too! It was, again, surprisingly stressful, but really fun and cute too! And we got food afterwards, it was great ;) All you teenagers out there reading this: if you play any musical instrument PRACTICE MORE! Trust me, you will wish you had. It is more of a blessing than you might think to have the time to practice something.

We ate dinner with a family last night, the father of which used to be the bishop of this ward. He basically spent the entire time messing with me, teasing me about how I didn't take any beans and how I am "greener than a tree"! XD But it was okay, because I understood all of his Spanish and surprised him with mine, so ha! :)

I have decided that I am currently on a quest for discipline, dedication, and consecration. It is VERY hard to truly give everything you have to something, your thoughts, actions, spare moments, etc. But I am striving for perfection, and although I will come short of it, I will get as close as I can ;)

Ya'll should read 3 Nephi 9. It is really inspiring to hear what Christ said to people who had suffered complete darkness for three days! He is the light of the world after all. And just like he was a light to those people stuck in darkness, so can we be lights to those who lack the truth only because "they know not where to find it." #lighttheworld

Sooo... Yeah. That was my week. In closing, if you every have a chance to pick avocados from an avocado tree, take it! It is quite satisfying ^-^ Have courage, be kind, do good, and follow the example of He who is mighty to save. Hasta luego!

Elder Poulson

Elder Poulson Picking Avocados

Pictures after the Primary Program

A Few Misc Pics from the Week

Still doing Origami :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Europeans, Drunks, and Other Unexpected Adventures

Once again, Hello family and friends! I fully expect you all to say hi back whenever you read this, just saying it out loud at your computer will do ;)

This week was kinda strange, but we worked hard and it went fairly well! Elder Valenzuela was kinda sick all week, so it was a bit harder for him, but he feels better now. I had some pretty unique adventures this week though! And I'll mention a couple from last week that I forgot about.

We managed to teach an Arabic speaking family on Tuesday! We met the eight year old kid, Patrick, earlier that day. He was on a balcony above us, but he was really friendly. He told us he could speak English AND Arabic, which is really cool! We wanted to give him a "Light the World" Card, but he was all the way up there. Well I knew a card flipping opportunity when I saw one, so I took out my "deck" of Light the World cards and started trying to flip them up there! It wasn't my best day for card flipping, so it took like twenty tries, but I did it! :D I was so happy!

Anyways, we had dinner in the same complex, and about ten minutes into dinner, Patrick knocked on the door! He had seen us go in, and said he wanted to tell us a "secret". His secret ended up being a request for us to come by that night! He even brought a sucker for each of us to bribe us with XD

When we went by later that night, he invited us in. His grandparents were there, who speak absolutely NO English, but Patrick translated a bit! We showed them the Light the World video (Patrick made popcorn!) and tried to find Arabic mormon videos, but there wasn't really any. As we were leaving, I said a prayer, and even though they couldn't understand, I asked the Spirit to touch their hearts, and I believe it did! So that was really cool ^-^

I forgot to mention this last week, but on Thanksgiving, we ended up eating one of our dinners with a bunch of drinking people! It was really annoying, actually, cuz a member we were working with was drinking too :( And her reasoning was that "eating mole with water messes up your stomach." I ate mole without water, and it STILL messed up my stomach! :P But yeah, that was pretty much the first time this Utah kid has been around drunk people, it was kinda weird.

Also on Thanksgiving, we sang a bunch of kareoke at a member's house, and that was way fun! I sang all of Bohemian Rhapsody... It took awhile. But it was great!

I have ended up playing the piano for Primary twice, because they need to practice and the other piano player has school. It is actually surprisingly stressful! If I mess up, they all lose their confidence! I have to be the kids confidence!!! But it was really fun too :)

As for investigators, we are still working with Alfonzo. He is being a little dodgy, but he really feels the change in his life since he started the lessons and wants to feel more of the goodness of the Gospel. We have also been working with Oswaldo, a less active. Besides the fact that he taught me some soccer skillz, he is awesome because he has humbled himself to the point where he truly wants to change and become better. 

Speaking of which, I would like to pose a question to all of you: Are you willing to change and become better? Are you willing to let God turn you into the person he sees inside you? About every missionary here that breaks little rules justifies it by saying "it is my last transfer, they aren't gonna send me home" or "it isn't like President will know or care" or "why not?". While they may be right to an extent, what they aren't getting is that rules, and more importantly, commandments, aren't in place just to impose upon you a way of life. They are there to change you. If you just change your behavior, you have only won half the battle. The other half is changing your nature. Once you do what God asks because you want to, not just because you are supposed to, you have made a huge step in the path of discipleship. Just my thoughts on the matter :)

That is all I have for this week. Until next week, in the words of my sister Savannah, "Have courage and be kind!" Hasta luego!

Elder Poulson

Little Christmas Tree (got it in last package from home)

Pretty Funny.....Bry said he was so tired that he forgot to take 
off his black shirt before putting on his shirt and tie.  
He ended up wearing it under his white shirt all day. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Feel Rich, Take Me Back to My Ghetto Long Beach

Hello again everybody :)

Hmm... What general stuff should I write about? Well, I guess I will start with my new companion. His name is Elder Valenzuela, he is from Mexico/Texas. He learned a lot of his English on the mission, so he still has a slight accent. He is pretty enthusiastic about the work, and likes to work hard, which is good! He says "bro" way too much, but I can live with that ^-^

My new area is Huntington Beach. It was really weird to come here from Long Beach, especially since I am now in car. The area is way nicer. Also, our apartment is about 4 times bigger than mine in Long Beach, and is on the first floor instead of the third floor... Basically, I feel rich :P It is kinda odd.

