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

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Miracles in the Camarin Ward

We had a very successful week last week. SO last week was transfers week, that means it was super busy. We had to attend meetings or give workshops, or go fix problems, meet with President, and work in our area. We had some sort of meeting literally everyday last week, it has been a little hectic. We have also given about 6 workshops in the last week.My brain has been a little fried with all the workshops I was learning, things on the computers I had to learn and remember, ect. It has been crazy but I think the worst of it is done. There is also a lack of sleep, do problems and concerns. On Monday night we had to wake up at 2 a.m to visit some apartments, I am not going to get into details, but sleep is a kulang ( lack of ) here.  Things are starting to slow down a bit. It has been great, I am learning so much. 

I also get to drive the van. That is the Assistant's vehicle. Remember when I went and got my Filipino Driver's license? Well, I am putting it to good use here. Elder Perkins and I switch off for driving. Honesty, I do not like driving at all. It is a MESS driving here. No rules, no laws, and it is also super tight. The van is no small car. I am pretty much driving a small boat out here. And you have to squeeze through the smallest gaps and roads. It is a little crazy, but I am getting a little more used to it now. 

We experienced a few miracles last week with our investigators. We had a few investigators that felt that they were not quite ready to be baptized or were a little hesitant to be baptized. However, by the end of the week, with the support of their fellow-shippers, all those hesitant investigators decided and felt that they were ready to be baptized. Last night, Elder Perkins mentioned a little to you about Sister Zarina. Elder Gurtiza and I actually found and taught Sister Zarina almost one year ago. She went to church many times with her boyfriend who is a member. After a few lessons at the house of her boyfriend, we wanted to meet and teach her family. On the next lesson, they took us to Zarina's house. We then realized that Sister Zarina actually lived in the area of the Camarin Zone Leaders (now the area of the APs ). We then gave the referral to the Camarin Zone Leaders, Elder Alejandro and Elder Perkins. They taught Zarina and she continued to go to church. But unfortunately, when the Zone Leader's and the Assistant's areas were changed, the missionaries stopped visiting Zarina, and they slowing lost contact with her and she eventually stopped going to church and was lost.

Luckily, when Elder Perkins returned to this area he was able to contact Zarina, and she again started coming to church. She has now been attending church for the last three months. Sister Zarina has always felt like she is not ready to be baptized. She wanted to read the entire Book of Mormon and Gospel Principles book before she was baptized because she felt like she did not know enough. Last night, we were able to to teach her. Our plan was to teach about baptism and the importance of baptism. The lesson went as planned, and the Spirit was present with us in her home. We had two member from the Elders Quorum who came with us to the lesson. Both of them are recent converts and have been baptized within the last 3 years. They shared their powerful testimonies about the importance of baptism. At the end of the lesson, we asked her if she felt ready to be baptized and she said, that she was ready and wanted to be baptized on the next Saturday. We were all amazed and a little shocked by her answer. Elder Perkins and I know that her conversion has been a miracle. We are very thankful for the opportunity we both had to return to this area and teach Zarina again. We know that because of the Spirit and the strong testimonies of the recent converts working with us, she decided to be baptized. 

Some of other investigators that were also struggling with the decision to be baptized all committed to be baptized in the next few weeks. It has been a busy and miraculous week. 

I love missionary work. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to see miracles in my own life and the lives of others. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to Camarin? Wait.. Seriously?

Well. Well. Well. Where to start? This week has been a crazy one. But let's begin our story on Monday. It all started on Monday, during our P-day. Elder Ricafort and I were doing a little cleaning and just hanging around our house when we received a call from President Bertin. ( A little background story..   Earlier that day Elder Ricafort emailed President about our concerns with our investigators and he said he wanted to talk to President.  ) So when we received that call, we automatically assumed that he was calling to talk to us about our investigators, ( heroine, Law of Chastity problems, cigarettes, lying, literally all of the above and more. ) President talked to Elder Ricafort for a while, then he said he wanted to talk to me. And while he was talking to me he mentioned about how transfers were coming up and how Elder Goodwin was leaving the office ( then I knew..) then he said he has prayed about it and he feels like I should be the next Assistant. I was shocked. That was not something I was expecting to hear. But I said I would do it. Then two minutes later Elder Goodwin and Elder Perkins were calling yelling and congratulating me. I was not sure if I wanted to be happy or sad. I was very mixed emotions about the whole ordeal. Then the packing started.. The Assistants tole me that they would be picking me up the next morning about 7. So the rest was kind of a blur. A mix between packing everything up real fast and saying quick goodbyes to the members in Francisco Homes ward. I was not quite ready to leave all my new friends in Francisco Homes. 

