Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Monday, July 28, 2014

Asian Thanksgiving

Man it sounds like everyone's having a blast at home!  Too bad you can't have as much fun as me teaching anyone and everyone about the gospel! :) Thanks for the birthday wishes!  Kristopher is going on a mission!  That's so awesome!  My guess is California San Fernando!  That'd be so cool!  Wouldn't be the first time that cousins have served together in this mission. 
Well this week was a pretty good one considering I had the best dinner I've had on the mission so far last Saturday!  Bishop took us to this sushi restaurant called kabuki's and it was amazing!  We had so much sushi!  He got us these two boats full of meat and sushi rolls and whole bunch of other stuff!  He took all the missionaries in our ward.  It was like and Asian thanksgiving!  The bishop really likes us, at least I assume he does.  Otherwise he wouldn't have taken us to sushi!  I'll send pictures of the loads of food because it was crazy!  
On to the actual week.  We had a ton of appointments fall through this last Tuesday.  We had so many lessons set up I thought it was too good to be true. . . and it was.  It was still a great day though.  We taught this white lady from Mexico named Bertha.  We met her last transfer and she had kept pushing appointments back, but we finally met with her and she is super prepared!  She told us that she was raised Catholic and didn't like it.  She wants to come closer to God and the day we met her on the street, she was having a horrible day and asked God to show her a sign that he was aware of her and she met us!  She's super open to learning from us, but she's meeting with a 7th day Adventist every Friday for Bible study.  Hopefully that won't get in the way of things.  We also taught the Indian family again.  I'm starting to think the language barrier might be a bigger deal than I thought.  It's so hard to get the mom to understand and she just wants to keep going to her church.  The kids are awesome though.  We will continue to work with them until the spirit tells us that its not their time yet.  We need some Malayalam speaking missionaries!
We started to teach James again (the mentally disabled one) this past Thursday.  We ran into him while we were street contacting Tuesday and he told us that he wants to have us come over again to read the Book of Mormon with him. Previously we dropped him because we felt that he wasn't in the right state of mind to understand the gospel.  We went over Thursday and had a good lesson about the priesthood and he seemed to comprehend it a lot more than he had previously.  He came to Church on Sunday as well and stayed for all three meetings.  He's praying about baptism now and we'll continue to teach him.  Something seems to have changed about him.  He's very catholic and has pictures of popes and saints and shrines to them all around his apartment, but he said he feels different when we talk to him and when he comes to church.  He shared his testimony about how God answers prayers in Elders quorum.  He told everyone that He had been praying that he would somehow be able to run into the missionaries and start meeting with them again, then he ran into us on the street.  It'll be a process teaching him and will take a lot of patience, but I think he'll get baptized. 
I went on an exchange with Elder Hansen on Friday one of my zone leaders.  He's from West Jordan Utah.  We had a good exchange and we contacted and knocked all day with little success.  It was fun though.  It's starting to get super hot here in the valley.  It got up to like 108 this past Thursday and has been in the 100's the last couple of days. It's great.  
We found and taught an amazing family on Sunday!  The Nicklow family.  We found them knocking.  Kaye, the mother of the family answered the door and told us that she has family in Utah and that her Nieces and nephews served missions.  She said that she had been waiting for 20 years for missionaries to knock on her door and we were the first ones to ever knock on the door!  We set up an appointment for later that night so that her husband could be there.  We ended up teaching her husband Shaun and her daughter Emma.  Shaun was raised Catholic and the whole family is Catholic and goes to catholic school, but that he loves Mormons and knows a lot about them.  We shared the message of the Restoration with them and they loved it!  Shaun told us that he agrees with everything, but that its hard for him to believe in the Book of Mormon and the church with regards to issues that its had in the past like polygamy and blacks and the priesthood.  Those can be over come though.  Neither of them had read the Book of Mormon, but they both want to read it and pray about it.  It was a sweet lesson and the daughter even told us that she would read and pray about it too!  They have at least 3 other kids that didn't sit in on the lesson.  They're a solid family and I hope that things go well for them.  
Well there's my week for ya!  I love you all! 
Elder Nelson      

