Monday, March 30, 2015

Miami Lakes YSA 3-30-2015


Wow!! What a week it has been!! We may not have been able to watch the actual march madness tournament but we definitely had some march madness here in Miami!! This week has been a lot of fun!! #ysalife I guess I'll just start off with some of the business stuff. Yes Mom, I got the GPS. I cannot thank you enough for that!! Haha we were driving around like chickens with our heads cut off before, but now were good. Also, I can't believe all of that sad news about the deaths. It's crazy to think how fast our lives here can go. It just shows how important it is for us to always thank Heavenly Father for keeping us here and for waking us up another day! 

Alright now for some of the March Madness! Like I had mentioned last week, working in a YSA area is a different experience. Haha but I didn't think it would be this different!! Haha some strange things happened this week. I won't go into detail but this week we decided that we were going to go and knock some campus housing on FIU campus. FIU was in my first area in Fountainebleau so I remembered seeing some open apartments we could go knock. So we go there and we started meeting just a ton of YSA people! Normally it's like you go knocking and you find 1 or 2 in an hour. Nah, it was basically as if we had just walked into a BYU campus housing and started knocking doors. So we met a lot of interesting people. . . And I'll just leave it at that. But all in all it was a good experience! 

This week we saw some amazing miracles!! Mainly with our investigator Jorge. I had mentioned him last week, but he is a super cool guy from Mexico. He had been to church a couple times before I got here, and he's been set for baptism from the beginning. So this week we finished teaching him everything and he got baptized on Sunday!! He is such a boss!! Probably one of the funnest people to teach in my whole mission. He is kind of a shy guy so when it came time for his baptism he got really nervous. Because basically our whole branch stayed for his baptism! There was probably like 60 people there because the branch hasn't had a baptism in so long everyone wanted to stay I guess! But he was able to calm down and you could tell he really felt the spirit. After his baptism he just kept telling us how he felt like a completely different person, and how he wanted it to stay that way always. He told us some pretty crazy stories about his life in Mexico and he has made some BIG changes to get to where he is today. 

I also received some really good news this week. We went on an exchange with one of the assistants. And the day before he had been in my old area in Hollywood. He said he had interviewed one of the people that I had found and taught. Her name is Taseia. She's the one who had a muslim background. But I guess she's getting baptized on Tuesday! Super cool!! 

I'm sorry I managed my time really poorly today, but I love you all so much I know this is the Lord's work. My commitment for you all this week is to watch the Because He Lives video and post it on everything and share it with someone personally. It's amazing! I know He lives!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Miami Lakes YSA with Elder Nogueira 3-23-2015

The view driving to Miami Beach
This was texted to me from a sweet member in Miami. At least he still thinks he's funny :)

What the junk!?! Haha i was expecting today to write a letter with the huge announcement of what my new area is and you already know!! That's pretty cool though that someone had recorded the transfer meeting and posted it. So, yup surprise my new area is Miami Lakes YSA!! For those who may not know YSA is an abbreviation for Young Single Adults. Which basically is a congregation of the church which is only for people ages 18 to 30 who are single without a kid. So basically it's a way to just help people date and get married. haha!! 

I'm not going to lie the first week in YSA has been super different! Throughout my mission basically all of my areas have been smaller bike areas. Until now. . . Our area literally covers all of the Miami Lakes stake. And the stake goes all the way from Miami beach to the everglades and then from North Miami down to Kendall. So basically all of Miami! Ridiculously huge!! Haha so it's been fun I've literally got to go everywhere this past week. We went to downtown Miami, then to Miami Beach, and then out to Hialeah. Basically we just go everywhere finding and teaching YSA people!! 

My new companion is Elder Nogueira. Super cool guy. His family is from Peru, and he was actually born there. He was raised most of his life in Payson, Utah. Really humble guy and just loves missionary work. We already get along really well. He loves to play basketball and sports so we have similar interests as well. We also live with 2 creole missionaries. One of them his name is Elder Murat. He's from Haiti but lived in Boston. His bishop is actually Bishop Blake who you know Mom!! So I was talking to him about them. So you can tell them that I'm living with one of the missionaries from their ward. 

