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

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