Great News! Elder Nielsen will be staying in Red Bank for another 6 weeks with his awesome companion Elder Dove. We are thrilled. That means for Christmas he stays close to people he loves in a town he loves! It also means that I can send him packages straight to his apartment and not worry about them not being there when he gets back from a long day serving. We are so happy. Here is the latest "goings on" with our cute missionary guy;
This week, like every week, was full of miracles.
Last week we went up to Keyport with the English sisters. After we spent a long time visiting people we got back together and the sisters told us that they had gone to see their investigator Sandy, who is the sassy black woman who lives next to a former woman who said "You speak Mexican??" one of the times we were there. Super funny. Anyway, She apparently has been really sick. And her home situation is a disaster. But like she couldn't get out of bed. So we offered to go give her a blessing and they called Sandy and she was like "sure" so off we went. We got there and she has the funniest dog I've ever seen. (But that's not the point of this story I just love dogs.) Anyway. So we talk for a while and explain to her what a priesthood blessing is. Elder Dove anointed and I sealed. (Mark 6:13) So we get a call this week from the sisters who are like "yeah I've never seen her so healthy." So we go to visit her and she's literally beaming. She was like "Y'all said it would be according to my faith and now look at me!" And I asked to her if she would come to church on Sunday and she said yes and she went around saying "they Elders laid hands on me and now I'm healed!" and now she's on date for baptism this next month. Small and simple thing but it just affected me deeply.
We had this super cool lesson with Rosalina and Nelson yesterday. We recovered the restoration and whatnot and Nelson is freaking golden. We ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation a little and he was like "that's probably what Jesus Christ was doing when he was dead for three days. Preaching to the people who didn't hear his Gospel while they were alive." And I literally laughed because who just knows that. Nelson is so tight. And Rosalina is super nice and makes us arroz on leche. They both agreed to be baptized December 31st. Super happy. Happy happy happy.
I went on ANOTHER exchange with elder Covington this week. I love that guy. But funny story. So we were at the library where we do service and we were talking to my girlfriend Donna who is 65. Anyway so I was showing her my pedigree chart and how cool the application is that the church has. She was literally amazed. We were looking at all of my ancestors and then we saw a guy with the last name of Covington. We were like "oh that's funny we're probably related" but then we looked at him and he and I are literally related. Like the guy we're related to founded Washington the state and stuff. It's not even like a ridiculous relation, it's like blood. Super funny and now we call each other cousin.
So Thanksgiving was super fun. We had a turkey bowl with like three of the zones in Princeton, which is where the first American football game ever took place fun fact. We still had to proselyte Thursday but we had until 12 to play sports and stuff. We played basketball from like 8-10 and football from 10-12. But here's the story. Ok, so we were playing on the Princeton University football field. Super fun. But also apparently we were trespassing. So this really nice British guy comes to kick us off at like 11:30 but my team was at the far end of the field and I was quarter back and I had just thrown a pass to ElderJensen. Elder Jenson catches it but doesn't stop running and literally slams into a metal bench. So he's on the ground and might be dead and the first thing I say when I get to him is "man that was cool as flip." Because I'm tactless. But he had the wind knocked out of him and eventually he can breathe but says that his leg hurts. So I pull up his sweats and LITERALLY I CAN SEE HIS BONE. He hit the bench so hard that it split his shin open. So I carry him over to the bench and the zone leaders make all the missionaries leave except for me and them and I have the nice British guy (who is super worried) get me a first aid kit. I made sure nothing was broken and I bandaged it up. And then after, elder Jensen went to instacare to get stitched up and apparently he passed out because he saw his leg and also hadn't eaten anything all day so they took him to the hospital! But now elder Jensen is totally fine. Blessing. Also fun fact, he went to Layton high! I'm two years older than him but he knew me apparently. He lives right next to the Van Uiterts. He's in my district and he and I are good friends. It anyway. Funny story.
After we played sports we went home and got ready and had an appointment at 3:30 with the Flores. I love them. Their whole family was there. Like there were so many people in that small house. And literally (literally) 9 different kinds of pasta. Like why? So many pastas. So I ate my weight in pasta and also had turkey but I know it wasn't nearly as good as Dad's so it was kind of a disappointment turkey. But we talked for a while and it was really nice. So it was a really nice turkey day. And Red Bank is getting all ready for Christmas and I'm SO EXCITED. Red Bank is the place to be for Christmas. Like it's going to be so pretty and super fun. I actually had an email typed up to send president asking if I could stay in Red Bank but I decided not to send it because I'll go wherever I need to but I ended up just staying anyway! Blessings!
