Monday, December 8, 2014

Sent: Monday, December 08, 2014 8:53 AM
So this week went pretty quick and uneventful. Our teaching pool is pretty tiny still because we are had those baptisms a few weeks back so just about all our efforts are going into finding new people to teach. It's hard to because no one is outside anymore because it is getting cold so it's definitely a little harder to find people to talk to. But all is going well so it's all OK!
The other day we helped a member to dig a super long trench. It was great fun. 500ft long and 6 inches deep. We finished it in about 2 hours which I thought was pretty good because it was just Elder Spencer and I doing the digging. The member we were helping has cerebral palsy so he wasn't able to do any digging at all. He's an awesome guy though. And we got some good exercise so that is just a bonus.
There's a scripture I read this week that has been on my mind a lot lately. Its Jacob 3:1 which says "But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions,and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction." The parts that I put in bold are the parts that really interest me. There is a promise made to us from God that if we do two things 1) Look to God 2) Pray in faith then he will do two things for us 1) Console us 2) Plead our cause. There's a lot that you can take from that but for me I think it's super important to recognize that every time we do something for God he blesses us in return. Every single time. No exceptions. I love that we have a loving God who wants to do everything for us but allows us to grow by letting us stumble through our trials until we truly rely on him for strength.
Mom asked about speaking Spanish. I speak Spanish about once a week here. We visit a recent convert, Marco Cruz, and cook lunch with him every Tuesday and then share a message with him. So I get a nice 1.5-2 hours of Spanish in every week. Not much but at least it keeps me from forgetting it completely. And we get good authentic Mexican food as well so you can't beat that. I know how to make Horchata from scratch now too. Marco is teaching me well :)
That's about it for the week. Like I said, it wasn't super exciting at all. This week we have a mission-wide conference on Wednesday so that'll be super fun. Every missionary in the mission will be there and each zone will sing a Christmas song and all that good stuff. Should be a blast so I'm looking forward to it.
Well I love you all! Have a great week!
     -Elder Nyholm
Date: December 1, 2014 at 11:37:31 AM EST
Subject: Re: Hey Buddy
We had transfers this week and Elder Lokeni got booted out to Sedalia (about 2 hours east of Independence). He was super scared of serving in the boondocks but that's the only places he's ever served in his mission hahaha. Funny how that works. So Elder Spencer from Glendale Utah came to replace Elder Lokeni and we are having a good time and working hard.
We had an awesome Thanksgiving. We had a lunch with the Crumb/Dinning/Hurt clan in Amazonia where we had the bonfire a few weeks back. They had enough food to fill up every bit of counter space that we have in our kitchen in Livermore plus another full table of desserts. It was wonderful. Then after that we went to a dinner with the Burns family where we ate more food and more pie. I think in total I ate a full pie and a half that day. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, double layer pumpkin pie, brownie fudge pie, etc. It was wonderful. Then I didn't have to eat anything on Friday because I was still full from Thanksgiving.
This Sunday I was asked to do a confirmation for the Sister missionaries new convert, Misty Stein. It was the first confirmation that I've ever done and it was a pretty cool experience. I'm glad that Misty trusted me enough to ask me to do her confirmation for her.
I've heard of Sister Flink. I know she is in the mission but I've never met her before.
Numbers 20 has a pretty good story about exact obedience that I really like. Moses was commanded to speak unto the Rock at Meribah to bring forth water to the Israelites but instead he whacked the thing with a rod two times. The water still came forth, the miracle was still there, but Moses was told that he would never see his people enter the promised land because he didn't follow the commands of the Lord with exactness. You can find it in Numbers 20:2-13.
That's about it for the week. It went by quick with transfers and everything. Well I Love You! Have a great week!
    -Elder Nyholm 

Sent: Monday, November 24, 2014 8:51 AM
We are having a pretty interesting week, well just today actually. All the missionaries who are supposed to go home on Thanksgiving leave today so that they can be with their families ON Thanksgiving which means that Elder Lokeni and I just accepted Elder Hart into our (now awkward tripod) companionship. So we are in Independence now instead of in St. Joseph which I really am kind of happy about because I LOVE Independence (much more than any of my other areas). But yeah, we will have Elder Hart until Thursday when Elder Lokeni and I do not get transferred (fingers crossed).
But yeah, the week has gone by well and went by very fast. The Sister Missionaries in our ward had a baptism on Saturday. This time when we filled the font we were smart and ran the sinks in the kitchen on hot water and then siphoned the water our into a big trash can then wheeled that over to the font to dump all the water in. So the water was actually warm and we got the whole font filled in an hour and a half rather than in the 4 hours it would've taken. So that was a fun and good experience.
Hermano Cruz in our ward opened up a taqueria a few months ago and he took us out to eat there this week. He got me this plate of chile verde and it was super good. Elder Lokeni tried a bite and almost started crying because it was too spicy for him (then he got mad at me for not warning him hehehe). Actually Brother Cruz didn't get baptized too long ago so we go over and share a message with him every Tuesday and while we are there he teaches us to cook Mexican food and feeds us lunch. It's a pretty sweet deal. This Tuesday we are going to make homemade Horchata and probably gorditas or tostadas. We'll see. But yeah, Bro Cruz makes some really good food :)
Something I've been thinking about a lot over the past week. Alma 37:7 says "And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." I think a lot of times we forget that Satan also works by very small and simple means. He doesnt get us with one big earthquake, he weakens us with several small earthquakes until he can give us one last hard push and make us crumble. But those little decisions that we make every single day can make the difference between if we are following the Lord or the Devil by "small and simple means". Like Pres Monson says "Decisions Determine Destiny". It's just so very important to make sure that the small and simple things we do every day help us to follow our Heavenly Father's plan.
I think that's about it for the week. Nothing too interesting or out of the ordinary. Have a great week. I Love You!
   -Elder Nyholm

