Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back in Lopez!! Typhoon on its way!!

Hey! My transfer got messed up! The APs called me early Wednesday morning and said that my transfer had been transferred because they had problems with another elder so I am no longer in Lipa City. Lipa would have been awesome. It is a big city and has lots of stores and fast food options. I actually got transferred back to my last area Lopez (an even scarier place for hurricanes). I am still a zone leader but that doesn't mean the area or anything else is different other then the ward. I got down graded actually. I am now in the Lopez 3rd Branch and there is just as many if not more problems here. I was disappointed to be leaving Calapan since things were really going quite well there. Oh well - there must be a reason that I am back. I will figure it out. My companion is super cool though. His name is Elder Acain. Oh well, time to get the good times rolling again in Lopez!! 

I really think that working in the park will be really good for you, Mom. It should be an awesome time for you. Congratulations on getting the job!!

General Conference sounds awesome next April! I think I may take the opportunity to visit some companions and good friends I have made out here while we are down there! If we plan it right we could rock it out at one of their homes one night maybe haha. I would love to go on a nice vacation after my mission. I can't tell you how hard it is to see all these great beaches and beautiful islands and not be able to go swimming haha. I really wish it wasn't a rule out here on the mission. The water is very tempting! 

Well everything is going good out here and I did send a bunch of pictures. Love you lots. 7 months to go!

Elder Nielson
 Manilla Temple

 Me and Elder Wooden on a nice boat!
 PD at the beach

 PD at the falls 
Does this appear to be worms?
 Tasty?? Might need some deworming when he gets back!
Some crazy times in Manilla! 
Krispy Kreme will never be the same!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Transferred to Lipa City Batangas!!

Well we had a super stressful week! We had several missionaries in our zone go to an off limits area and when we found out we told them straight away to go and tell President Mangum. We said we didn't want to be those kind of missionaries that want to snitch on every little bad thing that other missionaries do. We said "In your weekly email to President Mangum, tell him what happened and give him every little detail." We said we didn't want any details and that we didn't really want to talk about this problem at all. All we were going to do was tell president that 8 missionaries went to this place and they were going to email you about it. I think we handled it really well because we didn't do any chastising, and most of the zone still loves us and was really sad to hear that I was going to be transferred. The one big thing that did result of that whole situation is some of the younger elders in the zone got really brave and went out and said a bunch of stuff about their companions. The whole zone exploded with problems that we didn't know about and we spent a good part of the week on the phone with President Mangum and counseling elders. 

Every area in my zone had a transfer. They brought in about 8 new elders to fill in the gaps. Very sad. Very stressful. We had several elders in the zone nearly get into fist fights with their companions. President Mangum is going to have to do a lot of interviews in the next couple days... 

Well anyways, I am getting transferred this week just as my second trainee comes into the zone. Elder Hapi is getting transferred here and I'm leaving! That sucks so much and came as a huge shock to me. I just finished the best transfer of my mission, in the best area of the mission, with the best companion I have yet had on my mission. I am not happy to leave this area. I thought I would have like 2 more transfers after this one with Elder Wooden but that didn't happen. We had so many great investigators and we worked so hard together. The problems we over came in this zone just over the last week were handled so well by us that everyone in our zone still likes and are still great friends with us (lets just say that a lot of really stressful crap happened in our zone over the last 7 days). Trust me, you would have been proud of what we were able to accomplish out here. Oh well, I am going to be a zone leader now in Lipa City Batangas and I get to kill my next companion Elder Aoina (this means he is going home and that Erik will be his last companion). He is super cool and I can't wait to be comps with him. He is the best Tagalog speaking foreigner in the mission by far. 

We also had zone conference last week in Lipa City so I got to sleep over in my new apartment. It is pretty ugly ha-ha! Oh well. The zone conference was awesome and it was a great break from the stress. We got to watch "Meet the Mormons". I thought that the movie was really well done. I super enjoyed it! Maybe I am bias or something. We also had a great baptism on Saturday. It went really good. Justin, Joshua, and Jainyll were all baptized and so now I have had 6 baptisms in this area. Next transfer I was supposed to get about 6-7 more. Oh well, Elder Wooden can handle that one I'm sure. Well I am super sad to be leaving but that is OK I guess.

