Monday, July 20, 2015

Transfers coming up!!

Hey mom, I had another pretty good week. I am getting pretty excited about this transfer. I am excited to get a new companion. I really love my companion right now but he has some health problems that are really dragging on the work out here  in the office. He is just finishing up his 9 months in the office. I can't progress or learn much with him here because he normally just does most of the stuff by himself. It will be good to get a new companion plus that will throw me out a little farther in the deep end of things. It's hard to learn how to swim really well when your feet can still touch the bottom of the pool. I am afraid that my companion may get sent home when he leaves the office though. He has been pretty sick lately and has been having a hard time doing anything physical in the office. I don't know how long he can last out in the Filipino sun. I actually don't think he can last even a full day in the field at this point. He is going to take a rest I guess at the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center) for a week and if he doesn't get better, President will just medical release him. I also really have no idea who will be my next companion. The office elder calling is literally the hardest calling to predict. I can almost always guess who will be the next AP or who will become a Zone Leader in the next transfer but predicting the office is impossible. Anyways I can't wait for my next healthy new companion to walk through the doors of the office.

Thanks for paying off my credit card. I don't need any money on my debit card. I am totally fine with just the credit card. I think I am about pretty much done with using my cards out here in the Philippines. I have bought pretty much everything I really want. The only thing I can really think of getting before I leave is a real Barong Tagalog just because it is a very traditional formal shirt out here and it might be cool to have one. My problem is I can't really see myself ever really wearing it to church or any other activity. Maybe when I bring my Filipina girlfriend home I can wear it to my wedding :P. 

Yesterday at church our bishop gave a really great talk in Sacrament Meeting about paying tithing and fast offerings. He said it really saddens him that we have this wonderfully large chapel and parking lot but there are never any cars in it. He said that the primary goal of the stake right now is to help lift the members of the stake out of poverty so that a few years from now all of the parking lots of the chapels will be filled and the fast offerings donations will exceed that which is being given out. He then quoted President Hinkley and said the only way to lift these people out of poverty is through their efforts in living the gospel and paying their tithing. Bishop also gave a wonderful experience about paying his tithing. He said that when he was newly married they had literally no money. Every month they set aside their tithing money but by the end of the month they needed to use it on milk and food for their children. He said he would just pray and ask God to just lend him this tithing money this month and that he promised to pay it back in the future. He noticed that his life really wasn't changing and that he wasn't really seeing any big blessings in life. He was living the Gospel or at least what he thought was living the Gospel and he had a calling that he was fulfilling at that time but still his situation wasn't changing. The end of the month rolled around and the same thing happened - no money. Bishop talked to his wife and they decided that they had better pay their tithing and rely on the Lord. After church that Sunday they both felt really good, even though they literally had no money. When they got to their house, they saw a large sack of rice on the front porch and their neighbor came up to them and said a man was here waiting for you while you were at church. He said that he had borrowed money from Bishop's wife's father about 20 years ago and hoped that this would serve as payment. Bishop said because of that experience he will never not pay his tithing. How cool is that?

The Mission is really focusing hard right now on finding and really improving the work. A couple of months ago the mission kind of took a bit of a nose dive (numbers wise). There was no real reason why it happened but it did. Elders and sisters became complacent with where there were and stopped striving to improve daily. We as a mission found that when that happens numbers don't remain the same, they actually go down. Just goes to prove that God is never satisfied with who you were yesterday and that he is easy to please but impossible to satisfy. That being said, one thing that I feel I have learned on my mission is to never be comfortable with complacency. The teaching pool is still pretty weak right now but we had one of our investigators come to church yesterday. The ward did an amazing job taking care of that investigator. I really feel like she felt very loved when she entered the chapel. 

Well I can't wait to see Matt's new house. I hope it runs smoothly for him haha. It is so nice that you get to see Uncle Ted and Auntie Verna so much! I hope they are doing well! Tell them hi from me!!

Hey Dad - I really love that song that you and Mike sung. I have sung it a few times with the poly elders in the mission. The polys always play the brown hymn book version. It always sounds super good when they sing it. Can't wait to hear it from you guys when I get home in 3 months haha.

