Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hello family!
I am actually getting to write this round on time today!  Yay!  Sorry about the big situation, it seems that things haven't been slowing down and have no view of slowing down.  President Sartori had come down to Saratov to do a little fireside and training with the missionaries, which was awesome.  We had an interview with him on Saturday that basically took the whole day to ride in and meet with him in the center branch of the city.  I got to meet with him, and he told me the transfer information...I got a little switched around and will be a zone leader up here in Samara.  Whew...I am a little in a daze…that came outta nowhere.  I thought for sure I was going to have another cycle down in Zavodskoy but am super excited to work up here and carry out all those different responsibilities that will be on my plate.  I agree with Elder McGill, it is time to even push harder even though I am so flippin’ tired, and I haven't experienced nothin’ yet it sounds like.  
That is the most exciting news from the week, and before I knew it I was on the overnight train and pulled into Samara this morning.  Crazy crazy.  Those were some great reports from each of you, it is so good to hear from you and it makes my day all the time to hear what's goin’ on and all of your thoughts and things.  Just so ya know mama, I love seeing pictures too so don't be afraid to send pictures and things.  It just sounds like football season is in the swing of things and it's just keepin' on even without me.  Sometimes you just imagine that everything at home has frozen.  Not quite, you were right mom, it's starting to dawn on me that I'm not quite the 'puppy' missionary anymore, I'm comin up on 10 months!  What the heck!
 As far as things that have gone on, Elder Whittermoore and I were able to finish out our cycle very strong and had a very good time together.  We were able to work to learn a lot of good things from each other, and it ended on a high note.  We got along really well and had a lot of the same likes and dislikes.  He was Andrew Gifford and Jackson mixed into one person.  It was a good time.  It did get a little bit difficult as I was able to have Heavenly Father shaping me in ways that I couldn't really see, and that is what made it difficult.  Sometimes, we just need to look through our Heavenly Father's eyes.  We were able to have an awesome lesson with a guy named Sergei and I am sure that he will soon be baptized, he is such a good guy and there's going to be so many good things going on down there.  It was a little bit of a quick good bye to everyone else there.  We had found out late on Saturday and had a train pulling out at 4 on Sunday, so it was a little bit of a disappointment.  I was able to say a quick goodbye and parting words to Sergei and Ivan, but it was a little anti-climactic.  But it's all good, I'm sure everything will keep up there with them.  There are also some other members that I will definitely miss, but I am super excited to just meet some more and the work goes on! As far as other things go, there really isn't a ton to report from the last Friday, I will get on the picture sending mama, don't you worry ‘bout dat.  It is actually really fun right now I get to be with Elder Taylor, my buddy from Kazan.  We've been laughin’ the whole time, so many good memories from that cycle together in Kazan.  It will be fun to work with him, he just got assigned to be the new assistant here and we will be in the same district. 
Which reminds me, I will be with Elder Brookhousen who has been the former assistant and will be wrapping up his mission, probably with me.  Crazy stuff to have all these guys becoming 'old' on the mission.  He also was a Lone Peak Knight, totally hung with Zach Hyatt and Nate Garrett and we will be working together.  Well I am super excited about this upcoming cycle.   It's been a blessing to have this mission in my life.  I've been realizing lately how much the gospel has had an impact on my life.  Everything I have and that we have and enjoy can be traced back to the gospel.  Anything that is good comes from that, and I have realized how my knowledge and conversion has come through the Book of Mormon.  I have begun to realize that that book is everything to me.  I hope that I can continue to read it and hope that you will also read it together.  I love each of you and hope you can feel that and have a good time together.  ‘Til next week!
LoveElder Nielson 

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