Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Post Christmas - too much food!! :)

Christmas was great out here. All we did all day long was eat. Crazy week though! We arrived back here in Calapan at 3am after coming back from Zone Conference. Everyone slept over at our apartment. Next, it rained a ton and flooded out the road to the other areas, meaning everyone slept over again and spent Christmas here in Calapan. Too many elders! I am getting sick of everyone being here. Today again we have everyone over at the apartment. It's transfer week so we had to pick up all of the elders and their luggage yesterday night. It is so hard to sleep with that many elders in such a small place. I don't think my cold is ever going away! :) Hopefully the transfers run smoothly and everyone gets to their areas OK so it doesn't have to be such a head ache. 

My companion, Elder Pulido, is not transferred. We get to do one more cycle together. Hopefully everything goes OK because he has been here for 7 months and was really hoping to get out. It's fine by me because he is a really good elder and I can still learn a lot from him. 

Well Christmas was great! Fireworks should be even better. I can't wait to see what they will be like out here in Calapan. I was also super happy to see your smiling faces on Christmas. Mom didn't even cry - it was crazy! Sorry that I was sick though. I couldn't help that. I really wasn't in the right mindset for talking to people ha-ha but it went OK. 

Well like I said all we did on Chirstmas was eat. Hope you guys did more then that. Well love you all a ton. I didn't buy a camera yet but I am looking into them.

Elder Nielson

A Quick Note Before Skyping!! :)

Wow! How come I never got to go to the water park at West Edmonton Mall for Christmas?... Madaya naman yan. Lagi sinasabi nyo na ayoko pumunta sa West Ed. Ngayon, wala ako diyan at gusto nyo na mag-Water park. Putik naman kayo. (Not sure what this means but I believe the end is saying we are mud! - Guess he wanted to go to the water park!)

So my plan for skyping you is I will do it at 8 or 9 here on Christmas morning. Which will be 7 or 8 at night on Christmas Eve for you I think. Should be fun. Can't wait to see you all. 

I did manage to get a baptism last week. We baptized Joven but I think my camera is now broken. There is a problem with the connection between the shutter and the screen. My camera doesn't detect any light entering the shutter which gives me a black screen and because of that the camera also adjusts itself thinking that it is pitch black out so all my pictures aren't focused. It's like I am taking pictures of the sun or the first vision. Not happy about that. I didn't even drop the stupid thing once! 

Oh well can't wait to see you all!

Elder Nielson

Monday, December 15, 2014

Present Peeker!!

Wow! 15C in the middle of December, not unheard of in Alberta but crazy none the less. I am glad that you guys are having a good time back at home. Sounds like your Christmas program was the bomb. That's pretty cool. I think our branch has a good Christmas party planned - it should be a fun time. Ours will be on the 20th of December. We also have our Zone Conference on the 23 - can't wait for that! I think a lot of the members out in Batangas plan on meeting up with me and Elder Richards at the Zone Conference! Fingers crossed haha.

I just thought of something - tomorrow I will have been in the Philippines for 1 year. That means I will only have 10 months left. Think about that ha-ha. 10 months! You can count that on 2 hands! Elder Richards is almost down to 5. That is so crazy. I feel like I was just starting my mission like maybe 1 month ago. I can't believe how fast time actually runs here. 

What does our house look like? It is pretty bland actually. We don't have any decorations up or anything. In my last apartment we were going all out. Man I miss that. My companion doesn't like to spend unnecessary money. He is right. It is unnecessary. 

I have a confession. I did open the presents during the storm! :) I was a little worried that they might get soaked or something and I wouldn't be able to enjoy them properly. But thanks for everything! It definitely makes Christmas a lot better to have something from home. I didn't really go through them or open any wrapped gifts. I just grabbed some snacks ha-ha. I will save the presents and letters for Christmas morning. Which reminds me I will probably Skype at a members house. We really don't have any information about skyping from the mission yet this year but I will let you know as soon as I find anything out. ( I at least hope I can skype at a members, the internet here sucks...). That also reminds me - the internet back at home is terrible you should fix it up a bit or find a better place to skype because I could hardly see you guys last time. I will only have one more chance after this to skype you ha-ha. 

We also have some good meals planned on Christmas. It should be a good day. We are supposed to go out and get work done but that is super hard or at least was super hard last year. We will try to get some stuff done, if not lessons, visits to investigators. I will inform you more next week. Just plan to be near a computer on the 24 25 and 26 ha-ha. 

Oh ya - we had another Baptism. Jarom Ponce - he is a YSA and planing to go on a mission. He lives with Brother Koons (the old white guy). That is the 3rd prospective missionary and they all start with J. Jessie, Jarom and Josef. Next week we have another Baptism, Joven. He's not YSA but he is super cool and has had some hard times in his life. Well that's pretty much it. We haven't been able to work much lately because of all the meetings and stuff but that's OK. The work is still getting done. 

Well Love you all a lot!. 

Elder Nielson

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Here Comes Ruby!!