It was really sad saying goodbye to everyone in Long Beach! (Hermano Varela cried) But it is okay, I will surely return some day :) It was strange to say goodbye to my trainer, but it is working out okay :)

We managed to lock ourselves out of our car on Thanksgiving... Elder Valenzuela left the keys in the trunk and I shut it, so I guess it was a group effort :P So that was fun! We ended up walking to someone's house and teaching them while we were waiting for the Zone Leaders to get the spare key from the office. But hey, they brought me some packages from home, so I ain't even mad! ^-^

Since Elder Valenzuela is a District Leader, he goes on exchanges with all 6 of the other missionaries in our District. Which means that will I end up going on exchanges to other people's areas 6 times this transfer. Which I am actually excited about, you learn a lot on exchanges, and usually miracles happen!!! :D For example, I went on exchanges with Elder Hansen on Saturday. He is a white boy from Louisiana who started his mission in Mexico City, but came home after five months because of a stress fracture in his foot. Anyways, because he started in Mexico, he is in the habit of LITERALLY ALWAYS SPEAKING SPANISH. It is mildly annoying, but mostly awesome, cuz you are kinda supposed to do that, and I am really bad at remembering! 

Anyways, while on exchanges, we contacted this guy with tattoos all up his arms and a cigarette chilling on his ear. I didn't expect him to be that interested, but he ended up being SUPER enthusiastic about what we were teaching, and asked the PERFECT questions! So that was awesome! And the reason he listened to us in the first place? He was shocked by how good Elder Hansen's Spanish was! He couldn't get over it XD I have a lot of respect for Elder Hansen. He has more enthusiasm when he is teaching then any missionary I have every met!

Speaking of people I respect, Elder Perez went home this transfer. He was on of my first AP's, and probably the best missionary I have yet to meet. I have always wondered what it was that made him so awesome... Literally everyone loved him and had such respect for him. He was very humble, but I didn't think that was all there was to it. But in his little farewell letter that they published in the monthly missionary newsletter for the mission, he said that the most important thing he learned on the mission was CHARITY. That was the key! He said that he learned how to find the good in everyone and love them for it! That really hit me hard. I am striving to find a more Christ-like love for everybody :)

This email is really long, so I will end with this: if you haven't heard yet, the church's Christmas initiative this year is called LIGHT THE WORLD! It is SO amazing!!! If you go on to mormon.org, the first thing that will pop up is the Light the World video. I strongly advise all of you to go watch it, it is fantastic! The idea is that people are invited to follow the example of Christ in doing a certain type of service each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. The website explains it way better than I can, so go look it up! :)

That is all for this week. I love you all! Keep spreading the light inside of you :) Hasta luego!!!

Elder Poulson

Elder Valenzuela

Huntington Beach Apartment

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sometimes Your Week Just Decides to Be Crazy

Heyo familio and friendso (no, that is not how Spanish actually works). How is you all? I hope ya'll had a good week.

As for my week... Well, it was a bit insane. We taught VERY little this week, mostly because a lot of random stuff came up that took our time to work. For instance, we ended up going to two dinners Tuesday night, the plumber came for a couple hours on Thursday, etc.
I have some interesting news though. I am being transferred to Huntington Beach with an Elder Valenzuela... No one really saw that one coming. The Huntington Beach part is cool, but my new companion has a reputation for... Well, let's just say most people here don't like him. So we will see how that goes ^-^

We had Rihanna Varela's baptism Saturday!!! (the girl in the white dress in the picture I will send) It took about all day to help set up and such, but it was really cool! I got to PLAY PIANO for it, which was really really awesome for me! And then since I was already up there, they had me be a witness! And then the father had me and Elder Quintana be in the confirmation circle! They really like us apparently :) Plus the Filipino mom had some bomb food afterward, and we got leftovers, so it was just good all around :)

We taught Russel and Digna again this week. Israel fell asleep again, but the parents had a lot of questions and are truly humbled. They already have a testimony of prayer and such, which is awesome! And we got a text from the on Sunday, saying that they couldn't come to church until next week, but that Digna HAD READ MOST OF THE BOOK OF MORMON. If you aren't aware, THAT IS A HUGE DEAL!!! That never happens! So they are prepared. One of my good mtc buddies, Elder Keeler, is one of the Elders taking over my area, so I hope he helps bring them to baptism, because they are truly prepared of God :)

Umm... Yeah, that's about it. Oh wait, I need something spiritual here! Quote of the week: "It is accounted unto you for righteousness if you proceed according to the best light you have." -Wilford Woodruff. That is really important to me right now, going into a potentially difficult companionship. But remember, the Gospel means you get points for trying as much as succeeding. Proceed according to the best light you have, and you will find true happiness in the end :) So ENDURE!!! :D Okay bye :)

- Elder Poulson

Familia Varela (Rihanna in white dress, kiki, and Nayumi)

Familia Chavez

Familia Moscoso (2nd councilor in bishopric)

Familia Quintanilla (Elders Quorum President)

Familia Franco (1st councilor in bishopric)

Familia Genis (Ward Mission Leader)

Jennifer,  Havi,  and Jasmine

Elder Jumonville

Elder Jumonville,  Elder Urbina,  and Elder Quintana

Elder Duran

Study Desk in LB (first area)