Monday, December 31, 2012

Hey there family!
Well it was good to hear from you once again, it feels like we never even got to talk!  But it sounds like you had a good Christmas and that you all were able to enjoy a good time and keep up the good skiin traditions and'll have to pass along a little hello to Troy for me.  It was was good to talk to all of you and see each of you, your all a lil different and things but your all the exact same.  I woulda thought that I was talkin to you from the sweet dorm room out in Virginia.  Crazy how fast time is flyin by.  I can't believe it.  And that 40 minutes was way too fast, but I agree with ya dad, it was good to have us all together. It sounds like things are goin well back at home. I appreciated your testimony about goin to church momma and it sounds like the ward back home is doin well.  You'll have to tell everybody hi.  That is cool that Janet and Brother Mcgill got my letter and I can't remember if I told you that we wrote Tyler a letter, but it turns out that Elder Broekhuijsen and I had a common friend, so we thought that would have been funny to send him.  And that is a sweet lookin structure with the temple being put together, that sounds like a fun thing to watch there at work dad.  Pretty cool stuff.  Let's just transport that on over to samara here! 
As far as the week goes, mine has got to be up there with probably the most crazy of my mission weeks.  we had a lot of way good things happen and just a lot goin on.  So after we talked on Tuesday, we had the next day on Wedensday getting all in for zone conference and for interviews.  That made for a good day of makin sure people were getting in on time and everything to make sure that all had time to interview with president.  He is such a good guy to take the time and interview with everybody.  We then had the big conference the next day here in samara!  it was a really good day and I learned a lot, besides the fact that the two dummies that had to order food (me and Elder Taylor) somehow undercounted and sent us sprinting out the door into the falling snow once lunch started to go find something for a couple of missionaries that we had missed.  Ya baby.  It then came time to get a couple of missionaries out the door, and so we had to step out and order them a taxi.  there is really sparatic traffic and things here especially with snow, and russian customer service doesn't exactly get five stars, so with that we went to get them a taxi and all taxi services and any friend taxi drivers we have here would say "no we're not taking orders" or "we don't have anybody going to that area".  So we got to spend the last couple of hours gettin that figured out, but hey people made their trains and it was a good conference.  Phew.  The next day we had a guy come meet us here in the office that had called up Elder Taylor and had been reading the Book of Mormon.  Turns out, he's read pretty much the whole book and was pretty down for everything.  He showed up to church yesterday and after the meeting we finished up the restoration and set a baptismal date with him!  Sweet!  Heavenly Father is lookin out for us.  But after that meeting on Friday we ran out and went to catch a train down to Saratov.  We made it and rolled on down to Saratov.  The trains are definitely going to be a good memory for a long time.  It was so darn fun to come rolling into Saratov as well, I haven't been back to a place I've served before and that was so fun.  I felt like I was comin back home.  We got in about midnight and then got up for round two of zone conference in Saratov.  This one went a lot smoother and required a lot less logistics.  and we were back in the ol Zavodskoy branch which made it even better.  After the conference, we did a lil clean up and then I got to call my old buddy Sergei!  He's doin good but his buddy Ivan, not so much.  It  turns out that just his last week the police from another city called up Sergei and wanted Ivan.  He had done some crime in that city and basically ran outta there and has been basically not being honest to anybody.  so, they came and picked him up from that member's house and took him to da clank.  That was a little bit of a bummer to hear.  But, it sounds like Sergei is doin well and actually progressing to baptism.  Elder Taylor and I actually had some time to run by and drop by that member's house- Sergei's "mom" Galina.  It was so good to see her and we just talked for a bit and prayed with her.  It was really cool I love that place so darn much.  We then ran outta there to catch our train back home to samara to get up and go to church and have a good day yesterday!  Ya baby.  So if you were wondering, that's what happened this week.
Well I sure love you all and again had such a good time seeing you all.  It definitely motivates me to be a little bit better seeing what we can give somebody else.  Have a good week and we will see you next week!
Elder Nielson

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Family All Together Again...Merry Christmas!

