Another great letter from Elder Nielsen. We love and miss him. Thank you for your prayers. Keep 'em coming. ❤️-K
So once a year there's an all mission conference where the whole mission gets together and plays games and other hoodlem things. I played baseball. Remember my baseball days? Lol at those. Anyway. What a day for you too! CHINA! THAT'S CRAZY! You need to promise me that you're going to be so safe. So so safe. Maybe you'll come home a communist. Which is kind of like the law of consecration but not as nice and voluntary. That's so far away from our nice house. Where are you now? I want pictures and emails from you through the week. So I can see my nice Chinese mom.
Today me and some friends sang Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief in front of the whole mission and it was really nice. I'm glad I learned how to sing. Took a while. And I'm glad a learned how to play basketball. I still hate the competitive nature of sports. It's very inward, in a way. All contention is selfish in one way or another. I was thinking about sin the other day and it's so interesting. Especially because all sin can be traced back to self-absorbsion. It's all because what I want and how I want it and what I feel like I deserve and whatnot. It's obviously not coincidence that Jesus the Christ was free of sin while simultaneously always thinking of others. That's pretty cool.
So if you've never seen the addiction recovery videos that the church has then you should watch them. They're so good. Also, I've learned so much doctrine over the last year. I was pretty dumb coming out. But there's just so much to learn and it's crazy. I love it. Some friends and I have doctrinal discussions all the time and they're super fun. The church is cool.
I hope you have the most exotic week. Stay safe and know that I am doing the same.
your boy, Jack
Here is the latest letter from our sweet missionary. Thanks for keeping him in your prayers. -K.
I just got done playing 4 hours of basketball. I'm so tired. lol. We literally play basketball almost every day. We go to the church at 5 in the morning to play. I'm so thankful for dad teaching me how to play because I'm actually pretty good! Too bad I was a punk most of the time about it. Tell him sorry. To be fair, I just never liked how serious people took it. There are better things to take seriously.
This week was really busy! We had zone conference this Wednesday and I gave a training in front of a lot of people. I've decided I really like giving trainings. I made a metaphor where I gave someone a cupcake and was like "Sister Gaytan, will you eat this cupcake." and she did and she said it was good. Then I went to someone else and just gave them a raw egg and said, "Elder Ames, will you follow the example of Sister Gaytan and eat this egg? She just ate an egg." And we did the same thing with a bottle of oil and flour and whatnot. The point is that you cannot teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as individual things. Like you can't just read Faith as one thing and Repentance as another and pop a baptismal invitation completely out of context and void of significance. Because that's gross. Just like eating a raw egg. It was super fun. And then on Friday we went to the temple and it was so nice. The Celestial Room in the Manhattan temple is probably one of my favorite ones I've decided. I really like the windows. The temple is wonderful. I can't wait to go with you A LOT when I get home. Because you're so sweet. Like a cupcake.
Church this week was really nice too. We had a lot of investigators come and it was super fun because YSA's are the kings and queens of fellowshipping. When they stood up to introduce themselves (all of them are seperate groups of people with no ties to each other) they were like "Hey I'm --- and I'm not a member but I want to be." YSA is the best. They're actually making a YSA stake now. Wowza. I'm busy. Little sleep deprived but that's chill. I'll nap when I'm home. On your floor.
Next week is the All Mission Conference where the entire mission gets together and plays games. I'm excited. We have to think of a chant and decorate a flag and make a skit about the Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. Kind of a fun one. Speaking of them I was reading about them this week and it made me think a lot about motives. I like theirs. They would tremble and shake at the thought of a perishing soul. I'm trying to aquire their level of charity. A lot of times it's easy, especially as missionaries, to do things for the praise of others. Kind of a pharisaical manner of doing things. But theres a world of a difference and it depends on their concern for others, and not themselves. That's a huge difference. Idk. I just think we all should care about each other more and things would be ok. I really like that new video that the church put out that I posted on Facebook. Because it's true! We can be patient and kind and not judge others.
Today we're going to go to the store to buy groceries and probably end up taking a nap at some point. Naps are great. You're great. I love you. I hope you're really happy and know that you have a boy who loves you SO SO SO SO SO MUCH. SO MUCH. SO SO SO MUCH.
