Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Best Two Years

Well, this will be my last email as a full-time missionary because next Monday we have transfer announcements, and on Tuesday morning I will go to the mission home for Exit-Day.

There are so many things I could say. But, I would like to list 10 important life-lessons that I learned throughout my mission that have helped me grow as a individual. 

1. Hard work triumphs over skill. It does not matter how talented or untalented, intellectual or nonintellectual, skilled or unskilled, a person is, if, he or she is willing to work their hardest and give it everything they have. Eventually, the unskilled and untalented people become skilled and talented because of their consistent and rigorous work ethic. 

2. If you want to accomplish some great achievement, you have to be willing to lay everything on the sacrificial altar. You have to be willing to sacrifice your time, effort, money, focus, attention, energy, and your all, in order to obtain your goal. You can't be half-committed. 

3. Obedience never failleth. The ones who are obedient are always the most successful and happy. You cannot receive blessing from On High before you obey. You must obey first, then, and only then, will the blessings follow.  

4. Optimism is key. Optimism is the key to be able to carry on in the work of the Lord with a smile even on the hardest days and when everything seems to be working against you. Optimism is contagious. 

5. Make the best with what you have.There are many things you can not control and very few things you can control in this life. We must learn to make the best out of what situations and circumstances we have been given.

6. You get out what you give in, while studying the scriptures.The more attention and focus you give to studying the scriptures the more understanding and a revelation you will obtain.

7. Learn to love to learn. Constantly learning is the key to success in this life and in the life to come. I truly have developed a love for learning during my mission. 

8. Frown or Smile? I have discovered that you have two options in life. You can frown and get upset and angry when things do not go your way or you can smile and laugh about it. ( It is always easier to just smile and laugh ) 

9. Spiritual eyes. On my mission, I have closed my temporal and carnal eyes and have opened my spiritual eyes; which is the ability to see yourself and others through heavenly eyes and to see the vain and foolish things of they world as they truly are. 

10. Love one another. Love is the antidote for everything. It is the key to unlocking hearts and developing rich friendships. It also allows you to gain the favor and trust of others. They don't care about how much you know, until they know how much you care. 

I now would like to list a few things I love about the Filipino people and the Philippines.

1. Filipino people are the most caring people. Even if they do not have sufficient needs or funds, they are always willing to share with others. 

2. A home is what you make it. The happiest homes are not always found in the largest or most extravagant houses. A happy home can be found in the smallest of houses. It is not what is on the outside that counts, it is about what is found inside of the walls. I love the unity of the Filipino families. 

3. Food! When in doubt, eat rice! When you are tired, eat rice! Always eat rice! I love the Filipino dishes and ulams. I can eat them 24/7 365. 

4. Friendly. The Filipino people are the most friendliest people in the world. There are no strangers in the Philippines, there are just friends you haven't met yet. I love watching two random people naturally and instantly start talking to each other and become immediate friends. 

5. The "Elect" people. The Philippines is prepared for the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. 80% of the people are Christians -believe in Christ- and they are all willing to listen to your message. The Philippines is capable of producing such a bounteous harvest in terms of missionary work and church membership. They truly are the "elect" people. 

I could go on forever. I love the culture, landscape, dialect, people, and traditions. I love everything! It has been a blessing and a privilege to serve in this beautiful country! 

Five words that describe my mission:

1. Smiles 2. Sweat 3. Laughs 4. Love 5. Growth 

In conclusion, I would like to leave my sure testimony and witness that I know God is our loving and Eternal Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. Without His infinite and eternal Atonement, life would be worthless, and we would not be on our way to immortality and eternal life. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ was removed from the earth for a period of time but has now been restored to the face of the earth by another prophet, seer and revelator, even Joseph Smith. The Love of God is apparent and available to all who are willing to repent and follow Him. I know He lives and loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

My mission truly has been 'The Best Two Years'.


Elder Nielsen

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Finishing Touches

We had another great week last week. On Saturday, Trisha was finally baptized after many months of being taught by the by the missionaries. It was a lovely baptismal service and a decent amount of members were able to attend.  We were are proud of her and her decision to get baptized. We know that the Lord will bless her and her family because of her obedience to the commandments of God. 

