Monday, March 31, 2014

Saving Lives from Jack Fruit! :)

Still cold there eh? Well you guys can have all the warm weather you want from the Philippines! I thought last week was hot. This week is probably only 2 degrees hotter but that actually makes the difference between just melting to death and actually burning to death.

Wow! 2900 hits on my blog? Holy cow that's a lot! ha-ha. Seems crazy doesn't it? Hi world :). How come I have had that many hits and I have only received 256 emails? Just kidding! - that is a LOT of emails and I hardly have enough time to reply to the ones I get sent each week. That's more emails then Elder Richards has received and he has been here longer than me!! :)

Tell Ryley, if you have the chance, to make sure he pushes through the MTC. Tell him that it is way harder then the field. Oh and also tell him to beware of missionary shock. Lots of times missionaries get to the field and then find out that not all missionaries are obedient and have trouble getting over that.

I really wish I had an incredible missionary story every week but I haven't hit that point in my mission yet! But what I can do is bare my testimony of the work that is happening out here. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life at this time in my life. I am so grateful to be sent here to the Philippines and I know that this is where I am meant to be. Yes there are challenges daily (example - the language), but I know that I can overcome them each and everyday as long as I put my trust in the Savior and continue to do what He wants me to do. My family knows this already but before my mission I was a very picky eater and while I was in the MTC I was genuinely worried about the food here. It almost sounds silly but I was more worried about the food then I was about the language! :) I prayed several times while in the MTC that I might be able to overcome that small challenge in my life and since I have been in the field I haven't tried anything that I didn't instantly like. I have a strong testimony of prayer and I know that through sincere prayer we can overcome all things. I know this church I serve is true and that Christ really did atone for each and everyone of us.

To end on a lighter note I saved someone's life on Saturday, or at least a sure trip to the Hospital. In one of the photos I sent home I am holding a 20 pound spiky fruit called a Jack Fruit (thank goodness it wasn't a Duran). One of the members was climbing a Jack Fruit tree and found a really nice ripe fruit was going to try to take it down. Long story short he dropped it. A member was sitting right under the tree. I was just barely able to reach out and kind of catch the Jack Fruit (more so change the direction of it as it fell cause it was freaking heavy) just before it hit the sister on the head. When you think of Jack Fruit, just imagine a really dense watermelon covered in sharp spikes. Now imagine that being dropped from 20 feet up and then hitting your hands. Not fun. This Sunday morning they were really bruised up! Better my hands then her head though! :)

Oh ya and mom I don't mean to say I told you so about the shoes but I did. I should of got some basketball shoes before I left but now my nice running shoes have holes in them... Also I don't want to ask for very much but could you guys get your hands on some new Active Ankle braces and send me them? Mine are really beat up. Mas maganda kung black :)  (Better if they were black). Oh and stick deodorant would also be awesome. They don't make it here. They only have crappy roll-on liquid stuff. Mas maganda kung Old Spice.  ha-ha.

Well I think that is it for this week. Oh and I may or may not either buy a nice watch or some sick Nikes for my birthday :). Well things are going great and the work is still progressing. Sorry if this email has a billion mistakes. I have no time to correct them ha-ha.

Love you all lots and thank you all for reading my blog. :)

Elder Nielson  
     The only air conditioning I get in the next two years!
 The giant Jack Fruit! Check out that duct taped table!! And all the bars on the windows! And my giant smile! :)
Barbeque Time!
 Nothing like a healthy missionary breakfast! Art Attack! :)
 Joseph's Baptism Day
Not sure he should be up there!
Can you spy him now? Pretty high up!
 A little different view than the Prairies!
Fresh coconut from the tree! 
Worn right through! Humidity is hard on stuff like this!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Provincial Champions!! Way to go!!

Wow Dad! Your basketball team won Provincials! That is incredible!!! Awesome!! ha-ha I can't believe how great that is. I am so happy for you and the boys. You really deserve it because of all the years that you have coached basketball. Out of all the years you could win you had to pick the year after I graduate... thanks... Just kidding. It must almost feel like a dream for you. I can't believe that Senator Gershaw made it to the finals again. Oh well the dream is over and now you can relax. All those years of coaching and finally a Provincial Championship banner!!! I was so worried that something bad would happen but they pulled through. That is so cool.

You asked about transportation. I make us walk whenever I can haha. I try to only take jeepnees and trikes when we're late (which in the Philippines happens a lot haha). If we have the time - we walk!

