Saturday, April 26, 2014

Miracles of Hard Work


This week has been a good one. We had to email on Tuesday because of a Bank holiday.  Every public building is closed on the Bank holidays and since we email at the Library, we were out of luck.  Monday was a regular prep day after transfers.  We spent most of the day getting Elder Thurgood ready to leave and with the Bank holiday and many businesses being closed, not much went on.

On Tuesday Elder Thurgood and I went and taught Graham and Maxine.  We had a pretty good lesson, nothing earth shaking.

Wednesday I dropped Elder Thurgood off at the Mission home and picked up my new companion. His name is Elder Omokaro.  He is from Ireland but born in Nigeria.  He has not been out on his Mission long, I think about four and a half months.  But we hit it off pretty quick which is good.  We are having a great time together.  I can diffidently tell how the work goes better when companions get along.  Elder Omokaro hasn't even been in Cannock a whole week and we already have six new investigators and things are just moving way fast.

So on Thursday we had meetings and Friday we helped a member most of the day clean out her house and box things up.  We also taught Graham and Maxine and had a pretty good lesson.  Graham asked me to sit back and let Elder Omokaro answer the questions that Graham had.  So I sat back and listened to the stream of questions that Graham asked Elder Omokaro.  After he had asked all his questions, he said that he just wanted to see what Elder Omokaro's answers would be.  See if we were on the same page so to speak.  It was a good lesson.

Saturday we had a Ward Easter BBQ.  It was really good and fun.  We had about an hour bike ride to get to the Area.  The BBQ took place in what is known as the Chase.  It is a massive forest area that is protected.  So a very nice bike ride through it.  Lots of members showed up and a couple of our investigators.  The one really cool thing that happened is that a former investigator showed up.  We started to talk to her and she said she was coming to Church tomorrow because of it being Easter Sunday and all.  I thought ya right you have said that before and not shown up.  But lo and behold she showed up!  I nearly ate my tie!  She brought four of her six kids with her and then she dropped the bomb and told us that she wanted to be taught again and baptized! So we set up a lesson with her for Monday night.   Monday rolled around and I was sure that we would show up to her home and no one would be there.  But to my surprise, she was home and we started to talk to her and she said that her kids wanted to be baptized too.  She had not talked them into it, they had just felt the Spirit at Church and want to be baptized.  We ended the evening having a really good lesson with them.

Many miracles are happening quickly.  The Lord is hastening his work and field is ripe to harvest.  I am looking forward to the week ahead and the many miracles and trials that I need to experience.   I have enjoyed this Easter season for the opportunity to remember the Resurrection of Christ.  The free gift that is given to all.  And the chance He gave me to enter in by the gate to Eternal Life.   This is all Because of Him!

Love, Elder Nielsen

This is a picture of the forest on our way to the Easter BBQ.

Another picture of the forest by the BBQ.

Not the most flattering picture of Elder Nielsen, but I was manning the grill and didn't want my white shirt to get dirty so this is the apron that the Ward Mission Leader Bro. Wilcox presented me with.  I am not sure that the apron helped much but the kids and Ward members sure got a kick out of it.
This picture is of the yard of a member that I helped out by mowing the lawn for them.  A bit smaller than what I am used to back home, but it was good to get out and smell the fresh cut grass and just think about the wonders of our World created by our Savior.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tender Mercy

Hey All,

This week has been a fun one. I made sweet and sour tofu for dinner one night this week. It was pretty good if I do say so myself. It has a interesting texture that is for sure. But enough of the food I ate I could go on for a couple of hours.

The biggest success we had this week is that we found out what is holding Graham back.  We taught Graham and Maxine this week. We had two really good lessons with them.  As I mentioned last week, Graham had said that our preaching was different than the other Christian Religions.  I had to wait until the following Tuesday to ask what he meant by that.  He told us that it is that we read from the Book of Mormon and quote from the Bible.  That was it.  So this appointment, we switched our teaching and used the Bible to back up the Book of Mormon. I have gotten a good relationship with Graham and Maxine and they are starting to ask more questions which is good and starting to open up more.  Elder Thurgood and I found out that Graham doesn't know God.  He has never had a personal relationship with him and finds it hard to pray to him.   My jaw dropped!  I realized I had assumed that Graham had a personal relationship with God because he knows so much about religion.  But they are coming along great.  Hopefully everything will work out and they can be baptized soon. They are pretty much already members because they defend the Church and invite there friends to learn about it.

