Elder Jackson york Nielsen
New Jersey Morristown mission
Hi sweet mom! It's me! Your boy! I'm currently sitting in Seminary at 5:30 in the morning. Honestly these kids are so cool for coming here so early. Most of them don't want to be alive right now but that's ok because they're here anyway. Our chapel doesn't have a cultural hall because it's very spatially limited due to the fact that it used to be a gentleman's club. But there is a nice spirit here and I admire these kids immensely.
We had a good week this week. I LOVE CONFERENCE. It's literally the biggest deal when you're on your mission. I wanted to get foam fingers and facepaint. Just kidding. Mostly. But it is the best. I only have one more in the mission field! Wow. Soon I'll be hanging out with you! I really like when my homeboy Holland said, "Every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human. May we refuse to let our own mortal follies, and the inevitable shortcomings of even the best men and women around us, make us cynical about the truths of the gospel, the truthfulness of the Church, our hope for the future, or the possibility of godliness. If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete." I like that because we're all just here to try to be better.
We had a good week. Lot of cool people we're teaching. We fill our days, that's for sure. Yesterday in between sessions we went for lunch with the other missionaries to the house of a member in the bishopric and he is a funny guy. And there's this other member that's super old and kind of reminds me of Grandpa if Grandpa was Cuban and turned his hated of Bush into a hatred of Fidel Castro. And Yomairy was there and her friend Lenin who got baptised after she did and is getting ready to go on a mission. It was just a nice time and conference was great.
I got home from Seminary and ceased to exist for a few hours. My bed is nice. Our apartment may be insanely small and sometimes you have to do the dishes in the bathtub but nothing beats a nice bed. Today we're just chilling. Probably will take the majority of my day sleeping.
I've actually thought a lot about what you sent me in regards to God's perception of heartache and pain. Even Enoch when he saw God weep he said, "How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?" To which God said, "Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood." And later, "wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?" That's the really cool thing about God, and it was a concept that was relatively lost until the Restoration. That God is not a punisher nor an amorphous presence void of human emotion. God is an Empathizer. True, He is the Man of Holiness, and unlike us He is not prone to the irrationality that our emotions so often bring us. But he definitely feels. I think He feels with us because He loves us. There's some kind of cool communicative divinity that comes from that. I mean God almost always communicates through feeling and emotion. And that whole "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy" thing basically just says that you need bad to have good. So I mean one cannot properly develop their emotions, their strongest communicative power with the Divine, without hardships. Which is why I think so many strong and faithful people have had it so rough. I mean even Joseph Smith had like the hardest life. And nothing holds a candle to that of Jesus Christ. So it's all just really cool.
I feel like the luckiest boy in the literal entire universe. I have the best mom and best family. How did I get so lucky. I don't even know. We are chipping down on 8 months now. We can do that. Thank for your nuts package. Literally lol. Thanks for all your packages. You're so nice to me and I feel so loved. So so loved. So thank you.
I love you. XOXOXOXO
-your boy Jack
Hiiii. It's me. Hello. We just had a nice zone activity which was actually really stressful because trying to get young people to focus on something for more than 30 seconds has proven to be harder than most things. Lol. After this transfer I'll have almost 8 months being a zone leader which is SO MUCH. Good thing I like it. Also, did I tell you Elder Harding is in my zone again? I LOVE THAT GUY! Same with Sister Spackman. Fun stuff. We just got back and are very tired. As soon as I finish this email to you I'm going to literally nap so hard someone is going to take me to the hospital because they'll assume I'm dead.
This week we had a ton of really cool miracles. People just showing up to church, members having nonmember family that they want us to teach etc. We keep ourselves busy, that's for sure.
So fun that Jason and Connor got home. Apparently we actually go home eventually. They are nice guys and I'm sure their missions were really good for them. Missions are good for everyone. The Gospel is good at making bad people good and good people better. I've seen it redeem a lot of people who thought they were irredeemable. It's my favorite part. We are baptizing this really nice girl next month who has just changed 100% from who she used to be. I believe in what I'm doing too.
For a day this past week we had Elder Arocho with us, who served in SLC! He just finished his mission, but lives in Puerto Rico, and he was stuck here because of the hurricane. It was fun to be in a trio but also weird. Not used to it. But he was a super fun guy and I found out that as a Missionary in Utah you can't drink caffeine. Like what. I would literally die. Literally. Mormons are nuts. I'm glad to be one of them.
BTW, the church came out with a religious freedom section in the Gospel library. Definitely worth the read.
Anyway. That's my week. I'm really tired so I'm going to catch some zzzzs. I love you more than words can say.