The ward here is really good and we do have several dinner appointments this coming week. Last night we had a big pizza with one of the members. I have gotten way better at eating things that are quite a bit different than I would have eaten at home! ha-ha. The pizza was half Hawaiian and half everything else in the world that can go on a pizza. So yeah - I am pretty much a pro-star at eating things now. I have been trying to have the attitude of at least trying things once. Most of the time I really love the stuff I eat. Example, I ate this stuff called Bicol Express and I really liked it other then I am pretty sure I have some really terrible acid burns all over my mouth now because of it. :)

Don't worry Mom, I try to get my hair cut once a month. I can get it done for just over a dollar or 50 pesos.

Hmm... things I can't get here... There is no maple extract. In fact no one even knows what maple is here in the Philippines. That's all that I can think of. I will try to think of more things that you might want to send.

I can't believe that it is already time for Ryley to leave for the MTC. I also can't believe that Brayden only left for Austrailia on March 10th - that is terrible. I feel bad for him. Well you're not the only mom without a boy at home anymore! haha.

That's really exciting that Kenzie gets to go to Encounters with Canada! I didn't even know she was going! I hope she has a great time there! Have fun with your quiet home while she is away. I bet it will feel very empty there!

Have a great week love you lots.
Elder Nielson

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rats and Transfers!

I am feeling better now. Thanks for asking! My neck was super sore until Wednesday but after that it was fine. I am happy to tell you that I am still in Batangas with Elder Richards. Maybe next transfer I will get transferred but it's ok with me to stick around here in Batangas. Actually one of the great things about still being here was I got to be at Josef's baptism! It went very smoothly and he was able to bring his girlfriend along with him. We also just came in contact with a large pool of investigators which I would be kind of sad to leave.

That is so exciting that Kenzie and Tori were able to listen to Elder Holland speak in Lethbridge! It is always super cool to be around a general authority. I wish one would come out here one of these days ha-ha jokes.

Well you may live in the frozen north but there is definitely nothing frozen here! It hasn't gotten any hotter this week but it also hasn't gotten any cooler. Actually we got a bit of respite these last few days with the wind. During the day the wind is still really hot but at night the wind is super nice ha-ha. I am glad to hear that the weather is warming up there, though!

Don't worry about me Mom! I always eat healthy and stay safe. You never have to worry about me :)

Well I am glad to see that everyone is still enjoying basketball season. I think I have gotten a lot better at ball handling here in the Philippines. Honestly, the kids here - all they do is play basketball or play Dota (a very popular computer game here in the Philippines). Every Monday morning when I play basketball, I am constantly playing against some of the best ball handlers I have ever seen. Because if you don't have height in basketball, you are good at dribbling and shooting, and most people here are not tall. Normally, I have to deal with bigger, slower guys who only want to shoot down low. Now I have to play against fast, small guys who don't mind shooting 3's. Well, I really hope Dad's team wins Provincials. Wish him good luck for me!

Oh, and you should send me hair gel in the next package! Don't worry, I didn't get my birthday present yet ha-ha. One more thing, I saw my first rat in the wild this week.  :)  Definitely not a fan of them!

Love you all!!

Here is Kenzie's Letter this week! Not sure what it says - it does not all transfer to English very well. Mostly telling her to wish his Dad luck this weekend at Basketball Provincials! The last word is shovel - not sure about that one! He did warn us that google translator is not very reliable! Oh well - hope there is nothing ignorant in there! Sorry if there is!! :)

"Astig ka talaga. Walang transfer para sa akin. At wala bagong companion para sa akin din. paro ayos lang. Si Elder Richards astig siya rin. sabihin kang "good luck" sa basketball team ng tatay nating para sa akin. hindi ko alam tungkol sa kotse ko. pakimagayos kang kotse ko. Joke lang, wala akong pakialam tungkol sa anong nangyari sa kotse ko. bahala kayo.