Jack was assigned a new companion last week. His name is Elder Taylor from West Valley City. Jack says he's a sweet guy, a hard worker and a great teacher. What more can you ask for? Here is a little bit from his letter home this week. Note: Jack sends both Tracy and I a separate letter each week, so if you are feeling like his dad is left out, don't worry. He loves that guy and makes sure he knows it!!
Hi sweet mom! It's me! Your boy! Bello! (I meant to type "hello" but I'm going to keep "bello" because that's like how the minions say hello because I'm a minion I guess.) FYI...he hates the minions. You're the cutest mom. I love you. You're so nice to me. I love my mom. SO. MUCH. Don't worry about my bedding. I'm sleeping on good sheets and I wash them every week. I'm a clean guy. My mom taught me well.
I love my area a lot. You know Marié? She literally gives us like 4 referrals a day. And she brought 3 friends to sacrament yesterday. She got called to be a teacher just barely. She's great.
We had this lesson the other day in which the Noceloti Family told us that they wanted to be baptized. Jessica has known about the church for 10 years but they never could accept baptism. They told me that they should hang a picture of my face on their wall to remember the Elder that finally did it. lol. But idk, I really didn't do anything. You just got to love people sometimes. Jesus is great. Love that guy. He's the perfect example of unadulterated love.
Yesterday we had a super cool investigator come to church with his girlfriend. He said he was surprised at how normal everyone was and how good he felt because he heard that mormons were a cult and they put stuff in the water. lol. Jokes on him. We are definitely not normal. But in a good way, right?
Today we're going to go buy groceries and then later we're going to go play basketball with another companionship. We can't leave our area on p-day now except for once a month for zone activities. But we don't technically have an area because we're YSA so we can still go to the chapel to play. #blessed.
This week we get to go to the temple. I'm happy. ☺️I'm going to go change my laundry. I am so thankful for you and for this gospel. And I love you so much!
Talk to you in a bit,
HEY SWEET MOM!
Let me tell ya. Talking to my family is the single most revitalizing thing. Like it grounds me so much and I feel great. BECAUSE YOU'RE SO CUTE! I LOVE YOU. So much. More than I am able to express. I am so thankful for you and for dad and Sam and Matt and Maddie and Rowdy. I love you. Wow I'm so lucky and I'm so happy I was able to talk to you yesterday. I am overwhelmed with love. And it's nice to talk to you 3 DAYS IN A ROW! IT'S LIKE I CAME HOME FOR THE WEEKEND. #BLESSED
So transfers are happening! I'm staying! But I'm losing Elder Contreras. 😓 but that's ok because I'm getting a new companion that is super cool. His name is Elder Nathan Taylor. Super nice guy. Red head. Very funny. So I'm pretty excited. Elder Contreras is going down to zone 8. Love that guy. Also guess what?? ELDERS HARDING AND JOHNSON ARE COMPANIONS. My MTC comp and my child! Down in Red Bank! How fun.
Today we're going to play games at the park and then probably going grocery shopping and then probably the mall. Who knows. Right now we're doing laundry and I've decided that I love doing laundry. Sorry I made you do all of mine for 20 years lol. You're so nice to me. I love you.
We had a pretty good week this week. I mean last week's of transfers are always a little bit slow but this week we had to help sisters move their apartment and I got some cool art.
Anyway. You're cute. I'll talk to you more later.
This week was really good. I was back in Elizabeth for a day on an exchange with the APs. It was really fun. Also, this week we had Mission Leader Conference and it was really edifying. Basically it was a good week and in a couple days I'm excited to talk to my mom!
On Saturday we went to the New York temple with some recent converts and also members from the YSA ward. It was so great albeit a little stressful. When you have a ton of people going to what feels like the smallest temple in the world things get crazy and whatnot but it was so fun. We left for the temple super early in the morning and got there at like 7:30. We took the bus and the subway and didn't even get lost. Go me. And then Yomairy and her (kind of) brother came with all the old zone 6 missionaries. It was so nice to see everyone. And we did baptisms for them and then Marié and the rest of the YSA came and we did more baptisms and basically we saved a lot of souls. My friend Alejando got his mission call to Boston this last week and he reports this Tuesday. No MTC. How nuts is that? Crazy. When Marié came out of the temple she was like " that was better than going to the beach. I don't have words." Lol she's so funny.
