December 28, 2015

Christmas on the Mission, Round 1

Christmas! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year, make all those new year resolutions and then forget about them!...
Dressed up to act out Luke 2 #shepherdlyfe

All is well in Farsi land. The streets have never been colder and our apartment never any warmer. I should be a poet. We were definitely taken care of this Christmas, so many wonderful families who took us in. We also were able to see almost all the Persian members here in the area this week, which was very cool :) I fall in love with the people and the culture more and more everyday. 
Christmas dinner

We are on the search for a second lesson with someone at the moment. We have had quite a few first lessons with people, some we even extended a baptismal invitation too, but we seem to be struggling with getting a second lesson with anyone. It may be the holiday season, we hope it is. We are very excited to hit the new year off though and get some solid work happening :) 
Christmas Devotional


Thought for the week: Goals. They are awesome! As cheesy as the new year resolution thing is, set some goals! They can be simple! For example, I set some goals yesterday to do little things to help me either feel the Spirit, be more obedient, or simple just be better than the week before. It could be as simple as writing down your ponderize scripture this week (How well is that going for everyone who was on a hype after conference?), or it could be to be out the door ready to work 5 minutes earlier, or to catch up on a journal, read one more conference talk, do a few pull-ups, eat better, jump higher, write down realistic new year goals, what ever else makes you a better version of you. Don't try to be someone else. The Lord loves you and will help you to become the person He wants you to be. :) Let Him. 

Have an awesome week! Happy Holidays! Thanks so much for everything! :) 

Elder Ekberg

December 21, 2015

کریسمس مبارک (!Merry Christmas)

Hello all,

T'was another great week! Its getting cold and windy, but no snow, but I'm used to not getting a white Christmas. Another week full of contacting, walking up and down Westwood talking to all kinds of people and sharing our message about Jesus Christ. It really is amazing. The gospel is simple, yet it applies to everyone perfectly and those who are willing to stop and listen and answer a few simple questions really do see that we aren't here to take away their faith, only build upon it. "The Gospel is sick" - Missionary

This week we got the Area Book Planner on our iPads. It is supposed to make everything super organized and effective but it definitely takes some time getting used to. It is cool though and the mission is excited to start using it! :) I attached a pic of our rough weekly plan this week. It's a rough draft, we are only transitioning into it but it's an idea. :) 



Another solid week! We were able to meet with a couple of new people and we are excited to see what's in store for them! Cool experience. We were up by UCLA campus and talking to an older lady, then all of a sudden this car pulls up, this guy comes out and over to us "Hey, are you guys the Mormons?" "yeah!" "I don't have much time but can you guys take my name and number, I want to learn more about your church.." WHAT? :) Super cool. 

Church was awesome, we had 3 people at church this week and 2 more down in San Diego! About every month, the Persians from SoCal get together in SD and have a church service of their own. So almost all our Persian members go down there and this week they took two of our investigators! It was super cool and we are excited to hear how it went with them! 

We also had our Christmas Devotional as a mission. I know I bagged on choirs before the mission, but really Christmas hymns and choirs are one of my favorite things. If only I could sing better. Im grateful we had a great devotional, where we still had effective training to help us become better, yet focused on having a "mission-Christmas" experience. There is such a special spirit around the Holiday season and I am SO grateful to not only be remembering Christ, but to be representing Him this year. 

I love you all! I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve and be here sharing what I know to be true. Thank you! :)

December 14, 2015

Only in Farsi

Only in Farsi do we have more people come to church than lessons we taught during the week. It's awfully strange, in Spanish we taught some 30ish lessons and were lucky to have 1 or 2 people come to church. Ohh how the tables turn. We had 6 people at church! WHAT?! It was crazy, I've never been so stressed at church before. It is a lot of people to look after, especially if there is only 1.5 people in the companionship that speak Farsi! Gahh! But it was great! 

