Saturday, September 28, 2013

August 20, 2013

Dear Parents,
If you are receiving this email, it is because your child has provided this email address to the mission office as your contact.  If you receiving this in error, please advise and we will update our records as requested.

First, let me apologize for taking so long to get this email out to you.  Our family arrived at the first of  July and have been trying to acclimate to the fast pace of missionary service.  We love your children and are so grateful to each of you for permitting them to serve at this time. 

We will try to stay connected to each of you as best we can via a mission blog (please see email below from my spouse, Sister Smartt).  I wish we had more opportunity to communicate with you in a more direct and personal manner.  The reality is that there are almost 200 missionaries and only one of us!  Luckily with the tools of technology that we have, we are able to communicate with all of you directly and consistently.  We spend a great deal of time with each of your children  on a regular basis and will try to post as many pictures as possible on a regular basis for your enjoyment and to keep you connected.

We ask that you not share the blog posts with your missionary while he/she is serving in the mission.  This is due to legal reasons and in an effort to ensure their continued spiritual as well as physical safety. 

Warmest of wishes,
President Smartt
Puerto Rico San Juan Mission

Dear Parents of Our Wonderful Puerto Rico San Juan Missionaries:
We are so grateful for each one of the elders and sisters in our mission, and their consecration of 18 to 24 months of full-time service to building the Lord’s kingdom. In turn, we are grateful to you as parents for raising such fine men and women, and for allowing them to serve in Puerto Rico.
As an expression of our gratitude and appreciation, I have created a blog for you to follow. I will post pictures of your son or daughter, and will do my best to capture their comings and goings, and their joy and success as they labor in the Lord’s vineyard. As they email me pictures of their baptisms, I will post those as well.
The blog address is:
I hope you enjoy the blog as much as we enjoy serving with them!
Sister Smartt

August 19, 2013

Alright alright, first thing's first. Yes, I have to wear a purse. Yes, I live with another dude. Yes, I have a really bad hair cut. NO, I"M NOT GAY. Just wanted to make sure we're all clear on that..
So mom got the job huh? Sweet. Although, that does hurt me a little, because she got one so easily and I can't find one to save my life. When I say i'm looking but no one will hire me, she won't believe me..  That's cool though. I hope that it will be a great experience for you!
Greg getting a new car will be cheaper for us.. My foot. That's a good excuse though. I have been thinking about it, and i'm pretty excited actually. Since greg will leave on his mission right after I get back, it'll be mine. Greg getting a new car = Jeff getting a new car. Cool beans.
So the senior couple, the Martinezs, left to go back to New Mexico yesterday. That was sad for us, because they fed us a lot hah. So that's not gunna happen anymore. We did move into their apartment though, and it's way nice. We have a nice kitchen, a decent room, and a washer. That's the best. We do have the worst shower known to man though. So the water heaters here are weird. It's just a thing on top of the shower head. you flip a switch on the wall to turn it on, then just turn on the cold water. there is a electrical current that "heats" the water before it comes out. it sucks big time. So today I got in, and it was just drizzling. I noticed that on the head, water was coming out in a place it wasn't supposed to. I noticed something kind of bulging out, looked like an O-ring that is there for a seal or something. I went to push it back in and I got freakin electrocuted. It's just a live wire sticking out of the shower head. so live electricity and cold water. that's a good combo right there..
We also got the truck that the Martinezs were using. It's a 2010 ford ranger, standard transmission. I love that thing. reminds me of big blue. I'm still mad that you sold it. anyways, it's fun driving up and down the hills, almost falling off the cliffs into the ocean. it's only a 4 cylinder engine though, that suuucks. it has no power. going up hills I have to crank it down to second gear and just chug up them. it's annoying, but it beats walking.
So would you say that I am a generally happy person? I feel like I am.. anyways, 2 different people this week told me that I need to smile more. My heavens. I hate them. I don't know why it bothered me so bad, but it really did haha. When they said that it made me so wroth. (my comp uses that word when he's mad. he learned English from the book of Mormon, so...)  But yeah, my gosh.
I'm glad everyone had a good week at school. I'm sorry Whitney had an accident. I can't ride bikes, whit can't ride scooters, greg can't go near anything without breaking it, and Zach is a perfect angel..
Well we have to pay $2 per 30 mins for internet time here at the "library" so i'm gunna have to go. it was nice using the martinez' laptop these past couple months.
President Smartt,
            We were able to meet the Towers and the Cards this weekend, as they came to help escort the Martinezs to the airport. The Martinezs were a great couple and really helped us here. I appreciate their efforts here and for their love towards us and the members here. They will be missed, but the work goes on.
            So we were able to talk with Kelly and get her situation figured out. We are just going to have our lessons outside, away from her house. She is still reading from the Book of Mormon and is studying her Gospel Principles book that we gave her. She just needs to marry her boyfriend and then she will be ready to be baptized.
            We are going to help out with the young mens program here in Roseau to try to help Terry become more involved. Today, the yound mens president in Portsmouth is having a YM activity at Ross University. We helped Terry and one of our investigators, Louency, a 14 yr old boy, get there on the bus this morning. We hope that help Terry get more involved will help him to have the goal of serving a mission in a few years. His birthday is on Sept. 2nd, and he will be 16. We want to help him to be prepared to bless the sacrament and be a strong Aaronic priesthood holder here.
            Yesterday, we were able to take the sacrament to a woman here named Vincia. She is Dominican, but she lived in Delaware for 35 years. She was coming back to Dominica 2 years ago to help her sister who was sick, but on the plane ride here she had a stroke. They made an emergency landing in Barbados and she stayed in a hospital there for 3 months. She made it here, but now lives in a hostel called The Grotto. She can’t walk well, and hasn’t been able to come to sacrament meeting. Yesterday we gave her the sacrament and she told us that it was the first time she has taken the sacrament in almost 2 years. She was so happy that we were able to do that for her. She said that if everything goes well, she might be cleared to get on a plane and return to the states on Sept 23 to get the medical treatment that she needs. We gave her a blessing and she felt so grateful for that. The priesthood was able to bless her in multiple ways this week and her testimony shows that she has a deep love for our Savior. She knows He lives, and I do as well. Just as she told us, He never leaves us alone, He’s always there to comfort us.

