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