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

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

Monday, November 30, 2015

No Thanksgiving in the Philippians..‏

Hello my wonderful family. We had another good week this week. Our progressing investigators are doing really well. First, Sister Cinco, we are just finishing up lesson 4 to her, and she has continued to go to church and keep our assignments. We are really confident in her because she already has many friends in church and she also has the support of her very active grandmother. Next is Brother Gem, he is doing really well. He has been taught by the missionaries before, but before he could be baptized he left to go live in a province for a few months and lost contact with the missionaries. He already has a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and has many fellow shippers in the ward. ( He's actually came out and worked with us, and has born testimony to our other investigators, and he's not even baptized yet.. whoops ) His baptism will be on January 16th, along with Sister Grace. We have been teaching Gem, Grace, and Sister Abrasado all together. Unfortunately Sister Abrasado was able to be at our last discussion, so we have not extended a baptismal date to her yet. Last week, we tried to extend a baptismal date to Brother Denilo, but he told us he was already a member in the Catholic church. But he said, if he prays and knows that this church is the true church, he will be baptized. With him, we are continuing to teach him and help him receive that witness and testimony for himself. He also attended church again this Sunday. We were also able to find many new investigators this week that we think have a lot of potential. We are excited to return to them and continue teaching them. 

Elder Gurtiza is doing great. He had a little cold this week, but he wanted to continue to work, even though his nose was stuffed, he had a headache, and didn't quite have his full energy. I really admire that about him, he always wants to work hard and do his best. He is becoming a better missionary and a better example for me each week. 

Besides that it has been a pretty normal week. We were going to do something for Thanksgiving and go by a chicken and stuff, but it was ill planned and never happened. But we have decided we will do something big for Christmas to make up for it. Stay tuned. 

Next week I am starting my 40 day fast. No it's not like a sugar fast like Erin, something a little more spiritual ;) it's coming from the talk " The forty-day fast" if you want to do it too, but in summary this elder was doing his very best but still was missing something, so a church leader told him to this fast. You start with a fast and then go and pray and then write every down that you feel is distracting you from the work and having the spirit, ( 40 things) like hunting, sarcasm ect. Then you give those things up for 40 days. It was a really powerful talk. So I will start my fast next week. 

6 Minutes Pop! Waiting on that email. 

Elder Nielsen

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Best Kind of Birthday Gift‏

Hello Family! It was another good week. We were able to find and teach a lot of new investigators. We actually found 11 new investigators, so that will help strengthen and expand our teaching pool. We already have a lot of good signs of progression from them too. We were able to start teaching and extend a baptism date to one of our new progressing investigators. Her name is Sister  Chimene Cinco, she is 9 years old. She reminds me so much of Carly. She looks like a Filipino Carly, she's kinda tall and skinny, kinda shy, but just the sweetest thing. Her dad is a long long time less active and her mom isn't a member, but her grandma is an active member and was the one who gave us the referral.  Sister Cinco has been to church before and is really active in and enjoys primary. She is very knowledgeable about the gospel for a nine year old. She was very shy to us in our first lessons, but we think we have  gained her trust, as she has opened up to us a lot more. We planned we were going to extend her a baptismal date, we were a little nervous and didn't know how she would respond. At the end of the lesson we extended a date to her.. And she just started smiling and had the biggest grin on her face and said YES. This was probably one of the best moments of my mission, who know that a little 9 year old just saying yes could make you so happy? It's because I know how important this step is for her. She is completely the first out of three essential ordinances to enter into the Clelestial Kingdom. This was by far the best birthday gift.  She is planned to be baptized December 19th. Her parents are very accepting to us teaching her, in fact, her dad has already planned to get work off so he can attend her baptism. Hopefully her baptism will be able to create a teaching opportunity for her parents. Sister Abrasado and her daughter Grace have really been progressing, each lesson with them  seems to be getting better and better. Unfortunately Sister Abrasado was unable to attend church, but her daughter Grace did. Our other two investigators texted us  early Sunday morning informing us they would not be able to attend church, due to having to babysit and a migraine headache. But they have both promised us they will attend next week. 

