April 18, 2016, Fun in the Sun, Fechas, Little Thimbles

Hi mom,

This was a long week. We worked for a long time and talked to anyone and everyone, but nothing came of it for the most part. We found two new investigators, but one we talked to a week before and just forgot to run by when we said we would and the other is an old man who recently lost his wife. He's cool, but likes to talk a lot and is really catholic, so we'll see what happens there. I hope he accepts it and is able to enjoy the blessings of the sealing power of the priesthood. The other investigators a teenage girl who has changed the citas a few times, but that's a good sign because she remembered them and got in touch with us to make the changes

We also set some more fechas this week with N* and J*. They're two little kids we're teaching with their mom. The mom  was cooking for the grandpa, who lives next door and in whose house we teach, but we're going to get here a fecha here soon. We taught them the restoration. Turns out that their dad could be a less active member. If that's true, N*(who's only 8) is a child of record and not our investigator ni our fecha, but that's okay. Until we know for sure, she's on our records as an investigator and a fecha.

We also had an exchange this week. It was my first time being with an english speaking missionary (meaning he didn't know or study Spanish at all) it was fun. We were in our area, so I did most of the talking when we found Hispanics. it was fun, but a little weird. The next day we did a split with the Zone Leaders so Elder Wall (my companion and district leader) could give an interview a the investigator of the zone leaders for baptism. She passed and was baptized and confirmed on Saturday and Sunday. We also had an investigator come to church!

I also made Little thimbles with Garlic toast/bread. It was soooo good. A little trip home for the 3 days we ate it. (thank's mom for the recipes)

That's about it

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to serve my king.

Elder Michael Blanding doing what he does best: EAT

Elder Michael Blanding doing what he does best: EAT

[He copied this from his best friend's email to him and wanted to share it. His best friend, Elder Peart comes home in two-ish months:]

Am i excited? yes, i'm excited, but i'm not excited to stop doing missionary work. I'm excited to get more than 7 hours of sleep and to have a day off. I'm excited to go to college and to progress in that aspect, i'm excited to do lots of stuff. But no, i'm not ready to stop being a missionary. It is too much a part of my life at this point to be excited to stop. It's kind of like asking an old person if they're excited to die... Not the right question to ask. 

April 11, 2016, Zone Conference

Hi mom.

First, THANK YOU FOR THE C-PAP!!!! It's super nice and yes I'm going to take care of it. It's my only way to have good sleep. Still getting caught up on it (for those of you following along at home, I have sleep apnea and therefor have recently acquired a C-pap to get rid of this, details at 11).

This week was fun. We did a lot of teaching and taught a few investigators that we gained from the new part of the area (we took over part of Elder Sosa's and Elder Gatica's area on Tuesday.) They're super cool and we're hoping to baptize them this month, but we have to teach them and we don't know how much they are willing to omit to things. We also taught a grandma who has a fecha for the 14 (pray for (not to) Guadalupe por favor), she really wants to be baptized (has asked more then once what she needs to do to be baptized) and so we're shooting for the 14. She can't read and needs a ride to church, so we're working on that.

Friday, we had a zone conference with elder Zeballos de Chili and his wife. He's a 70 and it was super cool. One of the best things she said was advice I think is good for all, that is "remember who you are" (please put Mufasa's (ohh) voice to the quote). He talked about how we need to make choices that will lead to better ones in the future, also about mountain climbing with his sons in a desert. it's 11. yep, I got my C-pap right after the meeting (p.s. I LOVE SISTER ANDERSON). To get the c-pap to me, she went to the ups store in person, then drove it down to the San Fernando stake center. From there we took it home, set it up (was pretty easy) she'd already bought the distilled water. That night I used it, but the mask was poorly adjusted, so I fixed it on Saturday and had my best nights rest in months that day, just in time for stake conference We also saw a little Yorkie! (sorry mom, no picture, but i did hold if for a bit. Man, i miss Alex and Roxy)

Sunday, was conference and no one showed:( so we just listened to the speakers (really good) and then went back to work. We saw another cute dog named ursio. A little white 2 month old puppy. see picture. that night I used the c-pap, but half way though just took it off for no reason (in my sleep) and woke up to it just blowing. Half awake i turned it off and lied in bed until, about 30-45 minutes after, I woke up enough to realize I need that to sleep well, so i turned it back on for the last few minutes. Now I am sitting here writing and reading e-mails. Only about 30 minutes until i have to go, but I will be here until the end.

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King

April 4, 2016, Conference Weekend

Hi mom,

Well, now I've actually spent about a week in Hollywood, and it's nothing like the movies. It's actually really ghetto, but then again, I don't hang out in the nice part of town. you were actually probably closer then your calculations, because we're pretty close to the edge of our mission here.

This week was really good. We found some new investigators, lots of cool futuros in a part that hasn't been touched before and set a fecha with a grandma for the 30 of April. We just need to make sure we have time for all the work that we're getting. I've been very blessed with productive areas.

I loved conference this week. Elder Uchtdorf was on a role with his jokes and Elder Holland was right about the Ice cream for the end of conference (i didn't have any, back on a no sweets binge, but I know a few others who did). President Monson didn't say much, but it was still powerful. I think mostly I got "know and do your duty" and "it's time to start looking for your wife" out of this one. There was more out there, but it was mostly just that.

A cool thought that came to my mind this morning during studies. The path back to Heavenly Father is straight and narrow, but what we do in this life doesn't matter so much. I'm not talking about sin, doing evil, and all that. I mean for job or collage. That is all minor details. God will give us counsel on what we can or shouldn't do, but he trusts our agency enough to let us make our own decisions on this matter. 

