Monday, February 9, 2015

Last and Final Letter... I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Chau Chau Chile... I´ll miss you‏

I´m here now feeling excited, sad, nervous, and all around mixed emotions. I just had my final interview with the President, and it was awesome. I love that man and he´s helped me out a ton on my mission. I just wanted to get something quick sent off since last week I basically shared everything I wanted to. I´ve just been hanging out with Elder H all day because we´re companions for the day. I brought my bags in today to weigh them and I was a little over, so I´ll be leaving a lot of garments because they´re all really old haha. Anyways it looks like I got them down to the right weight. I´m so excited to see everyone. I´m also a little nervous just to see how huge the boys have gotten but they´re still ballers no matter what :) While we were at the mission house doing interviews, the maid asked me what the first thing I wanted to eat was when I got home. I told her.. yep you guessed it.. Panda Express! Haha Hermana Arrington just laughed and asked what I liked there. So that was cool you guys had already planned to go to Panda Express when I get home. That should be fun! Mom, don´t even worry about the house. It´ll just be awesome being there inside in a nice house. I´m glad my room is all ready.. I´ve missed having my own room :) Last night I slept with the assistants, along with Elder H here in Concepción. From their apartment, I could see Santa Sabina and also Laguna Redonda. It was weird and brought back some memories. In about an hour, we have a class to help us look for jobs and stuff when we get home. At 6, we have the dinner with the president, and then I believe a testimony meeting. Then early in the morning tomorrow, my flight leaves.
   As for yesterday, yes Marcela got baptized and confirmed! Everything went well and the baptism was awesome. It was cool that I was able to have a baptism on my last day. I took a lot of pictures with members and stuff I¨ve gotten to know. I also had to speak, and I felt like it went really well. It was soooo hot in the church though I was like sweating. I was focusing on the young men, and I gave them 5 good points of why they should serve a mission. It was awesome. I had to say goodbye to Elder M, H, and G yesterday. Elder M and H are really good friends of mine now. The 4 of us really got along well and I know it was kinda hard on the 4 of us to split up.. Anyways that´s about all. I can´t wait to give Mother Teresa and Father Jeffrey a giant hug.. and also everyone else. I love you all. Don´t expect too much from Brielle seeing as it seems she´s pretty picky. Hayds, Teags, and Carter Boy are gonna be giant I already know. I love you all and I´ll see you guys on..... WEDNESDAY!!!!! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thanks For Everything‏

