Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hola You Guuuyz!

So ya Christmas was awesome!  We worked hard all week as usual!  I love it!  Skyping was amazing and thanks for all the presents yo!  I loved them all!  I have so much candy now!  I don't know how I'm not fat yet.  I've only gained five pounds my whole mission and I eat like a starved pig!  So me and my comp were looking at the price tags from the bishop and it turns out they probably ended up spending over $70 on ever missionary and there were 8 missionaries at his house that morning.  Crazy!  Don't worry we thanked him a lot!  They're awesome!  Well since Christmas, we have taught Selvin and Chad.  The lesson with Selvin and his grandma and mom was amazing!  The spanish missionaries came with us because Lucy and Laura have expressed an interest in going to the spanish branch just to check it out.  The Spanish missionaries introduced themselves at the beginning of the lesson and set up a time they could come over next week.  If  Lucy and Laura start to go to the spanish branch, the spanish missionaries will have to start teaching them.  We didn't really teach much, we just let Lucy and Laura ask us questions and we resolved a whole bunch of concerns.  They have told us that they love church and that they love having us over because they feel peace and they know that this church will improve their family.  Selvin already knows so much its so cool!  By the end of the lesson, we got Lucy and Laura to agree on allowing Selvin to get baptized on January 25th!  He was so excited and happy!  Lucy and Laura said they would be baptized, but only once they felt more comfortable with the commitment that they make at baptism. Laura's main concern with Selvin is that she doesn't want him to go on a mission.  Selvin keeps talking to them about going on a mission!  He's so cool!  Lucy had the same concern last week, but this week she told us that she thinks that it would be good for him.  She said that way she could teach him how to be self reliant.  Lucy told us that if she feels comfortable once the 25th hits that she will be baptized too.  I think all three of them will be ready by then.  They have been reading and praying and they "feel" that its true.  They also want to start bringing their other kids to church--one is 9 and one is 13.  That would be awesome!   One of my dreams on the mission is to baptize a whole family and see them get sealed in the temple a year later!  I can't wait until the Crosby's get sealed in a year!  They are amazing!  We taught the crosby's this week as well!  Jamie just had her baby Luke James Crosby.  Jason has still been having a hard time with health issues, but they are so strong and just an amazing family.  We taught Chad as well.  He relapsed on smoking, but he's not letting it get him down.  We talked about repentance and the Atonement and I even offered to give him a blessing, but he declined.  We taught him about tithing and fasting as well.  He just absorbs everything we teach.  It is so cool and it's fun teaching him.  Other than that, we did a lot of finding this week and got a whole ton of potential investigators with return appointments for after the holidays.  This week and next week should be stacked with new investigators so I'm stoked!  We're going to start working with more less active and part member families too so that should be good.  I can't believe how much I've grown in just 4 months.  I'm loving it! It's hard but I'm loving it!
Well that's all for this week folks!  Thanks for everything and I love you all!

Elder Nelson 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone!! It's Christmas and there is no snow.  It stinks.  The weather is boring here haha!  It's no biggie though!  This week was awesome!  Before I forget, we are probably going to skype around 3:00 or 4:00.  Since Ryan and Dannie are going to be gone for Christmas, we should use Google hangout, that way I can talk to everyone!  That's what a lot of other missionaries do.  I don't know exactly how it works, but we'll figure that out on Christmas!  Our plans for Christmas are as follows.  We will go over to Bishops for breakfast, study and then knock doors until 3:00 or 4:00 when we skype.  Then we'll go knock more doors! Yaaaaaay!  We knock doors alot!  It's going to be weird knocking doors on Christmas. We're probably going to get shot, but whatever!  If you don't here from me on Christmas you'll know what happened!  Anyways, it says in the handbook we're only supposed to spend 45 minutes on skype, but we'll see what happens.  So ya we should do the Google Hangout thing like I said before so I can talk to everyone!  This past week was awesome!  We knocked doors a whole lot as usual.  We got to go to the temple on Wednesday which was the best thing ever!  It was so good to go to the temple again!  It's so cool how no matter which temple your at that you can feel the same spirit!  It was cool!  After the temple on Wednesday, we went to an appointment that we set up with a potential investigator that we found on tuesday.  Her name is Amy and we taught her the restoration.  She is in the process of converting to catholicism.  She is taking RICA courses or something, but she said that what we taught her was really moving and that she would read and pray about what we said!  Super cool!  We have a return appointment for this Friday.  We taught Chad 3 times this week!  He is so cool!  He's on a nicotine patch right now to quit smoking and he should be off it in the next two weeks in time for his baptism.  We also taught Selvin Lucy and Laura this week.  Lucy and Laura had a lot of concerns about Selvin maybe going to fast.  Selvin wants to go to seminary, but they won't let him because they think he's working to hard.  I feel so bad because he wants to be baptized so bad and he knows like everything already!  He's amazing, but Lucy and Laura are holding him back. We can't baptize him without parental permission.  They like church and they love having us over, they just don't want to make the commitment to be baptized yet.  They also had a lot of concerns about Joseph Smith and which we resolved and we also watched the Restoration DVD with them.  It was good.  We taught chad the plan of salvation which was really great and spritual.   Anyways, we knocked on doors a lot this week and got a lot of potentials this week so that was good too!  We also ran into two bible bashers this week which was sad.  Bible bashers teach me alot about how satan works.  They all just tell half truths and try to catch you in your words.  It's kind of like how the Pharisee's talked to Christ.  They try to tear your faith apart, but really all they're doing, for me anyways is building it up.  They are so spritually blind and it makes me so sad.  Yesterday night was one of the bashes we got into.  We went up to talk to these people in their driveway and they asked, what's your view on heaven?  Right then the spirit just left.  When somebody asks that you can know that their from the masters college because they all ask that and then go off on how it's not our faith that saves us and what not.  We explained to them the three degrees of glory and then they just started going off about how we've been deceived and what not.  We listened to them for what seemed like forever, and finally I just pointed my Book Of Mormon at them and bore my testimony to them and walked off.  I know they felt the spirit, but like I said before they've become so spiritually blind.  Anyways, moral of the story is that I can hold my own against bashers and that all they do is build my testimony.  Well I gotta go so I love you all I'll see ya on wednesday!!! I got your packages too and they're great!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


So this week has been probably the most productive week of the mission so far!  It has been amazing!  We found 5 new investigators this week! One already has a baptismal date for January 18th!  It's crazy!  We're usually lucky if we get 1 new investigator!  We found this family on Monday night that we knocked into!  It was so awesome!  We're teaching them later tonight.  Their names are Janice, Cole, and Clay.  We knocked on the door at like 8:40 at night and she just started asking us all these questions about the church and said that she had always admired people who had a faith in Jesus Christ.  We were so excited!  It was so cool!  We taught her and her kids the restoration.  On Tuesday we had zone conferance at the North Hollywood Stake Center.  It was amazing!  I got so much personal revelation and revelation for the area!  It was fun so see all my MTC buddies.  We had car inspections before Zone Conferance as well, and I'm driving the oldest car in the mission.  The 2010 Pontiac Vibe.  It's in super bad shape.  It has so many scratches and dents.  It's the joke of the mission!  I should only be driving it for one more transfer thankfully.  We'll probably get a new 2014 Corolla next transfer which will be sweet!  Anyways, zone conferance lasts for 9 hours.  It was a long meeting, but I got a ton out of it.  Wednesday was awesome as well!  We knocked on this old lady's house who talked to us forever!  Her name is Elaine and she is super lonely.  She is living alone.  Her husband has Alzheimers and is in Washington with her daughter.  She goes to this methodist church, but she was super open to learning from us.  We taught her about the book of mormon and prayer and what not.  It was good.  Thursday, we got a headquarters refferal saying a guy named Chad was interested in the Book of Mormon and wanted help to quit smoking.  We knocked on his door and he let us in.  He's recently been going througha very rough time in his life and has started to acknowledge God.  He has been Atheist for the last ten years.  We taught him the Restoration and left him with a Book of Mormon.  We've taught him 3 times since then and we already have a baptismal date set with him for January 18th!  He is so cool!  He has a true desire to change his life.  He used to have problems with drugs and is now trying to quit smoking!  Also, he looks like he's 28, but he's 19.  He came to sacrament meeting on Sunday and a little bit of Gospel Principles.    Chad had got a ride from his parents to the church, but he didn't have a ride back.  Since we aren't allowed to give investigators rides, we walked with him home.  We explained the millenium a little bit just so he wasn't freaked out.  He is very accepting of everything though so it wasn't a problem.  Thursday, Selvin and the Palomino's cancelled on us.  Lucy, Selvin's grandma, is sick.  The Palomino's were running errands or something.  On Friday, we had an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Stucki, who served in the Northridge first ward last transfer came into my area.  Lindsy and Ryan, you know him!   We knocked doors the whole time.  It was pretty uneventful.  Saturday morning, we taught Elaine again and the lesson went really well.  We retaught the restoration and we emaphasized the importance of Christs church and prophets.  She told us it made since and asked us why no other churches besides ours had prophets.  The spirit was definatly there.  We got a soft baptismal commitment from her and are going to try and set a date with her tomorrow.  Saturday and Sunday night, we went to the big Stake Christmas concert.  It's a big thing out here in Valencia.  there are som many nonmembers that come to it.  They take out the first four pews in the chapel and bring in a full orchestra to accompany the choir.  The director, Richard Rich, wrote the music for The Fox and The Hound and a couple other disney movies.  It's high quality, professional stuff.  Kirby Heybourne, the guy from the RM and church movies and stuff was the narrator of the Christmas story.  He lives in the Valencia ward.  Pretty cool.  The concert was so amazing!  The Palomino's came and we tried to meet up with them, but we couldn't find them!  Sunday night's concert, was a full house and people were standing in the back of the gym.  It was crazy.  Anyways, this week was a good week.  Super busy, but busy is good.  Happy Birthday Jessica! Happy birthday Grandma Church!  I love you all!
Elder Nelson     

