Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just Keep On Tracting!

Well howdy!  To answer your question dad, no your emails aren't to long.  I can read pretty fast, and I have time to read them, and if I don't I can just print them out.  They're great!  Also thanks for the package Mom and Grandma!  They were great!  I love all the stuff that you sent me from your mission grandma.  There's a lot of things in there that I can learn from! 
Well as you can see, from the subject, we've been knocking a lot!  Nothing out of the ordinary though.  That's really all you can do to find in this area is knock.  Its all residential like I told you, but we're really trying to talk with everyone, so whenever we're driving somewhere in our area and we see someone on the street, we pull up next to them in our car and start talking to them.  When I was with Elder Smith in West Hills, he told me that he and couple of other missionaries in the zone would even stop cars to talk to people.  He found a really solid investigator family by doing that.  We haven't tried it yet, but we will at some point.  Needless to say we're talking to a lot of people, especially our area, and seeing a lot of miracles in our area and throughout the zone.  It's awesome!
We went on exchanges Tuesday to Wednesday with some of the Sylmar Elders.  I went up to Sylmar with one of them and they're are just killing it in their area.  They have so many investigators and are finding a ton!  We found 4 new investigators that day and talked to a lot of people.  I was in the zone working in the ghetto up there.  So fun!  The missionary I went with is so solid.  His name is elder Jones and he's from Idaho Falls.  He's only been out for 4 months, but he's great.  We found a family and taught another person just knocking.  Miracles are going down up there.
On Wednesday we knocked and knocked and then knocked some more.  We got a few potential investigators and set up appointments with them.  That's the thing about this area.  We are setting up a ton of appointments with people and they're all falling through.  I guess that's the problem with every area, but somewhere, somehow, some of them will eventually go through.  The conversations we're having with people are really good too.  That's another focus.  Have quality conversations with people about the gospel.  Its not just about the quanitity.  That night we taught the Wilsons again. We watched a church movie with them and the spirit just flooded the room.  Once it was over, we kind of just sat there in silence listening to the spirit for something to say.  Eventually each of us bore testimony of the savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was awesome.  They're taking us out to dinner tomorrow and then we're going to continue teaching them.  I think the more they feel the spirit, the more they'll want to come back to church.
I went on another exchange on Thursday with Elder H in North Hollywood.  That area is exploding with work too.  Elder H was trained for 6 weeks by my trainer Elder ehninger.  He's changed a lot since the start of his mission and he and his companion are seeing a lot of miracles.  They probably have the most investigators in the zone right now that they're actively teaching and they are finding some pretty golden people.  They don't really knock in their area since there are so many people on the street, but we knocked for about 30 minutes and found a new investigator from it.  It was great.  We also talked to an atheist dude who tried to bash with us.  His point was that you can't just believe people because they tell you something.  I didn't try to argue with him. Actually I didn't say anything at all, but elder Hyde did.  it went nowhere, but it got me thinking, how do we really know the truth of something?  By experiencing it for yourself. When a science teacher teaches something, usually they'll have you do an experiment to experience it yourself, so that you can know the truth of the principle being taught.  The same goes with everything taught whether it be on the scientific side, or the spiritual side of things.  Just because someone said they did something in a lab somewhere in France, doesn't mean that you know they did it.  They could be outright lying! Anyways, I won't go off rambling, but the things that that atheist told us really built my testimony of what truth is and how we can know truth.  The only way to know truth is by experience and through the power of the holy ghost.  Well we talked to 70 people on the exchange that day.  It was great! 
The next day we had to go on on an exchange with Elder S because his companion is still having concussion issues.  They've been in the apartment a lot of the week.  I went out with him all day while Elder F stayed with Elder C.  It was good.  We knocked all day again and taught some of their investigators.  We exchanged back at the end of the day.
Saturday we continued to knock and knock and we found quite a few potential investigators.  It was a pretty fruitful day.  We also went on splits with the Armenian elders from the arcadia mission again which was fun.  That night we found a new investigator!  WoooooHoooo!  It was interesting.  We had an appointment with this family and they invited us in and started calling there whole family together almost like they've done this before.  We talked to them for about five minutes and told us they were actually baptized a couple years back in Hawaii and had been sealed in the Temple and went less active.  They have 3 kids.  Kolbe, Naomi and Kaylyn.  Naomi is 9 and isn't baptized.  The parents are Jamie and Ed.  They're awesome and want to have us over for dinner on Wednesday this week.  They went less active because of the way the members were acting when they moved to Long Beach.  They were super political and it was hurtful to them and they stopped going.  They still have testimonies though and are willing to have us teach them.  They don't really know if they want to come back to church yet, but we'll help them get there.  We taught them the Restoration and it went well. 
