Friday, November 26, 2010

Andrew Update - 26 November 2010

Trains are NOT our friends - 22 November 2010

Well, as you can tell by the title, you can obviously guess that something happened this week with trains. Well, we left to go out to work after lunch, and we get stuck at the train tracks because we had to cross them. Now, there is this blue train called tierra sur, that passes through super fast, because it goes to concepción, and does not stop in Linderos. But, we see it passing through the station, then all of a sudden, the brakes sound loudly, and the train comes to a screeching halt RIGHT in front of us. So there we are, 3 feet from this GIANT train. Those things really are super huge when you aren't on the loading platform 3 feet above the ground. I wonder why it stopped, then I looked down the tracks, toward the station, and see a lump of blue, red, and green in the middle of the tracks. I could not believe what had just happened. Since we could not cross the tracks, because there was a stopped train there, we walk to the train station, because it has a crossway. As we walk toward it, we walk right by the mangled up body of the train guard, literally 15-20 feet away. We could see pieces of his body ground up everywhere, as they covered his body with a blanket. As we reached the cross, we looked down, and to our horror, there were pieces of the guard all over the ground, and big puddles of blood. Well that is enough discription for one day, huh? Well, it was pretty graphic. I am just glad I did not see the actual IMPACT of the accident, of I would have been traumatized forever. Well, that is my story for the week.

So this week, a less active family came to church, and 3 investigators too. Things are slowly progressing. We are working more with the Branch President, and other leaders to really get things moving, because people are way too lazy something. But I am not POINTING out their errors, just constantly encouraging them to work harder, and bearing my testimony all the time, and giving them examples of my life. I am loving Linderos a lot more, but am TIRED of doing contacts. They are just sooooo uneffective. NOBODY listens to us. We even went super far walking in one direction, to go to new parts, that do not normally get contacted, and we reached a place called Los Salinas. I call the Zone leaders to make sure it is in our sector, and find out it is from Viluco. Very far away. So we walk in a different direction, and we find ourselves in Buin, near the District building. Luckily, a member from Linderos passed by, and took us home. It was a 15 minute ride home in his car. Scary. We walk SOOO much sometimes here. I am seeing some baptisms in like anther month or so, because the majority of our investigators that progress are not married, and do not have plans of getting married until like March, which stinks for me!!!! But, I am working still.

Today I visited a place in San Bernardo called Los Limoneros, to say goodbye to a few families from my Companion, Elder Romo. It was real fun, and we ate a lot of currasca, or this type of bread that is yummy, with fresh made strawberry marmalade. Yum. Well I do not have much time to write, because I am going to look through my fotos and send some to the office, because they are making a Christmas video, and I want to send some of mine in. I love you all so much, and love reading letters and emails from all of you! I am excited to call you all in like another 3 weeks. Everybody pray so I can train this next change! WOO HOO!! I wish sooo bad! Hasta la proxima semana! Chao!

-Elder Nicholls

Week=lame - 15 November 2010

Well this week has been really lame. Nothing really happened at all. We just worked like steers, and had almost no progress. We found a few investigators, but they are not going to progress very far. And the few investigators we have, are not married, so they are barely any investigators. We finally had an investigator in sacrament meeting for the first time in 4 months! Wow! But he is 15, and a friend of a less active member. We pray and teach so he can progress, and I hope he does. My comp and I get along real well, and my spanish is basically perfect. I made this cool chart with all the prophets before Christ, and all the ones after, to show a comparison on how God communicates with his children. I am really thankful for your letter Dad, and plan on reading it several more times. Question- were you ever a branch president on your mission? Well I am going to go get to work early. Chao familia!

-Elder Nicholls

Phew.. - 8 Nvember 2010

Well, I am alive. So on Wednesday I was allowed to start walking again, and did so with little pain. But today. it seems like there was not even a problem to begin with. I feel absolutely nothing, but I plan on keeping it that way. I have a diet of rice, beans, no oil, very low sugar, and not eating salty snacks. Basically, I am turning into a health freak hippie for now, because of my leg. But it is ok, because I can lose even more weight, and spend less money. So I am happy :)

Well this week was so boring, but funny. We visit a really old guy named Andres Patuelli, and he always likes to play this game called damas, which is like a checkers game, but with his own rules. Do you all remember in the movie A Bugs Life, in the beginning, the really old guy plays chess with himself, is about to lose, and turns the board around to trick himself into winning? Do you know what I am talking about? Well, my comp was playing against Andres, and has only one piece left, and was about to lose, when the phone rings. Andres steps inside for a second, and we decide to try the plan. We turn everything around, and try to contain our laughter. He comes outside, and my comp tells him it is Andres's turn, and points to the one piece left. So he moves it, my comp moves one piece, and Andres moves again, killing like 7 pieces, and puts him into the "checkmate" position in the game. We were laughing so hard, we could not believe what had happened! IT actually worked! We asked him if he realized we had moved it, and he sincerely had no idea! Then today, he came by our house, and talked to the sister who lives next door, and asked that we do not pass by their house anymore, because of his deteriorating health. But the Sister thinks it is because he got mad because we win against him a lot, and that is why he does not want us to come by anymore. But, we are going to pass by at least once more to talk to him personally, to see if it really is true.

Wow Dianna, I cannot believe a Sister in the mission is in the same sector for 9 months. That is soooo long. Here, the longest has been 7 months I think, and that is when people are working in the office, and they work so good, they do not want to take them out. That is so cool that the members there like you guys so much, and that they do stuff like that to you to show their love and appreciation.

This branch I am in is falling quickly, and destroying itself from the inside out. Everybody picks sides, shares gossip, and spreads rumors about everyone that isn't on "their side". They pair off into cliques, and do not allow anyone else in. They all tell lies, and treat others with disrespect. Some less active members that we convince to go to church, are treated with disrespect as people stare at them with glares of hate, or some members tell them that they should just go home and not visit the chapel, because they are sinners and need to repent, and call them filthy and stuff. It SUCKS! I am really beginning to hate this Branch, because they is so much talking behind each others backs. I really do not know what to do, because people betray others all the time, and it is a big competition always, to see who can ask the "best question" in class, or say the "most profound" thing in their talk. There is one who never says "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Because he doesn't want to "conform to everyone elses habits" and gives other dumb excuses. I seriously do not know what to do in this Branch. There are lots of good people that are afraid to go to church, because the members treat them badly, or have bad relationships, because of confrontations in the street, and false testimonies. Sigh... I really need help here. Because the Branch President is not even from here! He has to travel half an hour to get here, so he can never visit peoples houses, or have interviews at convenient times. Well, any suggestion is wanted here, to find out what to do. Sigh...Well that's about all that happened this week.. This morning I had a piña soda chugging contest that I won, and felt like throwing up afterwards, and I am not sick whatsoever anymore, so no worries there. I am so excited that my friends are on the mission! Well I gotta jet, I love you all, and hope you are all happy and safe Chao!

-Elder Nicholls

Dianna Update - 26 Novembe 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! - 25 November 2010

Hello Family!

Since we had leadership training the last 3 days and it took up our preparation day, President decided to give us Thursday as a prep day. Unfortunately, we already had appointments set up so we really are just squeezing in emailing this morning. Whatever. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you check your email and get to read it this day. Also Happy Belated Birthday Lauren! And Happy Birthday Carter. There's just too many holidays close together. It must just be one continuous party over there.

There's this one SUPER sweet lady in the Halifax ward. She had us over for American Thanksgiving last night. She got special permission to have all 6 Halifax missionaries over. It was really fun and she had reallly good traditional food. What's funny is that she is the mother of Leah, a member in Kingston and she cooked Canadian Thanksgiving over there and had us over, so I've actually had 2 Thanksgivings with her this year. I LOVE her SO much. Do you want to know even more about her awesomeness? On sunday she came and found us (remember, we're in the YSA branch and she's in the family ward just before.) and gave us a gift, hugged us and walked away. We opened it and she had knit or crocheted us each a pair of mittens! Mine are pink. She's so nice. I've been wearing them almost everyday because they're not falling apart like mine from last winter. They're just new and fresh. That reminds me, it snowed this week! A real snow too, one that stuck! It was really fun to be out in it. It's actually warmer when it's snowing because the clouds are keeping the heat in. It's weird how it works, but it does. What was really funny was that we were out street contacting in it and we met this 16 year old boy who just got here from Saudi Arabia and he was so excited about the snow. We had fun just talking about it.

Last week I told you about Hari. Well, things got worse. He lost his job. That means he can come to church! He lost his job saturday, came to church sunday, said that's what he wants to do the rest of his life, got his job back monday because all his coworkers wrote a letter to the manager, gave his 2 weeks notice, applied for new jobs, got one that will start in January and will let him still attend church! The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. But I'm sure that he is being blessed for his faithfulness. He has the kindest heart ever! Want to hear a funny story about Hari?! Institute is every friday night and they try to have and activity afterward to get them all socializing. Hari has been coming off and on but this week they decided to do something special for him. There's going to be a dinner before institute and they are having Indian food! Hari got really excited and offered to help cook (he's a chef) BUT it turns out, they're having it catered, so he was bummed. He then got thinking, why are we having Indian food? I eat Indian food every day!!!! He's so funny! I wish you could all meet this kid!

We have another awesome investigator. His name is Andrew. He called us one night JUST to tell us that he believes the Book of Mormon is true. Sis. Crofts said that she had promised him a couple months ago that if he read and prayed everyday and went to church regularly then he would know that it was true. He said that's what he did and he wants to be baptized. We're SO excited!

Guess what?! We had 5 investigators at church on sunday! It was awesome! They were all guys as well so all the girls got really excited. It's a good thing we're teaching a lot of guys because they need more priesthood holders here in the Maritimes.

So, I noticed that none of you emailed me and answer to my question last week about where Lehi is in the Bible. Is that because you mailed it to me and I haven't gotten it yet, because you forgot, or because you don't care? Well, either way, the answer is Judges 15. It was just an interesting piece of information.

Andrew: WHY did you have to tell us that story about the train? That is SOOO sad. I bet the people around me were looking at me funny because I made little squealing and gasping noises and my hands were over my face. I sure hope I don't have nightmares about that. I'm sorry that you actually had to SEE that.

