A Really Fast Week Because We’ve Been Busy

Wow, the transfer is already half over? Where has the time gone?

Monday evening was a first for me, we were trying to stop by a former investigator near where a police helicopter (or as they call them here, ghetto birds) was circling the night sky. We got to the house where we wanted to visit when the chopper put the spotlight directly on us, thankfully we left with out actually being suspected but that was quite the adventure.

Tuesday, was our first real day of living our new missionary schedule. It went relatively well, except for it was weekly planning so we were going to be in our apartment planning for several hours past 10am anyways. It was strange planning in the morning but it was kind of exciting anyways. As soon as we finished with exercise and I ate my breakfast I made my lunches for this past week and next week: a huge batch of pea soup! Yum! It turned out really well and I might make it on occasion when I get home. Plus, now that I know how to make it I won’t have to take advantage of Grandma making it. I did this intermingled with weekly planning. After planning, we visited and taught a recent convert in our area about the Plan of Salvation. Our ward is currently working on going through the ward list to try and clean it up and so on assignment from the Bishop, we’ve been trying to visit as many people as we can so that at a meeting tomorrow we have as much information about people as we can to know where people are.

On Wednesday, we visited more members of the ward and taught one of our investigators a little bit about the purpose of prayer. We did knockout early because we had an early dinner. During knockout, we knocked in to who may be the first famous person I’ve actually recognized on my mission–Cesar Milano, a famous dog trainer.

Thursday, we had an awesome district meeting about helping our investigators to attend church. That was followed by having dinner with a really awesome member of our ward who took us out to a Chinese restaurant that was super delicious.

Friday, we stopped by a lot of potentials in our area and then went on exchanges with the district leader. We had a great knockout, Elder Kang and I, and then as the four of us serving in Sherman Oaks and in the same apartment had a really fun dinner together of Costco pizza and frozen yogurt.

Saturday, we visited and taught several of the investigators on the other side of the ward on exchanges which was fun. They have some awesome people that are progressing towards baptism.

Sunday we had church. It was fast and testimony meeting and I finally mustered enough courage to share my testimony which I haven’t done for several months. Afterwards we taught Young Mens during third hour about the Plan of Salvation again. It went really well. After knockout, we had dinner with the Bishop which was super fun.

This morning, we cleaned our apartment and cleaned out the stairwell in the complex from all of our tread marks because we haven’t been very good at keeping our tires from hitting the walls as we go up and down.

Elder Blodgett

A Week of Changes

We knew ahead of time of a few meetings that would happen as we planned for this past week. Little did we know what changes would happen. They are for the better, we believe, but at the same time we haven’t really had the opportunity to really live the changes either.
Let’s review the week.
Tuesday, we set off on bike repairs. I got a new bike seat, which is significantly more comfortable than the last, plus it is a gel seat so rain won’t make it expand and cause the overlying leather to expand/contract. Afterwards, we went home for some lunch and did weekly planning.
Wednesday, we had a zone conference of Elder Ian Ardern of the First Quorum of the Seventy. (see biography https://www.lds.org/ church/leader/ian-s-ardern? lang=eng&role=05) He discussed how to truly be the best missionary, we need to live the message that we teach. As Elder L. Tom Perry once said, “call on you to look the par t, to be the part, and to act  the part of servant of our Father in Heaven.” (see https://www.lds.org/ general-conference/2001/10/ the-returned-missionary?lang= eng) It was a great meeting and the spirit was super strong.
 
Thursday, we had a regular work day. We finished weekly planning and we also had a district lunch at a really awesome restaurant called Beeps in Van Nuys. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall burger joint. We biked 13 miles round trip to go there just cause we felt like it instead of getting a ride from the other Elders in the district.
 
