Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Monday, June 23, 2014

Last Week Before Transfers!

Oh my gosh this transfers gone by so fast!  This is week 6 of the transfer!  I find out if I get transferred on Saturday so stay tuned next week for what happens!  I think I'll probably stay one more transfer with Elder Baughan.  We're doing pretty well together and I'm learning so much from being with him!  It's great! 
It sounds like everythings hoppin at home with the counsins camp, the Kings working on the garage, Tya having her baby, Cindy having her baby... There's so many babies!  Tell them all that their cousin says hello from Sunny California!  I can't believe Austin is already home from his mission!  That's crazy!  I'm getting old!  I've been out for how long.... almost 10 months!  Holy. .. wow, sorry I just had a freak out session.  Anyways, it sounds like he gave a great talk and had a great mission!  Its sad to hear about the BMW.  I loved that car, but I would have thought it unfair if Emily got to drive during her high school years.  She needs a geo and a mini-van!  That will most definatly ensure popularity among all the cool kids in school.
This week in West Hills (The village), was Purdy good.  We've been doing a lot of finding, but its been fun.  I love finding.   You find!  I'm not saying we don't have anyone to teach, but are teaching pool is at a low right now and has been this whole transfer, so we've been finding a lot.  That's what I've been doing my whole mission it feels like is finding.  If you don't like it you'll be miserable, and I don't want to be miserable, so I like it.  I really do.  I've had some fun times knocking and street contacting.  Granted finding does get old sometimes after doing it for weeks on end, but that's why you gotta try new things with people and ultimately listen to the spirit!  Its so easy to fall into a rut of saying the same thing, but every person is different and is in a different situation, so it would only make sense if you teach every person something different according to their situations.  One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 84:85.  (I think that's the reference.)  Read it!
anyways enough of my ranting.  My week was good.  We taught Marissa the Plan of Salvation at a members house and it went pretty well.  She has a strong testimony of the Savior and is always baffled about how he can forgive everyone.  She is awesome.  We walked with her and Isaiah home from the members house and Isaiah asked me if he could talk to me about God.  he didn't want anyone else to hear, so we walked a little bit infront of mariss and my companion.  he asked me if god was is father and many questions about baptism and how God is with us.  I taught him about the Holy Ghost, repentance, and baptism... a lot of other stuff, but basically lesson 3 in Preach my gospel.  he's so cool and would totally be baptized if we could get custody.  There really isn't a custody battle, we just have to make sure marissa has full custody before we teach him.  She has to go to court and get an attorney and the bishop is helping her, but unfortunately, its going slow.  He's identified an attorney, but hasn't made any calls or anything, but it should happen this week hopefully.  We also taught mellissa 2 times and we're going to the temple visitors center with her tomorrow!  It's going to be awesome!  We can go to the visitors center with an investigator once a transfer and this my first time ever going with an investigator.  We called the Sisters there and coordinated what we're going to do and its going to be So amazing!  Melissa's main issue is still priesthood and that there is only one true church.  She's been reading though and she's going to invite her mom to come tomorrow as well.  Wednesday we're going to the temple again as a mission so this week is going to be temple week for us!  I'm so excited! I love the temple!  We also found 2 new investigators this week.  One is named Collins. he is from Nigeria and has ran into missionaries all his life.  He is Methodist and works a ton, but we committed to be baptized if he found out this was true!  It was a good lesson and he really understood the restoration well.  he has a family and wants the best for them.  We also taught George.  He and his wife are from the Phillipines.  he speaks illikano and there is a bit of a language barrier, but he was super nice and believes that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ.  We're going to try to meet with him tonight.  Other than that, we've just been finding.  Talking to crazy people is always fun, but talking to people who are prepared to hear the gospel is the best!  If you're out working as hard as you can doing everything you do, the Lord will place people in your path who are prepared to receive this gospel.  I have really gained a testimony of that.  So ya. Things are good.  We're working.    I'll let yall know what happens with transfers!
Elder Nelson 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"I Don' Want No Burnin' in da Bosom!"

This is what Marisa said in gospel principles yesterday.  She is hilarious.  She went on to say, "I be prayin fo no burnin cause I don't want nothing catchin on fire!"  We explained what it really meant and it made sense to her.  We talked about the gift of the holy Ghost which was perfect, because Marisa was just confirmed in Sacrament meeting.  Elder Baughan confirmed her.  It was great and she's doing great! 
