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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Typhoon Glenda!!!!! Wow!!!!

Right now it is just super cloudy. Henry was supposed to hit us but he missed and stayed over the ocean. Here they call the typhoon Glenda. Did you know that the Philippines gets hit but on average 26 typhoons every year. That is crazy haha. The nice thing about the storm was that it didn't last very long. It started at about 9 at night and ended at about 8:30 am. The eye went right on top of use. We had an hour of nothing. I could see stars in the sky at 4 am. That was super cool. But then it just went crazy again. I have some good videos of the wind destroying my neighborhood. Well that was quite an experience. 3 am we had people come to our house asking if they could stay in our garage/laundry room because their house was just washed down the river.

I sent a video as well as some photos of the storm. I got no sleep and as soon as the storm ended we went out and helped the people recover as best as we could. It is really weird here. Lots of people just lost everything and yet they are laughing and smiling and happy.

We were fine with no power for three days because we just spent every second with a machete hacking away mango trees and others that had fallen on members homes. Lots of people completely lost their house. One of our best investigators lost his house and everything else. He was supposed to be baptized in 2 weeks but we will probably have to move that. Other then that we have another really good baptism coming up. Two brothers on August 9.
Well I am still alive. Oh and several areas in the mission still have no power or water. One area is saying they won't have power for 1 month. But I don't think those elders know what they do here in the Philippines ha-ha. We had live wires hanging down and downed power lines still and they still turned on the power again! ha-ha crazy...

Dad is just the hardest working man in the world isn't he? Ang surup yung summer break. I wish I could have a summer break ha-ha. Oh well I can't! I don't think we really need anything.
I am going to try to work on a letter for the church this week.

Well I hope you are still all good and happy back at home.

Love you lots!

Elder Nielson
 Got a lot of work to do!!
 Elder Mesina
 Helping Hands!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Super late blog post! Sorry!!

Things are still going great. Still no letter for the ward... Sorry. I just have like no time at all to write anything other then on Monday. In fact I wasn't even able write in my journal for a full week already. It has been a very stressful month!

That's great that Kenzie works with Cody. I really liked working with him. I thought he was pretty funny and we had a lot of the same views on most of the things we did. Ask Kenzie if Mike and Kari are still working at Dinosaur Park.

The new mission president is kind of like Brad Hall in height, shape, and attitude but just a little less bastos ha-ha. He is very funny and yes, he probably doesn't know very much but neither did I before my mission. His highest calling before this was branch president. The Lord doesn't always call the qualified. He qualifies those he calls.

Well the work here is doing just fine. We have been having trouble getting people to the waters of baptism cause no one here wants to read the Book of Mormon cause it is too hard to read in Tagalog. It is very deep. I can read most things but the Book of Mormon is really hard for me as well. All the Filipino elders work only with English. The reason is because the conjugations are super hard. Tagalog is a language of conjugations.

We have had a lot of trouble getting this ward going. They don't tell us when any of the meetings are and it is almost impossible to get members to work with us. There is one or two that like to work but in order to make lessons highly effective we need the right members. Not teenagers that like to follow the missionaries and bare their testimonies. We get fed probably 1 time a week. But that is ok cause the mission gives us way too much money. ha-ha Oh well. We still have no baptism and we needed to extend the one baptism that we were going to have by 1 month because he failed to come to church for the full 4 weeks. But that is ok. Transfer day is next Thursday but my companion and I should still be together for at least one more transfer.

Yes, the picture that I posted last week was a chicken foot ha-ha. I don't know what was on it. I still need to try dinoguan (chicken blood), chicken head, and Isaw ( chicken intestines) I haven't gotten brave enough for that yet ha-ha. But I will make you all try something one day. Oh I love the dried fish here. It is so good. We eat dried fish, rice and sausage for breakfast all the time. It is salted and sun dried and you eat the whole thing. The head, the bones, everything. When you guys come out here I will feed you worse stuff then chicken feet ha-ha.

We play Volleyball on cement all the time. It's just the same but you need to remember that you don't dive or you may leave a good portion of your skin on the pavement.

Well I love you all. Stay safe and no I don't have the Dear Elder package yet. Don't work too hard! Magtiis po kayo hanggan sa wakas.

Love you lots!
Elder Nielson   

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Canada Day everyone!!

Just wanted to confirm that my whole birthday present made it here. It was still completely packed! ha-ha. Beef Jerky, Bulls Eye and all!! :)

Mom, it looks by the pictures that you girls had a really fun time at the Calgary Stampede and Parade! Why was Willaim Shatner the parade marshal??? I didn't think he would be all that into the rodeo stuff. Well it looks like you got a pretty good spot for the parade. Wow I feel Like I missed so much this week. Oh well. It sounds like you had a pretty fun week. I am glad to hear it.

Well I am super glad that Moroni's Quest is going on right now. Wow - those tribes sound great! It is sad that I will be missing Quest this year.  I would love to just take a 1 week break and go to that! ha-ha Oh well. I really loved it when I went!

Oh - somebody asked me about mosquitoes! There are like no mosquitoes here. Maybe a hand full in the morning or at dusk but not really any. Awesome!!

Ok, so my area. We have 11 goal dates but probably only 4 will be ready by their dates. Lots of them aren't keeping commitments. It is super hard because everyone accepts a baptismal goal date but no one comes to church or reads or prays. It is also really hard because our ward doesn't want to really work with us that much... We met two young brothers that live together at a members house. They are being sponsored by some rich members in Utah. They used to live on the streets in Manila. Now they are both in a nice house, in school, and doing quite well with their life. They were taking the lessons before in Manila (they lived at a members house in Manila just before they came to San Pablo) and they both want to be baptized. One is 15 and is in grade 5 but he is incredible at basketball and the other is 21 and on his second year of collage. Might be promising!

Congratulate Dallin on getting into Dental School in the fall at U of A! Woohoo!!! Way to go man! ha-ha That is awesome.

Well I love you all lots and I will try to work on a letter for the ward this next week.
Elder Nielson
 Does this resemble a chicken foot dipped in gravy?? :(
 Down it goes! Do I detect some fear in those eyes??
 Eggs Benedict maybe?? Erik's favorite!! Looks a little spam-ish to me!
 A nice purchase - someone is talented!
Zone conference - Volleyball anyone??