Monday, December 9, 2013

Transfer Week of Crazy

This week has been crazy!  It was the first week of transfers.  My trainer got transferred to be a zone leader in North hollywood.  My new companion is Elder Davidson!  He's awesome!  He was a zone leader in Encino and came up here to be district leader.  My area got split as well so now my area feels super small.  It's weird.  I was the only one who new the area and i had to explain everything to the new sisters and Elder Davidson.  It took a long time to get all the records transferred over to the sisters area, but everything is good now.  Jezebel, who is in the sisters area told them that she wanted to be baptized.  Elder Davidson and I taught the palomino's this week and Selvin lucy and Laura as well.  We slevin and his family the plan of Salvation and it was a really spirit filled lesson.  We invited them to be baptized, but Lucy spoke for everyone and said that she wasn't able to make that committment yet.  When we inveted them, Selvin was just nodding his head and laura was smiling.  All of them came to church this week and we got the chance to teach Gospel Principles.  We taught the 3rd lesson from Preach My Gospel, The Gospel of Christ.  It went great.  The lesson basically just turned into a testimony meeting and Lucy was there to feel the spirit testify to her that baptism is what she needs to do.  We are going to teach them later on this week and hopefully we will be able to set a date with them.  The lesson with the palomino's was good.  We taught them on prayer and studying the scriptures together as a couple.  We committed them to read and pray together.  They just need to do it now.  They have been coming to church on and off, but they haven't been keeping their committments.  Hopefully they start progressing soon.  I went on an exchange with the Copper hill east elders on friday to saturday and it was a fun exchange for me.  Elder Bulger came to my area.  We had a good time.  We did a lot of finding as always and got nobody.  Here's a funny story from the exchange.  We were finding and Elder Bulger and I felt like we should walk up this street on this hill.  We got to the top and there was this house with a guy handcuffed on his lawn surrounded by 4 or 5 police officers yelling, "I didn't sell no drugs or do drugs.."  They were just arguing.  We were walking by across the street and Elder bulger just yells, "Whats up!?"  to the guy arguing with the police.  When he yelled I just thought to myself, "what the heck are you doing!?"  Everyone just stopped and looked over at us.  The guy cuffed on the lawn yells back, "nothin much just hangin out!"  The police officers just busted up laughing.  it was hilarious.  That's my finding story.  Not much happens finding other than running into bible bashers.  We ran into a couple this week.  That was fun.  Sometimes it feels like the bible belt up here!  Anyways, not much else happened this week.  I love my companion even though we have no unity in contacting or teaching yet, but we'll get there.  We're working as hard as we can.  to tell you a little bit about my new comp.  He enjoys sharpening knives in his spare time, shoots guns competetivly and worked at a scout camp before he came out here.  he's super cool haha.  I love you all!  Thanks for the Garmin mom, Grandpa and Grandma!  I didn't get the scriptures yet.  I do get to skype on christmas.  We're going to the bishops for christmas and we are going to skype from there.  Should be fun!  We're going to the temple as a mission in a week and a half.  i'm excited!  Keep writing me I love it!  i love you all! 
Elder Nelson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer Week

I'm officially done being trained!  Yay!  But really I still have no idea what I'm doing haha but whatever!  This week has been awesome and super tiring with all the exchanges that I went on. . .again!  Tuesday I went into Korean work with Elder Kang.  It was fun.  We went to the stake center and made a tracting list of Koreans and went tracting for about 2 hours.  We only talked to 2 Koreans.  One of them was through the window.  Korean work is weird.  When the Korean Elders start talking to a korean, they don't just start talking korean to them, they start in English, then they ask if they're korean and start talking in Korean.  I think they should just start talking in Korean instead of asking if they're korean or not.  I don't know though because I'm not in Korean work.  Anyways, I feel bad for Elder Kang.  He hasn't had much experience with contacting people, and he's not the greatest at the language yet.  I kind of took the lead until he would ask if they're korean.  He's learning though and he is super humble and willing to work.  I love the guy.  He's from Georgia and he was in Jeff Hunters MTC district.  We get along really well. 
On Wednesday, I went outside of my area again with Elder Holdaway who is Elder Swyers trainer.  Elder Holdaway has only been out one transfer longer than me.  He's from Payson Utah and is in a bike area.  I love going into bike areas.  It's so much more fun than being in a car because you can talk to everybody and you just feel good!  I worked on finding by the spirit with Elder Holdaway.  He is probably the most awkward missionary I have been contacting with.  He doesn't really like finding, but I tried to help him out the best I could.  I found myself dominating in some situations, but I couldn't really help it.  Basically what he would do is go up to somebody and ask them to read the book of mormon with little or no explanation at all.  It was just weird.  He's really good at teaching though as well as working with members.  He can talk to members just fine and he's a really fun guy, but he doesn't know how to talk to strangers.  He's learning though.  I learned a lot from him too.  Him and Elder Swyers work really well with members, which is something that Elder Ehninger and I could improve on.  We ended up finding two solid potential investigators that day though!  AJ was a guy we found working in his garage.  Him and his wife have been going to a couple different churches and they know the bishop of those Elders ward.  We gave them a Book of Mormon and invited them to church and they said that they could stop by after the holidays.  The other potential we found was Slem.  He's Israeli.  He was born in Germany and went to a ton of different religion schools.  He told us that he had a lot of questions that Jews, Catholics and a ton of religions couldn't answer.  I asked him what those questions were and he wouldn't tell me.  We ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and I told him that all the questions that he has could be answered by reading that book.  He said he would read it.  He told us he's read the Torah, Quaran and the whole bible and knows a lot of religious history.  He knows something is there, but he is just searching.  He asked if he could come to our church too!  It was cool.  He said that we could meet with him as well.  I dominated in that one super bad.  I felt bad that I didn't let Elder Holdaway get a word in. We almost didn't knock Slems door.  We walked past it and I got a prompting to turn around and knock on it so I did. Anyways, he was a cool guy.  Thursday was thanksgiving!  Yaaaaay!  It was good.  We went to the Estrada's for dinner which was nice.  It's not the same, but it was nice.  We have so many left overs!  We did weekly planning on Thursday as well which took a super long time.  Friday, I went into Elder Bulger and Elder Baughans area with Elder Bulger.  Contacting with him was weird too, but we found two potential investigators!  It was good.  Elder Bulger is a little big headed though.  He's always talking about how his patriarchal blessing says that he's going to be close with his mission president or something.  He interprets that as, "I'm going to be an assistant."  It's super annoying.  Other than that he's great.  Sorry about telling you all the faults other missionaries have.  Really I love them all, I just haven't been with my real companion as much as I would have liked.  He's the best.  Anyways, Saturday was amazing!  Jezebel, Selvin and his grandma Lucy came to a baptismal service.  They all loved it!  They all came to church on Sunday too!  Lucy loved gospel principles and Relief society.  She told us that she would be back next week because she liked it so much!  The Palomino's came to church too!  We haven't had any contact with them for the past couple of weeks so we were really surprised.  They only stayed for Sacrament meeting, but we were glad they were there!  We had 5 investigators at church!  It was crazy! Crazy awesome!  We're going to try and set a baptismal date with Lucy, Selvin and his mom this week, but we'll see what happens.  I forgot to tell you that on Saturday we got transfer calls and on Sunday we got leadership calls.  Elder Ehninger is being transferred to a car area to be a zone leader.  I called it!  Elder Holdaway is training again and Elder Swyers is being transferred.  Elder Kang and Qualls are both being transferred as well.  Also our area is splitting.  We're getting two sisters this coming transfer.  As for me, I'm staying as well and its safe to say that I'm going to be a district leader buddy again.  No one in our district got a leadership call for district leader so they have to be importing one.  Transfer meeting is tomorrow.  There's a chance that my companion right now might be made zone leader over Valencia because Elder Chandler is being transferred as well.  That would be so cool!  Anyways  I loved all of the Thanksgiving letters from the family!  Its so good to hear from everyone!  I just want to say that I'm thankful for all the support that I have received thus far on my mission!  Sorry you were sick after thanksgiving!  I couldn't be doing this without you all!  I love you! 
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hola Familia! November 25, 2013