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 8:17 AM
Subject: Two Baptisms!!!
So this week went pretty awesome especially since, per the subject, we had two baptisms this weekend!!!!! It was funny though because our ward mission leader was late to open the font so we had to start filling it with buckets when he finally got there and by the time the baptism started the water was nice and cold. Then we had a baptism an hour later so we were going to drain some water and put some new hot water in but Elder Lokeni didn't notice that the plug chain got stuck under the plug so more water drained than was expected so we had to rush to fill it up again for the next baptism haha. It all worked out great though and both Kaleb Christman and Jennifer Bennett were baptized and confirmed the next day in Sacrament meeting :) They are both super excited to be following in Christ's footsteps and to start a new life of dedication to Christ.
This week it also got really cold. The first death (snow) has fallen. Its been down at about 10 degrees which is waaaay to cold for a Californian and a Samoan. I don't know how Elder Lokeni and I will survive the winter, but we will do our best. At least in this area we have a full-time car so we don't have to be outside much. I almost think it is worse though because we never get acclimated to the cold so we are always freezing.
Zone Conference was pretty awesome but it was suuuuuuper long. We started at 9am and didn't get out until 4:30. Then from there we started an exchange so we had to drive 2 hours from Platte City up to Maryville (kind of a fart-in-the-wind town, about 5,000 people). So it turned out to be a pretty long day of sitting. Speaking of fart-in-the-wind towns, we went to one called Rosendale, population 143. It looks like a tornado went through the town. I've never been in a town with so many stray dogs and so many broken down houses. If you ever drive North from St. Jo make sure you don't blink... you might miss it. There are lots of little towns here actually but we just don't go to them because there is nothing there.
This week I read through 1 Nephi 1-3 and a cool thought came to me. It talks about how Lehi leaves Jerusalem and all his gold, silver, precious things, and takes his journey into the wilderness. The cool part though is in 1 Nephi 2:7 "And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God." I thought that was pretty cool because Lehi had not yet seen the blessings which had been promised to him. He had left everything behind, except for his family (also very important subject), gone three days into the wilderness, and the first thing that he did was thank God for his many blessings. I think of our lives and how many times be have trials in our lives and we forget the little blessings that we DO receive and never thank our Heavenly Father for those blessings. I think it's a pretty special subject, especially with Thanksgiving coming up.
And about Thanksgiving... It used to be that we gave thanks Thursday for things that we did have and then trampled people for things that we didn't have on Friday. Now I've heard that Black Friday is going to start on Thanksgiving in some stores... I just thought that was pretty ridiculous...
So anyways, this week has gone really super great and we are looking forward to another awesome week. Have a good one! I Love You!
    -Elder Nyholm
P.S. Here are some little funny photos someone sent me. I hope they give you a good laugh :)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sent: Monday, November 03, 2014 8:39 AM
You're right about the time Mom. A year does go fast but it does still seem like a lifetime haha. I try not to think about how long I've been out but it's pretty hard to do when you are at your year mark. Haha I was in my last area for 3 months and when I got there I was at about 9 months, and I still told people that I was at about 9 months when I left. Then all of the sudden I'm at a year. But I think I liked being at 9 months better. Maybe I will just stick with that ;) 
Thanks for giving those missionaries some money for lunch Ma. I guarantee that that was one of the highlights of their day.
This week went pretty well. On Halloween we weren't allowed to be out tracting after dinner so we had dinner with a Less-Active family and spent the time after dinner passing out candy to people that came by the door. That family is super funny, they already told me that if I had been a "dud" missionary then they would always be too busy to meet and that if Elder Lokeni leaves and I get a "dud" missionary in his place then I will never be in their home again. It feels good when people people don't think you are a "dud" missionary hahaha :)
We also got to carve pumpkins on the day before Halloween. It was a fun little thing that we got to do that just gave us a little stress relief and fun for a little while. I think the pumpkin that I carved turned out to be the best one that I've ever done. I was a little impressed because I just jammed the knife in and started cutting without anything to guide me. But yeah, that was a little fun highlight of our week.
We've got two awesome people that we are teaching that should be getting baptized really soon (Nov 15th and Nov 22nd). Hopefully all goes well and I will be able to send you some baptismal pictures soon :) It feels really good to have two solid people to teach who actually enjoy having you teach them and appreciate the fact that you are out on your mission. I don't feel like I've felt that from investigators in quite a while.
To answer your question about packages. If it's USPS priority mail then it gets forwarded to me from the mission office Mon-Fri. If it's not USPS priority mail then it takes until someone from Independence makes a trip up here to the boonies, so probably a pretty long time.
 I was reading in 2 Nephi 33 this week and verse 3 really stuck out to me. Its says "But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry." I feel like each on of us has several people that we pray for constantly, who mean the world to us and who we want the best for. To me it is super comforting to know that our Heavenly Father hears each and every one of our prayers and that he hears and answers, again, each and every one of our prayers (although we may not recognize those answers). It's also super important that as we pray for those people that we pray for them "in faith", showing God that we have confidence in Him and that we know that he will do what is best for that person who we are praying for. The power of prayer can play and powerful and active role in our lives if we let it. It's so important that we realize that and act on that knowledge so that each one of us can help to bless the lives of those around us.
In terms of the question you asked of "why are children so devilish sometimes if Satan doesn't have power over them" (I laughed pretty good when I read that by the way) I kind of look at it from this point of view. If they acted perfect 100% of the time while they were children then as soon as Satan did have power over them to tempt them then they would not know how to resist those temptations and they would not know of the consequences that come from "acting devilish". So when the time came that Satan did have power over them, they would give into just about every temptation that was put in their path and be accountable for those sins, which would definitely not be a good thing. So yeah, those are my thoughts on that.
Not much else really interesting happened this week. It got really cold one night, about 20 degrees, but that isn't nearly as cold as it will be this Winter so.... yeah we will see what happens :)
Well have a great week. Thanks for all the support you give me. Sure Love Ya!
      -Elder Nyholm

