Monday, August 20, 2012

Brunswick, Georgia- Week 5

Hello Everyone!

This week has been kind of crazy. We had a family of 4 who was preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday and on Friday we got a text from the mother saying that she needed to take a "break" and pray to see if this was actually the right path to take. We were devastated but will continue to look forward and pray for her and others to find and teach.

We actually have found quite a few people to teach and it seems to be going well.

A Hispanic family who are members fed us homemade taquitoes one night when we stopped by- and tomorrow they told us to come back- and they will have some more food for us. They are a great family and very eager to grow in the church together.

My talk yesterday went well. I talked a little fast, but that's just what I always do. (But I did remember not to speak with the paper in front of my face- mom) The 3 others Elders in the area and I also sang a hymn in front of the congregation and they loved it!

It continues to rain multiple times a week- and now supposedly there is a West Nile problem near the border of Floria/Georgia... so we are encouraged to wear the mosquito repellent and basically be smart about what we're doing.

Honestly- I really don't remember much of what happened this week- it just flew by. 

Elder Crosby continues to be crazy and keep me sane. Elder Reid continues to train me well and also be crazy.

Hope all is well with everyone- love ya'll!!!

Elder Nielson  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Four in the mission

Dear Everyone-

The Brunswick area is quickly catching fire... (don't worry mom, not LITERALLY). But we are finding more and more people that are just willing to learn and accept our message.

Yesterday was Stake Conference. For the number of congregations that were in attendance (at least 7 wards/branches) it was still smaller than what I am used to when I think of stake conference. We told an investigator that stake conference was great: we all get together and just lather some A-1 on some steaks and have a great time eating tons of food. The first 150 people would get the nice T-bone steaks, and so on. The look on her face was both confused and skeptical. We told her we were joking and she said "I thought so- Mormons aren't that weird)

Anyways! On Thursday we got to go down to "the island" (St. Simon's) where President Barry and his wife, 8 kids, their spouses, and 21 grandchildren were gathered to welcome President's youngest son of a mission. They rented this huge 3 story house/cottage/mansion and we ate dinner there and taught a little lesson. It was almost like our family get-togethers except more little kids and mom and her sisters weren't in the corner making all the noise (haha!)

I have noticed more and more that come 6:15 every morning, when our alarm goes off, I have to really think about throwing myself out of bed. I get tired for sure but I keep going on. I've actually started to convince myself that my hairline is beginning to recede. If my hair turns out anything like my trainer's does- I might just bury my head in a tree and cry. (it's not THAT bad, but he certainly doesn't look 21) 

Again, the weather here in just crazy- on Thursday we were walking around talking about how terribly hot it was, and then about 7 hours later the most torrential downpour I've seen in a long time happened- it stayed for about an hour and a half and was warm-ish again for the rest of the evening.

We sure are crazy down here- in the apartment, the car, members' home, Elder Reid keeps me on my toes with his lovable weirdness. We only have a small selection of CDs in our car... and we'll listen to them all the time, over and over again... there's about 3 Christmas ones that I have been tempted to pull out just for some change, but it's August, so I'll wait for now.

Hope all is well with everyone in the "outside world".... haha

Love and miss y'all!

Elder Nielson

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week Tres ("Three" for those who need translatio​n)

Ok all- Here's week 3!

Last night we had a baptism/confirmation- her name is Linda and she is a great woman! Normally, converts to the church are confirmed on Sunday during church- but since next week is Stake Conference here, and the week after that Linda will be moving her daughter- we got special permission to do it "fontside" (i.e. right after the baptism). I was given the opportunity to confirm her (my first on the mission)
and it was an amazing experience. I also gave a talk on baptism. In 2 weeks I am being "volun-told" (?) to give a talk in Sacrament meeting (....yea....!?!?) Elder Reid says I am lucky- he didn't get to see a baptism between him and his companion for the first 6 months of his mission. The Lord is working miracles here in the FJM (Florida, Jacksonville mission) and I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

I am eating well (mainly for you mom). Lots of chicken tacos with salsa and cheese (and that's it 'cause it's cheap!) and plenty of peanut butter/honey sandwiches. Cereal for breakfast, sometimes a bagel with cream cheese and ham (YUM!- for real). That's about it- but we get along just fine. Oh yes- Vienna sausages too- about 3 cans between us a week!