So, we were not expecting a letter this week due to Typhoon Ruby that is forecast to pummel the Philippines directly where Elder Nielson is located right now. Ruby is a class 5 "super typhoon" which is the same caliber as Yolanda that ripped through Tacloban a little over a year ago while Erik was in the MTC in Provo, Utah. Many people lost their lives in Yolanda and the area of Tacloban was devastated for quite some time. Erik has been through some other big Typhoon storms but nothing this size. And I am a mother that has spent her life worrying about everything that my children do that may be even a tiny bit dangerous or risky. Scout camp made me nervous!! But for some weird reason, I am not worried about my boy. I know that it will be a hard few days for him during the storm and it will mean very hard work for him cleaning up afterwards. But I really do not feel fear for his safety. This is very out of the ordinary for me. I guess I just know that my son is doing what he should be doing and he is living where he is needed right now. And I know that he will be protected and safe. I think Erik's Dad is confused because he keeps showing me the pictures of the storm and tells me how wide spread and dangerous it is - and I keep saying that I know all that, but that I really don't feel worried. I call it my missionary mom brain fog. I am grateful for it because normally I would be a gigantic wreck! :) Anyways, we got the following letter from the mission president (President Mangum) on Friday morning.

Dear Philippines San Pablo Mission Family,

You are probably already aware of Typhoon Hagupit, locally referred to as Ruby, which is off of the coast of the Philippines and headed our way. We have been tracking the storm for the past few days and have been working to prepare our missionaries for its arrival. The latest projections show it is tracking directly toward our mission and it will arrive sometime this weekend or early next week. The speed of the storm has been decreasing so it is difficult to estimate when it will reach us.

All of our missionaries have been alerted to prepare for the storm and have been given very specific instructions about how to prepare. We are working to relocate missionaries from coastal lines and areas that might be prone to flooding, mudslides, etc. We are being overly cautious and conservative in the approach we are taking to protect your missionaries.

Given the timing of the storm, you may not receive an email on Monday, which is your normal day to hear from your missionary. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from them. In July we lost internet service for a period of time following the storm and I assume we will have the same experience with this storm. I will allow your missionary to email home as soon as services have been restored. As soon as possible following the storm, I will send an email confirming that everyone is well and accounted for and give you a brief update.

Please continue to keep our missionaries and the Philippines in your prayers. Our hope and prayers are that the storm will weaken as it reaches us and all of our preparations will have been unnecessary. We are preparing for the worst while praying and hoping for the best.

Thanks for the amazing sons and daughters you have consecrated to the Lord’s service. It is Sister Mangum and I’s great privilege to serve them and serve with them!

President Mangum


We wrote to him anyways and were surprised to hear from Erik earlier Sunday evening!! Must admit I was relieved to get the following short message.


Hey I am still alive. I probably don't have much time to email you. I think the power is going off soon. We should be fine here. The storm is pretty strong but we will survive. The storm is just starting up - don't worry about me. Oh and yes I did get my Christmas packages. All of them. Well I love u lots. 

Elder Nielson

If you could keep Erik, as well as all of the other missionaries and people in the Philippines in your prayers that would be great. I am sure its pretty scary for all of them to go through a terrible storm like this. I am sure we will hear all about it next week if they regain power again by then. Thanks!!

We recieved this letter yesterday!

Dear Philippines San Pablo Mission Family,

I am happy to report to you that the core of the storm has cleared our mission as of this morning. Thanks to your fasting and prayers in our behalf, the typhoon was weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached our mission. We had considerable rain creating some localized flooding, but did not have the high winds associated with a typhoon. We will be experiencing light to moderate rainfall for the next 24 to 48 hours as the tail end of the storm travels across our mission.

As of this morning, we are beginning to return missionaries to their areas as weather permits. I have instructed your missionaries to email you as soon as the services in their areas allow them to do so. All of our missionaries are safe and came through the storm in good spirits. About 50% of our missionaries were relocated to chapels or other missionary apartments in preparation for the storm to ensure they were in safe shelters.

We are thankful again for your fasting, faith, and prayers. Thanks for sending Sister Mangum and I such amazing missionaries. We cherish this time we have to serve them and to serve with them. They are an inspiration to us and we love them! We pray that all is well with you and your families and that you have a Merry Christmas as you reflect on the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ.

President and Sister Mangum

Then we recieved this letter finally today!! So glad he is ok!! Thank you for all of your prayers!

We are still alive and doing just fine. The storm was ampaw or just big and puffed up. It got bumped up to a category 3 storm just before it hit us and then wala. Nothing happened. It was no more then just a windy rain storm. Some super typhoon that was! I did get all of my presents. All 4 of them. Grandma Pat sent me one as well. You can except Jeff as a facebook friend ha-ha. He's harmless ha-ha. He is an RM in my ward. He is a pretty hard working ward missionary. We had 4 other missionaries sleep over for the last like 4 days. I am getting pretty sick of them. But hey, Elder Richards was one of those 4 elders. So we did have some good times. I still can't send pics. Sorry I don't know how I am going to send photos for the next few months. I will try my best. Well I am glad that everyone at home is still fine. Love you lots.

Elder Nielson 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hello from Calapan!

You don't have to worry about me and the car mom ha-ha. We will be just fine ha-ha. I am only aloud to use it on transfer day... That is a new rule that came out like 1 month ago so that's kind of sad but whatever. 

So Elder Pulido is freaking legit eh?  ha-ha! That is super funny! He is a super funny guy and a good teacher. I am glad to be here. Ya,  I got made Zone leader... Not the most fun of callings this church has. That means I really got to step up my game cause I really didn't think I should have been a District leader either ha-ha. Oh ya, I am Elder Richards Zone leader ha-ha. So that's kinda funny! He is one of the District leaders in the zone out here. 

Earlier, we went to the beach which was super fun. Just hung out there with a couple of other missionaries. We didn't swim of course but we did do some good splashing. It was even semi decent sand but the island right across the bay had some really beautiful sand that we could see. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side, or the sand is always whiter on the other island. 