To answer your questions dad, Canoga Park does not feel like home even though I've been here for over 3 months.  I was in Seco Canyon for 6 months and that felt a lot more like home than Canoga Park!  I was there forever!  Do I take pride in showing my new companion the area and the members who I can count on to help us?  Not really.  He knows the area pretty well now that he's been here for 3 weeks already. Not many members are coming out with us anymore.  There's only a couple of members you can count on and he knows them.  What do you see of the infamous gangs and gang activity there?  Honestly I haven't really seen anything.  We do have this really ghetto street next our apartment, but I haven't seen any gang activity yet.  We hear gunshots every once in a while and cops drive around pretty frequently.  We did see a teenager riding down the street yesterday with a bullet proof vest on and a bandana.  He also had a ski mask.  It was interesting.  I wish I could've taken a picture.  The really crazy things happen in Van Nuys and Pacoima.  My trainer has some crazy stories from when he was in Sylmar, which covers part of Van Nuys and Pacoima.  Other than that, life is peaceful in Canoga Park.  I can't believe Alec Crosby is putting his papers in for his mission!  That's so cool!  When is Kami getting married?  The pictures of the cabin look so awesome!  There's actually floor now!
Anyways, things have been going smoothly here in Canoga Park.  We've been teaching our investigator Melissa for 3 weeks now.  She came to church yesterday.  We taught her 3 times this week and she has a couple of concerns that we're trying to resolve.  She is having a hard time accepting the fact that priesthood authority is needed and that Christ set up His church.  We've showed her scriptures and she just interprets them differently.  Everything we've taught makes sense to her, it just goes against what she was taught growing up.  She keeps saying that all you need to do is believe in Christ to be saved.  She told us that everything we taught her makes sense and that it makes sense that God wouldn't just stop revelation given to prophets.  She's felt the spirit everytime we teach her and she even said a prayer at the end of a church tour we gave her and asked if this is where she needs to be.  She paused for 15 seconds in the prayer and then closed.  She told us in the next lesson that during that time she "felt God" but that she still doesn't know if this is true or not!  She's had multiple answers to prayers and she's reading the Book of Mormon.  She just hates the fact that there is only one true church.  Its hard for her to accept, but she's progressing.  Just pray for her.  She's awesome and things will work out with her. 
We also taught the Dawes girls the Word of Wisdom this week.  We still don't know what to do there, but we feel like we should still teach them even if it won't lead to baptism.  We're also teaching Marisa still.  She's awesome.  I wish I could record the things she says.  So funny!  There hasn't been any progress on the custody with Isaiah, so we're still praying for that to work out soon as well.  We found 2 new investigators this week from street contacting.  One's name is Nora, and she's around like 16.  She didn't hold our follow up appointment yesterday so she's not to solid.  Our other new investigator was Soloman.  He's from Kenya and has been living in the U.S. for 4 years.  He's a born again Christian and is so nice!  He let us into his apartment and gave food and soda.  The thing with him though is that he goes off on rants about random stories in the bible.  Anytime you ask him a question, he'll go off and talk for 10 minutes about something that is completely irrelevant.  We're going to have to take a different approach with him.  He wants to keep meeting with us and to come to church.  We weren't sure how much he understood of the Restoration, because we eventually just stopped asking him questions because that doesn't work with him.  He's awesome though.
Another cool thing that happened this week was that I went on exchanges with my trainer!  It was so fun!  He has changed so much!  He's a lot more fun and funny, not as up tight, and an even better missionary than when he was with me.  Zone Leader life changed him so much!  We taught 3 lessons on the street to 3 different amazingly prepared people.  We taught so well together!  it was powerhouse!  We even committed one to baptism!  None of them live in our area though, but it was still amazing!  he gave me a lot advice that is helping me out with my companion.  Elder Baughan is awesome.  It's pronounced Bonn by the way, kinda like james bond without the d.  He just has a different outlook on things and missionary work in general.  I won't tell you the negatives because he really is great and I do like him, but its kind of hard to work with sometimes.  We do work very differently, but its all good.  Things are movin a long.
Yesterday we had a cool experience.  We gave this couple we met on the street a few days ago an Arabic Book of Mormon.  That's all they speak is Arabic.  We knocked on their door and they invited us in.  turns out they're from Syria.  They wanted a bible, but we don't have Arabic bibles so we gave them a book of Mormon and all the pamphlets in Arabic.  They gave us this bread that was super good and offered us beer, tea, and coffee.  it was funny.  We are going to try to geta translator to teach them, because they're open!  That'll be interesting if we do start teaching them.  
