Monday, September 29, 2014

Things always get worse before they get better.

Dear Family and Friends,

Not much has really happened this week. We had transfers and one of Elders in the District got transferred.  So it was mostly getting him where he needed to be on time and getting the new Elder here and settled.  But other than that we spent most of the week trying to set things up for next transfer.  It is pretty funny because like I have mentioned before, the Area almost shuts down after the transfer and then has to be restarted.

I have been reading the Old Testament this week.  I am trying to finish it before I go home.  So it is seven pages a day and I should finish right before I go home.  But I was reading the last little bit of Genesis about Joseph getting sold into Egypt.  And all I could think about while I was reading it was the musical "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat".  So that made my morning study pretty good. ha ha  But while I was reading in Genesis, I found an interesting principle.   That things are going to get worse before it gets better.  Joseph's situation got worse when he was thrown in prison.  But then after a year of waiting it got better and kept going up.  I also found this as I started the Book of Mormon over again.  Lehi had to leave and the wilderness was hard. Things got worse before they get better.  It reminds me of one of the Batman movies.  The night is darkest before the dawn.  It is going to be bad for a while but just as it gets worse the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is there.

Some interesting questions were asked of me this past week.  "When did you have a burning in your heart and mind that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true?"  I don't think I can pin down when I believed the Gospel was true.  I thought it was in the Mission Training Center but then I met a born again christian in the streets and he changed that pretty quick with his arguing and bible bashing.  So maybe about six months out and after I started to understand the scriptures on a spiritual level and not a logical level.  I had a testimony of the Gospel before I left to serve my Mission but now it is a completely different understanding and feeling.

"What was your tender mercy this past week?"  Tender mercy for the week was just being able to go to Church and partaking of the sacrament. We didn't go two weeks ago because of Elder P. being ill and then the next week was Stake Conference.  So it was just being in attendance and the interaction with the members and being able to feel the spirit that is only at Church. That was much needed for the week.  Another tender mercy was having known Donald one of the investigators in the Ward I am currently serving in.  I will explain below.

Hopefully this week we can get out among the people more and talk to them.  One thing that happened this week was our investigator Donald passed away.  Donald had been investigating the Church for 18 years.  He came to Church as soon as he was invited and has kept coming.  Donald has a crazy story though.  When he first prayed about the Book of Mormon he heard a voice, a clear voice, saying, "Donald if you get baptized with them I will send you to hell."  Donald never did get baptized but he was a faithful member up until the end.  Donald lost his fight with colon cancer that had spread to his liver.  He was one of the best Missionaries this Ward had.  But he is in a place where he can finally accept the Gospel and partake of everything it has the offer.

Think about your tender mercy this week as well as when did you have the burning in your heart and mind that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.

The Gospel is true!!!!

Love, Elder Nielsen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Divine Potential and Individual Worth

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a hectic one. We had Stake Conference this weekend and with Elder P. being sick and not being able to work the full week we have been playing catch up.  It has been fun though to be busy again.  The beginning of the week we were in due to Elder P. illness so I have been doing lots of studying which has been nice.

Stake Conference though was really good it is a 45 minute drive to get there from Solihull so it was pretty early start to our day.  The Saturday session was packed. I have never seen a Saturday session that full.  Most of the Missionaries were out in the hall so there was more room for members and investigators to sit. Then the Sunday session  was probably one of the best Stake Conferences that I have been to. T here were some recent converts that bore their testimony and then a member talked about our Individual Worth and Divine potential.  She started the talk off with the Young Women's values which are Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue (Young Women's Personal Progress).  She then broke each of the values down.  She then said if we understood our Individual Worth and Divine potential we would do things very different. Sometimes as humans it is hard to think about our potential because we have a hard time thinking ahead.  I have been trying to figure out my Divine potential and it has been a hard journey.  Having to push off the human elements and telling myself that I can do anything I really want to do.  It has been fun though.