Sent: Monday, October 27, 2014 8:08 AM
So I've learned a little more about St. Joe in the past week. #1 we have a full-time car because we cover the towns of Savannah, Amazonia, Troy, Elwood, etc. All of them are little tiny towns like 15-30 mins away by car. If we didn't have a full-time car we wouldnt be able to get to those places sooooo... we have a full-time car. I feel spoiled but I won't complain. #2 St Joseph is the home of Jesse James (I think) a pretty famous robber. So just a interesting fact.
This week flew by pretty quick. I'm still learning the area and trying to remember the names of all the members. There are some rough parts of St. Joe but it's nice because I don't think most people want to mess with Elder Lokeni seeing as he is 6'5, and ~250lbs. I know I wouldn't try to bother someone that big. Being with a huge companion definitely has its benefits. Now we can pretty much go wherever we want whenever we want and not have to worry. Our Bishop told us and the Sister missionaries during a correlation meeting that he didn't want us going into a set of apartments at night. Then he looked at Elder Lokeni and said "Mmmm you elders can go". I thought it was pretty funny.
Yes Dad I got the cables and they are good. Thank you! And yes my ankle is doing pretty good. I am wearing a brace every other day now. My ankle is super weak now from having a boot/brace so long so I'm trying to help it get a little stronger before I ditch the brace all the way. We'll see how it goes.
So I gave a lesson in Gospel Principles yesterday about talents and found a scripture I really like in James 1:17 that says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." It's pretty cool that we can know that every talent we have comes from a Heavenly Father who loves us. And I think it is always important to understand that we are given gifts and talents to help bless the lives of others, not to keep and treasure up for ourselves. With every talent we are given there is a corresponding way to bless the lives of others with that talent. This life is a life of service. From Hugo Martinez, "El que sirve, sirve; el que no sirve, no sirve" (He who serves in some thing is good for something; he who serves in no thing is good for nothing.). 
That's all I got for the week. Here are some pictures of beautiful St. Joe from the biggest hill I've ever seen in Missouri (and it's still tiny...)
Have a great week everyone. I love you!
      -Elder Nyholm


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2014 8:38 AM
Subject: I got Transferred

So today was a super busy exciting fun week. I ended up getting transferred to St. Joseph Missouri to serve as a District Leader with Elder Lokeni. So Tuesday and Wednesday were spent packing, teaching, and visiting ward members. Thursday-Today were spent trying to meet lots of members and investigators and unpacking. So it just ended up being a super busy week all around. 
So I'm serving in the St. Joseph 2nd ward. It's a huge area (compared to my other areas) and it is really basically a boonies area. Out in the middle of nowhere. Lots of hunters and fishers. This is my territory haha. The first day here we went to the Crumb's home in the middle of nowhere to watch a HUGE ward bonfire, and I mean huge... Like there were whole trees in there that were soaked with diesel fuel and probably an area 30' x 20' x 10'. It was quite a show haha. They also had two junker cars that they were running through the forest just for fun to smash them up. The next day they used the cars as target practice until they exploded. I also got to hold a ball python and an alligator at their home which was a fun experience. I think I'm in love with this ward :)
So Elder Lokeni. He grew up in Samoa until he was 9? and then moved to West Jordan Utah with his family. He plays guitar and ukulele and will be playing college football and basketball somewhere in Montana. As preparation for returning to sports we go to a gym at 5:15 every morning to work out. I think I would rather sleep the extra hour and 15 minutes but oh well. Now I'm really sore all the time... and I think I'm going to have to buy more food.
I do miss the people from my last ward a lot. They were super awesome and I really grew to love them all. I got a picture of a lot of the members of the ward so I'll send that. 
1 Nephi 20:10 says “For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” I think that this scripture is just an awesome scripture all around. It shows that we are given trials in our lives so that we can become more refined and become more like our father in heaven. But it also shows that God is in control of the refining and that, because he is perfect, he will never put us through more heat than we can withstand. He will always make it possible for us to exit the refiners fire and we will always leave that fire better and stronger than we entered it.
So the Giants and KC are playing each other in the World Series this year. Now whenever I tell people that I am from the San Francisco area they have to ask me who I cheer for. It's a good thing that I'm not a baseball fan or I think a lot less people in the ward would like me haha. (But secretly I'm rooting for the Giants).
That's pretty much it for the week. Let me know if there's anything you want more info about. Have a great week. Sure Love Ya!
    -Elder Nyholm

