Monday, August 28, 2017

U-Turns and Turning Out

GOOOOOooooOOOOD Morning family and friends! Oh wait my bad, it is good afternoon, because it is afternoon. I would be publically shamed if I had said that to a Hispanic here :P

I am doing really great today! Elder Eldredge and I are just moving along, working hard here :) It is a good time! We have recently started counting of U-Turns Elder Poulson makes on the daily. And by counting, I mean lost count :P Haha let's just say that my navigational skills are slowly but surely improving! ^-^

One of the exciting things around here right now is that we have been watching all of the training videos in anticipation of receiving smartphones! I know it probably sounds like I am just a technology-thirsty teenage missionary who is excited to get a real phone back in his hand, but I am actually more excited about the implications for the work! It seems that we are going to be able to do online proselyting using Facebook, teach lessons through facetime, and have all of the information we need on our phones! It is going to be especially useful to be able to teach those who really don't have time to have lessons twice a week at their house. But everyone has a 20 minute lunch break, right? ;) I am super excited! They will be initiated October 2nd.

As for investigators... Well Mayfer and Jackie both did NOT come to church this week... Sadly. But we are going to keep working with them! The familia Romero and Jose are doing good, so it is all good :) Jose is a seventy year old one eyed man that loves to talk and has great questions! ^-^

One thing I have really been learning this week is the necessity of focusing on those things outside of ourselves. The hardest times in my life have been when I have been focused on my own needs and desires. Similarly, the best times in my life have been when I have been focused on the needs and desires of others. That is what makes times of trial so hard: it often forces us to focus on ourselves. But in this, Jesus Christ showed the perfect example. There is not a single instance in the Bible in which he did anything for himself. He only ever looked to help those who he loved: that is, everyone. And so should we. "I would that you should be perfect, even as my father is perfect" comes right after talking about loving even your enemies. And love is a verb. To love is to serve. 

Thus, I am striving not only to serve a mission, but to love my mission :)

I hope you all are doing well! Seek to serve, and you'll do even better! Love you all! Peace :)

Elder Poulson

Monday, August 21, 2017

This Week's Subject is Just a Light Topic

Hello Family and Friends!!! I always say the same thing here, so I'm just gonna hit the skip button.

And here we are! This week was great again! Well at least pretty great. We were inside a lot somehow, but it turned out alright :) We made some really quality plans for how to help specific people accept the Gospel and be baptized, and it kinda has me pumped ^-^

We had two people come to church this week! Mayfer came again, the son of the familia Alvarez. He is 9 years old, so it falls to us to teach him if he wants to be baptized. We have been helping that family come back to church, and it worked out :) It is amazing the influence the habits of prayer and scripture study can have on someone, especially when done as a family. When they start, people come to church and grow in happiness. When they stop, the opposite happens: inactivity and artificial happiness, until something happens to make them lose that happiness. And then they turn back to what once worked and always will work: the basic principles of the Gospel. Anyways that was exciting!

The other person that came is named Jackie. She is the great niece of our Bishop's wife. She is super open and has a bunch of member friends, whom she kind of gravitated to intentionally. Anyways, we convinced her to finally come, and she loved it too! So that is exciting :)

I don't really have any stories this week, but I am working on something I call the Allegory of the Light. Sounds funny, but you'll see what I mean. I'll probably put it on here when I finish it. But it is essentially a huge symbolic discussion spawned from scriptures about light. It is gonna be awesome!

But for now, I will just reiterate something: obtain as much LIGHT as you can. By light, I mean knowledge. Good knowledge. Knowledge of good things. The more we learn, the more we can grow. If your knowledge is coupled with action, you will receive more light, "and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."(D&C 50 24) "When you have light, BELIEVE in the light, that ye may be the children of light."(John 12:36) "And if ye BELIEVE all these things, see that you DO them."(Mosiah 4:10) And what is our job as missionaries and your job as members? "Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven— These should then be attended to with great earnestness." D&C 123:13-14 Go find those who are in darkness, and show them where the light is! Step by step, their eyes need to adjust. But show them where the light is. Then they can have a Tangled moment! (And at last I see the light) ;)

Stuff like that. Anyways, I love you all! Have a light-filled week!

Elder Poulson

"I may or may not have started wearing a spoon on P-Day to make me feel good and remind me not to care what other people think ^-^"

Monday, August 14, 2017

Taking in Long Beach, One Step at a Time

Huh? Oh, hello there family and friends! I didn't see you there! It's me, Elder Poulson!!! *Cheering* Haha I hope you are all doing great today! I had another great week, which is always great! What's not great is my excessive use of the word great. My apologies. I'll expand my vocabulary.