We had quite an interesting experience Saturday night. We went to visit a man who we had taught the first lesson to last week- and he said he'd read the Book of Mormon and call us. When we went to see him he said: "We must have had a communication problem- I told you I'd call you when I wanted to talk- yet here you are." He went back inside, came out with the copy of the Book of Mormon we gave him, and frisbee'd it about 20 yards; said "Don't ever come back!" and went inside. Needless to say we were both sad and confused, but we moved on. I guess that moment was supposed to teach me something, but right now I'm not really sure what that is...

Other than that- the work is slowing down in our area a bit- very few investigators but it will pick up soon as we find more people to teach. I continue to have some amazing experiences - and am so excited to see what is in store.

Lots of rain still- some really great thunder/lightning to go with it. Haven't gotten too wet yet- but hurricane season isn't over! :)

Honestly- It's just great down here. I love the people and the work. Right now though- I haven't ridden a bike in over 6 weeks- and it's killing me inside. Of course- when it gets up to 105 degrees... not so much with wanting to bike. When it rains, however, I wish that's all we did. (I might be the only one who thinks so....)

I got to go up (or down?) to a little town called Darien (Google Map it- 'cause I have no idea where it is.. haha) I went on exchanges with the Elders there. While we were at a member's house doing service, he left for an appointment (we were still in the house- finishing up) and his car hit ours. (Don't worry mom- no one was hurt) The car will need a new bumper and a realignment (good thing the Church has insurance) but filling out all the paperwork for that was not fun... anyways...!

Hope all is well with everyone that read this! I am loving my mission and can't wait for the great things the next 2 years has in store!

Love and miss y'all

Elder Nielson  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Elder Nielson's Address

For those of you that would like to send Elder Robert Bryan Nielson a letter here is his address:

104 Camelia Court
Brunswick, GA 31520
This is his actual physical address and as he is transfered, I will keep it updated.

Week 2 of My AMAZING Mission!

Hello Family and Friends!

It's been another great week in Brunswick. We are preparing for a baptism on Sunday- my first in the mission! I will not be baptizing her but will probably end up speaking or something. 

We definitely have our hot days here- the heat and humidity put the heat index at about 112 about 2-3 times a week (or more)- so that makes walking around outside real fun! Of course, last night we had a big thunderstorm and it poured for about an hour. We were in the car/a member's home so we didn't get too soaked. I told my companion my mom said if it rained I couldn't go outside (haha).

Honestly- so much happens in a week and the days all run together that it really is hard to put anything down in this email. If anyone wants to know anything... let my mom know or send me a letter (I love those!)

We went on exchanges last Tuesday. I went up to a town called Kingsland and spent the day with our Zone Leader- Elder Baczuk (sounds like Bay-z-ick). We taught a great couple named Chris and Krystal (who identified themselves as "Jesus Lovers"- which was great) we taught them a great lesson and really felt the Spirit. After that we went out to their garage where Elder Baczuk rocked out on Chris' drum set. He looked so happy!

We hear a lot in the Church that we are called to a specific area to serve a mission for some reason. I've only been out here for 2 weeks but I know that that is true. I have felt a number of times a witness that I am here in the Swicky Wicky Brunswick for a very important task. I may not know what that is until many years from now, or I may know tomorrow, but the Lord knows all things and will guide me and Elder Reid in all that we do as we go forth to teach the gospel.

The people down here are great- some more than others, but it's that Southern Hospitality. They LOVE their Bible and Jesus and their Church and many are set in their ways, but they'll take the time to listen to what we have to say. People that give us water are the best (we carry a huge thing of water in the car, but if it's parked a block down the street...)

