Monday, January 27, 2014

Christmas in January!! Yay!!

I received the Rosemary Ward Christmas package last Tuesday! Thank you everyone!! The balloons served really well as water bombs for the elders downstairs while they were washing their clothes ha-ha. They keep telling me they will get me back but I haven't received any punishment yet. :)Everyone who found out that my ward sends Christmas packages thought it was a great idea and that I had a really great ward. I assured them all that I did! My favorite thing in the package was either the Ferrero Rochet box, the Melaleuca sports drink, or the balloons. Thank you so much for thinking of me at Christmas! It was a nice surprise to open it!!

It finally rained here last night. It hasn't rained since the first day I got to the Mission home. That means that summer is coming up soon. Which also means super hot weather and cheap, fresh mangoes. The weather has still been really mild lately which is super nice for working in. The temperature is slowly rising though, everyday it gets a little hotter.

Mom, the stickers that you sent were a good idea, but as soon as the little kids found out that the elders were giving stickers out, they all wanted gifts and they constantly ask for gifts each time they see me. :)

You asked about a Philippine dessert that you may want to make. Leche Flan is the only dessert that I can think of right now. You should look it up and try to make some. Be careful though, some people say it is hard to make. I also tried quail eggs this week. They were covered in batter and dipped in a sauce. They call it Quick-Quick.

Why am I being so cheap and living on only half of my budget each month? I spend half my budget every month so that I can splurge at the end of my mission! ha-ha. Don't worry about me with money. Just keep a little in my bank account and on my credit card just in case I need to use it.

Why don't I use a laundromat if I dislike hand washing all my clothes? The laundromats are super expensive and way out of budget. I only used one once and that was to get all my sheets washed because they are too hard to wash by hand. It cost way too much and the people who did it didn't even do a very good job with it.

Our investigators are doing awesome! Beverly's baptism is on the 7th of February and we just finished the lessons with her. I invited 4 others to be baptized and they said yes but we haven't picked a date for it yet. Things are going great!

Got to go now! Love you lots!!  :) 

Elder Nielson  
**Okay - so these pictures are a little over do getting on the blog - sorry! Half are from the MTC and the others are in the Philippines! Enjoy!
This is going to be a long flight!
My District at the MTC


 A warm welcome at the San Pablo Mission Home!
My first ride on a Jeepnee!

 Some scenery.
My bathroom - the bucket is my shower (only cold water comes out of that tap) and a real working toilet! Luxury!  :) 
 A pretty cool hike on PDay.
Okay - I think this might be John-John. (CoriAnn speaking) :) He is the young man whose family allowed Erik to use their computer to Skype us at Christmas. Turns out John-John is going to Adelaide, Australia on his mission and he reports to the Provo MTC the same day that Erik's friend Brayden Pitcher reports to the Provo MTC and he is also going to Adelaide Australia on his mission! They will probably be mission companions at some point! Pretty cool - small small world!! On the other hand - I might be wrong - may be someone else! :) The above picture may also be John-John's dad or uncle. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Laundry - Not my favorite chore!! :)

To start off this won't be a very long message cause I sent emails to everyone who emailed me this week.

The only thing I am not enjoying about the Philippines is that I have to hand wash all of my clothes... It uses up 2-3 hours every P-day. That means I don't have time for other things on P-day. Normally on P-day we wake up at 6 am to go to the church to play basketball. We will play for a few hours and then head back to the apartment to get laundry done. At about 1:30 we leave to go do all of our emailing. After that, we head to the market to buy food and by the time we're done that we have to go and work again.

Wow, Dad told me about the Rosemary Sr. Boys Basketball team. Seems like he has a team that is fast, can shoot, and is tall. I think it is your year this year. Whenever Elder Richards and I, plus Elder Kiafoto (really good Tongan Basketball player who lives downstairs) play, we all get well over 20 points because of rebounds - ha-ha. We just picked up our brand new jerseys today. Woot!! I can't wait to really use them. The guy who made our jerseys liked the design so much that he made one for himself as well - ha-ha.

Well, Dad, I would really love a good workout routine if you could send me one :) ((include running every 3 days) - ( I don't think I can get Elder Richards to run anymore then once every 3 days)).

All of my investigators are doing really good. Lots are progressing but we still only have one baptism goal date and that is Beverly. She is super busy and the goal is for her to be baptized on February 5. Which means we have to get the last lesson in sometime this week so she can be interviewed by the zone leaders this Saturday. Normally we can't teach her another day other then Saturday which means we may need to postpone the baptism by another week. Other then that everything is going really good.

I am starting to pick up on the accent and I learn new words everyday. My goal is to learn 20 words a day but that is super hard and I have only been able to do it a few times. I am still doing really good here and Elder Richards and I are still getting along.

