First Week in Mint Canyon

Being back in the Santa Clarita valley is really crazy. It’s so much fun and it’s been a bit overwhelming as well.
Tuesday was the sad unfortunate day of transfers. It was sad seeing so many of the Spanish-speaking missionaries that came out with me leave, for my same fate lies ahead in not so much time. I met my new companions, Elders Clark and Carter and drove to our new area. Much to my dismay, I had to drive. Ugh. I wasn’t really wanting to drive again in California on my mission, but it was only for a few days. It was also the first time driving since our mission got TiWi’s (blackbox for cars to monitor driving and alert the driving that any maneuver is wrong (aggressive driving, speeding, seat belt not plugged in, etc), but as it turned out I was pretty much usually driving the speed limit while I was driving previously as it felt quite naturally. I met a goodly portion of the relief society in the evening as we were invited to a relief society taco dinner to “taco bout general conference.” A favorite subject of mine!
Wednesday, we commenced weekly planning. It quickly brought up an issue which should make the next few weeks extremely interesting. We get really side tracked together, especially during planning sessions. However, we did finish and we got out to work at a decent time. We had a bad luck streak with some of the investigators here dropping us all in one day, which also led to Elder Clark getting a cold, possibly a depression cold. But just because these investigators dropped us, it wasn’t the end of our contacting them.
Thursday, we first had an interesting lesson with a less active person. Afterwards, we had an awesome district meeting about the power and authority of our calling and another training on how to invite our investigators to attend church.
Friday, we switched up the schedule a little bit because of a few things that went weird. We were going to have personal study at the library because I am now doing MyPlan, but we didn’t realize that the libraries didn’t open until 10am, so we had companionship study at 9am and then went to the mission office to swap our car which hit the church’s mileage cap this past week out for a brand-new 2017 Toyota Corolla. It’s safe to say everybody’s been looking at our car the past few days. Anyways, we then went back to the library for personal study and stopped by a bunch of people.
Recently, President Henrie has asked all of the missionaries to have bikes so we can all be bike/car areas to be more visible to the public. Elder Carter is a visa waiter so when we were at the mission office to get our new car, he went with the mission bike office couple to get him a bike from the storage shed. Saturday, was our first day of biking, even though it came with a few, albeit funny setbacks just to get started. While biking, we found somebody who was moving and helped them get some of the heavier stuff out of their apartment. We went back to the apartment to freshen up and had the opportunity to attend a Jewish Passover ceremony/meal.
Sunday, which was Easter, was no reason to not go out and work. To my great joy, Church starts at 1pm which means we were able to go out and do some solid few hours of work prior to church, and we had several hours of visiting lots of people to remind them about the true meaning of the holiday, to reflect on the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It was made to my remembrance during a personal prayer I was having during the day that we normally say, “The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” He is resurrected, and because he never truly died it is all his life. We had an Easter dinner with a family in the ward and that pretty much concluded our week.

 

Elder Blodgett

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

Last Transfer–Crazy Transfer

My Last General Conference of My Mission

The subject explains a bit of sadness I am feeling right now. There are a lot of mission milestones and one of the milestone systems is the number of General Conferences left. I have none.
Anyways, it’s been quite a fast week despite the fact that we were all getting very excited for General Conference. Wednesday, we started with weekly planning followed by knockout.
 
