Vina Del Mar, Chile

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 22: Blood Sweat and Tears..... Minus the Blood

Buenas Dias!

This week has been an interesting week! It has really been a week of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, but without the Blood.

This week we had Interviews with president in the apartment. That is why this week consisted of Tears. Interviews were so hard and so painful! The president got there and chewed us out for having a dirty apartment (after having cleaned for 6 hours) but it was mostly for the stuff the hermanas had left behind. But it was a horrible start to interviews. We had the interview and with everything president asked me I felt like I had failed. President is here to motivate us to do better, but the way he does it makes me feel like I failed. That was frustrating to me because I got reprimanded on things that I didn't even know existed and things that I was doing incorrectly (That I didn't know how to do and was doing my best). It was super hard to hear those things. I was thinking "I am working 16 hours a day in the hot sun speaking a different language to people who don't want to listen to me, what more could you want from me!?" But apparently there is a lot more. I was stressed, nervous and insecure (1 week as senior comp right after training) and I couldn't hold it in. I started balling. I don't like to cry, I think it is pointless, I don't cry, but interviews destroyed that. I cried like I haven't cried in 6 years. But afterwords I set out to fix everything and to improve what I need to. Now I am over it, I will improve and do everything that I can, and that is all that I can do.

With Interviews over we got to work, and this week was HOT! We are nearing the equivalent of end of July beginning of August here, so it is super sunny, super warm, and lots of hills. It was a week of heat and sweat and lots of walking. We still don't have many investigators so we walk a lot and don't have tons of lessons. I have been doing a lot more street contacts and contacted a catholic family, we showed up when they said to and they weren't there, but we are going to continue.

Also for those of you who have noticed my complaints about getting fatter... well this week I started to take action! I have started to run every morning for about 20 minutes and I am excited to start seeing results! :)

This week I have been practicing following the spirit. I actually followed the spirit when I contacted the above Catholic family. We were walking on a street and on the street below us I saw the family walking. My thoughts/Conversation with the spirit when something like this

Me "Oooh a family, I should contact them... Nah they are on a different street"
Spirit " Contact them"
Me "They are already far away and their arent stair to get to them"
Spirit "Contact them"
Me "But now they are even farther, there arent stairs, and I missed my chance"
Me "Okay!"

We ran down the dirt hill in between the streets and started following them while trying to act normal... but I don't think that we succeeded in that aspect ;) Then we contacted them and got their names and address. I learned that the Spirit really is guiding us, and I am trying to follow the guide on the first prompting instead of the third haha :) But really I know that if we follow the guide of the spirit we will be blessed and receive the help that we need. Don't follow my example and fight against the spirit, follow the prompting the first time.

This week I have two friends leaving on their missions!! Joseph Kozlowski and Felipe Rivero are heading out on their missions! I am so excited for them and I know that they will be such great missionaries! Joseph is going to Minnesota and Felipe is going to Santiago Chile!

This week I had a funny experience. I was in a lesson and wanted to twist things up a little bit so I offered to say the closing prayer in English for them :) They were all excited and I started to say the prayer and I learned something... I can no longer pray in English! I kept using Spanish words on accident and saying the English sentences the way I would in Spanish! It was crazy! That is what happens when you pray in English in the first time in 4 months. I am grateful to have a Latino for a companion so that I can learn Spanish and practice it a lot. He speaks ZERO English so it has been great practice :)

I love you all and hope that everything goes well! Follow the spirit and you will be guided!

Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson

Taylor and soon to be Elder Felipe Rivero

Taylor and his Amigo's

Taylor being gangster

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 21: Dog Fights!

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a pretty good one as far as personal progress goes. I finally have the hang of being senior companion and talking in Spanish 24/7 down. My Spanish is improving significantly and I feel like a missionary.