Joanne and John Rey were experiencing  some family problems last week, so they decided to reschedule their baptisms to June 10. They are still preparing for their baptisms and are set on and excited to be baptized in June. 

On Sunday the Flor family was able to attend church for the first time as a family. Sister Flor's daughter has already attended a few times, but this was the first time that they were all able to attend. As a family, they have been reading the Book of Mormon every night. They are a solid investigator family. They are all excited and anticipating their baptisms on the last week of June.

The SJ North zone is doing well. Elder Rasmussen has started working again and is almost fully recovered from his boils. All the companionships have been working hard and finding.  We have no concerns or problems to report of in our zone. 

I forgot to tell you, last week we went duck pin bowling. It is pretty much bowling but the balls and pins are smaller. The ball was about the size of a shot-put and did not have any finger holes. It was super fun and cheap! The best part was that most of the missionaries became bored after a hour; So by the end, it was just the serious players going over and over again while the others just watched. It was a Blast! 

I have been pretty busy filling out all the exit-day questionnaires and making BRs for all my friends in the mission. 

That is pretty much all I can think of.. The rest of our week was pretty normal. Proselyting in the heat and sweating. Gotta love it!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

mahal ko po kayong lahat,

Elder Nielsen

(Ps last week will be my last email to you before I go home)  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Binyag in da' Bank!

We had another great week last week. On Saturday night, we had the privilege to watch Ronalyn be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her whole family was able to attend and view her baptismal service. Soon to follow Ronalyn's baptism are the baptisms of her family members, as soon as we figure out and solve a few marriage concerns. Ronalyn and her family have drastically changed from our first visit with them up until this point. It has been an exciting conversion process to observe. 

On Sunday morning, Sister Trisha and Brother John Rey were found worthy and eligible for their baptisms, and as a result they passed their baptismal interviews. There baptismal service will be held this upcoming Saturday. We are very proud of them and the steps they have taken to prepare themselves for their baptisms. We know that baptism is only the gateway and beginning of their lifetime journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. 

Our ward and area are both showing signs of progression. I believe we are gaining the trust of the members here in our ward. As we continue to gain their trust, they will be more open and willing to give us member referrals. 

The past few weeks our finding efforts have proven to be successful. We are currently teaching a family that was taught by the missionaries back in 2014. Their daughter has been attending church for about a month, and last week, we finally were able to contact and teach her family. Their family is very receptive and is keeping all our commitments that we have extended to them. On Monday night, their family accepted a baptismal date and committed to attend church services this Sunday. 

Last week was a little hectic. We had an Emergency Transfer last week. We had an elder doing some things he was not supposed to do, but President could't meet with him because he went to a three-day Mission President's Seminar. He instructed us to to go on exchanges with companionship until he could get back and interview them. So we had like a two-day exchange with them. It was quite the experience. Super busy. 

The SJ North Zone is better now. Elder Stephens ( the replacement) has adjusted and adapted to his new environment, companion, and ward. He is a super nice kids from West Fork. He is a die-hard archery hunter, so I have had a lot of fun talking to him about hunting and archery. He has given me some hints on what binoculars I should by when I get home (hint hint..). The Sister missionaries in our Zone are continuing to work hard and have been having a lot of success in terms of having investigators at church and baptisms. Elder Rasmussen has had and is still currently having some medical issues with his face. Elder Rasmussen has had a few boils form on his face, which has caused him severe irritation and swelling He hasn't been able to work effectively the past two days. Besides the boils and a few sore throats and colds, our Zone is doing very well. 

Elder Sacay is a great missionary. He is very thoughtful and teaches very powerfully. He is patient with others and is really easygoing. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to be able to serve with him. 

This last week was a busy one. And the upcoming weeks are going to be even busier because we have MLC, Zone Conference, SRT Training and X-Rays, and transfer announcements! Hold on to your caps folks, It is going to be a bumpy ride!  

Have a wonderful week!

Ay ay Atin ka

Elder Nielsen 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mother's Birthday and Mother's Day

Kristine's Baptism

We had another great week last week. We were a little busy last week due to MLC and transfers, but overall we had a successful week and accomplish a lot. Sister Ronalyn passed her baptismal interview last week, so her baptism will be held this coming Saturday. Ronalyn's mother, Sister Corizon, has also been attending church for the last month, and yesterday, she brought one of her friends that she has been joining in during our discussions. Unfortunately, Sister Corizon and her husband are not married, so there are a few marriage matters we need to sort through before she can be baptized. However, we have set a goal date for her and her husband and she is her preparing to be baptize in June. 

