August 31, 2015

Piano Jams

Elder Ekberg sent some photos this week, but they didn't come through.  However, this Jam video did.   I don't know about you, but I've missed this!  
 I'll post the photos if he is able to send them again.  

Drugs, Amputees, Firecrackers, and Big-Time Gangleaders

This week was fun. We had many experiences with all of the above and much much more. Lets just say that Compton has some interesting people

We had a new missionary orientation this week. The LA mission is an iPad mission, and all the old missionaries got them when they arrived, but my generation will get them 9 weeks in, so for me, the beginning of October. But, we also found out that Elder Guerrero and I will (most likely) be companions for my second transfer! Which is good, we get along really well and have fun together. 

On Friday, Elder Guerrero and I got sick, probably something that we ate on Thursday, because, I'm not too sure that everything we eat is always cooked 100%, BUT I'm grateful for the members who feed us! :) Anyway, so it was about 3pm and Elder Guerrero had to use the restroom, so we made our way over to McDonalds, and we met this Tongan guy. Tatted up, sweet beard with those little beads in it, ponytail, Tongan fire just everywhere. We started talking with him, and finally he stopped us and told us that he wanted us to teach him. He has been in and out of prison, was the top Tongan gang leader in LA for __+ years, EVERY Tongan knows him, and some other background info (that will not make the letter, but it sufficieth me to say that the man which we did talk with had street-cred of much magnitude). ANYWAY, he is a member! Well, born into the church, his cousin is the bishop, BUT, he got out of prison in January and wants to turn his life around. Missionaries have always stopped by his house, for 20+ years thanks to the bishop (cousin love), but he never wanted to talk with the missionaries. But, he told us that when we walked into McDonalds, something told him to talk with us. So he did, and he told us that he wants US to teach him because we have a really good "vibe" about us. So, we will see our new Tongan Mobster this week. :) 

We have a new investigator, Bobby, and he is doing amazing!! His baptism date is for September 26th, but he could be baptized in 2 weeks, we will have to see how this week goes! :)) We have two other strong investigators and again, this week is kind of the deciding week, so we will see. :) 

This week was SO hot.. BUT Spanish clicked! Well, I leveled up. Does Spanish have levels? I think it should. But I leveled up and I am way more confident in speaking the language. There are always good, better, and best days, but I'm definitely having better days more often. :) 

BoM - I finished 2N9 this morning, what a great chapter. Its amazing how many small nuggets of eternal truths that you can skip over if you aren't all in. :)  

This is my take on obedience out here in the field. Obedience, yes, we need to be exactly obedient. However, that doesn't mean be a robot, or be unhappy. Why should we obey? Because we love the Lord. We should be obedient, but not unwilling to change. Not change for the worse, or to be disobedient, but rather change how we do things. Be teachable, be willing to say, Yeah, maybe there is another way that yields the same, if not better results. Live, work, play, jump, limp through life in such a way that we can allow and permit the Spirit to be with us always. When we are obedient, we have heaven at our back, pushing and leading us the way we must go, we truly envelope what it means to be a representative of Jesus Christ. Always be worthy of the Spirit. Do the small things, even if YOU think they aren't important, they are there for a reason, because someone else knows better than we do. 

To be brief, I know God loves us. He has created a perfect plan for us to be happy. Why not enjoy all of the blessings that are promised to us now? Do the small things, they make the difference. Make today better than yesterday, and hope for a brighter tomorrow. I love you all! God Speed. 

Elder Ekberg

*Note from mom:  The "amputee" is Bobby, the investigator.  He only has one foot.  The "drugs and firecrackers" part of the title belongs to a lady that they met who was high and has been holding onto an unlit (waiting to be lit) firecracker since the Fourth of July!  

August 24, 2015

2 Months In!!

2 months in! 9ish weeks, why does it not break down evenly?? That's frustrating..

This week was great! I am beginning to see the Lord's hand in everything. He is leading and directing this work. I am so blessed to be His representative. 

We live in a crappy apartment. Like, I'm pretty sure our Zone Leader said it was one of the worst in the mission. Just Elder Guerrero and me, but it's home. haha, but don't sit on the couch. We fight roaches, and have 3 fans we have to turn on at night, No AC, but it's great. The shower head is mid chest level for me, so it's great. Really no complaints though haha. :)

As far as car and miles go, we have enough to get around. We don't have to stress and stress about going over, we have enough and we have a big area. We do go to Santa Monica, to the temple with investigators (Visitors Center), meetings with the President, etc. but for the most part we drive 4 or 5 miles to an area and stay for a couple hours, dinner, then drive to our appointments at night, so its good. 