We all have personal agency and no parent should beat themselves up because one of their children fell away from the church. It doesn't have to do with the way or perfection of the parents or their teaching it's a matter of agency. If it were always the parents fault that their kids fall away, then no one would ever fall away, because we have perfect Heavenly Parents you teach us perfectly. This is a basic truth of the Gospel. We hurt when we watch a loved one walk away from the church and the gospel we believe to be true (because we do not have a perfect knowledge of things). Our Heavenly Parents hurt even more as they watch all of us fall and try to improve, and they nearly die when they watch us give up and stop trying, turn our backs on them and the Gospel and do what we know to be wrong. They also cheer and throw a party when they watch us make the right choices and start coming home by turning on the engine of Priesthood power in our lives (via the keys they've given us) through Baptism, confirmation, and other ordinances they have given us. I know this is true, because I've been able to feel a small incline of this joy every time I watch someone be baptized, and especially when it's someone I've grown to love through the process of teaching, praying, and being concerned for they're salvation

Mother's Note - Medical

Elder Michael Blanding suffers from allergies. Last year they didn't bother him at all. This second year in California they have been really bad. On top of that Mike has a very mild form of sleep apnea. The combo of the two has made it very difficult for Mike to sleep and he has been very sleepy and that has been his medical problem.

We were given false information before his mission in that we were told that missionaries could not have c-pap machines while on their mission. Now Mike's sleep apnea isn't bad enough for insurance to cover the cost of a c-pap machine and I have a brother who is a dentist and was willing to make a dental appliance for him. That is how we solved the problem before he left on his mission. (His sleep apnea score is a 5.0 and that is the very bottom for what insurance companies will pay for and because he hasn't had a sleep study in the past 6 months they do not recognize that he has a problem. They start to cover patience at 5.1.) 

For the past month Mike has been suffering while we try to figure out what the problem is and remedy it.

Allergies are hard to fight once they have started, but I sent him a ton of medication as well as instructions on how to get better sleep. His father, who suffers just about as bad as anyone, also was sending helpful hints. 

Then Sister Anderson, the mission nurse, called and we discussed what we needed to do to keep this boy on his mission. She told me that c-pap machines were allowed on the mission and asked me to get the ball rolling on getting one shipped to him. 

Long story short, we have a c-pap machine on a truck on the way to his mission office. We hope this solves the problem for the next four months and that he can finish out his mission. C-pap machines are very expensive! 

Here is a note from him after Sister Anderson called him and told him he was staying:
"I'm going to buy some [white shirts] here. we've been packed with work, but because of the transfer and the need, I'm going to need to go shopping for food anyway, so i'll just buy a few at Ross or something. Also, the good news is I can get a C-pap in the mission, which means... I"M NOT COMING HOME EARLY RIGHT NOW!!!! Sister Anderson was at the baptism on Sunday, so she talked to me and I told her what's been going on. She said that the only thing left she could do was talk with mission medical and I said do it, knowing that it could mean I leave the mission this week. We went to lunch at I-hop with familia pina and I got a call from sis. Anderson which I was sure meant, pack up, your going home, but instead was you can stay and have c-pap, so I'm still here and walking on Cloud 9!"

Side note: Sister Anderson and I know each other. She was the Relief Society President just before I was called back in 2000. And she called me while we were at Disneyland! I was literally 42 miles away from where Mike was and desperately wanted to go do at least a drive by, but sadly we didn't rent a car. 

LA as we left Disneyland. Elder Michael Blanding is out there somewhere. 

LA as we left Disneyland. Elder Michael Blanding is out there somewhere. 

March 29, 2016, One more down and good news

This was a fun week

Hi mom.

This week we spent a lot of time working, but we didn't get a lot of lessons. Familia lino didn't get baptized this week, but we'll get them for next week and the hermanas had two baptisms. The rule on confirmations has changed so we can now do them in the baptismal service, and i was asked to confirm one of the baptisms. I didn't know I was going to do it until we got there and it was announced by the Ward mission leader (who was called that Sunday) that I was going to do it. He'd asked me earlier (like 30 minutes before) if i'd be willing to help with that, but I didn't realize he meant do it, so it was a surprise to me.

Elder Michael Blanding

Elder Michael Blanding

Story behind the shirts. (sorry forgot about this last week). so, we did laundry like normal last week. We started it, went to do studies in the apartment, came back and moved them to the dryer, finished studies and came back and... all the whites were covered in red dots. The dryer had a little bit of wet paint on it and now I only have two good white shirts. They're practically black because they've been used for a year and a half but they still look white alone. I feel gross because I've been using them all week, but it's ok (remember my second week in the mission Elder Garcia. this is only slightly better)

Elder Michael Blanding's white shirts aren't so white anymore

Elder Michael Blanding's white shirts aren't so white anymore

Also, I MADE IT TO HOLLYWOOD. Yep, I'm now working in Hollywood. Technically it's North Hollywood, but I still did it. My whole mission has been in a little box between Haskel, Van Nuys, Victory and Nordoff, and now I've finally broken free. My new companion is Elder Wall. I've served around him a little before. He was my zone leader when i was in Santa Clarita and after that he was in Arleta with me, so it will be fun to serve with him. He's also from Georgia, so that will make it fun to get e-mails from Mat-the-W (hope you like it lil' bro. send pics.)

love,

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King.

March 21, 2016, Asombro Me Da

Hi mom,

We didn't do to much, just ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. We had exchanges with elder Snachez and elder Stern on Wednesday. It was real fun. I went to coordination for Van Nuys again!. I  was with Elder Stern in their area which is in Van Nuys. I also was in my old apartment (#1) because the zone leaders are in a 4 man pad with Elder Reymond and Elder Gatica. It was a fun day.

Sunday was also fun. We had church and someone thought it'd be a good idea if I sang a special musical number in church, so I sang Asombro Me Da (or I stand all amazed) in sacrament. It was pretty good, but I didn't know I was doing it until Tuesday, and Wednesday they told me I was doing this Sunday, so it was a little rough still. But it was really fun and sounded really good (or at least that's what they tell me)

That's really about it for this week. We're still working with our fechas and set a new one with a 14 year-old boy, so pray for the Lino Family (27 of march), and Marcos (17 of April).

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King

March 14, 2016, Long nights and long days

Hi mom.

This has been a fun week. We've not done too much in the way of numbers, but Elder Lucero and I have been taking time to take care of our medical needs. It's kind of funny, when one of us feels good enough to leave, the other needs a break, so we've spent a lot of time in the apartment calling people. We've also been thinking about how to best help the familia Lino. They don't understand some things completely, so we're working with them on that.

