Wednesday, April 24, 2013
23 Apr 2013
Dear Brother and Sister Nielson
24556 Calle San Vicente
Murrieta, CA 92562
Dear Dear Brother and Sister Nielson,
Sister Alvarado and I were happy to personally greet Elder Nielson when he arrived in
Puerto Rico. Attached you will find a picture of him with us.
I'm pleased to report he and his companion, who was prayerfully selected especially for
him, have already begun to work together. As two missionaries labor together in this
great work they bless one another's lives. They both grow as a result of their individual
strengths and differences. I trust they will develop a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Missionary work is intense, as you may know. It can be both physically and emotionally
demanding. Your son will be a part of miracles in the lives of those he finds and
teaches. He will come to love the work and the people. He will grow in unimaginable
ways. I love watching that development process as it occurs over the entire length of the
Please write your son regularly. Missionaries love to receive mail! Your letters can be
a source of great motivation and encouragement. We have asked him to write home
faithfully every week. His correspondence with you and other members of your immediate
family can be via e-mail, if that is your desire. However, he has been asked to limit
correspondence with friends and extended family and to do so only via regular mail.
I recognize it may be a sacrifice to support your son on this mission, but I want you to
know how grateful I am to be serving with him . If you have questions or concerns, you
may call the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission Office.
Jorge M. Alvarado
President, Puerto Rico San Juan Mission
Friday, April 19, 2013
Que lo que! (Dominican slang for What’s up!)
Thanks for all of the emails this week! Thursday morning is always the best when I get to print out all my emails and read them before going to the temple. This is my last P day in the CCM though! Next p day will totally be in Puerto Rico. Tomorrow we go out with the missionaries here in the Santo Domingo mission all day, Monday is in-field orientation all day, then we fly out Tuesday morning. We’re really antsy to get outta here, but we’re sure that as soon as we get out into the field we’ll want to be back in the CCM haha. But after last Fridays experience we’re pumped to get outta here.
So last Friday we went out into the field and actually were missionaries. I got paired up with Elder Reyes and Elder Ogando. Reyes is from Guatamala and no lie he’s pushing 400 pounds. He is MASSIVE. Ogando is from Santiago, here in the DR. EVERYONE but us had appointments and lessons to go teach, but literally had nothing to do all day so we tracted. All Day. Remember that it’s 90+ degrees here and 100% humidity. It was so miserable haha. Plus, the humidity here has stretched out my leather shoes and now they are too big for me, so I got the worst blisters (No I didn’t have to go the Hospital Emilee, I’m not a wuss like Garret..) But yeah I’m going to have to get new shoes in Puerto Rico soon. My second pair will work for now, but the first pair, the slip on ones, are toast. It was cool though. I couldn’t understand a single thing anyone was saying all day, which was fun. I just walked around and smiled and looked like an idiot from America haha. Tomorrow we go out again and we will more than likely be matched up with the same guys again. I’m pumped too, because Reyes is so awesome. He asked me what my favorite band was and I said “well it’s muse, but you probably don’t know them..” and he busted out singing Neutron Star Collision in English! “Our loooooove, will be forevvvvverrrrrrr, and if we dieeeeeee, we’ll die togeeeeeetherrrrrrr…” haha It was so awesome. He said his favorite songs were that, Survival, and Uprising. Ahh yeah.
Entonces… I’m glad everything is working well with the house and everything. It’s coming up quick, so enjoy California while you can! And you kids better hound mom and dad and convince them to take you to the beach at LEAST two more times. And to froyoland. Get some for me too. I’m just eating weird mystery meat all the time, you know, beef, chicken, fish, cat probably, and one time we were all convinced we had a human thigh. Trust me, I took anatomy, it was identical to human. But oh well, my motto here is “don’t ask questions, just eat it.”
Haha Classic Kobe. Lakers are trash.
Good job on your softball stuff whitney! It was awesome to hear that you’re doing better! You just have to improve one day at a time. I’m trying to learn how to do that here. It’s not easy, but I’m trying. I think sometimes I try to live my whole two year mission in one day, and I can’t do it. I think I can, but I can’t. I just need to keep waking up and saying “alright, today I’m going to be the best missionary ever” and then do the same thing the next day and the next day. One day at a time..
