Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mission Life...Where The Days Feel Like Years and The Weeks Feel Like Seconds

I LOVE Asians
Nihao Dou Henshuai!
What another crazy week in the mysterious land of California! 
This week was hard but also very rewarding. Elder Willes and I have continued to hit the ground running and are continuing to give it our all!
Some highlights of this week are: we were able to teach one of our investigators named Sister Lin. We actually almost had to drop her because she hadn't had contact with us in 2 weeks. But she showed up to our apt and man was it AMAZING! She loved all of it and she is keeping her date for baptism (Apr 9th). At the end she gave us a prayer and she started crying saying she hasn't felt peace like this ever since she got here to America! Just another sweet tender mercy I have been able to experience on the mission! 
We taught pretty much all of our investigator's this week and they all did great! They are progressing so much and keeping all of there commitments! This week in our English class we had 7! Going from 2 that's a nice  jump for us. It definitely makes us super grateful! Another one of our investigators Brother Zhao, wanted us to give him an English name because his name is hard to pronounce. His name starts with an H so we handed him a huge list of English names that start with H. He chose the name Hank! LOL I just love them so much <3
The pinnacle of the week would probably have to be Sunday! We played my favorite game again called "Are My Investigators Coming to Church!?!?!
We get the first call from Hank & Tina and we got to go get them! Then we see Hank in a full suit and Tina in a dress!!!! The first Sunday they both came dressed in full Adidas gear head to toe jump suits (which I thought was AWESOME) to looking like full on members. I talked to Hank about his suit and he said he went shopping the day before with Tina and he bought it for church!
Halfway through sacrament Jay Yang showed up super sweaty. We found out that he had walked an hour to come to church! Just so amazing!!
Then the last hour was approaching and we assumed Sister Lin wouldn't be coming but then she had arrived!!! She got there in time for Relief Society so we took her to class and sat her with some of the members! After Church we were able to talk to her and found out she loved it! 
So in conclusion my investigators could beat up yours LOL! They are super awesome and growing so much! 
We are currently teaching 7 people and couldn't be more grateful!
Wo Ai Nimen, hope you have a great week!
#Church is True , Book is Blue.

孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson

Exchanges with the Zone Leaders

I love hearing Ben go into a little bit more detail about his experiences. The prayer that Sister Lin offered was one of the most sincere prayers he has ever heard. She was crying and really pouring her heart out to her Father in Heaven. It brought Ben to tears to hear her be so sincere and really ask for direction and guidance. What a great thing for him to witness and feel the spirit so strong with one of Gods children. 
Ben had his first exchange where he had to hold down the area all by himself (meaning he is the only Elder that speaks Chinese) because Elder Willes was on an exchange with another Zone leader. In the past Ben has had someone to fall back on with the language, but this time he didn't. He ended up having a conversation with Jay, one of their investigators and Jay really put Ben through the ringer. He hit him with all the tough questions which is difficult in English let alone trying to do it in Chinese. Ben felt like it went OK, but it was definitely a humbling experience for Ben and a good opportunity for him to rely on the spirit for guidance.
Jay is the one they have been teaching who is a student who is Majoring in Science. He has really been struggling to understand how the church and science coincide. He has told them that what they are teaching him goes against most everything he is learning. But what I love to hear Ben talk about is that Jay is at least willing to try to learn and understand. The fact that he walked an hour to get to church when he is having such doubts is an inspiration to me on so many levels. I know many who wouldn't walk 10 minutes to get to church let alone 1 hour in 90° weather. 
At the end of Ben's recording he spoke of how much he loves his investigators! He has encountered a lot rough and mean people but says the joy he feels from the people they are teaching makes it all worth it. He sounds so happy which in turn makes this mama happy! 😀 

A fun hike with the Zone

Tip of the week from Ben: place your Oreo's in the fridge for awhile. Eat. You will then realize never to eat Oreo's another way again! 😀

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My New Look...The Missionary Tan

