Elder Jackson york Nielsen
New Jersey Morristown mission
This week we were able to FaceTime Jack for Mother's Day and it was SO GREAT to talk with him and make all our plans for the coming weeks. Today marks 13 days left until we pick up our boy at the airport. I can hardly believe it's true. We are busy make preparations for his return so most of his letter home this week included lots of incidentals not post worthy...but I did ask him to write a paragraph for the blog and this is what I got. Enjoy! -K
Everything I have learned on my mission can be summarized in two important points. They are:
1. The gospel is about love. That’s the point and purpose of it all.
2. Don’t touch your eyes after eating a spicy pepper.
That’s it for now. I’m out.
It’s me! Your boy! Remember me? That’s ok if no because in 6 days I get to see your cute face and in 23 I get to squeeze your cute face! That’s fun!
Last transfer is basically what anyone would expect. My friends call me and ask, “are you dead yet?” People have these like “goodbye journals” where missionaries write in them when you leave an area and it’s basically like yearbook signing but I hated yearbook day in school and turns out I hate it here too so I haven’t subscribed to any such practice. When people give me theirs to sign I usually write “HAGS” or something funny because I’m funny. I have always just gotten a letter or something from my close friends. The mission is its own self-sustaining society. But my last transfer has been nice. My comp and I have really clicked over the past while and it’s really fun. He’s a funny dude. Plus we’re teaching some cool people. So I’m chillin basically. I’m a happy guy.
It was a good week too. Did a lot of service which I always really like to do. We do service at Salvation Army every week and I feel like they’ve given me too much authority there because like I run part of that show basically. We also did some yard work for our former bishop and I really like him. He has a really big library full of my favorite authors. Has a beautiful home full of art. A dog the size of a horse. He's a really smart guy and I like him a lot. He’s also a phenomenal chef. He’s our unofficial ward mission leader so we’ve been working with him a lot. He wants to take me to a poetry slam in NYC when I come over to visit some time. I have a lot of homies in this ward. I like them. One of my favorite lady’s here is Sis. Jean Louis who is this haitian lady who is like the funniest person on the face of the planet (other than you, of course.) like she kills me. She’s tryna get me to marry one of her family members. Lol. Also Peter (old guy we help) gave me this catholic Jesus ring that is literally gold lol. I love it. I wouldn’t have taken it but it has been collecting dust for like probably 10 years so I didn’t mind. It was just a nice week full of nice people.
Today is zone pday and it’s actually the last zone pday ever because they’re taking it away. Good thing I don't care because I'm not a huge fan of zone pday and also I’m going home so lol. So I’ll be playing some sports today with some other missionary hoodlums.
Ok I have to drive to Solider Hills to go socialize (ugh) wish me luck. I love you and will write you more later! I love you so much!!!!
Today marks the official month we get this boy HOME! Only 29 more days until I get to hug him!! I can't wait! He's working hard and finishing strong. Here's the latest. -K
HIIIIIIII MOM. Mi mamá. Oh, how I love you. Only 4 more weekly emails from me (and a facetime) and then I’ll be home and we can go eat sushi together and I can tell you all my adventures and you can tell me all of yours.
We had a really lovely baptism yesterday which actually was on the year anniversary of when I baptized Marié in Union City. That’s fun. I love everyone. It was really nice and the entire ward was there and very supportive of her. Ysabelle is cool. President and his wife came up too which was fun. The members payed way too high of compliments of me. I don’t like being complimented in front of people because I don’t know how to act. My least favorite compliment was, “We as a bishopric and ward, have decided that Elder Nielsen is not allowed to go home.” To which I said, “NNNNOOPPEE!” But everything was successful and we had my best friend Jimmy there to watch it and I love that kid so much. He has a baptismal date for the week before I go home and I know I was meant to teach him because he is literally me. Funny kid. But anyway. Good week. Things are good.
Are you going to get sick of Hamilton by the time I actually see it with you? At least pretend you’re still excited to see it, ok? Practice your excited face. A few days after I get home I start my American Civilization class and I’m going to bring up everything I know about Hamilton as much as possible. Man I’m so excited to start studying again wow. I’ve learned really good study habits on my mission which I definitely needed. I’ve learned A LOT of really good things here. Especially the importance of family.
You don’t need to do anything for me. Just make sure you’re at the airport on the 30th (right?) I’m doing just fine here. I’m a happy boy. Two baptisms my last transfer is a pretty good way to leave a mission. Sorry you had to pay for all of summer for my apartment. Just know that I can live on a blow up mattress and use cardboard as a desk. Don’t need that much.
Anyway. I love you so much. So so much. Wow I love you. Thanks for being the best mom who has ever been a mom before. I’m a very happy boy.
It was a good week. Lot of good stuff going on. Coordinating a baptism and all that stuff. My homie Jimmy was at church yesterday and walked in holding his BoM and I laughed because he’s a funny kid. All good things. This next week is my last zone conference and I get to share my “dying testimony” which you give when you’re leaving which is SO WEIRD because I never thought I would actually get to this point. Surprise. I did. But in all aspects of missionary work my life is the quintessence of normal. I’d rather tell you about funny people in my life. So I will do that.
Let me first of all tell you a story of my favorite lil Haitian grandma that we visit. She was a member early 2000’s but hasn’t been active since but we found her and visit her regularly. She’s seriously so so funny. I don’t even understand her most of the time but my companion translates and it somehow retains it’s hilarity. She’s was telling how she loves eating too much for her age and when she eats too much sugar or something she goes and showers and gets in her prettiest clothes and just sits by the phone and waits until she feels something and then calls the ambulance to come pick her up. When she told us I literally died. She’s the funniest lady. Love her. Another funny lady is this investigator we visit that yesterday made us like a gallon of papaya shake (which used an entire can of condensed milk) and we drank all of it and it was so heavy that we all fell asleep while reading the BoM lol. She fell back asleep when my companion was bearing his testimony and he ended it by saying, “Aviole, I know all these things are true and they can bless you even though you’re asleep right now.” And it was just really funny. Last one I feel deserves mention is my man Peter. Peter is a returned war veteran who was in an explosion that left him a little off and he needs some assistance. But this man, who is like now 70-something, has no kidding, thousands and thousands of dollars of signed yankee memorabilia. The man lives in a basement with a rat problem but literally even the dust in the corner is signed by Mickey Mantle. I like him. Whenever we don’t understand him and he has to repeat himself he yells super loud like we’re super far away even though we’re right next to him and I laugh. We visit some funny people. I love them.
I love asking the question of "Have done any good in the world today". I think it’s important to remind ourselves of that. I’m very excited about the Church’s emphasis on lightening the burdens of others with the whole ministering initiative. I love the church for its doctrine and all that good stuff but I also love it for it's day to day caring level.
Today we’re going watercoloring with our artist lady. She’s funny and needs company and we aren’t doing anything today so why not. YOLO amiright.
Other than that, know that I am good and happy and healthy and I love you so so so so soso so so soso so osososossosososososososossoso much. Don’t forget it.
Talk to you in a bit! I love you!
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.
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.