Sent: Monday, October 13, 2014 9:25 AM
This week has gone really well. It got nice and cool outside which it always a blessing and we were able to get in to teach some really awesome people.
We had exchanges this week so I worked in the area that covers the Historic Liberty Jail for a day. It's kind of funny because that area (the Doniphan Ward named after Alexander Doniphan) is also the home to the Liberty Jail, like, the one where people are imprisoned nowadays. And even more interesting, we went into the jail to teach a member of the church who has been in prison since he was 16. So it was a pretty interesting experience all around and it was my very first time ever in a jail.
Anyways, our exchange went really well and I found out really quickly that tracting actually does work in some areas, just not the one that I am in right now. We found a lot of people who were pretty interested in learning about the church. I also was with Elder Romney who, yes, is the nephew of good old Mitt Romney. I think Elder Romney gets asked that every single day. They've actually tried to use that as an approach so that people will be more interested in talking with them hahaha. But yeah, exchanges went super well like always.
We had dinner with an awesome family in our ward, the Savea family. They decided to roast hot dogs over a fire for dinner so we had a pretty good time doing that. It's the first time I've roasted food over an open fire since I was at home so it was extra fun. So we had hot dogs and smores and... A hot dog marshmallow kabob, which actually turned out to be pretty yummy despite the fact that it sounds absolutely disgusting. I'll attach some pictures.
This Thursday is Transfers so it's an exciting time. I'm praying to get moved over to downtown KCMO so that I can speak some Spanish and be able to talk to more people (since the population in so much more dense). We'll see what happens. I haven't really spoken Spanish much at all here in this area. I speak it about once or twice a week. So I would really love to be able to use the language a little more.
3 Nephi 11:29 says "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another". I think that there are always times in our lives when we feel contentious towards those around us. It's important to realize that any time that we act on those feelings of contention we are giving in to Satan and allowing him to overcome us. Once we do that we lose our free agency, something that God has given to us as a divine gift. It's just always so important to remember that to give into contention is to give into the Devil. If we remember that then it will be so much easier to choose to do what God would have us do. 
That's about all I got for the week. I love you all. Have a great week!
    -Elder Nyholm


Friday, October 10, 2014

Sent: Monday, October 06, 2014 10:23 AM
So we had a really really great week. We found some more people to teach and had some investigators listen to General Conference with one of the families in our ward so that was pretty awesome. Also, General Conference weekend is awesome because we get to eat food between sessions with members since they are all home anyways. We had some awesome overnight french toast, pizza, spaghetti, Nigerian food of some sort, etc... I love food. My problem is that I keep gaining weight but I just keep eating. I guess I need to exercise more. General Conference was also super awesome because 1)I actually stayed awake for most of it 2)The talks were pretty amazing 3)We watched it at the chapel with no loud kids around so we actually got to pay attention ;)
As for my ankle, I rode my bike for just one day with the boot on and then I got a brace so I could ride it with that no problem. And I can climb with it now as long as I dont fall on it. It's almost 100% now. I just have to use the brace when I "play" sports on P-Day now. But yeah, it's doing really good now.
The Elder here that had stomach problems ended up just having some sort of bacterial infection so no Crohn's or ulcerative colitis luckily. He was well enough today to play sports this morning. As for me, I still have about 4 bottles of meds still so I should be good for a while. I'll let you know when I need more.
It looks like you had a pretty awesome hike at the Grand Canyon. I miss getting to go on hikes but it's OK. Some day I will get to go again haha.
Heleman 5:10-11 says "And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls." I really like this scripture mostly because of the parts that I put in Bold. Each one of us has a wonderful opportunity to repent (change) of past mistakes in our lives. And that opportunity is brought about in and through the Atonement of Christ. I just think it's so awesome that our Heavenly Father has provided such a perfect plan for us to be able to return to him one day. I'm so thankful for the opportunity that we have to repent and be cleansed of sins in order to become clean and be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
That's about it for the week. I love you!
  -Elder Nyholm

Sunday, October 5, 2014

 Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 11:01 AM
Well... I wasn't going to tell you about my ankle until AFTER it was done healing but I guess Amanda kinda blew that one haha. It's doing really well right now. I had a medical boot on for two weeks but as of Tuesday I just have a small ankle brace on. Thursday was my first day that I could actually walk normal (with the brace). But it feels really good right now. Luckily I didn't break it (although the Doc thought I did before he took X-Rays) but I got a nice high ankle sprain (which everyone says is worse than just breaking the ankle. A break would've been faster to heal). But yeah. It's good now :)
Cool thing that happened this week. We got to preview "Meet the Mormons" so now I can tell you all that it is an awesome movie and that it is definitely worth watching. I just wish I could watch it in Spanish so that I could get some practice in. But yeah, go watch it, it's awesome.
We did some cool service projects. We started volunteering at a food pantry that has been in operation since 1947. It's a pretty cool place. It's fun because it is run completely by Volunteers, more elderly volunteers I might add. They are super fun to work around and they are all super nice and friendly, and very excited to have two young people volunteering there. Now someone under 70 is there to move heavy stuff haha. But yeah, I love working around those people there. They are great fun. One of them also taught us that the letters in Bible can stand for "Basic Instruction Before Life Ends". I like that. Then we taught him that BoM stands for Book of Mormon and that he should read it haha. He's a fun guy.
One of the missionaries here has been sick the past few days and he finally went to the Doctor and they told him that he probably has Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis... so now I have a twin here. Not a great thing to learn this week but something interesting I guess.
I love the words that Alma speaks in Alma 29:1 "O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" I really like this scripture for two reasons. 1) Alma's wish is fulfilled by the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is translated into 77? languages and is literally all over the world. Everyone has the opportunity to read the words that Alma has written. So I just think that it is awesome that God granted this wish and desire to Alma, although he did not see that answer to his prayer during his lifetime. 2) I think that this is really the desire that every Christian has, the desire to lead others unto Christ. And sometimes it's pretty difficult, even scary, walking up to a friend or co-worker and sharing the Gospel with them. But what do you have to lose? The worst that can happen is that they say "no". But we can walk away from that knowing that we have tried our best to fulfill our role as disciples of Christ. And more than that, I know as we do our best to bring others unto Christ that God will bless us with success and with happiness because we have done the think that he has commanded us to do.
Anyways, this week can gone really well for us. We found a lot of new people who are interested in our message and want us to come back and teach them more. The most promising of these new "investigators" is a Nigerian family that already has fellowship with about 3 or 4 of the families in the ward. The family is super nice and friendly. We are pretty excited to go back and teach them.
Oh and another super exciting thing that happened. We have a member who has a climbing wall in their garage and really wanted us to use it. So we called up President Vest to ask him if we could go bouldering and he said YES! So now we wake up extra early so that we can go climbing in the Lingard's garage at 6:00-7:00am. It's pretty fun and I actually get some good exercise out of it which is a nice change. So we are pretty excited about that.
Well that's about it for the week. I finally got my blankets. Thanks Ma and Pa! Have a great week. I love you!
 -Elder Nyholm

