Busy Week in Sylmar

Now that the two of us are relatively settled in to the Sylmar ward, we are beginning to figure out what is going on and how to focus our efforts. We’ve also had a busy week because we’ve been able to establish contact with our investigators and have been able teach several of them.

Last Monday was really fun. Instead of going to the normally scheduled zone activity, we hooked up with Elder Thorpe (one of my former companions) and his companion Elder Liddiard and played frisbee golf. It was a lot of fun, it wasn’t too hot, got a lot of exercise and as far as throwing a frisbee, I’m not half bad at it. I was only like 20 over par compared to regular golf which would probably be like 40 or so over par. Later in the evening, we taught one of our investigators about how to study the Book of Mormon.

On Tuesday as soon as we finished weekly planning, we had KnockOut and visited several of our investigators. We talked to one, whom we were able to set a return appointment for later on in the week.

Wednesday, we did some service for a member packing boxes as they prepare to move later on in the week. Before that we dropped off a Bible to a lady who requested one several months ago and for some reason or another missionaries have not had contact with her and we finally were able to deliver it to her. Later on in the day, we had an exchange. I went with the district leader’s companion, Elder Brown, in to Spanish work. It was fun except for I didn’t know any of what was going on.

Thursday, we were waiting to go to Zone Training Meeting with Elder Postelnicu and our district leader, Elder Durrant when we saw this couple outside our complex looking strangely happy. Turned out, it was the parents of one of the sister missionaries that live in our complex. They were here to drop some stuff off for her, which they wanted to personally drop off at her apartment door, but they were currently home. So we took snapped a selfie real quick and took the stuff up to her and her companion. We exchanged back at zone training meeting. Zone training meeting was awesome, we focused a lot on how to ensure that we baptize our investigators on the first scheduled baptismal date we invite people on. After ZTM, I had my temple recommend interview with President Henrie and got that renewed. It will expire in August, per direction of the General Authorities, they have mission presidents write down when the recommend was issued in such a way that it will expire approximately 4 months after the missionaries return home so that they need to meet with their Bishop and Stake President soon after getting home.

Friday, we stopped by many of our investigators and despite many of them not being home, we picked up one new investigator and taught several others. It is starting to get hot also so biking was fun. Thankfully, people have been giving us water which helps quench that thirst.

Saturday, was more of the same story as Friday. After KnockOut, we had a ward dinner at church. It was the ward’s chili cook off which was a lot of fun, but I would have preferred to have had some spicy chili, because most of it was super mild. At the dinner, the ward choir director gave me the music the ward choir is working on for ward conference in a couple of weeks. After the dinner, we headed to the chapel so I could practice it a little before rehearsal the next day before church services.

Sunday was pretty relaxing, most of the day was spent at church and having studies after church. We had a good time during knockout and having a Hawaiian dinner with a member.

Elder Blodgett
California San Fernando Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

First Week in Sylmar

It’s been a relatively easy transition from Sherman Oaks to Sylmar. It’s weird being transferred with only 12 weeks left on my mission. I was really hoping that I could stay in Sherman Oaks for the rest of my mission but I guess that was not what the Lord had in mind for me at this time.

Transfer day went quite smoothly. We had to be up at the Valencia stake center super early which was boring but it was nice to be able to greet all the missionaries as they pulled into the parking lot to transfer luggage. Afterwards, we received a ride home from the senior couple serving in our new ward. I love the senior couple, they also are serving in the Van Nuys ward which I have served in a couple of times. As soon as we got groceries, we labored over the area book and map to figure out where our boundaries were and where to start knocking. We eventually got to knockout around 5:30 with dinner at 6:15. The dinner was fun, they are such an awesome family. We also have a companionship of sisters in our ward which makes things lively in the ward.

Wednesday we again labored over the area book and after much blood, sweat, and tears finished it at 3:30, just enough time to go to knockout. As I soon figured out that day, the streets here are at a strange 45° angle from the rest of the grid system that is in the San Fernando valley so we were both getting lost and not figuring out where to go. Fortunately by the end of the evening we knew how to get home, so that was a start. We met our ward mission leader briefly that evening and had an impromptu dinner with another really awesome family in the ward.

