Monday, November 19, 2012

Hi Family!

I don't know if you remember me, but this is your son in Russia. Oh my gosh I'm so sorry it has been such a mess of Russian governmental post offices and exchanges that have made a little bit of a mess in writing home. I am super sorry about that, and as you can imagine it's not a missionary's favorite thing to not hear from home. Although I might not give the best replies sometimes, keep the email's coming because that is always an uplift and fun to hear. Even if it is a tough time, I just like to hear your thoughts. With email and stuff, it doesn't seem that I am very far away from home. Thanks for your letters this week. It is fun to hear about all that is going on. So thanks. It is funny to listen and think about the things that you face and realize how they aren't a ton more different than the things we face as missionaries, it just seems that our highs and lows are closer together and so you get over things fast. And you have no choice. There is so much to learn as a missionary and I love it.

The last week has been a blur, and things are definitely not slowing down. Due to the fact that we have this cycle as 5 weeks, we are cramming everything that we usually do in 6 weeks into 5. This coming week I'll be doing some travelling with you, we're getting on a train tonight to a city called Penza to work tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday with the 4 elders and 2 sisters there. We are so excited to get there and just floor the place to the ground. Things have been slow there and to be honest the only solution is to go in and destroy it and get the faith up. I'm so excited. Maybe we'll all do the pay day chant together or something. We will then go to a city called Orenburg next week and then have exchanges with the other district leaders in Samara here, it'll be so good.
I don't know if I was down, but mom I think you mentioned that I seem to be a little bit more up now. I don't know if I am better or worse, but we have been pushing to simply give 100%. It seems that through the mission here, people are just down and we keep looking for some solution to help people get up. But, what I and my companion have been learning lately has been something that will stick to me the rest of my life. First, there must be faith. We can't do anything or expect Heavenly Father to do anything if we don't have faith and simply read pray and go to church. Not only does faith give us hope, but it is confidence in the Lord, which gives us confidence in ourselves. I've been trying to figure out how to be myself doing the whole zone leader thing, and have learned that when we are confident in the Lord, we have real confidence in ourselves. I think a lot of people could use that. We also have to start thinking about other people. I have learned that any hard time that I have had on my mission and when I have had low energy, it is because I am simply thinking about myself. It is crazy how the second we begin to think about other people that we are given power to do anything. When I start to get tired or if I am down, I just think about somebody- an investigator or a struggling missionary- and I get to work. This is what I have learned to be real charity. I can't say I've mastered it, but I have seen how that has changed my missionary work and I don't see how faith and charity wouldn't bless our personal lives. There are a lot of things I hope to never forget.

We continue to work with Natasha and Masha, I have some pictures but don't have the ability to send right now so remind me next week. They are so rad- me and the ol’ companion Elder Taylor went and taught them tithing and it was so awesome. First time I've ever taught that- crazy huh? But they are so great and the husband in Moscow is basically indifferent to the whole situation. Don't know about the relationship there. But hey it'll be good. We had also met this other Natasha girl on a bus stop the morning that Brother Galloway came out here. She is also so awesome- she's 18 and just wants to do what God wants her to do. She will get baptized, I don't doubt that. Unfortunately we just lost her because we split our areas for a new companionship here and they will teach her. But hey, she'll get baptized. That makes me feel good. We are working with various other people, but due to the area split, we are doing some rebuilding here, which is totally cool. I love the contacting- that's where you see the most miracles. And it's fun. Man I wish I could write more and tell more stories, but the timer just popped up. Ah!

I sure love you all and can feel your support and think of you often- without getting distracted of course. I sometimes wonder what you would think if you saw some of the funny stuff and some kid tryin’ to speak Russian here. It's so awesome. Love you all, have a good week and see you next week!

Elder Nielson

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another week...and no email.  Ugh! We received an email from the mission office saying Elder Nielson couldn't find an open internet cafe.  He was going to try later in the week.  It was also reported that they had made some soup that he liked so much that he was going to make a big pot of it at his apartment...said it reminded him of home.  Ahhh!  In the meantime, enjoy this picture we received from the mission home of the last zone conference held on November 1st.  Elder Nielson looks giddy!  We know he is loving every part of his mission!  Until next week...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No email this week from Elder Nielson...Booo!  There is apparently a Russian holiday and all offices and businesses are closed so he was unable to email.  Here are some great pictures though, from our friend Rob Galloway who was able to visit Chris in Samara with permission from Chris' mission president.  Apparently these two Elders, Elder Nielson and Elder Broekhuijsen are quite a dynamic pair.  I couldn't get over how clean their apartment is!  Enjoy!  
 Samara Airport
 Chris says hello to his old Young Men's leader
 Elder Nielson looking daper in his hat.
 Fellow Lone Peak Knight, Elder Broekhuijsen
 Wow...super tidy!

Love the peptobismol wall color!