Jennifer: Warning: Random thoughts in one paragraph ahead, read with caution. Those are the 2 cutest little boys ever! I can't believe (okay, I'm coming to grips with the fact) how big they are! I'm still a little bummed about the piano ensemble, but it's okay, I wouldn't have time to practice anyway. At least I know who is in charge of getting people to play next year, I bet I could get a spot. ;) I can't believe you have 3 callings! They must really need you! I'm not surprised about the piano and organ callings, that always happens, even when no one knows because it's on our records. We're silly though, we both don't like to admit that we play but we secretly love playing, I think it's because we want people to want us to play. I know that I don't like telling people that I play because I feel like I'm bragging or something. Your house doesn't have 3 prong outlets?! What is this place?! Hey, you mentioned I have to come home sometime? Why? Just kidding. I just can't believe that it's "almost" over. I'm so used to life as a missionary and being in Canada that it doesn't phase me anymore. I've forgotten most of what life is like without a companion and missionary responsibilities. I might just end up being one of those awkward RM's . Oh geez! I'm going to be an RM!!!! What?! That makes me sound like a guy for some reason... Anyway, thanks for writing and sending pictures. I LOVE it!!!

Well family, I'm out of time because I have an appointment to get to BUT I just have to tell Mom, you're a great missionary. Keep up the good work with Jackie. I'm so proud of you! Also, someone please give me an update on Matthew. Also, how's Thanksgiving going?! Are you ready to talk to me on Christmas? I'm pretty sure I will not be at the mission office because we don't have a car...but we have a cell phone. Tell me when would be a good time of day to talk so we can start working something out. Thanks :)

Sister Nicholls

P.S. Thanks for sending my memory card and pics of Andrew

Yeah we got it! Hot! Hot!...Hot Chocolate! - 17 November 2010

Hello family!

I just want to start off by saying that I love you TONS! I've always known how important family relationships are but this week it has been even more evident. My companion comes from a home with an inactive father and wavering sister yet she is the most incredible missionary I've ever met and she has an outstanding, unwavering testimony of the gospel. Also, one of our amazing investigators is facing challenges with his family because of his decision to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. His name is Vivek Hari (Hari for short) and he is from India with Hindu background. He says that he never really followed the Hindu religion but it is a tradition. He has been meeting with the missionaries for 3 months now and he WANTS to be baptized but his family says that he can never come back to India if he does. He had plans to visit India and explain everything over the Christmas break and then be baptized in February but now he can't get home to India or out to California to see his brother, so he doesn't know what to do. He is amazing though because he WILL NOT waver from what he has been taught. He stopped drinking and everything. Actually, yesterday was his 23rd birthday and he told us he was worried because he knew there would be alcohol but he didn't want to have any. We told him to pray for strength to resist temptation and we also prayed for him and guess what?! He didn't drink ANY! He told us it was SO hard because they even had a table full of shot glasses and were all chanting "Hari, Hari, Hari..." and he STILL didn't do it! This kid is AMAZING! He called us this morning and we met up with him for hot chocolate and just talked because he is really upset because his family didn't call to wish him happy birthday yesterday and he called them this morning and he said that his mom wouldn't talk to him and his dad just lectured him and his brother hasn't responded to him for a few days. He came to us because he wants us to TELL him what he should do. He wants his family but he REALLY wants the gospel. He was bearing his testimony to us because we asked him why he continues to meet with us when all this is happening and he said that he has felt the spirit and loves the Book of Mormon and he knows that it is true. Isn't he awesome! We can't counsel him so we just told him to pray and talk to Heavenly Father because He has been there through all of this and knows what he is doing and that he will find strength through Him. It's going to be a bumpy road but he's doing really well so far. Satan is such a jerk.

Well, that's Hari. He is such a fun guy. He always makes us laugh and his testimony just gets stronger and stronger everyday. That's the good news. The bad news is that not everyone is doing as awesome as he is. Terry, the guy I LOVE, who was baptized back in March, he is less active now. We had a heart to heart the other day and he doesn't deny the fact that the church is true and that he felt the spirit. He doesn't regret anything but he doesn't feel it's right for him. Everything is going downhill for him. We told him, again, that that happens because Satan wants us so badly NOT to follow Christ. He isn't keeping the commandments and we told him that he can't feel the spirit when he isn't keeping them. He only half-heartedly committed to live them again to see if he felt the spirit again. The biggest problem though is that he doesn't want to come to church because he feels guilty. We told him that that's when he needs to come most. We just don't know what to do. We bumped into him yesterday and he said he wants to talk to us. I don't know what that's supposed to mean. It seems like people are falling into a black hole right now. Yesterday we also had Susan, an investigator on date to be baptized on December 26th (boxing day), call us and say she didn't want to meet anymore. She said she was just lonely and enjoyed our company. That she never really felt the spirit, she said she tried but nothing ever came. That made us really sad. We had seen her come quite a ways and she was keeping commitments. I guess it just wasn't her time or something. There have been several others dropped from our teaching pool but the good news is that we have added 5 more awesome people to that pool in the last week and a half!

I'm sorry that I went on about that for so long, that's just a REAL glimpse into my head, what I'm really thinking. I do have some other fun stories to share and stuff like usual. Hey! Did I ever tell you how much I enjoy being with Sister Crofts? She's AMAZING! We get along magnificently. We work really hard and love being missionaries but we also enjoy getting to know eachother and we're building a great friendship. We are just hilarious together. For example, since yesterday was Hari's birthday we wanted to do something for him. We were doing a bunch of brainstorming and this is what we came up with: A sponge cake. We took cleaning sponges and frosted it was real chocolate frosting and bought those candles 2 and 3 and put them in it (with toothpicks) and put his name on it with that edible gel. We were laughing so hard as we made it. He actually called while we were making it and we cracked some joke with him, I don't remember what it was now, but he didn't laugh. He didn't get it! We realized that he has a VERY different sense of humor and that he might not think it was funny. SO...we changed our plans. We took the candles out of the cake and wiped off his name and we rewrote on it saying "We'll miss you!" and brought it to our district meeting and gave it to a senior couple in our district that is going home this week. Now let me tell you, everyone got a kick out of that!!!! I have a HUGE district, there's us, the Tait's (That's who the cake was for), the district leader and his comp, the Zone leaders and the Assistants. That's the normal district too, not just visitors. They're so fun! I actually recorded when they cut the cake so you all can enjoy the laughter later (as soon as I get my other card back so I can send this one) Anyway, for Hari we just made a goofy little card and took a goofy picture to put in it. He enjoyed that.

I think I told you about Steve last week. The guy that knows everything about the Bible and I actually met him knocking when I was here last time? Well, he called us and wanted to treat us to some hot chocolate, so we met at starbucks. He's so funny, he's pretty much a missionary himself, we never talk about anything but religion. I have a question to pose with you though. He asked us this and I'm wondering if you can figure it out. Where is the name Lehi in the Bible? Sis. Crofts eventually found it, but let's see if any of you can find it. I'll tell you next week.

Funny mental picture for you. Since Sis. Crofts and I are in a walking area we have to carry our groceries, and we happen to live next to Atlantic Canada's 1st bagless Superstore. Everywhere I've served we used reusable bags because that's just what you do but the store always had plastic just in case, but this one doesn't have a single bag. We don't want to carry all our groceries so guess what we use?! These super cool, old lady looking carts! They're black and have 2 wheels and you pull it behind you. It's so fun to use them, I feel so awkward but that's my life anyway, awkward. I just thought you'd get a kick out of picturing me walking down the street pulling this cart. I'll have to take a picture for you some day. :)

Oh, by the way, my title is supposed to be quoting Polar Express but I'm not sure if I got it right. I've just been drinking a lot of hot chocolate lately because people have been wanting to meet in coffee shops and it has actually been really cold and it just warms you up. Also, now I feel like everyone else because I'm carrying a cup. It's so funny that it's almost custom to have a beverage in your hand. I'm glad people offer to buy it sometimes because that will get really expensive really fast.

I'm beginning to really see the effects of being in an area again. I'm reknocking the same streets which Sis. Crofts has knocked once or twice herself. Sometimes it's awkward but the good thing is that it's mostly college students and they've at least moved apartments since last semester when I was here. There was actually one street where we got 2 old potentials interested again. It's good sometimes. I'm just glad I'm with Sis. Crofts, she's good at not making things awkward.

Did I tell you that Remembrance day (Veteran's day) is really big here? Well, it is. Everyone wears a poppy because of the poem "In Flander's fields" from Nov. 1st until Nov. 11th. So yeah, I got to wear a poppy. I did last year too, i just don't remember if I told you.

Well family, my stories are getting shorter and possibly more boring. I'm pretty sure I could talk forever, but I should go and do something productive today. Andrew, I hope you had a better week. You're killing your companion right now right? Just keep up the hard work, don't let him slack. He's a missionary all the way up until he's released by his Stake President, don't let him forget. Also, how is reading the LDM going? You said you were going to read the whole thing this transfer, wow!

Love Ya!!!!!
Sister Nicholls

Back in the saddle again... - 10 November 2010

It feels SOOOOO good to be back here in Halifax! What was I DOING for those last 9 months! It really is a different mission. There is a faster pace here. I forgot how much we're on the go, even more so now that there isn't a car. Riding the bus has been an adventure. I have to look at the city from a different perspective now because I need to know certain streets and I can cut through a lot of places now. I've had to work on my walking pace too. I've been moving at country pace, now I have to get back to city pace. I've also been doing a lot of breaking in of my rain boots. It has rained for almost a week straight now. I'm struttin' my stuff in my skirt and boots everywhere. It's actually hard to walk fast in them so my calves have been pretty sore, but that's okay, my feet are dry!

Guess what?! Sis. Crofts is AMAZING!!!! She is the kindest person I think I have ever met! We get along fabulously! She really loves it here in Halifax and so do I so we are always excited about the work. I was nervous that the Branch wouldn't really remember me or wouldn't really care that I was back but I was wrong. Practically everyone came and greeted me and then they'd go off talking about when Sis. Moss and I were there. I guess they liked us just as much as we liked them. It's just weird because Sis. Crofts replaced me so she has been here FOREVER and they all love her ALOT! Also, because the Branch is mostly students a lot of people are gone and new ones are there. There are actually even a few people here that were in other places I've served but now they're here for school, so that's cool. It's crazy too because my favorite investigators from before are now members and the investigators now are pretty awesome. There is actually still one of our investigators around from before. We're not actively teaching him because he won't keep commitments but we stay in contact via phone calls and bumping into him on the street ALL THE TIME. He is still reading the Book of Mormon and stuff. Actually, funny story: He (Steve is his name, he's in his 50's) asked us on the street the other day what we would name his cat. We started listing off BOM names: Nephi, Alma, Ammon, etc. He was chuckling at the idea, then Sis. Crofts suggested Korihor! Steve just looked confused at that one but we started laughing. Sis. Crofts said Alma 30 Steve! Steve didn't realize that she meant read Alma 30 and learn about Korihor, he thought she meant call the cat Alma 30, so now it's a joke. Steve considered calling it Alma 30 for a little while. Honestly, I think that would be really funny.

