One More Time!! (March 4, 2012)

It has been another crazy fast week here in Japan, and unfortunately one of my last! It has gone by so fast it is incredible. I remember like it was yesterday walking into the MTC leaving my family behind and meeting my host missionary who was going to Arizona and he took me to my room and I met my companion. As I sat in that room, all of us just leaving our families just thinking to myself, what have I gotten myself into. I can't do this. I felt much like Peter who willingly jumped out of his boat to go meet the Savior. He at first did it, had confidence because the Savior was right next to him. At first I thought I could do it. I had been called of God. How can I fail? But then I remembered that I had to learn a new language and a new culture. I had to go to a far away land where essentially I had 0 friends. Not one. And I sunk and fell into the depths of despair like Peter. But as soon as I asked for help I got it. Jesus immediately strectched out his hand and saved me. I have fallen many time sense that experience and unfortunately will continue to fall but every time I have fallen, Christ has been there to help me up, and put me on my feet. I thought these two years would never end, but contrary to that...I dont know where they have gone. I am sad to leave Japan. I have learned to love the people and the culture that is here. Eventhough sometimes I might complain about the food...most of it is good, and the stuff that isn't good, some Japanese people don't even like it. It has been the greatest experience in my that I would never trade in a million years.

I would also like to thank everyone who has said a prayer for me. it has helped more than you can imagine. I'd like to thank people for the countless letters that I have received. It would have been much harder to serve without your love and support. Thank you. I'd also like to thank my two younger brothers, for their help and their encouragement. And my parents, there probably hasn't been a day gone by where they haven't thought about what I was doing. Thank you!! You have been so great to me and have helped me more then you can imagine!! I am excited to return and see you again!!

As I have pondered about what to say in this letter, I have thought over the experiences that I have had over the past two years. The amount that I have grown. I have thought about the hard times, but, honestly I can't remember all the hard times...they seem like a blur. Honestly one of the hardest weeks of my whole mission was a few weeks ago. Nothing went right, members were angry with us and all we were trying to do was serve the Lord. That is now over and everyone is forgiven. No one is angry and it just went by like a moment in time. I remember some of the happiest times like they were yesterday eventhough they happened months ago. I remember being lost, countless times and then out of no where finding someone, or being where we needed to be. Actually when I first came to Hamamatsu I had that experience. We went and visited a less active member and they weren't home. and so we decided to start heading back because English class was going to start and we were supposed to go to that. Unfortunately we started heading back and I got way turned around. We had been biking for about 30 minutes and were just going in what it felt like circles. We had seen the same building and same convenience stores. Well, we called the other missionaries and asked them too help us with englsih class because we were going to be late. We decided to go visit the same less active again because we were way close. That time they were home. We talked to them for a while scheduled a next appoitment and continued meeting with them. She has sense given us 3 referrals and her daughter has started coming back to church. If we wouldn't have gotten lost we might have never found that family because they lived an hour away by bike but because we got lost and just didn't give up we were able to help God's children. I think that is one of the biggest things I have learned on my mission. Don't give up!!! Life isn't always going to be easy just keep on trying and the Lord will provide a way. And you will be blessed 10 times for not giving up!!

Thank you all so much for your love and support!! I Love You

Elder Nelson

What a week!! (February 26, 2012)

Well, I thought that maybe towards the last few weeks of my mission that my life might calm down and I would just finish my mission normal but that is about exactly the opposite of what's going to happen...I shouldn't be too surprised but I had a pretty busy week.

I don't think lately I have talked too much about food but this Friday I went to a member's house and it wasn't what they gave me but how much. The other two missionaries couldn't come so we had to eat theirs and ours. Basically it wasn't a 3 course meal but a 3 meal course...haha but it was really good. It was chicken kastu (It's like deep fried breaded chicken) but this thing was huge. I'm saying like a foot long. I'm not sure but it was huge. We also had okonomiyaki which is Just like a pancake except with vegetables and octopus in it. I learned how to make it so we can have it when we get home. I actually love octopus. It doesn't really have a taste it's just a mind over matter thing and it's pretty good.

My mom asked me what I am going to eat before I go home but I am going to give an answer that every one probably expects. SUSHI!! I'm pretty sure Japanese sushi is better than American sushi but it's cheap and good so I will have that. I will also eat gyoza because it's my favorite meal. It's actually Chinese food but hamamatsu is famous for good gyoza. Its just meat and vegetables wrapped in a really small flour shell and then fried. It's way good.

