Monday, June 27, 2016

Reassigned in Amish Paradise

What's up what's up! Crazy week for sure! For starters, my new area is straight up Amish country! There is horse and buggies everywhere and even the stores like Walmart have horse and buggy parking! It's super crazy probably 50% of the population of our area is Amish or Mennonite. 

My new companion is Elder Mink from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He's a sweet dude, we are working hard and having a good time! Our companionship title is the Street Rangers yahmean
So here's the biggest craziest news of the week. There's a big change happening in the mission on July 1st. The Lancaster and Chambersburg zones are being put in to the Baltimore mission...I am in the Lancaster zone which means yes, as of July 1st I will officially be serving in the Maryland Baltimore Mission and will no longer be serving in the good ol PPM. It's pretty crazy I know. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but the Lord needs me there. President Johnson prayerfully decided which missionaries would be transferred in to those zones, and I am one of those. It is interesting actually, when I first read my call letter 8 months ago, the part that talks about how my assignment may be adjusted always stood out to me and I didn't know why, but now I do! That was the spirit telling me to expect the unexpected haha.

So yeah this is really crazy like we straight up got reassigned and I'm not in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission anymore it's crazy. Lots of crazy stuff! I just keep thinking how weird it is that the Baltimore Maryland mission is my mission now. It's crazy. I have all sorts of mixed feelings about it but whatever happens I know it's part of Heavenly Father's plan for me. It is sad but exciting. I'm going to miss a lot of people in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission, but I'm excited to see where the Baltimore mission takes me.

This week we were trying several different creative finding tactics to find people to teach, because it's pretty hard around here considering the amount of Amish and Mennonite people. The Amish and Mennonites are sort of closed off to us when we talk to them, even if we don't talk about the gospel and are just trying to have a conversation. We tried to befriend some Amish teenagers the other day and they weren't really having it so yeah. But anyways one of the things we did this week is we went to this Amish market/auction thing in a town called Bird-In-Hand (funny town name right). Now I know that sounds like a dumb idea because of what I said about Amish people not talking to us, but there was tons of tourists and some locals at this market. So we went and brought a bunch of pass along cards and talked to a decent amount of people, without it being weird like we were poaching in Amish territory haha. We even met a less active guy from North Dakota! We offered to have the missionaries in his area to stop by his house but he said they already do so that was cool haha.
We saw our investigator Mac on Saturday and he is way awesome! He is set with a baptismal date for July 23rd. He shared with us his testimony of the Book of Mormon and how he came to know that it's true. He really likens the scriptures to himself it's so awesome! And he remembered everything they taught about the restoration! Right down to proper authority and how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon out of ancient Egyptian from the plates! He is so solid it's sick! He has such a great understanding of everything we are super excited to continue to teach him!
I'm excited to be in this area and I'm excited to be in a new mission! Thanks for all of your love and support everyone you guys rule!

- Elder Poulsen

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Unexpected Extra emails this Week with Exciting News!

Hey Mom and Dad, you probably got an email from President Johnson but there's a big change happening in the mission on July 1st. The Lancaster and Chambersburg zones are being put in to the Baltimore mission...I am in the Lancaster zone which means yes, as of July 1st I will officially be serving in the Maryland Baltimore Mission and will no longer be serving in the good ol PPM. It's pretty crazy I know. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but the Lord needs me there.

President Johnson prayerfully decided which missionaries would be
transferred in to those zones, and I am one of those. I know that even though I never even got to go to Pittsburgh, that the Lord needs me in the Baltimore mission and that this is all part of his plan for me. It is interesting actually, when I first read my call letter, the part that talks about how my assignment may be adjusted always stood out to me and I didn't know why, but now I do! That was the spirit telling me to expect the unexpected haha.