We have another investigator that we are currently teaching and his name is John. We got a list of new people that have moved into the Ward and guess whose name is at the top of that list.  You guessed it right, John.  We had been teaching him for about a month before we got the new list of members that needed to be visited.  So we will see if he is a less active member or not when we see him next.  As a Mission here in Birmingham England, we have been changing the way we have been teaching.  One element that we changed is how we read the scriptures with investigators.  We used to just leave a Chapter from the Book of Mormon and hope they read it.  We are now asking them to think of a question and then we will give them a Chapter to read to receive an answer.  We ask them to write down the answer they get and then pray about it.  As a Zone we decided that the best way to testify of this new teaching was to use this activity ourselves.  So we did it.  It was crazy!  I prayed and asked my question for a Chapter to read from the Book of Mormon.  And I got it answered in about five minuets.  The prompting was so strong and clear about which Chapter to read. It was crazy!  It has helped me to have an even stronger testimony of prayer.

My favorite people this week have been the Ward Mission Leader and a member named Lee.  Our Stake in the Cannock Area wants to knock on every door in the boundaries.  So once a month we go out as a Ward and knock on doors.  This week I went with Lee who has the same personality as me, sometimes serious with a little bit of fun and humor.  Since I have been struggling with Satan affecting my attitude, I guess that I needed someone to talk to and just ended up unloading everything that has been going on with me and my companion.  Lee gave me a simple answer to my trials.  He told me to get a priesthood blessing.  So I thought about it and decided to get one on Sunday after Church.  I asked the Ward Mission Leader and one of the other Elders in our Ward to come and give me a blessing.  Since my Companion and I were at odds, I left him out of the loop.  But the Ward Mission leader gave the blessing.  I have never had a blessing like that.  I have never cried that much ether.  I guess it just shows how much I needed a Priesthood blessing.  He quoted some lines from my patriarchal blessing. He said that my trails will end soon, great power is going to come through my priesthood, and my name is going to be praised on the other side and there are many on the other side that are helping me more than I know.  It was crazy because after the blessing he kind of stepped back and said I have never given a Missionary a blessing before and that he was shocked at what was coming out of his mouth.  I have never felt anything like that ever.  I was floating on cloud nine for the rest of the day.  It was diffidently a Tender Mercy and testimony building experience for me.  I encourage all to take the opportunity to receive a Priesthood Blessing even when you don't think that you need it.

I am so blessed to be able to stay here in Cannock for another transfer.  Elder Thurgood was transferred this week and my new companion is from Ireland.  Maybe I will have and Irish/English accent by the end of this transfer. Ha Ha

I love this Gospel and Because of Him I am who I am! Enjoy your Easter Day.

Love, Elder Nielsen


Friday, April 11, 2014


  My western meal. Tacos with a Root Beer. We had dinner with a member that just returned from the States what a treat.

Hey Family,

This week has been a pretty disappointing week to say the least. We had lots of lessons set up but by the time we looked back at the week we only had two out of the seven we had planned follow through.  But there is a reason for everything and we need not let Satan get us down.  I have been reading my patriarchal blessing ( What is a Patriarchal Blessing) a lot lately and realized that there is a part that talks about Satan.  That He will strive to bring discouragement, depression, and disillusionment into my life.  Recently, I have been hit by all three of these this transfer.  I have never prayed so much in my life though to get over these feelings.  It has been crazy how hard Satan has been working lately on me but with the help of my Mission President and great Ward members, and lots of prayers from family and friends, life is good.  My mom had told me in her last letter that she had awakened in the very early hours of the morning (3:00 am) for the past week and felt that she should pray for me.  It is funny how she was prompted because seven hours away at that exact time, I was kneeling pouring out my soul to my Heavenly Father.  I am grateful that she listened to the promptings of the Spirit and know that her prayers along with mine helped me throughout those rough days.  I love you mom.

We had a really good lesson with Graham and Maxine this past week. We taught them about Prophets on Tuesday and how we have the opportunity to listen to our living Prophet this past weekend.  It was a really good lesson. The crazy thing was that Maxine started to say something then all of the sudden she said, "I know Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God".  The look on my face must have just been a Kodak moment!  Graham looked at her and asked how?  She basically said "I have done the things that the Elders asked me to do".   But we also found out what is holding Graham back about the Gospel and it is that we preach different than the other religions that use the bible.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to answer his question on Tuesday so we will get to it on Friday or next week.