Sunday we didn't have anyone at church.  We knocked more though and at this one door this guy named Joshua answered.  He had like a surfer look to him and he talked like a surfer, except preacher style.  It was an interesting experience with him.  he told us that he plays piano and sings to worship and my companion was like "well lets hear ya play!"  He invited us in and sung a 5 minute song to us about Jesus.  It was pretty good!  We then asked him how he came to have such a great faith in Christ and he told a 45 minute story that seemed very rehearsed, probably from telling it so many times, but it was moving nonetheless.  He prayed for us and then we left.  It was good to see that he had a faith in Christ, but he just wasn't open to more.  It was fun.  Experiences like that happen all the time out here, where people invite you in and then they just try to preach to you.  Sometimes, some of what they preach is true, but even when you offer them more, they don't think that there is more and to say that there is more is to say that God is a liar.  Its sad to see the subtle craftiness of what the philosophies of men and the devil do to people.  God is continuing to reveal truth to us today and is always waiting for us to show our faith so he can bless us with knowledge.  This church is so true.  I don't see anyway that it possibly couldn't be.  God is a god of miracles and he does not and will not stop to reveal truth to us. 
Thanks for everything!  I'm loving it out here and I'm seeing miracles everyday! 
Elder Nelson   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Aloha!  Yo es muey bien!  That's why I'm called to speak English. 
So ya this week was another crazy week.  I'm more tired than I've ever been on my mission which is probably a good thing, because it means I'm working hard I think.  I know we're supposed to account to the Lord in our prayers at night, and I think if you fall asleep during your accounting, its pretty good evidence to the Lord that you've worked pretty hard right?  Ya that's probably not how it works, but I needless to say that has happened many times on my mission, but I'm working on it. 
Well so again I didn't really get to work in my own area almost all week.  It was for a good cause though.  Helping out missionaries and such is always a good cause.  Tuesday we had interviews with president hall which meant us and the Sister Training leaders had to spend literally all day at our church building in Burbank training missionaries while their companion was in interviews.  It was good.  We role played with each missionary and went through their area books to make sure they were up to date since we should be getting I-pads in the near future.  We have to transfer everything from the area book onto the Ipads which takes forever, so President wanted us to make sure they were organized and ready to go.  I didn't tell you before, but we were supposed to get ipads 2 weeks ago.  We even got all the ipads shipped to the mission office and had people from salt lake scheduled to come and give us trainings that week, but the mission department told us to hold off for a couple of weeks because some missionaries somewhere did some stupid stuff with their ipads.  We don't know what they did, but it must have been pretty dumb to have the mission department suspend the rolling out of ipads in our mission.  Anyways, it was a long day of interviews.  I was told that interviews never get done on time.  The last 2 times they've had interviews here, we didn't finish until midnight.  Tuesday ran right on schedule the whole time though and we finished by 7:30.  After that we had to take peoples area books to them since they left them at the church.  We then had dinner, and after said a prayer to start planning.  Right when we fnished praying, we got a text from some missionaries telling us that they had been in a bike accident and that they needed help.  We drove there and there was an ambulance, cops and a fire truck.  It was like a repeat of last week except it was night.  The companionship took the ambulance to the hospital and we took there bikes and drove behind them.  Turns out one of them broke their arm.  We were at the hospital until midnight and then at a 24 hour pharmacy getting them medication for another hour.  We didn't get home till 2:00.  It was a fun night.  The next morning we went to district meeting and went on exchanges with the North Hollywood Elders.  It was a good exchange.  I went with Elder Bodily to North Hollywood.  He's been out for about 4 weeks and we saw some miracles.  We got to testify to an atheist who had a complete change of heart.  We found a new investigator and taught one of their investigators who wants to be baptized.  
