Monday, January 27, 2014

Subject: Baptism This Week (We Hope!)
Date: January 27, 2014 8:54:14 AM PST

There wasn't toooooo much interesting stuff that happened this week so I don't have a ton to write about (Sorry). All is going well here although the temperature just dropped from 60 to 10 last night so its a little chilly now. We actually did have a decent amount of success in terms of missionary work which is super exciting. Ive come to learn that Sunday's are either the best of days or the worst of days for missionaries. Basically, its great when you have investigators and less-actives that you've been working with for the whole week come to church. This week we did pretty good in that department with 3 Investigators and about 7 Less-Actives. On the other hand, Sunday's can be pretty horrible when the none of the people you've been working with show up so you feel like your week was a little wasted. Hopefully I don't have too many of those haha.
So we did set another baptismal date for a guy named Manuel that we've been working with for a few weeks. He actually studied to be a preacher or something at a university for 4 years so he pretty much knows the Bible front to back. He loves reading and learning more and he's actually been reading the BoM, D&C, and Teachings of the Presidents. His big road block with us is that he feels that he needs to read and learn more (which is understandable) before he is baptized so the his baptismal date (15 Feb) is pretty generous I think. So hopefully we can get in some good teaching appointments with him and get him a little more committed.
We are having a baptismal service this Sunday for Marcos Evangelista :D He is a super awesome humble guy, probably about 65 years old, and he's super excited to be baptized. We need to teach him a little more this week but he is pretty much set to go. Elder Sanchez and I are super excited for him. He lives in a house with a Less-Active named Esteban (same age) who is super excited to be going to church again too. Its a win win because Marcos has an awesome fellowship and it looks like the two of them will be really active members :D
This week I studied a lot about prayer and got a pretty cool thought. I was reading Mosiah 24 which talks about the people of Alma getting enslaved by the Laminates. The Laminates wouldn't let them pray to God so the people of Alma "poured out their hearts in prayer". I've always been taught to always keep a prayer in my heart but I never really understood how until pretty recently. I've found that during teaching lessons I pray when I'm not talking that I will know what to say and what to teach. I pray while we are walking that we will be able to find someone who has been prepared to hear the Gospel. I pray while I'm studying that I can find a way to answer the questions of investigators. It's really amazing the blessings and guidance you can receive when you really do have a prayer in your heart. I've learned that as long as you keep that gate of communication open with Heavenly Father, he will continue to answer your prayers. He really is just standing up there, waiting to bless and guide you in all that you do. You just have to be willing to keep a prayer in your heart and strengthen your relationship with him. Again, if you want to see where I got the thought its in Mosiah 24:12-16.
So thats pretty much all for the week. Nothing really super exciting. I do get to start driving this week so we will only have to walk/bike every 2 weeks now which is good. Hope you all are doing great :D Happy Baptism to Jackson too. I'm proud of you bud ;) Anyways, Love you all.
    -Elder Nyholm

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 2:46 PM 
This week went by quick just like the rest. Sorry I didn't e-mail yesterday. It was Martin Luther King Day so the library was closed :/ also I don't have much time today because we have an appointment to be to in 35 mins. So I'll try my best to be descriptive ;)
Sooooo. I bought a bike last week and I love it. We can get places soooooo much faster now which is awesome because it means more time in houses teaching. Also, the weather was suuper warm for a few days so we were actually able to ride them for basically the whole week. Once it gets below 30 degrees or so we don't ride them anymore because it's too cold to have the wind blowing in your face.
Mom asked me a few questions so I'll do my best to answer them. My companionship is going pretty well fortunately. My only complaint is that my Elder Sanchez doesn't speak as much Spanish to me as I would like (because he's learning English) and that he doesn't understand that other people don't always want to do everything he wants to do. It makes it pretty frustrating some times but it's not too bad compared to how he could be. The language is coming along decent. I can understand most of what people say now but not enough to get specifics. It's like I can understand the general idea but can't get enough to have a response to what they say. It's a bit frustrating but I know that I will understand with a little more time.
Exciting news for the week. Elder Sanchez and I set a baptismal date with a guy named Marcos. He lives with a less active so we are trying to get the less active to be active again so it'll be like a double whammy... baptism + reactivation. So that baptism is scheduled for February 1 which will come pretty quickly so we we'll see what happens :D
Spiritual Thought for the week. I read a scripture this week (Alma 57:19-22) and took some parts from it that I thought went together pretty awesome. Here's how it reads. "But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites. And as the remainder of our army was about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted. Yea, they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them.  And now behold, it was these my sons to whom we owe this great victory; for it was they who did beat the Lamanites". So basically if we liken this set of scriptures to our lives we can see that we are like the 2000 warriors in our day. We, the people who strive to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ have the ability to overcome temptations (Lamanites) in our lives. We just need to obey every word of command of God with exactness and it shall be done according to our faith. As we read our scriptures and pray daily, attend church, keep the 10 commandments and other commandments of God, we will become the people that God wants us to become so that can help lead others to overcome temptations and trials in their lives. We are in a war today, a war to overcome the things of the world and to become more like other Father in Heaven and we can only do these things by listening to his commands and following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Last thing before I wrap up. We had companion exchanges this week. It was awesome. I was really dreading it because I didnt want to have to work with someone new and have to put up with a new set a quirks that come with living with a new person. But, it actually went really well and I kind of almost wish that I could have my other companion instead haha. That might change if I had to spend more than 24 hours with him but who knows. I guess I just need to keep looking on the bright side and everything will turn out just perfect. Attitude really is the thing that makes things turn out good or bad I guess.
Well that's all guys. Sorry it's kind of a boring e-mail this week. Interesting stuff goes on but I don't write it down and then I forget and then my e-mails are boring. I'll try to do better though :D Anyways, I love you all and hope all is going well back at home :D
           -Elder Nyholm

