Friday, December 20, 2013

New Companion, Music, Conference 2013

Happy Christmas season to my friends and family,

This week has been a busy week. We have been all over the place. We had transfers on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.  So Elder Gardner and I went to Glouster to pick up my new companion and drop off Elder Gardner.  It was quite a long day.  Life with my new companion is good. We are getting along really well.  He has not been out in the Mission Field much longer than I, so it is nice to not get a companion that is close to going home and is anxious and not wanting to work.  His name is Elder Doty and he is from Seattle.  My mom has been telling my how cold it has been in Idaho lately and that they missed a day of School because of that, I had to laugh about the to cold to go to school. Here in Worcester, it has been 40-50 degrees and the best news is that it has stopped raining for the last few days, but no promises that the rain will stay away.

Thursday we had a pretty good day.  We have been talking to people in the streets most of Thursday.  The luck of our Mission is that we have investigators during the transfer but as soon as one of you is transferred out, everyone drops.  It is frustrating but I have learned to just deal with it. 

Friday was a fun day, we had the Mission Christmas Party.  So bright and early at 6:52 in the morning we got on a train to get to Glouster.  Then onto a bus at 8:30 for a two hour bus ride to Birmingham.  It was worth it in the end.  The most spiritual part of that day was when the Mission President told all of us Missionaries how much his wife like the LDS Hymn I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, so all of the Missionaries the Hymn loud and proud. It was pretty cool. The Spirit was really strong and I really enjoyed just belting it out with the others.  The Spirit that comes from singing Hymns and praises unto our Savior is very uplifting to me and often brings a tear to my eye.  This was one of those times and will be another memorable highlight of my time here in England.  It was really fun to see all the Missionaries and to talk to ones that I  haven't seen for about 6 months.  We had Cafe Rio pulled pork burritos for dinner.  That is the first time I have had any type of Mexican food since I have been on my Mission.

I think the best thing that happened this week is we found two Chinese people to teach.  I have taught a Chinese person once and that was with a Mandarin speaking Elder.  So Elder Doty and I, two guys from the US, went to the library to teach them on Sunday.  We walked out of the Library like deer caught in headlights.  It was very rough.  It was hard because we did not have the Book of Mormon in there language.  So note to self that we needed to get one for them by the next lesson.  But we will see what happens when we teach them again.

Church was also fun.  I got to play the piano in Priesthood and translate in Sign Language the lesson.  With two former Elders being transferred, I have become the "head Signer" for the Missionaries in this Area.  So pretty much that means I translate everything.  I decided this was a great way to become better at Signing, just jump right in and get it done.  It wasn't that bad until we got into the lesson.  The teacher had decided to talk about parables.  I learned a couple of new signs that day like the ten virgins and stuff like that.  It is all fun though and a great experience.

I am so thankful for the modern technology.  I have the last two General Conferences on my Ipod so I can read the talks or listen to them while riding trains or when I have down time it is right at my finger tips.  I am finding that most if not all of the talks in the last General Conference, Oct. 2013, are mostly about Missionary Work.  My mom and I have been swapping our favorite talks as we read and listen to them.  The Lord is Hastening His Work and needs all of us to be Missionaries.  In Doctorine and Covenants Section 4 the Lord tells us how we can be good Missionaries.

Now behold, a marvelous time is about to come forth among the children of men.

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Remember that our Savior loves us and has a work for us to do during these latter days.  I love this Gospel and all that it teaches.  I love our Savior and rejoice in this Christmas season to celebrate Him.

Love, Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hard Work and Service

Hey Family and Friends,

Transfer season is upon us again and the good news is that I will be staying in Worcester, England for another six weeks.  I will be getting a new Companion before next week and I will give you all the ins and outs of where he is from and so forth.  I have included a few pictures from our Thanksgiving adventure with our District.  The first one is of the District Leader hiding up on the ledge of the building.  The District Leader is a nut.  His job before his Mission was a camera man.  He filmed people sky diving.  So he is use to being in high places.  The second picture is of a Nutella, marshmallow crepe.  The crepe was amazing. The marshmallow melted and it was way to good.  So much for that, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So this past week has been a fun one.  We have done a lot of finding and met a lot of cool people. The only sad thing is that none of them want to investigate the Church. They at least have had a positive experience with us and that's all that matters.  So later on in the week, w e had a really good lesson with a less active man.  He is less active because of choices and his life style.  But we talked a lot about how the Book of Mormon can help him.  He said that he has a hard time understanding the Book of Mormon.  But we promised him that if he tried God would make up the rest. 

Another great and fun opportunity we had which is one of Elder Nielsen's favorite things to do is get dirty.  I put on my fencing and tree chopping clothes and shoes on and went to work.  We helped a member who has just bought a new house in our Area put up a fence.  In the deed to the house the new owners have to have a fence around the whole property.  So we helped them.  It was so much fun.  Digging holes and pounding in wooden fence posts.  I loved it!  I also learned a new skill, moving very old, very heavy pieces of very expensive oak.  The previous owner deals in very old wood from very old houses.  The earliest wood he buys is 300 years old.  It was really fun!  I love the feeling of coming home way dirty and just absolutely knackered (which is British slang for very tired).  Below is a picture of the property that we were working on as well as a picture of Elder Nielsen sitting on a chair made out of a tree stump.

I have been reading the newest Conference talks from the October 2013 General Conference.  I read one by Elder Bednar The Windows of Heaven about tithing that was very good.  The principle of the blessing comes when the Lord sees fit to give them applies to everything.  It is the whole keep moving forward phrase.  So my thought to you is to keep going and it will all work out in the end.  That I can promise you.

Have a great week filled with good.

Love, Elder Nielsen

District Leader

Nutella, Marshmallow crepe

Members yard that we fenced

Elder Nielsen on a cool tree stump

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving.

This week has been a fun one and a quick one.  There are times on my Mission that the days and weeks just fly by and others that seem to never end. But anyway, didn't really have anything new happen out of the ordinary, but the one cool thing that happened was on our way to a lesson.  We where running late because of some things that happened in the morning with miscommunication. But it is about a twenty minute bike ride to the investigators house. The lesson was at 11:30 and we jumped on our bikes at 11:20.  The other draw back from being twenty minuets away is that it is all up hill.  As I was riding I was just flying up the hills and such.  I felt like I had extra help and someone was pushing me and helping me getting up those large hills of Worcester, England.  And the best miracle of all is that we got to the investigators house at 11:35 only five minuets late.  We have never made it up there that quick.  It was a really cool miracle that happened and we had a great lesson as well.

England does not celebrate Thanksgiving.  Usually the Missionaries are invited to Ward members homes that are transplants to England but this year we had Thanksgiving as a District which was fun.  Our District Leader cooked it for us and he came up to me and said "Elder Nielsen you look like you have carved a turkey before." So my job was to carve the turkey and pick off the best bits that I like and eat them.  Always the plus of carving the turkey, right. But it was really fun to be with the District and celebrate and be thankful.  I have grown pretty close to many of the Missionaries here in our District and we had a great day.  Even though Thanksgiving wasn't with my "family" it was with my Mission family which will be another great memory of my time spent here.