So yeah this is really crazy, like for example me and Elder Ramos
aren't in the same mission anymore! Or some of the other people I've served with and became friends with. It's so crazy like we straight up got reassigned and I'm not in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh mission anymore it's crazy. Also the Baltimore mission doesn't have iPads so we have no idea what's gonna happen there but it's gonna be frustrating if we have to get rid of them and use paper because iPads is sooo much more effective it helps so much with teaching. Lots of crazy stuff! I just keep thinking how weird it is that the Baltimore Maryland mission is my mission now. It's crazy. I have all sorts of mixed feelings about it but whatever happens I know it's part of Heavenly Father's plan for me.

In other news, my new area is super sick! There is Amish people
everywhere it's crazy. We live in New Holland and our area goes down to the edge of Lancaster. Some small towns there is more horse and buggies than cars. And Walmart and other stores have horse and buggy parking lot. Elder Mink is super awesome we get along super well!

So yeah that's what's going on, President told us to email mom and
dad, more info on Monday. Also let your brother Dave know dad, tell him to email me so I can ask him about areas he served. I'm also gonna email Ryan Garcia on Monday cause we're in the same mission now!  Unless he's in the one stake that is being put from Baltimore to Pittsburgh mission which would be funny but a bummer.

This is really weird, sad, and exciting at the same time. I'm excited
for the future, but I just really hope that my new mission president
doesn't separate me and elder mink especially because now next
transfer is only 4 weeks away for the new mission! I'm really hoping he doesn't separate us so soon because we are having a great time together so far and we want to work really hard to get the work in this area moving!

I love you both and am so grateful for all of your love and support

- Elder Poulsen

Bradley Kent Johnson 

Jun 23 at 9:59 AM

To: Parents of Missionaries Serving in the Chambersburg and Lancaster stakes/zones of the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission

I am writing to make you aware of a significant change in our mission. On July 1, two of the nine stakes in our mission – Chambersburg & Lancaster -- will become part of the Maryland Baltimore mission. All of the missionaries serving in those zones will be in that mission for the balance of their service. Your son/daughter is serving in one of those areas and this change will affect him/her.

Below is a letter I sent to the missionaries serving here that will answer questions about this change.

Thanks for sending your son/daughter to this mission. We have loved serving with her/him and are grateful for your support. Each missionary we serve with has been a blessing in our lives and we are thankful for their consecrated service. I am certain, President Christiansen, the Maryland Baltimore mission president will feel the same way.

God bless,

President Johnson

To: All Missionaries in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission

Change has always been a key part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is in many ways the very heart of the gospel. The idea that we can change and be forgiven of our transgressions is the “good news” of the gospel we teach each day.

A significant change is coming to our mission next week. On July 1, there will be a change in the mission boundaries. The Chambersburg and Lancaster Stakes/zones will become part of the Maryland Baltimore Mission on that date. All missionaries currently serving in those zones will therefore become part of that mission.
Below are some questions that many will have, along with my answers.

Why is this happening?

The church is a very dynamic organization. From the day it was restored April 6, 1830, change has been very much a way of life for members and the structure. In an organization that is constantly growing, changes in structure are regularly needed. This mission has had the most stakes (nine) of any of the 24 missions in the North America Northeast Area. In addition, these two stakes are less than 90 minutes from Baltimore. Pittsburgh is 4.5 hours from Lancaster and 3.5 hours from Chambersburg.

Who makes boundary change decisions?

Decisions like changing the boundaries of a mission are made by the General Authorities that run the Church and the Missionary Department.

What will happen to the missionaries serving in those zones?

On July 1 they will become part of the Maryland Baltimore Mission. They will serve the remainder of their time in that mission.

How can they be transferred to a new mission when they were called to serve in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission?

One of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reviews and approves all transfers/assignment changes between missions for each of the missionaries involved. Any time a missionary, any place in the world, is transferred from one mission to another, it is approved by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. For example, when a Temple Square sister is assigned to another mission for three months that is always approved by an Apostle. Likewise, an Apostle approved each of these changes.

Remember, each missionary call letter includes the sentence “Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.”

Are they going to that mission because you (President Johnson) don't like them?

I love every missionary that serves here. This change is one of the hardest things that has happened in the last two years. Sister Johnson and I hate to say goodbye to any missionary. All will be missed. Our hearts are heavy as we contemplate this change.