Brenda and Daniela did not get confirmed... So Elder Guerrero and I have decided to turn them over to the Lord. Give them a little while on their own, and check up with them in a week. We don't want to force or push them to do it, or seem pushy, but we just want them to have the blessings so bad. It's ok though.

We found a family of 4. Parents speak Spanish and the kids learn better in English, so we are the perfect missionaries for that. Actually that is pretty typical around here, because all the kids have to know English for school so.. Yeah! They seemed really interested the first lesson, were disappointed that something came up for the return visit, but we have a lesson tonight with them! Wooo!

There is a recent convert, Adan, who is like a famous Latino singer or something. He gave us his CD and his home studio is pretty sweet, I kind of fan-girl-ed for a little bit, haha. We met with him on Tuesday, and after our lesson with him, his HUGE family came and we got to teach 10 or so people the Restoration! We got one solid baptism date out of it and we need to follow up with the rest of them, really there were so many and that lesson was awesome. 

This week was the week of the "Deep Doctrine Talks". We met a guy on the street, Al, who is 55 and is one who would stand up in church and tell it how it is. We talked for a good long while about the differences in Catholic (Al's take on it) and Mormon doctrine, and really there is a lot in common. It is just a testimony to me that, yes, people wanted to follow Christ after he was crucified, however, no one had the priesthood authority to lead His church.  Hence, the restoration. We also talked with a guy about theology and questions that made my head hurt. <Don't overshoot the mark>. 

This week all of our "high-priority" investigators had commitments or other stuff going on, so it was hard to meet with them...disappointing, but it gave us opportunities to find new people to teach and to simply share the gospel with everyone we came into contact with. Honestly, as long as we as missionaries, and children of God are doing all we can do, it is enough, and Christ will do the rest. We can't do it all ourselves, we need to put it in the Lord's hands. 

Last night, we went and contacted another big family. We taught them the restoration and the dad, uncle, (idk what he was), HE GOT THE WHOLE THING!!! LIKE PERFECTLY. Usually people, understand that someone needs to have authority and such and are timid about learning more, but this guy was all in. Crazy. Left with some solid commitments and high hopes for next visit. 

So with my Book of Mormon reading, I have been asked to look for commitments or things the Lord commands and the promised blessings, or consequences of the commandments. In such, I have found some pretty cool stuff, I would like to share about Nephi and the ship story. The Lord will always take care of us, He will provide, nourish, strengthen, and bless us as we keep His commandments. Construct a ship. "But a ship is huge", "why now?", "can I really?"..NO. Nephi didn't ask any of these things. HE KNEW that if he did as the Lord commanded him, He would be blessed. So Nephi asked first, "where do I go to start?" The Lord will be our light (1N17:13) and will always prepare a way. And as we do as we are told, with faith that we shall receive, we shall know that it is by Him, that all things are possible. We need to strive to keep the commandments, pray oft, study, feast upon the words of Christ, do those things that we KNOW will bring us closer to Christ. That's really all it is. Come closer unto Him. Come unto Me, and I will give thee rest. If we can only do one thing in this life, it should be to become closer to Him. Missionaries can hope for baptisms all they want, but the most important thing is to bring people unto Christ. If a person is Catholic and simply wants to come closer to Christ, and you help them start praying again, you did your job. Come unto Him, that's really all it is. If we can love the Savior enough to put Him before ourselves, and come unto Him, turn out and help others do the same, we will be blessed. He will provide, and we will be changed. He wants us to turn to Him, because He is the only way. He knows you and He loves you. Come unto Him

I love the mission! Thank you for everything! I love you guys! :)

August 17, 2015

The Compton

Well. Another week in the LA. The Compton. What is that movie "Straight Outta Compton" about? There are bulletin boards all over.  I wanna be a thug when I grow up. Wait. 

I love the mission. I love everything about it. Gah.

A little more info about the mish. We have a car, so we have to be conscious about miles and that sort, which stinks. We drive up to Santa Monica probably twice a week, which is a big hole in our miles and let me tell you. TRAFFIC is insane.  Like,  wow. Rush hour starts at 2pm and ends at 9pm. Then starts at 7am and ends at 2pm, so it's always an adventure. But! We drove through a part of the city this week and it is so cool! I love LA! 

So our area is Compton and a narrow strip of Lawndale. We study from 8 to 11am, lunch in the apartment usually, then language study from 12 to 1pm and then we go out and work! Dinner usually around 6pm with a member, then visits and such til 9pm. Its awesome and I love the schedule. 
LA Temple

We had the opportunity to provide service at the temple. Elder Guerrero and I took down all the outside lights in the Visitor Center Apartments and cleaned them out. We were in the shade and outside the whole time so we definitely got the luck of the draw, haha. Also, we got to go to Visitors Center with our investigators Brenda and Daniela (I found out I can use their names :)). They were the ones baptized two weeks ago but haven't been confirmed. Which leads us into...they didn't show up to church on Sunday to get confirmed. We had an awesome time with them on Saturday night and felt the Spirit and everything...had them committed, but they didn't show up. Long story short, we are worried about them, and need to put all our focus on them this week. 