This week we got a TON of referrals, which is gold to us Farsi Elders. We were able to set up a few return appointments and are super excited to meet these people. We are being super blessed right now and couldn't be happier. We met a couple of older ladies the other week on Westwood and one of them told us that she would like to invite her friend to our church! We gave her our number to call us and didn't really think much of it but to our surprise Sunday morning she calls and says "I'm here! I brought my friend!" WHAT? So she was one our good friends at church this Sunday. Also one of the Persian members here, Sam (who we call baba or daddy..haha) invited his persian neighbor a couple weeks ago, she just showed up at church without him knowing! We were even able to go to the VC after church and have an awesome lesson with her. Seriously it seemed like this week, this weekend was on fire! I love the mission! 

Sunday night, Elder Sugden and I were able to help out some missionaries from the Long Beach mission. They brought their Persian investigator (and half of their ward) up to the VC for a tour. It was really cool and a different experience. Mehdi is super prepared and will be an awesome member of the church for sure and we are glad we could help him and the other Elders at the VC. 

Its starting to rain here.. and get really cold. It was tough getting out of bed this morning haha. We are prepping for El Niño.. which means lots of wind and rain.. brr. 

Its crazy how fast Christmas is coming up! I love being so close to the temple, I get to see the temple lights every day! We've had the opportunity to go to some of the musical events up here at the VC with investigators and its been such a huge blessing and a great way to feel of the Spirit of Christ this time of year! 

Also, I am no longer the youngest in the Farsi program! Which is weird, my time was super short. Elder Wiedrich is the new guy and he is awesome! He's like 6'5" and a skinny white Texas boy and he'll fit right in. It's an exciting time in the Farsi program for sure! 

Thank you for all your love and support! I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to be on the Lord's errand and serving here in the Farsi program! I love you all! 

P.S. I have gotten crafty. 

December 7, 2015

Tis the Season of Farsi!

This week was SO fun! And SO awesome, we really were blessed a TON this week. 

We did triple splits this week. Tuesday I was with Elder Ross, Wed with Elder Ah-You, my ZL, and Thursday with Elder McCracken. I also got to go on mini splits with the Chinese Elders and our mission assistants as well, so many crazy different things happening! We had our ward Christmas party, which was awesome! And what was even more awesome is we had about 30 Persians come!! Probably 25 of which were non-members. Farsi win for sure. 
Elder McCracken and Elder Ekberg at the doctors office during MiniSplits.  No one died.  (Thanks for that, Dan)



So to the miracles this week. We received a referral from the Visitor Center for a baptismal date. WHAT? So on Thursday we met Hamid, our new Persian friend, and he is awesome!! Seriously soo prepared and wants to find that peace and comfort in his life. We had a sweet lesson with him on Thursday, gave him a Book of Mormon, he prayed, it was awesome. Then we met again on Saturday and we brought Sister Mead and Bro Wood from the ward. We taught a super good lesson about planting seeds of faith, church and the importance of the sacrament. Hamid asked great questions, wants to change, is super willing and excited to move forward towards his baptismal date! We had to leave to make dinner but Sister Mead stayed with him for a bit, but we found out later that they stayed there for almost 2 more hours talking, asking/answering questions and such! It was awesome! Sadly, he had a commitment this Sunday, but he promised he would keep Sunday open for now on and he will bring his daughter next Sunday! boom! gahhh miracles! 
Hamed at the departing Missionary fireside.

Friday, we are about to go out contacting on our good ol bud Westwood, when we get a call from someone from Farsi class. So Elder Sugden is talking to them and a young guy comes up to me in the parking lot and asks if I speak Farsi.. umm yeah a little. So for a couple of minutes I struggle with Farsi and he struggles with English to try and communicate, basically what I thought I got was he wants to be a Mormon! Sick! His aunt and grandpa show up just as Elder Sugden gets off the phone and we ask them if they want to go to a concert tonight, they said yes and we had an awesome night with them! Super cool people! Hamed asked so many questions and has super sincere desire to learn and he really wants to join the church. He even came to church the next morning and then with us to the departing missionary fireside to hear Elder Ross's testimony. He had met Elder Ross just earlier that day! Honestly a super nice guy and he is super prepared! We have been super blessed this week! 

At church we had Hamed come, as well as a lady Elder McCracken and I had invited to church about 4 weeks ago and this guy Reza who showed up at the Christmas party! It was awesome to have so many people at church and especially in Gospel Principles, our Sunday school that the Elders teach in Farsi. 

