Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello family,

I hope you got my Christmas email, based on the fact you didn't reply, perhaps you didn't. I'll just go ahead and send it again. I'm glad you guys have been able to get bits and pieces here and there. sister hope has become my friend and the Nally's are definitely my good buddies. They are looking out for me. what a memorable christmas i was blessed with. i hope you guys enjoyed Christmas, it was a little funny to be leaving the devotional on christmas eve thinking, "I wonder what my family is up to." sounds like you had an enjoyable, quaint little christmas together. I definitely had a very happy Christmas here in the mtc. I'm sure I will remember it the rest of my life. I explained in the last email that we (my companion and I) got to go and eat lunch with the mtc presidency, elder bednar, and about 30 other elders with a question and answer portion at the end. it was definitely a special day. if you didn't get the last e mail tell me and I will send it because i talked about that in more detail and I don't have time to talk about that. a lot happens in three days here! just to give a synopsis, my companion is fantastic. sounds like you have gotten word that he is also a lone peak knight. his name is elder davis and we are working our little bottoms off. we start at 6:30 and end at 10:30. that's basically how the day goes. we have been running to classes to be on time and 100% obedient and working hard on the russian. My chest pocket sticks off my body about six inches because it is packed full of flash cards and the white bible of course. That brings up the language. Holy cow who knew that a language would be this difficult. it can be a little overwhelming to look at some of it, but we are working as hard as we can and praying as hard as we can and have felt the blessings and progress already. I've definitely been able to see how as we try our hardest, our Heavenly Father will make up the difference. Russian is actually a very pretty language. We have a native as a teacher and it sounds so pure the way she speaks it. Again, through prayer and wearing ourselves out, elder davis and I are progressing little by little. the days are beginning to go by pretty quickly now. The food is good, I am sure at some point I will get sick of it but it definitely blows the southern virginia cafeteria out of the water. And yes, I have a date of somewhere around march 5 as my leaving date. How exciting! It is fun to run into elders Eisinger, Flinders, Van Dyke, Murcoch and other guys that you can see the light that comes into our lives as we participate in the lord's work. It is hard to believe that I have been here a week and was walking past greeting elders as they came in. I have learned so much and felt the spirit so much that it is hard to try and convey the blessing which my mission has already been in a single week. I had one of those experiences dad talked about and was hoping to hear about yesterday. We had a break from class and had a little workshop with a bunch of other elders. It was on personal revelation and how important that is to our work. He had us write down a question at the beginning. Mine was to get over feelings of inadequacy and unnecessary fears that although i am working and happy, sometimes slow me down. as we listened to various talks the spirit was beginning to enter the room. For the last fifteen minutes, he gave us time to pray and to just ponder with heavenly father our question. As I finished my broken russian prayer, immediately my thoughts were turned to the temple. I remembered the feelings I had as I had several opportunities to relax in the celestial room. I remembered looking around at each of our family member and feeling so much love. I remembered just pure peace and solace that only the spirit can bring. As these memories came into my head, suddenly the feeling came to me. How can I feel inadequate, scared, nervous etc. with such a special memory as this? How can I be slowed down by temptation and discouragement when i can remember and ponder upon the feelings felt in the house of the lord? What peace this brought to me in the busy and overwhelming schedule of a new missionary. I felt so happy and ready to bring the message of the gospel of christ into the lives of the russian people. It truly is a message of comfort, peace, and hope. I love this gospel. It brings so much happiness to my life and I have realized how much it has blessed us as a family. I love you guys and will try to write some more personal letters. I think about you and hope all is well. Tanner keep ballin, Sarah keep bein awesome. Love you all!

Elder Nielson

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