Elder Nielson

Monday, August 12, 2013

New "Bag"

also, i am so mad. there are new missionary guidelines and we're not allowed to use backpacks anymore. they say we look too much like students. so now, we have to use shoulder bags. or in other words, purses. you've got to be kidding me. now instead of accidentally being mistaken for a student, we'll be mistaken for homosexuals (more than we already are.) forget that

Pringles Guy

The Pringles guy has some serious swag.  Great facial and rocks a bow-tie like a boss!

August 12, 2013

President Smartt,

            This week was a little frustrating with trying to get our visas extended and what not, but we got it all figured out and we’re now legal to stay here and focus on what we need to do.

            We visited Owen this week up in his home in Capuchin. Owen was one of the older locals that was pitching the church van idea pretty hard last week. Anyways, he has prostate cancer and isn’t feeling well at all. Here on the island they don’t do much to help out with cancer patients, so he’s in a lot of pain. He doesn’t have frequent visitors, either, because of the distance he lives from the main town. He was so happy to see us and to spend some time with us. Last Sunday was his 10 year anniversary of being baptized and has a picture of his baptism prominently displayed on his wall, next to a picture of President Monson and the temple. He doesn’t have a car, andSunday public transportation is a joke here, so most of the time he walks the 6 miles to church down the “road.” He is 70 years old and has been doing that for 10 years. It is amazing to me that he has a strong enough testimony and is willing to make that kind of sacrifice to be able to come to church and partake of the sacrament. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to hold on, but now that we will have a vehicle we will be able to go up and visit him more frequently and I am really looking forward to that.

            Kelly told us this week that she doesn’t want to have “bible study” anymore with us. We were confused and called her to see what was going on, but we couldn’t really understand her. She did, however, come to church this week for the first time in a while. She explained the situation more there. Apparently, one of her neighbors told her that if he saw us coming by again, he could come over and harass us and make us feel bad in front of her. She doesn’t want that, so she asked us to not come back anymore. We still need to talk to her more and figure out what we are going to do. We didn’t have a chance after church because we had to leave Portsmouth early to make it to Roseau sacrament meeting. We met the branch there and started to get a feel for what it will be like there. We look forward to helping the group to become a branch and strengthening the members here.