I met President and Sister Barry's daughter at a zone conference, who served an ASL mission. We talked (or rather... signed) and got all the missionaries confused! I also met an Elder whose father is deaf- so maybe we will get to work together in St. Augustine (where the Florida school for the Deaf is located)  The Headmaster of the school, as well as a number of staff are members of the church, so I hope I can spend some time there.

Honestly, this experience has been the best of my life. I can't wait to see what is in store and where I'll go next.

Love and miss you all! Thanks for all you do! I will upload some picutures next week.

Elder Nielson

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!!!!

My first week in Brunswick, Georgia had been great! I already love it here and am so excited to spend the next 3 months here. My first day it rained (of course) and we drove up to Brunswick from Jacksonville. (About 45 minutes north) Within a few hours of our arrival I already began teaching people. It was a great experience and our first lesson was very spiritual.

We are lucky enough to have a car here- so no biking yet. (But we are allotted a certain number of miles each month so if we run out then we will bike.) My trainer/companion is a great elder named Elder Reid. We also share the apartment with Elder Crosby and Elder Foulger- who cover the rest of the town. They are great too and we have some fun times! The smell from the nearby paper mill mixed with the humidity produces a smell that I really can't describe in words but it's certainly something I will have to get used to. :)

The bishop's extended family owns a BBQ place here called Baby Mack's where the missionaries eat for FREE! We don't go there too often but a free meal sure is nice. Bishop Wilson is a very down-to-earth man who is hilarious!

The ward here isn't huge... around 100-175 people- if that, but it's still great.

It's kind of funny really- at the MTC we prayed a lot, before meals, night and morning, in class. etc. but here we pray so many more times! For our work to succeed we must rely on the Lord for strength and guidance. He really has blessed me so much and I know He is preparing many people in this area that I will teach over the next 2 years.

Thankfully I have not been chased by a dog or had a gun pulled on me. But I think that's all part of the experience. (Don't worry Mom, I'll be okay!) The people here are pretty nice and will at least take the time to hear what we have to say, even if it's just for a minute. It helps with both members of the church and those we meet on the street when they find out I'm from Austin. I think my southern accent is coming out real strong especially when I'm around those who have lived here their whole life. Sometimes I have it and other times I still sound like I'm from Utah. Unfortunately- after 5 years of refusing to acknowledge its existence, I have started using the word "y'all". I guess that's ok... I'll probably stop using it when I get back home though.

I'm eating pretty good. Cereal in the mornings after we run and play basketball. Sandwiches or chicken or something for lunch. And dinner depends. Very few dinner appointments at members' houses- but they have to have an investigator there so that's really the reason. We had a breakfast at the church for the ward on Saturday- I had grits (I think for the first time) but now feel like a true Southern Boy! :) I've had homemade creamed corn and mac & cheese as well... it's wonderful! (We missionaries do love our food!)

We are teaching lots of people and seem to be doing pretty well. Not so much tracting because we seem to have enough people to teach but we are always finding more as we go around to visit different people. These Southerners do love their prayer, so when we pray with them they open up more so.

The days kind of blend together here and a lesson we taught yesterday feels like it happened a week ago. I'm scared to blink in fear that my mission will be over. (But that's inevitable so I'm not going to keep thinking about it- just focus on the work!)

If all goes well *knock on wood* we have a baptism scheduled for the 11th of August for a great sister named Sarah. (That's another mission-ism, everyone is Sister Jane or Brother so-and-so... it helps us remember that we are all children of God and that is our purpose here- to bring them back home.) Anyways- we began teaching her on Thursday (my first night here) and she committed to be baptized! Hopefully the Lord's will can be so that Sarah can come to the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Well- it's about that time. There's no red countdown clock on my screen but we've got shopping and things to do.

Love and miss you all. Keep those prayers coming!


Elder Nielson

Elder Bryan Nielson's first week

These are pictures that were taken of Bryan his first couple of days in Florida.  They were posted on the mission blog so I thought I would move the ones of him here.
This is him being introduced by his companion- Elder Reid

This is a picture of the missionaries he arrived in Florida with.