Elder Jackson york Nielsen
New Jersey Morristown mission
Hi mom! Only six more weekly emails from me and we’re done! What a weird feeling! I’m really happy that I get to stay here in Nanuet for my last 44 days. I like it here. I’ll be staying with Elder Merizier as well and he’s a funny guy.
I’m writing you from my little desk looking out my rainy window. I like rainy days. This past week it got into the 70’s which was crazy because my body didn’t know how to handle it after being a cold guy for so long. We had a really good week this week! I literally had to make an investigator lunch so she would come to church lol. But we actually have several really cool people we’re teaching. Yzabelle should be getting baptized the 29th this month. She’s cool. And we’re teaching this 17 year old kid named Jimmy who is the only white person I’ve ever taught in my entire mission. He’s really cool and he and I are homies. We visit a lot of really cool people that I really love a lot. So life is really good. I went to Passaic again this past week which was nice as well. I do miss the spanish program quite a bit so I went out of my way to get some good tacos. I didn’t see any dead bodies. I got released as a District Leader last night (which usually happens so you can spend your last transfer just proselyting) and I am, for the first time since Red Bank, now a Regular Proselyting Missionary. Not a trainer or District Leader, or Zone Leader or anything. Just me doing me. Swaggin. So I’m excited for this upcoming 6 weeks.
I still teach a lot in Spanish and I translate every hour of church into Spanish which is super hard but also kinda fun. My French is ok. Enough to make people laugh and what else do you need? Not much.
I’m really excited to come home and be Sam's best friend. Gonna love that dude to pieces. Send him down to Cedar whenever you want to because I love him. I can take him to fun places. Speaking of family, Family Search just told me that I’m related to Wilford Woodriff so I'm going to check that out today. If so, that’s pretty lit. Wanna grow a beard like his.
I really like the scripture you shared and it’s been one of my favorites on the mission fun fact. One of the things that I think is really cool is that in Moroni 8:16 he says “and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.” And in 1 John 4:18 it says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” And I think that it’s cool that the same concept almost down to the wording was revealed to two different men at two different parts of the world at two very different times. When we say that the gospel is everlasting, it really is. And the influence of the Holy Ghost is prevalent in all time and space, even down to a repeating one-liner written on two different hemispheres at least 300 years apart. Pretty cool.
Sorry this took so long to get to you. Elder Merizier and I invested in a ping pong net and put our dinner tables together and we pong like it’s our job. I’m still dinner table pong king. Don’t forget it.
I love you. Talk to you in a little bit. I love you with a perfect love.
I am writing from my lil desk in Nanuet. I’m very likely to stay here for the next 6 weeks so I probably will be writing you from this little desk until dad comes and picks me up. Last interview I had with president he told me that he was planning on keeping me here. Especially because no other missionary speaks creole (I mean, neither do I but I’m getting the hang of it) so I’ll probably just be here. I like it here.
So let me tell you about the weirdest exchange of my entire life on Saturday. I went to Passaic this last week with Elder Dominguez who is pretty new. He was born on 08/13/96 though so he’s 3 days older than me. Anyway he’s the coolest guy and we had a ton of fun. Started off the day by literally getting pooped on. Some wind blew some poop water on us from a nearby building. Had to shower again. Don’t know what I did to deserve that. Later we went to have this lesson with this excommunicated member who is 83 years old who lives in a frickin’ funeral home. Literally. Like, what the heck? This guy lives in a spare room in a funeral home. In order to get to his room you have to pass though said funeral home. So me, being curious, started just looking around and I found this door that was pretty small so I opened it and there was a small staircase and I thought, “I’m going to walk down these stairs. That’s what stairs are for.” So I go down into this basement and it’s dark and I’m talking to Elder Dominguez who is on the stairs and I turn the corner and I literally see DEAD PEOPLE. Like, there are 4 dead people down there on metal trays and I was like, WHAT THE HECK? It was so unexpected!! I was NOT prepared. Lesson learned to not snoop around funeral homes. But the day is not even over yet. We ended up checking out this once store that had a bunch of cool stuff in the window and I was like “Let’s just go check it out for a second” and we went in and it was the weirdest store I have ever set foot in. It was full of veneration statues for worship and stuff but there was also like Buddha stuff (which I liked) and then further down there was super sketchy stuff like bath soap that gives you good luck and dusts for spell casting. I know, you’re probably thinking “Jack why didn’t you just get the heck out of there?” My only answer is that was already halfway into the store and I might as well have finished it. But at the very back of the store was a giant shrine for my favorite saint, St. Death. Like why the HECK is there a Saint Death? Veneration in and of itself is a weird thing but to St. Death? Who thought that was a good idea? Who thought, “You know? I’m going to make a saint that is literally a skeleton. We need that.” Anyway. Pictures attached. We also had some cool missionary work miracles but this paragraph is already too long and those stories aren’t as funny.
