Monday, July 31, 2017

Smartphones, Bikes, Boats, and Bye Elder Lee

Good morning family and friends and dogs and all others not included under said denominations! How are you all doing this fantastic day!? If you're doing great, do me a favor and go give someone a high five. It'll be fun!

Well, this week was rough at first, but fantastic by the end! We put in some good work :) Especially since we ended up on bikes for three days. As I mentioned last week, we were down a bike and a tire, but Elder Lee got a loaner bike and I got an extra tire, so we were good! That is, until Elder Lee's back problems kicked in. So we ended up back on car early. We actually stole another companionship's car, because ours wasn't back from the shop yet. We feel like complete jerks because it was that missionary's last week on the mission, but he was good with it ^-^

I said boats in the subject line because that is what our new car is: a boat! Or to be more accurate, a MALIBOAT!!! It is a 2017 Malibu, and it is SUPER nice, but it is also SUPER huge! Which is tricky when Long Beach parking is literally a 20 minute process just to find a small space, which our Mailiboat would not fit in. Fun to drive though!

Transfers are upon us! And to my great dismay, ELDER LEE IS LEAVING ME!!! :( Not happy about that, we love being companions. Our mutual love of Disney and cheesy jokes really made life fun! But my new companion is a six foot 2 elder from Hawaii named Elder Eldredge. I am actually just swapping companions with Elder Ramirez, who was my last companion, so that is kind of funny!

As for the other part of the subject: Our mission has been chosen to test out SMARTPHONES!!! More on that next week.

We had some fantastic lessons with investigators this week. The familia Romero is awesome. We taught the Restoration, and we managed to help them feel and recognize the Spirit, which is vital! They told us their struggles, and we are helping the a lot! Something similar happened with Luis.

All in all, life is good here in Southern California! All I have to say for this week spiritually wise is: seek knowledge. Learn. Learn as much as you can, especially on topics of the Gospel.  That is, after all, a main purpose of life.  Learn and grow. 

Love ya'll!

Elder Poulson

Ya gotta burn a shirt when you hit the 1 year mark :)

Gotta LOVE that smile!!

Elder Bry's old companion came to visit

Monday, July 24, 2017

ADVENTURE IS stressful. But it's worth it!

Hello all of you wonderful people you!!! In 15 minutes, here is a rundown of my week and whatever other ridiculous thing I decide to add in!

Well, we started out the week really well! We found two part member families we didnt' know existed, so that was good! 

We had to wait for an hour and a half for our car's oil to be changed, which was no fun. We contacted a bit, but they said it would be down WAY before it was. But then some guys walked up to us and started talking to us in weird accents, and it turns out one of them was a Bishop from Denmark! So that was exciting!

We went downstairs today, and found that someone stole my companions entire bike EXCEPT the front tire. The robber decided to steal MY front tire. So now we are both out of bikeability. Which is a problem, since we were supposed to get our car fixed this week, which means we would be on bike for three days. So that is fun.

Elder Lee got sick yesterday! #Adventure :P So we had to stay in all afternoon. We finally found Luis last night though! He was exhausted, so we are going to visit him today instead. But he is awesome!

Umm other peoples... We are teaching a lady named Josefina. Her daughter recently died, so she is trying her best to get past that. We have something that might help. It's called the Plan of Salvation ;)

All in all, it was really a rough week. But I learned that adventures are like that! If it was never rough, where would the adventure be?! It would be lame. Adventure means sometimes it gets hard. And a mission is undeniably an adventure! Ya'll are all adventures too: they are called life. Make sure that you are enjoying your adventures! They go by fast. Love every moment!

Also, do not stress. You've grown up hearing no one is perfect. According to the mission nurse here, perfect should be taken out of our vocabulary. Yes, the end goal is to be perfect, but it won't happen in this life. What we can do is become better everyday. So if you ever feel down, just look back and see how far you have come. And realize that there is a great view at the end of the hike: you just have to keep climbing.

Love you bye!

Elder Poulson

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hope Unto Faith

Buenos dias all you wonderful people! I hope you're having a wonderful day doing wonderful things full of wonder! Wondering why I'm saying wonder so much? Me too. Starting emails is hard.

Now that I got that over with, this week was both good and rough at the same time. I kinda started good but then fizzled out. That is okay though, we can always bounce back!

Our investigators have all been kind of dodgy. We did teach Alfredo, which was cool! He is paralyzed from the chest down due to a recent accident, so he really needs the Gospel. We also had someone show up to church that we have been looking for for awhile! His name is Victor, his wife is a member and the sister of Hna Jolon, who lives in our area. We had a lesson yesterday with him, his wife, the Jolons, AND our ward mission leader! So we're gonna work with him too :)

We had a REALLY cool zone conference this week! President Patterson showed us most of the talk that Elder Anderson gave at the recent seminar for new mission presidents. It was called "the urgency to find", and it was all about finding people to teach, which is a constant topic on the mind of a missionary. It can be REALLY difficult sometimes to find new people to teach.