BUT! We had an awesome week! :) Maybe not mind-blowing in the "numbers" department, but we had some really cool experiences. We have this girl, Yolanda we started teaching and exactly how the Spirit told me what to say in the MTC with Ofelia, it happened here with Yolanda. It was so cool and Elder Guerrero and I were feeling the Spirit, and I know she was feeling it, and I'll be honest, I almost cried. I almost lost it, haha. It was super cool, gahh, I love the mission. And what's cool, is I can teach, testify, and share the Gospel with the Spirit even when my Spanish is awful, haha. :)

Spanish is still hard, and I know it's going to be even that much harder when there is English all around. But I'm grateful, and it's coming! Elder Guerrero and I came up with a good plan to help me get going this week. By this time next week, I'll be able to say my name in Spanish. Which leads me to this: No one can say Ekberg. Like no one. So I've started introducing myself as "Elder Buenas Suerte". Its a joy. haha

I invite everyone to join me in reading the Book of Mormon starting today until Christmas. :) #blessings
View from a members house, first day in the Mission!

I get mail on Fridays and only Fridays. P-day is Monday. I get an iPad either next week or in like 6 weeks, idk, no one really knows. Umm, what else... I miss you all! I love you all! I'm thankful for all you do and all your prayers! Keep up the great work, and I'll keep up the great work here in Compton! :)

God Speed!

August 10, 2015

First Week in LA!

I feel it necessary to start with a few things about my last week in the CCM. 
First, everyone kind of got better, no hospital trips. The last few days were filled with talks with the teachers, getting us pumped for the mission. Our night teacher pulled Elder Barrett and I aside and told us that it is rare to find two Elders like us pushing ourselves. He said that usually the Sisters pull ahead in the MTC and set the bar, but Elder Barrett and I were great examples and were pulling our weight and in some aspects leading the district, AS IT SHOULD BE! Just kidding, I am SO grateful for our Sisters, honestly they were the bomb and I'm grateful for their diligence and the friendships I made. When did I start saying the bomb?

We had in-field orientation at the CCM, I don't know why...We had talks about how to prepare and such but honestly didn't do much...but some good principles! On Saturday, we said goodbye to all our teachers, which was hard. I love them. Gahhh.
It was fast Sunday, so we fasted, starved, and had a good time. I watched Meet the Mormons for the first time, and listened to a devotional with Elder Bednar. A few thoughts from that:
  • Natural man = Cookie Monster - "I want it NOW"
  • If we want to conquer the natural man and become as Christ, we must turn out.  Christ never turned in, he never thought about himself or what he needed. After his suffering in the garden, after the ATONEMENT, and after Peter cut off one of the guards ears, HE HEALED IT! Christ just suffered for EVERYTHING, he was physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally spent, and he turned out and thought of others. Think of others, He will take care of you if you take care of others
  • There is a difference between testimony and conversion - Alma 23: 5-6
  • We have the veil so we don't get homesick. Have a brightness of hope for the day we can return. :)
  • There is no growth in your comfort zone, and no comfort in your growth zone. 

ANYWAY!! Flew to LA! Arrived! YES! Had lunch and did paperwork, driving test (They said I was the best driver of the 17 new missionaries), a quick nap and then they sent us out street contacting! Elder Carver (my companion for the day) and I went on a trio with Elder Runsbottom (yes, yes indeed) out into the streets of downtown LA for 2 hours. WE PREACHED THE RESTORED GOSPEL! and I had a smile on my face. :) It was SO FUN! Honestly, we talked to so many different kinds of people, from who knows how many countries, languages, and backgrounds. LA is a world mission on its own, let me tell you. We got a bunch of referrals, gave out 4 copies of the Book of Mormon, like 40 pass along cards and several full length pamphlets. I even did some contacts in Spanish! It was crazy! Then Elder Carver and I were picked up by a member and drove along the Santa Monica coast to his house where we talked with him and his family for like 3 hours and then died. What I learned that night from them about parenting:
  • Love your kids because they are Gods. They are only on loan to you from God and He has trusted you to raise them. You are really raising adults, we are just blessed to have come before them to prepare the way and teach them. Mosiah 4: 14-15
Transfer Day! I'm sure you all got the picture of me and my trainer, Elder Guerrero!
  He is 5'5", 21 and from Houston Texas, what is it with me and Houston Texas companions? He served in Brazil for 10 months before his VISA went weird and he was sent home, now he is reassigned to LA! He has been here for only 1 transfer! So he has learned Spanish from Portuguese in 1 transfer and as far as I can tell, he is fluent. Gahh. I need the gift of tongues. But honestly, he is my trainer and district leader and its been great! Elder Guerrero says my Spanish is pretty good for a greenie. So lets hope that's true, haha! People here talk way faster than at the MTC...I wonder why? ;) kidding. 