This week was awesome! We went on 3 exchanges again as usual and 3 more this week.  This is the last week of the transfer.  I probably won't be transferred, but my companion probably will.  He's been here for almost six months.  I think he's going to be transferred to the valley and become a zone leader somewhere.  He's to good at being a district leader! 
This last week has been great!  Last Monday we only got about 45 minutes to find and we found two potentials!  One of them with a return appointment!  We were so excited!  They lived across the street from each other too.  It was cool.  We were about to get in our car and leave, but I kept looking at this house.  I told my comp that we need to knock it and we did.  This lady named Lynn answered the door and she told us that she would love to sit down with us.  She said she loved discussing spiritual things, but that she disagreed with mormons.  She wanted to meet with us nonetheless and told us to come back on Thursday at 7:00.  Usually people who want to meet with us just like that are Bible bashers.  She didn't give off the bible basher vibe though so we were excited.  I'll tell you what happened with her later in the email.  That night we went to dinner with the Kellog family.  They are all members except for the husband.  The two daughters that they have are partially deaf and the husband, Jeff is almost fully deaf, but can read lips.  They are such an awesome family and Jeff is super nice.  He comes to church sometimes when his daughters are doing something in Sacrament meeting.  Missionaries have tried to teach him in the past, but they had to drop him because of his hearing.  Since he can't really here well, his speech and voice sound really different and its hard to understand him.  We refferred them to the ASL (American Sign Language) missionaries about a month ago and they haven't been able to meet with him yet.  They've been updating us on their progress though.  There is a sign language branch in West hills, but the missionaries might end up coming here to interpret for him. 
Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Swyers from the Copper Hill ward.  He came into my area and we went finding for most of the day with no success.  That night we had dinner with the Crosby's our recent converts.  We tried to teach them about keeping the sabbath day holy after dinner, but it kept getting off topic and the kids were going crazy.  Jason had a rough day and was super frustrated because he's been to so many doctors who cant diagnose the problem that he has.  He has started to become intolerant to certain foods and he sometimes gets "brain fog" as he describes it.  We talked about that for quite a while and I ended up giving him a blessing.  That was the only reason we were there that night.  We didn't need to teach them anything, we only needed to give them a blessing.  It was good.  After the Crosby's we went to the Bowmans to teach Heather, a recent convert and Bill her husband who is less active.  The lesson went really well and we taught them about prayer.  Bill is still recovering from a surgery that he had about 6 months ago on his back.  he wants to come back to church, but hasn't been able to because he has been in so much pain.  Heathers conversion story is really cool.  I don't have much time to tell you about it, but I will in a later email. 
Wednesday, we had interviews with president which was awesome!  President Hall is so cool and is such a great man!  They took forever though because we had a training from the zone leaders and we had to wait for some other Elders to take them home.  We ended up going on another exchange with the Korean East Elders.  I went with Elder Sung into the Korean area.  We didn't do much.  Elder Sung has been really depressed and we ended up just talking a lot.  He is from Herriman, and was in perfect health until he came out here.  When he came out here, he got really sick and has been for the 18 months he has been out.  He's had a really rough mission.  Eventually we started driving towards Stevenson ranch to work around there.  We ended up getting going to members house to give their grandson a blessing.  None of them spoke any English so I couldn't understand anything, but luckily the other Korean Elders came and helped out with the blessing.  
Thursday we had weekly planning as usual.  That takes about three hours out of your day.  We got to teach Selvin and his family though!  It was awesome!  He lives with his mom Laura and grandma Lucy!  Lucy spoke for everyone haha. She was definatly the matriarch of the family.  The Lesson went really well!  We taught the Restoration and it looked like Lucy and Laura were about to cry!  The spirit was so strong!  We committed them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as a family and they told us they would all come to church on Sunday!  Only Selvin ended up coming to church, because Laura had work and he said Lucy was unable to come.  He told us that they had been reading though and that they like it so far!  We are teaching them again later on this week.  We were supposed to teach Lynn that night too, but she canceled on us.  She said we could stop by again sometime though!  We are planning to go over there tonight.
Friday we went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders.  It was awesome!  It was the best exchange that I have had since I went on an exchange with Elder Wright, who is one of the assistants.  Elder Chandler came into my area!  We had so much fun!  We ended up finding 3 potential investigators!  I learned so much from him and it was just awesome!  We ran into some drunk guys who said the most vulgar things I have heard on my mission so far, but one of them reffered us to there mom who lived up the street.  We tried to contact her and we got no answer.  As we were walking back down the street, this chihuahua started barking at us from behind the fence in the front yard.  The owner came out and we talked to him.  His name was Carlos and he was from El Salvador.  He told us that we could come back sometime.  Our other potential came from knocking on this lady's door.  We told her about prayer and asked if we could say a prayer with her for her family.  She said we could and we did.  After we said the prayer, her countenance just changed and we asked if we could share a message with her family sometime.  She said yes and that we should stop by the next time we are in the area.  Our last potential, we got from knocking on a house with loud rap music coming from it.  This 16 year old kid answered the door.  He ended up giving us his number and we gave him ours.  He said we could call him or stop by sometime.  That night, we ran into some masters college students.  Masters College is a born again christian school that teaches anti-mormon propaganda.  The school is in our zone in the Newhall area.  Elder Chandler used to serve there.  He told me that for one of their classes, they are required to take the lessons from the missionaries and then drop them.  Elder Chandler said he taught a lot of Masters College Students.  They also teach their students how to bible bash with the missionaries.  It's basically the school of the devil.  Me and Elder Ehninger ran into a Masters college professor a while ago and he just shouted at us that we didn't beleive in Christ, even though we were telling him that we did.  It was frustrating.  Anyways, Elder Chandler and I ended our dinner 30 minutes early so that we could get some ice cream.  We went to this place called Rita's at 8:30.  It was so good!  We were sitting at the table when this girl came up to us and sat down at our table asking us if we were from utah.  She had a Huntsville Utah shirt on and I told her I was from Murray.  She said she grew up in Ogden and that she was a born again christian going to the Master's college.  She then asked if all mormons wear nametags.  She was obviously not from Utah haha!  She tehn started asking us all sorts of questions about the plan of Salvation and the three degrees of glory and then her other masters college friend joined in, and before we could answer any of their questions, they asked more questions and asked where our answers came from and where they were in the bible and what not.  They were just trying to bash with us and it was so dumb!  Masters College is the worst!  They are so hard hearted!  The next morning was good though, we taught Jezebel and we got a soft commitment towards baptism!  It was such a good lesson!  She said she would start reading and praying with her aunt.  That Saturday, Elder Ehninger had to do some baptismal interviews for the Assistants investigator family the Maxfields.  They are so awesome!  
Sunday was good too.  Jezebel and Selvin came to church.  We met with the bishopric after church and discussed the ward mission effort and how ward missionaries are supposed to work.   It was a good meeting and we are going to try to improve how the ward missionaries work and how we run ward correlation and Ward Council meetings.  It should be good.  Bishop Day is our new bishop as of last week and he's doing a great job.  If I stay in this area for Christmas I am going to be able to skype from his house!  It should be good!  Oh and don't worry about thanksgiving!  I'm going to the Estrada's for Thanksgiving and they make really good food! 
Anyways, this last week was great and this week is looking even better!  We're hoping that we can get a baptismal date for Selvin and his family as well as Jezebel!  Thanks for all of your letters!  I love hearing from you all!  I love you!
Elder Nelson

