Thursday, July 31, 2014

A special letter to the ward!

Thanks for the emails! Sorry I will have to make this one short because I spent all my time emailing the ward. Please spell check it ha-ha! The message I am sending is important to me because it is one of the best things I have learned on my mission.

Everything is cleaned up from Typhoon Glenda, for the most part. The houses here are made to be rebuilt in like 2 days ha-ha. It wasn't too much of a problem. Three members lost their homes which was sad but everything is going good now.

I thought that I missed the last Burst of Color Run :(. That is so great that there is a new committee to take over! I hope Kristy is ready - its a lot of work! I super hope that everything goes great next year so that maybe I can run it again in 2 years ha-ha!

Well, it is great that there will be new missionaries in the Rosemary Ward! That practice thing that I put at the end of my letter to the ward has really helped out the work in the ward that I am serving in. Still no new baptisms here but we should have six coming up. Hopefully I am still here for them. Don't be a hard ward. Work with the missionaries!

Well, thanks for the emails! Love you lots! The following is a letter that I am writing to the ward:

Dear Ward ko,
Yes, I am still alive. Yes, I promise I am still working my hardest.
Thank you so much for all the support you give me. I want to tell you all that it is a real blessing to have a ward like you back at home. More importantly, I want to thank you for all of your prayers. They do make the difference out here in the field. Actually, one of the big things I have learned out here in the field is how to really truly pray. Like I said , it makes all the difference. Elder Christensen (one of the 7 presidents of the seventy) came out to all of us missionaries and gave a really good workshop on prayer. He told us he didn't really know what he needed to talk about in his  workshop until earlier in the morning when he knelt and had a morning prayer. I believe we can all get to the point where we can receive revelation like that, right on the spot, like Elder Christensen did for us.
Sometimes I think we become complacent with our prayers. I know I did, especially while praying in Tagalog. Sometimes prayers sound more like we're ordering a pizza over the phone from Papa John's: "I would like ham, bacon, mushrooms etc." Those are ineffective all together. God gave us two ears and one mouth. There-in lies the first secret to effective prayers.
Alma 8:8-10 *Prayer isn't always easy. It should be simple yes but sometimes we need to really labor much in the spirit or wrestle with God ourselves. Sometimes revelation comes easy. Other times it is much harder. When we ask for things and don't get answers we may need to do 1 of 2 things. Luke 11:1-13 is a less known parable in the New Testament, but it applies here. A man whose home a friend came by at midnight could not let his friend go hungry, but he had no bread to spare. The man then proceeded to solve the problem by going and asking his neighbor for bread. His neighbor refused him at first, but because the man was hospitable, had great faith, was righteous, and he persistently continued to ask - he was eventually granted his request. Sometimes God tries to test our faith by with-holding an answer for short periods of time. If our cause is righteous, our heart is sincere, and we ask in faith, we will receive those answers we so greatly crave. The other thing we may be doing wrong is not asking the right questions. If our questions are too broad, we may not receive an answer. Simple specific questions are what we need to be asking. One more thing that has helped me out a lot is to change the question until it feels right.
Next, invite the Spirit before you pray. Find a spot in your house that is quiet and personal, read some scriptures, or sing a hymn, then pray.  This advice has worked wonders for me. Sometimes I just feel too tired to really try. I find that this can really give you good motivation.
3 Nephi 19:24 *Don't be repetitive or elaborate but be simple and devote your whole heart to the prayer. If we are sincere like the disciples we will be "Filled with desire." If we would ask what our Heavenly Father would give us, our prayers would be perfect and we could recieve all the revelation we need.
A simple practice that we can all do is first hold a Family Home Evening about missionary work. Next, discuss in your families all your friends, neighbors, and just people you know that aren't members of the church (this gets the brain really going). Maybe play a game if you've got kids. The one who can write the most names down on a piece of paper in under 2 minutes wins!!! Lastly, hold a family KNEELING prayer (the head of the house should give it) and ask which of these people are ready to receive the Gospel. Sit quietly and really ponder the names. When you get a good feeling, mark with a star beside those names you wrote down earlier and feel are ready. After that JUST DO IT, and plan to contact those names so you can invite to church, FHE, activities, or to meet with the missionaries. I use this method a lot out in the field and it really works well. I know that missionary work is hard but I also know that this church is true. I know all of you know the same thing. God puts real people in our groups of friends that are ready for the gospel on purpose. Again, thank you all for your support and prayers. I really love this work and I know it is what I am suppose to be doing. 

Elder Nielson

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