Monday, July 31, 2017

🎶 Happy Happy 🎂Birthday🎂 From All Of Us To You...🎶

Crikey Asians (Crocodile Hunters voice)
This week was very fun, full of Chinese people doing what Chinese people.
To start this email off I'm going to give you a run down of what we do for seeking, in California. We are in a unique situation being that the majority of the population is Caucasian. So we're pretty much bound to driving to parks and "Racial Profiling". We know where ever park is in our area and we drive to all of them to see if we can find anyone. So picture this...2 dudes driving a silver Corolla very slowly through a park. We both proceed to lift up our sunglasses for better vision obviously, aggressively staring at everyone in the park to see if they are Chinese or not.
Now there are few things to knowing if they are Chinese:
1. Are the parents exercising (Swinging arms side to side), or stretching?
2. There tends to be a large pack of them.
3. The parents are having more fun on the swings than their children are.
These are all things that help us find those Chinese people we love so much. I thought you guys would be curious as to how we find Chinese people in Southern California. 

This week however was quite fun. I had my Birthday on Tuesday! I received many great gifts and I'm thankful for all the love that was sent my way. Mission Birthdays are quite different but still quite exciting! 
We taught 2 new people on my Birthday with both very sweet names! 
First was Rono she is about our age and was very curious about our church since another member family took her to church. She had tons of questions and was very fun to teach. We hope that we will be able to teach her again since she will be going to college very quick!
Then we taught later in the evening, a lady by the name of "Apple", (I love the names that Chinese people come up with), always entertaining.  She had a very good lesson except her son "Thunder"( Yes Thunder) was quite crazy so it was a little hard to teach her.
Skipping all the way to Friday after English Class, I had a good conversation with Sister Bao, one of our investigators. She randomly said to me that she wants to be baptized, because she has felt the spirit so much! 
Then at Church on Sunday she said she will be leaving for China in a week... So we kindof panicked and the lesson was one Baptism. She expressed she feels ready to be baptized but her daughter keeps talking her out of it... So she may or may not be baptized this Sunday we will all know soon enough! Keep her in your prayers she is amazing and has such a pure heart! 

That's enough for you guys! Hope you all had a great week, 我愛你們!!!!!

Elder Nelson 孙长老

Birthday Package

Love these 2 and their smiles 😀

The sticker that made Ben's Day!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tough Times Don't Last...Tough People Do

Where has the time gone??
Hello my lovely friends from all over the place! 
This week has been kind of rough but hey, you can't always have everything perfect right?? 

Me and Elder Willes have been working super hard and were not about to slow down, we both have a huge desire to do the work and want to master this language! 
The week really doesn't have to many exciting things to talk about other than Sunday.
We only had 3 investigators at church, which is dumb of me to say because our mission average is 1 so we're still doing quite well. We had Chinese sacrament and I sat by our one investigator by the name of Guangwen Bao. She is so curious and has asked me and Elder Willes multiple times what she has to do so she can go on a mission lol. However, she is very difficult to understand. By far the most difficult I have ran into on the mission. So it is always way fun to talk to her and muscle through conversations. 
We ran into an amazing family after church. We actually knocked their door and met the whole family. They are so sweet and we hope to teach them in the following weeks to come! I will keep you posted.  We're so blessed right now and I have nothing to complain about! 
Tomorrow is my birthday which is insane to think, time is flying by so fast. I felt like I had just started my mission yesterday in the MTC not understanding a word my teachers were saying to me!
However, such is mission life and I will keep you posted what a mission birthday is like! 
Love you all very much and I hope you have a very fantastic week.
Here is a picture with me and my favorite Asian by the name of Rocky, he is flippin HUGE!!! 
Elder Nelson 孙长老

