Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Subject: Another Week Goes By
Date: April 28, 2014 8:02:14 AM PDT

Time just keeps flying. I never know where it went. Speaking of which.. Thursday will mark 6 months in the mission which seems kind of crazy for me. I still feel like I just left the CCM. But its good if the time is going by so fast right?
Brother Faitau who has been sober for 2.5 years now and who has not smoked in about 5 months is hoping to be able to Baptize his grandson pretty soon. He still has to talk to the Bishop about it but we have pretty high hopes. It'll be a wonderful experience for him and for the family as a whole. The Faitau Family is one of those families that I will never forget. I love those guys so much and they are growing so quick in the Gospel. They are super strong members now and are really motivated to do missionary work also. We love the Faitau Family. (I'll attach some pictures of them)

One interesting story this week, last night actually. We went to go see a pretty elderly couple (70's). They let us in and I went to go sit down on the couch. Well I sat down and I feel something poking me right in the butt and it hurts pretty bad so I lean over and feel around on the couch and what do I find? A 2 inch long sewing needle still half way in my bum. Well I pulled it out of my cheek and give it to the wife and her husband says "Well at least you found out tonight that we are pretty sharp". He had me laughing pretty hard but I think I still would have rather NOT sat on a sewing needle.

There was a 4-5 year old kid in Sacrament meeting a while back that was really rowdy the whole time. His mom wasn't really getting anything out of Sacrament because her Kid was so loud so she went the Bishop and asked what he could do about it. Well he took the kid into his office for a few minutes and when he came back out he told the lady that it shouldn't be a problem any more. Well for the next 3 weeks her son just slept right through sacrament meeting. The lady was amazed and so she went and asked the Bishop what he did to keep her son asleep all during the meetings. He said, "Oh it was easy. I just ordained him a High Priest"

Don't worry. Our Bishop didn't actually do that. Just thought you might like a nice joke ;) Got that one from Brother Maloney. He also let us know that the punishment for Polygamy is to have two mothers-in-law. That should keep people from wanting to participate in that :D

Something I learned this week that really made me think a lot. "We are not here to earn Heaven, but to Learn Heaven." Our whole life is a learning experience and every step of it is to help us learn how to become more like our Heavenly Father. How to develop more love, patience, humility, faith, etc... And the way in which we can do that is by facing our trials with faith. By depending on God more than on ourselves. By reading the scriptures and praying in order to know which things we need to improve in and change in our lives right now. Just an interesting thought that I heard this week.

So Mom told me about bad weather coming our way. Well... we did have a 50% chance of tornados here in Independence yesterday. You always know its going to be bad when its sunny and warm in the morning, drops 20-30 degrees and is pouring rain, and then warms up into the 80's again. All that temperature change is what really causes the tornados as far as I know. But Elder Javeloza and I have a basement in our apartment so we don't have to worry to much... as long as we hear the alarms :D
So I find out tomorrow what the changes will be this transfer. I've only been here for 1 transfer so I am pretty much guaranteed to stay. It's possible that Elder Javeloza will leave but I doubt that he will since we just opened up a brand new ward. I really hope he doesn't leave because we are doing really good work right now and have the trust of the members as far as we can tell. It's a pretty good atmosphere to be serving in when the members are calling you to volunteer for Team-Ups.

Well thats it for the week. Love You Guys!. Have a great week!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Subject: 1week till transfer 
Date: April 21, 2014 8:14:49 AM PDT
This week went by, once again. extremely fast. I feel like I was just sitting here writing you guys yesterday but nope… it's actually been a whole week :o Real quick, Mom wanted to know if my pants still fit now that I've gained 20 pounds. The answer.... Luckily yes. I know tooooo many missionaries that have had to buy all new clothes since they've been out and one thing I know about myself is that I am waaay to cheap to do that. So either I don't gain anymore weight or I'm going to have some really tight fitting clothes haha. I hope I go with option #1.
I don't really remember anymore what happens from one week to the next so it is really hard for me to make these e-mails interesting. This week was just a great week with no really super exciting stuff that happened. I got some mail though (from you too ma) so that is always good haha. We had Easter weekend but it was just like every other weekend because we didn't have anyone to celebrate it with. A member did give us little Easter Baskets though so that was cool :D
During my studies of the Book of Mormon lately I've been seeing something that happens over and over again. Basically, the Lord gives people a commandment and they DO IT. Immediately. No waiting, no downtime. Its something that I think everyone needs to work on in their lives because I think a lot of times we get little promptings and we just think "well... I'm busy so I'll do it tomorrow". Tomorrow is too late. The time to act on the promptings of the spirit is now. If you pay attention while you read you will see at least one example of that in every chapter of the Book of Mormon. Pretty cool huh?
I'm glad you guys got to see the picture from PukaRu while we were at Sonic. He is actually a returning member and his wife is a fairly recent convert so we see them pretty often. They are one of my favorite families in our ward for sure. I'll have to get a picture with them before I leave so I can remember them. Them and a lot of other families here that I've really come to love.
Not really much else to write about. Sorry :/ Anyways... I hope you all had a great Easter and that you have a great week. Love you Guys!
      -Elder Nyholm