Sorry Mom, I'm trying to do my best to answer all of your questions! ;) but yes I did get the package! The cord works great, and I will hook you up with some pics today! Elder Nogueira and I are zone leaders of the Miami Beach zone. It's a smaller zone because the stake is so big they split it into 2 zones. We have 8 areas in our zone. So compare that to the 13 areas that were in Ft. Laud zone, and it's significantly smaller. Basically our zone covers all of Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, and Inner Miami which is like the hood of all hood, a place called Liberty City, and Overtown. Our branch is a really cool branch. Easily the best YSA branch in our mission. There are a ton of RM's so they help us out a lot. The branch has about 50 to 60 active members. It's fun because you can relate to them all really easy. Whereas compared to in the past I was trying to relate to old latin people. Haha so it's fun to be around people our same age all day. Definitely my favorite part about being YSA is getting to teach YSA people. Because they're in a similar situation to us, we get to just be super good friends with them. Right now we have 2 solid investigators. One guy named Jorge who is from Mexico, and another guy named Tristan, who was born and raised in Liberty City. They are really fun to teach. The biggest struggle about being in YSA is definitely finding. Basically we just rely on referrals. Because we can go out and knock all day, but basically all we find are families or old people or people who have kids! Haha so basically we rely on referrals from other missionaries who find YSA in their area, and referrals from members of their friends. 

It's definitely been an adjustment because my whole mission I have been able to find people through my own efforts of knocking and talking to people, but now things are the exact opposite! It's all good though, we have already made some sweet plans of how were going to work with the members and find more YSA. We might even go to a Miami Dade College campus and just walk around and talk to people and teach them on the campus. haha we will see what happens!! 

Anyway I'm out of time and I feel like I'm getting carpal tunnel from this long email, but just know that I love you all!! I'm so grateful to have the best family in the world!! Really you all are amazing! I know this is the Lord's work and that He is going to put some amazing YSA people into our path this week! Have an amazing week!
Elder Nielsen 

This was one of the ladies that I interviewed for baptism in hollywood. I love Cuban Grandmas!! 

This is Me and Evelyn our investigator in Hollywood that is super cool! 

Me and some of the members in Hollywood. 

The Hollywood Crew. This was our apartment in Hollywood last transfer.

Me and Bro Tinny. Coolest Guy ever!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hollywood Area 3-17-2015 Transfers

Finally saw the ocean!!

So, I'm sure you all have figured out because of the email on Tuesday, that this week is transfers!! This whole transfer President has been telling me and Elder Hayward that we would be staying together because we're such a good companionship and we're really starting to get things going in the zone. So this week didn't even feel like it was the last week of the transfer because we didn't even tell anyone that one of us could potentially be leaving. So then last night the transfer call comes and the assistants said, "Elder Hayward. . . . Stays! Elder Nielsen . . . Transfers!"

Then what happened next I can only describe using similar words to the scriptures, "And Elder Nielsen wept." Haha I don't think I've ever been so devastated! Alright, I didn't actually cry, but nonetheless it still sucked!! I don't think I've ever loved an area as much as I've loved it here in Hollywood. The people are great, the Members are bosses, the zone is finally baptizing, we got some golden investigators and then BOOM, See ya!! Haha, so I know this sounds like me just totally complaining and murmuring but I gotta be honest that's exactly how I felt last night! But after a long and mighty prayer last night I have accepted the fact that I will be leaving and everything is chill! I'm swallowing my pride, and I have decided that no matter how much more I still feel like I need to do in Hollywood, Heavenly Father just has somewhere better for me. I have no idea where I will be going. Usually I can guess pretty close to where I'm going to go, but honestly I could go anywhere. I guess I will find out tomorrow at transfer meeting!!

