Monday, December 23, 2013

Sent: Monday, December 23, 2013 10:24 AM
Subject: Finally in MO
Soooooo I didn't actually end up calling at the airport because I didn't have enough time. Sorry :( Yes I did receive packages, packages which I am very grateful for because it is stinking cold here in MO and I think I would freeze if I didn't have the nice big blanket and gloves that you sent. If I understood right, the standard shipped packages are meant for Christmas so I haven't opened those yet. We do have a good heater in our apartment though so maybe not. As for a Christmas call/skype, we might get to skype, might not. Really it just depends on if we can find a member with internet, which we have not been able to do yet. It snowed a few days ago so the the ward's christmas party and sacrament meeting got shut down so we still don't really know anyone in the ward. I think I will just call on Christmas Day but I'm not sure what time.
My companion... His name is Elder Sanchez and he is from Mexico. It actually makes it a little hard because he wants to learn English so he wants to speak English all the time which is pretty terrible for me. But he is trying to start speaking only Spanish with me so hopefully that will change. He has been out for about 14 months I think and I will be the third missionary he has trained. He's a really great guy and is an awesome trainer. In terms of the area, we are in Kansas City, Kansas. And it is cold. And we are the first people in our apartment for like a month so there was absolutely no food waiting for us so I've been really hungry for the last few days haha. But that's all good because now I will appreciate food even more :D. We went food shopping right before we came here and I think I bought about 2 weeks worth of food just because I was so excited to have stuff to eat haha.
Yesterday we decided to go visit a less active family that we thought was pretty close to our apartment. It turned out that they actually lived about 2 miles away and we had to walk the whole way in the snow. It was cold. I think my nose was frozen. They didn't let us in the door so we didn't get to get warm either. It was rough. But oh well. It was actually a pretty good time because there are a fair amount of hills here and I can just slide down them in my church shoes since they don't have much grip on them. Great times :) I've learned that as long as I say "that's great" after everything I do, I will have an awesome time while I'm here :D
This week we did get a new investigator despite all the other junk. His name is Braulio and he's a super cool kid. He's a senior in high school and has a ton of faith in Christ and really liked everything we had to tell him. So Elder Sanchez and I have a lot of hope for him. We have a return appt with him this week so hopefully that will go well.
The area here is pretty awesome. Lots of hills and stuff which is good for exercise I guess. Also with the snow it makes it fun to slide around. It's cold though. I plan to get some long johns later today. The members that we've met so far have been awesome. They are all super nice and really love the missionaries. They are also really willing to help us out and give us references and stuff. Oh, and I can't forget. They make really good food, and lots of it. Oh, and almost all the members that we've met so far have been hispanic. I think about 60%+ of the ward is hispanic which is awesome because it means I get to practice my Spanish way more. I guess they actually have a bilingual meeting so every Sunday they have a translator. Like I said, church got cancelled so I'm not really positive what it's like yet.
Dad wanted me to share a quick spiritual thought so here goes. This one is actually inspired by my companion but whatever. Basically, he was eating M&Ms one day and decided that the two M's stood for Mas y Mejores (more and better). So... He glued the m&m wrapper below a picture of Christ and laminated it. The idea is that we need mas y mejores members in our wards, mas y mejores missionaries in the field, we need to practice mas y mejor obedience. Basically, we need mas y mejores of everything in our spiritual lives and with the mas y mejores things we will be able to bring ourselves and others closer to Christ.
I really don't have too much more to talk about. Sorry I don't have any pictures this week. I will try to get some for next week. This week has been pretty slow because of the weather. Hope you guys are all doing well and that you have a great Christmas :D Can't wait to talk to you guys on Christmas. I have an hour MAX to talk to you guys so your right ma, think of what you want to talk to me about so that we can make the most of the time. Love you guys :D
          -Elder Nyholm

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sooooo this week was pretty dificult but was really good overall. Here are
the hard parts. 1) There was a whole district being pretty disobedient
during study time so I as a zone leader had to go tell them to stop what
they were doing and to start being obedient. They didn't really like it all
that much and I don't really blame them, but it needed to be done. I never
saw them doing anything wrong again so that was a pretty good thing. I just
felt bad because I don't like telling people when they are doing bad stuff
even if it's necessary. 2) There are 3 of us remaining of the original 10
people in our district. People started leaving Monday morning. It's sad
because I´ve really come to love the people in my district and my teachers
and now I won't see most of them anymore, probably ever. So yeah, that's why
this week was a little difficult. Other than that I am amazed at how fast
the week flew by. I feel like I was writing my last email to you yesterday.

