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


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. 

October 6, 2015

Conference Weekend

Ahhhh what a GREAT Conference. Really the best, wasn't it? 

Before I share my favorite things on conference and such, this week was great. 

Lots of great lessons, experiences, time to strengthen my companionship, really everything. Then on Friday we had Zone Conference! YAY! But. I didn't make it... Food poisoning. Yeahh... Elder Guerrero and I had something the night before that did not sit well and we were up ALL night. Friday was a recovery day because we were SO sick. It really was a bummer.. :/ BUT! Luckily, the week blessed us with none other than conference! 

​-Exaltation is our goal. Discipleship is our journey.
-Center our lives in Jesus Christ. What are we willing to give up? ​
-Resentment diminishes progress. Let it go
-Our direction is more important than our speed. ​
​So, yes we got to watch conference, and in English too! It is broadcasted at the Stake Center here, and since my stake is multicultural (English, Spanish, ASL, Tongan, Samoan, Korean) we had conference in which ever language you fancy. So.. English. :) It was awesome and I'm grateful. 

-Reach UP for help, not across. 
-Mothers. < Need I say more? That is a principle in itself. 
-We choose how long darkness can/will influence us. 
-To receive answers, we need to have real intent, not just curiosity. 
-Faith is a choice. It doesn't happen by chance. 
-When there is a gap between where you are now, and where you want to be, we often lose hope. Take small steps in the right direction. Be willing

I think this was one of my favorite conferences, by far. It seemed like EVERY talk was just on point and perfect. Which means I have a lot to learn and need to apply EVERYTHING that was said. I loved how lots of the speakers extended commitments. Hey, I do that too! Commitments are awesome because if someone isn't invited to do something, they probably won't do it. So the invitations to ponderize, save money, trust in ____, turn the volume down, expand our scope, they are inspired and we need to act. 

-Spiritual experience/knowledge is just as real as physical, mental, emotional.
-God knows our capacity and knows what help we are going to need. 
-We must learn to see others through His eyes. 
-Sin-resistant generation? 
-True disciples don't look for excuses, they desire to inspire, not impress.
-If we have the Spirit, we will never not know what to do. 

Also, this is a thought I had this week. Lots of times in life, we find ourselves at a crossroads, or even perhaps just "stuck in the mud" or a bit lost. Maybe we have two choices laid before us, or we just don't know what to do. What do we do? I'm doing everything I'm supposed to. What's up? Are you waiting to be rescued? Waiting for someone to stop by and tell you the answer? Why am I waiting for the perfect opportunity? Get up and get moving. You know what to do and where to go. If you need to make a choice, seek His help and then make a choice. Don't delay making a choice or not making one. If you are doing your part, He will do his. Get up and get moving. If you start down a path that isn't right, He will let you know. But you know what you need to do in order to know. Hold on to what you know to be truth, the only thing that won't change in a world that constantly does. Trust in Him. 

-Don't be too critical of the barriers in our lives, it's often the only thing going for us. 
-Why do you wear your seatbelt? Keep his commandments? 
-The Atonement leaves no trace. What does it take to enter into His kingdom? 
-Need not be perfect, only getting better
-When you can not do what you used to, you only do the things that matter most

I'm already half way through my 3rd transfer, time flies! I can't wait for what is up next. This week I'm going to study Humility and Charity. My scripture to ponderize is Mosiah 23:21-22. Thank you for everything and your support! I love you! 

Yo so que Jesucristo vive. Yo se que la iglesia fue restaurado por medio Jose Smith y tenemos la verdad. Estoy agradecido por la opportunidad para escuchar el profeta y los apostoles esta semana. Necesitamos aplicar los principios en nuestro vidas y yo se que al aplicarlos podemos sentir el espiritu mas y saber que cosas que necesitamos cambiar para ser mejores. Gracias que a El vive y estoy aqui en la obra de El. Lea el Libro de Mormon. Lo es la palabra de Dios y hay muchas cosas que debemos hacer para que ser felices. Gracias por todo. Yo amo ustedes mucho! :) Hasta Luego!