This email is going to be short but I'll tell you everything you want to know on Sunday when I call home. You're so sweet. Do you know how much I love you? It's so much. Xoxo!
Here's the latest from Elder Nielsen. We love him. -K
Hey cute family!
God is good and the Plan is true.
We had the loveliest baptism that has ever taken place ever on Saturday. Marié is literally one of my favorite people and was the best to teach. This week we had a hard time because we had this lesson with her that really sucked. She had a really hard time believing in modern prophets and it just ended full of unstable feelings and it killed me. So I hardly slept that night because I was just w o r r i e d but then we got messages from her in the morning that were like "hey guys I'm ready for my baptism. I got my answer!" So that was really nice. And her baptism was one of the most spiritual experiences that I've had the honor of witnessing. She was really nervous and she was really emotional but she literally asked Hno Cuc if she could stay in the baptismal water because she felt the spirit so strongly. And literally no joke she came out of the water and said "guys we knew each other. Before this life we knew each other." And then she was bearing her testimony and was like "guys this church is true and God is real. He was with me in the water and he is with me now. I have never been more sure of anything." And she was confirmed on Sunday and is going to the temple this Saturday. It was so fun to teach her. She's a good friend.
Want to know my new hobby? Listening to talks! Like not just General Conference talks but like John Bytheway and Hyrum Smith and Brad Wilcox and Hugh Nibley. I'll send a few for you to listen to. I love John Bytheway. Idk. New little thing I like to do. I have them all on my iPad. #blessed.
But basically I just want you to know that I'm a happy guy and I love you so much. I'm going to send you more of an email later but right now I have to go change my laundry and then go buy food. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. And God is so good. I thank Him every day for giving me you.
Do you want to hear a funny story? Lol so our gas got shut off last Monday. So for a week we haven't had any warm water. Honestly like our shower could not be any colder. It started as the worst thing in the world and one morning I showered while using disinfectant wipes because I was too cold to fully submerse myself in the frost machine known as our shower. Literally lol. But now I can just shower in it like a normal shower because I've mastered my physical body and it's weaknesses. So that's what I accomplished this week. Ta da. It's getting fixed today. Don't worry.
We had such a nice week this week! Our zone is literal fire right now. Like it's doing better than it has in a super super long time. We had three baptisms this Sunday and another 4 this next week. Marié is getting baptized this Saturday. Have I told you about her? I think so. If not then she's this 28-year-old Venezuelan girl. Honestly she is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. She's the best. She is considering moving to Salt Lake. We had this lesson with her last week in which basically ended in all of us crying after she said that she knows that the church is true. Man we love her. So that's happening this week! That's fun. You're fun. I love you.
I absolutely LOVED the talk you sent to me about Eve. I've shared it with a ton of people. Because I agree with it entirely. So I agree in your point about how Talmage was too hard on her because she was not the victim of impulsive desire but rather the initiator of the Father's plan in the mortal realm. I am a firm believer that everything that Eve did was a conscious decision to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man and woman. And we ought to admire her courage and faith instead of condemn her in any way. And the way the author (forgot her name) puts together the Priesthood and Childbearing together is completely true. Both equal powers and both cannot be used fully without the concept of unity between husband and wife.
Right now we're doing our laundry in this little hispanic laundromat. I'm going to send this to you now because we're finishing up and then we're going grocery shopping. I LOVE YOU. YOU'RE SO SWEET AND I LOVE YOU THE MOST A PERSON CAN LOVE.
