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

Letters sent home from the Phillippines

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas

We had another great week last week. Despite the many events and busy schedules caused by the Christmas break, we were still able to have a successful week. 

Firstly, Benedict passed his baptismal interview last Saturday, so his baptismal service will be held this Saturday. His brother Benjie should be baptized in January. It has been very exciting watching the progression of this family the last few months. It was a miracle that we were able to find their house after some much trackting and searching for their family. We saw their family name on the CMIS and after a lot of help from the ward, we were finally able to find them. And now, a few months later this less active and part-member family is active again, with some family members being baptized, and now, their family is slowing moving closing to their family's temple sealing. 

The Camarin 2nd ward is a superb ward. The bishop and ward leaders are very responsible and orderly in their administrating in the ward. The ward is constantly helping the missionaries resolve concerns and always helps us find fellowshippers for our investigators. The ward has been such a blessing for us and for our area. 

I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had to be companions with Elder Narciso. Elder Narciso has taught me numerous lessons and skills in the two transfers that we were together. He is a great missionary. He has such a big and loving heart. He is always reaches out and loves everyone that he meets. He loves learning and studying the scriptures and he is always striving to improve himself. Elder Narciso has been a wonderful example for me. I know Elder Narciso and Elder Markham can really make a difference in the Camarin 2 area and in the mission. 

I am super excited for my next area! It is one of the prettiest areas in the mission. It is way up in the mountains next to this big river. It is a big tourist spot. There is also a zoo in my area. Which I am excited to go to. 

I am kabahays with E. Price. A really nice elder I met in SJDM. He is a basketball player. and E. Peterson is my companion. (English speaker!). He is a really nice elder. He is still pretty young in the mission and He has had some hard companions. So I am glad to be able to be with him and help him have an enjoyable time.

The area and the set up is perfect. I have to say I lucked out on this one. 


I have 2 sets of sisters in my district, the ZLs are in my district. All sisters, means no exchanges. The ZLs live in my house so I do not have to travel for exchanges with them. 

They have a new BIG house next to Wawa Dam. They have a labandera (a person who does laundry) . Covered court in their subdivision. Weights. Carendaria down the street (food place). Nice area. Nice ward.  

I am super excited.

Take care family! Merry Christmas! Love you all!


Elder Nielsen 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bye Bye Batch & BIG NEWs

Elder Narisio and I had another great week last week. However, due to the Christmas season, we had a little bit of a hard time meeting with and teaching our investigators. But in end, everything turned out alright. Our ward Christmas party turned out to be a very successful and productive gathering. Five of our investigators and many less actives were able to attend the ward party. We were able to introduce many of our investigators to the ward members. One of the active members in our ward was even able walk home with one of our investigator families. 

Benedict and his brother Benjie are still preparing for their upcoming baptisms. Benedict's baptism will be held on December 31 and Benjie's baptism is scheduled for the first part of January. We hoped to baptize Benjie on the 31st of December, but due to his busy schedule, we have not finished the lessons with him yet, and we felt that he is still not quite completely prepared for his baptism. Benedict has completely stopped drinking coffee. And we feel he is prepared for his upcoming baptism. But overall, we have no problems or concerns with them.

Our area is doing well. I feel like our area is right on the verge of progressing. We have about ten investigators that go to church every other Sunday. We are trying to help them make going to church a weekly tradition for their families. Once our investigators fully understand the importance of attending Sunday services and partaking of the Sacrament, we feel that they will start going to church every Sunday. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Gumban. Elder Gumban is a very creative elder. He loves making his teaching and OYMing very creative and fun. Elder Gumban's strength is definitely his teaching. I was impressed with his fun and simple style of teaching.  One thing that Elder Gumban and I both need to work on is being a little more aggressive in our attempts at getting in doors. We decided that it is more effective just to say, "Brother, we are coming in to teach your family, is that alright?", instead of asking, "May we come in your house and teach your family?". The first approach is must more bold and effective. It also limits the investigator's ability to decline your offer. 

And now for the exciting new...!

First off! My sister batch went home last week. Sister Stancliffe and Sister Hulme completed their 18 months and were shipped home! They were both great sister and had a lot of success on their missions. It was fun to be able to see their exit day! 

