Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Sounds like you guys are doing good. We are doing pretty good here in PA and the work is going good. Today its the hottest its been all year I think and we are sweating a ton. Yesterday was really sweet as we went over to Ashland PA and went through this mine tour and learned a lot about coal and how it was all done. It was really cool though and we had a great time. Last week was really good as we taught a lot of people and went on exchanges with the zone leaders so that was fun.

But nothing really crazy happened, just that we had a storm here with tornado warnings and hail the size of golf balls. It was the fiercest thunderstorm I've ever been in and the wind was howling pretty good. We came out of an appt and it was pretty bad. I thought, "well if I die tonight I'll be going to a good place." There was a some damage done in a campground and in another town but no one got hurt. A Dodge/Chrysler dealership got all of its cars dented and broken windshields because of the hail. So I guess the next time I talk to you it will be in person. We might get to call at the mission home but I dont know. Have a good one and be "finishers." Hay los vidrios y cuidense mucho. El Amor de Fily.


Two More Weeks

Hola amigos,

Sounds like you guys are having a good time. Thats good you graduated from seminary Sarah now you can transfer to BYU. It was a pretty good week and things are good here in Hometown. We had our first Clase de Sion here for all our investigators and less active spanish members. It was really good and there was nine of us there so it was fun. The big thing that almost made me kill this lady is we had it planned to be in the Tailor Shop of this less active. The class was on Friday and everything was good until thursday. I was in Pottsville on an exchange and my companion was here so he called thursday night to see if we could drop some chairs off at the store for the next day. The less active says no and that we cant have the class there anymore because his wife, who I wanted to kill, is a former member but now is a Pentecostal and is anti against the Church. But she said that she would divorce him if we had the class there and that its a place for business and not for religious purposes. So this hermano shafted us and then Friday night rolls around and we just met outside his store and waited for the people to arrive. We then piled into cars and drove over to our apartment and had a good time together. It was the first step in getting a church here in Hazleton and having it only in spanish so we were pretty happy about how it all turned out.

Then on thursday morning we were walking down the street after helping out Sister Cobb (quadrapeligic) with her computer, and this lady pulls in front of us and asks if we spoke spanish, dijimos si un poquito. And she then told us that she wanted us to stop by and that she really likes our Church because she used to go with a friend over in Jersey. We're going to go see her tonight and so its going to be good.

Everythings good though and we are going to have a good week with the hispanics aqui. This next monday I dont know if I'll write because we're going to Ashland PA to go to this mine tour where they take you down into the old mine on the little train carts. Its going to be a fun day that some members planned out for Memorial Day so we'll see what happens.

The Church is true and the Book of Mormon is so blue its true. Have a good week y cuidense con los platanos. El amor de Fily.

Elder Nielson

Monday, May 16, 2011

Three More Weeks


Thanks for the cake and picture, except for you its feliz not felice, but thanks. Also thank you for the shoes, those are pretty neat and I've enjoyed running in them in the mornings. But thats good you guys had a good week and were able to go camping. The times I get to be outside are at night after we've planned and I go sit on our front porch in the chair we picked up out of someones trash and then just drink water out of my Jarritos bottle.

This past week was pretty good and yesterday I had a great birthday. We were able to progress with some less active hispanic members and also find new ones. One came to church last week and said that it was really different from the DR and didn't really like it too much. So thats our project right now, building a spanish foundation so that these dang emigrants dont have culture shock when they have to sit with boring old white ladies in Relief Society. We are starting this week with a Book of Mormon class in the shop of a less active so that will be good as we invite all the less actives here in Hazleton to it.

I had a good time yesterday though as we went to church and had the broadcast from Salt Lake for Stake Conference. I think regular Stake Conference is better but it was still good. Then we were able to help out the two members who are house bound so they could get the sacrament. The one member is that lady who's quadrapeligic and we saw her water filter to get water for the sacrament and the water was brown. Her aids are a bunch of bums so they haven't been taking care of the filter and it was filled with algea. I tried cleaning it with bleach and it still was stained with brown, so today I bought her a new one if you see that on my debit card. The rest of the day was great as we beat-to-teach some kids in a basketball game and then we helped out two people move apartments. It was cool because we walked into a less active as he was pulling up in his car and then we stayed with him for the next two hours helping these two different people move their stuff. We moved the mattresses by putting them on top of this little old Toyota Corolla and holding them down with a long rope as thick as a shoe lace. It worked and we had a good time doing it. The rest of the night we got soaked from walking in the rain from random visit to random visit and that was it.

So things are good and we are going to have a good week. Cuidense mucho y hay los vidrios. El amor de fily

Elder Nielson

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9- Four More Weeks


I forgot to wish you a happy mothers day yesterday so I thought I'd do so now. Happy Mother's Day! In the talk that I gave yesterday I talked about how mothers endure trials and hardships with an example in 2 Nephi 3:1 where it says that in their hardest afflictions Sariah did bear Joseph. So thanks mom for being a great example of enduring well those things that come into your life. I shared how one time you drove David Pehrson and I out to his duck blind and left us there and didnt even complain about it. Thank you for sacrificing so that I could have learning experiences. Then I talked about how mothers are cheerful and give light to others. There aren't a lot of mothers here in the branch so I talked about how women in general are beacons to everyone with their purity and standards that they show. Also I talked about how you were a great example of not fearing and just going and doing. I shared with them the experience when you wanted to prove to us that you were a great softball player and so you were going to play catch with me. You reared up to throw and let her fly. The arm went towards the target but the ball flew the opposite direction and hit the house. That was pretty cool how you were courageous and didn't fear the persecution of Dad or myself. But then I finished talking about how all the mothers in the branch are great examples to us missionaries as to what we want to look for in a wife, how we want to treat our kids, what we need to do to have a happy family, and lots of other things. So thanks mom for your example and love. Have a good week and keep cheerfully enduring. Cuidense amigos y nos hablamos la proxima semana. chow


Those were some good pictures Blake thanks, even though two were of my companions.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Five More Weeks


Sounds like you guys are doin work over there in B-town. You guys look good in those pictures. Brooks and Blake you guys look like studs. You might have a slight chance of beating me up if you two team up on me. But no you guys look really good and Sarah thats a good dress, hope you didnt attract any too many birds trying poke at those sunflowers. Well sounds like you guys have some good weather over there, we have been overcast about 50 for the past couple days so hopefully it warms up.