I have been thinking a lot about blessings and which ones I have seen come to me on my Mission.  I had to think really hard to realize them.  But then I was sent this poem in an email today and I think it made me realize the blessings that I have been given.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for—but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I am blessed and am grateful for all that our Savior Jesus Christ has given me.  I hope that you as well will search daily what blessings have come your way and thank Him for them.

Have a great week.

Love Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Small Miracles

Hey Family and Friends,

Transfers are December 11, 2013 so it is time to work even harder just in case.

This week has been a fun one.  Once a year Missionaries get a list of AUF (address unknown on file) so we get to play detective for a while to find these inactive members or to see what we can find out about them.  We have been working daily to find these addresses and member and we stopped by one address and the members had moved.  So we tracted the area and found this really cool guy.  I was a little taken back by what he said when he answered the door.  Just imagine, he answered the door and a little puppy tried to run out.  You know how a little puppy makes you feel, it kind of melts you heart, so anyway, he grabbed it because it has not had all the shots yet so it can't go outside (one of the rules of England).  But we asked what he what he did for work.  He tells us he is a Guide and that the puppy is going to become a gun dog.  The look on my face must of been great, anyone who knows me and my brothers know that we love to read about guns and go out shooting on the range, etc.  I have never heard anyone here in England say the word gun and that they enjoy hunting.  That put a little spark in my step.  But we talked to him for a little bit.  He said that he wasn't ready to hear the Gospel, but the seed was planted for the next set of Missionaries and I hope that he had a good experience with us though.  So that's all that matters.

One of the biggest miracles that happened this week was also a stressful one.  I was asked after Priesthood to play the piano in Sacrament Meeting.  I said, okay whatever.  I was going to skip Sunday School to practice and go over the Hymns so I was at least semi able to play them.  But before I could get more than a brief run through of the songs the Ward Mission Leader grabbed us to have a meeting with him.  So I just looked at my companion and said "it is going to be fun".  But one of the songs I had never heard before. So I took the advice from Sponge Bob Square Pants, "Play as loud as you can so people think you are great".  So I played the opening Hymn really loud and fast and did quite well.  The sacrament Hymn was okay but it was the intermediate hymn I was worried about.  Out of all the book the chorister chose Jesus Savior Pilot Me listen here. The whole Sacrament Meeting I was looking at the music trying to see how to change it to make it easier.  It did not help that the Chapel was freezing so my hands where cold.  But when the time came I went and was about to play the intro and the music director said we are only singing one verse.  I was jumping for joy.  But it was a miracle.  It turned out really good.  My success was not from Sponge Bob but from the Spirit guiding and helping me.

I am thankful for that Spirit that guides me daily in my Missionary experience.  I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am thankful for trials that draw me closer to my Heavenly Father.  I am thankful for all of you that pray daily for me and support me.

Have a great Thanksgiving and be grateful for all that you have.

Love Elder Nielsen

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Flat 9 Sidbury house
3 college street
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Q&A Missionary Life

This week has been a good one.

In answer to a few questions that have been emailed to me.

The weather is not to bad.  Maybe 40's or 50's and rain lots of rain.  It is supposed to get cold but has not yet and I have been fine.  Still wearing short sleeves and just my rain gear.  But for those who know me, my temperature gauge runs on the always warm side.   Our tracking here in Worcester is all knocking doors, talking to people in the streets, referrals from Ward members and contacting the less active.  I am in the Evesham District in the Cheltnam Zone.  The most challenging aspect of my Mission has been finding people to teach.  As you probably know, I don't like to talk to strangers at their door or on the streets.  That has been the biggest hurtle and one I struggle with everyday to get over.  The best part of my Mission would have to be the relationship you get with members in the Areas that I have served.  I have met many people that have a special place in my heart.  I think the only changes that I have made would be in my attitude and level of maturity.  When you go out on your own as a servant of God you have to grow up fast.  But I think that I have stayed the same in humor and not expressing my true views until I am comfortable with the person.  One of my goals is to read the whole Standard Works (Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price) in a year.  I am a little over half way done.  I just finished Proverbs and have already finished the Book of Mormon and New Testament.  I love the study time and what I learn from studying.  I still am not used to having a companion, I have always been a very independent person and having someone "tagging" along is not my style.

Not much really happened this week.  Just a good busy week. The big news is that on Wednesday we had a Zone Conference. We had it in Rhibwina in Wales.  Rhiwbina is a northern suburb of Cardiff, capital of Wales.  It used to be a separate village: its core is still locally called "the village" and it has a Welsh village look.  So we had to get up at four to get a train at 5:59 in the morning.  It was a long day.  Elder Dykes spoke to us so it was worth it in the end.  He talked about how we are called to work with the spiritually sick people. We need to realize that every ones challenges are different and we need to be prepared for whatever gets thrown at us.  Elder Dykes was an ENT.  So he kept applying everything back to the human body an how when he starts a surgery he needs to know, to the best of his ability's, what is in there and what can go wrong.  But he talked about how we need to be prepared with spiritual instruments and know how to use them.  It was a very long day.  We where up at four and went to bed at ten that night.  But the good thing is that it was a very inspired meeting and one of my favorites so far in the Mission.

I have a friend from Blackfoot that was in the horrible storm in the Philippines.  She can't really sleep or eat after the trials she has gone through.  Continue to pray for all the Missionaries throughout the world for hearts to be softened to hear the good word of the Gospel and that trials will not be so great that we can't handle them.  A former Stake President has said "Missionaries will have experiences on their Mission where nowhere else in their life time they will have.  Not all are great, but it is also a time they are close to their Father in Heaven.  A time for growing and deepening their faith and trust in the Lord. 

Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lots of Service

Dear Family,

Not much really happened this week. We did our usually things. Teach a lesson or two and look for people to teach. We also did a lot of service.

On Sunday it was Remembrance Sunday, this is a day that here in England those that served in the Armed Forces are remembered, so we sold Poppies for that.  It was pretty fun and it got us out in the community doing something that everyone pulls together for and since we had our name tags on we also got some good questions and discussion.  We also had a bon fire night.  We went to the Chapel and the Ward had fireworks and food.  Now these fireworks were good but not as good as the fireworks that I have done in the past as a young teenage boy, but they where alright.

So the highlights were that we have missed trains, sold Poppies, and became professional painters. We are pretty much painting a members whole house for her.  She doesn't know that we know that we are, but we do.  One cool thing that happened this week is a family from Kidderminster that I got really close with while I was serving there is moving to Worcester.  It's the same family I helped move a few times while I was in Kiddy.  They are in need of help cleaning up their new yard.  So I will put on my lumberjack hat and professional landscaping shoes and go to work.