Hey Dad, that's too bad that you guys didn't just smash your way to 1st like you did last year at Basketball Provincials! It would have been really cool to get a second 1st in a row but that's OK. You guys got third and that is still incredible. And the girls got 4th! That's awesome! I actually think I have gotten better at basketball out here. I know in some places I am a lot lazier then I was but I also know that in other areas I am a lot better now. We got to play some good old 3 on 3 this morning with some Filipinos and last Friday night when I was out in Lipa for Zone Conference, we got to play some good basketball out there. Actually there is a lot of really good Polynesian elders who I think you would love to play for your team. One of which is in my zone, Elder Akroyd, my old companion Elder Tupou is also really good, and my next companion Elder Aoina is super good as well. They are all really big and super fast.  When we play out here the Filipinos treat us like super stars! :) 

Love you lots!
Elder Nielson

Monday, March 16, 2015

Some fun in the Philippines!

Cinnamon buns are the best :) Send those to the MTC for Kevin! Hey have you sent my b-day package yet? Just asking. I get the feeling that that will probably be the last package that I get haha - oh well. 

Hey Mom!!! You got the job, now you and Kenzie can car pool sometimes! Ha-ha! That is awesome! Hope it will be just as fun. It probably won't be the funnest job during winter. I can't imagine the roads going down into the park will be all that nice. Oh well, you got a lot of funny ladies that you can hang out with out there!

I am actually having a really stressful time out here right now. My comp and I had to deal with a ton of problems in our zone this week. I don't know what it is but I guess it is just easier to be pasaway (disobedient) out here on the island because we are all super far away form any supervision. We had to do a whole lot of fixing and correcting. Now we are definitely not the most beloved zone leaders in the mission ha-ha. A lot of the stuff that happened we didn't even know was going on out here. 

Oh well, on a better note. We have 3 baptisms on Saturday. It also so happens that our baptismal font is broken right now and we may have to do it in the ocean. How cool will that be?!! The people we will be baptizing are 3 boys. All brothers. We actually kind of reactivated an entire clan by accident. We reactivated with one nice older lady who in turn reactivated all of her kids and now we are busy teaching and baptizing all of her grand children. Super cool right? 

Ya - we play basketball every Monday morning and Thursday evening. Almost half of the people we play basketball with are all less actives. We have a turn out of about 20 less actives each week for basketball. B-ball is a great way to reach out and help rebuild friendships within the church. Some of these guys do end up coming to church on Sunday which is awesome. 

I guess I forgot to mention the amazing hotel we stayed in last weekend. It was so nice! It had air conditioning, hot water, and there was no mold on the roof (Bonus!). I will send pictures when I can of it all ha-ha. Have you ever eaten at Johnny Rockets before? Super good food. Spent way to much money though ha-ha. There is no such thing as a vacation when you're on a mission but that was darn close to one! We still were proselyting though so missionaries pa rin! (still) I wasn't even assigned to room with my comp. I shared a room with Elder O'neal, my comp in the MTC, so that was fun (yes just us 2 in the room - not 4). 

Well love you lots. Hope you have a good week.
Elder Nielson

(Here are a few pictures of Erik and his companion Elder Wooden at church. Erik's dad received these pictures from Brother Reyes, who is in the ward that Erik and Elder Wooden are serving in right now.)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Some fun in Manila! Cheeseburgers and milkshakes and donuts! Oh my!!

I am glad it is warming up for you guys out there. I kinda wish it would stop warming up on us out here! The rain has also pretty much stopped. I have a pretty wicked farmer's tan that I hope to just get darker from now till the end of my mission. When I get home you better be prepared with lots of lotion and lip chap for me so I don't just turn into a little cracked raisin ha ha! 

I would love to do more service out here for one reason - I would get to wear shorts while doing it and I feel really good while serving other people. (Isn't that two reasons??) But the people out here have this small little problem where they don't ever want any help with anything unless they literally can't do it on their own. 