Either way we had a good week of work. I got to go on exchanges with my brother in the mission (Elder Richards trainee) and boy was their area tough. INC has that whole area tightened right down. I am glad I am not over there ha-ha. 

Well I am experiencing a new problem here in Calapan. I am having trouble getting close to the investigators here that were here before I got here. I have never experienced it before and it's different. Well I will just continue to do my best. 
Tell Tori happy birthday from the Philippines! I enjoyed the birthday pictures you sent! Surprisingly enough, everyone kind of still looks the same. 

Oh, there is this member here in my area. His name is Brother Koons. He is this kinda wacky old American that lives here in Calapan branch. He is an RM and served in Italy. He has pretty much a missionary machine running in his house. What he does is supports teenagers and lets them live at his house but requires them to take care of the place. He supports them through school and they eat together for every meal and the works. They are pretty much family. They have family home evening every Monday and family prayer every night as well and family scripture study in the morning. Brother Koons does it because he can't really survive without friends I think. But on the other side of things he gets everyone pretty much baptized and out on missions! I think he said he has sent like 4 missionaries into the field now and 1 is waiting for his call right now. We are also about to baptize another 2 future missionaries from his house. Cool right? 

Well I guess I got to go on a shopping spree :). My comp should be happy ha-ha. Well, have a good week. Love you lots.

Elder Nielson       

Monday, November 24, 2014

Some big, big changes and guess who has a car?? Sorry - a VAN!!

Well I had a bit of a shocker this week! haha. I am no longer in Lopez which is sad because I had progressing investigators and our apartment planned on having a really cool Christmas. I am also sad because I got really close to a lot of members out there. Oh well, I just gotta move on I guess. I spent literally all of last Thursday traveling. I went from one extreme to another. Lopez to (can I get a drum roll) Calapan Mindoro Island, land of the Mangyan!! Haha - so that will be fun. I had to go through Lucena, San Pablo, Santa Thomas, Batangas, and then road boat to get here! 

My new companion is Elder Pulido. He is the best teacher I have met so far on the mission. I will learn so much from him. The other cool thing is I have one of two areas in the mission with a car. I have a car!!!! I had to drive it on the first day too. WOW is driving something else here. I had to transfer the entire Zone here so I put in a good couple hours behind the steering wheel. I am getting really good at passing people on the right side and driving in the middle of the road and playing chicken with the cars on left side of the road. It really is fun. Oh and I can drive as fast as I want and no one cares (except maybe you guys back at home ha-ha). I will send a picture of my new van ha-ha! 

Another cool thing is that Josef emailed me. (Remember Josef??) He was ordained an Elder last week. How cool is that! I am so proud of him! He is going to serve a mission here really soon too. I can't wait. When I was traveling to Mindoro for 14 hours or whatever it was I really wanted to stop by and visit him but I was traveling alone so I didn't. :( I really hope to see him before he leaves on his mission. He is going to be an incredible missionary. I guarantee he will be 10 times better then me (that rhymes). Oh and when I got to the area it actually had a teaching pool! Wow it was a Christmas miracle! We even had a baptism on Saturday! Let me tell you something else. The branch is fully functioning here as well! They have meetings! They had ward missionaries! They have 150+ in attendance each week! We have 2 sister companionships in the branch! Home teaching is weak but better then the rest of the mission. We teach a workshop on home teaching each week. The other problem is there are almost 1000 less actives in my area... ( That's a stake!) We are going to be working really hard with less actives. 

Well love you lots. I hope you have a great week. 31 days till Christmas!!

Elder Nielson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some Very Worn-Out Shoes!!

Wow I am missing so much stuff ha-ha. It feels crazy that Kenzie is now done high school girls Volleyball! I feel like I was just emailing all of you yesterday. I hope life after the mission goes a little bit slower because if it doesn't I well be old before I know it! 

Well, I am still having a good time out here in Lopez. This is transfer week right now and I am pretty sure I am staying for one more transfer, but next transfer we may be pulled out :(. Sixty missionaries are leaving before the end of December. Oh well - I will go where I am told to go. (Pray that I go to the Island ha-ha or Siniloan (That's where all the wood carvings come from)). 

We had another basic week this week. We are really struggling getting lessons. Back in my other areas we would teach upwards of 20 lessons a week and now we are having trouble getting over 10... Oh well I don't really feel like the members really like giving referrals to elders unless there is a Filipino in the companionship. That's fine though. We are still surviving. 

I am really looking forward to skyping with you guys. That should be a really good time ha-ha. I can't wait! 

Well I think my shoes have almost had it. I have literally worn some nice big holes in them. I am going to wear them  as long as I can and after my mission theyare going to my mission shrine with a white shirt, a tie, my tag, my shoes, ang isang Aklat ni Mormon all together. The more hole-y my shoes are the better ha-ha. I will send some good pics of them.

Thanks for sending pictures of Grandpa's birthday party, Mom! Wow!! I can't believe how big Jack is getting. That is a crazy picture of him ha-ha. 

Hey Dad!! It's too bad that you guys aren't going to provincials. That hurts a bit. Well at least you guys played really well. Thanks for all the updates and say congratulations to Kenzie and the girls! 

Well I hope you all have the best week! I love you lots.

Elder Nielson
Check out these shoes!! I don't think they will last another year!! Wow!




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Hump Day!! Shirt burning pictures!!

Wow - I have like no time to send this email so I am really sorry if my grammar is terrible! Oh well ha-ha. I hope everything is going good out there. Cause here it is going great. We had Elder Hapi's 4 week check up on Thursday which meant that we didn't get to work for another two days again. Oh well, the trips are actually pretty fun. Trips to places like Fernie will be so easy for me now!