Funny bus story: We were walking down the street and decided we were a ways from our destination so we decided we should probably catch a bus. What we didn't realize was that we were far from the bus stop and the bus was right behind us. Sis. Crofts started sprinting! I shout after her to stop because I wasn't going to be able to keep up, let alone run that far. She doesn't stop. She runs so far that I almost can't see her (it's dark). I think she's nuts! I didn't think there was ANY way she was going to catch that bus, besides if she did, what was she going to do? Get on and go without me? The bus's only stop for about 5 seconds. So while I'm speed walking I watch her coat (because that's all I can see) and I see her disappear onto the bus. I freak out because what am I suppose to do?! I didn't have the phone and I didn't know the bus system. Then, I see her step off and make waving motions with her arms, so I start running to her. She asked the bus driver to wait for me! I felt so silly! So yeah, that's a glimpse of what my life is like now...gotta love it!

Daylight savings time ended this week, that means it's dark by 5 pm. Oh the joys of Canada. It's too bad that I will only know Halifax in the doom and gloom of fall and winter. Oh well, at least I know what to expect.

Andrew, that's too bad about the branch where you are. Just know that you're doing what you're suppose to be doing and just keep doing it. One of my zone leaders right now has pnemonia. It can't be fun to not be able to work to your full potential. I'm glad though that you're feeling better. Also, congrats on making it 11 months!! I thought of you the other day. I can't believe how long we've both been gone. I can't believe how fast it can be over!

Well familia, I love you tons.
Sister Nicholls

I'm a goner! - 3 November 2010

Well, transfer news came yesterday and we NEVER saw this one coming. Let me recap you a bit on what it is currently. I'm with Sis. Ferrell and Sis. Brandley in Kingston, NS. Sis. Brandley came to Kingston in January and was only gone for 2 months and she's back now. Sis. Ferrell came here in April and I got here in July. So, it was a no brainer that Sis. Brandley was going to leave because she wasn't supposed to come back in the first place, that was by accident. BUT what happened is this... Sis. Ferrell and Sis. Brandley are STAYING IN KINGSTON and I'm going to...HALIFAX!!!! I'm going back to my first area! I'm SO excited! I get to be with everyone again! I'm serving with Sis. Crofts. She is actually the one who replaced me when I left Halifax. That was back in February! She started her mission there and has never left. Today is actually her 9 month mark. I'm excited to serve with her.

Take note: Since I've served in Halifax they have gotten rid of the car so now I'll be riding the bus AND they have moved so I have a new address:

2225 Monastery Ln. #315
Halifax, NS B3L 4R1

This is so exciting! I can't believe this is happening to me!!! Sad news though...There isn't going to be a trio anywhere because another Sister is going home sick. We don't know what from but she has only been out 5 months, just like Sis. Johnson... This means that when Sis. Ferrell goes home next transfer a sister's area will have to close, YIKES!

I have a couple stories for you this week. I'll start with last wednesday. We were gone pretty much all day and when we got home that night we were greeted with...A HEART ATTACK! There was a huge poster on our door and paper cut out hearts ALL OVER the porch! We felt SUPER loved. They even left little treats in a bag hanging on our door handle. The coolest part is that it was raining and one of the orange hearts on the wood steps dyed a heart into the step so there is a permanent reminder there of how much we're loved. We have yet to figure out who did it. The people we ask answer with: "I'll never tell". We brought the poster and all the hearts inside and decorated our apt with them. There are SO MANY hearts!

Warning! Sad story: Our Branch President fell off a roof while doing some service and crushed a vertebrae and fracture 2 others. He is doing a little better, he is really drugged up and he has to be in a back brace for 12 weeks. The Branch is amazing though, everyone is doing what they can, making meals and "babysitting" him while his wife is at work and daughter is a school. The Primary made him a really cool banner and everything. We saw him this afternoon and he is SO drugged that he has a high pitched voice and his sense of humor is gone. I feel so bad. I'm just extremely grateful that he wasn't paralyzed or anything. He is able to get up and walk around for about 2 or 3 minutes at a time. We're keeping him in our prayers.

Halloween! There was a Branch Halloween party and we were allowed to go because our investigators were going, that was awesome! We weren't allowed to dress up though because we had to stay missionaries but Sis. Brandley's dad gave us a cool idea. We dressed up as each other. We wore each other's clothes (the ones that would fit) and did our hair and make-up like eachother. I was Sis. Brandley so I went on my knees for pictures and dressed in one of her million sweaters and did my hair and make-up like her and Sis. Ferrell was me so I got to straighten her hair! She looks so different. Sis. Brandley was Sis. Ferrell and she curled her hair as much as she could and wore one of Sis. Ferrell's favorite outfits. Of course we also wore each others name tags. It was fun.
For actual Halloween though we had to be inside somewhere by 5-6, knocking would just be very unproductive. So a member family had us over and we got to enjoy their traditional "dinner in a pumpkin" is was good and then we watched Mormon movies and played missionary appropriate games and answered the door to trick-or-treaters. It was a hoot and a half. I'm going to miss that family.

Warning! Another sad story: Sis. Brandley's family called her on friday to tell her that her grandfather had passed away. After the tears and things were over though the talked about other things. My favorite topic started with her mother saying "When you step off the plane you are in so much trouble!" So, her family has been counting down until Christmas when they call and have been updating her on it. So it was making her trunky. She had told President Simpson about it and he jokingly told her that she should tell them that he said no one is calling home for Christmas and that's what she did! She just put in one line that we can't call home. The next week she got bunches of emails saying how they're upset but they know that he is an inspired man. It turns out that her mother spent 2 solid days crying over it. So she had to write a very apologetic email last week, so when they called 2 days later, she was livid. Personally, we all thought it was hilarious. Aren't you glad I didn't do that to you?

Well, the computer just told me that it's going to shut down in 5 minutes so I guess I should wrap up. I did want to tell you that they finally tore down our neighbors house this week. The one that caught fire Sept. 1st. It's weird, we have a new view from our windows.

I hope you're all doing well and I'll talk to you all next week

Sister Nicholls

P.S. Oh yeah! Andrew, I'm sorry about your leg. That's disgusting though. I hope you're able to get around soon, it's no fun sitting around as a missionary, there's NOTHING to do!

March 11th - 27 Octeober 2010

So, you know how last week I told you that President Simpson asked me in my interview to decide when I'm going home, March or April? Well, he didn't give me as much time as he said he would. He called me on saturday and asked if I had made a decision. I honestly hadn't thought about it, I'd forgotten. I just told him March and he told me I could change it if needed. So I spent the next couple days thinking and praying about it and March feels right. Also, around the same time I got a letter from Mom saying that she wants to see if we could go to sunday morning session of general conference. THAT'S WHAT I WANT! That is one of my biggest dreams! That would be the session I want too because that's when the Prophet speaks! President told me I'd be going home on March 11th, just so you know. That's a friday BTW. Is that the same week as Spring break? Do you get spring break?! Fall break is only 2 days, so I wonder. It's SO weird to be talking about this, I'm done.

Moose meat. Yes. Moose meat. YUMMY! Someone just had to make sure we ate some before we went home. It was SO good. I mentioned that I felt bad for eating a moose but they informed me that they are actually having hunters travel to Newfoundland just to kill the moose and control the population. They said that there are too many moose for the amount of vegetation they have there. So in a way, I'm doing them a big favor.

Well, it's officially cold here in Nova Scotia. I busted out the gloves on Oct. 23rd. Luckily, it hasn't been uber cold everyday. The cloudier, the warmer. I think it's funny how that works. Apparently in the cold seasons, since the ground doesn't hold the heat, if there are clouds then it traps it in, but if it's sunny, the heat escapes. So backwards from the warm months.

Knocking story! *Knock* *Knock* "Hello! We're coming around getting to know people, I'm (blah, blah, blah) what's your name?" "Linda, and please don't ever come back. You're wasting your time. And mine." *Slam*

Knocking story number 2. Actually, this might not be classified under "knocking" but it works. We met this really cool guy who was SUPER interested. We set up a return appointment and everything. He asked specifically if his fiance and her 2 kids could join us. We of course said yes. We were SO ecstatic! We called the day before to confirm the appointment and one of the kids answered. We asked to speak to him and she said he wasn't there and we left a message for him to call us (we could totally tell she was lying for him because we could hear voices coaching her on what to say). Anyways, after our next appointment we realize we have a voice mail. It was his fiance. She started off nice but ended up saying to NEVER come back and to tell our "Joho" (Jehovah's Witness) friends to stay away and also the "bible thumping baptists". And that we shouldn't call back. Well, that was upsetting. Too bad that message isn't going to be passed along. I think it's funny how people think all of the religions who go knocking are in cahoots with each other, wrong! Sometimes I wonder why I don't cry myself to sleep every night with all the grief people give us. I guess we're just so used to it by now and we tell ourselves that they're rejecting the message, not us and we shouldn't take it personally. I just can't believe some people.

This weekend was Stake Conference and it was in an auditorium on the Dalhousie University campus in Halifax. It was interesting to not have it at a Stake Center but we're too big for it now :) Also, at the end, the Stake President announced that each Usher and person working in the auditorium would get a gift that would bless their life (A Book of Mormon). The whole conference was about member missionary work, it was AWESOME! I'm excited to see results from it. One Branch actually just recently had 6 baptisms from member referrals! After the meeting I got to say hello a bunch of people from the Halifax YSA branch! I saw Terry and Joe! They're so awesome! Terry is going through a hard time still and doesn't have the priesthood yet but Joe is going to the temple for baptisms this week and is super excited. He is proud to be a member now. I love them!

Thanks for the pictures of Andrew. It's cool to see him in Chile! I wish I could see ALL of his pictures but I guess that's not quite possible. BTW, have you gotten MY pictures yet? Andrew, you're awesome. I read your emails, I look forward to them ALOT, but you know how that is. I hope you're having fun with your companion. I can't believe you're killing yet another missionary. You're killing your 4th comp and I'm in my 4th trio. What's with this?!

