Monday, October 12, 2015

Last Email from the Philippines!! 10 More Days!!

Well this will be the last email that Elder Nielson will be sending home! This week we had a pretty good week. We set the next elders coming into this area up with a very solid investigator named Elmer. He will be baptized on the 24 of October - three days after I go home ha ha. Oh well, that is just the way it works out I guess. 

I feel like the members in my area are more excited for me to leave than I am ha ha. They have a little party planned for me on Friday and Saturday. Both should be lots of fun with lots of food. I love Filipino food but I can't wait to eat a really delicious Alberta steak... I have been craving that for a solid 22 months! My companion and I have picked up several good new investigators over the last couple days so the next missionaries to come out here will hopefully have a good time.

The Branch attendance is also up. It was sitting at about 30 people at church on Sunday when I got here but now we are at about 60. I can't attribute that to me or my work in the branch but we have been working really hard with the less active members. 

Conference was awesome haha. I already can't wait to go to Conference in April. Hopefully I will be able to go to Salt Lake for that one. That way I would get to meet up with some of the other missionaries from my mission. The biggest thing that stuck out to me at conference was how important progression is in this life. We always need to be moving forward and never backward. This is especially important for me at this time because of how great the temptation will be to just sink back into normal life. If I go back to being normal when I go home my mission was a waste. I need to continue to be making steps in the right direction.

I will be calling you hopefully on Monday at like 8 or 9 pm here in the Philippines. I won't be able to talk for very long and it will pretty much be to just clear up the airport stuff. 

Well, I love you lots and I can't wait to see you in 10 days. (That really feels weird to say!)

Elder Nielson

This may be Elder Nielson's last post from the Philippines but we will have one more post from Canada when he is back!! So stay tuned in!! :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

16 Days!

Thanks for the email Mom. Dental appointments and eye exams? Awesome! I am down for whatever you want to put me through. Thanks for telling me your new number. I think I will probably call you Monday night on my last week.

Don't worry about me stressing out about things. If I didn't learn about how to manage stress out here on the mission, I probably had a pretty crappy mission considering everyday is right full of stress. Guess how many times I got cold sores or stomach problems here in the mission... Zero times! I am doing just fine so don't worry about me. 

I can't wait to go and watch conference. I have been looking forward to conference for the last 2 weeks. It will be really nice to just sit back, relax and watch conference. Let the inspiration pour in. 

I have been emailing Chase every week. I can tell that he is having a good time in the field haha. I have also emailed Mike a few times over the last 2 months or so. He just wanted to know if I wanted a spot in his apartment. I said I can't make any promises right now but that might be a good idea.

Well everything is going just fine out here in my area. Things are really moving along and we have some good progressing investigators. I think I finally have my companion where I want him to be. It only took like 3 weeks of good pushing but I have him at the point that I don't think he can physically work any harder. Later on tonight I have exchanges with my district leader haha. I think he is a little scared of me lol. He is a really good guy. He is from Cebu and speaks perfect English. I think he told me that his family is planning on moving to Canada after his mission. His dad works on ships so I think they will go to Vancouver or some place like that. This will be the first exchange I have been on since Lopez where I wasn't the senior companion on the exchange. Should be a good time! :)

Love you lots!

Thanks for the email Dad. I am grateful that you are not trunky. I don't even feel that trunky either. We had our mission president interviews a couple of days ago and he pretty much told me that if I was feeling trunky at all I am pretty stupid haha. I assured him that I am not. The only time that trunky feelings creep into my mind is during anytime that I have down time. What I am doing right now is removing any and all down time from my schedule. I need to get this area up and running so that the next missionaries that come here can have a good experience in Victoria Branch. My companion and I made maps for the whole area and color coded every section of our area so we know where we are working on what days. We also color coded the ward directory, the bishop's action list, the unknown address list and several other lists so that my companion and I as well as the next missionaries will always have something to do. Whether that this tracting, updating the mapping system, or finding less actives, everything is now nice and organized. 

I love the topic you have given me for my homecoming by the way. I could talk for hours about that. Thank you for something easy like that haha. Like I said I don't know if I can give a talk in English though. Its been quite a while!

We had a good bonus this week. Church actually started on time! After chastising the members, branch presidency, talking to the stake president, and talking to president Mangum, we are finally having church on time. That is one big step towards Victoria becoming a ward and getting their very own chapel!

Well, thanks for everything. Love you lots. See you in a couple of weeks. 

Elder Nielson

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

22 More Days!! :)

Hey Dad, thanks for the emails. Things are going good out here in Victoria right now. Life is going good out here for me but I can't lie, I am starting to feel that trunky feeling haha. We had a really good week though. We talked to some great potential investigators and set some solid appointments and we also managed to teach 23 lessons this week. That is the most my companion has ever gotten in one week in his mission. We do have some good investigators coming up. I don't know if I will be able to baptize them though. One is named Ian and he is married to a member out here in Victoria. He is a really awesome guy and has been coming to church for quite some time now. We would be able to baptism him right away if it wasn't for a small problem he has with smoking but i am sure that he will eventually get baptized. Another investigator that we could potentially baptize is Elmer. He is about 21 or so and has been coming to church for about 2 months now. He is another great investigator and hopefully we will be able to get him baptized before I leave. We haven't finished all of the lessons yet but we are close. I will keep you updated on both of them.

Well tell Grandma thank you for the email and that I will fast for her on Sunday. Love you lots dad. Can't wait to see you guys again.

