Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Monday, April 27, 2015

Saugus 2nd

Guess what!?  I'm back in Santa Clarita baby!  It's so nice up here!  I love it!  My new companion is Elder Jones who used to be one of the district leaders in the North Hollywood zone when I was there.  He is such a solid missionary and we get along so well.  He's from Idaho Falls and has been out for 10 months.  Both of us are zone leaders in the Santa Clarita zone.  There are 21 missionaries here and most of them are sisters.  The sister training leaders have their work cut out for them in this zone.  It is such a good zone though.  The missionaries here are great.  Another great thing about this place is that I live in house!  Not only that, but we are the only companionship that lives in the house!  Yep, we're pretty spoiled up here, but I'm not complaining.  The house has been rented by the mission for a couple years and usually there is at least one other companionship in there, but they are probably going to get rid of it next transfer, so I'm going to live it up while I can!  It's pretty weird living in a house though.  It's just an empty  house with a table kitchen, living room, and a couple pictures and an upstairs.  Oh and we have a washer and dryer!  I haven't had one of those since I was in my first area.  The ward here is amazing!  It's ward council is so good and our ward mission leader, Bro. Hanamaikai is super good.  He reminds me of Bro. Pallila from Burbank.  The stake is on top of missionary work too with working with their ward mission leaders to help the missionaries.  We have a weekly meeting with the high councilman over missionary work, Bro. Jensen.  He is such a good guy.  He is so pumped about the missionary work being done in the stake and really wants us to be successful.  In those meetings we coordinate with him on how the wards in the stake are doing with the investigators and missionaries, as well as the ward mission leaders and identify things that we could train the missionaries on as well as what Bro. Jensen could train the ward mission leaders on every month.  It's legit.  that's what we did Tuesday night.  

As for the rest of the week, we worked hard!  We taught a lot and had so many miracles occur in our area it was ridiculous!  We talked with more people than elder Jones ever had in his time in the area, and we found five new investigators, which is amazingly good for this area.  We need it too, since a lot of the investigators we have right now are falling off the radar.  Wednesday we found Jamie from knocking.  She just opened up the door stepped out on her porch and sat down on her bench and told us to sit with her as we shared our message.  It was so cool.  She used to be atheist, but has been converted christian for two years.  She goes to "real life church." If you don't remember me talking about that from my first area, I'll remind you, everyone goes there.  She was really cool though and super interested in the Book of Mormon.  Another miracle happened with us finding and teaching her husband.  We went by her house on Saturday and knocked on the door and no one was there.  After we waited for a bit Jamie's husband pulls up in the driveway and asks what he can do for us.  We told him about our visit with Jamie.  He then told us that he's actually locked out of his house, but that he's protestant so he wouldn't be interested, but we talked more with him since he was locked out.  he gained a liking for us and let us share our message we shared with Jamie.  Turns out he told us that his biological grandma who he had met only once had given him a Book of Mormon, and he had read some of it during boot camp while he was in the military.  He said that it was something for him to read to help him get through how hard it was there.  Oh man that was cool when he told us that!  Its so awesome that we were able to teach him and run into him right when he was getting home.  Miracles!  He said he would start reading again.  We're following up tomorrow.  We also taught some returning less actives this week.  Sister Patrick.  We taught her tithing and fasting.  We also read the Book of Mormon with Bro. Blackburn.  He came to church.  We also taught the Pryor family.  They're a newly married couple and want to go to the temple soon. They came to church.  We also taught Nick and Briant.  Nick is a recent convert as of last year.  Elder Jacob smith taught him.  He is awesome, but he hasn't been coming to church, because of work, but he's trying super hard to get it off.  Briant is crazy.  Literally crazy.  He's African American and gives all the missionaries nicknames.  I don't have one yet, but he hates church.  He's a member as of two years ago, and he comes on occasion, but he hates being there.  He's in his thirties, but has the mind of a ten year old.  He's done a lot of drugs throughout his life, and that has had a negative affect on his brain.  He is hilarious though.  After our lesson we walked out the back door to our car and I see something inside. We open the door, and somehow, Brian had gotten inside our car!  He yelled at us "let's go home!"  It was so funny!  eventually we got him to go back inside.  He actually came to church this week which was pretty funny too.  He  just stares at the clock the whole time.  We also are putting together a service project with the young men in the ward for our investigator tomorrow.  It's gonna be great!  We picked up this investigator and her daughter yesterday and we're bringing some of the relief society to teach her tomorrow as well.  She is excited for it and we are too.  We also taught a less active member's boyfriend named Richard.  He's from Columbia and both of them have been studying this book called the Urantia book.  Apparently it was written by Celestial beings.  Melchesidek is one of them.  They expound on Christ's life and spirituality.  It's pretty weird.  They both committed to start reading the Book of Mormon though and pray about it and come to church.  We didn't have any of our investigators come to church this past week.  it was a good week though nonetheless.  The zone is rolling too!  