I made two new discoveries this week. 1) Drinkable yogurt is AWESOME. They
fill up a refrigerator with the stuff and I usually take like 3 of them to
drink in the morning along with my cereal and eggs or whatever else is for
breakfast. Basically the best ¿Food? I´ve had the entire time that I´ve been
in the CCM. 2) The twistable colored pencils make for some pretty awesome
scripture markers. I bought some in the store here this week and I really
love them. I do feel like a little kid when I use them though :)

This week one of our teachers had his birthday. Our district chipped in to
get him a tie and then we all wrote our names and where are missions are and
stuff like that on the back. We also got him a bunch of cookies and stuff
from the little store here on campus. Anyways, after he opened all that
stuff, his wife came in with a cake. Now that I think of it, the cake was
even better than the drinkable yogurts. It was a vanilla cake with
strawberries and it was soaked with condensed milk or something. I don't
know what they call that kind of cake but it is suuuuuuper delicious.
Anyways, he wore the tie the next day when we took a district picture. I'll
send you a picture of it in a seperate email.

Friday was a pretty long but awesome day. It was our day for in-field
orientation so we were basically in class from 8 in the morning till 9:30 at
night with breaks for lunch and dinner. I learned a lot during it and was
pretty proud of myself for not falling asleep at all. I guess that's why we
had 6 different teachers throughout the day though. Anyways, that training
really made me feel quite a bit more prepared for the mission field.

So every Sunday we watch church movies from 8-9:30pm in the big auditorium.
This week they showed us a story that was on PBS about missionaries. It was
awesome because about half of it was in the Mexico MTC and it had a bunch of
people in it that I know. I think you can find it on the PBS website.
Anyways, Carl Pratt is our MTC President and he's on it a lot and you will
see a close up or Elder Barton who was one of my zone leaders before me and
Elder Grzan. It shows Elder Bartons whole district and I knew basically all
of them so it was really cool to see them on what is basically national

Someone told me a really good definition for a missionary this week. You've
probably all heard it already, but here goes anyways. "A missionary is
someone who leaves their family for two years so that other families can be
together for eternity." I really liked that definition and it's really
inspired me to work a little harder than I normally would.

Yesterday our teacher had us go out in the CCM and share a christmas message
with some workers. We basically just walked around and talked to whoever we
could and reminded them about the true meaning of Christmas and asked for
refferals for the missionaries in Mexico City who are outside of the MTC.
Elder Grzan and I talked to 4 people in the 15-20 mins that we had and got
one refferal. The last guy that we talked to just kept talking and talking
and it really hit me how little Spanish I actually understand. I can usually
get my point across and I can always understand my teachers in class
(because they talk a little more slowly and use simpler words for us) but
when listening to a native talking at normal speed I think I only got about
25% of what they said. Which I guess is still fine because for the most part
I knew what they were talking about in general. But yeah, it was fun and was
kind of an eye opening experience.

Today is our P-day but we aren't allowed to play sports and our whole
ditrict is gone so we basically have nothing to do. So, this morning I asked
the Comedor (lunch room) employess if we could help clean up tables and
stack chairs and stuff so that we could do something useful. They gladly
accepted and we started wiping down tables and stacking chairs. About half
way through I start hearing Elvis Presly singing from the food prep area,
really loudly. So, it turned out that we got to serve a bit and listen to a
tiny bit of American music at the same time which made it suuuuuper fun
haha. Now that I think about it, I guess we aren't really supposed to listen
to anything but church music but oh well, it's good to have a little
harmless fun once in a while.

Just because I´ve been wondering... Did Erik build his flying wing yet? Have
him send me a picture when he finishes it if he hasn't already.

I don't really have much else to talk about. This week just flew by and I
don't really remember many highlights other than what I´ve talked about
already. This time tomorrow I will be in Dallas Texas waiting for the plane
to bring me to Missouri. I might get to call you in the Airport, not sure
yet though. Anyways, all is well and I'm excited to finally get out and give
some real service. I Hope all is going well back home and I continue to keep
you all in my prayers.

