Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The End!! 11-24-2015


See you in 2 days!! ;) I love you guys so much and I can't wait to see you and hear all about your lives and tell you about all of the experiences and lessons that I have learned! 

Love, Elder Nielsen

Monday, November 16, 2015

Palm Springs North 11-16-2015


Yo!! I feel the exact same way as all of you! I'm so done emailing! Haha I think that's a true sign that my time as a missionary is coming to an end. I wish I would have brought my camera with me today, but I forgot! So. . . Forgive me, but I will send a boss last email next week!

This week we just went crazy hard! The bags under my eyes, are about past my nose their so big! haha but it's ok. It's been really good this last transfer to just be a zone leader and just go hard in our area. It's helped me to just get any last desires for the work out of me! We found a super cool lady this week named Rachel. It was awesome because she was the exact person that we had prayed to find and then we found her. She works at the hospital and works super long shifts. She started a shift late saturday night, that all the way through Sunday. Then during her lunch break she came to church for sacrament meeting! It was amazing! The only time she had off she took it to come to church, and she loved it. At church she accepted a date for my last day in the mission, so hopefully we can help her be ready by that day so that I could baptize on my last day in the mission! That would be legendary! 

That's about all I have to report, and about all that I have time for! haha I'm sorry, but I promise that I will have good stories for when I get home! I love you guys so much! I can't wait to see you! Thank you for all of your support to me over my mission! I truly have the best family ever! And mom if there is anyway that you could get the stake president to release me through the phone on Thursday or whatever that would be great. Because I do not want to have to resist the temptation to watch football on Thanksgiving day with the family! Anyways whatever happens happens! See you in 10 days!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Palm Springs North 11-9-2015


Wow, first off, I have to say congrats to Mom, for hiking from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon! That hiked looked like a lot of fun, and you seem like a supernatural athelete now! So I must say I'm impressed! haha you're probably in way better shape than me now, so when I get home you're going to have to run my butt off! ;) I really can't wait to see you guys! I don't think it will hit that I'm actually going home until I land in SLC because it still doesn't feel real to me! 

Missionary life is pretty normal here right now! Haha I'm so sorry but I literally have like nothing to say about this week. I can't really think of any cool stories from this week. . . Oh! here we go. So this week we were knocking doors, and every house in our area has a little fence around it with a gate. And whenever we get up to the gate we always whistle and shake the fence so that way if there's any dogs they come running up and we know not to go in. So one house we whistle, and shake the gate and we see no dog. So we go in and knock the door, and the next thing we hear is a gnarly snarl, coming from behind us. We jump around and there is a fat, pit bull momma, just chilling right there! I about pooped my pants. Luckily the owner of the house came out and stopped the dog from attacking us, but I'm pretty sure if he hadn't been there it would have been an all out battle! haha!

Something else cool, that happened this week was our stake had a huge "International Dinner". Where every ward is assigned a country and then they all bring a bunch of food from that country and meet together and play music and hang out. It was really fun because I got to see a bunch of members and people from my past wards that I've served in. The fountainebleau ward, and miami lakes ward, and miami YSA branch were all there. So it was cool to see a bunch of people again before I head home. Not to mention there was a bunch of good food so that was fun. ;) 

Haha sorry I don't have much else to say! I love you guys a lot, and I will see you soon! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Palm Springs North 11-2-2015


Wow, I love you guys! I can't wait to see you in like 3 weeks! But, I promise I'm not trunky! haha so I don't have much to say this week because I will literally just be able to tell you guys everything in the flesh soon. So . . . But to answer some of your questions. Momma, for school I do not have a clue what kind of classes are good to take or what I should do. Not in the least bit do I know what I want to do. All I can say is just choose some super general classes for me to figure out what I like. And yes I did do some ap classes, but I only passed the AP calculus test. 

