Monday, May 29, 2017

When Life is Moving too Fast, Make Friends with a Snail

Good Morning family and friends! I'm Elder Poulson, and this is my snail, Jerry. We'll be your hosts for the evening. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the email!!! :D *Crowds Cheering*

This week was quite the roller coaster. It was honestly like someone put me on a frisbee and tossed me back and forth a bunch of times. You would know what that feels like, wouldn't you Jerry? *Canned Laughter* A lot of crazy stuff happened with investigators. 

The biggest news is that we stopped teaching Jared. *Collective Gasps* Yeah I know... I was devastated too. No really though, it was pretty rough. He essentially told us he doesn't want to do anything we ask him to. We suspect there is more to the story though, so we are going to talk to him later this week.

Beatriz came to church this week though! *Cheering* She has been an investigator forever, but dropped off the face of the planet like 4 months ago. We are going to really try to help her progress. Eduarda still needs a different job, and her daughter, Angie, didn't come to church because she had to watch her sister :P We'll see what happens though!

Let me tell you though, we finally got a ward mission leader, and he is AMAZING!!! So humble and willing to serve! He encourage us to fast and pray, love our companions, work with members, etc., and it just got us all pumped up! I never realized how important a ward mission leader is, because I haven't had one in 6 months, and back then I couldn't understand a word he said XD But I am really excited to work with him! Plus he is in my area, and him and his wife are Samoan, so I'ma get some BOMB food!!!

I learned some valuable lessons about priorities this week. Essentially, it is pointless to make any sort of plan for your life if you don't know your priorities. You won't accomplish what you want to. My companion listed out his priorities, and I followed suite. It was really eye-opening! If you base all that you do on what matters most first, you will never go wrong. For instance, disobedience suddenly seems less tantalizing when your first priority is to put God's will above yours.

I also learned something cool that Elder Bednar said. Something along the lines of "stop worrying if it is The Spirit! Just be a good boy or good girl, keep the commandments, serve people, and it will all work out. So many people feel something and say, I'm not really sure if it is The Spirit. Stop it! Just trust that it is, and act, and it will all work out!" I kinda needed that. I think it is important to remember that if we were ever sure that it was The Spirit we were feeling, it would require no faith for us to follow it. And faith is the law on which God's ability to bless us is predicated. (Jerry is good at that. He feels around with his feelers, and will even stretch out off an edge to the point where he could fall, trusting that something will be there.)

Well, I only have an hour today, so I'm going to sign off. But remember this: The only way to truly progress in this life is to more fully understand and apply the Doctrine of Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism AND the sacrament, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end are the very process by which we change and become better, until we "lay hold on every good thing", and are "perfected in him." Check out the talk by Brian K Ashton in the October 2016 General Conference for more on that.

Bye, love ya'll! Have a snail-tastic week! ;) *Cheering*

Elder Poulson and Jerry

P.S. - It is very hard to type with a snail on the back of your hand. But I would advise you to try it anyways ;)

This is Elder Bry with a member of our ward, Todd Jorgensen.  Bryan wanted to send home a guitar he was given in his last area.  Todd was nice enough to pick it up while he was in California on business.  So fun to get a picture from Todd of our cute missionary.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Literally the Word of God

GOOOOOOOOD MORNING FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!! How are ya'll doing? Just say good to your computer or phone right now, out loud. If you say it, you'll believe it, and then you will be doing FANTASTIC!!! :D Yeah!

So this week was definitely good! A little slow at times, but we had some good successes about every day. So that is always satisfying ^-^

Not too much has changed with Eduarda and Jared. Just trying to help them progress towards baptism. But we started teaching Eduarda's daughter, Angie, and she is AWESOME!!! :D She is super sincere and has some really good questions! So we are excited to teach her. We also managed to FINALLY start teaching Beatriz again. She is an investigator from almost 5 months ago that dropped off the radar when Elder Valenzuela left. But she came to church last week, and we managed to teach her this week. So we hope to help her progress to baptism.

I was reading President Uchtdorf's talk from this last Conference, and what really impressed me is that perfect love can literally overcome any fear. I think we could all recognize that more. After all, the only reason Our Savior Jesus Christ could perform the Atonement was because his perfect love for us overcome his fear of performing such an excruciating act. My Dad also told me this week that we can find more confidence in the fact that we are keeping the commandments of God. After all, Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." So if we have perfect loved, we will be obedient. Obedience casts out fear too.

Something someone said in church this week really struck me. One of the speakers said that "We have more scriptures at our fingertips than any other nation has ever had at any time in the history of the World." Think about it. We LITERALLY have the WORD of GOD, our HEAVENLY FATHER, the ALL-POWERFUL and ALL-KNOWING FATHER of our Spirits. How could we ever take for granted the fact that we can access exactly what he wants us to hear within the time it takes to press a couple buttons. Think how much people in the days before technology would have given to have access to such a wealth of information. My exhortation to you all would be to read what are called the words of Eternal Life for AT LEAST 15 seconds per day. Yeah you read that right. At least 1 5 SECONDS per day. Just form the habit, if you haven't already. Opening the scriptures every day will do more for you than nearly anything else you could ever do.

