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)

Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Not Beginning to Look Anything Like Christmas

Que pasa mi familia and amigos!!! How is you all!? I hope you're doing good and are happy... And if not, The Gospel can help you with that ;)

So backstory for the title. We were doing our wash this morning at a washer place next to our apartment, and the two songs that played were "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and "There is no place like Home for the Holidays"... It is still 70 degrees here, and that second song was just a nice little dagger to the heart! One of the lines basically said "you won't be happy on the holidays without your family"... Basically, Long Beach radio hates me ;) Haha naw it was actually kinda funny ^-^

Goof of the week: I went on exchanges with my District Leader, Elder Cruz, who is a Honduran that learned English on the mission. He has a really strong accent and is military in a lot of aspects, but he is really cool and helped me a lot. Anyways, after exchanges, we were chilling in our apartment after 10, and we get a call from an unknown number. I answer it, and a thick Spanish accent starts shouting at me about how I took something. After three tries, I finally understood: I took their phone... XD So we had to bike to the church the next morning to give it to them... That was lame. Funny, but lame.

The day of that exchange, Saturday, the city of Long Beach did this cool thing to promote health. They closed down Anaheim St., a main road that goes through the middle of the city, and encouraged everyone to ride their bikes on the road that day and everywhere! There was music and games and a WHOLE lot of people riding bikes!!! It was really cool, and paradise for contacting people about the Gospel!

The exchange itself was awesome though! We had people to teach pretty much all day, and I invited someone to be baptized, who accepted :) That felt really good Spiritually.

We have dinner with the Varela family 2 to 3 times a week! They are very generous :) Their 3 daughters are the ones I keep sending pictures of. Anyways, did the little referral family home evening thing we did with the Franco family about a month ago, and it worked almost as well! We ended up with 10 member referrals. That is A LOT, in case you were wondering. Most people struggle to get one a week. So that was cool.

Quote of the week, by one of the Varela girls: "I am going to be a princess, and you are going to marry me, and you will be the queen!" -Yumi XD Those girls are SO energetic! They made me shake all of their heads instead of their hands before I left last time! Also, Yumi made her own "chair" (a piece of cardboard) and insists only sitting in that chair. If you sit by her, she reads you a Dr Seuss book she has, except instead of reading it, she just decides what is happening and tells you. It is different every time. She is adorable :)

We found 8 new investigators this week, for of which we found yesterday!!! It was so cool! We found Alejo and Gama, who were in our area book. They have never answered their door, but this time the son Gama let us in. They seemed sincerely interested, and we taught them a lot. We are going to challenge them to baptism next week.

The coolest thing that happened today, was that we got in contact with the parents of Israel, a 16 year old kid we met like a month ago. Israel is high functioning autistic, so he mostly acts like a normal kid, but he struggles with making conversation and getting "bored". Bored, to Israel, can mean anything from tired to hungry. He is very friendly though, he rode up to us and started talking when we first met him! Anyways, his dad, a red neck named Russell, investigated the church around when I was born. We cleared up some misconceptions that had kept him from joining. His wife, Digna, is a Honduran who is probably one of the most humble people I have met here. She asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon to read, and is excited to read it! My only regret is that I didn't challenge them to baptism... They are prepared of God. But the best part was that we stopped by them because I felt prompted to. It gave me confidence that I do in fact know what the Spirit feels like :) So that was a huge blessing.

So now that I have written a novel for an email, I am out of things to say, except I love you all, and hope you are all happy!!! Have a good week. Follow God's commandments: he knows better than us, and knows what we should do to be ultimately be happy. TRUST HIM! :) 

Until next p day,

Elder Poulson

Monday, November 7, 2016

When People Drop You... You Have Fun Anyways

So yeah! The title is pretty self explanatory on this one! We are down to basically three investigators, and they are all kinda iffy... :P That is okay though, we will just have to talk to a whole lot of people!!!

First of all, some pretty entertaining stuff:
- One of the office missionaries here took Elder Si'a out to lunch for his birthday, and we happened to be with them, so he took us too :) We went to this place called MVP's, this place that serves huge burgers, and it was good... Until, completely stuffed, we realized that a member was going to take us to a chinese buffet two hours later... Long story short, my companion and I were groaning as we attempted to ride our bikes up Signal Hill... Yup, fun time!
- Also at the chinese buffet, when we were ordering drinks, the member with us looked the waiter straight in the eye and said "I'll have a corona". My companion and I both whipped our heads around at him, and as the waiter started to write it down, the member says "no wait, I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" He got us pretty good, it was funny XD
- An investigator, Evelyn, looked up my facebook, and my profile picture from five-ever ago when it was a thing still reads "I am a Mormon." My companion and her had a great time mocking me for like the next 10 minutes... So now it is a running joke.
- We were teaching an investigator at her door, and she gave some water in cups. Apparently my companion's cup was dirty, so when the investigator looked away, he just chucked the water over the balcony behind us without looking XD It felt like something out of a movie!
- Quote of the week: "I put on my ponytail, and I put on my crown, and then I feel PREEETTY!!!" Naumi, Age 3 (See picture of her in her castle)

So yeah, that is my funny stories for this week! As for our investigators... Well, Evelyn pretty much dropped us. It is a good reason: she is going to be super busy working full time, going to school, and getting her driver's license. It is still sad though :( Jesus and Maria didn't come to church, and have been dodging us for the last two weeks, saying they are tired and busy and such... Hopefully they don't drop us too. Griselda is just terribly busy, and it is hard since we can't teach her in her home without a male member with us. So yeah, a lot of dropping... But it is all good! We will find some more people!!! :D

Oh yeah! I did exchanges this week with someone "younger" than me on the mission, which meant I was the senior companion!!! It was terrifying... A fun time though. The guy cooked for me and taught me Dominican Spanish and such, it was fun!

That is all for this week! Remember, dream big and then set goals to reach them! Hasta Luego!!!

Elder Poulson