Your boy, Jack
This funny boy. He makes me laugh. Here are the latest adventures of Elder Jack Nielsen. -K
Do you want to hear a funny story? So there we were. Having a really nice Tree of Life activity in the church. We planned this whole thing of Lehi's dream complete with a fog machine, water mist, and a Christmas tree with apples at the end. And a TON of people came. Classic activity, right? So the concern of fog in a closed area neglected to impress any sort of warning to us. Long story short, fire alarm went off and within about 5 minutes there were 2 fire trucks outside of the restored church of Jesus Christ. And they couldn't get the fire alarm to shut off. So this alarm was blaring and we're trying to ventilate a room with no windows. But then I noticed that the literal love of my life, this sweetest blindfolded 80 year old woman is still making her way holding onto the iron rod. I go up to her and tell her that she doesn't need to keep going and that she can let go but just tells me that nothing would ever stop her from getting to the tree of life. She made it to the end. I died. She's so funny.
My Easter was delightful. We had our two churches and I just love everyone. Our Young Single Adult ward is lit. Not a lot of people come but it's just super rewarding. Like we're helping some people prepare for missions and helping to receive the priesthood and whatnot. My best friend Loraine wanted me to baptize her yesterday. I don't know it's just really great. I hope I stay here in union city for a while. I told president to never take me out. Ha.
Speaking of UC, The investigators we have are so solid. So let me tell you about Marie. She's the coolest person like ever. She's this 29 year old from Venezuela and is super educated. She's super funny and witty. But she told us last night that she wants to get baptized this month and is going to move to Salt Lake City. Like no joke. She watched an Al Fox video and it inspired her a lot. So that's kind of funny. So we're going to baptize her either next week or the week after. We're also teaching a ton of other people who are super chill. So like things are great and I'm happy.
It's weird that you were so close to me this week. I basically live in New York. So that's super fun for me because even though I didn't see you, at least you could know that I'm in an actual physical location instead of a boy that only exists through words. Because I'm real and I love my mom, with a real love. There's this little town that we're going to today called Hobokin and it is the cutest town. Like you would love it. It's where Carlos Bakery is so today we're going to go there today for a little bit and eat some good pastries made by Buddy the Cake Boss and his dessert minions. I'm excited. And after we're going to the church and we're going to play nerd darts which is so fun. So it's going to be a really nice day for your boy. (Aka me).
(Note from Kami: Warning...deep thoughts ahead. Jack and I are doing a book club together. We are reading a chapter a week from Talmage's "Jesus the Christ" and I thought some of you would appreciate his perspective on Chapter 2. One of the things I miss most about him is when he would lay at the foot of my bed and we would have deep discussions about things. Here is what he said about our latest chapter.)
So let's talk a little but about Jesus the Christ chapter 2. One of the things that I find eternally consequential is the formation of intelligence. In Joseph Smith's King Follett Sermon he talks about the self-existent nature of God and Man, and when you think about the eternal nature of man, you cannot come to any other conclusion other than the fact that the atonement of Jesus Christ himself therefore demands an eternal nature. As Nephi says, "Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement--save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption." I am a firm believer that when we fully are able to understand fragments of the mind of God, we are able to understand that everything we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is made to benefit and aid in the eternal progression of man, and it is based on rational laws. Jesus Christ himself is an eternal intelligence so it would not make logical sense to exclude his foreordination as the Christ from his divine mission because in doing so supports the doctrine of annihilation. Like everything in the Gospel makes so much obvious sense at its basics. Which I never cease to adore.
Sorry for the rant. You're so sweet. I love my family. We're going to go shopping right now. I love you SO MUCH and I'm excited to talk to you with you next month. 😉☺️❤️
I LOVE YOU.
Your boy - Jack
Here is the latest happenings in Union City, N.J. This week he bumped into a senior couple serving from our ward, Elder and Sister Mendoza. It makes this mom happy to have some familiar faces checking in on him from time to time. Thanks for all your support!! -K
Let me start off by first of all telling you that Union City is where I want to spend the rest of my mission. No joke. I literally love it here. We literally live like 10 minutes away from Manhattan and outside our apartment looks over the entire Manhattan skyline. There's this track outside our apartment that we run and it has a reservoir in the middle and looks over all of New York. It's so pretty. And don't even get me STARTED on the people. The people here are the best. The members are the sweetest and our investigators are so prepared. We literally put 4 people on date in one day. I'm so happy. Elder Contreras is my best friend. I say that about everyone but I literally love him so much. We have the same kind of humor so I'm constantly laughing. What a guy. And I love our zone. I'm so excited for these next transfers. It's sad that I can't get packages put I'm also ZL so I'll be able to get them frequently. So no worries. Thank you so much for the apartment care-package because we needed it. You're so nice to me!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! Our apartment is deceptively big due to the fact that we love in a hobbit hole kind of. But you go in and it's big and also cold because we don't have a heater which I like because I sleep better when it's cold anyway. Also I've found out that I love eating salad and also I made this new thing where you get a tortilla and you cover it with Nutella and put an entire banana inside and it's delicious. I'm an adult. Hello. Also, we go to two wards on Sunday. Union City Spanish and YSA. Both are the best. YSA is so fun. Literally I never want to leave here. So know that I'm happy and I love you!