Elder Nielson

Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope you had a great day. I was braggin to everyone yesterday at church that it was your birthday, even if they thought i was a little weird. 
Well, more news.. so apparently the most consistent thing in this mission in change, my heavens. As of now, we've been informed that no new elders will be coming to the island and that we will both be moved to Roseau startingthis sunday que viene. Let me tell you the story of how we figured that out. but before i tell you that story, i have to tell you this story..
So. when we arrived on the island, we were supposed to have 3 months on our visas. well, we realized last week on sunday that they only gave me 2 months and only gave fournier 1 month. So, that was a problem hah. he's been living here illegally for a month. anyways, we went to the immigration office and waited in a super long line, only to find out that we have to fill out some information sheet. we did that and then waited in line again. when we got to the front of the line, they asked for our return tickets. What? to extend, you must have a return ticket already purchased to prove you'll leave the island. so all of that for nothing. we wasted a whole day. You think the DMV is bad, come to the immigration office in Dominica, or anywhere in dominica for that matter haha.. anyways, we came back to the seniors apt and called the office and told them that we needed an itinerary like yesterday, so we can extend our visas and not go to jail. we ended up staying the night here in Roseau and were going to go back in the morning to the place, but the office never sent us our papers. so we had to go back to portsmouth for the day. at the end of the day, we had to come back to roseau. im not sure if i've explained the drive from portsmouth to roseau to you. it's like the Ortega had a baby with Lombard street in san francisco. it's terrible. up and down, left and right. it's terrible. plus we're crammed into these tiny buses where they cram at least 16 people before they'll leave, and pick up stragglers along the way. we're like sardines in there. plus, im fat, so it's miserable. anyways,thursday, we finally got it all squared away. we went back to portsmouth with the senior couple.
alright, now the other story. so we went with the martinez's to our new apt to get the lease all signed and finalized. we sat there for an hour and went through it all and got it all signed. literally 12 seconds after we shook their hands, we got a phone call from the office saying "dont rent that new apt because president smartt has changed his mind." do you konw how embarrassing it was to look at Marcus (the landlord) and say "oh nevermind." He had just got done explaining how happy he was to find tenants that would be quiet and respectful, and how just the day prior a guy came and wanted to rent that apt, but he had to tell him that we already took it.  we're also lucky that we were able to take it back, because usually if you sign a lease, it's signed! So now we dont have a place to stay in portsmouth, because we already gave our landlord here 30 days notice. My gosh. so we have to live in Roseau. BUT, we're expected to be in sacrament meeting in both portsmouth and in roseau. problem is, P is at 10, and R is at 11. it takes and hour to drive the 28 miles between towns. so yeah, not sure how that will work. also we got a letter today from president smartt saying "it was great to meet you last week. you and your companion are great missionaries. i'm glad to know that the island is in good hands. keep working hard and get ready, because in the next few weeks more will be expected of you."  whatttt? our life is already impossible as it is! ahhh. so idk what that means, that'll be interesting to see what happens. but yeah, i dont believe anything now until it happens haha
We met the Roseau group yesterday (they arent even a branch, just called a family group). there are only like 13 members that come. we're going to change that though. gotta get them to be a branch. One sister is named sister walther. shes from switzerland, but has been living here since 2003. shes from near Zurich. I told her that dad lived there, but i didnt know anything else about it. so if you could give me a couple details about that that would be cool. from what we've heard, shes a pain in the neck and if you're on her bad side, it's no bueno. so if i could talk to her about that and get on her good side, that would be ideal. i can hardly hold in the laughter when she talks though with her funny accent haha
Sounds like everything is going well for everyone. oh yeah, i do have an issue with greg getting a NEW CAR. WHAT THE EFF. are you kidding me. he better have to pay for ALL of his gas. i dont want to hear ANY complaints about moving. i'm upset.
Keep working hard and stop buying new cars, unless you get me one too.

Much Love!
Elder Nielson

My Desk

My Teaching Helper

August 5, 2013

President Smartt,

            It was great to meet you this week! I enjoyed the time we were able to spend together and for the insights you provided. The members all like you and look forward to working with the mission to further the work here in Dominica.

            This week we found a new young man named Abe who lives in the next village down from Portsmouth. He rode back from Roseau on the bus with us last Thursday. We talked to him the whole trip back. We then went on Friday to his village and found where he lives. We met with his family and they agreed to have us over this upcoming week to meet with them again. Abe would be a great young man for the branch. He has a couple sisters too that would help with the young women. We hope to be able to work with them and help them come to church.

            Kelly, again, had some problems during the weekend which prohibited her from coming to church. She was excited to come on Saturday when we met with her, but later that evening she called us and asked us to return to her house. Apparently, some man had come into her house and was really aggressive. He was under the influence of some heavy drugs and was causing problems. He tore all of the things out of her house and threw them outside. She was really stressed out and worried for her little 6 month old baby’s safety. It is so sad to see how well Kelly is progressing during the week, and then see these things happen on Saturday/Sunday to prevent her from coming to church. We are doing everything that we can to help her and to comfort her, but sometimes it seems like there is nothing that we can do but pray and fast for her. We know the Lord has His timing for everything; we’re just trying to do our best.

            Thanks again for everything that you are doing for us. I know that with the Lord’s help, anything is possible. I am grateful for His sacrifice and the trust He has in me to be His missionary and bring the world his truth. That is why I sang that song yesterday in sacrament meeting. I know that I am not the best singer in the world, or the most talented piano player. One thing I do know, however, is that my Redeemer lives.