Today we are having zone pday so I’ll be playing some basketball. I was actually hoping to order a new pair of glasses today actually. I have enough money because I’m not going to do Warby Parker because their glasses are super expensive. But I have a current prescription and everything and I am feeling a new pair. I like my ones I have right now too but it’s nice to have options. I have enough money for it though so don’t worry. I love you.
You’re so funny. I love you SO MUCH! Guess who comes home in 7 weeks? Me. In case you forgot. I’m excited. I love you.
I’ll talk to you more later today. I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH.
Hello cutie mom! I love you! SO SO MUCH. Can you believe I come home in less than 60 days? That’s crazy! That’s so soon! Yesterday was like 50 degrees but we just got like a foot of snow last night so it seems I am eternally trapped in winter. I’m glad it is at least warming up for you.
I literally love General Conference as a missionary. It’s so fun. Also Nelson is getting sassy with all these changes! I love it. Making its way to being more ministrative instead of administrative. Which is how it should be. Also a Layton temple in our backyard will be pretty lit. My absolute favorite talk was from Massimo of Ugly. (De feo means "of ugly" in english lol). That one got me good. I know what it is like to be loved like that. That one was really good. I also loved a lot of the ones from Saturday morning. But all were good. They always are. A few things were said that can really help a lot of the people we teach. I liked when that one guy talked about the juxtaposition between our sacrament meetings and like a worship service with a band and loud music and whatnot because that’s how all Haitian churches are. If anything, the hardest part of teaching people throughout my entire mission hasn’t been LDS doctrine or anti or anything like that. The hardest thing is trying to change what people think is their culture because they associate it with that. It's hard but also ok and everyone is just doin their best.
I literally cannot believe that Sam has his drivers license. That blows my mind. To me he is still a lil 14 year old boy. Apparently life has still been going on while I’ve been here and I feel betrayed. Just kidding. But seriously. It’s like when you thought you paused your tv show and you go get some food and you come back and the show is halfway over and you’re like ????? I paused this??? That’s how I feel.
Also this week I didn’t drink any caffeine for like the first time of my entire life and I’m proud of myself. Now that I know I can do it I can keep drinking it. #goodlogic
Today I’m going to take like 12naps and maybe play some basketball. Chill day. Lots of time to write my cute mom whom I love.
Send pics of Sun Valley. I love you. SO much. Talk to you in a second. Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
Here is the latest from Elder Nielsen. Just a note...he sends separate letters to me and his dad so forgive the personalization. He's a good boy and we both love him so much. Only 65 more days!! -K
HIIII MOM!!! I love you! Te amo! Mwen renmen ou! However many ways I can tell you I love you, it is never enough! Hi! I literally am going to have the funnest day today and I’m so excited that I have to lead with it in this letter. So there’s this inactive lady we met and she’s the sweetest lady ever. She’s like 72 and an artist. She and I have gotten really close. Her apartment is full of really cool art. Anyway she’s taking us to this asian foot massage place for a literal HOUR worth of foot massages. After that I think we’re going to go to paint with her because she used to be a painting teacher for people who don’t know how to paint (me) so I’m really going to get in touch with my inner chi today. Can’t wait. I’ll send you pics.
I had a good week this week. We ended up with 8 investigators at church because we had an investigator bless her baby and she brought her family and it was the Easter program which was really nice. I love Easter. So that was cute. I took some pictures wearing one of our investigators wigs yesterday and I’ll send those because they’re literally so funny. I look like Maddie. Spring Valley will have to be one of the places we visit together. There, Morristown, Union City (bc it’s right next to NY), and maybe Elizabeth. That’ll be so fun. I can’t wait to show you all my peeps.