That's really about it, sorry, uneventful week+apartment time=short e-mail.

Love,

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King

Elder Michael Blanding

Elder Michael Blanding

March 7, 2016, Weekly update

This weeks was pretty un-eventful,

Hi mom,

We did a lot of knocking to start the week, but due to weekly planning and medical problems on one side or the other, we spent a lot of time in the apartment. Nothing serious on either part and I'd rather not talk about what's going on and the less people that know the better, so (to everyone but those i've told) please don't bug my parents. Just know it's all fine and I'm loving the mission.

On Saturday, we were fed three times. Breakfast by our investigators (the familia Lino, who have a fecha for the 27 of this month, Please pray for them) and by two members who are the best. The hremana Corona and the familia Ortega. While we were eating with the familia Ortega, they started setting me up with the youngest sister of elder Lucero. I got pretty red and it was awkward.

That's really all that happened this week.

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King

February 29, 2016, Not alone anymore

Hi mom,

I don't really have much to say today. It was a normal week. We did an exchange with elder page and elder Flores on Thursday. Friday we did service at Operation Gratitude as a mission. Sunday we had the familia lino in church again and they want to feed us next Sunday after church for lunch. Everyone wants to feed us. We have an hermana that is feeding us on Monday and on Saturday, it's fun. We save a lot of money on food.

It was nice to give you a five minute call to say goodbye to Matt. Thank you presidente Henrie. This is really all I have to say about this week.

Oh, one more thing. I skinnied a tie. I took a tie that was fat (from left to right it was way to wide) and made it a nicer tie by opening it up, cutting the fabric that goes in the tie and then sewing it up again. And it doesn't look half bad. I'm going to practice it some more and then I'm going to be a very cheep tie buyer.

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King

February 16, 2016, FUN WEEKS, LONG DAYS, and a SURPRISE

Hi mom,

This was a fun, but long week. I still just want to be curled up in bed cutting logs right now... it sucks.

On Monday, elder Jager and I spent a lot of time doing, almost nothing. We packed and then we got fumigated, so we couldn't just sit in the apartment. We played some b-ball with the other elders (elder Page and elder Flores) in a park and some cholos (pandilleros) invited us to play with them. After that we had 2 dinners, one with obispo Barragan and the other with hermano Sacor. They were great, but i ended up eating 4 hot dogs, two and a half slices of cake, one and a half scoops of ice cream and a lot of chips, rice and quacamole. Then we had to go to the second dinner where i ate 5 burgers, and the other elders all tapped out at or before one. I didn't feel to good that night and then I threw up. Not fun, but i did feel better.

Tuesday, we did transfers, and right a way I lost elder Lucero, my new companiero. He's cool. We did a normal day and tried to talk to everyone. Dinner was good, but we lost lunch with the de Luna because  we were in Santa Clarita for transfers. They served us lunch, so it was still no cook Tuesday, but I missed the de Luna. We did find 4 investigators that day, so SWAG.

Wednesday, we planned. Then we left and found 2 investigators, taught one of our investigators and had dinner with the (i'm sorry elder Jager) the Moreno. It was really good and Elder Lucero loves the area, the members and the Moreno already.

Thursday we had district meeting and then we taught some of our investigators. We ran by the Pina, but they had family over, so we reset and left. The aunt of hermana Pina just died, so they didn't come to church Sunday because they were in Utah for the funeral :(. We also ran by a Menos activa that's having some problems. We tried to help out as best we could and then we went to dinner with the Azurdia. It was really good. (this week we were fed dinner every day). we also went to the doctors (no there is nothing wrong with me or my companion don't sweat) and we had a lunch pick up at 12:30. We called them because we were running late and they said that we'd already picked it up. We were in Santa Clarita still, so it would have been impossible and a miracle if we had. She describe who'd picked it up and the description matched elder Houmand and elder Clarke (his tranie) but it was Elder Wakamatsu and elder Neilson. We got lunch from sister Anderson, and then they (the elders with the food) called and gave us back the food.

Friday, we did service with elder Page and elder Flores in a senior center. It was fun and at the end we got lunch. The only weird part was that it was a valentines day dance, so we were scared of seeing old people kiss.

 We then had interviews and then a full night, but the ward threw it's own dance/potluck that was supposed to start at 6:30, but didn't began until 7:45. It was fun, but we lost all the night there.

Saturday, we started off with Futbol with the obispo his 1st counceler and 2 jovenes in the ward and then we set up for conference.  after this we did studies and then we ran by investigators and futuros. we then knocked around an apartment and finally taught N*. She's a member referral, but we don't think she has a lot of interest. We're going to go back, but the member who referred her can't help to much. She doesn't speak Spanish and is her boss, so we're thinking that we can't do to much. The member we had is from west Virginia but he goes to our ward. He's really cool, but talked to much and way to fast. He obviously was nervous.

Sunday, we had the broadcast. It was cool. And SURPRISE. Elder Garcia estuvo alli! He came visiting and so we took pictures and talked. He came back with Elder Blakely, who trained elder Snachez (my zone leader) and so they invited us out to lunch on Monday. it was fun. after the broad cast, we went to work. Had lunch with the Lipe (they called to invite us over after we got home) and then found two more investigators. We finished by talking with a menos activo who fed us dinner (#nocookthursdayandsundaytoo!!!) I'm being completely over fed.

Monday... I HATE HOLIDAYS ON MONDAYS!!!! We can't e-mail and we're supposed to be fumigated, but it didn't happen due to the holiday, so we shopped a little (we still have left overs from some of our lunches) then we went to costco, so i bought for the transfer (I hope) it wasn't to expensive either. We then played Soccer at the church with the zone, and finished the day by planing and eating with the hermana corona. Elder Garcia had to cancel, but he got me a gift card for (I'm sorry Elder Jager) PANDA EXPRESS!!! It's worth (elder Jager, you might want to skip to the end now) $20.