Elder Nielson

Alright. well, president smartt came this week! Hes way cool. i really like him. He's only 43, so dad watch out! you might be getting a mission call here yourself pretty soon..
So i finally got my church debit card. bout time. 3 months later.. But i've got it now, so hopefully i wont have to use my card from home as much. 
Happy August Monday! Today is a random Dominican holiday, so everything is closed. I dont even think the locals know what this holiday stands for..
So we found out that one of us will probably be moved to roseau and one of us stay in portsmouth. that will happen by the end of the month. president will bring two other elders here and since we know the island, we will be the senior comps and show/teach them how to work in the island. more than likely, i will be sent to roseau, meaning i will be "in charge" in an area i dont know too well with a brand new companion.. yikes hah. that'll be a little tough, but I will go, i will do..
So garret is now a district leader! Crazy stuff. 
yesterday in sacrament meeting, E' Fournier and I sang I know that my redeemer lives as a musical number. I played the piano and we both sang. I had to sing the first verse as a solo.. yikes. I dont do solos very well. the piano was just fine, but the singing could have been better. I felt the spirit though, and that's all that matters. It was testimony meeting, and i was just trying to testify of my savior. Almost everyone was in tears afterwards haha. the spirit was really strong. president was there for it too, so all in all it was a good thing. 
I love everyone and hope that you have a great week! 
Cuidense mucho,
Elder Nielson

Kelly, Ked, Elder Nielson and Elder Fournier

Kelly, Ed, Ked

Grocery Bill

Week's Worth of Groceries


Cleaning Octopus

Octopus For Dinner

July 29, 2013

President Smartt,

            I was hoping to meet you this weekend! I was excited to hear that you were coming and disappointed that you weren’t able to come. I do hope that everything is okay and that the cause of you not coming wasn’t due to any problems or complications. I know we’ll meet when the Lord says it’s time.
This week was pretty good. We were hoping to have Kelly at church this Sunday but she wasn’t able to make it. She is going to have to move soon. She has been having problems with her “neighbors” and she has a little baby that she wants to protect. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Ed, has been improving though. She told us yesterday that they will get married. That is ultimately the best thing for her. A family will be best for not only her but for her child too. Ed has been warming up to us also. Yesterday we passed by his house to see if they needed help with moving or anything and he said “you know what? I stopped going to church because ‘christians’ don’t show love towards one another. They don’t care about anyone but themselves. You guys are nice and I appreciate the help and concern for us. I know you guys are doing the right thing.” We really hope to continue helping them progress.
We found out that we got the okay for our new apartment so hopefully we can move soon. Our apartment now isn’t totally safe but this new one will be.

We have also been able to see the hand of the Lord in our endeavors this week. Since this month has 5 weeks, our money is running thin. Especially since everything here on the island is astronomically expensive. We have to use a lot of our money on transportation too. One day last week, we didn’t have any money to buy or any food to eat at our apartment. I had to save the few dollars I had left to be able to go to Roseau. We were able to find a box of noodles and a can of tomato soup, however, so we were able to make “spaghetti.” We headed down to Roseau and when we arrived, the Martinez’s told us that a member here needed a blessing because he was really sick. We were able to give him a blessing and now he is feeling back to normal. I am grateful for the way that the Lord always takes care of us. When we’re obedient, the Lord blesses us.

I hope you have a great week, President. I look forward to meeting you!

Elder Nielson

haha classic german guy speaking yesterday. There is a lady here named sister Walther who is from switzerland. I havent met her yet, but I hear she's a character. 
So how is everyone? Hope all is well. Crazy that school is starting already. It seems like Greg was just skipping school to see if Michael and Link could destroy Scylla and take down the company. Classic.'
Well, as you can see, president Smartt didnt visit this week. he was supposed to be here on saturday at 1:40. we found out he wasnt coming at like noon on saturday. guhl. i even put gel in my hair. i HATE gel. 
Tell the grandmas thanks for their contributions! I appreciate it. and yeah, sorry for having to spend my money from home, but we were dying. once we get a car it will be a lot better. transportation takes all of our money. taking the bus here is almost as expensive as taking the bus to the middle school there! haha.. we're hangin in there though. i have a couple pictures for you to illustrate how expensive it is to live here. i'll attach them at the end.
what else. i dont know, nothing totally exciting happened this week. It was Breck's birthday on thursday, so that's exciting. Kassi entered the Spain MTC on Wednesday. OH! so on friday, Antonia and Conroy got married. they are both recent converts in the branch. They met at Antonia's baptism in february. anyways, I was one of their witnesses. I got to sign their wedding certificate and all of the legal documents and all that jazz. they'll remember me forever.
uhhh well i've been trying to be humble and develop my talent on the piano. I studied about talents a while back and realized that i should try to get better at it. My list of Hymns i can play has grown from a few to like 10 or 12 now i think. plus i learned some primary songs. i just have to practice the songs for like a week straight and then i can figure them out. i dont feel like im getting "better" at the piano, but i'm learning more songs.. idk, my sight reading is getting better though. i've got the notes down for sure (see it say it play it. classic.). Hopefully i'll keep getting better. the branch pianist is leaving in november, and they know i can "play" the piano since i play prelude every week (i just play the same songs i know every week hah). i dont want them to ask me to play, but i will if i have to. so speaking of that, mom could you send me the music to the Erl King? that song you used to play in your recitals. I really want to learn that song, it's sick. that would be cool if you could scan it in and email it...
well i just drove for the first time. i drove a ford ranger, stick shift. i had to shift with my left hand. drove on the left hand side of the road. it was sweet. i miss driving. and my truck. im still mad you sold it.
That's all i've got this week. Keep up the good work everybody. I miss you all and hope that your week will be great.
Elder Nielson