The Rocky and Ben Gun Show😀

One of the reasons I insisted on Ben taking a recorder is for weeks like this. In an email you can fake how you are feeling and how life is going, but not in a recording. I can hear it in my son's voice how he is doing. Tired, happy, sad, sick, excited etc... It helps me know how to pray for him more specifically. I know some weeks can be hard for him to fit in a recording but it sure helps ease this Momma's heart. 
This week he sounded a little down, still positive, but beaten down a little. Listening more to him and the events of the week it has just been one of those times where life likes to throw everything at you all at once. Even though they have had a few hang ups the Lord has blessed them with some "tender mercies" to help ease the inevitable trials of mission life. 
One funny thing is Ben is always called "Niánqīng yīngjùn (Young Handsome Meat) by the Chinese people and when the members in the English ward found out they have decided to call him that name from now on! LOL So anytime they call on him they don't call him Elder Nelson, they call him....        
"Niánqīng yīngjùn" 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Xǐlǐ (Baptism)

This week was a special one for sure! I just love Chinese people.
I'm going to start on Wednesday since I emailed y'all on Tuesday.

I went to an English area for the day which is always fun! California+White people always guarantees you something interesting! We had lots of appts. planned that all fell through so we just walked all day in 104° weather- the usual! Right as our day was about to end we contacted this guy who informed me John Smith (Joseph Smith) when he went into the grove of trees was visited by aliens who transported to the west.... I was informed by him that I need to "open my eyes" and that not everything is as you see it! Awwhhhh good o'l white people! 

Our first interviews with our new President. He is soooo loving. He just makes you want to become a better person! He made it very clear he is going to do his best to help us in our situation since there is only 2 of us! He wants us have the most help he can can give. Great guy all around.

Very fun day! I'm going to just skip to English class. Our English class has grown quite a bit over the months. When I first came into the area we had 2 people coming. Now, as of Friday we had 22+ people there! Very fun to teach all of them. I'll do my best to get a picture next time. We separate the class into simple English and "Harder" English. I teach the harder class and Willes does the simple side. We had so many people there, it can be quite overwhelming LOL.
After class we usually teach some lessons since a lot of our investigators come to English class. Right after class Elder Willes began to teach 2 new people that were interested. While I had planned to teach Jacky, I ran all over the place helping him find a parking spot. Then Michael our other investigator out of nowhere showed up to be taught. So Elder Willes cut his short and taught Jacky while I went and taught Michael! Some how we pulled it off. LOL

We had a blitz, which is when all of the missionaries in your Zone go to one area and help a specific companionship. It was a cool 103° outside so that was fun! Again, I'm going to skip to the highlight of the day! 
We got to teach one of my favorite people again, Guns. We taught him, his wife Anna, Grace and Sister Bao! We taught the Plan of Salvation and they loved it! After teaching the Atonement part of the lesson, I invited them to be baptized. Grace and Sister Bao huddled as did Guns and his wife. Grace explained that this is very new to her and her mom and that they would like to learn for a bit longer before accepting a date. So we turned to Guns and his wife and they said they would love to! Guns said, "Ever since you guys have been coming you have planted a seed in me and my wife that hasn't stopped growing and we love it!" It was a great lesson. We invited them to church the following day and said they would be there!

Great day! We had 5 Investigators at church. Guns' whole family came to church! He was in a white shirt and tie and dress slacks. They already looked like members and my heart leaped out of my chest! After Church we had Christine's Baptism. I'm so glad I played apart in teaching that fireball. She is so funny and I'm so excited for her path she is starting! It was a great baptism and many of our investigators came too! 

We are so busy right now and have over 22 investigators. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers! 
Wo Ai Nimen! 

Elder Nelson 孙长老

Christine's Baptism 

I haven't had a recording from Ben in awhile so when he sent one this week, it made my whole ♥ happy to hear his voice!
He started out speaking Chinese to us and I cannot believe how GREAT he sounds! He has come sooo far with the language which makes me feel relieved. It has been one of his biggest worries/struggles because of his desire to be able to convey the lessons and his excitement about the Gospel. So to hear him speaking it so well...YAY!