Thursday, we had an awesome district meeting about the atonement and how to teach it so our investigators understand and it and have a testimony of it and how we as missionaries also need to understand and have a testimony of the atonement as well. After KnockOut, we attempted to meet as many of our investigators as possible, but none of them appeared to be home.

Friday, We tried to meet even more of our investigators but again they weren’t home. Later in the evening, we met our Bishop. He’s super awesome, it’s his second time serving as a bishop, he served as a mission president from 2001-2004, is a convert and was baptized in 1979, and is from the Philippines! After him, we met one of our investigators for the first time and taught him about the purpose of prophets.

Saturday was a bit of a struggle however. In the afternoon we had stopped by a potential investigator we picked up earlier in the week. I suggested to Elder Postelnicu that he take the lead to go to the next person we had planned to visit, he got really frustrated at that idea and didn’t want to do so. After a bit of trickery on my part, I forced him to bike in front of me and he led us our apartment. I asked some inspired questions as to why we were here and at one point I was nervous for him that his he didn’t have much of a testimony of the gospel. So, I texted the zone leaders (we live with them) and asked if they were home. They were, so we came in to the apartment told them every thing that happened, they went to talk with him, and then Elder Postelnicu and I talked and I think things are going to get a lot better from now on. After KnockOut, we visited as many of our investigators as possible and met quite a few, they all told us to come back “tomorrow.”

Sunday, we had church which was so nice because we were, more or less, dying to meet the ward. After church, we had a bunch of “appointments” but sadly all of them except for one fell through. The one lesson we did teach as on the plan of salvation which I’m beginning to realize I know too much about and it’s showing in my teaching of it. During knockout we got in to a bash about whether or not a prophet is on the earth today. We then had dinner with the same member family that we had dinner with on Wednesday.

I love being a missionary, these experiences have definitely been for my good and I am excited to put the things I have learned to the test when I get home. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I know the gospel that is taught within the church is true.

Elder Blodgett
California San Fernando Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Another Interesting Round of Transfers

Well, for the second to last time on my mission, it would appear as if the dreaded transfer call is telling me that it I am going to another area. Also, for the third time on my mission, I will be staying with Elder Postelnicu and we are whitewashing an area together.

Beginning with Wednesday, we managed to begin weekly planning but were not able to finish it until Friday. It didn’t help that we for some reason or another were all really distracted together as an apartment and were all talking for longer than was needful. Thankfully however, we got most of it accomplished and were able to get to knockout on time.

 On Thursday, we had an awesome district meeting about teaching repentance. We had role-plays as part of that which was nice to have another opportunity to practice our teaching together. Through out this entire transfer, I’ve had to take a lot of the lead in our companionship because Elder Postelnicu is a lot like one of my previous companions who isn’t the most talkative and takes a back seat in everything. Every opportunity we have to practice is even more helpful for him.

 On Friday, we finished weekly planning and then had what I call “Apartment Inventory.” It is based on companionship inventory found on page 150 of preach my gospel but we do it to review how the transfer has gone and set goals with everyone in the apartment. 

Saturday was the day of transfer calls, which this time around wasn’t nearly as nerve racking to wait for as many previous transfer calls are. We got a lot of work done and visited a lot of members of our ward to get to know them. It was a little sad that we’d soon find out any attempts at building relationships with them would be called to a halt. During KnockOut, we taught a guy who is going to University of Southern California, we committed him to baptism on March 26th before knowing that, so we dutifully sent his contact through referral system.

 Sunday, we said our goodbyes to the ward. It was ward conference which was really awesome to hear from the stake presidency and the bishop. I’m really going to miss Sherman Oaks, it was a great ward to serve in. I’ve grown a lot here and have really grown to love the people here. Onward and upward to my eighth ward on my mission.

