Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016 Flooding in Houston


How are you guys this week? Sounds like you guys got a lot of flooding this shot of the temple

This week i was kinda a mess. My sleeps been off, so i've been way off. Also i just barely got my money for April (today is 4/25) so i haven't been eating that well. Also no running...hoping to get back in the swing of things over the next few weeks because how your body feels makes a big impact on your ability to do the work.

This week we were still able to see a lot of cool miracles though. A member from another ward gave us a referral from one of his friends from college and she's super cool. She seemed like she was gonna be willing to progress but then all of a sudden she sent us a text that she needed to chill out and think about things for a little before continuing to meet with us :/

There was also this cool girl who we ran into who ran into major opposition from her family so we're not going to be able to continue meeting with her.

Shared the Word of Wisdom with a lady who was drunk at a 7 and she was willing to meet with us again sooooo..

Had a mom come to church with her son. Her son wanted to know what Easter was. They're pretty serious buddhists, though, and she made that pretty clear to us

My companion bought this humongous thing of bananas and ate it within a week. Like 30 something bananas. I swear he's like Yohan Blake or something.

Mommy i may be needing contacts soon :)

haha people still invite us in when we're soaked.  Luckily my bag is water proof so none of my stuff gets that wet. Singing the hymns in mandarin is kinda more normal to me now

Here's a scripture for the week: "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." - Isaiah 1:19. If we do what we're supposed to do, it will all turn out ok in the end. 

Sorry for the short message, thought pics would be more fun, let me know what you guys want to know about because im really bad at remembering interesting stuff..No idea on mothers day as of now

Love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Elder Nelson

Just wanted to share Sis. Blickenstaff's moving  thoughts after the death of Elder Hampton who died after being run over by a car this week in Taiwan. So sad for his family and praying for their comfort in the weeks ahead.  (Michelle Nelson)

April 12, 2016

On Tuesday, April 12, President Blickenstaff received the phone call that every mission president fears. He was informed that one of his missionaries, Elder Hampton, had been hit by a car and seriously injured. Being a physician, from the description of Elder Hampton's condition, President Blickenstaff knew it did not sound favorable. About an hour later, we were notified that Elder Hampton was not going to survive.

I received a similar phone call 14 years ago informing me that my three-year-old daughter had been hit by a car and was gone. It was almost the same scenario. Instantaneous. Our dear baby Courtney returned to a loving Heavenly Father, worthy of the greatest gift of all, that of eternal life. You cannot want these precious ones back on the earth, because they are promised everything the Father has, even celestial glory. With Elder Hampton's passing, I was reminded of the scripture found in D&C 122:9, “Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not . . . for God shall be with you forever and ever.” I did not need to worry for Elder Hampton, neither could I want him back.

Although I have shed many tears since, I did not cry in the Changhua Christian Hospital emergency room that night, perhaps for the same reason I did not cry in the emergency room over a decade ago. Because I knew in my heart on both nights that God has a plan. It is beautiful. It is merciful. It is centered in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes everything right. It turns the most painful of all pains, the loss of a loved one, into a gift that is wonderful and amazing. Something, over time, you can be happy about and look upon as a blessing. Something, with the assurance of the Comforter, you can be at peace with. Something, with the veil so thin at times, you can know is true without a shadow of a doubt, because loved ones continue to watch over you from above.

Members, missionaries, and friends were at the hospital to comfort Elder Hampton's companion. Although I'm sure he was shocked, I could feel he was at peace. He was Elder Hampton's trainer. They had been safe. They had been obedient. They loved each other. They worked hard together. They loved being representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and they loved laboring in His vineyard. 

