Vina Del Mar, Chile

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Week 87: A "Crappy" week

Hola Buenos Dias a Todos!

This week was a good but "Crappy" week with working, teaching, and going on with the mission work.

Well we had changes this last week and I wasn't changed and neither was my companion. Elder D and  I are going to keep working together as zone leaders here in Valpara√≠so Oeste Edwards "A" We had a couple of changes in the zone, but for the most part everything stayed the same.

This week we are working to be able to help people be baptized in May. In order to achieve that in the zone we had a week of challenges called "April Showers bring May Flowers" in which we gave challenges of things to do in the week of April to achieve baptisms in May. It was pretty cool and we saw a big increase in work ethic.

This week we have been working with a good number of investigators. "K", the mom of the kids who were baptized, is getting ready to be baptized on the 15th of May. She has to stop smoking and then she will be ready to be baptized. We have been working a little bit with her other little sister
'S" who is 14 and this week we will be working with her and young women. We have also been working with "E" and his younger brother "A". They are pretty good and we are sure that with the help of the ward that they will be able to progress and be baptized. We are also working with a couple that isn't married but have a little girl. They went to church last week but this last Sunday they didn't go. We will keep working with them. We are sure that "G and S" will get married and will get baptized :)

This week we also had Mission Leadership Counsel. It was really good. We got to see our other zone leader friends and have a great meeting with president. He talked a lot about Unity and the scriptures. Our mission president loves the scriptures and always teaches us about the details that many people miss that make the scriptures more interesting. Like when we were reading Acts he showed us that Pablo was only 1.5 metros (4 and a half feet tall) and there was a sister who was there who was that small. It was incredible to see how small he was and then read what he taught with so much power. It was a great meeting and on Tuesday we will be presenting it to the zone :)

This week was kind of a "crappy" week ;) Why do I say that? Well while we were walking home from a lesson with "K" we were walking on a dirt path that isn't lit up. Normally it is a little bit difficult to follow the trail, but it had just rained and was muddy so it was really hard to walk.As we were walking I saw a sand bag that was placed so that the rain would follow a certain path. Knowing that I imagined a little stream next to the sand bag so I decided to step on the sand bag instead of stepping by it. The second I stepped on the wet sandbag I slipped and fell and squealed like a little girl. Laying on the ground I was pretty embarrassed when all of a sudden the strong smell of dog crap comes floating towards my nose.... When I got up I saw and smelled the bad news... In the dark I had stepped on dog poop and when I stepped on the sand bag it made me slip... and got ALL OVER MY PANTS...AND MY ARM...AND MY HAND!!!! It was so gross! We had to walk home for 15 minutes and I was covered in crap! When we got home I had to take my pants off outside and my comp brought me water and soap, but wouldn't let me in the house until I washed my arm and hand off! It was super gross... but now it is kind of funny. But that was my crappy week:)

On Mothers day we are going to go to a members house at 4 in the afternoon Chilean time. My comp is planning on calling first so I would be calling at about 5 Chilean time. But if you guys could be ready for anything between 4 and 5 Chilean time that would be awesome. Remember to have questions, stories, and comments ready so that we can take advantage of the time :)

Well that was my week! I love you all! Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson :)

City by Night

My "Crappy" night

Attack of the fleas

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 86: A pure heart, clean hands, and CLEAN CLOTHES :)

This week was a looong rainy week full of miracles, clean clothes, and lots of work.

This week starting on Wednesday it started raining like crazy! With all the hills our sector was full of urban waterfalls and water slides. It was very interesting because the higher parts of the hills are poorer and don't have cement streets so all the water coming down the streets is brown and maroon for the dirt and clay. The streets are full of mud, in some places up to a foot of mud. It has been interesting to work because there aren't many people in the street to contact and there aren't many people who open their doors because they are all sleeping ha ha. But this week was a week of miracles.

On Tuesday in the nighttime we were walking and it was time to go to the apartment but I saw a man walking in the street and he looked really mean and cranky so I thought
"Im going to contact him. But I have to start the contact from here (20 feet away) so that he cant just walk by"

So I yelled out "Hey friend! Hows it going?"
He looked up and started walking towards us a little bit so I started walking towards him. I shook his hand and straight up bore my testimony about the power of the gospel to help families be strong and overcome the trials of the world.