I can’t believe we only have 65 days left! It’s going by really fast for me, which I didn’t think it would. I guess I’ve been doing this shindig for long enough that my days kind of bleed together. And soon I’ll be in the arms of my cute mom and if I was in Harry Potter and I had to do the Expecto Patronum spell to cast off the dementors, that would be the happy thought I would have to be able to do it.
So I’m going to have a busy day but I’ll be sure to write you more later. I love you so much. So so much. Thanks for the Samoas, btw. I got them last night. You’re so sweet to me. I love you. ❤️😘💕
— your boy.
Tracy and I had the chance to visit this week with a cute sister missionary that served with Jack and just got home a week ago. She told us all about our "hipster missionary" boy and how loved he is and how hard he is working. Melted our hearts. Here's the latest from our guy. -K
What a cute lil week. All my weeks are cute and they go by pretty quick. This last tuesday we went around for like 5 hours and just cut member’s trees up with a saw because a lot of them fell in the storm we just had. That was super fun. I love working with my hands. That was pretty fun. Got to hang out with my homie Wes. He’s a v hipster dad. He’s the second councilor here and also just a really good guy. He’s a car salesman. His wife does like physical healing though mental therapy or something cool like that. Anyway. They’re cool and I’ve gotten pretty close to them. They tell me I'm doing a good job and that's nice because imma tryin. I’m tired. A good kind of tired though.
Later in the week we played basketball with the young men which was really fun because they’re all punks. Love hanging out with punks. My people. We also had zone conference this week which was fun because I was able to hang out with Elder Sanhueza. Love him. My companion and I won a game about who knows your companion best. It was fun. And this weekend I had an exchange with my friend Elder Nunes, my current ZL, who came out with me and spent a year in the Portuguese program which is really hard. And yesterday I ran around all day. So I’m a busy boy and it was a good week.
I got a fun picture of you, dad, and Sister Spackman lol. She’s so funny. It was always fun to serve around her. I remember when she came in. Why are guy missions so long? Who knows. Solo dios lo sabe. She sent me this funny email:
“It’s me hazie paze!!!! GUESS WHO I MET TONIGHT !!! Your cutest mom and dad. Okay they are SERIOUSLY THE CUTEST NICEST PEOPLE I HAVE EVER MET. And they love you so much. They cried when they saw me. And they don’t even know me, but it was because I was in NJ and got to be your friend and they weren’t :/ but they asked me so many questions about the mission and about you! And I told them all good things !! I told them I would be at your Homecoming with sister Daniels! Your dad asked me about picking you up and just how excited they are! Hahaha they told me 73 days.. I think they’re counting :) BUT! It sounds like you are killing it in New City with all the cute Haitians and speaking creole! Go you! Have a good week.
Love, hazie paze.... since we’ve always been on a first name basis ?¿”
Lol at her. She was a good friend up here. Now almost all my friends are dead and I only recognize like half the mission as is. Casi ya me chupo faros. (Which is a mexican expression which means to suck lights, i.e. to get hit by a car, i.e. to die, i.e. to go home) Anoher good one is “bailar con la mas fea” which means “dance with the ugliest one” which means to die. Mexicans are funny.
Today I’m just chillin. I think I have to go buy some new pants because most of the ones I like to wear have holes in it and the other one is pretty baggy and I look like a rapper from 2002 when I wear them. I’ll probably just get some cheap ones at Burlington on the sale rack or something so no worries. I’ll probably take like 4 naps. I’ll write my cute mom. Sounds like a good day to me. I'll email more later. I love you!
So let me tell you how much I hate daylight savings time. I hate it. Can hate be genetic? Because I think I got that from you. Especially as a missionary when every hour of sleep is literally the most important thing in the world, losing an hour is a real low blow. On the bright side we still had a cute lil investigator at church despite the early hour. I’ll talk more about her in a second. But basically to quote that old and overplayed Script song with respect to how I feel after DST, “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing.” Do you think when the millennium comes there will still be days and nights or nah? Probably not. That’s lame because I like the dark. I’m like a vampire. Maybe there can be an exception for me.