Thanks for all of your letters! It really makes my week!

Love you all!!

Elder Nielson

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Better late than never!! An email of answers!

This letter may be a bit random - I am simply answering everyone's questions in one letter!!

Mom - you asked about what I would like in a birthday package. Well, as long as there is Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce and some beef jerky I will be a happy boy. Woot, BBQ sauce here sucks.

My area is huge. I am in Batangas Ward 1 so it takes hours sometimes to get from one end to the other. Sounds like we will be getting a baptism in the next couple weeks maybe more then one which is super cool. The investigator's name is Beverly.

My apartment has a kitchen, but I only have a gross fridge, a toaster oven, and a stove top burner, nothing fancy like a microwave or a normal toaster :(. I do almost all of the cooking, but I like to. I am always trying new things, especially Filipino dishes. Yesterday I had exchanges with a Filippino elder who is an incredible cook who taught me a bunch of cool tricks and dishes. Things like how to prepare fresh crab or prawns. Whenever I go to the market we always buy new things. Like I fried Tilapia a couple times, the whole thing, - with the fish head and everything! I cleaned it and fried it.

The fruit here is amazing. We have a papaya tree in the back yard and it gives a lot of fruit. There is nothing like a fresh mango or a mango milkshake. The Filipinos have a phrase to explain how good it is. They say it is so good that you forgot your name.

The city has a McDonalds and a few more restaurants but I hardly eat there. Normally I just cook and I try my best to make good meals. Elder Richards thinks I am super cheap, I think. I am the only missionary who records every single dime I spend. Right now I am living off of almost half of what they give me each month and all the missionaries I know dip into their personal funds each month, but I don't want to do that.

Tell Dad that if he wants new uniforms for the school in 2 years to tell me. Elder Richards, the elders down stairs and I can get hand made NBA quality jerseys and matching shorts for less then $20. We ordered Chicago Bulls jerseys but changed the name to Batangas ( p.s. we are getting the words and symbols embroidered instead of that sticker crap).

Well life here is really good and I am still dead serious about Dad coming out here picking me up and touring at the end of my mission, I really want to go to the rice terraces in Bagio.

One last thing, tell Dad to check Sister Waldrum's blog because she might do a shout out to him this week ha-ha. It is super cool to know that other people are reading my blog too. I hope it turns into a good missionary tool one day.

Well, I love you all and miss you a bunch, but don't worry - I am safe and not home sick at all, nor do I plan to ever get home sick.

Elder Nielson

I wrote this really fast so sorry about the spelling :) I also sent a bunch of pictures (some of the MTC and some of the Philippines!). Be patient - my mom is working on getting them on the website!! :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year!! :)

First off, I am super sorry to Kenzie and Tori for not being able to reply to their emails lately. I try my best to answer everyone's questions but I am not very good at typing fast I guess. (Oh, and mom if you manage to get another package out here you should include a bottle of Bulls Eye BBQ sauce. That would make my day haha.)

Auntie Nikki looks great in the picture you sent!!! Wow, I hope she can keep progressing like that. Tell her that I love her and that I am praying for her.

Grandma is right when she says Parker is going to be the biggest change when I get back. I am super excited for that little guy. Sounds like he is doing really well!

Dad,  I know Sister Waldrum. She is in the district of the Elders that live in my basement.

The New Years fireworks were crazy! And the craziest part was that most of the Filipinos were disappointed with the fireworks this year!

So we have had to grow most of our teaching pool from scratch, which is a good experience but tracting isn't the funnest thing for me or Elder Richards because of how good (sarcasm) our Tagalog is. We are starting to have a decent teaching pool. We have 2 people committed to baptism one of which is a referral named Beverly and the other is a lady we ran into on the street named Michelle. Along with those two, we have about a dozen other investigators we're teaching, or at least trying to get lessons with. Which reminds me, we did a lesson to two less active boys that we have been trying to reactivate and it went really good. I used one of the ideas in the book that Sister Easter gave me and it worked wonders for the lesson. Tell her that I am really grateful.

Lots more pictures and videos to come next week. I just ran out of time cause it takes forever to send photos. Next week I will set up a drop box account, give you the info and that way I can email and send photos at the same time. :) Love you all! Sorry I wasn't able to send a long message this week. It has just been a crazy day. I love you all and always look forward to reading your emails - thanks for all of them!

-Elder Nielson

Here are some pictures!! I will try to send more next week!!  :)

My first Jeepnee ride!! Just a little bit squishy!!

Me and Elder Richards in our matching ties! Aiden and Dexter might like them! :)

Me and Brother Romel (a pretty cool guy!). Here I am eating my first Balut (boiled duck embryo). This is a delicacy in the Philippines. It really wasn't too bad!! :)