Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Pics

The Ramirez Family.  They all got baptized!!

Ice Cream Trucker

Well, it sounds like everyone was 10 minutes away from me again.  Weird!  Thanks for not looking for me, because you probably would have found me!  I think that would be quite hilarious actually!  Random fun fact for the week.  I bought my first ice cream from an ice cream truck this last week!  It was a delicious banana split made by the hands of a seasoned ice cream trucker from the southern countries.  Amazing!  There are so many ice cream tucks around here!  It's so annoying!  I mean the music is annoying.  It plays over and over and never stops!  It's like the ride at Disneyland, its a small world.  The Ice Cream is good though, and that's all that matters. 
Things are doing all right here in West Hills ward.  Its kind of the same old story.  We had most of our appointments fall through as usual, yet we had 5 people come to church this week!  It was awesome! It reminded me of my last area!  We had 5 people come to church every week with the Ramirez family!  James, (our super catholic mental friend) Mathew Jalsevec (our super alcoholic friend), Marissa and Isaiah (our super solid mother and son friends from new York), and Alvaro (our homeless 19 year old friend) all came to church!  Mathew left after Sacrament, but everyone else stayed for the full 3 hours!  The other Elders had a lot of success this week too.  The mother and daughter that they found last week that came to the baptism came to the first 15 minutes of Sacrament meeting.  Unfortunately, the daughter started to have seizures and we had to help the Elders carry her out to her car.  The rest of church was pretty good though.  yesterday we found this really old lady named Jan Smalley.  We taught her and it wasn't the best lesson, but at least we found a new investigator!  This week has been pretty slow.  We were only able to teach 4 total lessons this week to investigators.  We taught Marissa this week, and Bro. Maeza took over again.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon and had questions that could have been answered in 4-5 minutes, but Bro. Maeza took over and spent the whole lesson on them.  It wasn't the best, but weirdly enough, she is progressing.  We also taught James.  He is really hard to teach because he talks really slowly, mumbles, and goes off on tangents.  I think his mental disability limits him.  He doesn't understand what we say a lot of the time, even though he thinks he does.  He's been reading the Book of Mormon, but he tried to give it back to us this week.  He says he doesn't want to get involved with the LDS church, but he's willing to come to church and read. . . its interesting.  We also taught the Dawes girls again which was interesting.  They're always just off the walls, but the lesson went alright.  Mathew relapsed again this week.  he just went out and bought a bottle of Vodka and drank it.  Why asked him why and he said he didn't know why, he just did it.  At least he's telling us the truth.  With other missionaries in the past he would lie and tell them he was sober  even though he wasn't.  He'll get there one day.  We taught a less active this week named Joshua cobb, we've been visiting him for a while and we taught him the importance of the Sacrament.  he told us that he knows its super important, but he needs to be worthy before taking it.  We committed him to stop smoking and to attend the church ARP meetings.  He agreed.  it was an awesome lesson.  He's a great guy and reminds me a lot of Jack Black.  The rest of the week was filled with contacting and knocking.  Yes, we went knocking for a day here.  It was fun, but knocking makes the day so much longer!  I forgot how tiring knocking is.  I would much rather street contact than knock.  It's not as fruitful either.  We also stopped by this other less active named Frank Dagri.  He's Italian and a convert of 13 years.  He's been less active for the past 3 years and is now anti.  We tried to teach him the Restoration, but he just fought everything and denied everything.  he went off on so many tangents about how Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon and all this other crap.  After about 15 minutes I just told him straightup that I felt so sorry that he's lost sight of the testimony he once had.  I bore probably one of the most powerful testimonies of my mission.  It was so cool.  I felt like I Joseph Smith when he rebuked the guards in Liberty jail.  I rebuked him for his slander of a prophet of God and he couldn't deny what I said wasn't true and I invited him to start reading and praying again.  he said he would!  it was so cool!  The members here in the ward are still the same.  It doesn't matter though.  We're doing all we can and that's all that matters.  Love ya!  