It is me! Your boy! @me! I'm just tranquilizándome here in my Roselle apartment, in which I am staying for another 6 weeks! I'm so excited. And I stay with Elder Hunt too and he is the literal second funniest person on earth aside from my funny mom.
So I'm staying here in Elizabeth. Very happy about that. I even stay as a zone leader too, which I am also really happy about. I don't really know how to be anything else at this point because I'll be going on almost 8 months of doing so by the end of this next one. Elder Harding is coming to my zone!!! I love that guy. Sister Freestone and Sister Hannafin are training new missionaries which is also super fun. Two fresh new faces in Elizabeth. My good friend Elder Feick was just called to be AP which is so fun. Elder Feick is from Kaysville. Love that guy. But anyway. It'll be a nice new transfer. I'm really looking forward to it. I have 6 transfers left, which doesn't seem like much at all. I can't wait to tell you about all the weird food I've eaten and the weird things I've seen. New Jersey is something else, that's for sure. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Seminary has officially started and it's so fun. We go basically every day now because we have this 16 year old investigator that goes and it's nice to be supported. She also knows more about the BoM than any other student there because they're all hardcore punks. But they're good punks. Sister Ortiz teaches it and her and her husband are the funniest. They invited us over to their house at 12 so we could help them set up something and they want to make us lunch and let us do our laundry there so that's nice. There are the nicest members here. Just the best people. I've also gained a whole new respect for seminary. I'm basically taking it all over again and have realized that I should have paid more attention the first time. I also just loved my senior year Seminary teacher. He was just the best. I have a newfound respect for CES. Because teaching stubborn kids is hard.
That scripture you sent from D & C 121 is one of my favorites. It was actually our monthly scripture last month and we memorized it. Good chapter. D&C is full of the coolest stuff. All scripture is full of the coolest stuff. Basically scripture is just cool stuff. I like how you can learn about a civilization through it's scripture. Idk. God is just very good.
In other news, this week we were taken out to a Chinese restaurant and when we were leaving we got fortune cookies and everyone's was very inspirational and mine said, "Oops, Wrong Cookie." and I am still wounded.
Also I the children's version of the scriptures are the best thing to ever happen. They're so funny. Pictures attached.
Ok I have to go but I'll email you more later. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!! XOXOXOXOX!
Elder Nielsen has been admiring the artwork in the children's scriptures. Here's a few he sent. Funny boy.
Love this cute kid. Here's portions of this weeks letter home;
I am currently lounging on my bed eating some goldfish my mom was kind enough to send me. In stages in my mission I get really into a kind of food for a while until I get bored. I just got over my salad phase. Moving on to a potato phase.
This week I went on an exchange with Elder Judkins, who went to Viewmont High School and Ms. Merrill is his favorite teacher. Love that guy. He's in training right now and his trainer has been less than adequate so we worked really hard and he was SO HAPPY. He was like "I've done more missionary work today than I have in weeks." And that comment made me sad because he's like me when I was in training lol. But I was able to help him out and I shared some stories from my training (which undoubtedly made him feel better) and he is doing great. Just a really good missionary. I also went on an exchange with Elder Follett who is one of the AP's. Very exchangey week but I'm back with my one true love Elder Hunt. What a guy. Seriously one of the funniest persons ever. We have such a good time and it makes everything all the more enjoyable because a bad companion is the worst. I've been really blessed thus far.
Seminary just started and Seminary is the best. We teach it a few times a week. It's hard to be a member in the church as a teenager in NJ. So there's a lot of influence to be made. So I'm blessed. I love my mission and I love my people.
I've had to re-brush up on my French for the past little bit because some missionaries need help teaching this Haitian guy. We also have a member that only speaks Portuguese so we've been learning that too. Je parle français et yo hablo español y eu falo português e mwen pale kreyol ayisyen. Just kidding. But it's really cool to be able to be a part of the culture of such different groups of people. People are great and the human condition is great and I am full of love and compassion for those around me.
Today Elder Hunt and I are going to Barnes and Noble today just because we can. He has been giving me piano lessons every day at 5:30 in the morning because he is the epitome of charity. I'm learning a lot, actually. Kind of a fun development of a talent. I want to learn to play all instruments ever.
Just found out that we are getting a new 2017 Nissan this week. #blessed. Our car right now is old and sad. Missionaries everywhere else have it hard. I'm just hanging out with my 2017 Nissan and iPad. They see me rollin.
Anyway. You're the best mom of all the moms ever and I love you more than words can ever say. My family is my greatest blessing. I love you.