One thing that has been good is we had the chance to listen to President Uchtdorf's talk from this last General Conference.  Come Join with Us  I really like how he outlines what each person commits to do when they are baptized.  It is good to see that he just laid everything on the table and said here you go are you ready?  I loved it!

We have the opportunity to have Elder Dyke's of the Area Seventy coming to talk to us this week it should be fun.  He was also here a while ago for our Stake Conference.  We have been talking about hastening the work and I have been studying this topic from Jacob 5 and the parable of the vineyard.  Jacob 5  I studied the vision of the tree of life and Nephi's interpretation of it along with Jacob 5.  A lot of interesting stuff.

Hope all is going well!  Love you all and the support that you give me.

Love Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rain and Opposition

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a fun one with plenty of ups and downs.  The week started off on Sunday night with an alert that England was to have the worst storm in a long time.  We were told by many members not to go out on Monday unless it was absolutely necessary.  The great news is that the storm did not even hit Worcester.  I awoke to beautiful sunshine and a great day.  For the past few weeks though we have had lots of rain.  More rain than I have ever experienced, therefore, I had to go do a little bit of shopping.  I brought with me from the States one rain jacket.  I am now the proud owner of another rain jacket, waterproof pants and shoes and waterproof cover for my back pack.  Here in England we have also changed to day light savings time.  We changed on the 27 of October so we have had a few weeks to adjust.  It now gets dark around 5:00 pm so it makes it hard for us Missionaries when we have late appointments.  My Companion Elder Gardner told me that by January it will start to get dark around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  I am not looking forward to that.

The weeks are pretty much the same with the days and routines changing maybe just a little bit.  But on Halloween when had to be in the flat at 6.  I found that a little ridiculous.  Most of England doesn't even celebrate Halloween.  So anyway, we had many hours sitting in the flat bored out of our minds. But one good thing that happened earlier in the day is that we had a really good sign lesson.  Since transfers were last week we had a Missionary transfer out of the area. There are two teams of Missionaries in Worcester, so the new Missionary was at our sign lesson and we started back at square one.  It is funny because for the next two lessons we will go over stuff that we have already learned and then the new Missionaries are expected to catch up.  It takes some time to catch up but when you are forced to catch up you learn quick or at least I did.

One thing that happened to us was we where going to contact a less active member that we had been asked to visit by the Ward.  And so we left after a dinner appointment to go and visit.  So this address was in a way nice area.  I felt so out of place.  We usually work in the middle and lower class areas and stay away from upper class areas like that.  But we had a good discussion, we started the long walk home.  We got to a fork in the road and we needed to choose which one to take, one side went uphill the other down hill.  So Elder Nielsen, being the smart guy he is, used his brain and assumed that we should go down hill.  I kept thinking that we wanted to go home which in my mind was down hill.  So, we started down hill and about 45 min later we ended up at the member's house we just left. Long story short don't assume that down hill is down hill.  We laughed about it and the extra long journey made our night very fun.

Sunday was a pretty interesting day.  In Priesthood we talked about opposition.  So the teacher had half of us looked at the story of Jonah Jonah 1 and the other half looked at the story of Esther.  You can read about Esther here Ester 1-10 .  Me and my companion where put in the group that was looking at Esther along with the deaf members in our Ward.  I thought I was going to wet myself watching the member try to sign the story of Esther.  I could not have done better but he kept looking at us for help.  But it was cool to look at opposition. We can deal with it and face it or we can run to Nineveh and get eaten by a whale as Jonah did.  Sometimes we just have to face opposition head on.  The one part of Sunday that was hard was Sacrament Meeting.  The Elders where on deck to translate in sign. Translating is not really that hard expect when you need to do testimonies. You are supposed to sign them as close as you can.  Luckily when I was up I had about five primary children bear their testimony.  What a great experience to sign for little children who have great faith and pure testimonies.  I found only one to be hard to sign and I had no idea what to do.  But it all worked out and it was fun.

I have a great love and testimony for this Gospel and the people that I come in contact and work with daily.  I testify of Christ and know that he knows and loves me and wants me to succeed.  I know that He will help me, all I have to do it ask.

Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Love, Elder Nielsen

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Be Lead and Taught by the Spirit

Hey All,

This week has been a fast week.  I don't really remember what I did most of the week.  But Tuesday was a very fast day.  We had transfers this week, so it was time for our flat to be inspected.  So we knew that it was time to really get down to some serious scrubbing.  The good news is that we passed the inspection which is good.  And then later that afternoon, we did some less active work and then taught a lesson. It was a really good lesson and then we went to a dinner appointment.  The dinner appointment was really cool.  It was with a former mission president.  He was the president of the London Mission in the late 1980's and then to top it all off he got home from being a the London Mission President and three weeks later he got a call to be the Temple President of the London Temple. The Spirit he has in his home is incredible and we were blessed to be in his presence and learn from him.

Wednesday we had meetings and I went on exchange with the District Leader.  It has been nice to not have to be a District Leader companion as I had been in Kidderminster.  I have not had to go on exchange for a long time.  But I went to Evesham.  It is smaller than Kidderminster but the people are really nice.  While I was there we did some service for a member and did some home teaching.  It was nice to get to know another Elder and see another part of this beautiful country of England.

Thursday was kind of a mess.  We had to catch a train to Great Malvern to go to sign lessons and for a dinner appointment and of course the train was very late.  We where just a little bit late.  But all went well.  We have still been translating Preach my Gospel which is fun and challenging.  It is really fun and I am enjoying learning this new skill.

Friday and Saturday where just busy days with teaching and going by less actives. The one thing that was nice was Sunday. We have only had regular church meetings every other week due to Stake Conference and General Conference.  I can't tell you how nice it is to be back on our regular Church schedule.

My mom was asking me about the picture of the Lambo I sent last week.  She asked why I looked so timid standing next to it.  It was on a very narrow street so there was no way I was going to get really close just in case something happened to it.  I didn't really want someone coming up to me and asking what I was doing.  It was an awesome feeling to be next to a super car that is worth more than a good size house.  Some of my favorite food is Curry but I have to cook it or Kabobs.  We have a Chinese shop called Yum Yum pretty close to us so to get stuff for Curry is really easy.  The Kabobs are tricky because good Kabob shops don't open tell five so it's more of a dinner thing.

Our Mission has been focusing our study on following the Spirit.  In Preach My Gospel  How do I recognize the Spirit?  Below are some thoughts from the discussion I have had via email with my dad.

Consider the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but … unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all  things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.

“We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation” (“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 13–14).

Earlier in the chapter it talks about the Light of Christ and how it guides you via your conscience.  I think that as you are being obedient and making an effort to do what is right and to further the work that you will make good choices based on your prior experiences, the Light of Christ, and a big dose of common sense.  It reminds me of the counsel:

D&C 58:26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

There certainly are big things that we should seek the guidance of the Spirit.  And there are lots of smaller things on which we probably should be seeking the Spirit but we don't due to our own arrogance.  But to seek the Spirit to help you know which route to take to work today probably falls under the category of "you're on your own, it really doesn't matter". 