Any way, love you all, know the church is true and hope the next few transfers are long and productive. (This one is 7 weeks!!) :D

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to serve our king

February 8, 2016, Tuesday to hoy

This was a very fun, fast, tiring week.

Hi mom,

This week we learned that we have a 7 week transfer, so I'm here for another 7 weeks! My new companion is Elder Lucero. I'm super excited. I've met him a few times and from what I can remember he's pretty cool.

Tuesday, to finish the day we had lunch/dinner with the patriarch and then we taught Mutual. It was sick. We taught about missionary life. The hermanas taught about Goals and Studies (one topic per companionship) and the Elder talked about how we can find solace and peace in the scriptures. Elder Jager and I had the Q&A section. They put us in charge, so we decided (all of us) on what and then drew the topics out of a hat (just me and elder Jager). We went last, so we had a 1 out of 10 chance of getting it, and it fell on us. All in all, it was really good, but people thought we cheated for our topic.

Wednesday, we had service and some planned activities, but they mostly fell through. We ran by los Pina and answered some questions that they had about us as missionaries. We then taught some of our progressing investigators (it's slow progression, but there is progression) the Word of Wisdom and showed a video from LDS.org. It was President Monson bearing his testimony after a general Conference address. The fed us Pizza and then we went to the Morenos for dinner (fun). On the way, we got a call from Hermana Corona to come and give another blessing to her friend, so we [ate] as quick as possible and then ran to give the blessing (the hermano Moreno gave us a ride to the blessing !:) ) The friend's tires got slashed (by her Land Lord!) so she wouldn't be able to go to the court the next day (they are in a really bad argument that is going to court, and the Land Lord is pulling some really sketchy, underhanded, dirty stuff, and most of it is illegal). Miracle, she found out about it the night before, so she planned ahead and got to the court. She also now wants to come to church and learn about the church. She wanted the blessing because the last time we gave her one (on Monday) she felt good and wanted that feeling again.

Thursday,  We got our laundry done by the hermana Moreno (she offered) and then took the rest of Preparation day (we lost about an hour and a half on Tuesday) We then did some visits, found a sick family (los Serrato) and had dinner with the Ortega. This was a freaking fantastic meal. During Preparation day, I saw a lasagna and thought, it's been so long since I've had lasagna. I should just buy it and make it, but it's so expensive and i don't want a large one that will go bad, so i didn't buy it. Lo and behold, that night, the hermana Ortega made a lasagna for us and we ate very happily. We then had coordination and found out that the hermano Garcia had seen us throwing cards on our way to recuperation day and didn't like it. We were just breaking up the time on the walk home, so I don't understand his problem. We also did a little practice for the musical number we were asked to do this Saturday for ZTM last night. We were given strict instructions to NOT us any proselyting time to practice, but we're doing it with the English elders, who don't live with us, so we took 30 minutes to pick and practice a song we all know.

Friday, we had exchanges and service. We did service at the Van Nuys city hall again and then Elder Page and I lit his area on fire. We taught a new investigator and a menos activo (at the same time). The Menos activo is super cool and so is the kid. He has a baptismal date for the 6 of march and I know he can make it. We also got some fruit from a hermana who was catholic, but was feeling in a giving mood.

Saturday, We had ZTM. At the very end of ZTM, the zone leaders got transfer calls, so not much after we got to know who was staying and who's leaving. Elder Jager is upset that he's out, but excited to District Lead, and i'm excited to see what's in store this transfer. We then ran to lessons. most fell through, but it was good. I played some apartment soccer with some kids and we rescheduled with a potential. We then had dinner with the Lipe. Hint, on the mission, find out who feeds you BIG and then ask them to feed you the day before fast Sunday (best for Lunch) and then start fasting the minute your done eating. You gorge and store food for a day and you don't have to pay for it. We then gave a blessing to an investigator who was feeling sick, but looks like our most solid family.

Sunday, the sick investigator (from last night) came to church. We picked his wife up as an investigator on Monday, and she came too. They are seriously prepared. It was a weird Sunday to come, because the lesson was on priesthood and being worthy of it. It would have been fine, but the question turned to Cremation and burials, so I kind of felt awkward. The worst part, the hermano Moreno was talking about home teaching, which needs to get done, but we didn't have time for his lesson! Sacrament was good, all the elders gave their testimony and at the end we all felt good. A family said hi to our investigators and one hermano (who is English but attends our Spanish ward and i think has a stake calling) was helping our investigator understand about priesthood and what it means and offered to give him his number (actual he asked us to do it) so he could call him with questions. FREAKING#AMISTADES!!!!

That's it for the week. Man i'm tired. I just packed up all my stuff because we are getting/got fumigated today, so I don't have anything put away. But, I got up like two hours early with out having to be woken up, so swag.

Love,

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve My King

February 2, 2016, CONFIRMATIONS, MENOS ACTIVOS, MILAGROS, Y El TEMPLO!!!!

WOW, This week was really fast.

Hi mom.

Not much happened through out the week. All the plans we had set fell through (except for meetings and meals... except for one meal which i'll explain, (seriously, we don't have to cook all week because we are fed every day for dinner and sometimes lunch)).

Monday, was preparation day.

Tuesday, we planned and talked with everyone.

Wednesday, we did service and talked with everyone. We taught two lessons that day, sort of, but nothing super huge.

Thursday, we had district meeting and then talked with everyone. We also did splits with the ward to do home teaching. It was cool. I went with Hermano Pina (the dad of the girl who was baptized last week) and he's solid. Loved every minute of our time together. Seriously, that man is reason enough to come back and visit.

Friday, we had exchanges with Elder Page and Elder Flores. Elder Page came here with Elder Jager, so I was back in Van Nuys for a day (in elder Buck, Elder Rangel, Elder Gutierrez, and Elder Jenson's old area) knocking on doors and talking with the gente. We walked it, which was fun, and we had one of the best lessons on the Book of Mormon ever and a super cool conversation with a referral who has the right questions (like Joseph Smith right questions) and just needs to know where to look for the answers (like the Book of Mormon and God).

