Monday, September 19, 2016

Business (or rather, Service) as Usual

Hey ya'll, how's it going? I'm approaching a month in field, and I haven't gotten shot yet, so I would say I am doing pretty good ^-^

Umm, there aren't too many notable stories this week. Mostly just a lot of talking to strangers, a lot of visiting past investigators, etc. I found this week that usually when an Elder is trained, their trainer has already been in the area for at least one transfer, and knows all of the members and investigators in the area. But for whatever reason, our area was reopened the day I got here, so my companion knew as much as me about the investigators. So that is kinda weird. We have basically been building up from ground zero, but we are gaining momentum, so it is all good :)

We taught a couple new investigators this week. We met a 16 year old kid named Aaron who has a surprisingly strong testimony of prayer. He speaks English, which is nice, but I tried to lead in teaching yesterday and totally failed... So that was a bit depressing. It's okay though, hopefully the Spirit can make up for my mistakes until we teach him again.

We started teaching a woman named Griselda and her three kids this week. We just found her on the street and invited her to church, and to our surprise, she accepted! So that was exciting! She came to church last week, but not this week. It can be tricky to teach her, because she has little to no knowledge of any church, and her kids are really rowdy! But last time, I pretty much distracted her kids so Elder Quintana could teach, and that worked alright. She committed to baptism, so that is awesome!

That is about all I have for this week. I just will say that this work definitely has its' ups and downs, but it is all worth it in the end! My testimony of how this Gospel can help EVERY one of God's children is growing daily. The Gospel can help everyone, and that includes you: and if you have faith, it can help you in every aspect of your life.

Talk to... err, email ya'll later! Adios!

Elder Poulson

Monday, September 12, 2016

Surprise Picture!!!

Elder Bry surprised us and emailed us this picture later in the day.  He knew how much I wanted a picture of him and his companion, Elder Quintana, for our missionary board.  He's the BEST!!! 

Straight Outta the Factory

Hola Familia y Amigos! How are you all? I guess that is a hypothetical question, but I hope ya'll are doing great!

Alright so this week... 

Well, I'll talk a little about our investigators. We have been teaching Demasio and Petra, the cute couple with little kids that I mentioned last week. They took the first lesson, but we haven't been able to get ahold of them since. We'll keep trying though! Our other main investigator is this gruff old man named Ismael. He is currently having some struggles, so he isn't super receptive to our lessons, but we will keep trying with him too.

Other than that, we pretty much just visit houses of past investigators listed in the area book and try to talk to as many people as we can on the street. That last part is particularly hard for me, because while I love talking to people, it is way different when they are strangers, you are an awkward missionary, and there is a good 50% chance that you won't understand their response. But it is still kinda fun! I am learning that if I just boldly do what God has asked me to, essentially talking to everyone, he will make it all work out for good. That is essentially what having faith means, right: trusting God to make everything work out :)

Every time I tell a member that I am from Utah, they say "oh, de la fabrica?" which translates to "oh, from the factory?" Essentially they call Utah the missionary factory. Which is kinda funny, but it got old after the tenth person. One person said "wait really, a white missionary from Utah! I have never met one of those before!" Basically, Hispanics are ridiculously sarcastic. But esta bien, it is funny!

There are a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses around here, which is... Fun. There was one guy that followed us on his bike for a couple minutes shouting about how Jesus said his skin turned brown in the sun, so we shouldn't be racist... Yeah. There is also a lot of mentally unstable people in this certain neighborhood. One guy spent ten minutes telling us about how if the member with us carried this little trinket he gave her and walked her kids by the ocean, they would have blue eyes XD Yeah that was a bit weird. We try to be courteous to everyone though.

The culture here is interesting. The people REALLY like to talk, although not necessarily about the Gospel. They will talk all day though. Also, it is generally accepted here that everyone will be fifteen minutes late to everything (not that I am complaining). So the missionaries don't really worry about being on time to stuff. Personally, I think we should be on time anyways, but I'm not driving, so I don't have much say in the matter... Plus I am not always ready on time, as I am sure you are all SO surprised to hear.