                   -Elder Nyholm

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 12:55 PM
Subject: One week Till the field
This week literally FLEW by. It's a good thing I write down important stuff during the week because if I didn't I don't think I would have anything to talk about. I still don't have much but I will give it my best shot. So, this week we learned how to play handball. It's basically soccer but with hands instead of feet and you can only run 3 steps with the ball. We play in the caged basketball court on campus which makes it a little more fun. I´ve found that I have a pretty nasty shot because I can jump above everyone, float for a minute to decide where to shoot, and then shoot opposite of where I think the goalie is expecting me to shoot. It's pretty great haha. The goalies get irritated sometimes because they block everyone else´s shots and then I make like 5 in a row. So a new sport I'm good at I guess.
We had a sad week this week because one of our Hermanas got sent home because she is sick. She hopes to get sent to her mission in a few weeks but theres no guarantee. She spent all last week in her house being sick and stuff and I guess she has got a few diseases which is no good. She was awesome though. I never saw her with a sad look on her face even when she came to class on rare occasion. She was always smiling pretty much no matter how bad things were going for her. She inspired all of us with her good spirit.
I got Mail this Week :) Your thanksgiving day card and a letter from the priests quorum at home. Thanks for taking time to write to me. And thanks to the priests quorum for taking the time. I always hated writing to missionaries because I never knew what to say to them. Now that I´ve gotten a letter from the quorum I realize it doesn't matter what you say because as a missionary your just glad to get mail in general and anything that is written to you can be something that lifts you up that day. So thanks a lot guys :)
I´ve started memorizing important scriptures in Spanish this past week. Right now I´ve got Joseph Smith's first vision, Alma 38:9,15, and a few other short scriptures. It's pretty nice having them on hand for when youre teaching lessons. It's a really nice source of knowledge to be able to draw from right on the spot. And it helps you learn the language at the the same time so that pretty great.
This week we got moved from the dorms into a casa because supposedly the ceilings in the dorm are failing and aren't safe anymore. Nice to know that I slept under a broken ceiling for 4 weeks huh? But it's kind of great because now we are in a casa with all the Elders in our district so we at least have people that we like that we are living with. On the downside, there are kids in our casa that are pretty disobedient and come home at like 10:30 (lights out time) at night and then stay up another 30 minutes till they go to bed. Then they wake up late and start getting ready for the day at 7 (when we are supposed to be in class). So basically they keep the other 12 elders in the casa up because they are loud when they get home and it's really annoying. I had a talk with them so hopefully they won't be doing that anymore. It's amazing how people can dedicate 2 years of their life to something and then just completely disregard the rules. It's pretty sad if you think about it.
On a spiritual note, we had a really good lesson yesterday in class (Us getting taught about teaching). Basically one of our teachers acted as an investigator and each person had one principle from the first lesson to teach him about for 2 minutes and we really just needed to apply our little section to his needs. I think we did a pretty good job and it really helped us to understand how to try and form our lesson to the needs of the investigators. Oh and we had 2 minutes to prepare what to teach him.... so really no time at all haha. I think it's the best lesson I´ve had here in the CCM.
That's pretty much all I´ve got for the week. Not much stuff happened but I did learn a lot. Thanks for all your support :) Love you all.
        -Elder Nyholm

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Date: December 3, 2013 at 6:55:40 AM PST
Subject: 2 Weeks Left