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Subject: If you don't like the weather, wait a minute
Date: April 14, 2014 8:11:45 AM PDT
First things first. Everyone that reads this go to mormon.org/becauseofhim  . Its a Easter Video about Christ and what he did for each and every one of us. Now that you have seen it, share it with one person you meet this week.
Welllllll the name says it all doesn't it? It got up in the 90's this week. We had a zone conference and it was super hot in the chapel so I wanted it to get cold. Well... Now its snowing outside. A little extreme but.... That's Missouri for you. This week went super well for us. We found lots of new people to teach (all Hispanic, which is great for me). Mom told me about going to a ward in New Mexico where 2 missionaries were serving right here in Independence. Well... Sister Thurston is in my zone so I do know one of them haha. Also, there are about 280 missionaries in my mission and its about 60/40(%) Elders/Sisters.
Not much interesting stuff really happened at all this week so sorry if the e-mail is boring. We did have one good lesson with a Spanish family with our Bishop. That lesson went extremely well and you could feel the spirit the entire time. The family loves us and fed us Tamales (which I'm pretty sure take a very long time to make, and are very delicious) and were very impressed with what we were teaching them. The mom even said that she knows that what we are teaching her is true, that we are true messengers/servants of God and that she can feel the spirit every time that we walk into her house (which has been 3 times now). So needless to say, I am very excited for the progress that we are making with this family.
Cool quote I heard yesterday during a Priesthood meeting. Our Stake President told the entire stake that if they continued do missionary work how they have been then the stake would fail. he followed that comment with saying that "Failure is not moving forward". It was something that hit me really hard and that should make each one of us think about the things we are doing. Is what we are doing in Christ's church helping his Gospel to move forward. Are the efforts that we are making helping others to progress, or are we just keeping them stable? If we are not helping ourselves and the people we love to "Move forward" then we ourselves are failing as members and as missionaries. It sounds a little harsh but it should give us all the motivation that we need to continue moving forward.
Oh! There was something very very very exciting that happened this week. One of the people I was teaching in Kaw River (Kansas City, Kansas) got baptized on Saturday and I got to attend :D 9 year-old Jeremy Birdwell was able to have his Father baptize him. It was a super great experience and the first time that I feel I have truly been able to see the "fruits of my labors". It's really awesome to be able to see that your efforts are not wasted and that the people you care about and teach are strengthening their testimonies in Christ and following his example. So yeah, that was the truly exciting part of my week.
That's about it this week. We only ate at one buffet this week which is a bummer ;) Love you guys. Have a great week!
     -Elder Nyholm


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Subject: Week 2 in Independence
Date: March 31, 2014 8:15:19 AM PDT
This week went awesome. We found lots of new people to teach, which is great when you are in a brand new area/ward. And as luck would have it, 2 of the families we found to teach only speak Spanish so I get to practice a bit :D Well, more than a bit because I have to do ALL the talking/teaching since Elder Javeloza doesn't speak Spanish. So hopefully I'll be able to improve on the language a bit. But yeah, I love it here in Independence. The members are awesome, the leadership is awesome, and there is always someone to teach.
Q & A Time. Yes I get your letters each week ma. Thank you for taking the time to write me. I don't reference them often because I don't bring them with me to the library because I already have to much stuff to carry around :o So yes my area does have Spanish speaking, just not nearly as much as my last area. But I still get to use it at least once a day usually. I got the hole punch. Thank you :D I have not seen the travel blog and I don't believe I am able to view it. I need to check with some other people first. I have about 2 more months of Lialda. Sister Faitau is from Samoa.
Something Josh might appreciate. I don't know if he has heard of Pukaru before. Pukaru is a Samoan/Hawaiian music artist that I guess is fairly popular in Polynesia. He's played on the radio and stuff there so he's decently well known. Well... I met him. He's actually in our ward and he is an awesome guy. His name is really Suni Tauiliili. So now I can be proud that I know a poly-famous guy hahaha.
Mom talked about going into a goodwill store the other day. It brings up a funny story from this week. Last P-Day we went to Ross (yeah I know its a little different) and I saw a pair of slip on dress shoes and said "Man, I really want some slip on dress shoes like those because I hate tying my shoe laces". We'll Elder Javeloza goes up and says "Hey, these are my size. Hey, they only cost $3". So he bought the shoes that I wanted that were a half-size too small for $3! Needless to say, I'm pretty jealous because they are a pretty nice pair of shoes and now I have to see him wear them... for $3....
This Sunday we talked a lot about the Atonement in church. Well I was thinking about how everyone says that "Christ suffered and died for ME." It was just a really cool thought because I was thinking about how if there were only 1 Billion people ever to live on the Earth, Christ still would have come to suffer and die for them. If there were only 1 Million people ever to live on the Earth, Christ still would have come to suffer and die for them. If there were only a thousand people ever to live on the Earth, Christ still would have come to suffer and die for them. If there were only a hundred people ever to live on the Earth, Christ still would have come to suffer and die for them. If there was only ME ever to live on the Earth, Christ still would have come to suffer and die for ME. Thats something that never really came to my mind before and that helped me to really make the Atonement personal in my life. He came to suffer and die and take upon the sins of each and every person in the world so that each on of us can return to live with our Heavenly Father. Its really powerful when you think about it that way. Heres a quote (or scripture) I really like from Linda K Burton that applies. "Is faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ written in our hearts?". If its not, it should be. So lets all work on that this week :D
About the Faitau's. They are awesome. Their son decided that he would serve a mission and left a year ago... today. Now, after a year of visits by the missionaries, they have given up smoking, given up alcohol, stopping swearing, starting coming to church. At first they came for Sacrament and left. Then for the second hour, and left. Last week was their first week at church in several years in which they stayed for all 3 hours. Yesterday was their second. Brother Faitau shared an awesome testimony yesterday I know that everyone in that chapel felt the Spirit radiate from him. It was his first time bearing his testimony in 16 years. Needless to say, I love their family and I am soooo excited for Brother and Sister Faitau. The thing to remember is that it has taken them a years of visits by missionaries to come this far. So when you feel like you are sharing the Gospel with people and they are just not getting it, give them time, they will change.
That's pretty much it for the week. I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy. Thank you to all those who take the time to write to me. I really appreciate it, even if it is just a small note. I love you all! Bye!