We have been visiting a young less active who hasn't been going to church because he has to work grave yard shifts every night. But last week we had a really strong and spiritual lesson with him, and we could see him feeling the spirit. Then on Sunday, he got up early and attended church. We really hope this is his start, back to being an active member again. 

Elder Gurtiza is doing great. He is becoming more and more confident in his teaching. We are now able to do effective transitions in our teaching, and teach the lessons more unified. He has even been leading some of the lessons. I know that with each passing week, we will become more and more unified. 

It was a nice peaceful birthday. Some people at church knew and wished me a happy birthday, President and Sister Bertin texted me wishing me a happy birthday, then we had a little jelly pie cake thing that night at a members house for my birthday. It was quite delicious. Overall a wonderful birthday while serving the Lord, what more could you want? ...Well tell Grandma Croft to save the "Disc Shooter" for when I get home ;) hahaha

Overall it has been a really good week. The area is really starting to open up and we see a lot of work that needs to be done. We pray that we will be the proper instruments in the hand of the Lord. The whitewashing effects are over, we are now just getting to work. There is so much work to be done her in the Camarin 1st ward. 

I hope all of you have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  Mother, hopefully you can get that Elk! Erin and Landon, the pictures look wonderful. Have a great Thanksgiving, Eat Lots! 

Love, Love Love, 
Elder Nielsen

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Work is Starting Again‏

We had a lot better week this week. We are really starting to familiarize ourselves with our area, making it a lot easier to find and teach. We have two current progressing investigators, but a lot of potential investigators that will hopefully soon start progressing. The first one is Brother Danilo. We found Brother Danilo sitting on his porch one night and we stopped and started talking to him. He agreed to listen to our message, so we taught him the Restoration and he really enjoyed our message. By our next lesson he had read the whole Restoration pamphlet. Our next lesson was on the Book of Mormon, he agreed to read the introduction. By our next lesson, he had read the whole introduction, testimonies of all the witnesses and was now reading Joseph Smith's testimony. We were very thrilled when he told us. We invited him to come to church last Sunday and he came. We have very high hopes for this brother. Our next progressing investigator is Sister Abrasado, she's been taught by the missionaries a while back but never really progressed or accepted their message. Her daughter is an active member, but she has still been a little reluctant to join the church. But she has been keeping our reading assignments and attended church last Sunday with her other nonmember daughter. We pray for her and are hoping she will continue to go to church and eventually follow her daughter's example and be baptized. Another family that we have really been focusing on is the Akala family. They have been taught by the missionaries for about 5 months now. They read the Book of Mormon, pray, and know our message is true. But their only problem is attending church, this is why they have not been baptized yet. Brother Akala is a manger at a local grocery market and he has work every Sunday. Sister Akala has to take care of their two young children and says she can't control and watch them both at church alone. Elder Gurtiza and I decided we wanted to be a little bold with them, we taught them about baptism and the purpose of baptism. We extended a baptism invitation for January 2nd, and to our relief they accepted. They said they really wanted to start going to church and are going to try to figure out a way with Brother's job. We have high hopes and goals for this family. 

Elder Gurtiza is doing great. He was a little stressed the first week, as are all new missionaries, but he has adjusted very well to missionary life. Each day he is coming more and more out of shell, with teaching and with me. He is really start to open up with me and is talking a lot more. I know that each passing week our relationship will become stronger and stronger, which will make our teaching capabilities better and better too. 

Overall this was a very good week. Each day seems to be getting easier and easier in this new area. If we continue to put our trust in the Lord he will guide us everyday. I am starting to see more and more miracles in His work. This is His work and it  will never stop, regardless of the lack of talent and experience of the missionaries is that area. 

A fun story. So this week we had the First Annual Power Scrub. It going to start happening twice a year around General Conference. But its a special day where we just clean our house from 7 to 11. I'll tell you what', we really needed it in this new house. So we turned on some music and we got to work. It was actually a lot of fun, and the house looks so much better. Elder Gurtiza and I feel a lot more at home now because everything is organized and clean. 

