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

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