This boy makes me laugh every week. He also sometimes makes me send him emails that say "don't do that again". Just because it's free doesn't mean it's a good idea if you know what I mean. Here is part of his letter home. Enjoy.
So this week. We had a normal week here on this week's installment of Jersey Shore. This week the sister missionaries who live close to us literally were dying. They got some kind of stomach thing and we had to take them to an urgent care. They're ok now though. Also this week we put this family (Sanchez) on date for next month and they are literally the coolest people. Like they're so funny. So so funny. And I don't know I just feel really happy. People are great. My companion is the literal funniest guy ever too. I've just had the best companions. Also this week we had MLC which is where all the ZL'S get together and we have a meeting with President and he's just a nice guy. Anyway. That's like a reader digest version of my week. Nothing too exciting and all the weeks kind of bleed together.
You're probably wondering why I am writing you so late. OK so get this. This is literally the funniest thing. So our apartment gets these coupon things regularly and are usually pretty lame but I looked this week and found 2 FREE TANNING SESSIONS AT OUR LOCAL TANNING SALON. Hahahahahaha It was so funny. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. I didn't even tan and I don't even care. I didn't know if I was uncomfortable or happy. It was a blur. However I won't be making any trips back any time soon due to the high risk of skin cancer and the lack of dignity. Don't know which reason is the motivating factor. I did like the glasses though. Don't judge me.
Anyway other than that escapade today we have a baby shower to attend at 3:30. Because we get invited to those kind of things. I can't wait to guess the baby's name. 50% chance it's some derivative of "José." Hispanics are a lot of things but creative in regards to food and names are not one of them.
What else is new with me? Hmm. This week I ate more guinea pig. Gross. I literally made a robot this week. It's this Facebook page bot thing that president wanted to try out so he asked me to make one. I am Robot King. I have almost finished the BoM again, which is cool. I would love a leather BoM but it has to be in Spanish. If not then save one for when I'm home. I only read the scriptures in Spanish now. I like it.
Anyway though. You're the best mom ever. I love you SO. MUCH. SO SO MUCH. Let me know
what I can do for you.
Yesterday I received a precious video from this cute missionary boy for my birthday (along with an Elvis Presley clock complete with rotating guitars that he found for free and is nice enough to keep for me until he gets home. lol. Can't wait!!). The video was a perfect gift so the letter is a little short this week. I'll take the trade. Here is what he has been up to;
This week was just dandy for me. Nothing too new. We went to the beach today which was super fun. I like going to the beach even though I can't get in the water. You probably shouldn't get in the water here because NJ is kind of gross and I'm sure the water is less-than-sanitary. However it was just a good time. I have a lot of friends in the zone which is super fun. Elder Hunt is still the funniest human being aside from you. I am lucky to have such a super funny and nice guy as a companion. I love him. I've just had the best companions. I know that I'll probably end with a few hard ones but that's life. I'm so blessed in my mission. I've seen a lot of people have a super hard time here and I've been in a position to help, which is nice. God prepares people. I feel like I have been prepared in my life to help others and that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
Since I need to have fun constantly and continually or I literally die I have found a good few things that keep my life entertaining. One of such things was a lemonade stand idea this week which was super successful! We hydrated the community and found a lot of good people to teach. I also met this woman who dresses in neon green and hula hoops on the corner of E Jersey and Broad. Just for fun. *shrugs*
Ok I have to go. Next week's email will be so good. I love you so much mom. Remember 2 years ago when I told you that I was going on a mission? Look at us now. Happy birthday. I'm your present. Surprise. It's me.
I love you!
Thank goodness I was able to email Jack BEFORE he ventured out to watch the eclipse through a milk jug. I nixed that plan right away. He's doing so great and still has his eyesight! Here's part of his letter this week.
Hi mom! You're so swaggy! Get a hold of your eclipse self! You're so funny. We had plans to see it today but the person that wants to see it with us couldn't find glasses and I'm not down to go blind. So she wants to see it through a milk carton and aluminum foil. You can imagine my face right now. People are so funny. I bet 30% of all New Jersians are about to go blind because they don't like following instructions. It's an apoc-eclipse. (Bum dum tss). So that's my plan for today. How fun. Literally lol at my life sometimes.