Instead of being cranky he was really friendly and receptive. He only works in the night and said that we could pass by every day to teach him. He said he works as a night desk guard in a condominium so he has all night to read. We gave him a Book of Mormon, got his information and left super excited.
Anyways, the next day we went to look for his house and couldn't find it. Saddened we continued on with the day. In the night time we were close by where his house was because we were looking for someone else who lived close by when all of a sudden he comes walking down the street. We talked to him and got his phone number to call him. He walked with us and we found out something special.
We were walking and he said the words
"I'm Married, I lived with someone for 10 years but last year we got married." When he said this the sun came out and the clouds parted and the angels started singing Hallelujah! Well actually he just said he was married... The sun and angels weren't there... but it felt that way.
Pure miracles with him. But we need another miracle because his phone has been off and we still can't find his house. The moment we find his house we will have two more people to be baptized and to contribute to the church of Jesus Christ. Please pray that we can find him! :)
This Sunday we had the confirmation of the 3 kids. It was super awesome and made me feel good. It was a great day of church because even though it was pouring 2 of our investigators , "G" and "S" came to church! They are awesome and super friendly. They don't have a baptismal date because they have to get married so this week we are going to teach with power and authority and teach them that they need to get married and invite them to do it so that they can be baptized. But they came to church while it was raining which shows real compromise. Because in Chile if it rains almost everything shuts down. Chileans are scared of getting a cold because if they get a cold they don't go to work  (basically like a man cold except a Chilean cold) so they don't do anything if it is raining. That is why it was awesome that they came to church! I am pretty sure that we can get them baptized in May or June :)
This week was also a great week because we had clean clothes!!!!! We don't have anyone who washes our clothes (The system set up in our mission) because we don't have anything to wash the clothes with. Anyways for 2 weeks we didn't have anyone to wash our clothes and we washed our clothes in the shower. But this week we found a sister who is willing to wash our clothes. It made life so much happier ha ha :)
That was about my week! This week we have changes. I don't think I will be changed and I don't think that my companion will be changed either. We will see what happens!
I love you all! Stay Golden!
Elder Nielson :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 85: Super Baptism

Buenos Dias a todos!!

This week was a really long stressful week but now that it is over it was actually a fantastic week! It was full of trials, stress, hard work, no work, and the spirit :)

This week we started strong and well! We worked hard preparing our investigators to be baptized and to be interviewed. On Thursday we had the interview and all of the kids passed the interviews! The interviews were really fun because while our district leader interviewed one of the kids, his companion, my comp and I, and the other kids played pass the pigs! One of the elders received pass the pigs in a package so we played while we were waiting for the interviews and it was so much fun ha ha :)

That same day was an interesting day because we didn't get to work at all. We had planning in the morning, then ate lunch. During lunch the sister leaders called us to tell us that they had finished splits with the sisters from our zone and thought that something was up and that we should have interviews with them. So after lunch we went and had interviews with the sisters.

I interviewed one sister and my companion interviewed the other. I interviewed the senior companion who is new. She has only been in the mission for 5 months. It came out that she had a strong testimony, but was really stressed, tired, felt alone, didn't know what to do, and was not happy or enjoying the mission. I felt so bad for her because everything she described was how I felt or the situation that I suffered in the beginning of the mission. In the end we helped her understand what she should do to work hard and to be happy. It was a great interview and the spirit was very strong. I really did feel guided in what to say and what to do. Before the interview I had a feeling what she was going to say so I took my journal to the interview and read her a few of my entries sharing the same feelings that she had felt and then explained what I did to get out of those feelings. It was a great moment.

After those interviews our investigators had their interviews and after that we had to run and take some strong medicine to the other sisters in the zone who were really sick. Being a zone leader is fun, but at the same time sometimes it is frustrating not having time to work in the street ha ha.