So Thursday night, we were trying to visit members but weren't having any luck. My companion really needed to use the bathroom, so I suggested we pray that someone would let us in. After we did that and walked around for five minutes, we went back to our bikes, and I felt like we should knock on a door right next to them. We did, and some Cambodian lady answered. Quick tangent: Long Beach has the biggest population of Cambodians in America. There are six Cai speaking Elders here. Anyways, this lady answered, and she spoke no English. But we looked inside, and to our surprise, two Cambodian Elders were already inside! :D So of course, they let us in, and my comp used the bathroom and we left. As awkward as interrupting their lesson was, it was still an answer to our prayer: someone let us in. So that was cool!

Yeah that is about all this week. Let me leave you with this thought: the Bible talks about how we may be the Children of Light! John 12:36 "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." I thought that was a really cool phrase! Be worthy of that title!

K bye,

Elder Poulson

fyi: Bryan lost his camera cord and we had to ship him a replacement, so no pictures this week!  :(

Monday, September 5, 2016

From Humble Beginnings, the Greenie Emerges

Hey family and friends! I've got a lot to say this week, so here goes nothing.

When I left the CCM in Mexico, it was kinda like leaving home all over again. I didn't realize how close I had come to my roomates and district until I left them. It is okay though, I should see most of them at BYU after the mission ^-^ Anyways, when me and my two friends going to the same mission arrived at the airport, we found out that our original flight had been delayed. All of our flights got rescheduled, and despite the assurance from the guide we had that "everything will be fine", the mission home in Long Beach had no idea that our flights had changed. Luckily, my mom called them to make sure everything was good, and she told them. Even with that though, I was stuck at the airport for like an hour.

After I arrived at the mission home and went through some orientation, it was about 3:00, and they usually take new missionaries out contacting on the first day. One of the two missionaries that me and 2 greenies were stuck with decided that since he had never been to Compton, we should go there. So my first day on the mission, running on 45 minutes of sleep, I went contacting in Compton! XD It was actually pretty chill, although there was not really any hispanic people there.

My companion's name is Elder Quintana, he is a half Hispanic guy from Colorado. He speaks both English and Spanish fluently, so that is pretty helpful! He is essentially a professional beatboxer, although he is very humble about it, and he destroys the whole zone in basketball. He kinda reminds of Donkey from Shrek, partially because he does a perfect imitation of Donkey's voice, but he is just a joking guy! He is real good at teaching people, so I am glad to be his companion.

Anyways, I got settled in that morning to a new apartment they were opening in our area. The next morning, I had a nice humble morning. The shower head didn't work, so we used a bowl to shower. The stove and microwave were broken, so we had a nice healthy breakfast of nuts and some caramel popcorn my Grandparents sent (thank you!). Luckily, someone lent me a bike, so we at least got around. I am in an biking area in Long Beach, with a small border on the sea, stretching pretty far into the city. There is a place called Signal Hill right in the middle of my area, so that is fun to bike over!

I have already run in to two familiar people here! Elder Oniki, one of my AP's, went to SoJo middle and worked at Zupas with my brother, the other one did some honor band stuff with me. So that was kinda cool! I am excited to see Elder Horton next transfer, he should be coming in.

My mission president is a spiritual giant!!! He is a fairly young guy with 4 young kids, and he is just the sincerest guy! Very firm though, I wouldn't mess with him. Anyways, he is awesome!

We have taught a fair amount of lessons already! And by we, I mean Elder Quintana speaks in Spanish and I try to understand as much as I can :P I am learning though. We taught a lesson to the cutest couple the other day, they were visiting one of the recent converts in our area, and they had in total six little kids running around! They all, without prompting, took little sticky notes and wrote "I love God" on them and signed their names. It was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen. We also taught this Hispanic Grandpa named Ismael. He wasn't very receptive to us at first, put we taught him the Plan of Salvation, and he opened up to us. He has had cancer twice and might a third time, so we are praying for him.

Umm, yeah, that is about it for this week! I am exhausted, but happy to be here! I just want to learn the language as fast as I can! ^-^ 

Talk to ya'll later!

Elder Poulson