Who will be their Mission President?

President Randal Christiansen will be their new mission president. He and his wife are wonderful people. They have served for one year so they will be in place for the balance of all affected missionaries’ missions. Pres. Christiansen was an attorney before he was called to serve in Baltimore. Both have a wealth of church experience. I have attached a photo and short bio of the Christiansens.

President Christiansen was called of God. He will be a great mission president and the missionaries that will serve in that mission will be blessed by his leadership.

When will this happen?

July 1, 2016

I am in the Chambersburg/Lancaster zone and don't want to go. Or, I'm not in Chambersburg/Lancaster, but want to be, so I can be in the Maryland Baltimore mission.

Please ponder and pray about this change. I have every confidence you will find your own testimony that you are right where the Lord needs you. In time, the Lord’s hand in your life and in this change will become very evident.

Each of the Elders and Sisters who will be changing missions will be missed. They go with our thanks for their service in this mission and our prayers that God will watch over them the balance of their mission. We know that if they will work with their heart, might, mind and strength they will have a memorable, moving and marvelous experience there. We look forward to seeing each of them at a mission reunion in the coming years.

God bless,

President Johnson

Monday, June 20, 2016


Yo everyone first things first I'm being transferred to Ephrata, PA
tomorrow! From what I hear it's straight Amish country so it should be interesting hahaha. I'm a little bummed to be going from a
walking/biking area in a pretty urban area to a car area full of
farmland, but I'll adjust haha. My new companion is going to be Elder Mink, I've met him once briefly and he seems pretty cool. I'm
definitely going to miss this area and the Lewisberry ward after 4 1/2 months here, but I'm excited to move on to a new area. Said some tough goodbyes yesterday.

I had a pretty good last week here. On Tuesday we had another lesson with our new investigator Steve. Sister Norris, who referred him to us, met us there at the lesson and shared an awesome testimony of the restoration with him. He loves pictures and that's what helps him remember what we taught. Like he remembered about Joseph Smith by the picture in the pamphlet. So we ordered him a children's Book of Mormon stories book with lots of pictures in it that he'll be getting later this week! Unfortunately I won't be able to see him get it :( Steve is such a character I'm gonna miss that guy.

On Wednesday we helped a kid in the Ward, Steven, who is about to leave on his mission do some yard work for his mom. He leaves in July for the California, Ventura mission! I predicted it like 3 months ago I told him I was like Steven I'm here so you're going to California haha and I was right! He is super excited to go.

On Thursday we went on exchanges and I was in Camp Hill with Elder Wilson. Lessons fell through and we went tracting and met some real nice people! And some not so nice people of course hahaha. We also ate squirrel.

On Saturday we did some service for a less active's neighbor, who is from Pakistan. We sanded and painted her door frame and then she made us Pakistani food for lunch! It was so nice of her especially because she is currently fasting for Ramadan but she made food for us and sat with us while we ate. She is such a sweet lady, and made some really good Pakistani food! It was really cool. She asked about the temple in DC and so we ended up talking to her about temples and Sister Tornblom who has been less active for like 50 years was like bearing testimony of temples to her it was sweet.

Sunday I said some tough goodbyes at church. The Lewisberry ward will always have a special place in my heart. This ward has been so welcoming and loving to me ever since I got here. I'm gonna miss it but I'm excited for what's ahead of me.

- Elder Poulsen

Monday, June 13, 2016

6-13-16 BMW reporting in. VW is the real ultimate driving machine.

What's up everyone! Did a lot of service this week. Tuesday we helped brother Fike with some yard work most of the day, Wednesday we helped the Liechty family move some stuff out of their house because they are moving to Utah :(, Thursday we helped a lady in the ward with her lawn and I mowed a fat lawn with a janky push mower that barely worked it was great! Just like a true Pennsylvanian yaimshayin hahahahaha really tho it was a pleasure. And on Saturday we helped the Chibante family
pack up their house all day because they are moving to Utah too :(. We are losing two of the best families in the ward! Dangit Utah!