We went on another exchange Friday.  I went to Sylmar with Elder Holdaway.  He's a district leader there and their area used to be car, but they totaled their car a couple weeks ago so we biked everywhere.  It was a fun exchange.  Their area covers part of Pacoima which is the ghettoist ghetto of the valley!  It was amazing!  I felt like I was at home.  There were so many people to talk to and so many Spanish people as well.  I got to use my Spanish again and we got to send out a lot of referalls and teach a lot of people.  One of them was a new investigator.  People there are crazy.  One guy tried to bash with us.  It was stupid though.  he had no idea what he was talking about.  Bashers in the valley are just dumb.  Santa clarita they actually know what they're talking about, they are nevertheless spiritually blind though.  Its sad.  In Pacoima we tried to contact a referall and we went throught there front gate to get to their house.  As we went through, a giant pitbull happily trotted up to us and started licking my hand.  I freaked out because I thought it was going to attack, but it was nice.  I tried to hurry out of the gate, but when I opened it up, the dog bolted out of it and started running down the street.  It ran away and got all the dogs squealing and barking all along the street.  We couldn't see it it ran so far.  My thoughts were, "oh crap, I just let out a ravenous pitbull onto the streets of Pacoima."  it wasn't really ravenous, but I did think that it might attack some smaller dogs.  Long story short, it ran up and down the street and we were chasing it trying to get it back into the gate.  Eventually it came back thankfully.  The referall wasn't even home, but it was a fun experience nonetheless.  That day we worked on talking with everyone.  The elders there aren't doing it, but if they did they would find a lot more.  We talked to about 50 people that day.  They usually talk to 7 a day on average, but they're working on improving.  it was a good exchange.
Saturday, we had a bbq at our ward missionleaders house for most of the ward and less actives and investigators.  It was a real success.  We had investigators and less actives come and they loved it.  We had a real good time.  Our ward mission leader is great, and does a lot fr us.  Plus he gives us free subs from his sandwhich shop.  Next time you're in Burbank, go to Santoro's!  it's so good! 
Sunday our investigator Peter came to church which was good. That night we went to a meeting with the stake presidency and the high counselor over missionary work in the stake and the mission president.  it was an interesting meeting and I learned a lot about how the stake and the mission president correlate on the work.  We talked about different wards and went over the key indicators for the last month and came up with ideas to resolve problems.  It was really interesting.  The rest of the night we knocked. And knocked and knocked
Then we knocked some more.  That's what we do in this area, is knock.  And go by potentails and less actives of course. 
It was a great week!  I love you all!  The package was awesome!  Thank you so much!
Elder Nelson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week 2 of Crazy

Oh my gosh this week was so tiringly busy with helping out missionaries.  Since I've been here, I haven't had one normal day of just pure missionary work in my own area.  We've had to do so much driving going all around the zone to help out other missionaries.  It's tough and right now I honestly would rather just be a normal missionary that gets to work in his own area and not worry about other missionaries.  That would be nice, but enough of my complaining.  I love the missionaries in my zone and I love the fact that I get to serve them and I know the Lord wants me to learn from having this assignment.  Its been fun, but frustrating, but that's just how missionary work is.  That's how everything in life is.  You just got to make it fun even if it is frustrating.  Anyways, let me tell you about the week.  It's been real fun and I'm learning a ton, only because of my love for god and is only begotten son.  (Like my rhyming?)
