Vina Del Mar, Chile

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week 18: Feliz Navidad!

Buenas Dias!

This week was a long week with low success. But I am hoping this next week will be better. We have changes on Wednesday and I have a feeling that I am leaving my sector. Anyways onto the week.

Monday we had a crazy moment when we were on the bus which includes road rage, a drunk guy driving, a hit and run, and fights. I am going to try and send the video of me telling the story.

Tuesday not many people were home. We taught a couple recent converts and then K our convert. Not much really happened.

Wednesday was Christmas eve but in Chile it is basically Christmas because they open their presents at midnight the 24th. We had a BBQ with the family that we have FHE's with. They gave us presents (Socks and Deodorant) which was awesome. Then we went caroling with the familia M. Everyone was wearing a Santa hat but I didn't have one so I wore my stocking :) After that we went to the M (Tata J) house for dinner and Christmas. I got a tie and gave Cristian sprite, skittles, brownie mix, and a little game for the secret Santa. It was fun and I ate tons of food.

Thursday was a great day because it was Christmas! We visited a couple people then went and skyped with our family! It was super wonderful! I just wish I had a little bit more than 40 minutes to talk with them but it was still great to see and talk to them. 

Friday was a long day because I was sick to my stomach because I had eaten so much food the previous 2 days haha. In the afternoon I felt better but no one was answering their doors and the few who did didn't want anything. It was a discouraging day.

Saturday was a long day as well. We were on interchanges so I was in another sector with another missionary. I was just really frustrated with the Elder because he had us stay at peoples houses and we just weren't being efficient with our time. But we almost put a baptismal date with someone which is awesome :)

Sunday was a day of Miracles. We haven't found new investigators in 3 weeks so we wanted to find new investigators. We worked all afternoon and night looking for new investigators but couldn't find any! We said a sincere prayer and then went back to work. We still didn't have success but we kept working hard. Finally to end our day we encountered an elderly couple and they agreed to have us come back and to read the Book of Mormon. Miracles follow Diligence!!

My spiritual thought for this week does not derive from scripture but it derives from some talks I have been reading and listening to. This past week I was leaving the house and being obedient, not to go out and get stuff done, but just to say that I was doing what I was supposed to until the day was over. I was doing this because I was super tired, but that isn't what the lord wants. He wants us to change and become better and to have the desire to do it, not just to do it. So I want to invite all of you, as well as my self, as we make new years resolutions, to not only work on changing a bad habit or desire, but to learn and change so that you love doing the better action. I promise that I will do it, now I just pray that you all will too.

I love you all! Stay Golden!
Elder Nielson

Yum BBQ!
Oh Yeah! BBQ with good companions and good people

It's all fum and games until you inhale smoke!

Christmas with M's

Tata J

Gift Exchange with C

Gift exchange with C

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 17: Wolf Gangs and Street Cred

Buenas Dias!!

This week was a good one and went by super fast!

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We went and did service for the B Family and then had lunch with them. We had Pastel de Papas (Potatoes and meat at the consistency of chicken pot pie) and I really enjoyed it. We had a lesson with hermana C and had a lesson with F (Santa) and it went well.

Wednesday was a LONG hot day. After the district meeting and lunch we went out to find future investigators because we didn't have any appointments. It was hot and no one was answering their doors. The cool part was we got to meet A, (Tata J grandson) who just got home from his mission on Monday. He was chill and is super pumped about missionary work still. We ended the day teaching Land K.

Thursday was a good day. We had a decent amount of lessons and some cool moments. As we were teaching a less active member his nephew who is like 4 ran to the back door, dropped his pants, and started peeing into the back yard! IT was hilarious! Thursday was also our day of "Street Cred." We were walking down the street when we ran into a wolf gang. (A group of dogs from 4 to 16 that guard/Protect each others territory together). The wolf gang of about 6 started barking at us and one tried to attack us but I lifted up my hand which had a huge rock in it (Kids, don't ever leave home without it) which scared all the dogs into their yards, and the leader dog ran scampering under his fence. After that we had to go down that street 3 more times and every time we walked by all of the dogs scattered and hid under their fences. Street cred achieved! The next item of street cred was when  we were walking home. When we were walking home a little boy, who is probably like 6 or 7, who we play soccer with for about 30 seconds every time we pass by him, saw us and called us "Tio" (Uncle) which is what young people call older people who are your super good friends. It was awesome :)

Friday was a pretty good day. We went out and worked and taught some less actives but we didn't have tons of success because no one was home or would answer the doors. At night we had a ward Christmas activity and F was Santa :) It was a fun night :)

Saturday was pretty good, I mean we got lots of food! We went and taught Tata J and then ate completos with them. After that we went to check on L and K. V (The little sister of K) Had had a birthday party so she gave us cake and then we had a good lesson.