Something to think and study about.

Thanks for all your emails and support.  I love this Gospel and the work the Lord has for me to accomplish.  The people of England are tough but the Gospel will move forward on this earth.

Love,  Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Missionary Work in England

Hi Friends and Family,

I hope everyone has had a good week. 

A little history of Missionary work in England.  We don't really teach that much.  In my first area Kidderminster, the most we taught was 8 people in the 12 weeks that I was there.  But here in Worcester, we teach one to two a week.  In the whole Mission of Birmingham we have about 20 or low 30 baptisms.  Most of these are students from China or from other places.  We see that people that are native to western England are not really interested in religion at all.  The members here are so so.  They are ether really helpful or want nothing to do with the Missionaries.  There are some that try to help but most of them don't but I keep an open mind that through lots of prayer that the Lord will bless us and help us find those that are ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We ride bikes pretty often.  Not every day but most days we do some form of riding.  There are 2 Temples in England, one in Preston and one in London.  I have no idea if I will get to go to the Temple before my time is up.  It is up to Area 70 because it is out of the Mission.  Last week I mentioned that I had been sick.  Around this time of year, I usually get a cold and then it settles in my chest and I end up with bronchitis.  Since I know this usually happens, I got a jump on it as soon as the cold started to settle in my chest and visited with a Sister in our Ward that is a Nurse and thank goodness she loves the Missionaries.  She recommended some meds for me.  England hardly has anything that you can get over the counter. So it took some time to find stuff but it all worked and I am feeling much better. 

This week has just been really busy running around trying to get things done since we had a few days of down time the week before with me being sick.  Not much really happened Monday other than our regular P-day, and Tuesday we had interviews with President.  That was fun with a lot of Missionaries in line waiting to get into the hot seat.  But we had a good interview.

Wednesday was a really busy day.  We had sign lessons which went pretty good.  I am getting better "slowly" but am still improving.  We have been working on translating Preach My Gospel and translating talks and such.  It is a lot of fun.  The member that teaches us has a lot of questions when we read Preach My Gospel.  So it turns into us trying to explain things to him in sign.  Which is good.  Because it gives us good practice at signing and answering his questions makes us rely on the spirit to give him correct information about the Gospel.  After that, we where just running around to a District appointment and a lesson then on to football.  We play football with the Ward every Wednesday night.  But this Wednesday, the game got a little out of hand.  It seemed like all the Missionaries had some rage penned up that needed to get out.  So it was a physical game and it helped that they split the Missionaries up on different teams.  But it was a very good game and everyone went home with out any injuries and tired.

On Thursdays we get together with the other team of Missionaries in our Ward and practice our sign Language.  We try our best but we usually can't agree what the sign is for a certain word.  Two Missionaries have one idea and the other one thinks it is a different sign.  So then it's up to the other to decide which one it is.  So that always turns out pretty fun because there is lots of discussion and laughter.  But in the end it was a pretty normal day.  We had dinner with a family and played UNO and to say the least, Elder Nielsen didn't bring his card game playing from the States.  I averaged about a hundred points against me a hand. I know that I can do better than that.  But it was fun.

Friday was when I saw the cars!  I am a car junky.  Not just any cars, but the expensive cars that are made in Europe and Germany.  Before my Mission, I watched extreme car shows looked at extreme car magazines and sites.  I could and can tell you the name of certain cars what type of engine it has and how much it costs.  So, we were up in our Flat planning for next week and I looked out the window and saw the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4!!  It was black and slick looking.  I was really excited so I ran down stairs and took pictures of it (picture below with Elder Nielsen in his P-day clothes).  The other pictures is of just an Audi R8 nothing to special.  So after that excitement,  we had a DA clear out in the sticks.  It took about thirty minutes to cycle there.  After dinner we stayed and talked and then cycled back in the dark.  But I did have a miracle happen. When we left the dinner appointment, the lights on my bike did not work.  It was pitch black so I said a prayer and just kept riding hoping that I would not fall in a pot hole or run over something or even worse get run over and all of a sudden, the lights turned on.  It would have been bad if I didn't have lights.

But the high light of the week was Sunday. We had Stake Conference and the Presidency was getting reorganized. We had Elders De Feo and Dyches come to our meeting. They are in the Europe Area Presidency.  They both gave some great talks.  Elder De Feo talked about how we need to start with what we do have and not what we don't.  He talked about 2 Kings Chapter 4 where the a widow comes to Elijah and says I have debts and the collectors are going to come and take my sons and sell them for the money.  And Elijah says okay what do you have?  The women says I have nothing except a bit of oil.  He then says get all the empty containers you have and fill them up.  She does this and then is commanded to go and sell. His point was that we need to give the Lord what we can and he will do the rest.  Elder Dyches spoke at General Conference this year.  He talked about how Penicillin was discovered.  And how it is built on a five sided shape called Thiazolidine Ring that helps it keep its structure.  He then tells us to find five things to center our lives on like Scriptures, Church, Temple, Family, Faith, or Prayer.  But I must admit I was running through my biology lessons and human anatomy trying to figure out what he was talking about.  It was a great Sunday full of enlightenment and learning for me.

I am finding joy in my Mission here in England.  As with most Missionaries I have my ups and downs but the Lord is always with me and blesses me when I am humble enough to ask and listen.  I love this Gospel and the Lord and have a testimony of its truthfulness.  May you be blessed this next week in all that you do.


Elder Nielsen

I have found what I want for Christmas.  A Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 base price £253,200 or $409475.04

Then just an Audi R8

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Lord will open the way

Hey all,

This past week has been a rough week to say the least.  Monday was P-day so after emailing and shopping Elder Gardner and I both ended up chilling and studying the rest of the day.  We where getting ready to teach a lesson that we had later that night with a family we found about a week ago. But as we where getting ready to head to the lesson, we got a text saying they didn't want us to come over.  So we went to dinner at a member's house.  The member needed to have a bon fire to burn some stuff, so Elder Gardner and I and the other set of Elders that were with us had a bon fire in our Missionary clothes.  I am sure that our mothers would not have approved, but it was really fun.

Tuesday we had a Zone Meeting. We left pretty early to get to Gloucester.  We normally have the Zone Meetings in Cheltnam but this week it was in Gloucester because of a Mission trip that the Mission President had planned later in the week.  It had been a while since anyone had been to the Chapel in Gloucester so long story short, you guessed it, we got lost and were about an hour late to the Meeting.  Later that evening as we planned our return trip back to Worcester, we discovered that the farther from Birmingham you get the trains don't come as often. We had about a two hour wait at the train station to get home.  But this gave us time to visit with people while we wait.

