Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 10:13 AM
Subject: it's Warm (Finally!)
I love today already. It's a sunny 61 degrees outside and there's no humidity yet. Sooooo it's perfect. We are on bikes this week too so it's pretty nice because we don't have to ride through snow (because there is none). Sorry I didn't write yesterday. The library was closed because of President's Day or something. I don't really keep track of holidays out here so we never know when stuff is going to be closed haha.
This week was pretty stinking awesome. We had a zone conference so it was like 90 missionaries in a chapel and we had a member of the seventy (Elder Martino) speak to us. A lot. He told us a lot of awesome stuff but I'm just going to touch on the highlights. There's a few so here we go.
1) "If it is to be, it is up to me." 10 words 2 letters each with an awesome message. Elder Martino was talking about this in terms of marriages/companionships (because missionary companionships are basically unwanted marriages). Anyways, he was saying that basically if we want to improve relationships we need to initiate things to make them better. We can't expect our companion/spouse to just wake up one day and decide that they want to be best friends with us. We really need to work to provide service or other acts of love to make those changes. Really short message and really easy to remember. "If it is to be, it is up to me."
2) In terms of Jesus Christ and missionary work. Christ took upon him the sins/pains of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane (accomplished the Atonement). Christ was also the son of God and had the power/authority to make anything happen in his life. So what did he do after he suffered in the Garden? Did he go take a break on a nice tropical island? No, he voluntarily surrendered himself to the people of Jerusalem and suffered/died on the cross. He was all in (if you will). In the words of Elder Martino "The Atonement's through, I've got work to do". As member missionaries we really need to be "all in". We can't share the gospel with one friend and then say "I shared the Gospel with a friend, now I get to take a break for a month before I try again". We should always be trying our very hardest to share the gospel with everyone. Don't we want our friends to receive the same blessings that we have received from the Gospel? If you do then what are you waiting for? Get out there and share it.
3) Love people first, ask questions later. People don't care what you are doing for them unless you do it with love. Make sure that the people you are serving know that you are serving them because you love them, not out of a responsibility that you have. As a missionary it's a hard thing to do, to love people as soon as you meet them and to have them feel the love that you have for them. But that's really what we need to do. If we are going to help people to become better in their lives then we need to show them that we are teaching them about the gospel because we love them and want the best for them. So love the people you serve before you ask them to change their lives. Without feeling love, they aren't going to listen to you anyways.
Ok I'm going to tell you fun stuff for the week. We were talking to a less active on her doorstep while she was cooking dinner for her family. I didn't really understand why she was cooking outside on a 30 degree day. So she brought out some chilis and my companion told me "Elder, people have died from those". Well duh, they're chilis so they are probably really spicy right? So she started cooking them and then I realized that Elder Sanchez had backed up a bit, my throat kinda hurt a little, and then I realized I couldnt really breath very well haha. Sooooooo I guess the smoke from chilis de arbol kinda makes it so that you can't breath super well and that's why people have died from them. So definitely don't cook those inside and make sure that you aren't breathing in the smoke from them haha.
Yesterday a crazy thing happened. I didn't want to eat food. I guess that's what happens after you eat a big meal of Mole for lunch at 4:00pm and then a Sister in the ward feeds you a big dinner of chicken and rice at 6:00pm followed by a dessert from a family you are teaching at 7:00pm. I can't decide whether I want for experiences like that or not because on the one hand we get lots of delicious food, on the other hand you stomach hurts a bit from eating it all. That's another problem I've found with Hispanics too. They dish up your food for you and always dish a lot and then you MUST eat it. I do have to admit though, I pushed a little (about a quarter) of my food onto another Elder's plate (He had eaten just as much as me and was just as full) when he went into the kitchen to get water. So he had to eat even more food so I kinda feel bad for him. He's a good sport though and ate it all without saying a word. Good sport huh?
Congratulations Erin on you new baby :D I'm pretty bummed that I can't be there to see her but mom sent me some pictures and she looks pretty cute despite being a newborn haha. Anways, send me some more pictures of her over the next few weeks if you would :)
Hope you guys (and girls) are all doing well at home. Have an awesome week :D
      -Elder Nyholm

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 9:01 AM
Subject: 1 Transfer Down
This week was the weirdest week I've had on my mission by far. Not because anything really strange happened, more because NOTHING happened. It snowed all day Tuesday so we couldn't go outside. Tuesday the temperature was below 0 so we couldn't walk. Wednesday was about the same but we left for about 30 mins to visit someone. Thursday, Same. Friday we actually got out and taught some lessons and found some new investigators. Good day. Saturday was too cold to leave again. Sunday it was too cold and snowed again so we could leave... So yeah, pretty much a super bummer week. I did have plenty of time to read, write, study, and most importantly, eat :D
So needless to say. I really don't like snow. I kind of despise it actually. Also because we were stuck inside most of the week I really have just about nothing to write about. Hopefully some thoughts will come to me in the next few minutes haha. I'll give you a spiritual thought while I think.
