Monday, February 27, 2017

I Basically Know Shakira

Greetings family and friends! Alright, that just sounded weird... I just didn't want to say "Hello" again, like every other email I have ever sent ever ;) But I hope you are all doing fantastic! :D

In case you were wondering, if you ever live in an area with a lot of Hispanics, there is chile and/or limon (lime) in EVERYTHING! In chips, on fruit, on cakes, in pop tarts, everwhere! So that is pretty weird! All the members try to make me eat spicy stuff because they want to see my face turn red... But I ate something spicy yesterday, and they were all watching, and I didn't even flinch! So I am getting used to it! Ha!

Anyways, this week was really good! Something awesome is that we basically got handed two golden investigators to teach! Javier (13) and Charlie (11) are the kids of a less active family that just moved here from Colombia. They are currently living with some active members (the dad's sister), and as a result they have started coming to church again! So they asked us to teach their kids ^-^ So they will almost certainly get baptized, which is awesome! Also, the mom of the kids just so happens to know Shakira, because they are from the same city. So I know someone that knows Shakira! Pretty crazy I guess ;)

For the last 6 weeks, I have taken to just saying random inspiring quotes or stuff I made up out loud as I am walking around the apartment. My companion gets confused, which I think is hilarious! Anyways, some of the other missionaries were like, "Elder Poulson, where does all of this stuff come from!?" and I just kinda said "I'm not really sure..." I guess I just remember quotes really well. It definitely doesn't translate to memorizing spanish words, let me tell ya!

Alfonzo is still progressing really well! His friend wanted to sleepover with him and hangout on Sunday, but he told him no because he wanted to go to church! Anyways, it is still a bit of a struggle to get him to remember things, but he is working hard at it. He should get baptized on the 11th, which is SO cool!

So... I was supposed to sing on Sunday for ward conference. Bishop called and asked me to sing with his daughter, and it was kinda stressful but kinda fun too! And then he told us to go up to practice it right before sacrament meeting, and so we did it quietly by the piano. But it turns out he actually wanted us to do a prelude for the meeting, like at the pulpit, when we were just practicing! So I didn't end up singing... Esta bien though, it was fun :)

Something I have been thinking about a lot recently is how we can best learn. I realized that the key really is just to listen to your leaders. I mean, that seems like a no brainer, but think about it. We have things like the scriptures, and the words of the living prophet and apostles, and preach my gospel, and all of these helps written by leaders and great men and women of God, for what? So that we can take their word for it, instead of having to go out and make mistakes ourselves. There hasn't been one instance where I applied the teachings of my leaders and found them to be wrong. But there have been many times where I have failed to apply their teachings, just to find out very quickly that they were right. If we can learn to apply these things early on, we will be able to reach so much farther than we ever could by our own knowledge and experience.

The other thing that has really been spinning around in my head is the words of Jeffrey R. Holland in a talk called "Feed My Sheep" given in the MTC a while back. Apparently it was a precursor to a talk given in General Conference. Anyways, he says, in a nutshell, that the moment that Peter the fisherman became Peter the great and noble and powerful apostle was when the Savior asked him the same question three times: Do you love me? And on the third time, what is Christ's response? The FEED MY SHEEP. I would take that to mean, if you love me, love others. And the best way to do that is to give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Inherent in this invitation is the implication that we need to give our will to God. It is God's will that we share the gospel, and serve those around us. And as another talk has taught me, the ultimate goal of a mission and, really, a life, is to learn to not only completely give your will to God, but to reach the point where you want to do what he asks. Not just do it by obligation or duty, but because you truly want to. It is a hefty task, but it is possible. It starts in the head, and ends in the heart.

So yeah, that is the crazy stuff I have been pondering. I hope it helps ya'll out in some way! :) Until next week, hasta luego! Also, I challenge you to high five someone right now! Do it! Haha k bye.

