Friday, April 28, 2017

Fight The Good Fight



Nimen Hao!!
Another great week out here in the constantly above 85° Cali! 
This week was kind of sad but also exciting! Sister Lin who I talked to you guys about last week had her baptism canceled which was the buns. 😢 She called her parents and they disapproved of it. She told us she couldn't go through with it but would continue to come to church and learn... we haven't seen her since. This has happened now 3 times so it's getting super frustrating but hey, keep on fighting the good fight!
After being super sad about that we taught Hank & Tina who are getting baptized this Sunday (hopefully). They already have picked who they want to speak and they keep telling us how excited they are! They really have brought me so much joy and I can't begin to express how grateful I am for them! So stay tuned for that!
This week was harder to find new investigators, however I always find joy in contacting Asians. Every time I contact them I speak English really fast so obvs I can get to that part where we speak Chinese easier. But without fail they do this Matrix move, you know the part where he dodges all the bullets and stuff, ya they do that every time I speak Chinese to them. It always makes me laugh because they are super confused how this white kid knows Chinese.😁 
Overall not a bad week. We are just going to keep pushing along and finding those hunk of Asians wanting to learn about the Gospel! 
Wo Ai Nimen, hope you all have a great week!

孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson 

One of the things I have admired about Ben even since he was little, was his way of ALWAYS trying to look on the bright side of things or to find the silver lining. This gift has come in handy on his mission. We know missions are full of up and downs, joys and sadness, surprises and disappointments but all the while Ben has kept his head up. Having a recorder was one of the BEST things we sent him with. Not only can I hear his voice, but he can't "fake" how he is feeling, I can hear it in his tone. This is such a blessing for us because it gives me a heads up on how we can help from home. What words of encouragement we can send to help him through all the transitions you go through out there serving the Lord. 
This last week was especially hard for him. Hearing him talk about the cancellation of Sister Lin's baptism was heartbreaking. The sadness in his voice was overwhelming. He has been there from the beginning on her path back to Christ and has seen and felt the spirit with her. To have it come crumbling down because her fear of her parents is too great, is so disappointing. It's hard with the Chinese culture. Ben feels like you not only fight the normal obstacles that Satan puts in your path, but you fight years of honor and tradition too. He knows that honoring her parents is a good thing, but to have her miss out on all that her Heavenly Father has to offer, is just so unfortunate. We are all praying hard that her mother's heart will be softened and she can again set a baptism date. 
Ben's words: "I have never been this sad before. I just sat there in my chair staring at the floor. I just prayed and prayed for help. I thought, did that just happen? She is one of our most solid investigators and that just happened. Even though she said she would keep coming, I knew when she walked out the door that would be the last time I saw her and it was killing me. This is just a testament to me that we have to be so careful. Satan can get to even the strongest of people. No matter how well you think you are doing he can get at you in so many different ways."
The next day Ben met with Hank and Tina which was a highlight and uplifting experience for him. They are so ready for baptism and doing so well. He says, "They are better members, not being baptized than 1/2 the members now." 😁
Hank and Tina have made a goal to be sealed in the temple 1 year from now and on the mission you can go if they invite you. Ben said, "I'll be baby! I will have gone from meeting them on UCR Campus, to teaching them and baptizing them to seeing them get sealed for time and all eternity. They are our light right now and I am so grateful for them."
One thing that scares me as a parent is when your kids are older will they only share the negative things you instilled in them or will some of the lessons and positive things you tried to teach them be something they remember. I know I have instilled many things I DO NOT want them to emulate, but this week on the recording Ben shared that he has a fighting attitude and sets his goals high. He doesn't give up easily and keeps getting back up even when it seems tough. The best part for me was..."I attribute that to you Mom! Thank you for teaching me those life skills you knew I would need to succeed." 😢😢😢 ♥♥♥
The water works were real! What a compliment from my beautiful son. 
Ben and Elder Yang met another man that offered them to come in and talk with him. He had been taught before from another missionary, Elder Murray about 2 years ago. Ben's telling of their encounter is hilarious!
"I asked if we could read a scripture. I said, Fa Bou, do you have a Book of Mormon? He excitedly said, "Oh ya, it's over there. Can you hand it to me?' I turn around to grab it and it is under a HUGE stack of Playboys, that look like they have gotten some use. I am like OH MY GOSH-REALLY! LOL Every other book is super dusty, including the Book of Mormon except those. It's good to know his priorities are straight😏. That's alright though, we'll be teaching him about that soon enough."
Ben talked awhile ago about how some of their investigators have to walk quite a ways to get to church. Super impressive! Simon showed up late to sacrament, really sweaty from walking and came up to Ben after the meeting while it was very quiet and reverent and in a really loud voice said, "Ahh Elder Nelson! It is a pain in the a** (only he said it) to get here!" Ben couldn't help but chuckle a little. 
"After that he went to Elders quorum, introduced himself and then testified of investigating the church and that he believes it will help him and it is the thing he has been looking for."
Even though this week has had some sad points, the Lord has blessed Ben and Elder Yang with some tender mercies. He listened to a talk by President Eyering called, Mountains to Climb. He knows Heavenly Father has his back and that he will help him get through some of these trying times while serving him. So proud of him!  