Then before I knew it, the APs picked me up and then we had to go to a zone interviews. (my zone's interviews.) I was the first to be interviewed and President sat me down and said, well is there anything you want to talk to me about? or do you have any question? Then I asked him about his expectations for me and what I needed to do. He told me a little about the things that I would be doing and how I would not be in the office until the end of my mission, ect. Then he shared a very powerful story. He asked me if I remembered when he dropped off that on package at Tabang Bridge, ( little background; When I was still in my first 6 weeks in my mission, I went on exchanges with Elder Westenskow. And on that exchanged, Elder Westenskow needed a package. So President and Sister Berin drove out to Tabang and met us and gave us his package.)  And I told him I remembered that day. Then he said, with the Spirit filling the room and his eyes starting to water, "when I saw you that day on the side of the road, a clear voice and impression came to me and said, He will be one of your Assistants." He said he has not really thought much about it until now. But he said he has thought about it and he said he felt now was the right time to call me. It was a very powerful experience and it also gave me a little comfort, that this the right thing for me at this point in my mission. 

The rest has been just crazy. I love working with Elder Goodwin and Elder Perkins. They are the best. Unfortunately Elder Goodwin is leaving on Wednesday. He will go serve his last three months in another area as a ZL. It has been so much fun being a Threesome with some of the best Elders in the mission. 

So I am back in Camarin, just in a different ward. Same church building. Same apartment. BUT not the same bed. I am sleeping in the one right next to the last one ;)

I have now been here for about a week, and Elder Perkins and Elder Goodwin are still introducing me to all their investigators, active members and less active members in their area. They have been doing a great job of guiding me around and helping me learn their area. I am very excited for this opportunity to work in this area. Elder Goodwin and Elder Perkins have worked extremely hard the last few months in this area and have had great success. I have also felt and seen the ward's desire to help the missionaries. The Camarin 2nd ward is very focused on missionary work. For example, on Sunday our ward missionary leader announced a new baptism goal for the Elders Quorum and the High Priests group. He set a goal to have 13 baptisms before November 17. The brethren are very willing to help and to give us referrals in order to reach this new baptismal goal. 

Elder Perkins and Elder Goodwin are two very experienced and mature elders. I have learned many new things these last few days just by observing them and working with them. They are two of the most focused missionaries that I have ever met. They love the people and they love missionary work. I trying my best to keep up with these two phenomenal elders. 

I am still trying to learn and figure out everything inside the office and out in the field. I am learning it all slowly, but surely.

I wish I could tell you everything. But there is no time. It has been a chaotic week. But definitely one I will remember. Thank you for all your love and support. I love all of you!

ps. I will forward Elder Perkin's email to you, this will explain a little about how our week has been going. 


Elder Nielsen 

Forwarded message ----------
From: Benjamin Perkins <perkins.benjamin@myldsmail.net>
Date: Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 4:34 PM
Subject: The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round?

Based on the pictures below, guess what happened?

In case you couldn't guess, the story goes a something little like this.

Beginning: We were coming from transfer announcements (where everyone finds out where they are going to be assigned to, most frequently likened to game shows) in the more provincial part of our area, taking new short cuts, when we find out we have a flat tire. This is a first in my life. And especially the first time I have experienced a car problem without access to Siri (see: How to restart your battery on WikiHow). 

Middle: I forgot to mention we were in a rush to eat at the Feliciano's home, a member of the mission presidency that invited us over to eat before Elder Goodwin is transferred. Speaking of Elder Goodwin, the next best thing to Siri when it comes to car problems is having a companion from a small town that used to drive a truck full of potatoes for a job (plus Elder Nielsen- you sometimes need brute strength). They started taking metal out, shooting our car up and down (Groundhog Day?), and doing who knows what to replace the tire with our spare when we find out the spare is just as flat... 