Elder Poulson

Bry admitted this weeks pics are kinda lame.  Promised better ones next week with him actually in them.  We are sending a new camera off today!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Faith Doesn't Work with Kickflips

Once again, hello family and friends!! Happy whatever holiday today is! I kinda get behind on that kind of stuff :P

We had a really fun week this week! I mean, I am fairly certain there is currently more water here than in the ocean, because it rained so hard this weekend, but of course that just cheered me up! :D It did pose a problem with teaching people though. People here as a general rule seem to be afraid of the rain... But we taught 'em anyways! ;)

One of the highlights of this week happened in this super Hispanic complex we go to frequently (Alfonzo lives there). My companion talked to these two 13 year old girls sitting down somewhere, and started teaching them. I was pretty hesitant, because my past experience with teaching teenagers hadn't gone very well. But as we were teaching them, about five more kids just sat down and started listening! We were teaching a mini congregation! :D Haha it was SO much fun! You can joke around with kids and still teach the Gospel to them. Anyways that was super fun! We taught a couple of them again, we are hoping to meet their parents.

Sidenote: in that same complex, we were walking by some kids on skateboards, and I said, "Hey, can you do a kickflip?" My companion suddenly got this devious look in his eyes, and he just starts shouting "Hey my companion can do a kickflip!" over and over again! Despite my protests, they gave me a board and insisted I do it. Meanwhile, my companion has his camera out and starts to record me. Anyways, basically I couldn't even ride the board and looked like a loser... But it was pretty funny!

We have been teaching Alfonzo a lot lately! He has really given me a testimony that the meek and simple will inherit the kingdom of God. He IS slow of understanding a bit, and his memory isn't great. But all these other people we try to teach think that they don't need what we have. Alfonzo accepts God's will for him without hesitation. He is amazing, and I think we could all learn a little something from him.

Three things I learned this week that struck me:
1. We are not Alone
Something my companion said in a lesson to Alfonzo this week really struck me. He said that "Because God and Jesus Christ are there, we will never have to do anything in this life alone." That can be easy to forget, but we have the truth! We can come to know with more and more surety that they will never leave us to do something hard alone. We can always really on Christ to carry us, so long as we do our best to carry on.

2. Attitude
I realized this: The best (and fastest) way to change the world is to change your attitude. We can only decide ONE thing in this life, and that is our response to whatever life throws at us. If you choose to see life in a happy light and act accordingly, you will be happy. And no one can take that from you.

3. Prayer of Faith
My definition of praying in  faith has changed. The bible dictionary says that often times, we receive blessings that were conditional on our asking for them. God wants to bless us, but by his laws, we have to ask first. So that means that when we pray in faith, we trust that if the blessing we asked for was conditional on us asking for it, we will receive it. But that if it wasn't conditional on us asking for it, we will be better off without it. God only gives you "blessings" when they will actually bless you in the long run. Any blessing can become a curse if given at the wrong time or place, and a detriment to your eventual, eternal joy and salvation. So when you pray with faith and then do your best, you can know that whatever happens will be the best way things could have turned out for you. God knows what you need better than you do.

There is my 3 cents for the week ;) Hmm... Anything else? Oh yeah, we are doing a game for missionaries to get to know each other, and my little lesser known fact for the game is that I was the king of spoons in high school... So that should be fun to explain! XD Anyways, I'll catch ya'll later! Keep going strong :) Never underestimate the power of Christ and how it can change you. No one is ever out of His reach. Bye!

Elder Poulson

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Fastest General Email EVER!

We had a family home evening at the church where we simulated the tree of life, using chairs, a blackboard, and some white lights! It was fun! We sent them through in groups with blindfolds on. The kids and the bishop were in the first round of people, so they ended up helping us tempt people, which was wonderfully ironic! XD

We had a super lame dance, I sent a picture of it. No one danced! And when we did... Well, I was the worst one out there ;) But hey, let me tell ya, Hispanics do not dance like Utahns, that is for sure. It was kinda cool to watch after.

I knocked a couple doors in a row for the first time on my mission (random doors, that is). And let me tell you, it was HORRIBLE! Gahh oh man I hated it! I was SO scared! Respect to all the missionaries that do that every day. I will stick to going by former and potential investigators, thank you very much ;)

We have been teaching Alfonzo a lot more recently! He came to church and the baptism, and truly wants to change his life. He is on track for baptism on March 11th, which is way exciting! Ernesto was terribly busy this week, but we will teach him next week.

Transfers are here, but I am sticking it out with Elder Harward, so not much to report there.