Ben and Elder Yang with a car! Woot! Woot!




Monday, April 17, 2017

复活日期 Fùhuó rìqí (Resurrection Date)

 What a blessed week out here in the always above 75° California.
This week was my first week with Elder Yang. He is very VERRRY quiet. But, that's OK because I never stop talking, so it balances out well.😁 This week has been exciting for my Chinese because Elder Yang doesn't know much English so my Chinese has been growing and real quick!
Also I've been out 5 months this week as of yesterday! Time is going so fast its kind of scary! It feels like just yesterday I was sitting there giving my last hugs to the family! When you're this busy man time flies so fast! 
We were super blessed to get 2 people who I love very much on date this week (they picked a baptismal date). We taught Hank & Tina, an awesome couple we have been teaching for awhile. They have already been to church 5 times! We taught them a lesson and brought it up and we picked the date for Apr 30th. Man, they are so awesome! I have some pics of them I'll throw down below! 
This Easter Sunday was super special. I got to spend it with all of our Asian friends at church. Sister Lin, who is being baptized next Sunday, was sitting right next to me crying saying that she has never felt peace like this before. I am just so grateful that I get to take part in this experience they are going through.
We then later that night had dinner with some members. The Crocketts, Hank & Tina and Jay all were there! It is super cool to get to talk to them outside of the lessons. They are all just so awesome and it was really fun to spend Easter with them! 
So overall another great week on the mission! Hopefully next week there will be some baptismal pics we will see! 
We also got a car so the work is going to pic up even more now that we don't have to walk everywhere!
Have a great week hunks!
孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​
Elder Nelson
Some pics of the peeps I love!