Another talk was a member from the Solihull Ward that I am serving in.  She told us a story about driving down to London and her car broke down on the M25 which is a massive ring road around the city of London itself.  It is something like six lanes in each direction.  She broke down in the middle of the six lanes during one of the busiest times of day.  She could not get to the hard shoulder because there was none.  She called all the people she had to in order to get the car moved. She then had to call highway patrol because of how dangerous of an area she was in.  The highway patrol then used their cameras on the road to locate her.  She talked about all the joy she felt when they told her that they could see her and that they would send someone soon to help.  She related this to how we are never alone that Heavenly Father is always watching over us.  We just don't see Him, but if we have faith we can feel His love for us.  It was a good Conference though. The final speaker was a recent convert that bore his testimony.  He is a black man from Ghana that used to be a preacher before he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I have never heard a testimony like his.  The people we were sitting with wanted to jump up and give an Amen it was so powerful.  He is going to be a good member.

Transfers are this week so we get the dodge call tonight.  I think I will be staying here in Solihull but I will not know for sure until tonight.  It is crazy how fast the time is going.

Find your Divine Potential this week and have faith that our Heavenly Father is watching over us and will help us in any way needed if we just seek and ask.

Love Elder Nielsen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hebrews 12:1-2

Hey Family and Friends,

I will start off my blog this week with a Q&A session.  My mom has been sending me questions the last few weeks of things that she wants to know so I guess some of you all will be interested also.

Where do the people of England go on Holiday?  Most of the members just go to the south of England or to main land Europe.

Is it difficult for you to fall asleep at night?  Some days it just depends on what happened during the day.  Lately, my mind has just been running really fast  and I don't have anything to shut it off.  Back home I would just watch a movie.  But cant do that while here in England so I listen to music or read scriptures.

What time does your p-day start, end and where do you email and do your laundry?  We leave at ten on p-days just to get things done. We only have from ten to six to get the things outside of our apartment.  We have a washer in the flat but no drier, so we have a cloth lines in the flat.  We just email at the library and shop at the local stores.  That is about it because it cost money to go places and there are not many free things.

I think the hardest thing I have done is working with the Ward I am in now.  It is a bit discouraging to not feel welcomed or needed.

This week not much happened.  Elder P. has been sick so we were in all week and probably a little bit of this next week too.  But it gives me more time to study.  I have just finished the New Testament
for the second time as a missionary.  I have enjoyed reading the New Testament.  The one reason though that I read it again is most people ask us question about it and the Book of Mormon.  So it was nice to read it again.  But as I was reading it this time I thought I would write down all the verses that talked about how Christ Church was organized.  It was really cool to go back and look at all the verses I wrote down and saw that The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints checked all the boxes.  So that was the cool testimony builder for the week.  It was also nice just to get to know Elder P. better.   With us being in the flat for the whole week we had many hours just to sit and talk.  It is one thing that you don't really get to do.  You get to know your comps to a certain level but anything past that you just don't have time for.  But we had plenty of time.  Sorry not much happened this week.  But everyone gets sick once in a while.

One of my favorite scriptures this week is Hebrews 12:1-2, 

 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let us lay aside what is burdening our soul this week and have faith in Jesus Christ.  He will comfort us.

Love this Gospel!

Love Elder Nielsen

Monday, September 8, 2014

Daily Events

Hey Family and Friends,

A few people have asked me about my daily routine here in England, below is a summary of the days events and such.

For breakfast it is usually eggs or oatmeal.  I have stopped the green smoothies because I have been drinking them for the last ten weeks and I am pretty tired of them.  I really don't have a favorite breakfast food. I just eat what I can get that is within my budget.