Well love you all a ton. Don't get too trunky out there haha. I can assure you that I am not trunky yet out here but I am excited to get to see all the changes back at home.

Elder Nielson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Spiritual Enlightenment, Krispy Kreme Donuts, & Dairy Queen Blizzards! Oh my! :)

I had a pretty awesome week filled with spiritual enlightenment, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Dairy Queen Blizzards. I spent a ton of support on 2 of those 3 things. I will let you guess which ones they were. Elder Ardern was incredible. Best of all, Elder Ardern didn't even come in to the office the whole time he was here. That means I didn't get even 1 chastisement from him. We cleaned the office up so nicely. We even washed the walls... No wasted effort right? Mission tours are just so busy. Me and Elder Duduya didn't even get an interview with Elder Ardern. Even the APs only got a very informal quick interview while sitting on presidents couch. I learned a lot though. I learned a ton about being a 70. You know I don't think we really think too often about 70's and what they do or who they are. I got to attend all of the meetings that he attended and it was really cool to see that for every meeting he went to he taught something completely different. It probably would have been best for the whole mission to have gone to one really big meeting and have Elder Ardern teach everyone all at once. I know I learned tons from all 3 meetings.

I did finally meet up with Elder Crichton! I saw him at one of the meetings. He is doing pretty good and has a really cool companion right now so Sister Crichton probably doesn't need to worry too much. Actually I have a picture of him along with my entire mission family. I will send it a little bit later. I have one of the biggest "families" in the mission right now haha. Both Elder Masina ( 2 times) and Elder Hapi (1 time) have both trained and I have two "brothers" in the mission as well. Elder Crichton and Elder Artates. 

At the meetings we were mainly in charge of making sure Facility Maintenance did their job and set everything up correctly. After that was done and dealt with, we ended up doing some jobs like passing around the microphone during the question times. We didn't go and pick Elder Ardern up at the airport. He lives out here in the Philippines I think.

So now you all have brand new Iphones and Ipads... What the heck! You guys have way too much money. You should save that money up so you can buy me a new Iphone. Hey, my chess set just came in! It is beautiful and fully hand carved but it turned out that the Barbie Motorhome curse is far reaching and even when you're in a completely different country, it still messes with you. I opened up this beautiful chess board and to my surprise one of the Pawns were missing from it... so I quickly called up the guy that makes the chess sets and he is going to make me a new pawn. I will send you photos of the board as well.

Wow Toronto will be a cool mission Jaxson! It is pretty much a different county out there, right? He will have a great time out there. The church, I think, wants to try to get things to the point where there is no need for foreign missionaries in a country. It is a lot easier if you can just stay in your own county. It also saves the church a ton of money and missionaries can focus on honing their teaching skills rather than a new language. 

Anyways, as you can see, I did have a pretty awesome week filled with spiritual enlightenment, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Dairy Queen Blizzards. I love you lots!

Elder Nielson

My Mission Family!! (People that I have trained and they have trained). 

My new hand-carved chess set minus one piece!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Wow! I am so sad and crying right now... I hate missing Canada Day. I wore my Canada shirt that you sent me last year and even took a picture. I may not have the patriotic pride that some Americans have but hey, I still love my country. I can't tell you how many people here tell me that I should move to Utah or ask me if I have plans to live there one day or go to school there haha. Don't worry I haven't made any secret plans behind your backs. Well I am glad that you are all having a great time out there, especially with all the family that you got to hang out with. Wow, Tori and Hailey's faces haven't really changed but they look way bigger. Wow - Justin and Emalea are married! That's pretty cool. You know what? I could be married with in the next year! You could be a grandma in the next 2 years! haha. Matanda na kayo! (don't translate that :0 ). (I think this means something like - You are getting old! Thanks son!)

Hey did Jackson Toly ever get his mission call? If he has - you haven't told me where yet! Oh well. 