You will never guess what I got to do this last weekend! Our mission literally was forced to give all the foreigner missionaries a short little vacation ha-ha! Ok, it wasn't really a vacation but it was crazy fun. So anyways, I had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) this past Friday. Because I was out here in the Island, I had to leave on Thursday to get to San Pablo. While on the boat the assistants called us and said, " I hope you guys brought extra clothes because you will be heading out to Manila after the MLC on Friday." We were so shocked. Stuff like that never happens on the mission. I guess it really wasn't planned at all because the MTC in Manila gave no notice to us. I bet President Mangum was just sick to his stomach. Just getting there was a lot of uncontrollable chaos and no one was there to even try to control it. :) Five missions ended up going out to Manila so I got to see a lot of the elders and sisters who I was with in the MTC back in Provo. HOW COOL IS THAT? Manila is incredible, everything is so cool there. We got to Manila at about 9:30 pm and then went out to go and get some food. I ate at a restaurant called Johnny Rockets. I had a double bacon cheddar cheese burger and a huge milk shake. I just about died. The next place I went to was Krispy Kreme Donuts, after that I did die... I some how picked up a really big appetite for expensive food after that trip. Manila is pretty much just like a really big city in America. I couldn't believe what it was like out there. Johnny Rockets is a super famous restaurant back in the US. They had other things there like TGIFridays, I also saw a Porche and Bentley dealership. That trip definitely made my week. The only down side to the trip was we didn't have time to hit the Manila Temple or go to the Mall of Asia, both of which were on my things to do list. 

Hope you have a great birthday Dad. Man your getting old :). 17 years and you can retire ha-ha think about that! 

Well everything is going great out here. Elder Wooden and I are getting along just fine and yes I am now 7 kilos heavier then when I entered the MTC. A couple months ago I was actually below what my weight was in the MTC! Well good luck with basketball and choir. 

Well, we have several progressing investigators now that should be baptized within the next 4 weeks. I will keep you filled up on all of that. 

That is really too bad about Kenzie's knee though. Wrecked it right before Zones and Provincials! That sucks! Send her my love!!

Love you lots!
Elder Nielson  

(I apologize to anyone reading this blog and recognizing their pictures in it! :) I have a tendency to copy and paste if Erik is in the picture or was a part of things! Sorry and Thank you for sharing your pictures!!)
 Fun in Manila!!
All of us in front of the Manila Temple - a beautiful day!

The Manila Temple without us in front of it!
Great place to eat!
 Super Fun!
Super Good!!
Fun Times in Manila!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fishing at the beach!

Wow sounds like it was really awesome week for you guys. I am glad that everything is going great back at home. 

We have six missionaries in our ward so we don't get to speak in Sacrament Meeting very often which (this is bad of me to say) is OK for me. I get super nerves still to speak in front of the branch because it kinda needs to be in Tagalog ha-ha. My Tagalog is actually doing just fine. Some people like to say they were fluent in 6 months and that is bull crap. They aren't fluent, they can get by, but they aren't fluent! 

Actually we had one of the best weeks for attendance at church. Me and Elder Wooden brought about twenty people to church single-handedly, eleven of which were investigators and nine were inactive members. It was awesome! We reached 200 people I think in our attendance. That was pretty fun! The other cool thing is that if we reach 220 members consistently, we will have to split the branch into two. 

That is super cool that Kenzie is 18 now. That is pretty crazy. I remember her as being only 16 ha-ha. Does she have a boyfriend or anything yet? I am also super excited to see Tori. It is super cool that she was able to become a good little basketball player ha-ha. When I get home maybe I will have to help her out so that she can become a super good player. 

I actually think that I may have gotten better at basketball out here in the field. We get to play 1-2 times each week. I just love the sport, I can't wait to play with the Elder's Quorum when I get home. I picked up about 7kg (should we assume he actually means 7lbs??) over the last couple weeks. Me and Elder Wooden have been working out really hard every morning. We kinda have a home gym back at the apartment which is super cool. He has helped me out a ton. Plus his parents send him super good tasting protein powder in every package (pina colada flavor). Normally we drop a quarter of a pineapple, a banana, and mango into the shake as well so we are getting a big serving of fruit everyday. I am also eating healthier which really makes a huge difference in my energy levels during the day. I just feel super good right now ha-ha. 

Wish me all the best with all of our super good investigators. One more thing just before I let you go. I just got an email that said I needed to prepare passport photos so that they get my out going missionary stuff ready for me ha-ha. They also said I will have to go to Manila soon to get my finger prints done. How crazy is that? I feel like I am still new out here and they are getting ready to send me home! Well I love you a ton and wish you all the best.

Elder Nielson    
 Helping the fishermen pull in their nets!
 A great day at the beach!