I've had Barbara Streisand singing her song "The Best Gift" in my head all day. The best gift that we received this year came in the form of a 13-inch screen that flashed "Facetime call from Elder Jack Nielsen". It was so wonderful to be able to see his cute face and to talk with him for an hour. Our hearts were full (and our eyes a little wet) after it was over but we are so grateful for the time we spent with him. And to top it all off, today was P-day and we got a wonderful letter from him. Here's a little excerpt. Merry Christmas!!
So let me just tell you that being able to facetime you guys was the best thing to ever happen to me. I felt like I was home for an hour and 18 minutes. And I feel so much better! I feel like I can make it for another few months until I get to talk to you again and then after that I can wait a few more and then soon I'll be home! But also I'm talking to you right now! The same boy that you talked to yesterday is the same boy that you're talking to right now! Hi mom! I love you! I had such a merry christmas yesterday. The best present I could have ever gotten was to be able to see my family. I am so glad that I get to spend forever with you. Because any less wouldn't be sufficient.
After we stopped talking yesterday we ate tamales with the Flores's and they were SUPER good. I love tamales. And then we went to the Plazas and they gave us ham and rice. We eat at the Plazas every Tuesday. Every time I go there I always tell hna Plazas that her food is the best. But anyway. It was just a very merry christmas.
I am continually filled with charity and love. I'll talk to you in a week. Love your boy. -Jack
This week officially hit the 6 month mark for Jack's 2 year mission. It's been a challenge having him so far away but we have seen blessings and miracles during his service and know that Heavenly Father is watching over him as he goes about doing good. Also, he calls home this Sunday!! We can't wait to see his cute face!! Here are a few paragraphs from his last letter home. Merry Christmas!! -K
This week was crazy. We taught a ton and I just wanted to share a few miracles real fast. The first one is the exchange that we had with the zone leaders. I led out my area and I was with Elder Follett. The first really cool thing to happen was we had a lesson with a new investigator named Sabina. She's super chill and agreed to be baptized once she knows it's true. We're working really hard on having members present during the lessons right now so before we went in we went up to this lil apartment where two member sisters live, one is active and the other isn't because her husband won't let her go to church. We knocked and the less active opened the door and we asked her to come with us and she was super down. So we go teach the lesson and she bore a really sweet and touching testimony. And then when the lesson was over she just wanted to stay in the apartment and hold Sabina's new baby so we just left lol. But it was just super awesome and now Sabina has an apoya (support). Super happy about that. Then we had a super cool find with a cute member named Guadalupe who hasn't been active for a long time. But as soon as she let us in someone else came in and her face just lit up. Her name is Marina and her kids are baptized and she wants to be too. Marina is super chill and she also thought that we were prophets lol. They moved her from El Salvador like 3 months ago. So that was super awesome and funny. And yesterday we went to go teach Nelson and ended up teaching his entire family and he was just like "I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it." And that was super cool. And then his wife made us pupusas because she's so awesome. People are so awesome. I'm amazed every day.
Also you should hear my hood talk. I'm really good at talking street. It's really funny. Whenever people ask where we learned Spanish we say "Por la calle" which means "by the street." Lol. Also can I tell you how much we love the advent calendar? We use it every day for companion study. You're the best. I'm the luckiest missionary guy. We had a super fun Christmas party on Friday. Everyone loved my pug sweater vest so much. And my pug socks.
I'm really excited because I love Christmas and I love you and I love Jesus Christ and I love the human condition .I have homework for you, too. Read all of D&C 88. I love it and it's really beautifully written.
Ok. we're going to the mall. Pictures (and maybe videos) will follow. I love you so much!
Your boy, Jack.
This week was very normal! Because we do the same things every day. But I went on a fun exchange with Elder Doria this week and we randomly found an inactive member and he's letting us come back. Elder Doria is from the Philippines so I introduced him to egg nog and he loves it. Also I drink a lot of egg nog. We also had dinner with some of my favorite members. They're so funny. And they fed us my favorite tacos. Mmmm. I love tacos. Yesterday we had a missionwide Spanish program in Newark where all of us preformed and members from all over came to watch and it was really fun. I was the voice of the angle that delivers the news to Mary. Very fun. Very Spanish. I got complimented for my accent a lot and that made me happy. And then we went outside and it had snowed! And we drove home and sung Christmas songs really loud and recorded them and I'll send those videos to you when I get them from Hna Fernandez later today. In other news Elder Dove and I bought a lot of stuffing that was on sale for 75 cents and we eat it for dinner sometimes. Also we love velveeta mac and cheese to an unhealthy extent and we call it "dank mac and cheese."
Our investigators are doing really well right now too. We had Marta and Lucia (less actives) come to church this week and it made me really happy. We had really touching lessons with both of them this week and I cried in both of them. Nelson and Rosalina still have a date for the end of this month and they're both super nice but we might have to move it back a little. There's that quote that I really liked that I think about all the time that says something like "The job of missionaries is not to fix people, but it is to minister unto them." And I've thought about that every day. I've met a lot of people that as soon as they were baptized they were just forgotten about and treated as a statistic. And a lot of people have some really hard problems. So I just try to love everybody and to help them in any way I can. And they best way anyone could possibly be helped to show them the perfect love that their Father has for them, and invite them to discover the power of redemption and repentance. Claro. But a lot of people aren't ready to accept that so sometimes they just need to be loved and validated. And now I'm going to step down from my soap box. Speaking of which we need to buy soap today. Just reminded myself. Go me.
Also I just want to give a shout out to Michael Bublé for a really great Christmas album. Thanks Michael. We love you.
Right now we're on our way to Walmart. Classic. I budget my money every month and it makes grocery shopping really hard because everything looks so yummy. But there are people with real problems. I can live on 75 cent stuffing.
I love you so much. Xoxoxox. I'm so happy and I feel so loved.
Jack's latest letter home. Have a great week! -K
It's me! I love you! I just got my hair cut and it feels so nice. The guy who cut it was named Adel and he's from Egypt. He was really nice and did a super good. Good job Adel. Love that guy.
We had a really good week full of really fun things. We had "Traditions" with the Taggerts where we went
up to their house and sang Christmas songs and got some training and stuff. That was really fun. President and I cut strawberries together. He things I'm funny. Probably because I am funny.
This week was also full of joy and Christmas cheer. Red Bank is all decorated for Christmas and I love it Every street has decorations and they had a tree lighting ceremony the other day which was really cute. And I don't know if you know this but the hispanic community goes hard for Christmas. Like Christmas starts on like the 12th and they just celebrate every day. So I'm super excited.
I love the church's initiative this month. We show it to a lot of people and I can see that it touches a lot of hearts. I've also seen what the worldwide efforts are doing and I am just so happy to see everyone full of charity and love. I was reading in the bible dictionary on the definition of the word "charity" and I really liked it. It says, "The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. It is never used to denote alms or deeds of benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive." I like that. I like how it doesn't define charity as money giving or deeds of benevolence, but the pure love and compassion we feel when we are charitable motivates us to help those of whom are in need of something, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.
We love our mini christmas tree and the advent calander so much. Holy guacamole you're such a crafty mom! It's a major part of our companion study every day. We sing the song together and read the scripture and read the cute little paragraph note. Thanks for sending them to us.
I am blown away at how fast the weeks go by which makes me super happy because that's the closer I get to my family! Have a good week and know that there is a boy in NJ who loves you.
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.