I love it here and i love being a missionary!  Miracles everyday!  I love you all!

Elder Nelson

20514 Caitlin ln.
Santa Clarita, CA 91350  

"The Legendary Caitlin House"   

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Transferred! Again!

Yet again I forgot to say that its transfer week in my last email!  We got transfer calls on Saturday and it turns out I'm being transferred again.  I'll be still be in a car area and be a zone leader.  I think I'll be going up to Santa Clarita with Elder Jones.  I would love that, but I don't find out till tomorrow!  The rest of the zone is basically being whitewashed.  There are 3 areas in our zone that are being closed and only 3 companionships of the 13 that we have are staying together.  It's going to be a big transfer meeting tomorrow!  There are a ton of missionaries going home and a ton of people being transferred.  It should be a good change for the mission.  That's what this mission needs right now is hope and change, and transfers are a good way to spark a new fire in a missionary sometimes.  Its a time to re commit to be obedient.  to go hard!  To use the Atonement!  That's how we have hope for Eternal Life, and that'll drive anybody if they let it!  Its just like Moroni 7:41.  Read it!  Ah man I could go off on tangents all day long, but lets move back to what I was talking about.  Transfers.  My companion is going to be in a zone leader trio.  That'll be interesting.  Really interesting.  It's a little scary honestly.  I don't know how that's going to work, but I guess that's the way the Lord wants it.  That happens so much at transfer meeting.  When I hear the names of two companions getting put together I'm just like really!?  That'll never work!  It's especially scary if you're in their zone, but it always seems to work out and everyone learns something from the other.  It's awesome! 
Well moving on to my week.  We went on an adventure last P-day up to the mission border that overlooks the whole san Fernando valley and a little into downtown LA.  It was sweet.  We also drove to this dudes house named Stan Beckman who we found programmed into both of our GPS's.  I wanted to knock on his door, but my comp didn't want too, so we didn't.  You should look him up for me.  I want to know who this mysterious man is that is randomly programmed into all the Garmin GPS.  He lives in the hills of Encino.  It's pretty cool up there.  We also went to some ghetto thrift shops in Van Nuys.  That was a little disturbing, but I did find some pretty neat things. I got a haircut. . . . I don't think I've ever really told you what we do on p-days.  Well its usually full of fun things like hiking, basketball, basketball and more basketball. Sometimes we play Ultimate Frisbee, or some other fun games, but I have played a lot of basketball on my mission.  Not so much in this zone though.  Last week we did a California snowball fight.  That's where you fill socks with flour and wack each other with them.  its pretty fun.  Today we're having a zone bbq which is going to be awesome! 
Anyways, We also started teaching this really old less active member who knows a lot about church history and wants to come back to church.  His name is Alvian Schatz.  Yes his name is kind of funny, but he's Jewish so its ok.  He used to go the Studio City ward so he started to go back to that ward this past week, but he's going to church.  He also wants us to teach his daughter so that'll be sweet once that happens.  He's a great guy and he has a testimony, its just really hard for him to get to church.  He's willing to put in the effort though. 
We are also working with our focus fifteen families a lot.  This ward is the only ward in the mission that actively has 15 families assigned for the missionaries to teach.  Unfortuanately most of the appointments that we set with those families fall through, but we try our hardest to make them go through.  Everyone on it is less active, and they're less active for a reason, so its hard to meet with them. 