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Josh's Weekly E-mail from November 12, 2013

Well this week was fun! Sorry I didn't email on Monday.  It was veterans day and all the libraries were closed!  I went on an exchange on tuesday with Elder B.  He's from north Carolina.  I went into his area while his new missionary went to ours with my comp.  It was a good exchange, yet it was frustrating at the same time.  Elder B has been out for 6 months and recently him and his companion have been having a hard time finding people to teach in their area.  We tried to contact some potentials throughout the day with no luck and then we went finding.  We knocked on some doors and I saw this guy who pulled up in his car across the street.  I smiled and waved at him and he did the same back!  Most people don't haha but I had a prompting to go and talk to him, but we were already knocking on another door!  Dang it!  We knocked on a couple more houses then turned around and I had the prompting to knock on the door of the house the guy went into.  We did so and this lady named Julie answered.  We told her about the Book of Mormon and Restoration and she told us that she had some mormon friends and that she had always been curious about what they believed, but she had been to afraid to ask!  We set up an appointment with her for the next tuesday and committed her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  Miracle!  
 We were supposed to go on an exchange with the zone leaders on Friday, but they cancelled because one of them got sick.  They also had zone training meeting that they had to do as well.  It was a good meeting.  We talked about how to receive revelation for our areas and about the faith cycle.  The cool thing about it was that I had a personal study the day before where I learne for myself what they were teaching through revelation.  It was awesome!  I am really starting to understand how the spirit works and how to follow it in every aspect of the work.  I've been praying to know how to do that and my prayers are being answered everyday.  I'm learning everyday and becoming a better person and missionary everyday.  That Friday night, we ran into this big black guy outside of a house by a referral we were trying to contact.  He knew who we were and everything, but he kind of started trying to bible bash in a non-contentious manner.  We were pretty sure this dude was a preacher from the way he talked and how well he knew about the bible.  The weird thing about the whole situation was that the spirit was there.  Usually when someone wants to bash, the spirit isn't there, but it was!  It was pretty cool.  We talked about bishops and Elders and the Book of Mormon and what not.  We were able to answer all his questions and he wasn't trying to tell us what we beleive like those guys from the masters college.  Those guys aren't good news haha.  Anyways, he was from out of town helping someone move.  He was with another black dude named James.  He didnt say anything the whole conversation.  Michael was the black preacher guys name.  It was a fun conversation.  
Saturday we helped our member neighbor across the street move in the morning.  That was the first service activity that I have done on my mission so far.  We are always looking for service, but we can't ever find any.  We see people moving or working in their yards a lot and we always ask if we can help, but people always tell us no.  All well.  We're tryin.  After service on Saturday, we tried to visit some refferals who weren't home.  We ended up talking to this latino guy next to one of them.  He was from Maddera California and he told us that he wanted to follow God because he had seen his hand so much in his life.  His wife was recently cured of cancer.  We told him about the Restoration and the Book of mormon and he committed to read and pray about it and he accepted the invitation to have missionaries teach him when he got home.  We got his address and texted in the refferal.  That guy is going to get baptized.  We felt so good about him.  His name was Charles.  We then started driving to go see another potential, but my companion got a prompting to turn onto a street that we had never been on before.  We stopped the car, prayed, got out and started walking.  We ended up following the spirit to a circle where we were greeted by this mexican gangster guy doin his mexican gangster wave at us.  It was funny and awesome.  We went up to him and he said he thought we were the Jehovahs Witnesses that he studies with every monday.  We explained that we were missionaries and we talked about Christ and the book of Mormon.  His name was Berny and he told us that he had been trying to "strighten up."  He We gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read and pray about it.  He also accepted the invitation to be taught be the missionaries in Santa Anna as he was from out of town as well.  It was cool.  Berny is gangsta.  This whole day was filled with spiritual promptings and we both came out of it having learned so much!  The more you follow the promptings of the spirit, the more the Lord trusts you.
 Sunday was amazing too!  We got muffins in Ward Council because it was Bishop Hansen's last sunday as bishop.  The Palomino's showed up for sacrament meeting as well as Selvin!  We got a new bishop. Bishop Day.  He is great!  I taught him and his family with one of their nonmember friends last week with the koreans.  He is going to be a great bishop!  I can't wait to work with him!  The Palomino's left after the 2nd hour, but Selvin introduced himself in priesthood by saying, "I'm Selvin and I'm hoping to be baptized to this church.  I've read the whole Book of Mormon and I've prayed about it and I know it's true."  AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Where did this kid come from!!! Miracles all day ery'day!  His parents are going to allow him to be taught and he told us that his mom is going to come to Sacrament meeting next week! Unfortunately, we can't start teaching them until next week because they're busy.  We are going to teach his whole family!  It'll be amazing! 
Yesterday we received info that Elder Jeong is being emergency transferred to Encino.  Elder Jeong is awesome!  I went on an exchange with him a couple of weeks ago and I'm sad that he's leaving.  He wanted to go on an exchange with Elder Ehninger before he left because he hadn't had the chance to yet so we did a mini exchange yesterday at 7:00.  Elder Sung came into our area with me and my comp went to Elder Jeongs area.  Elder Sung is from Herriman and has been out for a year and a half.  I'm going on another exchange with him wednesday.  He's great.  We exchanged back this morning at district meeting.
Anyways, this week was great!  It's going to get crazy in these next couple of weeks though because we have to do 3 exchanges a week for the rest of the transfer.  It'll be fun.  I like exchanges.  It's my companions birthday this Thursday so that's going to be awesome too! 
I love you all and I hope to keep hearing from you!! You're the best!
Elder Nelson
First Baptism!!

