Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hey family!
We've had a great week here around these parts- probably some of the best days and most spiritually gratifying and just straight gratifying days of my mission. I'm a little short on time, so I'm gonna go straight into them.
As I had said, we were planned to take off to Penza last Monday for some exchanges and had gotten stuck in the big office having to get a couple things to help out the office couple and finally at about 5:00 got outta there. Of course we had to buzz back home to pack up our things to be done by 6:00 and so we could work until we had to get to the train station so we were just hurrying back to the apartment that is about 15 minutes away to salvage whatever time we had of p day with our arms full of supplies and mail to take with us to the Penza elders and sisters. As we were walking, I just had the thought of "we had sacrificed all p day and so there has got to be some kind of blessing on the way home here" we continued on home. Honestly, we try to talk to everybody when we're outside, but at this point we were in the right to just buzz home...right? Anyways, we passed a guy that was on the sidewalk that was just lookin’ toward the building with his back to us, and I just had a feeling to talk. Of course, we walked past, and then there was definitely the feeling to go back and talk to this man. Pretty weird- but we went back and pretty openly and honestly told him that we had felt that we needed to come back and that we have the message for him and that it is what he needs and he was just open to the message and went and sat down on a bench with us and is pretty clearly going to get baptized.    I am grateful that I was able to be in the spot that the Lord could direct us- haven't really ever had that happen in that way before that I felt that the Lord directed us to somebody. It is a great blessing to have seen that end in a result.
and if that isn't enough...
So we had quite the exchange in Penza and we just tore down the walls doing work and staying out as long as possible for a couple days and sprinting to the train station to get back to Samara on Thursday morning pretty tired, and with the sniffles from some good work in the cold rain in Penza. That morning, we had the zone leaders here in Samara come over to exchange with them as well- so I worked the day with an Elder Bateman in our area here. Our apartment here in Samara sits on a street that for the last five years has just been hounded by missionaries as we have transfers, visa trips, zone conferences, and everything else that puts a bunch of missionaries into our area. Anyways, we left the apartment after lunch to go do some sweet contacting and going down this same road, stopped a man and he said it would be interesting and invited us to his house just about 5 minutes from our home in an hour.   so we went back. Turns out he had met with missionaries 10 years ago, but we didn't think much of it, and had a hard core Jewish wife that then moved to Jerusalem with his 2 sons a couple years later. He stayed alone in Samara and works some construction- anyways we began teaching the restoration lesson, and as we came up to the restoration part he says, "oh ya, something about a pillar of light right?" Of course we were a little stunned by that and said the first vision, invited him to baptism in Christ's church and he goes, "Nielson, when missionaries came to my house 10 years ago, I knew in my soul that it was for me. I've gone full circle now and now I have mormons in my house again and now I'm ready." Anyways, he told us a little more story, gratefully took a Book of Mormon, and we even came back that night with Svetlana and taught him the word of wisdom. Pretty cool huh? I don't really know where that came from other than the simple fact that Heavenly Father knows where his children are and is preparing them to receive the fulness of the gospel. I know that there are many others like him and I was grateful to have Heavenly Father allow us to be in the position to meet him.
I sure love you all and hope you are having good weeks with school and everything, we sure are having a good time.
Elder Nielson

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Birthday Season

Hey family!
Glad to see all of you doin’ good and looks like you’re all keepin’ birthday football season alive there! You all look great there at the BYU game! The birthday season is definitely exciting out here too and things are just going so good right now- I can't explain how fun it's been this last week and how much we have been blessed, it is just some good times on the mission.
So, since we got back in on Monday, it has just been go time in our area for the week. Honestly, we came back and hadn't had too much work done in our area for the last few weeks, so we started building this place from the ground up! It was so fun to come back into the normal groove of things after being fired up for the last week and have been very blessed as we have tried to just put everything on the line to do the work. Of course, to get some new people, we just spent the week on the streets. The weather is so good here and so we started on Monday night just talkin’ to everybody and have found some great people. We had to go down to the senior couple's apartment here to help them translate on Tuesday morning and talked to a sweet couple of kids passing by, we got their numbers and (as we were taught to focus on at these past zone conferences) asked if they knew anybody that would like to meet with us. They didn't, but gave us their number. The next day, we called him up and he said it wasn't too interesting to meet, but said he had some friend that would be willing. Anyways, he gave us this kids number and we called him and got a meeting that night! His name is Leyonti (some old Russian name) and is just a prepared person for the gospel. We had a great meeting and the next night (Thursday?) met again, taught the restoration in full and set a baptismal date with him- he is just a great kid! Anyways, we were blessed throughout the week with little tender mercies like that as we tried our best to just do everything for the work. The stops are all coming out! haha
We have been trying to make p day focused too, and so today and last week we have tried to get as much food ready for the week so we don't have to spend time on getting it ready- I just had to report that our food today that we prepared were some canned beans that we found and cooked up and mashed with some chicken and have a pile of burritos now in the freezer for the week. haha I thought you would like that one momma. We are pretty excited about it- efficiency baby.
Anyways, things are so good, we are just excited about everything and the whole mission is just pumped up after all of these conferences with President Bennett- we are doing everything to make sure that fire doesn't go out. We definitely owe it to our Heavenly Father and our friends here to do all we can. Anyways, we're going to be exchanging this week and taking off to Penza tonight for a couple days and are excited to see the miracles that the Lord has in store there and in Samara here. He is definitely in the details of our lives and this is His work.
Hope you all have a good week!
Elder Nielson
P.S. Here is us with the man- this isRoman our driver for the mission. He has been around for 20 years and is the best. (and of course,Elder Whittemore pictured as well)