We also had a super good week of left-overs, always makes the missionaries happy. Let's just say that we didn't have to go shopping this week. Score. Also, the church came out with a sweet video 'A Savior is Born", go check it out! 


Transfers... Elder Sugden and I are staying together another transfer!! Woo! we are super excited to continue to work with these new people together and help them learn and accept Jesus Christ! BUT!! As Elder Ross is leaving, we thought Elder Demond would come back, but no! Elder McCracken is training a NEW FARSI ELDER!! GAhhhh! So SOON! This has never happened. Usually there is like 2 or 3 transfers between new guys, but its just one between me and Elder Wiedrich, the new new guy. We will meet him tomorrow! Super unexpected! 
Ekberg, Ross, Sugden, McCracken

Farsi is coming along! It was super good this week! I had some good solid classes with Sister Mead and I loved spending time with Hamed. He practiced English and I practiced Farsi to each other. Very cool :) I'm also excited we have these new investigators cause now I can practice teaching more! :) Super excited for the next little bit! 

How is your Book of Mormon challenge? You gonna finish by Christmas? I finished it this morning and boy its been such a huge blessing to study the Book of Mormon looking specifically for commitments and promised blessings. As we search the scriptures, there are SO many blessings the Lord promises us if we do these simple little things! Also, I read my patriarchal blessing this morning and did the same. Looked for commitments and promised blessings. For me, it helped to make a list and look at, man there really is only these few things I need to do, and Heavenly Father will bless me with all that. He really does love us. He knows us perfectly and wants to be there to help us as much as we will let him. 
 
I love you all! Thank you so much for what you do! :) 
Farsi silliness.

December 2, 2015

Persian Thanksgiving!

So this week was Thanksgiving up here in the good ol Santa Monica! I had 3 dinners with members and we got left overs from all 3 of them so in all, I think I've had probably 8 or 9 plates of Thanksgiving food and desserts to last a lifetime. And yes, there is still some in the fridge, to say the least, we bought basically just fruit at the store this week. HA! It was really a great blessing to spend Thanksgiving with such great people from the ward, it was definitely VERY different, but I'm grateful that they invited us over and we made some good memories and food times. 

Yes, it is getting quite cold here. I'd say on average its in the 70s, but the coastal breeze KILLS me. Its not my favorite, but sweaters are always a good time so. Also, our apartment does have a heater, but we still wake up every morning freezing. We live in an apartment that is like a literal cabin across the street from the church, which is 5 minutes from the temple. Also, some of you have asked if I play the piano, guitar, bass at all.. not really. BUT, EVERYONE in the ward thinks I'm a musical genius, and I don't know why.. its kinda of creepy. I play occasionally on p-days but its mostly just hymns cause thats all I got.. Maybe some hymn arrangement sheet music for Christmas? #spiritualjams

Also, I had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting with Elder Ross, he goes home in 2 weeks. It was super cool and I'm glad I had the chance to prepare and speak in the Westwood 1st ward. Persians? Here in the Farsi program, there has been 17 total baptisms in 2 years, since it started on Nov 13, 2013. I would say that there are 6 solid ones, a few who have moved away and a few less-actives. They all LOVE the Farsi Elders, its just a matter of getting some of them to church and such. But, its awesome! Speaking of coming to church, we had a new investigator come to church this week! 
Farsi Missionaries


So we teach free English classes here twice a week and one of our buds, Farhad has been coming for a while and know we are getting him excited about the gospel! We had a sweet lesson about the sacrament and church, and also what it means to be a missionary on Saturday after English class and then he came to church on Sunday, although his cologne made our ward mission leader burst into an allergic reaction we are pretty sure.. HAha...

We also met this super nice girl Nikoo on Saturday! She is a student at SMC (Santa Monica College). Anyway, the Visitors Center is having a concert, musical performance every night in December and there was a special one last night and we really wanted to get someone there, but weren't finding anyone. Then we thought of Nikoo, called her and she was super interested! She ended up bringing her mom and they loved it! It was super cool, they felt the Spirit, even if they didn't know it, and we are super excited to met Nikoo again this week and talk to her more. 

Pas, this week was super good! We are loving the work and loving our time here in LA! BOOM! 

I love you all soo much! Man shoma ra doost daram! Va man midanam k ein kelisaw dorostast! 