The CrosbyFamily

Hiking on P-Day

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Well this week was... well... it was another week.  We tried our hardest and worked as much as we could.  Wednesday was the only day where we taught our investigators this week.  We taught the Sara Friel first and we talked about the importance of prayer, Book of Mormon and Church attendance.  She has been investigating off and on for the past ten years.  She has two sons who are 11 and 14 I think.  I've only met one of them, henry.  She has a strong testimony of prayer and she told us she would start reading the Book of mormon again.  She didn't come to church though because she always working out at this ranch with her son and riding horses.  She is really difficult to schedule appointments with because of that, and as of right now we don't have a return appointment with her. 
The other investigators we taught were the Palomino's.  They had a lot of questions about the temple and baptism which we answered.  We found out that Ernie is only investigating because of his wife, Leticia.  he doesn't really have a desire and he was really uncomfortable at church last sunday.  Leticia is progressing though.  She has been reading the Book of mormon and praying.  She told us that she liked church last week.  We taught them kind of the same thing we taught Sara Friel.  We told them how much this gospel blesses families and how it can bless their families.  We committed Leticia to keep reading and praying and we tried to do the same with Ernie.  He told us that he wouldn't be able to do it everyday because of school.  He doesn't really have a desire, but we're trying to igure out how he can get that desire.  At least he is supporting his wife.  We want them both to get baptized though, not just Leticia.  If Leticia gets baptized, and Ernie doesn't, she will most likely go inactive.  I don't want that.  Ernie will come around.  We're going to try and get him involved in service and feel needed.  We think that will really help him.
We had a six week new missionary training with president hall on Friday which was awesome!  it was so good!  It was a 9-5 meeting but it was worth the time.  We just talked about how we can be better companions and how faith really works.  It helped me realize that numbers don't reflect how hard you're working.  They don't measure your success as a missionary.  Numbers don't mean anything.  it's all about the work.  if you're working hard and trying your best, you're succesful.  There was one part of the meeting where President opened it up to questions, and there was this one spanish missionary, Elder Durrant who kept asking these stupid questions wasting everybody's time.  One of the questions he asked was how to reject a jehovahs Witness!  Come one man!  have you ever knocked on somebody's door?  Everyone was like "Is this guy serious?"  You could tell president was asking himself the same question haha!  to answer elder durrants question he told him to role play with him.  So elder Durrant got up in front of half the mission and role played with president.  Durrant was the jehovahs witness and president was the missionary.  President politely rejected him and shut the door.  it was hilarious!  Anyways, half the mission knows who elder Durrant is now.  Needless to say there are always missionaries like Elder durrant in all the meetings i've been to with president.  The whole mission knows who they are.  i probably shouldn't even be talking about them, but i just think it's hilarious some the questions they ask.  They do waste time though. 
Our ward had a halloween party on Saturday which was awesome!  We had so much food and there were so many people there.  It was fun to socialize with the ward and some members brough non-member friends which was awesome!  We introduced ourselves to them and hopefully some of them will become new investigators. 
We do have a really good potential investigator who we are going to try and teach soon.  her name is jezebel.  She is 14 or 15 and has been coming to church for the last couple of weeks with her aunt who she lives with.  She really likes church and is really close with the howell family.  We talked to her yesterday and she told us we should come and teach her sometime.  We asked her when we could come over and she went to ask her Aunt sister wagner.  Sister Wagner was all like "are you sure you want to do this?  Are you sure you want to take the lessons?" etc.  She kind of scared jezebel and we weren't able to set up a time to come over, but Jezebel likes us and she wants to learn.  Steve howell, their home teacher is going to talk to Sister Wagner and tell her to not make it such a big deal.  Both their families are really close and we talked with the howell family and how to fellowship them and help jezebel and the whole family really.  the only member in the house is Sister wagner.  her husband used to investigate, but he stopped because of a question he had about the blacks and the church.  he's black.  he used to be a rapper. but now he's a bus driver.  I don't know if you have heard of marvin perkins before, but he is a black guy who knows basically everything about the blacks and the church dealio.  he travels around the country teaching about and he even has his own dvd called Blacks and the priesthood.  needless to we are going to use him.  look him up! he's awesome!
Well thanks for all the letters and stuff!  i love it and it really helps me out!  I love you all and I
l hope to keep hearing from you!  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Letter from Josh Dated October 21, 2013

The Crosby family has been baptized! Yaaaaaaaaaay!  They are the most awesome people I have taught in this mission so far and I'm so happy for the decision they have made!  They have such strong testimonies of this gospel and they know that it will bless their family for eternity.  Both of them love the Valencia 3rd ward and the ward loves them.  We love them! They love us!  We have dinner with them and teach them every wednesday!  Both of their kids, Ashley and Mason so funny!  You show them a picture of Jesus and they yell "Jesus Christ!"  It's awesome!  Jason already has the priesthood and they both got their temple reccomends on Sunday!  They are so excited to do baptisms for the dead!  They love this gospel so much and it is the coolest thing to be a part of their growth!  Their baptism was amazing!  There were so many people there that we had to move it to the chapel!  If you can't tell, I'm so happy for them!  Aside from the baptism, this week was a lot of district leader work as usual but I'm cool with that!  My companion is such a good district leader!  The Korean Elders (Elder Kang, Kim, Qualls) car got broken into as well last Monday.  Me, Elder kang, and Kim were going to go get some lunch while my comp. talked with Elder Qualls (Korean Coordination Leader) about the boundaries.  We found that someone had smashed the back passenger window and that they stole their GPS.  We were so surprised!  Crime only happens in the valley! Not in Valencia!  Valencia is like the 6th safest city in the U.S.!  Well we reported it to the police and they got their window fixed. We went on two exchanges this week.  I went with the Valencia 2nd Elders in their area on Wednesday.  On Friday we went on exchanges with the assistants Elder Wright and Elder Kottcamp.  Elder Wright came with me to our area and it was such an awesome exchange!  He is such a good missionary and I learned so much from him!  We also got two new potentials that day and got to teach the Palomino family for the first time in 2 weeks!  We taught them the Restoration and committed them to come to the baptism on Saturday.  They said they would, but they didn't.  Ernie the husband got a migraine.  They did come to church though with their son Alex!  They came to gospel principles with us and the topic was Eternal marriage.  Ernie and Alex did not want to be there.  They were super uncomfortable, even though the ward was super friendly to them.  Leticia, the wife is the only one who has been keeping her commitments and reading the book of mormon.  She wanted to be there.  The Gospel Priciples lesson sounds like it should have been good right? Wrong! It went way to deep and was not investigator friendly!  The teacher who used to teach Gospel Doctrin is now the Gospel Principles teacher and this was his first time teaching.  Needless to say, Ernie and Alex wanted to leave after the lesson and Leticia wanted to stay.  They got into a little argument which was super awkward.  They eventually left.  I felt so bad, but there really was nothing I could do.  I think Ernie is turned off to religion all together and that he is only investigating because Leticia wants to.  We're going to try to make him see the blessings that come from the gospel in our next lesson and hopefully get him to actually have a desire to find out if the church is true.  Leticia, however, is golden.  She just needs the support from her family.  So all in all, it was a good week!  Our zone has been baptizing weekly for this whole transfer and I'm pretty sure that we are leading the mission right now with baptisms.  The thing about the work in Valencia is that it's really hard to find people who are willing to hear you, but when you do find those that will, they will get baptized.  It's surprising to hear from other missionaries that this zone used to be dead!  There is so much work to do and I love it!  I hope all is well at home!  I love you all! Thanks for the support!
Gawm-Sawm-Nee-Daw! (Thank you (in Korean))
Pictured: Elder Ehninger, Elder Chandler, Elder Holdaway, Elder Nelson
Elder Nelson

Monday, October 14, 2013

This week was fun and hard as usual, but that's how it goes.  I got to go on two exchanges this week with Elder Chandler (one of our Zone leaders) and Elder Jeong, a Korean Elder.  It was a lot of fun!  Elder Chandler is so cool!  He is from Hawaii and has been out for nine months.  He actually knew Trevor Hanks when he was at home in Hawaii!  He was Elder Hanks mini missionary and they are really good friends!  It was funny when we found out that we both knew a Weston Hanks from Taylorsville haha.  Elder Jeong is from Korea but moved to Provo 3 years ago.  He has a really thick accent and I couldn't understand him for half the exchange, but it was fun anyways!  Zone Conferance with Elder Kapischke was so good!  Nothing in the mission changed.  We are not getting I-pads yet or using facebook or anything, but it was a great conferance.  It was all day and it was basically just a question and answer session.  One thing me and my trainer are going to try to implement from this conferance is bring investigators with a baptismal date with us to other investigators lessons.  That would be so cool!  We just need to get the investigators now haha.  Nobody ever wants to listen to us.  Everyone here in Valencia feels like they already have it figured out.  Everyone is super nice, but its just sad.  We try our best and do everything we can do and yield no results, but it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter if you have people to teach or not, just as long as you're trying your best and learning from it.  I'm not saying that we have nobody to teach because we do.  We actually have a baptism this Saturday for the Crosbys!  They are awesome and I love them so much!  They have so much faith and such a strong testimony.  I love teaching them because they are so accepting of everything and they basically know everything already.  Sister Crosby is having a hard time giving up coffee but she is trying.  The worst thing that can happen is that we have to push back the baptism, but other than that they are golden.  We weren't able to teach the Cosatta's or the Palomino's last week.  The Cosatta's were busy, and we feel like we are not very high on the priority list for the Palomino's.  The Palomino's have been taught the first three lessons and have been invited to be baptized, but they feel that they aren't ready yet.  we haven't met with them in 2 weeks and I hope that they are willing to meet with us this week.  Nothing else really happened this week.  We have been finding a lot and we have only been able to get one potential investigator from it which is a blessing.  Thanks for all the packages and letters!  Its so nice to hear from everybody and it helps me out so much! I hope everyone is doing well!
Elder Nelson      