I forgot to mention that last week in church I had to give a talk (in Spanish of course) and I was kind of nervous because a 10 minute talk in Spanish was not something I was expecting to give. We had a half hour for 3 of us to give talks, my comp, myself, and the mission leader. My companion went first and I was expecting him to take 12 minutes because he can speak Spanish and knows the phrases and stuff, but he gave his talk and it was 3 minutes long! That made me freak out! I gave my talk and it was 14 minutes long so our mission leader didn't have to talk for too long. But I was really proud of myself that I actually did it :)

This week I got the Christmas letter from my family and notes from my sister. They were awesome and made my day :) 

This week we were still looking for investigators and teaching one old one. We are teaching "P" who is completely ready for baptism, she just has to do it. She came to church which was awesome, but this week we are going to try to put a baptismal date. 

"R" the returned missionary came to church in a suit this week which was super awesome! We have had a couple more lessons and he is returning to the church and feeling the spirit again. It is awesome to see the happiness that he has now that he has returned, he is more open and friendly with everyone! I hope that we can do the same thing for lots of people.

This week we encountered a family who is inactive and feels abandoned by the church. They got baptized and afterwords the missionaries left and they weren't visited by anyone else. We were the first missionaries in 6 years to pass by. We are going to try to show them the love that we really feel for them and help them to return, but they actually go to another church now where they "feel loved". For this reason we still work with our converts, because they need support and not to be abandoned. 

I still have fights with dogs and hate them with a passion. Now I know why a 3 headed dog guards the palace of Hades, because dogs really are of the devil :) This week A HUGE dog was chasing me and I was freaking out, I had a huge rock but was jumping around and running and I thought I was going to die! But finally its owner came out and got the dog and put it back inside. I can honestly say that I am never going to love dogs after being in Chile haha :)

This week not much happened, We are just working hard every day to try to find people who can benefit from and will accept the gospel.

We have interviews with the president of the mission in our apartment tomorrow, so today we are cleaning and organizing and fixing everything like crazy!! Goodbye nap time :(

This next week is going to be awesome and I have faith that we will have success.

I love you all,
Elder Nielson :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 20: Senior Companion Status = Achieved

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a hard hot stressful week, but I am learning and progressing more than ever :) Last week I expressed some concern about Elder C being a little trunky and having to deal with that but that worry is gone now. Why you may ask? Because this week was not a normal week.

Monday night we had finished enjoying our P-day and working a little bit and were getting ready to sleep when we received a call. We looked at the screen and it said "Presidente." Immediately we got a little bit worried, And I got even more worried when Elder C left the room to go talk to him privately. When he came back I got the sad news. We had emergency changes because a missionary in another sector needed help. So The next morning elder cropper was going to leave to a different sector and I was going to stay. Then I got even more news, I was going to stay and be the senior companion. Elder C packed up and then we slept, well tried to anyways.

Tuesday we had changes and I got my new companion. Elder H is a Chilean who has a month more than me in the mission. He is from Punta Arenas which is the southernmost city in Chile. I was sad to have Elder C go but I was excited to have a new companion and the opportunity to be senior companion.

Because of this emergency change I went from doing about 30 percent of the work to doing 95 percent of the work which was really stressful! Making every decision, planning every lesson, doing every door approach was super scary! And talking in Spanish 24/7 with a Chilean companion was even more stressful! But I have relied on the lord and am a lot more calm. I feel like I am getting the hang of being a missionary.

Work wise things are good and tough. Investigators is something we lack a little bit, but we are working hard to find new ones and to encounter baptisms. But we are doing well with the less actives and less actives who have their endowment. Our mission is making a big push to reactivate the less active members who have gone to the temple and made the covenants there. This week we had 3 of the 10 we were given come to church and we had an awesome lesson with one of them.

R is a returned missionary who is inactive. He returned home early from his mission after 6 months of service for minor health reasons, but used the health reasons as a small excuse to come home. Afterwords he said he had some doubts and we told him we would pass by and answer them. The lesson was amazing. He told us his doubts which didn't have much to do with the church, but more to do with the bible and a claim that god messed up. We started to answer his question when the spirit took over the lesson. I don't know the bible very well, but all of a sudden the few things I did know came to me and were the perfect answer to his question. Then I felt like I should talk about the temple and I did. The spirit truly guided the lesson and hit him hard. After talking about the temple he just stopped and sat for a minute and then said. Thank you, I haven't felt like this in a long time. I have been wanting to feel the spirit and I feel it now. Thank you. When we left he gave us big long hugs and I knew that he had be changed. He came to church on Sunday and I felt so happy for him :) 

That's what I learned this week. It doesn't matter what we want to say or what we know, its what the spirit says and what it does to the person listening. We need to work hard every day to follow the spirit and to recognize its influence in our lives.