FYI, next week is transfers. I'm thinking I MIGHT be transferred so maybe you should wait until next week to send anything so you can know for sure where I'll be. I'll let you know, of course. We're really curious to see what's going to happen. Will one leave? Two? None? Who will go where? With who? It's driving us NUTS! The agony of it all will be over soon. Also, that means I'll get a bed! Did I tell you I've been sleeping on an air mattress since Sis. Johnson and Sis. Brandley came? Well, I have been. All except for about 4 days. We tried a different sleeping arrangement and it didn't work because of Sis. Brandley's back, so back to the floor I went. It's okay, I sleep just fine.

Happy 2nd Birthday Liam! Woohoo! Congratulations on surviving your first 2 years in this crazy place! Make sure someone reads that to him for me.

Kristen and Carolyn. I have a question for you. For some STRANGE reason I got one of your...rhymes...jingles... sayings? my head and I can't remember most of it. I said what I knew to my companions and they REALLY want to know the rest of it. It has in it: "brick wall, waterfall, girl you think you know it all, but you don't, I do, so BOOM with that attitude." Do you know what I'm talking about? That's all I remember. I think Cap't Crunch is in there somewhere. You should really help me out. :)

Hey! What's everybody going to be for Halloween? You should take pictures! It's sunday, so I don't even know if you are going trick or treating. We get the evening off, WOOHOO! We're going to have our own sort of party, somehow.

TODAY! I just remembered! We had a district P-day. We had a district meeting and then WE CARVED PUMPKINS! Each companionship had a pumpkin and one set made a missionary pumpkin. I got a picture don't worry. And then we went to the corn maze here. It was lame. Actually it was fun, just lame fun. We were the only ones there and the corn was so short and thin that I could see over and through it. It had 6 stamp stations and it took us a total of...10 minutes!! For $6. I know. Lame. But it was fun because we were the only ones there. So yeah.

That's all folks. Until next week!
Sister Nicholls

Rewind...Freeze! - 20 October 2010

Oops...Right after I left the library last week I remembered some things that actually did happen last week that I could share. they are!

1) Last Monday (Oct. 11th) was Canadian Thanksgiving! How I forgot, I do not know. We were invited to a less active members house. They had their non member family there and everything, it was awesome! What was interesting though was that we didn't have normal Thanksgiving food! We had: Seafood chowder, Ham, stuffed chicken, potatoes and gravy, peas, carrots, and tea biscuits. Then of course, pumpkin pie! Oh, they also had raisin pie. Yeah, what is that? They don't go all out here though. Most Canadians celebrated on that Sunday instead. Whatever.

2) Remember that story of us driving by and taking that picture of the year-round snowman? Well, we were driving by that way again and just as we were coming up to it I mentioned "Remember when...?" and we started chuckling BUT THEN we SAW it! It was dressed up as a pumpkin for Halloween!!!!! We couldn't BELIEVE our eyes! I just kept driving because I was like "If I pull over something bad is going to happen." After about 30 seconds though, we decided to turn around and get a picture because this was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Guess what happened when we pulled over...NOTHING! I was so relieved. I don't know what I would have done if we got stuck or something. Phew.

3) Mom, I finally got to watch the RS broadcast. A member actually had us come over and we watched it on a big projector screen and they made us popcorn and the most wonderful chocolate chip brownies in the world. We are so spoiled here. That really was a good conference. President Monson said some really good stuff. He did take a difficult subject and addressed it well. Also, Sis. Thompson and Visiting teaching. It made ME want to be a better Visiting teacher too! I feel bad because this branch has REALLY bad numbers as to home and visiting teaching. That's why so many people are inactive. People will get to know just the missionaries because we're the only ones willing to come visit them on a regular basis. BUT, we move on and they sometimes are forgotten about. It's such a sad thing.

Funny story. Sis. Brandley is having to see a chiropractor twice a week. The office is literally next door. Anyway, we have become friends with the people who work there and last week she was wearing an MTC T-shirt and the chiropractor proudly said "I know what that stands for! Mormon Tabernacle Choir." We just laughed and explained. He felt a little foolish but we explained that we get that a lot (I'm not actually sure if we do but it was a comforting thing to say at the time.)

You guys should watch Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang for me. Somehow some songs from that got stuck in my head.

Another funny story!: We were going to a lesson and the member who was going with us offered to drive us. As we got in her van I noticed that the seat I was going to sit on had pine needles in it. I went to brush them off and I realized that the seat was soaking wet! It had been raining really hard all day and the window had been left halfway open! I told Sis. Wolfs what had happened and she thought we could just put down a towel but we knew that wasn't going to do much. Her next solution STILL cracks me up! She grabbed her sons booster seat and asked me if I would fit in it! I laughed really hard on the inside and said that there was NO way I was going to fit in it. Sis. Brandley said she could fit, so we traded places and she rode the 20 minutes in the booster seat! Remember, Sis. Brandley is 4' 10". Yeah, it was pretty hilarious.

That was the most awesome day too because we taught 3 lessons with members present (different member too) and also a recent convert lesson. The recent converts are 9 and 11 so we usually do FHE with them, but not. This particular day we taught about prayer because they have been getting slack in their prayers. We compared prayer to a s'more. The graham crackers are addressing Heavenly Father and closing in the name of Jesus Christ. The chocolate was saying things we're grateful for, the more the better :), and the marshmallow was asking for things we need. We got to roast the marshmallows over the stove using a fondue fork. It was a good time. We also talked about how we should use Thee, Thou, Thy and Thine. We had one of the girls say the closing prayer and she did an AWESOME job! I just love them!

This weekend we got to spend a lot of time with a family that we LOVE. It's the Barteaux's. Leah is a single mom of 3 youngin's. We helped them move on Saturday. A good chunk of the Branch showed up to help, even someone who owns a huge truck for his business. We moved everything in 2 hours and 45 minutes. That includes the 15 minute drive from old house to new house. In that time the washer and dryer even got hooked up. It was an amazing thing. Sunday was also a big day for this family. They celebrated Thanksgiving that day and they had us over, that was a real turkey supper, YUM! And then Seth was baptized! Leah was only baptized a year ago. And Seth just turned 8. The baptism was beautiful. Leah cried when Seth was baptized. The Primary President taught about the Holy Ghost and used a Pumpkin to teach it. I've already forgotten how it all went, but she had already carved it but had put it back together and then as she was scooping out the insides she was talking about how when we're baptized God takes all the yucky stuff out of us and cleans us out. Then she put in a light that represented the Holy Ghost then she popped out the pieces for the smiling face and said how the Holy Ghost is a light that can shine through us. It went something like that. I really liked it.

Monday was Interviews with President Simpson. He told me that I need to decided when I'm going home within the next couple weeks. I don't know what to do still. I should get praying about that. He also hinted that I'm not going to be with Sis. Ferrell next transfer. I don't know if that means I'll be leaving Kingston or she will. She has been here 7 months but only has 1 more transfer. Will he move her? He also doesn't know where the trio will be. I pointed out that I've been in every trio there's been since I got on my mission. He said he was aware, but he said that's what the Lord must want. I asked Sis. Simpson why she thought that was and she said it's because I have a personality that people can get along with easily. That made me feel really good. I didn't realize. I don't know if that's the truth but it feels good none the less.

I feel like I'm in Tucson a bit. There is MAJOR construction going on in front of our house. We live on a main street that connects Kingston and Greenwood. It is very highly traveled and they're trying to repave it. It's been going on for a few weeks now. There is always a line of cars outside. I swear everyone knows where the missionaries live now because they can see us go in and out. We also have a captive audience while we're backing out because someone always has to stand outside and back, it's the rules. Since it's only 1 lane until they finish there is always a line just sitting and waiting. Fortunately, we have been getting to know some of the construction workers because they have to tell us when we can leave our driveway. Let us know when the traffic is moving the way we need to go. UNfortunately, they always call me Ma'am. I don't really like it, it makes me feel old.

Well family, it's been great. The weather her in Nova Scotia is turning cold. We had to scrap our car windows this morning in -3 degree weather, but right now it's 15 degrees. I don't want to admit that it's cold yet so I'm not busting out the hats, gloves, scarves, tights, or anything yet. I'll see how long I can tough it out!

Love you much!
Sister Nicholls

What to say... - 13 October 2010

So, I've been thinking and I can't think of too much that was exciting this week. I do have a knocking story for you. We were on a street full of duplexes and at one of them there were these 2 girls, each just younger than us. Within 30 seconds of opening the door, someone inside yelled to shut the door so the cats don't get out. One of them stepped out and the other closed the door enough so she could still just stick her head out. It was cold and windy that day so I don't blame her. Eventually the other girl had to step inside too but we kept talking. The woman inside just kept yelling to shut the door. They would yell back a no response and just keep talking to us. The woman came over and was shouting at the top of her lungs to shut the door. She eventually said "We're not interested, now shut the door!" We couldn't see her, so it wasn't really directed at us, but I'll never forget the 1 girls response "You can't shut the door on Christian people!" At this point no one was looking at us, but they were fighting with the door. We just tried to say, it's okay, we're going, and we just walked away. I think it took them a little while to notice we left. That woman's voice was so loud though that it was echoing through the neighborhood. We were afraid that her neighbors were going to mention it, but no one brought it up, that's good. So yeah, that was my exciting story for the week.

We have an investigator who we're trying to get on date for baptism but he is being difficult. I don't remember how much of this story I've told you before but recently he told us that he thought his church was stale and ours was alive and that he would be leaving his church. Woohoo! We ARE Christ's LIVING church. He's doing so well and has taken enormous steps. He practically is a member already. We actually invited this one mom of a new family in our Branch to come teach him with us and she didn't realize that he wasn't a member. He comes to everything. We've committed him to baptism 3 times now and each time he thinks he hasn't gotten an answer yet. We're trying to help him recognize his answer without being pushy. I know he'll be baptized, it's just a matter of when.

I'm really sorry this is so short. I really can't think of anything to share. I love you all a million and you're in my prayers. Have a good week.

Sister Nicholls

"Guess where I am right now?" - 6 October 2010

So, I have a MILLION things to share this week and have NO idea where to start. I'll start with the newest piece of information. I just got an email and a picture from Sis. Olsen telling me that Joe, our Chinese investigator in Halifax, just got baptized! He had a baptismal date while I was there but didn't go through with it. I'm still jumping for joy on the inside! She is still serving in the Metro, a different part, but she's close so she got permission to go, I'm jealous. I'll send the picture.