We had a great past week with a lot of success with less actives. One day last week we were walking around this trailer park trying to find a referral we got from a member and then this guy stopped and talked to us. He wanted to try and convert us to his Pentecostal church so we bashed with him for about five minutes and then got out of there. We walked down to our five o'clock appt with a less active Dominican and he wasn't there. So we turn around from knocking the door and then this lady pulls her car right in front of us. She starts talking to us and is pretty excited to see us. We were both a little shocked at first because we didnt know who this crazy Dominican lady was, but then after she explained to us that her friend is a member of the Church and is looking for the Church here in Hazleton, we both just got big ol grins on our faces. It was really cool because we now have a future spanish relief society president here in the area and we are teaching the lady who stopped us. So everything happens for a reason and the Lord will put us in others paths when needed.

Also yesterday at Church I had a good experience with the gift of tongues. The past couple weeks I've just been sitting by investigators or members that come and dont understand english and I translate for them. But some of the older crankier english members complained to us about it and so yesterday we used the headphones. Before the meetings started I said a prayer asking that I wouldn't get nervous and that I'd be able to have the gift of tongues. As it started and went on to the sacrament everything was smooth and I didnt have troubles. Then in the bearing testimony time that is alloted the less active member who I was translating for went up there and bore his testimony. He then volunteered to teach the next weeks Gospel Principles class and then as I translated for him with the head phones in Priesthood he participated a lot and was right there with everyone on the lesson. He came up afterwards and thanked me a lot for doing that because he was able to understand everything and he brought back that feeling of being a member of the Church. So it was really cool how that happened and I am grateful for this experience.

It was a good week though and I appreciated the ear tag for my companion. I wrestled him down and put that sucker right there on his left ear. Not really but he really thought that was cool. I'll be calling you at seven o'clock on Sunday night ok? So you might want to tell all your little girl friends to go home Blake starting at about four your time. Thanks for all you guys do and thanks for the letters. Even though its not depressing or anything being a missionary its good to know you have a family that cares about you and wants to let you know how they're doing.

Have a good week and we will talk to you soon. Hasta la pasta muchachitos.

Elder Nielson

One more thing,

Blake you look like you've got too much weight forward on your stance and your bat shouldn't be chilling on your shoulder. Dont get mad at me I just thought I'd tell you that.

Brooks who the heck did you go to prom with? Papichulo?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


(He answers a question that someone had that served in Philadelphia about 20 years ago)I dont know about missionaries teaching a lot of Jewish people but they do teach a lot of Muslim people. When I was in Reading we taught a lady from Africa who's family was all Muslim and that was pretty interesting. In West Philly they teach a lot of Muslims too because there are so many people from Africa there. They are these people out here on the East that are called Heebee-Jeebees by the missionaries and their real name is Hebrew Isrealites. They basically attack all Christians and especially Mormon missionaries. They dress up like ninjas and have big ol beards so they stick out a little bit from the people on the street. They're mostly over in Philly and Jersey but I've never had an incounter with em. They are pretty good bashers though and some missionaries have had their testimonies shaken by them. They're really crazy people though and I've only seen em on the corner while we drove by or was on the bus.

This week was pretty good though as we found some sweet new investigators and helped some less actives out. Yesterday was probably the worst Easter Sacrament Meeting I've been to though. This older sister in the Branch talked and for the whole time she talked about some stupid movie that no one knew about and it had to do with flushing a dog down the toilet and these crazy kids. I was trying to translate it but then just gave up because I didnt know how it translated and it was just stupid. But we had a good evening with some big meals from two families so that was filling.

We were able to have a good time this past week teaching a lot and helping people read the Book of Mormon. We recently found this one investigator who has shared the Book of Mormon with his friends up in New York and New Jersey and seven of them have gotten baptized. So we got to get him over whatever is holding him back from getting baptized and then baptize him. He also has visited 314 churches and he says that the LDS Church is the friendliest out of all of them.

Today is the first day of the transfer and so I'll be staying here in Hazleton until June. It is going to be good to finish here and also to be with Elder Larson. He was getting a little sick on Friday night because he was worried he was going to get transferred, but then the call came and everything stayed the same.

Have a good week you guys and keep up the good work. Muchas gracias por su caridad y paciencia y amor y todos los atributos de Cristo que poseen. Cuidense con el platano. (This translates to Be careful with the banana. Ha- must be a figure of speech) El amor de fily


Wednesday, April 20, 2011



We had a dang good week and lots of stuff went down. We got a lot of rain from those storms and really strong wind that made it seem like Hazleton was getting baptized. There was a river of water flowing down the street and some debree from houses was flowing down. One night we walked because it was nice outside, but then at about seven it downpoared and we got soaked to the skin. It was fun though running through the rain.

We had a good time this past week being with the Zone Leaders on an exchange and I got to work with Elder Winter again. He's doing pretty good and they'll be having a baptism pretty soon. But on this exchange we had a good time and found some sweet new investigators and helped our investigators progress. After talking to Elder Winter's companion, Elder Kerouac, I think I want to live up in Montana for the rest of my life.

