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.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dodged the Transfer

Hello Everyone,

This week has been a crazy week.  But first things first, I didn't get transferred but my companion Elder Davis, did.  My new companion is Elder Larsen and we are getting along great.

We had dodge Monday this week.  That is when the call for transfers comes in.  I have no idea why it's called dodge Monday but it is.  It is one of the longest days of the transfer.  Everyone is looking forward to the call from the President and it seems like it takes forever.  But for now, I don't have to deal with that for another six weeks.

Tuesday, Elder Davis and I had a couple of lessons then the rest of the night we spent visiting members and friends so Elder Davis could say goodbye and packing.

Wednesday was a long day.  Elder Davis and I had to travel into the Mission Office and spent most of the day there trying to get everything sorted with my new companion, Elder Larsen, and then getting back to Kidderminster.  So the Branch Mission Leader took us to breakfast in the morning before we traveled to the Mission Office. We went to this pub in the middle of no where and had an all you can eat breakfast buffet.   I had black pudding, which is the name for blood sausage here in England, for the first time.  It was funny because I think Elder Davis was expecting a bigger reaction from me after tasting black pudding but didn't get one.  The black pudding was alright but nothing I would ever order again.

I don't really remember Thursday or Friday since I was busy with Elder Larsen showing him around town.  But I bet they where good.  HA HA.

Saturday was more travel for meetings because Elder Larsen is the District Leader for our area now.  So lots of travel and trying to salvage what was left of the day.

Sunday was really fun.  We where in Sacrament Meeting and the Branch President had forgotten the bread for the sacrament.  So we went on with our meeting as outline and then partook of the sacrament last.  Never had that happen before but a really cool experience.  After Church we went to the members house who we are helping move to have dinner.  They made a really nice dinner then afterwards we sat and talked for a while.  They have a big fish pond with an electric fence around it, and one thing led to another and both Elder Larsen and I ended up touching the electric fence.  It was set up specifically so sheep and cows did not eat the fish or something like that.  I am sure that the members never thought that two young missionaries would be the ones that touched the electric fence. But it was a really funny experience to watch the reactions of the members we were visiting.

The longer I am out on my mission, the more my testimony is strengthened in the Gospel.  The Gospel answers all the questions that people ask us and makes us happy.

Have a great week.

Love Elder Nielsen

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Faith in Christ

Hello Family & Friends,

Transfers are Wednesday of this week, I should now sometime in the next day if I stay in Kidderminster or move on to a new exciting place in Birmingham, England.  I kind of do hope I do get transferred, but I really only have been here in Kidderminster for two transfers.  So I have no idea, the Lord knows where I am needed so I will go where he directs President to send me.

This week has been a killer week.  First things first.  Elder Davis and I had a couple people that we where teaching, and the very last guy of the night was a very hard lesson.  He started by saying that he would like to discuss some points of the Gospel with us.  That is when the red flags started to go up in my mind, but you know me, I didn't listen to them.  So for the next hour and a half we sat and he talked at us.  He was using all the anti-Mormon stuff he could.  There were many times that Elder Davis and I could have defended the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ but this guy would shut us down and then go back into his rantings and ravings.  One of the Elders in the District calls those encounters Testimony builders.  I don't think that I could of agreed with him at that particular time, but the day after and I had time to think about the situation it was a testimony builder.  To me the anti-Mormon stuff just proves how true the Church is by how many people attack it and so on.

The day after that we had Zone Conference.  We traveled for a couple of hours in to the Mission Home and had a wonderful conference.  The theme was Faith in Christ.  President talked about the five doors and the five keys that we need to pass through to get to Christ.  The keys are: 1. pray,  2. learning from the scriptures (President called it the Celestial IV), 3. Charity, 4. Humility, repentance, and renewal, and 5. Holiness to the Lord.  The fourth key is not really a key, it is a door that we have to break down.  We need to fight the natural man to get through this door, and the reward is you get through door five at the same time as four.  Holiness to the Lord is keeping the covenants that we have made through baptism and temple ordinances.

The whole Conference we where taught that if we are struggling we need to put our trust and faith more fully in Christ.  This week has been a week of ups and downs.  But worth it all.  I know that this Church is true.  And after the events of this past week, I can say it with more conviction than I think I ever have been able to.  This work is the Lords work and can not be done without Him.

Love Elder Nielsen