Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017--Week 74

Hey Everyone,

This week has been SO fast. I am super bummed that it is transfers already. Time is going by too fast and I am really sad to see Elder Merritt go. My new companion is Elder Lee and I know almost anything about him except that he's just coming out of training. I’m happy that I'm staying in Jersey City where there are people to talk to and a ward that is functioning. 

This week we ate. And ate. And ate. One night, we had 3 meal appointments from 2 Puerto Ricans, and then a Filipino after. It was seriously the worst night of my mission. I ate more food than should be allowed and prayed that I could have an extra stomach. I am pretty sure there was divine assistance. The first picture below was our first appointment. The food in the photo is half of what we ate. Naturally, when we finished that portion, the sister asked, “Do you want more?”  At that point we had plenty of room, so we ate more.  After that she asked, “Do you want cake?" NO!! But of course we had to eat it too. After the first appointment we weren't sure how we would make it through the next, but somehow, we got to the next appointment and the brother has these giant plates of spaghetti and shrimp with a huge plate of bread (see second photo). Then the dessert followed.... By this point I was struggling to keep the food down and we still had to walk 2.5 miles to our next appointment and do it in 20 minutes. We decided it would be a good idea if we called another companionship of elders to come and help us eat the food because the was no way we would be able to eat a Filipino meal by ourselves. The whole way there, we tried to make ourselves throw up, but  couldn't. When we got there, he had more food than he has ever cooked because it was Elder Merritt's last day so he wanted to do something special for him. Then of course dessert followed. That night, we just could not sleep or be comfortable sitting, laying, or standing. It was literally the worst day of my mission (not emotionally—but for my stomach!). I wanted to die.

Life is good.  Thank you for all your prayers!  I hope you all have a great week and I love you all!
-Elder Nickerl

P.S.  The last couple photos are:
Saturday we had a HUGE snow storm so we spent the day shoveling snow for all our neighbors.  

Sunday, we cooked one last Korean dinner together and ate it while we listened to the transfer call.

Monday, January 2, 2017

January 2, 2017--Week 73

Hey Everyone,

This has been a really crazy week with all of the holidays, but it has been fun. I am loving everything here. Finding people has been really hard as usual. Everyone keeps cancelling appointments and being super flaky, but that's okay because that's how it usually is. Overall though I am loving life and am not stoked for transfers at all (which are next week).  

Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know that I know that this Gospel, the teachings of Jesus Christ, are really truly the secret to true peace and happiness in our lives. Even amongst all the trials in missionary work, I have never been happier in my life. I know that no matter what we go through in life, we will be happy and have joy, if we prioritize our lives to have Jesus Christ as the focus, nothing will go wrong. 

I love you all and have a great week!

-Elder Nickerl

December 19, 2016--Week 71

Hey mom (this can be my weekly as well),

I will try to answer all of your questions...
First, skype time, I’m not sure because we have A LOT of appointments and we got permission to go see the Korean branch and I don't know what time that will be. I would imagine around 4-5pm our time would probably be the easiest for us, but I am sure I will be able to call the day before as President Taggart has let us do before to schedule for sure. If not, plan for about 4-5pm my time and just know it will work out. I will worry about it later in the week. Along with the skype call now before I forget, I would like to teach a 4 minute version of the Restoration to the family. Maybe at the end or beginning. 

Second, my eyes are doing well. I get my right contact this past Thursday. My left one is doing okay.  It is better than having nothing in, but it is still pretty hazy…maybe at about 20/70 right now. It is VERY hard to put these contacts in and it requires a different kind of solution. I will explain the process on the skype call later. But the eyes are doing good. There is no rejection now in the right eye… Dr. Constad says that  if I continue to baby it and treat it, I may be fine indefinitely. So we will see. I also got a awesome blessing from Elder Merritt last week (pre-surgery) that had a promise that if I am obedient to mission rules and work hard, I will be able to stay in New Jersey to finish my mission. So I am trusting that. 

Third, the mission conference was fun on Friday. I got the big package that you sent then.  Thank you!  It was basically just a big get together with fun and spiritual stuff with the whole mission so I got to see all of my friends from the mission and spend some time with them. Sunday night we had a NJ wide Christmas fireside put on by the missionaries. I was able to see a lot of people there who I haven't seen in a really long time (Collin, Rocksan, a lot of the members from the Korean branch who I got to talk to) and it was super awesome.