Sunday was a great day! At church L and K got confirmed and Tata J got the Aaronic Priesthood. It was great to see all the converts progressing! After church we went to lunch at the M house. I felt really comfortable (It was the 3rd time we have eaten there) so I talked a lot which gave me a good chance to be funny. I made them die laughing which made me feel great. Then I gave the best spiritual thought I think I have given on my whole mission and they really liked it. Then we visited Tata J
which was good.

This week I was reading in 1st Nephi and marking diligence, obedience, and commands of the lord. I love the first 2 lines of chapter 19 Verse 1 "And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did." We need to have the same attitude. When we have a commandment from the lord we must do. I know that if we do we will receive the blessing of heaven in our lives.

I love you all, Stay golden!!
Elder Nielson
Elder Cropper and Elder Nielson with Santa

District 2

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 16: Bautismo

Buenas Dias! :)

This week was a great week because every day that passed made life that much less stressful :)

Tuesday was a stressful day because I was in charge. We were on interchanges so it was another missionary and I in my sector. It was stressful and pushed me a lot but we did well. We taught 7 lessons in one day, which is like 3 to 4 days worth of work. Then we had a lesson with an investigator who found out that I love completos and that we have Mondays free, so he invited us to his house some P-day to make completos, what a bro :)

Wednesday was good as well. We had lessons which went well and then we had a special one with Hermana C. She is a mostly deaf member and she loves missionaries. Anyways she got E' Cropper and I gifts (not Christmas gifts, just random gifts). She got us mugs of our soccer teams. To explain, there are 5 main pro teams in our part of Chile and everyone always asks what team you are from (support). As a missionary you just have to choose a team and go with it. I am from "The U" (The University of Chile) so she got me a "U" mug. It was a good day.

Thursday was a long stressful day because we were getting everything prepped for the baptism. We filled out all the paperwork, cleaned the font, and took care of some details.

Friday was a good day. We had the Christmas conference where we got gifts from the mission (A tin of cookies, a pen drive, and a hard cover copy of the Book of Mormon to read and mark) and lots of learning. We learned that starting next year the mission is going to change giving missionaries more control and less guidelines (like the next step of PMG). We had practices, which is kind of nerve wracking when an assistant to the president is sitting right next to you. After everything we got a big delicious lunch and went  back to our sector. L had her baptismal interview and Passed!

Saturday was good. We passed by lots of less actives, inviting them to church. After that we taught P, and 11 year old boy and he said he wanted to come to church (but then he didnt) and then we taught tata J who is doing well.

Sunday was a great day. Tata J came to church, the ward had a primary program which was super cute, and L and K got baptized!!!! It was awesome but also stressful because I had to give a short talk for L and then I had to give a 15 minute presentation to the ward by myself, without Elder Cropper there to save me, while they changed their clothes. We ended the day with a FHE with the B family and that was a great end to the day.

Spiritual thought for the week. We have all been given talents and gifts from God. As we know from the parable of the talents it is our duty to grow our talents and to gain more. It is our duty to figure out which gifts God has blessed us with and to grow them, while gaining the others. I encourage you all to read D&C 46:11-33 and Moroni 10:8-18 and look for which gifts you have been given. Then pick one that you would like to have and grow them, develop them. I know that if you do that you will become a better tool in Gods hands and that he will give you an opportunity to use that gift.

Stay Golden! I love you all!! :)

Elder Nielson

Christmas Tie

A member gave us fixing for hamburgers YUMMY!

My "U" mug

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Week 15: A Murphy's Law sort of Week!

Buenas Dias!

This week was a tough one, by far the toughest one I have had so far. But we need these kind of weeks to learn and to grow.

Tuesday I had an interchange with Elder Call our district leader in his sector. It was a pretty good day. We had lunch and then some studies and went and taught some lessons. We walked a lot, but the lessons went pretty well. I got sunburned pretty bad, but oh well :)

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the days that made this week so difficult. They were emotionally taxing which was really hard and they are days that I definitely don't want to relive ever again. Mission work wise they were good days, but these days my comp and I had lots of discussions, we discussed what we needed to improve, what we needed to be more obedient in, and stuff like that. This made us kind of down, and after a moment of frustration with each other we had a good heart to heart talk where we both almost cried because we found out how each other felt. It was good to have this talk and helped us feel better :)

After these tough days we began Saturday with a little more Animo. In the morning we taught Diegeo (Lali's grandson) for an hour and basically taught him everything he needs to know to get baptized. After that we played soccer with him for a half hour until mutual started. After lunch and studies we went and taught Lali. In the lesson she said she was going to attend church which was great, but then we found out some information that makes getting her baptized a little more complicated. We now have to get our mission president involved in the process. Everything just seems to be as hard as it could possible be. Thanks Murphy for your law.

