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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale West 9-8-2015. New companion Elder Tanner


Really another T-Swift concert?!? I'm so jealous!! Haha I was glad to hear that you all had a great time though! Dad, I'm so pumped right now just hearing about the BYU vs. Nebraska game! That sounded so intense! Yesterday a guy was telling us all about it, and asked if we had seen it, he said it was the best play he had ever seen! Alright Mom, so if you haven't sent the package yet, I would love you forever if you could also just send a Subway gift Card with it! Thanks! :) 

Alright, it's been a long 8 days so I've got a lot to fill you in on! First was with Transfers! Transfers went great and we got a super cool group of greenies! There were 16 elders and 3 sisters. It's always a fun experience going and picking them up from the airport. One of them actually just graduated from timpanogos. Kylie, he said he knew you! So weird! He said that you were in College Writing together. His name is Elder Pratte. I can't remember his first name, but he played soccer! Super cool guy! The other big news with Transfers is that we are now a Trio companionship of AP's! It's me Elder Hayward, and now Elder Tanner. Elder Tanner is a super cool guy. He's from Arizona and is actually planning to play football at BYU or UCLA when he gets home. He plays QB and is a freak athlete so it's been fun to talk sports with him the past week. He reminds me a ton of Trevor Schade! They even look similar so it's hilarious! The trio is great, it adds a whole new perspective on everything which was something that I really needed so I'm grateful for it! We're all like the best of friends too so life is good! 

After transfer meeting was over on Wednesday we started going hard in our area! Transfer weeks are always tough for our area just because we get hardly any time but this week we went so hard! We started off the week with virtually no Investigators, but God compensated for our efforts! We received a media referral for this lady named Lisa and she's the sickest! She's a baptist but she came to church on Sunday and loved it! We also had a huge miracle on Sunday. So, our recent convert Shanice has this daughter named Odaysha. O is 14 and is one of the most stubborn girls i've ever met! I love her, but man she is tough! We were working with her for a couple weeks but finally she just told us that she did not want to be baptized. So we just left her alone. But then on Sunday she came with her mom again to church. And we started talking to her after sacrament and randomly she told us, "I want to get baptized on Saturday." So if she sticks to her word we should be having a baptism on Saturday! Woohoo! 

This week I also learned some very important lessons about the spirit. Mom, the things that you emailed me about remind me of it! There was a time in my mission where I wanted to just make sure that I was absolutely all the time always following the spirit. So I prayed about everything always looking for specific answers and I would rarely find them! It was frustrating for me and so I started studying more about it, and there were a couple thing that really helped me understand. First was a quote by an apostle, I can't remember who but he said, "If you want to talk to God, pray. If you want God to talk to you, read the scriptures." That hit me so hard because sometimes we're praying and looking for answers that are literally right in front of our faces. In the scriptures! Obviously God isn't going to give us some new deep revelation when he's already revealed it and we just have to do our part and study it and find it! The second was a scripture in D&C 58: 26, "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." After I read that scripture I remembered another quote from an apostle who said that God usually answers our prayers in 3 ways. Yes, No, or Figure it out yourself! God wants us to think and learn and grow for ourselves. So we have to study things out in our own minds and try to make our best decision on what we know. Then if we're right God can confirm it too us. Or if were wrong, He will let us know that it's not right. I'm so grateful for a loving, Heavenly Father who loves us enough to let us make decisions on our own to learn and grow! I love you all! 

Elder Nielsen