Alright, now that that's over with, to explaining my subject line this week. As you are aware, I hope, Sept. 30th was my year mark. Now, this was a momentous day but in a very different way. I made NO plans to do anything for it, and in a way, that's what happened, but I guess you just can't plan for the unexpected. On the way home from a district meeting in Annapolis Royal we pulled over to the side of the road to take a picture of the year-round snowman. BUT when Sis. Ferrell pulled over, she got the car stuck in a little ditch-like thing. I guess what they called it was being "high-centered"? Anyway, we couldn't move the car. Sis. Brandley and I got out to push and had no luck. We called the Elders and they came to help, just 2 of them. All 4 of us pushed, no luck. A man (ironically in a shirt and tie) came, pushed, tried to tie it to his trailer hitch, no luck. He left and a couple minutes later 2 more guys stopped, they pushed, no luck. They left and Elder Hitchcock called us a tow-truck. When the truck was on the way the Elders decided to head out. This is where it got really exciting! Just as they were walking back to their car a van reversed about 100 feet and 2 creepy (pardon my judgements) men got out, we shouted for the Elders to come back, we did NOT want to be left alone with them. We tried to tell them that it was useless, I mean, the front left tire had dug itself into a hole and the front right tire was hanging in the air a bit. Anyway, they insisted, and they must have been on some sort of steroid or something because they practically picked up the car! So, they got it out and we called off the tow-truck. It was quite adventurous because when they pushed the car into the street a car was coming in the opposite direction and didn't slow down and almost hit the car, the men swore and gave it the finger and the car came to a screeching halt with smoke coming from the tires. We were so relieved when it decided to just keep driving. Can you imagine 5 missionaries being involved in a scene like that? NO. Anyway, I kind of forgot the part where my title comes in... Before we called the Elders, we called Elder Tanner in the office because he's in charge of the cars. I started the conversation with "Hey Elder Tanner, guess where I am right now?" "Where?" "In Paradise...(That's really the name of the dinky town) a ditch." (okay, I was being dramatic.) Anyway, that was fun. BUT what happened after everything was said and done shocked me. They gave us a call a couple hours later and said that they wanted Sis. Ferrell out of the driver's seat and put ME in!! I haven't driven in a year! It was scary for about 20 seconds, but it's like riding a bicycle. I just can't believe that it's finally time for me to drive, I thought that was never going to happen, I'd succumbed to the fact already. So yeah, that was my year mark. Oh, also, in your last letter you were talking about me coming home soon. Don't get too trunky on me now. 6 months is a long time.

I was super excited to hear that Katie is going to serve a mission! I know you told me a couple weeks ago, but I was thinking about it this morning and I'm SO excited for her! You should get me her mission address when she leaves so I can write her. Also, I still need Alex and Joe's addresses. I got their emails, but I don't have time to do that, can I get their mission office address? Thanks!

I got the letter yesterday that had the pictures in it! Those are some good sunsets. Also, Carolyn looks older! Where is she in the picture too? I just LOVE pictures. Hey, are you going to send me any pictures from Andrew? I haven't seen anything from him since the MTC, it would be cool to see him IN Chile! Also, I'm getting my card ready to send home. I think I'll send it in a package with the sweater I got for my birthday and maybe other clothes or things I don't need anymore. Just a heads up.

Dad. I'm sorry that you're not feeling well. Do as the Doctor's say and drink LOTS of water. I'll keep you in my prayers (that's a no brainer BTW). Also, want to hear something freaky? Monday night I was telling my companions about Simone (the girl at the dentist's) and it was random because I barely knew her and I hadn't thought of her since I saw her last May. And then tuesday I get that letter where you're talking about her. That was weird. I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. Her husband's name is Chad, just so you know.

Mom. Sad story. I didn't get to watch the RS broadcast. We went to watch it at the church and there was a creepy guy wearing a mask walking around the parking lot and it was just going to be us missionaries because everyone else was watching it online, we didn't want to go inside, so we just went home. It was good too because Sis. Johnson wasn't feeling well. Some members have offered to have us watch it on their computer though, so hopefully I'll see it soon. It's cool too how Connor was in the choir. I wish I could have seen that session.

Kristen, Carolyn and Lauren: Do you hate your lives? You sound crazy busy! What are the GOOD things about that new school? I only hear about the weird, hard things. What are your teachers names? Are they nice? Do you have good friends there? Tell me more.

Andrew. My suggestion: Pray to love the people in your area. Every time I've been transfered I would start off just fulfilling my "duty" and not putting my heart into it. I wasn't a bad missionary but after awhile you just don't seem to care and it can be rough (especially if you don't like your companion, which was the case for me). What I would do was just pray that I would begin to see the people as Christ sees them and slowly, my attitude and view of things would change. Of course, you develop that great love and things go better, but then it also makes it harder to leave, but I have no regrets in growing to love the people. I know that it's a rough road, trust me, I'm walking it with you, just a million miles away.

Get this. We just found out that 2 of our investigators are RELATED! We're teaching a Grandmother and Grandson. We found this out when we were at the grandmothers house and noticed a picture of her grandson on the wall. What a small world! I'm excited to baptize the whole family! Maybe we can get 3 generations involved! I'm excited to see what's going to happen!

I could go on FOREVER but the computer is ready to kick me off, so I'll just send you off with some hugs and kisses. XOXOX

Sister Nicholls

The craziest week of my life! - 29 September 2010

Hello family! This has been, most likely, the craziest week EVER! Sister Johnson wasn’t getting any better and Friday was the 2 week mark of her and Sister Brandley living with us. So, on Friday we went and got her another blessing. The blessing was good, but it didn’t provide too much help. There are a couple health people in our branch and they gave her a bunch of advice and bought her a bunch of healthy foods. So, we loaded her down with good stuff and waited to see if anything would happen. On Saturday is when everything turned topsy-turvy on us. I was on “babysitting” duty and in the morning Sister Johnson was supposed to drink lemon water and she was such a baby about it! I helped her make up the drink of water and lemon juice and she just sat there looking at it and complaining (but she’s funny about it, not annoying). To make her feel better I offer to drink it with her, so I make up a glass of my own. I count down from 3 and start drinking and all she says is “I’m not ready!” over and over again. So, I finish and she is still making a fuss. I continue making a salad for her but after awhile I just want to pour it down her throat. I just kept thinking, what can I DO to make her drink it. Then it hit me! Leave. I put my knife down and said, “I’m leaving until you drink that”, and walked away. She shouted after me “Don’t leave me! I’ll get LONELY!” I just shouted back “Then you better drink it!” Let me just say, she drank it within 30 seconds. Am I good or what?

To make Saturday even more crazy: It was the afternoon, and we were both tired because we both hadn’t slept well the night before, so we settled in to take a nap. This was my 1st nap in…a LONG time. I looked at the clock: 3pm. I jokingly said to Sis. Johnson, “Watch, someone will call in like 5 minutes just when we fall asleep.” She just chuckled and we went to sleep. At 3:25 we were awakened by our doorbell. I jumped off the couch alarmed and looked out the window and what did I see???!!! President Simpson’s car!!!! I told Sis. Johnson “President’s here!” She just laughed because she had tried to pull that one on me earlier that day. I was so grateful that I had gotten ready to go out that day and everything, all I had to do was run my fingers through my hair to make sure I wasn’t a mess. I then went downstairs to get the door. Mind you, I’m shaking like crazy because they woke me up from a deep sleep. I answer the door and they come in. My guilt takes over and I tell them I was taking a nap. He didn’t care a smidge. I just still can’t get over the fact that President showed up the one time I try to take a nap, I mean, what are the chances?! So, they come upstairs, we pull some chairs into the living room and they had an interview with Sis. Johnson right then and there. I won’t go into any details but they concluded that she should call her mom and see if going home would be a good idea. When they left Sis. Ferrell and Sis. Brandley had just come back and we were all really dazed about the whole thing. So she called her mom that night, they decided she should pray about it and President would as well and talk to her mom. Then Sunday night, her mom calls us and says that she is going to come home. That just felt like the right thing. So Monday President calls and tells us that she will be leaving Wednesday and we needed to take her to Halifax on Tuesday. So, we spent Monday helping her pack, drove her yesterday and today (her birthday) she is flying home. It’s so crazy how quick it all happened. She stayed here for so long not getting better then all of a sudden she’s gone. She had only been here for 5 months; she was still just a baby. They said that when she recovers she, if she wants, can be reassigned to another, drier, mission. Maybe she’ll serve in Tucson! I’m just sad because she had become such a great friend. We got along so well and just enjoyed each other’s company. I’m glad though that she now can be taken care of. In her blessing as well, she was told she saved someone’s life, that someone who was even more sensitive to mold was going to move to that apt. and would be on their deathbed. Scary! Then, we found out that there was a Sister who went home this time last year because of the same thing, in the same place! Also, an Elder who left there in Feb. also was really sick there. I’m so grateful that I didn’t have anything happen. It’s crazy that I didn’t even notice it while I was there.

So, yeah, we’re a trio right now and there’s a rumor going around that Sisters transfers haven’t happened yet. Actually that rumor was going around before we even had that visit from President. It makes sense though because none of the Sisters changed and Sis. Brandley has already served here 6 months so it’s weird that she’d stay here. Nothing has been said about it for real though. But maybe next week things will be different.