Heat Please Stop
Sweet week out on the mission, full of heat and sweat! I have something one up from a farmers tan- it's called a Missionary Tan.😁 My arms and face are dark brown and my body is pale as a ghost, I look ridiculous. Wearing dress clothes in this heat is not that fun, but makes you more grateful for the blessing of AC. 
This week has been great! Our investigators are progressing very quickly and are just so amazing. I can't begin to express how much I love Asians, it's insane! 
We get to play a fun game on the mission called "Are my investigators going to come to Church?" It's a super fun game full of lots of patience and anxiety. But I'm proud to say...WE WON! Brother Zhao and his wife Tina came to church! They were so amazing. They had tons of questions, as expected but they loved it and the members were great. Tina wants to buy a skirt for Church so that's a good sign right!😉
Anyways- we are teaching about 1-2 people everyday and we have constant people at English Class now! Thanks to Elder Willes Mom we have fliers all over our area advertising it now, so things are really starting to pickup here! Even though I don't know how much longer we will be in this area with school getting out soon! 
Me and Elder Willes are super blessed and my Chinese is doing great! I love what I'm doing but I would love to see some snow right about now too!
Hope you all have a wonderful week with it now being a 100° in your states! 

Wo Ai Nimen
孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson

P.S. here is some sweet pics of the week, I found a field a flowers- don't ask too many questions.​​​😁

The "Sweet" Flower Pic

In Ben's recording this week he went into more detail about each of the people that he and Elder Willes have been working with. To hear the excitement and love that he has for these people in his voice just makes my heart swell. 
Something exciting happened for Ben and his companion this week. They have been KILLING themselves in this area working, praying and trying so hard and it has paid off in more ways than one. Obviously the most rewarding is finding and bringing these people to Christ, but the second is the Mission President's wife, Sister Mullen told them that President Mullen said they were "tearing it up"! According to Ben President Mullen would NEVER tell them that in person so in Ben's words..."That was freakin AWESOME!" 😂😂 
Also this week they were challenged to Come to Know their Savior better by going to the Topical Guide under Jesus Christ starting at the top and looking up every word that describes our Savior. Ben challenged us to do the same and told us that President Nelson promised if we do this we will come to know our Savior in a way we never have before and it will strengthen our testimony of Him. 
If I am completely honest, I have been challenged many times over the course of my life to do various things in the church to help grow and improve my spirituality. Most times I have heeded their advice, but other times I have not. But when you have your son who is out sacrificing and serving the Lord challenge you weekly to do various things to grow, I feel an overwhelming urge to stay up to par with where he is. I enjoy being able to discuss the things we each have learned and to grow together in this spiritual journey. 

♥♥♥ these 2 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Irish Blessings

These past few weeks have really been a struggle for Ben and Elder Willes trying to find those people that are interested in hearing the Gospel. They have been working so hard, praying and doing everything they can to stay positive and trust that the Lord would bless them.  I always worry about Ben for numerous reasons (I think that comes with the territory of having a missionary) but I wanted so badly to hear that they were finding some success in their efforts and this week...THEY DID! 😁
The one thing that has brought me comfort reading his emails was even though they have been having a hard time, Ben has always followed it up with, "Mom, it's going to work out." or "It's all good. We will just continue to work as hard as we can and we will be blessed." He has stayed so full of faith and confidence that they will succeed. It really has been an inspiration to me in so many ways! 

From Ben:

Bless Up!

This week has been so AMAZING guys, I can't even begin to express how grateful I am! The Lord has blessed us so much. We went from 1 investigator to 6 and 2 with a baptismal date! They are all super solid and keeping their commitments! 
My Chinese is doing great and I can understand about 90% of the lessons and I can teach them comfortably. I know that the Lord had blessed me with the "gift of tongues"  this week! 
English class is also doing really well. Pretty much every investigator we have comes to the class which is really cool because we always try to sneak in a spiritual lesson too. 😉 
Another sweet thing this week is I went to Spanish Land. I spent the day there where I couldn't understand a word that was being said. 😁 I was with Elder Sanchez who had to solo about 6 lessons while I sat there wondering why it is 100° in March!
The week was great and I'm so grateful for how much the Lord has blessed me! 
A quick spiritual thought: I have been pounding through the New Testament and I just read Luke 12. Awesome chapter, I highly recommend you read it! 
But I really like verse 32 which says: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom." 
This is a good reminder to all of us that our Heavenly Father is really rooting for us. Stay faithful and be worthy of revelation.