If the scale was right I also found out that I lost 10 pounds over the last month. Not cool. We haven't been eating very good lately I guess. A lot of missed breakfasts and suppers. It is hard living with 4 elders that really like to talk ha-ha. I am going to really work on getting better at that. 

I am glad that you like the shirt burning pics, Dad and don't worry Mom, the shirt was really torn up on the one shoulder when I gored myself on a metal bar at night a couple months ago. (*** Don't worry son, the word "gore" doesn't worry me at all!! :)***) 

Things are cooling off out here in the Philippines right now. I actually get cold at night sometimes but it is so nice to work in weather like this ha-ha.

I just said good bye to a good friend in the mission who is exactly one year older then me out here and I remember him on the first day I got out here. I am getting super excited to see all of your smiling faces on skype at Christmas. It is only 40 some days away! 

Well I am super happy that both Kenzie and Dad did some good winning in the past two weeks! They both deserve it. Sounds like they have a pretty good team this year! 

Also wish Kristy and all the rest of you Valentine's day babies a happy birthday. There is just so many of you! Our week is always super busy but we got punted from so many lessons in one week. That's ok. We did find two really good families last night while we were tracting. I taught them and gave them a baptismal goal date and the one mom said "Sige Mag-Mamormons na lang kami" ( "Ok, we will just be mormons" (We will become/ we will do the mormon thing)) In other words we had a pretty fun week. 

We are going to decorate our apartment for Christmas later today so hopefully my packages come in before then ha-ha. I may cry if I don't get any presents under the tree this year. l Love you all a ton! Hope you have a great week.

Elder Nielson
 The doomed white shirt (the one he was apparently "gored" in.
 A missionary tradition - burning his white shirt at one year mark.


 Some sweet posing!
Green as it gets!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Holy cow! So much is happening while I am gone! Where has the time gone? I was just talking to an elder and he told me he had a year left in his mission and I quickly reminded him that he actually had only 5 months left and he started freaking out ha-ha. That was random, but it was funny.

Yes apply for me to go to school. I think pre-dent and pre-med are the same. Put me in those classes and just get me to the smartest school ha-ha.

We went and spent 1200 Php on food and candy for 1 night and we had a pretty fun time. We had 3 kg of fried chicken, 2.5 kg of gummy worms, a couple boxes of chocolate bars, a billion little Filipino candies, and several litres of Mountain Dew. It was the best and it only cost like $5 each ha-ha. That's how you celebrate Halloween!! Don't worry Mom, I have been brushing my teeth!!

I have a baptism set for December 7 but that's it. I had to pretty much drop all of my investigators because no one wants to come to church. We have been working super hard in our area with less actives and active members so we can get referrals and find incomplete families. We have several referrals but the members don't want to go and actually talk to their friends (we have about 400 less actives in my area). Work is tough right now but we are moving forward.

I got nominated best white basketball player in the mission by a couple elders so that was kinda cool. Dad - I can't believe we haven't been in the senior high league until now. That is the dumbest thing ever. We should have been in that league like 4 years ago. I guarantee if we were, you would have won provincials by a whole lot more last year and 2 years ago we wouldn't have had problems with players shutting down in close games because they would have been used to losing or having close games. Oh well that's my rant for the day haha.

I will probably be in Lopez for 1 more transfer after this one so I can finish up my training and then my guess is I will be transferred. I really need to polish this area up if I want to get it ready to leave it with Elder Hapi. Elder Hapi's Tagalog is way, way better then mine was when I was only 1 month in the mission. We have a 4 week check up next week - which means that I have to go to San Pablo again - which means that I miss another 2 days of work. Not a fan of that.

But I totally am a fan of Travis getting baptized! I think that is the coolest thing ever. Amy is already doing a rocking job of being a missionary. Wow super excited for those two!

Well Love you all a ton. Have a great week.

PS Kylie and Dallin's kids look so cute!  
Elder Nielson
Looking good at a Zone Conference! My MTC comp is over my right shoulder!!
 Happy Halloween!! Sugar high for days!
Selfie in a rice field! Notice the live wire directly above my head?
 Interesting! A very low electrical light post in a continusly flooded rice field!! Yikes!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A nice clean apartment surprise!!

Well, to start off the email, we had two elders stay at our apartment for the last three days. It was getting really dirty because we normally don't have any time to clean, but that kind of stuff doesn't fly with Filipino Elders. When I woke up this morning the entire apartment had been spot cleaned ha-ha. They were just finishing up mopping when I got up. They thought that they would surprise us ha-ha. Best surprise ever! We organized everything and even found some nice Christmas lights so we made my side of the apartment into a Christmas styled p-day room!

The other big thing that happened was Elder Hapi got pretty sick, so that meant that I got to catch up on a lot of sleep. Sleeping here in the heat is not fun either. It is not relaxing at all. When you sleep in the heat you have crazy dreams and you don't fully close your eyes. Also when you wake up you feel like crap.

Mom, I find it pretty funny that you crashed the car. But that is also really bad ha-ha. I can't believe that happened ha-ha. Was it the Elantra? You should have taken a picture. (This is Erik's Mom - I didn't actually crash the car. I simply backed it into a pallet of shingles that were sitting on the end of the driveway right behind my car!! They should have been placed on our roof but the delivery truck leaked oil and couldn't go on the driveway to put them up there!!!!!! Grrrrrrr!!!!!)

Well I am also pretty excited that the girls won the Bassano tournament. It must feel nice to wear the Bassano tee shirts around ha-ha.

