Vina Del Mar, Chile

Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 79: Im Home again! (in Valparaiso)

Buenos Dias a Todos!!

This week was a week of Big Changes but little differences :) This week I got changed to a new sector that is kind of new to me. About 6 months ago I left Valparaiso Oeste to go to Coquimbo. I am in Valparaiso Oeste again, but this time as a zone leader instead of a district leader. Our sector is pretty big, and has THE BIGGEST HILLS IN THE WORLD! Imagine having six mountain Everest and having to climb to the top to teach people. That is our sector ha ha. There are some streets that are so steep that I worry about slipping and that my tie drags on the ground as we climb up it. But I love it because I love Valparaiso.

My companion is Elder D and is from Argentina but doesn't have a super strong Argentinian Accent. He is a convert who was baptized about 5 years ago. He is a really good teacher and is very good at helping people understand. Our Craziness levels and energy levels are 100 percent opposite. He is very calm and serious but not in a bad way. He likes to make jokes and talk which is really good :) It will definitely be interesting learning to work super well with him :) But it will be a good couple changes. He only has 10 months in the mission, but like I said is very good at teaching. I will definitely be able to learn a lot from him :)

This week we found, taught, and helped a man named L come to church. He is really good and I believe that he has a good chance at getting baptized. The only problem is that he is not married and in Chile it is very difficult and expensive to get married. If you could pray that he can get married quickly that would help us a ton.

I feel very good in our sector because we are both pretty serious when we teach. I love to be friendly and make jokes, but when it comes to the gospel teachings we are both pretty serious which has helped us have some very spiritual lessons. I love that we are having lessons that are spiritual and consistent. It has been awhile since I have had lessons like this :)

The ward is good! In the last 3 months they have had lots of baptisms so there are lots of recent converts who are always friendly and willing to give their help :) About 80 people attend our ward every week so we will see if we can get people to continue with their promises to God and get 100 people there every Sunday :)

Sorry for the lack of pictures! The elder who was here before me finished his mission and left the apartment a disaster and we have been working like crazy to clean it up and get it picture worthy ;) Hopefully next week we will have pictures!

I love you all! Stay Golden! :)

Elder Nielson :)

Taylor and his new companion

View from apartment in Valpraiso

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Week78: A big can of Humble Juice with a side of anti-denial

Hola! Buenos Dias Todos!

This week was a week of work, of meetings, of taking heat, of teaching, of protecting, and of being taken out of denial. So in short, it was good normal week in the mission :)

This week we worked hard! We were determined to find people to teach and got to the point where we had to teach in doorsteps (Because we cant enter houses with women who are alone). This week we taught a really good lady in the doorstep and it was actually a good lesson. L is a grandma who is raising 3 grand kids because the government took them from their mom and gave them to the grandma. While we were talking she talked about how her sister (Who is evangelic) told her not to talk to us because we don't believe in God and we worship a Joseph Smith. It was a perfect moment to teach lesson 1! We taught her and she understood very well (Which is difficult to achieve here because the people are more attached to the catholic church than they are to Jesus). She said she is going to pray and ask if what we taught was true and if she gets an answer that she will get baptized with her grand kids as well. So please pray that she can get her answer :)

It was a week of taking heat and a big can of Humble Juice. This week we got all of our district leaders and the sister training leaders. We started and were teaching but the spirit wasnt there. We could just feel tension and then the sister training leaders said something that let me know what was up. We had to throw away all of our plans for the meeting and sit down and talk to everyone. We had to ask why they were angry or frustrated with us. They were angry at us that we had been correcting them for the things that they weren't doing instead of just being happy with the good that they had done. In the end they basically complained that when they did something wrong that we corrected them instead of letting them continue messing up. They didn't like that we weren't verifying there work and if they were contacting people and that we were expecting results from them. They said all of this in a very mean attacking way. It hurt to hear, not because of what they were saying I was doing wrong because I was glad to hear what they thought I was doing wrong (In order to fix it) but they also said lots of mean things about the things that I am 100 percent sure that I was doing right and complaining about that. After just accepting everything that they said we asked for their help to fix some problems that anyone can fix and to help us focus on the problems that only we can fix. 