Friday, we had a special meeting to view a broadcast, taped delayed because of our zone conference on Wednesday when it happened live. It was a training in the setting of the General Missionary Council of the Church in the Church Office Building. As members of that Council: Elder Dallin H. Oaks, chair and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President; Elder Brent H. Nielson, Executive Director of the Missionary Department and of the First Quorum of the Seventy; and Stephen B. Allen, Managing Director of the Missionary Department. (thanks CDOL!) The training was about how to be converted we have to live the ENTIRE gospel, not just part of it. Also, as missionaries how we need to teach the ENTIRE gospel, not just focus on part of it, i.e. faith or baptism. After the discussion based training, changes in our missionary schedule and key indicators for reporting to church headquarters were announced as part of the broadcast.
 
Saturday we had a service project cleaning up alleys in one of the city council districts here in the area. It was a great time, we helped a man remove a bunch of dirt behind his house that had probably been built up for years before he bought the home several months ago. He said he’d be more receptive to having missionaries visit him in the future.
 
On Sunday, we had a great time at church. We, technically, had gospel principles class, but it was just us four missionaries in the ward plus our assistant ward mission leader so we just had a super deep doctrine lesson on the fall of Adam and Eve.
 
Life here is great and I love being a missionary!

 

Elder Blodgett

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

Is This The El Nino That Thou Hast Spoken Of?

This week we’ve had a bunch of rain, apparently 4 or 5″ just this week. Apparently we’re due for some more next week also. I guess the el nino that was “prophesied” by meteorologists to come last year finally came…this year. I’m glad that the person who persuaded me that I needed a rain coat in California persuaded me because it’s come in handy, especially this week.
Wednesday, we had a service project at Operation Gratitude. It’s a missionary favorite place to do service and the people there love us. We helped by sorting a lot of donations that they had recently brought in as part of their Christmas initiative. After the service project, we headed back home for lunch and weekly planning.
Thursday, we had an awesome district meeting about seeking for, receiving, and acting on revelation. In the meeting, the spirit was very thick. It was also nice to meet our new district.
Friday we visited a lot of people. We were able to pick up a new investigator on this day. We wanted to stop by a less active member, and so we did and her roommate or something (unsure of what their relationship is) was there and taught her and her roommate and picked him up as a new investigator. Later after KnockOut, we had a difficult time talking to people because a lot of our area was in a blackout due to a power outage and people were less than impressed by us visiting during it. #SorryNotSorry
Saturday it was raining a lot. We attempted to stay “dry” but after just a few minutes out biking we realized that attempt was quite in vain. We were biking through intersections that were completely flooded so we just decided to go at a normal pace because either way we were going to get drenched. Thankfully by around 2pm it had let up.
Sunday was nice because we spent most of it indoors. It was raining just as much, if not more than Saturday. President Henrie even cancelled KnockOut because the rain was bad enough in his eyes. I thought otherwise…We visited a few people but sadly they weren’t home.
Being companions with Elder Postelnicu is okay so far. He’s really quiet so I have to squeeze a lot of words out of him, but that gives me a nice challenge to work on this transfer.

 