This week was an interesting week. Satan seemed to just come out with all guns firing this week. That is what usually happens after a super good week, but our zone still did really good and we baptized 4 as a zone this weekend! In our area, not much happened other than with Umberto. So, Umberto was in a super interesting situation where he was living with a lady who used to be his girlfriend, but now they no longer like each other in the least bit. But this lady (her name is Cathy) lived with her mom who was super old and about to die. So they were both taking care of her and then the situation just got so bad with the mom, that even the hospitals wouldn't help them because they said she just needed to die. . . So, yeah, a really weird situation and it was just stressing U out super bad because he didn't want to leave Cathy to take care of her by herself, but at the same time he didn't have a job and he wasn't getting the opportunities that he needed to provide for himself. So, long story short he dropped us for the time being just so that he can get his life stable again. Super disappointing, but it's all good! 

For Halloween, we didn't really do much either. Haha sorry this is like the most boring email ever! We had to be inside by 7 so we just hung out with another companionship of elders and carved some pumpkins and ate some candy. Nobody even came and knocked our door for trick or treating! 

I'm really looking forward to this next week because this week is my last week to be able to find people to be baptized before I come home. So this is literally the last hurrah, if you want to call it that! We've got a lot of work to do, but I know that the Lord will strengthen us this next week to accomplish what we need to accomplish! I really do love you guys so much! Have a fantastic week! 

Elder Nielsen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Palm Springs North 10-26-2015

I bet you were getting a little nervous since it's so late, and you hadn't received my email yet! ;) Don't worry I didn't forget! Haha I'm sure your probably sick of all of my emails anyways, their all basically the same! Haha, they all go: Hey, what's up, this week was good, we taught this person, or we baptized these people, the church is true, love you, bye! haha! But the reason why I'm emailing so late, is because earlier today we had a zone activity with all of our zone. We had everyone meet at our chapel here in Miami Lakes and we did a whole bunch of games and activities. And we had to set it all up and take it all down, so that's why it's so late. And as usual I don't have much time, so I will keep it brief!

This week has been a week to remember for sure! God has been so good to our Zone, and to our Area. it's been amazing to see how much progress our zone has made in just the past 2 weeks. The last weekend of last transfer our zone had the lowest totals in the mission for New Investigators, Investigators @ Sacrament, and Baptismal Dates. But, this past weekend, we literally 3X our amount of New Investigators, 2X our amount of Investigators @ Sacrament, and 4X our amount of Baptismal Dates! It was legendary!! I've literally never seen anything like this where missionaries have been able to turn things around improve so quickly! So that was really exciting for us. 

The other exciting thing that happened this week has been with our investigator named Umberto. He is a 50 year old man, who has really had a difficult life. He's constantly been up and down, and has had some serious drinking problems in the past. The spanish Elders knocked into him 2 weeks ago, on Saturday and invited him to come with them to church the following day. And he did! He really enjoyed it, but he said he would prefer english so they passed him to us. Umberto is an interesting guy, because the way that he relieves stress is by talking. So the first time we met him he literally would not stop talking!! Haha I was so frustrated because he was impossible to teach! So after meeting him for the first time, and 45 minutes into our first lesson and after not having said anything other than, 'hi, i'm elder Nielsen." we handed him a book of mormon, and told him to read it, and left! I had no idea if he was actually going to do it, but he did! And when we came back the next day, he had read, from 3 Nephi 11 to 3 Nephi 20. All of the Introduction, and testimonies of the witnesses, and also from 1 Nephi 1 to 1 Nephi 10. Our jaws hit the floor, as he described to us in full detail everything that he read! he remembered the dates, and names of everything! He is extremely intelligent, so we decided that since he loved to talk so much we would let him teach himself! So every day this past week, we would go over, follow up with what he had read (whether it was a pamphlet or chapters in the book of mormon). Then he would explain it all to us in perfect detail and take about 30 minutes. Then we would leave him something new to read, with questions to answer and we would come back the following day and follow up again. It's been the strangest thing, yet some of the most spiritual! I've never had someone be able to learn so much about the gospel without me saying anything to them, other than, "Here, read this, pray about it, and answers these questions and we will follow up tomorow." Haha it makes our job really easy! :) He came to church this past Sunday and felt the spirit so strong that after church he asked us, "So could I be baptized today!?" We about died with joy! But he is set for november 7th, and we are so excited to continue to help him! That's about it for this week! 