Zach! Thanks for the email bud. The code for the voicemail should be 1314. Nah, I haven’t been tazed anymore, once was enough! I know you haven’t forgot about me, and I haven’t forgotten about you either! I tell everyone here how cool my family is all the time. And yeah, it was sad to hear about the Michigan game, but they did way awesome this year, hopefully they can win it all next year! Probably not though, since we’re losing trey burke. Sad day. Hopefully the clips pick him up. We’ll use him after Chauncey retires.
Yeah, so about mother’s day. I’m pretty sure we are allowed to skype instead of just a phone call. I can just talk to my immediate family though, so grandmas and cousins and what not will just have to email me.. But when I find out more I’ll let you know!
So last night was totally hilarious. I made sister stevens laugh so hard that she literally threw up in class haha. She was drinking water and started choking on it and threw up. So now that means I have made one girl throw up and made one girl pee her pants from laughing so hard (Sister Howell). I run this CCM. Boom.
Well today the last time I’ll be able to go to the temple for a really long time, unless we kill it over in Puerto rico and they get a temple built before we leave. That would be way awesome. We got to meet our Mission President on Sunday, president Alvarado. He was here for our sacrament meeting. He talked to our district afterwards for about 2 minutes and it was amazing. He is such a spiritual guy. He said that he has a really good feeling about our group that is going to Puerto rico and he expects a lot from us. Then he bore a TWO word testimony that was more powerful than some of the general conference talks. He just said “Christ lives.” It was crazy! It’s a bummer that he’s leaving in a couple months though. Hopefully the new guy is just as awesome.
Tell Grandma and Grandpa g that i really appreciated their email and I will try to write them back next week! Love you guys!
So I was totally going to give you a run down of my favorite things from conference, but I don’t have time. I’m planning on sending you my journal when I fill it up though and you can read it. It’s got way more stuff in there that I don’t have time to write about in my weekly emails. But my favorite talk was the one by Richard G Scott. My favorite quote was “it doesn’t matter where you raise your children, it matters that Christ is the center of your home.” It really applies to you guys as you’re moving soon. It really doesn’t matter what our address is, as long as Christ is the center of our home. We have three temples on this earth: the actual temple, our bodies, and our homes. Make sure that your new house is filled with the spirit of Christ at all times! When you walk into a room where the spirit is welcome you can definitely feel a difference. You can do missionary work just by inviting your friends over to your house and let them feel the spirit.
Alright I’m out of time. Scripture of the week is Alma 29:9. Also, watch the Mormon message called “Come What May, and Love It” by joseph b wirthlin. It got me pumped yesterday. Also, I challenge you guys to read the scriptures. Like really read them. It’s amazing what’s in there! I cant believe I never really read them before. I’m in Jacob now and I’ve made more notes and cross references than ever. Plus, the book of Mormon TOTALLY makes the bible more clear. There is no way someone could read the BOM and deny it’s truth. Do it.
Next email will be from Puerto Rico!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This was a special week for everyone because Jeff wrote everyone a personal letter. I am sharing mine but believe me, every letter was AWESOME!!!!..........
Alright mom, this ones basically to you. I wrote the kids and dad back separately. I only have about 10 mins so I’m going to go as fast as I can.
So Hermana Stirland and I went on family search yesterday and figured everything out. We got out trees all expanded and saw where we branched off. It was cool to see. Hermana Felix and I also realized that we are both related to Anna Kunz, who was alive back in the late 1500’s. Crazy stuff. Im related to freakin everyone here.
I’m glad that the Kansas trip went well! It sounded like an awesome time. I can’t believe that Michigan made it to the championship! Crazy crazy. I was disappointed to hear tht you guys are STILL cheering against Michigan though. I guess you’ll just never learn.
Crap, alright well I’m getting kicked off the computer. I miss you a lot and next week I will write you a bigger one. I’m going to send you my general conference analysis too. It was so good. SO good. It’s cool that we were all watching it at the exact same time.
I love you a ton! Read D&C 11, it’s definitely my scripture of the week. Everything is so good. OH, and Ephesians 5:22-24. GOLD
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
This week was a quick one! Seem slike just yesterday I was writing you. Our easter here was alright. People don't celebrate "Easter" here, but they do celebrate Semana Santa, or holy week. The whole week is a holiday. We just had our normal sunday activities, but it was good. For conference we are going to watch it here. I'm excited for it though!
