Monday, October 12, 2015

Last Email from the Philippines!! 10 More Days!!

Well this will be the last email that Elder Nielson will be sending home! This week we had a pretty good week. We set the next elders coming into this area up with a very solid investigator named Elmer. He will be baptized on the 24 of October - three days after I go home ha ha. Oh well, that is just the way it works out I guess. 

I feel like the members in my area are more excited for me to leave than I am ha ha. They have a little party planned for me on Friday and Saturday. Both should be lots of fun with lots of food. I love Filipino food but I can't wait to eat a really delicious Alberta steak... I have been craving that for a solid 22 months! My companion and I have picked up several good new investigators over the last couple days so the next missionaries to come out here will hopefully have a good time.

The Branch attendance is also up. It was sitting at about 30 people at church on Sunday when I got here but now we are at about 60. I can't attribute that to me or my work in the branch but we have been working really hard with the less active members. 

Conference was awesome haha. I already can't wait to go to Conference in April. Hopefully I will be able to go to Salt Lake for that one. That way I would get to meet up with some of the other missionaries from my mission. The biggest thing that stuck out to me at conference was how important progression is in this life. We always need to be moving forward and never backward. This is especially important for me at this time because of how great the temptation will be to just sink back into normal life. If I go back to being normal when I go home my mission was a waste. I need to continue to be making steps in the right direction.

I will be calling you hopefully on Monday at like 8 or 9 pm here in the Philippines. I won't be able to talk for very long and it will pretty much be to just clear up the airport stuff. 

Well, I love you lots and I can't wait to see you in 10 days. (That really feels weird to say!)

Elder Nielson

This may be Elder Nielson's last post from the Philippines but we will have one more post from Canada when he is back!! So stay tuned in!! :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

16 Days!

Thanks for the email Mom. Dental appointments and eye exams? Awesome! I am down for whatever you want to put me through. Thanks for telling me your new number. I think I will probably call you Monday night on my last week.

Don't worry about me stressing out about things. If I didn't learn about how to manage stress out here on the mission, I probably had a pretty crappy mission considering everyday is right full of stress. Guess how many times I got cold sores or stomach problems here in the mission... Zero times! I am doing just fine so don't worry about me. 

I can't wait to go and watch conference. I have been looking forward to conference for the last 2 weeks. It will be really nice to just sit back, relax and watch conference. Let the inspiration pour in. 

I have been emailing Chase every week. I can tell that he is having a good time in the field haha. I have also emailed Mike a few times over the last 2 months or so. He just wanted to know if I wanted a spot in his apartment. I said I can't make any promises right now but that might be a good idea.

Well everything is going just fine out here in my area. Things are really moving along and we have some good progressing investigators. I think I finally have my companion where I want him to be. It only took like 3 weeks of good pushing but I have him at the point that I don't think he can physically work any harder. Later on tonight I have exchanges with my district leader haha. I think he is a little scared of me lol. He is a really good guy. He is from Cebu and speaks perfect English. I think he told me that his family is planning on moving to Canada after his mission. His dad works on ships so I think they will go to Vancouver or some place like that. This will be the first exchange I have been on since Lopez where I wasn't the senior companion on the exchange. Should be a good time! :)

Love you lots!

Thanks for the email Dad. I am grateful that you are not trunky. I don't even feel that trunky either. We had our mission president interviews a couple of days ago and he pretty much told me that if I was feeling trunky at all I am pretty stupid haha. I assured him that I am not. The only time that trunky feelings creep into my mind is during anytime that I have down time. What I am doing right now is removing any and all down time from my schedule. I need to get this area up and running so that the next missionaries that come here can have a good experience in Victoria Branch. My companion and I made maps for the whole area and color coded every section of our area so we know where we are working on what days. We also color coded the ward directory, the bishop's action list, the unknown address list and several other lists so that my companion and I as well as the next missionaries will always have something to do. Whether that this tracting, updating the mapping system, or finding less actives, everything is now nice and organized. 

I love the topic you have given me for my homecoming by the way. I could talk for hours about that. Thank you for something easy like that haha. Like I said I don't know if I can give a talk in English though. Its been quite a while!

We had a good bonus this week. Church actually started on time! After chastising the members, branch presidency, talking to the stake president, and talking to president Mangum, we are finally having church on time. That is one big step towards Victoria becoming a ward and getting their very own chapel!