Yesterday was the big day of the week and it was really neat too. We were able to baptize two Dominican young men that have been coming to church for awhile now. The Baptism was really special and we made it good for the parents who aren't members yet. It was really cool though and the Branch members enjoyed it a lot. We had nine dominicans at church yesterday out of a total of 45. So we are progressing towards our own little spanish branch here in Hazleton but its going to take some more effort. I was pretty content though after yesterday and all that went down. We have become friends with the 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency since I've been here and so he came to the baptism and taught on the Restoration while we changed into dry clothes. Then we had a little snack/salad/dessert meal afterwards and it was great to see these gringos open up and realize how we do it in the spanish world. The two kids that got baptized really liked it though and they are going to be the start of something good here in this area.

Things are going good though and we have our last week of the transfer and then who knows what will happen. I'll be staying here, I'm pretty sure, but we'll see what happens. Things are good though and thanks for that package that you sent. I really liked the monkey bread. Also Sarah its not a good idea to send missionarys your picture because then you get their companion or those who are on an exchange with you seeing the picture as you're reading the mail, and then ask,"Oh Elder, how old is she? Hmm, well do you think I could write her?" So you might be getting some letters from strangers in the next couple weeks because I posted it in the mission office with your address for everyone to see.

But you guys are doing really good and I hope you have a good Easter. Muchas gracias por todo y cuidense mucho. El Amor de Fily.


- Sarah, I didnt post it up and no one will be writing you letters. So no te preocupa

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mining Pits in Hazleton


Sounds like a pretty fun week. We had a really good week too and got a lot accomplished. Today is a great day though, its the warmest day since I got here. But this past week we were able to work a lot with our investigators and find new Dominicans that will progress. We have a lot to do though with all the less actives and our investigators. The less actives need leaders in the Branch that speak spanish. There are only four people here in this area that are members and speak spanish, two of them are Elder Larson and I. But we've been visiting all these spanish speaking less actives and getting them pumped up to go to church and then they say they will and never show up. This is the story of every missionary's life but we really need these less actives to attend church. We had an investigator come yesterday and he doesnt speak any english so I translated the whole fast and testimony meeting for him. He was shocked though to see that he and one other member were the only hispanics there. We are working with the leaders to try and have a spanish sacrament meeting after all the meetings are over. But they want these investigators to come to all three hours of the meetings and suffer when they have some translater in their ear and dont really know anyone. We have to start out small and then grow from there.

But things are really good and we are teaching a lot. I think we average a little over thirty lessons here in the area and about half are member involved somehow. But we had a sweet Saturday that started off with a member couple coming out teaching with us in the morning and we taught a mexican investigator with them (they didnt understand much) and then visited some less actives with whom we had appointments. When they were driving us back home though, they stopped by this mining pit and took us over to take some pictures of these huge cranes and pits. It was pretty cool and we brought back some coal as souvenirs. But then in the afternoon we went out teaching with this less active/active Dominican guy and had a sweet lesson with this Dominican family we're teaching. My companion struggles with spanish sometimes and as we were teaching he would get a little frustrated because he couldnt say what he wanted. But he kept with it and as he descibed the First Vision to these people, the Spirit filled the room and was powerful. These men where whiping their eyes as we sat there in silence after Joseph's account of the vision. It was another brick on my testimony wall and also helped me to see the importance of praying for your companion as you teach.

Things are going really good though and we are enjoying the short sleeve shirts and sweating for once. I hope you guys have a good one y nos vemos. El amor de fily


Monday, April 4, 2011

Conference Weekend

Hola Familia,

This was a great past week. That was so cool hearing Meridian, ID for the new Temple. I jumped up and was telling the few people that were there in the chapel that that was where I was from. It was really cool and then it was cool too in Priesthood Session to see Scott Hancock singing in the choir. I was watching it in spanish and I was telling the one member there how he was in my ward back home. After Priesthood Session on Saturday I called Elder Winter and we were talking about the Temple announcement and sharing excitement so it was good.

Conference was awesome though and I really enjoyed it. We were able to get this new Dominican family to come to the chapel yesterday and watch the morning session of conference. They followed us there and we were the second ones there so the second counselor in the Branch Presidency gave us the comfy chairs up in the chapel and he had all the english members that came go downstairs in the basement to watch it. It was a really good experience and they enjoyed it. But I think we need to start focusing on another thing besides school, and thats marraige. My companion and I were a little shocked how they talked directly to those single men and how they need to get married. So look for a good heifer somewhere and then I'll be set when I get back. No not really I'm just kidden Dad.

The week went really good though and I had a great time here. We were able to get work done and help our investigators progress more towards baptism. I felt a lot of love though and appreciation for coming on a mission and trying to work hard while I'm here. As we were with the Zone on Thursday for Zone Training I really had a good time being with other Elders and then talking with some buddies. Elder Lake must've emailed his mom fast because we talked about rooming together on Thursday. But he's a great guy and his family is really nice too. They have a big feed lot and herd of cows about 25,000 over in Blackfoot and so I've learned a little something from him.

I tried to get on the Returning registration and I couldn't do it. The computer wouldnt go to the password page after I tried to get to the questions. So I'll send you a copy of the email my counselor sent me and hopefully that will help. Thanks for the package too, I liked the shirt a lot. My companion is a big ASU Sun Devil and so I was wearing that shirt around talking a little smack to him. But thanks a bunch for your support and I hope you have a good week.