Elder Blodgett
California San Fernando Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Rain Rain Go Away

Wow. This rain keeps coming and it gets worse too. This past Friday we received rain that came down at over an inch per hour. It was both a little frightening and fun biking through at the same time.
This past Tuesday we had interviews with President Henrie. Mine was fairly quick and not painful at all. He simply encouraged me to remain focused these last 2 transfers I have left. We also began weekly planning in the morning before interviews which went well.
On Wednesday morning, we finished up weekly planning, had lunch and comp study and then went to work. We had a super awesome Knockout and invited a lot of people to stake conference. Unfortunately nobody who said they’d come came.
Thursday, we had district meeting. The topics at hand were the importance of having members present at lessons (I shared your story of the couple who got baptized in the Appleton 2nd ward and how you were present at a few lessons) and why we teach repentance and baptize converts. After district meeting, we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Orellana (one of the missionaries I came out with and he’ll be going home with me too) in Spanish work. It was kind of frustrating not being able to speak with people directly and engaging them in conversation.
Friday the rain began to come down almost as if it were the promised blessings found in Malachi 3:10 “I will…open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Many streets flooded, we biked through puddles that soaked us all the way to our knees. The LA “river” which is really a glorified drainage ditch was overflowing it’s walls (hence drainage ditch). We didn’t get a lot of work done because of the rain as it was hard to bike through and we were all miserably wet.
Saturday we got a little bit more rain, enough for some of the streets to flood again even though it one rained for about 10 minutes torrentially. got more work done and taught several less active members about the purpose of stake conference and invited them to attend. Unlike all the nonmembers who didn’t come, they came.
Sunday was fun, except for the evening, it was dry! Stake conference was amazing. We had Elder Kevin K. Miskin of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in attendance. He gave a fantastic talk on the purpose of keeping the Sabbath day holy. We then had knockout and dinner with our Bishop and his wife. We had a great discussion at dinner time about the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew (New Testament).
Monday was a little draggy. First the bike problems that you’re aware of, plus the fact that it wasn’t p-day like it normally is. Doing knockout for the 

 

Elder Blodgett

California San Fernando Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Rain Keeps Coming

This has been an exciting week. We’ve visited a of people and seen a lot of miracles from working with the ward members to random referrals we weren’t expecting.

Monday, we finished our preparation day by visiting as many members of the ward prior to our special ward council meeting that would happen the next day. The subject of the meeting was to go through the ward list and get as much updated information as possible so the ward can focus on the people who actually live within the boundaries of the ward. We wanted to show that we were actually working so we visited as much people as we could last week and this week too.
Tuesday we did our weekly planning and that was followed by visiting one of our recent converts. He was heading out to go to figure skating practice plus his house was being used to film a TV show. Go figure? We then went to KnockOut which was followed by a quick dinner and the ward list meeting.
Wednesday, we went for a nice 5k run, I’m trying to convince Elder Postelnicu to come running more for exercise, but that’s been quite slow. For exercise as of late, all four of us are lifiting weights in the apartment.
Thursday, we had an awesome district meeting about working with the members. Elder Postelnicu and I gave a ten minute training on how to share messages with the members (i.e. at dinner time).
Friday we had a lot more rain. I believe we also were able to gain a lot of trust from the members because of it to. We had a few return appointments set which we managed after many phone calls to many members to have a few come to these appointments. They were impressed by the fact that we were out working in the rain and that following the fact that we were stood-up by the potential investigator that we still set out in the rain to find more people to teach. Our second member present then took us in his car and drove us around to our various people that we wanted to visit. It was also nice to be relatively dry between homes.
On Saturday we stopped by one of our investigators and taught her about the purpose of temples and family history work. We then biked to a returning member in our ward and had a great time talking to her 8 year old son about baptism through the Book of Mormon Stories book. We then had lunch with her too. We had a coordination meeting for the first time in several weeks because our Ward Mission Leader hasn’t been too active in his calling so we had one with a member of the Bishopric.
Sunday, we found out we’d be getting a new ward mission leader from the Bishop. He told us enough that we figured out who it was. It was pretty funny. I taught gospel principles which was cool and it was about prayer.
Over all, it was a really productive week.
Elder Blodgett