Thursday, we had the mission “funeral” for our District Leader, Elder Durrant, who goes home in just over a week. It was also a great district meeting though and we talked a lot about the purpose of baptism and how it fits into receiving the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After district meeting, we went on exchanges with our district leader. For once, I got to stay in our area and I went with our district leaders companion, Elder Brown.
Friday, we went back to the food bank for some more service. After service, I helped Elder Brown with by doing a little bit of his training (it’s his first transfer). We went to the library and did a cool online course for the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet.
Saturday and Sunday were a sacred and edifying conclusion to our week. First off, no thanks to a great Sister Missionary, and a good friend of mine had to remind me, we go home next month. Wow! To the more spiritual part of the weekend, the 187th Annual General Conference. It was so nice to be instructed by our Church leaders.
The Saturday Morning Session focused primarily on the Plan of Salvation and how the Atonement of Jesus Christ is central to that plan [note the italicization of the word “of”?] President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency opened the conference, encouraging adults to catch up to what family history and temple work the youth have done. Brother Brough taught about the various tools, a “care package,” available to be lead, guided, walked beside [sound like a familiar hymn?]. Elder Clayton, of the Seventy, spoke beautifully simply about the simply beautiful simple Plan of Salvation. Apostle, Elder Dale G. Renlund spoke on how to fully go though the whole Plan, we must repent. Elder Soares spoke on the need to stand straight. Elder Bragg encouraged us to keep our lights lit. President Russell M. Nelson spoke on how the Atonement is doctrinally incomplete with our saying Christ’s name with it.
We began the Saturday Afternoon session with church business, the chance to sustain our Church leaders. What a privilege that is. The first two speakers were of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. First was Elder Robert D. Hales, who set the the tone for the majority of the rest of Conference, true discipleship. Second was Elder Holland speaking about the need to “sing” the “anthems” of heaven. Elder Sabin, of the Seventy, spoke on being all in and Elder Cordon spoke on preserving the language of the Gospel. Elder Neil L. Andersen, spoken on overcoming the world through righteous conduct. Elder M. Russell Ballard concluded the session by explaining the difference between goals and plans, a topic many missionaries are keenly familiar with in chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel.
 
President Thomas S. Monson opened the Priesthood Session with a talk about charity, the pure love of Christ. Elder Bednar followed him by explaining the difference between the call of service in the Kingdom of God which is greater than the assignment of labor. Presiding Bishop, Gerald Causse spoke on bridging the gap between the Aaronic Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminded the brethren that the most important calling is the one we currently have. President Eyring spoke on the magnitude of Priesthood service.
Our beloved Prophet, President Monson, once again opened the Sunday Morning Session by speaking on the importance of testimonies. Primary General President, Joy D. Jones spoke on keeping covenants and that promises are insperable from covenants. Elder Choi of the Seventy spoke on being the strong link in our family tress (ancestors and descendants). Elder Ronald A. Rasband, an Apostle, instructed us on how to follow the counsel from the Holy Ghost through striving to be worthy of it, being willing to receive it, recognizing it,  and acting on it. L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke on how we need to unconditionally accept God’s word, especially in advance. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, spoke on how everything in life is centered in God. President Uchtdorf closed the session with a joke about how the healthiest sleep is Church sleep and the difference between fear, uncertainty, and doubt versus faith, uncertainty, and trust.
The concluding session was opened with an address by D. Todd Christofferson about practicing what we preach and preaching what we practice. Elder Costa spoke primarily to investigators and how to gain a testimony. Elder Palmer spoke on having Christlike love. Apostle Gary E. Stevenson spoke on how the Holy Ghost helps us by warning, comforting, and testifying to us. Elder Grow taught us how to have a better relationship to God through prayer, scripture study, and doing God’s will. Elder De Hoyos spoke on how we, as individuals need to be Ensigns to the world. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles concluded the weekend with sharing a statistic researcher concluded upon about how if we spend 10,000 hours we will be able to be truly skilled at something; we must do that with the gospel also.
Again, it was an edifying weekend. We’ll apply what Elder Hales once taught, “The greatest blessings of conference come after the conference is over … we go home to live it.” It was hard to see President Monson struggle, especially that he had subtitles. Thankfully, however, he did announce 5 new temples. We have a new General Relief Society Presidency. Singing the congregational hymns was difficult because the subtitles were not present, however, the music was beautiful, as always.

 

Elder Blodgett

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

Happy Belated Cesar Chavez Day!