Driver's Licence

July 22, 2013

President Smartt,
            A verse from the Book of Mormon really hit me hard this week. I was doing my personal study in the book of Helaman, and I read Helaman 7:16. “Yea, how could you have given way to the enticing of him who is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo?” Wow, I thought, that is so profound. I have grown up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints my entire life. I went to primary, learning to CTR and singing songs about Book of Mormon stories. My parents taught me good values in a home founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have been taught from an early age what is right and what is wrong. I know how to make my own decisions and that there will always be a consequence for those decisions, whether they be good or bad. Yet, as everyone else has in their lives, I have made mistakes and committed sin. It seems as if it can be extremely easy to justify our actions and to justify sin in the world that we are living in. “Everyone else does it anyways, what does it matter if you do it?” “It wont hurt to do it just one time.” “Ah, come on, no one will ever find out.” These are all phrases that we have heard from our “friends” before. These are dangerous sayings that can lead to justification of sin and ultimately the destruction of our souls. We think sometimes that we can be happier when we sin. We learn from the Book of Mormon, however, that “wickedness never was happiness.” Alma 41:10.  Sometimes we feel that it is easier to go along with the crowd instead of standing up for what we know is right. Persecution, mockery, and a fear of looking cowardly in front of our peers can pressure us into choosing “forbidden paths” 1 Ne 8:28. The adversary desperately wants us to feel as miserable as he does and does not want us to progress and ultimately receive eternal happiness. Sin does not bring happiness. However, Satan can craftily make sin appear appealing and delightful. His tactics are subtle and suave and if we aren’t “anxiously engaged in a good cause” we can be led away down those forbidden path. He makes sin seem enticing, and makes it seem like it will bring happiness, but for what purpose? He doesn’t desire our happiness, he is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo! There is someone that we can always rely on, however. That person is the redeemer of the world. He is the Messiah, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus Christ came to this earth and willingly suffered for you and me. He was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He paid the price of sin for all of humanity and died for them as well. Because of this selfless act, we will all have the opportunity to have a resurrected body for time and all eternity. He truly desires our happiness. He desires that we obey Him and His father. His “work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ, we know that we never stand alone. One of my favorite General conference talks was given by President Monson a few years back entitled “Dare to stand alone.” He quoted the words of a primary song, saying “Dare to be a Mormon, dare to stand alone, dare to have a purpose firm, dare to make it known.” In our lives we fear that standing up for Christ will leave us alone. I know, however, that when we stand up for Christ, we are never alone. John 14:18 says that he will never leave us comfortless. When we stand up for Christ, we can be assured that we are never standing alone. When we chose to follow the adversary, we can be sure that he won’t be there to back us up in time of need, because “the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.” Alma 30:60. I know that it can sometimes be hard to face trials and temptations in life, but when we have a firm faith is Jesus Christ, and don’t give in to the enticing of him who seeks our destruction, we will always have the Savior’s love to comfort us and give us strength. I know that my Redeemer lives, just as I know that I live. I am so grateful for His gospel and the opportunity I have to share it with others. “I know it, I live it, I love it.” – Ann M. Dibb.

Yeah well i dont have a ton of time today. i'll meet president smartt this saturday. hes bringing us an ipad too! whoo hoo! be jealous. also, he said that we'll be getting a car soon. I went and got my dominica visitors driving permit today. I only had a copy of my drivers license (the one that they took when i first got to the mission) so i took that with me. i got called into 4 different dudes' offfices before finally going to the chief inspector of dominicas office. he had to call someone else because he thought the copy was a fake that i had made. i finally sweet talked him into letting it work. so long story short, i can drive here in dominica now. on the left side of teh road. ahh yeah son. 
uhh not a totally exciting week. some locals in the branch are getting married this friday. thats exciting i guess. we should hopefully be getting  new apt soon too. im just excited for the car. im sick of spending all my money on buses. and wasting time waiting for them to come by.
im glad everyones doing okay, give that kid more goldfish than he can handle.