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sent: Monday, January 13, 2014 10:15 AM
Subject: What week is it now?
So I've started to lose track of the weeks here now. I can't keep it straight what week I'm in just because they are going by too dang quick haha. This week was especially fast for some reason, not really sure why. Anyways, its about 45 degrees out now so its pretty stinking warm. I'm loving it haha. I'm going to go get a bike today so that I can stop walking around everywhere.
There were two big highlights of this week. The first was meeting John Daylag. He was converted in May of last year but works Sundays so he can never attend church. He still reads the Book of Mormon every day during his lunch break and pays his tithing at every paycheck so he's really an awesome guy. I think its crazy that he has that much dedication when he can't even attend church on Sunday. Oh, and he's a cook so If we go to visit him we get food which is always a bonus haha. The other Highlight was the Diaz Family. We have been teaching them basically since we got here. They have been taught but lots of other missionaries too but the best part was that she told us "I know that the Book of Mormon is true". For a missionary that's just about the best thing you can hear from an investigator other than if they tell you they want to be baptized. So yeah, we are pretty excited about their family. I'll give you an update if anything else happens with them (cross your fingers).
We had a scary moment this week too. We were standing on a corner this weekend waiting for the other elders to pick us up with the car to bring us for dinner. Some super drunk dude came over and asked us what we were doing on the corner. I was a little nervous because he had his hand in his coat like he had a gun (which I'm almost positive he did) and we told him that we were missionaries and that we had a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well after we said that he looks down the street and gives someone a thumbs up. Then he asks us "You guys wanna get killed?" We were like, "noooooo... but thank for asking?" Then a dude in a Cadillac drives up behind us and just chills there in his car and the drunk dude tells us "You can't stand on corners here or you're going to get killed". Soooooooo... we walked away really fast and luckily were OK. Anyways, we won't be waiting on any more corners in Kansas City I guess :o
So the thing that has really hit me this week spiritual wise is that faith requires action. Everyone we teach we ask them "do you have faith? Enough to move that picture in 3 seconds?" They always say that they can't move the picture with their faith. So we say that we have faith to move the picture, Elder Sanchez counts to 3, and I pick up the picture and move it. The thing is, faith without works is dead. People always say that they have faith in Jesus or God or whatever but then they don't attend church, pray, read scriptures, etc. We can have faith in miracles but we will never receive miracles until we show our faith by working our hardest to bring about that miracle first. We just need to remember, God will always bless us AFTER all that we can do.
Dad asked me if I thought that service was a price we pay to receive a testimony/conversion. I don't know that exact way to answer that but I guess it goes along with my little spiritual thought. People can't become converted/gain a testimony unless they work to gain that conversion/testimony. However, I wouldn't really call it a PRICE we pay since we are really just getting more blessing because of it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that yes, service is something we must do to receive a testimony/conversion but it should be something that we enjoy, not a price we must pay.
There's not really much else that I have to talk about. I got a cold last night so its really a bummer but hopefully it will go away quick. Other than that, all is well here. It's warm. The work is going good. We are meeting people. What could be better? I hope that all is going well for all of you at home :D Love you all :D
   -Elder Nyholm