Wednesday I woke up sick so we spent most of the day inside studying and watching the bits of General Conference that we missed.  Later that evening, we went to our Sign Language lessons and we ended up taking turns signing Preach My Gospel!  We did a whole chapter under the very watchful eye of the member that teaches us.  It was fun and nerve racking at the same time.  At 4:15 we left to catch the train back to Worcester so that we would have time to walk to a dinner appointment we had.  Just our luck we missed the train so we where 30 minuets late to the dinner appointment which in turn made us about an hour late to our lesson after that.  The good that came out of all the bad that happened this day is that we got a new investigator!  The gal that we are now teaching, we teach her 19 year old son and she let us know that she wants to be taught as well!  So blessing in disguise.  Happy day.

Thursday we just hung around the flat trying to get some rest so I could get better.

Friday was a Mission trip.  We went to Bembo Farms and Gadfield Elm.  Bembo Farms is where one of the Apostles baptized the United Brethren. Historical information about Bembo Farms and Gadfield Elm .  So we had fun looking around and looking at the pond that was dug to be a font.   Gadfield Elm is the oldest Chapel the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints has.  It was a really cool Chapel.  It has been visited by three Prophets and countless members of the Quorum of the Twelve.  It was really cool.  Afterward we went to Gloucester to have lunch and play games.  There where only 3 Zones out of the 7 Zones of Missionaries that were able to attend.  It was nice to get with the other Zones and have this experience.  So our luck ran out when we headed back to the train station to get on the train back to Worcester and we had an hour wait.  No big deal until when the train came it was immediately canceled because of mechanical problems.  So we waited for a little bit for another train.  Long story short, we left from home at 3:30 am and got home at 8:30 pm.  Long day.

 Saturday we had a planning session and some service projects that we have been working on.  We finished painting a member's family room.  I don't mind painting, but not my favorite I will be a professional by the time this is finished.   It has been a hard/discouraging week but we have received lots of blessings.  The Lord will make a way out of no way I have found this week.  We where running late the whole week but he blessed us because of our efforts.

Have a great week!  Remember the Lord loves you!

Elder Nielsen

Pond that was dug for baptism

Gadfield Chapel

Elder Nielsen looking a little green in the cheeks, still not feeling well

Gadfield Chapel

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Great Weekend

Hey Everyone,

What a great weekend.  I have been spiritually recharged by conference. We watched Conference at the library here in Worcester on line which was a cool experience.  But all I can say is I can't wait to be able to study the talks when they are printed.  My favorite part was the Sunday morning session.  I did not get to see Sunday night but when President Monson got up and said "this Conference has  been the most spiritual conference I have been to in 50 years" was powerful.

Last week I mentioned that we have 270 new Missionaries in the Birmingham Mission and by December we are going to be "topped off" at 300.  The rumor is that we are the biggest Mission in Europe and will be for a while.

This week has been pretty normal.  We have had meetings and with Conference being this weekend most of our time was gone.  But I had a really cool experience this week.  I was on work overs with the Zone Leaders.  Which is where I go with one zone leader and my companion goes with the other companion.  The Zone Leaders come every once in a while to see how we are doing and to get to know us better.  But we went down to the bottom of our Area and went by a less active members home.  After that we still had time so we knocked doors.  We had knocked on a couple when we knocked and a man answered.  He wouldn't open the door very wide because he didn't want his dog to come out and get us.  This is pretty common over here.  But we where talking to him and having a really good conversation, when all of a sudden this lady pulls up and looks at us for about five minuets.  She then comes up and tells us that if we don't leave now and quite harassing this man she will call the police.  So we left just to not cause trouble.  We kept knocking and started to talk to a women a few doors down who seemed pretty interested.  But while we were talking to her we saw a car come around the corner pretty fast.  We recognized the person in the car to be the man that we had just been talking to, when he sees us he stops and comes up to us and apologizes to us.  Turns out the women who was yelling at us was his sons soon to be mother in law.  And the man just said "I tell her to not act like that all the time.  But she is just a witch."  We where so stunned by what happened we called it a day.

I have really had my eyes opened lately to the devastation of divorced families.  I have worked with people that have had horrible family lives so I have seen all the problems that come with that.  We have part member right now that we are visiting with that was abused physically, mentally, and emotionally by his dad.  I have waded through the crap so to say.  And the people we are teaching now are both divorced.  It's really sad how Satan is really tearing families apart.  I  guess I have the understanding of a old man when it comes to family problems like that.  Just when I think I have heard it all, something new comes up.

We have had the opportunity to listen to the Prophet and Apostles.  I hope you realize that if the claim we have to having a Prophet on the earth is true.  Which it is.  We should be studding the talks day and night.  We are the only Church that has a living Prophet.  Listen to him.  Support him and take his advice and warnings to heart.  You will be blessed.  I can promise you that listening to the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson will only bring good things.  God loves us so much that he calls a man just to show how much he loves us.  I would like to strongly recommend studying the talks from Conference, study your scriptures and love your fellow man.

As my mom says, keep smiling and be obedient and you will be blessed.

Love Elder Nielsen
Elder Nielsen & Elder Gardener watching General Conference Oct 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hastening the Work of Salvation

Hey Everyone!

Just a bit of information about my new companion, Elder Gardner.  Elder Gardner is from Kent England which is right outside of London about a thirty minute train ride from Kent to London.  He has been out serving for 18 months or so.  My mom had asked about the cleanliness of myself and my companions, so here is the truth for good or bad.  The flats we have kept pretty clean.  Elder Davis, my first companion, was good about picking up his things but not doing his dishes.  Elder Larsen my next companion was really good at keeping the bathroom and bedroom clean and mold free.  But was horrid at picking things up anywhere else in the flat.  I have not had to many OCD cleaning moments maybe once a month.  Elder Gardner and I keep a pretty clean flat.  I can stand a little clutter but after a little bit I go and clean for a couple hours.  I always try to leave the flat spotless when we leave for the day, but the mold in the bathroom is bad over here.  But I am always on top of it getting it off and bleaching it right away.

Well on to this past week, it has been a fun one.  Tuesday started off pretty slow.  We had a appointment with an investigator.  So we walked all the way up to his place and when we got there, there was a note on the door canceling.  So that pretty much messed up the rest of the day.  In England, we can't track before noon or do any finding.  People get very mad when you knock on their door before noon.  So we passed out fliers for a charity event that was being held at the Church.  The member running the event wanted us to go in service cloths and no tags.  It was a coffee morning.  We where not quite sure if we should go with no tags but as we looked more closely at the flier it had coffee on it so no tags it was.

Wednesday we had District Meeting.  We have it in Evesham.  The cool thing was that President decided to show up to this one.  It was a very good meeting and we talked about how if we are bold committing people to do things we can have more success.  It was a really cool thing to hear.  We also had Ward football.  Once a week the Ward rents a hall that we play indoor football in.  I can't remember the last time I played football, maybe my 9th grade year in school.  But I scored many goals.

Thursday was some stopped by some people that we have been working with and then headed sign language lessons.  The lesson went really good.  I am slowly but surely getting the hang of signing.  But at the end of the lesson the man teaching it picked me, Elder Nielsen, to say the closing prayer.  I was a little scared to say the least.  So I started to sign the prayer and completely messed up so I started again.  Signing a prayer is really hard.  You have to think about what you want to say.  Then say it while you are trying to figure out the sign for the words you are saying.  Probably one of the shortest prayers I have given in a long time.