Your reaction to my subject will probably be the same reaction I had when I heard that libraries were closed yesterday and preparation day was postponed to today. Cesar Chavez was some sort of Latino migrant worker reformation person.
Anywho, it’s been an exciting week. We’ll skip ahead to Tuesday since not much occurred on Monday. We got weekly planning done in record time since we’ve been here in Sylmar. I suppose it helps that we’ve dropped a lot of investigators because of lack of real intent and don’t need to take as long for planning. We’ve been focusing a lot on finding as of late.
Wednesday, we spent a bit of time organizing our area book. It was the first time since we’ve been here that we’ve taken time to actually sit down and look at things like former investigators and potential investigators. Plus, we got a current ward list so we’re trying to figure out who is in our area and who is in the Sister’s area so we don’t go outside of ours by accident. We had a knockout exchange with our District Leader, I went with Elder Durrant. We found a new investigator for the Spanish Sisters that cover our area that was fun.
Thursday, I got what is lovingly called the “Pink Monster.” It requests which airport I want to fly in to and where to send the itinerary. I put you down and ATW for the airport. We also had what was the first district meeting we had in like 3 weeks. After district meeting we had a really interesting lesson with an investigator we’ve had struggles meeting with for a few weeks because of some surgery she had. I don’t know how prepared she is based off our conversation, but her ex-husband and her two sons are member and she has a quad! After that lesson, we helped one of her neighbours set up a TV.
Friday, we did some service at a food pantry. It was nice to be able to do service again. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t done so in a while. Friday evening was tough. Elder P has been struggling taking the lead and I’ve been inviting him to do so. This particular evening, I got a little fed up with it so I decided that I wasn’t going to go anywhere unless he rode in front. We stood there for an hour until finally he started walking his bike–home. There we stayed for the rest of the evening.
Saturday, we had coordination which went a lot better than what I heard went down the previous week. However, I came prepared with my copy of Handbook 2 as well as my Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel. We had an awesome take-home meal from a Filipino member. Yay fish!
Sunday was church and it was ward conference. The choir piece that I accompanied went very well. Later, we taught a couple of non-progressing investigators who we told that there wasn’t much we could do with them until they do their part. We had a good knockout and an awesome dinner with Brother Gardner, he is the funniest member here and has lots of cool stories.
Monday, the biggest highlight of the day was having interviews with President Henrie. I think I’m finally getting to like him. It’s only taken almost two years.

 

Elder Blodgett

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

Hot Week

I think I’ve gotten accustomed to relatively cold weather again, because this past week felt super hot and at times a bit unbearable. It cooled down again later in the weekend, but the beginning of the week was tough.
Monday was a pretty uneventful day. We had an awesome zone activity of king of the field soccer. While the team I was on was not playing, I spent my time sun bathing, working on my tan. Later in the evening, this happened: “#PDayMiracle!!! Tonight, we finally had a lesson with one of our investigators since whitewashing this area. During our lesson with him, he mentioned that he was only following God 80%. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation but we reviewed The Restoration and testified that baptism by proper authority of the Priesthood will #CloseTheGap and help him to follow God 100%. He committed to be baptized!!!”
Tuesday, was spent planning for the next week or so. We found out that one of our investigators is in the hospital, but we can’t meet with him because he is in Pasadena. That was kind of devastating, we’ve met with him twice so far and want him to progress.
Wednesday, we had zone conference. We learned about a lot of the same things that were discussed in zone training meeting the previous week. It wasn’t surprising that much would be different in terms of things to focus on because both meetings were only a week apart.
Thursday was a full work day and we were able to visit a lot of our investigators to try and set return appointments with at least. Sadly the investigators we did have appointments cancelled on us because of work schedules.
Friday, we did some street contacting with not much success. Afterwards, we helped a part member family in our area move, which was greatly appreciated by the ward. We then went on exchanges with the zone leaders. I went in to Spanish work with Elder Lytle and we taught a single mother (returning member to activity in the church) and some of her children (who want to be baptized and are older than eight) the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity which went surprisingly well. I think it’s easier to teach those two commandments to youth.
Saturday, we finished the exchange by getting bashed, sorta, perhaps more like we had a really long one sided conversation with this guy talking about deep, possibly, could be true doctrine mingled with politics and philosophies of men. Afterwards, we at lunch at a member’s papusa restaurant before having companionship study and ending our exchange. Later in the evening, we had dinner at our Bishop’s house.
Sunday was church and that was awesome as usual, but we taught one of our investigators who we finally contacted after three weeks. We then came home for studies because having ward council at 7am and church at 9am puts a ding in to that. We also didn’t have dinner, which was sad because I really want to get to know the ward, but it’s hard not having those set appointments with them.

 

Elder Blodgett

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