Thanks for the email love you lots.
 
Elder Nielson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Me and Elder Hapi!! :)

Thanks for the emails! Everything is going great here.

I had no idea that Kenzie was even considering med school. That is great! We could totally take it together haha. I still want med school but I am not totally sure that being a dentist is the right job for me. Oh well, I will worry about that stuff later haha. We will be just a nice big happy family of doctors haha! I have also been thinking about BYU. Just thinking, but thinking none the less.

I picked up another baptism this week. Zion got baptized and Elder Hapi did the baptizing. I also got to baptize a little 8 year old member girl which was super fun as well. I hope Elder Hapi is having a good time. I am really trying to get him off to a good start. Things in the area are getting a lot better. Right after the baptism a bunch of members came up to us and were asking if they could work with us and give us referrals. It is starting to get exciting here in Lopez. Hopefully we can pull a couple more baptisms out before I am done training Elder Hapi. The requirements for baptisms are getting really, really high. It is becoming extremely hard to find and get a baptism in one transfer. So for elders like me who have re-opened every area they have been in, we don't get to baptize 50 people on the mission. That's ok. I can live with it. Hopefully we will have another baptism coming up in the next few weeks. But that is still just a prayer haha.

I can't really think of anything extra that you can fast or pray about other then helping us know what we need to say to less actives out here. I just came across an entire area that is almost all members but are inactive. Elder Hapi and I sat down and talked about what we should do here and we both decided that we should really try to reactivate the members and then try to get referrals from those newly reactivated members. It is definitely a new focus for me on my mission but I think we can make it work.

Well I sent some photos this week. Hopefully you like them. Love you all lots and I wish you all the best.

Elder Nielson

 Elder Richards, Elder Hapi, Elder Richard's companion (maybe??) and me!
 You know how dogs like the wind blowing in their ears???...
 ...well I seem to like it too!! :)
 Zion and I on his baptism day!
 A little girl that we also baptized.
Elder Hapi and I!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ha-ha! Sorry about not explaining the photos from last week! Ha-ha. We butchered a pig at a members house on p-day because it was the death date of one of their cousins. They chopped the pig up, of course, and had a huge meal with many different dishes. The sticker-like things are called pogz. It is a game that little kids play here. It is almost like trading hockey cards. The chocolate pudding stuff isn't chocolate pudding at all. It was cooked pigs blood! :). It didn't even taste that bad.

Well, this week I got my new companion. His name is Elder Hapi. Everyone here jokes about his name. "Are you always happy?" they would say. He is a big Maori Elder. (Side note - We read on a different blog that he is 6'6" and 350 pounds! - Big guy!) He is pretty cool and is super excited to get as much missionary work done as he can. He really knows how to show real courage. I remember in my first area how scared I was to talk to people. I had Elder Hapi talking to people on the bus ride home ha-ha. That is how you show your faith. He will learn the language so fast.

Well all is well in Lopez. We have a baptism next week. Zion, the little boy that I have talked about before in my letters. I feel like he is ready and I can't wait for him. Wow I am sad that I missed Thanksgiving... We didn't eat anything too special for dinner... Well that is sad ha-ha. Joke lang.

I can't believe that Paige will be home in like one month! Ha-ha that is crazy. I still got quite a while before I get to that point. Well, I am glad to hear that the girls played in Banff. I want to smell that cool mountain air again. I can't wait for that . Well, hope you all had a good week. I love you all a ton.

Elder Nielson

Monday, October 6, 2014

A very busy week!

2 weeks almost no work and training ulit (again).

That one sentence pretty much sums up this last week and this coming week ha-ha. 
 
Last Monday- Butchered a pig (Katay sa Tagalog). Received a phone call from President. President said he wants me to train again and had me promise to be perfectly obedient and give my trainee the best experience of his mission in his first 3 months. I told President I will do that. 
 
Last Tuesday- A good full day of work. Got a lot of good stuff done.
 
Last Wednesday- Had district meeting. Elder Kikel is training as well but because they had their phone stolen he didn't know until district meeting when we told him. Not that big of a deal other then after district meeting we had to leave to San Pablo (6 hour ride) and stay over night for trainer's training meeting the next day.
 
Last Thursday- Elder Kikel and I were companions for the 2 days leaving our actual companions back at home (they had a party...). We had a great workshop by President for the new trainers. Elder Kikel left his bag with all of his toiletries in San Pablo. Sucks to suck! We went to a mall on our trip back home and celebrated with Pizza Hut (Way fancier here then back home). 
 
Last Friday- Worked but got punted from all of our appointments so we just visited members and taught them lessons because of the up coming transfer day.
 
Last Saturday- We had a ward baptism planned (I don't know how we ended up in charge of it). The little girl that was supposed to be baptized chickened out because we had to do it in the ocean I think (the water is way too dirty in our chapel). We rescheduled her to be baptized on the 18 with one of our investigators - Zion.
 
Last Night- Worked again but mainly visiting and teaching members for my companion.
Today- P-day! We will get some work done later tonight.
 
Tomorrow- Fiesta here in Lopez. Tons of people, alcohol, and karaoke. Should be a party. It also means we can't really get much work done.
 
This Wednesday-  Zone training meeting. We leave for San Pablo to stay over night for transfers the next day.
 
This Thursday- I get to meet my new companion.
 
This Friday- Work and introduce my new companion to the ward.
 
This Saturday- General Conference
 
This Sunday- General Conference (My new companion, if American will have seen Conference already once ha-ha (10 hours of conference, 14 hours on a plane, 10 hours of conference again ha-ha).
 
