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