Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Today is Easter. It has been raining the past two days. Maybe tomorrow the sun will come out. The last few days I have been studying in Matthew about the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. Each time I read the account it seems more profound. We all search for that “joy which is unspeakable and full of glory” to feel Christ’s love. That we all could cast our burdens at His feet is my simple desire so that there might not be more sorrow upon the face of the whole earth. (Hel 5:44; Alma 29:2)
Three and half weeks ago Elder and Sister John Dickson from the First Quorum of Seventy toured our mission for three days. We brought 18 missionaries over from the Island so altogether we had about 90 missionaries for his first zone conference held in Richmond. The next day we flew to Kelowna in the Okanagan for a zone conference with 18 missionaries. The third day we flew up to Prince George. However the airport was fogged in so we returned to Vancouver. We had 14 very disappointed Elders. After returning to the mission office Elder Dickson talked to each Elder in the Prince George Zone on the phone. Elder Dickson encouraged our “obedient” missionaries to go to the next level and prove the Lord. Elder and Sister Dickson were kind and warm. They gave us some beneficial suggestions. He met with four of our stake presidents to strongly encourage member/missionary work. It has been a huge boost we have needed.
Two weeks ago we spent a weekend up North at the Terrace District Conference. I really love these few steadfast Saints who live in remote B.C. One piece of luggage arrived a day late—we picked it up at the airport on our way out. We drove from Terrace to Prince Rupert Sunday evening. At midnight President, four Elders and I caught a ferry to the Queen Charlotte Islands (7 hours one way). This Island has perhaps 2,000 people and 35 are LDS. Monday we visited with four or five of these members to assess what if anything we could do for the Haida Quai First Nations people. What totem poles we saw. Tuesday morning we returned (7 hour ferry ride) to Prince Rupert.
Monday evening President, two Elders and I took a nineteen hour ferry ride down the Inside Passage. We arrived at 3:00 PM the next day at Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. I was horribly sea sick 30 out of the 33 hours of the ferry ride. No more adventuring on sea ever again! Even now when I close my eyes I still get dizzy.
In Richmond this week I saw Bald Eagles at the dump, a fury brown rabbit in a bush, and a raccoon walking on our back fence.
We think and pray for each of you daily. Our hearts go out to each of you in your struggles. We are all meekly drenched in destiny. (Neal A. Maxwell)
Transfers are this week. We will talk again. Conference was good, I stayed awake.
Love you forever and ever and ever, Mom, Jannilyn, Nana, Granma, and Sis. Nelson
Thursday, April 2, 2009
We are on the Ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver. We just attended the Nanaimo Stake Conference. It was a very pleasant and rewarding experience. President took about 30 minutes in the Priesthood Leadership meeting and then Sister Nelson took about 10 minutes in the Sunday morning session and President took about 15 minutes. We believe we are getting better and learning what to say and how best to present it.
We have a general authority, John B Dickson of the first Quorum of the Seventy, touring the mission this week beginning Wednesday and ending on Friday. He will be presiding at a Stake Conference next weekend at the Victoria Stake Conference. All of the missionaries are very excited and we are looking forward to getting it over with. It will give us an opportunity to learn a lot. From what we hear Elder Dickson is very good and helpful. We are sure he will have a lot of suggestions.
For those of you that might be interested, our theme for this transfer or zone conferences is “Fixed With a Determination to Conquer” from a scripture in the Book of Mormon (Alma 58:12). It is all about not trying but really completing the task. It is not doing our best but just getting it done. It is about resourcefulness. It should be very helpful to our missionaries as well as us. If anyone has some thoughts or scriptures about this please email them in.
The highlight of our mission this last couple of weeks has been the growth of the Richmond Chinese dependant branch. In the last 75 days there has been about 15 people join the Church. There has been a kidney surgeon and a wealthy business man (owns six restaurants in China plus several other businesses). The cool thing about these people is that they were all adamant in their belief of being either atheist or agnostic. As our missionaries were able to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon and explain the nature of God, it was amazing to see these very smart, highly educated people recognize the value of the Gospel and build their faith and become so happy. It has really been a testimony builder to us. Many of these people were heavy smokers, drank coffee and wine but simply gave it up and have never gone back to it. If people will give this Gospel a chance and sincerely seek to find the correct answer (not answers to justify their own philosophies of men) but truly seek to know the truth they have been rewarded with a joy and happiness beyond what they thought possible. We are really enjoying our mission and it just keeps getting better.
Well the ferry is pulling into the dock so we need to say goodby for now. Hope all is well with each you. Have a good day.
Love, President and Sister Nelson.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Time waits for no man—no not one. We almost did not know that Christmas came and went, our minds have been so occupied upon the momentous task at hand. I can scarcely take any of this in. And the scenery is ever presently still breath taking. I watch and ponder—what did I ever do or say to be so blessed to be in British Columbia; such a choice dedicated land unto the Lord? How did we get such missionaries; I want to call them my own children? How did we get to mingle with such good living Saints that sacrifice daily to build the Kingdom of God?