We had Zone conference this week as well.  it was really good, but  I worry about this zone a lot.  I'm being transferred and I still worry about it, but I'm hoping that this next transfer things will smooth out here and the work will improve.  I've done everything I could, honestly.  Its just sad to see missionaries who have so much potential not take the necessary steps to fulfill that potential and make it to the next level.  We focused a lot on what makes a successful missionary in zone conference.  Something that Sister Hall said was "Success isn't measured by a grade or by numbers, but by how much you change and grow."  That is so true.  If only missionaries could grab on to that statement and realize what truly causes one to grow the most out in the mission field.  Lose yourself in the work and you'll grow and change in ways you never thought you could.  "Forget yourself and go to work"  to quote President hinckley.  I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get  my next zone to do that and to recognize the happiness that comes from it.  The thing is so many missionaries here know that, but they've forgotten.  I'll do my best and serve to the fullest in my next area and help the missionaries take Moroni's counsel and "remember!"
Anyways, zone conference was good and I found out what I could do better and what I can change.  That's what its all about.  We went on a small little blitz/exchange on Thursday with Encino.  The first door we knocked on we found a new investigator.  It was legit!  He had actually been reading the book of Mormon for a little while and we just ran into him.  It was a miracle.
Highlight of the week though was Saturday.  Saturday we were able to teach Lyndsay Lucas.  We'll be passing her off to the Y.S.A sisters next week.  She is awesome.  She hasn't been reading though, but she planned in time to do it this week and to start praying, which has been a real struggle for her.  We also taught Hugh.  he is doing well and he's continuing to pray and read.  He couldn't come to church this week, but will come next week.  We're also going to try and start teaching his mother.  She is never home though and we've never spoke to her.  Hugh is thinking about baptism though, so it's pretty urgent that we get in contact with her soon.  I love that kid.  Satyurday night we went to the temple visitors center with Lloyd Tackwell and his wife.  it was so cool!  The spirit was so strong and he loved it.  We watched Meet the Mormons with him after the tour and he loved that too.  He's still coming to church and we also taught him a great lesson on tithing yesterday.  He's 85% sure about his baptismal date for May 17th.  He's still praying about it, but everyday he says he feels better about it. 
Those were the highlights of this week.  Its been pretty good for us.  Not for the zone though.  Everyone is super stressed out about transfers and its taking its toll on the work.  Things will smooth out this week though. 
As for things back home, its super weird to see the house basically destroyed.  I feel like its not even real.  it'll be weird to come back to a remodeled home, but I'm excited to see how it turns out!  Sounds fun living in the basement and what not.  Also good to hear that Connor came to visit you mom!  I love that kid!  I love you all!  Thanks for all your support!
Elder Nelson 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Norma Jean

Well to start out we talked to this homeless lady this week.  She told us that she was going blind in one eye because Norma Gene gave her pinesol in her drink instead of a coke. . . So she ended up drinking straight pinesol. She then told us that Norma Gene is now going to try and jump us because we talked to her. . . . Moral of the story?  Everyone in Van Nuys is crazy!  And now I'm turning crazy because of it. 

On another note, we had a whole ton of exchanges this past week.  We started out by going with the Northridge Elders.  I went to Elder Bulger's area.  It was a good exchange and we saw a whole ton of miracles.  Things are looking up for these next few months.  Attitudes are changing and people seem to be more positive ever since general conference. 

I went on exchanges with the assistants up in Valencia.  I went up with Elder Shrum.  It was a good exchange and we had a really good discussion about how to help the zone out.   I hope that by the time I leave it, things will be better than when I came in. 