November 26, 2015

Temple and Elder Clark

This week was super good! Still trying to find some Iranians to teach, but all is well! 

We had a recent convert, Mehdi, go to the temple and do baptisms in the temple this week! Gahh!! Such a tender mercy! And what's even cooler, is he is getting things lined up to have his wife and daughter come to the States from Iran, which is unheard of! There are so many tender mercies that lead to this happening and it's awesome!! It will not be long before Mehdi runs to the baptismal font with his wife and daughter, and a year later, sealed!! BOOM! So exciting! 

Elder Ross, Elder Ekberg, Elder Ham (Korean Elder on exchanges), Elder Sugden

Waiting to teach a lesson at the Visitor's Center

This week we had the neat opportunity to go to the LA Temple! It was super cool, very different from the Gilbert Temple but so, so amazing. I am literally so blessed to have the temple a 5 minute walking distance from where I will be living for the next 19 months. It was also a blessing to be able to go with such an amazing group of Elders and perform work for our brothers on the other side of the veil. 

We also had our general authority visit from Elder Kim B Clark of the Seventy! Hence, our P-day was changed from Monday to Tuesday. So yesterday (Monday), we spent 6 hours learning from Elder Clark! I learned so much, took a TON of notes, and sadly forgot them all at the apartment, BUT! Esta bien. 
District with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Ah You and his high school shirt--not sure why?


Sorry, this will probably be a short week, but I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve. Really, these 5 months have flown by, and I can't believe that I only have 19 months left, hopefully I can learn a little bit more Farsi in that time, haha. Looking back, it's amazing to see how far I've come in just a short time. We all go through hard times, on the mission and especially off the mission, and I know that the Lord is ALWAYS there for us. 

He is not waiting at the finish line, he is there walking beside us, guiding us, leading us if we listen and follow. When we look back, most times I think we will be amazed at where we have come from. The changes day to day, week to week almost seem non-existent, but they are there. I think it is very hard to see change in the moment, but looking back, it is often easier. I think that's why we are easy to forget the Lord. In reality, He is changing us in the moment but we can't see it, and it's hard to be grateful all the time, it's hard to remember, but I know that there is power in doing hard things, and in trusting the Lord. 

Thank you for everything! I love you all! I have two Thanksgiving dinners lined up so we will see how much weight I can gain! haha. Yes, I am still gaining weight, its all this Persian rice.. I love hearing how everyone is doing! You are all the best! :) 

November 16, 2015

Tender Mercies

Another great week in the Farsi program! I love the mission!

This week was sprinkled with little tender mercies from the Lord, and honestly, some of them I'm pretty sure are to remind me, or force me to focus more on Him and remember that ultimately, I have very little influence in the grand scheme of things and He is in charge. 

For example, yes, we are Farsi missionaries, but we contact (which means anywhere from a non-existent convo on the street to 20-30 minutes of Gospel teaching) in English, Spanish, Farsi, etc. I've learned a couple of things to say in Chinese and Korean..BUT! I'm keeping up my Spanish! We were walking, kind of in a rush to get to dinner, and a little Hispanic man passed by and I simply said 'Hola!' which caught him off-guard because when ever two tall white young guys speak Spanish (or especially Farsi, we get quite the reactions), we usually get people's attention. Anyway, we started talking to him and after a few questions, he got really quiet, and then really opened up and told us he wanted to change, he was an alcoholic, etc. Honestly, a tender mercy, no one opens up like that out there, and we were able to share with Him a little about the Atonement and help him out, get his info to send to the missionaries out where he lives and such. 

We also ran into a Chinese girl that Elder Sugden recognized. Turns out, She got baptized! It was cool to see "the fruit of our labors", really what a simple contact and referral can turn into. It was super cool and we found her at a time when we were tired and didn't have maybe the greatest attitude for walking up Westwood yet again. :)

Although the Farsi program right now is a little slow, we have noticed that the Lord is blessing us with the opportunity to find and speak with more Persians! Which is awesome! We are excited to see what is in store for the program. 