Mom, I just want you to know that it would be really cool if you had the chance to go on splits. You said that Sis. Hales saw the Sisters share something at taco bell. It just so happens that we shared the gospel with someone in the grocery store this morning. Anyone and everyone needs the gospel, no matter what they're doing. :)

I love you all!
Sis. Nicholls

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Andrew Update - 7 November 2010

Bedridden - 1 November 2010

Well it was really nice to hear about how Dianna was able to work and have fun and success this week. It is so lame how I cannot tell you these things earlier, and that you have to wait a whole week before finally hearing this... But I have been stuck at home since Last Monday. After writing last week, we went to work, and had to come home early, because my leg was killing me. We stayed at home, and I took pain pills, and other things, and Friday, after things were not getting much better, my Mission President told me to go to the Hospital.
So we go, and they take a look at my leg. The lady is poking around my leg, and says "look at this" I freak out, and watch as she pushed with her finger on my leg in a certain area, and it squishes into my leg almost an inch deep, and removes her finger. Then, where she pushed, there was a hole pretty much, a deep indentation of her finger, that did not go away for more than 10 seconds. She said I had lots of water in my leg, and so they had to perform emergency surgery.
I hope you guys are not freaking out right now, because that last sentance was a complete lie. Instead, they give me a special shot, and some special pills, and I cannot work for another 3 days. They say this is probable that it came from cholesterol clots, or something like that, meaning I eat too much food with cholesterol. But that is NOT MY FAULT! Everyone here cooks with pure oil, and this butter stuff called manteca, and they are just FULL of Cholesterol. So, change in diet plan. Now I eat no more bread, and I am going to eat more soy meat (That is actually really good compared to the oily meats) rice, beans, and natural things like that. But that is just fine with me, because a companion and I ate like that when I was in Chepica for 3 months, so I am already used to it, and it is way healthier anyways. So that is my big story for the week. We have been sitting around playing card games, chess, watching finding faith in Christ, and other church videos, and hanging out with the Sister next door, helping her a little in her business. But mostly, I just lay in bed, and sleep. SOOO BORING!!!
Well, I got a few more DearElders from Sam, and from Mom, and the new crazy school, and how the girls are doing. I cannot believe Carter and Liam are getting so big and walky and talky! Man, I really am missing out on so much of their lives...
Well, that is all that happened this week. Super boring, because I have been sitting at home. My Zone went to the zoo today, because it is normally closed on Mondays, but is open today for the "Day of the Dead" so this might be the only chance of me going to the zoo here, but oh well. I am stuck in the house, doctors orders. Maybe another day it will be open. We will see. Well I love you all so much, and love hearing from you often! I am always praying you are doing well in your activities, studies, moves, and in the family. Until next week! And I will have way better stories! Chao!-Elder Nicholls

Linderos death - 25 October 2010

Well, like you guys know, I am killing yet ANOTHER companion, and we are doing really well. We talk a LOT. about EVERYTHING. Sometimes we talk until like 2 in the morning, and wake up groggy and with an attitude. But we are working on improving that part.
So yesterday we invitited the branch to put themselves a goal. Since my comp is leaving in 5 weeks, we challenged everyone in the branch to read the Book of Mormon in these last 5 weeks before my comp leaves for home. And we as missionaries are participating too. But, we have to get up an hour earlier in the morning to be able to do it. And since there are 642 pages in the spanish BOM, we have to read 18 pages a day. WHEW!
So this week I have been feeling a little better with loving the people.
Wow Dianna. I cannot believe it. A whole year. I am creeping up on my 11 months, and after that, a year. In my next change I will complete a year. And hopefully it will be with a SON! WOO HOO!!!! But nobody knows... So our only 2 baptismal dates just died, because they did not go to church, AGAIN, so we have to find something to do with them.Well I am hoping to get some emails, or more dearelders soon from you guys. I hope you are actully actively reading all my emails I send too... What do you do with all my emails? Throw them out? Save them? It would be cool to print them all out one day, and put them in a binder, and keep it as my mission book or something..
Well I love all you guys, and am running out of time. I pray for you all daily, and keep you in my thoughts.-Elder Nicholls

Helloooooooo....! - 18 October 2010

Yes Dianna, I am still sending you emails, just this last week I did not get a chance to write, because we were busy busy busy. Sorry.
Dad, I really like the talk you sent me. I cannot remember too many parts of it in this moment, but I loved it, and plan on reading it again today, and to take a few notes from it too. I also received Moms letter this morning, about Womens conference. I relly enjoy you guys sending me things you learn , and nice experiences you have, and blessing you recognize in life. I really want you to know that I really do appreciate that.
Well this week was really terrible, because I had a trunky comp, but he was really sad, and not satisfied with his missionary efforts. But he ended in a really good mood, and I did all I could to help him end with honor and dignity. I hope he feels good.
Oh Dad I was thinking this week about a thing that happened many years ago, when you were ironing Dianna's prom dress for her senior year. I remember you were about to iron it, when you decided for some reason to "test" the iron, even though it's not the kind of thing that needs "testing" before using it. But as you started playing with it, rusty nasty water poured out, and stained the ironing table. You stated that if you had not tested that beforehand, the dress would have been ruined, and would have had to buy another dress, or another sort of plan B. I know that those are the kind of blessings you have Dad, because you are a faithful servant of the Lord. I have recognized so many blessing we have as a family, that others do not, because we have a Mother and a Father who are faithful to their covenants, and we, as children, get to enjoy those blessings. I really get to apply hymn 301 in my life, "has given me an Earthly Home, with Parents kind and dear." I sometimes feel spoiled with the Gospel, because it has guided my life and work here in the mission, and see it in our family. I am so grateful for having a perfect example of how to raise a family correctly.We have two baptismal dates for the 7th of November, and hopefully they stay on this path. They did not go to church, which is what impedes every single chilean. But we are working hard, and with my new companion, Elder Romo, who is a gringo too, we are going to "tear up" the sector. Oh guess what? This is Elder Romo's last change too, so I will be killing him as well. This will be my 4th companion that I am killing. I hope I train this next change. Well I gotta get going. I love you all and hope to get more letters from you! Chao!-Elder Nicholls

Blah - 4 October 2010

Well this week was so dang long and slow and boring, unlike Dianna's crazy week. We taught a total of 9 lessons, and only one of those was with a member. We did have a really nice activity though, where we had a "movie night" with these big hot dogs called completos, and 50 people went. 30 were not members. So we got some references and appointment from that, but the members did not help us too much....
We found some really good investigators this week. Ones that really want to listen to us, and FOLLOW what we teach. So we will see how far this will go. My comp and I are doing really well with working together with the spirit, and being diligent with time, and contacting people.The conference was really cool, I hope you guys all got to see it. None of my investigators went, so it was kind of a let down. But ]I really liked a few of the speakers, especially that Elder Kearon that cried a lot in his talk. That guy really has love for the children of God. People were making fun of him for it, but I respect it. Because those tears come from the love he has, and that is what I need.
Not going to lie, because I am having a hard time in the mission right now. I am losing my patience really quickly sometimes, because sometimes I have no love for the people. I get really annoyed, and bothered by a lot of people sometimes. What can I do so that I have more love for the people? Any suggestions on what I can do, so that I can teach with love, rather than "because I am called to do it"? I will do anything.
Well That is all I have this week. Nothing happened. Just wandered around all day looking for people to contact. I love you all so much! Chao!Elder Nicholls

Dead - 27 September 2010

This last week was so dead. SOOO dead. We taught a total of 11 lessons, 5 being with less active members. So boring this week. But, last night when we had our companionship prayer to end the day, for some reason, our weekly planning page in my agenda floated into mind, and inside of the goal of 17 lessons being there, 40 was written. So after the prayer ended, I opened my planner, and presented the idea to my comp. He said he thinks it is completely impossible, and that we will not be able to do it, but if I wanted to, he will follow my lead. So we changed the goal for the week to 40 other lessons, and 7 with member. We are also going to try and have the highest number in every category in our zone. Contacts, lessons, references... Everything. We are going to do it. I am so happy that you guys got my memory card. Now I am going to respond to the dear elders I have gotten. So about the whole school thing-basically they want the children to become robots, like in the book 1984. My sisters are going to friendless geeks in another year and 3 months! NOOO!!! But just so you know, I want to be the chauffer when I get home. I want to spend more time with my Sisters. I love them, and I did not spend enough time with them before the mission. That sounds so cool with that whole scripture talking about the generations of Hyrum Smith! I want to know where that is now! I looked in D&C for like 20 minutes, and could not find anything either. Wow. AND AARON IS GOING ON A MISSION!!!!!!!! I leaped for Joy when I read that phrase in the DearElder, and I was on a train, and everybody looked at me weird. But I was so happy I could not help it. Tell Aaron that Elder Kimballs brother (Elder Kimball was my comp in the MTC) that he went to Tacoma Washington, and is a really good mission, with lots of country areas, and lots of success in that mission. And Ben Turley is going on a mission soon too? Sweet! And Enoch Butler will be coming home in just a few months too. Geez, time just flies...So who's the seminary teacher? Do I know who it is?I laughed so hard when I read that story with Matthew and the waitress! That is so totally awesome! That's the kind of thing I saw in movies, and it happened to Matthew! So how are they now? Did he go on the date? Are they going out again? Has he found any other girls? I got a letter from Jordan Abrams, and he has been going on 11 dates a week! Insane! Mom want to know something? In the scriptures, it never says the words "free agency" but only "moral agency". Because we were not given the power to choose to be able to do whatever we want, but rather to learn how to use the power of the Holy Ghost, in determining what is good and what is evil. I think that is neat, because everybody refers to it as being "free". And what you said about "It is a lot easier to trust someone who can follow the dumb rules with the ones that are a lot more important." I totally used that phrase in a lesson the other day, and I said "My Mom always used to tell me..." So weird! Scary story with the pileup of cars! I am so glad nothing happened to you! It is scary how so many things can happen in the blink of an eye! Just 10 seconds later and it is true, you could have really been in trouble... But, you are MY Mom, and are way cooler, so you are loved more, and that is why nothing happened to you. :)
Yes, it is VERY surprising that Dad allowed that ATV trip. Ouch. I bet that was quite an experience for that girl. I remember when I got cholla stuck in my leg once in 7th or 8th grade, and it is nasty stuff. I remember the same exact thing happening, that one spine was in my leg almost a whole inch too! Tell Dad not to sell the bikes, because I want to ride them lots more when I get home, so do not destroy them all! :(
Well do not worry about a Christmas present Mom, because I already have more than enough stuff. Well, I gotta go now. I love you all so much, and look forward to getting more DearElders that you sent. I love you! Chao!-Elder Nicholls

Wow - 20 September 2010

Well, like nothing happened all week, because it was really slow, and only taught like 14 lessons. But something INCREDIBLE happened!!!!! Do you remember a few months ago, I talked a lot about a family of Maxi and Marlen, and their little son, Bastian? How they gave us lunch one day, we talked to them a lot, and taught and fasted for them and everything....?? Check back in my emails, on the day after the last general conference, because we found them on general conference... Well In a big mission activity on Wednesday, I talked to the missionaries that were in my first zone, to see how my converts are doing. Turns out, my first convert ever, Benjamin, moved back to his house, and still goes to church, and did baptisms for the dead! He is totally active and uses his priesthood too! WHOOOOO HOOOO!!! My second convert, Angelica, is dead basically. So I am not too disappointed in what happened. Third and fourth, Scarlet and Jonaton still go to church, but do not participate too much, but are diligent in going to church. Sweet! And I had heard that he had had two baptisms recently, and when I asked for their names he said.... MAXI AND MARLEN!!!! I almost screamed and cried I was SOOOO happy! I DID run around and hug everybody I could in that moment. I cannot believe it still! And he is getting the priesthood this Sunday! And he had to stop smoking and drinking too, and he reads the Book of Mormon all the time now they say. He actually wanted ME to come and baptize them, and the Elders did not even ask me to come! Because in this mission, we can do that , if the investigator wants us to. But for some reason, this Elder did not even ask! Lame... But whatever. Just knowing that he wanted me there makes me happy. SWEET!! And in like 2 months, I want to hear all about baptisms in Chepica, because I left an entire family there investigating, and want to hear good news about them. Wow I am totally loving the mission. I can totally see "The fruits of my labors" like it says in Alma. I cannot wait to get some more baptisms, and have even more joy! Well that is about the main part of my week, apart from playing organ in sacrament meeting, having huge parties at church for the chilean independance day, and teaching some of the best lessons I have had in my mission. I hope everything is well at home. I love you all so much, and look forward to calling you guys in 3 months, and getting some more mail. LOVE YOU! Chao.-Elder Nicholls

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dianna Update - 27 September 2010

Transfer week, are you ready for this? - 22 September 2010

Transfers: Not a single Sister in the entire mission moved. I know. This transfer will be 6 months that I'll be with Sis. Ferrell. After this she only has 6 more weeks until she goes home, so I'll probably stay with her those too. That will be 7 1/2 months with her! My life did a huge flipperoo. I went from changing every 6 weeks to staying stagnant.

