Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Miracles All Around Us

Well October is gone!
Hello everyone!!

Weeks are just getting faster and faster on the mission! I'm hitting my year mark in like a week and a half. It's starting to freak me out that this whole missionary thing actually ends.
This week was great! Elder Willes and I have been working super hard to find those who are prepared. But first, I had my first Halloween on the mission. We watched "The Other Side of Heaven". It was a great movie. Our whole zone dressed up in black so we looked pretty sweet (pics below).

We came into the week with a good amount of potentials so we're excited to teach some peeps! However, not one wanted to meet😢but that's missionary life for ya. We prayed very hard that the Lord would prepare some people we could teach that week. We got to about Friday and went to a referral of a Chinese home. Normally a referral consists of a name, address and what they are interested in. However in our case since no one knows Chinese, we pretty much get sent address's of where Chinese people live! So it's kind of going in blind but we do our best. We contact a home just like that, we talk to some lady at the door who said the owner isn't home. So then we see a van pull up into the driveway right as that happened. We walk over to the garage with only the name Jewel to go off of. A van of like 8 Asians just starting flying out of the van. We're asking every one of them if they are Jewel. They all ignore us until the driver comes out like 8 minutes later (super awkward). She said "Yes I'm Jewel". We explained our purpose as missionaries and what we do. She said she had been going to her other Christian Church for like 10 years and had been baptized there. We testified of the restoration and how our message could bless her. For some miracle she said we could come over Sunday! We went over Sunday at the time we had set ready for any arguments she would present during the lesson. We taught her the whole lesson without one argument, just honest questions. She said she was willing to read the Book of Mormon too! MIRACLES DO HAPPEN! 

I also had my 2nd MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) this week, I love them. They are so fun and very spiritually edifying! We talked about/ prepared for the visit from the 70 next week. Elder Keetch will be visiting our mission next Monday! So my p-day will be moved to a Tuesday, since I will be in meetings from 7:00am-8:00pm! However I'm very hyped and will let you know how it went! 

It's finally getting cooler out here, its only in like the 60's and I'm freezing. I officially have become a Californian, anything below 80 I think is the Arctic...I'm still grateful to be out of the 100's! 

Elder Nelson 孙长老

Pics of some good friends, since they are finishing their missions :(

Ben with some good friends from the mission
preparing to go home

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

万圣节快乐!!! (Happy Halloween)

Hello everyone!
I can't believe it is already the end of October! Time is teleporting and it's freaking me out! 
This week went really well. We're super busy all week and got to teach a good amount of new investigators! 
We taught a guy by the name of Duan Dixiong. He is super cool and very interested in hearing more about our message. He asked us if we wanted to smoke with him but we said were good lol. He made me feel like I was back in the MTC with how hard he was to understand. He was talking about super random stuff and he had a gnarly accent! 
Then, we taught some people at the end of the week by the name of Leo and Eric. We were just about to leave the neighborhood we were in when we ran into Leo. He was in AWE we spoke Chinese and asked if we could go sit down with him. We followed him over to his "Tea Table" and he started pouring us tea. We weaseled our way out of it and ended up with bottled water! 
We taught him and another guy in the house the Restoration. He was very interested and we hope to meet with him again soon!
On Sunday, we had 4 investigators come to church, Deng, Jing, Diana and Anglea. It was a great day and super stressful, as usual! We had a less active member also come by the name of Tony Ding, that was a miracle in itself. He fed us on Friday and gave us cow tail!!! Just another weird thing Iv'e eaten that I can add to the list.
However he came to church so I'll eat cow tail all day if he will come to church! 😁 After church we taught Diana the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom with no problems! She is planning on being baptized on the 12th! She asked us if next time we can teach her everything so she can be baptized quicker lol.