So after I emailed last week, we had to drive some missionaries up to the office last week for interviews with president.  President was about two hours behind schedule, so we were up there for about 3 hours.  We then had to drive all the way back to Burbank and drop those missionaries off, and then drive up to Sylmar and bring those Elders up to the office to fill out and car accident report.  They had gotten in a car accident the night before.  that took about 2 more hours.  We then came back and worked for the last couple hours of the day.  The next day we took our preparation day since we didn't get one on Monday.  We went up to the Hollywood bowl lookout which is the border of our mission.  It was so cool!  You can see all of L.A. and the Hollywood sign.  It's over in Studio City.  There are some huge houses over there.  A lot of movie stars live over in those hills.  It was sweet.  We did do some service that morning for one of our potential investigators named Dana.  She's crazy and is a hoarder.  She has so much junk just lying all over her house and garage and her yard probably hadn't been cut in over 6 months.  It was long.  She is also a rock collector, so she had this giant pile of rocks that we helped her sort out.  We cut her grass using an old lawn cutter tool with a blade on the end that you swing back and forth.  it was fun and she appreciated our help.  That night we knocked and found a really solid family that wants to listen to us.  They've kept in contact with us all week, but keep pushing appointments back, so hopefully we'll be able to teach them this week.  Their names are Ed and Jamie.  They have 3 kids and are super cool.  Wednesday we had Mission Leadership Council (MLC) where all the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and assistants and president get together and council on how the mission is doing, what we can improve on and where we want to focus our efforts.  It's a 9:00 to 5:00 meeting and it was awesome.  We got a lot of training from President and Sister Hall trained some too.  The mission as of right now is not doing as well as it was at the start of the year.  Everything has gone down.  New investigators, lessons, baptisms, you name it.  We talked a lot about 1 Nephi 16 where Nephi's bow breaks and how the bow lost its spring and how we can make our own bows like Nephi by doing all that we can.  it was super good.  We talked a lot about the mission training plan and how we can focus more on that and how we can better work with members.  All of the counsel and ideas posed help us prepare for our zone training meeting that Friday, which we have once a month.  It was super awesome and I received a ton of revelation on how we can help and inspire the missionaries in our zone, as well as how I can improve myself.  I loved it.  I got to see Mitchell Bagely there too.  We went to high school together and is a zone leader on the Spanish side, so that was fun.  Thursday morning we planned out our zone training meeting with the Sister Traning leaders and then went over to a struggling companionship's apartment to talk to them and help them resolve things with each other.  Neither missionary would open up and they told us that things are going better, but neither of them are happy and they're not working well together at all.  We set up an exchange with them.  The rest of the day we had a weekly planning session and then went on splits withmembers visiting less active families and part member families.  Friday, we spent 6 hours in the emergency room.  I ended up breaking my arm in three places. . . not really, but we really did spend 6 hours in the hospital that day.  We went up to the church for Zone training meeting that morning which was supposed to start at 8:30.  We got a call at 8:30 from some elders.  he told us that his companion, elder Choi, had gotten in a bike accident on the way there and that the paramedics were there and the cops were on their way.  We told the STL's to take over ZTM and we rushed over there.  We pulled up and saw this elder sitting on a flatbed trailer with 3/4 of his face bandaged up, blood all over his arms and face and a pool of blood on the ground.  Paramedics were surrounding him and putting him on a gurney.  We talked to his companion, and he told us that he had been waving to someone and didn't see the trailer and ran into it with his bike and flipped onto it and hit his face on the bed of the trailer.  The paramedic told us that he would need stitches and might have a concussion.  We then grabbed the bikes and went back to the church and told the zone what happened, and said a prayer for elder Choi.  We had to have the STLs do the whole training since we had to go to the hospital.  Elder Choi refused all pain medication while he was there.  he had to have like 30 stitches along his face and while he was there had two cat scans.  he fractured three of the bones surrounding his eye socket.  Elder Choi is Korean and doesn't speak much English.  This is his first transfer in English work.  He is tough!  I love the guy.  It was a crazy day that day.The next two days were great though with General Conference!  I loved it!  I loved it all!  Some of my favorite talks were President Uchtdorfs talk the Saturday morning session and absolutely loved President Monson's talk in the Priesthood session.  They were all so good and I got so much revelation from them.  Another cool thing we did this week is contact a movie star, well not really a star, but he's in a lot of t.v. shows like Scrubs and That 70's show.  he played Zultan in Dude where's my car.  I've never seen it nor watched any of those shows, but he was really receptive to us and told us to come back this week!  Watch out, we might start teaching a famous person!  That'd be so cool! 
Well There's the highlights of  my week for ya!  I'l loving it here.  Knocking doors is great and this ward is great.  I love the zone and I love this gospel.  My testimony is growing everyday and I know that the Lord has sent me here specifically to declare His word!  I love you all!