We leave the flat at 10 am and our main areas that we tract are the main streets and town center.  We are not allowed to preach in the shops, so we just walk around the town center and outlying areas.  We head to lunch at half twelve or one and we have an hour.  I don't know what I eat for lunch, I just eat!  I don't share any of my groceries with my companion.  I did with my trainer and I hated it.  We didn't really have the same food taste.  I hardly ever get snacks or drinks when we are out and about. On very hot days I do because I get really thirsty, but we have not had to many of those as you may recall from last posts.  We don't have Sisters in our District.  And Solihull has not had a baptism for a long time.  Many of the Missionaries that have been here have gotten close but I think it has been about two years from the last baptism.  As a District Leader I just watch over Elders, help most and babysit the others.  I train the Elders in my Area once a week and then work with each Elder once a transfer.  So that is my day in a brief paragraph.

So here we are another week down and boy did it fly by.  This week we had Zone Conference on Saturday.  I have never had a Zone Conference meeting on a Saturday, but it was good.  It is hard to have it on Saturday because that can be the day you get the most done with finding people and teaching.  It was good though to get training from the Mission President on how we can become better.  I learned some good things that should help me out.

This week we have been trying to catch up with all the members who have been on holiday for the summer.  It was cool to see the Chapel almost full again.  We had about 80 people there on Sunday! That is the most that has been in attendance since I have been here in Solihull.  I think the coolest part of Sunday was members coming up to us and sharing their Missionary experiences they had over the summer.  We have also been getting back into contact with the people that were being taught before the summer started and trying to get in with them. We should be getting back to teaching more regularly in a week or so. We have been in contact with a family that was being taught when I came to Solihull who moved to Leeds and they are willing to be taught again.  So things are starting to look up.  I love the Fall when everyone gets back into a routine.

One thing that I have started to notice is that when we are in a rush to get places that is when things happen. We had a girl ask us, just as we were getting on the bus to go to dinner, if she could have a copy of the Book of Mormon.  It was crazy fast.  Hopefully she reads it but it was so quick that we did not have the chance to talk to her about it at all.  Because of that we are trying to be a little more on time to things so that we are not so rushed and so we can have the opportunity to visit with those that have that golden question.

 Have a good week I will recap what I learned at Zone Conference next week after I have a chance to reread what I wrote.

Love, Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen and Antony from Cannock about 6 months ago

Monday, September 1, 2014



I am trying to think of what happened this week.  But the more I think the less I remember.  I have been sick all week.  It started as a cold then went into my chest and head.  So I have been drugged up
all week. So everything is sort of a blur.

We started off the week with some service.  There is a man that has been investigating the Church for 18 years and has gotten really sick recently, so we, Elder Paton and I, have been going over once a week to just keep his yard in shape.  This is the same man who we cut down the back garden for.  But it was fun this time because we got to clean up what we had cut down and put it into bags.  He has one garbage can full of weeds and about thirty garbage bags full of more weeds and other stuff.  We cut down a ton but we also found out that we still have about another ten feet to go.  We will get to it one day.

I had a really cool experience this week though.  One of my old Companions was recently transferred to my District.  I got to go on exchange with Elder Doty, one of my favorite Companions from Worcester.  It was so crazy. We where talking and I said," Doty this is trippy.  We were together 9 months ago and now we are back."  It was so much fun to catch up and work with him again.  It was just like old times.

I have also started to Book of Mormon again this week.  I was reading in 1 Nephi Chapter 2  this week and what really hit me this time was this:

1 For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.

2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

3 And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.

4 And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.

The reason this impressed me was that 1) Lehi was ALREADY faithful.  The lord knew he would respond to this and leave.  2) is that Lehi listened and left and 3) Lehi took only his family, provisions and tents.  He left ALL.  He left everything that the world says is important.  I have been thinking about it and talking about it with Elder Paton.  I have learned a ton from these five verses.  When times get hard if we are already faithful we will be blessed.  And the best time to be obedient is before these blessings are needed.  What I mean by that is to be living in a way that the Holy Ghost can prompt us before we get into trouble not after.  Even when it is hard, being obedient is going to be the best thing for us.

I hope that we can all do our best in following Lehi's example.  I love this work and the Lord.

Have a great week.

Love Elder Nielsen