So yesterday while I was stuck inside studying/reading I found a cool scripture in Jeremiah (where I think I've never read in my life before). So Jeremiah 29:12-12 Says "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart". So the two points that I really thought were awesome. 1) If we pray to God, he will hear us and "Hearken" unto us, which in my mind means that he will work with us to bring about our desires, assuming that they are in line with his will. No strings attached. We pray and he answers us and helps us. Simple as that. 2) If we want to FIND God (Know his will, have a relationship with him, know what he wants of us, etc) then we need to search for him with "all our heart". We can't know God and his desires and plans for us unless we really give him our all, unless we study,ponder, and pray. If you want to know a person you cant just talk to them one time and automatically know them. You need to spend time with them, serve them, listen to them, and eventually you will become acquainted with them through hours of conversation throughout weeks, months, etc. And so it is with God. If we truly want to know him then we need to spend time on our knees praying to him. We need to serve him by serving our fellow men. We need to listen to the guidance that he gives us throughout our lives. So if you really want to know God and what he has planned for your life, give the time and effort needed to develop a relationship with him.
So I had written some stuff in my planner to talk to you about but I switched planners because its a new transfer so I don't have them :/ One of the things that I can remember though. Last Monday, before the weather went bad, Elder Sanchez and I rode our bikes to a house. There was still lots of ice on some of the roads so it was pretty fun and scary at them same time. It was fun because you could "drift" around corners kind of how you would in a car if you pulled the e-brake in the snow. So that part was just awesome. The scary part is that sometimes you would start to slide without meaning to so you would almost fall. My bike was sliding left and right over just about everything so I had to be pretty careful and ready to put a foot down. So yeah, pretty scary but at the same time pretty darn fun.
The Spanish. I don't think I've told you about it in a while so Ill take the time right now to talk about it. So right now is a pretty frustrating time with Spanish. I understand just about everything I read. I can say just about everything I want (although sometimes it includes some Spanglish, but the people still understand). The only problem is that I have the worst time understanding what other people are saying to me. I've started listening to Conference talks and watching movies in Spanish during my language study just so that I can practice listening so hopefully that will help a bit. Speaking of Spanglish, heres a good phrase that you can say with words that are not even close to Spanish but Spanish speakers still understand. Yo necesito a parkear mi troka en la yarda. You've probably figured our that it means "I need to park my truck in the yard". The problem is that the real way to say it is "Necesito a estacioner mi camineta en la cochera". But yeah, Spanglish is way better than Spanish ;)
So thats it for the week. I hope all is going well for you at home :D Love you all!
     -Elder Nyholm

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Subject: Bummer Sunday
Date: February 3, 2014 9:31:08 AM PST
So all went well this week. We had the car so we didn't have to walk or ride bikes which just feels awesome after spending the last 5 weeks basically freezing. But now we are back to walking this week and it's a lot colder this week than last so... yeah it kinda stinks haha.
So the subject of this e-mail. Bummer Sunday. We were supposed to baptize Marcos this Sunday but then last minute on Sunday he went to work and told us that he just wants to stay with his old church. We were pretty bummed because we had been looking forward to his baptism for about a week now. I think we just need to spend some more time with him and teach him a bit more. He'll come around soon enough, especially because he lives with a returning member who has tons of support for him. So hopefully he will be on date again this week.
Food. The next time you go to a taqueria you need to try tacos de lengua. I would never have tried it before my mission (because lengua is cow tongue) but I've just been sorta trying everything I can since I've gotten here. Anyways, I think tacos de lengua are the best tacos you can get. I've basically tried every kind of meat in the taquerias now and I really think that lengua is my favorite. So give it a try. I think you'll like it ;) Just don't pay attention to the fact that your eating a tongue hahaha.
Spiritual thought time. Alma 48:11-13, 17. And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his [family], and his brethren from bondage and slavery; a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his [family]; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his [family]. He was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his [family], his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood. (17) Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
So I read this section the other day and just said "Wow". We have a list of exactly how we need to act in our lives to be good examples and to make sure that the devil never has power of the hearts of our families. It's awesome because this is basically a promise from God that If we act in the manner of Captain Moroni that we and our families will never be able to fall into the grasp of the devil. I guess what we need to do is check ourselves against the qualities that Moroni had and make sure that we are doing well in each of them and if we are not then we need to change our lives so that we ARE doing good in all of them. I'm not going to say more about it. Its pretty self-explanatory haha.
There was a chance that my training would get cut short (12 weeks down to 6 weeks) so that I would go train another missionary but I'm not so I'm pretty excited. I really love the area here so I would be really bummed if I had to move out already haha. The people in this area are really amazing and super nice to the missionaries, and I've been told that its the best area to serve as a Spanish speaking missionary so I'm pretty glad that I get to stay here a while longer. I think we only teach about 1-2 families a week that speak English so its a pretty good opportunity for me to learn too. Anyways, that's it for the week. Not much new :/ Talk to you next week :D
        -Elder Nyholm