Friday we had another lesson with them and Tash was able to attend.  We took our Ward Mission Leader's wife with us to help with Graham and Maxine's children.  It was crazy how different the lesson was because she was there helping out.  The best thing that happened is that one of Graham and Maxine's kids that sits in on the lessons said the closing prayer.  It was amazing the words that were spoken.  Right from the heart.

Saturday and Sunday was General Conference.  I loved Conference so much!  It was a spiritual one but also fun. We had the whole Zone at the Stake Center so it was nice to just "hang" out with some of my friends.  The two things that have stood out to me are from President Uchtdorf talk Grateful in Any Circumstances.  He said "Gratitude is the catalyst for all Christ-like attributes".  How true is that!  Christ was grateful in all situations he was in.  Never once complained or said something mean.  The second one was "we will have all eternity to think about this life".  That struck me because I have been thinking about my time in school before my Mission.  The regrets that I should have applied myself more and what not.  It would be hard to sit there for eternity thinking "I should of done that different".  I am so happy that I had the chance to sit down at the Prophet's feet and listen to his council.  I can't wait to study the words which where said when we get them in print through the Ensign and Liahona magazines.  I know the words that were spoken to be true.  Let us all press on in hastening His work.

Be happy, serve with a happy heart and love everyone!

Elder Nielsen

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Attitude Reflects Altitude

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been another fun and interesting one.  

Last week my mom asked if there were any Sister Missionaries in our Area and if they were "cute", or do I not look at them?  My reply to that questions comes from a talk given by Hyrum W. Smith titled "Why 1820".   This address was given at Ricks College a long time ago.  "I am to serve God and to stay focused, but if I didn't look around I was crazy".

On Tuesday we taught Graham and Maxine. Their friend Tash wasn't able to attend so we did a lesson on the fly instead of the "Restoration".  We decided to read with them out of the of The Book of Mormon.  We read 3 Nephi 11 "Jesus Christ did show himself unto the people of Nephi, as the multitude were gathered together in the land Bountiful, and did minister unto them; and on this wise did he show himself unto them."  As we were reading this chapter, Graham had a question about ten verses in.  He asked why the people had to hear the voice of God three times before they understood the voice.  I have thought about that lots.  And I told him that most of the time the Spirit prompts us a ton.  It isn't until we are ready to hear, listen and obey that we understand. There is a difference between hear and listen.  I can hear the Spirit say, Elder Nielsen, go knock on that door.  But as soon as I push it off or don't do it the thought comes again.   When I choose to listen and obey to that prompting, I then understand why.  It amazes me that Graham has lots of good questions and he and Maxine are moving along really good.

Wednesday we had a meeting at the Mission Home in Birmingham.  The topic was attitude.  I have always had a struggle with attitude no matter what it is but I was a little shocked because the Zone I am in is doing the best they have ever done so why is the Mission President talking about attitude?  It was because we are doing really good in our Zone.  President told us that if we as Missionaries would be happy and let it show we could be doing even better!  I have learned a saying out here from a Missionary friend.  It is Attitude reflects AltitudeThe better your attitude is the better the work is going to be because you expect more and want to do more.

Friday we taught Graham and Maxine again and their friend Tash was able to join us again.  We taught the Restoration and it went over really well.  We asked Tash if she could come on Tuesday and Friday evenings to visit with us and what she told us shocked me.  She is fifteen and on Tuesdays she goes to a three hour bible study at her Church.  Heck when I was fifteen I couldn't sit for three hours let alone read the old Testament for that period of time.  I think she will do very well.

My family recently for Spring Break attended as many Temples (5) in Utah as they could and did Baptism for the Dead with my younger brothers.  I must say that I am a little bit jealous.  One thing that I have noticed while being on my Mission is how much peace attending the Temple brings into my life.  I took it for granted before my Mission.  I now realize how important it was for me as I attended weekly with my friends as we awaited our time to leave.  I think the fact that I can't go because of distance to the Temple makes me realize how much it is needed in our lives.  So I say to you, go often to feel peace and renew your Spirit.

I hope that everyone has a chance to watch General Conference.  I am excited to sit and learn at the feet of the Prophet and to learn how I can be a better member of His Church.

Be happy, serve with a happy heart and love everyone.

Love Elder Nielsen