Monday, June 26, 2017

Welcome (back) to Long Beach

Hello familia and amigos!!! This is your friendly neighborhood missionary, emailing from a random library in Compton, because libraries in Long Beach are closed on Mondays :P That being said, life is good! I am back to perusing the streets of Long Beach, just on the other side this time, and in a car. Our area covers the ENTIRE downtown Long Beach. It is HUGE! It is bigger than my last zone, actually. We have the Pike, the Queen Mary, and about everything else that makes Long Beach famous. So that is kind of exciting!

My new companion, Elder Lee, is pretty great. He reminds me of one of my best friends from home, so that is always good. We have a similar sense of humor, so being myself is not a challenge here ^-^

We have a LOT of good investigators here. I haven't quite met all of them yet, because unfortunately, Elder Lee was sick when I got here, and it turns out he has the flu! Yay... So doctors orders, we had to stay inside all night Tuesday and all day Wednesday :( In case you were wondering, that is literally the worst thing you could do to a missionary. What are we supposed to do!? Literally our entire job deals with talking to people! Plus everything you would normally do if you were stuck inside is ruled out. Your options are study, sleep, or watch a handful of church approved movies on a small DVD player. So that was interesting.

Let me tell ya, there are some crazy people in Long Beach. We have now had about for people yell out at us about something to do with Mormons. Most of them were on drugs or drunk. We actually had a guy essentially tell us we are going to Hell because we didn't give him a dollar. Yup. It's a good time though, we just laugh it off!

There is also a member family that lives here that moved here from my first ward. So that was kind of weird to see them. They are in our area, which is kind of cool!

Our district is awesome too. I ended up in the same district as Elder Keeler, who was in my MTC district, and somehow we are the two missionaries with the most time on the mission out of everyone in our district. Nobody has been out more than a year. So that was kind of surprising! But we are all young and excited, so it should be a good time!

Umm... Yup. Nothing much more to report. Oh, one of our investigators, Luis, came to church and kept falling asleep and snoring. To his credit, it WAS stake conference, so I don't really blame him ;) So that was awkward/funny!

I learned this week that as people, we function best when we don't worry about what we are doing. Essentially, if we are confident in ourselves. Naturally, we should care about our own actions and if they are right, but I don't believe that self-doubt is anything more than a ploy of the devil. So challenge: do one thing this week that nobody else would be silly enough to do. And then don't doubt yourself for doing it! Ready... GO!

I love you all! Thanks for taking the time to read about a little curly haired missionary chilling in Cali. Have a good week!

Elder Poulson

Elder Poulson & Elder Lee (Bry's new comp)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Makin' My Way Downtown

Well, hello family and friends! I'm just here typing away, short on time as always, so we'll see how this goes!

News of the week: I am FINALLY getting transferred!!! :D Don't get me wrong, I love this area and the people here, but I am ready for a change. I'm headed to downtown Long Beach with an Elder Lee, who I have heard is pretty cool ^-^ So yep, back to Long Beach for me, just the other side this time. But I am SUPER STOKED!!! Apparently I am going to a really good area!

As for investigators here:
- Angie started listening to us again. I think she will progress after we leave. Eduarda is working on getting a job, our fingers are crossed!
- Jared is good, just hard to teach sometimes, because kids. But we have hopes for him too!
- Beatriz's member friend is working with her. She will get baptized someday, but maybe not too soon :P

Something I have really learned lately is something I call the Application Cycle. It has 5 steps: Study, Set a Goal, PRACTICE, Do, Evaluate. Sounds simple, but the more I am on the mission, the more desperately I want to become a better missionary and person. And this cycle really helps! I capitalized practice because it is often the most neglected part. Sure, when you attempt to actually do the thing you set a goal to do, it is sort of practice. But if you do your practicing beforehand, when you actually get to the real life doing it part, you will perform way better! For instance: I study how to teach more simply, I set a goal to use less words and speak more clearly. I practice with my companion, and figure out what things I need to change. Then I go do it, and it works pretty well. And then I evaluate, and decide if I should set the same goal again (if I didn't reach it), or set a new goal! Simple, but it is powerful. We had some spiritual lessons this week because of it.

I have also been working on something I call my rules! A mission statement of sorts, that helps me become what I want to be. So that is fun! Rule #1 is the most important though: Love God and love those around you. I am striving to do that more fully. Love is a verb, after all. It is something you actively do.

I would also like to say that The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool we have to bring us closer to Christ. Use it.

Welp. I'm out of time. But I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Poulson

Saying goodbye to Huntington Beach

Monday, June 12, 2017

Soccer + Diligence = JOY!!!