Ponderize: 3N14:13-14

I've been thinking about the analogy of trees, roots, growth, that sort of thing lately. Roots are what kinda keeps the tree alive. They get all the water and nutrients the tree needs to survive, the foundation. Roots need to spread out wide and deep to be able to do certain things. One, to keep the tree secure when heavy winds blow, opposition in the work. There needs to be an effort to hold on, to resist and overcome. Also, there needs to be periods of "dry-ness" to force the tree roots to dig deeper to find water and rely on the nutrients that are available. I think we are very similar in the sense that a lot of the time, we need to dig down deep and find those tender mercies that are there and rely upon the Lord in all we do. Put our trust and confidence in the only one who matters. He knows us best and is there for us. 

Thank you for everything! It's getting cold here in Santa Monica, too close to the coast! Sweater Weather for sure! Love you all! 

November 9, 2015

Just an Average Ol' Week in the Farsi

Dear Family and Friends, 

Howdy y'all. Here we are in sunny southern California, mid November and it's a nice 75 degrees outside, you're welcome. It's beautiful here. The leaves are actually changing colors, kinda, we still live 2 minutes from the temple and the Persians are still speaking Farsi. 


This week was kinda slow, not gonna lie, but in turn I learned a ton! We are looking for more people to teach and so the majority of the week was spent outside, street contacting trying to find those the Lord has prepared. Its tough, the Persian population is peppered around the Santa Monica area, and there really isn't a super great way to find and meet new people other than hitting up our good friend Westwood. Westwood is the street right by the temple/our apartment and there we find the most luck finding Persians to share the gospel with. We spend probably a good 4 to 5 hours every day on Westwood, on UCLA or Santa Monica College campus talking with people, sharing the BOM, inviting people to the temple, and asking if they have any Persian friends. :) 

This week it really hit me that the next two years are going to be way different than I thought or had planned. I never would have thought that I would end up here, or even doing this, but here I am. It's very humbling to know that the Lord really does know what is best for us, and our lives are in His hands ultimately. This opportunity to serve is very unique, challenging and very different but we are excited and have trust and confidence that as we continue to be diligent and rely on Him, we will be successful in finding those who are prepared and we will be there to lead them to baptism, ultimately to begin their journey to eternal life here on earth. 

Little more about the Farsi program: We have 3 hours of language study on top of our normal morning studies. We also teach English classes twice a week. This week we were able to teach a couple Persians and people from Japan, Hungary and Ukraine. It's a very cool and rewarding experience, we even throw a little Mormon Message video at the end to practice listening haha. 

The Farsi Elders:  McKraken, Ross, Ekberg, Sugden


The District

"Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right."

How do I become a Disciple of Christ? How do we put off the natural man?Discipline/Patience (Uchtdorf - Marshmallow experiment) What is our marshmallow? What are the things we need to sacrifice short term in order to receive benefits long term. As we discipline ourselves and are true at all times (Stripling warriors - Alma 53:20) we will put off the natural man and become a disciple of Christ.
Having a Vision in the sense that we look to the example of Christ and row our little boat of life with all our efforts to the land on the horizon. Have Faith that Christ's island is there and start where you are, He will take you and begin to work with you. 

Alma 58:10-12 - In life we are faced with challenges, trials, tests, whatever it may be and we don't feel prepared, supported, or sufficient for what is ahead. I know that as we pray, and rely on the Lord, He will speak peace unto our souls. We will take strength in the small provisions that we DO have and come off conqueror. No matter how insufficient, unprepared, or unsupported we feel, if we trust in the Lord, HE will provide, He always does. Trust Him. He knows the way because He IS the way. 

من مى دانم كه كليساى عيسى مسيح مقدّسين آخرين زمان كليساى خدا هست و ما مژده مى داريم. من مى دانم كه خدا و عيسى مسيح مارا دوست دارند. من تو را دوست دارم. مرسى!

ارشد اِكبرگ



November 2, 2015

Week 1...again!