Elder Nelson  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hola Como Estas.  Happy Easter family!  This week was pretty slow honestly.  Working hard doesn't always bring the results you want, but whatever, I love the work no matter what happens.  We had a bunch of appointments fall through and we didn't find anyone this week.  One of our investigators showed up to church and 3 of the less actives we're teaching showed up as well so that was awesome.  Our investigator that came was our alcoholic friend Mathew Jalsevac.  He's been sober for about a week now.  We had an appointment with him Wednesday and set goals with him to help him quit smoking and drinking.  So far it's working.  We also taught the Dawes family, a less active family that we've been teaching for a couple weeks.  We're teaching their kids who are crazy.  It's so hard to teach them.  The older of the two kids wants to be baptized.  She's 9, but her mom wants her to understand more before she's baptized.  She knows enough already, but her mom has some reservations.  We also taught Marisa on Thursday again with Bro. Maeza.  As usual, he took over the lesson.  We told him what we wanted him to do and what we were going to teach, but he just took off.  Super frustrating.  Thursday we got a call from the mission office.  They told my companion Elder Smith that his grandma died.  It was super sad and its been really hard on him, but he's not letting it get him down.  He's still working like a champ.  We went on exchanges Friday with Elder Smith (Black Smith) and Elder Ahn.  I went with Elder Smith to his area of the ward.  They've been having trouble finding people too.  Their investigators aren't doing to well either.  We had a good exchange though!  We talked to so many people and had some awesome spiritual filled contacts.  It's honestly just so hard when you teach someone by the spirit and to their needs in a contact, and you know that they're feeling the spirit and they reject you.  Something I've been studying and working on these past couple of weeks is Christlike Attributes from ch. 6 in Preach my Gospel.  I asked President hall what he thinks I should work on in my interview with him a couple weeks ago and he told me to study that for this next transfer.  This week I've been focusing on Charity, the pure love of Christ.  I've been praying to gain a stronger love for the people here in California and to be able to put myself in their shoes and have compassion for them.  It's been working and I feel like it's been helping me in contacting and teaching.  The thing about loving the people more is that rejection feels so much more severe than it used too.  I can't even begin to fathom what Christ must have felt like when people rejcted him, but I'm starting to see just how severe and needed this gospel is in people's lives.  It's amazing what charity can do and the perspective it brings.  Charity is such a deep concept.  All of the Christlike Attributes are so deep!  I love it!  it's amazing the change that I can see within myself as I've been studying these things.  Well that's what I've been learning in preach my gospel this week.  Thanks for sharing what you've been learning with me mom!  It's awesome!  The thing about Preach my Gospel is that you can't just read it.  You really have to dig deep and study it.  Don't just read in chapter by chapter, dig into the individual principles and try to think of ways to apply them into your own life.  it's amazing what it does!  I love Preach My Gospel.  Anyways, back to the exchange.  We just contacted all day which was a lot of fun.  It's so fun to try new things with different contacts and get to know people.  it's amazing how some people will just open up.  After our exchange my real companion and I met this guy who was going through a real hard time.  We asked if we could pray with him and during the prayer he just broke down in tears.  He was feeling the spirit and wanted us to come back.  It's moments like that on the mission that keep me going.  It's amazing what can happen in a contact in less than a minute.  We went to a baptism in the Chatsworth ward that night.  Our investigator Angelica was supposed to meet us there, but she didn't show up.  The other West hills Elders were there too and they brought a woman and her daughter that they met on the street only 2 hours before.  After the actual ordinance and during the missionary moment, the daughter started to have a seizure.  The missionaries giving their presentation showed the easter video Because of him and during the video, Elder Smith (Black Smith) carried her to a pew in the back of the room and I helped him give her a blessing.  I anointed and he sealed.  All of this happened within 2 minutes and we were trying to be as quiet as possible.  Amazingly most of the people there didn't even notice.  The lady the daughter was sitting next to was a nurse.  She helped us and we carried her out into the foyer of the church.  She was convulsing on and off still.  It was pretty crazy. She was alright though.  She's epilectic.  Her mom who was there with her told us that this happens often and that she was super excited about the baptism.  We carried the daughter to her car and they drove off.  Easter Sunday was great.  We sang in the choir and taught the Dawes which was super stressful, but it all worked out.  So ya, there's my week for ya!  To answer your question dad, yes I have a Nishiki mountain bike.  It's kind of crappy and I bought it overpriced, but I love it.  I can't believe I'm already 7 and a half months out!  I feel like I got here like a month ago!  Time flies when you're spreading the gospel!  It's awesome!  So I loved the Easter package mom and grandma!  Thanks so much!  I need to send you my SD card home.  I'm lacking on taking pictures!  I really need to take more so I'll work on that.  I'll send my card home this week.  Exclusive with this card is a special tour of my apartment.  You'll love it.  I love you all! 
Elder Nelson