My birthday was so nice. I'm so old now. Did you know that your body begins the disintegration process at around 21? I'm slowly dying. It's so fun. I had the loveliest birthday. For lunch I ate cow intestines which were about as good as they sound. Fun time though. My favorite meal appointment of the day was when we got to the Moscoso house and the dad, who is my favorite guy, was like" Hey so my wife isn't here and she is usually the one that makes all the stuff that isn't meat, so I just made different kinds of meat fo you." Everything. On. That. Plate. Was. Meat. Steak with a side of sausage and another side of spicy sausage. Literally. It was so funny. I'm attaching a picture of my companion after eating at like 4 different people's houses and he looks like the epitome of sadness. It's so funny. Life is so good. Then that night they threw a little surprise party and it was really sweet. Yomairy made this missionary cake which was so sweet and i got to watch the cutest video of my sweet family. Best present ever. Couldn't have asked for a better birthday, especially under the circumstances of being a continent away from the people I love. But I felt your love from across the country. I am so lucky to have been born to you.
In other news. My companion is so funny. He is really subtle in his humor which I love. The Brethren have put a lot of new rules in place with regards to missionaries and President Hess is trying his best to follow, like a good president does. I just want you to know that I am so happy and I am so grateful for my mission. I have learned so much. So so much. The most important of which is the realness of Jesus Christ. President gave us all hard copies of the BoM and gave us a challenge to highlight everything that involves Christ and now I basically have a yellow book. Might as well have dipped it in paint. But I'm just really good and happy and I want you to know that. ❤️
I want some cool pictures of the eclipse if you can manage to take one. I'll be looking through a milk carton so I expect some pity. Space is cool all the time though so I'm almost a little upset at the people who only think it's cool now. Space is great all the time. And I want to explore it. Ground Control to Elder Nielsen.
I love you. I'm going to take a lil nap right now and we can talk later. You're so funny. I love you so so so much. An unfathomable amount. 🐶
This Wednesday Elder Nielsen celebrates his 21st birthday. If you have a minute, send him a birthday wish at email@example.com. I know he would love to hear from his friends and family. Thanks for all your support and prayers. He's another year older and definitely wiser. Here is some of his funny letter home this week. XO - K.
Hiiii mom! I LOVE YOU! IT'S ME! THE BIRTHDAY BOY. 21 years of life. How did I get this old? It makes me feel better when you think that around 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping so I'm about to reach my 14th year of conscious life. I can't wait until I'm 15. Maybe we can throw a quinceañera.
I'm doing really good. Just chillin in bed right now. We just helped this guy move. Who would have thought that a huge part of missionary work is helping people move houses? Elizabeth is the DMV of America. People come here with intent to leave as fast as humanly possible.
Elder Hunt, what a nice guy. He is very funny and also a shy guy. His been out for like 18 months and has had some pretty hard companions and he thanked me for being normal. Lol jokes on him amiright. But he's a really nice guy and works hard and I couldn't ask for more.
A package just came from Jean and she gave me some cookies and a ton of money. What a nice woman. Will you send me her address so I can write a quick thank you note?
Speaking of birthdays, I have like 5 meal appointments I'm going to on Wednesday. Literally lol. Some people have wanted me to tell you that they're taking care of me. You know what I want for my birthday? Regular portion sizes of meals. If it wasn't for the ridiculous amount of exercise we do every morning I would be like 399 pounds. Last year I was with Elder Jacobs and he bought me a cake and then ate like 96% of it. A man amongst boys. I'm happy to be here and to be loving our Father's children and to be as happy as I am.
I love the talk you sent me on Criticism, Compassion and Charity. LOVE. IT. I love the whole thing. I like his integration of the secular and the spiritual. Because it's true; I've felt the Spirit while listening to Bach as well as listening to Handel's The Messiah. "God isn't interested in the distinctions we make between the sacred and the secular." I also like his approach on doubt and faith because things have answers and the Church is alive and perfect because Jesus Christ is alive and perfect.
You know what I can't feel the Spirit with? EFY music.
EFY music hurts my testimony. (lol)
This week I thought it would be a good idea to do a lemonade stand/ spiritual survey booth and it should be very fun. I can't wait to meet a bunch of weirdos. All weirdos live in NJ. Weirdos are awesome.
Going to the store. I LOVE YOU!!!! I hope you know it. I think about you all the time and you help me keep going more than you could possibly realize. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Xoxoxoxoxoxo
--your boy. ❤️
Transfers this week for our cute missionary. He's doing great! Here's his letter home. -K
I forgot I'm almost birthday guy! Days aren't really a thing for me. I have officially lost my sense of time. Just strait up lost it. Is it August? July? 2016? I live outside of the social curve, even with respect to time. But that's ok. One of the things I've noticed with respect to sociological development in different countries is that less-than-fully developed countries live a few years in the past with respect to fashion, music, etc. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in 2009. Which sounds weird because I literally am in the US but it's honestly hard to find English speakers sometimes. But all of this is beside the point. The point is that I
love my family.