Besides that it has been a pretty good week. Last week we bought a basketball so every morning we have been playing basketball at the court right next to our house. We have been getting a few good pick-up games, so that has been a lot of fun. And I'm really excited to hear about mom's elk hunt. I've been praying that you'll get a "big one", I figured it worked with Dad's bull elk hunt when I was 5, so I'm trying it again ;) You guys are all great. I've been blessed with such a great family. Unfortunately, it took me traveling across the world to realize how great all of you all are, but know I pray about each of you daily. Thanks for all the love and support! :) 

Mahal ko kayo 
Elder Nielsen 

1. Last day in Malolos 
2. I forgot to send this, but my Batch after the first 4 week

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fwd: Elder Nielsen‏

Dear Brother and Sister Nielsen,

My husband and I, Elder and Sister Brady, have served with Elder Nielsen the past few weeks.  We have missed him since he has been transferred.

We just wanted to let you know what a fine young Elder he is.  He is very dedicated to the missionary work, and has a warm personality.  We enjoy working him in Malolos.  He told me that you live in Elko, Nevada.  I grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho not too far away. 

With a great like Elder Nielsen, the work is moving forward in the Quezon City North Mission!  

Elder and Sister Brady
Quezon City North Mission
Sister Mary R Brady
"Chosen by God to serve him below,
To ev'ry land and people we'll go,
Standing for truth with fervent accord,
Teaching his holy word."

Monday, November 9, 2015

"We aren't in Malolos anywhere.. "

Hello Family! A lot has happened this last week! So Wednesday was transfer day, so all the trainers went to the mission home to pick up their trainees. So they had some workshops and I got to talk to all my batch mates who were training too, so that was a lot of fun. Then we were assigned our companions. Elder Gurtiz is my trainee or anak (child). He is a Filipino from a province near Baguio, up north. He is great. He is kinda shy and quiet, but give him a few weeks and I think I can break him out of his shell ;) 

So my new area is completely different from Malolos. I am in the big city now. I am actually like 5 minutes away from the mission office which is still kind of weird for me. But the first day we made it back to our apartment and met our kabahay. I am housemates with someone I knew back in Malolos, Elder Perkins. He's from Salt Lake, and we get along really well. We like to talk since we both have quiet Filipino companions. But he shows us our study room, (the room of the old Elders) and it s just a mess.. It was so bad. Hahaha it look like they left in a hurry, they left ties, pants, random weird things, papers, pamphlets, scriptures, just everything you could possibly think of. It was a mess. I wish I would've taken a picture. But the area book hadn't been updated in months.. It was quite the welcome hahaha. 
My companion and I just tried to hit the ground running this week. Due to the fact that we both were completely new to the area, we decided to make this week a learning week. We wanted to learn the area, streets, members, investigators, ect. But unfortunately, the area book and board was a bit outdated, and was little help to us. The first two days we had a worker come with us, which was such a blessing. He was able to show us where members, Less Actives, and investigators lived. He was such a big help for us. On Friday and Saturday we did not have a worker so we were left to fend for ourselves. These days we did a lot of contacting, OYM's, and finding. We were able to find some recent converts and less active families. And teach a few new investigators.

 On Friday we experienced a tender mercy. The past elders left a note of all the names of investigators, Less Actives, and Recent Converts. Unfortunately we did not have addresses or last names to some of these families, so we had no idea where they lived. But on Friday night we were contacting people, and we decided to talk to this one man walking down the street. He told us he lived with a member of our church, so we asked if he could show us to his house. He agreed, and took us to his home. When we got to his house we met the wife of the member, we later learned that this member was very less active. She said she had been taught by the missionaries too, so we asked her name, and it turns out she was the same person who the missionaries wrote about in their note. It was a miracle we were able to find her and we talked talked to the exact person who was living with them. I know even though we felt lost and alone in this new area, the Lord was watching over us and directing us in the ways we need to go. 

Saturday was probably the most tiring day of my mission. We walked literally all day. And there are tons of steep hills in our new area. But we did get 48 received this week. So our efforts of just talking to everyone worked. Since we have no progressing investigators in our area I figured we had to just start from scratch. 