The number of less actives attending church consistently increases every week. We have seen and are currently seeing many miracles with the less actives in our area.  

The SJ North Zone is doing fine. The key indicators reports this week were a little low due to transfer week, however, we anticipate that the totals will increase by the end of next week. Elder Edholm and Elder Ouabe are struggling a little bit in there area because they are basically opening area in the Francisco Homes Ward. They are unfamiliar and unacquainted with the members, less actives, and recent converts in their area. To help them and their area, we have set a half-day exchange with them on Wednesday, since I have served in that area and know all the members, I am going to work with them in their area and introduce them to all the members, less actives, and recent converts that live in their area. Which means.. I will see all my friends in my old area! It will be like Hannah Montana said, "You get the best of both worlds!"

Also, at MLC I was informed about all my old investigators in San Rafael. Christine and Chat are both baptized now. Their husbands and children are starting to attend church and take the missionary lessons. Sister Rhea has completely stopped going to church at her old religion ( she used to ask a lot of questions and was very very active at her church) and is now going to church weekly with Juvie ( our other investigator that is progressing) . She said she finally stopped asking questions and started reading the Book of Mormon and she felt the Truth of our message. The Twins still go to church, but have been vacationing a lot this summer. Practically everyone is still going to church and their area is progressing. They average about 10 progressing investigators every Sunday at church. It is so exciting to hear, but it is sad that I can't be there at all their baptisms. 

Overall, we had another great week. WE have been just grinding and working hard in the heat. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to be able to work and be companions with Elder Sacay!  Thank you for all you do fam! I will call around 10:15 probably. I will just email and inform you if I am running late or if there is any changes to our plan. 

To answer your question mom, Yes, I would love to be roomies with AJ. It will be just like our old EFY days! ;) 

Ps. Che Che, 59 is not the most impressive bowling score.. It is impressive that you were able to miss that many pins! Usually, people hit more than that on accident, but you were able to miss all of the pins! hahaha maybe you should try bowling with your eyes open next time! ;) hahaha joke lang Chels!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo,

Elder Nielsen 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Coming Down the Home Stretch

We had another great week last week. Our proselyting efforts were alternated last week between Minuyan 1 and Minyuan 2 areas due to Elder Richard's departure and absence. Nonetheless, we were able to visit most of the individuals and families we are focusing on and working with. But it was a lot of fun! And we got a lot of work done! 

 Summer time is now in full swing and many of our progressing investigators went home to their province to vacation and visit relatives. Consequently, we only had a few investigators that were able attend church on Sunday. However, we plan to continue to find and teach new investigators so that we consistently have a large number of investigators at church. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Faulkner. Elder Faulkner is a very witty young man. Teaching Doctrine is not a problem for him, he has a good understanding and knowledge of the Standard Works and Preach My Gospel. He is also an advanced Tagalog speaker. Though he has not yet reached his sixth month mark, he can already speak and teach effectively in Tagalog. One thing I believe Elder Faulkner could improve is his BRT or building relationship trust with members and investigators. He sometimes struggles relating and talking to people about things other than the Gospel, which is understandable, due to the fact that he is still limited in what he can say in Tagalog. Overall, he is an intelligent and skilled missionary with a bright future.

The SJ North zone is doing well! Mostly all the missionaries in this zone worked effectively the last week of the transfer. At the close of this transfer cycle, we are proud of the work that the missionaries exhibited last transfer. There were many new investigators found and a decent amount of baptisms in SJ North last transfer. 

And my last companion/one-that-will-kill-me is.... Elder Sacay!! He is a Filipino. I honestly do not know him very well..He is a new zone leader,  but I heard he is super nice. SO I am excited! 

My focus for the next few weeks is to 'soak it all in.' This my last transfer and last month in the Philippines. I want to enjoy every second that I am here and not take anything for granted. I want to enjoy and eat all the Filipino food that I can before I go home! The time goes by way to fast!