Cuidense mucho!
Elder Nielson

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15, 2013

President Smartt,
            This week has been great. At the beginning of the week we were stuck down in Roseau because of the tropical storm that was hitting. We got back to Portsmouth on Wednesday and went to work.
            We have been trying to meet with the members in our branch to strengthen them and their families, and ultimately strengthening the branch as a whole. We met with the Lo family 2 weeks ago and when we were leaving, they thanked us and said that they really needed to have a nice discussion of the gospel. He said that he hadn’t really had a chance to do so since his mission. It must have helped them a lot, because they had us over again this week! They like having the missionaries in their house because they can feel the spirit and like to focus on what’s really important in life, and have a time where they can take their minds off of medical school. Their children like having us there too, and their parents like to have us be examples for them. We also met with two other families this week, the Russell’s and the Clyde’s. It is helping us a lot to meet with the members because when they trust us, they are more willing to work with us. We have been getting a lot of help from the members here and we are so grateful for that.
            We had a great lesson with one of our investigators, Peter, on Wednesday. His fiancé, Gina, was also there with us. Gina was the person who referred us to Peter. Gina is a inactive member, with all of her active family members living in the Salt Lake area. She was helping us answer some of Peter’s questions and helping to explain some things too. It was great to see her opening up and sharing some of her testimony of the gospel. Peter has been opening up more and more as well. At first, he was very hesitant about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He was almost telling us that there’s no way Joseph Smith was a good man and that our church has “shady” history and all other kinds of stuff. This week, however, he accepted a book of mormon and was really excited about a scripture I shared with him. I shared Alma 26:12 and bore my testimony on it and he said “wow, that’s awesome. You’ll have to write that down for me.” It is amazing to see how the spirit works and how it can help to soften the hearts of others.
            Kelly came to church this week! We were so excited that she came. We met with her on Saturday and had a great lesson. She was very apologetic for last week and said that she knows that Satan was trying to get her to stop meeting with us and to stop reading the book of mormon because he knows that she’s doing a good thing. She had a question about where the book of mormon came from and what not, so we were able to explain it to her and help her to understand better. She said “OH! That makes so much sense now!” It was amazing. She also looked at us and said “You know you guys, you should really come by twice a week now, instead of just once. I’ll make more time for you guys because I need to know everything before I get baptized!”
She came to church on Sunday and loved it. She was so excited the whole time. You could really tell that she was paying attention and wanting to understand because in Gospel Principles she was asking great questions and also sharing her thoughts and opinions. When I went and sat down next to her to explain that the last hour would be Relief Society/Priesthood she turned and looked at me and said “What are you doing in here, you’re not a woman! Go to your men’s class!” She already knew! She was able to meet a lot of the branch members and really liked them. She has a baptismal date for the third of August. We are so excited for her and the progress she has been making.
I know that the Lord is mindful of us and that He blesses us according to our obedience. I know that this is his work, and that there isn’t anyone else in the world that wants us to succeed as much as he does. When we are successful, he is successful in bringing to pass His work and His glory (Moses 1:39). I know He lives and loves us, and I share that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Nielson

Alright, dad said he wants me to send my letter to president to you guys and that way i dont have to repeat stuff.
Anyways, Happy July Monday! Dominica has the most random holidays here. Today is called July monday. it's a holiday. why is it a holiday and what does it represent? That's a great question.
The storm last weekk was totally wimpy. on tuesday it rained real hard and was pretty windy in the morning, but other than that, not much happened. We're all good. Just cockroaches and humidity as per ushe. oh, the storm totally made it way hotter here. It was so miserably hot this week. Im pretty sunburned on my arms and neck.  
I feel like i dont have anything to really talk about this week. i wrote it all to president. 
OH! just kidding. totally have some crazy news. so president smartt took all of the elders off the islands. ALL of them. except for us. we're the only two out here in the islands now. all the other islands have sisters now. he said that he made all the changes in the islands and now they will be the same for SIX MONTHS. So looks like im not going to have a thanksgiving, christmas, or a birthday this year. well, i guess i dont really ever get a birthday anyways, no matter where I am. but yeah, looks like we'll be here for a really long time. I'll be an old man by the time that I'll get back to puerto rico. It's funny, though, because i feel like my spanish is improving while I am here, even though im not speaking it all the time. I speak to Fournier in spanish a lot of the time though, and i study in spanish sometimes. like this morning, i only had my spanish stuff with me and i studied for an hour and a half in spanish. Fue chevere. no tuve ningunas problemas. esoty tratando de aprender tan mucho como posible durante el tiempo que tengo con mi companero puertorriqueno. El esta aprendiendo mucho ingles de mi, y estoy aprendiendo espanol de el. Es perfecto!
Gracias por sus cartas y por su amor. Tengan una semana buenisima y siempre clamen al Senor. El nos ama y quiere que hagamos lo justo.
La escritura de la semana es helaman 7:16. Cuando la lei esta semana me asombro. Siempre necesitamos seguir al Senor. No podemos ganar la felicidad por las cosas del mundo. siempre necesitamos obedecer y ganaremos la felicidad eterna.
Como dice Nike, HAZLO.
Elder Nielson

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jeff by the Atlantic Ocean

Calm Carribean Sea vs Choppy Atlantic Ocean

Love You, Whit!