We also went on exchanges with the Sherman Oaks Elders.  Elder Choi from Korea came with me to Van Nuys.  That was fun.  He's still working on his English, but its improved a ton ever since I've known him.  he still struggles to follow along in lessons, but he relies on the spirit hardcore so when he teaches it is really good.  We found two new investigators on that exchange.  One of them was a referral from the Spanish elders named John.  We taught him on Friday and went back on Sunday and found out that he's in jail now. . . What the heck is up with my investigators going to jail?  I guess that's what you get when you're a missionary in Van Nuys.   The other investigator we found is from Nigeria.  We taught him on the street and he wanted us to come back on sunday.  We went back and he told us that he's still earning English and that his native language is Igbo/Nigerian.  There is quite the language barrier, but he really wants to learn and come to church. 

Our investigators mostly stayed the same in their progress this week.  Claudia came to church, but dodged all our appointments.  Stacy's husband is still missing.  Elder Choi and I had a really good lesson with Lyndsay.  Grant Davis came to church.  Lloyd canceled his lesson.  We did find a new Jewish investigator named John this week.  he's been taught all the lessons before in Encino and right now he's working to stop drinking.  I still haven't met him because we picked him up on exchanges.  John actually called us.  He's been taught for along time and is excited to keep meeting with us. He's an active Jew. 

Other than that, notmuch this week.  the zone had a baptism this week!  Yay!  We're trying to find new more solid investigators to build our teaching pool back up. 

Well I love you! 

Elder Nelson

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Oh man this general conference was so awesome this weekend! I loved it so much! I received a lot of revelation and answers to the questions that I had and I'm going to try and implement those answers into my life as a missionary!  It'll be great!  I got your package grandma! Thanks!  

Well we've been working hard and we were able to do a lot for our area this week.  It's been pretty fruitful with finding.  We were busy a lot this week with different meetings we had to go to and we had to move out an old apartment for the mission.  We went to Mlc this week and it was super good.  We were able to take the training that president and the assistants had and mold it to fit with what we felt our zone needs right now.  We gave zone training on Friday morning and it went really well.  We trained on teaching people not lessons.  Both my companion and I felt that we trained in great unity with each other and the spirit was there.  The zone is still looking about the same as far as key indicators go, but the morale of the missionaries is increasing and things are beginning to change.  I can feel it. 

So this week Shemal disappeared again.  Therefore he didn't come to church.  We think we know why he left unexpectedly though.  Let's just say he probably wouldn't feel safe living with the people he shares an apartment with. . . They have threatened him and his family. . . It's not good, but the lord will provide a way for him to progress.  We also taught a lot of people on their doorsteps and looked up some new investigators with partmember families.  It was good.  We taught a whole bunch of less actives this week.  Our lesson with our gay investigator grant was awesome! We talked about the atonement and shared the new Easter video with him.  We show it to everyone.  It's powerful tool.  We had a lot of less actives watch general conference and two of them came to the church building which was awesome!  

I'd say for me general conference instilled a new vision for what the zone can accomplish and what each missionary in the zone can accomplish through faith and maintaining an eternal perspective.  The Lord has suffered me to come here at this time for a specific purpose along with all the other missionaries in the zone? Are we fulfilling that purpose effectively? What do we need to change?  Looks like I'll be having some good studies this week!  I love being a missionary! I really do. I've learned so much and I really know that his work is something that I won't stop when I come home.  Although that's pretty far away.  I still have so much work to do and so far I can say that I've done what the Lord has wanted me too up to this point.  He has so much left for me to learn and experience.  I'm so excited!  I love this work and hope you all get to partake in it daily like I do.  There is no greater joy.  

Love ya!
Elder Nelson

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Hey so my new apartment number is 133.  Sorry I never told you!  I did get your package though mom!  I haven't checked on Grandma's yet though.  So it sounds like things are happening back home!  Pretty cool!  Sorry if this email is a little un focused.  We're emailing in a store at the mall called Curacao, because all the libraries are closed today because its Ceaser Chavez's birthday.  The musci in here is pretty loud.  We can't email at the family history center either because the guy over the stake for family history doesn't like the missionaries right now for various reasons.  It's dumb, but whatever. 

