Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 11:22 AM
Subject: One Day Late
This last week was pretty fantastic. We had a mission temple trip which was just amazing. There are ~280 missionaries in the mission so we did the trip in 4 temple sessions. So ~70 missionaries in each one, which is a lot for the little temple over here. This was a "special treat" for the mission because President and Sister Keyes go home at the end of this transfer (3 weeks). We also did exchanges this week so I was with a different missionary for a day which is always a nice change. It was pretty funny because every morning when this Elder wakes up he walks up to the mirror and tells his reflection "You're beautiful. I love you. I forgive you". Exchanges also means that I didn't have to plan one night because I was in his area :) I'm still not a huge fan of planning if you couldn't tell. It's always good to plan... the problem is that a missionary's plans (almost) never happen.
Mom, we are going strong with our 4th week with a car. It's a pretty big miracle. And to top it off, I haven't gained any weight since we got the car. I guess sitting is better exercise than I thought. It's only in the 80's here but its getting pretty humid so it's really really really nice to have a car.
Funny story. Whenever mom send me a package she always manages to fit in a few packages of powdered Idahoan potatoes. I love those potatoes and I figured that mom must have known it and that was why she kept sending them to me. Anyways, I was making some today for lunch and then I just happened to see some black lettering on the package and I was thinking "hmmmmmmmmm what does that say?" Well I looked a little closer and what do I see? "Use by 3/15/2011" Now I know the real purpose behind sending me those potatoes :D And i'ts OK because they still taste just as good.
Lately we have been finding a lot of "Golden Contacts" in his area. We have several people that we are teaching that are progressing really really well. We figure that as long as we keep putting in the effort and work smart that we should always have a few people that will be willing to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, that effort and hard work is really paying off and we are super grateful for it.
On Sunday one of the speakers during church said something I really liked a lot which was "[Christ] died for us. But first he lived for us". As I thought about that I really started to wonder which part of Christ's life was the hardest, the suffering that he participated in in order to make it possible for us to be clean from sin -or- the perfect life that he had to live in order to have the ability to perform the Atonement for us. Just a good question to think about a bit.
I was studying in the BoM this morning in Alma 60 and I read a few really cool verses. This chapter is about Captain Moroni rebuking the people in the Nephite government for not sending troops and supplies to his armies. So here's what he says in verses 7,11 and 19. "Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you? Yea, while they are murdering thousands of your brethren— Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain. Or is it that ye have neglected us because ye are in the heart of our country and ye are surrounded by security, that ye do not cause food to be sent unto us, and also men to strengthen our armies?" It really made me think about our lives and if some of us feel so secure and set in our ways that we feel like we don't need to spend time spreading the Gospel. Our enemies, Satan and his followers are spreading spiritual death around us among our brethren. Are we really worthy to be delivered by the goodness of God if we never put forth our efforts to save our friends and neighbors from the influences of Satan? It's our duty as Christians to help those around us to better their lives and to come unto Christ and to find the joy in their lives that we have felt in ours. Anyways, I just thought that was a pretty cool set of scriptures as I was reading this morning.
Well that's about it for the week folks. I'm looking forward to a great week and I hope that you all are also. So have a great one. Love You!
  -Elder Nyholm

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sent: Monday, May 19, 2014 8:12 AM
Subject: Doing Great!
This week went pretty fantastic. Mom just e-mailed me and told me about how little you really need to survive. I can agree with that. For the last 2 weeks I've been living off of bananas and cans of tuna fish for breakfast/lunch. Nice and cheap... and quite filling also. We had a nice surprise this week also. It was supposed to be our week with bikes but somehow we got blessed with the rental car for another week, and we get it again this week. So basically we've been getting unlimited miles in a nice 2014 Chevy Impala for the last 2 weeks and we are still going strong haha. Yup, missionaries in the USA are a little spoiled.
You said something about Iva doing fire-knife dancing. Did I tell you that I met a 3-year in a row world champion for fire-knife dancing? We went and visited him at the hospital about 2 weeks ago. No he did not cut/burn himself to go to the hospital... he just got bit by a spider.
This week we did a ton of tracting which actually turned out to be pretty fun. You meet a lot of, how to I put it... interesting people when you are knocking on random doors all day. So now we have a nice big pool of people to work with which is really nice. Gives us more time in people's homes and less time walking in the street.
Elder Parry and I are always trying to find service projects to work on with people. This week we helped an old guy (70's) move a bunch of gravel into his driveway. He's going to pour a brand new driveway but first he's gotta put gravel down so that he can pour on top. It's a long driveway too so he's got about 18 tons of gravel that he still has to move. So that will be a pretty good project that we can help him out with once a week or so. He can't really do the work very quickly on his own so he really appreciates the help and Elder Parry and I appreciate being able to do some nice hard labor every once in a while.
Something I noticed in my studies this week. I was reading in Alma 43 which is, as you can guess, about a war between the Nephites and Lamanites. It's pretty cool as you read through because you can see a nice pattern that you see in a lot of other scripture also. Verse 9 = Desire/Purpose. Verse 19 = Preparedness/Action/Faith. Verse 23 = Prayer. Verse 26 = Unity. Verse 50 = Success. So as you go through you can see that fighting against temptation or other bad things in your life always starts with a desire and a purpose. If you don't have a desire to become better and change our lives then we never will. After we develop that desire we act on faith that we can change by putting on "the whole armor of God" though prayer, scripture study, church attendance, etc. That leads to the ability of being able to become united with those that share your same values and those that are fighting for the same cause, which ultimately brings about success. A lot of times we look through the "war chapters" of the Book of Mormon and think "how the heck am I supposed to apply this to my life?". What we fail to realize a lot of the time is that we are in a war. Once you realize that it becomes a lot easier to apply those chapters.
Well have a good week. Love you all.
       -Elder Nyholm