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Date: September 22, 2014 at 10:31:11 AM PDT
Subject: Re: Hey Buddy
Mmmmm to answer your questions Mom, Sunday's are our busiest day of the week. Lot's of meetings to go to and everyone is home. That means we never stop, even during Sacrament meeting we are trying to find out who's there who hasn't been in a while that we need to go meet or whatever. Or trying to get Bishop's attention so he will come meet them as soon as the meeting ends. So yeah, Sunday's are busy.
We have the car two weeks and then lose it for a week. So 2/3 time car. much better than 1/2 I'd say. But this is our bike week. I hope I get through it fine :)
Everything has been going well here. We have found some people to teach who are very promising. Actually, one of the Less-Active families in our ward has asked us to start teaching their children so that will be an awesome and fun experience. I love teaching the kids because they ask super great questions and actually remember quite a bit, maybe even more than a grown adult. And they make you think of simple ways to explain things which really helps us to improve in our teaching. If we don't teach clearly, simply, and boldly then people don't understand what we tell them and they never progress. So even when you teach adults, you try to teach them at a level where a young person would understand because then you know that there is no confusion about anything. So yeah, we are pretty excited to start teaching that family.
We had a pretty awesome Sunday yesterday. We had lot's of people come to church who 1)Had never been to church before and 2)Hadn't been to church in decades... So that was pretty exciting for us. We also had a member ask us to participate in a baby blessing for his son Noah, so that was an awesome experience. I think it also shows the amount of trust and confidence that our members have for us now. So that was a really happy moment for us also.
A cool scripture that I read this week, Ether 12:4 says “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast.” I really like this scripture because it shows how important hope is in our everyday lives. People without hope don't see the future, they don't see the eternal perspective, and they rarely have happiness. But once someone has hope great things can happen. Moroni says in Moroni 7:41 "And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal , and this because of your faith in him according to the promise." Every single person who lives on the Earth has access to the Atonement. Every single person on the Earth has the potential to live with their Heavenly Father again. Sometimes we lose sight of that and think that everything is just crashing down on us all at once. But when we see the light that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ bring into our lives, those trials become of such little importance and Hope and Faith take a leading role in our lives, allowing us to rise up and find happiness and become better each and every day. I'm truly grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for the opportunity and hope that it gives me in my life, and I know that through the Atonement each and every one of us can live with our Heavenly father again.
Well, not much else exciting really happened this week but all is well. Have a great week everyone. I love you!
    -Elder Nyholm

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 9:38 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed my handwritten letter. I think that was the first one huh? Well my excuse is that we are too busy for me to write you letters more than once a year haha. I guess I'll try to do better in the future. Dad had the right idea of scanning it as proof that I actually sent you a letter. Now you'll never be able to say that I didn't send a handwritten one.
Yeah, the weather cooled down a ton. It feels wonderful outside now. You can actually walk around for more than 5 minutes without being covered with sweat so it's definitely a nice improvement. I haven't gotten the package you sent yet. Hopefully I will get it sometime this week.
We still didn't get many service opportunities this week which was a super bummer. We had one good one on Saturday where we helped someone caulk and seal his windows. He fell off a roof a while back so he was kind of terrified to climb a ladder and caulk the second story windows. But we helped him out AND we didn't fall off the ladder. He was pretty excited that we were willing to come help him.
We taught a seminary class a few weeks ago. I always thought that sleeping in Seminary was such a great idea because then I wouldn't talk and be a distraction. Now I realize that it's almost worse because if the kids don't talk then the class is super boring and you feel like you're giving a speech to a set of stuffed animals instead of actually teaching a class. The things you learn when you become a missionary haha. I really like the encouraging advice that Erin gave you though.  "Don't worry mom, as the kids come to know you their respect level will go down and their talking will increase". My sister is so wise and correct in every way. Sorry about that ma. That's just the way it is. The trick is just to shut them up with cookies.
Speaking of cookies, there is a Sister in our ward who has a sign in her kitchen that says "There is a skinny girl instead of me that is screaming to get out, but I just shut her up with cookies". I thought it was a pretty amusing sign.
You were saying that Kelsey and Jeremy are helping you to work on your technology deficiency. Yesterday while at church one of the sisters in our ward (probably in her 30's) was trying to look up scriptures on her phone during class. Finally she gave up and took her husbands scriptures and used those instead because she didn't know how to work the phone too well. Then her husband left and took his scriptures with him and left her with the phone and so she got stuck not being able to find scriptures again. I was just kind of amazed that there are even people of that generation that don't know how to work the technology. So don't worry mom.... you're not tooo far behind :)
Just a cool scripture I read this week. D&C 6:35-37 says "Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more;perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven". I think this scripture is so wonderful because every single one of us has times in our lives when we make mistakes and have "come short of the glory of God". But the most amazing part is that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each and every one of us has the opportunity to repent and change our ways, to look unto the Lord in every thought and to cast away all doubt and fear. I think it's just a huge comfort that we have to know that every single one of us has the ability and capacity to return to live with our Heavenly Father, through Christ.
Well that's about it for the week. I hope all is going well for everyone at home. You are all in my prayers. Love You!
  -Elder Nyholm
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 9:14 AM
Well this week went great and fast as usual. We were on bikes, which just make the time seem to go by even faster for some reason. Maybe because there is no time sitting at stoplights and such. The weather also cooled down a ton so it is really nice to ride bikes right now. The only reason I hate riding bikes is because I feel like we can't be as effective since travel is so much slower. But at least we get some real exercise so that's good.
This week we decided that we are going to try a new finding project. We got approved by President Vest to do as much planned/unplanned service as possible and asked all members of the ward to call/text us whenever they hear of service opportunities, especially service opportunities for non-members. Hopefully we will be able to meet lots of new people in a much less threatening way. I really think that it will work because the people will be able to see that we really want to help them and that we really do love them rather than that we just want to shove church down their throat. So yeah, we are praying for success in our new finding activity. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.
Transfer calls also happened this week. I'm super excited because Elder Parry, my last companion who I really enjoyed serving with, is now my District Leader here. I really respect Elder Parry and think that he will do a great job as a District Leader so I'm excited to see how the rest of this transfer turns out. I've got high hopes.
I just finished reading all the way through Doctrine and Covenants this last week and realized how awesome Sections 121-123 are... the sections written while Joseph Smith was imprisoned in the Liberty Jail. There is one part of Section 121 that I really enjoy and that probably everyone recognizes that says, in verses 7-10, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job". I really like this section of scripture because it shows how infinitely small our trials are but how infinitely big of an impact it makes on our lives whether we endure them well or not. No trial that we have exceeds that which Christ experienced during the Atonement... "Art [we] greater than He?". I think it is in the times of trials that we do have that we need to look back and really count all the wonderful blessings that God has given us and to remember that he is always there striving with us and that he will never leave us alone.
Well that is about it for the week. Hope you all have a fantastic week. I love you all!
          -Elder Nyholm