So that's what he's up to. Thanks for your love and prayers in his behalf. Have a happy week. -K.
Oh...and here is a cute little video I got from him today. I love this kid.
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm so grateful for this boy. It's hard to not have him here for the holidays but he's happy and spreading the good news of the gospel so that makes it a little easier. Thanks to all of you for your support, love, and prayers on his behalf. Have a wonderful holiday. -K
This week was really nice! I went on an exchange on Tuesday and Wednesday with Elder Covington. He and I are super good friends. We went around teaching all day and ended up at the beach. At this point it was dark and pretty cold. We were walking down the boardwalk when we saw someone sitting at the end that we decided to talk to. Elder Covington scared her to death which was pretty funny. It was this 17 year old girl named Natasha and she had a lot of really cool religious views and she was super smart. Like genuinely really smart. And I would like to think that we really sparked an interest in her. She's meeting with the missionaries now. Anyway. While we were talking these other people came up and we said hi to them and chatted for a bit and I said that I was new to Jersey. Then he just looks at me with a strait face and says, "Do you know that Jesus loves you?" Super funny. I told him we were missionaries and he was elated. He was super happy that we were talking about Jesus and gave us his address so we could talk to him more about it.
This Wednesday and Friday we did service at this food bank in Neptune. Full of old ladies who asked us to lift stuff for them. I had a super fun time. On Friday they were giving out turkeys and other thanksgiving stuff and we were helping carry things when this old sassy black woman came in and her eyes lit up when she saw us. Turns out it was Sister Annie Hall, whom I've heard so much about. In fact every time I've gone to Jersey Shore Medical Center to visit someone or give a blessing it's because it was a referral from her. She's like missionary famous. She was super excited to see us. But it turns out that she didn't sign up for that day to get food and they couldn't give her anything and she was visibly distraught. I offered to pay for
her but apparently you can't do that at a food bank. So my hearts broken and she is leaving and she comes up to us and says "Boys, you guys have a place to go for thanksgiving right? Because if not then there's always a big meal waiting for you at my house." This woman was just denied food from a food bank and she turns around and offers to feed us. It was just really touching so I wanted to share it.
We had interviews with president this week. Man I love that guy. We now have interviews with him during zone conferences and every transfer which is a big change. So I love Facebook missionary work right? I love it. It's like knocking doors but I can knock 100 doors at the same time. I shared with president about how I found Roomaan on Facebook and now he has a baptismal date and a few other cool stories and now apparently he's going around to different zones telling people how we're "famous." We've gotten several calls from other missionaries and given advice on online missionary work. Just kind of a funny thing.
But I'm doing just fine. I'm happy and healthy and I love my mom. I can answer any questions that you have at any time. Today is going to be super chill. We're going to the mall to buy pants and then we're going to hang around and adventure a little bit. It's like 40 degrees today which is really cold. Maybe I'll take a nap! Who knows! And tonight we have a few lessons to teach and whatnot. Know that I'm so happy. I pray you are too. I love you.
Here is an excerpt from Jack's letter home yesterday. Still happy. Still busy. Have a great week!
This week was so good! I know I say that about every week but this one really was nice. We taught a ton and had a lot of really cool lessons. I'll include a few highlights;
First I wanna talk about Paula. Paula is literally the sweetest woman in the entire world aside from my super sassy mom. During an exchange I was on with Elder Sullivan I just had this feeling to go see that house and she let us in and we talked for like 45 minutes about the Book of Mormon and why we need it. Then she invited us to come back the next day and also had read the BoM that night. We taught the entire
restoration and she was so nice. She has a ton of potential.
Second. Ana. Classic Ana. She was in our area book as "funny catholic lady." So naturally I wanted to go see her. She had literally wall to wall catholic art. She was so fun. I charmed her face off because that's just what I do with old catholic ladies. She and I are homies now. She actually had a BoM and had read a little. We invited her to read and she agreed. Also gave me a banana. Thanks Ana.
