Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Josh's last night in Burbank

Fun with the Finnigan family.

"He is such a dedicated and stellar missionary!"  Jackie Finnigan 

I think we can see why he loves his Burbank ward.

Josh and Elder Cummings

Monday, January 26, 2015

Transferred Again!

Ya I totally forgot transfer calls were this week until we actually got the call.  We got them on Saturday and I was on an exchange with Elder Evans in Sylmar.  the district leader there called us and told me that I was leaving and I was so surprised completely forgot!  I was kind of heartbroken.  I love being in Burbank.  It's so nice and I love the people, even though I haven't been able to teach as much as I would have liked too.  Its just such a tight nit family oriented community that is just clean.  I love it.  But the Lord is calling me out to another place to work with his children there and I'm excited for the new experiences and happenings that I get to be a part of there.  I'm staying zone leader and my guess is that I'll either be going to Van Nuys again into the other area there, or up to Stevenson Ranch.  Elder Cumming's area in the Burbank 2nd ward is combining with the other area there again and he'll be covering the whole ward with one of the missionary's that's already there.  Elder Smith will be staying here in the Burbank 3rd ward.  We're sad that we're getting split up.  It's been a great transfer filled with miracles and a lot of fun, and we were able to finish it with a baptism that Saturday night.
George Tello's baptism was amazing.  Definitely one of the most spirit filled baptisms I've ever been too.  The whole room was packed with friends he has made from both the first ward and the second ward.  A lot of his friends from school came to support him and his whole immediate family along with some extended family came too.  The talks given were spot on and very nonmember friendly.  The musical number was awesome, and during the actual ordinance the spirit just flooded the room and his whole family, especially his girlfriend and his mom shed some tears.  It was so cool to see them feel the spirit testify to them that what their son and friend were doing was right.  At the end he bore powerful testimony of knowing that this was the path that God wanted him to take, that god had testified through his spirit to him that the book of Mormon was true, that joseph smith was a prophet, and that president Monson was his living prophet today and that this was Gods church.  We went to dinner with his family afterwards and had a real good time with them.  We had already met his dad since we went bowling with him and George for pday last Monday.  His family really likes us and hopefully they'll be more open to letting us teach them as we re-teach George the lessons.  Previously they haven't been open to it, but I fell like the barrier between us and them is breaking.  On Sunday I had the privelage of confirming George a member of the church and giving him the gift of the holy ghost.  That was truly amazing as well.  That was my second time ever confirming someone and I was led by the spirit for sure in knowing what to say.  His family came to see that as well and they all felt the spirit again.  I hope that I will be able to see them all as members one day.  I'm going to keep in contact with George throughout the rest of my mission and afterwards.  He's an amazing kid and will be a great a member of the church.  Just thinking about his story makes me so happy!  The start of a series of miracles that propelled him into becoming a member was a simple invite to seminary.  That's all it took.  You never know how big of an impact an invitation will make on somebody.  I really do have a testimony of inviting.  I hope all of you invite people you come in contact with to so something that will bring them closer to Christ.  Something as simple as praying, coming to church, seminary, mutual, reading the book of Mormon, etc. could change someone's eternity.  
To give you update on Dawn Vasquez, her progression has completely halted.  We don't know what to do with her.  She's starting to fall off the radar.  She won't keep appointments and most likely won't make her date for the 7th.  We haven't given up on her though.  Hopefully she'll come around and we'll be able to meet with her on a regular basis again and she'll start coming to church weekly. 
We also had dinner with the Sanchez family this past week as well.  We had a really good lesson with them about baptism and the temple and the blessings that come from keeping covenants.  We invited them to come back to church but they said they weren't ready yet.  We also asked them if we could go to the temple visitors center with them.  They seemed to like that idea and said that next time we could set up a date and a time to go up together.  I love that family and I'm sad to leave them.  They're great.  I hope and pray that they'll gain the faith to come back to church. 
Yesterday at church I said my goodbye's to a lot of the members.  I really have loves serving with them and helping the ward out.  I stopped by bishop last night and thanked him for everything he's done for me and for the great ward he gets to lead.  Yesterday was ward conference and the whole stake presidency was there.  They gave great talks and afterwards I thanked President Walker, the stake president for all he's doing.  He's a great stake president and I'm glad I got to work with him even though it was only for a real short time. 
I'm ready to go though!  New area, new companion.  I've done it before and I'm excited to see what the Lord wants me to learn and to do wherever I'm going.  Thanks for all the support and love you all send me!  I love you all!
Elder Nelson     