Like I had mentioned before this week just seemed like a normal week for E. Hayward and I. It was actually a really FUN week! We had zone training on Wednesday, and it was great to be with the whole zone and give a little training. I felt the spirit super strong during it so that's always good. Then the rest of the week E. Hayward and I just dug in our heels and went to work!! This week was sweet because we were able to find some super cool people! I will just briefly tell you about one of them. On Wednesday after Zone training we met this Haitian lady named Evelyn. She was really receptive when we first knocked her door, but she was in a big hurry so we just set a return appointment the next day. Then the next day when we go over one of the first things she asks us is, "So did my sister send you??" And were both just kinda like, "Umm, No. . " We were just in the area knocking and we met you. She then proceeded to tell us about how her sister and brother in law live in Haiti and they are super active members of the church. And just a few days before we showed up she had been talking to her sister about the hard time that she had been having. And her sister straight up told her that she would send the missionaries. Then just a few days later we feel inspired to go and knock a street and we found her!! Haha it was such a cool experience and I just love when we get to see how God truly prepares his children, and then puts us in their path. So we taught her all week and then she came to stake conference on Sunday and loved it. The story doesn't end there though. Because we introduced her to one of our members who is from Haiti. They start talking to each other in Creole, and then it turns out that the members brother is a bishop in Haiti, and he is actually the bishop of Evelyn's sister's family. Haha super crazy connections and instant member friends!!

Anyway I'm about out of time, but I love you all so much!! As I mentioned before I feel like leaving Hollywood is going to be just as hard as leaving home! ;) Just kidding, but if there is one thing that the mission has taught me, it is to give up trying to do my will. Our savior was the perfect example of humility when he prayed, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine."As followers of Him, it is our job to do our best to say the same everyday. I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to represent my Savior and serve him here in South Florida. (No matter what city it may be! ;)) Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hollywood area 3-9-2015

We went fishing off the intercoastal one P-day, and this was all I got. Haha my favorite part though is my good friend Randy the hobo chilling in the back!

What's up everybody!?! I was happy to hear that you finally got to spend some time on the mountain! I'm not gonna lie, I miss that snow! But no worries I promise I'm not trunky! haha this week was kinda stormy for us here as well. One day it rained so hard that there was literally a lake in our backyard in the golf course. The whole course was just super flooded! Once again little sisters I'm so sorry I don't have anytime to reply to your emails. (Or anyone else's actually!) I feel super bad but it's just like there is never enough time!

I'm trying to remember exactly what happened this week, but not much is coming to my mind!! haha all the days are just starting to blur together and I can never remember what happened what day! So I'm not really sure what to write about this week, but I will try my best!! This week started off strong. Elder Hayward and I recommitted ourselves to being exactly obedient in every aspect of the work. So we've just been going super hard on cleaning our house and our car because that's what we were slacking the most in! haha I love cleaning! (I wish you could hear the sarcasm in my voice) But all is good in the hood!!

This week T ended up going out of town for the whole week! So we haven't seen her in forever but were seeing her tonight so things are going to start picking up! We also saw a huge miracle this week. We had a list of members who had recently moved into our ward and we decided to try and contact some of them and see what we could do to help out. So we plug in one of the addresses into our GPS and go to the house. As soon as we pull up I recognized the house, but because it was one of our former investigators named Hilda! She had come to church and loved it and accepted everything we taught she just could never meet with us because she was super busy with work. Well we walk up to the house and she is already outside! We start talking to her and it turns out she is still super interested! In our lesson with her right there she literally said the phrase, "Yeah, I want to be baptized!" Music to my ears!

I also got to do 2 baptismal interviews this week. Holy cow those are one of the greatest parts about being a missionary! One of the ladies that I interviewed was this older Cuban lady named Julia who reminded me so much of Terre one of my recent converts in Fountainebleau! She was the sweetest lady ever and her story is pretty amazing the sisters found her knocking and she just accepted everything right away. But she actually has cancer and begins treatment today. But the sisters found her at exactly the right timing to where she could come to church twice and be baptized the day before she goes into the hospital. God's timing is so good!