Everything else this week is going really well. I am loving it here and I’m ready for the holiday season to be over—so that we can get back to our regular world, but this week should be awesome!


P.S.  Here is a few pictures as well. Bart Oats (a 5 time super bowl winner O-lineman) is the bishop in a ward in NJ and came to speak to us this Friday. We got a picture with his super bowl ring. Then a picture with Elder Koo (my trainer) his other two trainees and I. Lastly, a picture from our ward Christmas party with our Asian santa :). I love NJ!!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016--Week 70

Hi everyone,

This week has been a pretty great week. A little slow with the eye surgery on Wednesday, but everything went well and is almost back to normal as soon as I get the contacts that I ordered. They are a different kind than I have ever worn and so I am excited. 

The work in Jersey City is going to be picking up. We found a few new less active members to begin visiting this week as well as a new investigator from China. He is awesome. I will try to tell a little more about him next week. 

Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a great week! -Elder Nickerl

December 5, 2016--Week 69

Hey Everyone! 

This week has been awesome. Our investigator dropped us... But it's okay because we found a cool father-led family instead and also found a part member family who we are now working with instead. I am very excited for Wednesday so that I will be able to see well.  I know that the promise in my patriarchal blessing is being fulfilled here.  I feel very at peace with Dr. Constad. Elder Merritt and I have been constantly talking about how amazing he is.  (Side note:  Jacob is having a procedure on Wednesday that will stop the Keratoconus from progressing in his left eye.  After a few weeks, he will be able to wear a contact like normal without the pain that he’s been experiencing—and should be able to see nearly perfect in that eye.  Also, his right eye (the one with the transplanted tissue) is healing nicely.  We are so blessed that Jacob has an amazing cornea specialist within a few minute’s walk of his apartment.  He really has been blessed with a miracle!)

I am sending a few photos today:

1.  We found a dead bird while we were doing a trash pick up (our service project to kick off the light the world service initiative) so we had to pick it up and get a photo!
2.  The other missionaries we did our service with.
3.  We found this cool bear while proselyting in the park. This park has such an amazing view. This city is amazing. I think I would consider moving out here some day. I really do love it.
4.  We also found this in the same park. It was cool too. 

Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a great week!

-Elder Nickerl

November 28, 2016--Week 68

Hey Everyone,

This week was pretty awesome until I got a super bad cold on Friday. So that was a bummer, but other than that things are going great. And hey for transfers I get to stay!! And I am still with Elder Merritt which is awesome! I am so excited! We had a really cool investigator go to church this week. His name was Jeevan (G1) and he is hopefully going to be super solid.
Other than that, no news really. But I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and had a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Nickerl

November 21, 2016--Week 67

Hi everyone,
This week has been the biggest miracle of my life. First off, I want to thank everyone who fasted and prayed. I will tell the story from my point of view here. I woke up on Wednesday morning with slight vision back in my eye and was thrilled. Over the next 5-6 hours, my vision went from a little bit blurry to 100% clarity and no redness in the eye. By the end of the day, I had put my contact back in and was seeing completely back to normal. And then ever since there has been no problems. I truly do know that is a miracle. On Monday, I asked the doctor to be straightforward with me.  His answer was, "I do not expect your eye to recover. I have almost never seen the eye go back to normal after a rejection like yours. It would take a miracle." Since God is a God of miracles, I was a little bit hopeful, but honestly my faith was a little lacking. But I know that as a result of the faith, prayers, and fasting on behalf of all of you, there was a complete recovery. I am overwhelmed by the love of God to allow me to continue to be able to do what it is that I want to be doing right now—which is serving a mission in New Jersey.

Other than the eye miracle, we had interviews with President Taggart this week. We went on an exchange on Tuesday, and then since then it has just been back to normal. We are struggling to find people to teach right now, but it will come because we are doing the right things. That is something that I am loving so much—recently I have come to realize that as long as I do exactly the things I am supposed to do, God will provide always. I am thankful for that. I truly do love this calling as a missionary. I am bummed that this is the last week of this transfer because I don't want any changes to come into this area here next week, but as always, God is in charge. 

I love you all! Thanks for all of your support!
-Elder Nickerl 
P.S.  I had pictures this week, but I forgot my camera so I will send them next week.