Monday, January 12, 2015

B2 and B3

Man covering two wards is pretty fun!  Burbank 2nd and Burbank 3rd.  It's been a good time with all 3 of us!  Elder Smith and Elder Cumming and I teach pretty well together.  We all came out together and are just having a grand ole' time.  We've seen a ton of miracles this week, especially in Burbank 2nd.  We picked up a new investigator this past Monday from the Burbank 1st sisters.  Turns out Jorge, the investigator actually lives in B2 so we get to teach him!  They have already taught him the first three lessons and he's on date for January 24th.  He's so cool!  We taught him 4 times this week and he's having his baptismal interview this coming Saturday.  He's 18 and he came in contact with the church because his friend Sophie Chamberlain  was falling asleep in Math class and he called her out on it and she told him it was because she's been going to seminary.  He told her it couldn't be that bad and so she challenged him to come.  He went and loved it, so he just kept going and now he's being baptized!  He is so awesome and has been progressing so fast.  He has a testimony and has been reading a coming to church.  He's golden.  He's in a screamo band and sings.  he wears gauges, but is taking them out before the baptism.  He's truly changing his life and I'm so glad that I've been able to be a part of it.  he wants to serve a mission and keep coming to church.  The ward is doing awesome with him and he's made a lot of friends.  It's been a miracle. 
We also were able to start teaching this less active return missionary, Anthony, who is technically in the Spanish ward, but no one has tried to fellowship him for years.  He told us that he wants to start coming back to church and be able to go to the temple again by the end of the year.  he told us he'd like to move his records to our ward once he starts coming back.  We have another appointment with him tomorrow.  We're also going to the temple tomorrow for Elder Smith's birthday with our bishop.  I'm pretty excited for that!
Also in B2 we got a referall from a member in the San Fernando Spanish stake and we're going to be meeting with that referall this week.  We're also going to inherit another new investigator this week named Tennessee that the B1 Elders have been teaching.  He's awesome.  I've met him in church and he has a thick southern drawl and wears a cowboy hat with glasses and has a cane.  He's your typical white southern old man.  He has a baptismal date too and is in our ward boundaries.  He's solid and really wants to be baptized so hopefully we'll have a pass off lesson this week to help him make his date.  He's working on giving up tobacco, so his date is pretty far out. It's for March 28th. 
In our area, B3, we taught Dawn 2 times and both times she just talked our ears off.  It's been kind of frustrating and we're pushing her date back to February 7th.  She thinks she understands everything even before we teach it and she tlaks over the top of us sometimes and shares crazy stories from her past life.  She's reading though and she said a prayer this week to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and she had a dream that he came to her and told her that he was.  She then said that part of her dream she had little demons telling her that he wasn't.  She has interesting dreams.  She came to church for all three hours this week and loved it!  She brought her nephew from Santa Monica and he loved it too.  We're trying to get missionaries to his place in LA.  She is still looking for housing and she has to find somewhere to live in 2 weeks.  We don't really know how to help her with that.  She doesn't know what to do either.  We asked our bishop about it and he told us that there's not really anything that he or we can do.  She will be out of job in 2 weeks too with no place to live and caring for her two nephews.  She needs a miracle. 
We also taught Peter this week and he came to church finally.  he only stayed for Sacrament though.  He's an character and I love him.  Hopefully he'll get married soon so he can get baptized. 
Well there ya have it folks!  Yall sound like you're doing well!
Love ya!
Elder Nelson
Burbank Rose Parade Float