There is a talk they only play in the MTC called the Character of Christ. It basically says that Christ only ever turned out when most anyone else would have turned into themselves. When he was struggling and in pain, he looked to help others anyways. I have been really pondering that lately. Do I give in to the natural tendency to turn into myself first? Or help those around me? Because the second I start thinking about others, I start feeling better. It is miraculous!

Well, that is about all! I love you all, always strive to be like Enoch: "and he walked with God." Byee!

Elder Poulson

The whole District at the FHE at the church

Tree of Life

Big and Spacious Building

Lamest Dance EVER!

Free Meat from the Store....SCORE!

My Desk (wow...look how organized ;)

"Pocket Stuff" 
 Anyone who really knows Bryan well knows that he carries WAY too much stuff in his pockets.  He's done this since he was a little kid.  I think its getting worse!!
  He may need some therapy or a support group...haha!!

Seriously?  Does someone just love VW Buses or what??

Monday, February 6, 2017

If You Feel Mediocre, Go Take a Revelation Shower

Haha that is probably one of the weirdest and confusing email subject lines ever created ever! I'm proud to have been the author ;)

Anyways, BUENOS DIAS family and friends!!! I'm feeling pretty good today, and I hope you all are too :) If you are by chance feeling kinda like you're going through the motions, I'll talk about that later.

Right then. So this week was... well, mediocre. Hence the title. It just kinda felt like a normal week on the mission. Which, I realize as I am writing this, can often be one of the harder trials we have to face. I might argue that feeling mediocre is the first step to feeling down. Satan does "carefully drag us down" after all.

Anyways, yeah, mediocre week, but we had a couple good experiences! Last night it was super hard to find anybody to teach, because apparently Hispanics do in fact care about the Superbowl... We thought it wouldn't even come up in a conversation all night. But yeah, we were struggling to find people, but had the idea to go check if Ernesto was at Hermano Lopez's home. And he was! It was a bit crazy, because the Lopez's son was playing some super loud music, but he said he really wants to study the Book of Mormon, so that made us way excited!

In case any of you were wondering (and I doubt you were), I am not good at football. We played it last p-day, and I ended up going to the wrong side of the field with the wrong team... Twice... Yup, felt pretty dumb ^-^

Right, I should probably explain the revelation shower thing, huh? So Elder Myers, a new elder in our district, was talking to a guy at service, and he was telling him all of this mind blowing stuff about time and perception and what not. And Elder Myers just stops and thinks for a sec, and then proclaims, "man, I need a shower! A revelation shower!" It was super hilarious!

But my point with that was that God is always willing to give knowledge to they who seek it. So if you are feeling pretty meh, think of a question you have. God works in questions. Joseph Smith never received revelation until he asked God a question about it. The same goes for us, more or less. So think of a question you have, about life or the Gospel or how you can improve or whatever. Then ponder it and read the scriptures. He'll answer you. And suddenly, you won't feel so mediocre! You'll feel awesome!!! :D At least that is how it worked for me.

One thing I learned this week is that sometimes we just have to buckle down, steel our minds, and do it. If you think to yourself "I should probably to <insert thing to do here>, but <insert excuse here", well you should probably just go and do it! Often later becomes never.

Hmm... This email was kinda random huh? Well, I'll keep with the theme, just cuz I love sharing stuff I learned! I was reading a talk, and it talked about asking the Lord "what lack I yet?" I think that is, in a way, the entire purpose of this life. Asking God what we need to change in ourselves, and then changing it. Often we have to be VERY humble to accept that we need to make a change. But God knows better than us, and we best take his advice.

Well last but not least, it is my mom's birthday this week!!! :D So ya'll better wish her happy birthday ;) The main reason I bring it up is because I wouldn't be even close to where I am and who I am without my mom. She is an angel to me. And I didn't quite realized that until I left her for two years. So appreciate your moms! Send them a text or something right now, just tell them they are awesome! Because they are :)

Well, that is all I have for this week! Love you all! Remember to love each other ;) Bye!

Elder Poulson

P.S. My brother is coming home in two days, and he has been a consecrated missionary. Welcome him back for me :)

Quotes I found and liked!

My Companion turned my milk green....it was pretty funny!