I have some transfer gossip for you. Sadly, I'm losing Elder Sanhueza. My heart is broken. He got called to train and be a DL and get doubled in to Trenton. So he's pretty stressed but also really excited. I'm staying in Lizzy and my new companion is Elder Hunt (Caleb Hunt so you can Facebook stalk him) I've heard nothing but good things about him. He seems just like a nice guy. He has more time than me in the mission and he's had some hard companions so I'm excited to add onto that list. Just kidding. Or am I? But I'm excited. Lot of changes to the zone which is exciting. It'll be a good transfer.
We had a really nice baptism this Saturday. Luz is so funny. It was a really lovely baptism. It's been nice to see the progression of her family. After the baptism we went to this Colombian restaurant and I again asked myself the question why Hispanics have no sense of portion control.
I'm sad to hear about Uncle Larry, but at the same time relieved. He suffered a lot. He was a nice guy. He came to my basketball games. Remember him during that one final game where he was super into it? Lol. Death is a very merciful thing, sometimes. I'm positive that he is happier. God's plan is so good. I'll be sure to keep his family in my prayers.
I love FAIRMORMON. I'm so glad it was a good conference. The thing is there's always answers to questions. Sometimes they take awhile but even doubt has a place in the growth of a testimony. I like the part of that paper we were talking about that says, "That’s the story, incidentally, that the Lord has always expected us to tell. I don’t think that people who stand up in a testimony meeting to praise this as “the only true church” realize that they’re misquoting the Lord, who never actually said that. What he did say was this was the only true and living church. (See D&C 1:30) Plenty of other churches have truth in them. Some have gobs of it. But this church is both true and living. It is more than just correct principles and authority; it is the living people doing everything in their power to apply them. And the Church, like all living things, develops, grows, and learns from it's mistakes." I am so grateful for my smart mom who was patient with me in my spiritual stubbornness. I have come to know my Savior and I am so thankful for the testimony I have since developed.
I'm about to go get my haircut and then after we're going to a park with Luz's family for a little bit. Should be a pretty chill day. That's so fun that Jenna is home and that grandpa and grandma are coming home soon. It turns out that people actually return from these things. I love my mission and I love my family. So much. So so so much. Elder Sanhueza loved his package. Like he was giddy. You're so kind. OK. Haircut time. I love you. ❤️
Love this boy. Here is part of his latest letter home. -K
Hi mom!!! I love you!!! It's me! Thank you so much for sending me Jenna's talk. Love that girl. She'll be married within the vicinity of a few months. She's just the best. But you know who is the best of the best? You. I love you. Literally so much. I'm the luckiest boy in the world. How fortunate I am. And blessed. In every way.
I'm so good mom! Since last transfer was only 5 weeks, this one is 7 so I have another transfer with my cute Chilean guy. He's literally so funny. He says hi. I probably won't be with him next transfer though because he already has been here for 7 months lol. But that's just how it goes. I'm excited for the future, always.
This weekend we helped 4 people move houses. Literally. I am dying. But it was fun. One of the people we helped gave me a couch that fits in our small apartment very nicely. Big fan. Don't worry. I cleaned it.
Also President Hess came out with us teaching the other day! Super fun. What a nice guy. Love him. He puts a lot of trust in me, which is flattering. He fell asleep in our last appointment that day. Cute guy. President has to deal with a lot of stuff. I admire him a lot.
Guess what? Started my mission with 24 months, and as of yesterday we're working down from 10. Don't get me wrong though, I love being here. I love being a missionary and I am so much of a better person. And I really do think I've been able to be an instrument of God in the lives of people. I've seen it. And I've seen my testimony and relationship with Jesus Christ change from something of a conceptual theory to that of a genuine relationship. And that is something that I know I could not have obtained in any other way.
Also, this week I ate a soup made of hearts and old corn. Probably couldn't have obtained that in any other way either.
I haven't listened to the talk from Sam Brown but I can today because I have time to put it on my flash drive. Send me that podcast too. There are a lot of talks that I've been listening too that I like a lot. One is called "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson, another is called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" by McConkie and the other called "Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity" by Neil A Maxwell.
Today we're going to the mall!! How exciting. I'm quaking with anticipation. But actually it will be nice because our only real options are go to the mall or sleep and we've made time for both of them today.
Send me any cool things that you learn at the Fairmormon conference. I like fairmormon. 10/10.
I'm online all day. I love you mom. With every fiber of my heart. Xoxoxoxoxox
your boy, Jack
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.