Well, thanks for everything. Love you lots. See you in a couple of weeks. 

Elder Nielson

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

22 More Days!! :)

Hey Dad, thanks for the emails. Things are going good out here in Victoria right now. Life is going good out here for me but I can't lie, I am starting to feel that trunky feeling haha. We had a really good week though. We talked to some great potential investigators and set some solid appointments and we also managed to teach 23 lessons this week. That is the most my companion has ever gotten in one week in his mission. We do have some good investigators coming up. I don't know if I will be able to baptize them though. One is named Ian and he is married to a member out here in Victoria. He is a really awesome guy and has been coming to church for quite some time now. We would be able to baptism him right away if it wasn't for a small problem he has with smoking but i am sure that he will eventually get baptized. Another investigator that we could potentially baptize is Elmer. He is about 21 or so and has been coming to church for about 2 months now. He is another great investigator and hopefully we will be able to get him baptized before I leave. We haven't finished all of the lessons yet but we are close. I will keep you updated on both of them.

Well tell Grandma thank you for the email and that I will fast for her on Sunday. Love you lots dad. Can't wait to see you guys again.

Here is my letter. I am sure that I am responsible for some of Erik's trunkiness because my last two letters have had quite a few questions about school and future decisions for Erik. I feel bad and I have held off on asking him these things until now because I knew he would get this way. All you future mothers of missionaries - hold off on these things as long as you can - as you can here in his letter it ha definitely affected Erik. :( 

Way to go Tori with the whole volleyball thing ha-ha! 

Thank you for sending my application form in to U of L. I am excited to go. Can you please just accept it when it comes in. Can you also do the student loans thing? 

I think buying Kristy's car would be great idea. If you think that it would be a smart choice to buy that car as opposed to another I would be totally fine with that. Tell Kristy that we will have to take a road trip or something in her new fancy Nissan Rogue. 

To be honest mom I am a little nervous/scared to go home ha-ha. I think there will have been a lot of big changes back there that will take some getting used too. I never really thought about the day on my mission that I could even start thinking about home. Actually, thinking like that has kept me happy and not home sick at all. I don't think I ever experienced home sickness my whole mission. Lately I have started thinking a lot about home though and the stuff I will get to do when I get there ha-ha. Don't worry it's not affecting my work. I am still working at 100%. I am just getting a little excited about some seeing you guys again. 

Well thanks for the email Mom. Love you lots!

Elder Nielson 
Elder Benosa, Elder English and I

Monday, September 21, 2015

Working Hard in Santa Cruz!

Thanks for the email mom! Things are going pretty good out here. We have some solid investigators that we should be able to baptize within a month or so. I don't think I will be around for the baptizing part of it but I will definitely set the other missionaries up for a really good time next transfer haha. The 2 main progressing investigators are both priesthood age and will make a great addition to the ward out here. Far too often missionaries find it harder to talk to or teach men. The branch that I'm in right now has literally no men. The only people here in my branch are Relief Society and Young Women. Oh well, I will just do my best to get this place rolling again. 

Sunday I gave a talk in my ward about the importance of scripture study and the blessings that come from regular studying of the scriptures. At the end of my talk I said I had one more thing I wanted to say. Then I boldly did some calling to repentance. One really big problem in my branch right now is the time that people show up to church. Here in the Branch, we have Priesthood and Relief Society classes first and they should start at 9 am sharp. Normally the meeting house isn't even opened until 9:20 am. My companion and I show up every Sunday at 8:30am but nothing really happens until 9:45am... I told the branch that if they ever wanted to experience the blessings of being a ward or having their own chapel, they need to first fix the things in the branch that they have full control over. Hopefully we will see some changes next week.

I also had a really good companionship inventory with my companion this week. Like what I did on Sunday I had to do some calling to repentance. My companion is a great guy but he loves to complain and ask if we can just go home... I asked him "If you don't want to work when it is raining, or when it's hot, or when it's night time when do you want to work? We live in the Philippines and that stuff happens everyday!" I also told him that I don't have enough days left in my mission to do the work in any other way than the Lord's way. At first I think he was kind of offended but in the end everything worked out and he is working hard for me again. 