I almost forgot! MOTHER'S DAY CALL. So I can call anytime between May13-May 15. Anytime works for me. If I call on May 15 it might not be until 10ish in the morning our time. So around 6ish pm in America.. I think.. haha. Discuss as a family about what works best and then just let me know :) 

Love you all!! Have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo! 
Elder Nielsen

Sunday, April 23, 2017

'Another One Bites the Dust!'

Before I begin my letter, I would just like to send you the temperatures here for the next few days. 100, 98, 100, 100, 102 With a low of 80 degrees. It is getting HOT to say the least! 

We had another great week last week. We had a decent number of investigators in church last week, however, our investigators are still not quite where they need to be. They are still developing their testimonies and understanding of the truths of the Restored Gospel more and more everyday. We do not want to rush their preparation for their baptisms so we are going to reschedule their baptisms for May in order to insure that they are prepared and ready for the covenants that they will make at their baptisms. 

We are having a lot of success with the less active families here in our area. Over the last few weeks, we have been trying to find and teach all the less actives who live in area. Many of the less actives whom we found have already attended church two or three times. Last Sunday we had over 10 less actives attend church. Less actives usually want to come back to church, but they are just waiting for the invitation from others. 

Last week, we had the privilege of going on exchanges with the Kapyian Elders and Elder Ouabe. Elder Hopoate and Elder Ouabe worked with me for the exchanges. Elder Hopoate is a very mature and loving missionary. He is still very young in the mission but he has a good understanding and knowledge of the scriptures and Preach My Gospel. His Tagalog is that of a typical foreign missionary only 4 weeks in the mission, as was expected. Despite being new and not fluent in the language, he tries very hard and teaches well. Elder Ouabe is also a great missionary. Elder Ouabe is a kind and soft-spoken missionary. He is a little timid and shy when he speaks English, but he opens up a lot more when he converses with other in Tagalog. He is a good listener and solves the concerns of the investigators effectively. Elder Ouabe could improve by being a little bolder in lessons and speaking a little louder and confidently while teaching lessons. Overall, both Elders are talented and wonderful missionaries. 

Last week we attended a marriage reception. The person that got married lives in my old area in SDJM so at the reception I saw all the old ward members in the Francisco Homes ward. That was a wonderful and fun reunion. 

We also participated in our ward choir for our ward conference on Sunday. Watch out!

BUT.. The big news for the week came last night at about 9 o'clock when President Bertin called. He asked Elder Richards to be the next Assistant! ( " He is all grown up and saving China.. :')  "  ) But there is a slight catch. President called two assistants. So now there are three assistants in the office. haha, That is because President and I are "Batch" so he goes home in one more transfer too. He wanted to help the future mission president out a little bit. Elder Richards leaves tomorrow and heads to the office. I will be  left as a lone ranger to hold down the fort. Not really, I will be in a threesome with my kabahays for the next week until transfers. It should be a blast!

Well take care fam! Enjoy the cool weather! Love ya heaps!


Elder Nielsen 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Back in Camarin

Last week was very busy, nonetheless, we still able to have another great and successful week. Unfortunately, due to exchanges, zone interviews, service projects and choir practices most of our time last week was spent out of our area, and we were not able to work in our area as much as we would have liked. Nevertheless, we still had a decent amount of investigators in church and we were also able to find a few new investigator families this past week. 

Despite the progression our area has shown, we are still not content because we know how much potential our area has. We are still searching and OYMing trying to find the prepared and elect individuals and families who are currently living in area. We know that if we continue to have faith and earnestly seek the Lord's help and guidance that He will either guide us to His prepared sons and daughter or He will lead them to us. 

So last week on Tuesday we had our zone interview in Camarin and later that evening we had exchanges with the Assistants. That evening, while we were just hanging out in Camarin we went exchanges with the Elders in my old area in Camarin 1st. I was able to see all my RCs and all the members in that area. Then the next day we had exchanges with the Assistants so I got visit all my RCs and ward members in the Camarin 2nd ward. It was great seeing all the members and the RCs again! 

There were a few problems that occurred last week in the San Jose North zone, We had a few little drama problems and an ET. So it was kind of an exciting week in those terms. But besides that, it was another normal week in the zone. 

The weather has also been unbelievably hot the last few days. It has been almost unbearable. Welcome to summer in the Philippines! :) 

That is all I can think of right now.. It was another busy and great week!

I love you all! Take Care!


Elder Nielsen