Wo Ai Nimen 

Elder Nelson

Shout out to Elder Willes GF for the St. Patty's swag!

So I wanted to send Ben a "Greenie" package which worked out PERFECT with it being the week of St. Patrick's Day! 

And... you can't send a "Greenie" package without sending a package to his trainer. So we sent Elder Willes a "Treat Your Trainer" package filled with all sorts of yummy things to say a BIG THANK YOU for helping to train our son! 
He got it!

Love the 😀smiles on these boys faces. And look at those tans they are both working on. 

Ben helping Elder Sanchez in the Spanish area

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

And Then There Were 2...

Time To Shine
Another great week in the mission field! Elder Willes and I have been working are butts off! This week has been super crazy and super successful! 
First: we said goodbye to my favorite Asian, Elder Zeng (my trainer). He headed back to Asian land (China) on Monday. I miss that little guy, but I know he is on to BIGGER and BETTER things! I'll drop a ton of pics of our final beautiful moments together down below! 😀 I also had to say goodbye to Elder Mounts. He is a stud muffin and going to kill it in his new area!

Second: We have been tearing up this area daily and working super hard so the Lord can bless us with some new investigators- and He has!
We have 2 new investigators and about 16 potentials that have appointments set up throughout the week! Please keep us in your prayers because you guys are for sure in mine 😉. My Chinese is also growing and improving so much. I can contact pretty much on my own, and hold conversations comfortably! So ya, another great week on the mission, I
hope you all had an awesome week as well!
Here are some sweet pics from the week!

Wo Ai Nimen!
孫長老 Sun Zhanglao (Elder Nelson)​​​​​​​​​​

In Ben's recording he told us that one of the BEST features that comes as a missionary is BEING TIRED! 😂 He was worried about not being able to fall asleep with the adjustment of mission life, new state and schedule etc... but has found that he can crash as soon as his head hits the pillow. He says hopefully God hears missionaries prayers, even when they have fallen asleep 1/2 way through. 😀
Ben had the opportunity to participate in what they call a "blitz". It's where they get together with a bunch of Elders and Sisters to help the missionaries in that area to find referrals. They were able to find 2 which was great! 
Ben has finished the BOM again, which he loves and has now started reading the New Testament. He is really excited to start expanding his knowledge of the Bible and is hoping it will help connect with people in a different way. His words were: "Mom, my gospel knowledge has EXPLODED since being out in the field and I am LOVING it!"
One thing Ben shared with us was how awkward it is at first to have people stare at you like you have a horn in the middle of your head. He said: "When I first got out here everyone would stare at you. It use to drive me insane. We serve on campus so everyone is pretty much our age. They look at you like you're a complete idiot because here we are in white shirts and suits and they are dressed normal. We're missionaries so we already stick out but dressed this way we get a lot of looks. It use to really bug me but one thing about serving a mission, it locks your self esteem. After awhile you just don't notice or care. I have had so many things said and done to me, a lot of it I don't want you to know or worry, but I just don't care. I figure it makes for fun mission stories and if anything it strengthens your testimony."
Ben has fallen completely in love with the people in Riverside and you can hear in his voice how much he cares for them and the heartache he feels when they don't want to be taught or they start the lessons and then they change their minds.
They did meet a guy named Jay who is a science major. He expressed to them that everything they are teaching goes against all that he is learning for his future profession, but he is willing to try. He attends their English class every now and then and they have become fast friends. Jay talked to them about a concern he has that they would be mad at him if he decided not to continue and he would lose their friendship. Ben told us that Jay doesn't have many friends which for Ben this mission is not about numbers, it's about people so of course they would still be friends. They happened to contact him one night and found that he was reading their pamphlet that they gave to him. Ben is pretty excited to see how things progress with Jay and has asked that we pray for them and for him. Ben is right, another great week in the mission field!