Well, today I had a super psycho day filled with cleaning like a crazy person. We cleaned our apartment from top to bottom! We spent almost the whole day cleaning in order to prepare for President Ardern. He should be showing up tomorrow. Boy is he really going to give it to us here in the office for only having 9 investigators in our teaching pool (none of which are progressing :( ). He also might check our apartment so now it looks spotless :). I am excited to meet him and talk to him. I also know that whatever he says to me is revelation and I should try my best to live it, no matter how hard I may think it is. 

The weather right now is a little crazy. We have a bit of a habagat (monsoon) going on and it's just dumping rain nonstop. It isn't very windy but wow is it rainy. I heard that Manila is nice and flooded like it normally is during this season haha. Oh hey, I have been using my credit card lately. Can you make sure to pay my bills? I bought 2 really nice ties earlier today and I have been pulling money out of the account every so often. 

Well It is late and I will try to send some good photos of this week. I love you all lots. I don't know if I have too much time to email anyone else tonight but know that I read your emails and that I love all of you. 

Elder Nielson 
 Happy Canada Day!! I'll be home for the next one!!
 Beautiful countryside!
 Just posing for a nice snapshot!

Dreamin' About Pizza!

Wow! That pizza looks so good. The new pizza oven is super cool! I think tomorrow I am going to go out to Dominos Pizza in Lipa City and buy me some pizza ha-ha. There is a great deal out here where you can buy 1 large family pizza at 400 peso and take an extra one home with a 2L of pop. The deal is incredible haha. 

Looks like you guys had a good anniversary. Hope you had fun. I am so exited to hear all about Canada day this week. I know you guys will just have a blast. It looks like the back yard is looking really nice. That poor little tree behind the garage looks like it is doing really good now that it's not in a wind tunnel and has some good protection from the fence. Have you come up with any big plans for the summer? Or are your big plans just to work the whole time? 

Well my week went pretty good out here. I find myself really enjoying the office. I am constantly surrounded by great people so it is really cool to be out here right now. Even my companion and the APs are really cool guys. The one AP does seem a little hard to get along with at first. Let me tell you about him. His greatest heroes in life other than Jesus are Bruce R. McConkie and John Maynard Keynes. If you have ever heard of or know how those 2 men speak or act, and than you tack on a sarcastic, super confident, California boy attitude you have Elder Bryson. Ha-ha he is a great guy and one of my good friends out here. He is exactly what our mission needs right now in the form of leadership and he is super cool to have around.  

Hey dad thanks for the email. I thought uncle Kris was done with all that extreme sports stuff haha. There is a missionary out here in my mission right now who is from Draper UT and is an avid adrenaline fan. His name is Elder English. He is hugely into mountain biking, snowboarding and UFC fighting. He also wants to get into free falling when he gets back home. He has broken every bone in his body almost and has been bit by a rattle snake and stung by a scorpion and has a bunch of other crazy experiences in his life. He is a really cool guy and just from talking to him you would not ever guess that he did dumb stuff like that. He is a very soft spoken guy who never talks about anything he did back home unless prompted otherwise. He is also only 19 years old and has no blood problems unlike some other people we know... Oh well I am glad Uncle Kris is ok and that nothing too bad happened to him this week. I hope everything will be all good with him and that he won't run into any problems in surgery. 

We try to attend ward council as often as the wards out here actually hold it. Depending on how strong the leadership in the Branch or Ward is, is whether or not ward council actually happens. Sometimes WC does happen but they only talk about up coming activities and the meeting normally lasts only 15 min. What we as missionaries want to see is the ward giving their focus to missionary work at the beginning of the meeting by giving the elders time to speak about investigators and set good plans for them. This allows the elders to attend the most important part of the meeting for them, and than, if they need to, they can leave right away. When planning the other activities in the ward we also like to see that they all have missionary work in mind. Well, I still haven't really been in a really truly effective WC my whole mission but that is ok I guess. 

Well this week I got to see some crazy thunderstorms and I got to drive on some beautiful roads. It was a pretty cool week if you ask me. We also hit our all time high for lessons this week. 5! I will send some pictures of the week. 

Love you lots. 

PS - Pray that President Ardern doesn't rip my head off at mission tour... Kinda scared about that one. Only got a couple months left ha-ha. 

Elder Nielson

 Looks pretty warm down there!
 And up there!

Slightly posed?