Saturday, we worked a little more in the area and then we exchanged back. After that we talked with everyone and tried to get a dinner with los sacor (it was their daughter's Birthday and they'd invited us over for dinner to celebrate with them). We were super excited, love that family, to do this, but they failed to inform us that the "dinner", party, was taking place in a different house that is outside our area, in fact, it's outside the zone and therefore we can only go there with Presidents premision or on ward business (our ward is split by the zone) so we did some daily contact and then went to Wendy's (we're sick of pasta right now.)

Sunday. Hermano Pina confirmed his daughter and we had a lot of menos activos in the church. One clasped coming in and we had to lift her up so she could get to class. We also had a menos activo from YSA come and stay with us for a bit while he waited for YSA to start. His mom (a non-member) wants him to get active again, so she brought him and actually came to the church on Saturday night to find someone, and she talked to Hermano Pina (the one mentioned above) about her son, so she waited for him to show up and then left, knowing she brought her son the the right place. After church, WE HAD STUDIES (all year we've missed them because we've been in consejo and then we don't have time after, until this week!!!) So we studied for a little bit, then ran by Members and found a few. Super cool. We now have dinners on Tuesdays. (NO COOK TUESDAY!) We then did some service and talked to the old stake president, presidente Gomez. He's also the old bishop (we was bishop, president, and then bishop again). It was the best conversation we've had in a long time with anyone. He talked about his new calling (Just Serve specialist on the stake level) and also about stories he has with talking with General Authorities. One was a story of President Gordon B. Hinckley and his Son (of president Hinckley) that his son told presidente Gomez when he was there visiting. And also a cool story about what some members did the day that president hinckley died. We then ran (literally) to dinner.

Monday, we did planning, wanted to run by some members, but got a call from a member who needed help, so we ran by and then directed him to the bishop (he actually called us later that day to tell us he got in touch with the bishop and that his problem is better now (don't go trying to draw conclusions, I promise you are wrong) he also called us just now as we are e-mailing) We then did some more visits and found a new investigator who is the wife of a investigator we found at the beginning of December, but lost contact with. They're super cool and are going to be baptized with in the month. We then had dinner and I gave a blessing to someone who needed some counsel and love.

That's it for the week+1day. I guess I could tell you I went through the temple today, but that's the only reason I'm writing today. I could also add I did the section in Spanish, but that'd be barging... who cares, I just did.

Love Elder Blanding

Called to Serve my King.

January 25, 2016, BAPTISM AND MORE!!!!

Hi mom (I almost wrote mi or my mom)

THIS WEEK WAS PERFECT!!!!!!!

I can't even begin to describe how good it went. Most of the week was actually kind of sad, we didn't have anything go the way planned, but all it takes is a good end to make it sound perfect.

We started with weekly planning and a bunch of dropped citas. We then made the ward mission plan with the consejo del barrio (by that i mean we were there and they just adapted the last one that they had.) and then called it a night.

Wednesday, we got up early for a very special visit from members of the quorum of the 12 and other general authorities via satellite boradcast to the whole world. It WAS SOO COOOOOOOOOOL! We learned a lot and then we went a head and had a Zone/mission conference right after. I'm super excited for what is happening in the world of missionary work. We also, then went to a few appointments, but they all got canceled, again, so we just had dinner and worked out.

We then had Thursday, in which, we talked a lot, but taught no lessons. We also had 2 dinners at the exact same time. One with our elders quorum president and the other with obispo Barragan. It was really fun, because we had to be at both dinners, (we'd confirmed the one with president and thought that a Menos activo was going to be there and the one with Obispo was with all the missionaries so we could talk about the obra). We learned about the 2 dinners the night before (obispo was the surprise) so we started making calls for splits with the District Leader, the Zone leaders and even Elder Wall and Wakamastu (the other Elders in our ward who live out side the zone (this required President Henrie's approval)), but they were going on exchanges that night, so we decided the best way was to go to both dinners leave early from one and arrive late to the other. We don't have bikes, so we ate one dinner, and then ran to the next where Elder Deyholos was with Elder Wall and couldn't stop telling stories about my eating habits with him at member meals and the subsequent out comes. We then ran to coordination and then called it a night.

Friday, we had exchanges with the zone leaders. During the splits, we also went on splits with the ward, I took hermano Garicia (the ward mission leader and hermano Lipe (the first counselor in the high priest group) to a lesson, and elder Sanchez (my companion on the exchange) took hermano Santos Garcia to go knocking. The lesson was great and the investigators came to church that week. We also got some cool future investigators.

Saturday, we exchanged back, had a lesson with our super cool investigator that won't do anything more than talk super solid when we teach him, but then won't DO ANYTHING! We then invited all our investigators come to church tomorrow.

Sunday, We had 5 INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH AND A FUTURA! It was super cool. We had 4 come to the meetings, but one left early, and then later we had one come to THE BAPTISM OF A* P*!!! She was baptized yesterday at 5 o'clock it was one of the best things in the world. I've attached a few pictures from the baptism from elder Jager's camera, but I'll send mine home next Monday. We then did some service for President Sacor (the sunday school president) and then walked to dinner.

That's it, Baptism kind of over did everything else this week.

Love,

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King.

Elder Jager and Elder Michael Blanding

Elder Jager and Elder Michael Blanding

January 11, 2016, FLOODING!!! MIRACLES!!! APOSTASY!!?!!

HI mom,

This week we had RAIN!!!! I forgot my card adapter, so I'll send pictures next week, but it rained so much that all the streets flooded and our over flow river (called the wash) was overflowing!! We saw some cars that were literally buried in water up to the doors, and some times not just when parked on the road. And we got to walk through those puddles.

We also talked to everyone on the street and found a cool kid from Mexico (like just-got-off-the-bus-from Mexico) talked to him (in perfect fluent Spanish (like better then I normally have) thank you Gift of Tongues) who believes that God has prophets all over the world, not just in Jerusalem, so we gave him a Book of Mormon, told him that it's those prophets that God had here in America and he committed to read it and give us a call with his information (because he's so new he doesn't know himself yet).

