Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Planning and Calling

Hey hey hey! Whats up my Utah friends of the west? Everything here in California is great. . . kinda. Its mostly great!  The ward has a couple of issues, but that's ok because we're doing everything we can!  Don't get me wrong, I love the West Hills ward, it's just hard to get members to come out to lessons and help out.  I've never made so many calls to get people to come out to lessons before.  We generally spend about an hour a day trying to get members to come out, and most of the time, we resort to just going by ourselves.  It's whatever though!  All is well!  The weeks keep going by faster and faster.  I can't believe I've almost been out 7 months already!  It's crazy! 

This week was super busy!  I've never had so many appointments cancel or fall through in a week!  It's frustrating, but we're doing everything we can!  I've never called so many people before in my life.  We did a ton of planning to get members out to our lessons and schedule lessons with investigators and potentials.  Every time we'd get something in place, something else would fall through or someone would call and cancel etc. It's frustrating.  Tuesday was supposed to be full of lessons, but they all fell through.  Wednesday, we visited a referral from Bro. Maeza in the Northridge ward.  He's an awesome guy and last week we went with him to give his referral a blessing.  Her name is Marissa and she has a son named Isaiah.  Her son has a lot of heart problems and he's 9 years old.  They are super awesome.  We went by to follow up with them and see if they had read any of the Book of Mormon that we had left them.  They hadn't.  We set up a lesson with them, but once again, we weren't able to get a male member to come with us, so we had to cancel.  We set up another lesson with them this Wednesday and hopefully that doesn't fall through.  Bro. Maeza told us he would come with us even though he's in the Northridge ward.  He's such a good member missionary.  He knows Lindsy and Ryan too, as does everyone else in the mission.  Everytime I talk to the Chatsworth Sisters they're always like, "We saw Lindsy and Ryan the other day!"  That's always fun.  Anyways, we taught Matthew Jalsevec Wednesday as well.  It was interesting.  We set a baptismal date with him for August 25th.  We want him to be sober for at least 5-6 months before he gets baptized.  We're not sure it'll happen, but we're praying for him.  He didn't come to church this week and hasn't been answering his phone, so we think he may have relapsed.  We also taught Jane Choy on Wednesday.  She's a women confined to a rehab center.  She's paralyzed in her legs and she's a big lady.  She knows the church is true and wants to be baptized and come to church, but can't find transportation because she has an extra wide wheel chair and it won't fit through the door of the rehab center van.  We're working on getting her transportation, and when that happens, she'll get baptized.  Thursday was a ton of planning.  Weekly planning.  It was long.  Friday we went on exchanges with the other West Hills Elders.   It was a good exchange.  We found a lot of potentials, but once again, all of our appointments canceled.  We found this guy named Rudy in the morning before the exchange and taught him the Restoration.  It was awesome.  He's awesome.  He's in his 70's and his wife is Catholic.  He's been trying to come closer to God recently and has read a little of the Book of Mormon before.  He liked it and wants to continue to read it.  It was cool.  Saturday morning we taught Elena, our investigator we found a while ago.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon and really likes it!  She hasn't been coming to church though.  She'll get baptized.  We asked her to be baptized and she said she wouldn't say no, but she won't say yes yet.  Sunday we didn't have any investigators come to church sadly.  The other Elders had a baptism that was amazing!  Our investigator Elena said she was going to come, but she didn't show up.  This morning was awesome!  We went on a hike and bought sombreros!  It was great!  So ya, we're doing everything we can to move the work forward in this area!  It's great!  Thanks for everything and I love you all!

Elder Nelson 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Earthquakes, Murders, Strip Clubs, and Jews

So this was a good week this week!  I have to be fast, because I don't have much time!  There was an earthquake this morning!!!! It was so fun!  It woke us up 4 minutes before our alarm went off!  I felt like I was in one of those shaking beds in motels!  I probably should've taken more precautions like jumping under the bed or something, but I didn't.  I'm okay though!  There was also a shooting outside the Chatsworth Sisters apartment!  3 people we're killed and the Chatsworth Elders saw it happen! It's crazy!  Also, 3 of the owners of one of the biggest strip joints in LA, which just happens to be in our area, are running for city council!  

We found a couple of new investigators and one came to church!  His name is Matthew Jalesevec.  He has been taught for the past year and a half.  He's a big alcoholic and hasn't been able to give it up.  He wants to be baptized, but that and smoking have been holding him up.  We met him our first day here.  He was out on the street looking through a trash can to find some bottles to recycle.  He's not homeless, but he lives in a studio and teaches piano.  He's a really good pianist, but not amazing.  We taught him for the first time this week.  We also are teaching Brian, a 20 year old guy we found on the street.  He's really chill.  Our other investigator we found/inherited was Jane Choy.  She has been taught for the past year and wants to be baptized, but is confined to a rehab center.  She's super awesome!  
Other than that, we had a good week full of contacting and teaching some less actives.  They're great, but they need home teachers so bad!  