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 8:35 AM
Subject: Busy Week
We had a really good, fun, busy week this week. Our normal car got recalled for a bad front axle so we got a rental car, which meant that we had unlimited miles during the week. We decided that that would be a perfect opportunity to visit every single address on our ward roster and to find out who everyone was. So that's what we did. And every single minute of it was worth it because now we have a big nice list of people who don't live in the ward anymore and also a nice list of people who wished that they didn't live in the ward anymore and who never want to see us again. That was the fun part :D
Well I guess the more fun part was that I got to call home for Mother's Day. It was a pretty great treat but it made me realize how short an hour is. That hour phone call goes by pretty stinking quick.
Oh... another fun thing that happened this week that I forgot to mention in my phone call. I performed my first baptism this week for a 9-year old girl that Elder Javeloza and I found about 3 weeks ago. Her name is Suhki. Background story. We got her to Church 2 weeks in a row (through a lot of help from the ward) then told the sisters that they should be the ones to teach Suhki since we couldn't go into her house to teach since there is no man in the home. Well, about 20 mins later during Sacrament meeting, Suhki leaned over to the Sister Missionaries and told them she wanted to be baptized. The sisters met with her Monday-Thursday to teach her all of the lessons and get her baptismal interview and yes... we had a baptism. It was a really great miracle and a really awesome experience.
Well that's about it for the week. I found a really cool scripture in Ether 12:20-21 "The brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith. And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil." So what I realized was just how important it is to have faith. We always learn that with faith we can do all things but we never really hear that by faith we can do all things and that if we have faith that the Lord is required to show unto us the truth of all things. If I were you I would just read the entire chapter of Ether 12. It's really awesome.
Well that's it for the week. Love you all!
           -Elder Nyholm

Date: May 5,2014
Subject:  Talk to you soon!

To answer your questions. We have zone conference once every 2 months. We should have one coming up again pretty soon... or maybe interviews, I'm not really sure because they haven't given us the May calendar yet. Yes I still study Spanish every day. Actually I do all my studies in Spanish so I basically have 3 hours of Spanish study each day. I will call on Sunday at about 10 or 11. It'll be a call via FaceTime from an iPad... I've been gone too long though and don't really know how that'll work out. We'll see. Just make sure you're at McDonald's or somewhere with WiFi or else you won't get to see me ;) Yeah I've still got about 3 weeks of Lialda left. No worries.
Oh. So transfers was this week. I lost Elder Javeloza but I got Elder Parry, who is learning Spanish, so I am pretty excited. Elder Parry is from... Can you guess? Provo, UT and his house is right across the street from BYU campus. Pretty cool kid. We are getting along well and working hard so it's pretty good. I think this will be a pretty fantastic transfer. The bummer part is that Elder Manusauloa finished his mission and went home. It's great but it's a bummer because he was one of my favorite missionaries out here :/
We went to the Samoan Community Mother's Day Celebration on Saturday (lots of the members of Samoan Community are members, active and less-active). Well we get there and we go around saying Hi to everyone and then they tell us that we gotta eat. So we go to the food table and they have a big old pig on the table and the servers just keep trowing tons of meat on our plate. I think I have dinner for about 3 nights left over. Anyways, we go and sit down by the Tauiliili's to eat and after a little bit Puka gives his plate to his wife and says "Man you gotta get one of these (motioning to his wife). Just eat 'till you're full and pass it off". The look on Sister Tauiliili's face was absolutely priceless. On a side note, mom said that we must spend lots of time with the Tauiliili's. We usually see them about once a week because we are trying to help them prepare to be sealed in the Temple.
Quick thought I got during studies. I was studying how to develop and receive a Testimony and I came across Ether 12:6. The part that I loved from it is "dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith". The thing that stuck out to me is that we will never gain a testimony until after our faith has been tried, until someone has challenged that which we believe and tried their hardest to crush it. It was pretty cool to me because there are so many times when we come across people that are totally against our religion and just tell us that everything is a lie and stuff like that. It's amazing though because every time I start walking away from people like that, I feel so much stronger in my testimony after I have defended my faith. So I guess the thing to remember is not to complain about trials that we may have, but instead to welcome them and face them with faith so that we can come out of them stronger than we were before.
That's about it for the week. Everything here is going great and I'm looking forward to another great week. Hope everything is going well for everyone at home. Love You All!
       -Elder Nyholm