In Ben's recording he started off saying how grateful he is for his purpose. He has had an AMAZING week feeling the spirit and helping these people come unto Christ. He is so excited to see Sister Lin baptized this upcoming Sunday. 
As missionaries they get a lot of  taunting and made fun of, but to spend time with these people that have been prepared to receive the gospel and to feel of their love for their Savior, makes all the bad things that happen to them seem like nothing.
This recent transfer was a shock but as always Ben is looking on the bright side of the "surprise". He says,"I know why the Lord split up me and Elder Willes. He is giving me an opportunity to stretch myself and grow. Since Elder Yang is so quiet, I am having to do most of the speaking, in a language that still seems difficult. But I am improving more and more each day and can finally even joke around with them in Chinese! Which sounds dumb, but to say a joke and have them understand and laugh is a HUGE deal for me. LOL".
Mid recording he says, "WHAT! Someone threw an egg in our air conditioner! REALLY! GROSS!" I was dying at his noises of disgust!😂
Hank and Tina are really solid but have yet to set a date for baptism. Ben talks about feeling prompted to read "The Doctrine of Christ" with them. It talks about 5 parts, It's in 
2 Nephi 31:
*Faith in Jesus Christ
*Repentance
*Baptism 
*Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost
*Enduring to the End
They decided to read this with them and it just clicked for Hank and Tina. After they finished they mentioned they did not have a baptismal date. Ben's said, "The spirit just put me in a backpack and let me watch him work. I don't remember most anything I said because it was coming from the spirit."
Tina asked what they needed to do to plan a baptism. Ben was soooo EXCITED! She is graduating from college soon so they set it for April 30th!
Ben says,"I am going to bawl like a baby at their baptisms. I cannot begin to express how amazing and what a gift it is to go from meeting these people on the street, you don't know anything about them except they are Asian and might know Chinese. You get to know them and start talking to them and you have the 1st lesson, which they are super confused. You go from they don't know who God is, in fact they don't know much of anything, to them being the ones that are testifying to you in lessons. They are reading, praying, coming to church and then you end up being the one that is learning from them. I am just so grateful that I get to be a part of this life changing process."
Simon is another investigator that is super solid. Ben asked him to read Moroni 10 and he came back with everything highlighted and his own notes. He read all the way to the end of 2 Nephi as well in 2 days. Ben says,"I can't even pay members to read that much!" LOL 
Sister Lin has been really emotional in this whole process. She has been feeling the spirit so strong and a peacefulness like she has never had before. Ben has been able to be there for her through this whole process and it has brought him even closer to his Savior as well. 
On Easter Sunday one of the teachers, Brother John Wilkinson taught the meaning of Easter and shared an analogy of the Atonement that really touched Ben. 
There is an old Japanese art where they drop a piece of clay or pottery and put it back together. But when they seal it back together they use silver and gold and it is twice as beautiful as before. He relates this to us in the sense that we are all broken, we are human. The important part is to know who we need to help us fix it, Jesus Christ. He knows how to mend us and put us back together to where we are more beautiful than before. ♥ 
My favorite part of Ben's recording is when he talks about these investigators, his friends, he is so emotional. I can feel and hear how much he loves and cares for them. He says he feels like they are his babies and he wants to keep them close to him. Awwwwe, the feels! 😢


Comforting letters home, Ben, Hank and Tina
Jay and Ben, Elder Nelson and Elder Yang

Easter Package for the boys










Monday, April 10, 2017

Life is full of SURPRISES!

​​​​​​​Wasai!
Wow the Lord has blessed us so much this week I can't even begin to express! To try and even attempt to explain this whole week is super difficult but I'll give you a small rundown.
This was the last week of the transfer! Me and Elder Willes worked super hard to get some good numbers this week and help our investigators as much as possible. We met with the majority of our investigators and man... they are doing AMAZING! I just love them so much and they are soooo nice! 
All the craziness started on Saturday. We taught Charlee and Brother Zhang. Charlee's lesson was super sweet! But then Brother Zhang "paused us" in person, which was super lame! But, such is missionary life!
Anyways-later that night we received our phone calls about transfers and to my complete SURPRISE, Elder Willes was transferred to Eastvale (another Chinese area). 😲 So that shocked us both, especially with how well we are doing! So... we both have new comps. Mine is Elder Yang, he's from China! So after all of that, we had our last Sunday with our investigators!
We went to church that morning and our translation machine broke so we just hoped that they could feel the spirit lol! Then one after another they all showed up! We had 6 investigators at church!! We had our own little "Chinese Squad" at church, which was amazing! They all loved it and said they would be there again next Sunday! Elder Willes after church told them he was leaving, which was super sad. Sister Lin started crying and they were all super bummed about it! But me and Elder Yang are going to help these hunks continue to feel the spirit and grow!
In conclusion we had an amazing week with 6 on date for baptism, 6 at church and 4 new investigators! 

The Lord has blessed us a ton #Hallelujah!
Sorry I have very little pics this week!