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Well this area is wearing on me.  I love it, but lets just say that I'll be happy when this transfer is through.  I've been here a long time and I'm ready to go.  Its not stopping the work though!  Not one bit!  We found some pretty cool new investigators this week.  One of them was named Mike.  He's 17 and we found him street contacting.  The other is named George. He's somewhere in his 30's and we had a great lesson with him.  I found him on exchanges with Elder Ehninger.  It was good to be teaching with my trainer again.  We taught really well together and the spirit was strong when we taught.  We went on exchanges this past Friday and I really needed it just to get out and work hard.  We had a good time.  We talked to a lot of crazy people (They're everywhere!) which was fun and we met this family of Sikhs!  It was so cool!  We were just walking down the street and some guy wearing a turbin calls out to us from his house.   He told us he wanted us to talk to his kids about what we do.  He called his family outside and he set up chairs for us and they just bombarded us with questions about why we were here on the mission, what we believe in and what we do etc.  The father told us that the kids go to a school owned by a Mormon in Orange County and that they know a lot about Mormons and have been to a lot of church history sights.  They weren't interested in being taught or anything, only asking questions.  They told us about what they believe and do as Sikhs.  They don't cut their hair ever and all the men have to where turbins.  it was interesting!  I've only talked to one other Sikh on my mission.  That's the cool thing about this mission.  There is so much diversity!  I've talked to so many people from all over the world of so many different faiths.  Armenians, Persians, Russians, Hindu's, Sikhs, Vietnamese, Koreans, Syrians, Iranians, you name it!  Its sweet. 
Anyways, we had a lot of less actives come to church this week!  It was great!  Most of them stayed just for Sacrament though, but hey its a start.  We had a frustrating time trying to get one of our investigators to church though.  We told her that we were going to provide transportation for her and we rode with the member to pick her up.  We pulled up to her apartment complex at about 9:10 and told her we were outside.  She said she'd come down.  We ended up waiting for 20 minutes and we called her twice and she never picked up again, so we just left.  Church starts at 9:30, so we were already late.  We got halfway to church and she called us and asked us where we were.  So frustrating!  We had to tell her we just left because she didn't come down in time.  We were super late to church and barely even caught the sacrament.  Its all good though. 
We taught the Indian Malayalam speaking family again.  It was an interesting lesson.  We found out why the other missionaries stopped meeting with Josie and the family.  Its because they can't be baptized because their family won't let them.  it took a while to get that out of the mom since she can't speak English very well, but it happened.  They had actually started to read the Book of Mormon as a family!  So cool!  They didn't come to church though, but they're doing well and we will continue to teach them even though they can't get baptized.  The kids love us and are always so excited to see us. 
Well those are pretty much the highlights of the week.  Till next time!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Hey yall!  Yep! I'm still here!  Not much has changed!  I got your package grandma!  It was awesome!  We've had a pretty good week this week with finding new investigators and what not.  The 4th of July was pretty good.  It was fun riding around at night with all the fireworks going off.  It was like riding in the middle of gun fight!  We got invited to our ward mission leaders house for dinner on that night so that was fun.
I've been here in this area forever!  It's awesome though!  So we taught Mellissa twice this week.  Our lesson on Monday, we just kind of gauged what her expectations are for meeting with us and what more she wants to know.  I've been praying and studying about what to do with her and I keep getting the feeling to keep teaching her so we keep teaching.  It's weird.  If I didn't have the spirit, I would drop her, but the spirit told us otherwise.  Our lesson on Thursday was amazing and frustrating.  We talked a lot about prophets and wy we need prophets today, and she really understood.  We also talked about the importance of prayer with reading the Book of Mormon.  She told us that she had prayed and asked specifically if it was true and she got no answer.  We had her pray and ask again right there and wait and listen for 15 seconds.  She did and the spirit was so strong!  It was ridiculous!  We all felt it!  We asked how she felt and she said she felt peace.  We told her that was the spirit testifying to her that this was true and that it is up to her to either accept it or reject it.  She than justified that statement by saying she feels peace everytime she prays.  So frustrating.  She just keeps denying the answers she gets.  We don't really know what to do, but we know we need to keep teaching her.  We also started teaching a couple named Estella and Francisco!  They're awesome and super prepared for the gospel.  Elder Smith and I met them knocking 2 transfers ago and we just started teaching them both this week.  Both were raised catholic, and Estella really feels like she could come closer to God and could use more faith.  She wants more purpose in life.  Francisco isn't as into it as Estella but he's willing to listen and read.  He has work on Sundays so that'll be a toughy getting him to church, but Estella really wants to come.  They are super cool and we're meeting with them again this week.  We had another crazy miracle this week.  On Thursday we went to an appointment with a potential we found street contacting last week.  Her name is Josie and she and her family met with missionaries last summer.  She told us that she had come to church 2 times and that she really liked the sunday school classes.  She also told us that she was Catholic though and goes there every Sunday.  She and her family are from India and she speaks a language called Malayalam.  there is a bit of a language barrier, but her kids, Jane (10 year old boy) and Jennifer (6-7 year old girl) speak perfect English and malayalom.  Anyways, we taught her and her kids and her kids love the gospel and love missionaries.  They just ate everything up and understood everything.  When we started to teach them about the Book of Mormon, Jane pulled out an old, tattered Book of Mormon.  The pages were almost brown and it was very well used.  As he pulled it out, Josie told us that he'd been reading everyday since the missionaries came by last year.  jane told us that he read the whole thing and that he believes it is true! When he said that, I thought, where did this kid come from!?  This is amazing!  Just leave it to the smart little indian boy to read the whole Book of Mormon.  We asked Josie why the missionaries stopped coming by and she said that it was because she wouldn't agree to get baptized, because she had already been baptized a catholic.  We couldn't pursue the concern much, because of the language barrier, but man those kids are prepared!  They are so ready to be baptized and come to church.  We need to help the parents understand more though.  We only taught Josie, although she is married and both are willing to learn.  She didn't understand much though because of the language barrier.  We don't know anyone who speaks malayalom though.  I guess we'll just have to pray for the gift of tongues and everything will work out.  Anyways, that was a huge testimony builder for me that the Lord is preparing people for us to teach.  This family is awesome!  They don't have a malayalom Book of Mormon though and the church doesn't have it in that language yet.  It will all work out though!  I love teaching families. 
That was about it for our week!  No one came to church, but we'll get em there next week.  The ASL sisters in our ward had a baptism yesterday which was awesome.  We helped out with that and everything went well.  Sounds like things are going good at home!  You guys are awesome! love ya!
Elder Nelson     