Ben and Elder Willis in matching ties. Totally by accident! 😀


Friday, March 3, 2017

Stepping In

Awhile back Ben wrote about some medical issues he was having with his appendix. Ben is just like every other missionary who writes about these types of things AFTER the fact so us Mom's won't worry. Being miles away and not readily available to help take care of my boy, you have to hope and pray  that their companion can help them through. Many hours were spent at the hospital with multiple tests done and as we are all familiar with...A LOT OF WAITING! Ben told me his Companions were troopers, but he also knew deep down inside they were going to lose it. I felt so bad for my son and his companions for having to deal with all this so what's a Mom to do? Well the only thing I can do, send lots of LOVES and Thank Yous!
Elder Willes Thank You package for helping take care of Ben.
"Donut" know what we would do without YOU!

Ben's "Get Well" package. Ben LOVES Swig & Girl Scout Cookies. Since I couldn't mail him the Swig Sugar Cookies, I sent him the mix in the box! SO YUMMY! 😀 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Don't Count The Days, Make The Days Count!

So last week when Ben hit his 100 days on the 28th I sent him a package filled with funny things like, 100-100 Grand candy bars and 100 M&M's and 100 Chocolate Popcorn pieces, things like that. I know it's not a good thing for a missionary to be focused on the number of days they have been out, but I just wanted to send him something that would brighten up his week, like candy! 😀 He told us in his email that he had not even realized he has been out that long which when I read that made me smile. That means by boy is focused and working hard at being on the Lord's errand. I it! 

Here is his email:

I've Been Here 100 Days...
Nihao Pengyoumen!

Wow I can't begin to express how fast time is going, it is actually insane! 
This week has been hard but very gratifying. Me and Elder Willes have been working our butts off to improve our area. We've been talking to everyone and not being scared to talk about anything!
We currently have 2 people we're teaching, Han Dixiong and Hang Dixiong (super similar last names, lol) and about 5 Potentials. So ya- good week in the mission!
Sadly, Elder Zeng leaves this week. We've had some crazy memories together and he is going to kill it back in China! Elder Willes will finish my training and we're going to slay this area lol.
Today we went hiking super early. It was really cool! I will drop some sweet pics down below so you will all have some eye candy ;). Times going fast and my Chinese is getting better everyday. Keep me in your prayers, you guys are for sure in mine!
Love you all
P.S. Go checkout my moms sweet blog of my mission it looks super cool!!
孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​

Elder Nelson

So I have to say- the little shout out for the blog made me tear up. Before Ben left I told him I would like to do a blog and keep a record of all his adventures. He gave me the typical teenage annoyed look followed with, "Mom, please don't do that!" Now... I receive emails with so much gratitude for the record I am keeping for when he gets home! 
Ben sent us a separate email this week with a lot of the same info but a little more detail. 

So not too much happened this week other than as you know I hit my 100 days!!! Ya, I actually didn't even know that til you sent me that package lol! I've been told not to count days or it goes slower, so I took the advice. 
Elder Willes and I are sick and tired of this area kicking our butts so we have worked extremely hard this week! We have been walking on an average of about 4 hours a day finding potentials. Right now we have about 5 that we are setting up appts. We are currently teaching 2 people by the names of Huang Dixiong (Brother Huang) a.k.a Mike and Han Dixiong. Both are amazing people and we're hoping to get them on a date asap! Overall, a successful week! 
Elder Zeng leaves in about an hour from now which is straight buns but we have had many awesome experiences and I can't believe it's already been a full transfer! Time is going by so fast I can't even express. 
Elder Willes was called to be a District Leader so he will have to go on exchanges which leaves me alone to speak Chinese in my area which is super scary! My Chinese is doing pretty good, but man is it a hard language! I've been working my butt off day in and day out to improve. I can go back and forth with most people as long as Elder Willes is there to fill in the gaps- lol. 
This week I met a man who told me "religion is of the devil" and he explained why for about 50 mins. That was an interesting experience. We have a lot of people who love to try and save you, its quite entertaining! 
Today we woke up at 5:30 and went hiking. That was a miracle in itself. 
Love you tons and so glad to hear everything is going good at home! You guys are forever in my prayers!
Elder Nelson

Ben, Elder Zeng, Elder Willes, Elder Phister and Elder Mounts on their hike to look out over Riverside!