On Friday instead of having splits with some members of the zone we had splits with the assistants of the mission president. They were good, they are my friends so I really enjoyed it. I was with Elder Gutierrez from Chile who was my companion in my first day in the mission when we had to give a Book of Mormon to someone in the street and find the mission home. We taught and worked hard and contacted. It was a pretty normal day but the night and morning were fun because we were all together joking and laughing and doing exercises.

This week we had our Super Baptism and it was soooooo hard!!!

The night before we had a lesson with the kids and the mom and everything was good to go to church. On Sunday we had to look for a different investigator who wanted to walk to church with us. We got to church and had to go straight to class. After class we went to look for the kids and their mom and they weren't in the church. If they didn't go to church they wouldn't have the required attendances to be baptized. We found a member who has a car and flew with him to the house of the kids. We found out that the alarm hadn't worked and that they had woken up late and were getting ready but wouldn't have made it to church if we hadn't gone in the car to look for them. But in the end they made it to sacrament meeting and we got ready for the baptism. I can't explain how many problems and things didn't want to work to get the baptism ready. But in the end we got it ready and everything worked out.

After the baptism we went to the house to eat but we were so exhausted that instead of eating we took our hour lunch to sleep. It was just what we needed. After so much stress and thinking and work it was fantastic to not have anything on our mind and to sleep.

It was a great baptism because our 3 investigators got baptized and I had the opportunity to baptize the youngest who is JM. He has problems walking which is why I am holding him in the picture, but he is so awesome. The little girl is super awesome as well. One week when her older sister couldn't go to church she decided to go to church alone (She went to the closest church which was an evangelical church but it is the thought that counts right? ;) )

But it was a good week! We are going to keep working!

I love you all! Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson :)

Interview with Kids

Super Baptism

With the family

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 84: General Conference

Buenos Dias a Todos!

This week was definitely a week of success for us! We taught lots of lessons, had some spiritual experiences, included ward leaders in the lessons, and watched General Conference.

I'm going to start with the Investigators. We have 3 kids who are going to be baptized this Sunday! Our investigator K wants to fix some things in her life before getting baptized but her sons and her little sister are going to get baptized this Sunday as part of the Super Baptism! Then the week after that (The 17th) we have an Investigator named E who is progressing very well and is super excited for his baptism on the 17th. We have been blessed with the ability to teach them enough to prepare them for their chosen baptismal dates. We are very excited to see things happening in our sector.

The super baptism has had its difficulties but we are still going forward! We have 6 people so for sure are going to be baptized that day and we have 2 more who could be baptized that day. It was kind of sad that the number of people who were going to participate has gone down. In the beginning we were hoping for about 12 but 6 is still a good number. We believe that this month we are going to be able to help the zone help all their investigators be baptized which would be about 15. It would be so cool to see every pair of missionaries being able to participate in the joy of baptizing people and families.

This week we had a great lesson with a couple that are living together but aren't married but are very receptive and friendly. We had left them with a Book of Mormon to read and pray. When we came the girlfriend had read but her partner hadn't. When we began to ask her about it she could answer a little bit and it made her partner excited about reading it. We then had a super spiritual moment when they read first Nefi 3 together about how Laman and Lemuel complained about the assignment that they received but that Nefi trusted that his Father had received revelation and followed immediately. We explained that they could be like Nefi if they read and asked God if the book was true, because then they could trust that the things they were teaching were true and they could participate in the blessings that Nefi received as well. It was awesome because they understood very well and want to know now.

It is becoming winter so it is getting a little bit colder but with the hills we still don't have to use jackets because we are always so hot from climbing up and down the hills :)

This General Conference was awesome. I have learned so much about how to change my life, what to get better at, how to help my future family, and of course how to help my investigators. Conference really is inspired. I entered conference with 5 questions and they were all answered. Our investigators went with doubts or confusions and all the doubts were answered, all the confusions cleared up.