     -Elder Nyholm 
Subject: You're not in Kansas anymore Elder!
Date: March 24, 2014 8:21:20 AM PDT

I got booted out of Kaw River :( Which is sad because there aren't very many Hispanics here. But where is here? Where am I now? I'll tell you. Independence MO in the brand new Hill Park Ward that was created last week. And where do I live? Directly across the street from the Mission Office... and the Stake Center... and the Visitor's Center. It's really a pretty awesome place to live because we get to see lots of the Senior Missionaries and help them out with anything they need. Elder Javeloza is my companion and he's a pretty awesome guy and I'm glad to be working with him. The only problem is that he isn't a Spanish speaking missionary so it's going to be hard to keep up the Spanish. But I'll try my best.
Quick funny story from Tuesday right before I transferred. We brought a Hispanic family to the Visitor's Center from Kaw River. It was a super awesome experience and it really helped me to see how awesome the VC is for investigators. But the funny part. We were watching "Finding Faith in Christ" as the last thing before we left. Well, Hermano Mendez and his 41 year-old son totally passed out during the movie and starting snoring super loud. The 13,11,9 year old kids were super into the movie... until they realized that their Dad and Brother were out cold and then they just couldn't stop laughing because they were snoring so loud. It really kinda reminded me of Dad whenever we watched videos at national parks. Good times ;)
Thursday we were walking around here in Independence at met a few members from the ward. Well, we met a lady named Evett Bell and her son Patrick. We were talking to them and she said that a Sister Jacobs had been teaching her a while back. I said "Hey, there is a Sister Jacobs from my ward that served here a few years ago." So Sister Bell went into her house and grabbed a picture of herself with the Sister Missionaries and, of course, Sister Jacobs from right over there in Livermore, California. So Sister Jacobs, Evett and Patrick Bell say "Hi!".
So here's a scripture I don't think I've shared before but that I really love. It's in Helaman 5:12 and says : And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. This scripture is really just super powerful for me. It really is Christ that can save us from any trial or pain that we have in our lives. He took upon him the pains and sins of the world so that we could have the opportunity to return to live with God one day. Christ is the one in whom we should place our trust, our values, our hopes, and build our foundations. And like the last 3 words say, if we do those things "We Cannot Fall". How great of a promise is that for us? That no matter how much pain we have had, no matter how many trials we have faced, no matter how many temptations we have, that if we build our foundations in Christ "We Cannot Fall". For me it's a promise that has and will continue to give me hope and happiness throughout my whole life.
So there's kind of a tradition here in Independence. Every Thursday all of the missionaries in the area go to Sister Faitau's house for dinner for "Faitau Thursday". She is a Less-Active member that is starting to come back into activity and that's why she loves having us there. Anyways, after dinner every missionary shares a quick spiritual thought for her and after we leave she takes all the spiritual thoughts that we shared and puts them on Facebook to share with all her friends. As far as I'm concerned that is a pretty stinking good missionary effort that I'm sure is benefiting hundreds of the people that she knows. Also, its a pretty good example of what we as members of the church should be doing for others, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in any way we know how. I'll attach a picture of Faitau Thursday too :)
Service project this week. We had a weird one. We went to Brother Waite's house and helped him do what? Kill and Pluck his chickens. Yeah, it was a pretty interesting project but we have a promised dinner so that's good :D Actually, we were delivered Church's Chicken that night for dinner so I'm kinda starting to wonder.......
Anyways... Thats pretty much it for here. I love you all and hope all is going well. Have an awesome week!
      -Elder Nyholm