So this past week I went on exchanges with my old companion Elder Riley Smith who is the assistant right now.  I love that kid.  He's awesome.  He really helped me figure some things out that I could do to help the zone.  We taught a less active named Michael who wants to start coming back to church.  He's YSA age and went to church last week, but he sadi he wanted to try the spanish ward so he went there this week.  We taught him the plan of Salvation and read some scriptures with him.  His goal is to eventually get the priesthood.  He's pretty sweet.  We found two new investigators this past week.  One of them was the daughter of a potential that we stopped by.  We taught her the last half of the plan of salvation and showed her the because of him video.  She expressed concern for her brother who passed away a couple of years ago.  It was really good.  The other investigator we found used to be a former.  Her name is Karen. She lives in a place called Sepulveda residential.  Elder Kosmicki has taught her before and he was the one who dropped her.  She thanks everyone who goes to church is of the devil, but she comes to church herself and knows the church is true. . . I know it doesn't make sense.  My companion has deduced that she is not accountable, along with one of the assistants who has taught her before while he was here in this area before.  So why teach her!?  She has been coming to church on her own somehow and she tried to set up an appointment with us and we set it for wednseday.  We told Elder Shrum ( the assistant)  that we had an appointment with her and he told us not to go so we didn't, but we were contacting on Sepulveda and she found us. She came up to my companion and asked us if we could teach her.  She walked us back to her crazy complex and we taught her the resoration.  While we were talking about prophets, she told us that the picture we showed her looked like the antichrist.....  Ya it was weird.  As for right now we're officially teaching her.  Maybe she'll come around and not be crazy someday and turn accountable.  Even our bishop thanks she's not accountable, but she wants to be taught.  We'll see what happens.  I went on exchanges this week with Elder Orchard who got transferred here 6 months ago from Sierra Leone because of Ebola.  He's awesome.  I went to his area and biked around all day!  It was awesome!  I trained him on planning which went really well.  We found a new investigator and a ton of awesome potential investigators.  To update you on my other investigators, we had 3 come to church!  It was awesome!  We taught our 16 year old investigator Hugh on Saturday and he told us he wanted to come to church.  We got him a ride and he came!  It was awesome!  He has come so far from when I started teaching him.  He now prays every night and reads the scriptures.  He starting to ask God for help with the things he's going through.  He used to be Atheist.  He is progressing really well.  Lloyd Tackwell came too.  We had a lesson with him last night which went good.  We taught him about general conferance and set him a baptismal date for May 17th.  He's got a couple concerns to work through still, but he'll get there.  Claudia cancled all her lessons this week, but she came to church.  Shemal still didn't come to church.  He is our main focus right now.  He has such a strong testimony and is sharing the gospel.  He's just not coming to church.  We'll keep working on him.  He's on date for April 19th still.  We taught Lyndsay Lucas about Reading a prayer and got her to commit to read and pray on the bus since that is the only time she has to do it.  She is really cool.  She has a prosthetic leg and her dad Steve is really prayng and reading to find out if this is true too.  They keep committing to church, but  are not coming either.  That is like the missing link for everyone. 

The zone right now isn't doing well.  Our key indicators are still the lowest they've ever been, and there has been some disobedience throughout the zone, but we've resolved it.  The mission as a whole right now is struggling.  It's like over half the mission has been getting trunky.  It's sad, but I can tell you right now, I'm not trunky!  Haha I'm going strong and I will to the end of my mission!  It's like swimming!  You go hard the whole time!  And at the end you make sure nothing is left in the tank!  I'm going to come home and collapse because I'm not going to have anything left.  I love this mission and I'm doing my best!  That's what matters right? 

