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

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

Sunday, June 26, 2016

What a Week!

Wow. It has been a crazy week. We had a great week of finding and teaching. All our main investigators were able to attend church on Sunday. Brother Arnold is now only smoking 10 cigarettes a day. When we first started teaching him, he was smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Our goal for him is to be completely cigarette-free by the 3rd of July. His baptism is scheduled for the 6th of August. Brother Michael also was able to attend church last Sunday. We are still working with him, and helping him strengthen his testimony. His baptism is scheduled for the 23rd of July. Elder Mahinay and I feel like the area is really starting to come together. We have a decent amount of recent converts, less actives, and new investigators, that we are working with. Last week was also one of our best weeks in terms of finding. Every new investigator that we found and taught were prepared and ready to hear our message. It was almost surprising how well they accepted our message and invitations to be baptized. We are very excited to return to these new investigators that we found, and teach them. 

So last Monday we had some very bad news arrive. Monday was also the birthday of Elder Mahinay. President called us and wanted to meet with us. Elder Mahinay thought it was because his birthday or something like that. But President told me the real reason why he was coming over on the phone. And he told me I could not tell Elder Mahinay yet. President Bertin came over to our apartment, and sat us down. He told us that Elder Mahinay's dad has been in a motorcycle accident, and he was not wearing a helmet. His father died before they could get him to the hospital. Elder Mahinay was just in shock. It was very hard for him to hear that. Turns out, that his father and his mother have been separated for about 12 years. And he hasn't really been able to see him much. President talked with us for a while then eventually left. Elder Mahinay starting bawling and went and laid on his bed. It was a day I will never forget. After about an hour he was able to control himself. He said he knew the Plan of Salvation was true an would be able to see him again. I prayed really hard to know how I could comfort him or what I should do. Thankfully, Heavenly Father answered my prayer that night. When we went out to work that night he was very quite and did not say hardly anything. But suddenly, it started raining reeeally hard. So we decided to top and take shelter under some building. And while we were waiting for the rain to lighten up, Elder Mahinay opened up and we start talking about his father and the accident. And that talk in the rain helped him sooo much. After that he was a lot better. I know that experience was an answer to my prayer. The Area Presidency of the Philippines actually let him go to funeral of his Dad. It was only two hours away. So yesterday he went to the funeral. We were hoping I would get to go, but I was told to stay and work. So I worked with a member that is preparing to serve a mission all day yesterday. It has been a crazy week. 

Elder Mahinay is doing a lot better now. He struggled a little bit the first few days after he received the news. He was very quite, and a little depressed. We were able to talk about his father a few times, and that really seemed to help him and comfort him. By Thursday, he was doing a lot better. He was very excited when he found out that he would be able to attend the funeral. I think attending the funeral gave him a lot of comfort. I think it allowed him to say his goodbyes, and continue on with his mission. He is doing great now. He is seems to be back to his normal cheerful self. 

Then last Tuesday we had a Zone Conference and it was GREAT! It was so great. I learned lots. So President only has one year left as a mission president. He talked about how he wanted to make his last year the best year. Then he introduced the new mission goal. Our new goal is to baptize investigators WEEKLY. We are using this new calendar, and we need to write down the names of the people that will or could be baptized on every Saturday of the month. This is the same program another mission in the Philippines is using, and this mission is one of the highest baptizing missions in the world. So we are really focusing on baptizing. Then they raised all the finding and teaching goals in the mission. We are now supposed to have 55 lesson a week, 35, received a week, and 20 new investigators every week. Then they did this big presentation and we had to sign our missions "Title of Liberty". It was a great presentation. I think they really inspired all the missionaries to work harder. 

The Ether district is doing well. My only concern about the Ether district is that we have not had a baptism all transfer, and there was only one upcoming baptism this week. Last transfer, the Ether district had many baptisms. I believe the missionaries in this district are doing "Elevator Finding", meaning that all their investigators were baptized last transfer, and now, the missionaries are just finding, and loading up the "elevator" again. But, I really think our Mission's new focus on baptizing converts weekly will really help this problem. 