All in all it was a great week and we're excited for this last week of the transfer! Bless up in the CRM! 
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Halloween Package 

Halloween Package from Mama Nelson

Halloween Package from Mama Willes

Ben told a funny story about having the opportunity to eat cow tail. Chinese people are so kind and love to serve and feed you A LOT! Elder Willes and Ben were eating with Tony when he served then the cow tail and Ben was already REALLY full. He tried to serve himself a plate, but Tony was so kind and did it for him. Ben was really worried and didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings so he asked to use the restroom where he prayed to Heavenly Father to PLEASE help him eat all the food. He ended up being just fine and found out cow tail isn't that bad! So in Ben's words: "Bless Up!"  
Ben told us that they are almost out of miles on their car for the month. They drive a lot because they are looking for specific people so they do tend to drive everywhere. They needed to save those miles so they figured they will try to walk a few places. They pray to Heavenly Father that He will place some people in their path because they are to be looking for Chinese people so they have to hope that they can just randomly run into them. They ended up finding some people that invited them in and were willing to hear their message. As they got teaching they realized that they had left the extra BOM's in the car which was parked about 5 minutes away. They worried about having to exit the conversation, hoping they would even let them back in to go get those books, but they took a chance. In Ben's words: "So here are me and Elder Willes, in our suits, booking it as fast as we can back to the car to get the books and then booking it back. We had people looking at us wondering what the heck was going on! LOL"  They got back and everthing worked out so hopefully we will hear more update on that encounter! 
Another wonderful blessing this week was on Sunday Ben and Elder Willes walk in and see a bunch of Chinese people sitting on the front row. They didn't recognize most of them except one. He was a man that lives with Brother Ding so they got really excited! They got even more excited when they found out that Brother Ding was there too! Brother Ding hasn't come for about a year. He struggles with the members, but he is trying. He came with his hair cut, a suit and brought all of his friends! Ben and Elder Willes could not be more excited to have him participating in the gospel again. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pigs Ear, Pregnancy & Proof

October and still hitting the 100's!
To start this super quick week off, it's still hot. I don't why California refuses to accept the winter season but its driving me insane! 

This week flew by! This transfer (6 week period), is almost over already. The mission kind of just blurs together and it freaks you out when you look at all the things that have already happened! 

We had the opportunity of teaching a hunk this week by the name of Lucas. He is currently a masters student living at one of our members homes. He actually lives in Germany and is taking a break from school because they will have their first child soon! We came over and he was sitting there with a bowl of grapes for us and a notepad to take notes lol. He loved the lesson and wants to keep learning more. We also hope to teach his SUPER pregnant wife soon too! 😁

Then later this week I had my first Multi Zone as a Zone Leader! We had to give a training on, The Importance of Planning and Relying on the Lord. It's kind of crazy giving a training to 50+ missionaries and the whole Mission Presidency! But I think it went well, and I love this opportunity I have for leadership!

Lastly,  this week we had the opportunity of going and teaching a couple at a members home. The members are the Archibalds and both actually speak Spanish. The wife is from Mexico and has some friends from China! We went over to the Archibalds home, aka mansion, beautiful home at the top of the mountain! We taught an older couple by the name of Joe and Tina! 
They were so thrown at the fact we knew Chinese, one perk of being white and knowing a random language! They said our Chinese is better than their sons and we need to teach him how to speak it lol. 
The lesson itself went really well! They loved it and again were in AWE we could teach in Chinese (not us, its God😀). We are looking forward to continue teaching them. They are a great couple that also live in a mansion, but we are trying to get them a mansion in heaven ;).

Love you guys have a great week! 
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Got some pics with some hunks I love from Multi-Zones!
The one random pic of that funky looking object, is pig ear! The stuff that you can't see really well behind it is pig intestine! I was super lucky to have to eat a ton of that the other night!!  😏 

Ben, Elder Dunn, Elder Willes and the Sisters at 
Multi Zone Conference

Pigs Ear and Intestine

When Ben and Elder Willes met with Lucas he told them that he couldn't get baptized just yet because his wife is pregnant. For Ben, this was confusing. He was picturing when I was pregnant, which is a HORRIBLE example because I don't stop for anything. I HATE laying down or not being able to get up and do anything I want, so I don't usually rest much. 
Lucas explained that in their culture it's standard for the woman to do NOTHING except use the restroom for 1 month  after having the baby. This is to help the woman's breasts fill up with milk. The man will make sure she has 5 meals a day, wash her with a rag and tend to every need she has outside of the restroom. 
For me, when I heard this, I was like, "Wait...WHAT! That would be AWESOME!" But...I also didn't have a problem having my milk come in PAINFULLY at times. Haha! 
It's always fun to me to hear about different cultures and how they do things. So more to come on Lucas as we hear how he, Momma and baby are doing! 