Monday, October 7, 2013

Josh's Latest Letter

Hello everyone!  Sorry about last weeks letter.  I don't know how it got cut off in the 6th sentance and I don't remember what i was talking about.  All well.  This week was good!  We went on two exchanges this week.  My first exchange was with Elder Kang, one of the Korean missionaries.  he came over to my area while my comp went to theirs.  Elder Kang has only been out as long as I have, and he has never done English work before.  It was good for him to take a step back from korean for a day.  We learned a lot from each other and had a good time.  Elder kang was in Jeff Hunters MTC district.  They were pretty good friends.  On Wednesday we went on another exchange on Wednesday with the Valencia 2nd Elders.  I went over to their area.  they are in a trio and I was with elders Baughan and Swyers.  They are also in a bike area, so i got to ride my bike all day for the first time!  it was so awesome!  I kind of wish that i was in a bike area because it feels so good to ride a bike.  I'm kind of sick of the car.  We have to give everyone rides and it takes a lot of time out of our day.  anyways, the exchange was good.  They introduced me to some of the new members that moved from V2 over to V3 with the whole boundry change last week.  One of them was the Larson's.  I'm glad they called you mom!  They're great.  thursday was zone training meeting which was great as well.  I love our zone leaders.  Their names are elder Chandler and Elder Choi.  elder Chandler is from Hawaii and elder Choi is from Korea.  english is his second language and he was called english speaking.  he does help out with korean work from time to time when he goes on exchanges.  They are so awesome and loving. elder Choi is going home next transfer along with elder Smith, Powell and Ah Chee.  They all got up and bore their testimonies at the end of the meeting and it was amazing!  The spirit was so strong and their testimonies really helped me out.  We also taught the Crosby's our investigators with a baptismal date this past week.  We inherited them from V2 with the boundry change.  they are so awesome!  They have been prepared so well!  they have been investigating the church for about three years and their baptismal date is the 19th, however, we are probably going to push it back to November 2nd because of the boundry change.  if they got baptized on the 19th, they would have only been able to go to their new ward once and they won't have anybody at their baptism because we wouldn't be able to announce it the week before in Sacrament meeting.  We still have to teach them quite a bit, but they have such a strong testimony of the gospel.  They have two kids who are like 2 and 3 years old I think and they are crazy!  They have a real hard time controlling them in sacrament meeting, but it is their dream to raise them in the church.  Brother Crosby even wants his 2 year old son Mason to go on a mission! It's so cool!  they study the scriptures every day and have a lot of support from their old ward. They haven't been able to meet very many people from our ward yet, but they will love our ward.  I love our ward!  They are so awesome to the missionaries and we get fed almost everyday!  We weren't able to teach the Palomino's this week.  They cancelled on us, but we are hoping to meet with them this week.  We ate dinner with the Casattas this Friday, 2 new investigators that we got 2 weeks ago.  they are so prepared to receive the gospel.  They're daughter Stephanie is a convert and married a return missionary and lives in Utah.  The Casattas like to talk a lot, so we weren't able to teach our lesson that we had planned out for them.  We were over there for 3 hours and we invited them to General Conferance and talked about family history.  They were so interested in family history and they wanted us to help them with it sometime this week.  Brother Casatta also loves the Salt lake Temple and wants to be sealed.  The only problem that they have with the gospel is Joseph Smith.  They ran into some Anti Mormon stuff like a month ago saying that joseph smith was a fraud, but Stephanie's husband Briant (the RM) talked to them about it and they are saying that the Book of mormon could be true.  They are so cool and i love them so much!  We also got one new investigator this week.  When me and Elder kang were on exchanges, we visited a former investigator named Sarah Freil.  We knocked on her door and she invited us in!  it was so unexpected!  We ended up talking about the Book of Mormon and Prayer and set up a time to come back this Tuesday.  Looking at her old teaching record, she seemed like she was progressing very well, but she dropped the old missionaries because she wanted to study on her own.  She does have a testimony of the Book of Mormon though and I really think she could be baptized.  We just need to get to know her better.  conferance this weekend was so amazing!  I loved it so much!  Some of those talks just spoke to me and really helped me out.  it's so easy to get discouraged out here and feel inadequate, but listening to Confearance was what I needed.  The Lord is watching out for me.  It was awesome to see a lot of my friends in priesthood session!  I saw Ben, tyler, nefi and a whole bunch of other people that I know from Murray!  this next week is going to be crazy!  We have 3 exchanges this week, and i'm leaving my area twice in a row.  On Thrusday, we have a general authority coming to the mission for Zone conferance on Thursday.  it's elder kapishki from the mission department.  Rumors are flying around that they're going to make this mission a no tracting mission, get facebook, ipads, or something crazy like that which would be Sweet!  having an ipad would be so nice!  Well I hope everyone is doing good at home!  I love you all!  Write me some letters!  
Elder Nelson   

Monday, September 30, 2013

Josh's Hurriedly Written Letter Dated 9/30/2013
(I think he accidentally erased some of the first part of this letter before sending it.)

Well this week was crazy! We spent so much time helping other missionary companionships in our district.  I think we ended up spending 15 hours total doing things for other missionaries.  It was tough, but it taught me a lot though!  When we help other Woohoo! Elder Ehninger has been teaching them for the past couple of weeks and they haven't kept any of their commitments.  This week we read the Book of Mormon with them and talked about Christ and invited them to General Conferance next week.  It was a good lesson.  The spirit was there and I know they felt something.  We followed up with them later in the week and they told us they had been reading the assigned chapter we gave them and that they had some questions for our next lesson!  I was happy.  Sunday was crazy and awesome all at the same time!  Testimony meeting was so good!  Everyone bore their testimonies on missionary work and the spirit was so strong!  My comp. and I bore our testimonies as well and while I was talking I saw Korihor (Adrien) in the audience.  It was weird.  I don't know if I told you, but he looks like a vampire.  No joke.  It's kind of funny.  He is always dressed in all black and he is balding with greasy, curly, long gray hair.  Anyways, ya he came to church.  After Church we ate at the Bishop's house and taught them the Gospel of Christ.  After that we went to a Baptism for the Stevenson Ranch ward at the Stake Center.  After that there was a Stake boundry change meeting for the whole stake.  It was crazy.  Everyone has been talking about this meeting for the past two weeks.  The Stake Presidency have been working on changing ward boundries for over a year and this was the meeting where they announced the changes to the wards. These changes meant that we had to change up our areas.  Parts of wards were put into other wards and such.  Most of our areas are based off of ward boundries.  They made a lot of changes and they were big too.  The Valencia 3rd ward, my ward, gained a large chunk of area and lost only a little bit.  After the boundry meeting we had a meeting with President Hall to discuss the changes in the boundries.  Since the area's changed, investigators have to be transferred over to the missionaries in their new area.  We inherited Valencia 2nds investigators that have a baptismal date for the 19th of this month.  Their names are the Crosby's and I'm really excited to meet them!  The rest of the meeting we just talked about how we can use these changes for our benefit and for emeber missionary work!  It got me pumped!  Member missionary work is the greatest!  So that was my Sunday.  On another note, Elder Miller went home this week.  He was in my district here and my MTC zone.  It was hard to see him leave.  I don't know exactly what he went home for, but I know it was for something that was unresolved at home and that it was the best choice for him.  We had to help his companion Elder Baughn a lot.  He is now in a trio with the V2 Elders and we drove them around a ton this week.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have a car, cause we have to give people rides everywhere, but then when I think about not having a car, I'm grateful I have a car haha!  Anyways, we found some potential investigators this week.  We didn't get a lot of finding time in as I said earlier, but the Lord blessed us with the time that we had.  One of the potentials we found by knocking.  When she opened the door, we introduced ourselves and told her about the Book of Mormon.  She told us that she had one and that she really wanted to read it, but that she had never gotten around to it.  She said that it was good we stopped by because she had been pondering over life and that we reminded her that she had a Book of Mormon!  It was so cool!  We are going to meet with her some time this week.  I'm really excited!  She is a middle aged mom who is Catholic, and she is interested!  So cool!  Oh ya, I ran into my first Bible basher this week!  Most of the Bible Bashers live in Newhall, but we knocked on this one's door.  He opened the door and I told him that we were missionaries and he just started telling us all the problems he had with our church.  He was trying to tell me what I believed and what not.  I told him what I did believe, and he was all "That's against your doctrine!"  He just kept going on and on.  Everything he said was just dumb.  It wasn't good.  He was from the Masters college.  Anyone from the masters college down here tries to bible bash with you.  I didn't really say much cause I didn't want to get in a huge argument, but my trainer did.  I felt bad for the Masters College guy.  He was just so shut down to the gospel.  Most people in our area are super nice!  They say that their not interested, but they'll offer us water a lot.  Most people say that they don't want to change and that they're content with their lives.  Nobody is all that mean.  I have only been yelled at like 15 times since I got here haha!  I got to go on a mini exchange with Elder Forsyth, my MTC comp. this week while our comps went to leadership training!  It was awesome! We saw miracles during the 5 hours we were together!  Our zone went on a hike today!  It was fun, but it reminded me of home which was sad.  It's ok though.  I took some pictures.  It was a cool hike.  Well thanks for all the emails and letters!  I love hearing from you all!  I promise that I will get back to all of you!  I just need to write handwritten letters because I don't have enough time on the computer to email everyone, so send me your addresses!  I love you all and thank you so much for your support!
Elder Nelson