We soon met the driver of the vehicle. He and his wife were heartbroken. They expressed their sorrows and shed uncontrollable tears. We reassured them that Elder Hampton was in a better place, and that families could be eternal. Elder Hampton's companion was able to share the message of the Restored Gospel with them. We hope that through learning about the Plan of Salvation and prayer, they too will be healed through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Two days after the accident, they came to the chapel where we were conducting interviews for Elder Hampton's zone. I had been conducting devotionals with all the missionaries to help them understand the circumstances behind the accident, and to show them the KSL news broadcast wherein Brother and Sister Hampton share their unwavering faith and testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This Taiwanese couple, in their grief, were comforted in hearing that the Hamptons were concerned for them and their well being.

We have all felt the many prayers in our behalf, from people all around the world, sustain us during this sacred time. We have had the strength to comfort our missionaries and to minister to the Hamptons. We have witnessed many miracles and our faith in Christ's Plan of Salvation has been made even stronger through this experience. We are so grateful for the enduring faith of the Hampton family, that has brought us much comfort. Listen to their testimonies anchored in Christ:
We are grateful to have served with Elder Hampton. We are grateful that he loved his mission and was happily engaged in the recent charge to all missionaries worldwide, to 'Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." We are grateful that he strived every day to be a better missionary. We are grateful that at the end of each day, Elder Hampton wrote a brief, uplifting  journal entry and ended it with the words, "Be good OK! Love your mission!" 

On the following weekend, the investigator that Elder Hampton and his companion were teaching
entered the waters of baptism:
In reflection, Elder Hampton's companion wrote: 
My life changed on Tuesday when my companion passed away after being struck by a car on the way to the church. That night was a tough experience for me. However, I have been able to pray and receive priesthood blessings that have helped me to overcome and find peace through this trial.
At first I was very shaken up. However, as I began to reflect on my purpose as a missionary and on the Plan of Salvation, I came to see this experience not so much as a tragedy, but as a blessing that has strengthened my own testimony in the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have felt the power of His Atonement and also the power of all your prayers over this last week. Because of these things, I have been able to press forward.
I spent a day in Taichung after the accident in order to help with some of the legal matters. I also spent the day resting and reflecting on what had happened. Then on Thursday I headed back out to Zhang Hua. I am currently serving with the other ward's elders, but we are also covering some investigators from my own ward. Although it seemed a little fast to get back to the work..I know Elder Hampton cared just as much for these investigators as I did, so I know he would have preferred me getting right back to work. I especially had to go back to prepare for a baptism for...our investigator, which...ended up going great. The spirit was so strong throughout the entire service. I had a special feeling throughout the entire baptism, and I knew missionaries from both sides of the veil were present. I reflected on how as one person I knew and loved ended their mortal discipleship of Jesus Christ, someone else I knew and loved had just began theirs. 

We rest assured that Elder Hampton is still in the service of the Lord as a missionary, only in a different realm, anxiously engaged in this great work of salvation!

December 12: The MTC District

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016

Bro. Chen  -  96 Years Old!!!!


How are you guys doing???????????

So this week was kind of a sad week and it sounds like it wasn't too pretty on that side either. Sounds like you guys heard that a missionary here in Taiwan passed away after a car accident. I didn't know him personally but i knew his companion. We'd had a big week of rain this past week (raining almost every day). While he was biking in the rain he somehow slipped in such a way that he was right in the middle of the road and his head was runover by an oncoming car. It seems almost surreal to me. Like of all the ways, it wasn't even because of the crazy drivers here in Taiwan, but rather a fluke thing. So grateful for knowledge of the Plan of Salvation at times like these. I think the person having the hardest time dealing with the whole thing is 江先生, a Mr. Chiang, the driver involved in the accident. I think he needs our prayers more than anyone else.

Wow. I cannot believe that about Coach Jorgensen. That is so, so sad. :( I remember him as being the nicest guy ever, like EVERYONE loved him. Like I really just can't even believe that that happened. 

Let's see what happened this week. It's so hard to think of everything. Wish i could just have a goPro stream going to you guys over there haha. Ummm on tuesday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. That was fun, it's always good to mix stuff up. highlights of the exchange : met a 96 year old recent Convert to the church. He played the 二胡 (er hu) which is basically the old two stringed chinese instrument. (think mulan). He was a boss. We ate at a really awesome restaurant with free guava with the meal. Listened to a ton of AMERICA music. Did some P90 x in the morning. 