Something Ben talked about this week that is heartbreaking when it happens anytime, but he said they seem to be having a problem with it in the Chinese Mission, is when the Elders fall away from the church. He talked about how hard it is for the members who were taught by those that stray to not question their own testimonies. They have spent some time on reminding those families that it is Christ and the spirit that has confirmed the truthfulness of the Gospel and that all men are subject to temptations and trials. 
It's hard when things like this happen for people not to use it as "proof" that the things they have learned are false and make them wonder if they have been deceived in some way. It's also a good opportunity for those of us that have had this happen to, to pray and reaffirm our testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel and the blessings we can receive when we trust in and do the best we can to obey our Father in Heaven and His commandments.  Hopefully Ben and Elder Willes will be successful in their efforts to remind those people that are struggling with these exact things. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake

Woah... 11 months???
It's kind of scary to think that I have been away from home for 11 months now... Time goes so dang fast on the mission- it's kind of freaky. I'm just praying that my language catches up one of these days LOL😁. I'm just kidding! The Lord has blessed me so much already and I couldn't ask for anymore.

This week was pretty good. Elder Willes and I have been working our butts off to find the prepared. We taught some good lessons to some great people. 
We had an interesting lesson with a women by the name of Sue. She thought our message was evil. She was scared we would bring her eternal happiness or something weird like that LOL😁. I'm just playing around! She just wasn't ready to change churches but we hope she finds missionaries in the future! 

We have also still been working with Xun and Sara, an amazing couple who have a great desire to learn. They invited us over to a party for their daughters this week. We went to the party and it was a blast, Elder Willes and I were the "life of the party". We met so many great people, who were all in AWE that we spoke Chinese. They made us eat so much food I was in pain! They also gave us a whole Costco sheet cake! 😲 They said,  "Us Americans love sweets, so we need to take this cake". It was a great party, and I have a very bad selfie to go with it! 

Hope you all had a great week, Wo Ai Nimen! 
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Ben, Elder Willes, Xun & Sara celebrating their 
daughters 100 days on this earth

Poor Ben! This week when he was talking to us he must've yawned 6 or 7 times in the 5 minute recording. As his Mom, it makes me feel bad to know he is so tired. But also to know he is tired doing "good things" makes me happy! 
This week, like all weeks, him and Elder Willes are working hard to find those that the Lord has prepared. He was able to go on splits to "English Land" as he always calls it, which makes me chuckle. I think it's a good opportunity for him to see a different side of the mission and to learn from and help teach other Elders too.   

This week was a hard one to email Ben. One of Ben's dear friends and fellow Missionary Mom's passed away. She has been a friend of mine since we were in HS and our boys have grown up together. She lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 42. This news broke my heart and I was nervous to tell Ben, but I knew he needed to know so he could provide comfort to his friend who is serving in Samoa. 
Her son Joseph decided to stay out on his mission and honestly it is the BEST place he can be. So close to the spirit and submerged in the Lord's work is what is going to help him endure the sadness that will come from losing her. 
When Ben read my email he was overcome with sadness and a little bit of helplessness, but his response back to me didn't surprise me at all. 
"First off wow... that is so sad to hear. I thought she was doing good and had fought it back. However she is where she needs to be right now. Joseph is an amazing missionary with a faith and testimony I could only hope to have. I know he is in a good spot and is doing the right thing. I will be reaching out to him this week. Please tell Shawn I love him very much and he is in my prayers. It's very sad to think that he won't have his mother when she gets back. But she is always going to be by his side throughout the rest of his mission."
They have been receiving each others emails all throughout their missions but Ben reached out on a more personal level to offer comfort and love through this difficult time. It's hard to not be there to comfort my son or Joseph. I can only pray that the Lord will bring them peace and wrap his arms around them as they work through one of life's most devastating heartaches.

Ben & Joseph

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pizza With A Side Of Training

Another Grindy Week!
This week was pretty good. Elder Willes and I have been hitting the pavement every single day! 
Being a Zone Leader can be kind of crazy, especially with how young I still am in the mission. You need to set the example for your whole Zone, so we are working super hard trying to do that LOL.

