Monday, December 29, 2014

Hollywood Area 12-29-2014


I just wanted to say thanks again for being the best family anyone could ask for! Skypeing on christmas was legendary and I really loved seeing all your beautiful faces! Like we talked about I wanted to give a shout out to Grandma Kathi, and Dom for the gift card! I got it this week, so thank you so much for that! I'm thinking today I will send my SD Card of all my pictures from the mission so that should get to this house this week.

Haha I honestly have no idea what to say since it feels like we talked just yesterday! LIfe here in Hollywood is great. The biggest thing that we're worried about right now is just helping out our zone. Like I said, our zone is the biggest zone in the mission, and I don't know if this is how it is for other zones but it seems like we have a lot of stuggling missionaries. Haha the Lord knows I need to have patience, and he's really testing me. Because honestly all I want to do is just go hard in the paint in our own area, and only have to worry about our investigators and our ward and our members, but sadly that is not the case. Our main focus is still our area, and our investigators but just added on top of that is the other problems we have to deal with our missionaries. It's fun though. ;)

I wanted to share one thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately in my personal study time. And what has been coming to my mind a lot is the gift of repentance. And I use the word gift, because that is truly what repentance is! Before the mission I thought of repentance as just this long and painful process that you never wanted to do, because it meant you were making mistakes. But now the mission has truly changed that. I am so grateful for repentance. Because it means I can change! The word repentance literally means change. And I have learned that if I am not changing, then I am not repenting. And if I'm not repenting, then I'm not qualifying myself for the fulness of the Lord's blessings or the Celestial Kingdom. It's pretty simple if you think about it. I'm so grateful for my Savior, who suffered all for me, and for each one of us, so that we can repent, and truly change. It brings me great hope and peace to know that through my Savior all of my faults and weaknesses can be overcome, and that they can become my strengths. The reason I wanted to share this is because in this upcoming year, we always make New Year's Resolutions. And really a resolultion is a symbol, of one's desire to change, or repent. I pray that each and everyone of us, as we reflect on this past year will be able to make acheavable goals and plans so that we may truly change and become more like our Savior. And just like we read in Matthew, that there is joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents, I know that there will be joy in heaven as we change and repent and become more like our Savior this upcoming year!

I love you all and thank you for everything!
Elder Nielsen

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hollywood, FL area. New companion Elder Brimley 12-22-2015


Merry Christmas in 3 days everybody! I can't wait to see all your beautiful faces! We should be skyping sometime around 1 oclock our time here. I was happy to see it finally snowed in Utah! Now you guys can go and carve some mountains! Haha the weather here in Florida. Exactly the same as always! haha it's the greatest place ever.

So I'm sure you all are wondering what my new area is and companion. Let me just say it was a huge surprise at transfer meeting! Haha I went to an english ward! So my new is area is actually in Hollywood, right next to Ft. Lauderdale. It's the furthest north I have been in my mission. It's like a totally different world! My new companion's name is Elder Brimley. He is such a boss. I have been so blessed in my mission to have served with just amazing companions. This is his last transfer, so in mission lingo I will be "killing" him. He is super focused though, and he just wants to work so hard his last transfer so we're going hard that's for sure! As well what was a big surprise is that we are the Zone Leaders of the Ft. Lauderdale Zone. So what that means, is that we're just responsible for the performance of the missionaries in our zone and as well we have to train and help out all the district leaders. There are 26 missionaries in our zone, one of the biggest in the mission. So it's kinda been crazy this past week going to all of the district trainings and meeting all of the missionaries, but I've loved it!

I really loved my last area. Coral Reef was a boss area and I was sad to leave. But our area here in Hollywood is a straight gold mine. haha what I mean by that is that our ward here has had more convert baptisms the past 2 years than any other ward in the mission. (Or, at least that's what our ward mission leader told us.) So yeah, the people here are awesome. I thought the ward in Coral Reef was culturally diverse, and then I came here. Haha the ward is giant, and there are people from everywhere! One of the counselors in the bishopric is from Nigeria. There's a bunch of huge haitian families, as well as latins, and americans. There's also some people from Russia, and Europe. Crazy fun! The ward supports us super well, and just loves missionary work! So I feel super blessed to be here.

I'm sorry I don't have much time left to share a miracle story, but I will briefly. This week a former investigator texted us out of the blue, and his text said this, "Yo homies, when am I gettin baptized?" Haha we both we're freaking out so we went over made sure he was still living the commandments and he got interviewed, and will be getting baptized on tuesday. So that was super sick! Well I love you all! I'm so excited to talk to you on Christmas! I'm so grateful to be a missionary! And I'm so grateful for my savior Jesus Christ, and for this time to celebrate His birth!
Elder Nielsen 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last day in Coral Reef North Area 12-16-2014


First off I want to say THANK YOU for the Christmas packages! You guys went so hard on that 24 days of Christmas thing! Haha I wanted so bad to just open them all up right there, but I guess I have learned a little bit of patience on my mission because I have been opening only 1 a day! :) As well, I'm sorry little sisters, but I have like no time to email lately and I have a lot to write about today! But I promise next week that I will reply to all of your emails! :)

So as you can tell today is Tuesday. . . Which means this week is transfers! They cut this transfer 1 week short so that all the dying missionaries get home right before Christmas. So transfer calls came last night, and my nino will be staying here in Coral Reef North, and sadly, I will be transferring! You know how it is they don't tell us until tomorrow so I will find out tomorrow where my new area will be! I honestly have no good guess as to where I go, but I hope it's to pequena Havana!