El Amor De Fily,


Monday, March 28, 2011

Lots of Work in Hazleton


You need to tell Chris hello for me. Sounds like you guys are doing good though. This week was great and the momentum here in Hazleton is picking up. We were without our car this week and so we put a lot of miles on our B M doble pies. But we saw some miracles. We were able to enjoy a great Zone Conference and I talked to my buddy from Blackfoot and I think we're going to room together at Utah State so that was cool. But here in Hazleton we found a lot of new investigators this past week, all spanish, and some of them were prepared to receive the gospel. We'll be having some baptisms in the next month or two so it is great. But we just did work this week. I wish I could tell you all the things that we did and all the sweet lessons that we had but I cant. We were able to invite the Spirit strongly into their homes and it was sweet to see my companion and I know what we needed to do and then commit them to be baptized. Last night we were reading the Introduction to the Book of Mormon with a lady and her husband is a member and you could see that she just wanted to keep reading after we talked about it and what it means. It was great and then we commited her to be baptized and she just started nodding her head up and down and then burst into tears. It was what she had been waiting for and she felt the Spirit confirming that to her. But we had many other experiences that were so cool as to finding sweet new investigators or helping out a less active that used to be the 2nd Counselor in the DR, we had an investigator who hasnt come to church in forever and she snuck into the back of the chapel. I looked back at my companion and he pointed her out to me and then gave me a big fist pump. It was great.

But things are going here in Hazleton and we are getting all these people back to church or to church. Yesterday we had Branch Conference and I was really happy to know the Stake Presidency from working with them before in Reading. But they are great guys and after the meetings we went out with one of them and visited some less actives and our investigators who will be baptized in two weeks. It was really cool to feel the support of our leaders and the work with them. He mentioned to us that they plan on creating a spanish branch here in Hazleton because there are so many hispanics and less actives. So we are pretty excited about that and maybe in about three weeks we'll be having sacrament meeting here in Hazleton is spanish. So it was a really good week and we made a lot of progress.

Thanks for the steaks, today I cooked the last two up for my companion and I. We made some tacos de bistec and had a good time. He's doing really good and is a good example to me. We work really well together and thanks again for sending those. But you guys are great and good job Brooks for playing on Varsity, just dont be mad when your racket wont defend you against the Norman Returned. Have a good week and enjoy your time off. We have a busy week again and I'm pretty excited for General Conference. El Amor de Fily


Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Week in Hazleton, PA


So its a cold snowy day here in Hazleton, PA and we are doing good. This past week was great and I am really grateful to be here. We were able to have a lot of miracles and see growth in the Branch. Yesterday there were 45 people at church and thats the most they've had in awhile. We also were able to see the need for spanish Elders here. We looked up less actives and former investigators that were dropped because they were spanish speaking only and we found some new investigators out of that. But it was crazy one morning as we were walking in the street talking to people, we found less active members that were put right into our path and it happened one after another. It was really neat because we would walk away after talking to them or teaching them and we'd be all excited, but then five minutes later we'd find another member or prepared investigator. We were able to find one family that were Dominicans and there was a mom and two daughters, one of them served a mission in Guatemala, and then right down the street we found this new investigator from Honduras that was sweet, then we were walking and talked to a mechanic who then turned out to be a member who hadn't been to church since he moved down here from New York, then we talked to a lady who was pretty nice and she ended up knowing a lot about us because she was taught in Boston. It was a crazy morning and that happened other times throughout the week. On Saturday we were walking and talked to a guy who wasnt really interested and then we walked away and this van honked at us and waved us over. We went over and talked to him and he was a member from New York also that was the Sunday School President up there and wanted to know where the Church was. It was sweet. We were able to see the great need for spanish missionaries here.

But things are going really good and I'm happy to be here. I hope you didnt send a package like I requested last week, my companion is a stud and is doing great. Plus I dont think any of your candy would match up to five minutes with Normandy, no I'm just kidding. But things are good and this is a sweet Branch. Its mixed spanish and english and we really need to work on the spanish part. We only had about 4 spanish people there on Sunday and so there is a lot of work to do here. We teach both spanish and english people too so its not 100 percent spanish. But there are a ton of spanish people here and so we speak more spanish than english. The Branch leaders though are great and I am going to learn a lot from them.

Thanks for looking that stuff up for me about registration and school. I'll do the registration and everything, you've done enough thank you mucho. As for housing I dont know what I'm going to do yet because Chase Wilde is going to BYU and I havent heard from Taylor in a while but maybe tomorrow I'll get a letter because we have Zone Conference. I might try living with some buddies that I have here in the mission but we'll see. I just need to know what site to go to register. And with the coming home thing thats fine, I just want to start working as soon as I get home and not be a bum around Boise. The only thing though that I might change is having Brooks drive us down in his new Jeep Wrangler. No not really but you better be driving Brooks and not be a vago con su licensia. Well you guys are awesome and I hope you have a good week. We're going to be having a good one here in Hazleton so thanks for your apoyo y amor. Les quiero mucho y lo siento el ingles se me esta yendo. se me cuiden, el amor de La Republica Dominicana.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moved to West Hazleton


This was a great past week. I am no longer in Reading though. Yesterday I got transfered up to Hazleton, PA to be in this sweet little spanish/english Branch. I couldn't have asked for anything better to finish my mission. This is going to be a sweet area and there is a lot of potential here. My new companion is a stud too, he's from Mesa, AZ and is a great guy. We are both into the same things and he is a spanish Elder also so we're going to do work here. Yesterday was my first day here and we had an awesome night. Earlier in the day though when we drove up from Broomall we stopped by Red Robin and had a good lunch and then went to Cabelas and looked around. He had never been so we went and checked it out. I did something that you probably never have done though dad. I went into Cabelas and left with out spending a penny. It was good, but a little disappointing because I wanted a PA Cabelas shirt.

Things are good though and Im pretty excited to be here. No more responsabilities and so I have a lot more time to do things that I want to do. I have goals to write in my journal every night, finish The Book of Mormon before I go home (I just started today), and also to work out a little more and do the "transfer trim down." So things are really good right now and I cant complain except for the fact that its still winter up here.