Also lol at the Mendozas. They're so sweet. I'm glad that I get to see them every week. Also, the Cutlers are our senior missionaries and they're the funniest people.
Today we have to help some sisters move because they're being harassed by their landlord. Fun p-day activity. Union is pretty sketchy but not for us. I never feel in danger or anything. It's just the best. I am a happy guy.
Guess what's in my area?! WEEHAWKEN. DAWN. GUNS. DRAWN. (Note from K: This is where Alexander Hamilton was killed...also his son Phillip. A little history FYI. ) Which makes sense because I could throw a rock at New York we're so close. I've told my companion the entire history of Hamilton. I can't wait to share it with you.
I'm so glad you like Jesus the Christ. I love it. I finished reading it for my second time and now I'm going to go through it with you. There's a quote that I really like in the first chapter that says, "Nevertheless, man never lived of whom more has been said and sung, none to whom is devoted a greater proportion of the world’s literature. He is extolled by Christian, Mohammedan and Jew, by skeptic and infidel, by the world’s greatest poets, philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and historians. Even the profane sinner in the foul sacrilege of his oath acclaims the divine supremacy of Him whose name he desecrates."
I'm doing so good and I love you so much. You really don't have to do anything for me. You already do so much. I'm going to give you 100000000000000000 hugs when I come home. I never thought I would love my mission so much. And I want you to know that I'm very happy. I love you all so much and I hope you have the best week.
Our cute guy has been transferred to Union City, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. He is the new zone leader in the area and his new companion is Elder Contreras from Mexico City. He already knows and loves him. Thanks for all your prayers. Keep em' up!! -K
This week was really good, as always. I love Elizabeth but also I'm super excited for Union. And being a zone leader is going to be great. I was with Elder Contraras the other day and he is such a funny guy and he works really hard so I'm really excited to work with him. And YSA ward! How fun is that? I'm super hyped. I'll also be RIDICULOUSLY close to NY so it's like we're going to be together in 11 days kind of! Not really but in terms of geographic location I suppose. I'm sad to leave the nicest apartment in the mission and living in a 4 man but that's ok. Zone leaders usually serve for 4 transfers so I'll be a ZL for the next 6 months. Fun. And then I'll only have a few months left before I come home to you. I'm going to miss being a district leader but I might be one when I get done being a ZL so who knows.
Today we're going to the beach in Perth and I'm excited because I like the beach. And later we're going to Camila's house who is the best. And then tonight I'm going to go to see my friend Glenda and then go see Yomairy because her mom made us habichuelas con dulce. I also have to pack up everything that I own so it'll be a good day and also a little busy.
I don't know if you know this but the dining table ping pong set you sent me for christmas is the epicenter of my life in the Elizabeth apartment. Elder Wildman and I play every day and literally I've had dreams about ping pong, as sad as that is. I held the "Pong King" title this past week but I lost it so now I'm Pong Queen. Not to be confused with Prom Queen. Elder Follett is Pong Loser. Elder Harding is cute.
In my new zone i have a lot of really good friends too! Like Elder Hebertsen, who was my first zone leader. And Elder Vaherran who was the AP last transfer. And sister Mora who is a homie. I'm just really excited!!!!!!
I loved conference! It's literally like the super-bowl for missionaries. We get so hyped. I absolutely loved Holland's talk. I want it tattooed. Lol just kidding but I loved it. I loved all of them! And I love you!
Anyway. That's my life. I have the best family. There isn't anyone else that I would rather spend eternity with.
I LOVE 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.