Sundays on the mission are always stressful. Trying to get investigators to church, making sure they have friends, and making sure they know where to go, all while maintaining a good relationship with the members is difficult, especially because some members get offended easily. After church and lunch we had studies and lessons. We taught Tata Juan who is doing well, but is feeling kind of sick from Dialysis. 

Monday morning we played soccer with the ward and it was super fun. I had a blast and did well! They were all surprised that a "Gringo" could play like I did ha ha :) It was a great morning and I feel like I impressed some of the members which was good :)

All in all it was a good week with a really rough patch. I'm glad that such a long week is over and I'm ready to start a better week :)

Love you all! Stay golden! :)

Elder Nielson
Local Gas Station Market

Pictures drawn by investigator of Elder Cropper and Taylor

Picture of Taylor and girl. Taylor said that those are his freckles :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 14: A Michael Buble' Christmas

Buenas Dias!

This week was a pretty good one. I was suffering from a "Man-Cold." but I persevered even though I didn't have my mommy there to make it better :( But we are definitely getting into the Christmas spirit! We bought a Christmas tree and decorated it with ornaments we made out of paper haha :) We jammed to the only Christmas music we have "Michael Bublé Christmas" haha but it was great :)

Tuesday was good! We encountered a new investigator named Matias who seems pretty interested. It was nice to encounter another new investigator. After that we had a lesson with Lali. It was awesome because she was awake and animated and smiling, unlike the tired, sad, droopy Lali who is normally there. She talked about church and members who called her to check on her. It is awesome to see the gospel changing her life for the better. I'm also forever grateful to the members who called her. Member support makes a huge difference in missionary work.

Wednesday was a good day as well. We taught Lali and she is still doing great! She had a couple other lessons which went well. My throat started feeling better but my body was exhausted. 

Thursday was pretty good. We had lunch with a member and it is the most I have eaten in forever! We each got half a pan of lasagna and it was a ton of food! After that we met with a lot of less active members and we taught Matias some English (Everyone in Chile wants to learn English). After all the lessons we went and got completos and ended the day.

Friday was pretty good, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions. We had a 3rd companion for part of the day because his companion had a meeting. He is from Bolivia and it was great Spanish practice. We were all talking and I felt good, but then we had a lesson with Matis and I felt like I Botched it so I was feeling pretty frustrated. But then I got a Christmas package from home! We put the gifts under the tree. I also got letters from my teachers quorum and I loved them :) Then we ended by celebrating Thanksgiving (A day late) at the Riversos because they wanted to celebrate a gringo holiday with us :) We ate pizza and had a great time. I always love it there because I feel comfortable so I am myself and make them laugh.

Saturday was a good day. All of our appointments fell through... Puro exito! (Pure success) But we stopped by some less actives and they appreciated the visit. The best part of the day was the night. My companion and I don't really like to do street contacts but we were challenged to do 4 on Saturday. We did 5 and I started the 1st one! I started 3 of the 5 and participated in all of them. I don't mind contacts anymore :) It was a good day because I can honestly say I completed my motto and had "-No Regrets."

Sunday was a frustrating day. None of our investigators came to church. Then after church we had to stay after because of some ward drama that has to do with our (Elder Cropper and Myself) secret assignment. I don't think I have mentioned this before but Elder Cropper and I are here in Villa Dulce on a specific (kinda secret) mission from president because of some stuff that happened with a family here. Anyways things were getting pretty delicate so we had to stay around for awhile. We then ended the day with a FHE with a family. I will give the whole lowdown of our assignment next week.

My favorite scripture right now is Alma 48:17 which says if we are like Moroni then Satan will have now power over us. Alma 48:11-13 teaches us how Moroni was and how we need to be in order to overcome Satan. He forgot himself and worked for the well being of his people. I know that if we overcome the natural man, or in other words, forget ourselves and serve others, Satan will have no power over us and we will receive a new level of blessings.

Overall it was a great week! I love you all and hope you are all golden! :)

Elder Nielson
Fun with Graffiti

Take me to your leader!!
Our Christmas tree.

My first mission homemade ornament!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 13: My first kiss!! (Chilean, not French)

Buenas Dias!

Last Monday we had a funny moment. After doing E-mail we went to a completo place to eat lunch and while we were there a lady who works for movistar, a big phone company in chile, offered us jobs as salesmen and told us we looked cute so we would get more business. It was a nice ego boost but we said no ;)

Tuesday was interesting as well. An inactive ladies mom died so we set up the chapel and funeral service, participated in that, and then went to the burial. After that we went teaching lessons and ate cake at one of the appointments. It was good, and now I am getting even fatter (But i started working out harder in the morning so I won't be fat for long!). After some teaching appointments we got an assignment from the bishop to go find a lady with mental problems (crazy) who had been kicked out of her house and to find out where she was and how we could help. We found her at a persons house who had found her freezing in the street and took her in. What a loving person! After discussing with her what happened we gave the info to the bishop. I am getting all kinds of crazy experiences!