Next! We got a new van! ( I will send you a  picture of the new van next week! ) Santa Clause came through and got us a new van! The old van had many war scars and battle wounds, ( scratches and dent. BUT not from me!) We were really excited to hear that! But unfortunately, I will only get to use the new van for about another week because... I am transferring!! President mentioned that he planned on Elder Narciso and I to stay together for 3 transfers. But, last week President pulled me into his office and talked to me. He said that he was not planning on me transferring this transfer, but he said after he had prayed about it for a while he said he thought I was needed elsewhere. He said that I already have the office work and teaching figured out. He said it is too easy for me now. And it is time for me to do something else. He said he will send me an area that is struggling or "stagnant" as he put it. He said he thinks that I can help my new companion and help change his missionary life.He says I still have enough time in my mission to make a difference in the zone. He said I need to bring some energy back to the zone. but, not as a zone leader.. hint hint. I do not think I can officially tell you where I am going or who my new companion is because transfers is next week. But I will tell you next week! But I all I can say is I am super excited. 

Have a wonderful week family! I will SEE you all next week about 4:30 your time! 

Merry Christmas!

Elder Nielsen

The Old Van! 
Exit Day

Sunday, December 11, 2016

"It's NOT lookin' a lot like Christmas..."

Hello Fam!

We had another great week last week. I personally believe, that we had a lot of progression last week with our investigators. One example is when we accompanied Junior and Melva to the City Hall last week, to get their joint affidavit form notarized and filled out. Junior and Melva have been a little worried about the cost of the notarization because they have a very tight budget. We were able to talk to the people that worked at the office and they said the notarization would only cost 150 pesos. Unfortunately, they had not yet received their paycheck so they were unable to notarize the paper last week. However, they will go back to City Hall this week and get their joint affidavit form notarized. 

Another family that has started to progress is the Merlan family. The Merlan family is a family that we found through OYMing. Sister Merlan works for a catering business, which is owned by our bishop's wife. Over half of the employees are members, so when we started teaching her she already had a little background information about the "Mormons" and she also has many friends that are members. In our lessons, their family has been very attentive and interested in our message. They really wanted to attend church as a family. But unfortunately, Brother Merlan works on Sundays and Sister Merlan arrives home from work very early on Sunday mornings. They have tried a few times to attend church, but unfortunately, Sister Merlan did not wake up on time to attend church at 9 a.m. However, last week, she committed to us that she would attend church on Sunday. And sure enough, she kept her commitment and came to church with her family, even though she had very little sleep the night before. Her husband has also committed to come to church on the 25th of December, because he does not have work on that day. Starting in January, our sacrament services will start at 1 o'clock p.m. Which will work much better with their working schedules. 

Last week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges (for the last time) with Elder Perkins. We had a blast together! That was probably the funnest exchanges that I have been on. We laughed and told stories the whole time. (and of course we felt the Spirit too ;) ) He goes home this Friday. So we had a good time on his very last exchange. He is a very jolly and optimistic elder. He loves missionary work. He understands the gospel and teaches it with simplicity. One strength that Elder Perkins has always had is relating and loving the people whom he teaches. It is evident for me and for the people we taught, that he loves the gospel. He has such a strong desire to share what he knows with others. He knows that he only has a very short time left in his mission, so he is striving to do his best and finish his mission strong. I have learned many important things from Elder Perkins. I am thankful I had the opportunity to work along side him here on my mission.  

I cannot believe Christmas is approaching so fast! It literally does not feel like Christmas. Last night, we attended the broadcast of the Christmas Devotional and I thought to myself, "It does not feel like Christmas." That may be because I am still sweating here.. But also because everyday is Christmas as a missionary. Everyday, we are thinking and testifying of the birth and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyday, we are serving and helping others. Most people on earth only do these things during Christmas time, but as missionaries and members, we can experience this joy, peace, and happiness, that we experience during Christmas, all year round.

Oh and by the way, thank you for sending that box filled with candies! I received that last week. Thank you so much fam! That was very sweet and thoughtful! The three little squirts are sure growing fast! Summer. Carly, and Addi all look much older and maturer. 