Here is my letter. I am sure that I am responsible for some of Erik's trunkiness because my last two letters have had quite a few questions about school and future decisions for Erik. I feel bad and I have held off on asking him these things until now because I knew he would get this way. All you future mothers of missionaries - hold off on these things as long as you can - as you can here in his letter it ha definitely affected Erik. :( 

Way to go Tori with the whole volleyball thing ha-ha! 

Thank you for sending my application form in to U of L. I am excited to go. Can you please just accept it when it comes in. Can you also do the student loans thing? 

I think buying Kristy's car would be great idea. If you think that it would be a smart choice to buy that car as opposed to another I would be totally fine with that. Tell Kristy that we will have to take a road trip or something in her new fancy Nissan Rogue. 

To be honest mom I am a little nervous/scared to go home ha-ha. I think there will have been a lot of big changes back there that will take some getting used too. I never really thought about the day on my mission that I could even start thinking about home. Actually, thinking like that has kept me happy and not home sick at all. I don't think I ever experienced home sickness my whole mission. Lately I have started thinking a lot about home though and the stuff I will get to do when I get there ha-ha. Don't worry it's not affecting my work. I am still working at 100%. I am just getting a little excited about some seeing you guys again. 

Well thanks for the email Mom. Love you lots!

Elder Nielson 
Elder Benosa, Elder English and I

Monday, September 21, 2015

Working Hard in Santa Cruz!

Thanks for the email mom! Things are going pretty good out here. We have some solid investigators that we should be able to baptize within a month or so. I don't think I will be around for the baptizing part of it but I will definitely set the other missionaries up for a really good time next transfer haha. The 2 main progressing investigators are both priesthood age and will make a great addition to the ward out here. Far too often missionaries find it harder to talk to or teach men. The branch that I'm in right now has literally no men. The only people here in my branch are Relief Society and Young Women. Oh well, I will just do my best to get this place rolling again. 

Sunday I gave a talk in my ward about the importance of scripture study and the blessings that come from regular studying of the scriptures. At the end of my talk I said I had one more thing I wanted to say. Then I boldly did some calling to repentance. One really big problem in my branch right now is the time that people show up to church. Here in the Branch, we have Priesthood and Relief Society classes first and they should start at 9 am sharp. Normally the meeting house isn't even opened until 9:20 am. My companion and I show up every Sunday at 8:30am but nothing really happens until 9:45am... I told the branch that if they ever wanted to experience the blessings of being a ward or having their own chapel, they need to first fix the things in the branch that they have full control over. Hopefully we will see some changes next week.

I also had a really good companionship inventory with my companion this week. Like what I did on Sunday I had to do some calling to repentance. My companion is a great guy but he loves to complain and ask if we can just go home... I asked him "If you don't want to work when it is raining, or when it's hot, or when it's night time when do you want to work? We live in the Philippines and that stuff happens everyday!" I also told him that I don't have enough days left in my mission to do the work in any other way than the Lord's way. At first I think he was kind of offended but in the end everything worked out and he is working hard for me again. 

Wow - my homecoming is coming up! I don't know if I can give a talk in English ha-ha. I feel like I would just freeze up and lose track of my thoughts ha-ha. Tell Dad to give me a topic for the talk and I will start working on it. I think the home coming talk will be the scariest of them all. Everyone will be staring at me and asking themselves what did he actually learn on his mission? :)

Well tell Grandma Pat to start feeling better and that I am doing good out here in the field. 

Love you all lots!

Elder Nielson

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Tiny Bit of Trunkiness??

Hey Mom,

Thanks for the email. I am doing really well in my new area. There are some problems and the branch is super weak but I will focus on the good parts. In the 4 days that I have been in the area I have taught 18 lessons and talked to many more people. The people here are very humble and want to listen to our message. Work is a problem here. There is literally no source of employment here so many of the people here can't go to church because their crappy job that they are working at requires them to work 14 hours a day, everyday for 240 pesos a day (about $6). The members here are super nice and everywhere we go (less active and active) we are welcomed like famous people and are always fed ha-ha. Leadership is also pretty weak but I think everything will work out in the end. The Branch president loves to work with us and I think he is a great guy but he is always super late to church... On Sunday we had 6 investigators attend but no other members showed up until 9:20 to even open up the meeting house. The first meeting is supposed to start at 9... Oh well, I will need to go and talk to the branch president about that. 

My new companion is named Elder Lepeña and he is Ilocano. We get along well but he is kind of my assignment. He isn't a bad elder, he just has some work ethic problems and I am supposed to teach him what hard work is. The last week before I got here, his companion and him got only 8 lessons. They also didn't work on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of the last week. We have some things that we need to work on together. I am going to try my best to help him change. He has had a rough group of companions and he didn't really do anything at home. I don't think anyone has really shown him how to work hard. He said that all he did at home was sleep. I believe that ha-ha. All he wants to do out here is sleep. I think he averaged probably 14 hours of sleep a day last transfer. He is from a family of 6 (2 parents 4 kids) and all 4 of the kids are serving missions right now. Elder Lepeña was supposed to be in my batch going home but because of an accident he had in his second area, he broke his leg and had to go home for 6 months.

Sounds like everything for the most part is going good back at home. I sure hope Grandma Pat can get her health back in order before I get home. I also can't wait to see everyone back at home. NakakaTrunky! I don't want to talk about trunky stuff but I just want to make sure that you guys don't go out and buy me a new phone or something like that before I get back. Leave that to me. I wanna choose ha-ha. Enough of this trunky talk. 

Well I love you lots. Hope you have a good week. 

Elder Nielson.