Well, that's all for this week!
Elder Nelson
*Cultural Fact:  The valley is ghetto! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Marisa Got Baptized!

So this week was great!  Marisa was baptized yesterday and I had the privelage of baptizing her.  The service was awesome and we had 3 of our investigators there too.  She was so happy!  The jumpsuit she had to wear was gigantic on her and it was super funny.  She had to wear it because we didn't have any other suits!  She thought it was funny too though and she went along with it.  She is awesome and I'm so happy we've been able to teach her.  I really want to teach her son, Isaiah because he is one of my favorite kids I've met on the mission.  He calls me his big brother and Marisa always tells me I'm her adopted son.  Her and Isaiah are characters!  They are just so happy and funny, yet they have nothing, their apartment is infested with bed bugs, and they serve their neighbors like crazy!  It's so amazing to see the gospel work in people.  She has changed so much!  Isaiah even changed a ton, and we haven't even taught him.  The actual baptismal service started at 3:00 yesterday.  Marisa showed up at 2:45 and didn't change into her suit until 3:00 so we didn't get to take pictures until after the baptism.  The suit she wore was a xxxxl so she had to role up the pants a lot.  She was laughing about it though.  I felt bad after the actual ordinance because the water was cold!  Marisa was shivering for the rest of the service, but she took it like a champ!  Bro. Meza spoke on the Holy Ghost and actually did really well!  I really liked his talk.  So all in all, the baptism was awesome!
Our other investigators are doing ok.  Our biggest progress right now is our investigator Melissa.  We've been teaching her a lot over the past two weeks and she's been keeping her commitments, besides coming to church, but she came to the baptism yesterday and brought her mom with her.  Both of them loved it!  We're pretty sure Melissa knows the church is true.  We've been teaching her like 3 times a week and she is continuing to read the Book of Mormon.  She's awesome, but she's scared of change.  She always tells us that she loves meeting with us.  We haven't taught her family yet, so it was awesome that her mom came to the baptism.  Hopefully we can teach the whole family next time.  They're Catholic and have always been catholic, but they're softening up.  She's awesome.  She's in her 20's and goes to CSUN.  We also taught the Sierra and Molly Dawes 3 times this week as well.  Sierra really wants to be baptized and she's understanding everything so much better than when we first started teaching her.  She and Molly are doing well, but their parents are not.  They literally hate each other, and the mom has a restraining order on the dad.  The girls go to church with their dad sometimes in Long Beach though so that's good.  The mom won't come to church though.  That family has a lot of bad history in the ward and the bishop sat down with us yesterday after ward council and told us his viewpoint on the whole situation.  He's worked with them for years now and he basically told us that we need to pray about the whole situation with the kids, because Brandy, (the mom) doesn't care about the gospel.  It was interesting.  I can see that she doesn't care, but we're not teaching the girls for the moms sake.  I've really grown to love those girls, even if their parents don't care.  We prayed about it and got the prompting to continue teaching them, but we're not going to teach them as much as we used to. Just once a week.  We've almost taught them everything and they are ready for baptism.  That would be very complicated with the parents and their situation though.  There is a lot that goes into it that would take to long to write out, but I just want those girls to have a better life.  The mom is willing to let them go to church on their own if they get a ride and we can get them a ride.  We brought it up in ward council and the bishop and everyone said that they can't take care of an extra 9 and 7 year old for 3 hrs.  I'll take care of them if no one else will!  They are crazy, but I know how to keep them under control!  I don't understand, but hopefully everything will work out.  We're still teaching them for a reason.  James and Matthew came to church on Sunday and went to the baptism as well.  James is still not all there.  Matthew has been sober for 9 days now so that's good.  He's still in the same rut though.  We found some other pretty cool new investigators this week too.  Other than that, the work here is moving forward.  Elder Baughan and I are working well together.  I think I might stay here for 6 months again.  I don't know why, but I just get that feeling.  I'd be ok with that though.  I'm starting to  like the area more and more, which sucks because its going to make it harder to leave when I do get transferred.  Well, I love you all!  Thanks for everything!  Study Preach My Gospel!  It's awesome!