Sunday, July 6, 2014

6 More Weeks . . . . .

Well, it looks like I'm staying in West Hills for another 6 weeks.  By the time next transfer rolls around, I'll have been here for six months.  Again.  By the way, Dad, the Northridge sisters are not in my district.  They're in another zone. I did serve with one of the sisters there right now when I was up in Seco Canyon.  Sister Marsh.  Ryan and Lindsy are going to get to know her very well with their new calling!  I honestly wanted to leave this transfer, but now that the transfer call has come, I feel good about staying one more.  I know I still have something I have to do and learn in this area.  This ward and area, like I said in previous emails, wears on you and its probably one of the hardest wards to work with.  Sacrament meeting feels like its more of a branch that meets rather than a ward.  There are a lot of things that are being done wrong within the ward that we have no control over and its just hard to work with.

The work here is slowing down a little bit.  We only found one new investigator this week whom we have not been able to get in contact with.  His name was Alfredo and we found him street contacting.  he was sitting outside his apartment smoking.  He's in his 20's and is latino.  He was nice and told us that he wanted to find more purpose in life and we taught him.  It was good.  Other than that we've been knocking and street contacting.  We went to the temple visitors center with Melissa on Tuesday.  It wasn't the best.  She is so closed off to accepting anything anymore and is always just like, "that's interesting" and leaves it at that.  She's hardening her heart more and more and its sad to see.  The night before we went to the temple with her, we read the Book of Mormon with her.  We read Mosiah 18 and talked about baptism and its importance, but then she started to argue with us that all you need to do is believe in Christ to be saved.  That's her big thing if I haven't told you before.  All you have to do is believe o be saved.  No baptism required.  We showed her a verse in the bible talking about baptism, and she disregarded it and kept going on about just believing in Christ.  Its sad.  She's hardened her heart so much.  We have a lesson with her tonight and we're probably going to drop her.  At the temple we talked a lot about priesthood and the restoration, but she still won't accept it and just went off about just believing in Christ again.  The tour was good though.  I liked it and I'm definatly bringing more investigators up there.  
We got to go to the temple again on Wednesday with half the mission which was awesome! Just the Korean/ASL/English missionaries were there but it was great.  So many missionaries and good friends from around the mission were there and we got to do an ASL session.  It was cool.  There are a lot of missionaries going home in the next 2 transfers so I was glad I got to say bye to people I knew.  My old companion Elder Davidson is going home next transfer.  Anyways, all in all the temple was great.  The rest of the week was good too even though its been hard for my companion.  We're still working and making things happen.  It sounds like good things are happening at home and that you guys are having a good time!  Until next week!
Elder Nelson