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
wr1 2lt

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