Elder Nelson 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Burbank 3rd Ward

That's right, I'm now in the Burbank 3rd ward in the North Hollywood zone!  I love it and am so excited to be here and to be able to help out the missionaries here in the zone too.  It's been a tiring stressful good fun week this past week.  My new companion is Elder Ford.  He's from Okeechobee Florida and has been out about 3 transfers longer than I have.  He's great.  He loves to work hard and is hilarious.  We teach and work really well together.  The work here in Burbank 3rd is absolutely dead right now.  We have no investigators.  We are teaching a recent convert named Michael though.  He's really cool.  The reason Our area is so dead is that for the past transfer, Elder Ford was in a trio with another set of missionaries from our ward because his old companion got emergency transferred.  He covered two areas, but didn't spend a whole lot of time in our current area.  The area I'm is super small and is known to be one of the lowest finding areas in the mission.  Its a tough area because its all houses.  Everyone is rich and there area a lot of Armenians.  Its super nice though.  I love it.  It feels a lot like when I was in Valencia.  Our whole area is up on a hillside that overlooks the whole valley which is super sweet.  Unfortuanatly we haven't been able to work in our own area as much as we would like this past week since we've been helping out missionaries around the zone with transfers and baptisms and what not.  I've never driven so much my entire mission.  I don't like it.  I hate car, I really do.  It's fun though being able to serve and help out other missionaries though.  On Friday we went on exchanges with the assistants which was awesome.  I went with Elder Bertoch up to the Wiley Canyon ward in Santa Clarita.  He used to be the zone leader in North Hollywood.  He's great and I learned a lot from him.  He's from Roosevelt Utah.  It felt good to go up to Santa clarita again.  I forgot how nice it is up there.  It feels like Utah wlaking around on the streets up there.  Elder Bertoch was my trainers companion for 2 transfers in Horth Hollywood as well.  He's great and I'm so glad I was able to go on exchanges.  Saturday we went on splits with the Armenian speaking Elders serving in the Glendale 1st ward.  They are technically part of the Arcadia mission, but their area is all of LA county. When we go on splits with them we only stay in our area, but like I said, there are a lot of Armenians in our area.  The Elders names are Elder Tovoyun and Elder Debry.  Elder Debry is the grandson of Robert J. Debry, like the guy you see on T.V. saying "one call, that's all!"  Ya he's practically famous.  elder Debry is great though.  Whenever he talks to the Armenians they get so excited!  They freak out and are so surprised because he speaks so well.  It's pretty funny.  They're super nice when you have an Armenian speaker with you.  No one that we talked to was really interested though.  all the Armenians go to this super big Armenian church here in Burbank.  They're pretty rude and mean when you knock on their door, except when you speak Armenian.  I need to learn Armenian now haha.  We usually go on splits with them every 2 weeks. 
The ward here is awesome.  I love them all.  Our ward mission leader is named Sal Pallila and owns a sandwhich shop called Santoros here in Burbank.  He lets us eat for free there.  He's great.  He works hard at his calling too which is really helpful.  We have a lot people that work in the movie industry here too.  On Thursday I got to have dinner with the Johnson family.  They are so cool!  Bart Johnson, the father, is an actor and played the Dad on High School Musical and he's doing a T.V. show now I think.  His wife is Blake Lively's sister.  She is an actor too, and is a convert of about 10 years.  Blake Lively even came to church on Easter with her.  We also have Bro. Heater in our ward.  He's our gospel principles teacher.  He's the twin brother of John heater, the guy who plays Napoleon Dynamite.  John is in the Studio City ward.  There are actually a lot of people that come to our ward which is a big change from the last two wards I served in.  it feels like Utah!  The only problem with the ward is that they are super prideful about being the "best ward" because they had the most baptisms out of the whole mission on the English side last year.  They had like 16 or 17 baptisms I think.  They set a goal this year for 40 baptisms.  The ward has had 4 so far, and its almost the end of the year.  Hopefully I can help them out a bit.  I have a really good feeling about this area, I just need to help the members help us to find new investigators, because we can't with just knocking.  Every door in this area has been knocked probably about 10 times this year.  We can't get to the people, but the members can.  I'm excited for this area though.  This is going to be a good transfer. 
I forgot to tell you that on Wednesday the whole mission got together for a private screening of meet the Mormons up in the Valencia Stake Center.  It was really good!  We're supposed to encourage members, less actives and investigators to go see it.  We can't use it as a proselyting tool though.  it's going to be playing in different theaters around the valley.  You all should go see it!  It's really good and you should bring all you friends! 
There's ma week!   
Well I love you all! 
Elder Nelson
1800 Grismer #104, Burbank, CA 91504