Stay golden and be awesome!!

Love you all! 
Elder Nielson

P.s I have a true testimony of the resurrection because every night I get back to the apartment dead and somehow the next morning I wake up ;)
Elder N and Elder H with Chilean friends

Taylor's new companion Elder H

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 19: Feliz Año Nuevo!!!!! (Happy New Year)

Buenas Dias!!

This week was a good week! It was hard and I learned a lot about myself. I also had a big change of heart and my purpose as a missionary has changed :)

This week we didn't have changes... well we had changes but my companion and I are staying together. It will be really interesting because it is his last month and a half as a missionary and after the change will finish his mission and go home. This will be interesting because I will have to keep him a little bit in line because he is starting to get trunky (ready to go home and thinking about home a lot). It also means that I will get a lot of his stuff that he leaves behind, Woohoo! ;) The last thing it means is that I am guaranteed to have a new companion next change. I hope to be training a brand new missionary because that would be super awesome.

This week was hard for a couple reasons. We didn't have any progressing investigators, which means that we don't really have anyone who seems like they are moving towards baptism. It was hard because I am a full blown missionary now, so my responsibilities have increased, again forcing me out of my comfort zone. Finally it was hard because everyone seems to be going through hard times and as missionaries they tell their problems to us looking for help. I love to help them but I felt super weighed down because of the sorrow and problems they were having.

Because it was a tough week I was forced to do alot of things which I wouldn't have done if I was comfortable, forced me to use and rely on the spirit more, and most of all made me change. This week I changed because I really learned what it means to love other people, not just say I love them, or superficially hope things go well for them, but to truly love them. I changed my desire for my mission, no longer am I here just to do my Duty to God, or to "Give my two years", I am here to help people change their lives or improve their lives by coming to Christ and repenting and guiding them to the path where the blessings await them. This change came on a Wednesday. 

Wednesday was the hardest day of the week. I was having a small pity party for myself because I was scared of my new responsibilities and I felt inadequate to do them. It was also a day when we found out about alot of troubles people were having. We got to a lesson with a member and were talking with them. We learned of the problems coming from the choices that some of them made, the problems coming from other people (members included), and problems from sins or bad doings of other people. I just wanted to cry out "WHY IS THE WORLD SO HARD AND BAD!" In this moment I understood the prophets of the book of Mormon who felt sorrow for the sins of their people and the decisions to go astray and the suffering that it caused other people! In that instant I felt my desire to help everyone avoid those problems, sufferings, and grief and received the desire to change all of that. 

This week I have changed to become a more loving, devoted servant of Christ. I am still the same funny, witty, kind of cocky, loving person, but now with the true love of Christ towards all of the fellow people around me. 

This week I also learned the power of fasting. We fasted this Sunday for fast Sunday and we received the miracles for it. We had 2 people who aren't members or investigators come to church, feel the spirit, and tell us they have the desire to be baptized. We will see what happens with them, but the blessing of having the opportunity to teach someone who has the desire to be baptized was by far worth the fast. I know that we will receive the blessings of heaven if we fast and follow the commandments of God.

This week not many physical things happened, not much changed, but I changed. I changed and started to become the person that God wants me to be. I changed and began to develop the attributes of Christ. I changed and began to become the missionary God wants me to be.

I know that problems will come, but we need them to grow. They may be hard, difficult, and quizas (maybe) nearly impossible, but God will always provide a way, and will change you on the way, to become the person you need to be.

I love you all so much, and I hope that you are all staying golden, and becoming even more golden.

Elder Nielson