The Wolfville Sisters are still living with us though, that keeps us busy. Sister Johnson has started working part of the day. She is doing loads better, which is good because she isn't someone who likes to be babied and stay inside. She is a Get 'er done kind of person and it's been hard for all of us to see her have to stay in and not even be able to physically handle the entire situation. They're still looking for an apartment for them but there hasn't been anything yet. We don't know how long they'll be here but we'll enjoy it while it lasts. It's great because we can breathe, we're not attached at the hip to our companions anymore. President has told us to just keep doing exchanges. So, we'll switch every couple of hours, it's fun.

Andrew, congrats on the converts who are staying active. That's a great feeling. I was just informed of some sad news. Terry, the convert in Halifax, has decided to stop going to church for awhile. This is a decision he has made and informed the missionaries of. I'll just keep him in my prayers and hopefully he'll realize what he's missing. I was also informed though of some great news. Daylen, the investigator in Wolfville with a baptismal date that fell off the face of the planet. Well, Bro. Flanagan (Daylen's fellowshipper) called the Wolfville Sisters and told them that he bumped into Daylen on the street and got his new address and phone number and he's looking forward to meeting with them again. This made Sis. Brandley and I go ecstatic! I hope that goes well, they still have to wait until they have an apartment though...

I'm just rambling, I don't really have anything important to say except that we had an investigator come to our Book of Mormon read last night and it sounds like he's going to come every week. OH! AND There is a new family in the Branch, the Gionet's. They're 24 years old and they have a 22 month old named.....LIAM!!!! It's CRAZY! I'm sad that I'm missing Liam and Carter start growing up. I'm going to have to put in some extra babysitting hours when I get back to catch up with all this lost time.

I just reread my email and I realized that I sound very homesick and trunky. Don't worry, I'm not. I just don't have anything else occupying my mind right now. Hopefully a hymn or something will get stuck there soon. LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Nicholls

So you think I've seen it all...? - 15 September 2010

So, I may have mentioned earlier that there is a Sister Missionary (Sister Johnson) who is serving in Wolfville right now who is extremely sick because of the mold in the apartment there. (I'm glad that it didn't affect me at all). Well, she has been sick for about a month now and within the last week, chaos has ensued. We (Sis. Ferrell and I) got out of a lesson on friday afternoon and discovered we had 3 voicemail messages. That NEVER happens. One was from an investigator, that was good. But the other 2 have flipped our world upside down. One was from the zone leaders telling us that the Wolfville Sisters were moving in with us. The other was Sis. Johnson herself singing a message to us about how their apartment is killing her and she's being dramatic. (She's hilarious!) Anyway, Sis. Johnson had gone to the Doctor friday morning and they told her that her body had reached a toxic level from being exposed to mold and that she had to get out of her apt. ASAP! So, they packed a couple suitcases and headed over, we only had a couple hours notice. That was friday, they're still here! It's been fun. Sis. Johnson can't work, she's not very functional right now. So we take turns "babysitting" her and the other 2 go out and work. It's been exciting. I like working with Sis. Brandley. So, we don't know how long they'll be here. Transfers are next week and they'll most likely transfer them both and possibly close the area, at least to Sisters. I know, I can't believe this either. Don't worry, no one is in real danger. Our Zone leaders and Elder Tanner are taking care of it and we're fine being a foursome here, it's actually really fun!

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes! Mom, I love that skirt you sent. The sweater is too big though. What do you want me to do? I can send it back to you if you'd like. So, I woke up this morning and on the washroom door were a bunch of different pieces of construction paper. At the top was "Happy Birthday" and then in half sheets they had a word starting with each letter of Dianna and a picture to go with it. They had used some creativity. This is what they said: Duvet (because you're comforting, Intinerent (about every 6 weeks), Arizona, Nucleus, Natty ((I had to look that up)), Ardent (about the gospel) and then another paper saying "We love you". I live with the 3 best Sister missionaries there are!!! Today, we went to Pizza Delight for lunch because I could eat free!!! AND THEN we went to the ZOOOOOO!!!! I saw a Zonkey! And a bunch of other cool things. I wish I had more time, but the computer is going to push me off in about 30 seconds, AH! I love you, love you, love you!!!!!

Sister Nicholls

Another crazy week! - 8 September

So, we finally got back to our beds and everything last Wednesday night after all the fun of Sister's conference. I fell asleep faster than ever that night. Unfortunately the night didn't go as planned. Here is how it actually went:

There I was at 4:15 am, asleep. I heard the gentle sound of rain hitting the roof. My initial thought was "Man, and I didn't even get my rain boots yet." I just rolled over and tried to get back to sleep. The noise got louder. Since it was keeping me up I decided to take a look out the window and watch it for a little while. When I got to the window I didn't see any rain, I saw something completely different. I didn't want to believe my eyes so I went and put my glasses on. Sure enough, what I saw was our next door neighbor's porch on fire! I smacked Sis. Ferrell (under the covers) on her leg and exclaimed "Sis. Ferrell, the neighbor's house is on fire!!!" We both jump up and get our shoes on and she grabs the keys and the phone (smart girl) and we head outside. By this time people were shouting WAKE UP! to get the people out of the house. (Every one's fine) Someone told us to move our car because we were parked between our house and the one on fire and they were afraid something might happen to it. So we moved it down the side street to a parking lot. We started walking back to our house (We live above a business in a 100 year old Victorian house) and there was smoke, embers, and ash flying in the air and the house was just engulfed in flames. It was just like in the movies, but worse because it was so real. A fire truck had pulled in between our houses and were laying out fire hoses when an electrical wire exploded and sent sparks flying everywhere and someone yelled "Live wire! Live wire!" I stopped Sis. Ferrell in her tracks and told her we couldn't go back to the house, it wasn't safe. I was terrified that our house was going to catch fire and burn as well. Since it was really hot the day before we were sleeping with all the windows open so we were afraid of all the stuff in the air going into our house but we decided there was nothing inside more important than ourselves so we stayed away. People on the street had come outside and were watching this unfold. What really got me was that there was an older couple who was standing outside in their bathrobes SMOKING! Seriously?! My heart was pounding because I was so startled and my body was still VERY tired. We didn't know what to do because we couldn't go home! We decided to call our Branch President. We told him the situation and he allowed us to come wait at his house. So we drove over there but we had to take the extremely long way because we live on the main street that goes to his house and it was blocked by firetrucks. On our way over we had to pull over for 5 trucks to pass us. So, there we were, in our pajamas, driving to our Branch President's house super early in the morning with nothing to our name. Sis. Ferrell worried because she didn't even have her license with her. We got to President Muise's house and we sat on the couch and chatted with him and his wife for awhile. In the background they had the weather channel on and this didn't NOT help!! All the channel was talking about was hurricane Earl that was supposed to hit us Friday night and Saturday! This just added to our worry and stress. Around 6:30 we decided to try and head home. We had to take the long way again and still had to park down the street because of all the trucks. I felt so weird walking back to the house because we had to walk in between a bunch of firetrucks and, literally, over fire hoses. I was waiting for someone to ask us what we were doing, but they didn't. We finally get back to the house and what do you think was the first thing we did? Grab our cameras and run back out of course! We're sad we didn't get to take any pictures of the actually fire but we got quite a few pictures of the damage and the DOZEN firetrucks that were there!!! Now our next door neighbor's house is black and there is caution tape everywhere and they still don't know what caused the fire. What's especially sad about this is that the house was a salon downstairs and the owners lived above so they truly lost everything.

Sorry that was long, but I wanted to share all the details. We were so tired we ended up sleeping through our studies. I felt bad but not at the same time.

Later that morning we had District meeting and guess what mom!? I got my boots! The Zone leaders had picked up the mail before we had sis. conference but we hadn't seen them so they were practically holding them hostage. But I was SOOOO grateful because I got them just in time for the "Hurricane". Hurricane Earl turned into a Tropical storm before it reached us but it still was SUPER windy and SUPER wet. I put those boots to good use! We were lucky though, we didn't lose our power, but ALOT of Nova Scotia did. We prepared for it though. We made sure we had food and flashlights and that was all easy. The hard part was water. We had already been drinking the food storage water because the water at our apartment was BLACK! We get our water from a well and when the fire department sucked out all that water for the fire it stirred up all the sediment so we had the nastiest looking water for about 4 days. I didn't dare shower and just washed my face in the sink, but even then, I had to watch for a clear break to get a handful. The same went for brushing my teeth. It was an adventure!

Family, I love you. I'm so grateful for the prayers and letters of support. I hope that all is going well with school and work and friends and family and everything. Make sure that you ALWAYS remember that I love you. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Sister Nicholls

Monday, September 6, 2010

Andrew Update - 6 September 2010

Los Linderos - 6 September 2010

Well, surprisingly I am not in Chepica anymore. I am with yet ANOTHER latino in a place called Los Linderos, in the city of Buin. There is a zoo nearby, which we will totally visit as a zone one day. I am almost 100% sure I am going to train this next change, because I am killing my comp this change. Elder Mejia. From Honduras. And after I kill him, I will train, I just know it. I am so excited to find out. Leaving the sector was so hard. 8 investigators went to church with us last week, and over these last 3 months, we have had an average of 6 investigators go every single week. Incredible. My amaxing family, with Alex, Maria, Kena, Angeles, Katy, and Felipe, were soooo sad. Kena and Angeles were crying up a storm. It made me feel a little weird, because they were crying harder than Emily cried when I left for the mission. They gave me a lot of cool stuff though. I gave them a little electronic piano, a rubiks cube, and wrote letters, so that they could have stuff to always remind them of me. They gave me a big Chilean flag, with notes and names written all over it, and we took a bunch of pictures. I cried only a little tiny bit, but man, Kena and Angeles were BAWLING. Not just crying, but the kind where you cant breath, and you start making kind of groaning noises because your lungs dont work right. Maria started to really cry too. It was a really sad moment. I left them a few letters that said if they get baptized, I could be able to come back and do the baptism, so we can see each other again, and visit a bit. Hopefully they keep progressing in the gospel, and get baptized. They would made GREAT members, because they are just so fun, and loving.