This week we also had the Mission Christmas Conference. So fun! Whenever the whole mission gets together it's just rowdy. We started off with Christmas messages from President, and his wife, and then everyone brought white elephant gifts so we did that. Then to finish off each zone, prepared some kind of Christmas skit. Hilarious! haha some zones went so hard! For our zone's skit we did twelve days of Christmas but we mixed it up and it was 8 days of Homestead Christmas and then for each day it was something different and there was a little skit for each day. All in all, Christmas conference was great.

All well this week we had 2 baptisms! whoop whoop! Ulda and Griselda got baptized! As I look back on this past week there's a scripture that comes to my mind in Alma 37:6 which says, "but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" This past transfer it felt like we had just been doing everything that we could and we just weren't seeing the miracles. Then this past week the Lord blessed us with 2 incredible baptisms. The reason why that scripture came to my mind is because both our baptisms started out as a small and simple thing. We found Griselda while we were biking and we stopped and talked her. And Ulda we found just by knocking her door. It all started by just doing the small and simple things and truly miracles have been brought to pass in their lives. It was a great baptismal service, and I will be sending some pics. We went and saw both of them yesterday and it was just awesome to hear from them about their experiences. They both are very similar because they are kind of shy, and timid, but yesterday they both just would not stop talking to us and they said they just felt "happy". It truly strengthened my testimony that this gospel brings happiness. It's sad that I'm leaving tomorrow but I will definitely keep in touch with them!

I know this is the Lord's work. I'm so grateful to be here on my mission. I honestly love it more than anything else I've ever done. I'm so grateful for this Christmas season. Truly, our Savior is the Gift that God has given us. And all we must do is strive to follow His example everyday and we will be happy! Have a great week and I will let you know next week all about my new area.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Coral Reef North Area 12-8-2014

A member bought us all super hero shirts!
Thank you as always for all your wonderful emails and pictures! Those christmas pics were super awesome! It feels a lot like christmas here too, even though it still is 75 and sunny all the time! haha I know this is gonna sound like the most wimpy thing ever but it actually got a little bit cold this week! haha for real! It gets dark at like 6 now and as soon as the sun goes down, it cools down quite a bit. So then were biking and were still in short sleeves so it can get pretty chilly! I'm excited to get the christmas package! I should get it this week because we have a christmas mission conference on Wednesday.

This week there were a lot of good things that happened. We got to teach Ulda everything this week and she was super solid. She passed her interview on saturday night and she was solid for baptism the next day, but then on Sunday morning when we went to go round her up for church she wasn't there and her mom said that her friend was in the hospital and that she was there with her. Sadly, she has no cell phone so we had no way of contacting her. And we haven't seen her since. Hopefully she is still chill though, and we can set up a solid day for her baptism.

This week as well we did a FHE with a huge honduranian family. There was literally like 30 people in this tiny little house. Haha it was super rowdy but super fun. There are several people living there who aren't members so were trying to work with them. We had all of their kids act out the nativity as we read it out of the scriptures. (Just like we do back home on christmas eve :)) Then we taught about the role of Jesus Christ. It was a super good lesson and were going to be working with the non members of the family this week for sure.

We also found a super awesome cuban lady that came to church yesterday. Her name is Griselda. We taught her the word of wisdom this week and she had been drinking coffee for all of her life and she gave it up in one day. So sick. She should  be getting baptized this weekend as well.

Sorry I'm out of time now, but i love you all, and keep sharing the gift! Remember our savior Jesus Christ because truly He is the reason for the season! Have a great week!
Elder Nielsen

Monday, December 1, 2014

Coral Reef North area 12-1-2014

Thanks for sending all the pics! I loved hearing all about your thanksgiving! It sounded like you guys had a real rowdy time with all the fam together! Once again, I just want to say how grateful I am for all of you! Truly, I have the greatest family on earth!

Our thanksgiving here was incredible. We got fed by some members and at their house there was like 30 people jammed into this little house. It was super fun, and we ate a TON of food! This week has been a super solid week for us here. We were able to get a lot of work done! I can't remember if I told you but one of our former investigators this lady named Gloria called us not to long ago, and told us she wanted to feed us. It was super random, but we went over and talked to her and started teaching her again. She told us she would only come to church if we would go to church with her so we could see where she was coming from. So we got permission from our mission president, and last night we went to a catholic mass with Gloria! I don't really know what to say about it, other than that it was an interesting experience. . . haha we definitely got some good looks from some people there, but it was fun! I'm not gonna lie they had some really good music though! ;) Afterwards we had a long talk with Gloria, and we basically dropped her. She has just done too much of her research on the internet. It was sad, because honestly she would be an incredible member of the church and she needs to be! She just let other supposed "facts" about the church determine her decision rather than what she felt as she read and prayed about the Book of Mormon.

Enough of that though, let's talk about some of the people that we have who are progressing! Our most progressing investigator right now is this awesome Nicaraguan lady named Ulda. I'm pretty sure I wrote about her last week, but she came to church again yesterday! Sadly, we weren't able to teach her at all during the week because she works like crazy, but this week she only works 2 days so were gonna teach her and baptize her! She's super funny, because she literally has 14 little Chihuahua's living in her backyard! haha it's insane! If you ask her how many she has though she will only say 9. Because I guess that's the law that you can only have 9 dogs! She's super solid though, and she is way fun to teach.

That's about all I have time for this week, but once again I love you all and thank you for all that you have done for me! I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Redeemer and that His Church is here on the earth! I want to invite you all to go and post the He is The Gift video on both your instagrams and facebooks. And if you could get on mine too Mom, and post it that would be great! I love you all and have a great week!
Elder Nielsen