The Triforce Trio

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Trio Time Again

Yep, I'm in a trio again.  Another missionary went home in our zone for medical reasons so we're covering two areas again.  It's been interesting.  Everything's good though and we're all having a good time.  This trio shouldn't last until the end of the transfer like the last one did.  Our new companion is Elder Cumming and he came out with me and Elder Smith.  He's a solid missionary and we've a had a lot of fun over the past couple of days.  We went into a trio on Thursday. 
On another note, that's cool that you got to talk to Elder Sharp and Sister Raty mom!  They're both awesome.  Like you said mom, it has been freezing the past couple of nights!  I went on exchanges on Friday and we biked up the hills of Burbank and on the way down I thought my arms were going to fall off it was so cold!  It was a fun experience though and it knid of made me miss being in a bike area a little.
So we didn't do anything special for new years, other than knock doors.  We did have a celebratory dr. pepper at the end of the night.  We also talked to a whole bunch of Arabic people so that was fun.  As of last Monday, our area finally got expanded to accomadate the loss of one of the companionships in our ward.  The new part of our area is full of apartment complexes and Arabic people which is sweet. 
Last week we also read the Book of Mormon with the Sanchez family.  They are so awesome and they really like us now.  The key to getting them to come back to church is getting them to know members, but for some reason, no one from our ward has been over to introduce themselves yet and whenever we try to get someone to come with us, something falls through and either the member cant come with us or the Sanchez family can't meet.  They're making progress though and hopefully we can get them to read consistently as a family and start praying again.  They haven't been keeping commitments, but they still have us over for dinner about every week which is great.
For New Years Day, we had MLC all day which was really great.  We were trained on finding and working with members.  For some reason, this past month of December, everything we've been tracking in the mission went down for some reason.  New investigators, people at church, lessons, baptisms, you name it.  This next month should be a good one though.  We're looking at quite a few baptisms throughout the zone and our finding is going up.  January should be a good month.  We trained the zone the next day with the Sister Training Leaders for 3 hours which went really well.  I have a really good feeling about this month.  I'm excited to see what happens in the zone and in our area for that matter. 
Things in our area have been going good for the most part.  We taught Dawn on Tuesday and set up what we call a baptismal calendar with her, where we schedule out all the lessons we have to teach her before she gets baptized.  She was super excited and really knows that this is what God wants her to do.  She hasn't been following through with the lessons we've scheduled with her though and she missed the other lesson we scheduled for this week.  She did come to church though and she brought Ruth and her nephew Kalai.  I'm always a little scared when investigators come to church for testimony meeting, for fear of some of the testimonies that might be given.  Most of the ones on Sunday were really good, but there were a few that made me cringe a little.  It's all good though, because Dawn and Ruth loved it.  They left after sacrament meeting because Ruth hadn't eaten all day and its Dawns job to take care of her.  Dawn really wants to stay for all 3 hours though.  Hopefully she'll stay next week and hopefully we can meet with her consistently this week.
On Friday we went on exchanges with Burbank first elders.  I went into Elder Taylors area and had a blast.  We were on bike so I was super excited.  Elder Taylor has been out almost 6 months and is a great guy.  We taught their investigator The Plan of Salvation.  He's 17 and has done a lot of drugs and I'm pretty sure they've had an effect on his brain.  He's super scared of the end of the world and is always thinking about how the government is corrupt and run by the illuminati and because of that he doesn't really listen well when you talk to him. When you'd teach a principle, and ask him what he understands about it, he just goes off about the illuminati and what not.  We had to reteach him a lot of the principles, and weren't able to teach the full lesson, but he really wants to get baptized and knows its the right thing to do.  It was a good exchange and we saw a lot of miracles. We talked to a ton of Armenians in Armenian which was super fun.  None of them were interested, but it was a good time.
Other than that, our companion should be getting a new companion this week to come with him to his area.  Then we'll be back to our normal companionship for the rest of the transfer. . . maybe. Well I hope you're all doing well and thanks for everything!
Elder Nelson 