Ben told us a little more about Shanon (she is the one who has her son on a mission in Boston). She basically ready to be baptized but is struggling with the tea part of the WOW. They seem to run into this problem a lot seeing as how tea is a HUGE part of the Asian culture. Hopefully they will be able to help her through that and we can see those baptism pics soon!

Ben recounted the experience with the guy who swears that "John Smith" (Joseph Smith) was abducted by aliens and flown to the west. Ben told the guy that he thought his version was cool and that I'm sure Joseph Smith would've actually enjoyed an experience like that, but that is not really the way it happened. They ended up talking to this guy a little more and found out he was in the military for about 20 years. He told them, "You don't really know what you believe in until you watch your friend stick his head out of a trench and get his head blown off and you wonder if you have the faith to stick your head out and start shooting back at people. Many of the men next to me are drawing crosses on their chests. In those moments you really start pondering what you believe in." 
He is not Ben's investigator, but he wants to try to keep updated with him, so hopefully more to come on that. 

Ben had his first interview with his new Mission President, Hammon. He asked Ben to bear his testimony in English and he really struggled. He isn't use to doing it in English so they got a kick out of him trying to do it. 
He talked to them about their investigators being the best in the mission right now and for them to keep up the good work. It's not about numbers, it's about the people. 
He asked Ben if he had anything he wanted to talk about with him and Ben asked him about tablets!! LOL
Tablets would make a HUGE difference with the language barrier they have. There are a lot of tools they can use to help their investigators understand what they are trying to teach them. Plus it would help with any teaching records they can share between missions.  

My boy told us that he is 172 right now! He left at 156! He told us not to worry. He is not fat or a cow, and that he still has some of his abs. Hahaha! He is working out a lot so he assures us that he is "stocky" and getting built. LOL 😏

If you remember awhile back Ben and Elder Willes baptized and became really good friends with Hank and Tina. He spoke to them and they told him that they are going to go on Trek! He is so happy for them to be able to experience an adventure like that! I am hoping to get more info on that! 

He talks about having dinner at one of the members houses named Sunny Ling. She was baptized about a year ago and she REFUSES to speak Chinese. They have tried to get her to speak to them, but she won't. Most of the Chinese people that don't want to speak their native language to them eventually give up knowing they can talk to them but not Sunny! Ben feels really bad for her because not knowing English that well and refusing to speak to them in Chinese is really hurting her spiritual progression. She will only attend the English part of church and doesn't understand what they are talking about. They had Elder Gulbranson and Elder Paraz teach her a spiritual message and she wasn't even sure how the Holy Ghost worked. They asked her about reading the scriptures and how she feels when she reads them. She said she always feels really good so they explained that is the Holy Ghost testifying to you that they are true. She started crying and expressed to them that she thought Heavenly Father didn't love her because he never sent His Holy Ghost to  
help her and she thought that she was promised that from her baptism. It broke Ben's heart to hear her not know that He loved her. They are hoping they can help her understand more of what she has been taught. 

Superhero Tracting Treats Package

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Watermelon...Fruit Of The Gods

So Much Watermelon...

Im going to attempt to write out this entire week full of so many amazing experiences and all kinds of Chinese craziness.
First I come to you on a Tuesday because me and Elder Willes were so busy that we didn't even have time to email yesterday. I will explain why in a sec! I'm going to write by days, sorry if it's a little long.

Nothing special got stuck doing deep cleaning which took like 6 hours!!