Friday was just planning for the rest of the week and going to the charity event.

Saturday was a fun day.  We have a list of less active members that we have been asked to visit see if they are still living at that address and if they are interested in returning to Church.  We did that most of the morning and then we had a Ward party.  We played some different quiz games.  The first quiz was movie still.  We saw a picture of a scene from a movie and had to name the movie and if you could the year.  The Elders where really good at that portion of the game.  The next portion of the game was a "general" knowledge quiz.  It was NOT a general knowledge quiz to this American.  We were shone a picture of an event and we had to know who, where, why, and the date of the event.  I knew none of them.  But learned a lot and had a great time.

Sunday was Church.  The Missionaries did the lesson because it was 5th Sunday.  We did a lesson on the Work of Salvation broadcast.  It went really well.  We had many members say they where going to go home and watch the broadcast on  Link here Hastening the Work and Salvation.  But it was a good Sunday.

We have been talking about Magnifying our Callings and have had many discussions.  As Missionaries at the end of the day we feel like we should have done more.  But I guess at the end of the day the Lord knows what we have done and what we still need to do.  So I guess that the whole thing about magnifying our callings is to realize that we are going to fall short of the mark and try our best to do the best that we can do.  That has been one of the things that I have had to work on.  I can be a little OCD about things and I have realized that some days are worse than others.  In Preach My Gospel it talks about how we should rely on the Spirit.  And then turns around and says that to have the desire to be lead by the Spirit all the time is unrighteous.  One thing I have learned about the Spirit is that most of the time just doing what we naturally would do is the Spirit guiding us to some degree.  President Hinckley said that "after all is said and done if it persuaded you to be better or the outcome was good it is the Spirit".

I come to love this Gospel more every day as I study and try to tell people about it.  Have a great week.


Elder Nielsen

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adventures and learning sign language

Hey everyone!

This week has been a slow one that is for sure.  Monday was the dreaded dodge call.  And the news came in that I was leaving Kidderminster.  It was a shock to both me and my companion, Elder Larsen.  We both thought for sure we would have one more transfer together.  But water under the bridge.  I moved to Worcester.  It is pronounced Wooster or Wusta like I mentioned last week.  The spelling over here is really cool.  The names of the places in Wales are worse then England.   Worcester is bigger than Kidderminster.  It is a City and to be considered a City it has to have a Cathedral or some paper from the Queen stating that it is a City.  But it is double to triple the size of Kiddy. We have two sets of Missionaries here so pretty big.  But that was pretty much Monday.

Tuesday had been a very busy day.  Since I was leaving Kiddy, I packed for a couple of hours and then said goodbye to the people in the Branch and got things ready for the new Elder that was coming in to Kidderminster.  Tuesday night is a bitter sweet moment for Missionaries when we are transferred.  We gain so many friendships with the people that we work with it is hard to move on.  We went to the store and bought pizza, garlic bread, Oreo, and Reese's.  We pretty much had one last parting meal as companions.  It was really fun.

Wednesday was travel all day.  Elder Larson and I jumped on the train with my bags and bike.  Traveled to Birmingham Moore Street.  Where we met some other Elders at Birmingham New Street and this is where Elder Larsen and I went our different ways.  I jumped on a train to the Mission Home with another Elder and Elder Larsen went back to Kidderminster with his new companion.  I traveled to the Mission Home and jumped on a coach (charter bus) and traveled down to Glouster. There I met my new companion and road the train up to Worcester.  If you look at a map that was the wrong way to do it.  I could have trained from Kidderminster to Worcester in about twenty minutes.  But whatever.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday was pretty much just salvage what was left of the week with visits and getting to know the new area that I am in.  The one cool thing that happened is that I get to learn a language in this area.! The Ward that I am serving in has a couple of deaf people.  So once a week the Elders learn British Sign Language.  Can you believe it!  It was quite a shock.  But the cool thing is that the Elders sign the Sacrament Prayer and try (you see I wrote the word try) to sign the rest of the meetings. There are two members who can sign but the Elders are back up.

Today, Monday, we started our p-day at about 8 a.m. in the morning.  There is an area called Great Malvern.  It has a set of hills that inspired the author Tolkien for areas in the book Lord of the Rings.  The area is the White Mountains.  So we hiked all the way up to the top hoping that the fog was going to lift.  So we hiked and got to the top and the fog didn't lift. It was cool and humid but was a fun hike to get to see some of the beautiful areas of England.  There are many natural springs that you can drink from on our hike. But only one is "safe".  I say "safe" because the City looks after and takes care of it.  I bet we could have gotten water from the other springs but the sign strongly recommended that we boil the water before drinking, so I didn't chance getting something that would put me on my butt (or my butt on the John) so I passed on that. HA HA

The High counselor for our Ward spoke on Sunday about building Zion.  He talked about what Zion should be and how we can build it.  It was a very good talk.  He said that Zion can be achieved with obedience to commandments and keeping covenants.  He said that he felt like there is a Zion built in the MTC (Mission Training Center) because of the unity that the Elders and Sisters have.  So we need to build where we stand.  We shouldn't think that moving to a different area or a new Ward will help build Zion.  We need to build unity where we are now in our own Wards, Stakes and neighborhoods.

It has been a good week full of new experiences in a new area, Ward, companion but still the wonderful people of England.  I love my Mission, this Gospel and the people that I am surrounded with.

Make it a great week!

Elder Nielsen

Below are some pictures from my p-day of the White Mountains in the City, Great Malvern.

Elder Nielsen

Elders of Worcester on p-day

Elder Nielsen's new companion Elder Gardener

The only "safe" fresh water spring

Elder Larsen and Elder Nielsen last day as companions

tree in the White Mountains

City of Great Malvern

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Transfer Day heading to Worcester, England

Hi everyone.

I guess the big news is that I am getting transferred. I am going to Worcester (Wusta) which is twenty miles to the south so not to far.  I will be heading out Wednesday, September 18, 2013. I'm not sure how I feel about being transferred.  I have been in Kidderminster since I came to England and I really like my companion and we get along great, but I'm also getting sick of the area a little bit and feel like I need to move on.  So on to a new adventure with a new companion. 

This week has been a fun one!  I'm not sure if I spent more than 24 hours in my own area of Kidderminster.  So Monday we had a Zone P day with everyone in Harborn.  It had its moments of fun.  We played Human Foosball here is a link of what it looks like human foosball.  It was pretty fun but as Missionaries/young men it turned very competitive. Then after that we headed back to our area.  We have been having Family Home Evening (FHE) with the single sisters in our Branch at the chapel on Mondays.  As luck would have it, our trains where running late and we missed a connection, so we where just about an hour late for FHE but even though we were late we had fun though.