Well this is what things look like for me, out here, in the mission. I am super excited to get to train again. It was super fun to get to mold a new missionary last transfer and I get to do it again. 
 
I can't wait to see how big Max and Beckett are when I get back. Tell Max and Beckett I will try to send them a letter next week. Please remind me to get it done. Also tell them that if they are good and help their mom and dad out a lot I will help them build a fort when I get back home. But only if they are good and aren't being bad ha-ha.
 
Well I love you all a ton. I really hope everything goes great and according to plan back at home ha-ha. Well, the work is still progressing and I am still alive and doing just fine.
 
Elder Nielson
Sort of like branding at the Hall's house - sort of???!!!
 The least horrible of the many pig butchering photos. Yup - that's Erik holding it. Of course!
 Hmmmm. Not sure what this is. Looks like chocolate pudding. Let's hope it is.
A family we are teaching.
 
Some horsing around with the kids. They love me!!
 The Zone Leaders with Elder Kikel, his companion, Elder Daranciang, and myself.
 A parade marching right in front of our house! 
 Some tiny ward members??? Just a guess.
 
A feast!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Choices and Cookies!

Elder Nielson's letter this week starts out with a talk he gave in church on Sunday. It is in tagolog. He follows with a letter in English so just scan your way down to the English part (unless you read tagolog of course!). At the end of his letter, I have enclosed the google translate version of his talk which doesn't do a great job of translating it so it doesn't make total sense but you will get the idea.

Pananampalataya
Magandang umaga Brothers and Sisters
Ang talk ko ngayon ay tungkol sa Pananampalataya.
Ito po ang isang pokus sa mission namin ngayon. At ganoon din, malapit sa puso ko.
Muna  may kaunting background sa faith.
1. Ito po ang unang alitutunin ng Ebanghelyo ni JesuChristo.
2. Ito po ang unang katangiang ni JesuChrist.
3. Ito po ang poundation ng religion natin.
4. Sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya na may mangyayari ang mga himala
5. Ibibigay ng pananampalataya ang kapangyarihan sa atin
6. Kaya natin maging mas mabuting mga tao sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya.
Sila po ay ang mga katangiang ng pananampalataya.
Maganda  talaga ang Pananampalataya, pero minsan na mahirup na maintindihan na ano ang pananampalataya.
ANO ANG PANANAMPALATAYA?
Alma 32:21
Ok lang ang definition yan. pero, pangbata yan.
Yan ay tinatawag "Seminary Answer" sa amin. Mahina yan.
Dapat maging mas malalim.
FAITH- Action work yan
Kailangan natin ang action or kilos.
James 2:7
Ang kahulagan yan ay hindi basta paniniwala ang pananamplataya. Kailangan natin ang gawa. Kung walang Kilos, mamamatay ang pananampalataya natin.
Parang tanim siya.
Kung Ibibgay ang tubig at pagkain sa tanim, buhay pa siya. Pero, Kung hindi natin ibibgay ang nutrients sa kanya, mamamatay siya.
Kailangan ng tanim ang araw, tubig, at pagkain para mabuhay.
Katulad sa faith natin
Kailangan natin ang pagbabasa, pagsisimba, at mga kilos.
SAAN UMPISA ANG FAITH NATIN?
Sinabi sa BD pahina 641 na "faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith."
Ibig sabihin, mahalaga talaga ang patotoo natin at mahalaga na meroon tayong totoong pananampalataya din.
Importante sa mga kapwa natin. Kung hindi tayo magpatotoo o wala tayong totoong faith; hindi nila kaya makakaroon ng pananampalataya.
Sige, gumising na kayo.
Meroon akong commitment para sa inyo. Dahil Kailangan ng mga kaibigan natin ang patotoo natin.
Ibahagi po ninyo ang patotoo tungkol sa simabhan natin, sa isang kaibigan, bago yung susunod na Lingo? 
Ito po ang isang paraan upang ipakita ang faith natin sa Diyos at magtanim tayo ng buto ng pananampalataya sa kaibigan natin.
Matthew 17:20
Katulad sa halimbawa ko kanina, nagsimula ang lahat ng tanim bilang buto. Ganoon din sa faith. Umpisa ang faith bilang isang maliit ng buto. Kung pakainin natin ang buto ng pananampalataya; lalaki siya hunggan sa isang malaking puno. At kung ganoon, meroon siyang kapangyarihan para ilipad ang bundok.
BAKIT MAHALAGA ANG PANANAMPALATAYA?
Sempre, katulad ang binangit ko, mahalaga yan sa kapwa natin. Pero, baka sinasabi ninyo sa sarili ninyo na what's in it for me?
Jacob 4:6
May kapangyarihan sa faith.
Sinabi sa PMG na "Ang pananampalataya ay ang alitutunin ng kapagyarihan, kumikilos ang Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng kapangyarihan, at nakakagawa tayo ng mga himala ayon sa kagustuhan ng Panginoon.
Ibig sabihin na kung nais ng Diyos, makakagawa tayo ng mga himala kung may totoong pananampalataya.
(D+C 42: 48-51 ang isang magandang halimbawa ng mga himala na kaya natin gawin.)
MAGPATOTOO AKO
Sa closing, bilang mga missionaries at mga members, mahalaga na may pananampalataya at ipakita yan.