Third. So we had this lesson last night with my literal homie Kevin. Kevin is so chill. He also does a lot of drugs but told us he wants to stop. Nice. He's 17 and is seriously so nice. People come to his house and try to get him to do all kinds of stuff like rob people and steal things and he got pressured to "go rob some Mexicans" but instead of robbing them he just asked if they had any change that they didn't
want. He's such a sweet kid. He and I are super tight. We were teaching him and he just ate it up and then his mom and dad came home and we taught them too. We taught the entire restoration and wowza. They asked where they could buy a BoM and we were like "PSYCH! We literally try to get people to take free copies every day." Nelson (the dad) was just like "I already know what you're saying is true by the power of your testimonies. What you're teaching is true and I'm going to read this book." Ah. Good guys. We're seeing them again this week.
Fourth. We're teaching this guy Jose right now and he's on date for December. The cutest man. He's really shy and lives in a basement. I love him so much. But he sleeps on a mattress on the floor with no sheets or anything so Elder Dove and I looked through our apartment in search of stuff left behind and we gave him some blankets and mattress covers and some other stuff. He was really happy. Man I love him. He's super weird. Just like my mom. I like her.
Anyway. It was just a fun week. Except for how my least favorite person in the world became the elect-president of the United States of America. Let me tell you a few things. Ok. In college I had a time I was obsessed with US politics. Obviously. Still am. Because I hate it so much. I hate the two party system. But because I hate it so much I have decided to be ridiculously proficient. But it just hits so much harder when literally all of your friends are Mexican families. And they're terrified. I could go on forever but I will summarize with the fact that I just will not stand to see people subjugated. Literally I will not let that happen. At all. No matter the race, gender, religious beliefs, or what have you. And I'm seeing a lot of hate and it breaks my heart. Jesus for President.
Anyway. I love you so very much. Like an unbelievable amount. Like take how much a normal person is allowed to love and times that by 100000000. It's a lot of love. 5 months down! That's a noticeable chunk right? Few more of those and we'll be home free. Days go by super fast. I mean I don't feel like I'm still new or anything but time just goes by and by. And I like that because the faster it goes the sooner I can see my family! CTR!
Your boy, Jack
One more month officially counted down! Jack is doing great. He's happy (always), healthy, and super busy. Here is a portion of his latest letter home;
I was on an exchange this week with Elder Doria and it was really cool. The first thing we did is go to Jersey Shore Med and hunt down this referral who needed a blessing for an upcoming surgery. It took us a while to find her. The doctor left as we came into the room. Apparently he had told her to expect the worst but hope for the best. We went in and she had tears on her face and we introduced ourselves and she was so sweet and also mostly blind but still liked to watch Jeopardy. We shared with her a video about overcoming afflictions and the whole time she cried. She said they were happy tears. We gave her a blessing and she said "As God is my witness I will be there at your church to testify of what I've felt today. I'm going to recover." And it was just really touching.
After we went to a rest home to see a woman who was very funny and sassy. Also there were a lot of unsupervised senile old people which was fun. Then we went to this investigators house and he loved to talk. We talked about everything. Eventually we asked if he would be baptized and he said yes. I don't know. It was just one of those situations that I felt like I needed to be there in that house at that moment. Can't really explain it beyond that.
Later we played basketball with the investigator of the other English elders and that was super fun. The investigator spoke French and Spanish and Creole so he and I talk up a storm. B-ball skills are still sharp. Dad would have been proud of my boxing out.
So you know my Latinos en Red Bank group I got accepted into on Facebook? Well I've been talking to people like crazy through it. And we found this guy named Roomaan. Roomaan is so solid. We have him on date for the 26th. He's so dope. This area hasn't baptized in forever and we have three on date! I'm happy. It obviously is never about numbers. Ever. And I refuse to reduce people to statistics. But it just makes me proud to see progression here. I feel like a good steward. We also have this guy on date named Jose and he's so funny. He's poor and shy but super smart and lives in a basement and we're bringing him some blankets and sheets this week. Love that guy.
So Manuel right? Sassy inactive guy who now comes to church after we've been visiting him? So dope. He shoots off referrals like nobody's business. We're still teaching his wife and we're teaching their housemate and Manuel's friend. I love their family. He told us a few days ago that he doesn't want us to leave because he loves how much we care about the people here. Aw. Good guy.
I'll probably be golfing when you read this but I'll email you again later today. I love you so much.
One more note of interest. I found out today from our stake president that his release date is MAY 30, 2018!! That's two weeks earlier than I thought. Fastest two weeks I've conquered this entire mission. I'll take it!! Have a great week! -K
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.