Tuesday: 4th of JULLLYYY!
Holidays are for sure unique on the mission and tend to make you miss home alot. Especially this one since we throw a huge party every year and blow a lot of stuff up! But it's OK, I'm in the right place and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
We did have a special holiday though. We had "Meet the President". President Hammon came in on Tuesday and we had a mini conference with him and got to know him better. He is so loving and so interested in each one of us. I already love him and am very excited for the new exciting things he will bring to the mission! He gave me and Elder Willes a special shout out being the only Chinese missionaries in the whole mission.  He said, "It must be hard to see a lot of your converts go back to China. But just remember what impact you're making on that country and its people. You see all these missionaries come from Mainland China which is a miracle in their circumstances. Stay strong and one day when China opens they are going to need Mission Presidents." He pointed at us and I about started balling. Especially since most don't understand our scenario cause there is only 2 of us! 
Then we had a nice activity after dinner and we played basketball and Volleyball. Very fun 4th of July! 

No too much other than we taught Shanon. She is doing well. We are helping her to realize the importance of these things and how they can help her personally. We always change what we're teaching her mid lesson!

We went out to Evangel and Blair's very early and taught them the Recent Convert lessons. We planned to get Evangel's temple recommend on Sunday. They are so great and basically teach me every time I go there! 
We had dinner at a members home by the name of Duncan's, a great family. We then quickly headed over to the sass queen herself... Christine our 10 yr old investigator. She is so funny and we taught her the last lesson she needed to have her Baptismal interview! We set her interview for Sunday at 4:30! 

We did service, not too much to talk about that. Then we later in the day got to teach this super awesome lady by the name of Ada. A member has been bringing her to church and it took awhile to meet with her since she is so busy. We taught her the whole Restoration with Brother Miao. I asked her, "Why do you think we need to read the Book of Mormon?" She said, "It's the foundation of everything right? If I do my part and read everyday I know the Lord will bless me!" I was shocked that she said that great answer lol. 😊

We started off the day with a Blitz (every missionary goes to another missionary's area in there Zone and walks their area). We walked around and it was 107° the whole time. I was drenched in sweat and only talked to 2 very mean white people! So that was wayyy fun. Then we drove allllllll the way out to Hemet (an hour drive). We taught Cher the Plan of Salvation. She loved it and half way through the lesson, since they own a restaurant, they brought out like 6 plates of food and said here you go! So me and Elder Willes had dinner at 3:00 lol!
Then at about 7:00 we taught Steven & Jerry, awesome guys. They were in awe that we didn't come from monkeys! They said they will be at church on Sunday.

Ok this day was nuts... as always.
We got to church set up everything as usual, Elder Willes sat on the stand because he had to give a talk. We forgot to bring the phone so I was constantly patrolling for investigators. They all started flying in as I'm giving out translation to everyone! We had 8 people at church, 2 of which were families! So blessed this week. Then we had Christine's Baptismal interview so she will be baptized next week!!!!!!

Almost done guys, I'm so sorry. We then got to teach the man, the myth, the legend... Guns! Here's a little background on him. We found him in a park and he was super nice. He gave us his phone number and we called him later in the week. The number didn't work so we were wayyy sad and moved on. We ran into his mother at the park, she was very nice to us,  but she wouldn't give us his information. Then the other night we ran into her on the way home and asked if we could walk her to her house and say hi to Guns!  She said, "Sure." So finally after about a month we met Guns again! We set an appt.  for Sunday night and finally got to teach him along with his wife and a few others. He is so amazing and they said, "We think this will bless our family. We will come to church this Sunday!"
Amazing miracle we found him and couldn't be anymore grateful!

Last but not least this is why we emailed today. We got a call from Ada one of our investigators asking us to come give her father in law a blessing, he is very sick. We didn't know what she meant by sick til we got there yesterday. This poor man has ALS which slowly kills you and there is no cure. We walked into his room and it looked like a hospital. He had cords coming from every direction and was living off of artificial breathing. He could barely tell us his name and we gave him the blessing. He had just enough strength to tell us thank you. We told him that his Father in Heaven loves him. We hope to go back and teach him the Plan of Salvation before he passes. Very spiritual experience and quite scary! 

Thats all guys sorry for the long one! 
Wo Ai Nimen! 