孫長老 Sun Zhanglao! ​ 
Elder Nelson

Ben told the funniest story about being on splits with Elder Beals (Spanish Speaking). His words:
Elder Beals and I were together waiting for their English class to start when I told him I was going to use the restroom first since I am the one that knows Chinese and can greet people. As I was in the restroom, I went to flush and when I bent down all of my English cards "threw up" in the water and got wrecked. I am panicking and fishing out as many as I can, as fast as I can and I hear the door open. I think it's Elder Beals so I peek over the stall and I am about to tell him what just happened and how salty I am that I just lost all my cards and I see this Chinese guy I don't know. I walk out to throw away the rest of the cards and I look at him and say, "Hey how are ya?" The man just stares at me because he speaks NO English and I think, "Sweet, my people!" I ask, "Can you speak Chinese?" The man then gets excited and keeps repeating, "China, China" So I start talking to him in Chinese and by this point the man is using the restroom and he starts FREAKING OUT that I can speak to him. He starts telling me that he is late for a class and that he needs to hurry. I am thinking, "It's the English class because that is the only one going on." We both walk out together and he has a friend waiting for him. I start speaking to the friend in Chinese who then throws himself back and starts freaking out that the "white kid" is speaking his language. As we continue talking I find out that they only came over to use the bathroom. But I was able to talk with both of them, found out they are Christian and that they just happen to be at the building the same time I was and I speak Chinese. We were able to set up an appt. time to meet with them. I'm not saying the church is true...😏 well I know it's true-but what are the odds?? SO COOL! 

Later in the week when they met with a Brother Zhang, who they had met with once before, he had just gotten back from San Francisco for a week. When he met with the Elders again Ben said, "When he walked in he had a man bun so he was a WINNER in my book already. Then he told us he had talked to his parents and that we weren't good and so he paused us. But props to him for doing it in person. We usually can't get people to even call us back." 

Ben is absolutely loving his "Asian Squad" as he calls them, and loving every part of his mission-even the surprises! 😏 

 Just a group of AWESOME Elders!


I know they don't really call it "tracting" anymore, but this kid sure walks a lot. Who doesn't want a little treat when you're on the go? (He looks tired😟)





Monday, April 3, 2017

70,946


Wow what a crazy week out in Cali!
So to start off the week we had Multi Zones. We had to drive an hour to get there so that was sweet! Many training's were given on how we can improve and they introduced the Easter Initiative #PrinceofPeace. You guys should all go watch the video- it is very moving! 
Our last training was from President Mullen. He called us all out and said, "How much do you actually care about the people you teach and find?" This gave me a new perspective on things and gave me and Elder Willes a new fire! In fact this week we have 5 investigators with a baptismal date. 4 of them came to Church and we found 3 new investigators. They are all so amazing and super solid. We have been seeing a lot of success and I am so grateful!
 Another sweet thing this weekend was General Conference. It is quite different out here on the mission, as in you actually have to go to the Church. Normally I had like 3 blankets and a couch to lay on, but on the mission you get a nice bench and a suit to cozy up in! 😁 All jokes aside, it was really good and I learned a lot from it! President Eyring's talk during Priesthood session was probs my favorite. I really learned that I do need to walk with Christ and as we allow him into our lives we really can put fear aside and do amazing things! 
Anyways a super awesome week! We've been super blessed and still hitting the ground running! Love you all! Don't do anything to crazy... the Lord's watching ;)

孫長老 Sun Zhanglao
Just some pics of Elders I love

Hearing Ben talk about how different Conference was on his mission, brought a smile to my face. He admitted to not paying to much attention when he was at home (no way😏)
but out there, he couldn't take notes fast enough. The Sunday session is the one that they invite their investigators to. His investigators are Chinese so Ben had the opportunity to watch it in that language. He pretty much didn't understand most of it, but was thankful for President Monson's talk because it had subtitles. Hahahaha! 😂 Funny kid I have! 

Ben & Willes, Elders that he ♥'s, Sister Wilde 
(Brandon's Cousin-Ben's Best Friend)