But in applying those principles, I had an AWESOME experience on exchanges! Elder Hernandez and I set a goal to find three new investigators, and we worked at it all day. We ended up teaching one lesson at the end of the night and left at about 8:50. We parked to do an exchange review, but I just felt unsatisfied. I knew that we had the faith to find, and it bothered me that we hadn't. But as we started the review, Elder Hernandez brought up someone we had forgotten to go by. I asked if we could go now, and he agreed that we could, so we went. We found three new investigators from visiting a former investigator! There was just the mom and dad there, but we wanted to find three, so we asked if anyone else in the house was interested, and the daughter came out and listened too! It felt SO great! Something Elder Anderson taught us is to pray with faith, work hard and with The Spirit, and then get desperate. He is so right!

I also actually got to share a bit about the attribute of hope in zone conference and testify about it, which was really cool. I learned more from my studies of hope. I realized that hope is and always will be a prerequisite to acting in faith. Every time Nephi does something awesome in faith, he first expresses to his brethren that he knows it will all work out, that is God is in it and on it, and they need only to act to receive the promised blessings. THEN he does something awesome with great faith. Hope first. Trust God is in charge, and will make it all work out. Then you will find that any fear and discouragement you had will become irrelevant, and you will be free to act with the courage you've always wanted to have. Hope leads to faith. Remember that.

Well, I'ma sign off. And by sign off, I of course mean that I am going to say goodbye, because it is kind of hard to sign your signature with a keyboard. It would probably be fun to watch though. Anyways, have a great week!

Elder Poulson

Breakfast for champs!

Elder Lee

More of Elder Lee (Bry....we want pics with you in them!!!!)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Exit now for bananas probably

Hello family and friends (and pets)!!! How are you this fine evening? And by fine evening I mean it's so hot outside you could probably boil an egg on the sidewalk AND cook the hen that laid it, but that's not the point ;) Hopefully the weather is nice wherever you are right now :)

This week was just FANTASTIC!!! And that's not just because compared to last week, ANY week would be fantastic. We seriously had a blast this week! The work was bumping in Long Beach for sure :)

If I haven't mentioned it yet, I've learned on the mission that I LOVE soccer! Haha! (It's funny, because I know for a fact I've mentioned it like 10 times. Haha.) But every morning for soccer, there is a park super close that we hope over to that has a cage soccer course! It makes me SO happy! So basically, when I get back, it's going to be hard not to go pro with all the offers I'm gonna get ;) Haha just kidding, I'm still not that good, but it is fun. The reason I bring it up is because we managed to get the whole ZONE to come play during sports today, and I am SO STOKED!!! :D So it's on the mind.

Anyways, now that that tangent is out of the way, this week was great primarily because we worked a whole lot with members!!! Especially this weekend! One of the best experiences I've had in a long time: Last night, we had a member call US and ask to come out (which was awesome!), and we ended up finding a less-active family and a new investigator!

But directly after that was the best part. We ended up taking an hermano, Hno Jolon, and his daughter Darlin to visit the familia Cipriano, who I mentioned last week. The cool thing is, recently a cousin of their's, Hector, moved in. He actually got baptized three years ago in the same ward I started my mission in, on the other side of Long Beach. He met the missionaries, said he was converted in "half an hour", and got baptized five days later. He has a crazy backstory, but basically when he went back to Mexico, he went less active. But he recently returned, specifically to get away from his hectic life and get back into the church! And let me tell you, he is AWESOME! So he was also there. And then the English missionaries that are our neighbors also teach someone that lives in that house. (It is divided into two separate apartments)

So if any passerby happened to glance over at the house last night, they would have seen three different pockets of people: me with Hector and Hno Jolon, Elder Lee with Darlin and the two younger Cipriano girls, and the English Elders with their investigator and the older Cipriano girl. And we were ALL having great Spiritual conversations and lessons about The Gospel!!! It was SO amazing!!!

Well I took so long to tell that story, I'm gonna have to end this soon. But my spiritual input of the week is (1) help the missionaries in your ward or stake. Just do it. It will benefit them, their investigators, and YOU far more than you could anticipate. And (2) always strive to have the Christlike attribute of hope. I learned that this week. We spent all of our afternoons knocking on less actives' and referrals' doors in the hot sun, and found almost no one. But the few times we did find people, and the many times when we had fantastic teaching moments that night, were when we actively had hope. When we recognized that God is in it, and that when we are doing His work, we just have to keep going and we'll find success. When we have hope, we don't get discouraged. And anyways, according to Elder Holland, "trouble has no necessary correlation with discouragement." When I believe it was Albert Enstein whose entire labaratory was burning down, he ran to his kids and told them to "go get your mom! She may never see another fire like this her whole life!" Have hope!