We met this really cool guy, a referral from a member named Brother Luo buttttt we had to give him to the other elders because he doesn't live in our area. We also found a couple other people contacting who are at least willing to listen so thats exciting. Hilarious, one of them wanted to buy us a couple beers to drink while we talked about the gospel. Needless to say the first thing we shared with this person was the Word of Wisdom LOL.

Not gonna lie, really missing the running. Craving it. Hoping i can get out some mornings with other elders in the 4 man. 

My companion learned a new phrase this week: "Have you eaten bananas yet today?" I asked him what happened this week and he said "Banana." I've never met someone with such a fixation on bananas haha.

This week we also got to meet a lot of members, a Huang family, a Lee Family, a Sister Zhao, a brother Zheng and his daughter. They're all super cool. This ward it seems is still all trying to get used to each other. They were all pulled from different wards and thrown together haha. Brother zheng thought it was the funniest thing when i started to eat the rind of the watermelon and now he knows me as the elder who eats the watermelon rind. Also tried chicken heart this week. Tasted kinda like turkey.

Oh this last week we also met a super cool less active sister. She's a returned missionary of like over 20 years. She brought us to this Thai restaurant and we got to know each other. Her English is super good, her work is helping all of the Philipinos who come over to work in the factories over here. She's kinda feeling the weight of having to go and worship her ancestors with her family. 

a lottttt of rain this past week. I've gotten to the point where i dont even put a poncho on when it starts to pour, just let everything get soaked. It's hilarious when we talk to people when its pouring outside. Their response is always. WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING RAIN CLOTHES? YOU'RE GONNA GET SICK! HEY< YOU KNOW ITS RAINING RIGHT?

This morning I came upon an awesome section of scripture that you guys can maybe ponder this week in Psalms 82 "Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the pour and needy; rid them out of the hand of the wicked...I have said ye are Gods; and all of you are children of the most high." This week maybe we can all do something small to help someone in need. For as we learned in conference, we must never forget that we are ALL children of God and ALL have eternal potential. 

Love you all and hope you guys have an awesome week!

Love, Elder Nelson

P.S. My bike should be ok :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 Andrew in New Area for One Week


How are you guys??? Hope you're finally starting to get over your sickness stuff....

Well i now have a week under my belt in the new area. I figured out that i realized that i lied in my last email when i said my companion can't speak any english. I've been writing down the words he knows how to say and i believe i now have a full list : banana (a particular favorite of his), potatoe, cheese, i dont know, so good, oh mann, dear heavenly father, in the name of jesus christ amen, we thank thee for a beautiful day, and we love you. Needless to say the majority of my days are spent speaking chinese.

Senor i am now in ken ding. That is a different area in our mission. Our ward is called 安定支會. The areas that we're in charge of are 安定,安南,七股,西港,山上,佳里,善化,新市. In romanized letters an ding, an nan, qi gu, xi gang, shan shang, jia li, shan hua and xin shi. Ping dong county is the area of the zone leaders in my last area.

I'll think about what i would want sister lin to bring up when she comes, but for the time being you know i love me some good peannut butter  ;) my socks are fine and my shirts are pretty gross but everyone's shirts get like that in very little time in taiwan so no need for more clothes.

I do not know a Mason Tuttle. Must have moved in later on.

That is absolutely horrible about the murder at UT. Super scary. arijit says he walks by the place where they found her every day on the way to his thermo class. Unreal. 

This week's been kind of interesting because my luggage still hasnt gotten here from my last area. I only brought a couple changes of clothes so ive been having to wash my stuff every couple days. Kinda a pain. Hoping it didnt get lost somewhere along the way...oh also i forgot to mention that i'm living in a four man so thats fun. One thing thats kinda rough about this area is that where we live is like a 30-40minute bike ride from the closest part in our area. Other parts are 3 -4 hours away by bike. Sooo what that means is that the "prime proselyting" time is spent biking home. 