Wow - my homecoming is coming up! I don't know if I can give a talk in English ha-ha. I feel like I would just freeze up and lose track of my thoughts ha-ha. Tell Dad to give me a topic for the talk and I will start working on it. I think the home coming talk will be the scariest of them all. Everyone will be staring at me and asking themselves what did he actually learn on his mission? :)

Well tell Grandma Pat to start feeling better and that I am doing good out here in the field. 

Love you all lots!

Elder Nielson

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Tiny Bit of Trunkiness??

Hey Mom,

Thanks for the email. I am doing really well in my new area. There are some problems and the branch is super weak but I will focus on the good parts. In the 4 days that I have been in the area I have taught 18 lessons and talked to many more people. The people here are very humble and want to listen to our message. Work is a problem here. There is literally no source of employment here so many of the people here can't go to church because their crappy job that they are working at requires them to work 14 hours a day, everyday for 240 pesos a day (about $6). The members here are super nice and everywhere we go (less active and active) we are welcomed like famous people and are always fed ha-ha. Leadership is also pretty weak but I think everything will work out in the end. The Branch president loves to work with us and I think he is a great guy but he is always super late to church... On Sunday we had 6 investigators attend but no other members showed up until 9:20 to even open up the meeting house. The first meeting is supposed to start at 9... Oh well, I will need to go and talk to the branch president about that. 

My new companion is named Elder Lepeña and he is Ilocano. We get along well but he is kind of my assignment. He isn't a bad elder, he just has some work ethic problems and I am supposed to teach him what hard work is. The last week before I got here, his companion and him got only 8 lessons. They also didn't work on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of the last week. We have some things that we need to work on together. I am going to try my best to help him change. He has had a rough group of companions and he didn't really do anything at home. I don't think anyone has really shown him how to work hard. He said that all he did at home was sleep. I believe that ha-ha. All he wants to do out here is sleep. I think he averaged probably 14 hours of sleep a day last transfer. He is from a family of 6 (2 parents 4 kids) and all 4 of the kids are serving missions right now. Elder Lepeña was supposed to be in my batch going home but because of an accident he had in his second area, he broke his leg and had to go home for 6 months.

Sounds like everything for the most part is going good back at home. I sure hope Grandma Pat can get her health back in order before I get home. I also can't wait to see everyone back at home. NakakaTrunky! I don't want to talk about trunky stuff but I just want to make sure that you guys don't go out and buy me a new phone or something like that before I get back. Leave that to me. I wanna choose ha-ha. Enough of this trunky talk. 

Well I love you lots. Hope you have a good week. 

Elder Nielson.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Last Transfer this Week!

So this week turned out to be pretty fun. I think the new office elders will do just fine without me. They are both fast learners. I am super excited to leave them behind. 

My new area is in Victoria Santa Cruz and my companion is Elder Lepenya. I really don't know very much about him. I am in an area that I really like too. It is a smaller branch that needs some work but everyone is super humble out there and the missionary work has some real potential. I leave on Thursday. Today the departing missionaries are leaving. There are only two of them. Elder Abeykoon and Sister Karawa. You remember Elder Abeykoon from my first area right? We were in the same house. He was the Sri Lankian elder. We have been making fun of them a whole lot because they have to go to the temple together. 

I have lots of favorite companions but I think my best transfer, on the other hand, was either with Elder Hapi or Elder Wooden. Those were literally the best 3 months of my mission. Right now I am just mentally preparing myself to "kill" (obviously some missionary slang!) myself in my next transfer. Hopefully this next transfer will be another one of my favorite. 

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting out here and we had two investigators come up and bare their testimonies in church. How cool is that? I also bore my testimony and said goodbye to my ward. I will really miss them... Well love you lots! Have a good week!

Elder Nielson 
 Transportation?
 Safety first!
 Elder Benosa, Elder English & Me!



 Pizza Night at the Office!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Office Season Finale!

Hi guys!!