Overall another great, crazy, and spiritual week. I am learning so much about the Gospel everyday. And my teaching is really starting to improve. I am thankful for this opertunity to serve a mission. Thanks for all you do! I love you all bunches! :)

Elder Nielsen

Ps. To answer mother's questions. Elder Nielsen is doing great. He is always busy. But h loves it! And the rainy season is still starting, it is not yet in full swing. But it is getting close! And I love the food. The food here is great. And it is really cheap! Eat. Study. Work. Sleep. What more do you need in life?  ;)   And tell Dad not to be throwing out "I love ya"s to all the strangers in Elko! ;) 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

We had another great week this week. Brother Arnold, one of our part-member investigators, is really starting to progress. We have been really focusing on him the past few weeks. He is now only smoking twelve cigarettes a day, instead 20. He is slowly cutting down the amount of cigarettes he smokes everyday. He has such a great desire to learn about and follow our Savior Jesus Christ. We can see his testimony growing each week. We have have many other investigators that are right on the verge of really progressing towards baptism. They have gone to church a few times, but their testimony is still missing. We are still trying to figure out all of their concerns, and the things that is really keeping them from progressing attending church every Sunday, instead of every other Sunday. We are doing our best to help them strengthen their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Ether District is still doing well. There were no major concerns or problems reported this week from the missionaries in the district. Elder Samante and Elder Tagulao are doing well. They seem to really be getting along with each other. I do not think there is any problem in their companionship unity. They have a few investigators that are starting to progress, and are working towards baptism. Elder Avila and Elder Lieshman are also doing well. Their weakness as a companionship is their finding. They have both admitted to me, that they both struggle in finding. I am doing my best to encourage them to find. They committed to me that they would do a better job finding this week. Elder Hughes and Elder Rellita are doing well. They have good companionship unity, and their area is really progressing. Their weakness as a companionship is leaving the apartment on time and coming home on time. The Zone Leaders told me that they have struggled with this problem before. Elder Mahinay and I are trying to support and encourage them to be on time. Sister Rantayo and Sister Gacayan are also doing well. They are dealing with many concerns and problems with their investigators right now. They are doing all they can to solve and help their investigators. Their companionship unity is fair. This is something they have been trying to improve this transfer. Overall, the Ether District is doing well. The Elders and Sisters in this district are very good missionaries. 

It has been another great week. Last week we met this really nice, old, smart lady. She use to be a teacher. And she has actually really good English. ( the Filipinos always like to practice their broken English with Americans, kinda like dad likes to practice his broken Tagalog with Filipinos;)   ) Anyway, she was actually really good. So we took the advantage and talked to her and then eventually taught her. She was lots of knowledge about the Bible and could quote scriptures. Her concern was that she did not understand why she needed to join our church. She said she knew what we were teaching was true. She did not understand why she needs to join just one church. So I have been doing a lot of studying this week about why we need the church. I read "Why the Church" by D tod. Christofferson. It is a great talk and teaches so simply why we need have church on the earth and why we need to join this church. The main reasons are: In order to care for the poor, in order to "teach the gospel to all Nations" (missionaries),have a quorum of Priesthood holders to perform saving ordinances, temples, Family history, ect. I really learned a lot about that this week. 

Happy Father's Day Paponwa! Chelsea's post says it all! haha. Thanks for all the wonderful things you have taught me, how to hunt fish, play sports. Thanks for all the life lessons you have taught me in life. You are a great example for me. Thanks for always going to my sport events and always taking me hunting and fishing even when you were super busy. Thank you for sharing all your hunting stories, childhood stories, mission stories, and especially your Order of the Arrow stories in your loincloth with me ;) Thanks for helping me able to survive at home with all those giggly girls. My goal for this life is to make two fathers proud of me. My Father in Heaven. And my eathrly father. Thanks for all you do Pops Scott! 

Overall another great week. I am working as hard as i can out here. I am learning so much out here. I love my mission and all of you! 

Elder Nielsen 

ps. Summer you rode in the back of the wagon? Sounds like you pulled an ole  mr. "All American" move. Like he did like last trek. ( mom and Dad know who that is! hahah) 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Francisco Homes

We had another great week this week. I had a lot better week this week because I am starting to get to know all our investigators, less actives, and members. I am starting to understand all their different situations and their different problems and concerns. Our area here in Francisco Homes is great. Our ward is very supportive and welcoming to new investigators. Our Ward Missionary Leader meets with us every week, and helps us work out our concerns. Our main progressing investigators right now are Brother Arnold, Brother Michael, and Brother Mark. Brother Arnold is a sibling of one the less active families in our area. He has attended church two times now with his less active sibling. His main concern is his smoking. He smokes about 20 cigarettes a day. We made a plan and calendar to help him stop smoking. We mapped out how many cigarettes he can smoke per day, until the day where he will be cigarette free. Brother Michael is the husband of one of newly returned less actives. He has attended church many times. He has been living with his less active girlfriend for many years, but last week, He and his wife were finally married. Now we are just reteaching him all the lessons, and helping him prepare for his baptism. Brother Mark is also part of a part member family. He has gone to church a few times, but he has not been able attend church the last few weeks. It is really hard to teach him because he is always working and only available on Sundays. Thankfully, last night were able to teach him, and talk to him about his preparation for baptism. He is not quite completely ready for his baptism, so we will keep working with him and helping to prepare. 