This is what we got to see when we answered the call.  A real live Russian fur hat staring at us
The time went by so quickly...a full 40 minutes!
Great family picture of all the kids together

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hey there and Merry Christmas Family!

Good day to you all I hope you all had a good week and I got some fun's always a treat to hear from all of you. We've had a way good week hear, and it will only get better tomorrow! Woo! We're all geared up for the big skype home. So I'm planning on 8:00 p.m. our time which is 9:00 your time is what I've heard....I guess we have a 11 hour time difference. You might want to check my sources on my time zones. but it'll be a party!
But for the most part it sounds like things are going along well there at the ranch and that you all got your big Christmas parties going on and everything. Your havin’ all the neighbors over for a party? Wow look at you go there! And thanks for the fun Siberian cabin looks like you had some successful gingerbread house making. Good work I'm glad your all havin’ a good time.
Well as far as these parts go, it's definitely been a different week of missionary work than I'm used to. We had to spend a good amount of the week down here in the office preparing for zone conferences and getting schedules put together for visa trips and all that good stuff. It's pretty fun, a lot of the staff here are just local church members and they are super fun to work around with. It's fun because there are a couple members from the old branch I served in on the other side of the city and the other half are here in the branch I am in now with the branch president. We have had a party with all of them. Today we just came down actually to write and polish off a couple things for getting trains and stuff coming in and they had a whole Christmas party put together with the whole office staff and President and Sister Sartori so I just got my writing interrupted by going and eating all this pork and fish and chicken that they grilled up outside on this little sishcabob thing. It was our own homemade Tucano's! I had to turn my little light over to red...I'm about to explode right now. I took a picture and we have some good ones from the week, but I forgot to bring my cord so week will be some fun ones. :) We also have been able to work a little closer with President Sartori and it has been really fun to be around him, I think we're actually skyping from their place tomorrow, so hopefully you'll get to meet them! Have my parents meet my other parents.

Other than that, we had time to get a couple lessons in and were able to go meet with this girl that we had found knocking named Yolandia after some play. She was so cool but we didn't find another man so we sat out in the stair well of her apartment and she sat inside and we taught her. Haha pretty funny, but she was pretty into it so we are super excited to meet with her. We also have a few others and an investigator that was already here working for baptism, so we are going to be having some great stuff going on in this area! Man it's so fun. We also had a big Christmas activity on Saturday at our branch combined with the other branch here in Samara...they put on a show for us and let me tell ya...I was not in Kansas anymore Toto. There is definitely a different taste for entertainment around here and they were doing some musical thing that was so darn funny, but they all love it. One of the songs was President Bogdanov in the mission presidency singing "we love boogy woogy". It was so darn funny with his thick Russian accent just belting out "Boogy Voogy!" We were dyin’. Church was also a good time, it's really fun to be in this branch because I have come down a couple times for different activities that I already knew some of the members so church was really fun yesterday and it didn't require much adjustment. So it's just been a really good week this week despite the cold and with a lot of new things going on.
As I said, I don't really know exact temperatures and things, but all I know is that it is so darn cold here. Its pretty fun. Luckily I have my fur enveloping my head, so I don't have too much to worry about. :) Just thought you would like that report.

Well besides that, I am super lookin’ forward to seein’ you all tomorrow! I've definitely had my time to think about a lot of things over the past week with it being Christmas and the unbelievable fact that I've been gone a year. There's definitely not much more to do than just keep on doing whatever the Lord expects of us, so that is the goal for the next year. That's something I've learned a lot of on my mission, and then it is amazing the changes that have taken place in my life as I have tried to simply do my best for Him. There are a lot of things in life I will do a lot better as a result of my mission. I hope that this continues for the second half of my adventure and I sure can't wait for it cause I can control that. I have loved my mission so much.
Have a good time today and we will see you tomorrow!

Elder Nielson