I had my first MLC ( Missionary Leadership Council) this week, its for Zone Leaders and what we can do to become better. It was quite fun and I'm glad I have the opportunity to be a leader in the mission even if it is crazy! 
We taught some great people this week, one being a family. The Dad's name is Jeff and the wives is Sunny. Pretty much every single Chinese woman is named Sunny, so that is pretty cool! We kind of just knocked their door and asked them if they had time right then! We had a really good lesson and I'm excited for them! They also tried to feed us dinner. Chinese people are super polite and try to give you everything they have when you walk in their home! 
I also taught a 10 year old this week by the name of Angela. Her mother has already been baptized and wants her daughter to do the same. It was probably one of the most difficult lessons I'v'e ever taught LOL. She had legit questions about every single part of the lesson. She is a fireball and I will keep you posted! 
Lastly ,church was great, we had a family come. The Dad's name is Xun and the Mom's is Sara. They are a great couple and very energetic. I will drop a picture with them down below!

Well hope you all have a great week, Wo Ai Nimen! 
Elder Nelson 孙长老

 Elder Willes & Ben @ MLC
Ben & Xun- he wanted a selfie with just him😀
Ben, Xun & Sarah

Jon has a saying when the kids tell him how much they want to be the "BOSS". 
"The higher up the ladder you go, the more your butt shows"
Ben compared being a Zone Leader to that quote. Being in a leadership position means eyes are always on you. It's important to be a good example and do the very best you can to succeed at what you are doing. 
As stressful as it can seem at times, Ben is really enjoying what he is learning from this new experience. He knows the skills he learns out in the Mission will benefit him in every aspect of his life, and when life gets hard he has a way of looking on the bright side and just rolling up his sleeves and pushing forward.  It is one of the things I admire most about Ben! 
One of Ben's FAVORITE parts of the MLC...THE PIZZAS! 
(And you were thinking it was the Sisters😏)LOL

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Come Listen To A Prophets Voice

Alright I don't have much crazy stuff to talk about this week I'M SORRY! Also sorry I'm emailing on a Tuesday, we had interviews with President yesterday.
This week pretty much consisted of us seeking with faith a whole ton. We have some great people were working with but we want to continue to build our teaching pool! Please keep us in your prayers as we are on the hunt for the elect.

We did have General Conference this week! I'm not going to lie... at home I just wanted to sleep through all of it, but out here it is like Christmas! The spirit is constantly prompting you on what you need to work on and how to help others! 
I would like to share two very true statements that I liked in Conference:
1. "God doesn't work by coincidence, but by divine design". 
-Elder Rasband.
2. "Never doubt your divine potential". 
-W.Christopher Wadell 

I love both of these, they really show what we can become and how important it is that we rely on the Lord.
Have a great week guys! Sorry don't have any pictures, I'll be better next week! 

Elder Nelson 孙长老

I remember when Ben was wrapped up on the couch with a blanket over his head fighting to stay awake for General Conference. To hear him now say how much he LOVES it and compares it to Christmas...that makes this Mom ♥heart♥ very happy! 

**In full disclosure, I felt the exact same way about Conference as a teenager. Wrapped up trying not to fall asleep!😏

Ben, Elder Willes, Elder Porazzo, & Elder Hale

I love when I get random texts from AMAZING people that feed, take care of and think to send this Momma a pic of her son! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

6:40am Saturday Morning

Transfer day was on Saturday (23rd) and Ben had a prediction...
Elder Crowther was going to stay with him, they would do 1 more transfer together and then Elder Willes would come back. 
Bens words: "The way transfers work is President Hammon will call you really early on Saturday morning if you are receiving leadership or training. We are feeling pretty confident when the phone rings at 6:40am. I am still out of it, still tired, still eating Fruit Loops and he asks if Elder Nelson is there and I am like OH NO! I get on the phone and President asks me how I am. I told him I was great and he says, "I just wanted to tell you we are going to be changing your calling." I said wait...WHAT? Am I going English? He says."We would like to make you a Zone Leader. Now it's a little early for you to be a Zone Leader but you are an exceptional missionary that I have a lot of trust in and I know you will do a great job. You will be staying Chinese and I expect great things from you." 
I told him I was really grateful for the opportunity and that I would work really hard to do a good job. So Me and Elder Willes will be Zone Leaders over Jurupa and Elder Crowther and Elder Yang will be going to UCR. I am really excited for what is to come."

Bored during planning
Honestly I have watched this over and over and laughed harder every single time! This IS my Ben. Always trying to lighten a mood and make people laugh. 😁