I hope you told Curtis congratulations for me. He looks pretty good and so does the whole family. Brooks what the heck happened to you? You're probably taller than I am. But thanks you guys for your support and el amor. Have a good week you guys and dont forget to ask yourself, Have I done any good in the world today?

el amor de fily


-my new address is 417 Allen Street 1st Fl West Hazleton, PA 18202-

I forgot to tell you but I'm here with a special assignment to keep this Elder focused on the work and doing what he's doing. He's not disobedient or lazy or anything negative. He's awesome but his mom just died from cancer about two weeks ago. He's handling it really well and decided not to go home for the funeral, but he wrote a talk that his dad is going to read there. So I'm not asking to you to write him a letter or anything but maybe this week or next week you could send us out a package of beef jerky or something that I could share with him. Just something that could keep him focused on the work and not pull his thoughts to being sad or anything. He's the man though and I look up to him, he's finishes one transfer after me. But we are working hard and helping this little Branch grow so all is well here in coal country. Hasta Luego. Gracias.


Rollercoaster Days


Thanks for checking out the DMV and doing that. Also you need to tell Coach A congratulations for me and that he's the man even though he does drive a scooter. Thats pretty neat though that they made it that far. I dont care about that whole report thing, whenever you think I should do it then I'll do it.

This was a pretty good week. We had a lot of rollercoaster days with terrible mornings and then awesome evenings. It was rediculous though how many people when we were tracting would tell us that we were lying or they would try and preach to us because they felt sorry for us. But then in the evenings when we have most of our appts, they went great and the Spirit was there and everyone was uplifted and edified. We went to a funeral of the grandma of a recent convert and it was my first time seeing a dead person. The parents of this recent convert are not members and earlier in the week we had an awesome lesson with them. Tuesday morning the grandma died, and then that evening we had an appt planned with them since the week before. We ate dinner with them and then we had a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. It was great because the mom of the recent convert was really in pain because of the loss of her mother, but once we started talking about the Plan and the Book of Mormon, she loosened up. The power of the Book of Mormon was so evident in this lesson. We read in Alma 40 about the Spirit World and after she read in verse 12 about Paradise, she broke down and was crying but was comforted. It was a really neat lesson and we were able to then get them to church yesterday. So it was a pretty good week and we had a lot of good experiences.

One of my buddies is finishing his mission next week and it was really weird talking to him earlier this week at a meeting we had. Time is ticking by and it seems like it was just yesterday that him and I were in South Philly playing basketball together. But the friends you make here in the mission field are awesome and this Elder helped me a lot to be more myself and have a good time.

But thanks for the good work you guys are doing. Have a good week and keep moving on the Iron Rod. El amor de fily


--Whats up with the grey pipes in the picture?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Mission


Sounds like you guys are doing pretty good. Those are some good pictures and nice goggles Sarah. But yes that would be awesome if you could look into school registration and that stuff for me. Just get the basic stuff for me and then I can look up classes or other things from Utah State that I need. But I also have one other request, I need the Home town of Dave Detwiler here in PA, maybe his parents names and address, also Dave's phone number. We have an investigator that is awesome and he is from out there by where Dave is and He knows a lot of Detwilers. So maybe Dave could talk to this guy about how he converted and help him see why this is so important.

This was a great past week. We trained the Zone on Thursday and it was a great meeting. We got a lot of participation and also did an activity at the end so it was good. Things here in our area went really well. We had a lot of success in helping our investigators come to church and also prepare for baptism. I was on an exchange with the Assistants and I realized how much I love this mission and Philadelphia. I went down into Southwest Philly with one Elder and Elder Winter stayed up here with the other. But down there we drove by the city and saw all the lights and the buildings and I was so glad to have lived there for a year. This really is a sweet mission and I have had a great time here and done a lot of good things.

But let me tell you about this investigator who might know Dave's family. Hes awesome and came to church yesterday for the first time. Hes a fly fisherman, football fan, hunts, and just got a part time job at Cabelas. We get along really well if you couldnt tell, but we found him back in January and we have only taught him about five times. We have really pushed the Book of Mormon on him and he now is reading daily. He told us last week that it just kind of attracts his attention and so every morning before he goes to work he picks it up and reads some. He came to Church yesterday though and really loved it. He is a less active Greek Orthodox. But I realized yesterday that I really enjoy being an english Elder and that its not so bad after all. The ward is a little weird but I really like em now. So this is a testimony along with yours mom, of consistently doing things when we get discouraged or dont enjoy it, leads to true joy.

So dont get down you guys and keep up the good work. Have a good week and dont get stuck in Walker Brooks if you go out driving in the mud. el amor de fily.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hasta La Pasta


Thats too bad that Mack died, maybe you should talk about the details of the Plan of Salvation as a family. But thats good you had a busy week because we had one too. It was a good start to the week because we had zone conference and Elder Winter and I were the stars of the training. We trained on Investigators attending church and did this fun example of being at a Phillies game and then watching it from home. It went well. But then I was on an exchange with an Elder from Preston ID and we were in his area of Bethlehem. It was a good exchange but it was really hard to see how this Elder's companion was dragging down the area because of his laziness and also because of his day dreaming of home. I told this Elder that even though he was young he needed to whip this Elder into shape and get this area going. It was also a great exchange because the weather was awesome. We were cruising around with the windows down in the 71 degree weather. It was really nice and everyone was outside and enjoying the sun.

But the highlight of the week was to be able to go back home to north philly and see all my buddies in the Spanish world. They had a spanish training meeting and I was invited to go down with all the spanish elders in the mission. I was so happy to see how old companions and other elders were doing and also to see the city. The best part was seeing some of the members and youth from the ward there where I served. One of them ran up to me and gave me a big hug and we had a good time together. I am really grateful for the chance that I had to serve there and to help them out. It was the best feeling though to know that people care about you even when you're gone and you dont have any contact with them. The meeting was good though and we learned about spanish and others things in the cultures.