Life is going pretty good out here for me. My new companion is Elder English. You probably know him from his blog. You might also know his mom. I think she is pretty in with the other mission moms. Anyways, he is doing pretty good right now. He is learning stuff pretty fast and I really think he will make a good office elder. I was his zone leader in Mindoro so we are pretty good friends already. Actually, I was zone leader for Elder Benosa and English. :)

I have been working really hard with a nice family out here. They are super poor and they are all members. The mom and the kids come to church literally every week. That father has been struggling with word of wisdom problems and staying active. Long story short, he came to church on Sunday so that was a really big step in the right direction for him. We have shown him the physical benefits and spiritual benefits of living the word of wisdom and we have tried super hard to teach the doctrine to him in a way that he can understand. I am sure you deal with stuff like this all the time. Do you have any suggestions? We have also been teaching a new investigating family that we picked up from tracting. They are super cool. The mother grew up as a JW but has kind of left that church because she got married to a non-member. Now she goes to church at a local born-again church. The mother really has a lot of respect for missionaries and what we do. She is willing to listen to everything we teach her and she is great at keeping commitments. If only I could teach her for 1 more transfer... I have met so many cool and amazing people out here during this last transfer. We have found so many people through the tracting efforts we are putting in everyday. I just love the work that we are getting done right now. There is no better feeling than the feeling after a hard day of missionary work.

I am super jealous of Kenzie and Kristy's trip to Kelowna. I want to go on a trip like that when I get home. I am in trouble... I really can't remember too much of the stuff I did in high school. Hopefully that is okay and won't effect me too much in collage haha. Actually I am getting kind of excited about college. Elder Brycen is working on his class schedule right now. Is that something that I should be worrying about? If it is, can you look into that stuff for me? I would hate to not be able to study next semester. I already don't know what I am going to do with my life for 2 months while I wait to go to school. I don't really want to try to get a job because who is going to hire me for just like 1.5 months? Oh well, I am sure I will come up with something to do. 

Hey Mom, can you try to sell my Xbox on Brooks Buy & Sell or something like that? It is still worth something and I have a lot of games but everyday that goes by it gets older and older and the value drops. I should have had you sell it 2 years ago... I think with all the games and everything you could probably get $200-300. That would go nicely in a laptop fund or something like that when I go home. I don't think I will be playing on the xbox anymore ( Doesn't mean I won't touch video games when I get home. So don't get you hopes up too high. I just won't play them nearly as much because they really are a big waste of time). 

Next week I am out of the office for good. I plan on leaving almost everything behind. I will take 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 1 polo and 50 books of Mormon. Bring it on. I am just kidding about that but I will be leaving most of my stuff at the office. It is starting to settle into my head that I am almost going home. I am still trying hard to kick those thoughts out. 

Kenzie! Sounds like you are doing really good. I am so happy that my little sister is able to go out and do scary things without her parents around haha. I don't think mom would ever be able to do a zip line. I hope we can do some fun stuff when I get home. We've got to pick something that we can get good at and really into like skiing, snow boarding, or just something super different. Lately on p-days we have been playing ping pong and chess. I am getting pretty good at both of them. It is super fun to just pick up something new and practice it. 

Oh well. Thanks for the email. Don't worry about me. Love you lots and have a good week.

Elder Nielson   

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two More Weeks and Out of the Office :(

Hey Mom and Dad!

Life is going great out here. I am happy to be leaving the office. I actually don't think that it will be that much of an adjustment for me. Elder Benosa and I are teaching about 1-2 lessons every day to less actives and investigators and we also have been using literally every spare second to tract and talk to people. Honestly this is the hardest I have worked my whole mission. I think if I just transfer that energy from the work here in the office to the work out in the field I will be just fine. We found and started teaching a very nice family and they just love to listen to us and want us to come back all the time. Their last name is Gonzaga. One problem that we have run into out here is finding time to follow up and teach our potential investigators. It has been a very long time since the AP's or the OE's have really done real missionary work so almost all of the people we talk to have not really ever met with the missionaries before and want us to return to their homes. It is like the area is fresh again. Oh well, the next office elders can work that into their schedule haha. Thursday is the day that the new office elder comes in. I don't know who he is yet but I sure hope he is cool. I don't want to leave Elder Benosa with an awkward companion. I sure hope they will be able to keep the fire burning after I leave. I will get to train the new guy for 2 weeks and then I am out of here. 

So, your daughter is driving around in big scary Canadian cities and your son is driving around in big scary Filipino cities ha-ha. Which one is scarier to you? 

