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