I got more DearElders, and totally forgot to bring them AGAIN. I am absolutely horrible with that. I remember Lauren was saying a lot about how crazy and robotic her new school is. It reminds me of the book The Giver, and 1984. Scaryness. Instead of raising children, we are growing cyborgs. Its odd that Lauren is receiving such top notch education, when the majority of my investigators cant even read of write. So different here.This last Sunday being fast and testimony meeting, I got to give my last testimony, and everyone was choked up. One Hermana said a lot of good stuff about me, and said "I have to confess something, I hated Elder Nicholls when he got here, but I got to know him really well, and now I love him more than these other Elders here by far." Then she went on to tell stories of examples of love I have shown, and that everyone should strive to follow my example of being more Christlike. What lies. If that is true, I am 100% different than from before the mission.

Lauren, I am glad to hear that you are going to keep your promise with me about waiting to date for me. Like, you turn 16 about 2 weeks before I get back, right? So it should not be too hard to wait. And, when I get back, I am going to buy myself a motorcycle as fast as I can. And I am going to take you to seminary every morning on it, take you out to lunch, to school, whatever you want. I want you to be a cool, popular girl. Ok? Deal? I wonder what Mom and Dad have to say about that..

And what do you think about Andy? I think I have decided that my name is now Andy. Mom, you can call me Drew, but to my friends, I am going to tell them to call me Andy. It sounds really cool to me right now, which is weird, because I hated it before the mission. I visited my converts yesterday to say my goodbyes, and I got a letter from the girl, and I learned that she really does understand the gospel, and the importance of it. I feel really good about them being able to retain their membership in the church. And I found out that my converts in Villa el Sol still go to church every week! Cool!

So this saturday, we got to go to the Temple in Santiago. The Chepican government lent us a BUS! We declined it, and accepted a van instead, because we only had 11 people going. But that is so sweet that they offered that! Wow! 3 converts went, and only one was brave enough to do baptisms. I was a witness, and witnessed like 200 baptisms. They only had 1 prieshood holder to do baptisms! I would have done it too, but missionaries are not able to. I understand why, because the majority of the participants were Laurels from surrounding areas. Yep. That is probably a big reason. But everybody had a really great experience, even though one kid threw up twice in the van. Our driver was really cool and patient, and turns out he is Kenas Dad! Weird!

Well, I gotta go, and I promise next week I will write more, and answer questions from the DearElders, with EFY, and everything... Candy bingo... hiking... Alpine slide... But I gotta go. I love you all so much, and am very grateful for my new shoes and belt and clothes. LOVE YOU! CHAO!-Elder Nicholls

Sweet - 30 August 2010

No way Austen is already home!?!?!? That`s crazy fast!!! It seemed like he left like when Enoch left! Time just flies by here on the mission! I am not even kidding! I am going to be home in like 3 months from now, judging how fast time is going! I almost have 9 months now! Next time I write you guys, I will be like 2 days from 9 months. Yes, that sounds like nothing, but it seems like I have been on the mission 4 months! I can`t even remember the MTC! Yes Mom, I got both of the packages this week. My mail hasn`t arrived to you guys yet? I`m going to go by the mail today then to see if they even sent it out, and see what`s going on here... But I love the boots you guys sent, they worked perfect in the rain! Because my feet were nice and dry! :) I love the ties! They are too nice actually, because I am afraid to wear them, and get them dirty! Lots of the missionaries covet them. But the shoes fit perfect, my peelers too, and I have already started using the balloons. I make them for the little kids, and that helps us get into the house so easy, like Dad used to tell me. Playing with the kids, and putting the importance on them, helps the parents understand we are not here to fight and destroy the family.So this week I had my first "Fight" with a seventh day adventist. Halfway through the lesson, I told him "Ok, now we are going to move on to another topic and you are NOT going to mention the word saturday." It worked for a little, but he went back to focusing everything on saturday. He wouldn`t let us use the book of Mormon AT ALL, so we had to practice our mastery with the Bible. We talked about a lot of scriptures that say an APOSTASY will come, and later, a RESTORATION. But didn`t pay any attention to anything. He just wanted to fight about stupid Saturday. But somehow we set a return appointment, and left him with the compromise that he will pray about what we have talked about. I

Dad, The email you sent me sounds familiar... "2 men can do anything..." Maybe Neil L. Anderson from April Conference...?? Haha. I am so pro with scriptures and talks and stuff now. I can`t even believe myself.

So this week, we did divisions almost everyday, so I only worked with Elder Carpio, the Peruvian. But we broke the record of lessons taught, and news found in Chepica, for the last year. We taught 6 lessons with member, 22 others, and found 13 news. That`s not a heck of a lot, but is more than Chepica has seen in a long time. We also had 6 people in Sacrament meeting, and we have like 5 baptismal dates. This has been a record week. And I might be moving to another sector this week, because the sector might go from 4 missionaries to 2, and I might be going. I have no idea, and won`t find out until this saturday to see if I leave monday. Intense.

Well Dianna, sound like you guys are having some cool experiences over there in Canada, visiting around, and having cool experiences like that in the road. I do really love when people mock and laugh, because It shows to other people that watch how we really are. People accuse us of obligating people to do stuff, and that we always yell and make people feel bad. But when they see us offer service, and they yell at us to tell us GO AWAY, people see that, and stop and think a little. How do you teach the first lesson? You do teach the restoration first too right? What do you focus on? How do you convince the people best to listen and believe this message? Any hints on how to teach the restoration?

Jenn- I cannot believe how big the guys are! Liam and Carter... And bald! BAAALD!!!Well I am not in my sector right now, because I am killing my comp this week, so we are in Paniahue visiting his converts, so I do not have any more time to write. I am so happy for your love and packages and support. I look forward to obtaining more experience and stories so I can share them with you all for my entire life. I love you all. Chao!-Elder Nicholls

Not a teenager - 23 August 2010

Well, I am officially old.

I can no longer say I am 19 years old, nor a teenager. Not like I have even said the word teenager in the last 8 months... English is such a foreign language to me sometimes. Weird! So you guys got to listen to D. Todd Christofferson yesterday? Cool! Weird too, because Saturday morning our ENTIRE MISSION along with ALL OF SANTIAGO WEST MISSION got together and we listened to Richard G. Scott talk, in Spanish. He talked a lot about the life AFTER the mission. That the first thing we should do after the mission is immediately look for a wife. AND study. Not just study. But find a wife, and that is more important. And I have a feeling that he was referring to that the world isn`t going to be lasting too long. Scary stuff. But it was a really cool talk, and he gave a really nice testimony about God`s love for us as his children.

So you guys talked about the iron rod yesterday? Weird, because I had to give a talk yesterday, and they asked me to prepare it an hour before sacrament meeting started, and I talked about 1 Ne. 8, and the song "The Iron Rod" and talked about what they all mean. I wanted to draw it out, but that kind of thing isn`t appropriate in sacrament meeting. But I went through every point, and described them, and challenged everybody to read the Book Of Mormon 10 minutes a day, regardless of whatever happens. Told them about the falls of iniquity. Told them clearly that is they do not read the Book of Mormon, that their testimonies will fall, and they will fall from the church, and lose the blessings of God. It was well harsh, but full of love. I still play organ, and people are so grateful for that. For my birthday, so far I have gotten 3 things. And I am sure more are coming as we visit people during the week. Our investigating family gave me a keychain with my name on it, and a sister in the branch gave me two sweet ball point pens with a cool grip in a fancy case. And lastly, a sister invited us over to eat lunch: Chicken legs, potatoes, salad, and rice.

So being in a trio isn`t so bad. We actually did divisions almost all week, so we could double the work. And one of my companions talked to one of the assistents to the president about the changes that are coming. He won`t tell me everything he said, but gives me little hints, saying I am going to be the branch president in two weeks, and there are still going to be 4 missionaries in Chepica. I don`t know if I should believe him. But in two weeks from today, we will know for sure! So exciting! I want to train, or do SOMETHING!!

In the big conference, I saw ALL my district from the MTC! We all got together, and took some pictures. Elder Kimball, from the MTC, still hates me basically. I ran up and gave him a hug, and told him I missed him, and I felt bad for the times we had in the MTC, and that I want to be his friend, and forget about the past, and enjoy the work together, and he just said "Ok." Looking away from me, and walked away. Lame. Whatever. I am doing my part to be his friend. But everyone else in my district was so happy. Because 2 of them I hadn`t seen from more than 6 months. Elders Kimball and Miles I hadn`t seen for 6 months. I was so happy to see them.

Mom your package is here! The zone leaders got it, and I will pick it up on Wednesday when we travel to Santa Cruz to have district meeting. I am so excited to get it! This Sunday we only had 2 investigators in church, because the family that went last week was sick, and nobody left the house all day. I hope they keep going. We taught the word of wisdom this week, to test their testimony, and how much they really want to change their life.

Two days during the week, we rode our bikes FOREVER to do permaneced. It`s a program to find less active members, and share the permaneced message, and try and get them back to church. But the members for this week live FAR AWAY. We had to ride our bikes FAST in one direction for half an hour to get there. But, we shared a lot of messages, but nobody came to church. It is horrible here. There are sectors that have 700 members in the sector, and only 40 people that go to church. HORRIBLE!

During comp inventory, the other Elders complimented me on teaching really well, and always showing love to the people here. I honestly had no idea if I teach well or not, but they said that I "surprised them with how well I teach, it being my second language, having only 8 months on the mission." Sweet. They told me that there was a lot they could learn from me. I love the mission! It is just so worth all the efforts!

Well I am running out of time. Dianna I like your story about the dude with the cross in his backyard. Don`t you like the weird traditions of other religions? People`s beliefs and priorities. Well, I have 2 minutes left. I love you all so much, and for your diligence in writing me every week. I got 3 more dear elders this week in the conference, and I am going to read them and take notes to answer some more questions you have asked. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Chao!

-Elder Nicholls