 I gave a Book of Mormon to a Jewish lady the other day, so that was an accomplishment!  Basically, that's it.  Earthquakes, murders, strip clubs, and Jews.  So much fun!  I love you guys!  Thanks for the package! I'm so sad to hear about Charlee's passing, but I know that this gospel is true!  Families truly can live in eternal happiness through the Plan of Salvation!  I love Charlee and I love this gospel!  I love you all and thanks for everything!

Elder Nelson

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Josh and His New Companion

Josh and Elder Smith from Mapleton, Utah
Serving in Josh's second area:  Canoga Park, California

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Week in West Hills

So first off, I'm going to answer all of Dad's questions in the email he sent me.  How do I like Canoga Park in the West hills ward?  It's an awesome area and I love working in it!  I don't like the ward as much as Seco Canyon, but that's probably just because I was there for 6 months.  How does it compare with Valencia?  Its so different from Valencia because there are people everywhere on the streets!  All you have to do is go outside to talk to people, where as in Valencia you have to knock doors to contact people.  Finding people to teach here is a lot easier than Valencia, but the people you teach here aren't as solid as they are in Valencia.  They don't keep commitments and appointments and its harder to get in contact with them.  Nobody is on the streets in Valencia.  How do I enjoy lving and working with my new companion?  My new companion Elder Smith is awesome!  He's from Mapleton Utah and has been out a transfer longer than me.  He's a hard worker and he's focused.  We work and teach pretty well together seeing as we've only been together for two weeks.  We get along really well.  How has it been riding a bicycle everywhere?  It's so much better than driving in a car everywhere!  We get to talk to so many more people and I love biking!  It keeps me energized!  I have my bike that I loaned to that missionary a while ago and its running pretty good.  There have been some problems with the brakes rubbing, but I fixed that.  It's now running smoothly.  Do we ever plan mountain bike rides for P-day?  Answer is no.  I'm sure that President would have a problem with that and in the missionary handbook  says not to do anything that could potentially put your safety at risk.  Our ward mission leader Borther Radstone has taken missionaries mountain biking in the past, but as much as I want to go, I want to be obedient even more.  "Obedience is the first law of heaven."  (Preach My Gospel)  Have I seen any gang members?  I have not yet, but I've been told to not go to particular areas after dark, as that is where they usually are.  Gang Activity? None yet.  Are there any gangbangers in my area?  Maybe, probably.  I think I talked to one yesterday actually, now that I think about it.  He was on his way to do a drug deal, and he was all tatted up.  He was carrying a bag full of pills and what not, and he told us he was "going to do what [he] does best."  It was interesting.  I am teaching a former gangbanger from Florida named Denorris.  He's not gangbangin no mo.  Do I see them when I go to district meeting?  No.  Where is district meeting?  At the church.  I hope that answers your questions Dad!  

Anyways, here is an overview of the week.

So Tuesday, we went on exchanges with Elder Quizon and Elder Smith, (black Smith).  Elder Smith and Elder Smith went to our area, while I went with Elder Quizon to their area.  We had a good time!  I've never been cussed at so much in one day!  It was funny and sad.  We just talked to a lot of crazy people I guess.  Elder Quizon is originally from the Phillipines but his family now lives in Virginia.  He's a great missionary and he's been out for four and a half months.  We just contacted potentials the whole day and talked to people.  It's so nice because he actually knows some spanish!  All I can say is that we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  We share a message about Jesus Christ and family.  I know the message we share can bless your family.  Can we send some other missionaries who speak spanish to your house?  Thats it.  25% of the time it works!  Spanish people are so nice and they're so open.  With Elder Quizon, we got a ton of spanish refferals to send off.  That night, we taught their investigator Angelina and her two daughters about prayer, scripture study and keeping the Sabbath.  They are so awesome!  The lesson was great and was so spiritual!  The last time they taught her, she asked them for pass along cards to give to people on the street.  They gave her about 50 and she passed them all out to people and she asked them for more!  She's so awesome!  She's getting baptized soon.  Investigators are better missionaries than members a lot of the time.  Selvin told us that the Monday after he got baptized, he gave 2 Books of Mormon to his friends.  So cool right?  If investigators can do it, members can do it!  But they don't.  Anyways, Wednesday we exchanged back and we contacted some potentials.  Elder Smith and Elder Smith had a fun time on their exchange too.  We just contacted all day on Wednesday.  Thursday we had a super cool miracle, we were going to a less active to teach him, but he didn't answer, so we decided to contact around the area.  There weren't a lot of people on the street in the area we were in, and we eventually came to a corner.  If we went straight or left we would go out onto the busy street where the people are, but if we went right, we would hit a dead end.  There was no one on the street to the right, but we got the impression to go right so we did.  We found ourselves at an apartment complex with no gate and felt like we should go in.  We said a prayer for guidance before we walked in.  We go in and walk up some stairs and knock on apartment 19.  This black lady answers the door and we talk to her about the restoration and about a modern day prophet.  She then invites us to sit down on her porch and tell her about it.  She was so interested and we taught the Restoration lesson and she said that it made sense that God would call another prophet.  It was so cool.  Her name is Elena.  We ran into her on the street yesterday and she was drunk out of her mind.  She told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon though!  That's good!  We'll work with her on drinking though.  Friday was amazing and horrible as well.  I'll start with the horrible.  We had a lesson to go to with an investigator named DeNorris, and we needed to get a member to come.  We called a ton of people and finally we got Bro. Baca to come.  He's a former bishop, so you think he would be good right?  No.  We got in their and DeNorris told us about how he was a gangbanger in Florida and how he was in jail and that he has a girlfriend with 2 kids in Massachusets and one on the way.  Bro. Baca took over and talked about repentance the whole time and made him feel chastized without chastizing him.  It was horrible.  We're going over there later today though and we feel good about the lesson we've planned for him.  Later on in the day, we had a lesson with a potential named Samantha.  We brought an awesome member, Bro Taylor, with us.  Samantha and her older brother Carlos and younger sister Stephanie sat in and it was a great lesson!  Their parents weren't there, so hopefully they'll get onboard too.  They're Catholic and they all committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon together.  They're super cool.  Saturday we met with an investigator named Debbie.  She's in her 50's.  We taught her last week with the Sisters and this week we got there and she just broke down crying like 5 times.  She says she has empty nesters syndrome and that she has no one to talk to.  She told us that she's Catholic and doesn't want to change, but that she loves it when we pray and read scriptures.  She's been going through a real hard time and needs friends.  We called members for an hour to get one to come to the lesson, but no one could.  She needs members to befriend her. We invited her to church and she said no because she's Catholic, but later on that night, she called us crying and told us to pray with her.  We did and she said she felt better.  She then texted us and and said that she talked with her Sister in Virginia who told her that she had been praying and God told her to go to the Mormon church.  We invited her to come again, but she said that church was to early and that she has sleeping problems.  She said she didn't have any of her "pumpkin powder to put in warm milk, natures sleep aid."  Ya, she's kinda crazy, but she still has potential.  Sunday we had no investigators at church for all 3 sets of missionaries.  All of Sunday we just contacted potential investigators.  This week was a good one.  Full of miracles.  Thanks for the package!  It was awesome!  I love you all!