Things are going good though and we are doing work here in Reading. We finally got this one family that we've been teaching to come to church and they enjoyed it. We have seen the benefits from working with the members and getting them involved in the teaching process. You guys are great and have a good week.

Hasta la pasta.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crazy Life of a Missionary

Hola Familia Nielson,

You guys are looking pretty white in those pictures, looks like you haven't been skiing enough to get a goggle tan. Five Guys is really popular out here and everyone always tells me about how their fries are from Idaho when I tell them that Im from there. But sounds like you guys are doing good and keeping busy. Here we are doing a lot and have made a lot of progress with the people we are teaching and also finding new investigators. We were able to have a lot of experiences this past week and last night

Elder Winter and I were talking about how crazy the life of a missionary is. For example yesterday we had a meeting with the ward council and we were discussing a less active lady that we teach and how her son was scared away from primary by some little girl. The Primary President in the meeting then ripped into us about how they are all nice children. We then had our Church meetings and Elder Winter was falling asleep the whole time because he was throwing up all night last night, also a less active came to church that we visited out in a mental hospital. Then we had a meeting with President Schaefermeyer and the Reading Stake Presidency and talked about how missionary work is going in the zone. Then had dinner at a great family's house and they argued with one another about camping and then sleeping in a hotel. Then we taught a young couple from Dominican Republic and had a great lesson. Then we had to go home early because Elder Winter was going feeling like he was going to throw up again so we went home and started preparing for weekly numbers. Things we do as missionarys are so different and we are always on our toes doing something. Its pretty cool.

This past week though we were able to go up on exchange in Hometown PA and teach some spanish people. We had a great exchange and it was really humbling because both the Elders are great examples of dedication. The one missionary went to his dad's funeral about two weeks ago and then the other missionary talks to his mom on skype every Sunday because she has only a month to live. I was really nervous going into this exchange but when we got there and I forgot about their situations and just focused on the positive things, it was a great experience. We had a great lesson with this Dominican family and afterwards I wanted to give them a hug because I missed teaching these awesome people.

This is going to be a good week with a lot going on. Tomorrow we have Zone Conference and then on Saturday I get to go back home to Philly and be in a Spanish Training that my old companion Elder Morrison is putting on. So it will be great. Have a good week and enjoy the springtime weather. We went running outside this morning and it was awesome, 45 or something degrees and today is great. Hasta Luego amigos. con el amor de fily


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Boise Boys


You guys are awesome. Those are sweet pictures and good job Blake for playing baseball. If I were you I would keep playing baseball for as long as you can. Also thanks for the pictures you sent of me with longer curly hair. I dont think my hair will curl anymore since its been short for so long.

This was a great past week and a lot of things happened. We were able to have a good first week together and the Boise Boys are doing work here. We increased our teaching pool and have a good future in sight. We are also growing closer and closer with the ward members so things are good. We had a meeting down in Broomall with all the ZLs in the mission and it was pretty fun because what we've done for the past couple months is we travel down there the night before and stay with the Assistants. Then in the morning we wake up at about 545 and go play basketball. It has been a great chance for me as a missionary to meet some great friends and enjoy the work with them. But the meeting was great and we got some things done.
There's a new assistant now and he is a different kind of guy. They both are a little "funny" like you Dad and so everyone is skeptical of them and a little worried. So thats the buzz in the mission right now.

We had a lot of ice this week and it was fun walking around and seeing everything with a quarter of an inch of ice. One guy that we started teaching is from the Dominican Republic and speaks mostly english, but he is doing great right now. We found him on Wednesday and then had a return appt on Saturday. We show up on Saturday and he asks us if we have the Book of Mormon. He told us " I just need the Book of Mormon now and then I will know if it is true, right?" So he is doing really good and reading the Book right now. We also were able to help one of our investigators, who is from Africa, get ready to be baptized at the end of this month or the first of next month. Its been a good week though and I am a lot happier. When you are around people that you can connect with and you enjoy being with them all the time, then you are happier. It has been good to see the change and also to learn.

Thanks for el amor that you guys are so great at giving to me and other people. Have a great week and dont forget to be grateful for the things that you have. This morning I thought about that in my personal study and wrote a big list down of all the things I am grateful for that have helped me get to where I am now. It was cool to think of some of the spiritual experiences that I could remember and to then expound on that and see how blessed we are. So have a good one and I'll send you a package today with one of my old notebooks and also THE MEMORY CARD. Les quiero mucho, gracias por todo, esten bien.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Companion from Meridian

Hola Familia,

I am here in Reading still and all is well. I got my new companion this morning and he's a pretty good draw. His name is Elder Ben Winter from Meridian ID and I'm pretty sure we played against each other in basketball (he was point guard) and we know a lot of the same people. He said he dated Brooke Millward's cousin and was pretty good friends with Brooke. But hes a good guy and we are going to do work here in Reading. I'm excited to be with someone younger than I am and to learn from a different point of view. My old companion was a good guy and all but I never really connected with him at all and we had completely different points of view. I learned a lot from my old companion but it feels good to have a new companion.

This was a pretty good past week. We got a flat tire on our car, I did some nascar speed changing of the tire. We helped a lot of cars get unstuck from the snow because it snowed a bit. I was able to sing in the spanish branch with the other Elders and that was really neat. It was just a good week and we got stuff done. I had a really good exchange with an Elder from Rexburg who is serving in Quakertown PA. We were walking around teaching people in the middle of the big snow storm. People were a little mad at us for being outside at that time but it was great. We got covered in snow and met some sweet people so it was great. Then I got to use a shovel and help out people by shoveling off their drive ways and also by clearing out big piles of snow that covered their garages. Yesterday we had a good time at church and then I went to an ARP class with one of our less actives and listened to alcoholics talk about their problems and how we can change. It was a week full of activity and we had a good time.