Well I went to this place called Numazu which is on the opposite side of this zone (2 1/2 hours by train). But we went there and it's just pouring down rain. And they had an appointment an hour away by bike up hill. I thought just my luck. I wasn't too happy about the situation because I didn't have too much rain gear and I didn't have a change of clothes. But as I was biking up the hill basically through a river because the rain was coming down so hard I started thinking. You only have a few more times doing a month you will be home and probably not be riding bikes to go help someone. Then I started thinking about the person we were going to go help. I actually met her a year and half before when I was in Fuji so it wasn't hard for me to think about her. She is in an old person's home because she can't walk and or remember things too well. We met another member than and in the middle of we sang hymns to her...I am not that good at singing but there was such a peaceful feeling that could be felt in that hospital. She tried to sing I am a Child of God with us and even though she had a hard time remembering the words and she has a tongue disorder, she somewhat sounded like an angel (maybe becuase I was singing right next to her). But all of the sudden that painful journey became well worth it. We helped a Daughter of our Heavenly Father who desperately needed it and the Joy that you receive from that is priceless!! My wet clothes seemed much less important. The puddles that most people call shoes I was wearing didn't matter any more because of the Spirit that was felt. And as we were walking out a patient asked us why we were there. We said we have come from this place to help a friend who happens to be a member of our church. The lady (who is slightly crazy) said that is really cool, I want friends like you. Then she ran away. Through simple acts of service we can show others the light of Christ and by thinking of others we will forget about our problems.

I also learned another lesson this week. It has to deal with a new investigator and the member who gave her as a referral. It's a really long story but in the end the member who gave us the referral and the referral won't come to church because of a problem that happened over a year ago. And the member that offended the other member doesn't even know he did anything wrong. It is sad to see that people stop coming to church because members in the church make mistakes. The church is perfect but the members aren't. We can't let others ruin our relationship with God. After I have seen this happen and cause people to go less active, I have learned that we need to forgive and forget.

I feel preachy saying that but people's lives are changed for the worst because they won't forgive people. Is it easy...No, but it needs to be done.

And on that note I will say goodbye until next week.
Have a good one and be safe
See you Soon!!

Elder Nelson

The drama in a missionary's life (February 19, 2012)

The investigator that got ran over by a car is doing a little better...we were able to meet with him and so that was good but he can't move very much. He moved his legs which is good but he broke his wrist in a bunch of places. He also got this huge gash on his forehead and he hurt his neck which is the thing I think everyone is most worried about. He was happy to talk to us but he has a long rode to recovery. It's sad, but it was an accident. The lady ran a red light but I don't think she meant to. But she was un injured. He could probably sue her for a lot of money but she is a young mother and so he says I have a family and I wouldn't want to be sued. She didn't mean to hurt me so I will forgive her. I thought that was really cool. He said that even if he took her money it wouldn't solve his heath issues. Money can't solve anything, I still have my family so I'll be fine. Truer words could not have been spoken. Yes we need money to survive but I think he did a really hard think but it is way good. And by the way his car got destroyed. It looked pretty bad. They were both going about 45 when they hit.

Well, we had an interesting experience this week. I had more than one but this one is really cool but sad but exciting. So on Wednesday morning at 10 30 we had an appointment with a member. I actually was on companion exchanges but we get to his house and he is just like let's go visit my friend. So of course we are like sounds good. But he wouldn't really tell us too much about the friend just we were going to go talk to her briefly. We leave and ride our bikes about 20 minutes with this member and get to a barber shop and there is a lady there waiting for us with like chairs set up looking like we were going to teach a lesson. Me and the missionary I was with are both pretty experienced (Old) missionaries, but I don't think either of us have had a surprise lesson. We sit down and the member introduces us and says these are the missionaries and they can heal you. and then looks at us and was like give her a blessing. Me and the missionary look at each other and like wait a minute she knows nothing. So we start talking to her about the people we teach and problems they have to overcome. Then we talk about baptism for a little bit followed by the apostasy and the restoration of the church, and how the authority has been restored on the earth again so we can use Jesus Christ's Authority to give you a blessing. Then the member is like we really don't have time so can you give her a blessing. So we did, and after we finished she just cried for like 3 minutes and no one spoke. Then we stood up and talked to her more. Then we asked her to be baptised, but the member didn't let her answer he just said, no for her, which I think she would have said yes which kind of made me angry because we weren't really asking him. But that's ok, everyone makes mistakes. Then we tried to schedule a next appointment, and the member answers for her and says no. So that wasn't nice but I was like alright she is your referral. But I gave the lady our number. and she took it, but she is still crying while all this is happening. Then she is like why am I crying!??! And we talked about the Holy Ghost for like 5 minutes and then at the end of that she was still crying and she is like...Why am I crying!!!??!!! and she's like I have a feeling running up and down my body and it is just so warm. Then we talk and when we left she was still feeling the same way. Then on Sunday she called us and talked with my companion for 30 minutes. She has researched many other churches and there isn't anything like this chruch. She said she is worried about her family being against her but she wants to meet again!! So we are actually going to talk to her later today. So that's exciting. It was pretty interesting expereince but this is the edited version, I'll probably tell you the longer version when I get home but it was pretty cool.