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 10:02 AM
Subject: Yeah It's Cold
Soooooo the big thing this week is really just the weather. Today it's about -3 degrees outside and we are expected to have about 20 degrees of windchill which brings the total to a whopping -23 degrees. It's great fun. Except not because church got cancelled again and we can't go out and tract because the mission president doesn't want us to get frostbite. I guess it only takes about 8-10 minutes to get frostbite in this weather. So yeah. It's really really really cold here. We should get a heat wave tomorrow though I think which will bring us up to about 25 degrees. A great heat wave huh?
New Years was suuuuuper fun. We got to plan from 9:00-->10:00 and then go to bed at 10:30. Awesome New Year's celebration ;)
Elder Sanchez shared a thought with me this weak about a "Harder Cacoon". Basically, the caterpillar's purpose is to become a butterfly. So it makes a cacoon, turns into a butterfly, breaks out of it's cacoon, and it's good to go. But if someone takes apart the cacoon for the butterfly then the butterfly doesn't build the strength needed to survive because it didn't have the chance to break open it's own cacoon. So it's the same with us. In relation to a mission, the harder your mission is the stronger you get spiritually and the easier life will be after your mission. If your mission is easy then your life will be hard after. It works the same way for everyone no matter where they are in life though right? Anyways, the point of the story is that we all need to make goals that will make our cacoon a little bit harder and therefore strengthen us spiritually. One of our goals here is to write in our journals EVERY night. It's going to kinda hard because I get really bored of writing to myself but at the same time I will be able to look back at it when I get home which will be really awesome. It's kind of hard to explain this concept through a computer so sorry if it doesn't make much sense ;/
Investigator of the week. We met this couple here that have 3 kids but aren't married. The girl (Myra) is a non-active member and the boy (David) isn't a member. Anyways, they were hoping to make enough money this week to be able to get married in 2 weeks so that David could get baptized. It's all bad though because their car just got towed and their house is getting evicted to they are going to have to move (don't know where). It's really a pretty bad situation so we are just hoping that some good luck will come their way. Anyways, they are a super awesome family, super nice, willing to learn, want to follow the Gospel, but just can't right now because of all the other stuff going on in their lives :/
OHHHHHHHH! I forgot!!! We moved this week! We are out of our smoky apartment and into a new much larger apartment that smells good and is just completely awesome. We had to spend like a day and a half moving all our stuff (personal, furniture, kitchen stuff) so we really lost a lot of time that could have been spent contacting people. But at least we are in a place where our clothes don't start to smell like smoke and we don't get headaches every night from the smell :D
I also wanted to say thank you to everyone that has sent me letters of the past few weeks. It's really great to look in the mailbox and actually have something waiting for you. So thank you all for taking the time to write to me :)
There's not much else that has happened here this week. Like I said, it's been cold and church got cancelled so we haven't been able to do a whole lot. Hopefully this week will be more productive. Anyways, Love you all and I hope that all is going well.
          -Elder Nyholm
Here are some pictures from the CCM that I havent been able to send the last few weeks. Our district with Hermanos Leon/Medina, my favorite food crew, and our friend Pablo that worked in the Comedor.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sent: Monday, December 30, 2013 9:39 AM
Subject: Into Week 2
So this week went by really really really fast... Just like all the other ones ;) Its kind of hard to believe that I've almost been out for 2 months already because time is just going by so fast. Anyways, this week went really good. We had a fair amount of success teaching people although its been pretty hard with the holidays and such. We have a few new investigator families and A guy named Braulio who is investigating the church. He's 17 and he's really a pretty awesome kid. I can't imagine myself taking lessons from missionaries when I was 17 so props to him :D.
This week was also pretty nice because we actually had warm weather. We had a few days that were up in the 50's. It took away all the snow so now we can actually get places without slipping all over the place. Now it's cold again though so that's kinda a bummer. I think it gets up to about 25 degrees or so which is nice but then it drops pretty low at night so its kind of a bummer.
Not many interesting things happened this week but I'll hit some of the highlights. First off, I got to call home and face-time with you guys so that was awesome. It was great getting to see that you were all doing well. Now I just have to wait 5 more months till we get to do it again haha. We also had Christmas Eve dinner with the Bishop. They had tons of food which was great because they had left overs which meant that we got to bring some home. It was good food too so I was pretty excited. We also had a ward Christmas party. It got cancelled last week due to the snow so we had it on Saturday night. It was pretty fun and we got to meet a lot of new people and a few nonmembers which is good because now we have some more people to go see. Then at church yesterday I squatted down to give a little kid a handshake (probably about 2 years old) and he ran up to me and gave me a hug. Super unexpected and I didn't know what to do because as missionaries we are not really supposed to touch kids at all other than for handshakes or high fives or whatever. Anyways, I just thought it was funny because it was the first time this kid has every seen me, and his parents are both Hispanic so I look nothing like them, and he still came up and gave me a hug. Pretty weird right?
So I have two quotes that I really liked this week. One of them is actually from when I was in the CCM but I just remembered it so here goes. Our teacher told us that while we are in the mission field (and throughout our lives) we need to follow the saying "Work like everything depends on You, Pray like everything depends on God". I figure if we follow this advice then everything will always work out pretty good for us. We will never have an idle moment and we will always have the companionship of the spirit. I've found that you can never go wrong with hard work and prayer. The other good quote I found (yesterday?) was "Replace Fear with Faith". We've had a few investigators that have said that they are afraid to join our church because maybe its not the true church or whatever. But this quote can really help them and everyone else. If we have fears of sharing the Gospel with others, all we need to do is replace our fear with faith and everything will work our exactly how it should. There really is nothing to fear as long as we have faith that God is on our side.
So yeah, that's my week in a nutshell. Nothing too exciting going on here but all is going well. My Spanish is coming along pretty well, at least to the point where I can understand a fair amount of what people are talking about. I've found that my biggest weakness in the language really is being able to understand the natives. They speak suuuuuper fast so I'll understand one sentence and completely miss the next one. It will come with time though I guess. Oh, and thank you again for the Christmas gifts you sent. They were much appreciated :D Hope all is going well with you all at home :)
         -Elder Nyholm