Now among all that service we did, believe it or not, we did do some missionary work! It's like we were actually missionaries instead of Elders Quorum members or something. After making that sarcastic comment I would like to add that I really did thoroughly enjoy all the service we did last week haha. On Thursday I was on exchanges with Elder Hinckley here in our area we saw our new investigator Nick and his wife Tara joined us for the lesson this time! We taught them the restoration and answered questions they had about the church while they sat on their porch and rolled and smoked cigarettes for days haha. Brother Fike came with us to the lesson and it went really well!  They committed to read the Book of Mormon as a family! Nick has been to church with some friends, but that was like 15 years ago. But yeah they are super nice and have 3 cute little kids! One of them is like 5 his name is Abram and he's got some wicked long hair it's pretty raw!
Haha little grom killin the hair game.

On Saturday night we finally saw C! The guy I talked about last
week that we met and was like you guys are coming right? So we went on Tuesday when we had scheduled the appointment but that fool wasn't there! And then we tried back like 3 or 4 times over the course of the week and then on Saturday night we rode over there and there he was leaning against his red Jetta smoking a cig preparing to set off some fireworks! He told us he wasn't doing very good and that he was slightly intoxicated, but that we could share a message with him. We taught him the restoration and it was a way good lesson. He has pretty limited knowledge on religious topics but we were able to use the pamphlet to help him understand the message we were sharing with him.  We invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He told us he really wants to commit to this and that he knows meeting with us is what he needs. Even though we were outside and there was noise around including some loud rap music down the street, the spirit was so strong as we talked to him. As he expressed to us his struggles and desires to change, I felt an overwhelming sense of love for him and
for probably the first time I really really really wanted to do
everything I could to help him strengthen his faith in Jesus Christ.
It was so cool to see the spirit work on him throughout the lesson. He went from being in a not very good mood and not too happy to see us, to him really listening and asking questions and thanking us and telling us that he really liked us. He said he was going to come to church but he didn't which was disappointing but we'll hopefully see him again this week!

On Friday we had zone conference in Lancaster (didn't see any Amish people unfortunately) because the Harrisburg stake center was having some remodeling done. It was a super sick conference. We received some awesome training on how to better use the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon in our teaching! Definitely got me hyped to preach dat word.  Also I wore the super sick 2-tone tie I made and got a million compliments so that was cool. I also got to see some friends that I haven't seen since last transfer which was really sweet.

Have a good week everyone, thanks for all your love and support

- Elder Poulsen

Monday, June 6, 2016

Update still many VWs. Also Runny Babbits

Yooo. Busy week this week, well we made it pretty busy. Had not much planned but we worked really hard. We met a lot of people and are going to be teaching some of them! We've been doing a lot of walking, and a lot of biking, and a lot of finding new people to teach. Pretty tiring but all worth it!

On Tuesday we were knocking on this door and this guy was like she's not home and so we started talking to this guy. He started saying, "oh, I don't really want to offend you guys, but I'm not really interested." We kept talking and let him know that we'd love to help him out if he needs anything or if there's any service we could offer him. We gave him our number and kept talking and suddenly he was completely different, saying how he actually did want us to come over and tell him what we believe. After we set the appointment, he kept asking us, "You are coming, right? I really want you to come. Like you guys are coming right?! I have been looking to change my life, and I think this might be the thing that does it. I think this is what I need" So it was really awesome to see the spirit work on him through that conversation. And we're super excited to go teach him tomorrow!
His name is Steve.

We got a referral this week from a returning less active, Sister
Norris. We went to contact him the next day and met Steve! He is a
really nice guy and loves Jesus. We had a good first lesson with him
and he played harmonica for us he was totally ripping! It was sick.

We did some service planting trees for Sister T and then broke the speed limit on our bikes mobbing back down the hill she lives on!  We had an awesome conversation with her about why she left the church, and we were able to get to know her a lot better.

So there's some stuff that's going on. Love you all have a good week
keep doing good stuff & don't forget to drive a VW

- Elder Poulsen