That was the Experience of a mission...

Sightseeing (February 12, 2012)

Well, We went to a near by lake today and took pictures and we also went to the Hamamatsu castle. It was really pretty. It was pretty small for a castle but it was a nice view of the city.

It will be way good. I found some cool things today.

Well, we had some interesting things happen in the mission this week.

1. One of the missionaries in Hamamatsu got lost so President Baird told me to wait in the apartment and have the other 2 go out and look for him. It took them a little over an hour but found him. He just got a little turned around. But I was alone for a while. It was very interesting. I didn't know what to do. I cleaned up a little and exercised. It was pretty interesting. Kind of lonely because I didn't have any one to talk to.

2. Mom im not sure if this is what you are talking about but I don't think I get to go to the temple in Tokyo but I want to. But anyway, President Baird has asked me to go to Tokyo to accompany a missionary in my zone who needs an interview for college, so on the 3rd of March I get to go up to Tokyo. I don't know if that explains how excited I am but I am pretty excited. I get to ride the bullet train up there and don't have to pay...but I'm way excited.

3. Well, tomorrow is zone conference and so we have to give some training. That's exciting.

4. This isn't interesting but our best investigator got in a car accident and got 10 stitches in his head. And hurt his arm and leg really bad. It is really sad but we are giving him and his family a lot of support. But really tragic.

5. We met a lot of less actives this week, I guess that's not out of the ordinary but one comes out and the first thing she says is welcome and the second thing she says is I have been thinking a lot about repentence. Then we asked her if there were any reasons why she is not going to church and she said, I don't like crowds of people but I should go. Well, she came to church yesterday.

6. Another Less active we met had never seen the Book of Mormon before and then said he was pretty busy with work...too bad the wife came in and said he was out of work. Basically what I'm saying is we get to go meet them again

It was a pretty interesting week. As the days count down there is just more and more I want to do and i just keep getting buisier and buisier

Take care

Elder Nelson

New Companion...(last) (February 5, 2012)

Good afternoon

Well I got a new companion!! He is pretty cool but not the Japanese companion I had in mind. I mean let's be honest, when we think of a Japanese person we think of a skinny person who is a little shorter and has like all the latest techinology...right? Well my companion is about as tall as me but is way bigger than me. I mean he is a pro swimmer. He actually tried out for the Olympics but only got 4th or something so he wasn't able to go. (Ya he's only the fourth fastest in Japan, not that fast) On top of that he was a teacher at a school before his mission. So that's my companion, but he is from Fukushima. If you don't know where that is, well I wouldn't be too surprised but a little. That is the place where the nuclear reactor blew up. Ya pretty dangereous. His family was all ok but of course living in that area is kind of dangerous. And on top of all of that he is a convert of about two years who after the earthquake left his family to serve the Lord (ya he's been out like 7 months) So he makes a pretty good missionary. No but it's really fun working with him. Between the two of us we can get about anyone to talk to us...well that's not exactly true but we do a pretty good job.