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letter, Monday, September 23

So ya I have 10 minutes on this computer in the Valencia library.  It sucks.  I'll have more time next week but. . . you get it.  This week was awesome as usual.  I love this work!  You just feel good talking to everyone about the gospel.  Let's see. . . oh ya we got two new investigators this week!  Their names are the Casattas!  They are so awesome!  Also, we taught Korihor this week.  Literally, this man told us Korihor was his hero.  His name is Adrien Kragg and I don't know if I told you about him last week, but Elder Ehninger has been teaching him for the past like month.  he has read the entire standard works and some LDS books.  We taught him on Saturday and right before we went to the lesson I felt like we shouldn't go, but I thought it was just me and I didn't tell my comp.  Turns out, it was the Holy Ghost!  Dang it!  Anyways, it wasn't the best situation for me to be in as a new missionary.  I'll tell yall more about it next week.  It was tough.  We taught him before and it was fine, but this time was different.  The spirit was gone and ya, it was just bad.  Luckily I have a strong testimony! Needless to say, we dropped him.  Surprisingly, he came to church on Sunday haha!  We also got a couple of potentials this week that seem very promising!
I have 30 seconds left! ah!  Everyone send me your address so I can write you a hand written letter this week!  Love you all! 
Elder Nelson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two of our favorite missionaries!  Elder Cox and Elder Nelson in the MTC.

Monday, September 16, 2013

 Josh's Trainer
 Josh's fantastic district.

 Josh being . . . . Josh

Josh's MTC comp, Elder Forsythe

Letter Dated Monday, September 16

Hopefully i can give a pretty good overview of what's happened over the past week!  It's been awesome and I'm loving it!  I left on the 9th to california.  We got to to take Frontrunner to the airport which was fun with all of the missionaries that were leaving that day!  it was kind of sad when the train stopped in Murray though, but whatever!  I got to call Mom and Dad at the airport which was great!  We left at 11:30 and landed at 12:30 in Burbank.  It was awesome getting to meet the mission president!  He's such a great guy!  There were about 30 missionaries in who I flew to Cali with.  The other 20 were already at the airport when we landed.  It was pretty crazy with the amount of missionaries there.  All of the zone leaders and Assistants to the President were there so there were about 70 missionaries in the airport!  From the airport we headed over to the North Hollywood Stake Center where we ate lunch.  After lunch half of the group went proselyting with the Zone leaders.  The other half had to do paper work and get interviewed by President.  I went proselyting first with Elder Garcia.  I was super nervous but I got over it after i talked to the first person.  After that it was just super fun!  I gave out a couple books of mormon and pass along cards and what not.  I loved it!  When we got back, we watched this driving video and had to get interviewed by President and the health lady, Sister Arnold.  Then we had dinner and took some pictures and got assigned to where we were stayying that night.  30 of us had to stay in a hotel while the rest stayed with senior couples.  I stayed in the hotel.  When our ride pulled up in the parking lot, the driver got out and he looked really familiar.  I then realized it was Jacob Morales, Nefi's brother!  it was so good to see him!  He was leaving for home the next day.  It was awesome!  That night I slept like a rock!  The next morning we went back to the Stake Center and Sister Hall and the Assistants conducted a training meeting with us for about 2 hours and then we went to transfer meeting.  When we walked in the chapel which was filled with missionaries, everyone was singing Called To Serve.  It was so cool!  We then got assigned to our trainers and areas.  I told President during my interview that Lindsy lives in Northridge and he told me that he probably wouldn't have me serve in that area.  I was kind of bummed but whatever!  I know the Elder serving in the Northridge First Ward and his name is elder Smith.  Yes Lindsy he is that black elder you told me about in your email.  He was one of my roomates at the MTC and is one of the funniest guys I've met!  You'll love him!  As for me, I'm serving in the Valencia 3rd ward in Santa Clarita!  My trainer is elder Ehninger!  He's a great guy and I've learned so much from him over the past week!  He's a district leader right now and because of that.  Our first day was filled with leadership meetings and stuff.  We've been really busy getting everyone in our disrict bikes for their area.  We spent a lot of time at bike shops over the past week which was not how I would have liked to spend time but it was ok.  We were driving people everywhere since our area is a driving area.  Our car is a little Pontiac Vibe.  It sucks when you have to back up cause when you do someone has to get out and guide.  It's mission rules.  It's funny when you look at other people watching you when you're backing up.  They just laugh, but that makes me laugh because let's face it I look ridiculus and I would laugh at myself if i saw myself guiding a car out of a garage or parking spot.  haha oh I shouldn't complain its not that bad.  Anyways, we spent a whole ton of time driving companionships around trying to get bikes.  It was frustrating, but we were serving the other elders, and as my trainer says, when you help a companionship, you help all of their investigators and potential investigators.  I really liked that way of looking at it.  Elder ehninger is awesome.  We finally went finding for the first time the other day and it was amazing!  We saw miracles.  We went tracting and we found this guy in his garage and we talked to him about the Book of Mormon.  He said that he had seen us before and that his wife had talked with missionaries before.  We asked if we could come over some time and were meeting with him and his wife on Tuesday at 5:00.  After that we kept on tracting down the street and wee knocked on this door and the guy who answered said he wasn't interested.  We asked him if he knew anyone that was and he pointed to the house across the street.  We went over there and this fat shirtless guy answered the door.  We told him who we were and he told us he already knew who we were.  He said that his best frined in high school was mormon and served his mission and had given him a Book of Mormon.  He told us that he had lost that Book of mormon and had wanted to get one ever since.  he wouldn't let us teach him, but we gave him a Book with our number in it.  He was a really cool guy.  Were going to stop by there again sometime this week.  We had been finding for about 2 hours before we stopped to eat dinner.  After that we tried to go vist some part member families but none of them were home.  We then went back to the apartment and said a quick prayer and I pointed to a spot on the map and we went there.  We walked around the neighborhood talking to people with no success for about an hour and a half when we came to a busy street corner and we just sat there.  My trainer asked me what should we do.  I said "i don't know."  We knew we were there for a reason and then my trainer said we should just stand on this corner.  The idea seemed weird but I felt good about it so we just sat there for like ten minutes.  Pretty soon two guys came walking up the street and they asked us "What are you selling."  We told them we weren't selling anything, but that we were sharing a message about jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon.  They quickly responded by saying, "Oh cool, we've got time, enlighten us."  We told them about the Book of mormon and its backround and we bore testimony of its truth.  One of the guys was really interested and I could tell that he felt the spirit. As we were telling him about the Book of Mormon, his eyes just lit up.  We gave him a book and he immediatly started flipping through it and reading the introduction.  it was awesome!  they were both from L.A. though so we'll never be able to teach them.  We did plant a seed however and that was the reason we were supposed to just stand on that street corner.  It was so cool!  Elder Ehninger has been in this area for 3 months and he's been out on his mission for 9 months which is veteran status for this mission!  60% of the missionaries here have been out 12 weeks or less.  There are some trainers who have only been out for 6 weeks!  It's crazy!  The work here is hastening so much! Elder Ehninger and I taught an investigator this week too.  his name is Adrien and my trainer has been teaching him for the past three weeks.  Adrien is the most logical, thinking man I have ever met.  Elder ehninger warned me about him before we went to the lesson.  He's read the Book of Mormon, the bible, and some various LDS Books.  He thinks differently than anyone I have ever met and we really didn't teach him anything.  He can't accept God.  it's almost like he is afraid of him.  He thinks that if he prays for things that he is cheating life and he says that he has never really had to ask God for anything.  Everything we tell him just leads to another question that doesn't really make sense.  I was kind of frustrated.  Adrien is just weird.  he came to Stake conferance on sunday and we asked him how he liked it.  he said it was moving.  He apprehensivly said that it was good, but that he didn't know what that meant.  Elder Ehninger told me that he studied for ten days for Adrien before I got here and he made up a lesson plan for him.  If that lesson plan doesn't work, we will probably drop him.  Kind of sad.  Elder Ehninger tells me that he thinks like Adrien in a way and that he can kind of relate with him.  We also taught a recent convert this week.  heather Bowman was baptized on August 24th and we're teaching her the new member lessons.  Elder Ehninger taught her and she was his first baptism.  I should probably tell you more about elder Ehninger.  He is originally from oregon but moved to South jordan a couple years ago.  We get along real well and we are both learning a lot from each other.  He's had kind of a rough time with companionships.  he's gone through like 5 different elders in the past 3 months.  one of them went home due to depression and annxiety.  he had one for only twelve days because of that, and then he got another one.  That one just barely got transferred and I'm his new companion.  All in all though, he is a great guy.  Thanks for the package mom!  I already ate all the zuchinni bread haha!  thanks for all the emails!  i'll try to write you all personal letters soon!
Love you all!