Wednesday was changes and... I am staying in Villa Dulce with Elder Cropper for 6 more weeks. Woohoo! :) After studies and lunch we bought groceries (Which I love doing now). After shopping we worked. We had a couple lessons and went to the house where the crazy lady was staying and found out that she had run away. As we went to leave I got my first Chilean kiss! In chile everyone kisses each other goodbye, cheek to cheek or lip to cheek. As missionaries we aren't allowed to do that so we just shake hands to say goodbye (like an awkward child after a date) but non members don't know that so the older lady kissed us good bye (cheek to cheek). It was surprising and hilarious because the bishop made fun of us for it haha :)

Thursday was a good day because we had weekly planning. We realized and acknowledged that we weren't working as hard as we needed to/wanted to so we made good plans and got pumped. After doing some service we had some lessons and one with Lali. The lesson was awesome and the spirit was so strong! She said that when we were there she felt like she was in the presence of god. I know I am a representative of Jesus Christ and that I am here to help people come to him. It was a testimony building moment. At home I wanted to eat one of my hotdogs but Elder Cropper wouldn't let me (Jokingly) because I am trying to stop gaining weight so we ended up wrestling and I dove into the kitchen but he picked up my legs and dragged me out as I desperately clawed at the tile floor. It was a perfect and classic movie moment :) After that I ate my hot dog :)

Friday was one of the best days of my mission! We had interchanges and I was with a Latino companion for the day. But it was awesome because my Spanish just clicked. I understood almost everything. I taught a guy basically by myself and he understood me. Then we visited another family and like the whole family was together. We talked and laughed and taught. And I was finally myself in Spanish! It felt wonderful to be myself. By the end I had made everyone laugh a ton and they loved me! They were all sad when I left because they wanted me to come back but I can't cuz it isn't in my sector. They all said super nice things when I left and the older lady gave me a Chilean goodbye kiss. IT was fantastic to be myself and make people laugh!

Saturday not much happened. We taught some lessons, some appointments fell through and not much happened. The youth of the ward were selling empanadas for a fundraiser so we each bought 2 and they were a nice treat to have :)

Sunday Lali attended church and loved it! She is going to be baptized the 7th of December with her 2 grand kids! It was a good day of church for sure! Plus hermana Rivero got my companion and I A&W root beer which was super delicious :)

Thats my crazy week!
I love you all and stay golden! Until next week!

Love you all,
Elder Nielson
Church in Villa Dulce

Happy Birthday DAD!! Ooops
Happy Birthday DAD!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 12: I find your lack of faith disturbing

Buenas Dias!

This week was definitely not as action packed as last week, it was actually pretty tranquilo :)

Tuesday was very very uneventful. We went and got one of my rabies shots and taught a lesson and then had 3 hours of ward meetings. Not much really happened.

Wednesday was a pretty good day. We had a zone meeting which we have once a month and it was pretty good. After the meeting and lunch we went and taught Lali's grand kids. While we waited for Lali to show up we played some keep away soccer with the flat soccer ball (Everyone has flat soccer balls here, fully pumped up ones are super rare) That was fun and there was an awesome moment where I turned around, kicked the ball through a kids legs, and then rainbowed the ball perfectly :) Now they call me Alexis Sanchez (Chile's famous soccer player). After that we had a couple more lessons. At night we opened a package that elder croppers parents sent. Among the stuff he got there were matching shirts with Darth Vaders face that say "I find your lack of faith disturbing" It was an awesome shirt and has an awesome double meaning now that I am on a mission :)

Thursday was a good day. We taught hermano Juan and he is doing good. He is going to receive the priesthood this next week. After that we taught English class to a guy we are teaching. He is really... Interesting :) After that we taught familia Araya. I loved the lesson because we showed them exactly what they nee3d to do to have eternal life and live together as a family forever. I also loved it because I talked and shared a lot. My Spanish is improving slowly but surely!

Friday was the day of RECKONING! Friday we did interchanges with the zone leaders (Our bosses). I was with Elder Valencia, who is from Ecuador and only speaks Spanish. It was kinda nice to practice my Spanish and I felt like I did pretty well. When we taught lessons he treated me like a normal companion and made me teach a lot which helped me grow. It was also a good day because I got my rabies shot in the morning which means I only have 2 left!

Saturday was a pretty normal day. We finished interchanges so I got my companion back which was nice. Then we taught hermano Juan and he is still doing well. Then we taught Lali and she promised to attend church and loved the lesson.