Elder Nelson    

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pics from the Field

 Missionaries serving with Josh in his first area:  Valencia, California.

 P-Day fun with his first companion and trainer, Elder Ehninger

 So excited to go to the temple in Los Angeles!

 Josh and his second companion, Elder Davidson on a temple trip.

Thanks Jordan for the Leatherman!

Pictures from the MTC . . . . finally!

Best friends who got to see each other every night in the MTC.

Wow!  Josh is suddenly tall!

Josh's MTC district

MTC Buddies

Elder Beardall & Elder Nelson
Comforting to see a friend!

West Hills

West Hills babay!  Yep I'm now in West Hills Area 3. . . a new area.  It's soooooooo different from Valencia!  There's people everywhere!  You just go out on the street and BAM!  People are everywhere and we get to talk to all of them!  I live on 8735 Independence, Canoga Park by the way.  Ya, Northridge is pretty much next door.  It's weird.  I'm pretty sure Northridge is in the Grenada Hills Stake but I could be wrong.  I'm in the Canoga Park Stake. My new companion is Elder Smith from Mapleton Utah.  He's been serving in the Mint Canyon ward in Santa Clarita for the past 7 and a half months.  He came out one transfer before me.  He's awesome!  He's got a powerful testimony and he knows how to use it.  He's a little quieter than my previous companions, but he's a great guy and we've had a great first week.  Like 80% of the people we talk to only speak Spanish, and we've sending off referrals like mad.  We barey know any Spanish, but that's ok because pretty much every latino person you talk to gives us their address and phone number.  We're able to fumble our way through a conversation, but we definatly need to get better.  We're the 3rd set of missionaries in the West Hills ward.  We have another set of Elders and a set of ASL (American Sign Language) sisters, as the West Hills ward is also the ASL branch for the mission.  We took parts of both of their areas.  We inherited a couple of not very solid investigators from them and the teaching records aren't up to date on some of them.  We've been trying to contact them this whole week.  We've only taught one of them, and she straight up told us that she doesn't want to change at all.  Her name s Debbie.  She's the only one we've met.  So far we haven't found any new investigators, even though we've talked to more people this week than I have in any other previous week.  We've been going by a lot of referrals and potentials, but none of them have panned out.  We have met some awesome people this week though, so hopefully we will be able to get in contact with them this week and teach them.  Elder Smith (black Smith) is my district leader.  He was in the MTC with me and served in Northridge with Elder Stucki, my previous zone leader.  The West Hills ward has a lot of less actives and the chapel was pretty scarce this Sunday.  We're going to change that!  Anyways, this week has been pretty stressful with opening a new area and not knowing anything about it.  It's been a lot of fun though!  Really all we've been doing everyday is finding.  Biking is so much fun! Well I don't have very much time to write this week.  We gotta go out and work, but I love you all! (Sorry this one is shorter than most!)

Elder Nelson