Tuesday we finished the things that we didn't get to do on Monday due to travel.  We got to teach our progressing investigator.  He just got married to a member in our Branch and with our busy schedules, we have not been able to see him for about a month.  I guess the good thing is that during that month he still was reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  So hopefully he can get an answer to his prayers.  It is pretty common here in England for people to investigate 6 months to a year before taking the big step of baptism.  He always tells us that he really likes us coming over to visit and teach.

Wednesday was back to Harborn for a Zone Meeting.  We had a very good Zone Meeting about how we can improve our teaching skills.  After that I went on exchanges with one of the Elders from Redditch.  It was a pretty miserable exchange because of the weather.  It rained and rained and I did not pack an extra pair of trousers so I was soaked to the bone.

Thursday we just switched back from exchange and then visited less active members with the Senior Missionary couple.  We also had Branch Council.  It was a good meeting were we started to finalize plans for the Kidderminster Branch's big Missionary event in November.  Hopefully it all goes well. They need the event to go off really well and have people there to teach and ask questions.

Friday was just a normal Friday.  It rained all day, not a heavy rain but the annoying England rain. Saturday we traveled again.  We went and did work over in Redditch.  So a two hour train there and  back and a couple of hours working took up most of the day.  During this time, we all switched companions and tried to find people to jump start the area or to get it back going and then had some more training in Driotwhich Spa and visited members there.

I think my favorite day was Sunday. We had Stake Conference.  So we traveled back to Harborn for the third time this week.  One of the speakers talked about how the Gospel is like rock climbing.  You have the person belaying the rope and the rope.  He talked about how the Atonement is the rope and the person belaying you is Christ.  No matter how many times you fall the Atonement can and will catch you.  It was really good lesson.  After Stake Conference, one of the Missionary teams in Harborn were having a Baptism.  So we stayed for that and good thing we did.  The tap for the font was broken!  We ended up filling the font with buckets, trash cans, pots and whatever we could get to hold water!  We filled the font with cold water because the hot water heater ran out of water.  We put about 18 inches of water in it.  The funny part is that the man being baptized was a massive man, about 6'3" and easily over 200 pounds.  Built like a wall!  The Elder who was baptizing him was skinny as a rail and about the same height as me which is 5'10".  The man had to sit in the font and the Elder kneeled.  Luckily they got the baptizing done on the first try.

That was about the fun for the week.  My testimony has grown this week with all the little things that went wrong.  I find it interesting that just as soon as things start to work out and go smooth and I feel comfortable, the poop hits the fan (lack of a better phrase) or transfers come along.  But among the things I have learned is that when it gets the hardest is when you just put your faith and trust in the Lord.  I have had many great and spiritual experiences this week.  I hope that you have all too.

Love, Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen in his new suit.  A few weeks ago, a member told me, Elder Nielsen, that I looked like I was wearing my dad's suit.  I have lost a few pounds since being in England, so it was new suit time. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missionaries and the Pizza Hut Buffet

Hello everyone!

Hope everyone is doing good. This week has been a fun one and a busy one.  Not much really happened tell Wednesday when we had our weekly meeting with the rest of the District.  So we have our meeting then we decided to go to lunch together and then travel back to our Areas.  Since the Chapel in Kidderminster is close to the rail station we have the District meetings here.  But anyway, this week everyone was really hungry so we went to lunch before our meetings.  We went to Pizza Hut and had the all you can eat lunch buffet.  Use you imagination, six Missionaries going into an all you can eat!  Great for us Missionaries, but not for Pizza Hut. We walked out about an hour and a half later haven eaten 102 pieces of pizza or 12.75 pizzas.  The bill came to £41 ($64) and we ate £90 ($141) worth of pizza.  There are places here in Kidderminster that the Missionaries are banded from going to the lunch buffet.  But not here at Pizza Hut........Yet.

The other thing that happened is we had a miracle tracking.  We found a less active member who had just had a baby and just moved into our Area.  How cool is that.  Out of the hundreds of streets we could pick we picked that one.  It shows that the Spirit can led us even when we don't recognize it. We also tried something new this week trying to find people.  We did some street preaching!  We made a poster and went into the Town Center of Kidderminster to talk to people.  I held the poster while Elder Watt (I was on exchanges) went around with a white board with a question on it asking people "Have you ever wondered?"  It was kind of fun.

Sunday I found out that the Kidderminster Relief Society is in the Daughters in my Kingdom book. They are right in the middle of the book.  It is a picture from the early 1900s but still there.  It was really cool to have the sisters in the Relief Society point that out to me.  I remember really not paying attention to the pictures or much of the stories for that matter when my mom made us read it as a family.  But I have looked at it since then and am learning from it about the history of Relief Society in the Church and how important it is.

I have found that the Lord will bring miracles when you least expect it.  Just when you are about to break the Lord comes through.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will provide.

Elder Nielsen

View from our Flat in Kidderminster

The sign that we held as we street preached

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Look to Christ and Live


Missionary life is a hard life I have come to find out.  We started this week off pretty strong and then all the sudden it was back to square one again.  I find it really humbling to have so many people investigating and then in two to three days you loose them all.  But that is life.

Monday was just a normal pday.  Tuesday we had appointments all over town and had a very good lesson with a less active man.  We visit him once a week just to talk and teach.  He is less active because of health not by choice.  We had a very spiritual lesson with him.  We asked him what was his favorite part of the Gospel.  Most of the people we ask that to say the plan of salvation, morals, family history work, temples, or humanitarian aid.  But his answer was so simple and beautiful.  He said that the best part of the Gospel for him is knowing God.  He said we know what he looks like and acts like.  We have so much more information about him than any other religion.  It made me realize that I take that for granted most of the time.  I thought that most people had the same information as Latter Day Saints, but I was wrong.

So why did that response impact me so much?  It was because of a few things.  I can remember singing in primary "I Am a Child of God".  When you look at the Eternal side of that statement it just brings tears to my eyes.  No matter what I do I will always be a Child of God.  The second thing is how much he cares about us individually.  I have been reading the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price.  In Moses 7 it explains it the best.  Enoch is commanded to preach to the people.  He does and they establish Zion and the Lord takes Zion up to him.  But these verses show how much God cares about us.

28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

 29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

 30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;

 31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

 32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

 33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should Love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;

 34 And the afire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.

 35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.

 36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.

 37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

 38 But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.

 39 And that which I have chosen hath plead before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment;

 40 Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.

 41 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.

This week has been one full of spiritual things and lots of hardship.  But one thing that I fall back on when I am having a hard time is the fact that God loves me.  He knows my strengths and weaknesses and how to help me.  I am given trails not to discourage me but to help me learn and find out my earthly and eternal potential.  To quote John Lennon," When I find myself in time of trouble" look to Christ and live.

Love, Elder Nielsen

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week of suprises and the unexpected


I am writing this a little late because it was bank holiday on Monday and almost everything that the Missionaries use on Monday (computers and internet) were closed.  But this week has been a good week.  Full of surprises and the unexpected.