Continued Narration: After getting the spare tire that was placed on the car again off, we realize we are nowhere close to a 'vulcanizing shop' (I don't know if they have those in America). We swallow our pride and call President and our senior missionary in charge of vehicles for help- no one can help us. So the next thing we decide to do is push the two tires (while running) to the closest store. It helps that it is really humid right now so there was just a little bit of sweat. Anyways, I thought I had received a lot of looks up to this point in my service as a missionary, but this topped it all. Everyone looked at three white guys running around pushing tires... I will admit I did not help in the pushing of tires, they assigned me to take pictures. I wanted to help... Really.. 

Ending: After getting sweating and dirty to various extents (see picture below), we made it to the place. And paid the equivalent to $1 USD to get the two tires fixed. I can't say the price suggests poor quality... Pray for us. And good stories always have good endings of course- we OYMed a couple of people along the way and have return appointments for the missionaries in that area for the next couple of days. God surely does work in mysterious ways... Including having three 'Joes' push around tires.


The baptism service went great. It was probably the best one since I have been here. The special musical number including violin was great, the speakers did a great job, and a ton of members showed up to support Froilan and Christine. The baptism was really special and of course, my favorite part, their bearing of testimonies was really special. 

Both of them focused on the theme of change and how they in their various ways decided for themselves to enter the waters of baptism, despite starting off with support from members. They are incredibly special and we are excited for the start of their new lives, hopefully with missions and temple marriages just around the corner.

President and Sister Bertin also showed up which was cool. And so did quite a few of our investigators (the Espiritu family and Melva and JR). 

And to top it all off, there were a lot of meriendas (refreshments) prepared for us! 

I love missionary work and I love change. That is what the gospel is all about.

Elder Nielsen and Elder Goodwin are both incredible (dope as I would have said in my youth...).

Sunday, August 21, 2016

AP Baby!!!

Zabarte Rd. cor. Ilang-Ilang St., Almar Subd.
Camarin, Caloocan City

19 August 2016

Brother and Sister Scott Nielsen
1295 Dotta Dr
Elko, NV 89801
United States

Dear Brother and Sister Nielsen:

I am so happy to inform you that your son, Elder Nielsen, has been called to serve as an Assistant to the President in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission.

My two Assistants are invaluable in helping me in my administrative duties.  They counsel with me to set goals and formulate ideas to inspire the missionaries.  They supervise Zone Leaders; collect data; orient new missionaries as they arrive in the mission field; and train missionaries in Zone Conferences, Zone Councils, and other Leadership Training Councils.  Their spirit and inspiration are crucial and they are truly the hardest working missionaries in the field.

Elder Nielsen is a wonderful missionary and has great desire and faith.  His work and testimony are exemplary and he shows a remarkable love for each of the missionaries.  These Christ-like attributes have helped prepare him for this key leadership assignment.

Thank you for the opportunity of serving with your son.  It is a privilege to witness his growth as he continues to serve the Lord.

Sincerely yours,

President Bertin's Signature
Kim C. Bertin
Mission President

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"And the Rain came a Tumbling Down.."

We had another good week last week. Unfortunately, our investigators took only one-step forward last week and two-steps backwards. Brother Arnold was supposed to have his baptismal interview last week, but we caught him smoking last week while we were walking down the road. He told us that he fell into temptation and smoked. He told us that he smoked only one cigarette, and that this is the first time he has smoked in the last four weeks. We felt that we should move back Brother Arnold's baptism for a few weeks, in order to make sure he is ready for his baptism. Brother Elbert our other progressing investigator was also supposed to be interviewed last week, but he confessed to us that he smoked a cigarette the night before, so we moved his baptism back another four weeks. NOO! It is a little frustrating. But it is part of missionary work. And it is teaching us patience.  Elder Ricafort and I have experienced many setbacks and trails the last few weeks in our area. But, we are doing our best to continue to press forward faithfully because we know that after all the trials and hardships, comes all the blessing and miracles. 

