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