I just want to say how much I love you guys! I really am so excited to see you in 4 weeks! Ahhh! Words can't describe how sad I am going to be when I leave Florida, but words can't describe how happy I will be when I get to see all of your beautiful faces! You all are amazing! I love you! Have a blessed week!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Last transfer!!- Palm Springs North. New companion Elder Tenney 10-19-2015


At the beginning of my emails I never know what to say, other than that I love you guys! haha so I will go ahead and jump right into it!

This week has been the biggest relief of my life! haha! I seriously feel like I've lost 15 pounds! Being an Assistant was a lot of fun, but holy cow it was a lot of responsibility. This week has been fantastic though! My new companion is Elder Tenney. He's chill. He's from Las Vegas. He loves sports, so we get along great. The best thing about this week has just been not having to worry about anything other than fulfilling my purpose and helping the missionaries in our zone do the same. It's amazing! I still feel tired just because I'm so old, but seriously the Spirit is just carrying me! Our area is called Palm Springs North. We cover an english ward. In fact, it is a brand new ward. This week was only the second sunday that it has existed. What happened is that there were 2 giant wards, and so they split both those wards, and combined the middle of it into our ward, called Palm Springs. It's interesting because literally everyone is new. Our bishop and all of his counselors are first timers and then today in sacrament probably 15 people received new callings. It's really cool to see just how even though everyone is coming from different wards, were all still unified and working towards the same goal, and helping each other.

The majority of our members are hispanics that speak or are trying to learn english. It's an english ward though, so we only speak english. We meet at a chapel in Hialeah which is the heart of all the cubans. Our area is big, but the majority of our area covers this city called Opa-Locka. Opa Locka is an interesting place. . . I thought Ft. laud was hood. It doesn't even compare to Opa Locka! Haha! Don't worry though, I promise were staying safe! It's a fun place to be and I'm excited for this next week to just work our area to the ground! Our only investigator right now is a woman named D. And she is awesome! She's an older single black woman, who is a school teacher. She has dreads that go down to her knees and she loves Jesus! She came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it and hopefully will be getting baptized soon! :) I'm sorry that my email was so rushed and short today, but unfortunately I don't have much time! I love you guys! I can't wait to see you in 5 weeks! Have an amazing week and remember to ponderize! ;)

Elder Nielsen

Saying goodbye to the office life

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 10-12-2015

With my Jamaican Grandma Sis. Brady, she always hugs all the elders before they leave!

Wow, what a week it has been! I can't believe that the floors in our house were re-done this week! So weird, things are going to be so different when I get home! I'm probably going to have a panic attack when I get home, but oh well I will worry about that later! haha! As always thanks for all the updates on life. I'm pretty sure you guys have been the most loyal family with emails and updates so I really appreciate that! I don't have a whole lot of time, so I will go ahead and jump into it!

This past week has had a strange surreal feeling about it. What I mean by that is it just hasn't felt real. I've been in Ft. Laud for so long this place has literally just become home to me! I know like every member in the ward, I have the city memorized, and this past week just didn't feel like my last week here! And then on top of that I was having all these strange thoughts about how I was originally supposed to go home in 2 days, and it all was just so weird! (Sorry, Mom again about the extension, but how cool is it that I'm coming home on thanksgiving day now! ;) Way better than a random day in October!) So yeah this week was strangely tough, because normally you never know when you're getting transferred until the day before, so you only have 1 day of 'limbo' is what I call it. But I had a full week of it! Then yesterday at church saying goodbye to all of my rc's and everyone about made me sweat buckets out of my eyes, but luckily I held them all in like a real man! ;) and I promised all of them that we would come and visit in december, so you better get ready for some RC visits when we're here! It won't be a vacation, but a 'Missionary Work Vacation'! ahh yeah! 