Dear Family and Friends
 
As you can see, a big portion of my email is in Tagalog. This is because I had to give a talk yesterday. Yesterday's talk is the first talk of my whole mission where I actually had notice and time to write it. Hope you enjoy the nose bleed (only Filipinos will get that joke).  Now don't start thinking that my ward here is nice and organized cause it is so far from it that I don't know what to compare it to. But I will tell you about all those stories after my mission. Hint, has something to do with secret combinations, Gadianton robbers, king men, and free men. Well I have said too much now and probably endangered my life by doing so. The last part about endangering my life was a joke but it is up to you to decide if the rest of it was or wasn't... (Joking!!)
 
Well I am definitely at a bit of a low for my mission right now. I am being forced to choose between unity and obedience. I have chosen obedience so far but it really sucks. It's like choosing between a dry old cookie that tastes like dirt or a dry old cookie that tastes like poop. Again I will tell you all of these stories after my mission. Just remind me to tell you these stories when I go home - I mean, I am almost half way done. 

In other news I am probably in the best shape I have been in my whole life. I am addicted to working out and boy am I getting sexy. Well not quite sexy yet but at least I am not a little twig anymore. I even have a butt now but I think that is solely due to the rice. Most Elders get big ugly rice guts, others get rice thighs. I on the other hand luck out and get a nice rice butt which I needed if you remember how poky that thing used to be.

We are also super poor right now. For breakfast, lunch and supper we eat nothing but rice, eggs, and tuyo. Tuyo is sun-dried fish. Yes not baked, fried, boiled, or cooked in any way - just dried. The bones get really brittle and eatable in the sun so you can eat the whole thing. Even the head. Yum, Masarap! I may have high blood pressure before the end of my mission because of how much salt is on that stuff.
Baptisms. I have baptisms coming up. Hopefully 1 on the 18th and like 4 or maybe even 6 on the 25th. Things like that change really quick so I will keep you updated. 

Wow - the Watson's are going to the Naga Mission! That's pretty cool daw. All of my MTC teachers served in the Naga mission. Actually right now I only live a little ways away from the mission border. I could totally see them becoming office couples or something like that. Tell them to take the language thing seriously. Most senior couples don't but I think they could learn a lot ha-ha. The secret is actually talking to people that you don't know.

Well I am glad you all had a good week. Hopefully you like my email this week. Love you all lots bye.

Elder Nielson


Good morning Brothers and Sisters
The talk today is about Faith.
This is the one we now focus on the mission. And as well, close to my heart.
First have some background in faith.
1 This is the first alitutunin JesuChristo's Gospel.
2 This is the first character of JesuChrist.
3 This is the religion poundation of us.
4 By faith with miracles happen
5 of faith will give us the power
6 So we become better people by faith.
They am the qualities of faith.
Faith really beautiful, but once you understand what mahirup faith.
WHAT IS FAITH?
Alma 32:21
Ok definition just that. But, wear that.
Ie called "Seminary Answer" us. Poor that.
Should be deeper.
Action FAITH- work ie
We need action or motion.
James 2: 7
The kahulagan ie not just feel the faith. We need the work. If no Action, die faith.
Crops like him.
If issues a water and food crops, he was alive. But, if we do not issues a nutrients in him, he will die.
Plants need sun, water, and food to live.
Similar to the faith we
We need reading, attendance, and behavior.
WHERE WE STARTED THE FAITH?
BD page 641 told that "faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith."
I mean, really important and crucial testimony of meroon have real faith also.
Important to both of us. If we do not testify or do not have real faith; So they will have an faith.
Go ahead wake you.
Meroon my commitment to you. Because we need for the testimony of friends.
Please share you testimonies we simabhan, with a friend, before yung next Sunday?
This is the one way to show we have faith in God and we plant the seeds of faith in our friend.
Matthew 17:20
Similar to the example I mentioned earlier, it all started as a seed crop. So also faith. Over the faith as a small seed. If we feed the seeds of faith; man he hunggan a large tree. And if so, is the power to ilipad meroon mountain.
WHY IS FAITH?
Sempre, similar to the mentions I, ie important to both of us. But, you might say to yourself to what's in it for me?
Jacob 4: 6
There is power in faith.
PMG said that "Faith is the alitutunin authorizes, the Lord acting by authority, and makes us of the miracle by the will of God.
That means that if you want God, we can make miracles if you have true faith.
(D + C 42: 48-51 is a good example of the miracles that we do so.)
I testify
In closing, as the missionaries and members, it is important to have faith and show that.
 
District meeting at Elder Kikel's apartment (church was locked). Ironing board desk of course! Looking pretty sauve!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Hard Work Going on in Lopez 1!!

Ako si Elder Nielson. Ako ang isang missionary dito sa Lopez. Yung ward ko ay lopez 1. naglinkod ako sa Batangas at San Pablo. Ito yun pangatlong lugar ko. Ako ang tagapaglinkod ni Jesu Cristo. Bilang mga missionaries gusto naming ibahagi ang mensahe sa lahat ng mga tao dito sa mundo. Mahirup yan. Hindi naming kaya yan. Pero, ito ang aking dakilang kagustohan.

Hope that's enough. ha-ha Well I had a good week and I even managed to send you some photos this week. It isn't a party yet but were getting close to that with the new investigators that we pulled out of the wood work this week. I did exchanges here with both my district and the zone leaders and we just tracted like bosses. I ended up getting lots done and even picked up a whole bunch of new investigators. Now that we have investigators we can always set appointments so now there is no reason to be lazy. Well that was pretty much the gist of my week. We tracted like crazy and we got lots done.