Sunday was a FRUSTRATING day. We had 10 people who said that they would come to church and none of them came. Which means that Lali who was planning on being baptized this month can't be baptized this month. After church all 3 appointments we had fell through which was frustrating as well.

All in all there is definitely room for this next week to be better! Changes are on Wednesday so on Wednesday I will know if I am staying with elder cropper or if I am changing :)

I love you all! Stay golden!

Elder Nielson
T-shirt Elder Cropper and Taylor received in the mail.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Week 11: I Got SHOT....S!!!!

Buenas dias!

This week was a good, interesting, and different week to say the least haha :)

Monday after all of our shopping, we got our haircut :)

Tuesday wasx a pretty good day. We did service for a lady who has cancer and hoed the grass and weeds out of her "Yard" (Area with greass and weeds in front of her house/appartment). We contacted a few people, one of which was named Lali who is now an investigator.

Wednesday was a good and bad day. In the morning my back seized up to the point where it hurt to breathe and move. That made the day long. But after our district meeting we got to work. (Now my back is completely fine). We visited Lali who has a tought life but problems that the gospel will fix. We did more work and ended the day planning the ward activity with the Rivero Family. They are awesome and we had hilarious conversations and I acutally felt like my normal self! (Talkative, funny, enthusiastic). (The ward activity had to be cancelled so we aren't doing it any more).

Thursday was an alright day. My back was still kind of hurting and tight so the nurse told me to put hot towel's on my back to relax it and while I was laying with one hot towel on my back I accidentally left the other one in the microwave to long so it got... well done. The rest of the day our appartment smelled like smoke hah :) The rest of thursday was alright. A super nice lady in the ward gave my companion and I some sunscreen (A bottle for each of us) which was super kind. After that we spent alot of time contacting and I felt kind of discouraged.

Friday was a VERY INTERESTING day to say the least. We had interchanges and I was with Elder Call our district leader (He is superbueno). We had a successful early afternoon until we visited hermana margarita. We visited her and when she opened the door her dog (Lots of people in Chile take stray dogs off the street and have them as pets, which I am assuming that she did) ran out of the house and bit me on the back of my left calf!! It ran away and we left. After that we spent the rest of the day cleaning it and visiting hospitals and clinics trying to get rabies shots. I didn't get them but Saturday I got them. Like I said, Interesting day, But I got to visit Valparaiso (For the hospital) so that was pretty cool! :)

Saturday was interesting as well haha. After studies Elder Cropper and I went looking for a place to get my rabies shots. A member was super nice and drove us to all of the hospital places. Finally we found a place to do it. For those of you who know me, I HATE SHOTS! The needle was the LONGEST, THICKEST, MOST SCARY DEATH STICK I HAVE EVER SEEN! After getting the shot (and not crying at all :)) I found out that I have to get 4 more shots for a total of 5 over a period of about 2 weeks! At least it makes for a pretty good story haha :) Afterwards we taught Lali and put a bautismal date with her!! :)

Sunday was a hectic day. Lali couldn't attend church but her 4 grandkids did and boy were they a handful!! Dealing with them was stressful and difficult but they liked church :) We taught and put a baptismal date with the oldest grandson, Diego :) At church Hermano Juan was confirmed a member which was awesome! :) He is just the greatest guy ever. After church we had lessons with some people and they were good :)

Like I said, it was an interesting and out of the ordinary week! I am doing great and love Chile! Stay golden,

My mission address for those looking to send me gifts ;)

 The address is 1112 4 Norte, viña del mar chile :)

Love you all,
Elder Nielson
Over done Towel

Taylor 0 Dog 1

El Diablo bit me!

New Hair Cut!! Oh Yeah!!!

Likening the Scriptures or at least acting them out while waiting for companion to come out of the bathroom

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week 10: The bathroom can wait, their salvation can't!

Buenas Dias!

This weeks theme was definitely "The bathroom can wait, Their salvation can't!" Never in my life have I had to go to the bathroom as bad as I do on the mission. With our busy schedule you can either go to the bathroom or go to an appointment and as peoples salvation is slightly more important than relieving myself of the natural waters of life, I always tell myself and my companion "The bathroom can wait, Their salvation can't!"

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We went out and worked in a part of our sector that we haven't worked in much. Our sector is Villa Dulce which is divided up into Villa Dulce Norte, Villa Dulce Crav, El Olivar, El olivar Norte, and Canal Beagle. Tuesday we worked in Canal Beagle and had a great contact with a guy named Carlos who seems pretty interested. We gave him a Book of Mormon and plan on visiting him soon. The afternoon wasn't very productive. All three of our appointments fell through which was frustrating.

