Monday, June 1, 2015


Hey everybody.

I suddenly woke up wide awake at 5:30 this morning and I couldn't go back to bed. As I was laying there I realized how much I am going to miss my mission. These are amazing people. I love Northern California. A large piece of my heart has been planted here, and it is never going to leave. I never thought I would come to love a place so deeply as home, but this place feels like my 2nd home. I love it here.

We met with a man named James this past week. He is a super cool guy. We sat down with him in his home and began to talk to him about some of his beliefs. He doesn't have quite the same beliefs in God that we do, so we were able to talk to him about Heavenly Father and His divine characteristics. We talked to him for quite some time and as we were getting ready to leave he said, "Man, I just feel so good. I am glad you guys came over. Let's do this again." It was an awesome thing to hear.

We taught the Starks for Family Home Evening last Monday night. Man, I love those guys. I feel so welcome and at home with them in their house. They are just such good people. They have a young son named Nikai, and he has a tendency to doze off a little when we teach (we must be boring). Sister Starks was able to snap a picture right as he fell asleep on my arm.

This will be one of my last emails home. I will be able to email next week, but only for a moment. I have loved my mission, and this last week will be great. I love the gospel and how it has changed my life. I know it is true. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's restored church on the earth.

I love you all and I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder "California Kid" Nielsen

California Dreamin'

Monday, May 25, 2015

{Picture a flag icon here that wouldn't show up in Blogger} Happy Memorial Day!

Why, hello!

We did service for Brother L'Heureux's neighbor, Steve, on Tuesday and Thursday. He is a really nice guy. He is the caretaker for his uncle, so he is stuck at home all the time. We dug up a tree for him, transplanted another tree from a pot into the ground, and transplanted a huge artichoke plant too. It was a lot of fun! Elder Moseley and I love doing service for the people here, and people's hearts are definitely being softened. Steve talked to Brother L'Heureux and said he really liked spending time with us, so the door is opening for him to accept the gospel! Steve has a really good heart, so I hope things go well for him.

Ridiculous experience: After the intense service with Steve we came back to our apartment to shower and get changed into our proselyting clothes so we could go give a blessing to a sister missionary with Elder Biggas and Elder Zaugg. I had just gotten out of the shower and was in the middle of shaving when I hear our phone start ringing. I quickly ran out to the main room where the phone is while wearing just a towel around my waist, having half shaven face, and shaving cream plastered over the other side of my face. I pick up the phone and begin talking to a woman named Alisha (shoutout to my sister, Alisha, back home). As I am talking to her, Elder Zaugg and Elder Biggs walk in our front door and see me standing there in just a towel, with shaving cream on half my face, while talking on the phone. They begin their hoots and hollering of laughter, so I have to go into the other room so I can talk to Alisha without laughing myself. Alisha ends up telling me she had been studying with the missionaries a few years ago and she wants to begin learning about our church again and consider baptism. This was a pleasant surprise to me! She ended up living in Elder Zaugg and Biggs's boundaries, so I told them about it right after I got off the phone. We were running a little late so I tried to hurry my shaving and I ended up slicing myself a little bit, so I got to hold a tissue on my face for the next hour or so as we gave the sister missionary a blessing. All in all it was a very unique experience!

One of our ward missionaries is the man. His name is Brother Leach, and he is just a few years older than me. He has been bringing his friend, Tina, to church the last couple weeks. Tina has been a member of the Jehovah's Witness church her entire life. She has really been enjoying coming to church and learning more about what we believe. She asked us if she could take the missionary lessons, and, of course, we said yes! She turns out to live outside our ward boundaries which not only ends up being in another stake, but it is also an entirely different mission! Luckily she lives in the ward that goes to the same church as us, so we were able to introduce her to the missionaries right there at church. I am very excited for her because she has a lot of real intent!

The Sacramento mission recently just had a huge emergency transfer as well. Apparently about 26 companionships were affected by it, so it was pretty massive. Elder Afoa, one of the missionaries who served in the other ward in our building, got transferred to Carmichael. We got to meet the other missionary who just got transferred her yesterday. His name is Elder Torgesen, and he is from Soda Springs, ID. I found out he goes home just a week after I do, so we got to talking a little bit and found out we had a bit in common. We both came on a mission right after we graduated from high school in 2013. We are also both starting college at BYU for the Fall 2015 semester, so maybe we'll be able to hang out a bit after the mission. It was pretty cool to talk to him for a second.

We got a new ward mission leader this past week. Our last one was just released for health reasons, and another was called right away. Brother Walters is the name of the new one. We met with him on Saturday to talk about his calling a bit and how we can work together. He said he has never been in a calling like this before. It turns out to be pretty convenient because we can work with him and help him to be the best ward mission leader ever! We are excited to work with him.

I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, and it went pretty well! I tried to put a lot of preparation into it, so I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I spoke on "Being BOLD in Preaching the Gospel." It was a good topic with good timing since we are working on motivating the members to share the gospel. The Stake Patriarch followed after me and gave a talk on missionary work as well, so we kind of blasted the ward with how we need to do mission work. This was actually my 2nd talk in a month, so I guess they just wanted to hear my voice more or something.

We started teaching a man named Antonio this past week. He was born in Brazil and moved to America a number of years ago. He is an older guy, and he is incredibly kind. He told us how he is going through a hard trial right now and he feels the message we have to share will bring him hope. We visited him Sunday night and he said he has been reading from the Book of Mormon. He said he will continue to read and pray about it too! I am excited for how the gospel is going to bring comfort back into his life.