Monday, April 7, 2014

Temple and Conference

So ya, this week was sooooo good!  I know I'm not supposed to speak negatively about the area where I serve, but honestly, the ward is lacking.  The work would be so much better if we could get members out to lessons and to help us with our investigators.  Other than that everything is amazing!  The work is exploding in this area.  We found 7 new investigators again this week which is crazy!  Expecially for this zone.  It's so cool with all the miracles we're seeing!  There is so much work to do in this area.  We've mostly worked only in half of our area because that's where most of our investigators are.  And we keep getting more investigators in this part of our area, because we talk to everyone on the way to and from the places we go to.  They could split our area and have another set of missionaries here.  It's crazy.  I've never taught so many different people so much on my mission.

Technically this is transfer week.  I forgot to tell y'all last week, but its ok because I'm not getting transferred and neither is my companion!  One of us probably will next transfer though.  So I don't know if I told you this, but we ran into our investigator Matthew Jalsevac on the street last Monday.  He was drunk and smoking.  It was sad to see him.  He's been telling missionaries that he's wanted to quit for the last year and a half.  He really wants to get baptized, but he is a hardcore alcoholic.  We want to get him at least 6 months to a year sober before he gets baptized.  The longest he's ever gone is 4 months.  It's so sad to see that this addiction has taken over his life.  He can't stop.  He called us later in the week and told us that he promised God that he would stop and he hasn't drunken since.  We know he's still smoking though.  Our other investigator ran into him on the street.  Her name is Elena.  She's really cool and we haven't taught her the Word of Wisdom yet, but they both smoked together and Matthew told her that he wants to be a Mormon.  She told him that she's been meeting with us and he did to.  She called us and told us all about how she met Matthew and that she took it as a sign from God.  It was sweet.  Basically we taught a whole bunch this week and one of our new investigators named James came to Priesthood session!  He's super super Catholic, but he liked priesthood!  We had a crazy miracle on Sunday.  The zone leaders found a new investigator last week.  He's technically homeless, but he lives with his friends in our area.  His name is Alvaro and he came to every single session of General Conference.  He loved it and wants to be baptized.  He's only 19, but he told us that he wants to do what we do and become an Elder!  It was so awesome!  

So I don't have much time to email this week, but everyone who reads this letter, read Elder Ballard's talk from conference and start studying Preach My Gospel!  Tell me what you learn and tell the missionaries what you learn!  There is so much in that book that we can all learn as missionaries and members.  Read the promise the First Presidency gives on the inside cover and study it.  Do you want to have more joy than you've ever felt before?  Than do missionary work and apply Preach My Gospel into your life!  I promise with the First Presidency that you will find greater joy in your life and that you will become an instrument in the Lord's hands.  It'll be awesome and I'll follow up next week!  I love you all!  Bye!

Elder J.J. Nelson

"The Great"    

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Letter from March 31, 2014

Hey Fam!  So this week was awesome!  We saw so many miracles!  Mainly on Wednesday.  We picked up 6 new investigators on Wednesday.  It was sweet! Anyways, on to my week.