Elder Blodgett

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

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Well, considering the fact that I am emailing you today, it would be easy to figure out that yes p-day was in fact moved to Tuesday because of library closures due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The last week of the transfer is always completely crazy. There is always that feeling of “what is going to happen?” Both of the companions want to stay, both of the companions want to leave, who will stay?, who will go?
We started the week off right with a great weekly planning session which is still pretty easy because of the lack of progress on the part of our investigators. We’ve been able to get a hold of them more now that the new year has settled down, but now we can really check for intention levels.
Wednesday, we finally had our first coordination meeting since being here in Sherman Oaks. Our Ward Mission Leader has been busy and has had some health problems, so it was great to finally meet and start working on a new ward mission plan. We had dinner later in the evening with an awesome returning member family/recent convert and talked about the purpose of going on missions. Hopefully we didn’t scare the recent convert though, he’s only 13.
Thursday we had an awesome district meeting about the importance of bearing testimony frequently and never doubting. We then went on exchanges with our district leader, Elder Mahlum. It’s nice going on exchanges with him because he covers the other half of our ward so I don’t feel like I’m leaving anything behind, plus we all live in the same apartment. As you know, I also had some bike problems that needed fixing so we got those fixed. Just to let you know, I only paid for parts and fixed everything at home.
Friday, we finished our exchange before going on a KnockOut exchange with our zone leaders. I went with Elder Nielsen and we had a good time knocking in the hills. It was nice to talk to him about past mission experiences. The members of our ward are so great, we decided to visit a family who had been under the weather for a few weeks to see how they were doing and as it turns out they were feeling much better and invited us in for dinner!
Saturday was nerve-racking. It was the day of transfer calls. We were pretty calm, all things considered. We visited a less active member family and got to know them on a more personal level which was fun and then we visited as many people in our area to get our minds off of the looming transfer calls. After knockout we visited a member and gave them blessings as they are about to have their first child and were quite nervous. On the way there, I noticed that one of my pants was developing a tear in the back, a place where I shouldn’t have a tear so we went home to have dinner. We ate with the other companionship, pizza and soda to celebrate transfer calls.
Sunday was spent at church followed by Elder Smith saying around of goodbyes. I feel his pain. I’ve had three six-week shafts on my mission so I’m grateful that I didn’t get another one, but at the same time, I knew how he was feeling.
Monday, thankfully despite the fact that it wasn’t preparation day we were able to find out transfers. Elder Smith as you may have guess left, he went to TARZANA!!! I am staying and I get to be companions with his trainee, Elder Postelnicu. Later in the evening, we all had dinner with one of my recent converts, John Frederickson, it was so good to see him again. He moved from Van Nuys to Sherman Oaks.
This morning, we got transfers done and over with. So far, as I can tell, Elder Postelnicu is amazing!
Elder Blodgett

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

2017 Off to a Great Start

All things considered, 2017 has started with a bang! We’ve picked up several new investigators this week and after all the work we’ve put in the past five weeks it’s nice to start to see some progression here in the Sherman Oaks ward.
On Tuesday, I did the Blazin’ challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings. Contrary to what I may have said about it, it’s actually 12 wings in 6 minutes. I may have said 2 minutes. I was wrong about that. Any ways I accomplished it in 4 minutes! So yes, I won! I got a free t-shirt and the manager was so impressed by all of us missionaries who were there to support me and another missionary that did it also that he paid for our entire meal for FREE! Video coming shortly. The rest of the day, I felt the effects of eating that many wings as I had some major diarrhea.
Wednesday we once again did weekly planning and that went well. We didn’t have a lot to plan for because our investigators the past few weeks have been kinda flaky and we haven’t taught the lessons we’ve been planning on teaching so it has been making planning a breeze. We had a few appointments scheduled for the day but nobody was home when we showed up.
Thursday we had an awesome district meeting about extending and following up on commitments which was one of my goals for the week to be better at so it was nice to have a training on that in district meeting.
On Friday we picked up a new investigator who speaks Farsi, so we’ll probably end up referring him to Farsi missionaries from another mission but cover our mission as well as part of their area. He seems to be really interested in learning more. We visited a bunch of people and taught a few less active lessons, sadly most of them work on Sundays which makes things really difficult. The twins continue to be pretty busy and we’ve been giving them some space but we don’t want to just be on the sidelines either so Friday evening we went and had dinner at the restaurant that one of them works at. We were a little disappointed that we didn’t see her at her cashier position but then after we ordered we went around a corner and saw that she was on break so we managed to have a nice little conversation with her before she had to go back. They have robotics competitions the next month or so, so that makes getting them baptized a little difficult.
On Saturday we visited a lot of people who told us to come back on Saturday, but to our dismay, they weren’t as interested as they said they were earlier in the week. We picked up another new investigator during KnockOut who seems super interested and wants the rest of his family to be taught as well.
Sunday was great. We had coordination meeting and ward council. I once again played the organ which was fun. We also had fast and testimony meeting too, which is great in this ward, compared to Van Nuys. After KnockOut, we had dinner with our Bishop and his wife plus a less active family that we’ve been teaching for a few weeks and we had an FHE of sorts with them. 

 

Elder Blodgett

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