Thanks for the package though I'll send you the card back next monday with some other stuff. Have a good week and don't scratch up those boots Brooks, you dont want them hefers to stop chasing you around. El amor de fily.

Elder Nielson

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Experience in Kutztown, PA

Hola Familia Nielson,

Brooks I wouldnt worry about all that negative influence around you in basketball, just take it as an opportunity to be an example an lead those guys. I wish I could've been a better example to my teammates off the court. But thats good you got the left hand down and are playing. A lot of the missionaries have regrets becuase they quit some sport before they finished high school, I have a hard time sometimes when people ask me if I played baseball and then I have to tell them that yes I did but then I quit my freshman year. It makes me wonder what I could've done if I had played. So the benefits are great from just making yourself get better and working and not giving up. Who cares if you dont play all the time and your teammates are loadies, just do it and have fun for yourself. Thats kind of how the mission is, you have to entertain yourself because a lot of the time you have a companion that is completely different from you and better than you in your weak areas. You have to suck it up and just continue to work at it and be humble but confident. I have a hard time sometimes when things arent going so good and I just want to say why? why me? But then I think about it and I pray for help and I always get that same answer of "shut up and just do it, dont be a wimp and keep going." So if you dont want to play basketball anymore than thats fine but dont do it just because you dont think youre good enough or you are being put down by the negativity.

We had a great past week and I had a lot of good experiences. We had our Zone Training and trained the missionaries on working with members and planning. It went really well and we got good feedback as to how the meeting went. Then afterwards I got an uplifting experience where Elder Elwood (the Elder who we met in the restaurant before going into the MTC) who's an assistant pulled me aside and gave me a bunch of compliments as to how I am a hard worker and how much he admires me. It helped me to feel like I could handle the future events that we had in the week because we had planned an exhange with one companionship that is really struggling and also talking with one companionship that is struggling with obedience and also getting along.

I went on an exchange in Kutztown PA and taught some menenite people, basically amish, but I was with an Elder who is really struggling and so we had a good time together. But an experience that we had that was really special was we were tracting in this farm land where there were houses scattered around. We were walking on the road through the slush and snow from house to house. We taught one guy and then he told us of the house across the road and how they are from Guatemala and need some help. We went over and the mom (white lady no spanish) was outside smoking. We started talking to her and she wasnt really interested, but then I asked her about her daughter that was handicapped and if we could meet her. She lit up and let us come in to meet her. The girl was Guatemalan and was confined to her bed. She had a hole in her throat to breathe and her body was tiny. She got an infection when she was pregnant at about 20 years old and then it spread to her head and it was a really tragic story. But the step-mom starts talking to her in broken spanish and my ears lit up. I then started talking to this young lady and to see the smile in her face and the joy that we were able to bring into that broken down old house was awesome. I asked the young lady if we could do anything for her and then she mouthed something that we didnt understand. She kept saying the same thing but none of us could understand it. Then I thought she said "oracion" which is prayer, so I asked her if that was what she said and she opened her eyes even bigger and smiled and said yes. So I said the prayer and we were then able to teach the step mom in english a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. It was great to see though how that little prayer opened up this step mom to accept our message and start to ask us questions about our Church and where we meet and when because she has been looking for one. So we set up another appointment and those Elders will be going back this week. But I was really grateful to be able to speak spanish and the feel so happy from being around that young lady.

This is going to be the last week of the transfer and we are going to have a lot of changes in the zone. I dont know what will happen with my companion and I, I'm pretty sure we'll stay the same but you never know. Have a good week you guys and stay warm. hay los vidrios = see you later (only to mexicans) Suavecito por alli = (take it easy)
el amor de fily


A Little Bubble


The first time I drank that coconut water I didnt like it at all, but then the second time I had it I fell in love with it so it comes with patience. The Malta took over a year of refusing it to finally enjoy it. When I first tried it I didnt like it so then I would always refuse to get it, but then someone gave me a bottle and I went for it with a "positive" attitude and then I enjoyed it. So try them again.

I got the package from the Kroupas and tell them thanks. I'll write them a letter this week or next week. With the whole facebook thing I discontinued my account after about three weeks of doing it. I felt like I was wasting so much time and that it was pointless becuase all the people that I was teaching didnt have facebook. So I dont have the facebook anymore and you dont have to worry about it.

This past week was really great and also pretty disappointing. We were disappointed in our results for the week and no one came to church so that was bad. But it was a great week because I was able to see a lady and her husband get baptized yesterday that I started teaching over a year ago when I first came here to Reading in the spanish branch. It was great to see the people that were new in the Church back then, lead and direct this baptismal service for their friends. Also we went down to Broomall this week for a Zone Leader Council with all the leaders in the mission and President. It was really great to see some buddies and also to see an old companion Elder Glover (Hannah Montana). He almost had to go home because of his knee and problems that he has had. But it made me so happy to be with those guys and get out of this little bubble of where I am right now. It was a great experience to get the package from the Kroupas because I was able to see people that I dont know anything about and to see that they are doing good. Being with my companion and how he is from Provo and a BYU person, I have gotten this perspective of only affiliating with mormon people and only talking about that stuff, mostly because we're missionarys. My companion is a great guy and Im not talking bad about him, just that he doesn't know the outside world. I was really grateful when I got that package from the Kroupas that my best friends are not mormon and that Im not the type of person that only keeps to LDS people. I realized that life is really great and there are a lot of really great people here.
So thanks you guys for trying the juices and hope you have a good week. We have a busy week with a training we have to do and also more exchanges. Today we are going to play basketball and thank goodness. I am dieing just sitting in our apartment reading and writing letters on P-days. Have a good week and suavecito por alli.