Here is a pic with my little homie and a 4th of July pic!
Also the reason for the caption is at every single appt. we have Chinese people give us a huge bowl of watermelon no matter who they. So I've had like 500 gallons of watermelon this week so RIP...
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Ben with his "Little Homie" 😁

4th of July 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sleep? What Is Sleep?

Nimen Hao!!
This week was probably one of the busiest weeks I've had on the mission... but busy is good as a missionary right?😏
This week we've been all over the place. We have been teaching so many new wonderful people! Currently we are teaching 2 families, specifically the dads. Their names are Steven and Jerry and their faith is so amazing and they are very willing to learn! 
We also started teaching this sweet lady by the name of Guangwen Bao (Stop trying to pronounce it, LOL😁). She ran into us one day at the park this week and started bouncing up and down saying, "NIHAO SUN ZHANGLAO!" (that's me) She is super sweet and I'm way grateful I'm able to teach her! 
We also got our New Mission President this week. I haven't been able to meet him yet, so I don't have much to say about him! We get to meet him tomorrow so I'm very excited for the new things coming to the mission! 
The icing on the cake was Sunday for sure. We were so busy it was insane! We went and taught Winter at 9:45 am who has a major in Fashion Design. She told us what to do so we can be "in the trend" and what we need to be wearing. Its kind of hard when you're a missionary, but she liked my ties so we're good. 
Then we burned to the church as quick as we could, set up translation and started grabbing investigators. Elder Willes started translating while I was taking phone calls helping them know where they are! We ran all over the place getting them comfortable as possible. I am aging 20 years trying to help them all have a good experience! 
I then proceed to help the small army of children get to there classes so the moms can go to class and not worry! 
In conclusion as a missionary Sundays are designed not for us to have a good experience, but for our Investigators to be able to focus so they can see the blessings!
I am guessing I will be bald by the end of my mission... 
We burned out to Hemet, an hour drive, and taught Cher and Wendy. Her mom actually sat down this time so that was neat! We had a great lesson and they're doing great! We just need to find them a church since they are kind of in the middle of Mexico. LOL
After dinner we taught a members daughter by the name of Christine who is 10. She is a fireball and out sasses me in every lesson, which is quite impressive! We have been so blessed and I'm so grateful! The church is true, even in Chinese! 

Also... Happy Long-bed F-350 truck, blowing stuff up, everything fried dipped in chocolate, surrounded by Bald Eagles America day! (4th of July)

Love ya!!
Elder Nelson 孙长老

Ben is so excited about all the people that he and Elder Willes have been able to meet and teach. Their English class has a steady amount of 15 people coming each week which is AWESOME! 
They are also teaching a guy named Jacky who was actually referred to them from ELDER WHITE.  Elder White (Prince Hanz from the Frozen video 😁) is one of the guys from Ben's District in the MTC who has become one of his best friends! He is currently serving in the neighboring Arcadia, CA Mission. Ben was so excited because he was able to talk to him for quite a bit and get caught up! 
Jacky had a really cool experience. He wasn't able to come to church because of his work, but he said he was looking for a new job. Within a week of telling them this information he found new work that was closer that would allow him to go to church on Sundays! Jacky told them that God wants him to learn about this church if he was able to find work that quick! 😊
The Lord is blessing these 2 so much with so many opportunities, they barely have time to eat or sleep. As a Mom I worry about him all the time and worry even more when I hear he isn't eating well or getting the rest he needs. On the flip side, I know the Lord will bless them with energy and strength they need to fulfill the duties they have been sent to do. Plus, these types of lessons are great for them to learn the skills they need for adulthood. We all have experienced that time in our lives when you find yourself going without your own needs being met, but you know serving someone else is the only way to forget your troubles and to grow. These missions are doing just that for these kids. I am so proud of the man my son is becoming and I can hear the change each week through his emails. Even better, what a blessing it is that I get to live these experiences with him through his stories and testimony. 
He's right...GOD IS GOOD!♥♥♥  

Service at the Nature Center