Monday, July 28, 2014

The Sacrament

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was a hard week. We just had to many things to do and not enough time in the day to do them and it has been very hot and humid over here. We will go out for about two hours and then will need to come back to change our shirt because it is wet from the humidity.  It has made the work hard because people do not want to talk. They just want to get indoors and out of the heat.  It has made cycling hard as well.  Oh well, that is the life of a Missionary!  I need to enjoy the sun while it is still here because before you know it, the rain and fog will be back.

We have been going by a lot of less active this week that the Ward did not know about.  It was really fun. We met some really nice people and had a couple of them at Church on Sunday which was good to see.  The one hard thing that happened this week is I went on exchange (where my companion and I go with different Elders in different Areas) with a Elder in my Area.  It was a fun exchange but the Elders flat is right next to the airport.  The planes flew right next to their window and you could see the people in the plane window, that's how close they are!  It was really cool but also frustrating because it made talking to people in the streets really hard.  You would be having a good conversation with them, then a plane would fly over and you couldn't speak it was just to loud.  It was a good exchange though.  I like having the opportunity to work with other Elders.  I learn so much from them and their working style. 

One day last week we also had the chance to play football as a Ward.  It was a lot of fun but very hot. We played for about two hours and after that I had to go home and shower because it looked like I had just been thrown in a pool.  I was absolutely dripping with sweat, but it was worth every drip. Before we played football, a member of the Bishopric came up to me and asked if I would give a talk on Sunday.  The day he asked was Saturday evening,  so I had about an hour to prepare a ten minute talk on why it is important to prepare to partake of the Sacrament.  It turned out to be a good talk for so little effort put into it.  The one thing that I have never really realized is how many times the Sacrament Prayer say remember.  They each say it two times.  That they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy son, and always remember him. Blessing on the Bread D&C 20:77  Then the water has do it in remembrance of the blood, that they do always remember himBlessing on the Water D&C 20:79  Every time we partake of the Sacrament we promise to always remember Him. The question I used to start my talk was do we Always Remember?  Life is hectic! We are all busy. But do we always remember Christ and his sacrifice for us.  Do we partake of the sacrament by just going through the motions or are we taking it with the intent to change. As I was preparing the talk I found lots of things I need to change.  I get to caught up with the things that need to be done this week rather than preparing myself to partake of the Sacrament.  We are not all perfect but have the chance to become perfect and we grow line upon line and principle upon principle.  We do this by partaking of the Sacrament and doing better each week.  It is the greatest blessing to be able to do that once a week.  To become better.

Tender Mercy I had this week would have to be attending Church this week.  I was way beyond frustrated with a lot of things and people so it was nice to just sit and do nothing and feel of our Savior's love for me.  Love this gospel!

Have a great week!  Love Elder Nielsen

Pictures below are from some of my adventures the past while.  The first set are pictures of the Elders flat and Church building that is near the airport.  Elder Nielsen raiding the refrigerator, more of the beautiful Country England and of course my green smoothie.  I try and drink one twice a day, who knew a Mission would make me so healthy!  And then the last few are of an old chapel and me in one of my new suits. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Busy and Fast Week

Dear Family & Friends,

Here is just some information on the new Area I am in at this time.  The new flat in Solihull is alright as missionary housing goes.  I really liked the flat in Cannock better because we had a house and a back yard that I could go out and just sit and enjoy God's rainy green earth.  But the new flat is in a good neighborhood.  With my little bit of cleanliness OCD, I have already stripped the place and cleaned it twice but the floor in the kitchen is bad.  Our feet just stick to it no matter what we have cleaned it with.  Our neighbors are usually pretty good.  I don't think there has every been any problems with them.  The only problem we have had was that our shower leaked into our downstairs neighbor's flat.  But it was a quick fix.  My Companion and I are getting along quit well.  We only religious English talk not small talk English since he does not speak English very well it is hard to see if we have much in common.  The hardest thing I have done as a District Leader is having come to Jesus talks with other Elders.  It is hard to do this because it usually leads to them getting disciplined from the Mission President.  The other reason it is hard to do is because most of these Elders are my friends and we have lots in common.  But it has to happen.  The other day I was thinking about what strengthens my faith when I am down and discouraged.  Just thinking that I can choose how I feel helps but sometimes the power of Satan is strong enough that choosing to be happy doesn't always come easily.