My new companion Elder Gurtiza is a great missionary. I feel bad that his first few days in the mission had to be so hard and confusing. But he has had a positive attitude the whole time. He likes to work hard and has been such a big help finding and teaching. He is a big help in the Tagalog. And to answer moms question last week. No I don't think I have mastered it yet or anywhere close. I can read and write and understand fairly easily. The hardest part for me is just speaking. But training should help me with that. 

I'm not sure Dad, I will try to find some more information about that. It might not be open to the public or something. 

But this transfer is definitely going to be a challenge. My faith will be tested. But the challenging and hardest times always have the most rewarding outcomes :)

Love all of you so much. Thanks for all the support and love. Because I have been given much I too must give. Have a great week, and enjoy the cool weather, I'm sitting here sweating in a computer shop ;) 

Elder Nielsen

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Goodbye Malalos..‏

This was probably the CRAZIEST week of my mission. First things first, our investigators. Our investigator Jason was baptized and confirmed this week! It was very exciting to be able to watch him grow and enter in the waters of baptism. He was very excited and it was a really spiritual experience for him. The bishop is going to interview him next Sunday in order to receive the priesthood. Our other investigator, Sister Lourdess, had her interview last Saturday and is going to be baptized this Sunday. We were talking with her last week about her baptism and then she said, (referring to her teenage daughters in the room) "Yes, and they're next!" Then she took one of her daughters to church with her last Sunday. Her family is very important to her and she wants to be with them forever so she knows how important it is for them to be baptized. We want to start teaching her children next. Our other investigator who is getting baptized on the 21st of November invited one of her friends to church. She is doing great and is starting to make a lot of friends in the church, which is so vital. Our area is really starting to progress and is showing signs of even more progression. There is just so much work to be done here in Malolos. 

Unfortunately, I will not be here to see all the fruits of our labor, but I know Elder Godinez will do a wonderful job taking care of and teaching our investigators. I will not be here because I am transferring.. I will tell you the story.. So Friday, during weekly planning we get a call from the zone leaders and they told Elder godinez and I that we are training! We coudn't tell if they were serious, but they told us to go check our emails and we had an email from president informing us that we are training. My kabahay was going crazy and saying how no foreigner has ever trained after training. We found out later, that Elder Webb, Elder Snyder, Elder Lake, Sister Stancliffe, and I are ALL training! Which has never happened.. Everybody has been telling us that President thinks we are the future hope for this mission. We thought for sure that I would stay and Elder Godinez would open area, ( he was actually already packed, and said all his goodbyes to the ward and ect.. hahahaha) then yesterday they told me I am transferring and opening area! I'm headed to the NOVA zone. I was quite shocked and a bit overwhelmed when I was informed that I would be training. I felt much like the new apostles in last General Conference, feeling a bit unqualified for the new calling. I was a bit uneasy and skeptical of my abilities much of Friday and Saturday. But I fasted that I would receive a peace and comfort about this very sacred responsibility. My fasting efforts were answered and I feel much more at ease now. I now that the Lord has called me to this calling and if I am faithful and obedient he will help me and guide me in all things. He will make the weak things strong, and he qualifies who he calls. I know if put my trust in him and work with all my heart, might, mind and strength he will help and guide me along the way. 

So this is my last day with Elder Godinez. I am thankful for the opportunity to be companions with Elder Godinez. He is a great missionary and has taught me many things about this work. He truly loves the people and this gospel. He will make a wonderful trainer for this new missionary. I am thankful I was able to serve along side of him. 

We had a 6pm curfew on Saturday and Sunday because its Halloween and its kinda crazy. There is no trick or treating here, all the adults and the teens go to the cemetery and sleep by the graves and stuff. Its kind of an interesting celebration? lots of candles and food and such! But since we had a curfew we bought two big chickens and had a going away feast. It was great. 

SO crazy last week in Malolos. I'm packing and headed up to pick up my trainnee tomorrow, then somehow find our new appartment.. 


Elder Nielsen