We also found THE MOST GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR!!!!!!!! We found him technical on new years eve, but we taught him on Thursday for the first time and we only had like 15 minutes, so we taught that God is our Heavenly Father quickly and reset for Saturday (oh, and the appointment an hour earlier). At the end of the lesson, he gave the most humble prayer. Fast forward to Saturday (we called him on Friday and he'd read for the lesson), we teach him the full lesson one (the Restoration) and he understands and agrees with every thing!! I mean ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! This is a miracle. Latinos have a problem with the apostasy for the most part. Either they don't believe it happened or they believe that everyone has authority just for teaching about Christ. This man (his name is hermano C* by the way) HELPED us teach it by pulling up scripture references from the Bible (nothing exact, more like examples) to demonstrate that it was happening even before the apostles died and they were always correcting false doctrine. It was supper cool. We set a date for the 31st of January and he'll be getting baptized that day. He has a little problem with commitment, but he's the purest of pure gold.

That's really about all that happened here.

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King.

Oh, ya, Forgot. We also saw a naked man whipping his butt (by that I mean from the waist down he was naked) in the middle of the street and almost got Pepper sprayed by a crazy man eating chicken. He threatened to do it yesterday if we kept talking to him (all we'd done is offer a card and ask him how his day was) and then Elder Jager and I spent the next ten minutes standing on the same corner as him waiting for our ride to show up and debating whether or not we should talk to him and get sprayed. We didn't get sprayed :( :) but we did say good-bye to the man as we walked away. (We're a little upset about the fact that it was only an almost sprayed story. I've had a lot of those. Almost Tased, sprayed, hit by a car (that wasn't almost) now all I'm missing almost shot).

January 4, 2016, WE BE ON RIRE< FIRE< FIRE< FIRE?!!!!!!? FIIIIIRRRRRREEEEEEE! (think Melvin from Madagascar when he makes fire.)

Hi mom,

This has been a great week. We took 4 days and talked to about 500 people in those days, and for all of that, we had our most productive week in the area.

We started out with almost nothing, (1 on both Monday and Tuesday and barley scratching out 19 on Wednesday) but then we had a district meeting, and felt like we could do better at talking with everyone, so we set a goal to not let anyone pass us by on the street ever again... and we talked to 48 people that day. Then, we had a day of 141 on Friday (happy new year everyone) and to follow it up, we talked to 205 people on Saturday, and on Sunday we had 101 dalmatians.

From all of that talking, we had some fun stories and some really good stories, like a drunk man who ate our card when we gave it to him, and a black security guard who's 19, has a baby on the way, and let us teach him while he was working. I don't know if I could do it justice over the e-mail, but this week was one of the best I've had my whole mission. If you are serving (or will serve within the next few years (*Cough* Matt)) talk with everyone and things will workout for the best. We left from everywhere with plenty of time and talked to everyone on the way and not once were we late to an appointment that we could have been there for that actually happened.

Also, with President Henrie, we can go to baptisms of our old investigators, so this week we got to watch a Baptism. It was of R* N*. He's a man that I found my last week in Reseda with Elder Weinheimer, and last night he entered the waters of baptism, helped out by Elder Weinheimer. Miracle part, we almost didn't knock his door. His building was locked, so we were walking around it to go to our white area and we saw his door on the out side, so we knocked and he let us in. Fast forward about 6 weeks and he got baptized. Cool fact as well, He's from PUEBLA MEXICO!!!!! I have (or i guess had) a goal to help a pueblano enter into the waters of baptism and now I have (even if it was just one lesson to find him before being moved out) (#DunkingpueblanosaunenlosEstadosUnidos Como le gusta esas mansanas?)

The Puebla Guy

The Puebla Guy

That's about it for the weekly update on the life of Elder Blanding, I've set some goals for this year that I will send to you (mom) in a separate e-mail.

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to serve my King

December 28, 2015, New Transfer and New Year

Hi mom,

We have transfers this week. We will be staying the same in our area. The hermanas changed, and we now have a set of English Elders in our district. We lost the YSA Hermanas, but Elder Page is still our District Leader. It's going to be a fun transfer.

Not much happened this week, we caroled all week long and I got 9th in an ugly sweater contest (which surprised me because there were some really atrocious concoctions up there). It was one of the activities we had for the  Christmas Eave devotional/party. I also made 150 cookies for District Meeting on Christmas Eave and three loaves of Banana Bread. It was really good and I improved on Grandma's cookie recipe by like 5000% (not that much, but it is really good. I'll make some for you all when I get home). obviously, we had some left over and so they came to the party with us.

Other then that, We didn't do much outside of a sleep over with Elder Page and Elder Flores on Christmas Eave and I learned how to pray in Tongan. (It's been a month long learning process, but I can now say four phrases in Tongan and do a whole prayer with out using any other language (yes "dear heavenly Father" and "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen" are two of them)). I hope I get my Tongan book back so i can try and learn more. It's really rather fun.

Other news. There isn't any. Just having fun and living good. Happy Christmas and a prosperous year

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to serve my King

Elder Michael Blanding and his favorite friend

Elder Michael Blanding and his favorite friend

Elder Michael Blanding's winner sweater. 

Elder Michael Blanding's winner sweater. 

[He then sent an email that said "I almost got tased last night. Kind of wish I could say I did get tased" This was his reply]

We were doing a ko [knock out] caroling blitz in the Zone Leaders area. It was our last time together as a District (we knew this because we'd just gotten our transfer calls the night before), any way. It was dark, so people were pulling out flashlights to see their hymnals. We were talking and Hermana Bedell mentioned that her flashlight is also a taser. It's her sense of humor (and actually all of the hermanas and most of the elders in our district's sense of humor) to say that and then start pretending that it's a taser. anyway, I thought she was joking and wanted to play along, so I pretended that it was a taser. Next thing I know, her companion (Hermana Figueroa) has the flashlight and hits a button on the side and "CRACK CRACK CRACK ZAP" Yep, it's a real live taser. I already said that I wanted to be "Tased" so I couldn't back down. Hermana Figueroa started moving the taser closer and closer while hitting the zap button and I think would have tased me if Hermana Bedell hadn't pulled her back before it could touch me, but I don't know. Fun times as a district. Love you. (half wish it had actually happened. Probably my last chance to be tased by a friend, i think)

 

December 21, 2015, FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!! MILAGROS!!!!!