Elder Nelson 

Van Nuys

Well it sounds like you're going to get your hands full with this whole remodel thing your doing with the house!  I'll be excited to see it!  Thanks for getting in contact with Elder Cumming's parents!  I'm stoked!  As far as school goes, I don't know if I'll want to take Calc 2 or not.  Basically, I remember absolutely nothing as far as math goes, and I won't have any time to refresh myself on anything with 3 days between when I get home and school, but I don't want to take Calc 1 again. ... all well I got time to think about all that stuff later.  I'm on a mission!  No time to think about school!
Thanks for praying for my investigators and for me as a whole.  I know you guys pray for me and I know it helps.  We weren't able to teach our investigators as much as we would have liked to this week.  We were stacked with appointments this weekend and most of them fell through.  Such is missionary work right?  But no matter, we had a good week nonetheless.  
We taught The Negrete family along with their part member investigator roommate, Maria.  We taught the Plan of Salvation and the lesson went well and we got a lot of info on Maria and her relationship with God.  Basically she feels like she has never really had one, but she does want one.  We have some good insights on what to work with her on for our next lesson.  We taught the Negrete's 2 more times this week without Maria since she was working.  We taught a super spiritual lesson on the Priesthood aimed specifically at the 13 year old Negrete son Robert.  he is awesome, but he doesn't have the priesthood.  He's willing to take the steps necessary to get it, but Sister Negrete has a lot of health probles that prevent her from going to church and thus the kids can't make it either.  Every week they all commit to come and then every Saturday night or Sunday morning something goes wrong and they don't come.  They all have solid testimonies and really want to be there, but they are overcoming a lot of things and trials in their life right now and Satan is working on them.  I love them though and I hope to see them at church one of these weeks before I'm transferred.  We also taught Claudia Chasmine again.  She's still hung up on tithing, and she's also extremely. ... . Van Nuys.  That's the only way I can describe is just that she lives in Van nuys.  That tells you something.  She came to church this Sunday though and she still likes it a lot.  I don't know what to do about the tithing issue though, because if you even bring it up, she explodes at you and won't take any advice, testimony, scriptures, direct promises from God, etc.  Straight up she doesn't have the faith to pay it, but we'll keep helping her build the faith required to commit to pay it.  That's the only thing that is holding her up from baptism.  We also had a super spiritual lesson on priesthood yet again with our less active Grant.  It was awesome.  Again we focused on the blessings and the things we've learned from the priesthood.  it was great.  He told us he was going to come to church as well, but didn't show.  He's going to be on America's got Talent, so he might've been busy with that or something.  Hopefully next week.  Same things with Shemal, he cancelled his lesson this week because he had an interview with the executive chef at a company he's hoping to get a job for.  He got the job, but doesn't start until May.  he didn't show up at church either, so that means we had to push his date back for April 19th. We've literally taught him everything and he has such a strong testimony and desire, but he just hasn't been coming to church.  He'll get there eventually though.  We also taught Lloyd with his wife this week.  We taught himi on the Priesthood and the blessings it could bring to his family and we committed him to pray for a baptismal date and to have one ready by next Sunday.  It was a dynamite lesson!  The spirit was there hardcore!
The zone right now is kind of in bad shape.  Missionaries seem to be happy, but they aren't seeing much success.  We're struggling a lot with finding and getting people to church and its pretty dang stressful.  We went on two exchanges with our district leaders this week.  They went really well and trained them both on effective district meetings and having a vision for their districts.  This zone used to be the highest finding English zone in the mission and now its one of the lowest.  I'm just trying to figure out what happened and how to spark that finding fire again.  If we find more people to teach, more things will happen.  More people will progress, more will come to church, etc.  the thing is that the mission has focused on finding in its trainings for a long time, and that hasn't been doing much.  Hopefully we'll be able to get some more things going.  My companionship with Elder Kosmicki is doing relly well.  It's been a little more difficult at times, but both of us have worked through it and we are really good friends.  I'd say right now our unity is pretty good.   I'm loving the mission though.  
Fun fact,  There are over 45 bars and nightclubs within a 4 mile radius of our apartment. 
Love you all!
Elder Nelson

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