It also rained a lot this week! It rained pretty much all day, everyday last week. Even with an umbrella you still get soaked. So we are literally trudging around all day in the rain completely soaked. Haha you gotta love missionary work. The rain does make the temperature a lot cooler which is nice. The only problem is your feet and socks are never dry. But all is well, I love the rain. 

Everything else is going well. We are just finding, finding, finding, but nobody will go to church. But we know there is someone in this area that is prepared for the Gospel. And we are going to find them! 

But I can not really remember anything that has happened recently. But, I have been sewing up all my pants the last few weeks. Even though we bought size 36 in the waste they are still ripping in the crouch. Luckily, I mastered my sewing in my Home Ec. class in the 8th grade, so I have sewed them up and they look brand new. ( maybe even better than when I bought them ;)  ) 

Besides that, everything is just swell. Thank you for all the support and prayers! I love you all! Good Luck in School in a few weeks!

ps. I still have 50 minutes in my email time. So Pops and Mom, you still have time to write letters.


Elder Nielsen

Sunday, August 7, 2016


We had another good week this week. Our main investigators are still progressing and preparing for their baptisms. We are still working with our new investigators that have not been able to go to church. They are reading and praying about our message, but just have been able to go to church. Our main goal for this week is to teach them about the importance and blessings of going to church. We have been really focusing on working with members and part member families. And this resulted in many new investigators with many fellow-shippers, but many of them still have not been able to attend church. They just need to go to church! It is a big problem here!

Last week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Howard. He is form Arizona. He is my kabahay. Elder Howard is a very new missionary. He likes to work hard, and he really tries his best. He is very bright. He is picking up the Tagalog language very quickly. He said he enjoys  the schedule and life of as missionary. I think he is adjusting very well to the new lifestyle. If he will continue to be diligent in his studies, I think he will be a very effective missionary. 

One thing that I have not told you yet, I am a big fan of all the street food here. I eat it all the time. My favorite is the calamaris or calamari. It is just deep fried squid. Then you dip it into this vinegar sauce. It is so good. Then they also have like popcorn chicken you dip in the vinegar sauce. They also have fish bowls, ( little fish balls with dip) quick quick ( hard boiled duck or quail eggs that are breaded that you dip in a sauce) They have a lot of lupia, which is just eggs rolls, Those are my favorite and those are generally safe. If you want to go a little more exotic. They have friend and grilled chicken intestines. Chicken feet. Chicken heads. Chicken blood. (just hardened cubes of chicken blood) and of course balut. I do not really eat these ones too much, because they are a little more dangerous and a lot easier to get the Rocky Mountain Quickstep of LBMs. But I just love the vinegar sauce with peppers. 

Oh one quick story. It started raining really hard last Saturday night. Like really hard. And we were teaching some LA's across this river. They have a little bamboo bridge you cross. ( three trees). But it was rainy so hard that it flash flooded the river. And the river filled up and was over flowing. It was almost touching the bridge. The water was just roaring. We had some class 5 rapids going. It was pretty crazy. But we had to cross the bridge again before we got stranded, so we crossed this little wiggly bridge with all this water flowing under us. It was pretty intense. But it was definitely one of my cooler experiences in my mission. 

Yes rain season is starting to heat up. It is really hot in the afternoon, but usually at night we get some pretty strong thunder storms. Oh another story I just thought of, this week while on exchanges a huge thunderstorm hit. And we were teaching this new investigator the Restoration. The rain became so strong and the lighting was SOO close. The closest I have ever been to lightening. We were teaching her outside under this little tarp. And lighting is literally cracking all around us. It was SOO loud and close. But it was so cool because I was testifying in this crazy storm and the spirit was soo strong. Then we would see a flash and duck. Then after the boom start talking again. Best experience of my mission By FAR. So cool.

Love all of you!

Have a great week!  ps. Free hunting and Job right? Can we get hooked up with that guide service? 

Elder Nielsen 
Everything else is pretty much the same
Overall, it was another great week as a missionary. Thank you for all you do President.

Elder Nielsen