I left that meeting very angry, not because I was told that I wasn't perfect, but because they all told me the things that I had to fix in the zone and they took no responsibility for anything. They explained that their faults were the same as mine but they didn't say that they were  wrong for having them. Afterwards everyone else was happy because they got to rant and attack me and I wasn't willing to attack them back. But I talked to the assistants explaining what I had been doing and what the other leaders had said and asked which was right so that i could do the right thing for the zone and he said what I had been doing was right. It was just hard to hear the mean things that they said as well. But now the zone is happier with us, but I am frustrated with them ha ha.

It was a week of protecting. In our sector there are lots and lots of Jehovah Witnesses. They all as a congregation go out and knock doors and give out magazines and stuff. One day we were doing a contact at a house and the family was pretty good. We were about to leave but then we noticed to Jehovah witnesses close by that were about to talk to the family that we had just contacted. So that the Jehovah witnesses wouldn't talk with them I stalled the conversation so that we stayed in the door talking to the family. We did that for about 10 minutes until all of the Jehovah witnesses had walked by ha ha :) 

This week I have been reading a lot about the wars in the Book of Mormon and about the 2000 stripling warriors. It was a perfect week because I was looking for a lot of guide on how to lead the zone. Moroni, Lehi, and Teancum were amazing leaders and I learned so much from them on what to do. I also learned how to be a fantastic person by reading about the example of the 2000 stripling warriors. I want to invite you all to read about them looking for their character (I dont remember how to say the word in English) Su naturaleza o forma de ser (The way they are? The form of being?) Basically the character traits of the 2000 stripling warriors and what they were like. Then look at yourself and ask if you are like that. Then fix what isnt like them. I have started doing it and it has helped a lot :)

A part of what they said is they talk about the teachings of their mothers and that they didn't doubt that their mothers were sure about the teachings that they had given them. So I started to ponder on the teachings of my mother and what she wanted me to know. I was reminded of every time that she passed for a hard moment or needed a miracle. We would all make fun of her saying how crazy her desire was. But then she would say "I have faith" and everyone would immediately stop making fun of her because "When mom has faith, it happens." After pondering that I decided that I needed to have the faith that my mother had, not doubting at all, because I knew that she believed 100%. 

This week I was taken out of denial. Lots of missionaries make fun of me for being an old missionary. I always tell them no and that I have a ton of time left to get stuff done. Well I was taken out of denial because all of the sisters who arrived to the mission with me are all having interviews and the last dinner with president today and will be in their house on Wednesday. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming trunky and wanting to be home, actually the opposite. I am realizing that the mission will end, and that end is coming soon, and that I have to achieve everything I want to achieve in a very short amount of time. The end of a mission doesn't seem real and doesn't seem like it will ever happen, but now I am realizing that it is real, and that some day decently soon I am going to have to give up these plaques and the power and authority that God has given me. It hurts thinking about that. But It gives me encouragement that I have been trained and prepared and am ready to take out the trash to get what God wants done, done.

Just want to share my testimony of prayer. This week I can testify completely without a doubt that prayer works. Not always in our own time, but it does work. God wants to hear us and talk to us. He wants to comfort us and help us. I know that he lives, and that this is the church that he has given us to prepare to live with him again. I know that it was restored by Joseph Smith, and because of that the greatest work and blessings are available to everyone in the world if they want to participate.

I Love you all! Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week 77: A Seventy and a High priest... well maybe not a priest, just a guy who was high

Buenos Dias a Todos!

This week was  another week of a bunch of working hard without results. But its alright, it is just the vacation time of year. The whole mission passes through the same thing every year :) But  because of it there wasn't much passing this week, just a couple experiences.