Well, here we are. Another week has come and gone, and I´m here writing you guys once again. I do not know if I will be writing next week. If I do, it will probably be something somewhat short. Thanks for all the letters and pictures, you guys are awesome. 
      I want to take this opportunity to share with you guys some of my thoughts, feelings, and most of all, my testimony. The mission has been awesome. It has been far from easy, but I´m so grateful for everything that I have learned. I will never forget the beginning of my mission. That time was easily the hardest time of my life where I felt so alone. I knew I could always rely on Heavenly Father, but with the health problems, culture shock, and language problems, it was tough on me. I missed everyone so much, and missed the close support I've always had all my life with you guys around, especially Mom and Dad. I knew everything would get better, and didn't want to disappoint everyone, including the people I would meet here in Chile. I prayed and prayed and prayed, and things got better. The mission is tiring. I've never been so tired or worn out in my life, but even feeling like that, you will never feel better or be happier. Giving everything to the Lord makes you happy. Day after day you don´t realize how much people you really are able to help. But as you look back on time, you realize the impact you had on people, and you notice the hand of the Lord in those things. As a missionary, things that happen just seem normal. As you sit down and think more about it, you realize it´s not so normal, and it was like I said, the Lord´s hands in all things. He´s always preparing people, whether or not you think He is. You leave everyday at 3:30 not exactly knowing whether or not you´ll enter in a house, or if you´ll be walking for the next 6 and a half hours under the hot son or freezing rain. What you do know though is that you´re a representative of Jesus Christ, and that´s what you need to be doing. You´ll get rejected by an incredible amount of people, you´ll find people to teach that won´t end up progressing, you´ll teach people that will progress but then decide not to get baptized, and you will teach people that want to progress and follow Jesus Christ. You will teach less actives that are just a little confused, you will teach members to help them strengthen their testimonies, and you will teach recent converts that have the desires to progress, but just need a little help. You will deal with many types of missionaries, which will lift you up, help you out, and also test your patience at the same time. You will learn leadership skills, how to teach a class or give a talk on the spur of the moment, and how to be a good teacher. You will learn how to ask good questions, listen intently, and respond how God would have you do. Many people think missionaries have all the answers and are perfect, but that´s definitely not the case. Missionaries are imperfect just like everybody else, and are in the process of learning how to be better people. These past 2 years have tested me mentally, physically, and emotionally, and I've learned a lot. I've met so many people that I've grown to love that I will surely miss, and I've grown to love and be more grateful for my own family. I have come to know that Christ lives, and He is our Redeemer. He suffered and died for us. He was completely obedient to His father, and we need to follow that example of obedience. I know that families can be together forever. I've said it sooooo many times, and written it in my journal a ton, but I´m so grateful for you guys. Mom, like you know I´m a little nervous and sad to be leaving. I love Chile, and I love being a missionary even though it´s hard sometimes. However, it´s awesome to think about all you guys and how bad I want to see everyone. Our family is so awesome, and never forget that. One of the things I am 100% and absolutely sure of, is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true. I knew it before the mission, but my testimony of those 2 things has grown so much. I love testifying of the Book of Mormon. There is a power in that book unlike any other. It is the keystone of our religion, and I honestly love that book. It has the ability to change lives. If someone will just put to test Moroni 10:3-5, they for themselves can come to know of the truthfulness of the Gospel. If they know the Book of Mormon is true, they will also know the church was restored, and the authority to performing saving ordinances exists on the earth today. I have also come to love the temple. I haven´t had the chance to go to the Santiago temple, nor will I be able to right now, but the temple is so very important. I've been able to learn more about Family History, and the importance it has in hastening the work. We are so incredibly lucky to live in Utah and have so many temples nearby. So many people have a hard time traveling 8 hours to Santiago, and would do ANYTHING to go to the Salt Lake temple. They talk about it a ton here, and we´re so privileged to live right by it, and also plenty of other temples we can easily go to. I know a living prophet guides us in these Latter-Days. I know he receives revelation for us and is called of God. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He has a body just like us, and loves each and every one of us. I know Satan is real, and will do anything to get us to sin, in hopes we will fall and not return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I know sometimes we will have doubts or questions, but that´s when we need to ask in sincere prayer, and it will be given unto us if it´s God´s will. We will have a lot of struggles in life. God does that to test our faith and our patience. We just need to learn to put our trust in God, and our confidence, and He will help us. It´s all part of the plan, and we´re here to progress to become more like Him. The mission has helped me to understand these things even more, even though I don´t know everything and still have a long ways to go. I've put a lot of goals to keep studying, progressing, and strengthening my testimony no matter what. I've learned what really is important in life, and what really isn't. One thing that is important is obviously... THE FAMILY. I've grown to love the country of Chile, the language, and the people I've met. I've realized people are all the same no matter where they live. Before coming here, I always thought of people from different countries as just weird. But they´re not. They´re just regular people just like us, who like to do what we like to do, eat what we eat, wear the clothes that we wear, but perhaps just speak a different language. I´m grateful for all the experience I have gained and for all that I have learned. I've also learned to be grateful for all the little things. For example, Mom, thanks for writing me every single week, without fail. Dad, thanks for all your letters and advice. Thanks everyone else for all the pictures, videos, and letters as well. They kept me going. I´m going to give it my all this last week, and help as many people as I can. 