I have not been in my Area of Solihull at all this week.  I have been gone four out of the seven days. We were out Monday which was P day to play football with some Elders in another Area. Wednesday we where out for District Meeting.  Then I went and worked with an Elder in his Area.  Then we came back to Solihull Thursday night then back out on Friday night to Saturday.  It was a fun and eventful week.  One cool thing though is when I was on exchange with the Zone Leaders and I got to ride in a car!  I have not ridden in a car for about a year and a half.  The best thing was that it absolutely dumping rain that day.  We saw some other Elders biking and we pulled over and told them that our heater was out and that we were freezing! ha ha  But that wasn't the best thing that happened that day.  We had the Stake BBQ.  I got to see some members from Kidderminster.  It was really crazy to think that it was almost a year ago that I was in that Area.  It was crazy to catch up with them.  Some of the people that I worked with in Kidderminster to bring them back to Church are still active and they are working to get a Temple recommend!  I was so happy for them!  The other cool thing this week is I ate a Kangaroo burger.  It was so good.  When I was with the Zone Leader we had to go into downtown Birmingham for something. We were both hungry so we just walked into a food court and there was a place selling Kangaroo burgers.  So I decided, that is something that I should try and got one.  It was really good. 

But the week went very fast.  It is good to back in my own Area of Solihull though.  As a Mission we have been working on conversion.  How to help people become converted and to convert ourselves.  It has been a good thing to look at.  It has helped me strengthen my testimony and has helped me work toward being more converted.

Have a great week!

Love you all,  Elder Nielsen

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Parable of Sin and Stinging Nettle by Elder Nielsen

This week was long.  We had meetings all this week so not much got done.  We had Zone Meeting on Wednesday and then on Friday I had a District Leader training meeting.  So Elder  Fonseca and I headed to Birmingham to the Mission Home. All of the District Leaders from the whole mission were in attendance at the Mission Home for special training.  We talked lots about the noble and great ones.  It was pretty good for me to hear.  I had been doubting why I was called to be a District Leader.  The Mission President, President Rasmussen, said that we are all called at this time to do something that needs to be done. We have the ability to reach an Elder/Sister in the way he or she needs.  It was pretty cool to hear that and made me realize that I should not doubt what I have been called to do.

Saturday was a fun day though. We had three service projects. We started at 10 in morning and finished at about 7 that night with all of them.  It was a long day and I will tell you about it in story form.

I would like to tell you the story of Elder Nielsen Vs. the stinging nettle.  There is a man we have been doing service for this past week.  His garden is very overgrown. With brambles and stinging nettle. We had cleared a good chunk of it but when we got close to the back we stopped. We stopped because we had a wall of stinging nettle that was taller than I am.  The wall of stinging nettle was even taller than Elder Fonseca who is six foot two.  We put off clearing it away in hopes that the stinging nettle would just go away.  But on Saturday we decided it was time and the plant needed to go.  I have now learned from first hand experience that stinging nettle really hurts when it gets you.  When we got home we both had to wash our arms to get the stingers out of them.  But even after careful washing, we are still feeling the effects two days later.  But it was a good lesson.  It was fun providing service until we got to the nettles.  Sin can be fun at the start as well, but the further we get into the sin and the more we sin sooner or later this sin will get you back.  We had fun doing the first two thirds of the garden. The last third was Hell.  We learn in the Book of Mormon that wickedness never is and never will be happiness.  Just because it is fun now it will not be fun later.  Stinging nettle takes about four minutes before it starts to hurt.  Those four minutes are fun but then for the next three days you are hating life. We had some cream though to put on our arms which took the pain away.  The cream is like the Atonement.  The Atonement is there for us we just need to know how to use it and be willing to act.  It was a good lesson to learn this week.  It also was a painful one though.  But the most painful lessons we learn the most from.