Well that package still hasnt gotten here. Moore and Duncan both got a package, so I'm stil hopeful. If it doesnt come though, I'll be eternally upset that I didnt get Andy's letter... just kidding. It'll be fine. We'll see. But anyways, Glad to hear your trip was fun! That house looks pretty nice. The lake thing is cool.
Uhhh so not a lot of stuff happened this week. Last night was fun though. So Elder Glover made a tazer out of a disposable camera and we all took turns getting tazed. We all did it in our arms first, then we all joined hands in a circle and tried to make the charge go though all of us. It totally did. Then, things got interesting. I decided to let him taze me in the bare butt cheecks. I don't think anyone has pelvic thrusted faster or more intensely than I did last night haha. It was ridiculous.
Have a great week and hearken to the prophets voice! Elder Nielson
It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Also, a couple nights ago, Elder Duncan amazed us all by letting Moore hit him in the leg with his belt and a wooden stick as hard as he could. He later told us that he has spinal cord damage from a car crash that he was in when he was 12, so he can’t feel anything in his leg. I was intrigued, obviously, and wanted to know how bad it actually felt. It was not a great feeling, that’s for sure. So needless to say, I’m learning a lot here.
This was a good week in regards to our investigators though. Moore and I committed José to baptism and Carla is coming with us to church on Sunday. Hopefully we don’t screw it up. Our Spanish is getting better too. I think you were right when you said that I was being hard on myself, but I just really want to learn faster. I am studying ahead on my own and trying to get teachers here to talk to me so I can practice on my conversational Spanish. They all say “wow, you know a lot of Spanish!” but I still don’t feel like I do. I wish I felt proud of myself but I really don’t hah. I feel like I can always do better.
Oh, so did you get a chance to check out our family tree thing and see if you could find sister stirland? Mary McKay Stirland is her grandma, and Bessie James McKay is her great great grandma. Let me know!
So I showed the guys here “See the Mighty Priesthood Gathered” on lds.org and they all love it. I try to listen to it as often as I can. It makes me remember my farewell, but it also is just a way good song. That, Hope of Israel, and Rise Up, O Men of God are my favorite hymns right now for sure. They get me pumped every time that I listen to them. Also, apparently I have a good voice because I have sang in like 3 special musical numbers so far. I liked singing yo sé que vive mi señor and He is risen a lot for easter. Awesome songs.
Ever since I got here, I have been having CRAZY dreams. They are so awesome. I am excited to go to bed and hopefully wake up with a story to tell. I have noticed too that I don’t have a cool dream unless I get to bed on time. It must be a reward or something for my obedience, who knows..
So Foote and Glover bought some nasty looking mangos at the store the other week and ate them without washing them like we have been instructed to do so we don’t get sick. On Saturday morning Foote woke up and looked like he was about to die. He was throwing up and crapping himself all over the place. We assume that he got some bug from the mangos. He was deathly ill until Tuesday morning. On Sunday he asked me to give him a blessing and as soon as I said amen he was in the bathroom throwing up again. It was nasty. Our room smells terrible now haha. That guys a trooper for sure.
Hmm what else.. Ever since I got here I have been learning a lot about “humility” and boy oh boy that sucks hah. I was such a prideful person before I got here. It would’ve been much better had I been humble before the Lord had to humble me like it says in the scriptures. Every talk I read, every devotional I watch, everything I study, it seem like I always take notes on humility. A few times in class too I have just been dumbfounded and literally had no words to say. Humbling experiences aren’t fun to go through, but the lessons you learn after them are amazing. I like how you were talking about a trial of your faith because that is exactly what it is. With faith everything is possible. Don’t be prideful. Read President Bensons talk called “beware of Pride” from about 20 yrs ago. Make it a goal to be less prideful and I promise life will be happier and the spirit will be in your life more often. It is amazing that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost In our lives and I feel like we take it for granted. Life is happier and way less stressful as long as you have the spirit with you. Also, be grateful for the things that you have. I wasn’t very grateful for the awesome things we have and are able to do just because we live in America. This is my challenge to you: At night when you are saying your personal prayers, get down on your knees and list off all of the things you are grateful for. I did it the other night and I can tell you that if you do it and Sincerely think about ALL of the things you are grateful for, it will take you like 20 minutes. Seriously. Don’t ask for anything, just express sincere gratitude, you’ll be amazed.