Elder Nelson
P.S. my address is 27800 Mcbean parkway Apt. 357, Vallencia California.  I don't know the zip code. Sorry! I hope you can look it up!  Keep writing! I love it!  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Josh's Last Letter From the MTC
(Transcribed by Mom)

Dear Family,
Hey, so here's that name that mom and I found.  I went through the temple for him on Thursday.  It was awesome!  The temple was so great!  I see Jayden like everyday.  He's awesome.  I see Jeff at night cause he comes to my room and talks to me.  It's great.  I'm leaving Monday and by the time you get this it will probably be Tuesday because I'm mailing it Saturday night.  I leave Monday at 6:00 or 6:30am.  Everyone in my zone got these slips saying that they were taking frontrunner to the airport except for me.  If I'm not taking frontrunner, I'm leaving at 7:30 am.  I'm probably taking frontrunner through.  They probably just forgot to give me a little slip.  Even my comp got one.  My flight leaves at 11:25 and gets to Burbank at 12:27.  I'm really excited to leave.  I can't wait to get out and actually put my training to use.  I've changed so much.  It's crazy.  I'm excited just to talk to people in the airport.  It'll be a good experience.  Tomorrow for sacrament meeting the departing districts have to sing a musical number together.  We practiced today and we're doing Hymn 152, "God Be With You 'till We Meet Again."  Let's just say it will be interesting.  We taught a less-active member today and it was way cool.  His name was Neal and he was actually (in real life) a less-active member.  He told us that his neighbor was in charge of this TRC at the MTC and invited him to come.  He was a super cool guy who converted to the church in '98.  He knows it's true, but he just had a problem going to church every week.  He didn't feel like he needed to go every week.  We explained that it's a commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy and the importance of the sacrament.  We then read D&C 59:9-10 or 11 (I don't remember).  It was awesome!  We explained that obedience yields blessings and we just talked to him for like 46 minutes.  It was really cool.  We just shared experiences with each other and he was starting to tear up.  He said he would start going to church every week and he said he wanted to email us while we were on our mission.  We gave him our email addresses.  It was a fun appointment.  Everyone has been getting sick in our zone.  One of the new elders was up all night last night puking and dry heaving.  I felt really bad.  Sister Wyer and Sister Magnusson are also sick.  We gave Magnussen a blessing but because of the sicknesses going around we can't shake hands with anyone.  I've got a little cold but it will pass.  My favorite scripture has been going around the zone, D&C 122:7-8.  I used it teaching today and so did a lot of other companionships.  Elder Smith went over to the new district's classroom and shared D&C 122:7-8 with them just because he felt like he should.  Later in the day, Elder Madsen, the kid who was puking all night, said that if Smith hadn't shared that scripture, he would have decided to go home.  Pretty cool right?!  So how was the BYU game in the rain?  Haha! We stopped class for like half an hour just to watch the storm outside.  It was crazy!  It was pouring hard for the very first part of the storm and we thought the tree outside our window was going to break because of the wind!  It was awesome!  Today was our last class with my favorite teacher brother Davies.  He got back from the Tulsa, Oklahoma Mission in May.  He is so cool, and whenever he teaches, we always have the deepest conversations.  It's so awesome, but I'm sad I can't learn more from him.  He knows so much.  I hope to be like him by the time I'm done with my mission.  Hey, well it's almost time for bed, and I've got to get up early so I'll see ya in two!  Keep this letter in a safe place! It's my journal entry for today!  Oh, and tell my friends to write me!  I haven't heard from any of them yet except Tyler, and I want to know what's going on with them!  Thanks for all the packages and letters!  I love em and I can't get enough of em! 

Love ya'll!  ELDER NELSON

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dear Parents of the New (and Historic) September Transfer!

Welcome to the Great California San Fernando Mission!  We have 50 new missionaries who have joined us this week, one fourth of the whole mission!  Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this is amazing!

It is Wednesday morning and all the missionaries are in their areas, and since it is 8:41 a.m. they are all doing their individual study.  At 9 they will have companionship study to prepare for the lessons they will teach today. 

This is the biggest arriving group in the history of the mission, and most likely will be the biggest group ever to arrive.  In the olden days (last year) a large group would have been 15.  That wave Elder Nelson spoke about is more like a tsunami. 

This transfer was a little trickier than usual.  New missionaries go through a 12 week in-field training program.  Last transfer we had 30 missionaries who are now half-way through the training. 50 + 30+ 80 (the trainers)= 160 missionaries who are studying an extra hour a day with the in-field training.  We only have 205 in the mission!  So we are studying!  The 160 number is not quite accurate, we have a few missionaries being trained in trios and a few that are finishing their training with another 6-weeker.  We even have some trainers of your missionaries who have only been here 6 weeks!  When the Lord said he would hasten the work, He wasn’t kidding around.  The great news is that the missionaries are up to the challenge and are working miracles!

Included in the group are 7 visa-waiters.  We love our visa-waiters.  They are a great addition to the mission and really work hard and encourage us.  We don’t know when their visas will come, but we secretly hope never.  Generally they come within a couple of months.  We’ve had visas come within days and we have some who have been waiting six months, government red tape moves slowly sometimes.  But even if we don’t know how long they will be with us, the Lord knows and we can testify that those that wait with us have been called to serve here as well as their final destination.  Truly it is a blessing (even if it seems disguised).

We see miracles every day in this mission!  Next Monday you should receive your first email from your missionary.  Ask him or her about the miracles in this work.  Ask them about their first afternoon in the mission where they went out finding people to teach after landing at the airport.  I blogged about Day 1 here, if you want more details. 

Along with praying for your missionary, please pray for you missionary’s companion.  To bless the lives of Heavenly Father’s children, companions must work in unity.  Adjusting to a companion 24/7 is always a learning curve.  Pray for both halves of the companionship.  It makes a huge difference.

We love this group already, they are going to be amazing!

Sister and President Hall
Largest Transfer in the History of the San Fernando California Mission