We're essentially "white-washing" here as when i got here there were literally no investigators, former investigators or potential investigators. We're going to be doing a lot of finding this week It's also kind of stressful because i feel like president kind of has an expectation for me to somehow turn this area into the best area in the mission. So we're going to be doing a lot of finding. Didn't get a great opportunity to meet the ward this week because it was conference and all.

My companion doesn't like running in the mornings so we've been doing workouts inside. And man i can tell a difference. I'm way more tired when im not running in the mornings. There's something about running that just gets your body going. Sooo ive been trying to wake up a little earlier, around 6:00 to try to replicate that feeling but so far no success. 

In other news, my companion shaved my head last night so i am now "buzz buzzardo" as senor would say. Much more comfortable. He also had me try chicken feet for the first time as well as lotus root.

Im teaching my companion some spanish right now. Its hilarious hes been trying to work on the rolling the R all morning. 

Conference was absolutely incredible. I was, same as senor, also particularly struck by President Monson's brief but powerful message. The truth that "decisions determine destiny" has resounded more and more with me as I've grown older. Idk i might sound like a weirdo but one thing that i've been thinking more and more about since i've come on my mission is the purpose of life, what we're supposed to accomplish while we're here on earth. Hearing so many people reject what we're sharing, with no knowledge of what our purpose is here on earth makes you wonder, what IF there's nothing after we die? Are we just here to grow up, work,eat, sleep and then die? If there was truth about where we come from, where we're going, and what we have to do here on earth to reach our final destination, wouldn't we want to know how to do it? If i'm being honest, my mission has also been a time where maybe i've had some of my greatest "doubts" about the validity of this church. However. i have a testimony that our purpose on this earth is to progress and learn so that we can one day inherit the eternal blessings that our Father in Heaven has waiting for us. Some of the greatest things that we can do in this life are to help other people along this same path through service, overcoming our own desires (of the natural man), and through starting our own eternal families. Little decisions that we make every day to choose the "harder right" versus the "easier wrong" truly will lead to the greatest blessings and happiness. Decisions determine destiny.

I love you guys so much and hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Nelson


Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 2016 Conference Week


Hey so i had a bunch of other stuff that i had to do today so im not sure how much time i have left to email. Some highlights from the week:

Brother C came to church and was confirmed! yayyyyyyyyyyyy. During fast and testimony meeting he was so funny though, he's like "why can't people just go up there and say what they want to say, not mince words and just come down." Apparently our ward has a lot of people who like going up there and talking for a while haha.

also im moving! Im currently in a place called 安定 (an ding) with a native companion (who doesnt speak a lick of english :O) called 江長老 (Elder Chiang). I have a feeling like im going to be learning a lot of Chinese/Taiwanese culture this movecall. My new area is kinda more rural, which will be interesting because ive only really been in more city like places. Apparently it's a super big area, and it's really far from the church so it's a real pain to get people to come to church. Apparently they're all just like oh its sooo far i can just go to this other christian church right around the corner. Anyways, im excited for this learning opportunity! Now reading the Book of Mormon is not a problem. Occasionally ill come across words i dont know and have to look up but for the most part i can get it (unless its the isaiah chapters lol).

Jealous of you guys getting to watch conference! We dont get to watch it until this weekend.

sorry im sending this in pieces because i dont know when the computer is randomly going to shut off haha.
It was really sad to leave an area where i learned so much and met so many people. Im excited for the opportunity to be in a new area. More details next week on the life with a native companion

On Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 12:02 PM, Joseph Nelson <> wrote:
This week i share a scripture that a wise man told me once about in D&C 93:1. Its got a really cool promise, maybe you guys can go and ponder a little bit about what the promise means to you this week. "Verily thus saith the lord: it shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins, and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, shall see my face and know that I am."

                                                          On Way to Taipei