I am glad that you two had a nice safe trip to Las Vegas! Sounds like you two had a really fun time! I am glad that you were able to do something like that before school starts again. You have one more week before school starts again, Dad. You should go golfing or something haha. I wish I was coming home during summer time - that way I could spend a lot of time playing basketball and golf. 

I spoke in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and had no notice. The stake president was supposed to be the concluding speaker but I guess I ended up being that. I spoke on repentance... I guess that was the topic for that Sunday haha. I also ended up teaching our gospel principles class on Sunday as well. Again I had zero notice. I am really honing my impromptu speaking in a different language skill. I am sure everyone is sick of my voice now. 

It also dumped rain on us this week. It was unrelenting. We literally got over half a meter of rain. I can't imagine where it all has gone to or how much water actually got dumped on us. It has at least calmed down a fair bit. Earlier today we enjoyed some good basketball, ping pong and chess. 

Well love you lots and I am glad you liked the photos. I will send more next week maybe haha.

Elder Nielson
 Finally! P-Day!
 Golfing with these crazy people! :)






Group Selfie!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Out of the Office!!

Thanks for the emails! I am not running my companion into the ground too hard ha-ha. I think he is getting used to it now at least. Our first week together he just about died from exhaustion but he is doing pretty good now. His name is Elder Benosa and he is from South Cotabato Mindanao. 

Wow - I hope you two have a great time in Las Vegas! That will be a really fun trip for you guys! Now you get to use up all the money your saving for not having me at home ha-ha. Things are going to get expensive again when I get back. I plan on drinking milk until I bankrupt you. Speaking of milk I hope I haven't developed an intolerance to it. That would not be okay with me. 

Wow Kenzie is the first child in our family to go and get a university education. She is just blazing trails in the adult world! I hope she does really well. 

Guess what? President told me that I will get one more area. That means I am leaving this office. My last month in my mission will certainly be the biggest test of them all. I would probably say that close to 70% of all missionaries have a really hard time in the last 2 transfers of their mission. I think it is definitely the hardest time in the mission to really work hard and be a good missionary. In my opinion the end is the most critical. You could have been a great missionary your whole mission, but if you crashed in the end your only going to be remembered as that guy who couldn't finish strong, only worked hard to get the callings, or worst of all, wasn't really converted. Now if you started your mission really badly or maybe had some hitches in the middle of the mission, but you finished really strong. You will be remembered as a really good hard working missionary who really changed his life to reflect God's will. Which is better? The servant that said he would do the chore but ended up not doing it, or the servant that said he wouldn't do it but in the end he actually completed the task. Same exact principle. This last transfer in the field is going be my best and I am going to literally be a PMG missionary. 

Well anyways, Mike emailed me and said that he was moving to Lethbridge and that I could room with him if I wanted.  That could be another good opportunity depending on location and stuff like that. 

I will try to send some photos today. I am just going to send a whole bunch I think. My camera is not doing so good right now so I will get the photos from Elder Bryson. Well I guess I won't be seeing Chase or Jaxon for a total of like 4 years haha. That is a long time.

I hope that the Vegas trip goes nice for you two. Send some pictures.

Well love you lots.

Elder Nielson 
 Amazing talent!


 Check out the cargo on this Jeepnee!
 A little closer look....
 Just another day in the Philippines! :)
 Seems like these two visit Crispy Creme Donuts fairy often!

To: Me      From: Me    :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Changes in the Office!

Mom,
So you liked the little video I made for the family reunion? :) In the video I pretty much just greeted all of you and wished you all good luck with the family reunion and than to top it all off I said I was really excited to see all of you again in a couple of months. 
Well I had a really great week. It was so hard and challenging but my companion and I are really changing the office. My last companion didn't believe the office could be any different than it already was so we weren't able to change anything. This week we had meetings, filter runs, and lots of odd jobs but we were able to go tracting and teaching. We found several new investigators and have dozens of potentials. Mark 10:27 really is a true scripture. Being here in the office really requires me to work harder then I ever have before on my mission. It also requires me to effectively plan out every hour. I worry though, about my companion. I feel like I may be killing him right now. I hope I am not haha. My companion is having to make some big changes in his mission right now but he is doing an incredible job. I just hope I don't burn him out too fast. The APs are being a big help as well in supporting us in our work and we have been trying to support them well in their work. They are kind of in the same situation as we are. I know that with the work that Elder Benosa and I are putting into the office we will see some big miracles before I leave this place. 
I can't believe Chase and Jaxson are already leaving on their missions! I have gifts for both of them but I guess I can mail it to them after my mission. 
I will be back in the house only a month or so after Kenzie leaves to Lethbridge. Hey I guess I probably won't even get to see her at the airport because it will be in the middle of a school week when I get back home, right? I better stop talking about stuff like that before I make you guys too trunky ha-ha.  
Well I hope things at home continue to go just as good as they having been going. 
Love you lots!