Well, that is my 2.37 cents for the day. Umm... Yep. Ya'll have an above average week! I love you all! Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you. Chou!

Elder Poulson

Monday, May 15, 2017

Self Worth and Feeling

Hey, this Elder Poulson, emailing live from the not-so-eventful library in Huntington Beach California! How are ya'll doing?

Well, I am low on time, because I had to catch up on some emailing and such. BUT I will try to give this a good go anyways!

The highlight of this week was of course skyping my family! It was great! And for all of you who think you have the best mom in the world, you're wrong. I do ;) And I love her! ^-^

Investigators wise:
-Jared is good, but progressing slowly. He is a 10 year old kid, so I don't really hold it against him.
-Eduarda now has a job that works her on Sundays :P So we are working on helping her figure that out. Baptism is a commitment to go to church for the rest of your life, after all.
-Sandy is busy as ever, but she is reading the Book of Mormon, so that is good!
-Alfonso is just the strongest convert ever! He goes to everything church related, and it is amazing! He really does have great faith :)

I really felt guided by The Spirit this week! We ended up finding another "unknown" less active member, and we are going to teach her relatives! So that is exciting :) And we found them because against all logic, we followed The Spirit. Something key that I have learned is that you will never be sure it is the Spirit you are feeling. A lot of the time, you just have to have faith that if you are trying to follow the Spirit, despite uncertainty, God will make sure you are blessed for your efforts!

Just two nuggets, and I've got to dip.
- Your self-worth has a direct relationship with your effectiveness. You CANNOT be effective and get a lot done if you don't love yourself and find value in your own abilities. I read a quote today that said that the key to a peaceful life is to find value in yourself and your contribution, NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS CONTRIBUTE. Comparison will only destroy you. Find self-worth in the fact that you are a son or daughter of God, and as such, are heirs to the greatest kingdoms of God, no matter what perceived weaknesses you have. The talk self-worth by Hyrum W Smith is one of the best I've ever heard, so if you want to, you should listen to it or read it! Also, Elder Holland's talk this last conference.
- Put some feeling into what you do and say. I feel like sometimes we are so tired and going through the motions that we don't really put feeling into what we're doing. I think that the best way to light up your life is to let your feelings shine through in what you do or say. The secret to fulfillment is to feel :)

Welp, I'm gonna go now. I love you all! Take care! Remember that God loves you!

Elder Poulson

A sweet member Mom sent me these pictures from Sunday Dinner at her house.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day SKYPE CALL!!

Best Mother's Day gift ever.....I got to skype with my favorite Elder.  Elder Bry looked so great and is doing fantastic.  We had so much fun talking to him and being able to SEE him.  His smile just makes me feel happy!  Oh how I love that boy of mine!!

Here is Savannah's instagram post....love the picture!!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Be Like a Horse

Hey family and friends! I am way low on time today, so I'll get right to the point, but I hope ya'll are doing fantastic! :)

This week was good! We worked hard. We found out that I am staying yet another transfer here, which will make 5. That is about 7 months. So a lot! But I am sure I will love it :) I am where God wants me to be!

As for our investigators:
-Eduarda wants to get baptized on this next Saturday, but didn't go to church because of work... So we'll see. Soon though!
-Jared, Lesley, AND their Dad went with us to the Los Angeles temple visitor's center this week! It was a good experience all around. I had never met their dad, but he was a nice guy, and we were able to talk to him about Jared being baptized. Jared didn't come to church either though because Lesley got sick and he is too shy to go without her :P But it is okay, he is doing good still :)
-We are teaching someone named Sandy who is SUPER sincere! She is way busy, but we think she might accept this wonderful message and receive the blessings of baptism. So that is exciting!

I learned a WHOLE lot of Spiritual amazingness this week, but here is some of the more profound parts:
-We can act without fear. We just have to realize that God will take our actions and make them work out for our good if we are STRIVING to do what he asks: not just if we succeed in doing so.
-We are like horses. If you haven't had the chance to see the new Meet the Mormons clips, you REALLY should watch them! The horse one was amazing! I learned so much! Basically, think of God as the rider and us as the horse. To be short, I will just say that God gently tugs on the bridle, and we must follow to avoid danger and run freely. Give heed to the rider, my friends.
-Don't be sifted as wheat. That is Satan's goal, and someone this week told me that to be sifted as wheat means to give in to being plain, average, and like the whole world. But as saints, we can't just be as common as the wheat. We have to stand out! We are expected to be the difference and the differents in the world, so that others can see our light and discover God's will for them through this one and only true Gospel.
-The Doctrine of Christ is central to living a happy, successful life. Study the Doctrine of Christ: meaning faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. That is the pattern of progression that will make us happy!

Well, other than that I'll just say that I love being here, and I hope you all equally love the goodness of your lives! Keep at it, follow God, and you'll be happy! :) Bye love you :)

Elder Poulson

Monday, May 1, 2017

Simplify and Act

Hello queridos amigos and familia! I'm sick of saying "how are you?" and pretending that you all are saying "good" back, so I'm just gonna spill the news.