Even with the strangeness of this whole week, we did still have some great experiences. Mainly with one of our investigators named Elivira. E is a little bit crazy, but super legit at the same time. She's a mom, with 4 kids who are insanely adorable and love us. And she served in the US Army for a few years, and has been shot 3 times, and she's also cousins with Deion Sanders, and she pinky promised me that she would invite me and my companions over to her house when Deion came to visit. Because she said he comes and visits about once a year! So sick! But Elvira is someone who has just been completely prepared by God. She dated a Mormon guy for about a year and already knows a ton about the church. We saw her and her family everyday this week, and they were pumped for church on Sunday. Then on Sunday morning as they got into their van for church it wouldn't start because the battery was dead. So E went and banged on her neighbors door until they woke and they came and gave her a jump! Haha so legendary! Super sad to leave them, but their gonna get baptized for sure! 

I'll just wrap up by saying how grateful I am to have such a loving family! I love you guys so much! Thanks for not complaining too much about me staying an extra 6 weeks! ;) I'm so grateful that God has given me these last 6 weeks to change just a few more lives! I'm very excited to go back to the Hialeah Zone, (it was the zone where I started my mission) and get things going! I know God has kept me here for some specific reasons and I'm very excited to figure them out! I love you all and have a fantastic week! 
Elder Nielsen
Elvira and kids
At a local baptist church with Shanice and her family. Her mom died this week and they had the funeral at this baptist church

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 10-5-2015

Thrift store shopping

I wanted to start off by saying congrats to Dad on finishing his 9th St. George Marathon! Holy cow, my Dad is a beast! And also congratulations to Blaine and Jen for giving birth to the cutest baby ever! Wow they have some cute kids!

The Highlight of this week was definitely conference weekend! Wow, my appreciation for Apostles, and Prophets has grown so much! Before I dive in to how much stuff I learned I'll give a brief summary of the week! This week started off with preparing for MLC which was on Friday. It went really good, it definitely wasn't the best training we've ever given but it was still good! It's crazy to think that was the last training I will give as an assistant! But don't let anybody here in the mission know that! ;) Nobody here other than my companions knows that I will be dropping. I'm really looking forward to it. Life as an assistant is fun, and you feel like you have a lot more freedom, but at the same time it's so exhausting! It will be really nice to just enjoy my last 6 weeks not having to worry about all the other extra junk that comes from being AP.

This week was also just one of those weeks where you can't seem to catch a break! Sometimes as a missionary you just lose contact with all or all of your investigators drop you! haha this week was definitely one of those! It's all good though, we did find one super solid Haitian lady named Marie (who speaks English) that came to conference and loved it! Other than that not much happened because we didn't have a whole lot of time to work in our area between MLC planning, actual MLC and General Conference!

But the main thing that I learned this week is about Personal Progression. I'm so bad at remembering details but there was one talk where it was all about receiving inspiration for our own lives and constantly be progressing. Because this life is like an escalator moving down and we're trying to run up it. So if we're not constantly trying to keep running forward then in reality we are moving backwards. What I loved about the talk, is that if we're really seeking what God wants us to improve on, He won't give us a giant list of all the things that we suck at and then tell us to improve them all. It will just be one aspect of our lives and then build upon that. I think sometimes we as normal human beings are able to see all of our many imperfections at once and then try and fix them all at once. Which obviously never works, and will eventually lead to discouragement. I learned how important it is for us to identify what small, and simple aspects of our lives the Lord wants us to improve on, and then with His help start working to fix them! I know that we have a Heavenly Father who sees us a people with divine potential. I'm so grateful that He views us as what we can become rather than what we are in the moment. I know that through our Savior Jesus Christ and coming unto Him and following Him we can make our weaknesses become our strengths. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Nielsen

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 9-28-2015

The great Iguana Hunters

To start off here's a quick funny story. So, on Saturday a member took us to red robin for lunch and on the tv right in front of us was the BYU vs. Michigan game in the 1st quarter! Let's just say it wasn't too hard to tell how the game was going to end just based on the 1st quarter! ;) haha but it was still exciting to hear that you all had fun time at the game!! Also, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Grandma Nielsen! Grandma you are such a trooper! I hope you get feeling better with the knee replacement surgery! I can't imagine going through that, but just work hard through the therapy and you'll be back up in running in no time! Our mission President actually had double knee replacement right before he came here to Florida! And you can't even tell if he didn't tell you, so you can do it!!