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 2:45 PM
Subject: A Miracle Week
So this week went really well and really fast. The nice part of it was that we had a sweet little miracle on Saturday. Elder Drinkall and I have picked up the attitude of "if you see a U-Haul truck just stop and help. It works better than tracting this area anyways". So that's what we did on Saturday. We finished unloading one family that was moving into our apartments and then we went to visit a Less-Active member of the ward. Well on our way over there we saw a guy trying to lift a riding lawnmower out of a U-Haul truck without a ramp and by himself. So we pulled up quick and ran up and helped the guy. Well when we put down the mower I looked up and this guy's wife looked at me and said "Hey. You look really familiar. I think you knocked on my door in Independence about 2 months ago". Well I sure did knock on this Lady's door about 2 months ago with Elder Parry. So she invited us in to share a message with her and her husband because she doesnt believe in coincidences and because "we showed up like angels" to help her husband get the mower out of the truck. So we shared the message of the restoration with their family and now they are super excited to come to church. (They were going to come this last Sunday but her husband got pink eye :(  ). So yeah... we definitely consider it a miracle and we are pretty excited now haha.
The other really great thing that happened this week was that we went over to see Hermana Vega in our ward with her hometeachers. Well, she planned on making us lunch so we got there and she fed us all lunch and then told us that she had a Tres Leche for dessert. And man was that Tres Leche delicious. That was also the first time that I've had hispanic food since I was in my first area so it was a really nice treat.
And one more little miracle. Sister Gough loves to bake and offered to make me chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. They were pretty delicious and lasted me through a few Breakfast and Lunch meals :)
Transfers are this week but I'm 99% sure I'll stay where I'm at because of the Opening and Training situation. I'm really starting to love the people in this area also so I am pretty glad that I don't have too worry too much about moving out.
Something that I really like from the scriptures and that gives me some strength and motivation when I feel down. Isaiah 49:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." I really like this scripture because I think the times when we are feeling down and discouraged are the times when we forget that we have a loving Heavenly Father who will do anything for us. A loving Heavenly Father who knows and remembers everything about us. And he never ever forgets us. I think about Jesus Christ, who took upon him the sins of the world, who has the prints from the nails "graven... upon the palms of [his] hands". He cannot and will not forget us. I just wish that each and every person could be better at having Christ graven upon our hearts... That each one of us could be better examples in all that we do so that we could be more effective in helping others to come unto Christ. It's something that I know I need to work on every single day. But I know that as we do work to become more dedicated to the Lord and continue to engrave him upon our hearts that we will receive more blessings and happiness in our lives and become more devoted disciples of Christ.
That's pretty much it for the week. I'm looking forward to this bike week. Hopefully we will get some nice rain/lightning storms so that we don't have so much heat. It's better to be wet from rain than from sweat. I love you all!
    -Elder Nyholm