Wednesday was a good day. We had our district meeting and it was good. We talk about the attributes of Christ and today we talked about virtue and Charity. Afterwards we went and visited Juan and his family. I love them so much! Then we visited a less active lady who is coming back to church. Finally we visited the familia Araya who have been investigators for 4 years. They hadn't done any of the things we had asked them to do. We had a great lesson and they agreed to come to church! This Sunday we will see if they do it.

Thursday was alright. We had weekly planning and a far away lunch so we didn't leave the house to work until 5 so it was a shorter day. We went and visited a less active member. After that we went and planned a ward missionary activity that we somehow got put in charge of. Then we had a short and sweet lesson with Juan. We ended the day buying completos which always makes the day better :) A funny thing that happened was as we were looking for an investigator we stopped at his house and there were 3 guys outside on the patio smoking Marijuana! We talked to them and they calmed not to be the investigator but we could tell that one of them was. But it was super funny to talk to them because they giggled about everything.

Friday was pretty uneventful because it was Halloween. On holidays the people all go to the Mall and the Plaza so no one was home. We ended the day teaching Juan and eating empanadas with him. 

Saturday was basically the same as Friday because it was another holiday called Dia de los Evangelicos. We talked to Carlos and his woman friend Camella and then went to stake conference.

Sunday we went to Stake conference and then worked. We ended the day at Juans house because a new investigator was going to meet us there. But he never showed up so we taught them a lesson and left. I am sick of people making appointments and not showing up.

I love you all!! An awesome scripture that I encountered was Proverbs 29:18, I would encourage you to read it!

Elder Nielson 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 9: Chilean Food, Greek Customs

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a good one! We have been super busy so it has gone by super fast! I know I have been doing my part because every night my body is dead and I fall asleep instantly.

Anyways, Monday we visited a less active lady whose husband and son were going to be baptized a couple years ago but stuff happened and it fell through. Her family is going through super difficult times but we were able to talk to her and help her out some. We are going to try to help and teach her husband and son. (The other day when we visited her as we were leaving she stood up to shake our hands instead of staying seated, which is a super big sign of respect and love here, and she said we are her VIP's which touched our hearts). After the visit to her we went to a Family Home Evening with a member family which was good, especially because we had pie ;)

Tuesday we met with a family who has been taught for about four years, so we have been very direct with them so that they don't become eternal investigators. They aren't married and have 4 or 5 kids (Just like half of Chile) and we taught them the importance of marriage, especially a marriage in the temple. Then we had lunch with a family who was absolutely hilarious! We were dying of laughter and they even gave us 2 references! Then we went and visited a less active family and had a lesson and cake. I am probably going to get at least a little bit fat here, but I am fighting it as much as I can. Finally we ended by teaching a man named Javier who was a street contact that we ran into as an answer to a prayer, So i hope everything works out with him. The lesson went well and we got a return appointment.

Wednesday was a good day as well. We had our district meeting and it was good. Our district leader is awesome and has lots of animo (Encouragement/is encouraging/enthusiastic). There isn't a single word direct translation for the word animo haha. Anyways after the meeting we had a lunch with a member except she was a woman alone in the house so we couldn't eat there so we ate with her neighbors who were inactive members and we taught them. One seemed super interested in the message we had. After that we helped get Juan to his baptismal interview which he passed! It is so funny, whenever you ask him what the sabbath day is he always says "Well you have a good lunch, then you take a nap and then you spend time with family and eat a good dinner." After that we have to ask him " And what do we do in the morning?" he will immediately reply "Go to church!" That is how it happens every time and it is super hilarious but super awesome. After that we did some contacting and taught and talked with a man named Fernando who is very catholic and we got a return appointment which is good.

Thursday was a good day. We had studies and then weekly planning. Then we went to lunch and had lentils and I actually like them quite a bit. After that we went contacting and I personally gave out my first Book of Mormon! After that we had two awesome lessons that I actually started participating in which was great! Then at night we ran and got some completos as a late night snack! It was a good tiring day.

Friday was a pretty good day. After our morning preparation and planning we went to lunch and the lady fed us so much food! Chilean's are like the Greeks and constantly are offering you food and insisting that you eat it and eat more, and if you refuse they get offended or offer you the other food items they have until you eat something haha :) After lunch we went and held one of her ducks!! So I held a duck on Friday :) After that we did work and visited some people. Finally we went looking for the bishop at the church because there was a going away party for a family and we thought he would be there. He wasn't there, he was at home sleeping after a long day but the members invited us in and offered (Insisted and made us eat) food and dessert haha, the Chilean Greeks ;) While my companion was talking to someone I saw a ton of youth playing "Just Dance" a dancing video game so I started to do the dance where I was and started to get into it. 30 seconds later I looked over and saw the bishop's wife, the relief society president, and another hermana watching me dance and laughing, but they all gave me a thumbs up so my dancing must have been at least somewhat decent ;) It was so funny and probably made my day haha :)