I also want to start off with an apology because I already know this email is going to be very sub par. . . Unfortunately we spent a little bit too much doing things earlier today and now we only have a few minutes before we have to head out to start working! But this past week went by way too fast. This past weekend as a mission for the last weekend of September we had a goal of 175 Investigators at Sacrament and we were calling it "End of September the Week to Remember". And it was awesome because we actually exceeded our goal and had 182! It was the highest total since almost a year! It was so legit! And it was great because here in our area we were able to contribute 7! We had a lot of "catastrophes" happen in our area, but we were able to overcome still and help 7 people to come!

The reason why I say some "catastrophes" is because as a companionship we also decided to nickname this past week as the #weekofmanystrokes. Let me explain. So, like I explained last week we had an amazing family with the mom named Sharronda at church. We taught Sharronda this whole week and she is golden! Her family soaked up everything that we taught them and loved it all. But then on Sunday morning we go over before church just to make sure everything was good for them to come to church, and Sharronda couldn't move any of the left side of her body. . . Apparently that night she had suffered another "mini stroke" and we showed up as they were leaving to take her to the hospital! Ahhhhh! Luckily she is still ok, we called her today and she is back home and we are going to see her tonight, but please pray for her! That was stroke #1. Stroke #2, came with our other investigator a woman named Quonza. And yes I already know what you all are thinking. . . "What are these crazy names!?!" haha don't worry people in Ft. laud sometimes just come up with the craziest names! haha I love it! But anyway Quonza was amazing because her and husband had recently moved here to Ft. Laud and they were praying and looking for a new church here in Ft. laud. Her husband is a truck driver for UPS, and left for a trip on Monday, but he told her that while he was on his trip she needed to find a "home church" for their family. Then 2 days later we come knocking on their door, and Quonza knew right away that we had been sent by God! We taught her the restoration and she loved it so much! She was more excited to come to church on Sunday than anyone I've ever seen before! But then on Saturday Satan comes in swinging. . . On Saturday Q's mother up in Orlando suffered a stroke and she had to make an emergency trip up there to be with her!! Ahhhh!! Luckily her mother is ok, and she will be coming back to Ft. laud this weekend, but please keep her in your prayers as well. AND THEN, to add on top of all of that I read an email this morning from Stu saying that he had a seizure/stroke this past week and they still don't know what's going on with him! What the junk!? It truly was a #weekofmanystrokes, but I'm just so grateful that everyone is still ok and alive and moving forward! Sorry for all the 'not so positive' stories but I figured I needed to illustrate just how insanely hard Satan goes to try and stop people from receiving the gospel! And to top it all off on a good note, like I said we still had 7 Investigators at sacrament meeting this past week so God truly did compensate and we have some good things coming! Because unfortunately it's looking like I only have a few weeks left here in Ft. laud. President told me this week that he wants to send me down to be a zone leader for my last transfer to help a zone that is really struggling. So that would mean I only have 2 weeks left here.

I love you all! Have an amazing week, and above everything else, please remember that you can do all things through Christ. Just like in Mosiah 24 God promises to lighten our burdens. He doesn't promise to always make them disappear but he tells us that he will strengthen us so we can endure them! Have an amazing week!

Elder Nielsen

Companions Elder Heyward and Elder Tanner

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 9-21-2015

Early morning sunrise

Life is good in the hood!! It sounds like life is still going great in Utah as well! I can't wait to bring you all back to Ft. Laud and just show you what it's really like! Haha you're jaws are going to drop! ;) Anyway, Mom, I really appreciate you asking me all of those questions, because sometimes it's hard to know what to write! So when you give me questions it helps me know! So never be afraid to ask a whole bunch of them!