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sent: Monday, August 25, 2014 9:02 AM
This week went pretty well but there really wasn't anything super interesting that happened. It was just a lot of hard work. We are teaching a guy here is is super ready for baptism. We just need to help him to realize that he is ready. We see him about every 2-3 days and we have super great lessons with him. So it's just a matter of time.
We've been meeting a lot of awesome members of our ward lately. Our first week in Sacrament meeting in this ward was a pretty cold welcome but we've been visiting lots of members and sharing spiritual thoughts with them and helping them to do missionary work. Now we finally have members actually coming to us to say "Hi" and ask us how we are doing. And now that we have members who are actually happy to have us here, missionary work is finally progressing in the area a little bit. It's amazing how much your relationship with the members of the ward helps the work to progress in an area. I'd go as far as to say that it's the most important factor in missionary work because without the support of the members it is really almost impossible to find people to teach (especially in this area).
I've started to find that heat and humidity don't really bother me nearly as much as I thought they would. We went tracting the other day for about 3 hours. I knew it was pretty hot and I was sweating real good but I didn't feel run down or anything. I guessed it was about 80 degrees with a bit of humidity but then I finally asked someone and it was about 94 degrees + humidity which made it feel about 105 degrees. I agree that it's not to comfortable here but it's really not as horrible as everybody says. I guess the trick is just stay focused and forget about the heat and then you don't even really notice it.
A really cool scripture that a investigator showed to us this week. 2 Timothy 2:19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." There are a few points that I really like from this scripture. 
1) The "foundation of God standeth sure." I think about all the times that we hear that we are to build our testimonies based upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. And it's true, if we build our testimonies upon the rock of Christ, who standeth sure, then the Devil will never have power to overcome us with temptations... "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail." -D&C 6:34
2) "The Lord knoweth them that are his." God knows and loves each one of us dearly. I can't imagine an all-powerful God who does not know each and every one of his children, and their trials, and their joys, etc... Not only that, but I can't imagine an all-powerful all-loving God who would not help and support his children in their times of trial and comfort them and bless them. But he does, and he does love us, and he promises that we may find peace in Him... "And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture." -1 Nephi 22:25
3) "Let every man the nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Each member of the church has literally taken upon them the name of Jesus Christ when they were baptized. We promised that we would be examples of him in all that we do, that we would remember him at all times and in all places, and that we would obey his commandments. If we are truly disciples of Christ and truly want to follow him then we need to make sure that we are making an effort to become better and better every day and to "depart from iniquity". The Lord is very clear when he tells us that if we continue in iniquity throughout our lives that, "And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." -Matthew 7:23
I've noticed while I've been on my mission that it is so important to really "study" the scriptures rather than just "read" them. There is so much more to be gleaned than what we just take at face value. The scriptures are just loaded with things that can help us in every phase of life. All we have to do is truly search them and apply them to our lives. Without real life application they don't really do much for us. It's like learning 100 recipes and never cooking a single one of them. Then how do they help us at all? They don't. So why do we read the scriptures and never use them in our lives? We don't.
Well that's about it for the week. I hope all is going well at home. Have a fantastic week. I Love You All!
         -Elder Nyholm

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014 9:02 AM
Subject: Subject
Well time just keeps flying on by on my end. I feel like a just wrote an e-mail home yesterday. But it's been a whole week I guess. Time flies when you're on a mission. It's starting to get hot and humid here but its all good because we have the car for the next two weeks starting today. So we will be pretty safe from the weather. I really like our bike weeks during weeks when it rains (like this week). For some odd reason I really enjoy riding my bike when it's pouring rain or snowing (Elder Drinkall doesn't like it so much though).
Words of Wisdom for new seminary students. Don't sleep the whole time. And don't give my Mom a hard time ;) Treats are only good if you give them to the students AFTER seminary or else they don't pay attention the whole time.
Training is going well. Yes mom I am still training Elder Drinkall, they haven't fired me quite yet. Elder Drinkall is really proactive and willing to learn and work so training him isn't really a problem at all. 
I think it's kinda nuts that Spencer is coming home already. I feel like we were all eating at Tucano's together right before I came out here. Shouldn't he have another year or so left? The other day I watched a little segment of a church video in Portuguese because I had heard that it is suuuuper similar. Well it is because I could understand almost everything that was said in the video.
So Erika's friend Shannah got Baptized on Saturday so Elder Drinkall and I got to go over to Independence for the baptism. It was a pretty great experience and Shannah's parents (who I had never met before) came to the baptism and I think they had a really good experience also. Hopefully that will make a new teaching opportunity for the Sisters in the ward down there. I don't know if I ever told you but the only reason we ever started to teach Erika and Lily and Shannah is because Erika's mom came into the Independence Visitors Center to get a blessing because she got poison ivy real bad. Believe it or not, even poison ivy can bring blessings ;)
I've been studying the Doctrine and Covenants a lot for my personal study. I came across D&C 58 which I found out is revelation specifically for missionaries serving in Jackson County Missouri. It kinda hits home to you when you are serving your mission in the exact place that the Lord is talking about. There are a lot of cool promises made and a lot of cool blessings promised. And some additional commandments for those serving in the area. Maybe something good to read during your scripture study. It was for me.
A scripture that I've been thinking about a lot lately is Ether 12:11 "Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled." I feel like I have gained a much stronger testimony and appreciation for the Atonement while I have been out on my mission. The thing that always sticks out to me thought is that without Christ and his sacrifice we really wouldn't have a life after this one. There would be no point to the creation and "God would cease to be God". But Christ did live, Christ did die for us and Christ did overcome death for us. Now each and every single one of us will live again. Now each and every one of us has the opportunity to live with our families for eternity and to live with God again. All that "was" and "is" and "will be" possible is made possible in and through Jesus Christ. So again "In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way" and I love Him and His Son for it.
There's not really much more news for the week. We are just chuggin' along. Have a excellent week everyone. I Love You!
        -Elder Nyholm