Monday after we sent word home that we would not be emailing due to the bank holiday, we went on an adventure.  We found a ten pin bowling lane in our area.  So we took a member to go bowling with us.  It turns out that the place we where going was completely out of our Zone, so we had to jump through all the hoops to get permission to leave the Zone.  It was worth it though and we had a great time.  One thing I think that is different between bowling in the States versus here in England is that here it seems to be easier.  In the States I am terrible at bowling but here I was on fire.

Tuesday we had a busy day running around in our area of Kidderminster.  We had a couple of appointments that were spread throughout the day the problem was filling the time in between these appointments.  We had one in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  And to make matters worse I realized that they all where across town from each other.  So Elder Larson and I did a lot of walking and running to be where we needed to be on time.  But we had lots of fun running to and fro.

Wednesday we had meetings in Harborn at the Stake Center and then I went on exchange with one of the Elders from Redditch.  When we go to the meetings in Harborn we have to pack a lunch or get one.  And silly Elder Nielsen thought that we could get off the bus one stop later and we would be close to a Subway.  But to my surprise the bus turned and went the opposite direction than I thought it would go.  We had quite a hike from the bus stop to Subway and then to the Chapel.  But it was all worth it.

Thursday was mostly just a travel day for more meetings.  We went to Redditch and to get to Redditch we take a train up to Birmingham and then down to Redditch which takes about two hours.  If we had a car, we could be in Redditch in about twenty minutes because it is just the next town over.  So travel for us took five hours by the time we got back to the flat.  After that a member invited us over for some Curry.   My dad served his Mission in Singapore so he makes curry for us a lot.  So the members asked which curry we wanted and Elder Larson and I both wanted the hottest curry they could get.  The member got a curry called Vindaloo.  It was not very hot to me but to the members, they couldn't stand it at all it was way too hot.  They where very disappointed by our reaction to the curry.  They where thinking that we wouldn't finish it because it was too spicy but it was a very nice curry.  It wasn't so nice the next morning though. Ha Ha

Friday was just a normal Friday.  We had our big planning session for the next week and then visited two people and that was about it.  Saturday was about the same.

But the surprise came on Sunday.  We went the Chapel at 9:30 to greet people and to our amazement someone was having a family gathering that week.  By the end of Church we had 60 people there and forty of them where visitors!  It was so nice to have all the chairs full and the Chapel full of faithful saints.  After our meetings, we had dinner with an inactive member who is trying to get back into Church.  I have never laughed so hard in my life.  He is such a funny guy and was telling jokes all night.

On Monday which was bank holiday and P-Day we went out with some members on a walk through the woods.  When we got out of the woods there was a car show and car boot event going on.  For those who know me, Elder Nielsen, know that I am really into older, unique, expensive cars.  So I was in heaven looking at all the cars.  So we went to the car show for a couple of hours and then had a nice walk along the River Severn.  The one thing that I kept thinking during the walk was how lucky I am to be in England.  Some days it's not so fun but it's the fun times that I will remember the best.  I kept thinking as we walked how beautiful God's creations are.  It was nice to have the time to reflect in a place where the usual noises where not there.  I have come to love the Gospel and the message that it teaches.  It is an easy one to understand and blesses me so much.

Until next week!

Elder Nielsen

Elder Larson, Elder Nielsen hiking Severn River, England doing what former scouts do climbing on log piles.

Elder Nielsen, Elder Larson skipping rocks Severn river in England

Elder Larson, Elder Nielsen looking regal into the sky

One of the many cars at the car show in England

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lord, I Believe

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been a very fun week, full of lots of service and that's about it.  We have been helping a member move across town for the last week and a half so that has pretty much filled our week. But that is good since we get to meet many people while serving.

Monday we took some time out in the morning to help the member move.  The one thing that is hard about moving people in England is that if they have a second story flat or home, you have to take most of the big items out the window. That was a very fun experience to say the least.  It reminds me of the commercial back in the States with the moving guys trying to move a grand piano out of the window.  You probably can guess what the outcome is.  But no worries, we did not move a piano out of the window but a few other heavy things.

Tuesday we taught a lesson in the morning to an investigator and then back to help the members move the rest of the day.  The family that we have been helping, the father is into rebuilding old cars. So needless to say, we have moved lots of car parts and I am amazed at the value of some of these parts.

Wednesday we helped them all day, again.  In the morning we helped take down the Snooker table.  It is like a pool table except the padded rails are a different shape.  So I thought our pool table back home was heavy, but I was just fooling myself. So the family hired a company to take down the Snooker table but they needed extra bodies on the slate to get it down the stairs. So guess who came to the rescue, the Missionaries became the extra bodies.  Man oh man was it heavy.  We had five pieces of slate to take down a flight of stairs. They had to weigh above three hundred pounds each!  It was an exciting adventure.  After we finished up with the Snooker table later that night my companion and I got to go fishing.  I think that I had mentioned the fish pond in my last letter where Elder Larsen and I dared each other to touch the electric fence around the pond, well yea those are the fish the Elders and the families son were catching by hand except the trying thing was that it was dark.  We had a great time.

Thursday we went on exchange.  I stayed in Kidderminster and Elder Larsen went to Redditch.  It is about a two hour train ride each direction. So not much got done on Thursday.

Then Friday was District meeting and interviews.  Elder Larsen and I traveled into Harborn.  Harborn is a town similar to Draper, Utah and Birmingham is like Salt lake City, Utah.  So Harborn is on the outskirts of Birmingham. We took two trains and two buses to get to Harborn.  The first train ride was great but when we got onto the second train and it was pretty much a wild mouse ride.  And you guessed it, I started to get motion sick.  To make matters worse we then had to run and catch our first bus.  So that just added to the feeling of queasiness.  By the time we got to the Chapel in Harborn I was car sick and motion sick, not a good combination and I was not a happy camper.  So after spending the day in Harborn, my stomach calmed down and I was not looking forward to the travel back to Kidderminster.  Thank goodness, I was lucky enough to sleep on the way back home.

Saturday was kind of a catch up day for the things we needed to get done for the week.  Sunday was  Church and going by less active members who usually make it to Sacrament Meeting who didn't make it this week.  The work is progressing slowly in Kidderminster but it has given me time to study the scriptures and serve others and I have noticed that the more I study and learn the stronger my testimony of the Gospel gets.  I have always wondered how return Missionaries get to know the scriptures so well, I have found that out!  When you have an hour devoted to scripture study alone every day you come to know them very well. I know this Church is true.  I know that a Mission is hard work but is all worth it in the end.  I have learned that when you struggle and you feel like you have lost your testimony, return to the basics of studying and praying.  I have had to do this a couple of times so far and I know that many more times will come.  I read a talk called "Lord I believe" by Elder Holland this week you can read it here Lord, I Believe I now understand what it means to have faith in Christ and his Gospel.

Thanks for your support,

Elder Nielsen

Too bad it is not a video! Did it get smashed all over!Elder Nielsen and Elder Larsen.