Yummy Food to Eat

Boiled Banana

Chicken in my Egg.....smelled like the Great Depression....

Freaking Goats

I have freakin goats outside my apt window sometimes.. "i knew you were trouble when you walked in, now i'm lying on the cold hard ground.. AHHHGHGHHFGH.. trouble trouble trouble.." haha goats are so stupid

Tribute to LeBron

Always In The Middle

Shoes Before and After

I found some cool used shoes but they are brown instead of Black

Leather Dye is the coolest stuff ever.....

July 8, 2013

haha i can't handle dad's letters. they are so funny. The marines in afghanistan bit and the "i didnt know if she had been hit by a car, shot, or got a paper cut" haha so classic. it reminded me of the day i was having ear surgery and whitney "cut" her hand off. Love you whit!

I'm also pretty surprised that i didnt have 59 eemails from mom freaking out about the tropical storm thats gunna hit here tomorrow morning. I thought for sure with the weather alarms and all that she would be losing it. I guess you just don't care about me anymore... But yeah, we're not allowed to go out or really do anything until about thursday because it's raining super hard and really windy. I saw the radar thing this morning and it looks pretty big. We'll have to see what happens. our apt is about 12 feet from the shore, so who knows, we might be going swimming this week! My mission might turn into rebuilding peoples "houses" and shacks here. it'll be interesting to see what happens. 

Anyways, i hope you're feeling better this week whit! i'll be honest, the pictures of you in the hospital bed are pretty funny haha. we tease you because we love you. Latinos dont understand that . they take everything so seriously and get their feelings hurt. but not the nielsons!

Nah, i havent met my new mission president yet. He's from Alabama actually. Roll Tide. 

That'll be so sick to go to a tigers game in KC. i remember seeing the stadium from the freeway when we would drive through there. Hopefully miggy puts on a good show. that would be sweet if scherzer was pitching too, he'll killing it this season.

I've got tons of pictures to send this week, 2 weeks worth.

Here's the letter i sent to President. it kinda sums up the week:
President Smartt,

            Good morning! I hope you had a great first week here in the mission. I’m not sure how the weather is in Guaynabo now, but if it’s anything like it is here in Dominica I’m sure you were sweating quite a bit.

            This week was the best week that we have had here on the island so far. It seems as if every week improves and as we get to know the area better, we are able to be more effective. We had 10 member present lessons this week. The members of our branch here in Portsmouth really have the missionary spirit and love to work with the elders. We have been visiting the members too to get to know them better and strengthen our branch. The members are trusting us and they are becoming more and more willing to help us.

            On Saturday, we went to the next village down, Dublanc, and met with one of our investigators. The lesson was great, and the best part was that we brought a less-active member with us to the lesson. He hadn’t been to church since we’ve been here but he was willing to come with us. He has a testimony, he just has a hard time coming to church. He said that he has really bad ADD and if he doesn’t get enough sleep he can’t function during the day. We are going to work with him though and hopefully get him coming back to church.

            Saturday, also, we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Kelly. She was one of our strongest investigators. At the beginning of the lesson she just started crying and broke down. She said that she isn’t sure if God exists anymore because of the trials she has been going through. She wanted to be baptized, but said she doesn’t even believe he’s answering her prayers. We were there for almost 2 hours and by the end of the lesson, she was calmed down and went back to normal. She is just a little depressed and is having negative thoughts. We are really going to focus on her this week.

            My testimony of my Savior was really strengthened this week. I know that he atoned for me, personally and I am so grateful for that. It broke my heart to hear Kelly say that Christ isn’t real and isn’t there for us. I know that he is always there for us and that he will always comfort us when we need it.

Elder Nielson

OH! our AC is broken in our apt, but at least we had fans to kinda keep us cool. BUT, on friday night, i woke up to the sound of an explosion, literally. My fan motor blew up. awesome. not only was i sweating to death, i had to worry about shrapnel killing me in my sleep. It so bloody hot and humid here. my room is perfect breeding ground for those big ol cockroaches. mmmmmmmmm

For my missionary plaque, i want alma 26:12. I remember when I read that in the MTC for the first time. It really hit me. It's my favorite. make sure i have a good picture on there too, i dont wanna look like some scrawn like every other missionary does.  But 1 cor 14:34-35 would be legit too. thanks for the thought dad haha

I think that's everything. if i missed something, lemme know. I love you guys a ton and miss you!

