Monday, March 17, 2014

Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 8:41 AM
Subject: I Might Get Booted Out
So this week could be my last week here in Rio Kaw. I'll find out tomorrow whether I stay here or go somewhere else. I think I'll be fine with anything as long as I don't get sent to an English area (which happens to some Spanish Elders). I figure that wherever I go I will have the opportunity to grow and learn a ton since I'll be put in a new situation without a Native Speaking companion. It's possible that I'll have one more transfer with Elder Sanchez but I really doubt it. But we will see what happens and I'll let you know next week.
I read your story last week about how you went to the Mocho Branch for some meeting or another and a Spanish lady translated the whole time for you. You said it was probably pretty difficult and I would have to agree. In sacrament meeting we have translators for English to Spanish. When I first got here I listened in the headphones so that I would listen to Spanish instead of English but then I realized it would be even better practice if I just translated English to Spanish for myself. So now I spend the entire meeting translating in my head, and believe me, it is hard. Especially with my limited Spanish skills. But I'm always getting better so that good :D
We have a baptism this Saturday! A 9 year old boy named Jeremy Birdwell. His parents had been less-active so he just didn't have the chance to get baptized, but he will be baptized this saturday by his Dad :D It's awesome because his parents are super motivated to go to the temple to get sealed now so it's just an awesome situation all around. The only bummer is that I might leave here on Thursday so I won't be able to be there :/ We'll see what happens though and hope for the best :D
We had a super awesome lesson this week with a Spanish (Less-Active) lady named Delia Cervantes. We were teaching her about faith (from Ether 12:12,16... Read it!) and I asked her "Do you have faith Sister. If so, can you move a water bottle with your faith?". She responded "Yes, I have 100% faith and I can move the bottle with my faith". So I put my water bottle in the middle of a floor and said "OK. Move the water bottle with your faith in three seconds." She stared at the bottle super intense and then when it didn't move she started blowing at it to get it to move (but it still didn't move). She was really bummed because she didn't get it to move with her faith but then Elder Sanchez asked me if I could move it with my faith. I said yes then picked it up and moved it. It really hit home for Hermana Cervantes because it helped her to realize that faith really is a principle of action. If you only believe, that's not enough. You gotta act.
We did have an awesome week this week for teaching, which is great. 10 lessons with members present and another 12 lessons to less-actives, which is awesome here in this mission. So we are pretty stoked about that. We are on bikes this week, which is a bummer, but we are hoping we will be able to be just as effective. Other than having an awesome teaching week nothing much else interesting happened. But this week will be interesting (maybe) with transfers. I'm kinda looking forward to the day when I hear "You're not in Kansas anymore Elder". We'll see how soon that day comes ;) Anyways, I love you guys and hope all is going well for you at home. Have an awesome week and I'll do the same!
       -Elder Nyholm

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 9:08 AM
Subject: Awesome week!
This this week went pretty stinking well. It started off pretty slow but started to pick up a lot towards the end. We got a lot of awesome lessons in with a lot of awesome people, and the majority of them were with members present in the lesson, which is a missionary's dream. We were on bikes though, which always slows down the week a bit. I don't know if I've told you before but Kansas City, Kansas consists of hills, steeper hills and more hills... So riding a bike here really kinda stinks haha. It's super annoying to get to the top of a giant hill and then to see that you have to go down again and then allllll the way back up. So really if there's anything you need to know about Kansas City, it's that the whole place is hills.
Nothing super interesting happened this week. But the week went really fast, which is always good. You know that you've been staying busy when you get to Sunday and can't remember working through the rest of the week. We did get word this week that in the next few transfers we will have 60% Elders and 40% Sisters in our mission, which is a little crazy if you ask me. I've also become really really really grateful for the opportunity to speak Spanish here because about 2 of the 15-20 new missionaries that come in every transfer are Spanish speaking. So yeah, I'm really lucky and blessed for the opportunity to speak Spanish here.
Quick Spiritual Thought: Ether 12:27And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. It's pretty funny but I've noticed lately that I really love finding the areas of my life that I'm weak in. It's awesome because once you find out about your weaknesses you have the opportunity to improve them until they become strengths in your life. But as this scripture says, God will only help us to make our weaknesses become strong if we humble ourselves before him in prayer and ask him for help, having faith that he will actually help us. As I've been reading and studying I've really come to realize that God won't help us with anything in our lives unless we have faith in him first. We don't see miracles in our lives unless we have faith. We don't receive answers to our prayers unless we have faith. We can not receive guidance or blessings from God, not matter how good our intentions are, unless we first have faith. So to me, it looks like it's pretty important to have faith in our lives. If we don't have faith, let's start to develop it. If we do have faith, let's start making it a little stronger. And the way we can begin to build or increase our faith is pretty simple. Pray, study the scriptures, attend church and follow the other commandments of God. We have a promise straight from the mouth of God that as we have faith in him he will make weak things become strong unto us. Let's make our best use of that promise.
Quick funny story. Elder Sanchez has been learning English for about 10 months now. He's basically fluent but every once in a while he can't understand completely. Well a few days ago we were getting ready to leave our apartment for the day and I asked him "You ready yet?". He thought about it for a while and then responded "You're an idiot!". I guess it was one of those instances where he didn't understand completely or heard wrong or whatever and thought that I called him an idiot hahaha. Made me laugh pretty hard. But it's always a good interesting funny time with someone that is learning the language I guess :D
I don't really have to much more to write about. Just that the week went good and went quick. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to write to me every once in a while. It's really awesome to be able to sit down and read what is happening in your lives. I love you guys!
       -Elder Nyholm