Well, this week I was transferred and now I am in the Farsi program! Farsi B with Elder Sudgen as my trainer! He is a tall redhead from Alabama and he is the best!! I'm super excited to spend this next little bit with him and get rolling! The Farsi program here in LA has 4 elders, Farsi A and B. Our areas cover our mission, as well as pretty much all of California. The other Elders have said they've been to like 5 or 6 different missions here in LA. So that's fun!
Elder Sugden and Elder Ekberg

Here in the Farsi program we work with Persians, which mostly includes people from Iran, but some other surrounding countries. As far as missionaries who speak Farsi, there is us, a mission in Canada, and I believe there is a small program starting in San Diego but..not completely sure. So only a handful of those who speak Farsi. For these first two transfers, I get 3 hours of language study everyday! Yeah! haha. Its fun! It is a challenge but I'm excited to get going and keep learning. My first day in the program we learned the alphabet, there are 32 letters in the Persian alphabet.. haha. And writing is from right to left. Right now, I can read almost everything really slowly, got simple prayers down, short testimony and saying the Church's name. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it's coming! :) There is a Senior Sister missionary here, Sister Mead, who is a Persian lady and she teaches us Farsi Tuesday-Thursday for an hour. :) fun fun! 

Another thing, I live right by the temple! Literally live across the street from the Westwood building, and a 2 minute walk to the LA temple. :) We can see it out our window! It's so awesome and such a blessing. Ohh yeah! So we are a part of the Westwood 1st Ward here in LA, an English ward but us Persians come here too. We are not a ward or a branch so we are a "group". There have been 17 total people baptized into the program since it began almost 2 years ago and we see a lot of promise in the future! I'm excited to get to work, learn the language and help people come unto Christ. :) 

We do a lot of street contacting here in downtown LA and Santa Monica as this is where the Persians are! It's pretty cool, we get to talk with all sorts of people from ALL over the world. Such a different experience from down in Lawndale/Torrance area. The work is "slower" here in the Farsi program, which only means we don't teach as many lesson lessons, but I feel like we talk to and influence more people. We usually hold lessons at the Visitors Center because it is SUPER close and again, such a blessing. :) I'm super excited about what's coming up. :) 


Anyway! That was about my week, here are some things that really stuck out to me that I learned. 

Feeling the Spirit is not dependent on our outward circumstances. Even when we are in the midst of war, trial, tribulation, whatever it may be, we can have 'peace to our souls' by being a true disciple of Christ. Do not rationalize your situation because it is hard and you don't have sufficient 'provisions'. Pray and take courage with what little you have received and have a fixed determination that you will come off conqueror. (Alma 58: 10-12)

There is a difference between happiness and joy. The difference is happiness is a choice. We can choose to be happy, allowing ourselves to either feel or be happy. Joy is an experience. We feel joy when we face adversity with faith. As we move forward through trial and adversity with faith, we will experience joy, true and lasting happiness. 

I'm thankful for all your help and support. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and doing the Lord's work. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve, learn, grow, share, and change the lives of others for the better. I love you all! Thanks again!
ارشد اِكبرگ

October 26, 2015

Special Assignment

I have decided that my ponderizing scripture of the week will be Nephi 3:7. Simple, yes. And I think I will be needing all the simplicity I can get in the next, well.. 20 months I have left on the mission. This past Saturday, I hit the 4 month mark, and boy I feel like I have grown up so much in just these past 4 months.
"Farsi" written in Persian


On Sunday, I received a phone call from President Weidman. I have been called to serve in the Farsi program here in the California Los Angeles Mission. Starting tomorrow, I will be learning Farsi, the Persian language from countries like Iran, Iraq, Qatar, etc. I do not know much about it, or even what it sounds like, but I have been told it is similar to Arabic. Yes, I do believe they write right to left. I have also been told that there are only 8, well now 9, Farsi speaking missionaries in the world, and there are only certain passages of the Book of Mormon that have been translated into Farsi. Definitely going to be needing that simplicity.

My Farsi "trainer" will be Elder Sugden. Have not met him yet, although I have heard he is a redhead from Alabama. I really excited, and really nervous for this opportunity. It will definitely will be an adventure.
La familia Tujal.  One of my favorite families in the ward.  They feed us every Wednesday.

Finally putting Julia's apron to work.  I cooked pork chops and made mashed potatoes!


On the other hand, Elder Dallimore and I had a great week! This week is all about our bud Antonio! He is awesome! He told us earlier in the week that he wasn't going to be able to make it to church because he had to work, he even asked his boss for the day off but... he didn't budge. So we wanted to get him up to the Visitors Center on Saturday, but he kinda disappeared for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. Then all of sudden, we get a call! "Hey guys! I got Sunday off! I'm coming to church!" And it came to pass that there was much rejoicing.