Happy Birthday to Zach Attack!

Elder Nielson

We'll Miss You, President

Goodbye President and Sister Alvarado

Puerto Rico San Juan Mission:

It was an Honor working with you!

We love you. We will miss you!!

Keep up the magnificient job!!

Our Savior lives!

Just to always remember:

2 Nephi 31:2,7,13 &19-21

Mosiah 18:19-21

D&C 4:2

John 17:3

Love eternally,

The Alvarado's


Misión Puerto Rico San Juan:

Fue un honor haber trabajado junto a ustedes!!

Los amamos. Los extrañaremos!

Mantengan el magnÃfico trabajo!!


2 Nefi:31: 2,7,13,y 19-21

Mosiah 18:19-21

DyC 4:2

Juan 17:3

Con amor eterno,

Los Alvarado

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oops Too Close

July 1, 2013

Hey so it's past 6 and that's when we have to be done with p day. so i'll have to write you next week. I didnt even have a chance to read your emails yet. crazy day, but all is well! I just wanted to drop a quick note so you don't freak out and think I died or something. Don't worry, i'll write for sure next week. I'm sure that is is EXACTLY the opposite of what you want haha. Happy Monday!  Also, 4th of July this week. Last 4th of July I lied in my underwear all day long and ate chocolate marshmallow mateys at BYU and watched the entire 3rd season of Prison Break. I highly recommend doing that. GREAT day. Party Hard.

Much love, 
Elder Nielson


Elder Fournier

Loving PDay

Screwing Around

Fournier Slips

Tag Falls

Water Falls

My Brother

Like A Boss

Hang Loose

Trafalga Falls


Fish Fry

Happy Anniversary

Dead Cockroach

Jeff's Cockroach Friends


June 23, 2013

Haha im glad you liked the poem. I thought it was pretty good if i do say so myself...

Well, this week was eventful, that's for sure.

First, yesterday Elder Fournier and I performed a special musical number in sacrament meeting. I made up a piano arrangement combining nearer my god to thee and be still my soul. Fournier sang and I played the piano and sang. The second verse we sang in spanish and all the return missionaries in our ward were crying hah. The spirit was strong. it was really cool. everyone was like "ah, that was so awesome! thanks!"  Skyler, the young mens president, came up to me and was like /' ah, this guy's a gangster on the piano. throwin down, so cal style"  he's basically sam stucki.. it was cool though.

So, i've never been afraid of cockroaches before, but i found out this week that i am because they FLY! AHHHHH. what the freak man. if they just crawl around thats cool with me, but when they fly at me i lose it. I was freaking out, straight up. elder fournier was making fun of me so bad because i turn into a straight up female. it's embarrassing, but yeah, it is what it is. our bathroom is always dark and moist, so its a breeding ground for them. they live behind the toilet. im always worried they're going to come up and go inside of me while im going to the bathroom. they come up the shower drain too hah. it's just gross all around. but it's missionary work!

  hmm what else. well I had an experience on saturday that was awesome. Im not going to explain it because it was super spiritual, but just know that i KNOW that the priesthood is real. It is the POWER of GOD on earth, and "the rights of the prietshood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven" D&C 121:36.  Miracles are real. They havent ceased. I witnessed the almighty mercy of the Lord. It's true. It's true. it's true.

On saturday also, we were teaching a lesson and got to the point where i was going to sharre the first vision, and i began, but realized that i only know it in Spanish! i could say it 1000 mph in spanish, but i dont know it in english. well, i put my trust in the lord and just opened my mouth. my mouth was filled with the words by the spirit. D&C 100:5-6. I said it perfectly. after the lesson, i couldnt do it again. it was so awesome. we have to act though. faith is action. before the lord could split the jordan river for the guys to cross with the ark of the covenant, they had to step in the river (joshua 3 i think). he only does his part AFTER we do our part. the witness comes after the trial of our faith. i know there are challenges in our life, but we just need to trust Him. it's hard sometimes, but it's what we have to do!

I'm glad that you watched that broadcast last night. i was going to tell you to watch it. it was really good. Make sure you guys are the family that was in the segment while "i'll go where you want me to go." there are missionaries throughout the world, but the members are what will make the work progress faster. Be examples in all times, and in all things, and in all places (our baptismal covenant, mosiah 18:9). Be the family in the ward that everyone looks up to and that the missionaries know will always be willing to help. I know you are that family and that you can help strengthen a lot of people for the better. 


Elder Nielson