Saturday was a long day. We went and helped people move from 11-4. It wasn't too bad but I was in the sun so my neck and arms got fried!! My face was okay because I put sunscreen on it. It is hot and sunny during the day (The sun is really strong here and burns me easily) and pretty humid, so I sweat, but it isn't as hot as Idaho during the summer. After that we went and got food because it was 5ish and we hadn't had food yet because our lunch appointment canceled on us. We had two appointments Saturday night. One was with Juan and it went well, but the other one canceled on us which was super frustrating because it is a 20 minute walk to her house.

Sunday was a great day! After a ton of stuff going wrong (The hot water not working, The font having problems, the location of the baptism changing multiple times, People bailing on the talks they promised to give, etc.) we finally got to the baptism of Juan. I had the great opportunity to actually be the person to baptize Juan. Like I said the hot water didn't work so the water was Ice freezing cold, but we did the baptism anyway. After being super nervous and doing the baptism in Spanish It was over and I felt so happy! I asked Juan if he was cold because he was soaked with the freezing water and he said "No, I am not cold at all, I am actually really warm right now." That almost made me tear up because I knew that the spirit was burning within him. After the baptism a little girl who is 3 or 4 years old (Whose family we have a Family Home Evening with every week) came running down the hall to say hi to us and was super excited to see us (which made my day even better) and I squatted down to shake her hand and she flung herself around me and gave me a big hug. I am pretty sure she has a crush on me because she always gives me flirting looks and giggles when we teach at her house. But don't worry, I am resisting temptation and not flirting at all on the mission ;) She is such a cute little girl though!

That was my fantastic week! I am super tired but I love my life as a missionary!
I love and miss you all!

Elder Nielson
Picture is Juan and his family (Daughter and granddaughter and grandson)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 8: The devil isn't in the details he is in the dogs!

Buenas Dias!

I am loving being a missionary! It is so awesome! True, there are ups and downs, but it is so worth it!

Anyways this week has been a good one! On Tuesday we had our normal proceedings such as study, lunch with a member, and contacting. We also had a meeting with Juan the old man who we are baptizing this Sunday! He is so faithful and is making so much progress.

On Wednesday we had Interviews with the mission president which is normally a pretty big deal but it has only been a week since I last saw him so my interview was basically a "How are you doing, and how are you liking it?" It was good to have though. It was kind of a frustrating day after the interviews because all of our appointments fell through.

Thursday we had a zone meeting from 9 until 2, yes, it was 5 hours long! It was actually pretty good, we learned some temporal and spiritual lessons and then had some practices. The practices were scary because our zone leader was watching and listening to ours the whole time. Afterwards we went tracting and had no success.

Friday was a pretty normal day. We went out and had a lesson with a less active lady who has had some hard experiences, but she seems like a sweet lady. Then  we had a lesson with Juan who like I said is making great changes in his life.

Saturday, was the day of the devil dogs! All morning every dog that saw us would bark and charge at us and try to bite us. Thank goodness for shoes, bags, and Books of Mormon. There is one dog who everyday charges us and attacks us, he is THE DEVIL DOG, and we try to avoid him the best we can. But Saturday we had many lessons. One with a man who has no job and plays an online game all day while his wife works (Boys, this is not how you score women). He is slowly progressing, but hopefully will come through. Then we visited the family Araya who owns the local soccer field (All the soccer fields here are dirt fields). The lesson with them went well and I believe we will be able to have success with them. They also said we could use the field whenever we want during the week (P-day here I come!). Then we had a lesson with Juan. While we were there his daughters sister and her daughter decided that I look like Michael Bublé, but I don't see it ha ha :) Juan also said the funniest but most heart warming thing ever. He was at the Hospital for Dialysis and was offered Tea and Coffee. He said "I can't drink that, I am not catholic, I am a member of the church with a long name that I can't remember." I was dying of laughter but it made my night that we was living the commandments.