A Seventy:
Elder Teixera a Seventy from the first quorum of the Seventy came and gave a presentation. He first met with all the zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders and gave us a capacitation saying that if we want the mission to have more success and achieve more, then we have to have more success and achieve more. That we have to remind them of their purpose, and that we have to leave from the house everyday with our purpose in mind. It was a great capacitation that basically said, work hard, don't complain, and don't make excuses to not give it all. I really enjoyed it especially when the Sister Texeira ended her talk with "GO HARD"  (In English) which was hilarious :)

In the capacitation that was given to all the missionaries we learned new ways to be more efficient with finding people and getting references. Afterwards I was thinking (Fetch why did I learn this stuff so late in the mission?) because it was really good. He taught us about the need of using the people we have found to find other people. He taught us to pray with our investigators and ask them for people who might need our prayers as well, and why we should pray for them. After praying for them and feeling the spirit, asking if those people could benefit from a visit from us. It is amazingly effective and shows the love that we really have for everyone. The next thing he taught us was how to do contacts that are insanely efficient. A general contact has us stopping people in the street, presenting ourselves, asking peoples names, making some funny comments to get them interested, seeing what doctrine we could teach, teaching them something little, and asking to pass by. Elder Texeira taught us that we were wasting time by doing that. He taught us that every contact should be 10 seconds long and if they are really interested then it can be longer to teach the Book of Mormon or something. So he showed us that we should walk up to the person, say hello, and immediately teach a gospel principle of 5 seconds and ask to pass by. For example:

Hola amigo! Through The teachings of Jesus Christ your family can live together forever: When can we pass by to teach more of this message"

I'm not going to lie, when I heard it I didn't think it was going to work. But putting in practice my faith I decided to try it. After 2 days of doing it We had received a bunch of names of people to pass by. It was crazy how well it worked for how little time we put into each one.

A High Priest... without the priest part.

Here in the streets of Chile we always see people smoking marijuana or high on drugs. But this week we talked to a guy and while we were talking to him he did drugs...

We contacted a guy on a street corner and started talking to him. After talking to him we found out that he was a drug addict, but that he had a family and everything was going well. Just that when he was stressed he did drugs to escape everything. While we were talking he said
"I probably need Jesus a little bit more in my life don't I. But I don't think it is that way. I don't think I need him in my life... But what do you guys think."

I was about to say, Yeah you kinda need him in your life. But before I could say it my companion said. 
"You need him a lot."

The drug addict dropped his head and said "I Know..."

We got his address and we will send the reference to see what happens. Because he knew that he needed to change. And it was really sad seeing him smoke Pasta Base (A really crappy form of cocaine). But we will see what happens with him

That was basically our week! Hopefully this next week I have a little bit more to share! :)

Love you tons! Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 76: This week was harder than finding 3 mormons together!

Buenos Dias a Todos!

This week was a difficult week, it was harder than finding 3 Mormons together! But other than that it was a good week. Lots of thinking and praying, but we're still going good with our animo :)

This week while doing contacts we contacted a 23 year old and were talking with him when suddenly he asks us why missionaries always walk in groups of 2. After explaining that it is the way the lord set up, that it helps us be safer, and is more efficient than using three he explained to us why. In the streets there is a saying (Not a saying that every Chilean knows, just ones that spend more time in the street) that is "Its harder than finding 3 Mormons together" and it means that the thing referred to is super hard. So that is why our week was harder than finding 3 Mormons together :)

This week we had a ton of appointments and we were stoked to go visit and teach all of them. But in total we had 2 appointments that were good and all the others fell through. So in total in 2 weeks we have had 37 appointments fail. That is a pretty huge number. That was pretty hard on us. We were working really hard and giving it our all and we weren't finding anyone. It was pretty frustrating, but with lots of prayer and study of faith, hope, and diligence, we were able to make it through the week.

This week we found out that there are a lot of hidden problems in the zone caused by a little bit of laziness and lack of diligence from our district leaders. We had put a lot of confidence in them, and come to find out they were abusing it a little bit. That was really hard because we did divisions and I went to the sector of the district leader with his companion. They had no plans really because they didn't have any new people to visit. It was saddening and frustrating to hear about what was going on. In divisions we just took out the trash and did 21 contacts and found 14 future investigators for them. But the next day I had to talk to the district leader and correct him and humble him a lot. It was hard to do, but it was necessary. He was mad at us the next day and at stake conference he didn't look us in the eyes and we had to greet him because he just tried to walk by us. But after the conference he worked hard so obviously what we did helped them out.