Sooooo this week went really really really fast but we also had some bummer moments. We were slacklining right after I emailed you last week and the Mexican doctor runs out and asks us to take the slackline down because it's dangerous (more dangerous than soccer, volleyball, and basketball right?) Anyways, right as I'm about to take it down the white doctor runs out and says "wait wait. I want to take some pictures". The white doctor loved it. He had seen us slacklining like 3 times that week during gym time or whatever and we actually had almost got him to try it. The next day we needed something fun and new to do so we started playing volleyball with the giant exercise ball from the weights room. It was super fun because people could actually get the ball over the net but then mr mexican doctor told us we couldn't do that either. Huge bummer.
I actually got the dearelder letters like an hour after I emailed you last week. It was pretty fun to get mail since I really didn't expect it. I left them in my room though so I don't remember if there are any questions you wanted me to answer.
This week we found out that our teacher can do a Flag on a pole. Basically he can hold on to the pole and hold his body straight out like a flag. Well we told him he needed to show us if he wanted to gain a little extra respect. So he walks up to this pole, grabs it, jumps up to flag position, and all we hear is a super loud embarrassing noise. I thought he pooped his pants or something from too much strain. Well he drops down immediately and yells "Mis pantalones! Mis pantalones". He had ripped the crotch of his pants wide open haha. It was probably the funniest thing I've seen/heard the entire time I've been at the MTC. He went home and told his wife that we provoked him to rip his pants hahaha. Anyways, good times.
So for thanksgiving we just had a special thanksgiving lunch and a devotional. The lunch was probably the best food we´ve had here except for the Tyson Chicken I think it's called. It's the breaded chicken Amanda´s mom would always make. I usually eat about 3-5 pieces of it here, which is why I'm amazed I don't feel fat. Anyways, thanksgiving lunch was good. Then we had a devotional that our whole zone was singing a special number in. The lights died during the 3rd verse so no one could read the words of their music and the song just sorta died. It was pretty hilarious. We also sang a special number this Sunday, a Hombres only song. We practiced with about 8 guys during the week and then we somehow magically had about 25 when we actually sang it. The new guys didn't realize that we were singing the Spanish words to the ENGLISH notes so basically our musical number sounded like junk because we had a 17 guys singing the wrong thing. It was a huge bummer.
This week our teacher chose me and Elder Grzan (my companion) to be the first in our district to teach a REAL less active member and her non member sister. He said it was because he trusted us and because he thinks that together we are the best Spanish speaking companionship in our district. It made us really nervous because right before we went in he said something about having a lot of trust in us so we didn't want to mess up in any way haha. Anyways, It went really well and the less active member was crying when we left because she felt the spirit so strongly. It was a pretty good experience altogether.
Having the trust of Hermano Leon (our teacher) leads into something else to. Me and Elder Grzan were called to be Zone Leaders on Sunday so we have a pretty big responsibility now. We pretty much overlook the 3 districts in our zone which is about 30 missionaries total. We´ve been trying to come up with some good zone goals and we´ve got a few now. Anyways, it's a little stressful now because we have to try to be even better examples than before. But it's good. Also, one of the Zone leaders that just left to his mission told me that he had a huge feeling that we were going to be called as zone leaders. He also said something kind of funny. He said that I have a "commanding presence" which I thought was just a joke, but he was completely serious about it. You learn something new about yourself every day I guess.
So my language story this week. Our teacher (we have two), Hermano Medina (the one who ripped his pants) was telling Elder Grzan and I about his mission experiences. He has only been back for about 6 months I think. Anyways, he's telling us this story in ALL Spanish and i realized that I actually knew what he was talking about. I know exactly what his story was about, order of events, all that jazz. So what I'm trying to say is that I can actually understand most Spanish now, as long as it's being spoken relatively slow. Also, when we teach I can say basically everything I want and have our investigator know what I'm talking about. I know I don't have all the grammar right but the point is that I can teach a whole lesson in Spanish and have them understand me. It's pretty great ;)
Dad wants my Favorite scripture for my plaque. Here's my story. During class our teacher told us to find a scripture in the Book of Mormon that would address a specific need of our investigator. I don't know the BoM as well as I should so I prayed and opened up to a random page and read the chapter that I opened up to. I guess God knows that I'm still an investigator because the chapter was basically written to me. It's Alma chapter 38 that I opened too. I read it and found some choice verses that I really like a lot. On my plaque Id like it to read "there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people." That's a mix from Alma 38: 9,15. I memorized that in Spanish right after I found it. In Spanish it is "No hay otro modo or medio por el cual el hombre pueda ser salvo, sino en Cristo y por medio de Él. He aquí, Él es la vida y la luz del mundo. He aquí, Él es la palabra de verdad y de rectitud. Ahora ve, hijo mio, y enseña la palabra a este pueblo". The whole chapter is really good. It's about Alma the younger teaching his son Shiblon. I'd recommend reading it just because it's so good.
Mom asked me how I sleep with the cannons going off all night. Since I have 16 hour days I pretty much sleep like a baby unless there is a mosquito buzzing in my ear. I go on a mosquito hunt every night before bed though so that's really rare. You also wanted to know about changing the fish water. Now is probably the right time to do it or else the filter will start to sound like it's going to explode. Just make sure you put the drops of stuff in to make the water safe for the fish. 
One last thing before I close up. I heard a quote that I guess Sister Hinckley said back in the day. She said "today I obey, tomorrow I understand". I just thought it was a super good quote, especially as a missionary since we have a lot of rules that we don't necessarily understand. All is well, I look forward to hearing from you next week. Thank you for all your love and support :)
             -Elder Nyholm