This week was soooooo GOOOOOOOOOD!

Hi mom,

First off... FELIZ NAVIDAD! (MERRY CHRISTMAS for those of you who don't know Swahili.)

Ok, this week was really fun. Elder Jager had his birthday on Thursday and so we had a lot of cake Wednesday and Thursday. We also taught a lot with members and our fechas. That was really cool, I love teaching.

On Friday, we had exchanges with Elder Page and Elder Flores. It was really cool and I learned a very important life lesson. If you want to see miracles, Pray for them. I wan't to save some of the 'Why" for Christmas, but for those of you who won't be there for the skype call, here's a taste. I said the prayer to start the exchange, and every prayer I said on that exchange I asked for us to have/see miracles in our area and in the area of the other elders (oh, I went there with Elder Page, back in Van Nuys for the day!:D) anyway, we went and did our two hours of knockout at the place where they had planned to knock, and we found someone who was interested every three doors that opened (maybe every other door) two of them spoke Tagolo (or are Filipino) so I said "hi" to them in Tagalo. That's just the start, I will share more on Christmas with all who are there, ask about it. We then went to a baptismal interview and I got turned into a frog, cat, puppy, and hair. Then we had dinner and planned for Saturday.

On Saturday, we talked with a man caring syrup down the road on our way to an appointment that fell through, but we ran by an investigator who was there and set up a cita for Monday (today) at 6:30 with a member. We then exchanged back and did a caroling blitz in the area of Elder Page and Elder Flores. It was super cool, and we found some more interested people. For the last hour, we went caroling. We didn't have much success, until we knocked on a door and sang a carol to the family. They let us in to they're drive way (we were singing into a intercom system) and she told us that we made her day. She asked us to say a prayer with her after sharing that her daughter died three months ago. We said a prayer, gave her a gift we'd gotten the door before, sang one more song and then left with a return appointment for elder Page and Flores.

Sunday, we went to Church 3 times to make sure that all our investigators and menos activos showed up. It worked, we had an investigator and two of our menos activos come to church! We then stayed at church for a baptism we (the missionaries) were asked to sing at and Elder Jager and I sang a duet on the first verse of "How Great Thou Art" in Spanish (Entonces "Grand eres Tu") and then we went to a dinner at a members house we'd gotten at the end of church that day.

That's it for the week, wow this went fast. See you all (Family) on Friday.

Love

Elder Mike Blanding

Called to Serve my King.

December 14, 2015, Temple Trip, Christmas Party, Miracle Finding, FAT, FAT, FAT, FAT

This week was verry good

Ji Mom

This week was pretty normal. A lot of members wanted us to eat with them, so we spent more time on our bikes running between meals then between citas. Ok, that's not true. We actually only had one meal that came right after the other, and that was unplanned on Friday after the Temple.

Monday was really normal.

Tuesday we had an exchange with the zone leaders. I was with elder Stern (elder Jager's trainer) here and Elder Jager went to their area with Elder Sanchez. we had a lesson early with a lunch after  and we also needed to do weekly planning and the rest of our day was full of lessons and finding, so we said exactly at 2:30. They didn't get there until 2:45-50 so we had to fly. We took off down the street and then I ate it hard trying to make a turn on to a VERY busy road. Miraculously, the light was red, so i just got road rash and not run over. We called our lesson and she said she wasn't going to be there, so we took care of my scrapes (nothing bad happened at all.) We then did Knock out, looked for the Zone Leader's phone, and found a new investigator before going to bed for the day.

The next day, I made pancakes from scratch for elder Stern (with Chocolate chips), we exchanged with Elders Page and Flores (Elder Page stayed with elder Jager and Elder Flores came here with me) and had a pretty normal Wednesday. We found a lot of potentials and set a tentative date with our investigator (explain more when I get to Satruday). We then ate with the Morenos (Elder Jager's first Wednesday without their food) and set up skype with them.

Thursday, I made more pancakes with chocolate chips and then we did district meeting after a lunch provided by a member. We then knocked out, found a super cool potential we invited to come to the ward dinner the next night before we went to dinner and then ordination.

Friday, we were disobedient and got up early (5:00) just so we could leave the mission. that's right, we had our semi-annual temple trip for Christmas! We got a ride from Hermano Maldonado from Van Nuys. THAT'S RIGHT. MY FIRST WARD. He's super fun and really funny, but he's even better when you can understand what he's saying to you. We learned one thing from the ride down, "sorry, i had to. No Choice." We then went through the temple and I learned that God will always make it possible for you to return to his presence if you try all you can to make it back. We then had two lunches. One planned with a menos activo in our area and the other un-planned with hemano maldonado in my 1st area, right next door to Sylvia's house. The temptation was real to go and say "hola" but i didn't. We then had the dinner and it was perfect. Our potential showed up and we found out that she was already a friend to one of our members who lives in our area and we've been trying to help out. So we invited that family to help us with the lesson we had on Sunday.

Saturday, we set the fecha with our investigator. So the story is that, our investigator is the daughter of members (the daughter of the patriarch and her husband) but they're menos activo, so we've been teaching the daughter and working with the family for the past four months. Wednesday we stopped by to do daily contact and wile the dad was talking to the member we had with us I talked with A*, the investigator, about possible dates for baptism. Together we decided on the 10th of January and then we just needed the go-ahead from the parents to set set the date. On Saturday, we set the date with the parents and made a calendar with them so they know what they need and we need to do. It went perfectly and we now have the date of the 10th as a goal (please pray for it). We then had a dinner with Obispo and then we taught some lessons. We also had a surprise almuerso with a Recent Convert who was helping us with a 1st lesson that fell through.