Try to figure out what that says haha. Have a great week love you lots."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beef Jerky and Peanut Butter!! :)

It's has been another great week here in the Philippines. Everything is going good here except I just really hurt my neck this morning playing basketball. I have never felt this way before. I turned my head too fast or something and now I can't really move it without feeling a lot of pain. Oh well I will survive. :(
I received your Dear Elder package on Wednesday and it was stuffed right full of jerky which was awesome! I love that stuff and I ate all of it within like 3 days! ha-ha. It also contained a bunch of chocolate bars and a jar of peanut butter and it made me realized that the peanut butter here is very different from home. It is much sweeter. I can eat the peanut butter here with a spoon and it won't even dry out my mouth! ha-ha. Anyways - thanks a lot!!
It is getting hotter ha-ha. Actually right now I am in a creepy internet shop, sweating to death in a corner, surrounded by loud, half naked, teenage, Filipino's playing Dota (a video game).
Dad asked me to write in some detail about my best mission experience so far. This would have to be the story about our investigator, Josef. It's about the power of fasting and prayer. You know the story of Josef already so I won't go too deep into that. His parents are very active Catholics and didn't want Josef to join the church. We had several really good lessons with Josef and he, through listening, reading the scriptures, and praying received the confirmation that this was the true church and that he wanted to be baptized. His parents threatened to stop funding him through university (one of the best and most expensive universities in the Philippines). Josef is on his last year of accounting and it is very important that he gets through this last year. Josef's parents also wouldn't let Josef even leave their sights, especially on Sunday. When Elder Richards and I found out about the issue we decided that we would fast with Josef that his parent's hearts might be softened and that they would accept his decision to be baptized. Just this last week for no reason whatsoever Josef's mom started asking for scriptures from the Book of Mormon as daily inspirational quotes. Josef's parents have also started to let us teach Josef at his house now and we will hopefully be able to start having lessons with his family. The next scripture we want Josef to share with his mom is Moroni 10:3-5. This experience has definitely increased my testimony of fasting and prayer. 
So, transfer day is actually this Thursday but I don't know if I will be transferred or not. There is a good chance I could be transferred because normally you won't be with the same companion for longer then 2 transfers and Elder Richards has only been here as long as I have and he is a district leader. So I guess we'll see what happens this week! I will let you know!
Well, have a great week and hope that my neck isn't very serious (ha-ha don't worry, it's not, but it does hurt a lot right now). :(

Well I love you all lots :)
Elder Nielson
Here is a picture that was sent to us of Erik with Brother Peterson and his wife. Brother Peterson is the San Pablo Philippines mission president. This picture was taken the morning after Erik arrived in the Philippines. He looks pretty tired after having flown a long ways on a plane! Pretty happy though!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Can't Wait for the Packages! Happy Birthday to me!! :)

Wow! I have been out of Canada for nearly 4 months... That's crazy. I feel like I ate at 5 Guys with all of you like 2 weeks ago. Time here really flies. It has been getting hotter everyday. Mornings give just enough respite to get ready for the day but past that I feel like I am constantly on fire.  I do have a fan in our apartment so that helps a bit. The worst thing about it is that it is supposed to get hotter everyday until mid April... Oh well, if the Filipinos can do it, I can too. Anyways, the good thing about the crazy heat is the crazy tropical fruit that they have here. I will miss the fruit here probably for the rest of my life!

So that investigator that I told you about texted us this week saying that he told his parents that he is going to get baptized, and they didn't take it very well. His family wants nothing to do with the missionaries now and Josef the investigator is going through a really tough time. He wants nothing more than to be baptized but he has to sneak out to go to church and have lessons with us. He has read through the entire Bible and really knows his stuff there. We gave him a quad and now he can't put it down. He loves the cross references and foot notes between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He also is sneaking out to go to all the activities in the church. Elder Richards and I as well as a few other members here in Batangas had a fast earlier this week that Josef's family's hearts may be softened.

I can't wait for those packages you sent! One thing that you should try to keep in the back of your mind is a shipping company called LBC. They are a Filipino company that only ships to the Philippines but they do it for really cheap. I don't think they have any outlets in Canada but I know they have some in the US. I know there are like 2 or 3 in California and you can send boxes called balik bayan boxes that are huge for like $70. A few elders here get 25kg- 40kg boxes each month with just food, chocolate and stuff like that. Anyways just keep an eye out for LBCs haha.

Well, life here is good except I had a few issues with a really bad cold at the beginning of the week but I am almost over it. I love all of you a ton and the work here is still progressing :) ( I email that to my president every week haha)

Elder Nielson
Interesting! I hope this is not a bathroom! 
Adobo (a dish that Erik really likes to make and eat)! He made this! 
Erik's CTR ring. He does not know how this happened - it just shattered! Could it possibly be from repeatedly tossing it up and failing to catch it - letting it drop to the floor! Hmmmm! Maybe!
Just having a good time with a bunch of pretty funny people! :)