So Tuesday we had a good day.  It started off with district meeting which was great.  The rest of the day was filled with visiting potential investigators and investigators.  We dropped by our alcoholic investigator Matthew to see how he was doing.  He was asleep.  We could hear him snoring behind the door.  We then kept going to potentials with no luck.  We had an appointment that night with Jane Choy who is confined to a rehab center.  We went through the Baptismal Interview questions with her and recommitted her to live the Word of Wisdom.  The only thing she had a problem with was a modern day prophet because she had never heard President Monson speak.  We're trying to get her a ride to general conference this weekend.  If we could work out transportation to church, she would be baptized already.  The problem is that she has an oversized wheelchair that apparently won't fit in a minivan.  She said she was ready to resort to paying for paratransit to get to church, but we'll figure something out for her.  She's paralyzed from the waist down and is a big lady, so her getting baptized will be interesting.  Nonetheless, it'll happen.

Wednesday.  The day of miracles!  We started the day off by doing service for this lady we met biking home for the night last saturday.  She was picking up weeds and trash on the side of the bike path we ride on.  We offered to help her do service around her house, and she accepted!  We did service for about an hour and a half and gave her a Book of Mormon and committed her to read it everyday.  She was super excited because she loved the scripture I used when we contacted her about keeping commandments.  Mosiah 2:41.  Its good.  We said a prayer with her and then went home for lunch.  Thats one new investigator.  After lunch, we went by referrals that we have and one let us in!  Their names are Sam and Laura.  They're very spiritual people but aren't necessarily Christian.  We taught them the Restoration, but at the end of the lesson they were asking all sort of questions about the Plan of Salvation.  We told them a little bit about it and set up a return appointment--2 more investigators.  We then had an appointment with Marrissa, our member ref feral from Lindsy's ward.  Bro. Maeza from lindsy's ward came with us.  Nothing really seemed to hit Marissa too hard, but is was good nonetheless--another new investigator.  We then went to dinner with a member and hit up one more potential for the night at 8:00.  They let us in!  Their names are Tony and Jovana!  Jovana was super skeptical of us at first, but her heart changed by the end of the lesson.  She straight up told us that she was wrong and that she wanted to come to church!  It was sick!  2 more investigators!  6 in a day.  It was amazing.

Thursday.  Weekly planning.  We hit up potentials all day to with no luck.  We had a dinner with a young less active couple that night too.  We met them on the street and they're super cool.  Their names are Steve and Savanna D'alo.  It was great until we asked if we could share a message after dinner.  Steve, a return missionary from Montreal Canada told us that they've decided to stop coming to church for personal reasons and that we can't make the a "project."  He told us to share a "generic message."  I was going to share the Restoration because thats as generic as you can get right?  My comp went off on something else though, and we basically just bore testimony to them.  It was good though.

Friday.  We had a lesson with Penney this morning and it was amazing!  She told us that she had been reading and said that it brought back memories of her past life.  She's been on the streets since 15 and is separated from her husband.  She read through the restoration pamphlet and loved it.  She then just started telling us about her life.  She's gone through a lot.  We eventually taught the Restoration and committed her to be baptized on April 26th.  It was awesome!  We then went to interviews with President Hall at our church.  It was awesome!  I love that man!  He's a genius!

Saturday.  We stayed in most of the day because my companion got sick.  Stomach issues.  Not good.  We spent forever trying to get rides to church for our investigators, but they all cancelled!  Whatever, we did everything we can.

Sunday.  Nobody came to church sadly.  We did get one more investigator today.  She's nine and her name is Sierra.  She has the attention span of a 3 year old.  It was the hardest lesson to teach.  The family is less active but the daughters go to church sometimes with their dad.  It was crazy.  

Other than that, today has been fun so far.  We've worked most of the day because we're going to the temple on Friday so we're taking that as our preparation day.  We met this crazy Christian Indian family this morning knocking.  The mom told us she would take us to India so we could get married to some nice ladies.  It was fun.  They had an LDS picture of Christ in their house!  We're going over again later this week to teach them and eat some chicken curry with them.  Well I love you guys!

Elder Nelson