Anyway. It was a good week though. Taught some cool people. Regarding the woman that came to church: she knows it’s all true but 1. Needs to stop smoking and 2. Can’t get over the fact that we don’t praise like in a southern baptist church. Haitians and their churches man. It’s a struggle. But basically we’re helping her stop smoking right now. We’re teaching Sara and her family and they’re super cool. Niki, who is this super cool lady who is really funny and witty. Luigi who is an 18 year old kid. We’re teaching a lot which is fun. Always, a lot of things to do and a lot of people to see. This last week we had that GIANT snowstorm. Literally more snow than I’ve seen here in all my 2 years in any storm. Our bishop got more than 20 inches of snow. So we shoveled...a lot. The nicest thing is that it’s already melting. My kind of storm.
My mission has consisted of me trying to keep the church together with like 10 active members who all have like 3 callings each. Right now we (the missionaries) have been called to teach the youth of our ward which is really fun. I like teaching youth. That's nice.
Anyway, I’m a happy boy and I love my mom a lot. I'll write more later.
This week was pretty normal for the last week of the transfer. On Thursday we had TAC which is basically when we clean our apartments for 3 hours and is my favorite day ever. We had some good lessons this week. We met this little woman who was a member a really long time ago but has since joined the baptist church because she was kind of forgotten about but she is just the sweetest little woman. We came over and she had us sing her favorite hymns and give her a blessing which was really cute. Haitians, man. They’re cute. But through her we ended up meeting this other woman who speaks like 7 languages and is 84. We went over to her house yesterday and I think we said like 5 words in total because she just went off on the weirdest stuff. One of the skills that the mission teaches you is how to steer a conversation, especially when the person is very talkative (you ask a hispanic person a question about God and they’ll tell you about their childhood for an hour). So that was fun. I have never fallen asleep while looking at someone in the eyes until yesterday. She didn’t skip a beat though, even though I was 75% unconscious. Also this week we had this woman who was taught in 2014 who just walked into church during fast and testimony meeting and bore her testimony of the church at the pulpit and talked about how she is ready to be a member. Lol. Haitians, man. We’re teaching a few cool people and the members are really cool here. So it’s just a fun time.
Not much changed from transfers last night. Still here with Elder Merizier. But Sister Mendez is leaving and a little girl who did theatre in Davis High is coming up here. But for your boy it is the same old thing, which I’m happy about.
The storm here was pretty docile. A few trees were blown down that we helped with but nothing too big. Your boy is always very safe. It sounds like dad got the worst of it. Poor guy. He needs to retire and just hang out by the pool like a sloth. Maybe moss would grow on him. That would be cool.
So today is kind of busy because we have Zone P-day and we’re playing basketball so I’m going to go BOX OUT. I’ll write you in a little bit later though. You’re the best mom. I love you so much. Thank you for taking such good care of your missionary boy. He loves his mom.
I LOVE YOU.
Hi mom! It’s me! Your boy! Do you remember your boy? It’s been like 21 months since you’ve last seen me so it’s ok if you didn’t know who I was right away.
I’m sorry you’re sick. That’s no fun at all. I actually have been really lucky in the health department lately. I directly attribute it to the fact that my cute mom prays for me every day. That and the fact that my food intake is now only regulated by my personal desires instead of needing to inhale large quantities of meat to make people like us. Hispanics, man. We still teach a decent amount of people in Spanish though so I’m able to keep it up. I want to take a spanish class in fall semester because I’m pretty sure I can take a proficiency test and then take a few more classes for a Spanish minor which would look pretty sassy on any resume.
We had a nice week here. Lot of people to teach. We basically just go to homes where they let us in without knowing us and we teach and then I usually go to the kitchen and do their dishes lol. Haitians are great. There’s this food called Greole that’s really good and I eat at least once a week. They cover it with this stuff called “piklies” which basically means “spicy” and it’s like pickled onions and peppers and it’s really spicy and I think dad would like it a lot.
I finished reading the Book of Mormon again past this week. What a great book. I met this inactive woman this week who is literally the COOLEST lady. She’s an artist and has like 5 degrees. She has been inactive for a while and expressed concern about some doctrine and practices in the church. But basically we just talked about how cool the Book of Mormon is and the truthfulness of the record and it was just a lovely conversation. Also she gave me a Hindu book of scripture. Thanks, lady.
Anyway. I’m going to go get some groceries and whatnot. I’ll talk to you later today. Basically I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you in 3 months. The pictures are from us translating this week on Saturday and Sunday for stake conference. And stamped cards because I was tired of writing all our stuff on cards by hand so I literally ordered a stamp for like $10. And some other stuff I can’t remember. Ok I love you.