We saw a cat with a mustache this past week.

It's a great day to be alive. Live well, my friends!

Elder Nielsen
The California Kid

Monday, May 18, 2015

Trudging through mud and digging up palms

Hello everybody.

We had zone conference this past week in Citrus Heights and it was super awesome. I gave my departing testimony and it was pretty weird. Honestly, it was harder to give than I thought it would be. My mission has really changed what things I really appreciate in my life. I love my mission so much. Love my family especially. You guys are the best.

We did a service project for an elementary school this past week. There were a bunch of ward members involved too, which was awesome. We cleaned up a couple walkways running from the surrounding neighborhood to the school playground, and they were pretty messy. We were able to dig up a couple little palm trees which were crazy tough to get out. I enjoyed it a lot. I have really enjoyed being able to do some service in this area. We talked to the principal of the school for a couple minutes and he seemed pretty impressed with the idea of us coming out on missions for 2 years.

We are still trying to find new people to teach right now. It feels a little like we are trudging through mud. But hey, at least we haven't stopped! We are praying and trying to find those who are truly ready to receive the gospel.

Love you guys. Hope you have a great week!

Elder Nielsen

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello everyone!

We have still been trying to work with the members a lot. It went pretty well this past week, but we are wanting to step it up. The members seem to be a little bit more excited about missionary work, and we are developing good relationships with them. They seem more willing to have us over and to let us help them out with stuff. I really hope this has a lasting effect on the ward. It would just be awesome if the missionary spirit just exploded here. This is a very good ward, and I love them a lot. The Elder's Quorum President in the ward is awesome. He is a shoe cobbler and he said he is making me some moccasins. It is really nice of him, and I am pretty pumped for the moccasins! There are a lot of other awesome members here too. It seems like the members are opening up to the missionaries more and more, so hopefully it keeps on going!

Some members in our ward had a grandson receive his mission call this past week. He is called to serve in the Argentina Bahia Blanca mission, which happens to be the same mission as my friend, Elder Ethan Durocher! I am banking on the chance that Elder Durocher trains him. I am excited for him, and it was cool to be at a mission call opening on my mission and feel that same feeling which I felt when I opened my call. The mission is the most influential and powerful thing ever. It has changed my life, and hopefully I have been able to help others change theirs.

It was so good to be able to talk with my family. Definitely a very sweet experience. Alisha freaked me out by showing me a ring on her finger and I totally thought she was engaged. I freaked out for a minute until she told me it was a joke. Erika had stuck a pillow under her shirt too so it looked like she was pregnant. My family is tricky. Love those guys a ton. #Familiesaređź”—. (The paperclip emoji is the closest thing I could find to an infinity symbol).

We helped Sister Davis out with her seminary class on Friday. Most of the missionaries in our zone were there, and we were able to talk a bit about our missions and what they have meant to us. I shared an experience of when Elder Duce and I met James in Red Bluff and how he was able to quit smoking and be baptized. It was cool to see the Juniors get more excited about going on missions. One girl spoke up and said she really appreciates all of us for serving missions. She
mentioned how not everybody appreciates the missionaries but how she does. She said, "I just wanted to say thank you for those who don't." It was very kind of her.

We were able to do a bit of service this past week as well. We did a bunch of weeding and raking! I am learning how to tend a garden a lot better.

That was a big part of what happened this week. It was a good one. On to another! Love you guys a ton!

Elder Ethan "Monkey Wrench" Nielsen

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May is for missionary work

This past week we did the "Stop Smoking" program for Brother Curry. We stayed in contact with him throughout the week and he did awesome! He followed all of the steps and he says he is done with smoking. He says he has no desire to start smoking again. This really is a miracle in his life because he has been smoking fairly consistently for about 15 years now. I am grateful for the chance I had to be a part of it and to see God's hand in Brother Curry's life.

We have been focusing on trying to get the members more excited to do missionary work, and it has worked out pretty well already! We had dinner with our bishop last night and his wife told us that the members are noticing something special about Elder Moseley and me working together. We are trying to be in contact with members as much as we can so they are thinking about missionary work more. Over the past couple days we have been able to teach a number of members in their homes. It is really working, and he members are definitely getting more excited here.

Things are picking up, and it is looking good. I love you all, and I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Nielsen

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cigarettes, dirt, and cake.

This week was pretty awesome. We were able to have a lesson with one of our investigators. His name is Elijah, he is 23, and he is black. He is super tight and very sincere about wanting to study the gospel. We had a lesson with him this past week and he said he wants to be baptized asap. He came to church this past week and really enjoyed it. We are planning on meeting with him again soon.

We were able to do a ton of service on Saturday, and it wore me out. It was great though. Never can beat some good ole' service! We shoveled about a shmillion tons of dirt and had to chop up a bunch of roots from a tree so we could level the ground. It was exhausting! I love service.

We are helping one of the members of our ward do a stop smoking program. Apparently it helps you quit in a week, so I'll be able to tell you that it was successful next week! Apparently it has been very effective with other people, so I'm super excited to help this person out. His name is Mike, and he is one of my favorite members of the ward. He is less active, and he is told us that his cigarettes are a big obstacle to his activity. Hopefully this is able to help him out a lot!

We had lunch with our whole zone this past week, and we had cake available too. Elder Zaugg and I thought it would be fun to shove the cake in each others faces, so we did. Oh, the life of a missionary!

Love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Nielsen