Sent: Monday, August 11, 2014 10:18 AM
Subject: The Ball Is Rolling
So this week ended really really well. We had not one, but two speakers in Sacrament meeting that were talking us up over the pulpit, which is much needed in this area. I feel like we are finally starting to get some real good member support and we are starting to develop good relationships with the members in our ward, hence the "the ball in rolling". I guess the hard work and diligence really pays off. If we aren't in a member's home for a quick visit and spiritual thought then we are out tracting anywhere and everywhere. This is the most tracting I've ever done and we are getting the worst results I've ever seen haha. But the seeds are planted. Give it a few years and they will grow.
I've been doing really well lately. At the beginning of this transfer I felt really overwhelmed with opening a new area and training at the same time but now it's just starting to feel normal. I've definitely noticed that you learn a ton more while training than you do while being trained. The training part is almost starting to become something that I actually enjoy just because I can see the growth in myself and the knowledge that I'm gaining. Also, new missionaries just come out with so much enthusiasm and energy that they just give you the push you need every day to be excited to go out and work. And they have tons of new ideas for finding people to teach and working effectively in the area, ideas that you start to forget after you have been out for a while.
We had an awesome visit with Brother Bryant (who is working super hard to overcome smoking and enter the temple) this last week. We were able to go with him to the Independence Visitor's Center with a ward member Brother Hales (who just moved into the ward). We saw most of what the Visitor's Center has to offer and we had some really good spiritual discussions also. I love being in the VC because the spirit is just so strong there and it is a wonderful teaching environment. Brother Bryant are Brother Hales both really enjoyed the visit also and were really glad that we asked them to go there with us. Neither one of them had seen the VC in about 30 years and it has changed a lot since then. They were really impressed with the tours there and the spirit that was felt during our visit.
I found a really cool scripture this week that I wanted to share with you all. Its in Ephesians 2:19-21 and says "ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:". This scripture really stuck out to me this week because some of the work that we have been doing in this ward. I feel like when we got here we didn't really have any ward support, members weren't excited to have "the Elders" because of the issues that came up with the last set that were here. Well, I was relating this scripture to us as missionaries and to the members of the ward. When I we first got here the "building" was not "fitly framed" whatsoever. Things were leaning, walls were cracking, ceilings were falling... missionary work was not progressing. But now that we are starting to work with the members, now that the members are beginning to trust us, and now that the building is becoming better and better framed, Missionary work is beginning to progress in the ward. One thing that I learned while I was at the VC this week is that the church or a "Holy Temple" or Zion for that matter aren't places. WE are the church, WE are temples, WE are Zion. As members we have the sacred duty of sharing the Gospel with those around us. The duty of sharing the happiness and blessings that we have received with anyone and everyone. The problem is that without the members and missionaries being "fitly framed together" in the ward we cannot become a "holy temple in the Lord" and missionary work cannot and will not progress. But even further than that, are our lives fitly framed together? are our families fitly framed together? If not then I think that what we always need to return back to is the "foundation... Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone". I know that if we do that then we will see the blessings of the Gospel in our lives and we will be strengthened in our testimonies and our faith.
There's really not much more for me to talk about this week. Things are just rolling. Slowly for now, but a slow roll turns into a faster one eventually. Hopefully I'll have some good exciting news next week. I'll let you know :) Anyways, have a great week everyone. Love you all!
        -Elder Nyholm

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 12:02 PM
Subject: Going Strong
Well this week went by super extra fast and went pretty swell also. The big blessing this week was that Erika Beccera (who I baptized last week, I think I wrote her last name as Pujols), sister Lily Becerra, got baptized on Saturday! So I got to take a short field trip down to my old area so that I could attend her baptism. It was a pretty awesome experience and it's really a testimony to me that just because we left an area doesn't mean that we didn't leave a lasting impression or effect on the people there. So far I feel like in my mission I've been more a "Planter" but you know, that's perfectly OK with me as long as I still get to see people progress in the Gospel. And so far I've been able to do that so I'm happy :)
We met a pretty awesome guy this week. His name is Brother Floden, a less-active member who was baptized about 30 years ago in Germany, lost contact with the Church shortly after his move back here to the United States, and has been learning about the church again for about a year now. Anyways, we met him in the Liberty Jail with another member of our ward and had a nice sit down spiritual lesson with him. Before we really started teaching at all though he was telling us about his life and how he has people at work ask him "How do you stay so happy all the time with all this junk going on around you?". Brother Floden's answer is always "I just say my prayers and drive on". It's really a wonderful testimony to me that such a small thing as saying our prayers every day can make such a huge difference in our life. That is what sets Brother Floden apart from everyone around him at work, the fact that he says his prayers each and every day, acting with faith that God will support him in the trials and challenges that surround him. Just a thought that has kept me going over the past few days.
Well the weather has been great but I hear that it is about to start heating up real good, up into the 90's. Its really a bummer because this week we won't have a car so we are going to be frying outside all day. But we are going to be doing a 2 car to 3 companionship rotation so we will have the car during the (hottest) last 2 weeks of August which is good. I know there are missionaries all over the world who have it a heck of a lot worse than I do but I'm not going to lie, I'm glad I'm not in their shoes right now. I'm really grateful to be able to have a car hahaha.
So I don't know if anyone has heard the (not so) latest church news. I guess every missionary in the USA should have an iPad as a teaching aid and to help better organize ourselves by the end of the year. Something cool that we get to look forward to. Man we really are some spoiled missionaries...
D&C 18:11-13;15
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"  I read this the other day and it's just been on my mind ever since, especially the parts that I put in Bold. I think every day we have a lot more opportunities to "cry repentance" unto the the people than we realize. We really do "cry repentance" through our actions and the example that we put forth to others. And how great will be our joy when we pass through this life and see all those people on whom we have made a positive impression, who we have helped to return to live with their Heavenly Father. Just something that I think each one of us can do, to look at our life and see how we can set a better example for those around us so that they can find happiness in the Gospel just as we have.
That's about it for the week. There was more that I wanted to write but I don't remember what any of it was. That's what happens to me every week. I think my brain doesn't work with that stuff to well because all my memory is being used to remember the names of all the families in our Ward. Well... check back again next week.
Love you all! Good luck with the move Becerra Family. Should be fun ;) Have a great week everyone!
       -Elder Nyholm