This Wednesday Jack drops to 99 days left on his mission. That's so awesome since we started at 730!! He's happy and working hard to finish strong. Here's the latest on our cute boy. -K
It was a nice week. SUPER busy and I’m sleepy. I went on an exchange with an elder in Passaic which was fun. He was teaching me how to solve a rubix cube. I also met this guy who Elder Hunt baptized and talked about ALL THE TIME. I love Elder Hunt (now known as Caleb). I had so much fun with that guy. My companions have been the coolest people. I’ve really lucked out in that department. Elder Hunt and I always talked about getting friendship sealed. Lol. Anyway. I had a meeting on Wednesday for the new missionaries and their trainers which was nice. I did that exchange on Tuesday and then went with our zone leaders on Friday which was fun. I was with Elder Nunes who is really cool and a good friend of mine. He spent half of his mission in the only Portuguese area in the mission. Super funny guy and we had several really good lessons that day. We also had interviews with president this week which was fun. He basically told me I’ll be here for the rest of my mission which I am happy about. President Hess is just the best of guys. He also went to our ward this Sunday and I had to translate his big word talk into Spanish (which is my job almost every Sunday). So it was a real busy week but it was nice and good.
On behalf of all of us at the Middletown apartments, thank you SO much for the food on Saturday. So our appointment at 7 canceled and the sisters needed help planning their baptism so we all went to the Noodle House and they brought so much food and then we took the rest to go. It was really nice. The food there is super delicious and everyone who eats there is oriental so you know it’s good. So thank you.
We had a huge snowstorm this week. Like at least 9 inches. The streets everywhere were impassable so we just went around and shoveled snow for people which was really fun. The high for Wednesday is supposed to be almost 70 degrees so it won’t be here for two long. You know what almost 70 degrees means? It means we are transitioning into the season where I see my family again and that thought warms my heart to way more than almost 70 degrees.
One of the senior missionaries here, Elder Jensen, is my guy. He calls me just to talk sometimes lol. He’s super funny and he actually is on the alumni board for SUU. He was a bishop down there for a while too. He gave me a few good places to go and other stuff for when I get back. I’m really excited for college because I can learn my lil brain out. But right now I'm going to concentrate on finishing my mission strong. 99 days isn't a lot to get everything done.
Anyway cute mom, today we are going bowling and other stuff. I love you so so SO MUCH. I’ll write you more in a little bit. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!❤️💕😘😘💕
It’s me!!! Your boy!!! Do you remember me? That’s ok if you don’t because I remember you enough for us both! Wowza look at the rapidly approaching finish line! It turned from an inconceivable concept in Red Bank, NJ to a very tangible reality in New City, NY. Good job, us. We did a very hard thing. Remember when I wrote you that letter telling you that I was going to go on a mission? Look at us now. This honestly has been the best decision of my life to do this, though. I feel it was a pivotal life event. One I’m sure I will ever be grateful for. And I’ve loved my mission, honestly. It has been just a lovely time and very soon I’ll be able to hang out with my lovely mom and I’ll feel at home. Apparently I’m very nostalgic at 8:00am.
We had a really good week this week. Like every week! All the weeks are good. We’re working really hard and we find a lot of really nice people. My Creole/French is actually getting pretty good too! Enough to make people laugh and from there my companion does the talking and I nod my head a lot. I am being very safe and life is very good for me. Everyone is SO nice to us and they usually just let us in to teach them because everyone just loves God a lot! It’s very very sweet. And we’re seeing a lot of success. I’m like 99.999% sure that I’ll finish my mission up here and I think there are worst ways to do so.
Also this week we ate some peppers that almost sent my companion to the nurse. You would have been proud of my spicy tolerance. No longer a spicy baby am I.
Regarding the apartment for school, go for whatever one is cheaper. I literally just need a room to sleep in. I’ve lived like a nomad so my standards are close to nonexistent. I’m excited though! I can’t wait to go back to learning stuff in college. I feel like I’ve retained a large portion of what I learned my first year so hopefully I won’t have to skip too many beats.
It’s going to be a pretty chill day today. Probably am going to nap because I’m a sleepy boy. But I’ll be here whenever you send me a reply. I LOVE YOU.
— your boy!!!
Called to Serve June 2016-2018
My son is currently serving a 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This Blog is for family and friends interested in following his adventures for the next 24 months.