Sunday morning, Antonio does not show up for priesthood. We get a call before 2nd hour, "Guys! I was on my way and my car battery died!" Jumper cables in hand, we start to head to the rescue when he calls back telling us that some guy helped him out and he is on his way! Antonio arrives at church!! Not today Satan. We had an awesome gospel principles class, sacrament meeting, and he even stayed for the baptism after!! It was so cool!! We went over later that night to follow up about everything and he LOVED IT! He was asking when he could get baptized and he felt something the whole time at church that just felt so good, and GAHH!! Yes! We are going to the Visitors Center with him tonight, my last day as a Spanish Elder..haha.

And thats pretty much the week in a nutshell! I'm glad I had this chance to spend a week with Elder Dallimore, he is awesome and such a great example. He is training this next transfer and what a great area to do so in! :) Hopefully I can keep some of my Spanish to come back and visit my friends I made over here. :)

The Plates of Compton.  I left my record of my dealings in this land, yea, even for a season.  
Some thoughts for the week: 
What is Revelation? Receiving divine guidance through the Holy Ghost. How can I have that? Its simply by doing our part. As we come prepared to sacrament meeting, look forward with a steadfastness in Christ and do the simple things everyday, the Lord is bound. We have his promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us.

“Sometimes we are tempted to let our lives be governed more by convenience than by covenant. It is not always convenient to live gospel standards and stand up for truth and testify of the Restoration. … But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants” - M Russell Ballard

Thank you for all your love, support, and prayers. The mission is a beautiful thing and I am so privileged to be able to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ. I know the Gospel is true and by simply living the principles found in the teachings of Christ, there are so many more blessings and happiness than we could ever imagine.

Hasta Luego,
Elder Dan Ekberg
My desk.

October 19, 2015

Surprise!

So this week started off with my last "New Missionary Orientation". It
was awesome, I learned a lot and it really took it back to the basics
of how to make street contacts simple but powerful, teaching simply,
and effective planning. We also had interviews with President. Mine
was less than 2 minutes long. Probably the shortest interview I have
ever been in! Haha!  But we left the meeting with our iPads! But turns
out they didn't work, so we actually didn't get them until Friday
after District Meeting. The mission also got new phones as I guess the
church switched providers so.. still the same crappy old phones but
they are new. :P

Elder Guerrero I did everything from eat Mole Enchiladas in Compton to 
mow lawns to hooking up cable tv to having rocks thrown at us this week.
It is still super hot and we are waiting for it to cool down. It's been
a crazy week to say the least.

Friday, I went on exchanges with Elder Kawamitsu, yes, he is from
Japan, and also yes, I kid you not, he is the David Archuleta of Japan,
and yes, he really does sing that good. Elder Kawamitsu is one of our
Assistants to the President here in the CLAM (California Los Angeles
Mission). He is really cool, and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot
from him. It was kinda fun being "assistant" for the day.

Our week took a turn Saturday morning. We had just switched companions 
back and we went to the church to set up my ipad and get it all working.  W
got a call, from President. Long story short, Elder Guerrero would be
getting Emergency Transferred in 4 hours, and I would be getting a new
companion. Elder Guerrero got called to be a new Zone Leader in LA2, and
Elder Dallimore, the old Zone Leader in LA2 would be coming here for 
the last week of the transfer. President then said, "Elder Ekberg, you are to
train Elder Dallimore about your area. Teach him everything there is
to know, about the people, about the ward because this is your last
week in that area. Also, I will be calling you next week with your
special assignment." WHAT?!?! I'm not ready coach!! Anyway, we went
back to the apartment, got everything packed up, said a couple quick
goodbyes and exchanged companions. And I have been companions with Elder
Dallimore since Saturday afternoon!

This really took both of us by surprise. We thought Elder Guerrero would
be getting transferred and I would be staying here, but turns out we
are both gone! And now I have a week to teach Elder Dallimore everything
there is to know about our area. I am excited and nervous, and really I
have been surprising myself with everything that we have been able to
do in the past couple days. Spanish seems like the least of my worries
right now and the words just come and I can understand more than
usual. I think it's amazing what the Lord is able to do 
when you rely on Him.