 Love ya'll! Keep on keeping on and such. Or according to this billboard "exit now for bananas probably". Haha bye!

Elder Poulson 

Monday, July 3, 2017

If You Visit Long Beach, Ditch the Car and Ride a Bike

GOOOOOOOOD Morning family and friends and such! This week was both horrible and fantastic at the same time... It made for some great stories! So I'm gonna have a whole lot of fun writing this email!

Other missionaries have told me many times how horrible it is to have a car in Long Beach. As a greenie riding my bike at the biking of the mission, I begged to differ. I couldn't wait to get in a car! And when I did, I was in the nice wide streets of Huntington Beach and Westminster. But now here I am, driving around downtown Long Beach, and let me tell you, it is crazy! Here are some of my ridiculous car stories:

- I haven't quite figured out why they have so many three lane one way roads, but they do! The other day, I went to make a right turn onto a street, and my companion started freaking out. I was confused, but kept going until it registered that he was saying, "this is a one way road!" And this one was only one lane! No cars were coming, so we were fine, it was actually really funny!

- We spent 20 minutes trying to find parking for exchanges, and we were already late, so we ended up parking a block away. That was annoying enough since we had to haul all of the stuff we needed to stay at their apartment for the night and the next day. At about 3:00 the next day, I noticed an envelope chilling under my windshield wipers. Turns out we got a parking ticket. Yay. :( It had been chilling there all day. The street we had parked on the night before had street sweeping that morning. But there was an open spot literally 20 feet from where we parked that would have been fine to park in! So that was upsetting :P

- This is the last one, and easily the worst. It was probably one of the most traumatic experiences on my mission. We were teaching our new investigator, Chewy, and were about to end the lesson because he was pretty clearly not interested. His dog came out from behind the house and we pet it for a minute. The gate was open, so Elder Lee and I were both keeping an eye on him to make sure he wasn't going to run out (this house was on a pretty main road). Well, the next thing I know, I hear a giant thud, and Elder Lee yells "oh gosh no!" and buries his head in his hands. I looked back just in time to see... Well, I'll spare you the details. But it was not pretty. Chewy, in the meantime, says "ai, mi perro!" and runs out to it. It died pretty quickly. I went to direct traffic in front of it, and got a front row seat to all of the horrified moms sitting in the passenger seats as they saw the scene. Chewy ended up grabbing a shovel and moving the dog. In the meantime, I look over, and my companion is on the sidewalk by a tree, laying down and ghostly pale. I guess he went completely blind and deaf for a minute, and almost passed out. It took 2 hours, Meet the Mormons, the Book of Mormon, homemade cookies, Carl's Jr., and bombing the other Elder's car with water balloons to recover from the trauma enough to get back to the work. Needless to say, it was horrible. So that happened!

As a side note, I did discover that I LOVE Meet the Mormons! I started paying a bit more attention to what they say about  Spiritual stuff, and there is some deep wisdom in that movie. Especially Gale Halverson, the candy bomber guy. He said that the way we find joy is to go out and serve, and the way he said it made me realize how right he is! My best moments on the mission have been when I am completely focused on helping others. I think that is a life principle we could all apply a bit more. After all, the character of Christ was always to turn out, when the natural man's tendency would have been to turn in.

We have been teaching the less-active family that was also in my ward in Long Beach East, the Ciprianos, and their little girl, Sophie, is adorable! She is this chubby little toddler, and is constantly saying funny things! In this ward, they put our names and pictures on the program. The Ciprianos came to church this week (because I won a bet and landed a water bottle on a windowsill before any of the daughters could), and Sophie saw my picture on the program. During a perfectly silent moment, she yelled out in her cute child voice "Look! It's Elder Poulshon!" Haha I laughed so hard, it was adorable!

It was also great to meet all the members at church this week. Zero to none came to Stake Conference last week, so this is my first time seeing most of them. We have a lot of plans to work with members this week, which is SO exciting! :D Members make all the difference, you know. If you haven't yet, I would encourage ya'll to tell the missionaries in your ward/stake that you are willing to help them if they need it. We can do almost nothing without your help.

As for the other rough part of this week, we didn't teach ANY of our investigators :P That is okay though, we have appointments with them, and we found 2 new investigators by following the Spirit! I really am learning that we MUST rely on the Spirit. None of us have all of the skills we need in this life to be successful in happy in whatever we do. We can succeed by ourselves to an extent, but when we rely on The Spirit, he can guide us to do those things we aren't yet inclined to do, because we haven't developed those skills yet. He also is sent by God, who kind of sort of knows everything anyone could ever possibly know. It might be a good idea to seek his advice, don't ya think? ;)

I have a time limit on these computers, so I'm going to sign off now. But I love you all, I hope you enjoyed the email! Pray, read your scriptures, go to church, and follow The Spirit, and everything will UNDOUBTEDLY work out! Have a great week!

Elder Poulson