Anyways, keep up the good work and finish school strong. Also, tell whitney greg and zach to email me! What the heck, it’s like I’m chopped liver or something. I gotta get my clippers updates and I gotta know all about march madness and that stuff. I love them all and hope they can feel my prayers for them.
Antes de terminar, yo quiero compartir mi testimonio con ustedes. Yo se que la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias es verdadera. Yo se que jesucristo es mi Salvador y nos ama mucho. Jose smith fue un profeta de Dios y por medio jose sith, jesucristo restauro su evangelio en la tierra. El poder del Sacerdocio es verdad. Si nosotros tengamos fe, podemos hacer todas las cosas. Familias pueden ser eternas. La obra misional es ordenado de Dios. Estoy agradecido por mi oportunidad a server un mission por mi Salvador. Yo se que tenemos un profeta que esta viviendo en la tierra hoy, y su nombre es Thomas S Monson. El libro de Mormon es la palabra de dios y necesitamos leerlo todos los dias! Yo les amo mucho, en el nombre de jesudristo, amen.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Hoy voy a escribir mi carta en espanol.. just kidding. this week was really great, and by that i mean it was mostly terrible. But first, I hope you're having a great time in Kansas! Thats crazy to think about. I hope it all works out smoothly. For easter here it's just going to be a normal sunday. Sundays are definitely tha best day os the week here. Every other day is crazy busy and stressful and I have to teach 3 different investigators and I dont have time to prepare lessons for them,. Its insane. We watched The restoration, like the full hour and a half long movie one, and it was so awesome. If you guys havent seen it, you HAVE to watch it. Even if you have, watch it together as a family on some sunday afternoon. you're testimony of Joseph Smith in increase exponentially... So the latinos left this week, so that was kinda a bummer. Today a bunch of Haitians got here and they are ALL speaking french. blehh. They ask me questions in french and I want to vomit. So glad I dont have to speak that. Also, today like 20 american sisters got here. I havent met them yet, so i cant report on them quite yet. They arent completely unattractive though, that much I can say. Earlier this week I was talking and mentioned that David O Mckay was my uncle and sister stirland said No way, mine too! So now we just call each other Cuz. (short for cousin, mom...) So you should look into that and see if you can figure anything out. She said she has gone to those family reunions in Huntsville, so we probably saw each other there that one time.. Let me know what you find out.. hmmm what else. Oh, when I said this week was terrible I was half kidding. It was just a tough week for me because I feel like i've hit a spanish wall. I feel like I have learned as much as I ever will, you know? I dont feel like I am progressing daily. Then on monday night I couldnt think of anytyhing to say, even in english. I was honestly dumbfounded from like 6 to 9 pm. Hermano Rubio kept asking me questions and I had zero words that I could say. It was so weird. I wpuld just shrug my shoulders or shake my head or something like that. He understood what was going on and he demonstrated how to teach the next lesson I had to teach to Jose, our night time investigator. It was the sickest thing I had ever seen. Pure gold. He showed me how I need to teach lessons and showed me what I was doing wrong. It was amazing that he knew what was wrong with me because I didnt even know what was wrong with me.. I hope that story made sense. i feel like it probably didnt, but whatever hah. anyways, yesterday I taught the same way he did in our lesson and it was crazy. jose understood why he needed to be baptized by proper authority and why it was important for him to pray. Before i was just telling him he needed to, but after last night he understood WHY he needed to. After the lesson hermano rubio came up to me and moore and told us that he was really proud of us and that we did a good job. he told us it made him excited to see that we were able to learn and progress though our trials, whether it being bad at spanish or becoming a mute haha.
Anyways, im running out of time. We went to the store on monday and were able to go shopping. It was a pretty neat experience. Tomorrow we are going to the university to go contacting. That'll be interesting... Also, tell greg that he is a punk and that he needs to write me! Tell him I got the trinity knot famous here in the dominican. I have taught like 10 people how to do it already. We all rock the trinity for days.. Oh and could you email me some pictures? Like that new one of our family holding the flag, me and some of my friends, stuff like that? Oh, get them off of facebook. I need a picture of Kassi, Lacy, Garret, Emilee, and Crystal to show these guys here. Its cool to get to meet our frends. Get that one I had as my profile pic of me and kassi. We look good. Thanks!