We had MLC this week. Which is missionary Leadership Council. Such a boss meeting! We have had some amazing trainings these past few weeks and things are really starting to pick up in our zone. We have zone training this next week so keep me in your prayers cause our missionaries definitely need this training. Other than that things are looking up!

I love you all so much, and I'm so grateful for all that you do for me. I'm so grateful to have been born into the situation I was. This week when we were out with our ward mission leader we had an interesting conversation. Our ward mission leader is like the greatest guy I've ever met. He loves coming out with us and he does so much missionary work. But he basically said something like this, "You guys don't know how lucky you are to have been born into the church. I wish I could have known earlier about the church and served a mission like you guys, because there is no greater joy." And that's why he loves coming out with us. Such a boss. That man has changed my life! Anyway have an amazing week! The church is true and share the good news with everyone!
Elder Nielsen

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hollywood Area 3-2-2015


What's up everybody!? It was so good to hear about all the fun events from this week!! I was super pumped to hear that BYU beat Gonzaga! haha actually as we were eating lunch somewhere this week I saw they were going to play and that gonzaga was ranked 3rd, but that's sweet that they actually won!! I also want to give a shout out to Maddie for being a trooper with her dance! I'm sorry I didn't get to reply personally to your email but just keep working hard. Maybe even send me a few pics of your blistered feet? ;) And a shout out for Kylie as well for getting into BYU! :) Man, I just have the best little sisters ever! And Kenz, don't think I've forgotten about you! You've always been my favorite sister. ;) But ssshh, keep that on the down low. haha just kidding you all really are amazing!!

This week was definitely one of those weeks where I just feel like Heavenly Father was looking down on us, and just said, "Good work Elders, here are some blessings." hahaha, as comical as that sounds thats really how we felt!! The week started out with a Zone Conference out in Naples! It was fun because we got to make the drive over to the "west side". Like I mentioned before that was a recent addition to our mission so it was cool to go and see what it was like over there, and get to know the new missionaries better. The trainings that we received there were some of the best trainings I've ever heard!! I felt like everything that President and the Assistants trained was perfect! So that was a good uplifting trip!

One of the biggest blessings that we saw this week as well was with Pierre and PJ! Holy cow so much drama has gone down with this. I don't think I've ever had such a hard time baptizing a 9 year old kid that just wants it so bad!! haha but the drama is over with!! (well mostly. . .) Pierre came to church on Sunday after having worked an all night shift at his security job, and he received the Aaronic Priesthood! Yes! Finally!! So everything is ready and good to go for him to baptize PJ this week. We still just have to work out what day exactly. . . that's why I said mostly but we should be chill!

Another huge blessing came this week on Saturday. We have been trying to work more with the ward and find some part member families that we could start teaching. So we got referred to this one Haitian family that hadn't been to church in forever and no one knew who was still living at their house. So we went by and we met this super receptive lady named Taseia. She didn't really know who we were or anything about us. So we basically just approached it like a normal door approach. We prayed with her, and after the prayer she was super receptive. We started talking a little bit more and it turns out she's a muslim. Well kinda, she said her Mom is pretty hard core Muslim but her Dad not really. And she grew up going to a christian school. So we invited her to church the next day, and she said, "Ohh, alright, but I'm already planning on going to my fiance's church tomorow." So then we asked her what church it was and she said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." We just point to our tags. Haha it was so legendary! So then she came to church the next day, and loved it!! We had a follow up lesson with her last night after church and she also accepted to be baptized!

There were many other blessings that we saw this past week but I'm sorry I've got no time left now!! I just want to finish by saying that I know that Faith is a real thing! I loved how you mentioned in your letter to me mom, that there are two parts to faith, belief and action. As a missionary I have learned the importance of acting in faith, and believing that God will be there to catch us and help us along the way! I have learned that there are many times when we may not understand exactly why we may be doing something. But I know that as we act in faith that we will be able to see the evidences of those actions! I love you all and have an amazing week!

Elder Nielsen