So as a wrap up of this week, I now have a different companion for the
last 10 days while I am here: Lawndale and Compton, Hermosa Liahona
Ward, Torrance North. And next week I will know where I'll be headed
off to, maybe with a special assignment. Elder Dallimore told me that one of
the Farsi Elders is going home this next transfer and they'll need
another elder.. No. I know I joked about that happening before the
mission, but if that comes true.. :)

I'm excited for whatever the Lord has in store for me. I know I've only
been out for almost 4 1/2 months, but it seems like forever. Yes, the
shirts are still white, but I go to bed every night exhausted. :) I
love the mission and am so excited and grateful to be out here
serving. :) Any questions? My ponderizing scripture this week is Alma
37:33-34. How about you? I love you all and thanks for everything!

October 12, 2015

Ohh the Week!

D&C 6:32-37
 32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.
 33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
 34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
 35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
 36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
 37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Elder Rickman, Elder Hedman, Elder Guerrero, Elder Ekberg at the Temple


At the beginning of this week, I found myself asking "Where did our investigators go?" It seemed like everyone had just fallen off the face of the earth.

 

Spanish is coming along, there were a few lessons this week where I don't know what happened, but I couldn't explain anything very well and it was very hard for me to get through. I'm grateful for a stellar companion who knows how to get me going again, and I really learned this week as I trust in the Lord, even to put words and thoughts into my mind as I speak, all will be ok. We don't have to be perfect speakers, but when we allow our Spirit to testify to their Spirit, miracles happen. 

We found this guy Armando on Tuesday. He wanted to talk about shadows and such which was interesting. But he invited us back, 3 times! We have already taught the Restoration, Word of Wisdom and had 2 follow up lessons and.. HE CAME TO CHURCH! GAHH! Tender Mercy from the Lord and he has a baptismal date, we are so excited for him! :) 

Our bud, Antonio was no where to be found for a couple weeks, BUT we found him, sat down, taught the Restoration, BOM, and extended a date. We came back for a follow up lesson, he hadn't read. Gahh.. So we started reading, we opened up to 3 Nephi 11 and read the first half of the chapter, we asked him how he felt. His response surprised us. "I LOVE THIS, I JUST FEEL SO GOOD, I want to keep reading!" :) We added our testimonies, closed with prayer and left and as he closed the door, we saw him sit down and open the book again and start to read more! YES! So, we stopped by on Saturday to teach another lesson, he was busy and asked if we could come by tomorrow, we said YEAH! Ohh wait!  We have church tomorrow do you want to go?! "YEAH!!! I'll totally be there, I'm free all day!" AND HE CAME!! :) It was so awesome and he loved it. :)

We also have two investigators with dates that we are working with to get answers to their questions. It's all in the small things. Read and Pray. It works! 

Also, we have our friend Rafael, who has been an investigator since 2011. He had a date way back then, but since then hasn't accepted one. Most missionaries give up on him, but Rafael has been super open with Elder Guerrero and I! The beginning of this week we had a lesson, which didn't really get us anywhere. We went back on Saturday, watched a little bit of soccer (to build the friendship, of course) and had a very simple lesson with him. At the end, we extended a baptismal invitation. We had prayed earlier that week specifically for him and felt we should. HE ACCEPTED!  But the fight is not over, it won't be until that man is in the font and confirmed. He will be an AWESOME member of the church, he is so cool. :) 

Hermano Aguliar, the Ward Mission leader.  We LOVE him!


Zone Meeting this week. Talked a lot about sacrament and street contacts. I invite all of you to think for maybe 15 minutes every Sunday about why the sacrament is important to you. Why do we go to church? Also, miracles can happen from a simple street contact. You can change peoples lives in under a minute.

This week was so awesome. I learned so much and we saw the hand of the Lord more than ever before. We taught a ton of stellar lessons and the Spirit is an amazing blessing that we can feel all the time. It's just a matter of what our part is. I love the mission and the people here. :) Thanks for everything! I love you!

The meal that made us SO SICK!



Me jumping the railing at church.  Be very impressed.