So I was making a breakfast shake, like I do every morning, and the bottom of the blender thing came off... I felt like that had happened before, so I put it back on and decided to test it (mistake #1) But of course me being me, my mind got ahead of itself, and I tested it without putting the lid on (mistake #2). So I turn it on, realize as the shake starts splashing that the lid isn't on, and in my haste to turn off the machine, I hit the side of the blender pitcher (mistake #3). Three strikes your out, and I ended up with milk all over my jacket and shoes, a giant mess of ingredients on the counter, and my companion staring at me like I was crazy as I stood there repeatedly hitting my head on the wall. It was quite the adventure! So yeah, that is the news I had to spill. Cause it was a spill. Haha get it? Well I made myself laugh at least ;)

But I suddenly feel like a jerk for not asking, so HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING?!?! Hopefully you're doing great! If you're not, hopefully this email somehow makes you feel better! Or if nothing else, gives you a laugh or two ^-^

I have a WHOLE lot to write about this week, and not too much time to do it, so bear with me.

So Alfonso had quite the week. I can't give much details, but basically he was kicked out of his house. He has gotten help from the Bishop and will be living with a member, but it was a pretty rough experience for him, as one would expect. But I just can't even tell you how amazed I am by the faith he has shown through it all! He sent us twenty texts rapid-fire the night he got kicked out, and we told him to read the Book of Mormon (he was staying at and investigator's house for the night) and pray to know what to do. The next he told us that he had felt the Spirit answer him, and that he knew exactly what to do! He said he loved reading the Book of Mormon and really felt the Spirit while doing so.

Long story short, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is not only real, but can be extremely powerful and prevalent in our lives if we permit it to be. As far as I can tell, Alfonso has done what God has asked these past few months, and he is receiving the promised blessings of doing so. And all of us have the same blessings promised to us, if we are obedient to God's commands. So I would invite you all to continue to strive to do that.

The other amazing news this week is that Eduarda is no longer living with her boyfriend, which means she can get baptized! So that is very exciting! She is currently planning on being baptized at the end of this month, but it might happen sooner. Time will tell.

Jared is also doing great! He came to church despite throwing up that same morning... Which was both AWESOME and a bit concerning. He was determined though! Of course, he only stayed for the first hour, but I'm proud of him :)

A couple other fun things:
- We had a ward activity this week, and at the activity we played a game called Chubby Bunny... Basically, you go around in the circle and, without swallowing, put a marshmallow in your mouth. You then have to say "chubby bunny." And then you go around the circle and give everyone another marshmallow, and with each marshmallow you have to not swallow and still be able to say "chubby bunny". So I decided to do it along with a lot of other people... It was horrible. I'm never eating marshmallows again XD But if you so desire to see a video of me playing chubby bunny (chances are that will just be my mom), go to [https://www.facebook.com/groups/664840110294133/..or watch clip below]. I didn't win though :P
- We have been randomly playing soccer with kids in complexes as a way to get the comfortable enough to listen to us, and it has been working! We also found some kids digging holes for fun. They said they like to bury stuff and then dig it back up a couple years later... I was suddenly grateful that I had stuff to do as a kid. XD

As another missionary once phrased it, here is my spiritual nugget for the week. I really learned a lot this week, but this was my favorite part. The scriptures say "seek, and ye shall find." If you are like me, you have heard that a billion times and haven't thought much of it. But in a talk by President Uchtdorf in April 2016 connects that phrase to a quote by Abraham Lincoln: "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." When I read that I had an epiphany: WE CONTROL OUR LIVES. Now I get that that is a generally accepted fact, but think about it a bit more if you will.

We are sent here, the scriptures say, to "act or be acted upon." The scriptures also say, in Helaman 14:30-31, that "ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves... ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you." Basically, as President Monson has told us, "decisions determine destiny." What we choose to do determines our own happiness and the end result of our lives. If we desire good, we will have it. If we give in to the world and desire evil, we will have it. The door which you knock on will be opened unto you.

So as Elder Ballard counseled us this last general conference, take a moment and have a little self-interview. Figure out if you are making the decisions that are going to take you where you want to go, and permit you to do the things that you truly want to do. Is your current path going to allow you to "return and receive" all that God has in store for you? If not, that is okay, because YOU CAN CHANGE THAT. You can act. So as Elder Yoon Whan Choi said in his general conference talk, "look up!" Defeat the fears that are holding you back by the power of your faith. Believe in God, believe he is, look to Him, and ACT. Make the changes in your life that will allow you to become everything you have ever dreamed of becoming. And plan to "Return and Receive."

Act. Don't just be acted upon.

And as the subject line says, simplify. The most important actions are those based on counsel from God, through family, the living prophets and apostles, the scriptures, your church leaders, and through personal revelation. Don't get caught up in the world.

Well I always have more, but that is all for this week. I love you all, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them! Have a fantastic week!