El amor de fily


Monday, January 10, 2011

Missing the Hispanics


Que lo que tigre? esta todo? Today we are going to clean the apartment and then do something in Reading. This morning we washed our clothes in our apartment and then we came here to the library to write. We studied from 8 to 10 though and then left. Tonight we are having some of our investigators over to a members house and we're going to have a family home evening with them and then play a game. We have are starting to set up a lot of appointments with members so that we can eat and also so that we can get them involved in missionary work. We have spent a lot of time tracting the past three weeks. Its been the most tracting I've done my whole mission I think. A township is just like a little branch of a city. A town about the size of Delta that surrounds Reading.

This was a good week and we were able to have some good success in finding new investigators. We found this older couple that are in their 50s and they are really interested in the Book of Mormon and prophets. We had a lesson with a new investigator last night and he lives in a house that is huge and is from the 1700's. They are really well off people and we are teaching one of the sons that lives in the house. We found out last night that he is doing a comparison of the Bible and the Book of Mormon so he will be in for a ride this week as we meet with him and he reads the Book of Mormon.

This has been a great time to be in Reading though and see the spanish members and also investigators that I taught before. It is the best feeling in the world to see these people that I taught or helped after a long time of not seeing them. They light up and get all excited and I do the same. Its great and these are the most joyful times that I've had the past few weeks. Its been really hard not to get down though and wish that I could go back to spanish. Everytime I am with the english ward or just with people that are hard for me to love, I immediately turn to thoughts of wanting to be with hispanic people. So that has been the big struggle lately and Im working a lot on trying to love the people and serve them. I have no problem with the members in our ward but just the difference I see between the spanish branch that meets before us, and then to see where I am at and with whom I'm with, its hard. But things are going good and I am improving. We have a good week planned out so it will be fun. Have a good time you guys and keep up the good work.

Hay los vidrios. el amor


Monday, January 3, 2011

Encounter with Wicken and Police


From those pictures it looks like Santa spent a lot of time at Cabelas this year. This was a pretty good week and we were able to have a lot of different experiences. Earlier in the week we went tracting in this neighborhood and no one wanted to listen to us. Then one lady opens the door and comes outside to talk to us. She ended up being a "wicken" that beleives in the sun, moon, and nature. She was really an interesting person and had some crazy beliefs.

But then we knock on this door about three houses down and this young family comes to the door. We say hello and then hear this person behind us, we turn around and theres this cop car in the street and the officer is coming up the drive way with his flash light asking for our permits. We told the family sorry and went down to the street to talk to this police officer. He starts questioning us about why we dont have a permit to knock door to door and what the heck we're doing out here from Idaho and Utah. So he took down our information and gave us a warning, but kicked us out of the township. Someone had called the cops on us and told them that we were selling stuff. It was a little shocking and I was sick of these stupid white people but then we left and had a great night with one of our investigators accepting a baptismal date. But we called President Schaefermeyer and gave him some information about the police officer and President is going to look into it and figure it out.

So that was the crazyiest thing that happened this week but other than that things went really good and we were able to have a good time and found some great new investigators. On New Years we had to come in early for the night and so we planned and then ordered some pizza and had our own little New Years party until 10:00. Then on New Years Day we were able to have a good morning with a football game. Some of our ward members invited us to go play football with some non members so we went and it was great. It was fun to play with guys that knew how to play and then to show them that people from Idaho can play too. These Pennsylvannia boys may be a little stockier but they aint that good. We had a good time though and gained some good trust with the members. I hope your guys have a good week and dont get discouraged with school. Last night we taught this less active who is 17 and he is struggling with school and hardly ever goes. I told him how important it was and could see how rough life would be without an education. So keep it up and have a good week. hay los vidrios.

el amor


Sunday, January 2, 2011



How tall are you now Brooks? You look like a twin of Raymon but just the tall skinny version of him. Raymon is doing pretty good down there in Vegas. He said that he really likes the members and that at anytime he could leave for Brasil. The only bad thing is that he is speaking english instead of portugese. But that was good talking to you guys and its funny how Brooks, Blake and Sarah change but you guys (mom and dad) still seem to be the same. I thought that was a good call though and that our family es el miymbe as they would say in the DR (The best of the best). It was a good Christmas and I really enjoyed talking to you guys. After that though my day kind of went down hill because the two appointments that we had were really socially weird and hard to enjoy. The two families were a little different and the in-laws were over at the first house so the father of the house was really irritated and they were just weird people. But it was a good Christmas and we had a good time.

The storm hit yesterday while we were in Church and it snowed until this morning. We got about 4 inches and it wasnt really that bad. The wind was blowing pretty good though so it was fun being outside last night while the wind was howling and the snow was falling. The only problem is that none of the Elders are big snow fans and so when I started throwing snow balls at them this morning, they just kind of growled and didnt want to play in it. I guess its just because they are afraid of my Greg Maddox pitching arm. But this will be a good week and we have a football game in the ward on New Years Day. Have a good one and have fun in the snow.

el amor,


How did you like the Malta and Agua de Coco? He sent these drinks in a package and maybe they taste good with rice and beans but they weren't very good. The Malta was like drinking carbonated molasses and Agua de Coco means coconut water and that's just what it is. Water with little floaties of slimy coconut pieces.

oh and I forgot to mention to you Brooks how in the Johnsons package to me, Logan mentioned that I need to come home so that I can pull him behind the four wheeler because for some odd reason he thinks I do it better. Hmm maybe some practice would help out