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

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

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...).

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