Estoy agradecido por mi oportunidad a servir una misión. yo sé que jesucristo es mi salvador y me ama mucho. Yo sé ques la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días es verdadera. Yo sé que josé smith fue un profeta de Dios y por medio él, jesucristo restauró su evangelio en la tierra. Yo sé que familias pueden ser eternas. Les amo a ustedes mucho y espero que ustedes tengan una buena semana! Con mucho amor, Elder Nielson.
To the people I love dearly,
How has everyone been? I am doing great! This place is way awesome. My companion is Elder Moore, he's the same guy that met up with me at the Ontario Airport. He's from Upland, he's a cool guy. We get along really well and have some things in common so it's pretty cool. All of the NA (north american) elders are awesome. There are only 10 of us. 10 NA elders and like 12 NA hermanas. Then there are about 35-40 latino elderes/hermanas. The majority of them are from here in the Dominican Republic, but theres one from Argentina, a couple from Honduras, and one or two from Panama. They leave next tuesday to go into the field though, then a group of Haitians are going to come. That'll be interesting, since you know I LOVE french.. But yeah everything is great! I'm still not feeling very well, that cold just wont leave. It's progressively getting better though, so i'm just going to wait it out. oh, but you know how I have ear problems? Flying on airplanes is the absolute worst possible thing for me to do haha. It hurt so bad when we were "descending" to land I almost couldnt take it. Oh my gosh. I can't hear out of my left ear still. Like i'm deaf. Like Helen Keller would be proud. So that's kinda annoying haha. One of my teachers said I should go to the doctor but I told him that God had to take away my physical ears so I could gain spiritual ones. So that's my story and I'm stickin to it... And it's definitely helped, I feel the spirit here all the time. I liked when Dad said that he remembers the spirit he felt when he was at the MTC and all 6000 elders stood and sang called to serve. My most spiritual experience yet was the first time we all stood and sang "llamados a servir" in spanish. It was really powerful.
So spanish. It's been really tough trying to speak in spanish all the time. I am remembering a lot of the things that I learned in high school, but it's hard to speak still because I'm still thinking in english and translating it to spanish when I talk. I can't wait until I can just talk without having to think in English. So we have and investigator too, his name is Jose. Elder Moore and I contacted him and we've been teaching him the lessons. In spanish only. It has helped us how to learn to rely on the spirit when teaching. There's nothing cooler than when you just say what you are feeling in perfect spanish and use words you'vbe never heard before. that has happened a couple times. It's weird, but it happens. The gift of tongues is a real thing, that's for sure.
So let's see if I can remember some of your questions.. Um today was temple day, we went this morning. Thursdays are our P days, so we go to the temple from 8:30 to 12:30, eat lunch, and then we have personal time from 1 to 5. Our districts email time is from 2:15 to 3, so i'm kinda in a time crunch. I'll probably send some pictures next week, but i'll try at the end to get them on here. But then we get our haircut, laundry, play basketball, etc.. Playing basketball here is interesting. We play "reglas Dominicanas" which means you don't have to take it back when you get the rebound. you just put it right back up. it's the most irritating thing ever. you basically give the other team free points if you miss. oh and apparently there arent any fouls. so it's pretty hardcore. we play out in the driveway on hoops that are like 10 ft 4 inches. which makes a huge difference. just ask greg... uhh oh im not sure if you've sent that package yet or not, but i've been told that the mail gets "inspected" here before it gets to me, so basically they steal your stuff haha. so if you havent sent Pypers letter or that stuff yet, wait until I get to Puerto Rico.. Dearelder.com is fine, but yeah it takes a while to get here. You can email me anyday of the week, but I can only get on the compuiter on thursday afternoons. Sorry for the bad spelling too, im trying to go fast. Goodluck with the house and everything. Have a good trip to Kansas. That's pretty sad that my truck is gone, but whatevs. I eat straight up domincan food here, which is basically diarrhea waiting to happen. Not fun haha But it tastes really good! yesterday we had some banana soup stuff. totally funky, but delicious.