Well yesterday we had a pretty good experience. About two weeks ago we went to this less active's (Family of 4) house. None of the members knew him but me and my companion have felt a number of times to go over to his house. We went over and met the wife and the son (Nonmembers) and scheduled an appointment for yesterday. Yesterday when we went over, it was awesome. The whole family was there ready to have a lesson. We actually ran it like a family home evening so we brought a game and a snack to eat. As we talked to them about prayer and the Holy Ghost they excepted everything like we were teaching at a member's house to a member. Then we finsh the lesson and started talking to them. After a while we left and as we walked out and my companion looks at me and was like are you sure they aren't active members. That's how amazing this family is. The dad hasn't been to church in 20 years and the kids are 17 and 16. You can feel that they love each other and want to learn and meet with us. It was incredible. I wish you could have been there.

We also had a Sri Lankin come to church this week. I'm not exactly sure where that place is but he is way cool. The only problem is he can't speak Japanese, just English. He struggles because he can't understand but he was able to make a lot of friends and he went over to a member's house with us and the ysa so it was really good. He says that he feels something different than at other churches.

I also bore my testimony because the bishop like called on me. I mean I made eye contact with him and he gave me "the nod" It was pretty good but it is sad because I don't have that many more opportunities to do this. Like I'm finally getting good at it, come on!! Haha.

Have a great week.

Love Elder Nelson

What a week (January 29, 2012)

Well we had a way good last week. We met a lot of different people and had a lot of opportunities to teach, which would make any missionary happy. We also had the opportunity to go to Shizuoka and meet with the stake president and President Baird.

We had many great experiences this week, one of which was with a man named Kono Kyodai. He was the first bishop of this ward and used to own his own company, and was very rich. But unfortunately he had some problems and his company went bankrupt and now he is very poor, just getting by. But anyway we were talking at the church and he was teaching us about the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon. But after we had that conversation we were going to do this activity that helps people give us referrals. And so like we were about to ask the questions and he just gave us three referrals. We didn't even ask a question. And he said that we should visit Saya who is 20 years old and he met her walking. He said when you have the time go visit them. We went and visited that afternoon and she was way nice. She was confused when two gaijin came to her house and we taught about the plan of salvation and then scheduled a next appointment. The member had already given her pamphlets and a Book of Mormon which was really cool. The former Bishop said that the spirit said he needed to talk to her. The truth is the only time he has ever met this lady is when he is out walking. It is really cool how God puts people in our way to help!!

The meeting with the stake was way good as they expressed their desire for dendo. President Baird says its our duty to help the stake become missionaries then he points at himself and my companion and say we are going home soon and then he points at me and says he is going home REAL soon. It was funny and sad but true. We are here to help the members and What a good experience it has been.

Elder Nelson

What to say?? (January 22, 2012)

It was a very interesting week, we went to Nagoya on Tuesday for training, Wednesday 4 spokes on my bike broke and it took all day to fix. Thursday was planning day and eikaiwa, amoung other things. Friday we went to another area that is further away than Nagoya but in our zone. Saturday it rained all day (which was the first time it has rained all year so that was cool but it was freezing. After being in the freezing rain for 6 hours we came home but it was good. But acutally we met with two part member families but didn't go inside. We just talked at their door for a while, so it was cold and wet. we scheduled appointments and talked about how to help their nonmember husbands. Then Sunday we had meetings until four and then went home and ate a feast. We are trying to help the ward with mutual, which is a slow progress. We are now doing it 2 times a month which is better than 0 times but we still have some work to do. It's hard when there are only 14 total young men and young women and only about 5 are active. But we are in charge of it. We are like young men advisers which is a cool calling. I definitely can't complain. Then Sunday night we met a part member family, They are Peruvians, but the kids speak perfect Japanese. I think we will be able to meet them again. The dad is a member but no one else is. The funny thing that happened was the mom pulled out a hymnbook and started singing for us even though she is not a member, so that was cool.

This morning we taught a lesson to a Peruvian, his wife is a member and he seems to have a lot of interest, he wanted to meet tomorrow but we are busy, unfortunately. So we have another lesson on Thursday, Communication is an issue because our Spanish is not too good and his Japanese is only ok. But we watched a movie and read from pamphlets so it went pretty well, he said a prayer in the end and it was very good.

We have a very busy week ahead of us, We have 14 appointments plus meetings and I think it's the most I have ever had in one week, We will see how it goes. A lot are with part member families where we are trying to do family home evening because everyone loves their family and this can help them all.

That is about it, it was a pretty slow week but the training was really cool. We talked about the 8 lessons to help us become better teachers! My favorite one is the role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. It is essential that no matter what we do to have the Holy Ghost, espeacially when teaching.

Elder Nelson