Elder Nelson   

Good Ole' West Hills

Hey sorry for the late email!  None of the libraries were open yesterday for Memorial day! Elder Smith is gone to Sylmar!  It's so sad!  He's in a trio over there and I'm still here in West Hills for another six weeks.  Not that that's a bad thing.  Sometimes an area just kind of wears on you if you're there for more than 2 transfers.  I love the area though.  Its awesome.  My new companion is Elder Baughan.  You may remember that I served around him in Valencia.  He's a great guy and I'm excited for this coming transfer.  We've already seen a ton of miracles together and we're getting a long well.  He's from a little town just outside of Greensborough North Carolina, called Kernersville.  He's been out for 13 months and his last companion was elder forsythe, my MTC companion!  They did really well together.  Elder Baughan hasn't changed to much since he was in Valencia.  He really is a good missionary, he just has some different views on things, but we're working together pretty good.  Both of us have different teaching styles, but that's always to be expected when you get a new comp.  He's a good teacher and loves the people.  It's awesome and I'm so glad I get to be with him and learn from him.  Another cool thing about transfers is that my trainer, Elder Ehninger was released as a zone leader and is now my district leader!  It's so cool!  he's changed a ton and has loosened up a lot from when he was with me.  he's Elder Ahn's companion in the other West Hills area.    Like I said earlier, we've had a lot of good things happen this week, mainly with Marisa.  We've been meeting nearly everyday with her and no, we are not teaching with brother Maeza anymore!  We've been teaching her at Rachel Young's, a recently return missionary who is our gospel principles teacher.  She is an amazing fellowhipper for her and Marisa has been progressing so well!  We've almost taught her all the lessons.  She met with the bishop on Sunday to talk about her financial issues.  During the meeting, bishop taught her all about tithing and fast offerings which was awesome!  Bishop is going to help her pay her gas bill as well, which was a big step for Marisa, because she hates accepting financial help.  The adversary has definitely been working on her ever since we set a baptismal date with her for June 7th, but she is perservering.  Her apartment has bedbugs, she literally has no food, and her gas is turned off, she gets no sleep because her mom has schizophrenia and she has to take care of her, plus a whole bunch of other stuff.  The amazing thing about it though, is that she's able to stay happy through it all!  She's accepting the gospel so well and she's so happy even though she has all of these trials!  She is amazing!  She has food now, but an exterminator is coming for the bed bugs this week.  We met with her yesterday night and taught her the word of wisdom and tithing and fast offerings and she accepted it all.  At the end of the lesson, we told her that bishop would be out of town for her baptism on June 7th.  We asked her if she wanted bishop to be there.  She told us that he had to be there.  We then asked her if she could do the baptism this Sunday, and she agreed.  Its so awesome!  She has her baptismal interview tomorrow and we'll be meeting with her everyday this week until her baptism on Sunday.  She asked me to baptize her and I gladly accepted.  This week is going to be crazy with all the preparation and calls we have to do to make the baptism happen on Sunday, but I feel right about doing it earlier, rather than later.  She's ready and I'm so excited.  Most of our other investigators have been falling off of the radar.  Our teaching pool is dwindling, but we found this awesome new investigator this week.  Her name is Mellisa and she's in her 20's.  She's catholic Christian and we met her by giving her a pass along card while crossing the street.  When we gave her the card, she turned around and started to talk to us and ask us questions.  We set up an appointment and she is solid!  She's catholic Christian and wants to follow Christ as close as possible.  We taught her the Restoration, and she was feeling the spirit big time!  We've met with her one other time and pointed out the spirit to her.  She told us that she doesn't want to convert, but to learn more.  her only problem is that she's scared to change and come to church.  We're going to teach her family tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.  She knows, we just need to get the family involved and it will be easier for her and them.  Our other investigator we met with this week was James.  We're about ready to drop him, just because he can't understand, due to his disability.  We've tried so many different approaches and ways to teach the restoration, and he just doesn't get it.  We're continuing to pray about and for him and we know that if we get the answer to drop him, the Lord won't hold him accountable for not being able to understand.  We finally got in contact with Penny and we set up a lesson for tomorrow as well.  She's doing a lot better and is now able to go to public places, so hopefully we can get her to church this Sunday.  Matthew Jalsevac is still crazy and his "friend girl"  who is a member in Illinois is coming down to visit next week.  He's been sober for 6 days so that's good.  The ward is doing amazing at fellowshipping Marisa.  They're calling her and she's calling them for rides and what not.  Things are great here in the village.  Street contacting is still crazy.  People aren't the nicest to missionaries, but its awesome.  I love it!  Till next week!
Elder Nelson
P.S. happy Birthday Ryan!!!!