I had a question asked this week.  "What are Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ doing at this very moment?"  Here are my thoughts.  I honestly think that Christ is preparing for the second coming.  He doesn't know when but in the Doctrine and Covenants it talks about how he will come tomorrow. So that is what I think He is doing.  Heavenly Father I think is probably doing the same thing, but I also think that He is weeping too.  Just like he did when He talked to Enoch. Weeping because of the wickedness and hardness of the hearts of the Children of men. With Christ preparing He is doing lots. Separating the wheat from the tares and bringing people who where promised to be put in a favorable position to hear the Gospel before it's to late.  Leave me your comments on what you think Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are doing. 

It is my hope that we will all help those that have been promised and that have the desire to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I love this Gospel, the people of England and all of you that support me in this effort.

Love Elder Nielsen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Transfered to Solihull England

Dear Family,

This week the exciting news is that I got transferred!  I have spent 6 months in Cannock so I was really ready for the change other than it was really hard to leave Cannock.  I have many friends there. One of the hardest things I have every done happened this week.  I had to say goodbye to Ingrid and her family.  They are the family that I had the opportunity to teach and baptize.  It took pretty long and they were not happy that I was going but that's life.

The last night I was in Cannock, we taught Maxine.  I don't think I told you but Maxine and Graham split up about three weeks ago.  So I went over to visit with her and tell her goodbye.  Then after I went to the Ward Mission Leaders house for some non alcoholic beers.  We sat in his back garden just having a right old time.  This will be another great memory of my time spent in Cannock.

I am now in a town called Solihull.  It is an area on the outskirts of BirminghamIt 
is a town in the West Midlands of England with a population of 94,753.  It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and is located 9 miles (14.5 km) southeast of Birmingham city center. It is the largest town in, and administrative center of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, which itself has a population of 200,400.  Historically part of Warwick shire, Solihull is one of the most prosperous towns in the English Midlands.   In November 2013, the Switch Quality of Life Index named Solihull the "best place to live" in the United Kingdom.  Residents of Solihull and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians The motto of Solihull is Urbs in Rure (Town in Country).  This is a very very nice area.  People drive Bentley and other nice cars every day and since I am a car fanatic, it should be fun.

It was pretty hard to leave Cannock but it was time to leave. On Wednesday I went to the Mission Home in Birmingham and met my new companion. His name is Elder Fonsaca.  He is from Cape Verde.  So he hardly speaks any English.  So I act as translator most of the time for the Ward. He is a good kid though. He has been out on his Mission for seven months. So still full of energy and motivation. Which is good. We had an interesting week.  We were heading to the store on Wednesday night and a man stopped us and started to ask us questions. That is one of my favorite things that happens. I do not like stopping people and talking to them but I do it. I really love it when people in the street stop us!  So I was excited when he started to ask some really good questions and acted pretty interested. Hopefully he will progress on past just the curious stage of it.

I have been reading the teaching of Joseph Fielding Smith lately.  I read about the millennium this week and what is going to happen. He talked about how our ancestors that have passed away will be able to give us information for the people who still have not had the work performed for them. But just because they can give it to us later doesn't mean we can just sit back and do nothing.  We have to work and listen.  President Rasmussen has been talking a lot about family history and that we as Missionaries need to be doing family history. It has been fun for me to write stories down about grandparents and parents and to learn more about them.  Just because I can't find anyone new doesn't mean I can't do family history.  He asked us to just write down stories and memories that we have.

I love this gospel and this new area that I have the opportunity to work in.  Have a great week.

Love,  Elder Nielsen

Elder Fonsaca