So, about the package! I got it! Thank you so much for sending it! Those Oreo's were delicious! I'm going to have to give some to President because he is obsessed with Oreos! Subway isn't really my favorite place to eat, it's just close and cheap and it doesn't make me feel like complete crap when I eat it so that's why I asked! As far as our living situation goes, we live in a really nice house. It's easily the nicest house that I've lived in on my mission. As far as working goes, it's nice because we do spend a lot of time in our area. We only go into the office if there's a specific task that we have to do, so usually it's only once a week where we're in the office for most of the day. The main thing that takes up our time is exchanges. We go on exchanges all over the mission so we spend a lot of time driving to and from exchanges and dropping and picking people up. It's still great though because I love getting to spend the day with other missionaries and getting to know them better. I'm definitely a wimp when it comes to the cold! I hate the cold now! I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home, but please have some giant coats waiting for me!

This week was a legendary week here in our area. We got to do what are called "greenie exchanges". It's this exchange that President has us do, where we pick up one of the new missionaries and their companion and we bring them both into our area for a full day of work, and then we split and go hard in our area! We got to do 2 of those this week, and they were both amazing. For one of them I went with Elder Pratte. A new missionary who actually graduated from Timp. We had a great time together!

I wanted to share with you one really cool miracle that happened to us this week. So in the mission Saturdays are what we call "Round up" day. It's called round up because it's the day where see all of our investigators and make sure that they are solid and have plans to make it to church the next day. So on Saturday we had a ton of people to go see, and almost all of them dropped off. (Which is pretty typical in the hood) but nonetheless it was still less than desirable. Then at 8:30 at night I got a prompting to call one of our former investigators named Sherronda. She was amazing when we first taught her, but then she had a stroke and was in the hospital and we could never get a hold of her. So it had been about a month and a half since we had last contacted her through the phone. We called her and she answered and said that we could come by right then and teach her and her family! We went and taught her and her family the Restoration, and they committed to come to church the next day! So that next morning Sherronda and her husband and their 2 daughters came rolling into church with her in a wheelchair! It was legendary!

I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for all that you have done for me! I love the people of South Florida so much as well! They're definitely an interesting type of people but they really do love Christ and are trying their best to follow him. I know that the work that I am here doing is God's work. It's been the toughest yet greatest time of my life! I know that if we really want to find ourselves and who God needs us to be all we have to do is lose ourselves for Him! Have a blessed week!

Elder Nielsen

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 9-14-2015


I can't believe BYU won on another hail mary! That is legendary! It sounded like you all had a great week and everyone seems to be getting used to the school schedule and everything!  Mom, I haven't got the package yet, but I'm sure it came. I just haven't been to the office since Friday so we will check this week. So, as I'm sure you've noticed with me, and all my friends as well when it gets near the end of your mission everyone's emails just get worse and worse! So I'm sorry, I'm trying to still write good ones, but this week I'm just feeling extra lazy, so I will probably do most of it in pictures. Don't worry though, the pictures will be good! 

Just a quick update though! This week was a really quick one. On Friday we had MLC, where us and President give a training to all the mission leadership. We were super nervous, but it went way better than we expected. The spirit is so real, and helped us out a ton! Odaysha, and Shanice's nephew Dee were baptized on Saturday! It was legendary! Shanice

was so happy to see some of her family join the church, and now we're working on her sister (D's mother) so things are going great with their family! Other than that I don't have too much to say! The last 6 months of my mission have been some of the best so far! It's great because know I finally feel like I understand and know how to do missionary work. Before I would just try my hardest but still made so many dumb mistakes and didn't always understand everything, and got super stressed out. But now things are chill, in a good kind of way. I don't have to stress too much, I understand better how to actually help people, and know I get to help other missionaries do the same! 

I love you all so much, and hope you have a great week! Now get ready for some sick pics!

Elder Nielsen 

So, last monday for "pros" monday. (Which just means a not P day monday) We went down to Key West! President told us to go and check up on the elders down there, and it was sweet! So all of these first pictures will be of our trip down there! 

This is what it looks like driving down there

And the southernmost point marker