As usual we are grateful to be alive and kicking. I do have some health concerns but we are working with the Doctors to correct the problems. Living in these latter-days is not for the timid of heart/we maybe once in a while! Last Tuesday through Wednesday we held a Zone Leader Council for about 20 of our best missionaries. We prepared several meals for them and six of them slept over at the mission home. We had a full house. The first afternoon I visited with missionaries for about two to three hours about the scriptures especially Mosiah 15:1-9. What a delight! On Wednesday we held workshops and meetings all day. We also invited two sisters to participate. Our focus of true motivation—the Pure Love of Christ. Afterwards one Elder commented that this was the best day of his entire mission. Another Elder stated that this was what he had always expected his mission to be like. President stated “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.
We have attended two Chinese Ward’s Chinese New Year’s Parties. The Mandarin Chinese are the fastest growing units of the Church and the Mandarin missionaries are truly unbelievable. We are becoming more familiar with the Korean and Spanish communities here as well.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we have been involved in Zone Conferences. The theme is “If the trumpet sound is not clear how can we prepare for battle?” (1Cor 14:8). Tomorrow (Vancouver Island) and Tuesday (Prince George) we finish our zone Conferences for this transfer period. I never thought I could be so busy; every minute of every day is carefully scheduled.
We have a General Authority (Elder John Dickson) touring our mission in the middle of March. We have begun our preparation for this event.
We love and pray for each of you,
Sister Nelson, Mom, Grandma, Nana, Jannilyn
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The Holidays are over so everyone is going back to work including us in the great Northwest. We enjoyed having Beck and Connie Housekeeper and then Janae, Lonnie and Britt. It was a change and fun to have these visitors. We are looking forward to visitors this coming July.
Our weather is back to a normal Vancouver, Canada winter with highs in the mid to low 40s and lows in the mid 30s and lots of rain and NO SNOW. I am able to go on my 2.25 miles walks in walking shoes and not snow boots.
Our missionary work continues as usual with a lot of full days. Last week I interviewed 75 missionaries on an individual basis. I have come to appreciate them more and more. They really do do a good job at being missionaries. I am also beginning to get a good working relationship with the Stake Presidents and they are so important to our success. The first week in January has been really good. There are lots and lots of people (about 250 each month) wanting to learn more about the Gospel. Many are responding and having the missionaries teach them about the Church and the nature of God. I believe this next year we will see a significant jump in our efforts. Many are saying how thankful they are that we knocked on their door.
We have had another crash in the mission where a couple of missionaries hit black ice and spun off of the road. The good news about snow is that if you do go off the road you usually stop before you hit anything that significantly hurts your car.
Yesterday I got pulled over for speeding by a new "trainee" police office (female). It took her 45 minutes and a "backup" before she gave me a warning. The problem was that I had a Utah Drivers License and she did not know what to do with it. Finally I got her to talk to our office manager and got it settled. In the meantime I was about an hour late for my meetings and had a lot of missionaries waiting.
Everything is good, and we will talk to you next week.
President Nelson, Dad, Grandpa, etc.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This letter comes to you from the Northwest land of ice and snow. Before coming to BC we were told the winters here were pelasant. Two to three feet of snow has stayed here for two to three weeks. No one here can ever remember it being so severe. WE are warm as long as we layer our clothing and stay inside. The snow at Christmas was the one part I wanted to miss! Oooops! We are here for the adventure and adventure it is.
It was great fun and we were delighted to Connie Houskeeper and Rebecca, our daughter come for Christmas. Teh day after they left, Janae, Lonnie, and Britt came for a few days. During both visits we were able to tour the Vancouver Aquarium and on Vancouver Island the Royal BC Museum. The day time ferry was literally breathtaking. I stand in awe at God's creation of Heaven, Earth, and Sea. We were so fortunate to have visitors taste of His beauty as well. If any of the rest of you is adventurous, please come.
As a sidelight, one of my goals for serving this mission is to change for the better. Both my daughters said I am basically still the same. Well, I do have two and one-half years left so I am not giving up. I am determined to serve without complaining. I have yet to become as the women in the Book of Morman....[they] began to bear their journeyings without murmurings..(1Ne. 17:2).
Our theme for Zone Conference #5 was "Sleep is a Burden." In the doctrine section we used Mosiah 15. Abinidi discusses the need for Christ to be born Immortal and Mortal in order to perform the atoning sacrifice. He tells how the will of the Son (Christ) was swallowed up in the will of the Father being one God and how Christ appeased the demands of Justice by suffering unto death without yielding to sin..."that God (Christ) might be a perfect just God and also a merciful God." (Alma 42:15) We still have one more Zone Conference to attend to in Prince George next week. Due to bad weather over Christmas our plane flight was canceled. It has been -35 degrees in Prince George. We have mountain warrior Elders up North.
Our mission feels similar to my first and only year of teaching school I cried but the tears did not help anything. The only way was to go through it. We are learning so much now. Our missionaries make it worthwhile. We are fond of some of the members too.
Thank you for your love and support, you are in our prayer.