I really recognized the themes of being humble and having charity. On my mission I have really focused on becoming like Christ and trying to change my attributes and develop Christlike ones. Every month and a half I choose 2 new attributes to work on and these couple of months were exactly humility and charity. It was incredible to receive guidance from the Prophets and apostles to help me become more like Christ. I also noticed lots about working together as a family to protect the family. The fathers by living worthy of the priesthood, the mothers by following leaders and teaching children and having family counsel, and the children by obeying and taking part in there duties even though they are young. Also they talked a lot about following and recognizing that the prophet is the only person called of God to guide the people and his word is the word of God. I learned that in the world people even members believe that the prophet gives us advice, not the word of God. That the family isn't all that important for the world, and that we can throw it away at any time. All of those topics have been huge stumbling blocks in the mission work here. I know that we have a prophet of God that teaches us Gods way to reach eternal life and that we must follow him and that there is NO OTHER WAY than Gods way. I loved the conference and I am so glad that you enjoyed it as well :)

I really enjoyed M. Russel Ballard's talk about Family Counsel. I have seen how my parents put all of his 4 kinds of counsel in practice. I have put in practice that kind of counsel in the zone as well. It was amazing to see how a small amount of time with a small amount of people can solve so many problems if we do it at the right time.

I loved elder Hollands talk to end. He always gives talks of power and authority and it always inspires me to testify like he does.

All in all it was a great week!

I love you all! Stay Golden!

Elder Nielson

Saw a convert from last time I served in Valpraiso. It was great to see him!!!

Valpraiso Skyline

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week 83: What did one stomach say to the other?!

Buenos Dias a todos!
This week was a good week! It had its ups and downs like always, but hey that's what life is about  :)
This week we worked hard and were preparing our investigators K, her kids, and her little sister to get baptized. Everything went well this week until she got sick and didn't go to church. If she was really sick I would have been okay with it, but her sickness was "A stuffy nose"...
But they are doing good I am pretty sure they will be baptized on the 10th of April. But the great news is the progress in the zone for the SUPER BAPTISM!
After Sunday we have 10 people who have plans to get baptized in our super baptism! (That is a lot of people for a zone to baptize in one month) and we had 18 people who have gone to church enough times to be able to be baptized on the 10th and 2 who have baptismal dates for later on. 20 Baptisms in 1 month would be a record! Think of 20 people making promises with God all together! How great would be our Joy! :)
This week my companion and I bought a pizza from a new place that was really cheap to see how it was. When we got to the apartment we opened it up and almost laughed. It was a pizza, but the crust was so thin that it was crunchy, so basically it was a HUGE tostada :) We ate it and I liked it. After eating and planning and calls we went to the bedroom to say our prayers before going to bed and all of a sudden my stomach growled super loudly! It was so funny that even though we were praying we started giggling a little but when all of a sudden my companions stomach growled just as loud. We started giggling even harder and then my stomach growled back again! Long story short our stomachs took turns growling at each other for a good 10 minutes!!! It was so hilarious! After the prayers we asked each other what we thought our stomachs were saying to each other ha ha :)
This week I had interchanges in Quebrada Verde (My old sector where I was before Coquimbo) It was super cool to see members, and some converts. The sad part was when we went to my converts house they weren't reading the Book of Mormon or going to church. I wanted to cry. We shared a really powerful lesson with them and they promised that they were going to go to church and read... but this last Sunday they didn't go to church... It really is such a sad experience to learn that your converts stopped progressing in the path that they started.
This week we had zone conferences and as part of the zone conference my companion and I had to give a capacitation. We talked about some new scriptures that had been found in Valparaíso and decided to read to see what they said about the history of the missionaries in that area. We opened it up to the Book of Excuses Chapter 2 Verses 1-11. (We made a list of the top 11 excuses that we heard about why the investigators weren't progressing or ready to be baptized) It was awesome. We then taught about how if we follow the advice of Preach My Gospel all of the Excuses will disappear and we will have success and baptisms. I thought it was pretty clever :)
That was basically this week. I hope that all of you can prepare for general conference with questions and guidance that you need in your life to see if the prophet is a prophet of God or just a good man. I testify as a representative of Jesus Christ that if you take questions doubts or guidance problems to the conference looking for the answer that you will be answered and you wont be able to deny that God has called a Prophet to be on the earth today to guide us and help us achieve eternal life.
I love you all! Stay Golden!
Elder Nielson :)

Tostada Pizza