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

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