The Ether District is doing very well. All the companionship are doing pretty well. When I followed up with them on Wednesday, they said that they were all doing well, and their areas were doing well too. They actually did a pretty good job finding last week. I was really impressed. I think I have formed a pretty good relationship with all the Elders and Sister in the District. I gained the respect of the Elders the last two Mondays when we played basketball. They will respect if you are good at basketball, so I played a little harder the last few Mondays to gain their respect. And hey, it worked! Overall the Ether District did very well last week. Most of the companionships did a good finding last week, and it appears they are all working hard and doing well. Tomorrow  I will give my Finding/Atonement workshop to hopefully inspire them. A big thanks to Amber, I used her idea about including the Atonement :)

Overall it has been a great week. We had a cool experience last week. Last week we found a new investigator and started teaching about the Restoration. After we taught about the first vision she started covering him mouth and then she looked like she was about to cry. And then she started laughing and giggling, we were SO confused. Then she told us she felt some weird feeling when we were teaching. She told us that like a spirit passed through her body. We explained that the feeling felt was the spirit. It was very interesting but powerful experience. We will go back to her this week.

Another great week in the service of Our God. Missionary work is great. I think it is a lot of fun. I keep trying to improve everyday, The Gospel is true. The Atonement is real. Love you all! Happy Late Birthday Amber! :D


Elder Nielsen

Ps. Have Fun on Trek Summer! It is such a fun time! So spiritual and so fun! ENJOY IT! :)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

"Lets Get Down to Business"

We had another great week last week. I met my new companion, Elder Mahinay, and he showed me around our area. Our area is really progressing. Our area has many part-member families that the Elders has been focusing on. There is a lot of work to be done in this area. I am still trying to meet all the members in the ward, remember their names and where they live. 

Elder Mahinay is a great Elder. (filipino) He has such a strong desire to serve and be obedient. He just finished his training. So he is still very new. I am technically his followup trainer. What does that make me? His step father? His trainer went home last transfer. He told me his trainer was a little trunky. And they were not too obedient last transfer. He told me he talked to President and told him he wanted to be more obedient.  He also said he really wanted to companions with an American to improve his English skills.(his trainer was a Filipino). He said when he heard I was his companion he was really excited and told President thank you in his email, for making us companions. haha. We discussed our companionship goals last week during weekly planning. This transfer we really want to focus on being exactly obedient, improving our language skills, and do a better job finding. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to be his companion this transfer. I know I will learn a lot from him. 

As for the Ether District, I still have not met all the missionaries in my District. I called them last Wednesday for followup calls, and they said they were doing well and they did not have any concerns or problems. I reviewed all their numbers from last transfer, and it seems that the missionaries in the Ether District are not really finding. Like at all.. Their numbers were not too impressive. They were super low in every category. There is a lot of work to be done. All their finding key indicators were very low. They also rarely had perfect studies. My district goals for this transfer will be focused on finding and having perfect studies. I have been praying and fasting to know what I should do or say to inspire them to work hard and to have a successful transfer. If any of you have any ideas how to inspire "going home missionaries" let me know. I need some ideas. 

My area is really pretty. It is also a little tiring. In our area we have one main road on top of this mountain. Then all the house are on the sides of the mountain. So we literally go up and down all day. The only flat area is on top of the mountain. So my legs will definitely get stronger in this area ;) But it has a lot of trees and fresh air. So it will be alright! 

And about the "Walk-a-Thon." Addi, you have a long way to go. Jacob and I hold the Northside record for the walk-a-thon. We did so many laps they would run out of space for the hole punch on our card. Our classes would always win the class pizza party. We would get mad at our classmates if they would not run.. hahah. I think there was only one year my class did not win. I think they must have counted wrong that year. ;)  Also to answer moms questions. Yes, it is officially rain season now. But is just the beginning. All the big typhoons have not hit yet. But we are getting at least one or two thunderstorms a day. And yes I think i am adjusted to weather, but you can never really totally adjust to the heat here. Even the Filipinos sweat. Just not as much as me. But I am just a natural sweater. I just drink about 3 liters of water a day in order to stay hydrated. 

I think that is everything. Lots to say. Little time. But I do have a question. dad, does your deer and Elk tag overlap? Will you be hunting for both at the same time? And also. Put that money in a save place. But not too safe because I know you will put it some where then not remember where you put it! haha and tell Brayden congratulations for me!

Love you all. This work is great. The Philippines is great and so are all you. Be safe and have a good last few days of school! :) 

ginahigugma taka 

Elder Nielsen