Guess what my area is. COMPTON! I told you mom. Yes, so Elder Guerrero and I are in the Torrance North Area, and we go as far east as you can in the mission, so Compton and a little bit of Lawndale. It is so cool! Also, we are a driving area, and I am the driver. Our apartment is...well it's in Compton, gotta love it! First day out in the area (Tuesday), we got 2 new investigators, and one of them now has a baptismal date! I'm stoked, and the area has so much potential, for the most part people are pretty nice, but you get the occasional....well Yeah!
There is so much I could say! Gahh! OK, so Elder Guerrero and his previous companion got two baptisms, Br and Da (I dont know if I can use their this will do!) However, they never got confirmed because the baptism was after church. So this Sunday it was supposed to happen! Well! We went over, I think Thursday, and their car had broken down.. so that was fun.. Long story short: They like disappeared Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they didn't get confirmed.  They also bailed on us to go see Meet the Mormons at the temple. But all is well, we will see them later today and make sure everything is ok! 

We have 3 people set for baptism dates and we have a ton of investigators and recent converts, so we have plenty of people to teach and find and such! The people are awesome! Funny things: During my first contact in Spanish Tuesday, I was kinda nervous and we walked up, knocked and a little boy answered, I said: "Hola! Es su mama aqui in su...home?" COME ON ELDER! CASA = HOME, I knew that before the mish! I don't know, it was funny in the moment, you had to be there. It's not even that funny. ANYWAY! 
On Friday, we went on splits. I went with Elder Monegro who is deaf, and guess what, He is an ASL missionary! So I got to spend Friday and Saturday morning with him and that was so fun! I got to brush up on signs and it was pretty sweet! The ASL missionaries cover LA and Long Beach missions, so I got to have lunch in the middle of the Long Beach mission, which means we drove for about an hour through LA and Long Beach and it is BEAUTIFUL! I'm so glad I'm here in California. :)
Church was good, all in Spanish, Elder Guerrero got to translate (We had an English speaker, stake member I think) and I met the Bishop! Honestly, one of the coolest guys I have ever met and he is fluent in English! Sweet! 
I think I will end with some fun facts: 
  • I love the food here, mostly all Mexican food, but I have had everything from Wendy's to Vietnamese food. 
  • Yesterday we had quesadillas with chicken in them, but the wife later told us that she used the WHOLE chicken, feet, heart and everything. They were dang good
  • Members here are awesome and always want to help out. We get fed every dinner by a member family. 
  • We have already been to the temple to watch Legacy with investigators. We teach in both Spanish and English, so that's been good to start me off with how to teach and then I just have to work on doing it in Spanish, which I know will come. But we can teach and contact in English and then we just throw them over to the English missionaries. 

Scripture of the Week: Mosiah 23:21 - The Lord chastens those he loves. We are not being punished, but rather He wants us to become better and stronger. Be patient and have faith. He loves you.
I love you! Thank you for everything! I can't wait to start my adventure here in the field. I love it already and can't wait for what is in store! :)

August 6, 2015

Welcome to LA!

Elder Ekberg with President and Sister Weidman
Elder Ekberg and Elder Guerrero

Dear Sister Ekberg,

Elder Daniel Brett Ekberg arrived safely to this mission 3 August 2015.  After prayerful consideration, Elder Spencer David Guerrero was selected to be his companion.  We make every effort to assign only the very best missionaries to be trainers, as these first few months are critical in the life of a new missionary.   Enclosed are pictures of Elder Ekberg with his companion and Sister Weidman and me.

During the course of his mission, Elder Ekberg will be transferred to various areas within the mission; therefore, we ask that all his mail be sent to:

Elder Daniel Brett Ekberg
1591 East Temple Way                
California Los Angeles Mission
Los Angeles, CA 90024-5801

We are excited and grateful to have Elder Ekberg serve in the California Los Angeles Mission.  Our desire is to help him succeed and magnify his calling.  We will do everything possible to see that he remains healthy, actively engaged, challenged, and happy in his missionary labors.  Please be assured that his welfare and happiness are of primary concern to us.  For ongoing and up-to-date information on this mission, you can visit our mission blog:

Sincerely yours,
David N. Weidman, President
California Los Angeles Mission