Christmas Miracles and Transfer Week

So I hear your starting up a new tradition mom!  Without me!?  Haha I kid, but that's cool though.  I got the package you sent and I got yours grandma!  Thanks!  This past week was awesome!
We had transfers on Tuesday and had a ton of changes in our zone as you know.  It was a crazy day.  Transfer meeting is usually in the morning, but it got pushed back to the afternoon because the church flew the new missionaries from the MTC to San Francisco instead of San Fernando, so they arrived that morning.  We had to go all around the zone to help missionaries fix their bikes and take them into the shop before transfer meeting actually happened.  While we were helping out some missionaries, we met Kanye West!  He was shopping in the army surplus store next to us and someone came in the sho and told us he was there, so we figured we'd go in and talk to him.  He waved us off and told us that he was super busy and that he could talk later.  It was pretty neat.  Not really actually.  I had no idea what Kanye West actually looked like, but my companion was pretty amazed that we got to meet him.  But ya, that's all I have to say about meeting a world famous rap star. . . it was pretty neat.  The rest of the day we had to drive around getting missionaries luggage and stuff to them.  It was a lot of driving and I drove more that day than I ever have in my mission.  We had to drive from Burbank  up to Santa Clarita 2 times to get everyones stuff.  Made us late to our dinner and our member got super mad, even though we told her we would be late.  Its ok though because they still love us.
Wednesday was filled with good stuff.  We've been knocking a bunch and trying to implement He is The Gift in our contacting.  Most people don't want to watch the video with us, but some will take out there phones and watch it occasionally.  That video is awesome and really opens people up to talk more.  We had some great conversations about the gospel because of it.  We even found 2 new investigators because of it.  Their names are Ruth and Dawn.  Dawn is a caregiver and lives with Ruth who is in her 70's.  We knocked on her door and told her were helping people feel the spirit of Christmas.  She invited us in (She had her 18 year old son present as well) and sat us down and we asked her to pull out her phone and we watched the video with her and Ruth.  After it was done, Dawn told us that yesterday she had been reading the Bible and praying for God to send someone to her to help her in her life.  She recognized that we were an answer to her prayer and that it was like we were her guardian angels.  It was so awesome!  I love being an answer to people's prayers.  We were definatly led there by the spirit and the spirit was present.  We talked to her and ruth and gave them a brief overview of the Restoration and committed them to read the Restoration pamphlet and come to church on Sunday.  They did and Dawn came to church on sunday and loved it so much.  She brought her cousin Carol and she loved it too.  Both of them are from Belize and speak Creole.  She loves it all and was yelling as she walked out the church, "I'm coming next week!  I'm coming for sure!  I'm gonna bring my whole family!"  She felt the spirit hardcore.  It was awesome.  The first counselor in our bishopric served his mission in Belize and lived on the same street Dawns cousin lived on.  It was awesome.  We're continuing to meet with them.  To add the amazingness of Wednesday, we taught an amazing lesson to the Sanchez family using He is the Gift as well.  We went around the room and shared our experiences of how we knew God was there.  Jamie was crying by the end and the spirit was so strong.  Their 9 year old daughter Nomi and 15 year old daughter Kolbie have been reading the Book of Mormon to Jamie while she's cooking dinner!  It's awesome.  The spirit is working on them and I think they'll come back to church this next month.  We just have to keep inviting them.
We had an awesome experience with our investigator Peter as well.  We stopped by him on Tuesday and he expressed that he missed coming to church and reading and praying.  He hasn't been doing it for the past while and he just called himself out on all the excuses he was making for not doing them.  It was sweet.  He told us that he recognizes the difference when he's doing those things vs. when he's not.  It was a good lesson and he committed to start coming back to church and reading.  He's been taught for the past 2 years and isn't baptized because he's living with his girlfriend who is a member.  We're still working on that ith him, but he's coming a long.  Unfortunately he wasn't able to come to church, because he forgot that he had plans to go out of town to visit family.  He's awesome though.
There's my week for ya!  For Christmas I'll be skyping around 11:00 A.M. my time.  I'm excited to see you all! 
Thanks for all the support!  Love you!
Elder Nelson