   I think next week I have P-Day until 3:30 or so, so I should be able to get a letter off. We had 3 people in church with a baptismal date. Church was awesome this week.. there was 235 people that attended. It´s usually like 180, but like 30 people came from other wards for baby blessings. Either way, we had more than normal. Next week, the ward mission leader asked me to give a talk. I was happy to because I´ll be able to have a little more time to prepare it, and also share my experiences on the mission. Tomorrow we have to go to Concepción for mission council, and we will be teaching zone class on Friday. Hopefully all goes well. I think we will be doing a zone fast on Friday to help all the people that came to church with a baptism date this week to keep progressing. Last week for a zone activity we went and played soccer, and this week a few of us went to have a barbecue with a few others from the other zone as a goodbye party for me and Elder H. I was looking forward to traveling back with Elder H, but his parents are coming to pick him up. Anyways that´s about it for this week. I´ll see if I can get a letter sent off next week. I love you all so much... and can´t wait to see everyone! ELDER NEILSON 

The mission... too dope!‏

January 26,2015
Hey hey hey how how how is is is it it it going going going? Thanks Mom for your letter.. first of all I´m glad to hear that Aftyn is doing well. I was wondering about that all week. One day out of nowhere I was just walking and I just got this distinct feeling that I needed to hurry and pray for her. It was so weird but it was SO obvious that I had to do it... so I did. I´m glad to hear she´s at home. What a baller. This week was pretty awesome. We worked our butts off this week.. and we found 2 new solid investigators. I had a mini.cambio with Elder M.. my son.. and we found an investigator named R. She is like 80, and she was so excited to see us so she hurried and let us in. She talked a ton, but the next day we went back again and committed her to church with a baptism date for February 8th. The bishop now wants baptisms on Sunday so that´s why. Anyways she came to church and LOVED it! She saw her neighbor there which was awesome, and she really enjoyed it. She had a book of mormon already in her house, and she´s a funny lady. We´re going to pass by again today, and see what she honestly thought of church. I´ll keep you posted. Another guy we found is named P.  We got the reference from Elder H, and we went to go find him. He let us right in, and had some of his own ideas. After talking awhile about baptism and about everything he already knew (he has read the entire book of mormon and told us he has studied the bible and BOM for 10 years), he told us that getting baptized would be a bad idea. We talked and talked and talked, and then he went to go get his other baptism certificate in a different church to show us. My comp looked at it, and said Hermano, we share about a restoration. We know that Christ´s church was lost, and restored again in these latter days. So was the authority to baptize. We testify that this authority is found in our church. Then out of nowhere, he said.. Let´s do it! I´ll get baptized. Haha it was so random but cool, and he said he wanted to get baptized on the 8th. We committed him to church, and he said he would come. Anyways Sunday came and he didn´t go, but we had an appointment with him afterwards, and he still wanted to get baptized on the 8th. We showed him the baptismal font and everything, and he really wants to do it, but won´t be able to until the 15th now since he didn´t go. That all depends too if he´s already living the Word of Wisdom.. we gotta see. But it was cool to see the power of the Restoration.. it just like clicked and he finally understood. It was a cool experience and I´m hoping he can keep progressing. He´s like 50 or so. Today we went and played soccer with another zone.. it was so fun. Elder M, the elder from Brazil, is really good and we play well together. We scored a lot of goals today and it made me realize I´ll miss playing soccer with latins.. they´re so good haha. Mom that´s cool about your story with Grandma.. make sure you write it down and remember it. I´d love to hear more about it later. About the Rootstech thing.. don´t worry about it. Yeah I wanna see the ballers play in their basketball game.. should be fun. Cleaning day went well... we cleaned the whole house! Let´s just mention it´s already kind of dirty again. The important thing is that it was clean at one point :) What´s up with this cleaning day when I get home? Haha just kidding I¨m down.. cleaning is fun.. but with music. That´s how I roll. So yeah I got my travel plans.. looks like 10:30 am on the 11th.. if I understood the plans right. Will everyone be able to be there? A couple of my friends are asking me about it because they wanna be there.. are they invited too or is this just some type of family thing? Thanks again for the new bed Jeffrey and Teresa.. is it way big or pretty normal? Well, I´m gonna get this letter signed off. Gotta keep working hard and taking advantage of how awesome the mission is. Even though it´s really hot. I´ve gotten used to it though. Thanks for everything you guys do.. and also thanks for the pictures of the kiddos. I´m definitely so grateful for you guys and miss and love you guys a ton. Mom, I loved the list of 34 ways to be a happy missionary. I definitely have the SICKEST family. Talk to you guys next week!!     Elder Neilson
Heading to play soccer on p-day