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 9:07 AM
Subject: Cold Week Again :(
Soooooooo the weather was awesome. Until it got down to about 0 degrees over the past 3 days. Now it's horrible and cold and icy again. And your boogers freeze in about 15 seconds outside so that's no fun. We had the car last week so we still got to see a decent amount of people despite the cold. This week is bikes soooooooooooo hopefully it'll get warm and the snow and ice will go away pretty quick.
We didn't really get any amazing visits in over the last week. No new Baptismal dates or returning members or anything, which is a bit of a bummer. But we are working hard so the Lord will make it all worth it for us still. There is one girl that we are actually making a lot of progress with. She is 12 and has two older brothers that are members. She really wants to be baptized but her dad doesn't want her to because he doesn't think she is old enough to make the decision. Well we've been talking to the dad a lot lately and he is really starting to warm up to us now. He always gives us juice or something now when we come over and he even told us that he wants to feed us sometime soon. So it's a double win haha. He starts to like us more and we get food ;) So yeah, now that he likes us a bit more, we gave a paper to the girl to get him to sign so that she can get baptized. We will see what happens this week :o Wish her luck!
We also had a companion exchange this week. Those are the best, as long as you aren't the one who has to move all your bedding over to the other house for 24 hours. It's super nice being able to take a 24 hour break from your companion too haha. Also, I was the one leading in the area so I had the opportunity to really take the lead talking/teaching the people (in Spanish mostly) was really helped me out a lot I think. You don't really notice where you are lacking in your teaching/language skill until your companion is depending on you to know what the people are saying. So now I know better what things I need to work on, which is good.
Dad, I think you work more now than you did before you retired. All I hear about is you working on remodeling a bathroom, installing solar panels, improving the Rage'n. I always thought that people who retired just bought a dog, watched TV all day, and played with their grand kids. I guess I was sorely mistaken haha. And mom told me that you "Mr prepared for everything" didn't have a spare tire for the truck. I noticed that you left that out of the letter you wrote to me hahaha. Having a a tire blow out on the highway doesn't sound like too much fun. I'm glad that there was no one around though and that you guys are safe :D
Mom/Dad wanted to know how Spanish is coming. It's pretty much the same as before. I can say almost everything I want. Every once in a while I come across things that I want to say that I really just don't know the words for. And even when I talk, it's far from being good Spanish. The people are able to understand what I'm trying to say though so I figure it's good enough haha. Sometimes when I can't find the words I want I have to use a bit of Spanglish too but it's all good because half the Hispanics here speak decent English anyways so they understand. So really the big stumbling block for me is to understand the people still. We talked to a Spanish guy the other day that was drunk (I hope) because I swear he wasn't speaking English OR Spanish, in other words, I have no idea what he was saying hahaha. I can get the main subject or what people are saying but I still don't have enough comprehension to hold a good conversation yet. Poco a poco, that's what they tell me.
So I was studying the other day and I stumbled on a scripture that I had marked in Isaiah 41 that I thought was really cool and really gave me some confidence during the week. It's Isaiah 41:10. Le dice "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness". So it's really cool just to think that God really is with us all the time. If we are lacking the strength to do something that is in line with his Gospel, then all we need to do is put our trust in him and pray and he will strengthen, help, and uphold us. We really have no reason to fear in our lives because we know that we have a Heavenly Father who wants the best for us and really wants to help us in all our trials. So I guess this scripture is really just a comfort and a confidence booster than we can read if we are ever feeling down.
Well that's it for the week folks. Not really much else to talk about this week. I love you guys! Have a good week!
       -Elder Nyholm

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Subject: Awesome week!
Date: February 24, 2014 8:25:02 AM PST

This week was basically the best week of missionary work we've had since I got here. We had tons of awesome lessons and were able to find a few inactive families to teach and got them excited to come back to church again. So yeah, this week was awesome and just kind of flew by. Not sure where it went but I do know that it went great. Also the weather was really warm in the beginning of the week (although it's gotten cold again) so it was pretty awesome for bikes. No snow, to rain, no ice. I love it.

So we were talking to this guy this week (I think he's about 28) and had a great time talking to him, shared a message, etc. Well his Mom is a less-active that we have been teaching and she has told us that all this guy does is go to work and play video games and that he just doesn't have too many friends. Well, we found that out real quick because he never stops talking, which I guess is kinda good because we get to know him and what he needs but at the same time we don't really have an opportunity to teach him anything. But the point of telling you about him is that every once in a while he says some really funny stuff. Like this week he told us that "Heart disease is the number one killer. Retirement is number 2". It made me laugh super hard and made me think of you guys (sorry). So just make sure you stay alive so that I get to see you after my mission ;)

So like I said, this week went by super fast so once again I forgot to write down stuff to tell you about. But on the positive side I still have a little spiritual thought to leave you ;) So Here's Alma 29:9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." This should really be the joy of us all, to help people to repent (or get rid of bad things from their lives) and to help them come unto Christ. We should desire for all people to become the best that they can be, and help them to get there. We can't help people to grow in their lives and to become more like their heavenly father unless we truly desire to help them and show that desire to them through our actions.
Oh. And here's a picture of Elder Sanchez and me at the Kansas City Temple. Thought you might enjoy it.