And for "Christmas Calls", I was planning on doing it at the same as last year. About 8:30 a.m.on Monday (my time). That would be about 4:30 p.m. in Elko on Christmas. Is that okay? Or is there another time that works better for you? My schedule is pretty flexible because I will do my Christmas call at the office on the computers. So there should be no little Filipino boys yelling and screaming. #perks
Also, Happy Belated Birthday Erin!!! You are growing up so fast :') "And already saving China! " ;) Hope you had an awesome birthday! Love ya lots! And p.s. Tell Johnny and Seila, that I say, Hi ;) 

Thank you for all you do fam! Enjoy the Christmas season! 


Elder Nielsen 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Worldwide Day of Service

We had another great week last week. We spent most of our week focusing on our investigators. Unfortunately, we did not quite have the turnout of investigators at church like we were hoping for. Many of our investigators did not attend church on Sunday due to school activities, funerals, and for other reasons. Yesterday, Elder Narciso and I discussed our area and the people we are teaching. We decided that we need to start focusing on different investigator families that we think have a higher potential of progressing. We know that if we continue to find and focus on repentance our investigators will start coming to church. We know that there are many sons and daughters of God that are ready and are waiting for our message. 

I would like to share a quick experience that Elder Narciso and I had last week while using the Inspired Christmas Questions that our mission made for OYMing. Last Saturday night all of our scheduled appoints fell through. It was about 8:15 p.m. and we wanted to find one more new investigator family. We decided to find in a higher-class subdivision in an area that we usually do not focus on. Our first two attempts were unsuccessful. The people we talked to said they were too busy to listen and were already devote Catholics. While passing down the street, we saw a man inside a house sitting down on his coach. We said hello, and asked him if he knew where Junior Vilaruel ( one of investigators that works down the corner) lived. He said that he did not know him. We then started asking him about Christmas and his plans for Christmas. We then used the inspired question about why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during Christmas. After we asked him that question, he just silently stared at us for a few seconds, then he suddenly opened his gate and let us come in. He invited us to sit down and teach him. He later mentioned in our discussion about how that question really struck him and he felt like he should listen to our message. We had a powerful lesson with him and he invited us to come back and teach his family. He told us that he would go to church yesterday, however he was unable to attend. We are excited to return to his home and teach him and his family later tonight.

I promised that I would continue my story about my birthday. 

Soooo.. On my birthday we had to go to SJDM to join in on their Zone Training Meeting. It was good meeting and all went well. But, after language study a few missionaries went out of the room for a few minutes and came back into the room holding a cake box. They all started singing and it was very embarrassing. I do not like being in the center of attention. But when I opened the cake box, I saw a word/name that I recognized.. A name that I haven't used in two years and a name that is also found on my birth certificate. I won't tell you what the cake said, but I will give you a hint. It starts with "C" and ends with "ody". I said, "bastos and mga anak dito" , which does not translate well, but pretty much means "you awful little kids" Somehow my name was leaked out.. anyway. Apparently Elder Narciso arranged everything and he "joked" about writing my first name on the cake, and then the zone leaders actually did it. Embarrassing. hahaha
Another sweet sister gave me a cool pen and a cupcake, which was quite scrumptious. Elder Narciso literally told EVERYONE in our ward that it was my birthday because I wanted to keep it a secret and not tell anyone. But because of that, we had a few lunches and dinners from the ward that day. Then that night, Elder Snyder and ELder Valdez bought 4 boxes of fake Filipino pizza and caned peaches and ice cream and we had a nice celebration. Elder Snyder also bought me some cool fake Beats by Dr. Dre. (too bad I can't use them in the mission haha). And that was my birthday. I thought I had survived. Then unexpectedly, in the middle of our office planning meeting on Friday, Sister Bertin went out of the room for a few seconds then came back out with a blueberry crumb cake with candles on it. They all started singing and I got all embarrassed. Again. I thought I had overcome my blushing stage, but apparently not, I got all red and embarrassed. But all went well. The cake was tasty, but not as tasty as good ole' Momma Connie's cookin'. What a crazy birthday! 

Our week was pretty busy. We had two zone conferences, MLC, and a service project. We kicked off the Christmas theme #lighttheworld by doing a service project. In my old area in Camarin. We painted the member's gate. It was nice to say hello again and help the members in that ward.

Overall, another great week! 

Have a happy Christmas season! Christmas wishes! Missionary work is the best. Enjoy the cold. I am still sweating over here. Our low here this week is around 78 degrees. Our highs are in the high 90s. You gotta love Christmas in the Philippines ;) 


Elder Nielsen