Happy New Year,
Jannilyn, Nana, Sister Nelson, Grandma, and Mom
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Hopefully we'll be posting something every week. At least that is the goal.
We just hit our six month mark and it has gone by quickly. We are starting to get into the "Rhythm" of our mission. Our lives are structured around a six week cycle called "transfers". The six weeks is significant because we get new missionaries and send home missionaries (two years are finished) basically the same day every six weeks (typically the last week of the transfer period). Also during this six week period we have about a week of zone conferences and about two weeks of missionary interviews. This leaves about one and half to two weeks for other mission events and priesthood leadership type work. We have not watched any TV let alone any sporting events and our music is limited to mostly Mormon Tabernacle Choir and classical music. Our days are from 6:20 AM (much earlier when traveling for Zone Conferences missionary interviews) to about 9:00 to 10:00 PM. The President is on call 24/7. Fortunately we have had only one or two late night calls.
After six months on our mission Sister Nelson and I have observed the following:
1. Nineteen and twenty year old teenagers turn into very stable, mature young men with incredible testimonies of the Gospel especially testimonies of the Savior and His atonement. Most of these missionaries have caught the spirit of this missionary work and are every bit as focused in this work as a professional athlete might be in their particular sport. As a result they have been able to perform feats and events that are truly miracles in their own lives not to mention the lives of the people with whom they are working.
2. Missionary work is just plain hard work in all aspects of a person’s life: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Often missionaries who have been in the field for six weeks to two months are heard saying I expected missionary work to be difficult but certainly not this difficult. The good news is that they accept the challenge and rise to the occasion. They learn in two years things about life that would normally take a person 10 to 20 years to learn. They learn about time management, about mental toughness, about mental focus, about self discipline, about anger management, about humility, about the bitter cold days, about the hot days, and all this with only a weekly email to parents and friends.
3. These young men and women learn rapidly the necessity for human relation skills. They live 24/7 with a "companion" of similar age without knowing anything about their companion except that he is on a mission for two years like themselves. Often this is a farmer from Idaho paired up with a companion from likes of Central City Philadelphia, or Chicago, or Phoenix. A missionary that is an only child is paired up with a missionary that has 12 siblings. A missionary that has none of his family members of the church (convert) is paired up with a missionary who has ancestors who came across the plains. A missionary who is from a family with scarce resources with a missionary whose family has literally millions of dollars. A missionary who came from a home where the father was a well know attorney or Physician with a missionary whose father is a carpenter or brick layer or plumber. Each missionary accepts his "new" companion and lives with him 3 to 9 months and they not only learn to "get along" but learn to perform together as a team as well as a team of marines who have trained and worked together for years. Their friendships are literally eternal. This companionship then learns to deal with people that are totally from diverse demographic profiles and share with this diverse population religious topics and ideas that has the best theologians of our day scratching their heads.
4. As we watch these missionaries tackle these enormous tasks in their lives they grow at an exponential rate in all aspects of their lives. In the process there is certainly sweat, tears, frustration, anger, and long calls or long interviews to their mission President or his wife.
5. The quality of people joining the Church is from all aspects of life. Lately however there have been several well known physicians, school teachers, sales people, business owners, etc. join the Church and immediately make significant contributions to their Wards and Branches. The Mandarin Chinese missionaries came to the President six weeks ago and said in frustration that they needed a Mandarin Chinese Branch in order to be effective missionaries. I told them they did not have sufficient "priesthood leadership" to have a Branch started. They went back to work and after a fast and a lot of hard work and prayers they have six Mandarin Chinese men with baptismal dates. One was baptized today that was a doctor specializing in kidney failures and how to treat such people. Beginning next week there will be a Mandarin Chinese sacrament meeting and Relief Society meeting held. Within six months and there will be a Branch and most likely a Ward in 12 months. Truly the Lord is blessing the missionaries and people of this mission.
6. We are truly amazed as we watch these young men and young women learn languages, especially the very difficult languages of Mandarin Chinese and Korean not to mention the easier language of Spanish in a short three to six month period. They just "bare down" and work at it until they conquer the language. We are so proud of their great effort and work ethic.
7. There is not a day that goes by that we do not shake our head in astonishment and amazement at what we watch happen with the lives of these young missionaries. We are truly blessed to be a part of this great work!
8. Each week each missionary sends a "report" to the mission president about their particular area. More and more we are hearing about new investigators that had said a prayer in the morning that they could find the truth about religion, or they could understand better the meaning of life, or they could find how to have a life of peace and solace amidst the turmoil of our hectic times. That very day our missionaries have "tracted" them out. Our missionaries are "finding" people who want to hear about our life style and our doctrine in miraculous ways. There will be a baptism of a person next week that was found when a couple of missionaries were walking down a crowded street and stopped and went back to talk to a person going the opposite way because these missionaries were "prompted" to stop and go talk to this particular person on a busy street. These types of events are "common" amongst our missionaries and many good people are joining the Church.
Hopefully this will get a start for this blog. We invite many other comments and ideas. Love President and Sister Nelson