So this astronomical week included some awesome and crazy experiences! A crazy one first:
I was playing soccer in the cage in the morning at the park by our apartment. I looked over to the side and saw a guy juggling a soccer ball on the grass. It became very rapidly apparent that this guy knew what he was doing. What also became apparent is that this man was very very DRUNK. So I just kind of gaped in amazement watching a drunk guy juggle a soccer ball ten times better than I ever have been able to, and rethinking my life. 
Meanwhile, a random ginger guy comes in from the other side, walks in the cage, and starts talking to me. He has some form of cigarette in his hand. He began to account to me how he had recently been hit off of his bike by a semi truck and was on his way to the hospital. His left leg was swollen to about TWICE the size of his other one! Despite that, he began to play soccer with me! He then went and played basketball with Elder Eldredge. He further enlightened us to the fact that he was J. R. Styles, a lifelong jock, coach, and genius that was sponsored as a surfer buy Huntington Beach for 5 years. XD He told us to search him up... So if any of you are down, you could always search it and let me know if this guy actually exists!

But really, this week was wonderful! We found a lot of new investigators again, one of which sincerely seems prepared! So that is exciting :) She felt and recognized the Spirit. That is key. We are going to help her with her son, who is addicted to drinking. Her name is Raymunda. Her son actually requested a bible, which is how we found her :)

My thought for the week: slow down. Take things one step at a time. Live in the moment. I wish I had my quote book on me, but basically, President Monson tells us to live in the moment. The past already happened, and the future is but an idea and a dream. But what we do right now: that is what controls our lives and our fate

The thing is, I've always been very stressed on my mission. But Elder Eldredge (who is great at giving counsel), really helped me with that. He said as much as we have to do every day, take it one step at a time. He explained it like learning a football playbook. Me being me, I would say it also works with learning forms in marching band (we call it a dot book). If you tried to learn them all at the same time, you're toast. It's not happening. But you start with one, and you make it happen. Then you move on to the next one. That especially applies to applying principles and counsels from our many different sources, including leaders, scriptures, and personal revelation. But as overwhelming as that all can be, we start with one thing, and make it habit. Then we move on. If we aren't good at it yet, we practice until it becomes a skill. Then it becomes a habit simultaneously. Then you can move on to the next one. Like plays or formations or whatever sport or hobby you have, life is designed to be taken one step at a time.

That's all I got. Have a great week and such!

Elder Poulson

Elder Bry & Elder Eldredge (the new comp)

"Mom....I had to buy a new soccer ball!" :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Knew Talking to People Could Be FUN!?!?

Buenos Dias family and friends!!! How are you doing? ... Why I am doing great, thanks for asking! :D

Really though, this week has been great! REALLY LONG, but it has been a blast! We've had fun doing the work. Which is something I have kind of done before, but not like this week. Mainly because we talked to almost everyone we could this week! I'll explain later.

So Elder Eldredge is my new companion! The rumors were true: he is in fact a six foot tall offensive lineman from Hawaii (He says Aloha lol). He could literally squish me like a bug if he wanted to ;) He is awesome though! His philosophy is to always be smiling and relaxed while still doing the work, which is something I am definitely NOT good at, believe it or not. Yes, I am terribly optimistic and happy usually, but while out during the work, I also tend to get very stressed. In the words of Elder Eldredge to me, "If you keep going at this pace, your going to go home in a casket!" Haha so it has been great learning to do the work with an improved attitude and outlook!

We had a really bomb District Meeting this Wednesday, and it kind of got us pumped! Our Mission President has really been emphasizing finding new people to teach lately, and it carries down to District Meeting. We really have been increasing our testimony that "the Lord's elect" are out there and we just have to be guided to them. Combine that with Elder Eldredge's philosophy: "We are sharing the plan of Happiness. How can we do that if we aren't happy and smiling?" We ended up finding about triple what we have been finding this last transfer!!! And we talked to SO many people! It was SO much fun! You would be amazed the experiences you have when you talk to random people on the streets of Long Beach.

The cool thing is, we made a conscious effort to be led by the Spirit, and then when we would go where we felt led, we would always find SOMEONE that said we could come back. Now to be fair, nearly any Hispanic person will say we can come by. Kind of a culture thing to allow "men of God' to enter into your house if they ask to come. The problem is, most of the time they won't straight up tell us if they aren't interested. So then we have to go figure it out. Plus a lot of times they will just not answer the door from then on, or send their kids to tell you they are in the shower. But still, these people seemed decently interested! We ended up teaching a first lesson with a good amount of them. My favorite one was a random door knock at dinnertime, because it took a lot of faith to cut into dinnertime, and then we ended up teaching the Restoration AND getting fed by the same people we taught! XD

I'm going to end with a thought by Hyrum W Smith, "If you had any idea of who you were before you got here, the hair would stand up on the back of your neck." I got a quote book by Thomas S. Monson (which I LOVE), and it says something similar on the subject: "The most realistic self-image of all is to conceive of yourself as made in the image of God." "To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility. You ask, 'How might we achieve these goals?' I answer, 'By getting a true perspective of who we really are!' We are sons and daughters of a living God in whose image we have been created." Whenever you so happen to get discouraged, might I give you a bit of advice that has helped me: take strength from the valiance of your premortal self and your potential post-mortal destiny. Respond to Satan just like this meme says:

Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Poulson