Before I begin, I would like to officially announce that soccer is perhaps the best sport ever, and that putting two barrels on the extremities of each side and having no goalie would NOT make it better. A member told us that yesterday... I thought it was interesting. Haha

Well I'm doing this last, which means I am already almost out of time. But I'm going to type quick anyways!

So last p-day one of the other elders had somehow got ahold of a GIANT soccer ball! And he inflated it beforehand... Kind of a bad plan. So we ended up hauling it like that! It was hilarious! We made so many people's days, it was great!

Investigators are doing pretty good! None came to church, EXCEPT that same member brought her friend to church AGAIN! We are super excited about that! We have an appointment set up to teach her this week. We worked a lot with members these last few days, and it has made such a difference! In case you were wondering, it is no longer possible to do missionary work without your guys' help. 20 years ago, tracting worked. Now a days, we need your help.

Not much to say about other investigators. We're working with them. We picked up Jared again, which is great!

We listened to a talk the other day called Currency of Trust, and it was amazing! It talked about how to ask questions and create and atmosphere of trust. It changed the way we think. One of my favorite parts: desire+knowledge+skills=power. Meaning, you can learn as much as you want, but if you don't have the desire to put it into practice, it doesn't matter. And you can have desire and knowledge, but if you don't PRACTICE, it won't make any difference! You must develop skills to be successful at anything. And then turn those skills into habits.

Well, there is a room full of people waiting to email, so I'm gonna dip. I love you all! As my sister always says, "have courage and be kind!"

Elder Poulson

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Power of Godliness

Buenos Dias family and friends and such! I hope you are all doing well :) Before I start, I have heard some speculations that my snail from last week, Jerry, didn't actually exist. I am sure that the attached pictures will clearly rebute any such allegations. ^-^ Haha he is now released back into the wild, so no worries!

A lot of powerful things happened this week, hence the title. Plus a member kept talking about Thor, so it's on my mind ;) But I do believe that the power we feel from experiences pertaining to this Gospel is of vital importance. No one could truly be converted or know of the truth of these things without feeling the Holy Ghost and the power therein.

But first, investigators. Beatriz has been busy, and didn't show up to church, so that was kind of disappointing. Angie also has been busy and unresponsive, and didn't come to church. BUT we still had someone come! It was kind of a miracle. A member in our area brought her friend that I taught with Elder Harward awhile back, and who I had thought was completely uninterested. But she came to church and loved it! :D So that was really cool! We think that fasting had something to do with it. If you ever need a miracle, try fasting. I know from experience that it almost inevitably works, and often in ways we never expected.

Eduarda is still working on getting Sundays off or getting a new job. Viola has also been busy this week, but that is okay. We're going to keep working with all of them. Prayer and faith works too :)

One powerful experience I had this week happened in church yesterday. Hermano Rodriguez stood up to give his testimony. Now that sounds pretty normal until you recognize that Hermano Rodriguez was recently hospitalized and is currently in a wheelchair. With the help of three men, he managed to get to the pulpit, and his son still had to stand there behind him and hold him up. Through tears and gasps of pain, this wonderful man boldy bore his testimony, quoting the scripture that says, more or less, that  when you bear your testimony, angels rejoice, and The Spirit is there. Well let me tell you, The Spirit was there! It was crystal clear. I loved it, and I have an immense respect for that humble disciple of Christ.

We also had Zone Conference this week, which was immensely powerful! We watched a video of two recently returned missionaries teaching Elder and Sister Cook the Restoration (the first lesson we teach), with the whole quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency sitting there watching. (No pressure) But they were asked to teach it in four minutes. And in four minutes, they taught that entire lesson with authority and power. I was amazed at The Spirit we felt as we only watched a VIDEO of two missionaries teaching the Restoration.

I can bear testimony to you all that I know now, more than ever, that it is true. That the God loves us, and he has always given us the Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth, and he did so again through Joseph Smith, the first prophet in this the last dispensation of the fulness of times. It in reality happened. And if you don't know that for yourself, I would invite you to kneel down right now and ask God to tell you. Because if you do so with a sincere heart and humble spirit, you will feel a love and power you have never felt before, the very same power and love I felt that day and every time I teach this message. If you haven't yet, please: just ask God. You won't leave you without guidance.

That is the best thing I could say to you all, so I guess I'll finish with that :) And this scripture. Our Savior has told us that "the kingdom of God is within you." Remember that all blessings God can give you are based on what you do. So do your best to do good and follow Him, and he will bless you. He probably already is: look around and you'll find more blessings in your life than you thought existed. I love you all!!! Have a pretty adequate week :)

Elder Poulson

Meet Jerry the Snail

Check out Elder Poulson bobble head!!  hahaha!

"Go Rex's"