Hey Dad! 
Pretty cool story you sent me about the tornado you saw up close in Foremost! That's too bad that you weren't able to get those pictures ha-ha. That probably was a once in a life time opportunity if you're that close to a tornado. Tornado in Tagalog is buhawi but I don't know why they have a word for it because there is no such thing as a tornado here in the Philippines. Everyone here always says how scary it must be to have tornadoes and stuff back in Alberta and I always say the Typhoons are way scarier than tornadoes. 
Well good luck and be safe with that little mini vacation you and Mom have planned. That will be very fun for you two.
I think it is just awesome that the missionaries just love it back at home. I don't think once in the whole history of Rosemary did a mission president ever visit our town. That is super cool. I am glad that he had a good time at the baptism. Well thanks for the email.
Love you lots.

Elder Nielson 

A Quick Letter but Pictures Included!! Yay!

Hey mom,
It is super late right now and we just got back to the office. We had to help with a sick sister for most of the day so our P-day got destroyed ha-ha. Oh well, at least I got to play basketball earlier today and my companion is going to teach me how to play ping pong next week. He played in College. The sick sister's name is Sister Pablo. We took a picture with her. I may send you one.  
Oh and thanks a ton for all of the wonderful photos. I cant wait to see all of your shining smiles in person. I bet a whole lot has changed since I have been gone. But don't worry, I am not really thinking about you. Actually I almost forgot to email you guys. I was more worried about getting my 10 OYM's before I go home tonight. Our mission is doing this faith experiment where every night all of the elders and sisters in the whole mission have to talk to at least 10 people everyday consistently for a month and than we will assess how our faith as a mission has grown. I somehow need to go and talk to 7 people on my way home tonight. 
Sorry this is such a short letter. Its really all I have time for this week! 
Well, love you lots! Hope you have a good week.
Elder Nielson


 Driving ahead! Yikes!
 Driving behind! Yikes!

 Elder Benosa and I with Sister Pablo.
Sister Galbraith with Sister Pablo, her companion and Elder Benosa. Does everyone look a little too happy? Except for poor Sister Pablo!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A New Companion!

My new companion isn't here yet. He should be showing up in the next couple of days though. His name is Elder Benosa. I will maybe send photos of us next week. We no longer have any progressing investigators. We gave our investigators to the APs because the one AP is related to the family and he would really like to teach them. They are still kind of our investigators though. 

I am getting a little tired of not really having any P-Day. I think I have now done 3 months in the office and only played basketball 1 time. That is super sad right? Actually not getting to relax through physical activities is my least favorite thing about the office. 

I am glad that Rosemary is doing so good with all the missionary work out there. If some of the missionaries realized how hard some of the areas in other missions are, they would stop complaining about their areas and start working hard. I consider Rosemary to be a very hard area for missionary work but I am glad that it is doing so well. Without good member support  in areas like back home I can only imagine what the work would be like. So glad to be here in the Philippines where even if the ward is terrible and wants nothing to do with missionary work the work is still fairly easy. 

I have notice as well that the dollar has dropped a ton. What is going on?  

Well we have ton of trunky missionaries walking around the mission home right now. I am already ready for them to leave and they have only been here for like 1 day haha. I hate when batches leave. I can't wait till the new guys get here. It is way more fun with the new guys. They act like a really good recharge to the mission's spiritual batteries. 

Yes I go home still on October 21st. That is my last day. Don't want to offend you guys or anything but I am so not ready to go home and I really don't want to either. I could totally do another year out here in the mission field. Oh well, I guess all good things come to an end. 

I will try to work on something for the Nielson Reunion back at home. When is the family thing? I don't know if I will be able to find time to do something but I will really try to send something later today. Love you lots.

Elder Nielson

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!
Gorgeous!

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?