Sunday we were full up once again. We had church (We walked half way there before we got picked up by some other elders in our ward with a car. We then had a lesson with our potential that came to the activity. It was really good and at the end we set up our return appointment in the member friends house with a dinner! YES! We then did a bit of caroling with the ward and we didn't have anything planned right after, so for the first time we could go to the hot Chocolate social after caroling. We've done this the past two weeks and each time we've had to run to an appointment right after/didn't have a ride to get back, so we missed the hot chocolate. This time, we actually had our appointment right after call and cancel earlier that day :( so we had time for the hot chocolate :) but they had to cancel the hot chocolate because we were the only ones coming :( (and the hermanas that were going to make it were sick) so we went to the church for the annual ward choir sing off ("it's not a competition")  and then ran to a potential (we left before the end), but she wasn't there. so we went home and had dinner.

That's it, Can't wait for Christmas.

Love

Elder Michael Blanding

Called to serve my King

December 7, 2015, Moved in with the cucarachas

Hi mom,

This week was fun and long.

Monday was normal. nothing to report. Tuesday it got fun.

So we used to live (yes used to) outside of our area by like 15 minutes, biking hard. So we're doing studies on Tuesday and we get a call from one of our investigators, who asks us to come over right then. This investigator is very exact, so when he says now he means now, not five minutes from now. We told him we'd be there in 15 to 20 minutes, and then quickly finished getting ready and said a quick prayer for all greens. We miraculously got all greens, except one that allowed us to answer a call from our district leader. Because of this we got to the lesson on time and it was very spiritual and we taught what he needed even tough we'd planned something else and after set up a return cita. We then when home to weekly plan.

Before we could begin planning, we had lunch and then laid down for a quick 20 minute nap that quickly turned into a 2 hour nap, which was a blessing. Because we then got a call from the Zone Leaders saying, "Elders, your moving in 2 hours to a different apartment. Be ready." So we packed and moved in the next 2 hours. When we got into the apartment we were met with the sight of dead cucarachas and the elders who'd been there before left us dinner in the fridge. It was a nice thought, but they left in July and the fridge wasn't plugged in, so when we opened the fridge, we got punched in the face by a horrible smell. luckily we had a lesson in a few minutes with a member present, so we opened all the windows (smelly apartment was NOT what we wanted to come back to) and left. The lesson went perfect and after we stayed up until 1 in the morning just cleaning the bedroom so we could sleep in peace.

We spent all of Wednesday cleaning and doing service in the community and to members/investigators.

We spent Thursday planning and then had a few lessons.

Friday was normal, but we still managed to find miracles.

Saturday we had a few lessons and then a blitz/caroling. We then went to one of our most promising investigators and watched the movie "Joseph Smith; Prophet of the Restoration" in Spanish and I understood all of it! I want to use it as a study of Spanish, there is some really good everyday language there.

Sunday, we had Church and then we went to the devotional. We also found a super sick potential (N*?). we couldn't teach on the spot because we had to go and catch our ride to the devotional, so we set it up a return appointment for Tuesday (or Wednesday, I can't remember, but it's in my planner, which is in the apartment... ops). We also found out that we have about 9 set dinners this week, and possibly have 4 more, so next weeks e-mail might (meaning probably will) be titled "FAT, FAT, FAT, FAT."

Love 

Elder Michael Blanding

November 30, 2015, Dia de accion de dar Garcias; FAT, FAT, FAT, "So much time so little do do. Scratch that, reverse it" -Willy Wonka

THIS WEEK WAS SO GOOD!!!

Hi mom,

We really need another set of elders in this area. It's a square mile (literally) but we have so much work that we can't do it all on our own. We really could use a 2nd set of elders, so hopefully in 4-5 weeks I'm writing "I've been called to train and so has elder Jager" but who knows.

This week we had everything fall through. We tried so hard to talk to everyone and have lessons, but everything we had planned fell through hard, so we didn't get supper nice numbers, but we have an A+ for effort. Ok, not everything fell through. Every member that wanted to feed us did. So we had 9 meals this week. 1 on Tuesday,  Friday, and Saturday, and 2 on Wednesday,Thursday and Sunday. They were really good, and I somehow managed to not get fat.

On Thanksgiving, we decided to give the knocking a break (partly because President Henrie said to) so we just ran by Menos activos all day. By doing this we learned even more that OUR AREA NEED A 2ND SET OF ELDERS! We don't have time to work with MA and Investigators and find. We barely find time to do two of those at a time and that's only because of KO.

Sunday we started the Christmas season off by doing a blitz/Caroling in a English area. It was really fun, but I'm not used to English work (it really is that different). It was also kind of weird to sing Christmas songs (Hymns nonetheless) and not remember all of the words. I'm usually pretty good on most of the verses, but I couldn't even remember the 1st verse to "Silent Night" in English or the Course to "Angels we have Heard on High". All I could think of were the Spanish words, and they don't translate directly. It was fun, but we then had more fun when all of the Elders left. We didn't think it was a problem. They had two members with them and they were going to give us a ride to the chruch where we were all drinking Hot Chocolate and then we'd hitch a ride with the elders in whose area we were knocking, but as we were walking to the car, we learned that they were only 17. Mission rules are you can't be alone with any one of the opposite sex OR under 18. The Elders had gotten premonition to go on splits with these priests, but we thought it best to walk to the church, which was really far away. We didn't make it, the other elders picked us up, but they were not happy at all.

That's about it. I'd just like to invite all of you to Discover Why? This is the new Christmas initiative. It's super cool. Like last year with He is the Gift, this year the church has come out with a short 2 minute video called "A Savior is Born" and the invitation is to do exactly what I just asked you to do; discover why. Why is it important that Jesus was born? Why do we need a savior? Why should He, God, the Great Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Care enough to come down and save us, a bunch of sinners who never seam to do anything right? (That sounded a lot like Elder Holland, I promise, no plagiarism was involved in the writing of this letter.) That's the church's invitation to the world this Christmas season, and that's mine to all of you, my loved ones, and everyone I talk to on the street, my stewardship, as well. Discover why, and then share with others your "why" because I promise that there is more than one.

con amor

Elder Michael Blanding

Called to Serve my King