I have been trying to work out really hard lately because one of the elders has a set of Shaun T dvds "T25". It actually works great and is only 25 mins each day. Something like that would be a great thing to throw in a package :). I really am left in the dark about the natural disasters here in the Philippines haha. No one tells me anything. I knew we had a typhoon because it flooded a fair amount here in Lopez. Other then that nothing. Typhoons are a lot smaller (area wise) then I thought. Well things are going great for us in our area right now.

Hey I just found out that I have only 13 months left as of today! How crazy is that? I return as of October 21, 2015. I only have to miss 1 Halloween ha-ha. Well I hope my skin won't peel apart when I get back into a dry climate. I can't imagine that looking very appealing haha (get it? A-PEELING). Well I love you all lots.

Elder Nielson
 

 Recognize these two! My comps at the MTC!
 A game of Pogs! Pretty sure we are going to lose!!
 
A very handsome selfie!

Flooding - pretty much normal!
 
 My study area
 Fancy bathroom facilities! :)
 Giant bucket of ..... Not sure!
Our Kitchen
 Lopez 1st Ward Celebration
Lopez 1st Ward

Monday, September 15, 2014

A brand new Jollybee!

Ya - we had a good week. The new mission president is really pushing the missionaries hard right now. He wants every companionship in the mission to be contacting 50 people a day. That is almost impossible in my opinion. Normally I get about 10 OYM (open you mouths) per day. I had exchanges with the Zone leaders this week and we got 24 and we literally talked to everyone we could have. It is hard to get such high contact numbers here because we have so many opportunities to teach. 10 OYM per day was the mission excellence standard back with president Peterson. 
 
I have been trying to work stuff out with my companion this week but it is hard because he had really bad companions (other then his trainer) his whole mission and he doesn't want to change at all. So I am not to sure what to do because really, an area can't progress if only one elder wants it to.
 
In other news a Jolleybee is opening up here in Lopez. That means I get to eat fast food again! Winning! Lopez is a very interesting area. It is so far away from the major cities and really, there is no touristic stuff here so there is almost no Joes (white people) here. That means that I am like a super star here in Lopez! Everyone loves me here ha-ha. Girls flirt with me daily which maybe isn't that good for a missionary ha-ha. 

Ya - Elder Kikel is pretty funny ha-ha. We didn't talk about video games for a couple hours FYI ha-ha. We were stuck in the computer shop for a couple hours because our companions didn't want to get off. We just talked about what we did back home and it turns out we did pretty much the same stuff other then I did more sports and he did more working out. He played paintball and everything. We even read most of the same books. Weird ha-ha. Oh ya and his story of the puke ball is true. I was sitting right beside him on the bus and the little kids (two of them) puked like 10 times I swear. We had to lift our feet off the ground because it was seeping under our chairs! :) 

The house is ok... now. We spent a couple of hours cleaning this morning and managed to get it almost to the point where I feel comfortable. You could turn the house in to a pretty beastly haunted house if you wanted to. I will try to send some pics of it next week. That reminds me I was mopping the house and the one zone leader was washing his laundry outside and when I went out to dump all the dirty water I ended up dropping the mop bucket into his freshly washed clothing ha-ha. I felt so bad ha-ha. 

Well later tonight I have exchanges with Elder Kikel so we will see how hard working he really is ha-ha jk. I don't really want to leave my area yet on exchanges because I feel like if I left my area no work will get done. Oh well that is just the mission life I guess. I feel like the mission life is super fast. It is way faster then I would have ever expected it to be. I can burn through 3 months in what feels like 1 week. That makes it really important to not waste anytime on your mission. If you do, you will probably regret it for the rest of your life. 

Yes I did get the Dear Elder package ha-ha! Thanks, it was just what I needed. 2 pounds of candy ha-ha! They give all the packages to the zone leaders but that can only happen once per transfer so we don't get very many packages very often. 

I will send pics next week. Thanks for your pics of Miami! I am glad you had such a great trip. I think that would have been super cool ha-ha. Well I hope you continue on with Elizabeth Smart's advice and only have good days this next week.

Love you lots and stay safe.

Elder Nielson

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reporting from Lopez

Well I am doing just fine here in Lopez. I now have five new investigators - one is a gold investigator. His name is Jun Jun and is a security guard here in Lopez. He works everyday 7am-8pm so his only problem is church. We are also teaching a little part member boy who will hopefully be baptized in the next 4 weeks.

Yes, I am Elder Kikel's district leader ha-ha. He is super funny and I don't think I have found another person that has more common with me then him. I replaced Elder Oliva and yes he didn't do anything in this area ha-ha. This was his last area in the mission and really, no work happened here. I have yet  to walk into an area with a teaching pool, so it doesn't effect me very much. But it is sad that the good elders spend their mission planting, repairing, and rebuilding and the bad elders spend their mission harvesting and destroying. Stuff like that really irks me. I know elders who have baptized 25 people and don't do anything. Well that's my rant for today.

I like the area. Lot's of super nice members here and so many part member families. There is so much work to do here that I still am having trouble figuring out what to do first.

Yes, my companion shouldn't be on Facebook and I don't know how he found you all. Oh well, that just gives you a taste of how much he cares about the rules ha-ha. At least we are working pretty hard. I am really going to step up my game with him next week. :)

Well, this week we only got three days of work in because we had a mission tour in San Pablo. Elder Bowen came and spoke to us all. It was hopefully a big waker-uper for the elders in the mission. I really enjoyed it. The doctrine was nice and deep, just the way I like it ha-ha. Oh and I have read every book in the missionary library already (including Jesus the Christ) They are super cool and I found some cool things that I still don't fully understand.

Well, I love you all a ton and I hope that you are all doing great.

Elder Nielson