Sunday was a great day as well. We woke up and went to church. Before it started a stray dog (There are MILLIONS here) ran into the church and I spent 5 minutes chasing it out. Lots of members found it humerus and watched and laughed as I struggled to get the dog out of the church :) Then my companion and I were waiting for Juan because he said he would come. Church started and he still wasn't there so we were worried. Finally he showed up. Apparently the member who was supposed to pick him up forgot, and because he is too old to walk to church  his daughter said they should just try again next week but he said "NO! We are going to church!" after that he hitch hiked his way to church! He even made it in time for the sacrament! IT was awesome to see that he had that much desire to go to church and showed me how important church really is. After church we dropped our clothes off at the Mamita's house. Here in chile we have a lady in the ward called the "Mamita" and we pay here and she washes our clothes every week :) (So mom, all that time you made me wash my clothes to practice for my mission... Well I didn't really have to do that ;) )

To end I well relate a funny story from this week. 
My companion went to the bathroom, and whenever one of us goes to the bathroom the other tries to cram in a power nap. So I was about to take a power nap but decided I wanted to try to be funny. I grabbed the scriptures and opened them and underlined the verse where is said "I grabbed Laban by the hair and smote off his head with his own sword" I then put the book open with that verse underlined on my chest along with a big knife "My sword" and then went to sleep. When he came out of the bathroom he found me sleeping with that verse underlined and my "sword" He then died laughing and pretended to cut off my head. It was super funny!

All is going well here in Chile! I appreciate all the prayers and support. I love and miss you all!

Elder Nielson
Elder Cropper and Elder Nielson
Apartment where we are stayin
Bedroom, notice that the beds are made!!

Our Kitchen

The ghetto fix to the broken toilet handle
A pack mule seen from our balcony

View from balcony
Sweet Crackers (cookies)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 7: It is chilly in Chile

Buenas Dias!

This has definitely been a super interesting time!

We left the MTC at midnight and flew to the Santiago airport and got there about 10 a.m. My companion and I didn't sleep very well so we were super tired. We met our mission president and he gave me a hug which was nice. We then drove to Vina Del Mar and took some pictures. After the clock picture that you received our mission president paired us up, gave us a Book of Mormon and told us we had to place the Book of Mormon and find our way to the mission home (he gave us the address) and then he left. It was kinda nerve wracking but I had a native companion for the activity so it was pretty good. We placed the Book of Mormon and made it to the house safely. 

We spent the next couple days going through orientation and learning a bit about the mission. Until Wednesday when we received our companions. My trainer is Elder Cropper from Iowa and he is super cool! He is awesome and is super helpful. We are serving the the zone achupallas and we are in Villa Dulce (Sweet Village) 20 minutes from the center of Viña.

The people here talk really fast so it is super difficult to understand them. But my Spanish is slowly improving and making progress. I have already had to help give lessons and participate in spiritual thoughts.

Here they only eat 2 meals a day, Breakfast and lunch, then at night they have a snack. The members feed us lunch every day so we only have to worry about breakfast. But whenever we visit a member they feed us something, regardless of what time it is, so I am never going to go hungry :) I had my first complato this week and it was delicious! (Hot dog in a homemade bun with tomatoes guacamole mayo and other toppings). 

The weather here is interesting because you can tell it is transitioning from spring to summer. It is super cold in the mornings (The houses don't have insulation) and during the day it is chilly but starting to heat up. Because we are by the ocean ish we  have a nice breeze.

Chile is definitely very hilly and there are dogs EVERYWHERE. Most of them are nice and just lay there or walk by you, there has only been one really mean dog, but it is all good. 

Almost everything here is different than the U.S. All of the houses have fences around them so instead of knocking on a door we stand at the gage and yell "ALLO". The houses are small and look really ghetto from the outside but are decently nice on the inside. We are staying in an apartment building that is pretty nice which is fantastic.

My companion and I are Whitewashing the area, meaning both of us are new so we don't know anyone. We started to get to know the members and some people and they seem pretty nice :) 

Spiritual story of the week. This week at church a lady came up to us and asked us to do a Family Home Evening with her and her 75 year old father. We agreed and went. When we went we found out her father wasn't a member but wanted to know more about the church and maybe be baptized! It was awesome and by the end of the lesson he wanted to be baptized, so he has a date to be baptized the 26 of September. But the thing that was the coolest was after he agreed to be baptized his daughter bore her testimony and  in it she said that when she saw me at church she knew her dad was going to get baptized, because she had had a dream where she had seen me, Elder Nielson, baptizing her father. She had a dream about me baptizing her father, it was so awesome to hear that. Because of that I know that I am supposed to be in Chile and that I am here for a reason.

I am loving every minute of my mission and am so glad to be here.
I miss and love you all,
Elder Nielson

Being picked up from the Santiago Airport

Bus ride to Vina

At a beautiful park in Vina
Mission President and his wife

"I never take a bad picture" Barney  -How I met your Mother

Better Picture of more of the new missionaries at training

Training Fun

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6: Arrival in Chile

Taylor did not send out a letter this week because he left Monday evening of  October 8th for Chile. Arriving Tuesday morning. We did receive this email from the mission home.

Dear family,
Your son is now with us in the mission field and he is ok, we are grateful to have him here.

This is a picture of him. 

Mission President and wife with all the new missionaries arriving in Vina Del Mar on Tuesday.