This week I was having a frustrating week with everything and decided to try and make my studies even more meaningful and personal. I decided to read the scriptures with a question in mind and then I decided to study repentance. It was an incredible study. When I read about repentance and the nature of it, it was a great peace in my soul. It was something that was more than just feeling calm, it was a peace even stronger. A hope that I can get better, and a desire to achieve it. It was a great study and all the scriptures that I read that day really helped me understand it. It was incredible. I made an effort to have studies like that all week and I achieved it a couple of times. 

This week is going to be very interesting! Elder Teixera the area president of our area is going to do a conference with the 4 zones that are close by. It is going to be amazing but the cool part is before the normal conference is is going to have a conference with the zone leaders so it will be us (8 zone leaders for the 4 zones) alone with Elder Teixera! It is going to be cool and amazing to be with a 70 almost personally. I am pretty sure that he is going to interview us as well. But I will let you know how it goes :)

Love you all! Stay Golden!
Elder Nielson :)
Oh the plants you find!

Human Oreo- My companion, Me White Boy and the Bishop

Pay Day!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 75: Taking out the Trash

Buenos Dias a Todos!!!

This week was a great week and definitely a turning point in my mission! I have been doing contacts for almost my whole mission but there was always a little bit of fear, almost no faith, and not too much effort unless they were golden. But this week I lost all fear in my contacts, I put my faith to the test, I gave it my all, and we planted the seeds.

My companion taught me a valuable lesson about contacts, he taught me that they work. My companion has almost the same amount of time as me, and about half as many baptisms, but as always I asked how he found them. And unlike every other missionary, he has the majority of his baptisms from contacts. It was a living testimony that they work, so I decided to make them work.

Every day this week we worked as hard as we could to contact and talk to 20 people a day, and we saw the miracles. This week we have 13 appointments with future investigators and many of them are families, so we will see if they are willing to take the next step in the path of conversion. 

I finally feel like a missionary that is proud to say that he has a good amount of time in the mission because I finally feel like I enjoy doing every part of the mission work, including contacts.

This week we contacted a lady named J who was pretty interested in God and his teachings. We didn't have much time with her but we gave her a Book of Mormon and made an appointment for Thursday. On Thursday we passed by and started teaching and she started crying because she was passing for lots of pain and stress in her family because her parents are old and sick and dying. We had a very spiritual lesson and it was wonderful. Today we have another lesson with her. She is the best hope we have of a baptism this month so if you could pray for her that would be awesome.

This week I had a Deja-Vu of my Valparaiso days because a group of 7 men were drinking and relaxing in a plaza. When we passed  by they started making comments and my Valparaiso instinct turned on and we went of to say hi to them. They invited us to sit by them so we did. Then they started asking us the typical questions of "How long are you in Chile, how much money do they pay you to be here, why do you come, why do you adore John Smith?" and the other typical questions. When we answered they were pretty astounded that we don't get paid to be here. They were also a little bit confused they we don't worship "John Smith" (Joseph smith) and i more than eagerly taught lesson 1. It was so cool because as I was teaching they were all paying close attention and wanted to know more. One of the guys kept asking questions that had nothing to do with anything and the others would yell at him to hush so that I could keep talking about Joseph Smith. In the end I had the lesson1 pamphlet out showing the picture of the first vision like a elementary school teacher would to her class of Kindergartners. They were all in awe and they started asking really good questions. They invited us back the next Sunday to teach more. 

Another example of why we don't sleep in the mission ha ha.
Last night I went to bed at 11:30 like normal and was sleeping pretty well until the phone rang. I looked at the clock and it was 2 in the morning. Our District leader was calling because his companion was really sick and had been throwing up all night and was really dehydrated and was hyperventilating because he was scared because he felt so sick. He had a fever of 103 degrees and was in really bad shape. To make it worse, the District leader was throwing up as well. Needless to say with lots of calls, prayers, soothing remarks, and trying to remember all my first aid training through the fog of late night sleep we managed to fix the situation at about 3:30 in the morning. Then like normal we woke up at 7. The elders are okay now and are sleeping to get better. Sleepless in Coquimbo ha ha :)

That was my week!

I love you all!
Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson :)